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.

September

The Kanab City Council recently voted to suspend issuing any water meter permits until it could be decided in what direction they wanted to go with the moratorium on impact fees.

Western Legends Round-Up enjoys large crowds. Approximately 4500 people were in Kanab from August 27-30 to enjoy the Western Legends Round-Up weekend. From cowboy poetry to music, food to cowboy demonstrations and western stars who made films here; the event was a huge success, celebrating the area’s western heritage. Festival chairman and Kanab City Councilman Steve Mower said the committee was happy with the event. “We are grateful for all the many hours volunteers spent making this event an incredible success,” said Mower.

Fredonia Mayor Dixie Judd told those attending the last town council meeting in August that they appreciated residents’ concerns about Town Manager Tom Corrigan, and emphasized the council was reviewing and working on solutions for the issue.

New Kane County Jail in the works. The commission approved a request for proposal for a public safety facility. They also approved needing a construction management service.

The Kane County Board of Education approved a salary step or ‘lane change’ wage increase for several teachers who have acquired to varying extents, additional hours of education beyond a Bachelors degree. District teachers received no cost of living increase this year. The lane change increase rewards teachers who have on their own, sought to become more highly qualified as educators.

Road’s end for Kane County? The U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in a two to one vote has upheld an earlier ruling the District Court made in the matter of Earth Justice, Wilderness Society and Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance against Kane County. The ruling announced Judges Lucero and Holloway affirmed the previous decision, while Judge McConnell dissented. The majority opinion of the judges was that Kane County had violated the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution, wherein that federal law supersedes local or state law involving federal issues where the two conflict. The court also said the county must first prove that the rights it claimed were valid, before federal land managers had to accommodate them. The commissioners, once again, refused to comment on the decision.

Cheryl Brown is the woman! She was honored as Woman of the Year at the Kanab Women’s Forum. (Editor’s note-Cheryl is someone we all adore!) “This woman is a tireless advocate for our community and her selfless pursuit of quality activities for our youth is not only admirable, it’s amazing. Cheryl Brown is true example that happiness walks on busy feet. Her positive attitude, enthusiasm and desire to help others is impressive, while never expecting anything in return.”

While the Kane County Jail issue had been discussed for years, it appears a 200-bed public safety facility will soon become a reality near Kaneplex, beginning next Spring. Kane County is going forward with plans to build a facility that will assist in paying for what the county is mandated to pay for providing jail space for local inmates. The recouped state money will provide funds for taking care of local needs.

Fredonia Town Manager Tom Corrigan resigns. Council member read a statement and transition agreement, and covenants that neither the town nor Tom Corrigan would go beyond the scope for a court remedy.

Councilwoman Angie Bullets read the following statement: “Whereas, the parties have conferred for the purpose of reaching a mutually acceptable arrangement with respect to terminating Corrigan’s employment as Town Manager, allowing him to provide professional consulting services relating to certain current and pending matters, and compensating him for providing such services and resolving all other matters and issues, whether know or unknown, arising out Corrigan’s employment.” The agreement went on to say there were no assertions of finding or admissions of wrongdoing on either party.

October

The public portion of the Kane County Commission hearings last meeting of August was held concerning various financing contingencies for construction of a new 200-bed public safety facility (i.e., jail), near Kaneplex. It was well attended by the community, with Commissioners Hulet, Habbeshaw and Heaton all present.

Well-known pet lover and animal activist Ruthie Itow has a story to tell about Ziggy...when her 12 year-old dog gets feeling better. Itow was walking in Pugh Canyon with the deaf dog Ziggy, when they got separated. Her search got nowhere, and she took her other dogs back home and then was going to return to search.

