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Summit County may hit target for 100% renewable energy 7 years early

Summit County’s sustainability department has been busy during the pandemic, pushing forward, along with regional partners, two projects that have the potential to fundamentally change how electricity is manufactured for residents.

The County Council has made it a goal to shift to renewable energy sources for the county’s power consumption by 2030. Earlier this month, the council authorized County Manager Tom Fisher to sign documents that have the potential to deliver on that goal seven years ahead of schedule.

Councilor Kim Carson called the progress “incredibly exciting.”

“I know this has been a labor of love for you over the past three years, and probably a little bit of hate at times,” Carson said to Lisa Yoder, the county’s sustainability director.

Carson was referencing the at-times fraught process that has involved powerful partners in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah Valley University, Deer Valley Resort and Vail Resorts, and wrangling with the state’s Public Service Commission and largest power utility Rocky Mountain Power.

In that time, the solar project that is slated to provide the renewable energy was sold and the price the county would pay for its energy doubled unexpectedly, though still hewing close to traditional power costs.

“I understand part of it was probably a pretty frustrating process, but I really appreciate your perseverance and just commitment to getting it done,” Carson added.

The regional partners, which also include Park City, have banded together to provide the demand for an 80 megawatt solar farm that is planned to be built in Tooele County, essentially guaranteeing the project will have customers. Yoder reported that project is still on track to deliver power to the county’s facilities in 2023.

Councilor Glenn Wright estimated that the ability to provide renewable energy sources for county power will cost the average Summit County resident $0.70 per year above current costs.

“Good job,” he told Yoder.

Concurrently with this plan, the county is working to provide its residents with the option of purchasing 100% renewable energy to power their homes. The county and five of its six municipalities are in a group of 22 jurisdictions statewide that have passed resolutions indicating interest in providing renewable energy to their residents.

Coalville, Francis, Kamas, Oakley and Park City passed such resolutions before the deadline last year, while Henefer did not.

So far, the municipalities haven’t incurred any financial costs.

On Sept. 15, Yoder presented numbers to the regional Council of Governments that revealed for the first time the costs municipalities would have to pay to remain engaged in the effort.

Coalville, Francis, Kamas and Oakley would have to pay a one-time cost of about $1,125 to remain in the program, according to numbers she presented.

Park City would be on the hook for $13,485, while Summit County would owe $21,520.

The money would establish the program and start the initial administrative review by state authorities. By paying that cost, municipalities would be entitled to stay in the program and to find out the rate set by the Public Service Commission for how much the renewable energy would cost residents.

Yoder told the officials that the costs could be split over two fiscal years, acknowledging budget constraints caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

While Park City and Summit County have vocally supported sustainability efforts and renewable energy projects, the more conservative East Side municipalities have been less enthusiastic in their support, with some indicating reluctance.

As municipalities decide whether to pay for the next step in the process, and the number of potential customers comes into focus. Rocky Mountain Power would take the information about how much renewable energy it would have to create for residents and find or likely create sources for it.

One key provision is that the costs for renewable energy cannot be passed on to customers who continue to use traditional sources.

Francis Mayor Byron Ames summed it up at the meeting earlier this month.

“$843 to decide if we’re in or out? To find out what that rate would be?” he asked Yoder, who answered affirmatively.

If municipalities decide to go forward with the program for their residents, they would be required to send notices to all residents explaining their right to opt out of the program. The electricity from renewable sources would likely be more expensive, though the exact price for electricity from renewable sources won’t be known until the Public Service Commission sets the rate. The project to provide power to governments, for example, is 2.37% more expensive than traditional electricity costs, though the scope of the residential project is significantly different.

Sending those notices would cost East Side municipalities between $489 and $758, though data for Coalville was not available.

Park City’s cost would be $8,338, while Summit County’s would be $10,591.

All told, it would cost East Side municipalities an estimated average of $1,600 to continue in the program.

