1980: Castleview dedicated, x-rated movies stir controversy, burglar 'peppered' with rock salt
Editor's Note: This is one of a series of articles about the history of the Sun Advocate and the county it covers as a newspaper. The article is being written from front page stories that appeared during each year in commemoration of the 120th anniversary of the newspaper's birth in 1891.
The year began with a blaze in the Good Shepherd Catholic Church in East Carbon. The fire, which burned the classroom addition to the church, caused about $40,000 in damage. Three fire trucks and 14 fire fighters from East Carbon and Sunnyside began to fight the blaze late in the afternoon on Jan. 7 and it took some time to put it out. The cause of the fire was deemed accidental, possibly electrical in nature.
Movies became the topic of discussion around the community in February, as a local theater slated x-rated movies to be shown. The Crown Theater had been showing some x-rated movies at the time and had slated another for late February ("High School Girls Bust Out"). Residents came to the Feb. 13 Price City Council meeting to protest the films and ask the city to stop the showing of them.
One resident complained that a number of students from her Sunday School class (14-year-olds) had been to see the movie "The Rose" a couple of weeks before and that some of the kids working in the theater weren't even old enough to see those kinds of x-rated films. Mayor Walt Axelgard and others on the council said they would try and work with the theater owners (who lived in Colorado at the time) to get the movies removed and keep them out of the community. The next week two of the planned x-rated movies were pulled, but the local manager said that x-rated films would probably still be shown.
That year was the year that the Castle Rock multiplex theaters opened and he explained that up until that time there were not enough screens in the area to show all kinds of movies. He said that people vote for movies by what they are willing to pay for and that if were not for x-rated movies "we would not be in business."
An organization called Citizens for Decency in Carbon County formed during that winter and began to push a law to control x-rated films in the area. In late March the city council outlawed pornographic films and literature with a new ordinance.
In June the new Castleview Hospital was dedicated. After buying the old hospital services from the county in 1978, the Hospital Corporation of America immediately set out to build a new hospital, which they located along the then new by-pass road in southwest Price. The original building cost $7.5 million and replaced its predecessor which later became the Computer Business Building on the College of Eastern Utah campus in the early 1990s (today the Western Classroom Building). It was pointed out at the dedication that the new hospital was the evolution of three other facilities with the first being on 100 East between Main Street and 100 North in Price. The second was a hospital built in 1930 which sat where the final incarnation, before Castleview was constructed, was developed in the 1950s.
June also brought the death of two Auburn, Wash. Residents when their plane flew into the cliffs above Kenilworth. The pair had fueled up at the Price Airport and either flew into the cliffs because of low hanging clouds or because of an updraft that forced them into the stone face. The pair had been camping at the Grand Canyon and were headed home. The plane crashed on June 13 but the bodies were not recovered for a week because the family did not report them missing for six days and no one apparently saw or heard the crash. The emergency location device did not deploy and the pilot had not filed a flight plan either.
A Carbon County jail inmate escaped while he was having his hair cut at a local barbershop on July 25. A jailer had escorted two inmates to Atwood's Barber Shop to get their hair cut and removed the cuffs off an inmate who was having his hair worked on. After the cut as the inmate was getting out of the barber's chair he raised up and struck the jailer with a "roundhouse" and knocked the officer unconscious and shattering his cheek bone.
He then ran through the establishment through a back door. The inmate, who was serving time for writing bad checks, was later apprehended in a bar in Emery County after a search in the local area yielded nothing. That search included a descent upon Wellington by a large number of law enforcement personnel when he was reportedly spotted there. Later Sheriff Ross Horsley said that the officer should not have removed the cuffs because it was "contrary to what he had been told to do."
Two burglars learned that Ray's Paint and Body Shop was not a place to commit crimes in August. The two men had already committed one burglary there when during the second one owner Ray Montoya caught them and as one attempted to near him as they argued he blasted him with rock salt from a 16 gauge shotgun. He had already discharged the weapon once as a warning shot to show the pair he meant business. When police officers arrived Montoya had them held at bay with the shot gun. The one who had received the blast was taken to Castleview Hospital for treatment, but the wound was superficial. The shooting culminated a year and half of burglaries at the shop and Montoya said he would continue to keep vigil at his shop.
Another chapter in the story of Ma and Pa grocery markets unfolded in December of 1980 when the Better-Buy Market on north 400 East closed as owner Charles Bezyack retired. Bezyack had been in the grocery business for 44 years, and had worked at company stores and other markets in the area before opening his own. The closing marked the end of an era with his store being the last small market left in north Price.
The Sun Advocate also made a big change in 1980. With the Sept. 10 issue the paper went from a Wednesday and Saturday paper to a Wednesday and Friday paper, still keeping the schedule a twice a week paper since the merger with the Helper Journal, but changing the publication dates.