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Preview: David Fletcher: Utah Headlines

David Fletcher: Utah Headlines

Utah Government FrontPage News

Last Build Date: Tue, 17 May 2005 13:44:59 GMT

Copyright: Copyright 2005 David Fletcher

Twenty-one pound brown trout netted and released at Jordanelle Reservoir

Tue, 17 May 2005 13:44:39 GMT

JORDANELLE RESERVOIR — A 21-pound brown trout was among several large trout Division of Wildlife Resources aquatics biologists caught and released during a gill net survey at Jordanelle Reservoir in early May.

(image) (image)
Aquatics biologist Richard Hepworth holds a 21-pound brown trout netted at Jordanelle.

In addition to the 21-pound brown trout, many trout in the three- to five-pound range also showed up in the nets.

The DWR has stocked approximately 60,000 rainbow trout annually in Jordanelle Reservoir over the past few years. In addition to the successful rainbow and brown trout fishery that has developed at the reservoir, anglers also are being drawn to it for the reservoir's healthy smallmouth bass population.

"I love this reservoir because of its diversity," one angler reported to the DWR recently. "If I get tired of fishing for trout, I often change tactics and go after the smallies. Some of these bass are going over five pounds!

"I really like fishing here in the spring and fall because the recreational boating traffic is very light and I have much of the reservoir to myself."

June is typically a good month to fish for smallmouth bass at the reservoir as the water temperature usually approaches 60° to 65° F, which is great for smallmouth bass fishing.

Every spring and fall, DWR biologists conduct surveys using gill nets at the reservoir, which is five miles north of Heber City. These nets consist of monofilament and have various mesh pattern sizes that ensnare fish of all sizes. Eight gill nets are set at eight different locations throughout the lake during May and October. After letting the nets set for a few hours, biologists retrieve them and look for trends in the fish that are caught. The trends biologists are looking for include the number of fish sampled, the types of fish caught, the condition and health of the fish, their average size and what the fish have been eating.

Because of the healthy condition of the fish in the reservoir and the care the DWR takes in managing the fishery, aquatics biologists anticipate good fishing success this year and many more stories of anglers taking large fish from Jordanelle.

Taxpayers Spared $3 million claim from I-15 Lawsuit

Tue, 17 May 2005 13:42:18 GMT

 It's almost the end of the road for I-15 reconstruction condemnation cases and taxpayers just got a $3 million reprieve. The latest dispute involved Price Development and claims that the highway project would decrease the value of its industrial park. However, the arbitrator found no damages and said no to Price Development's $3 million request.

The dispute was over the condemnation of a parking lot strip and the erection of an 80 foot high "fly-over"-a highway section that connects west bound I-80 traffic with I-15. Price Development said it would lower rents and increase vacancies at its Time Square industrial park at 2300 South 300 West.

"In civil cases, the goal of the Attorney General's Office is to be fair and protect taxpayer's money. This decision achieves both ends," says Attorney General Mark Shurtleff.

Price also alleged damages associated with a loss of view and visibility; damages due to an increase in noise, smoke, dust and fumes; along with damages from potential flooding problems associated with the adjacent retention pond.

Once again, the arbitrator found no damages. His opinion states there was no evidence of overall rents being adversely impacted, nor had vacancies increased from the time period prior to the reconstruction. Nor were there any damages associated with increased traffic along either I-80 or I-15.

Additional evidence showed that similarly situated properties along I-15 had also not declined in value due to the reconstruction. The arbitrator did agree that the state should pay $231,618 for property that was condemned for the project and $180,859 to pay for the replacement or relocation of an outdoor advertising sign.

"We proved that the Time Square project has not suffered, and is not likely to suffer, any damages as a result of the construction of the fly-over," says Assistant Attorney General Jerrold Jensen. Both Jensen and Assistant Attorney General Randy Hunter represented UDOT during the arbitration.

An independent arbitrator was chosen by both sides to settle the matter. In binding arbitration such as this case, neither party has any right of appeal. The state attorneys only have a few more cases to resolve involving the I-15 reconstruction project. So far they have handled more than 150 condemnation cases.

Agriculture Commissioner Blackham Pitches Trade During Water Talks With Governor From Argentina

Tue, 17 May 2005 13:39:56 GMT

Utah Commissioner of Agriculture and Food (UDAF), Leonard Blackham took the opportunity to pitch expanded agricultural trade with Argentina during talks about water and irrigation issues with one of the country’s provincial governors at the State Capitol.

Along with Governor Angel Eduardo Masa, Commissioner Blackham met with nearly a dozen agriculture and other Argentinian officials who traveled to Utah to investigate methods to improve water and irrigation practices.

“Our meeting was beneficial for both countries,” said Commissioner Blackham. “Our conversation about water resources opened the way for possible expanded trade relations between Argentina and Utah,” he added.

Commissioner Blackham, along with Deputy Commissioner Kyle Stephens and Marketing Director, Jed Christensen, outlined Utah’s highly successful partnership between the UDAF, Utah State University Extension Service, the Soil Conservation Districts, and the U.S.D.A. Natural Resource Conservation Service. The partnership helps Utah farmers and ranchers use water more efficiently, as well as put valuable conservation practices to use.

Commissioner Blackham also outlined the department’s ARDL (Agriculture Resource Development Loan) program that makes low-interest loans available to farmers to develop or improve irrigation systems.

Both leaders commented on the possibility of expanding export efforts during future meetings.

The meeting was facilitated by the Utah Department of Community and Economic Development.

