County Watch |

County Watch

Compiled by Patrick Parkinson

A meeting scheduled May 23 from 4 to 8 p.m. at Miners Hospital in Park City will discuss rivers in Summit County that should become part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers system.

Inclusion in the program means rivers that have been designated as wild, scenic or recreational, are approved by Congress or the secretary of the Interior, and protected from development.

Woolstenhulme against new hire

Summit County Commissioner Ken Woolstenhulme was against hiring a fiscal analyst for the county’s Public Works Department.

"That’s one position that I don’t feel good about," Woolstenhulme said after the new employee was introduced to the board Wednesday. "I did oppose the position (by voting against the budget.)"

But Summit County Public Works Administrator Kevin Callahan said he hired Coalville resident Kelly Ovard as his new financial chief because the department’s $12 million budget should be managed more efficiently.

"This is about a $40,000-a-year-position not a huge amount of money," Callahan said. "I know within the $12 million budget we’re going to make more than that up in savings."

The department needs more "financial brain power," he admitted, adding that nine people were interviewed for the new position.

"We need some financial capability within the organization if we’re going to have future capital facility needs of $10 (and) $12 million."

Emergency Medical Services Week

Next week is National Emergency Medical Services Week when citizens can acquaint themselves with people who might one day save their lives.

From noon to 2 p.m. on May 21, 22 and 24, people are invited to visit the Park City Fire District station at 1977 Canyons Resort Drive to meet Fire Chief Kelly Gee. Attendees will receive a first-aid kit and emergency preparedness guide.

Firefighters expect hot summer

Dry conditions have firefighters around the state predicting an active season in 2007.

"Predicting our wildland fire season is not an exact science," said Tracy Dunford, fire management officer for the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands, in a press release. "However, indications are we’re entering this season pretty much the same as last year when we saw the heaviest fire activity in the southwest portion of the state."

Snow pack in the Wasatch-Cache National Forest is about 60 percent of average, which could indicate a greater risk for fires at higher elevations.

"As in years past, we are entering the start of this current fire season with a strong prediction of a major fire season," said Mike Dudley, a U.S. Forest Service Fire, Aviation and Air director. "While there are never any guarantees as to the intensity and duration, the public needs to be aware of the conditions around them and act accordingly."

New I-80 rest stop in Snyderville

Summit County Commissioner Ken Woolstenhulme continues to mix it up with courthouse planners as a discussion about reopening a rest stop on Interstate 80 near Silver Creek moves ahead.

"I would like you to move forward on it, and get it to the planning commission, and get it to us," Woolstenhulme told Summit County Principal Planner Jay Aguilar. "What they have in their sketch looks to me far superior to anything over there — anywhere in the Basin."

Aguilar countered that members of the Bell family, who intend to reopen the rest stop while redeveloping a gas station they own in Silver Creek, have asked to build a facility that doesn’t comply with the Snyderville Basin Development Code.

"We’ll recommend denial on it because it’s against code," he told Woolstenhulme, adding that "there is going to be some horse-trading probably, but it will happen at your level."

Snyderville Basin planning commissioners are scheduled to debate the matter on May 22.

cooperating with the Bells, Summit County Commissioner Bob Richer says he hopes a park-and-ride lot could be built near Silver Creek for commuters.

"We’re negotiating with a private landowner based upon the supposition that we’re going to have a park and ride there," Richer said while cautioning his colleagues to proceed carefully. "If we negotiate with them and give them their approvals and there is no park and ride, then we kind of have an unintentional bait-and-switch."

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