Summit County Manager Tom Fisher said in an interview there had been no discussions about the county picking up those costs, which would be around $6,500 total.

Court report: Week of Sept. 21

According to the Summit County Attorney’s Office, the following cases were heard on Monday, Sept. 21, in 3rd District Court at the Summit County Justice Center.

Jerald Scott Black, 49, of Taylorsville, pleaded guilty to unlawful acquisition, possession or transfer of a financial transaction card, a third-degree felony. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 2.

Chris Scott Lowe, 27, of Bountiful, entered into a 12-month plea in abeyance to possession of a controlled substance, a class A misdemeanor. The court ordered the defendant to complete standard terms and conditions.

Laventa Deshawn Tillery, 36, of Charleston, South Carolina, pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, a third-degree felony. The court placed the defendant on court probation for 12 months and ordered the defendant to serve 30 days home confinement, pay a $2,500 fine and complete other standard terms and conditions. The court also imposed a suspended sentence of zero to five years at the Utah State Prison.

Pedro Saldivar Sosa, 31, of Kamas, was sentenced for the offense of DUI, a class A misdemeanor. The court placed the defendant on court probation for 18 months and ordered the defendant to serve two days in jail, pay a $1,430 fine, and complete other standard terms and conditions. The court also imposed a suspended 362-day jail sentence.

Candidates aiming to represent Park City on Capitol Hill spar in debate

The candidates for state House District 54 debated Tuesday night, offering opinions on issues in the local and national headlines like the Hideout annexation and police reform, and attempting to make the case just weeks before the election that they deserve to head to Capitol Hill.

Republican Mike Kohler is taking on Democrat Meaghan Miller for the seat that is currently held by Rep. Tim Quinn, who decided not to pursue another term. The district covers Wasatch County and parts of Summit County, including Park City. In 2018, Miller lost to Quinn by 162 votes, enjoying overwhelming support in Summit County but failing to secure enough votes in Republican-leaning Wasatch County.

Kohler and Miller both live in Midway.

Kohler said he is a lifelong dairyman who worked his family’s dairy farm for years until selling his share to his brother a decade ago and lobbying on behalf of the industry at the Statehouse.

Miller is the executive director of EATS Park City, a nonprofit focusing on nutrition. She touted her education and experience working in the health care and nonprofit industries and an ability to find common ground to work through issues.

Many of Kohler’s answers revealed his brand of old-school conservatism, eschewing government handouts and espousing individual freedom. He said his experience inside and out of government would enable him to hit the ground running to help the people who live in the district.

Miller seemed to advocate for consensus solutions rather than a particular ideology. She stressed that, as a young mother who is dealing with many of the issues affecting the region’s voters, she’d be able to take their voice to Capitol Hill.

The debate was held via Zoom, moderated by Julia Kretschmar and hosted by the League of Women Voters of Utah and the Better Utah Institute. On most questions, Kohler espoused a conservative position while Miller refrained from charged rhetoric but advocated for solutions generally supported by the left.

On the issue of police violence, for example, Kohler was the first to respond.

“First of all, I do not support defunding the police, tell you that right now,” he said. “I think those cities that have done that are sending the wrong message.”

He went on to say that more police training would be helpful, along with more funding, and that the issue is indicative of fading societal values.

“We as a society need to start giving our leaders — police for one thing, teachers for others — giving them more respect,” he said. “I think that the lack of respect for leadership and for people in the community like policemen has started in our homes. It’s trending in the wrong way, in my opinion.”

Miller did not take up the mantle of defunding the police, joining Kohler in advocating for more funding for law enforcement, but said the system of policing has reached its capacity and should not be asked to carry more responsibilities.

She stopped short of pointing to systemic problems with policing but said that citizens should not be afraid to call the police, something advocates for police reform have said that minority communities feel.