Angel Masa is governor of the Northern province of La Rioja in Argentina which mainly exports olives and grapes. Argentina’s worldwide exports include beef, olives, grapes, soybeans, corn and tobacco. Utah’s worldwide exports include livestock, alfalfa hay, dairy products and other items.

UDOH and Governor Huntsman Honor Utah’s Lifesaving Emergency Medical Professionals

Tue, 17 May 2005 13:39:04 GMT

(Salt Lake City, UT) – "Don’t worry about me, save my brother," John Dehaan called out to approaching rescuers as he struggled to keep his brother’s head above the icy cold waters of Utah Lake. John and his brother, Ted, were duck hunting when their small boat capsized on a cold afternoon in late November 2004.

When the Utah County Search and Rescue Team brought the brothers ashore, Ted wasn’t breathing and his heart wasn’t beating. The rescue team immediately began CPR, which they did for over 30 minutes until AIRMED Air Ambulance arrived at the scene. The AIRMED team continued CPR on Ted in flight despite the difficulty and risk of doing so in the air, but knowing it was Ted’s only chance for survival. They arrived at the University Medical Center Emergency Department with Ted showing no signs of life and a core temperature of 75.2 degrees Fahrenheit. He was immediately taken to the operating room, placed on cardiac bypass for warming, and after almost four hours of CPR, a pulse was finally detected. After having one of the lowest core body temperatures on record, Ted survived without any brain damage due to the aggressive and coordinated emergency care.

No one was willing to give up. Because of the selfless actions of Ted’s brother and the lifesaving medical efforts, Ted is alive and now home with his wife and children.

This is just one example of the lifesaving efforts that emergency medical services (EMS) professionals provide to those in need. In 2004, approximately 140,000 Utahns (7%) of the population of Utah has been touched by EMS care and expertise.

Today, Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr. recognized emergency medical professionals during the 2005 EMS Awards ceremony. Awards were presented in 13 categories to individuals and response teams who distinguished themselves through superior efforts in 2004.

"Whether career or volunteer, these men and women represent the many EMS professionals throughout the state that often risk their own safety to help others in need of emergency medical lifesaving care," said Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr. "They will sacrifice to respond and provide rapid, reliable care to those most in need 24 hours a day, 7 days a week."

"EMS providers are now expected to become knowledgeable not only in the care of common trauma and medical illness, but must also be prepared to deal with hazardous materials, bioterrorism incidents, mass casualty incidents and weapons of mass destruction," said Dr. David N. Sundwall, Executive Director, UDOH. "It is an enormous responsibility that professional and volunteer members of the EMS system carry to protect and care for us at a moments notice."

The annual EMS Awards ceremony begins National EMS Week, May 15-21, 2005. The 2005 National EMS Week’s theme is -- EMS: Ready, Responsive, Reliable.

"The national theme reflects the commitment and dedication of EMS professionals," said Jan Buttrey, Director, Bureau of Emergency Medical Services, UDOH. "EMS professionals are always ready because they are available anywhere and any time. They are reliable in responding to all kinds of medical emergencies."

Governor Huntsman oversees statewide flood assessments

Tue, 03 May 2005 14:02:14 GMT

The Governor and members of his staff traveled to various areas of the state yesterday that have been affected or are anticipated to be impacted by floods and high spring runoff.

"Unfortunately, our fears about the flood season appear to be taking shape," said Utah Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr. "I felt it was important to send personnel throughout the state to get an assessment of as many of the flood-troubled areas as possible. That will help with our responses in the coming weeks. We will continue to monitor all areas as closely as possible."

Agriculture Commissioner Stresses Wise Food Choices

Tue, 03 May 2005 13:59:40 GMT

Utah Department of Agriculture and Food Commissioner, Leonard Blackham, stresses the importance that consumer make wise choices when it comes to the foods they eat. The UDAF announces its support of the USDA's MyPyramid campaign. ( Commissioner Blackham encourages teachers, parents and children to examine their eating habits and make healthy food choices.

According to the USDA, nearly one-third of America's children are overweight or at risk of becoming overweight.

"I am concerned with the growing number of children who are overweight, which is putting them at risk of contracting life-shortening diseases such as diabetes and heart disease," said Commissioner Blackham. "If we don't change this trend, our children may be the first generation whose life span will actually be shorter than their parents," he added.

MyPyramid replaces the Food Guide Pyramid introduced in 1992 and is part of an overall food guidance system that emphasizes the need for a more individualized approach to improving diet and lifestyle.
MyPyramid recommends children and adults eat foods from each food group and focuses on making smart food choices. Physical activity is an important new element of the symbol.

Commissioner Blackham points to a balanced, three-legged approach to agricultural production that ultimately includes wise consumer choices.

"First there is the proper land stewardship by farmers and ranchers. Second, processors offer a safe and nutritious product. And third, the public must make wise choices about what kinds of foods and how much they consume," said Commissioner Blackham.

The USDA web site offers an interactive chart that suggests what kinds of foods we should be eating based on our age, gender and level of physical activity.

Whirling disease discovered in Springville State Fish Hatchery

Tue, 03 May 2005 13:57:34 GMT

SALT LAKE CITY (April 28, 2005) — Myxobolus cerebralis, the parasite that causes whirling disease, has been discovered in rainbow trout at the Springville State Fish Hatchery, fish pathologists with the Division of Wildlife Resources announced today.

The discovery was made during a routine, annual inspection of the hatchery in April. The Springville hatchery is in the town of Springville in north-central Utah. The hatchery has been considered at risk since the discovery of whirling disease in the Provo River and Hobble Creek, which are adjacent to the hatchery.

In response to the finding, all stocking of fish from the hatchery has ceased while an emergency response team evaluates the extent of the infection and explores options for disposition of the fish with the Utah Fish Health Policy Board.

