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County Watch

Compiled by Patrick Parkinson

Monday, a Park City man accused of possessing poppies used to produce opium pleaded guilt to a reduced charge of attempted possession of a controlled substance, which is a class A misdemeanor.

Bruce Sanchez and his girlfriend, Parkite Cynthia Owens were charged with felonies when officers allegedly found the poppies in 2007.

"We both lost our jobs as a result of these charges," Sanchez told 3rd District Court Judge Bruce Lubeck.

The judge said he could sentence Sanchez to spend up to a year in jail.

"I don’t know what the sentence will be," Lubeck said.

Fire District tax hike

The Park City Fire District wants about a 24-percent tax increase for those living in western Summit County. Money the district receives from people who own primary homes worth $500,000 would jump from $198 to $232.

The owners of businesses worth $500,000 would pay $63 more if the increase is approved, according to Fire District Chief Financial Officer Bill Pyper.

A Truth in Taxation hearing will discuss the proposed tax hike Aug. 20 at 6:30 p.m. at the Fire District administrative office building at 736 W. Bitner Road.

The fire tax for people who live in western Summit County full time would increase almost $7 per $100,000 of assessed valuation.

Revenue from the tax increase would help fund a new station on Holiday Ranch Loop Road, construction of a training facility and a fully staffed station at The Canyons.

Those with questions can contact Assistant Fire Chief Bob Zanetti at 940-2500.

Most tax rates decrease

Tax rates in Summit County this year dropped in most cases, Summit County Commissioner Bob Richer said.

"Not only were we growing, but values of property increased substantially," Richer said.

Tax notices were sent and those with property that was reassessed should expect their property tax to increase.

Stuffed animals for searchers

Three generations of the Stokes family in Coalville have volunteered to look for people lost in the woods in Summit County.

So Summit County Rodeo Queen Stephenie Stokes decided to make stuffed animals from new or used gloves for volunteer searchers to give children who become separated from family members when camping.

"They fold up really small," Stokes said, adding that several toys will fit easily into a backpack.

Donate gloves for Stokes to turn into toys by contacting her at (435) 901-4339.

"It would be easier to donate a pair of gloves than to donate money," Stokes said.

Her grandfather Billy Stokes was search team commander for several years, she said, adding that her father and brother are active search volunteers.

Firefighters rescind restrictions

Fire restrictions in Utah were rescinded Aug. 8.

Officials say weather was the primary factor in the decision.

"People like to have campfires, it goes along with camping," State Forester Dick Buehler said. "People need to be careful. A little common sense goes a long way when you’re dealing with fire in the wildland."

Use caution when using fire, he warned in a press release.

So far this year campfires represent 13 percent of the acres burned in Utah, according to Buehler.

"While during the 2007 fire season, escaped campfires resulted in four percent of the total acres burned," the press release states. "Recent rainfall and expected monsoonal moisture have reduced the threat of wildland fires."


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