The candidates were also asked to comment on the government’s response to the coronavirus. Kohler said he did not support shutting down the economy as was done in many parts of the state in the spring. Instead, he said the government should provide its citizens with guidelines for safe behavior and refrain from impinging on personal freedom.

“We follow our experts but we leave it to individuals and businesses to do the best they can,” Kohler said. “… I would support freedom to the people and publish guidelines and let them deal with it.”

Miller pushed back against Kohler’s contention that COVID-19 isn’t as serious as is portrayed in the media, saying that even some young, otherwise healthy people have ended up in intensive care units.

She did not address government orders to shut down businesses, but said she supported federal eviction moratoriums.

Kohler said the economic situation wouldn’t have been as bad if the government hadn’t shut down sectors of the economy, and, while he supported eviction moratoriums, said that couldn’t continue indefinitely.

“I don’t think it’s government’s place to bail us out forever,” he said.

Miller contended that the burden cannot fall to nonprofits, which often do not have sources of revenue beyond fundraising.

Both candidates advocated for local control when asked about the controversial legislation that spurred Hideout’s attempt to annex land in Richardson Flat.

Miller said the Legislature should leave these issues to cities and counties, while Kohler called legislation allowing this type of annexation bad policy that he would oppose.

In his closing statement, Kohler portrayed himself as something of a “political geek” who would enjoy turning on C-SPAN and watching it for a couple hours, acknowledging that it’s not for everyone. He said his knowledge of the political system — with years serving in elected office at the county level and years lobbying the Legislature — as well as personal relationships with many legislators would help him advocate effectively for residents’ needs immediately.

Miller said that she was uniquely qualified for the job because she brings a diverse background to the table. She stressed her lived experience as preparing her to advocate for the issues she’s heard about from voters.

“COVID has touched so many lives and I’m in that with you,” she said, adding that she has been the sole breadwinner for her family after her husband’s employment was ended because of the pandemic.

The November election will be conducted primarily through mail-in balloting. The deadline to register to vote is Oct. 23, with ballots slated to be mailed to registered voters three weeks before Election Day Nov. 3. For more information, visit the Summit County Clerk’s website at summitcounty.org/281/Voter-Registration-Elections.

Deputies talk down a man holding a gun to his head, possibly averting a suicide

Just before 8 a.m. Tuesday, the Summit County Sheriff’s Office responded to Coalville for a report of a man with a gun who had told family members he wanted to end his life — either by his own hand or at the hand of law enforcement, according a report from the Sheriff’s Office.

After an hour-long standoff, Summit County crisis negotiators convinced the man to put down the gun he had been holding to his head and led him into a waiting ambulance, according to Sheriff’s Lt. Andrew Wright. He was taken to a local hospital.

It was no accident that the situation ended without bloodshed, Wright said, but rather a testament to the training deputies undergo and the agency’s attitude toward those suffering what Wright called a mental health crisis.

“Two negotiators from our office that were there, also (Crisis Intervention Training) certified, were able to bring that person back to reality, realize we’re there to help them,” Wright said. “Chatted with him for nearly an hour. He finally complied, and they were able to get him the help that he needs.”

Wright said that 25 officers responded to the scene, including representatives from the Park City Police Department, the Utah Highway Patrol and state agencies.

After setting up a perimeter, deputies found the 46-year-old Coalville man pointing a gun to his own head just off the Rail Trail in Coalville. In the initial call, a woman reported the man was under the influence of narcotics and said he wanted to end his life.

While the agency does have trained negotiators, the first two deputies on the scene who approached the man did not have that training, though they, like all other deputies in the Sheriff’s Office, have received crisis intervention training, Wright said.

Approaching a person who has threatened suicide by cop changes the dynamic, Wright said. It’s a situation in which the person may force a law enforcement officer to shoot or kill them by threatening or even shooting at the officer.

“You have tools on you to help protect yourself, but it’s also approaching them in a safe, tactical way, meaning having cover, be behind something, but still allow that individual see that you’re there and that you’re trying to help them,” Wright said.