Hatcheries producing additional fish

Recently remodeled state hatcheries at Kamas and Fountain Green have greatly expanded their fish production, which will lessen the impact of closing the Springville hatchery. A recent pilot study also has shown more economic methods for disinfecting hatchery water supplies. It's hoped these affordable methods will allow the DWR to reopen the Springville hatchery sooner than it could in the past.

"The remodeled hatcheries at Kamas and Fountain Green are providing more fish than they ever have, and the Midway and Mammoth Creek hatcheries have recently reopened and are producing fish again," said Jim Karpowitz, director of the Division of Wildlife Resources.

"We also have the best water conditions we've had in Utah in years, so there are plenty of reasons for Utah anglers to be excited about fishing this year," he said. "It should be a great year to gather your family together and go fishing."

Enjoy migratory bird and wetlands activities May 14

Tue, 03 May 2005 13:56:39 GMT

Spring has arrived and so have thousands of birds that visit Utah's wetlands during their annual spring migration.

On May 14, the Division of Wildlife Resources, Utah Partners in Flight and several other organizations will celebrate the beauty of birds and the wonder of wetlands during the Twelfth Annual International Migratory Bird Day. Naturalist-led bird and wetland walks, information and activities for the entire family will be offered at events across Utah. Activities will be held at the following locations:

  • Great Salt Lake Bird Festival, Davis County Fairpark (May 12–17)
  • Tracy Aviary, Salt Lake City (May 14)
  • Utah's Hogle Zoo, Salt Lake City (May 14)
  • Mill Race Park, Taylorsville (May 14)
  • Ouray National Wildlife Refuge, Randlett (May 14)

Details about the events are available on this Web site; by calling Bob Walters, DWR Watchable Wildlife coordinator, at (801) 538-4771; or by visiting the Web sites for the organizations hosting the events. Web site addresses are as follows:

Record Water Year may increase Statewide Mosquito Habitat

Tue, 03 May 2005 13:52:19 GMT

(Salt Lake City, UT) – Utah’s water drought woes may be over this year but the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) is concerned that the increase in moisture could create additional habitat for mosquitoes. Combined with the right biological and climate factors, the extra moisture could lead to an increased risk for West Nile virus (WNV) infection. The peak time for water runoff is in May and June and Utah’s water managers expect high runoff levels. During these months, mosquitoes begin pestering humans and wildlife. With the potential for more standing water for breeding, Utah could have more mosquitoes to contend with this summer. The long-term mosquito forecast cannot be predicted as that will be based on ongoing rain and the temperatures. Currently, the state is at a "low" risk level for WNV, which means that the mosquito season is beginning and there has been no viral detection in 2005. The risk level will be adjusted throughout the season and may vary throughout the state. Preparations for bird, mosquito and sentinel chicken testing will be widespread throughout the state by May 23, 2005. Local mosquito abatement districts are already trapping mosquitoes in southern Utah as the temperatures are warmer there than in other areas of the state. The UDOH and the local health departments will notify the public through the media when detection of WNV occurs. This information will also be posted on the UDOH website each Wednesday (through October) by 1 p.m. at Utahns can take measures now and throughout the summer to help prevent the spread of WNV by finding and getting rid of standing water. Suggestions for reducing mosquitoes include turning over or removing containers in yards where water collects, cleaning out birdbaths and wading pools at least once a week, cleaning clogged rain gutters and downspouts, and repairing door and window screens if torn. While the 2004 WNV season was relatively mild, it’s difficult to predict mosquito and virus activity. In 2004, WNV was detected along the densely populated Wasatch Front for the first time. (See attached 2004 WNV Season Summary.) In neighboring states with similar climate and geography, the second year of WNV activity has often been more severe, signaling a potential increase in WNV in parts of the state this season. The UDOH and Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF), along with local health departments, local mosquito abatement districts, and the Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) are working together to monitor WNV in Utah. WNV activity will be actively monitored throughout 2005 as follows: State and local health departments will track possible human infections throughout Utah. The UDOH Utah Public Health Laboratory will test mosquito, bird and human samples. The UDAF will test for the virus in horses and chickens. The Utah Mosquito Abatement Association has placed sentinel chickens throughout the state, which help to monitor for WNV. Mosquito abatement will monitor mosquito numbers and the mosquitoes will be trapped and tested for viral detection. Some districts are now actively trapping mosquitoes. The DWR will respond to public reports of dead birds. In addition to reducing mosquitoes around the house, public health officials urge Utahns to Fight the Bite by using repellents with DEET and wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts when outdoor in the evening and early morning. (See attached WNV Prevention Facts.) Efforts taken in 2004 to inform the public about West Nile virus will continue this year. Activities include the Fight the Bite media campaign, retailer promotions for purchase of DEET products, billboards, posters, fliers, presentations, and media notification. For more information, call your local health department or the UDOH Health Resource Line at 1-888-222-2542 or visit www.heal[...]

Utah Department of Agriculture Begins Electronic Tracking of Livestock

Tue, 05 Apr 2005 14:33:50 GMT

(image) The first of some 5,000 electronic tracking chips are being distributed to Utah livestock owners as part of the National Animal Identification System (NAIS). Utah’s domestic elk ranchers will be among the first livestock owners to receive and attach the devices to their animals. The chips will carry an electronic number that will help Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) Brand Inspectors track where and when the animal was born, where it has lived, as well as its health record.

During the next several weeks hundreds of the chips will be attached to elk located in various locations in Utah. Eventually many head of cattle, sheep, goat, as well as domestic elk, llama, and alpaca are to carry an electronic chip. The UDAF is also encouraging livestock owners to join a national registry of their premises.

