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Headlines Wednesday, July 27, 2016

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Brigham City celebrates pioneer heritage

A lone handcart serves as a reminder of the reason that Brigham City residents filled Playground Park on Monday, July 25 for the state’s 24th of July celebration, which honors the entrance of pioneers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints into the Salt Lake Valley. See more photos on page 13.

Body of missing woman found in Bear River

By Nelson Phillips
Staff Writer

A family’s search for a missing loved one came to a tragic end on Saturday night, when the young woman’s body was located in the Bear River.
The body has been officially identified by the Utah State Medical Examiner’s Office as Nicole Barlow, 26, of Brigham City. Barlow had been missing for several days, and family members were conducting an online campaign to try and locate her.
Barlow’s body was found by a fisherman Saturday night in the river at approximately 8:45 p.m. about 1/4 mile north of the Corinne boat ramp. Authorities were notified and the fisherman led deputies to the body, which was retrieved from the water.
Officials believed they knew who the decedent was by distinctive tattoos, and took immediate steps to prepare the family, but decided not to release the name to the public until positive identification could be made.
Sheriff Kevin Potter told the News Journal that the young woman had been in the water for awhile, and that it was too early to know whether foul play was involved. He asked that anyone with any knowledge of Barlow’s whereabouts over the last week to please call the Box Elder County Sheriff’s Department at (435) 734-3800. According to Potter, the missing person case filed with Brigham City Police has been combined with the Sheriff Department’s active death investigation.
Barlow leaves behind a young daughter and a grieving family. A Go Fund Me account has been set up by Barlow’s aunt to help the family with burial expenses. It can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/2gaf8jjz.

As details of Perry land dispute lawsuit emerge, city council member calls for de-escalation

This flooded corner of land (left) with the gun range next to it (right of fence) in Perry has pitted the city against a resident in an ownership dispute that could cost the resident $400,000 or more if the city wins a lawsuit currently waiting to be heard in First District Court.

By Nelson Phillips
Staff Writer

Perry City officially filed a lawsuit last week against 75-year-old Perry resident Norm Nelson that accuses Nelson and his family of both trespassing and causing damage to city property, and seeks hundreds of thousands of dollars in actual and punitive damages.
The suit was filed in First District Court on July 13, after the city had given Nelson 72 hours to accept an offer of $1,900 to drop any claim to a disputed 1/2 acre of land just east of Perry City’s Three Mile Creek Shooting Sports Complex, and to bear any expense of returning the land to a condition usable by the city.
Nelson contends the property was given to him in exchange for deeding a 1 1/2-acre strip of land to the city back in 1985 for an access road to the city’s sewer ponds. Nelson has a document that he says was provided by Perry City, printed on Box Elder County letterhead, that spells out the arrangement, but it wasn’t signed or notarized, and the deed was never filed with the county. The disputed portion has been fenced off and used by the Nelson family without incident for more than 30 years.
However, Perry City claims the land never could have been deeded to Nelson, and would have been illegal to do so.
“The Perry City Property was conveyed to Perry City by the State of Utah by means of land patent executed on March 8, 1973,” wrote City Attorney Craig Hall in the complaint. “The Land Patent provided that if the property deeded to Perry City by the State of Utah ceased to be used for a public purpose, the property would revert back to the State of Utah.”
The lawsuit alleges that the Nelsons “have recently trespassed” on the disputed property, and that they’ve build a dirt bike track there, making it “unusable” by Perry City for public purposes. As a consequence, Perry City is asking for more than $400,000 from the Nelsons, plus attorney fees.
“The Nelsons are liable to Perry City for trespass, including the damage they have caused to the Property, in an amount of more than $300,000, the exact amount to be determined at trial,” continues the complaint. “The conduct of the Defendants in this case constitutes willful and malicious or intentionally fraudulent conduct, or conduct that manifests a knowing and reckless indifference toward, and a disregard of the rights of others, namely, Perry City. Accordingly, the Court should award punitive damages against Defendants in the amount of at least $100,000, the exact amount to be proven at trial.”
According to Jerry Nelson, son of property owner, Norm Nelson, the city asked the Nelsons to make an initial offer of compensation for the property earlier this year. In an “emotional response,” Jerry Nelson said the family wanted to call off the whole deal and have the original property—currently occupied by the access road to the gun range—deeded back over to them.


