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The Business Journal

Focus page editor

A geologist stands with core samples from the drilling done in the mid-1990's at the mine site near Moon Lake.

It's been millions of years in the making, serving up hues of red and rouge.

Then it served as a color palate for native Americans who needed it's red colors for their paints and dyes.

Then about 70 years ago, a family from Salt Lake named Maxfield spied the color in the cliffs clear above Moon Lake in the Uintah Mountains while hunting. They laid claim to it in hopes of finding copper ore. However, what was there was pigments; pigments of unusual grade and clarity.

In 1946, the Uintah Mountain Copper Company was formed with the intentions of developing a "paint mine." Local tile and paint manufacturers had found the sample brought down by early prospectors was of such good quality, organizers of the company started to see gold in their future rather than red.

Those early days saw the development of a primitive road, but one that was to difficult for haul vehicles. In 1951 control of the company was sold to a man named Tony Zito, and over the next 20 years he spent his summers ( about the only time a mine could be operated in the high Uintah's) developing a real road and hand mining ore and selling it to local paint manufacturers. But the road never got more than 500 feet from the actual mine so Zito strung an overhead cable from the base to the mine and hung an old boiler on it. He would fill the boiler with ore and then send it cascading down the cable until it hit bottom where it would spill it's contents on the ground, where it would be picked up and hauled out.

In the 1970's Zito felt he was getting too old to do any more mining and he turned the rights over to the Kandaris family, particularly Mike Kandaris, a native of Carbon County and a former business owner in Price. In 1976, a vehicle rolled up to the mine for the first time as the road, containing 13 switchbacks, was finally completed. It was also at that time that the full impact of the deposits were realized. High grade hematite deposits were uncovered during this time, and the realization that a good sized mining operation could be supported began to emerge.

It was also at that time that the United States Forest Service, and the company realized that the road was not only boardering wilderness areas, but was also becoming congested with recreational use such as horseback riding and backpackers. The road would not have served the mine well under the conditions, so a land trade was made and the road to the mine was moved to a less sensitive area, with the design of the Forest Service being used for the roadway and the cost of construction being paid by the company. Meanwhile the old road was reclaimed by the company.

With the approaching wilderness debates heating up, the idea of an open pit mine in the area made Kadaris' partners back off the project. However, by the late 1980's, Kandaris' children, Pam and Peter, began working with their father to make the dream of a producing mine come true.

The mine pit as it was being reclaimed with a "gabion " whose top is visible in the lower left part of the photo.

After restructuring how the mine would operate and an intensive exploratory drilling program in 1994-95 that cost nearly $200,000, pin pointed the richest ore deposits via 36 holes that were punched in the earth. The pit itself was reclaimed by use of a structure called a "gabion" which son Peter designed from work as an engineer for years on the Salt River Project in southern Arizona. This gabion was installed without the use of heavy machinery and it reinforced the mountain side so that vegetation and grasses could be planted. While the idea for the structures is centuries old, and have been used in many places, including the Andes Mountains in South America, the use of these in this situation brought recognition to Peter in a paper he presented to the American Rock Mechanics Association symposium at Veil, Colo. in 1999.

Because of the change in plans, an environmental assessment is presently underway for full scale removal of the high grade hematite deposits that the drilling uncovered in the area. As of this week about another 30 days of comment period remain.

But the tie to Carbon County is not just with the family, part of whom resides here, but with what the deposits are bringing to the area.

Peter has developed a new way to process the pigments from the ore and the company is presently beginning construction of the processing facility in the Ridge Road Business Park, about four miles south of Price.

"The project had to be viable for the Forest Service to approve our applications, " said Pam Kandaris Cha at an interview on Tuesday. The drilling proved the mine could be a winning enterprise."

The exact process of deriving pigments from the ore is proprietary, making the plant that is being built in Price the only one of it's kind in the world. The pigments that are going to be produced there will be purer than any others made. This has made the cosmetic and artistic paint industry stand up and notice.

"Right now we are working with Aveda (cosmetics) about what we can do for them," says Cha. "They have seen enough from the test samples we have from the drilling that they are very interested. So are the paint companies."

Another group that is interested are medical doctors who use "body tattooing" during plastic and other cosmetic surgery.

"If the pigments are pure enough they will be able to use it in cleft palette repairs as well as in breast reconstruction after a mastectomy," states Cha.

The plant will initially only employ a few people, but as time goes on and the operation grows, more jobs could come to the area.

"This is an industry of the future for Carbon County," says Cha. "We have been involved in this for a long time and are serious about pursuing it and growing."

The process of extracting pigments from ore is not one of large tonnage being available, like in other mining industries. Cha says that since the mine is really only accessible three months of the year the company intends to mine enough ore in the summer months to run the plant all year long.

"We can run the plant eight to ten hours a day on 2000 tons a year," says Cha. "The mining will probably be done by a contractor, and we have already contacted local trucking companies to carry the ore to Carbon County."

The company is also being traded on NASDAQ and is a fully registered public company.

"We're on the OTC bulletin board," says Cha. "The day we were named a fully registered public company, was the day of my dad's funeral."

