Archives for August 2018

Bulldogs lose game to Wolves,

but gain valuable experience


By James Tilson

Sports writer



GUNNISON—Another week, another top-ranked team.

The Gunnison Valley Bulldogs hosted the North Sevier Wolves, ranked No. 5 in 2-A, last Friday Aug. 24 and lost 14-53.

Bulldog Head Coach Jake Pay sees a silver lining to facing top-ranked competition to start the season.

“Both Milford and North Sevier are going to make noise in the post season,” he said. “This will help us down the road, because we see the things we need to work on to be successful.”

One of the things the Bulldogs will need to improve on is incurring costly penalties. In their game against the Wolves, Gunnison racked up 11 penalties for a total of 111 yards lost. This contributed to their inability to finish drives, going 3-13 on a third-down conversion, and 0-2 on a fourth down.

This coming week, Coach Pay said the team will focus on eliminating mistakes. “The big thing moving into this week is playing mistake-free. We did some really great things; we just could not sustain it like we needed to because of the mistakes.”

With the offense unable to sustain drives, the defense stayed on the field too long, and wound up giving up a lot of yards through the air for the second week in a row.

It doesn’t help that North Sevier’s quarterback Taylor Crane is one of the top passers in 2A. He went 20-31 for 282 yards passing against the Bulldogs.

There was a point in the second quarter where the Bulldogs had scored two consecutive touchdowns and were behind by only one touchdown, 14-21. However, North Sevier ripped off five straight touchdown drives that the Bulldogs could not match.

Quarterback Caden Madsen led the Bulldogs with 61 yards passing and 42 yards rushing. Linebacker Brandon Tucker led the team in tackles with six unassisted and three assists.

This week, the Bulldogs host the South Sevier Rams on Friday Aug. 31, with kick-off scheduled at 7 p.m.

North Sanpete’s Connor Jorgensen, No. 34 above, runs through the Union line to score the game’s first touchdown last Friday night in the Hawks’ matchup against the Union Cougars. North Sanpete won 16-3.


Hawks Grind out 16-3 win

at home over Union Cougars


By James Tilson

Sports writer


MT. PLEASANT—The North Sanpete Hawks, whose motto has been “Grind,” did exactly that last Friday night in a gritty win over the Union Cougars, 16-3.

Describing the Hawk’s winning strategy in its home opener Friday, Aug. 24, Coach Rhett Bird said, “Our philosophy is exactly that we chew up time and keep our defense off the field. We believe we can play with anyone in our classification if we can control the ball.”

The Hawks started the scoring early when they recovered a Cougar fumble at mid-field and drove for a touchdown, which made the score 6-0. (The extra-point attempt was blocked.)

Union countered later in the half and drove the length of the field, but came up with only a field goal. The score stayed at 6-3 for the rest of the half, as both teams struggled to get any consistent offense going.

After the half, the Hawks put their adjustments into play and started moving the ball. Running back Maison Burgess and quarterback Chance Clawson kept the ball on the ground and in the first drive of the second half scored the second touchdown of the night to make the score 13-3.

“It all started with our offensive line,” Coach Bird said. “We have a mutual trust with them and have told them if they see gaps in the game to let us know and we will exploit them, and that is exactly what happened.

“During halftime, they felt like we could run an inside blast. That was our very first play [after halftime] which went for 17 yards. All the credit goes to our guys up front.”

After exchanging possessions, North Sanpete took over at the end of the third quarter and starting driving. And driving. And still driving. The Hawks wound up driving the length of the field, using all of the rest of the third quarter and all but 3:04 of the fourth quarter, to kick a field goal and put the game out of reach for the final score 16-3.

Burgess ran for 78 yards in the game, and Clawson chipped in for 60. The Hawks concentrated on their running game, and passed infrequently (5-11 for 37 yards), although Clawson left some points on the field when he overthrew a couple of open receivers early in the game. But the name of the game for the Hawks was efficiency, as they went 7-14 on 3rd down conversions, and 1-2 on 4th down.

The Hawk defense was also very effective containing the Cougar spread offense. The Cougars would often line up with four and five split receivers. But the Hawks countered by dropping five linebackers into zone coverage with the defensive backs, frustrating the Cougars’ quarterback with very few openings. “We have exceptional linebackers, and the 3-4 allows us to use those guys,” Coach Bird said. “They are more athletic, but are still able to stop the run.”

