East Carbon City Mayor Orlando LaFontaine along with Councilmember David Maggio discuss pipeline locations with Questar representative Tim Blackham. Blackham approached the council seeking information concerning land ownership issues. Questar Gas is in the process of installing a 24-inch high pressure gas pipeline that would run from north Wellington over Tavaputs Plateau. To do so Questar will need to access county roads that are bordered by land owned by Pentacreek and the Magnificent Seven.
Stephanie Stoehr of Denver, Colo., fills the family car with fuel on their way home. Gas prices in the Carbon County region have fallen slowly over the past two months providing relief to local motorists.
|Newly appointed superintendent Patsy Bueno discusses curriculum matters with administrative assistant Connie Staley. The 33-year veteran of Carbon School District will take the education system's reigns on March 10.|
Carbon School District will have a new superintendent beginning March 10.
During a special meeting on Feb. 26, the Carbon County Board of Education approved Patsy Bueno as the person who will assume the superintendent's position on the date in question. Bueno is currently an assistant superintendent in the local school district.
"We made the decision at the regular February meeting [Feb. 14] that we were going to look for a candidate internally first," pointed out education board member Grady McEvoy on Wednesday "And we as a board found who we wanted."
While a number of women have and are serving as superintendents of school districts in Utah, Bueno will be the first woman to permanently head Carbon School District.
In another action at the same meeting the board also settled some matters with present superintendent David Armstrong concerning his leaving the district. In January the board had voted to not renew his contract as of June 30.
Armstrong will step down on March 9 as superintendent, but will also serve as a consultant to the district until Dec. 31.
"Dr. Armstrong has served well in many ways and has done a lot of good things for the district," pointed out McEvoy. "We want to keep him on in an advisory capacity until the end of the year to see some things through that he started and to help out in areas where he has special knowledge."
In an interview on Wednesday afternoon Bueno expressed her excitement about being in the new position.
"I have done a lot of what I will be doing already, but I love this school district and I am glad that I am going to get to serve it in this capacity," she said.
When asked about the fact that she was the first woman to ever head up the district she said she wanted to paraphrase what Sandra Day O'Conner said when she was made the first woman U.S. Supreme Court Justice.
"She told her husband when he asked her about it that she was happy about being the first but more importantly she hoped she wouldn't be the last," said Bueno.
Bueno's background with the district is diverse, and almost without parallel among many superintendents in the state. Unlike most people who are named a superintendent, she hasn't been a teacher in the school system since she was young, but has worked at almost every education level and in many different kinds of positions over her 33 years at Carbon.
Bueno began in the early 1970s as a part-time aide in an elementary school. She was only going to do that for one year.
But Bueno caught the education bug and decided to stay on with the district.
Soon, the newly appointed superintendent found herself working as a secretary at the district office.
She later became the secretary at Sally Mauro Elementary and worked one summer as a custodian at the school.
At the time, Bueno had an associate's degree. She decided to pursue a teaching career and eventually was awarded a bachelor of science degree from Utah State University.
She began her education career in elementary school and taught every grade but kindergarten.
Bueno was later named principal at Durrant Elementary and went from there to be an assistant principal at Carbon High.
In her final days as a school administrator, she became a junior high principal.
To round things out from another perspective she also served for years in the PTA in various schools.
Later in her career she became the elementary school supervisor and was later named the assistant superintendent of the district.
"I think things will go well because I have worked at many different kinds of jobs in the district and at all levels as well," commented Bueno. "Best of all I have the best of all worlds. I could retire if I wanted with my years of service, but I love what I do."
However, Bueno said she knows there are a number of hurdles to overcome in the years ahead.
Test scores and graduation rates have increased in recent years and Bueno attributes the improvements to Armstrong who is a good administrator in curriculum.
"We are not going to go backwards," continued Bueno. "I am only looking forward and to improving upon what we have already gained," she said. "We have absolutely the hardest working and fine teachers in our buildings. They are working hard at educating the students and I have a lot of faith and trust in them."
Bueno indicated that the transition between her and Armstrong should be a smooth process.
In conclusion, Bueno pointed out that she looks forward to working with the board of education members, local teachers, the students in the school district and parents in Carbon County in the coming years.
|A ticket taker steps off the AMTRAK train on Sunday evening. The passenger train stops twice daily in Helper - once in the morning heading east and again in the evening heading west. It was on one of these morning eastbound trains that police apprehended five individuals who had been reportedly using controlled substances and were later found to have been carrying purportedly stolen United States savings bonds.|
Law enforcement personnel arrested five passengers on an AMTRAK train last week in Helper.
