2009 held a kaleidoscope of events for northern Arizona and southern Utah. Barack Obama, the United States’ first black President, took office, and the recession that began in the second quarter of 2009 deepened. Residents here, as in the entire country, had to reduce spending and hopefully retain jobs. But as with most years, along with challenges and sorrow, there were many bright spots and happy occasions to celebrate and be thankful for. 

May

The Fredonia Community Health Center was broken into on April 23. Damage to several doors and a security window were discovered. Fredonia Marshal Dan Watson said while nothing appeared to have been taken, he indicated the perpetrators were probably on a quest for controlled substances. “It is disappointing to see,” stated Mark Overas, clinic PA, “because this clinic exists to serve the community and something like this detracts from our daily operations.”

The first phase of the Mesa Hills subdivision is complete, and six new residents will proudly be calling the beautiful neighborhood home. Mesa Hills is a 47-lot residential development by Color Country Community Housing, and is an affordable housing program run through USDA’s Rural Development, which provides funding and financing for the ‘sweat equity’ self-help program. 

The Kanab Cowboys won the 2A state baseball title. The victory was especially sweet since the Cowboys came back from a 10 run deficit to beat San Juan 14-13 for the state title. 

Several hundred ATV riders met at the Stampin’ Up grounds east of Kanab to rally May 9. Their cause was the Paria River canyon remaining an open road to users. Many in the group then proceeded to the old Paria movie site, with a number of others accessing the Paria from the north, to take the ride in defiance of it being closed by federal land management agencies. 

Popular Utah Republican Governor Jon Huntsman was named Ambassador to China by Democrat President Barack Obama. “It is in the spirit of placing country before self or politics that I have accepted the request and nomination by President Obama, and with the consent of the United States Senate, to serve as United States Ambassador to China,” said Huntsman.

Lt. Governor Gary Herbert will now become Utah’s next governor. Coincidentally, Herbert was in Kanab this weekend speaking at the Economic Development Summit 2009, where attendees said he gave a great speech. 

A May 19 plan for the Dixie National Forest will eliminate unrestricted off-trail use of motorized vehicles. The plan is geared to addressing the increasing number of off-road vehicles in the national forest, and hopefully limiting some of the damaging environmental effects of overuse. 

Grass galore! UHP Trooper Nick Berrie and Kanab City Police Officer Richard Raddatz, netted 42 pounds of marijuana discovered in the back seat of an Acura Legend. 

June

A Storch two seat airplane crashed near the Calf Creek Recreation Area, killing its two occupants. The plane was flying too low and apparently clipped some power lines, subsequently crashing into a bridge. John Austin of Boulder, UT and Susan Jordan of Redwood Valley, CA were killed. 

The Southwest Utah Public Health Department received confirmation a Kane County resident has tested positive for the H1N1 flu. There are currently over 250 confirmed cases of the flu in Utah. Fortunately, most people who become infected have recovered without hospitalization. That was also the case in Kane County. 

“Return to Little Hollywood,” a new documentary about the film industry’s history in southern Utah will premiere at the Crescent Moon Theater in Kanab. Co-sponsored by Dixie State College of Utah and Kane County’s Center for Education, Business and the Arts (CEBA), the 38 minute film has been created to promote Kanab and Kane County to production companies and other potential investors from the entertainment industry. 

Famed musician Arvel Bird was in town to film a commercial with the Symphony of the Canyons. He chose Kanab to pay tribute to his southern Utah Paiute heritage, as well as Best Friends Animal Society and the well-known symphony. 

The current edition of Outdoor Life magazine ranked Kanab as the top Utah town for sportsmen. It was ranked 12th on the magazine’s nationwide list. 

Murder/suicide suspected in Jacob Lake deaths. Coconino County Sheriff’s Deputies are investigating the deaths of 29 year-old Ryan Peters and his three year-old daughter Teigan Peters, both from the Phoenix, AZ area. Their bodies, with gunshot wounds, were found by the Fredonia district deputy at a campsite in the area of the Parissawampitts Point off Highway 67 that leads to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. A relative had contacted the Mesa, AZ police and said Ryan had been despondent and possibly suicidal as the result of a recent divorce and the determination of the custody of his daughter. A relative then confirmed he was camping in an area between Jacob Lake and the North Rim with his young daughter.

Horse sense on project results in new equestrian trail. The High Desert Backcountry Horsemen, BLM, Kanab City and local individuals have worked together to create a new equestrian trail near the city water tank in the back of the Kanab Creek Ranchos. The ‘Cottonwood Canyon Route’ takes riders from the trailhead in the Ranchos west to Cottonwood Canyon, north into Indian Canyon and back. It’s a great ride with amazing scenery.

July

The Canyon Country Model T Club of Flagstaff, AZ was in Kanab this week visiting area sights, and charming tourists and residents alike with their vintage cars. It was their third tour of our area. There were 202 cars, 441 participants, and 730 miles driven around this area. Needless to say, the group’s tour here ‘fueled’ the local economy. 