The Hawks travel to Cedar City this week to take on the Cedar Redmen on Friday Aug. 31 with kick-off scheduled at 7 p.m.

Snow’s Ashlen Bell, No. 14, and Bridgett Triplett, No. 15, go up for a block against Eastern Arizona in their match Monday night at the Horne Center on the Snow College campus. Snow won the match 3-1.


Lady Badgers volleyball team wins again, now 5-0


By  James Tilson

Sports writer



EPHRAIM— The No. 13 ranked Snow College women’s volleyball team has jumped out to a great start of their 2018 season, after going 4-0 at the Snow College Invitational at the Sevier Valley Center in Richfield last weekend and then defeating Eastern Arizona 3-1 Monday night at the Horne Activities Center.

Eastern Arizona took the first set, 23-25, in a closely contested set. But Snow re-grouped and came back to win three sets in a row, 25-22, 25-18, and 25-23.

“I was pleased with the way our team came back after dropping that first set,” said Head Coach Jeff Reynolds. “We made some mistakes that really cost us, so it was nice to see our team respond, make the necessary adjustments, and come out and take care of business over the next three sets.

“Eastern Arizona is a very good team. They won the Region I title last year and earned a trip to the NJCAA National Championship. To beat them on Saturday down in Richfield, and then turn around and beat them again on Monday is a nice way for our program to start the season.”

Ashlen Bell led the Badgers with 11 kills on 32 attempts, for an overall percentage of .313. Autumn Spafford had 10 kills, hitting .216 for the match. Bridgett Triplett led the team with six blocks.

During the invitational tournament on Friday, the Badgers faced Western Wyoming, winning 3-2, and then Eastern Wyoming, defeating them 3-0. And then on Saturday the Badgers defeated Eastern Arizona 3-1 and Central Wyoming 3-0.

“We had the opportunity to get a good look at our team,” Coach Reynolds said. “We were able to work through a bunch of different lineups in an effort to see what worked and what didn’t. I am pleased with how we managed to come together at the right moments and put points on the board when we needed to them the most.”

Snow is getting ready for a long road trip, starting with a trip to Prescott, Ariz., to compete in the Dalton Overstreet Invitational at Yavapai College on Aug. 31 – Sept. 1. Then on Sept. 3 the Badgers travel to Phoenix College.

“Our next 13 games will be on the road,” said Coach Reynolds. “This will be a big test for our team. We’re looking forward to the challenge and hopefully we can continue to build off of our early success.”

New supervisor takes over

Manti-LaSal National Forest


By D. Yvonne Folkerson

Staff writer



Ryan Nehl, the new supervisor of Manti-La Sal National Forest headquartered in Price.

PRICE— The new supervisor of the Manti-La Sal National Forest knows how to build relationships among different cultures.

Ryan Nehl arrived at his new office in Price last week after working as deputy forest supervisor at the Malheur National Forest in John Day, Ore.

He worked at the Malhuer Forest from 2015 until present. While there, he ran operations for the 2017 Rainbow Family Gathering, a kind of counter-culture gathering of people from all over the world, and the Great American Solar Eclipse

“I look forward to leading the forest in developing a revised land and resource management by engaging stakeholders and incorporating best available science,” Nehl said.

Those duties involved building relationships with local citizens.

“One of my main goals is to enhance relationships with the counties, tribes and other partners,” he said.

Prior to his service in the Malheur, Nehl worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs and before starting his federal service in 2007, he was employed with Chrysler Corporation and the Howard County (Indiana) Health Department.

Nehl and his wife, Sherry, will live in Price with their four sons (ages 21, 13, 12 and 8) and their dog.


Sterling man appears in

court on fraud charges

By James Tilson

Sports writer



MANTI—A well-known Sterling resident has made his initial appearance in 6th District Court on charges of committing fraud against his wealthy father-in-law amounting to at least $93,000.

Kevin Pete Conover, 67, and his estranged wife, Heidi Conover, 57, were both charged with multiple counts of communications fraud occurring between February 2014 and July 2015.

The charges ranged from second-degree felonies to Class B misdemeanors, depending on the amount of money involved in each individual incident.

Heidi Conover faces 14 counts of communication fraud, while Kevin Conover only faces five counts.

Deputy Sanpete County Attorney Wes Mangum suggested Kevin may have been the smarter of the two co-defendants, since he did not sign the majority of documents that make up the “paper trail” of evidence in the case.

