1988: City approves Wave Pool, mammoth discovered at dam site
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.
At the beginning of 1988 it was announced that a record had been set by area coal personnel. The Wilberg-Cottonwood mine produced 3.1 million tons of coal in 1987, the first time any mine in Utah had ever done over 3 million tons. In addition the Deer Creek mine produced 2.5 million tons and had it not been for the other record that would have been a record for any Utah Power and Light mine in history too.
Mid-January also brought approval by most citizens at a hearing as the Price City Council looked to build what is today known as the Desert Wave Pool. The project was projected to cost $1.5 million. The city had already set aside $500,000 and said it could find the money to build the pool without raising taxes or bonding for the money. In April, the city council gave the go ahead for the design and construction of the new attraction.
The saga of the dispute between Barry Bryner, employees under his direction and his deteriorating relationship with the county commissioners continued into 1988. The year started with more claims against Bryner though the union about treatment of employees and progressed to a state public service audit of the county's operation. In March Bryner filed with the Utah State Supreme Court to uphold his power as sole authority to appoint, suspend or dismiss employees of the sheriff's office.
The state department of Peace Officer Standards and Training also started and finished an investigation concerning Bryner in 1988. The investigation wrapped up in July and by mid-August POST had taken measures to remove Bryner's certification as a police officer. Bryner had the chance to relinquish his certification voluntarily. However, it was reported in the Sun Advocate on Aug. 25 that Bryner said he would fight the allegations to the end. No further reports about the situation appeared the rest of the year in the Sun Advocate.
In August, a 5.6 earthquake that began in Emery County rippled through the area causing rock slides and some road damage in certain areas. Reports of foundations, brick walls and old plaster being cracked by the quake was reported throughout the area. Aftershocks shook the eastern Utah for a few weeks afterward as well.
This was also the summer that sparked people's imaginations as a huge woolly mammoth was found while work was being done on the dam at Huntington Reservoir in Huntington Canyon. College of Eastern Utah personnel along with many volunteers and others were able to save the skeleton and move it to the CEU Prehistoric Museum for conservation. But while the skeleton was safe and being preserved, the eventual home for it and what would happen would be up in the air for some time.
In other CEU news from 1988, the college was granted the right to offer a two year degree in nursing, a program that has since become one of the most important at what is now USU Eastern. At the October meeting of the Utah State Board of Regents, the board also approved programs for Salt Lake Community College and Utah Valley Community College (now Utah Valley University).
The smell of brew was strong in Wellington one November night when a truck carrying Miller beer turned over and scattered containers all over the road. It took a couple of hours for tow trucks and workers to clean up the wreck which left a spirited stench in the area for a few days.
December brought about a door-to-door survey in Helper to see if the residents were in favor of creating and building the first phase of the Helper Parkway along the Price River. At the time of the poll, 644 residents voted no and 431 voted yes. At the time there were 1,075 homes in the town and 2,846 residents. The first phase was planned as a two-tenths mile project that would have cost $55,000. Many of the residents who voted no said that they felt the amount of money spent would not be worth the return that was promised. While the survey was not binding, it did have an effect on the effort to get the parkway built. The group proposing the project decided at that point to go forward with the project without money from Helper City.
A truck wreck just before Christmas was was heralded by a headline in the Sun Advocate as "potatoes from heaven." A truck overturned, spilling hundreds of pounds of potatoes about four miles from Sunnyside Junction on Highway 6. The potatoes were scattered all over the place and a number of men from East Carbon came to the accident site and helped clean up the mess. The men then drove back to East Carbon and distributed them to people in need. A number of people in the community said there was no greed in the entire incident and that the true Christmas spirit showed through as no one took more than they needed. Based on reports dozens of people were involved in the sharing, a feather in the cap to residents of the east county area.