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County Watch

Compiled by Patrick Parkinson

Utah Olympic Park staffers are to blame for injuries a Salt Lake County woman allegedly suffered while street luging at the facility near Kimball Junction, a lawsuit filed in Third District Court states.

The site of bobsledding, luging and skeleton racing at the 2002 Olympic Games, the UOP now offers opportunities for the public to try different versions of the sports.

The park’s street luging course consists of a roughly 100-foot section of sloped pavement with two lanes divided by a concrete barrier, states the lawsuit filed against the Utah Athletic Foundation, the group that operates the facility.

Salt Lake County resident Cindy Hughes, 49, claims she wasn’t adequately warned of the dangers before she slammed the barrier after she veered off course.

"[Hughes’] sled traveled approximately [20 to 25 feet] down the course when the sled hit the concrete divider between the lanes," states Hughes’ complaint filed Nov. 3, 2006.

After the crash, Hughes, who attests she wasn’t properly instructed in the use of the sled, claims she couldn’t breathe or stand up.

For not providing proper supervision, the Utah Olympic Park employees were negligent in causing Hughes’ injuries, states the lawsuit, which seeks to recover damages.

Risks, however, are inherent to street luging, counters Kevin Simon, an attorney from Park City who represents the Olympic Park.

"[The park] alleges that it owed no duty to protect [Hughes] from the subject incident and, as such, [her] claims against [Utah Olympic Park] are barred," an answer filed by Simon in Third District Court in Snyderville states.

agreeing to participate, Hughes assumed the "known and obvious" risks of the sport, Simon claims.

"[Utah Olympic Park] alleges that [Hughes] was negligent, that [her] own negligence was at least 50 percent responsible for [her] injuries and damages," his response to the complaint filed Jan. 2 states.

Osguthorpe owes?

A Park City law firm has accused a Snyderville Basin Republican of not paying his legal bill.

According to a civil complaint filed Jan. 18 against Stephen Osguthorpe by Wrona Law Offices, in hiring the firm for legal representation Feb. 17, 2006, Osguthorpe agreed to pay monthly.

"Osguthorpe breached the [agreement] by failing to pay Wrona Law for legal services provided for Osguthorpe," court papers state.

Osguthorpe, who this week hadn’t answered the lawsuit, allegedly owes Wrona Law Offices $10,148.

Senators douse stream bill

A Senate standing committee rejected a bill before the Utah Legislature that could have helped to protect fish habitat in East Canyon Creek.

Senate Bill 95 failed partly because of opposition from rural lawmakers who said the change was too drastic for laws that govern water rights in Utah.

"Whenever you change that, it makes a lot of people nervous," said state Rep. Mel Brown, R-Coalville.

At issue was whether local governments like the Snyderville Basin Water Reclamation District should be allowed to help ensure water stays in streams by buying water rights in areas like East Canyon Creek.

Currently, only the state’s Divisions of Wildlife Resources and State Parks may hold instream flows, meaning creeks can continue to have water after irrigation rights upstream are satisfied, explained Mike Luers, general manager of the Basin Water Reclamation District.

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State Sen. Mike Dmitrich, D-Price, hoped his Capitol Hill colleagues, after seeing the impact development has had on watersheds in areas like Park City, would act to prevent streams like East Canyon Creek from drying up as it did in 2003.

By allowing special service districts like his to purchase instream flows, Luers insists SB95 could help ensure East Canyon Creek continues to flow.

But governments could compete unfairly with citizens for water if SB95 was to pass, state Sen. Darin Peterson, a Republican from Nephi, recently told The Park Record.

Peterson chairs the Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee, which last week voted 2-5 to defeat the legislation.


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