BLM regional director Jerry Kenzcka (left) county commissioner John Jones (center) and Mike Robinson of the BLM during the change of ownership for the Cottonwood Glenn area.
Over the past year, Nine Mile Canyon has been a frequent topic of discussion for the county commission. Yet discussions have ended regarding the canyon site known as Cottonwood Glenn. On Nov. 4, commissioners formally accepted the patent for the area from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.
Regional BLM director Jerry Kenzcka presented the patent. According to commissioners, he was greatly responsible for the change of hands concerning the area.
"This is really a nice addition to what we're trying to do up at Nine Mile for multiple uses," said Commissioner Bill Krompel.
The Cottonwood Glenn site has been developed and worked on by the county for over ten years. While about $100,000 has been spent on the area, it's been owned by the BLM. Facilities include a parking area, restrooms and fences around historic buildings. The site is also located close to several examples of ancient rock art and historic homesteads that have attracted out- of- area visitors.
"It's a great facility for us to have in that canyon," said Commissioner John Jones.
Many agencies were involved with the changeover. Although the project has been an ongoing effort, the county was grateful for the efforts of all involved, including the county roads department and the Utah Travel Council.
"I'm excited about the agreement. It brings all these people together under one house," said Commissioner Krompel.
The commission has been working towards multiple uses related to numerous areas in the county. In many instances, such effort requires cooperation from other agencies such as the BLM. Although Mr. Kenzcka is not likely to stay in the area for long, commissioners indicated that they approve of his actions.
"I hope he can (stay) a little longer; he's doing a good job," said Commissioner Jones.
In other business, commissioners reviewed and approved a tax revision on the Westwood subdivision, pending a statute legality. The revision is an effort to keep the subdivision tax appraisals uniform. Also approved was a contract to provide drug abuse services for the energy extraction industries via Four Corners Behavioral Health.
Substance abuse is a growing problem for Carbon County. Several programs have been established with county support to help better fight it, including the county drug courts. These courts have been established for some time and focus on the rehabilitation of non-violent offenders. While they have seen success, they have only been able to service a limited number, until now.
Seventh District Court Judge George Harmond presented the commission with a drug court update which included plans for expansion and updated statistics for the court. According to Harmond, the court will now expect to see about 70 participants at a time, up from 18. The court will hopefully continue to have low re-offense rates (currently 30 percent).
"The drug courts operate on evidence-based practices. We use studies to help people with their problems, which is very cost effective, because we expect people to become productive members of the community after treatment," said Harmond.
By Harmond's estimates, about 80 percent of all offenses that go to court in the county are, in some way, drug- related. While some offenders may land in jail, it costs about $65 a day to keep them there.
"Savings on this program are huge; even if we only had a 10 percent success rate, it would be better than the old system," said Commissioner Mike Milovich.