Kevin Conover has also been charged with three misdemeanor counts of criminal mischief, wrongful posting, and unlawful use of Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) property arising from an unrelated incident, where Conover is alleged to have bulldozed a pond on property he didn’t own.

Both of the Conover cases came before Judge Marvin Bagley last Wednesday. Both cases were continued to Oct. 3 at 9 a.m., in order for the defendants to hire counsel.

Mangum explained the cases arose out of time when the Conovers had moved her father, W. Lynn Benson to their home in Sanpete County when he was having physical health problems.

During that time, between January 2013 and July 2015, the Conovers used a fraudulent power-of-attorney document to access her father’s corporate accounts for their own personal use. According to Mangum, they got Benson to sign the document without him understanding what he was signing.

While Mangum said his office has not totaled the entire amount the Conovers are alleged to have taken, charging documents state the amount taken is at least $93,992.04. The actual amount will probably be more than that.

Mangum said it is too early to determine how this case is going to be resolved. At this point, the county attorney’s office is preparing to take the matter to trial.


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Ephraim City reports water

struggles may be ebbing


By James Tilson

Staff writer



EPHRAIM— The Ephraim City Council received the first jar of water drawn from the city’s new test well, and with it, news that city’s water woes may be ebbing.

Holding up a jar of water, director of economic development Bryan Kimball told the city council that he is “very encouraged” with the progress of the city’s new test well, which is located on city-owned property at about 450 S. 400 West.

After three days of pumping, the well is emitting 700-800 gallons per minute, Kimball said, and he believes the results bode well for the well in the future.

The city also received the initial arsenic test results. The test well’s arsenic levels are well below the state’s minimum standards, and much better than the existing well, said Kimball.

The arsenic levels of the city’s existing well in the west-center part of town were what started the city looking into drilling a new well.

Kimball told the council the city would send samples of the test well water to the state for full testing when the water clears up from sediments in a few days.

According to Kimball, the city hopes the state will send its “punch list” for meeting state municipal water requirements in October. Once that is done, the city would be able to put its final designs for the new well out to bid and then start drilling in the late fall. If that happens, Kimball is optimistic that the new well would be online by early spring 2019.

Kimball then talked about how the city was dealing with its water restrictions. He said the city water tanks are filled to the top every day at 5 p.m. And then, after a night of watering, the tanks have been emptied again.

Kimball described how every day Chad Parry, the city utility director, has to perform “a ballet” of redirecting the water flow from one tank to the next to make sure each tank is re-filled and the city’s water flow stays constant.

Kimball related that most houses are using less water than last year, although there are a few that still use more water than most. With this year’s water shortages, the city has had to manage its water supply much more actively than ever before.

Councilman John Scott reported that a new concrete subcontractor has been hired to work on the Ephraim tunnel. He said the new contractor “was on the job.”

The city was forced to recruit a new subcontractor after the contract with the first one ran out because the tunnel project has run at least a year longer than originally anticipated.

City Manager Brant Hanson added “he is very well qualified, even more so than the previous contractor. We feel like we got lucky.”

Kimball said the tunnel workers are “going as quickly as they can” in order to beat the weather and finish the mammoth project year. They have laid 1,000 feet of pipe in the 7,000 foot tunnel.

Ephraim Police Chief Aaron Broomhead delivered an initial report to the council regarding the number of calls the Ephraim Police Department answered outside city limits. The council had asked for his report because of concerns over whether Ephraim was getting the full use of its own police officers, or whether other municipalities were over-relying on Ephriam.

As Scott put it, “They’re [other cities] not hiring, because we’re supplementing their [police] force.”

Chief Broomhead told the council that so far, all he had been able to determine was that the dispatch operator might call Ephraim police for lower priority calls (such as VIN checks) because no other police agencies were available. Broomhead said he would discuss this situation with dispatch to resolve it.

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An interview with John Coltharp,

reveals he thinks he will be martyred

like Joseph Smith, for his beliefs


By James Tilson

Staff writer



MANTI—Before he left the Sanpete County Jail to go to prison last week, John Coltharp agreed to an interview in order, he said, to clear up inaccuracies in the way he had been portrayed in the media.