News Briefs

Fire still smoldering above Willard
A lightning strike just after midnight on Friday morning caused a slow-moving wildfire that as of Tuesday morning was still smoldering on the north face of Willard Canyon.
Witnesses reported seeing the strike, and immediately afterward what looked like headlights on the mountain, but it soon became apparent it was a fire.
Box Elder County officials monitored the fire all night long, but firefighters couldn’t get to it because of the steep terrain. By Friday afternoon a Forest Service helicopter was brought in, and firefighters from Helitack began to be ferried up the mountain to clear brush and create a fire-break that would keep it from spreading northward.
Some areas of the burn were so steep that the decision was made to let that burn itself out rather than risk firefighter safety.
“The fire may continue to smolder in un-burned vegetation in steep rocky areas where it was unsafe to put firefighters. Fire behavior has been minimal the last couple of days,” wrote the U.S, Forest Service in an update on the fire Monday afternoon. The update stated that officials from the Box Elder County Fire Marshall’s office will continue to monitor the fire area. Smoke from underbrush could continue for the next few days, and residents are asked not to call and report it.

BC approves ambulance rate hike
It’s going to cost a little bit more for some types of ambulance care in the areas served by Brigham City, as the council approved two rate hikes in keeping with state guidelines.
The cost of receiving “advanced life support” is going from $919 to $933 per call, and paramedic care is going from $1,344 to $1,365 per call. Other costs are remaining the same, with basic life support service at $696 per call, paramedic on board at $286.68 per call, mileage at $31.65 per mile, wait time at $22.05 every 15 minutes, and an off road rate of an additional $1.50 per mile.
“We’ve done this every year, increasing the rate according to what the state publishes,” said Fire Chief Joseph Bach. “This year there are only nominal fee increases, and it’s only under two categories.”
Maximum ambulance rates are regulated by the Utah Department of Health, Division of Family Health and Preparedness. According to Bach, most state providers simply adopt the guidelines every year.

Two die in rollover crash on I-84
The Utah Highway Patrol has reported that two people died in a rollover crash on I-84 early Monday morning.
James D. Gates, 29, and Daymon E. Smith, 22, both of Kearns, passed away from injuries sustained during the accident., which happened at approximately 7:25 a.m. near mile marker 13 (six miles east of Snowville).
According to Lt. Lee Perry of the Utah Highway Patrol, the driver and four passengers were westbound in a red 2003 K3500 Silverado pickup truck owned by their employer, Superior Roofing, when the driver, Gates, drifted into the median, over-corrected to the right and rolled the truck through the median.
Both driver Gates and Smith, who was in the rear driver-side passenger seat, were ejected from the vehicle during the rollover, with the truck pinning Gates underneath it as it came to rest across both eastbound lanes.
The three other passengers, Robert D. Smith, 46, Kearns; Jonathan A. Shelton, 30, Sandy; and Emilio G. Saiz, 23, West Jordan, were transported by ground ambulance to Bear River Valley Hospital in Tremonton, suffering from non-life-threatening injuries.
Robert D. Smith was the only occupant wearing a seatbelt.
Eastbound I-84 was closed for more than two hours while a medical helicopter was landed to try and save the younger Smith, but he succumbed to his injuries before he could be stabilized.
The debris was cleared and freeway reopened by 10:30 a.m.

Commission renews state inmate contract
In another brief Box Elder County Commission meeting on Wednesday, the county renewed a contract with the state of Utah to house inmates at the county jail.
The contract with the state allows the jail to house prisoners convicted in other counties where they may lack facilities or have other overcrowding or prisoner safety concerns, or to take prisoners incarcerated in a state correctional facility. The Box Elder County Jail is one of only a handful of facilities across the state set up to take on additional state prisoners.
The state pays the county $52 per day to house additional inmates. Jail Commander Sandy Huthman told commissioners that currently the county jail is housing a total of 115 inmates out of a capacity of 168.
“We’re a little low right now,” said Huthman, who added that 22 of those inmates are state prisoners, with the contract allowing for up to 40.
On another note, the November 16 County Commission meeting has been rescheduled to Tuesday, November 22 at 5 p.m. to coincide with the county’s general election canvas, and to allow commissioners to attend the Utah Association of Counties (UAC) conference being held that week.