The goal of the NAIS is to identify all animals and premises that have had direct contact with a foreign animal disease or domestic disease of concern within 48 hours after discovery.

The increasing number of animal disease outbreaks that have occurred around the world, and the recent discovery of Canadian cows that tested positive for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or “Mad Cow” have greatly intensified public interest in developing a national animal identification program for the purpose of protecting animal and human health.

The UDAF will be assisting in the distribution of electronic chips throughout the state during the next few years.

Contact the UDAF Division of Animal industry at 801-538-7161 for information about obtaining electronic chips or joining the premises registration program.

More information on the program can also be found at:

Flags to be Lowered to Half Staff for Pope John Paul II

Tue, 05 Apr 2005 14:25:51 GMT

Consistent with the direction of the President of the United States, Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr. hereby authorizes the flag of the United States and the flag of the State of Utah to be lowered to half staff as a mark of respect for His Holiness Pope John Paul II. The flags shall be lowered immediately on all state facilities and remain at half staff until sunset on the day of his interment. See below for the text of the Proclamation by the President of the United States of America:

President Bush Orders Flags Flown at Half Staff in Honor of Pope John Paul II
A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America

As a mark of respect for His Holiness Pope John Paul II, I hereby order, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America, that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half staff at the White House and on all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset on the day of his interment. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half staff for the same period at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this second day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand five, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty ninth.


UDOT to Suspend Use of Howitzer Cannon in Provo Canyon

Fri, 01 Apr 2005 18:06:10 GMT

Salt Lake City - Following an investigation into last month’s incident in which an avalanche control shell missed its target, the Utah Department of Transportation today announced it will suspend use of its Howitzer Cannon in Provo Canyon for the remainder of the season.

UDOT’s investigation found there was a breakdown in the procedure that is followed prior to firing avalanche control shots from the 105mm cannon. Further, the Department determined human error was to blame for the breakdown.

“I’m confident that had our procedure been followed properly, this incident would not have occurred,” said UDOT Deputy Director Carlos Braceras.

UDOT avalanche control workers follow a step-by-step procedure prior to firing each shot. One of the steps calls for the assistant gunner to observe the loader “prepare the round by removing the correct number of (propellant) bags” from the shell. In this case, the loader did not remove the correct number of propellant bags from the shell. Additionally, the assistant gunner was not observing the loader.

The Department will take disciplinary action against the two employees involved, but at this time that action has not been determined.

“We will continue to evaluate our avalanche control procedures to ensure safeguards are implemented that will prevent this type of incident from happening again,” Braceras said.

UDOT officials are confident those safeguards will be implemented in time to resume use of the Howitzer Cannon for avalanche control work next season.

“Fortunately, we’re at a point in the year where the need to conduct control work in Provo Canyon is beginning to diminish,” Braceras said.

Spring weather typically allows more opportunities for control work to be conducted using a helicopter to drop hand-charges into the avalanche paths. If further control work is required in Provo Canyon this would be the method UDOT will use.

Chronic wasting disease doesn't appear to be spreading in Utah

Fri, 01 Apr 2005 18:03:36 GMT

Good news came from chronic wasting disease sampling conducted by the Division of Wildlife Resources this past fall — the disease that's fatal to deer and elk does not appear to be spreading in Utah.

The DWR tested 3,067 samples from deer and elk taken during last fall's hunting seasons. A total of seven mule deer tested positive for the disease. All of these deer came from the La Sal Mountains in southeastern Utah, which is one of three areas where chronic wasting disease (CWD) has been found in Utah.

The seven hunters who took the deer were contacted by the DWR and were made aware of the findings.

Final 2004 chronic wasting disease findings

"We met our CWD sample goals on most of our units, but fell short in a few of them," says Leslie McFarlane, wildlife disease specialist for the DWR.

"We also started testing elk this year," she said. "We collected 405 samples from elk taken in the La Sal Mountains and near Vernal, and none of the samples tested positive for CWD. We'll continue testing both deer and elk in those areas this year."

In addition to the La Sal Mountains, CWD has been found in deer in the Vernal area in the past. A total of 438 deer and 226 elk samples were collected from that area this fall. None of the animals tested positive for CWD.

The Fountain Green area in central Utah is the third area where a CWD-positive deer has been found in the past. The DWR tested 607 deer samples from the area last year and did not find CWD in any of the samples.

"It doesn't appear that the disease is spreading to new areas in Utah, and it isn't spreading much even in the areas where we've found it in the past," McFarlane said. "We're happy with what we found in 2004, but there's still more work to do."

McFarlane says the DWR started sampling deer in southwestern and western Utah in 2004. Those are the only areas in the state where CWD sampling had not been done in the past.

"We need at least one more year of data from southwestern and western Utah to determine whether we have CWD in those areas," she said. "We also need to continue sampling elk in areas where we've found CWD before we can draw conclusions about whether elk populations in Utah have CWD. CWD isn't as prevalent in elk as it is in deer, so we're hopeful that we'll find the state's elk herds are unaffected by the disease."

CWD Sampling in 2005

McFarlane says the DWR will continue sampling for CWD across Utah in 2005. In addition, the DWR has started a special study on the La Sal Mountains to learn more about the behavior and migration patterns of deer in the area.

"It's important for people to remember that there is currently no evidence that CWD can be naturally transmitted to humans or livestock," McFarlane said. "It also does not appear to cause catastrophic die offs in deer or elk populations."