More than 40 concerned citizens packed the Fredonia Town Hall for the Town Council meeting to air grievances and concerns about town management. Biting dogs and ordinance enforcement were issues of concern for many citizens. Fredonia Town Manager Tom Corrigan’s position and job responsibilities were also questioned. 

Robert Bolin, 57, Seattle, WA, was walking northbound on Highway 89 near the Utah/Arizona border toward Kanab at approximately 9:20 p.m.  He was walking in the middle of the roadway, and was struck from behind by a juvenile driver, who did not see him. Bolin died from his injuries. 

King of Jordan spotted in Kanab. An early morning ‘king’ sighting was reported at Grandma Tina’s restaurant in Kanab. King Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein and his entourage had breakfast at Grandma Tina’s while touring on motorcycles in southern Utah.

Best Friends Animal Society announced Gregory Castle, one of the original founders of the southern Utah-based animal welfare organization, has been named interim chief executive officer by the Best Friends Board of Directors. Castle will hold the position until the completion of a national search for a permanent CEO. 

32 year-old Scott Pederson, St. George, drowned while saving his five and seven year-old sons from the same fate, while visiting Upper Barker Lake on Boulder Mountain in Garfield County. The two boys were swimming in the middle of the lake off a paddleboat when they started having trouble staying above water due to the cold water temperatures. Pederson went in to rescue them, had trouble himself, and yelled for help. Father-in-law J. H. Frost and a brother-in-law swam out to help, were able to get the boys back to safety, but realized Pederson had slipped below the surface. 

In a sad twist of irony, it was the St. George/Washington County Search and Rescue Dive team of which he became a recent member, who located his body hours later. 

Public comment heats up at Fredonia Town Council meeting. Town Manager Tom Corrigan’s job performance and treatment of a town employee is at the center of the fire. 

A Notice of Claim was sent to the Kane County Hospital Special Services District by Salt Lake attorney Brian King concerning mismanagement of a former administration’s employee retirement plan. The claim was brought by hospital employees Lori Ramsey and Dan Smalling and similarly situated past and present employees.

What seemed to be a new tact by the Kane County Commission concerning the roads issue in the past year to not maintain them; was met with a stern clarification by Judge Tena Campbell of a previous May 2008 ruling. It basically said Kane County had misinterpreted what the ruling said concerning their ability to address maintenance issues on ‘open’ roads. 

August

15 year-old Jeff Wood, Alton, died tragically during baseball practice at Valley High School. Wood, who was in shallow centerfield behind the second base during practice, was hit by a fly ball and immediately collapsed. While questions concerning the cause of Jeff’s freak death remain, hearts in the close communities of Orderville, Glendale, Alton and surrounding communities are with the baseball players, coaches and family at this time.  

Zion National Park celebrated its 100th anniversary! The celebration held at The Grotto was well-attended by National Park officials, as well as state and local dignitaries. “This park is so important to Utah and the country,” said Leigh von der Esch, managing director of the Utah Office of Tourism. “Places like this is where we need to be in times like this.”

In a letter dated July 28 to the Bureau of Land Management Kanab Field Office Manager Harry Barber, Kane County GIS/Transportation Director Louis Pratt Jr. clarified roads the county was relinquishing Title V documents on. The letter said that in light of recent events, it has concluded it is not feasible for the county to operate and be responsible for short segments of Title V’s that only connect to ‘federal roads.’ The county letter also said it intends to pursue some of these Title V’s as being within the scope of RS 2477 rights-of-way in current and future quiet title adjudication.

Fast cars and philanthropy. 39 participating cars with approximately 110 people were in attendance at the Utah Fast Pass organization’s ‘Fast Pass’ through Kanab. There were no shortages of oohs and ahs from appreciative tourists and local spectators when the Fast Pass members who own exotic, expensive cars including Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Porsches, Maseratis, Corvettes and Ford GT’s rolled into Kanab. 

“We were just amazed by the rock formations,” said Duane Gilleland, who had come to participate in the event from Minneapolis, MN, with three friends who also participated in the ride. They had their cars shipped to Salt Lake. “This is so beautiful here. We love it and the people, and the reception in Kanab has been so wonderful.”

The UT/AZ ATV Club, Color Country 4x4 Club and others traveled to Salt Lake City this weekend to participate in the “Take Back Utah” rally at the State Capitol. Approximately 25 people from Kane County attended the rally of about 3000 on Saturday.

The Fredonia limb pile usually saved for training purposes for the Fredonia Fire Department was set on fire last Tuesday. Arson is suspected. 

Fredonia Town Manager in the Doghouse. Controversy is mounting amid new citizen complaints concerning Town Manager Tom Corrigan that have been publicly expressed. 

60 local residents attended a four-hour marathon session of the Fredonia Town Council, (two of which were spent by the council in a closed executive session). Corrigan has served as Town Manager for 10 years. His duties also include Town Animal Control Officer, a position he had before becoming the Town Manager; and being in charge of the distribution of foodstuffs from the Care and Share for Fredonia. Privately, Corrigan operates the Fredonia Humane Society and the TLC Company that sells fire extinguishers. Situations and problems were expressed by citizens in several areas of his service at the meeting. 

The public meeting adjourned after 10 p.m. without any action taken by the council.