County Watch |

County Watch

Salt Lake County resident Andrew Graham, 31, was killed Sunday morning when he slammed his Ford Taurus into the back of a semi-truck on eastbound Interstate 80 in western Summit County.

Utah Highway Patrol troopers say alcohol may have been involved in the accident that occurred around 1:57 a.m.

The truck was reportedly traveling roughly 45 mph in the outside lane with its flashers on when Graham reportedly hit the rear of the vehicle.

"The Ford then overturned onto the roof and went off the road to the right," a UHP press release states. The car reportedly came to rest on the shoulder of the road. Graham died at the scene.

Trial for ex-deputy postponed

A trial is scheduled June 23 for a former Summit County Sheriff’s Office narcotics officer who is facing one count of driving under the influence of alcohol in Salt Lake City Justice Court.

John Thomas James was arrested by the Salt Lake City Police Department on June 11, 2005. He also faces misdemeanor charges for failure to signal and having an open container of alcohol in his vehicle, court papers filed by Salt Lake City Chief Prosecutor Sim Gill state.

Investigators claim James’ blood alcohol content was above Utah’s legal limit of .08 grams when he was pulled over around 2 a.m. at 615 South Main Street in Salt Lake City.

James pleaded not guilty but a trial scheduled for Jan. 31 was recently postponed.

"When we screened the case we filed what were all appropriate charges Our office has prosecuted all sorts of people in all sorts of places," Gill told The Park Record last summer.

According to Summit County Sheriff Dave Edmunds, deputies convicted of DUI typically have their certifications to practice law enforcement in Utah suspended.

For more than a year, James worked on some of the county’s highest profile drug busts. He is no longer employed with the Summit County Sheriff’s Office.

Drilling storage site approved in Uinta Mountains

Those camping near Bear River Service on the Mirror Lake Highway this summer should expect more truck traffic in the area. Ignoring opposition last week from property owners in the area, the Summit County Commission approved a conditional use permit for a petroleum company to begin storing equipment on the edge of the Wasatch-Cache National Forest.

Several attended the public hearing Wednesday in Coalville, but commissioners voted unanimously in the end to allow Double Eagle Petroleum Company to use five acres leased near the forest for storage and staging.

The U.S. Forest Service has cleared the way for Double Eagle Petroleum Company to drill a new oil well near the Tabletop area of the Wasatch-Cache in 2006. But property owners in the nearby Wilderness Acres subdivision fought construction of the drilling storage area in their neighborhood. They appealed a unanimous decision from the Eastern Summit County Planning Commission. The County Commission, however, upheld the permit approval.

"The majority of equipment that will be stored on the site will be pipe that will be stacked about (three feet) high and some machinery," a Summit County Community Development staff report states. "The applicant anticipates that the maximum height of the equipment stored with be about (six feet)."

Recreational vehicle users and mostly second-homeowners vacation in the area throughout the summer. Summit County planner Denise Hytonen expects the temporary staging area to generate about two traffic trips each day between May 1 and Sept. 1.

"[We] don’t want to hear or see drilling equipment coming and going," writes Arizona residents Gary and Sherrill Spendlove in a Nov. 16 e-mail to the Summit County Community Development Department.

Echo denied Transient Room Tax

In a rare move, the Park City Chamber/Bureau denied a request from the Echo Community Historical Organization for $5,000 in Transient Room Tax to improve a historic school in the town.

"They sent us a letter denying it," Echo resident Frank Cattelan said.

The denial came in the wake of the Summit County Commission instructing the County Auditor’s Office to inquire into how Echo officials have spent past TRT grants.

"I would like to see us have some kind of accountability there," Summit County Commissioner Ken Woolstenhulme said.

Each year, the Chamber/Bureau receives roughly 90 percent of the county’s Transient Room Tax revenue. But two annual granting cycles allow the Chamber to award smaller non-profit organizations grants of up to $5,000. TRT is generated by a portion of sales tax on lodging rentals in Summit County.

Free assistance with taxes

On Feb. 16 and 27, volunteers will be available to assist citizens with filing their tax returns at the Utah State University Extension Services office at 45 East 100 North in Coalville. For eligibility requirements and more information contact the statewide community information line at 211. The program is offered through the Volunteer Tax Assistance Program.

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