The arrestees were all from outside the state and ranged from 24 to 42 years old.
Helper Police Chief George Zamantakis explained that a few minutes before 10 a.m. on Feb. 19, the local law enforcement department was dispatched to a report of unruly passengers who were harassing other passengers and using controlled substances.
Zamantakis was the first to respond to the scene. After starting an investigation into the matter, the Helper police chief requested the services of city K-9 Brooke and K-9 Officer Lynn Archuletta.
"K-9 Brooke was deployed on some luggage that belonged to the suspects in which she indicated on the same," said Zamantakis.
After further investigation at the scene, Helper law enforvement officers determined that the five passengers were using suspected controlled substances while on the train, indicated the police chief.
After inspecting the luggage, police discovered suspected marijuana and approximately $700,000 in United States savings bonds.
Upon discovering the bonds, police contacted the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation to assist in the case.
Zamantakis said approximately 15 officers from the Utah Highway Patrol, the Carbon County Sheriff's Office and Price police department also responded to assist at the AMTRAK station.
All of the officers with Helper's police department assisted in the case, added Zamantakis.
"Cases such as this one take many hours and manpower to investigate," said the Helper police chief.
Zamantakis pointed out that the case demonstrated the value of many hours of training by Archuletta and the city's K-9. The chief said the police dog has been an asset to both the department and residents of Helper.
John Wright, a supervisor at the FBI office in Provo confirmed Wednesday that the savings bonds appear to have been stolen from the Sparks area in Nevada.
Wright said law enforcement authorities in Nevada are working on the case with FBI Special Agent Todd Argyle.
Court documents filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Salt Lake City indicate that the bonds were reportedly taken as part of a burglary in Nevada in which a safe - containing jewelry, valuable coins, deeds cash and bonds - was allegedly unlawfully removed from an unidentified individual's private residence.
Twenty-four-old Johnny Raymond, 31-year-old Danny Leo, 37-year-old Dino Mitchell, 42-year-old Tony Mitchell and 31-year-old Shawn Mitchell were placed under arrest and booked into the Carbon County Jail in connection with the Feb. 19 incident.
In the criminal complaint filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office, Danny Leo is also identified under the alias of Danny Eto. Shawn Mitchell is identified under three aliases: Joe Steve, Jerry Mitchell and Tony Vito.
Booking records show the arrestees' states of residence as Arizona, Washington and Oklahoma.
However, Melodie Rydalch, public information officer for the U.S. Attorney's Office indicated during an interview on Tuesday that the cities of residence are unclear.
Rydalch said some of the subjects indicated that they were from the Phoenix area in Arizona.
The two criminal complaints charge the five individuals with possession of stolen securities and aiding and abetting, both under federal statute.
The court documents show differing views by the five individuals.
According to the complaint, Raymond said he was aware of the bonds, but claimed he did not know they were stolen.
Rather, the bonds were purportedly being taken to Chicago to be laundered.
In the complaint, Raymond reportedly said that he witnessed Leo send three of the bonds through the U.S. Postal Service to Chicago, Ill.
Leo is listed in the complaint stating that the bag containing the bonds belonged to Johnny Raymond and that they were going to visit a friend in Chicago, Ill.
Investigators reportedly found a receipt from when the three bonds were mailed to Chicago on Valentines Day.
One of Leo's aliases, Danny Eto, was allegedly used on the receipt along with an address which is not his.
In a later interview, Leo reportedly told investigators that he had been contacted by Dino Mitchell who requested help in "getting rid of" some stolen savings bonds.
According to the court documents, Leo said Tony Mitchell and Johnny Raymond had broken into a man's home in Reno, Nev., and stole the bonds.
Leo reportedly met with the other four in Sacramento, Calif., and began arrangements to "get rid of" the allegedly stolen bonds.
The complaint continues with statements from Tony Mitchell in which he reportedly admitted to knowing the bonds were stolen and states that a phone number for the group's Chicago contact could be found in Leo's cell phone.
Dino Mitchell denied any knowledge of the bonds before police showed the items to him, the complaint states.
He later purportedly told police that he didn't know who owned the bonds and that Raymond was taking the bonds to someone in Chicago.
Police also reportedly found in Dino Mitchell's travel bag a business card for a company that purchases jewelry, coins and similar items.
Shawn Mitchell, who claims his name is Tony Joe Vino, also has a no bond felony warrant for his arrest in Colorado, states the criminal complaint. He reportedly had personal property in the bag containing the allegedly stolen savings bonds.