People can learn more about CWD by logging onto the DWR's Web site at

Another excellent source of information is a national Web site ran by the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance ( This site includes links to CWD information on other Web sites, including Wisconsin's, which contains some excellent information about CWD.

Salt Lake City Welcomes 40-foot Colon

Fri, 01 Apr 2005 18:02:31 GMT

(Salt Lake City, UT) –The Utah Cancer Action Network and Utah Department of Healt h, in conjunction wit h Envirocare and The Children ’s Museum of Utah, will host an educational exhibit featuring the Colossal Colon ® from April 1 ­8 at the future home of the Children ’s Museum at The Gateway.

The Colossal Colon ® is a 40 ­foot long, 4 ­foot tall, crawl ­through replica of the human colon designed to educate the public about colorectal cancer. It includes examples of healt hy colon tissue, several non ­cancerous diseases of the colon, polyps, and various stages of colon cancer.

The Colossal Colon ® exhibit is free and open to the public beginning at noon on Friday, April 1. Hours of operation will be Monday through Saturday from noon unt il 8 p.m. and Sunday from noon until 5 p.m.

Physicians and other health professionals will be available to answer quest ions. Educational information about colon cancer will be available at all times. "The Colossal Colon is a great way for people in the communit y of all ages to get information on colon cancer and why it is important to get screened," said Jan Heins, UCAN spokesperson at the Utah Department of Health. "We hope that everyone will take advantage of this opportunit y to tour the Colossal Colon."

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Almost 150,000 people will be diagnosed with colon cancer this year, and more than 55,000 of them will die. Fortunately, colon cancer is also one of the most preventable cancers – more than 90 percent of all cases could be prevented through proper screening methods.

The Colossal Colon ® ’s visit to Salt Lake Cit y is presented by the Utah Cancer Action Network, Utah Department of Health, Envirocare and The Children ’s Museum of Utah. For more information, call 1 ­888 ­424 ­2100 or visit

Reward offered for the killing of a Golden Eagle

Fri, 01 Apr 2005 17:59:33 GMT

PRICE, UTAH — The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) is offering a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the shooting and killing of a golden eagle in the Pinnacle Peak area just west of Price. The shooting occurred in mid-March.

"There is no excuse for this type of senseless killing," asserted UDWR Sergeant Carl Gramlich. "The wanton destruction of this majestic bird tarnishes the image of all gun owners and sportsmen. It makes us all look bad."

Golden eagles are common year-round residents in Castle Country. By mid-March, many pairs of eagles are incubating eggs. The shooting of an adult usually results in nest failure and the loss of chicks which may have been raised by the pair of eagles.

Anyone with information on this or any poaching incident is encouraged to call the DWR office in Price at (435) 636-0277. The caller's identity will be held in strict confidence or may remain anonymous. We ask that the caller provide enough detail to help substantiate the validity of the information.

Utah's Unemployment Situation

Wed, 16 Mar 2005 15:00:16 GMT

The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for February registered 4.8 percent, down 0.6 percentage points from the unemployment rate of 5.4 percent registered a year ago in February 2004. Approximately 59,000 Utahns were unemployed in February 2005 as compared to 64,300 in February 2004. January’s unemployment rate has been revised upward to 4.9 percent. Utah’s other primary indicator of current labor market conditions, the year-over change in the number of nonfarm wage and salaried jobs, is at its best level since 1997, registering 3.7 percent growth. January’s growth rate has been revised upward to also measure 3.7 percent. Tani Pack Downing, Executive Director for the Utah Department of Workforce Services commented, “What a difference a year makes. A year ago, Utah was still in the early stages of its rebound from an unprecedented recessionary period. We were adding new jobs, but the economic environment was still somewhat tepid. Now, however, Utah stands second in the nation in employment growth at 3.7 percent, trailing only Nevada.” Mark Knold, Senior Economist for the Department of Workforce Services noted, “It’s becoming increasingly clear that the demographic trends that continued unabated during Utah’s recessionary period of the early 2000s are now the responsible agent for Utah’s current strong economic performance. Utah’s population growth continued during that economic slow period, as did in-migration. Ultimately the civilian labor force grew beyond the job market’s ability to absorb this growth. Potential was greater than reality. Potential is now trying to catch up with reality. Population demands goods and services, and eventually the market will have to adjust and accommodate this population growth. Utah’s current movement into one of the best employment growth rates in the country is a direct result of the correction of this demographics-to-employment-growth imbalance. The economy is playing catch up to the population growth. An interesting aspect of this growth is where it’s happening ¾ largely outside of Salt Lake County. Washington County is currently seeing an almost unreasonable economic boom. Cedar City is also growing rapidly. Other areas of growth to note include Summit County, Wasatch, Davis, Utah, even Uintah and Duchesne counties out in the Uintah Basin. The only county in the entire state with a year-over employment decline is Daggett County in eastern Utah. The current economic environment is starting to look a lot like the prosperous years of the 1990s. Having painted this rosy picture though, one still needs to understand that the entire job market doesn’t just turn around overnight. The overall theme of the economy is that it is improving, but there are still stories available about people not finding work, or at least what they feel they are qualified for. The market doesn’t improve overnight for everyone. Yes, Utah’s market is looking much better, but it will still take more time for the overall benefits to trickle down to a larger and larger segment of the population.” Since February 2004, the United States economy has added 2.4 million new jobs, a growth rate of 1.8 percent. The Utah economy has added approximately 40,100 new jobs, a growth rate of 3.7 percent. The Utah additions represent about 1.4 percent of all the new jobs added in the United States over the past year. One of the better performing industrial sectors in Utah is construction, which added around 6,600 new jobs across the past year. Knold commented about this industry, “Construction has been a pleasant surprise and has re[...]