That was in November of 1998 and the dream, that started in the 1930's with one family seeking minerals from the craggy peaks of the Uintah Mountains, continues as another family works with high technology and new, more colorful dreams of the near future in mind.

The Christensen family of Richfield has expanded their tire business to Price and opened Big O Tires next to Albertson's in the Creekview Mall. This makes the 53 Big O Tire store in Utah.

Owners Rodney and Allan Christensen opened June 1 and are planning their grand opening in July. Each has eight years of experience in the tire business and their store in Richfield has been there for 20 years.

Special features of Big O Tires include sales and service for all tires and wheels, as well as state inspections, front end alignments, brake checks, lube, oil and filter jobs.

"We are happy to be here," said Allan this past week. "Service is our specialty and we look forward to being in the Price area."

Big O's website is, while the business address is 790 West Price River Drive.

Their phone number is 613-2446.

Percy and Janice Mounteer, new owners, are in the process of making many changes with the Star Theatre in Huntington.

The Mounteers took over as new managers on March 15 and plan to open the theatre to live performances, educational speakers, and have a variety of things during off-hours of the regular movie presentations they are presenting. They have also expanded their concessions and plan further expansions.

They plan on having the new doors open in time for Huntington Heritage Days and invite the public to see all the work that is being done on the building.

Janice has worked with the public for 20 years both in Carbon and Emery counties, while Perry has worked as a warehouseman and for the state road department. They raised two sons and are now foster parents along with enjoying their seven grandchildren.

"We love having the Star Theatre and enjoy the support of both communities," said the Mounteers, adding, "We would like again to give a big thank you to all of you and especially to those who helped us clean, paint and move."

Star Theatre is located at 163 North Main in Huntington. Their phone number is (435) 687-9026.

The Price City Council has approved the construction of a multi specialty ambulatory surgical center on Fairgrounds Road. The new facility will have two full operating rooms, a minor procedure room, and a dedicated laser room. It will be a state-of-the-art facility, with the capability to perform a variety of surgical procedures using both local and general anesthesia.

In approving the application for construction, members of the planning and zoning committee recognized the need in Carbon county for an outpatient surgical facility. Price City Mayor Joe Piccolo and his staff worked closely with the developers to ensure that the needs of the city and people of Price were met by the newly developed facility.

Groundbreaking for the new facility occurred on June 19. Completion is anticipated in December of this year. The facility will be licensed by the state and certified to perform procedures for both the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

The new surgicenter will be located on Fairgrounds Road directly above the Holiday Inn. The building will be designed for convenient parking and access by patients and families.

Carbon and Emery county residents will benefit in several ways from the new facility. In addition to easy access, the surgical center will be able to provide surgical services at lower cost than can be provided in a hospital. Many patients who have gone "over the mountain" in years past will now be able to receive services locally.

According to Jeffrey Hansen, M.D., Chairman of the Department of Surgery at Castleview Hospital, the surgical center will be helpful to provide outpatient surgical services in an economical way, but some surgeries will still require the inpatient facilities provided by Castleview Hospital. Dr. Hansen stresses the important contribution the hospital makes in our community, but he believes that the surgicenter will function to keep patients from leaving Carbon County for outpatient operations. Dr. Hansen is one of the surgeons who will be developing and using the surgical center.

There has been a national trend in the last 25 years to establish ambulatory surgical centers as a way of providing outpatient surgeries in an economical and patient-friendly way.

The Medicare program, private insurance companies, and patients all benefit by having outpatient surgeries performed in smaller, more user friendly and efficient facilities.

The sixth annual awards banquet honoring the excellence of the area's emergency medical personnel was held recently at the Castleview Hospital in Price.

The two incidents of the year that the awards were centered around included that of Jana Hoyt and a bird hunter who was shot in the face in Emery County.

The honored included Jennifer Stefanoff, dispatcher; Dr. Kurt King, Physician of the Year; Denise Sanchez, emergency nurse of the year; and Carla Caldwell, special award recipient.

The Hoyt incident began around bedtime on August 30 of 2001. Jana Hoyt had just returned from a week-long trip to Seattle and was preparing for bed with her husband, Steve when she collapsed. Steve began CPR, doing two breaths and 10 compressions. Realizing that he would need more help, he called 911.

Public Safety Dispatcher Becky Wilson answered the call and directed Steve to slow down the CPR and give two breaths to 15 compressions. Wilson asked Dispatcher Lisa Shook to send an ambulance to their home.

Shook dispatched the Carbon County Ambulance. Off-duty ambulance personnel Jerimiah Davies and Wade Marinoni heard the page on their hand-held radios and both were close by. They responded to the home within two minutes. They relieved Steve of CPR and ventilation.

Carbon County Ambulance personnel Larry Leonard and Don Marrelli arrived two minutes later. Upon attaching a defibrillator monitor they found that Jana was in ventricular fibrillation. They delivered two shocks and within minutes she had a strong pulse. At Castleview Hospital, Medical Control Physician Cameron Williams and his ER staff met Jana and the EMS team.

