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County Watch

Compiled by Patrick Parkinson

The basics of avalanche safety will be explored during classes slated to begin Saturday and Sunday at 8:30 a.m. at The Canyons resort in Park City.

Attending each session costs $75, which benefits the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Forecast Center, according to Jake Hutchinson, a ski patroller at The Canyons.

Each day from 8:30 to 10 a.m. Hutchinson will teach a class at Red Pine Lodge.

Students will be taught how to use a transceiver and rescue techniques from 10 to 10:30 a.m. and from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. they’ll explore different types of terrain and route-finding methods.

The cost includes a day pass to The Canyons and lunch at Red Pine Lodge.

Classes are limited to 25 people per day. For more information contact Hutchinson at 615-3325.

Frozen pipes in Kamas

Some water pipes are frozen in Kamas and Mayor Lew Marchant cautions residents to leave their taps running to prevent pipes from freezing and breaking this spring.

"About the size of a pencil, it needs to be more than a drip but it doesn’t need to be a big stream," Marchant said. "They’re saying it’s the coldest January that we’ve had in 34 years."

Had some Kamas residents living near S.R. 248 left their taps running a water main in the city may not be frozen today, Marchant said.

"When [water] melts and it turns warmer it expands," he said, adding, "when the breakage would happen would be when it thaws out, if that happens."

Pipes are currently frozen inside roughly a dozen homes in Kamas, according to Marchant.

"At this point, we’ve got water to everybody. We’ve been able to connect to neighbors through outside taps, it’s just the lines going directly to their homes are froze up," he said. "It’s not in any one particular area of the city, it’s just hit and miss several places."

The mayor praised the city’s maintenance workers who have "been up day and night" addressing frozen pipes.

Residents won’t be hit for overages they incur on their bills by leaving their taps running, Marchant stressed.

"We never charge people for that," he said adding that pipes in Kamas may not thaw for several months. "It’s not worth it to have people to have to deal with frozen and/or broken water lines."

More patrolmen wanted for Parleys

Deadly crashes on Interstate 80 in Parleys Canyon have one Summit County lawmaker requesting money from the Legislature to fund increased patrols to encourage motorists who travel the winding mountain pass to slow down.

"I’ve had enough people express this heartfelt concern and sadness over the fatalities that we’ve had and the impact that it’s had on families," said state Rep. Christine Johnson, a Salt Lake Democrat who represents portions of the Snyderville Basin.

"I was able to squeeze in an additional ($500,000) appropriations (request) specific for I-80 in the Parleys Canyon sector so that we can beef up patrol, encourage people to slow down and increase safety," Johnson said.

The money could fund the presence of several new troopers in Parleys Canyon, she added.

"Maybe we’ll get a fraction of it, maybe if people scream loud enough and demand it, we’ll get more," the freshman representative said.

Shovel sidewalks: it’s the law?

Struggling to convince some residents to clear the snow from sidewalks in front of their homes, Summit County officials are considering requiring that shoveling take place possibly within 24 hours of a storm.

"We do not have, as many cities have currently, an ordinance which requires the property owners who have a sidewalk in front of their properties to clear that after a storm," said Kevin Callahan, administrator for Summit County Public Works. "If we want to be able to have kids in these neighborhoods be able to walk on the sidewalks during the winter we can certainly empower the homeowners to help them."

The discussion comes as the Summit County Commission considers cooperating with the Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District to help ensure snow is cleared from trails in the Snyderville Basin.

"We hope [visitors] don’t bring cars, but we’ve got to make it easy for them to walk," said Mountain Trails Foundation chief Carol Potter, a non-motorized trails advocate.

According to County Commissioner Bob Richer, "if there is any responsibility, our responsibility needs to relate to health and safety in terms of clearing walking areas."

"I see the need for it growing," Callahan said.

Citizens often request Summit County better plow walkways near Kilby Road, Landmark Drive and Bitner Road near Kimball Junction, according to Callahan.

"We’ve certainly heard from schools and parents who are concerned," he said.

Uncertainty among prosecutors

Gus Chin, a prosecutor at the Summit County Attorney’s Office, is again in the running for a Third District Court judgeship.

"You have to submit an application and it’s a fairly in-depth application," Chin said.

Currently, the state must replace former Judge Leslie Lewis who voters recalled from the bench last year.

Within about a month, Chin says he expects Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. to recommend an applicant be confirmed by the state Senate.


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