Comment Period Extended for Legacy Parkway

Wed, 09 Mar 2005 14:23:41 GMT

Public Input Will Now Be Accepted Through March 21

SALT LAKE CITY- Citizens who have opinions about whether or not the Legacy Parkway & Preserve should be built in south Davis County now have a few more weeks to make their feelings known.

Acting upon a request from the Utah Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have extended the public comment period for the Legacy Parkway & Preserve Supplemental EIS (SEIS). The comment period will now extend to Monday, March 21.

"There are so many people who have strong feelings about this project,” said John Thomas, director of the Legacy Parkway & Preserve for UDOT. “We feel that it is appropriate to extend the comment period in order to give everyone the maximum opportunity to review the draft SEIS and provide meaningful comments."

Thomas noted that this is actually the second extension of the public comment period that has been granted. The SEIS was originally presented for review and public comment on Dec. 3, with the public comment period intended to extend to Feb. 4. On Jan. 7 a public hearing and open house was held and the public comment period was extended to March 4. This new extension brings the total number of days the Legacy Parkway & Preserve SEIS will stand for public comment to 108 days.

"We are anxious to have public input on the work that has been done," said Thomas. "Comments from interested citizens are critical to helping us shape a project that will represent public needs and desires."

The SEIS can be viewed online at Hard copies of the SEIS are also available for review at various government buildings and universities. (Click here to view a complete list of locations.)

Public comments can be submitted by:
  • Telephone at (801) 951-1039
  • E-mail at
  • Mail to:

    2520 West 4700 South, Suite 9A
    Salt Lake City, Utah 84118
    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
    533 West 2600 South, Suite 150
    Bountiful, Utah 84010

Snow geese should turn sky white at annual festival

Thu, 17 Feb 2005 16:15:32 GMT

DELTA — The sights and sounds of thousands of pure white snow geese flying and feeding will be enjoyed at the Eighth Annual Snow Goose Festival.

Snow geese may be viewed at and near Gunnison Bend Reservoir, west of Delta. The festival runs Feb. 25, 26 and 27, and March 4 and 5. Admission is free.

"Spotting scopes will be set up so participants can get a close view of the geese, and Division of Wildlife Resources personnel will be available to answer any questions they have," said Bob Walters, Watchable Wildlife coordinator for the DWR.

Free wildlife-related workshops, and arts and crafts and photography exhibits, also will be offered on Feb. 25 and 26, and March 4 and 5.

Walters encourages visitors to view the geese with binoculars or spotting scopes. "People who get too close to the geese will probably scare them away, and that will spoil the viewing experience for everyone," he said.

When viewing from roadways, visitors are strongly encouraged to use caution and to watch for vehicles. Walters also advises participants to prepare for cold or wet weather by wearing the proper clothes.

Areas where people may see geese vary according to the time of day. "The geese usually feed in fields that surround the reservoir early in the morning and then fly back to the reservoir before 10:30 a.m.," Walters said. "They normally leave the reservoir between 4 and 6 p.m. and fly out to the fields again to feed."

Walters says DWR personnel will watch which fields the geese fly to and will direct visitors, who arrive after the geese have left the reservoir, to the proper fields.

For more information about the 2005 Snow Goose Festival call Walters at (801) 538-4771; the Division of Wildlife Resources' Southern Region office at (435) 865-6100; the Delta Area Chamber of Commerce at (800) 864-0345; or visit the Millard County Web site at

Neural Tube Birth Defects Cut in Half in Utah

Thu, 17 Feb 2005 16:12:50 GMT

(Salt Lake City, UT) – Neural tube defects (birth defects affecting the brain and spine) have declined by more than 50 percent in Utah since 1992, according to a recent study by the Utah Department of Health’s (UDOH) Birth Defect Network (UBDN). The UDOH attributes the decline to more women taking folic acid supplements before pregnancy, ongoing public education programs and the addition of folic acid to food products. In 1992, nearly 12 of every 10,000 Utah babies were born with a neural tube defect (NTD). The rate dropped to 5.2 in 2003 meaning about 30-35 babies are healthy who otherwise may have been born with a serious NTD such as anencephaly and spina bifida. "This is another great example of Utah’s public health accomplishments," says Dr. David Sundwall, Executive Director, UDOH. "Sometimes simple, inexpensive measures yield great results, such as taking a multivitamin with folic acid to help prevent birth defects." Since 1992, repeated studies have shown that, if taken before and during early pregnancy, folic acid can prevent at least 50 percent of NTDs. Folic acid is a B-vitamin necessary for proper cell growth to prevent such defects. UDOH encourages every woman of children bearing age, even if she is not planning on becoming pregnant, to supplement her diet with 400 micrograms of folic acid each day. According to a statewide UDOH survey from 1999 to 2003, 48 percent of women of childbearing age were taking a folic acid supplement daily (usually in form of a multivitamin). This is better than the national figure of 32 percent, estimated by a recent March of Dimes survey. "Efforts from the UBDN and its partners appear to be paying off in healthier babies," says Marcia Feldkamp, Director, UBDN, UDOH, "but we need to stay focused on our goal to have all women and their babies reap the benefits of folic acid." Educating women and health care providers about the benefits of daily folic acid has been a consistent focus of the UBDN since 1995. Other UDOH programs as well as the March of Dimes nationally and locally have supported UBDN’s education and promotion activities. The Baby Your Baby program aired folic acid television and radio spots frequently over several years. The UBDN received financial support from the March of Dimes to purchase and distribute 25,000 bottles of multivitamins with folic acid to mothers in the WIC (Women, Infant and Children) nutrition program. The WIC vitamin project provided one-on-one folic acid education from 2000 to 2003. UDOH also encourages health care providers to promote folic acid. According to the UBDN, most NTD affected pregnancies in recent years occurred in women after their first pregnancy. "It is crucial that health care providers talk to women about taking folic acid daily before pregnancy," says John Carey, M.D., professor of pediatrics and medical genetics expert at the University of Utah School of Medicine. "Neural tube defects develop very early in pregnancy, before many women know they are pregnant." "Even though it is difficult to show that the decrease is entirely due to folic acid, we are certain that it has played a major role because of the timing of the reduction with the increasing rates of folic acid use," says Amy Nance, Project Coordinator, UBDN, UDOH. Beginning in 1998, flour used for breads, cereals, pastas, rice and other grain products in the U.S. has been enriched with a small amount of folic acid. Studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now show that this addition provides some benefit to the population, but to get enough folic a[...]