The deputies approached the man and began having a conversation, asking him to put the weapon down, Wright said. Crisis negotiators later took over the effort.

Wright said deputies are trained to have patience with people who are having a mental health episode.

“This is not a time that police should be going in with aggression of, you know, in a hurry to take control of the situation,” he said.

He said the man most likely wouldn’t face charges, as he didn’t threaten anyone else.

“In a situation like this, our priority as law enforcement is to get that individual the professional help that they need,” he said.

Summit County Councilor Kim Carson said that she was moved when she read a report about the incident and proud of the work done by deputies, calling it the best possible outcome.

“It really brought tears to my eyes,” Carson said. “I think it can serve as a model for other law enforcement agencies. … I’m just incredibly thankful that this young man is getting the help he needs and that he didn’t take his own life or the life of anybody else. And I’m glad that our sheriff’s deputies are safe and I just have the utmost respect for them and the situation that they put themselves in.”

Wright said that the Sheriff’s Office deals with many calls in which someone mentions self-harm or is having a mental health episode. Normally, those incidents do not end up in the shift reports that are sent out to the media to protect the person’s privacy.

But the scale of this incident, coupled with its seriousness and the current context around police reform, justified its release, he said.

“Especially our agency, we take this kind of stuff seriously, and we really — our point is to save lives,” Wright said. “The last thing we want to do is take a life or see someone take their own life. A lot of things went right with this and it’s a great example of what good police work does.”

Summit County notebook: An opening on the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission and the census deadline looms

Planning Commission opening

Snyderville Basin Planning Commissioner Canice Harte has decided to step aside after seven years in the role, and officials are looking for a volunteer to take his place.

Applicants must have resided in the district – including within Park City municipal limits – for at least a year. The commission meets every second and fourth Tuesday, often for several hours, to review land-use proposals.

The commission has a strong hand in guiding development in Summit County.

Harte said he’d worked through some pretty big projects in his time, including rewriting parts of the general plan and evaluating large-scale developments at the Canyons Village base area, Silver Creek Village and the recent Tech Park project.

“I feel it’s time to give someone else a shot,” he said.

He said he would focus on other professional efforts and thanked the county’s planning staff, including Community Development Director Pat Putt.

“They can get beat up on social media, sometimes, really for doing their job,” Harte said. “This sounds overly glowing, but they have done so much to maintain professionalism with the incredible number of applications that come their way.”

For further information, contact Putt at 435-336-3158, and to apply for the position, visit summitcounty.org/806/Volunteer-Boards-Form. The deadline is 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 30.

Water district awarded

The Snyderville Basin Water Reclamation District has received two platinum National Environmental Achievement Awards, recognizing more than a decade of high-level compliance with national water-quality standards.

The Platinum Peak Performance Awards were presented by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, according to a press release.

District General Manager Mike Luers said the district is honored to be recognized for its commitment to the community.

Each of the district’s two facilities was recognized for 100% compliance several years in a row, with the East Canyon Water Reclamation Facility achieving that mark for 16 consecutive years and the Silver Creek Water Reclamation Facility for 17 consecutive years.

Census deadline looms

Sept. 30 is the last day to fill out a U.S. Census, which can be done online. The decennial national count influences how trillions of dollars of federal spending is allocated and how many congressional seats each state gets, among other roles.

In 2010, 55% of Summit County residents responded to the Census. If that rate is duplicated, the county could lose out on $45 million in federal funding over the next decade, or some $50,000 per household that doesn’t respond.

For more information, head to census.gov.

A million-dollar grant program using CARES Act funding will aid Summit County families in need

A $1 million grant program aimed to help families who have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic hopes to get the money to area nonprofits by the end of this year, officials said.

The Park City Community Foundation will administer the program and dole out grants to nonprofits, while the funds come from federal CARES Act disbursements sent to Summit County.

