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Headlines Wednesday, April 15, 2015


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Providing safe haven benefits children, parents and community

By Loni Newby
and Nelson Phillips
Staff writers

In Box Elder County last year, 433 cases of child abuse resulted in 559 child victims. Statewide in 2014, there were 38,168 complaints of child abuse. Of those, 20,294 were investigated and 6,973 were found to have merit, for a rate of 34 percent of investigated complaints being substantiated and children were being harmed.
The response to this will overwhelmingly be outrage, and although it is appropriate, Katy Bonds of Box Elder Family Support Center said outreach is what will make the biggest difference, including providing a safe place for children for those parents who are facing extreme stress or a crisis, or need other help.
Services provided by BEFSC include crisis child care, shelter services, family counseling and inmate counseling.
“We are one of the only ones [support centers] that have the nursery as the center of our services.” Bondss said. “For us, we feel that there’s a direct correlation between good experiences as a child and good experiences as an adult, as well as bad experiences as a child and bad experiences as an adult.”
The staff’s focus is providing a safe, nurturing environment for the children who pass through their doors. The BEFSC is a cozy operation nestled in a renovated home with a backyard that rivals any child support center in the state, with multiple playhouses, a bike path, an infant corral and even a water play area. Their services are available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day as the staff is always on call to provide a safe place for children at no charge when other options are not available.
Bonds said parents in crisis are more likely to become abusive to children, and they are simply providing the obvious solution.
“It wasn’t me, but some genius figured out that when you give people a nursery to take their children to when they’re in crisis, it lowers the incidence of child abuse, and also gives the family a system where they can deal with their crisis while the child is in a safe place,” Bonds explained.
The separation from a potentially volatile situation with this temporary care is a preventative measure that can benefit everyone in the situation. Tension is not amplified through the presence of children that may not understand a stressful situation, and the children receive quality care.


Attorneys make arguments in Perry murder appeal

By Nelson Phillips
Staff writer

Defense attorneys for Glenn Howard Griffin, 58, who was convicted in 2008 for the 1984 slaying of service station attendant Bradley Perry, made their case in First District Court last week in an evidenciary hearing following a successful appeal in the Utah Supreme Court.
In late January this year the Supreme Court issued an opinion on Griffin’s appeal, throwing out most of Griffin’s arguments, but referring claims of inadequate counsel back to the First District Court for findings of fact. The motion was made by Griffin’s new attorney, Jennifer Gowans, according to a rule which defines causes for questions of inadequate counsel.
“A number of Mr. Griffin’s 23B claims fail, and we therefore deny the motion in part,” the Supreme Court’s opinion reads. “However, we determine that for several of his claims, Mr. Griffin has satisfied the requirements of rule 23B, and we therefore remand this case to the trial court on those claims.”
A hearing was held in First District Court on April 9 in order to get more information on record to allow the Supreme Court to make a decision. The transcript and audio recording of that hearing is not yet available, however, the court ordered it be expedited so prosecutors may file their responses in time.


News Briefs

Postal worker recovering after accident
A Brigham City postal carrier is at home today and is expected to make a full recovery after being struck and run over while delivering mail last Wednesday.
According to information provided by the Brigham City police department, Tori Tittensor, 53, was delivering mail on her route at 674 South 500 West at about 9 a.m. Tittensor was walking on the driveway of the home, toward the street, when she was struck by a truck being driven by the owner of the home, a 53-year-old male. Tittensor was knocked to the ground and the truck backed on top of her. The driver immediately pulled forward after hearing screams.
Tittensor was transported to Brigham City Community Hospital with internal injuries including a hematoma on her liver and damage to her spine. She was released Saturday and is home and doing well, according to husband, Paul Tittensor.
Last Friday, Interim Brigham City Police Chief Mike Nelson said the case would be screened by the city attorney for possible charges. He said the incident “looks completely like a tragic accident,” but said it is also something of a cautionary tale.
“It’s something to help us remember, look at what you’re doing,” Nelson said.

BC man critically injured in rollover
Brigham City resident Cody Martin, 32, is in critical condition following a rollover accident on I-15 Sunday evening.
According to an accident report provided by the Utah Highway Patrol, Martin was driving northbound on the inside lane when the truck drifted into the median. It appeared as though Martin overcorrected back across both lanes of northbound I-15 and off the shoulder, where the truck rolled at least twice. Martin, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was ejected from the vehicle. Northbound I-15 was shutdown for about 20 minutes in order to airlift Martin to McKay Dee Hospital in Ogden.
It is not known if Martin was impaired or distracted. The accident is being investigated to determine if either played a role.

Northern Utah ready for Great Shake Out
Numerous groups and organizations from media organizations and schools, to businesses and churches will be ready to “Drop, Cover and Hold On,” for the Great Utah Shake Out tomorrow, Thursday, April 16.
In the Northern Utah Region, which includes Davis, Weber, Morgan, Box Elder, Cache and Rich counties, about 130,000 participants will join approximately 630,000 people across the state practicing earthquake preparedness and safety drills. At 10:15 a.m. on Thursday, participants will “drop, cover and hold on” for about one minute wherever they are at. Later that day local communities will use their block plan notification networks to follow-up and see if individuals, families, schools, other groups did, in fact, practice during the drill.
According to information provided on Utah’s Great Shake Out website, earthquakes are the State’s single largest natural disaster threat. Utah has several active faults, most notably the Wasatch Fault, which runs from southern Idaho to central Utah. A document produced by the Utah Geological survey in 1996 on earthquakes in Utah indicates that of all the segments of the Wasatch Fault, “A conspicuous absence of movement on the Brigham City fault segment...suggests that the probability of a surface-faulting earthquake there may be greater than on other segments.” A 7.0 magnitude quake on that segment could cause $2.2 billion in building losses.
For more information on the Great Shake Out or other preparedness events, visit shakeout.org/utah.

Couple drives wrong way on I-15
A South Dakota couple was detained by law enforcement Sunday morning following a wild ride—in the wrong direction—on northbound I-15 and a crash in the northern part of Box Elder County.
Following a search of a mountainous and sparsely populated area between Riverside and Plymouth, Carmelo W. Valenzuela, 36, was arrested on a warrant for a felony probation violation out of South Dakota, and Rickera Janis, 25, also of South Dakota, was taken to Bear River Hospital in apparent mental distress.
Information from the Utah Highway patrol indicates that a little after 11:15 p.m. on Saturday, April 11, Box Elder County Dispatch received calls reporting a vehicle driving southbound in the northbound lanes. Witnesses reported that the driver, Valenzuela, was yelling at traffic that “someone was trying to hurt him.” He had also allegedly made calls to Idaho dispatchers with the same claims.
“It was thought that the driver was possibly having a mental episode or could be impaired or a combination of the two,” read the incident report written by Trooper Jason Jensen.
Troopers found the vehicle, a Chevrolet Impala, crashed into a fence, but the occupants were not inside it. Troopers returned the next morning and searched the area, and located Valenzuela and Janis at about 9:15 a.m.
Valenzuela will undergo extradition proceedings on the warrant, and the hospital was trying to arrange with family to get Janis home to South Dakota.