The first inaccuracy he wanted to clear up was that his order was not a “doomsday” cult. “The Knights of the Crystal Blade was a fraternal order,” he said. “It was basically a way to be organized in whatever it is we decided to do, because we felt that the church in Utah, the LDS church, was falling short on certain things that were its responsibility to do. We believed we were led by revelation, and by spirit, by good principals as we went.”

However, on further questioning, Coltharp continued to fall back on language referring to the end of time and the destruction of present-day society.

“We’re living in a time when gross darkness covers the Earth and all flesh is corrupt,” he said. “The whole world is going to suffer destruction, because the majority of people fight against Zion, they fight against the laws of God.

“Isiah says the Earth is destined to burn, and few men are left. Many are called, but few are chosen. We will be gathered out from the midst of the terrors. I look at the way society is today, there is an all-out war against sanity. I look at the promotion of transgenderism, homosexuality, all these people praising weird, disgusting things.”

Coltharp repeated what he had said at his sentencing hearing that he doesn’t believe he will serve to the end of his prison sentence.

“I don’t think the present structure of society is going to survive the duration of my sentence,” he said. “I know the Lord has promised me and has shown me certain things I will do in the future that obviously necessitate me not being in here. [But] I don’t plan on escaping and having the U.S. Marshalls go looking for me.”

When asked to describe his beliefs, he said he was following Joseph Smith, but picking up where he left off and moving forward based on personal revelations. “I believe the work [Joseph Smith] did was good, inspired, and I believe I have been called to pick up where he let off.”

“I believe Joseph Smith is what he claimed to be. I believe the Book of Mormon and the (Doctrine and) Covenants. I believe in the restoration. And I believe that because the Saints did not live up to all the commandments they were given, the Lord allowed them to be driven from place to place.”

But, he was quick to add, his version of God’s message did not derive from other sources, but from his own “revelations” and “visions.”

“Those things came to me so powerful, in experiences, including experiences in this jail, that when I say now I know ‘perfectly,’ I know perfectly. I’ve pierced the veil several times; I’ve spoken to God. I don’t have doubt anymore.”

Since his actions were dictated by revelations, he said he did not think that he had done anything wrong by the child victims.

“Based on the research I had done, I knew that in ancient time, the marriage consisted of two or three stages, depending on which period of time you’re talking about,” he explained. “The first part was just a promise of a future relationship, from the father to another man with regard to the daughter.

“The next step was a formal ceremony, where we married each other’s daughters, and they consented to it. The third stage of marriage was sexual consummation. We did receive revelation that it was not only appropriate, but ideal to a certain extent to have some degree of physical affection with the person.”

When asked if he thought that having sexual relations with so young a child might be seen as abusive, Coltharp replied, “I think that taking a child and abusing that person, not loving them, doing it outside a celestial marriage outside God’s laws, could be abusive.”

When told others had described him as “manipulative and controlling,” he said, “I tell people the truth. I show people what the facts are, and some people absolutely hate that. And they feel like they are manipulated because they can’t sit on the fence anymore. They’re compelled by the force of reason, by the force of evidence, to take a hard proposition on something now, because now they know what the facts are.”

He was asked if he was afraid of what might happen to him in prison. “

“I’m aware of the danger,” he said, “but when I went down this road a long time ago I was prepared to face whatever consequences there are. I believe I will probably be killed for what I believe; that’s a pretty likely scenario.”

The Coal Hollow Fire has jumped US 6 just west of the junction with Hwy 89 north of Sanpete County. As of Aug. 13, US 6 was closed for part of its length, but the closure was lifted on Aug. 16, with the speed limited to 45 mph.


Coal Hollow Fire has long road

ahead towards total containment


By James Tilson

Staff writer



FAIRVIEW—The Coal Hollow Fire grew over last weekend, as thunderstorms provoked a spike in activity and the fire jumped US 6 just west of the junction with Hwy 89.

The Coal Hollow Fire started on August 4, due to lighting strike. It soon became aggressive and fast moving in steep terrain. As of August 16, the fire had grown to 26,380 acres with 14 percent containment. No containment lines have been lost, however, and with calmer weather and cloud cover on Wednesday fire containment continued.

On Sunday afternoon, thunderstorms caused a spike in activity, with high winds pushing the fire on its north edge near US 6. With the fire jumping the highway, US 6 was closed on Monday through Wednesday, but was then re-opened on Thursday with speed limited to 45 mph.

After the change of weather on Wednesday, firefighters on the north edge of the fire were able to continue working on containing the fire. Firefighters on the southern edge reported minimal growth, and were able to re-inforce existing lines.

