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County Watch

Compiled by Patrick Parkinson

Campaign-finance statements filed with the Utah lieutenant governor’s office show that in a 2006 primary election, state Sen. David Thomas, R-South Weber, received no help from developers in Summit County as during his first Senate bid four years ago.

Thomas is also an attorney in the civil division of the Summit County Attorney’s Office.

Promontory builder Rich Sonntag gave Thomas $500 and Jim Doilney and Marc Wangsgard, the developers of Newpark, each contributed $100 to Thomas’ successful 2002 campaign, according to disclosure forms filed with the state.

But Thomas lost his chance for another term last June in a Republican primary election against Ogden Police Chief Jon Greiner, who faces Democrat Stuart Reid in November to represent portions of Weber and Davis counties on Utah’s Capitol Hill.

Of the $14,463 Thomas reportedly spent campaigning this year, $3,000 came from Citadel Investment Advisors, L.C.

According to the Utah Department of Commerce, George A. Hunt is Citadel’s registered agent.

An attorney, Hunt also works closely with Thomas as outside counsel representing Summit County in antitrust litigation filed against the government in Third District Court by Summit Water Distribution Company.

Jody Burnett, another private attorney who works for Summit County, contributed $200 to Thomas’ 2006 campaign.

No Summit County residents appear on a campaign-finance statement filed this year by Thomas.

Oil, Gas and Mining celebrates 50 years

Celebrating 50 years as the Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining, natural resources officials recognized the Anzhutz Ranch East Field, near Coalville, as the state’s most prolific oil and gas well.

Since its completion in 1983, the well has produced about 10 million barrels of oil and more than 286 billion cubic feet of natural gas, division officials say.

The Division of Oil, Gas and Mining began as the Utah Oil and Gas Commission in 1955. The division’s mission is to promote exploration, development and conservation of natural resources while performing environmental oversight, a press release states.

"The newly created Oil and Gas Conservation Commission issued its first permit in October of 1955," Gil Hunt, the division’s associate director said in the press release. "Since that time we have issued permits for thousands of wells throughout the state, and in the last year established a new record for permits in a single year of more than 1,600."

Two tree projects slated in Uintas

U.S. Forest Service officials intend to harvest dead lodgepole pine and some live trees from the lower Gilbert Creek drainage in the Mountain View Ranger District of the Wasatch-Cache National Forest.

Thinning green trees and those killed by beetles could help other trees withstand infestation from bark beetles, officials claim.

"The number of infested trees has increased substantially in small patches over the last year," a Forest Service press release states. "Removal of infested trees this fall and early next summer would reduce the beetle population and could help reduce the number of trees infested next year."

Roughly 150 large green trees per acre and 30 large dead trees per 10 acres would be retained, the press release states.

The harvesting is proposed on roughly 240 acres.

"Several short temporary roads totaling less than ½ mile will be needed," the press release states. "Any temporary roads that are considered will be scarified, seeded and covered with woody debris following completion."

Meanwhile, officials in the Mountain View Ranger District have also proposed a prescribed fire in lower Sage Creek to regenerate aspen trees and sage brush to help improve wildlife diversity in the area.

Roughly 400 acres could be burned, a Forest Service press release states.

"Most of this forest is a result of [fire]," the press release states. "Prescribed burning is a useful tool for maximum regeneration and growth of aspen and for regeneration of sage brush where it can be carried out without much risk of escape or damage to private property."

Contact Larry Johnson at the Mountain View Ranger District at (307) 789-3194 for more information about these and other Forest Service activities in the Uinta Mountains.


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