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Headlines Wednesday, September 30, 2015

For entire articles on these stories and more, see our online or print editions

Highway patrol trooper, sheriff’s deputy save life of Fielding man after car crashes into Plymouth canal

Crews from multiple agencies helped in a dramitic underwater rescue of a man who had driven into a canal near Plymouth. The story was picked up by some national media outlets.

By Nelson Phillips
Staff writer

A 45-year-old Fielding man is lucky to be alive after his car crashed into a water-filled canal in Box Elder County on Friday.
The man, whose identity has not yet been released by authorities, went into the water at approximately 17685 North 4400 West in Plymouth. Authorities described the man as being in a lot of pain, suffering two “severely broken” legs which were pinned inside the car between the seat and dashboard. As the car filled up with water, somehow the injured man managed to force the driver’s door open, and was found holding onto the roof of the car, attempting to keep his head above water, when Utah Highway Patrol trooper Josh Carr and Box Elder County Sheriff’s Sgt. Brian Nelson arrived on scene.

Bear River water district seeks maximum tax increase

by Nelson Phillips
Staff Writer

This year could well become known as the “year of the tax increase” by Box Elder County residents, when, following in the footsteps of the Box Elder School District, Willard City, the Box Elder Mosquito Abatement District and the Utah State Legislature (with regard to gasoline taxes), board members of the Bear River Water Conservancy District (BRWCD) have announced that they intend to raise taxes as well.
The district is proposing a 56.25 percent increase, the maximum limit allowed by law, hoping to raise approximately $381,400 in additional revenue for fiscal year 2016.
“We’ve had one increase in 25 years,” said Voneene Jorgensen, Water Conservancy District General Manager. “We had a project where a well went down and our savings had taken a big hit. So now we feel we need to replace those savings in case of other emergencies for future projects.”


Orbital ATK lands new booster contract’

by Nelson Phillips
Staff Writer

In welcome news for the aerospace industry in northern Utah, Orbital ATK has announced it was selected by United Launch Alliance (ULA) to provide solid rocket boosters for ULA’s next generation Vulcan launch vehicle, as well as providing boosters for their existing Atlas 5 vehicles beginning in 2018.
As with the space shuttle, “strap-on” boosters are used to give rockets more power at lift-off, enabling them to carry heavier payloads into space. ULA, a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed-Martin launching military and government payloads into orbit, currently uses boosters produced by Aerojet Rocketdyne for the Atlas 5, but awarded the future contract to Orbital ATK. Statements issued in a joint press release from the two companies suggested that OATK’s rocket designs may have been more cost effective.


Conservation efforts succeed in

keeping sage grouse off ESA list

Last week’s announcement by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that the greater sage grouse does not need specific protection under the Endangered Species Act should have been a clear win for the 11 western states home to sage grouse habitat, but the announcement became mired in controversy with the release of land use plan amendments—calling for continued conservation efforts and restrictions on development of habitat—that drew sharp criticism from Utah’s state and national-level elected officials.
Utah Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah, Dist. 1) called the move not to list the bird as a “cynical ploy,” in light of the land use plan amendments.
“Do not be fooled,” Bishop said in a press release in his role as Chairman of the Congressional Natural Resources Committee. “With the stroke of a pen, the Obama Administration’s oppressive land management plan is the same as a listing. The new command and control federal plan will not help the bird, but it will control the west, which is the real goal of the Obama Administration.”
A statement from Utah Governor Gary Herbert’s office echoed Bishop.
“Today’s actions constitute the equivalent of a listing decision outside the normal process and fail to support an appropriate balance between conservation and other public uses of the land,” Herbert said in his statement. “Their one-size-fits-all approach does not reflect the tremendous diversity in greater sage-grouse habitats across the West. These federal land use plan amendments are unnecessarily restrictive in nature and devalue Utah’s management plan and the conservation commitments from private landowners. The state of Utah has implemented a successful sage grouse conservation plan that has been rejected by the federal government, jeopardizing conservation of the species and reasonable economic growth in Utah.”
Sage grouse habitat is scattered throughout Utah, with some of the most important and sensitive lands existing in the northwest corner of Box Elder County. The Bureau of Land Management estimates that habitat in Box Elder County is home to between 18-20 percent of all the birds in Utah.