Southern Utah News Articles
Top Stories for January 12, 2011
2010 Year in Review-Part III
The past year was challenging for the southern Utah/northern Arizona area. 2010 was a year of emotions!
Several heart-breaking tragedies served as reminders to us of the fragility and precious nature of life. But from the sorrow, we were bolstered and touched by the heart-warming response of local citizens as well as strangers, who responded to our needs with physical, financial and emotional support.
There were also promising economic possibilities announced, as well as a strong show of support to local communities from Dixie State College, CEBA, and the Kanab and Fredonia Chambers of Commerce. They not only created enjoyable events and activities, but ones that will attract and entertain tourists to this scenic destination for a longer duration.
New State BLM Director Juan Palma was in Kanab on August 24-25 to get familiar with Utah BLM lands, including the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. “I’ve been so impressed with this area,” said Palma. “All of the people I have met have been wonderful. I’ve been so impressed with their willingness to talk to me and their knowledge. I do think we have a wonderful opportunity here.”
Deputy Brian Harris was shot and killed. Kane County Sheriff’s Deputy Brian Harris, Mt. Carmel, was tragically shot and killed while pursuing a suspect in a previous night’s suspicious altercation at the Fredonia High School. The shooting occurred approximately three miles east of Fredonia on August 26 around 2:20 p.m. Harris, along with two other officers, was on a foot pursuit after suspect Scott Curley, 23. Curley allegedly shot Harris with an AR 15 military scope rifle when he came over a knoll.
A massive manhunt ensued to apprehend Curley. Thirty-six agencies with over 400 law enforcement officers from numerous local, state and federal agencies, including the U.S. Marshall’s Office and FBI, responded. Besides law enforcement, many media organizations reported on the search for Curley. The suspect was apprehended in the early morning hours of August 30 after trying to break into a private home southeast of Kanab.
Scott Curley, of Fredonia, AZ, appeared before Judge Kirk Heaton on August 31 to hear charges he faces in Arizona and Utah, relating to the shooting death on August 26 of Kane County Deputy Brian Harris. Heaton does not preside over the Utah court of record, but by statute, is able to set or deny bail in order to assure Curley’s presence at subsequent scheduled court appearances. Curley faces the capital offense charge of premeditated first degree murder in the state of Arizona, which was issued by Judge Mark Baron in Fredonia on August 27, and can carry the death penalty. Judge Heaton authorized a $500,000 cash only bond in this case to assure Curley will be present for future court appearances.
Curley waives right on extradition to face charges in Arizona. He did this before District Court Judge Paul Lyman on September 2. Deputy Brian Harris was slain in Arizona, giving that state the prosecution responsibility. He was apprehended in Utah during an attempted break-in after a four-day manhunt, and faced charges involving those as well. Friends and family of Deputy Harris, as well as suspect Scott Curley, were in attendance.
Funeral services for fallen officer Brian Harris were held at the Orderville High School, with a following procession to the Glendale Cemetery for his final burial. State and local elected officials, numerous friends and family members, strangers who’s hearts were touched by his service, and hundreds of law enforcement officers from numerous states, paid their last respects to Officer Harris. The emotional funeral service and show of support to the family from so many will remain in the hearts of all.
Coconino County indicts Curley for first degree murder. After extradition from Kane County, Utah last week, the Coconino County Grand Jury indicted Scott Curley on the charge of first degree murder in the death of Kane County Deputy Brian Harris. According to the charge, Curley allegedly, intending or knowing that his conduct would cause death, caused the death of Brian Harris, with premeditation.
The first ever Carmel Mountain & Arts Festival was held with music, dancers, food, artwork, car show and more, entertaining locals and tourists alike. The festival was also a fundraiser for the Brian Harris family.
DOCUTAH Film Festival will soon be coming to Kanab.
Local law enforcement officers carried a Lovelocks Gate Memorial dedicated and placed in memorial to fallen Deputy Brian Harris. It will reside in front of the Kane County Visitor Center for a short period of time, then be moved to the new Public Safety Facility when that is built.
Auxiliary contributions to Kane County Hospital top $1,000,000 mark. Proceeds from sales generated by the Auxiliary Thrift Shop are designated to purchase equipment, etc., for the hospital. It took 20 years of dedicated efforts by a multitude of volunteers to accomplish the historic achievement.