Deputy Summit County Manager Janna Young, who has been coordinating the county’s CARES Act programming, said the county chose the Community Foundation because of its connections in the community.

“We felt they would be able to provide the funds broadly to the needs of our community and, due to their relationships, they would have a good idea of what the needs were,” Young said. “The goal of the program is to provide relief to as many families as we can as quickly as we can.”

Katie Wright, executive director of the Community Foundation, said the initiative will give the area’s nonprofits breathing room to deal with the community’s needs ahead of a winter season that could bring increased hardship.

“I felt an incredible moment of relief because I know that people are having really big challenges in our community, and I think we all know that we’re sort of holding our breath for the flu season,” Wright said, recalling the moment she heard the money would be made available. “We’re constantly measuring the tension between addressing people’s urgent, current needs and also being sure that we can be there for people in January, February, March just like we have been for this summer.”

The Community Foundation has granted around $3 million this year, Wright said, including more than $1.3 million that went to local nonprofits through its Community Response Fund since the pandemic took hold in March. It raised $1 million for that fund in less than a month after COVID hit.

The nonprofit is using a plan that continues through next June to guide its response to the pandemic, and while this money doesn’t alleviate the need to continue fundraising, Wright said it provides meaningful flexibility.

Wright explained that the CARES Act money from the county won’t go directly to individuals, but will instead be granted to nonprofits that serve the people who work and live in Summit County. The advantage of that strategy, she said, is that many local nonprofits already have relationships with people and communities that have been hurt disproportionately by the pandemic.

“There are a lot of people who went from full-time or more than full-time employment to no job, overnight,” Wright said. “… We have nonprofit partners in this community who are deeply connected to our community members. They are very fluent in how to best deliver services, whether they’re health care services, mental health services, child care and education.”

Wright did not rule out the possibility that the nonprofit recipients might dole out direct cash payments to people in need but said offering services would most likely be the focus.

“If an early child care provider ended up a grant recipient, they might not give cash to parents, but they might subsidize parents getting high-quality child care so they can go to work,” Wright said.

The goal is for the Community Foundation to open a grant application window Oct. 14, accompanied by a question-and-answer session for potential applicants two days later. Requests would be due Nov. 10, after which a committee would review the applications and select recipients by Dec. 9 in order to get the money into the community by the end of the year.

Wright said the specifics have not been settled about how applications will be evaluated, nor about who will be on the selection committee. But because of more intensive requirements involved with spending this money and the anticipated month-long application window, Wright expects many compelling applications.

Summit County will pay the foundation $45,000 to administer the program, which is not included in the $1 million total.

The county is slated to receive just under $6 million in total CARES Act funding, though the initial Nov. 30 deadline to spend it has been relaxed. Multiple rule changes have encumbered the process to disseminate the funds, officials have said. To date, the county has pursued projects including hiring 10 short-term employees to establish an in-house contact tracing program, and purchasing personal protective equipment for local businesses and equipment for the hoped-for mass vaccination campaign.

The county has also disseminated federal funds in the form of community development block grants to small businesses with the help of the Mountainland Association of Governments.

County staffers say they do not have the experience or bandwidth to administer grant programs of this magnitude on their own.

Wright indicated that one key focus of the foundation’s pandemic response thus far has been keeping people in their homes.

“The most important form of support that the Community Foundation has been focused on … is rental assistance. At a time when the public health directive is for people to shelter in place or work from home or not congregate in big groups in public, it’s just absolutely critical that people have a home to be in and be safe in,” Wright said. “It’s just important that, at the end of this, families aren’t seeing a mountain of debt because they’ve been forced to delay rent and mortgage payments.”

According to the agreement between the county and the foundation, the grants will be restricted to serving people living or working in Summit County, but Wright pointed out that many of Summit County’s workers cannot afford to live in the area. There is no mandate in the agreement that a nonprofit that receives funding be located in Summit County. Wright also said it will be possible for an educational entity, like a school, to apply for a grant, offering the example of a lunch program.