Meanwhile, Jeanne and Robin Modesitt heard about Ziggy’s disappearance while hiking, and immediately began searching for him. Jeanne went to Dry Creek where she found a coyote lunching on Ziggy. She said human reaction compelled her to shout and kick at the coyote, trying to grab it by the back of its neck. It didn’t take kindly to her feeding interference. She shouted and her husband responded, with the presence of them both scared away the coyote. They carried the severely wounded dog back down the trail. Ruthie met them and the three took Ziggy to Best Friends Society Animal Clinic, where a trauma team led by Dr. Mike Dix took over the challenging mission of attempting to repair Ziggy. Harrowing hours were spent saving the dog. But now the small dog with tail missing and probably isn’t feeling too good about life at present, will soon be able to come home with his beloved owner Ruthie.

New pastor at United Church. Dave Bowles has become the new pastor at United Church of Kanab and Fredonia. He is married to Ruth de Jesus, who also served as pastor for the United Church in 2003-2004. “It’s (the southern Utah/northern Arizona area) a very accepting community, and I hope to contribute to its profound sense of hospitality,” said Bowles.

The Kanab City Council reviewed amendments to the one, five and ten year capital investment plans, and voted to accept the projects budgeted.

Kanab City Council member candidates and mayoral candidate answered questions in the SUN about their qualifications and desire for leading the community. Incumbent Jim Sorenson, and new candidates Ed Meyer and Shaun Smith, are vying for two open city council seats. Councilman Terril Honey is not seeking re-election. Candidate Nina Laycook is seeking the position of mayor, after the retirement of current Mayor Kim Lawson.

November

The Kane County EMS building located at the Kanab Airport nears completion.

Rosalie Esplin, Director of Nursing and 50-year employee at the Kane County Hospital, was honored last week with a plaque with her name added to the Wall of Honor.

Election results-Nina Laycook, running unopposed, will now hold the position of Kanab City Mayor. She received 819 votes. In the council election for the two available seats, incumbent Jim Sorenson will retain his office, garnering 623 votes. Ed Meyer and Shaun Smith were the two candidates hoping for outgoing Councilman Terril Honey’s seat. Meyer got the nod in this race, beating Smith by a slim margin of 509 votes to Smith’s 459. The Kanab City Council will now advertise for interest and then fill the empty seat left by Councilwoman Laycook, upon her being elected mayor.

The business of art. A ‘Business of Art’ seminar was held at Kanab Middle School. It was sponsored by the Center for Education, Business and the Arts (CEBA), Dixie State College, and Southwest Applied Technology College (SWATC). Over 200 successful and creative artists from around the west arrived to interact and learn more about marketing their products. As part of the CEBA program focus in place for several years, the symposium was offered to assist those who create art.

Several local and national environmental groups have filed a petition with the Utah Board of Oil, Gas and Mining, stressing opposition to a proposed strip coal mine near Alton.

The water bond passes in Fredonia. The council was quite pleased with the 171-88 vote to authorize the beginning of needed improvements on the town’s water system.

December

Juveniles slash tires, break windows in Fredonia. Six juveniles decided to terrorize the town. The delinquents slashed 26 tires on Fredonia Town Office vehicles, marshal’s vehicles, and several community member vehicles.

Kanab Elementary School and Valley Elementary School have been recognized by the Utah State Office of Education as high performing Title I schools for the 2008-2009 school year.

Kanab City Manager Keith McAllister to retire. McAllister announced his resignation effective at the end of the year after 27 years of managing the city’s affairs. He will continue working part-time for the city, until new Mayor Nina Laycook and the city council can recruit his replacement.

Major winter storm causes hardship, power outages and accidents in southern Utah/northern Arizona. Heavy, wet snow blanketed the area, creating havoc for residents here.

A bungled retirement fund, instituted in good faith by the Kane County Hospital in the 90’s, could have a huge impact on the hospital’s financial health and future. Two employees have filed a proposed class action lawsuit in Salt Lake District Court against the hospital and several financial and retirement plan managing agencies.

Outgoing Mayor Kim Lawson and Councilman Terril Honey were presented wonderstone plaques in recognition, and a reception in honor and gratitude for their years of service to Kanab City.