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And a look back at 2021

by Dixie Brunner

The John and Dusty Reese family helped distribute milk during the Farmers Feeding Utah event in Kanab on Friday, March 26.


Out with the old...

- 2021 heralded more than a new year to Kanab, it brought in new owners of the Southern Utah News!

After 28 years of serving the southern Utah/northern Arizona area, Dennis and Dixie Brunner are handing over the reins to the very competent Neal and Megan Brown of Kanab.

“We wish the Brown family the very best in their new chapter and know that the paper will be in excellent hands,” said the Brunners.

- Governor Spencer Cox was sworn in as Utah’s 18th Governor and Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson as the ninth Lt. Governor of Utah in an open-air ceremony at the Tuacahn Center for the Arts.

- President Trump supporters gathered in front of the U.S. Capitol to protest the decision by Congress affirming Joe Biden as the winner of the presidential election.

On January 6, 2021, Congress began the electoral process to count votes that would later certify Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States of America.

The counting was halted as journalists on the ground reported that the U.S. Capitol building was in lockdown as a result of protestors breaching Capitol security. Members of Senate and House were forced to evacuate or shelter in place, wearing protective hoods in the case of tear gas being released, as criminals ransacked offices and destroyed capitol property.

Senators returned to the session at 8 p.m. that evening to resume the electoral vote count and thus confirmed Joe Biden as the next President of the United States.

- Permits to the “Wave” expanded to 64/day.

The Bureau of Land Management announced it has approved a proposal to expand visitor access to the world famous geologic feature known as the “Wave”, located in the Paria Canyon Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness on the Arizona Strip. Under the new decision, the number of hiking permits issued for the “Wave” will increase from 20, to 64 people and or 16 groups per day.

- Kane County Hospital’s first baby in 2021 is Bryson Benson. He weighed 8 lbs. 5 oz. and was 21.2 inches at birth. Proud parents are Shaynelle John and Kaden Benson.

- “Unity is the path forward,” headlined the January 26, 2021 edition of the SUN.

- Joe Biden was sworn in as the President of the United States.

Our Nation’s Capitol dawned bright and chilly with a brisk wind on the morning of January 20, 2021, as the presidential inauguration commenced. The inauguration day of our new president proved to be a day of historical firsts.

Taking her place in history, Kamala Harris was sworn in as the first female vice president of the United States, followed by the swearing in of Joe Biden as the 46th President, the oldest president in our nation’s history to take office at the age of 78.

- A look at the proposed “destination” golf course.

The Kane County Water Conservancy District is seeking $200,000 a year for 30 years from Kane County Transient Room Tax (TRT) funds to help cover the yearly interest payments for a six million dollar loan they expect to receive from the Permanent Community Impact Fund Board.


- Locals assist in police chase through Kanab.

Ana Mirian Najarro was booked into the Kane County Jail after leading authorities on a high speed chase with a child in her car through Kanab and Fredonia.

- Zion National Park receives $33 million federal transit grant for electric shuttle buses. The new fleet will include 26 battery-electric buses and 27 charging stations to replace the current propane powered transit fleet.

- Kanab High School Larriettes place second at State Drill Team competition.

- Kane County Water Conservancy District hires consultant for financial analysis of Jackson Flat Golf Course. Golf Course Architect David McLay Kidd presented an updated design for the Jackson Flat Golf Course to the Kane County Water Conservancy District.

- Kane County School District receives $360,000 from SITLA. According to District Superintendent Ben Dalton, it will be distributed by student population as follows; Big Water School $18,777; Kanab High School $87,719; Kanab Middle School $43,719; Kanab Elementary School $128,355; Lake Powell School $4,204; Valley High School $39,235; Valley Elementary School $38,675.


- After knocking off the #1 ranked Layton Christian team in the semi-finals, the Kanab Lady Cowboys played for the 2A state basketball title, but fell just short, losing to North Summit.

Kane County ends their mask mandate; state says the rule remains in place. The Kane County

- Commission officially lifted the mask mandate for Kane County on March 18.

- Groundbreaking for new Kanab Elementary School. On March 22, a groundbreaking ceremony was held. We appreciate the Kane County School Board for their vision and foresight in making this project possible.

- Valley Ladies win second place trophy at 1A State Basketball Tournament.

- Best Friends Animal Society named to Fast Company’s annual list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2021.

- Hiker dies from fall at Angels Landing in Zion National Park. Jason Hartwell, 43, Draper, Utah, passed from injuries sustained in the fall.

- Dixie College in St. George name change bill advances through the legislative process.


- Farmers Feeding Utah.

When Covid hit the country last year, many farmers and ranchers were left without an outlet for their products due to processing shortages and market loss. Fresh food went bad and milk was dumped because there was no way to get the farmer’s products to the consumers. Members of the

- Utah Farm Bureau Federation created a solution to help Utahns.

- Outsiders Photography is pleased to announce their annual photography conference in Kanab the weekend of April 16-18, 2021.

- William Douglass of Kanab High School (Visual Arts), and Savannah Wood (Family and Consumer Science) of Valley High School, earned runner-up honors in their respective categories in the

- Southwest Utah Sterling Scholar competition.