A Kane County project discussed for years will soon become reality. The official ground breaking ceremony for the new Kane County Public Safety Facility was held on September 24, with law enforcement and elected officials on hand to celebrate the project to be located near the Kaneplex rodeo grounds. The actual developed area will be on 9.17 acres. The building will be approximately 57,000 square foot, and is designed to be a 192-bed facility. It will house up to 160 Utah Department of Corrections inmates, as well as a substantial county inmate population.
As part of the DOCUTAH International Film Festival held in St. George and Kanab last week, a feature called ‘DOCUTAH Commons’ was held on September 23 at the Crescent Moon Theater. The two films shown at the event were specifically chosen to stimulate creative thought about strategies that could be applied and successfully adapted to meet the needs of small western towns.
The Southwest Utah Public Health Department is reporting that an adult Kane County resident has tested positive for West Nile Virus and is expected to recover. This is the first confirmed case of WNV in Utah this year.
Two park rangers killed in Garfield County October 8 plane crash. The two passengers of the privately-owned Cessna 172, were on a pleasure flight over Mount Dutton before returning to Page, AZ. Killed in the crash were Glen Canyon National Recreation Area Chief Ranger Brent McGinn and Dangling Rope District Ranger Laurie Axelsen.
Water Infrastructure Finance Authority of Arizona representatives presented Mayor Scott Heaton with a plaque to the Town of Fredonia for the “Best Drinking Water Project of the Year” award.
Twenty Japanese students and three adult chaperones visited Kanab from October 23-26, staying with local host homes. The students are from Kakamigahara, in the Gifu prefecture of central Japan.
Harrisville Mayor Richard Hendrix and Special Prosecutor Randy Neal honored Harrisville Police Chief Maxwell Jackson and Willard Police Chief Nate Thompson for their work investigating a sheriff in Idaho. Jackson, Thompson and Neal all worked previously in their careers in Kane County.
Coconino County Sheriff Bill Pribil awarded plaques to Kane County, Kanab City and the Town of Fredonia concerning area response to law enforcement after Deputy Brian Harris’ murder and subsequent manhunt for suspect Scott Curley. He said the area’s kindness, compassion and support were overwhelming and something he’d never forget.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced plans to build a new stake center at 20 West Center Street, the location of the current Kanab Utah Stake. While some are saddened by news of the historic old building being razed, remodeling costs were nearly two times new construction costs.
Southern Utah News has moved to a new location! Owners Dixie and Dennis Brunner will now hang their hats at new digs at 245 South 200 East (the old Southwest Public Health Building).
Groundbreaking for the new BLM Field Office and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument headquarters was held on a cold and windy November 22. “The co-location will go a long way to be a central reception area for those interested in public lands here,” said BLM public information officer Larry Crutchfield. “This will be good for the communities and good for us.”
The county commission approved separately three out of four proposed changes to the Kane County Land Use Ordinance.
The annual Christmas Festival, now a fundraiser for the Symphony of the Canyons and the Kanab High School Music Department, was another big hit. The event, in its 20th year, featured the symphony, as well as the KHS singing group X-Press and the KHS strings group Encore.
Abundant Life Academy has employee shake-up. The Christian home in Kanab for teens (who have had issues, either with behavioral problems in their homes, or minor infractions with the law), has had a serious work disagreement with numerous long-time employees. Owner Craig Rogers told key staff members he would offer them a percentage of ownership in Abundant Life Academy, if they gave up two months of pay.
Grand Canyon National Park Superintendent Steve Martin announced his retirement effective the end of the year. Martin has spent 35 years in the National Park Service with experience as a park ranger, natural and cultural resource manager, business manager, superintendent and senior leader.
Outrageous rain! Roads were closed and residents were getting worried as a storm front assaulted and stayed in the southern Utah/northern Arizona area for several days. Beside the temporary closing of the new Ranchos crossing bridge in Kanab, the roads to Zion National Park and Cedar Mountain were also closed due to flooding until further notice.
Garkane suffers major damage and outages on Cedar Mountain. Many Cedar Mountain residents were left days without power due to the harsh weather conditions. Major damage occurred to power facilities, as well as to private property.