David Vining, operations section chief with the U.S. Forest Service, explained to the audience at the community meeting at North Sanpete High School on August 9, “We have to identify the values at risk. When we talk about values at risk, we’re talking a lot about this Highway 6 corridor… It’s a main highway corridor. There are power lines that feed six towns. There are railroad tracks that are used about up to six times a day. There are houses in there. There’s a lot going on in that corridor there.”

The areas to the east and northwest of the fire were the most active. Fire crews had built a fire line around where the fire had jumped US 6, and are hopeful that US 6 will continue to hold as a border for most of the north edge of the fire.

On the east flank, the fire is coming up to Starvation Road, which firefighter hope to use as a containment line. There was little growth reported on the south side of the fire.

Cody Harmar, councilman at Spring City and a fireman himself, has been in close contact with the Spring City crew that has been working on the Coal Hollow Fire. He said that the messages from the crew indicate the crew is happy to be working the fire, and “They’re kicking butt up there.”

Vining echoed those sentiments. “We’ve been really lucky for the support Type 2 team we’ve received in both the Hilltop and Coal Hollow Fires from Utah County and from Sanpete County volunteers. ‘You guys are really, really lucky. So if you see a volunteer out there, or a county sheriff, or an equipment operator, be sure to say, ‘Thanks.’”

Harmar said the Spring City crew was working on the south side of the fire, and he noted that forest fires often burn slower on the downhill side of a slope. At the same time, conditions can change rapidly, and crews must be alert.

Harmar, noting that the fire picked up activity during weekend thunderstorms, do not wish for storms, but rather calm weather. “Thunderstorms bring high winds and lighting, neither of which firefighters want. We’d rather have calm conditions so that we can finish our jobs.”

Vining warned that Coal Hollow was not going to be cured right away. “Moving forward, Coal Hollow is going to be a fairly long duration event for you guys. It’s not going to be put out in the next three days, seven days, maybe even two weeks. So just prepare yourselves for that.”

Spring City has sent one truck, with three to five people to work the fire. Harmar notes that resources throughout the West have been stretched thin, because of the many fires going on all over.

The Coal Hollow Fire has 729 total personnel, with 37 engines, 4 dozers, 7 water tenders, 6 helicopters and 2 fixed wing air tankers.

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Plein Air competition to again

test artists’ ability to paint outside


SPRING CITY—Artists and art aficionados are expected to flock to Spring City for the annual plein air events at the end of August and the first day of September.

And numerous artists in town will open their studios for public tours.

Spring City Arts, a nonprofit organization, is the host of three major events that week. The plein air

Former Plein Air winner Kimball Warren during a previous Plein Air competition.

competition takes place on the weekdays of Aug. 28-31 (Tuesday through Friday). A Quick Paint Event and the annual Artist Studio Tour will both take place Saturday, Sept. 1.

Artists who participate in the 2018 plein air painting competition may paint anywhere in Sanpete County outdoors (in “plein air”) without the aid of photography or technical equipment.

The finished plein air paintings are due by 5 p.m. on Aug. 31. A reception will be held that evening at 7 p.m. at the Spring City Arts Gallery (79 S. Main).

Art lovers are invited to the reception to mingle with the artists and view their works.

Artists may use oils, acrylics, gouaches, pastels or pencils on canvas, board or paper and may enter up to four works. The prizes are $1,500 for the winner, $1,000 for second place and $500 for third place.

In addition, all paintings created during the competition will be available for purchase Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The award winners will be announced at the Saturday silent auction.

Applications for the painting competition may be downloaded from the Facebook page for Spring City Arts.

On Saturday Sept. 1 from dawn to 10 a.m., the Quick Paint Event will be held along Main Street. Artists paint quickly in this “paint-out” event—and in this event they can use photos.

From 10-11 a.m. the “quick” paintings will be displayed on the lawn north of the Spring City Arts gallery. The finished paintings will be auctioned off at the 11 a.m.

People are encouraged to arrive early to watch the artists at work.

The Artist Studio Tour runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Participating artists will open their studios and galleries to visitors, and art will be on sale at most of these locales.

Tickets for the Artist Studio Tour are $10 for adults and $5 for children and will be available at the Spring City Arts Gallery from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Ticket holders will receive a map of the artist studios.

More information is at and the Facebook page of Spring City Arts.

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