Headlines Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Willard teen injured in fall from cliff
recovering at home
By Nelson Phillips
A Willard-area teen who fell 300 feet down a cliff while hiking with friends in the mountains above South Willard last Monday has been released from the hospital and is home with his family.
The release of the 16-year-old boy, whose name was withheld because he’s a minor, was confirmed by a McKay-Dee hospital admitting nurse in a phone conversation last Thursday.
The boy suffered what was described as “severe head wounds” during the fall, striking rocks as he tumbled down the mountainside. Authorities credited the boy’s two friends, also 16, with staying calm and keeping their friend’s bleeding under control until help could arrive.
But heroes on this particular rescue could be found all over.
“This turned out to be one of the most difficult [rescues] our guys have ever done, as far as where and how far he needed to be moved“ said Box Elder County Sheriff Kevin Potter. “It was either shale rock or straight cliff.”
Potter explained that because of the shale rock, his search and rescue team had a difficult time getting anchors in for the ropes to lift the boy. “They raised him almost 300 feet, and they had to do five lateral movements” to get the boy to a place where the life-flight helicopter could land. “I was very proud of our guys, they did excellent work,” said Potter.
Potter praised the Willard City Fire Department as well, who were first to arrive on the scene and render aid.
BC man arrested for child sexual abuse
by Nelson Phillips
A Brigham City man was charged in First District Court on Aug. 24 with with four counts of Class A Misdemeanor lewdness involving a child, and one count of first degree felony aggravated sexual abuse of a child stemming from 14 alleged acts involving three juvenile boys.
Jacob T. Christensen, 38, was taken into custody on Aug. 14 by officers from the Brigham City Police Department after the boys, aged 12 and younger, claimed in interviews at the Brigham City Child Justice Center that Christensen had masturbated in front of them and had groped one of them while at a relative’s home in Brigham City.
The probable cause statement by officer Anthony Ferderber alleged that “Jacob was interviewed and admitted to masturbating in front of the children but stated he did not remember touching (the boy).” Christensen was arrested and taken to the Box Elder County Jail.
The felony charge carries the possibility of five years to life, while the four misdemeanors carry possible jail sentences of one year each. These are the first criminal charges Christensen has faced, according to a search of court records.
Christensen is next scheduled to appear in front of Judge Thomas Wilmore of the Brigham City First District Court on Aug. 31 for a decision to prelim hearing, where it will be decided if a preliminary hearing to weigh the evidence against Christensen is wanted and necessary before proceeding to a trial.
Christensen is currently being held in the Box Elder County Jail on $25,000 bail.
Suspect found competent to stand trial for murder
Spencer Rumel Gerlach, 20, has been found competent by two court-appointed psychologists to stand trial for charges related to the stabbing death of Gerlach’s ex-wife.
Gerlach appeared with lawyer Bernie Allen in First District Court in Brigham City on Monday as Judge Thomas Willmore reviewed the competency reports, both of which indicated that Gerlach understands the charges and the court case against him.
Although the defense is still awaiting its own report, attorney Allen told the judge that they were ready to move ahead with a preliminary trial, which will determine if enough evidence exists to justify a full trial.
After some back-and-forth between the prosecution and defense regarding trial dates, Willmore put an end to the discussion and made a decision. Willmore set the preliminary for Sept. 11 at 1 p.m., citing the length of time that has already expired in the case and “concern for the alleged victims.” He also mentioned that Gerlach has been in custody since his arrest in April.
Gerlach is accused in the April 15 murder of his ex-wife, 19-year-old Keltsie Gerlach, at her Brigham City apartment. He faces a first degree felony murder charge and third degree felony domestic violence in front of a child charge.
CenturyLink to connect rural customers
Telecommunications giant, CenturyLink, Inc., announced last Thursday it will accept approximately $3 billion over 6 years from the Federal Communications Commission to provide broadband internet access to 1.2 million locations in rural areas, including more than 4,300 households and businesses in Utah.
The money is coming from the FCC’s Connect America Fund (CAF), set up in 2011 to facilitate high-speed Internet access in areas designated as “high-cost” to build broadband infrastructure. The CAF is funded through a transition of money from the Universal Service Fund, which previously supported building rural telephone lines. CenturyLink accepted $75,000,000 in the first phase of the program, known as CAF 1, to provide access to 114,000 rural locations. CAF 2 is the program’s second phase.
“We’re pleased to help bridge the urban-rural digital divide by bringing high-speed broadband to more than 4,300 households and businesses in high-cost markets in Utah, said Brian Stading, CenturyLink West Region President. “While CAF 2 funding does not address all markets in our footprint, our company investment for CAF 2 is significant, and we look forward to working closely with Utah policymakers to find funding and deployment solutions for additional markets.”
Which rural communities in Utah will benefit from the build-out has not yet been decided, however.
“CenturyLink’s buildout plan is being finalized,” said Steven Jenkins of SnappConner PR, a public relations firm representing CenturyLink. “No plans for specific areas are available at this time, but we’ll be sure to keep you informed as more information is available.” Jenkins said work is set to begin in early 2016.
Chamber Looking For Peach Days Volunteers
The Brigham Area Chamber of Commerce is still seeking volunteers to help fill positions for the upcoming Peach Days celebration.
According to Executive Director Monica Holdaway, the following positions are open for adult volunteers:
Friday, Sept. 11 - Parking lot monitor for County Courthouse parking lot (2-hour blocks from 7 a.m. - 5 p.m.)
Friday, Sept. 11 - Parking lot monitor for City Hall parking lot (2-hour blocks from 7 a.m. - 5 p.m.)
Friday, Sept. 11 - Parking lot monitor for Senior Center parking lot (2-hour blocks from 7 a.m. - 5 p.m.)
Saturday, Sept. 12 - Parking lot monitor for 800 West four shifts available (2-hour blocks from 7 a.m. - 3 p.m.)
Anyone interested in helping should contact the Chamber at (435) 723-3931, or email Monica at email@example.com.