Raymond was scheduled for a detention hearing on Feb. 28. Tony Mitchell is being detained on outstanding warrants. Leo has been reportedly released on conditions. Nick Mitchell is in custody pending a $10,000 cash bond.
Shawn Mitchell is being held in custody because criminal prosecutors fear a risk of non-compliance.
The five defendants face a maximum 10 year-sentence in federal prison if convicted of the crimes.
|Rebecca Gallucci of the Carbon County Animal Shelter removes a homeless cat from a cage in preparation for daily cleaning. Gallucci and all members of the shelter working at the shelter focus making certain that the animals housed at the county facility have a clean living environment. |
The Carbon County Animal Shelter saved more than 1,040 dogs and cats during the last year. And shelter director Dorreen McCourt is proud of the accomplishment.
With Senate Bill 190 in front of the Utah Legislature, many state residents are doing everything possible to ensure that animals are treated fairly.
SB 190, which was proposed by animal lovers in conjunction with the Utah Humane Society, would make it a felony to knowingly torture an animal.
"We love each and every animal that comes into this place," stated McCourt. "It is our hope that every one of them can find a loving, caring home."
Statistics provided by the animal shelter showed that the Carbon County facility took in 1,735 cats and dogs in 2006. Of those, 736 were adopted, 308 were redeemed and 624 had to be put down as a final option.
"Adoption of a animal from the shelter is a wonderful way to bring a new pet into the home," said McCourt.
The county charges an adoption fee of $70 for dogs and $40 for cats which includes the cost of spaying and neutering as well as micro-chip implementation.
While not having a home can be a big problem for cats and dogs, an inhumane owner can be worse. The Utah Humane Society is trying to make the torture of animals a much more serious offense.
According to the organization's Web site, the society scheduled a press conference for Feb. 27 to rally final support for SB 190 which is known as "Henry's Bill." This bill makes the intentional torture of an animal - like the recent case of Henry, the dog who was reportedly put in a hot oven for five minutes - a third degree felony.
Henry has recovered from the injuries and the dog was present at the state press conference.
Officials of the Humane Society of Utah indicate that they are anxious to get the bill made into law in 2007.
The organization unsuccessfully sponsored the proposed legislation for the past three years.
Previously, the proposed legislation has been opposed by some rural lawmakers who fear that such action might hamper the rights of groups like ranchers or rodeo promoters, stated the Utah Humane Society press release.
HSU executive director Gene Bairschmidt emphasized that the legislation is specifically written to exempt such activities.
The society's director credits the provision with the bill's successful passage in the senate on Feb. 23.
"The bill does not limit any activities traditionally associated with people's lifestyles or livelihood, like ranching or rodeo," explained Bairschmidt. "It does not place penalties on animal torturers that are equivalent to those imposed on people who abuse other people. It does not apply to minor offenses or unintentional minor acts like forgetting to feed a pet for a day and it does not establish an unusual or unprecedented standard."
"Forty-two other states and the District of Columbia already have felony provisions in their animal cruelty statutes," continued the organization's director.
On Feb. 27, the conference stressed the importance of passing SB 190 to the entire state.
But despite efforts to promote the legislative proposal, SB 190 was awaiting a Utah House of Representatives vote on Wednesday afternoon when the Sun Advocate went to press.
"There is an overwhelming body of scientific evidence linking the torture of animals to violence against other human beings. The statistics speak for themselves," pointed out Bairschmidt.
"Almost half of United States prison inmates convicted of rape and sexual homicide reported histories of animal abuse and an almost unbelievable 89 percent of serial murderers repeated that same patterns. An equally high percentage of animal abuse occurred in homes where child abuse also took place," continued the Utah Humane Society director.
"Dogs and cats enrich our lives by providing unconditional love, stability and loyalty. It is only right that we should protect them from mindless torture," concluded Bairschmidt.
The state organization's sentiments were echoed by the workers at the county's animal shelter south of Price.
"Some animals bounce back from horrible situations to make great pets but some just never really get over what has happened to them," said Carbon County Animal Shelter technician Rebecca Gallucci.
The county shelter intends to continue to care for animals without homes locally.
And according to the shelter's director, discussions are currently in the works to expand the facility with the help of the Carbon County Commission.
"We really appreciate the support of the commission, they make it possible for us to do what we love," concluded McCourt.
Utah lawmakers passed a revised version of a bill that affects the public notice posting requirements for government entities.