Wright said the program’s overall goal is to help keep people in the community stable during a challenging time.

“If and when we get on the other end of this as a community, if we know that we were able to put resources to keeping families in their homes, fed, with access to physical and mental health and other key services like child care and education, we will have accomplished a lot as a community,” Wright said. “It’s really important work and we’re really, really pleased the county has stepped up in a generous and proactive way.”

Sheriff’s report: $35,000 in damages to Summit Park condo after sink was plugged and water left running for days

An intentional residential flood caused $35,000 in damages to a Summit Park condominium after someone plugged a sink and left the water running over the weekend, according to a report from the Summit County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies spoke to a general contractor on the site who told them that someone had plugged a kitchen sink on an upper level of the home and turned the water on sometime after Friday, according to the report.

The water flooded all three levels of the condominium before the situation was discovered Sunday.

Deputies indicated they did not have a suspect or any leads in the case, but that they would follow up.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, law enforcement responded to several other calls between Monday, Sept. 14, and Sunday, Sept. 20, including more thefts of Biden-for-president signs and a bee sting that led to a pickup truck running through a fence.

Sunday, Sept. 20

A woman reported a burglary at the Summit Park Trailhead when she returned to her car after an evening hike and found the rear passenger window smashed and her climbing gear gone. Deputies indicated they did not have any suspects.

Deputies pulled over a vehicle in the Trailside neighborhood for speeding and failure to stay in a lane. They then arrested the 51-year-old Park City man who was driving on suspicion of DUI after he failed field sobriety tests.

Saturday, Sept. 19

A woman on Hoytsville Road reported that someone had stolen seven signs from her front yard. The signs supported Joe Biden’s presidential bid. Deputies indicated they did not have a suspect.

A 74-year-old Kamas man turned himself into authorities and admitted to choking his stepson during a fight Friday night. Deputies booked him into the Summit County Jail on suspicion of domestic violence aggravated assault.

A 79-year-old Woodland man died at his home and was discovered by his wife. Deputies indicated the man had known health problems.

A Pinebrook woman reported that someone had used her social security number to open several phone accounts. Deputies indicated the woman had not yet paid the various phone companies and is contesting the charges.

Thursday, Sept. 17

Deputies served a temporary civil stalking injunction to a resident at an apartment complex near Bitner Road.

Wednesday, Sept. 16

Deputies received a report that a man had driven his pickup truck through a fence on Hoytsville Road. After investigating, deputies determined the 66-year-old Coalville man was suffering an allergic reaction to a bee sting at the time of the crash. The man was cleared by medical personnel and deputies indicated his insurance information was given to the fence owner.

Tuesday, Sept. 15

An Oakley woman asked authorities to make sure her home was safe after she discovered her garage door open despite having closed it before leaving. Deputies cleared the home, but the woman reported several items had been taken from inside the house and that two trail cameras were missing from her property. Deputies indicated the case would be forwarded to the Investigations Division.

While responding to another call, deputies observed a 17-year-old Park City teen hiding in some trees near Kimball Junction. The teen admitted to having marijuana and drug paraphernalia in conversation with deputies. Deputies seized the illegal items and booked them into evidence, and the 17-year-old was released.

Monday, Sept. 14

An 11-year-old called 911 from a Trailside residence to report that her 15-year-old sister and mom were fighting. Deputies investigated and determined no crime had been committed. The mother agreed to spend the night at a friend’s house and the two girls stayed home with their father.

A woman reported that a scarf and cosmetics were stolen from her unlocked vehicle in a parking garage at Kimball Junction. Deputies indicated there was no surveillance footage and that they did not have a suspect.

Summit County accuses Hideout of contempt of court in latest legal attempt to stop annexation

Summit County is accusing Hideout of violating a court order to cease annexation activities, the county’s legal response to the town’s latest attempt to annex hundreds of undeveloped acres in Richardson Flat.

