Politics story most read in ’06
The local story that may have most captivated readers during 2006 was the contentious campaign for a seat on the Summit County Commission — if visits to The Park Record’s Web site are any indicator.
The most read news story locally on the Web wrapped up results from the November election in the wake of some of the dirtiest campaign tactics some politicos in the area say they had experienced in years.
While Summit County Commissioner Ken Woolstenhulme, a Democrat from Oakley, was coasting unopposed to another term on the board, his Democratic colleague, Commissioner Bob Richer, of Ranch Place, faced one of his toughest political fights.
Though Richer came out on top garnering 58 percent, or 6,155 votes, the incumbent failed to win a majority in any of the East Side precincts.
Miles, meanwhile, sat comfortably election night as returns poured in from eastern Summit County. His nearly 20-point lead, however, dried up as news surfaced of Miles’ dismal showing in Park City and the Snyderville Basin, where most of the county’s voters live.
A last-minute bout of political mudslinging surprised and embarrassed some voters.
Citizens vote to overthrow their government
Close to 5,500 voters in mostly Park City and the Snyderville Basin succeeded this year in overthrowing their government.
Summit County Proposition 1 was approved by a small number of voters mostly in Park City and the Snyderville Basin who demanded the Summit County Commission disband and a five-person county council be formed in 2009.
Prop. 1’s passage means the three-member commission will no longer carry out the county’s legislative and executive functions. But support for the ballot measure fell short of a mandate.
The plan requires the Summit County Commission begin to facilitate transition to a council/manager form of government before 2009.
Before the current commissioners’ terms end in 2008, voters could select their first five-person, partisan county council.
The most controversial aspect of Proposition 1 could be the hiring of a manager to oversee the county’s executive branch, which includes hiring employees and some budget oversight.
Placing those powers in the hands of someone not elected by citizens is distasteful to the plan’s opponents.
Hoytsville man challenges incumbent sheriff
Freshman Summit County Sheriff Dave Edmunds, who is a Republican, perhaps thought he was in for an easy campaign when his Democratic opponent withdrew from the race last spring.
But one of the most read Web stories of 2006 was published after Hoytsville resident Brody Taylor challenged Edmunds as an independent write-in candidate in the weeks leading up to the election.
A Woodland man who is a friend of Edmunds now faces accusations of extortion and slander after he allegedly attempted to force Taylor to withdraw from the race, a lawsuit filed by Taylor against South Summit resident John Moon states.
The court complaint, which seeks $250,000 in damages from Moon, details a phone call allegedly made to Taylor.
"[Moon] called Taylor stating that if Taylor did not drop out of the race for sheriff and pull his campaign signs, Moon was going to The Park Record newspaper to allege that Taylor raped Moon’s daughter," Taylor’s civil complaint against Moon states.
Wolf Mountain fights to end lease at The Canyons
The potential termination of a lease between American Skiing Company and Wolf Mountain Resorts also ranked high on this year’s list of the most read stories.
The owners of Wolf Mountain in western Summit County sold the resort with exception of the land to American Skiing Company in 1997. ASC renamed the resort The Canyons and leased property from Wolf Mountain "with the goal of developing a major North American ski resort in Park City," claims officials at American Skiing Company, parent company to The Canyons.
But American Skiing has violated the lease, says Wolf Mountain managing partner Kenny Griswold.
Siding with American Skiing Company, Third District Court Judge Bruce Lubeck prevented Griswold from immediately ending the lease, however, has not ruled on the merits of the case.
It could take two years for the case to go to trial.
Attorney: a Summit County resident?
Many perusing the newspaper’s Web site last fall hit a story that explored whether Summit County Attorney David Brickey has complied with state residency requirements for political candidates.
Though Brickey rents a condominium in Old Town, his primary residence, for which he receives reduced property taxes, is a house he owns in Salt Lake, according to the Salt Lake County Assessor’s Office.
Brickey insists his residence is where he says. But a rival police officer in Park City accused Brickey, who is the county’s top law enforcement official, of committing vote fraud when he swore recently that he was a resident of Summit County when he registered to vote.
Brickey currently is being investigated by the Utah Attorney General’s Office, said Paul Murphy, a spokesman for the attorney general, who added that the investigation is focused on whether the Summit County attorney has violated the law.
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Nearly 80% of Summit County residents have received a vaccine. Reaching the other 20% is the next challenge for health officials.
Summit County is planning to shut down its drive-thru mass vaccine clinic in May as the vaccination campaign is months ahead of schedule.