Williams started advance cardiac care and arranged for transport to LDS Hospital's specialized cardiac care unit. Jana was later diagnosed by doctors with Long QT Syndrome, a cardiac disease that would require a defibrillator, pacemaker implant. After eight days of hospitalization she was returned home. Six months later she was fully recovered and back to normal activity.

In the other situation, Mark Grace, was hunting on a bird farm in Emery county when, in the process of picking up a bird he had killed his 12 gauge shot gun went off hitting him in the face. Three EMT's responded and recruited a driver that was on the scene. They started two IV's and Grace was transported to Castleview Hospital. Later he was lifeflighted to the Wasatch Front. Grace has since recovered enough to go back to work.

The EMT's that responded were Chuck Ebeling, Gordon Larsen, and Etova Snow.

Dr. Kurt King, who was named physician of the year is the past chief of staff of the hospital. In presenting the award he was honored for his knowledge and skills, sense of humor, his activities as he is involved in medical staff issues, as the medical director of the blood gas laboratory and as a teacher and mentor.

Denise Sanchez was named emergency nurse of the year.

In the presentation it was pointed out that Sanchez goes the extra mile with patients, is non-judgmental about patient situations, proctors new students with patience, is knowledgable about ER care and is advanced burn life support certified.

Jennifer Stefanoff was named Price Communications Center employee of the year. In the presentation it was pointed out that she has done much for the center this past year. She keeps all the certifications updated and has trained as the alternate for the center.

"Jennifer has set an example for the newer dispatchers, as someone to look up to and go to for advice," said Martin Estrada, communications center supervisor.

Carla Caldwell was given a special award. She has been the abdominal aortic aneurysm "queen" of the year, according to the presentation. Carla has been on duty for at least five of the seven AAA cases diagnosed this year.

Also recognized were Sherry Hammond of Price Communications and Mike Milovich was given a special recognition for his commitment to the programs.

Originally established in 1998, Therapy Works has relocated to a new site in Price and is introducing their new therapeutic swimming pool similar to those used by professional athletic trainers according to Silvia Fassio. They are now located at 53 South 700 East. The phone number of 613-0330.

Besides the new pool the business also does individualized care, has fexible hours, which includes weekends and evenings.

Fassio has a bachelor of arts degree in psychology, a BS degree in physical therapy and has served as a therapists since 1998 and owned her own practice since 1988. She also teaches nursing at CEU.

The Southeastern Utah Association of Local Government's - Business and Economic Development Department has recently hired Brett Behling to facilitate in the growth of small business in southeastern Utah. Brett will help entrepreneurs and existing businesses plan development, financial analysis, as well as marketing research and strategies.

Behling also works with Jeri Hamilton and Delia Paletta to provide business start up training, and customized training programs for local residents and business owners.

Behling has worked with Emery county for the past four years in developing and streamlining irrigation projects. Furthermore, he conducted workshops on water conservation, conducted feasibility studies, and consulted with farmers on farm management practices and cost control. He has solicited, wrote, and managed multi-million dollar projects to preserve the agricultural heritage of Emery county by developing long-term irrigation infrastructure.

Behling is a lifetime resident of Emery county. He graduated from Emery High in 1990 and continued his education at Brigham Young University where he graduated with a bachelor of science in business management with an emphasis in entrepreneurship. He later furthered his education by receiving a Master of Business Administration from Utah State University.

Last year, in 2001, the Utah Legislature amended the Enterprise Zone Law and added a refundable tax credit to qualified companies in certain rural areas. This passed the legislature through the hard work of Senator Mike Dmitrich, Representative Brad King, and the Republican sponsor, Brad Johnson, from Aurora. Delynn Fielding, Carbon County Economic Development Director, helped formulate the legislation, based on similar law in Kentucky. The law is now in effect and available to Carbon county companies. It offers a total potential of $300,000 per year.

These funds can have positive impact on local businesses that qualify for the money. The law provides for refundable tax credits of up to $100,000 for each business that qualifies. Once a company has been approved and has been designated to receive the refund credit, funds will be released to the company over a period of 2 to 5 years. The company has specific subjective criteria to meet. If the criteria are met, the funds will be received. If the company fails to meet the criteria in a three-month period for example, but does meet them in future months, the company will not receive � of that year's previously committed allocation. In short, the business owner will know for certain if, when, and how much to count on receiving from the tax credit.

Now the good news. Economic development is actively looking for Carbon county businesses to qualify for the program! We would like to see the entire $300,000 allocated to Carbon County. Ranking of qualifying companies is according to economic impact per direct job. Criteria include:

•The company can be an existing business or a start-up business.

•Ranking is based on the number of full time equivalent employees projected over the next three years; the projected average wage of the full time equivalent employees; the projected amount of new or used equipment purchased or leased over the next three years; the projected amount of new building (owned or leased) or addition to an existing building (owned or leased) over the next three years. In addition the company must hire at least eight new employees over the next three years and the business cannot be engaged in construction, retail trade, or be a public utility. Manufacturing, repair, service, and wholesale businesses qualify for the credit.

Applications are being taken now and must be completed by July 31. Interested parties can contact economic development at 636-3295 for an appointment.

The office address is 90 North 100 East, room 154 in Price.

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