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Headlines Wednesday, January 28, 2015


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New sheriff in town

Nelson Phillips / Box Elder News Journal
Amber Kuchinsky, daughter of the late Sheriff Lynn Yeates, pins the official Sheriff’s insignia on the collar of Yeates’ successor, Kevin Potter, at a special meeting of the Box Elder County Commission on Monday.. Kuchinsky also pinned the Sheriff’s badge on Potter.

By Mike Nelson
Associate editor

“There’s a new Sheriff in town, and his name is Kevin Potter,” said Box Elder Commission Chairman Stan Summers at the end of a special meeting on Monday to swear in the county’s newest sheriff.
Potter won the office—left vacant following the sudden passing of Sheriff Lynn Yeates on Jan. 6—at a special election conducted by the Box Elder County Republican Central Committee Saturday morning. Potter took nearly 80 percent of the vote
Potter and his opponent, South Willard resident Allan Shinney, met together before the delegates of the committee at the Bear River City Civic Center where they were each allotted time to speak. Both gave overviews of their education and qualifications that would make them the best man for the job.
Shinney, a lieutenant with the Utah Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division, spoke first saying holding officers accountable for their actions would be foremost for him.
“Law enforcement guys can get very belligerent and don’t like being told what to do and I’m here to tell you, that needs to change,” said Shinney. “The only way that can change is by holding officers and other people in the county accountable.”

Air quality reps get an earful at public hearing

By Nelson Phillips
Staff writer

Hundreds of Box Elder County residents—as many as 500—attended the Utah Department of Air Quality Board’s public hearing in Brigham City last Tuesday to protest a proposed ban on burning solid fuel during the winter months, not only in parts of the county, but in six other counties as well.
Even though the hearing was held in the middle of a weekday, citizens crowded to have their voices heard, overflowing the small conference room at the Bear River Health Department, spilling into the hallways and out into the street.
The proposed ban, suggested by Gov. Gary Herbert as a means to help address the problem of valley smog during inversion periods along the Wasatch Front, was universally and emphatically condemned in the often contentious meeting. Dozens of people spoke, from elected officials to ranchers to moms holding babies, all unanimously declaring their opposition to the proposal.

BC police Lt. gets nod to serve as interim chief

By Mike Nelson
Associate editor

If all goes according to plan at the Feb. 5 Brigham City Council meeting, police Lt. Mike Nelsen will take over the reigns as interim Brigham City police chief.
The recommendation will be presented by Brigham City Mayor Tyler Vincent. Nelsen would be appointed to temporarily serve as chief following the Jan. 30 retirement of Chief Paul Tittensor, who served as a law enforcement officer for nearly 40 years.
“I’m very honored with the confidence that both Mayor Vincent and Bruce Leonard have in me to take over and to keep things running in the interim,” said Nelsen.
Nelsen has served more than 35 years as a law enforcement officer, all with the Brigham City Police Department.
Starting out as an officer at the Intermountain Indian School, until the school closed in 1985, and serving as a patrol officer during the summer, Nelson has worked in every capacity at the department. He has worked as a beat cop on patrol with several stints as a detective, working his way through the ranks from corporal to sergeant. Nelsen was promoted to lieutenant in 2001.
Nelsen said he plans to submit his name in the running for chief when the position is posted.
“I’ve been preparing my whole life for this opportunity,” said Nelsen. “It’s what I’ve always aspired to.”
Tittensor leaves what Vincent called an iconic presence in law enforcement, crediting him with “huge improvements” in the police department through his introduction of programs and standards meant to enhance the force.
“Once he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant, he was instrumental in significantly raising the department’s standards and, as chief, continued trending upward with new technology and programs,” said Brigham City Administrator Bruce Leonard.