The fourth substitute of House Bill 222 passed the senate in the afternoon general session on Feb. 27 with 26 votes in favor, one opposed and two absent.
The amended version of the bill was brought back to the house later on Tuesday with 70 in favor, one opposed and 4 absent or not voting.
The bill now heads to the governor's desk. There is no indication at the present time that the governor plans to veto the bill.
The bill is considered veto-proof by many officials because it has six more Utah Senate votes and 20 more House of Representatives votes than would be required to override a veto.
The fourth substitute replaces previous versions of the bill that would have eliminated the requirement for government entities to notify local media of meetings.
Under the existing Utah Open and Public Meetings Act, cities, towns, counties, service districts and other government entities are required to post notice 24 hours prior to any meeting.
One notice must be posted at the government's head office or at the place where the meeting will take place.
Government entities are required to also notify a local newspaper or media correspondent.
The notices must contain a statement of the date, time and place of the meeting and an agenda for the meeting. Previous revisions of the bill had removed the two public notice requirements and replaced them with a requirement to post agendas at least 24 hours in advance on a Web site.
Proponents of the bill said the change would increase public access to public notices.
By placing the notices on the Internet, the proponents argued, members of the public who would not normally be aware of public meetings would have greater access to agendas.
However, the proposed legislation received criticism from the public, notably from the newspaper industry, press organizations and individual journalists.
One of the criticisms of the bill was the fact that the legislation would eliminate language which requires government to specifically notify local media.
For community newspapers such as the Sun Advocate, that would mean city, county and other government could schedule a special public meeting, post the notice on their Web site, but not notify the newspaper or post a notice in their own office or meeting place.
The fourth revision of the bill keeps the existing public notice requirements intact and adds an Internet posting requirement.
Beginning in April 2008, public bodies throughout Utah will be required to post the notice in their office or meeting place, notify the local media and post an online notice using the Web site which will be set up by the state.
Before passage, lawmakers explained that a $100,000 appropriation has been created to fund the creation of the Web site, which will be managed by the Utah Division of Archives and Records Service.
The bill requires that a link be created on the home page of Utah.gov to the public notice site.
The bill also requires that the public notice have a unique and simplified Internet Uniform Resource Locater or URL.
Public bodies will be allowed access to post and modify public notices to the state Web site.
The division will be required to provide notice to affected government entities when the Web site becomes available and also give periodic training to government bodies on using the site.
Members of the public will be able to log onto the Web site and search for public notices by public body name, date of posting, date of meeting, deadline for inclusion on the agenda and other criteria as approved by the state records division.
The public will also be able to view past public notices and subscribe to a service to receive updates when notices are posted or modified.
The subscription service replaces a provision in current law which encourages media entities to provide notices to media outlets and members for the public which regularly request public notices.
The bill also creates a protection for government entities in the case of a technology failure.
As long as the public body complies with all other portions of the posting requirement, cities, towns, counties and other public bodies will not be out of compliance with the open meetings act if a public notice is not made available because of an unforeseen Internet or other technological failure.
Scam involving offshore area code could mean hefty telephone charges
Communication professionals are warning all residents of Carbon County that a new scam has emerged using the telephone and an 809 area code. The area code is located offshore from the United States and it is not regulated by the government. If people call this area code they can be literally charged thousands of dollars for just a few minutes of time. Often the scam to call the number comes as a result of a message on an answering service that tells people they have won a prize or that they have a relative who has been hurt, injured or is sick.
Senate passes bill to consolidate college, applied technology center
Utah senators approved House Bill 371 on Wednesday afternoon, which transfers the function of the Southeast Applied Technology Center with College of Eastern Utah.
"We've been working on this for well over a year now," said CEU Academic Vice President Mike King. "At the college, we think this was the right choice."
SEATC President Miles Nelson said he hopes to keep an environment for technology training. "We currently enjoy a good relationship with CEU," he said, adding that joint partnerships with CEU have been beneficial for SEATC.
Driver of truck in 2005 explosion on U.S. Highway 6 enters plea bargain
Travis Stewart, the 32-year-old Idaho driver of a truck carrying explosives which exloded in Spanish Fork Canyon on Aug. 10, 2005 is expected to end the case against him with a plea deal next week.
The truck driver faces three misdemeanor charges, including causing a catastrophe, reckless endangerment and reckless driving.
The blast left a crater 30 feet deep, closed the highway for the greater part of two days, started a series of wildfires, damaged a rail line and injured more than 20 people.