July 2022 was an eventful start to the summer. The communities in the area were concerned about rolling blackouts across the country caused by high temperatures and low electricity production - Garkane Energy promised consistent electricity to its residents. The Fourth of July went off without a hitch, with plenty of attendees to both the parade and fireworks festival. Drought conditions persisted in the state of Utah, as Salt Lake City and surrounding regions reported record high temperatures and continual warming. Local school districts complied with changing state tax codes, remaining transparent and well within reasonable tax expenditures - along with receiving more than one award for academic excellence. An eleven-year-old caused property damage with a hijacked skid steer.
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After abandoning his vehicle near Buckskin Gulch and leading law enforcement on a four-hour chase on foot, a man was captured and taken into custody on Sunday, July 10. Photo provided by KCSO.
August - Karver Swindlehurst in his hospital bed, after being hit by a car on his electric scooter and thrown onto Highway 89, eating a snow cone graciously delivered by the two paramedics who took care of him after his accident. Photo by Kristie Swindlehurst.
Exciting times persisted through July, with multiple reports from law enforcement, including a fugitive on the run that was captured by a police helicopter and Kane County tactical team, and a high-speed chase that resulted in a head-on crash that totaled the driver’s vehicle and the empty patrol car into which he crashed - the driver survived, his injuries were treated, and he was charged with multiple infractions; nobody else was harmed. Kanab’s local athletics did will in July, with the swim team winning its invitational and local runners performing well in the Bryce Canyon half-marathon. Merilee Terry was awarded teacher of the year. The Southern Utah News changed ownership.
Later in July, Kanab welcomed Kyler Ludwig as its new city manager, with Ludwig stating he felt “right at home here.” The NPS and other local services managed the Dragon Fire on the Kaibab and Grand Canyon areas, balancing fire prevention with the natural process of a fire-adapted biome; reports stated that objectives were met and the fire remained within the planned area.
August began with some successful Search and Rescue operations, and a windfall of unclaimed cash being disbursed by Utah’s Unclaimed Property Division back to Utah citizens. Kane County joined the local Chamber of Commerce. The local theater group put on a production of Hello! My Baby. Red Cross held multiple blood drives, urging people to donate platelets in response to a nationwide shortage. The local swim team ended a championship season, and the community installed Little Library Boxes to encourage local book exchange.
Arizona saw major discussion over School Choice, and how it would affect public education, with Coconino County’s Superintendent of Schools releasing multiple statements on the status of the bill. Meanwhile, Kane County heated up for the election season, with multiple write-in campaigns. The Kane County Fair started up, and the football season began with a fiery match against Beaver. A plane crashed in Lake Powell, prompting one of many August Search and Rescue operations. The political season was well underway, with multiple visits from state legislators like Chris Stewart.
Climbing routes reopened in Zion in early September, after a successful nesting season for local endangered birds of prey. The Grand Canyon had a bat confirmed with a case of rabies, and the management hurried to distribute information on rabies treatment and prevention. The school year began in earnest, with some very emotional highs and lows - the community rallied around Tyree Baird, a beloved sixth grade teacher, after a tragedy.
Clerk Auditor Karla Johnson dropped out of the election in September, securing the position for write-in candidate Chameill Lamb. Significant progress was made on Kanab Creek Drive, in preparation for it becoming a major transit route to the new elementary school. Fall sports got into the major swing of things, with the Kanab Cowboys defeating last year’s state champions, Duschesne. The DWR cracked down on boat inspections to combat infestations of quagga mussels - hundreds of previously uninformed individuals were introduced to the word “quagga.”
Midway through September, Page Unified School District hosted a cultural Storytelling Festival, celebrating storytelling and highlighting local indigenous storytelling traditions. Kane County Hospital changed nursing leadership. Valley High’s volleyball program held a benefit to pay for the hospital bills for a local infant. The community came together to perform service projects in remembrance of 9/11. The Kane County Water District took over projects in the area, and Deseret Power broke ground on a 15-megawatt solar plant. The Grand to Grand run opened for the first time in three years. The DWR successfully relocated bison off the Grand Canyon area to help restore endangered herd areas, and sought out adoptive homes for desert tortoises. The Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument honored the late Doug McFadden, who had been their lead archaeologist for years.