2016 was a year of surprises – some good, some bad. Kane County and surrounding areas had a banner year economically. But then there was that flooding thing! New businesses were begun, and tourists visited in record numbers. But then there was the challenge of waiting lines at over-crowded parks! In other words, 2016 was like most years! It was a crazy collage of ups and downs, tears and smiles, and heartaches and joys. Let’s take a look back at 2016 in review.

May

Ben Dalton has been hired as the new Kane County School District Superintendent. Current Superintendent Robert Johnson is retiring at the end of the school year.

The Arizona Resource Advisory Council has tabled the Paria Canyon/Coyote Buttes Draft Management Plan until future notice. This is the plan that would eliminate the live walk-in lottery for the WAVE permits currently held at the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument Visitor Center in Kanab.

Cement is being poured for the new city tennis courts next to the Kanab City Library.

Debra Schwartz, an ASU professor, was found dead at the bottom of a slot canyon in Oak Creek Canyon.

Preparations are underway for two major Kanab/Kane County events. The Greyhound Gathering will be held from May 13-15. One hundred humans and their well-loved, four-legged family members are expected to be in attendance. The 10th annual Amazing Earthfest will be held May 8-14.

The Kane County Commission met with new Vermillion Cliffs National Monument Manager Brandon Boshell and BLM Field Manager Lorraine Christensen (St. George office). The main topic of discussion was the proposed business plan for The Wave and the new Kane County Resolution. Commission Chairman Dirk Clayson opened the discussion by stating the importance of local input when decisions affect the local economy. Christensen and Boshell both agree there can be a workable solution.

In celebration of the Centennial of the National Park Service, the Southern Utah News featured profiles of nearby Park Superintendents. David Uberuga (Grand Canyon), Lisa Eckert (Bryce), and Jeff Bradybaugh (Zion National Park) were featured in the three part series.

Neal Brown and Cory Anderson accept awards on Garkane’s behalf at the Spotlight on Excellence Marketing awards reception in Portland, OR. Brown, Garkane Member Services and Marketing Manager, designed, produced and coordinated the award-winning People Behind the Power campaign that ran through 2015.

The UT/AZ ATV Club was chosen for a national honor for the new bridge that crosses Kanab Creek on the trail from Kanab to Hog Canyon. The idea for the bridge was to address safety issues and improve accessibility to the Hog Canyon Trail System.

Valley High School won 1A State Golf Title for the second straight year.

June

The field of interested Kane County School Board candidates will be narrowed in the upcoming Republican Primary election. Candidates Andy Gant, Lisa Livingston and Duke Reidhead will vie for the Ranchos seat, with Joe Houston, Karen Kelly and Adam Rogers for another. Candidate questions and answers were featured.

Wade Heaton and Lamont Smith competed for the Republican Party nod for Kane County Commission Seat C.

Long-time friend and Southern Utah News employee Sharlotte Brewer passed away after a year and a half battle with lung cancer. God speed, Ms. Sharlotte!

Local business owner and friend to everyone he met, Lex Chamberlain passed away on June 12.

William “Billy” Shott, a 22 year career employee of the National Park Service, was selected as the Superintendent of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Rainbow Bridge National Monument.

The Run to the Red Rocks Car Show gives Kanab some varoom! The event featured 85 registered participants. John Rich (of Jacob Lake Inn fame), was profiled in a front-page feature. He is considered an authority on Navajo woven blankets, and has focused on keeping the Native American tradition of rug weaving alive.

Gary Johnson new Justice Court Judge. He will replace retiring Judge Kirk Heaton.

Tauna King has been crowned Miss Kane County.

July

Kaibab National Forest Service’s head fire official, Arthur Gonzales, was named the USDA’s Southwestern Region’s Forest Fire Management Officer of the Year for 2015.

Skeletal remains found north of Jacob Lake connected to 2013 Glendale homicide investigation, according to the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office.

Hundreds of youth from the Kanab and Kaibab Stakes took part in a re-enactment of the Mormon trek to Martin’s Cove.

Christine Lehnertz was named the new Superintendent of Grand Canyon National Park.

August

The musical “Annie” was performed four nights to large, adoring crowds. The cast of locals, directed by Kanab resident Linda Alderman, did a terrific job telling the charming story of little Orphan Annie.

Backerei Forscher, a German bakery located in Orderville, has been doing a booming business since it opened in 2014. “I like taking risks,” said owner/manager Chris Oderkerken, of his American baking adventure. “I love this, it’s all an adventure!”

Kanab Elementary Principal Braxton Bateman was named Utah Principal of the Year by the Utah Rural Schools Association.

The Kane County Commission, according to state statute, has created a new position to be known as the Kane County Budget Officer. Kanab resident John Livingston has been hired for the position.

Fred Armstrong was named the new Pipe Spring National Monument Superintendent. He replaces retiring Superintendent Jon Hiscock. “The best thing that I or anyone of my staff can do is inspire visitors to understand that these places have been preserved to inspire, educate and motivate them, and then they in turn can hand that inspiration down to the next generation. “

Flood 2016 inundates Kanab. Angry, black clouds released torrents of water on Wednesday, August 3, and then again on August 5, resulting in a significant flooding event. It all added up to flooded streets and homes, significant damage totals, and enormous frustration for those mopping up!

A rock slide shut down the Mt. Carmel-Zion tunnel road last week. Crews worked quickly to shatter the enormous boulders into smaller pieces, and the road was repaired and reopened the next day!

Welcome to the 18th Annual Western Legends Roundup!

The Kanab City Planning and Zoning denies LaQuinta Inn’s height variance request. LaQuinta bought 1.79 acres of L-shaped vacant land surrounding Pizza Hut on Highway 89A on the south side of Kanab.

The Kane County School District will receive $192,088 in School Land Trust Funds for the 2016-2017 school year, its share of a record $49.3 million in annual earnings from the Permanent State School Funds.