Hideout has repealed or rescinded the documents that undergirded its previous annexation attempt and passed new versions of them in what it’s characterizing as a new, separate annexation from the one it initiated in July and later abandoned.

The new annexation includes 350 acres in Richardson Flat, compared to 655 in the original attempt. The developers hoping to build on the land said they opted to downsize the project size to avoid fighting simultaneous legal battles with Park City and Summit County.

In court filings Monday, the county contends that the two annexations are substantively the same and that a 4th District Court injunction bars the town from pursuing Summit County lands related to the previous annexation attempt. The county also says the town’s agreement with the developer that accompanies the latest attempt is “identical” to the previous agreement, which formed the basis for the court’s order, and that the town’s latest “machinations” are an attempted end-run around the court’s order.

Both annexation attempts are meant “to unilaterally shoehorn a massive commercial development into a hotly contested corner of Summit County,” the filing states.

Neither the town’s attorney nor the trial lawyers it hired to combat the litigation from Summit County immediately responded to requests for comment.

Hideout is attempting to annex undeveloped land in Richardson Flat so that developer Nate Brockbank can build a new town center there, including commercial services town officials say Hideout residents need and have limited access to.

Hideout is in Wasatch County and the land is in Summit County. The move would have historically required Summit County’s approval, but the state Legislature passed a law in March allowing this type of annexation, legislation that has since been repealed.

Summit County and Park City — which recently joined a separate suit against the developers — have long planned the land to be used for very low density residential development or protected as open space.

Hideout officials say regional planning has not provided the commercial resources like grocery stores and gas stations that the town’s current population needs, much less for the population boom that is expected as the thousands of approved residential units around the Jordanelle Reservoir begin to be built in coming years.

Officials from Summit and Wasatch counties dispute that claim and point to several commercial areas planned around the reservoir that have not yet been built.

The town is hemmed in by Summit County and would have to grow across its borders, Hideout officials have said.

Park City and Summit County leaders, meanwhile, contend that the town should approve commercial areas within its own borders and that it is undertaking a land grab using tailor-made, secretive legislation while subverting the public process.

There has been no meaningful public comment on the proposed development. A public hearing required for the first annexation was derailed by technical failures, essentially scuttling that annexation attempt. The public hearing required for this annexation is scheduled Oct. 12.

Summit County requests that Judge Jennifer Brown hold Hideout in contempt of court for violating the injunction she granted earlier this month and requests unspecified sanctions against the town.

Brown imposed an injunction against the first annexation attempt, prohibiting Hideout from pursuing any annexation of property based upon a July 9 pre-annexation agreement the town signed with Brockbank.

That agreement has since been rescinded, and the sides appear to disagree about whether the injunction covers the new annexation attempt, as well.

In her ruling, Brown said she was unable to prohibit the town from pursuing future annexations of land in Summit County, but acknowledged that any further move to annex land would likely also be disputed in court.

The county requests a hearing for Hideout to show cause that it did not violate the injunction. Such a hearing had not been scheduled as of midday Tuesday.

Missing backpacker, 25, found dead near King’s Peak

A hiker who went missing in the Uinta Mountains last week was found dead after an apparent 1,000-foot fall in what the Summit County Sheriff’s Office called a tragic loss.

On the fourth day of searching, just before 2:30 p.m. Sunday, search and rescue crews located Kyle S. Wimpenny’s body in the King’s Peak Henry’s Fork drainage area, according to a report from the Sheriff’s Office. He was 25 years old.

“It appears Kyle fell approximately 1,000 feet while attempting to summit Kings Peak,” the report states.

Wimpenny, of Boise, Idaho, embarked on a solo backpacking trip Sept. 13, according to the report. He had intended to climb King’s Peak, Utah’s highest point, and told his roommate to call authorities if he didn’t return home Wednesday night.

