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A Year in Review: April through June, 2022

The first headline in April of 2022 proved that Kane County’s school system were not, indeed, fools, by declaring the Sterling Scholars of the school year: Kambri Beckstead, Kevin Luo, John Riordan, Sofia Zurfluh, Kaden Barber, Gavin Gehrig and Amanda Charle Spencer. The Kanab High School Theater department took their regional competition the same week.


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Strong May winds blew down this massive tree in front of the Wilkey home. Photo by Neal Brown.

The Kane County Commission defined a Community Reinvestment Area in commission meeting, and outlined how such an agreement might function for the East Zion Project. The community celebrated youth wrestling successes. People argued whether it was moral and acceptable to slap comedians at the Oscars.


Further along in April, Intermountain Healthcare and SCL health underwent a merger, just in time for Intermountain to surpass 200,000 COVID cases processed. Utah’s legislature passed historic outdoor recreation policies, stating a focus on “prioritizing Utah’s outdoors and Utahn’s quality of life.” Baseball and softball started up in earnest and the KHS celebrated Kanab’s pioneer heritage. People very excitedly searched for a spine in the desert, as inspired by Grow Chiropractic’s “Find the Spine” barbecue.


A more somber search proceeded on April 18, 2022, when a young family reported their three-year-old son missing from their Airbnb. After hours of searching, the police were contacted by someone from a local cabin rental, who reported the child had found his way to the cabin and was freezing. According to the SUN’s Neal Brown, it “could have made a very tragic story … but had a happy and safe ending.”


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Kanab Elementary School students showed their support for long-time teacher Sheldon Willardson, who passed away from cancer on April 9, by decorating the school grounds with colorful chalk art and messages of love.

The Kane County senior’s center was revamped and announced an upcoming renaming. Governor Cox declared April as “Family Strengthening Month.” The Southern Utah News debuted its shiny new website.


Ben Leinin walked through Kanab in late April, on his trek for mental health awareness across the United States. A pair of burglars were caught in the act on April 22, and led the police on a high-speed chase through Kanab and Fredonia before crashing in a wash - they were both life-flighted to the hospital, then charged with theft. The Kanab High School hosted prom, and its track team took medals at an invitational meet.


May saw more charity travel as retired Nascar driver Kyle Petty drove through Kanab with over a hundred vehicles on their way to Bryce Canyon.


The BLM arrested an illegal trail guide who was guiding renegade rim-to-rim hikes. A legacy business in Kanab continued as Crosby’s Home and Farm when David and Michelle Crosby passed ownership on to their son Luke. Best Friends and Kanab City collaborated on upgrading Kanab City’s animal shelter, and submitted articles to the paper urging people to consider pigs as pets - they’re the fourth smartest animal in the world, and are criminally stereotyped as dirty animals.


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In the second week of May, thirty mile-per-hour winds uprooted trees throughout the area, causing power outages and property damage. In happier news, the Cowboys’ Track and Field won dual regional championships and had strong starts for baseball and softball. The Kayenta Center for the Arts hosted the first “Festival of the Americas.”


May 14 was a sad day for the local community, as we mourned a child who had died at the Coral Pink Sand Dunes after a sand dune collapsed on him. First responders were able to dig the boy out of six feet of collapsed sand, but he passed away in the hospital later.


Kane County Water District institutes changes in response to the State’s report and the emergency drought status declared by State Legislature. The race for the County Commission began as hearings and campaigning started in earnest.


The Kane County School District reevaluated policies that determined what books would be allowed in libraries depending on whether they contained sensitive or age-appropriate information. The school district also said farewell to a few beloved educators in late May, including Marcie Judd and Marianne Leigh from Valley Elementary school.


On May 18, Valley High Golf Coach Jeremy Chamberlain reported “we just won the state championship! Phenomenal Day!” The Kane County Senior Center was formally renamed the “Kane County Active Living Center.” Tuachan started up its seasonal shows. Kanab High took accolades at state track, as did the theater department in their competition.


Late in May, the Long Valley Veterans Memorial was revealed, dedicated to military service as far back as 1832. More election candidates were announcing their runs, and a certain humble newspaper brought home eight awards from the Utah Press Association’s Better Newspaper contest. Kanab High School’s coach Mason Fox stepped down from his coaching duties, to fond farewells.


June kicked off a fiery political season, between dramatic legal battles over Kane County Roads and the local commission election. The Southern Utah Wilderness Association was denied their motion to intervene in litigation by Judge Clark Waddoups of the U.S District Course. The commission approached its primary election. Another high-speed chase disrupted Kanab life, reaching over a hundred miles per hour. KHS hosted scholarship night as the school year concluded.


The middle of June marked a major heat wave in the area, which also included rolling blackouts to Garkane Energy members. Garkane used the new “high five” logo as a way to remind people that turning up your thermostat even five degrees in summer heat can help prevent further blackouts.

The terrain of the area once again proved deadly as a woman was caught by a current in Pipe Creek and drowned.


Compensation was awarded to “downwinders,” individuals affected by radiation caused by government activities.


Beloved founder of the Symphony of the Canyons Kortney Stirland announced his retirement from the symphony. In the June 23 issue of the Southern Utah News, he declared his intention to finish out participation in the year’s events, then to conclude preparations and move north to be with family.


Kanab welcomed new city manager Kyler Ludwig. The local community began preparations for a performance of “Hello! My baby.”


Late in June, Celeste Meyeres and Patty Kubeja secured the elections in the Republican Primary for their respective commission seats. Local real estate opened up as Adobe partnered with Coldwell Banker. New drone technology was employed in fire suppression.

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