1992: New jail, Peace Garden okayed
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 proposed construction of a new jail for the county got a big push in January as a lawyer for inmates at the old jail threatened to file a suit concerning the conditions under which prisoners were held. The threat came by way of an article that had appeared in the Deseret News that was clipped out and sent to Carbon County Sheriff Jim Robertson.
It reported that officials in the county had been dragging their feet in building a new jail. When contacted by the Sun Advocate, the lawyer said that he had sent the article to Robertson himself because he had been "contacted by inmates to bring a lawsuit against the county because of the conditions in the jail down there."
In March a hearing was held by the Carbon County Building Board on the possibility of constructing a new jail and public safety building on 200 West between 100 North and Main Street. After other meetings on sites that generated a lot of controversy, this one was routine and had literally no one opposing the proposed location. The plan was to purchase the property from the Rio Grande Railroad for $122,000.
In February the Price City Council approved a plan to construct a peace garden just off of Main Street in front of the College of Eastern Utah Prehistoric Museum. The go-ahead was given for a landscape architect to begin drawing up plans for the outdoor venue.
The landfill proposed by the East Carbon Development Corporation got a shot in the arm in March, as county lawmakers approved a resolution authorizing the issuance of $20,167,500 in industrial development bonds to fund the project. At the same time ECDC announced a scholarship program for all seniors graduating from East Carbon High School. It would pay for up to two years of schooling for anyone in the class who wished to got to college. At the time at CEU that award was worth $1,041 for each year. Others who get other scholarships were offered $200 a quarter for additional educational expenses.
With the opening of the Walmart store only a short year and a half before, Kmart applied to the Price City Council to build a new, larger store behind the store that had been in place since the 1980's. There had been some opposition by neighbors to the project at first, but those seemed to be quieted by the stores construction officials changing the plan to fall more in line with neighborhood needs and planning.
Kmart was in the news in early April again when a robber held up the store. The bandit came in the store and shortly after closing time took cash from some female employees who were still at the store closing up. It was believed that he had hidden in the back room while the last customers of the day were being checked out and then appeared after the doors were locked. He tied up the employees and made them lay on the floor and then took the money and escaped through a side door of the building.
Drought was again a big story in Carbon County in 1992. A very poor snowpack led to emergency measures being taken during the summer to prevent the county from literally running out of water. Price looked to secure more water shares while Helper began strictly enforcing a scale of increasing cost for water use in businesses and residences.
Tickets were being issued in Price for violating watering restrictions and two of the entities that got tickets included the city's own parks department and CEU. Fears later arose at the college concerning the lawns in relation to the upcoming football camp that the University of Utah held yearly at CEU during that time. Officials were trying to devise a plan to keep the CEU football field in good shape, because by the time the team was to arrive outside watering was to be cut off entirely. In early August all cities and the Price River Water Improvement District had restricted outside watering to one day a week, with violators facing class B misdemeanor charges.
Mid-August brought some mountain land owners' biggest fears to life. The dry conditions, connected with summer thunder storms brought a lightening strike into the forest near the Frandsen Subdivision. The fire that ensued destroyed 200 acres of forest west of Scofield Reservoir and came within 75 yards of a number of cabins and homes in the area. Volunteer fire fighters from Scofield, Helper and Price along with some industrial employees and residents were the first on the scene and did a great deal to control the fire until professional wildfire experts arrived.
A bizarre murder took place in September when an out of control truck driver from Missouri ran a Utah Department of Transportation truck off the road by ramming it from behind on Consumers Road, killing Harvey Johnson. Before killing Johnson, John David Young had rammed several other vehicles and caused injuries to people. Johnson saw what was happening and was trying to warn others on the road of Young's actions when he was killed. At a preliminary hearing in October testimony of 10 witnesses led to Judge Bryce Bryner set a trial date for December. Later the trial date was moved into 1993.
September also began the process of actually building the Helper section of the Price River Parkway project. After years of delays and funding problems the parkway construction was begun with a ground breaking ceremony on Sept. 26.