- The Kane County Search and Rescue, Bureau of Land Management, and Classic Air Medical responded to Spooky Gulch in Kane County, near Hole-in-the-Rock Road. A 52 year-old male was hiking with his family. The man was physically incapable and fatigued of going on due to the obstacles of the canyon. He was also unable to go back the way he came in. KCSAR arrived and set up a technical platform above the man on the edge of the canyon and conducted a high angle rescue. The man was lifted out of the canyon, and reunited with his family with no injuries. The man had been in Spooky Gulch for a total of approximately nine hours.

- U.S. Secretary of Interior visits Kane County.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland wrapped several days of field visits and meetings with elected officials, Tribal leaders and stakeholders invested in the stewardship of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments.

- Kane County School District first to alter school mask exemptions. The School Board modified its practice for granting exemptions for students wearing masks.

- Matthew Wayne Young, 49, Church Wells, was found dead on his property on April 13. The case is currently under investigation.

Suspect arrested in the murder of Church Wells man. Kane County Sheriff’s Office detectives, in conjunction with the U.S. Marshal’s Service in Flagstaff, Ariz., arrested Jason Thomas Bates, 38, regarding the homicide of Matthew Wayne Young.

- Head-on crash on US-89 sends six to hospital.

Six people were transported to the hospital on Tuesday, following a head-on collision on U.S. Route 89 in Kane County that left two vehicles fully engulfed in fire.

Utah Highway Patrol troopers and emergency personnel were dispatched to a two-vehicle crash on U.S. Route 89 approximately 20 miles north of Mount Carmel Junction in Kane County shortly after 2:30 p.m. All six occupants, four adults and two juveniles, were able to exit the vehicles on their own before the cars caught fire.

- Kanab’s “Brutus” helps capture Idaho fugitive. Jeremiah Johnson, 33, was captured on security footage leaving the Idaho Falls Community Reentry Center on January 6, 2021. He had been on the run since then, until Mohave County Sheriff’s Office K9 unit trapped him in a chicken coop in the Cane Beds area. Kanab resident and Mohave County Sheriff’s Officer Jeremy Felish is the handler.


- K-town’s Devon Chatterley is the new History Channel Forged in Fire champion after his blade withstood the strength test against a block of ice. Chatterly is the grandson of Thois and Rosemary Chatterley, and son of Bill and Keiren Chatterley.

- A Fredonia man was arrested after allegedly hitting two teenage girls with his car as they were using a crosswalk on State Street in Hurricane. Investigators eventually identified the driver as Preston J. Camp, of Fredonia, Ariz. Camp was arrested with the warrant by the Marshal’s Office and transported to the Kane County Jail.

- A fire that ripped through a cabin in Duck Creek Village on May 2, caused an estimated two million dollars in damages. No one was injured in the fire.

- Governor Cox ends school mask mandate. “Our number one goal all along has been the desire and the need to keep kids in school,” Cox said. “We have done that as well, if not better than any other state.”

- Kanab City Mayor Robert Houston is not seeking re-election. In a letter to the paper, Houston wrote, “Kanab is growing and we are facing the pains and challenges of growing. Citizens need to get involved with their city leadership and let them know your thoughts and ideas. Thanks for the opportunity to serve Kanab.”

- Zion National Park is investigating an unattended death. The dispatch received a call that a vehicle drove off a steep embankment along Kolob Canyons Scenic Drive and rolled 70 feet below the road. A witness saw the lone driver exit the vehicle and head further into the park, where the individual was found dead by search and rescue.

- Kanab High School Cowboys win first boys track state title since 1984. The Kanab Cowboys ended the weekend on top of the podium! A feat that has not happened for KHS track since they won back-to-back titles in 1983 and 1984.


- DSU committee votes to remove Dixie name.

The Dixie State University Name Recommendation Committee voted 13-3 to research names to replace Dixie State University. The committee extensively discussed the pros and cons of retaining Dixie in the name. Proponents on the committee of keeping Dixie expressed support for it honoring the community and university’s heritage and serving as a location identifier within Utah. Others raised concerns about its location confusion and meaning outside of Utah. The committee voted 13-3 to not move forward with the Dixie theme.

- Fire rages near Mammoth Creek Village.

Wildland fire crews continue work on the fire edge to protect the Wildland Urban Interface of Mammoth Creek Village. Fire resources were able to protect structures successfully in the Mammoth Creek Village using crews, engines and dozers, with support from aviation assets including air tankers and helicopters.

- Body recovered in Mystery Canyon.

Zion National Park rangers recovered the body of a 26-year-old female in Mystery Canyon, on Sunday, June 6. Having notified next of kin, the victim is identified as Cassidy Brown of Springdale, Utah. According to the preliminary investigation, the female was canyoneering in Mystery Canyon, and sustained injuries consistent with a high elevation fall.

- Local teen saves life at Jackson Flat Reservoir.

Nick Shrope, an upcoming senior at Kanab High School, experienced something most people will never have to face. As he was enjoying the Memorial Day weekend at Jackson Flat Reservoir, Shrope noticed a man , Seth Giddings, who was stumbling around and appeared to be in pain. Shrope could clearly sense something was not right and then Giddings slumped over as if passing out. Shrope knew he had to administer CPR immediately and began administering chest compressions and mouth to mouth on the spot, while telling someone to call 911. Shrope was later honored at a Kane County Commission meeting for saving Gidding’s life.



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