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County Watch

Compiled by Patrick Parkinson

A 25-year-old man from Midvale pleaded guilty this week in Third District Court to stealing scrap metal from contractors in Summit County.

Authorities say the material was stolen so it could be sold at scrap yards in Salt Lake City.

Justin Douglas Griffith pleaded guilty to four felony counts of theft, according to court documents.

A theft was reported by Geary Construction Jan. 9.

Replacing the stolen wire cost the company more than $4,100, according to Third District Court information filed by Summit County prosecutors.

County Attorney David Brickey says Griffith left evidence at the scene like tire tracks, footprints, a cigarette box, a glove and tote bag.

When forensics experts examined the tote for fingerprints a positive match for Griffith was discovered, court papers state.

Investigators say tire tracks and footprints found at Geary Construction were similar to evidence recovered at other crime scenes where metal was stolen in the county.

"Investigators for the Summit County Sheriff’s Office have received information from informants on who the possible suspect is," papers filed by prosecutors state.

Stolen metal was allegedly sold to Western Metals Recycling.

Sentencing for Griffith is scheduled March 27. People convicted of third-degree felonies in Utah could serve five years in prison and pay a $5,000 fine for each count.

Plaintiff wants out of water case

A developer named as a plaintiff in a lawsuit filed last week by Temple Har Shalom against Summit County wants his company’s name removed from the case.

In an e-mail he wrote to deputy Summit County attorney Renee Spooner, Jon-Eric Greene, a principal for Two Creeks Ranch, insists he shouldn’t have been named a party in the dispute.

The complaint filed Feb. 8 teams the Park City Jewish Center, Inc., with Summit Water Distribution Company and South Summit resident Nadine Gillmor

Named as defendants in the lawsuit are the county, Mountain Regional Water Special Service District, Summit County Treasurer Glen Thompson and County Assessor Barbara Kresser.

The case challenges the legality of a fee charged by Mountain Regional to property owners in the district who choose other water providers in western Summit County.

The county’s so-called alternative water service provider fee forces landowners not interested in Mountain Regional to pay to work with the county’s competitors who offer lower rates, the lawsuit contends.

With plans slated for a synagogue in the Snyderville Basin, officials at Summit Water Distribution Company claim they can beat the county’s price for providing the congregation water.

County officials say the fees are legal and necessary to service debt that was incurred to form Mountain Regional.

X-country trail closure

Due to a lack of snow and warming weather, trails for cross-country skiing at Wasatch Mountain State Park are closed.

"We had a good, although short, season this year with many people enjoying the classic and skate skiing groomed trail system," park naturalist Wendy Wilson states in a press release.

Wilson encourages skiers to visit the Wasatch-Cache National Forest situated along the Mirror Lake Highway in the Uinta Mountains east of Kamas.

Contact Wasatch Mountain State Park officials near Jordanelle reservoir by calling (435) 654-1791.

New state drinking water chief

The state has tapped a 31-year veteran of Utah’s Division of Drinking Water to oversee an environmental regulatory agency that monitors 938 public water systems.

Ken Bousfield replaces former director Kevin Brown who left the post Dec. 1 to work in the private sector, a Utah Department of Environmental Quality press release states. "I’m looking forward to strengthening our partnerships with the water industry and local water systems to ensure residents of Utah receive a safe and reliable supply of drinking water," Bousfield said.

"[Bousfield] will make an outstanding director," DEQ executive director Dianne Nielson said. "His extensive experience as a manager for the division’s compliance section and his work with water systems stakeholders will enable the division to continue its success in assuring quality drinking water for Utahns."


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