2008 was a year for southern Utah and northern Arizona, much like what most every part of the country experienced - a tumultuous time! It featured a moderate housing market and economy for the first part of the year, but when the big banks and auto industries were failing, and the Federal government (meaning us) was called to bail them out, most everyone began to get nervous. Subsequent lay-off and reduction of expenditures demonstrated people were understanding the brevity of a recession. The general election, while historically electing our first black president, offered us some hope for change, but most everyone understood, it was time to knuckle down, cut back on out-of-control spending, and get back to the basics of putting food on the table and a roof over their heads.

These were the top stories in 2008-

 

January

The Dogtown series debuted on the National Geographic Channel. Best Friends Animal Society's canines, handlers and quarters were featured to take viewers on a journey inside the grounds to meet the dogs and skilled professional team dedicated to ensuring that even the toughest cases survive.  

Kanab City Justice of the Peace Gary Johnson administered the oath of office to three recently elected council members. Incumbents Steve Mower and Tony Chatterley, along with new member Nina Laycook, were sworn in to serve on the Kanab City Council.

Bureau of Land Management Kanab Field Office Manager Rex Smart, 60, Kanab, was charged with 13 felony counts of child sex abuse involving a child under the age of 14.

Twenty four  year-old Jasson Hines of Las Vegas, NV pleaded guilty to attempted murder/inflicting serious bodily injury/use of a dangerous weapon in the shooting of Tracy Armstrong of Panguitch. Hines' conviction and maximum sentence under the law, stems from a shooting incident on August 3 of last year when Hines shot Armstrong three times unprovoked at point blank range, while Hines' family was checking into some Panguitch Lake cabins ownedby Armstrong.

Dinosaurs and creatures left imprints in the sandstone wash over a hundred million years ago southwest of Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. They're still making imprints on those who see them now. A tour led by the BLM offered the public a look and scientific commentary concerning the Moccasin Mountain Track Site. Paleontologist Dr. Alan Titus led the site tour, unrecognized by the scientific community until fall of last year. The site was determined to be highly significant, not only for its occurrence, but it's track concentration and diversity.

A historic find and confirmation of the Dominguez-Escalante expedition through this area in 1776 has been confirmed. The "Paso por Aqui" inscription was discovered in the Padre Bay area of Lake Powell. Ironically, the famous inscription was discovered by the Graffiti Removal and Intervention Team.

Best Friends Animal Society has taken 22 of the dogs involved in the chaos following prosecution over the illegal fighting operation of former Atlanta Falcon football player Michael Vick.

Hospital administrator Tom Mitchell tendered his resignation to the Kane County Hospital Board. Sherrie Pandya was named interim administrator.

 

February-

Cedar Mountain got hammered with snow over the past weekend forcing some roads to be closed.

In the case of the State of Utah versus Rex Smart concerning felony child sex abuse charges, Judge Wallace Lee said due to prosecution and defense motions, case progression should be relegated to April.

The Kane County School District will focus more on attracting and recruiting new teachers. Superintendent Robert Johnson said the main problem with attracting teachers to the area is the high cost of housing. The school board intends to formulate a plan soon to retain new teachers already hired and to attract new teachers to fill open positions.

Taz, the K-9 dog for the Kane County Sheriff's Office, passed away last week after being sick for several days. Taz was purchased by Deputy Ted Barnard for $26 from the UHP in October of 2004. He won numerous awards for his abilities, but 'really howled' at public performance events.

What about those Fredonia girls? The Fredonia Lady Lynx successfully defended their 1-A State Basketball Title with a 58-53 overtime victory over Rock Point, winning their second straight championship.

 

March-

Sherrie Pandya was named the new Kane County Hospital Administrator.

Cedar Mountain Clinic opens. The husband and wife medical team of Hernan Garreaud, PA-C and Tonya Garreaud, LPN, will staff the medical clinic located in Duck Creek. The clinic is under the supervision of the Kane County Hospital.

The Southern Utah News won 10 excellence awards in the Utah Press Association's Better Newspaper Contest.

In addition, Kane County Clerk Karla Johnson won the UPA's coveted John E. Jones award for her integrity and demonstration of being a public servant who values and facilitates the public right to access public information.

Kane County Executive Director of the Office of Tourism and Film Commission, Ted Hallisey filed papers to run as a Democrat for the Utah House of Representative seat currently held by Republican Mike Noel, Kanab. "I am running for this office because I believe a substantial number of people in this district are not in agreement with Mr. Noel's vision for the area that includes; support for nuclear power plants, coal mining operations and mineral extraction, vigilante law or increased speed limits along the I-15 corridor, along with the statement that it makes it safer," Hallisey said.

Marietta Eaton of the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument has taken a position in Washington, D.C. as the National Landscape Conservation Systems' national science coordinator.

Dennis Stong, Director of the Utah Division of Water Resources, announced that the Utah Board of Water Resources filed the first documents related to the Lake Powell Pipeline project.

 

April-

First Lake Powell Pipeline meeting held in Kanab. The Utah Board of Water Resources filed a document to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) related to the project. The document began the environmental assessment and public review process for the Lake Powell Pipeline, and it all started here.

The Canyon Region Economic Development Alliance (CREDA) summit held in Kanab. and co-hosted by the Center for Education, Business and the Arts (CEBA), addressed economic development in rural areas in northern Arizona and southern Utah.

Viva La Pool! Kanab's long awaited new swimming pool arrived-all the way from Italy. Installation will commence and water will splash once the Mertha pool is installed.

Uranium mining was the focused topic in the Southern Utah News for a series of articles concerning mining on the Arizona Strip. According to Scott Florence, BLM District Manager on the AZ Strip, there are approximately 10,000 mining claims on public lands in his area, with 56 exploration notices and one plan of operation currently approved.  "Arizona One mine will be reopened this year," said Florence.

Three animal shootings alarm public and police. Kanab City has authorized a reward of $250, Best Friends $750, and Joanne Rando-Moon of Critter Corner offered $100 for the arrest of the person (s) responsible for the senseless violence against the animals. The shootings all occurred between April 19 and 24. The first-a 12 year-old dog that was seriously injured; the second, a four month puppy that was grazed by a bullet and the third, a pig shot to death.

The horses and riders attending the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument seminar were not being put out to pasture, but rather being put out to monument. Carolyn Shelton, acting GSENM science lead and planning chief, said the volunteer riders would be site stewards. The BLM is saddled with diminishing funding to provide ranger supervision in some of the more remote sites. The equestrian brigade will serve as volunteer eyes on a large resource, where constant monitoring would take funds far beyond those allocated for patrolling.