That roommate contacted authorities shortly after midnight Thursday, and Summit County Search and Rescue responded to the Henry’s Fork trailhead shortly thereafter, finding Wimpenny’s car.

Wimpenny’s remains were airlifted to Kamas, where they were turned over to the Utah Office of the Medical Examiner.

The search involved 10 agencies, according to the report. Searchers combed the area on foot, on horseback and in aircraft.

“Our hearts are broken for the Wimpenny family and friends,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. “We offer our most sincere condolences as they mourn the tragic loss of Kyle. Hug your family members and friends often.”

House District 28 race pits prominent Democrat against political newcomer

For the first time since 2012, voters will choose who represents them in the state Legislature’s House District 28.

Political newcomer Carol Hunter, a Republican from Salt Lake City, is mounting a campaign against incumbent Rep. Brian King, the House minority leader and one of the most prominent Democrats in the Statehouse.

King, who is vying for his seventh term, did not face a general election opponent in the previous three election cycles. That, Hunter said, is precisely why she decided to run, declaring her candidacy on the final day of the filing window in the spring when no other Republicans had entered the race.

“That just is wrong,” she said of King going unchallenged in recent elections. “You have to be reminded that you work for people. And if you don’t have a competitor, it’s hard to get that reminder.”

For his part, King said he is running again to push a progressive agenda in the largely Republican Legislature. He added that representing the slice of Summit County that is in District 28 — Summit Park and a part of Pinebrook — is important to him as the lone Democrat among left-leaning Summit County’s Statehouse delegation.

“I don’t represent a huge part of (the county), but I think it’s very important for Summit to have the voice of the Legislature that is not just coming through the Republicans but is coming through a Democrat,” he said.

Hunter, a consulting engineer and former vice president at Rocky Mountain Power, identified environmental responsibility as a key plank of her platform. She said she oversaw energy-efficiency programs during more than three decades at Rocky Mountain Power and aims on Capitol Hill to bring “the science and the economics to the table” to address air quality and promote clean modes of transportation. She added that her background gives her the skills to make progress on environmental issues.

“One thing you learn really quick is building consensus,” she said. “If you can’t get consensus real quick, stuff doesn’t get done and, ultimately, either the economy suffers or people suffer. That’s true in the utility business, and I also think it’s true in the business of government.”

King, too, highlighted issues like clean water, clean air and protecting public lands. He also intends to continue to promote gun control legislation, as he has in recent legislative sessions, though with little success.

“The only way that we’re going to make progress on gun violence is if we have people stepping up and saying, ‘This is a priority’ and they start voting in a way that reflects those priorities,” he said. “In other words, you have to have candidates who are concerned that if they don’t address gun violence, they’re not going to get the vote of people and are going to lose elections.”

The candidates, meanwhile, have differing views about the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. King praised Gov. Gary Herbert’s overall leadership but characterized his unwillingness to enact a statewide mask mandate as “inexplicable.”

He added that state officials should not view steps to fight the pandemic as a choice between public health and the economy.

“That’s a false choice,” he said. “Any public servant or candidate who talks about this in that way should not get anybody’s vote because it misunderstands a fundamental truth, which is that our economy is going to reopen successfully only to the degree that the virus is contained.”

Hunter said she wears a mask in public but has mixed feelings about a statewide mandate, indicating that she has “great faith in Utahns that they will do the right thing.”

“I personally have a personal mandate to wear a mask and to socially distance,” she said. “And I would pray that everybody has that. But do I criticize the governor for not making a mandate? I don’t know. I go both directions on that.”

The November election will be conducted primarily through mail-in balloting. The deadline to register to vote is Oct. 23, with ballots slated to be mailed to registered voters three weeks before Election Day Nov. 3. For more information, visit the Summit County Clerk’s website at summitcounty.org/281/Voter-Registration-Elections.