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Front Page » January 1, 2009 » Carbon County News » Sun Advocate recaps major 2008 news events
Published 2,178 days ago

Sun Advocate recaps major 2008 news events


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By RICHARD SHAW
Sun Advocate publisher

The news of 2008 was, at times, surprising. And at other times, the events were predictable.

The stories of the people who live in the local area or were affected by events in Carbon County were varied.

Some of the people found joy in news that came about in the county, while others experienced misery as a result of the happenings.

Here are the top five stories that appeared in the Sun Advocate during last year, as determined by the newspaper's editorial staff.

The first major event appearing in the news was the possibility of Utah State and College of Eastern Utah merging. The merger would have created Utah State University at Price.

Within the story was the resignation of Ryan Thomas and the appointment of Mike King as CEU's interim president.

The story of the merger began last March when it was revealed that a meeting had occurred between business and organizational people from Carbon and Emery County and the president of Utah State concerning the matter.

At the time, it appeared that CEU representatives had been left out of the meeting. A firestorm of opinion raged for a few weeks concerning the meeting and the possible bill that Sen. Mike Dmitrich was going to introduce to the Utah Legislature concerning the situation.

While no bill to merge the two schools passed through the Legislature, state lawmakers set up a study to consider the possibility of a merger to determine what kind of partnership should exist.

The members of the group reviewing the situation came back to a legislative committee in the fall and reported that they had not completed the study and, at that time, the idea was put on hold.

However, it appears there may be future moves at the state level to review the situation, particularly in light of the severe budget concerns the state is facing in the next legislative session.

The second major story of the year concerned three separate aircraft accidents. Two of the accidents took place within a two-week period and the third occurred toward the end of the year.

The news stories had to do with aircraft falling from the sky, including a helicopter crash near the county airport in late July that claimed the lives of three people.

The helicopter went down as the aircraft was lifting off the runway.

A second crash a couple of weeks later in eastern Carbon County on the Green River in Desolation Canyon injured two people who were helped by river rafters who saw the plane come down.

The Desolation Canyon incident sparked a fire that was fought for a few days by United States Bureau of Land Management emergency personnel.

The final aircraft accident that affected the Carbon County area was in November when local businessman and civic activist Mike Loveless lost his life when his plane crashed in the mountains of Colorado.

The third major news story involved the legacy of the Crandall Canyon mine disaster, which occurred in August 2007.

The echoes of the tragedy in the Huntington Canyon area led to various reports throughout 2008, primarily involving studies and investigations into the mine and who was at fault regarding the cave in.

Nearly every company and entity involved in the collapse were deemed responsible in some way for the disaster, either through ignoring dangers that were apparent or by approving plans for mining that contained flaws.

There was also talk of criminal charges being filed against some individuals concerning the disaster.

On the other side of the coin, a magnificent memorial was finished and dedicated to the nine lost miners in Huntington last September.

The event attracted hundreds of people and dignitaries from around the nation.

The fourth major 2008 news story was the discovery of the body of Ryan Thayn.

The young Wellington man had been missing for more than 10 years from the area known as Mounds, a rail stop a few miles west of U.S. Highway 6 near the eastern Carbon County borderline.

Thayn was initially reported missing in 1998.

The young man remained classified as missing until early last June, when a survey crew discovered Thayn's body in a crevice hidden from search and rescue personnel.

The Emery County Sheriff's Office investigated the recovery site and determined that Thayn's death appeared to have resulted from a tragic accident.

The fifth major news story of the year was the decision of longtime Utah Sen. Mike Dmitrich to retire, leaving his seat on state government open in the 2008 general election.

Dmitrich had served for 40 years in the Utah Legislature.

He first served as a representative in the Utah House and then as the local district's senator for the last 20 years.

With the longtime Democratic senator's resignation, a campaign to fill the vacant seat ensued across the district.

Republican David Hinkins of Emery County won the seat and will begin his first session at the state senator from district 27 in January, when the Utah Legislature convenes.

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