Governor Huntsman Announces New Executive Director for Workforce Services

Wed, 26 Jan 2005 23:47:43 GMT

Tani Pack Downing
Salt Lake City, Utah—Utah Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., today announced Tani Pack Downing as the new Workforce Services Executive Director.

"Governor Huntsman was elected on a platform to change and improve the way state government does business," said Downing. "I believe he is a man of vision and integrity and I’m honored to be asked to serve with him in this historic endeavor."

Downing has been with the Department of Workforce Services since January 2002. She was first appointed as General Counsel and Director of the Division of Adjudication (Legal/Appeals). Under her leadership, the Division of Adjudication (Legal/Appeals) was awarded the "Most Improved in the Region," from the Department of Labor for years 2002 and 2003. Recently, Downing was appointed by Governor Walker to Chair the Workforce Appeals Board.

Downing also practiced seven years as Associate General Counsel with the Utah Legislature where she drafted bills and provided legal counsel in many areas such as public utilities, information technology, weapons, judiciary, tax, business labor and economic development, energy and natural resources, and state and local government.

"Tani Pack Downing has already proven her ability and skills within the Department of Workforce Services," said Governor Huntsman. "Her leadership in such an important department will be heavily relied upon in my administration."

Governor Huntsman Announces New Executive Directors for Human Services and Community & Arts

Fri, 21 Jan 2005 17:43:33 GMT

Salt Lake City, Utah—Utah Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., today announced Lisa-Michele Church as the new Human Services Executive Director and Yvette Donosso Diaz as Executive Director Designee for Community & Arts.

"I am excited for the new challenge, especially the chance to work on issues about which I care passionately," said Church. "I am looking forward to working with Governor Huntsman. He has excellent management skills and leads with his heart."

The majority of Church’s legal career has been with Sinclair Oil Corporation, where she served as Vice President and General Counsel. At Sinclair Oil Corp. Church was influential in important initiatives such as creating and administering an in-house health benefits department, negotiating complex venue agreements with the Olympic Committee, and establishing EEOC training programs to name a few.

"I am honored to have been given the opportunity to work with the Governor and his Administration," said Diaz. "What a wonderful tribute Governor Huntsman has given the Utah Hispanic/Latino community in appointing one of its members to his Cabinet. I look forward to ensuring that the Department of Community and Arts excels and to celebrate the diversity of our state and its rich cultural heritage."

Diaz was recently honored as one of "Ten Women Sure to Change Utah," in Salt Lake Magazine. Currently she serves as a Bar Commissioner in the Utah State Bar. As President of the Utah Minority Bar Association, Diaz launched a Diversity Pledge to highlight the need for Utah’s legal employers to recruit, hire and promote attorneys of color. Diaz will be on a leave of absence from the law firm of Christensen and Jensen, where she is the lead attorney in the firm’s Hispanic Department.

"These are very accomplished and highly skilled women who have achieved great success in their professional lives," says Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr. "I am honored that they have accepted these cabinet assignments."

Governor's Council of Economic Advisors Releases 2005 Economic Report to the Governor

Fri, 14 Jan 2005 18:19:20 GMT

The Governor's Council of Economic Advisors will formally release the 2005 Economic Report to the Governor at the annual meeting of the Wasatch Front Economic Forum on Jan. 13, 2005 at 9 a.m. An overview of the report will be given by Robert Spendlove at 9:05 a.m., and Governor Huntsman will accept the report and make comments at 9:35 a.m.

Published annually, the Economic Report to the Governor is the principal source for data, research, and analysis about the Utah economy. It includes a national and state economic outlook, an analysis of economic activity based on the standard indicators, and a more detailed review of industries and issues of particular interest.

Utah's economy improved significantly in 2004. The slowdown that began with the 2001 recession has ended, and growth is now accelerating. Continuing the trend from the 1990s, Utah outperformed the nation in 2004, with job growth of 2.5%, compared to just 1.0% nationally. Growth in 2004 is a welcome contrast to 2003, when Utah's economy was flat.

During 2004, Utah's unemployment rate fell to 5.3% from 5.6% in 2003. With employment growing at a good pace, the unemployment rate is expected to fall to 4.7% in 2005. Job growth in Utah reached 2.5%, a positive change from the 0.0% increase in 2003. Each of Utah's major employment sectors grew during 2004, with growth rates ranging from 0.1% in financial activity to 5.6% in construction. Low interest rates and a growing economy powered construction value to an all-time high in 2004 of $4.85 billion, up 6.4% from the 2003 record of $4.56 billion.

Utah's average annual nonagricultural pay was $31,415 during 2004, up 2.6% from 2003. This was an improvement over the 1.7% increase in 2003. Defense spending in Utah during 2003 was also up, totaling $3.08 billion, up 24.7% from 2002.

Utah's population grew 2.3% during 2004, more than twice the national rate. With a growing economy, net migration was over 18,000. Still, natural increase, or the difference between births and deaths, accounted for almost 70% of Utah's population growth. During 2004, for the first time ever, the number of births in Utah exceeded 50,000.

The outlook calls for continued growth during 2005. Employment growth of 2.4% will nearly match the 2004 rate of 2.5%. Population growth will also be at 2.4%, a slight increase over 2004's 2.3%, due to stronger net in-migration. Net in-migration is expected to be up since the Utah economy outperformed the national economy in 2004. Construction job growth will remain strong at 4.8% with total value on track to meet or exceed the 2004 record. Higher interest rates and high energy prices may dampen economic growth during 2005.

The report will be available on the web at

Attorney General Puts Open Records Law on the Internet

Thu, 13 Jan 2005 17:31:03 GMT

Journalists and the general public now have at their fingertips hundreds of pages of documents to learn how to get access to government documents. Attorney General Mark Shurtleff announced today that a new website is now available to help everyone use and understand GRAMA-the Government Records Access and Management Act.

"Government works best when the public's business is conducted in public. This web page puts together some of the best resources available to help citizens find the information they need," says Shurtleff.

Credit Salt Lake Tribune reporter Dan Harrie for getting the website started. Harrie teaches a reporting course at the University of Utah and during one class he told aspiring journalists to go to the Attorney General's website for GRAMA request forms. The only trouble is the A.G. website didn't have any forms-until now.

The new website has forms and two manuals that have never been available on the Internet---including a 44-page GRAMA handbook produced by the Utah Attorney General's Office.

"The original drafters of this manual helped write GRAMA. It is a tremendous resource. Among other things, it has step-by-step instructions for making and responding to GRAMA requests. Understanding and applying the Act correctly is essential for helping the public understand how their tax dollars are used," says Mark Burns, the assistant attorney general who provides counsel to the State Records Committee and Burns uses the handbook to train others on GRAMA.

The other manual is the 106-page Utah Media Handbook created by the Society of Professional Journalists. The handbook contains chapters on Utah media law, open meetings, journalistic ethics and offers beginning-to-end explanations of a criminal prosecution and a civil lawsuit.

"The Utah Media Handbook was a labor of love for many people who believe that strengthening the mutual understanding between the press and the bar in Utah will improve both journalism and the administration of law," says Linda Petersen, President of the Utah Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and Editor for The Valley Journals.

"An informed public is the bedrock of our democracy," says Salt Lake media law attorney Jeffrey Hunt, a co-editor of the Media Law Handbook. "The Utah Media Law Handbook compiles Utah's sunshine laws and explains them in a way that is accessible to the public, the press and the bar."

The site also includes links to the entire GRAMA law, the State Archives and the State Records Committee. The Attorney General's GRAMA website can be found at

Governor Announces New Rural Affairs Coordinator

Fri, 07 Jan 2005 21:46:04 GMT

Salt Lake City, Utah – Utah Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., today announced that former Lt. Governor Gayle McKeachnie will stay on as the Rural Affairs Coordinator.

"I am pleased that Gayle is willing to continue working on behalf of the citizens of the state of Utah," says Governor Huntsman. "His experience speaks for itself and will provide invaluable continuity in areas that are vital to rural Utah including economic development, land use and energy issues."

"I am excited to work with Governor Huntsman and pleased with his commitment to rural Utah because rural issues impact almost every department of state government," says McKeachnie.

In addition, McKeachnie will work to put closure on some of the initiatives from the previous administration.

McKeachnie served as Lt. Governor for Governor Olene Walker. He served four terms in the Utah House of Representatives. During his tenure, he was chairman of the Rules Committee, House parliamentarian and majority whip. ouse or RepresentatiHouse He has been a practicing lawyer since 1970.

McKeachnie and his wife, Kathlene live on a farm in Vernal, Utah. They have seven children and 19 grandchildren.

Lt. Governor Names New Elections Director

Fri, 07 Jan 2005 13:12:18 GMT

Salt Lake City, Utah – Utah Lt. Governor Gary R. Herbert today announced his new Elections Director.  Michael Cragun will assume the senior staff level position Monday.

"Michael is uniquely qualified and Utah is lucky to have a person of this caliber," says Lt. Governor Herbert.  "His experience bridges the private sector, education and government.  He is an attorney, the former dean of a college, and a former county commissioner."

"I am honored that Lt. Governor Herbert asked me to join the team and I am excited to get to work," says Cragun. "One of my first priorities will be to implement the Help America Vote Act. The deadline is in 18-months and there is a lot of work to do."

The Lt. Governor’s elections office at the state level coordinates the elections functions statewide.  The office also certifies the votes.  It is also where candidates file to run for office, and where candidates, lobbyists and political action committees report their financial disclosures.

Cragun has served one term as Davis County Commissioner and represented the County o n numerous boards including the Wasatch Front Regional Council, the Utah Association of Counties Board of Directors and the Davis County Board of Health.

Before entering elected office, Mr. Cragun received Instructor of the Year honors from Corinthian Colleges, Inc., which owns and operates Mountain West College in Salt Lake City.  After chairing Mountain West College’s Paralegal department, he became Academic Dean.

Mr. Cragun earned a law degree from Lewis & Clark College, Portland, Oregon, and an undergraduate degree in Political Science from Brigham Young University.

Cragun is 39. He was born in Ogden, Utah, and raised in Boise, Idaho.