A panoramic shot shows the width of the new Monticello Elementary School, which opened its doors to students on August 14.  Staff photo
A panoramic shot shows the width of the new Monticello Elementary School, which opened its doors to students on August 14. Staff photo
slideshow
Students and faculty celebrate the opening of the new Monticello Elementary School.  The new building hosted the first set of students as school opened on August 14.  The $10 million school will be dedicated at an open house on September 9.  The new school replaces an aging structure that first opened in 1959.  Staff photo
Students and faculty celebrate the opening of the new Monticello Elementary School. The new building hosted the first set of students as school opened on August 14. The $10 million school will be dedicated at an open house on September 9. The new school replaces an aging structure that first opened in 1959. Staff photo
slideshow
Torrential rains drench area, contribute to oil spill
Aug 20, 2014 | 409 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Torrential rains in the past weeks brought more than two inches of precipitation to many areas of San Juan County and contributed to an oil line break in the Aneth oil field. The rainfall totals represent up to 15 percent of the total annual moisture in many areas. It was a much-needed addition to the water year. However, the storm was not without its problems. Large amounts of rain means large amounts of runoff. The flow of water in the San Juan River grew from 400 cubic feet per second (CFS) to more than 7,000 CFS on August 14. There were challenges related to flowing mud in several areas, and a flash flood watch extended throughout the area. The significant rains near Aneth caused a rock fall at approximately 3:30 a.m. on August 14. The rocks fell on and broke an above-ground pipeline owned by Resolute Natural Resources Company in the greater Aneth Oil Field. Company officials estimate that about 300 gallons of oil may have leaked from the pipeline before it was shut off, approximately 90 minutes after the accident. Emergency response crews were on the scene and had set up booms in the San Juan River by 7 a.m. Officials state that the raw oil went about 3,000 feet into the bottom of what is normally a dry wash. However, with the heavy rains, the wash was flowing until it spilled into the San Juan River approximately three miles from the pipeline break. Officials estimate that the majority of the oil was captured long before it made it to the river. A rough company estimate is that approximately 20 gallons, or one-half of a barrel, of oil may have made it to the river. Booms were set up where the wash entered the river. Later, booms were temporarily set up at Sand Island, west of Bluff. However, with the river flowing at 7,000 CFS, the booms were quickly taken down for safety reasons. While the storms can recharge ground water needs, area reservoirs continue to be significantly below normal levels. The water level in Recapture Reservoir is currently 900 acre-feet below the reservoir’s conservation pool. Blanding City Engineer Terry Ekker told the Blanding City Council on August 12 that it would require two inches of rain a week for the next six weeks in order “to get back on track”.
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Monticello Elementary starts new year with a new school
Aug 20, 2014 | 208 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Students and faculty celebrate the opening of the new Monticello Elementary School.  The new building hosted the first set of students as school opened on August 14.  The $10 million school will be dedicated at an open house on September 9.  The new school replaces an aging structure that first opened in 1959.  Staff photo
Students and faculty celebrate the opening of the new Monticello Elementary School. The new building hosted the first set of students as school opened on August 14. The $10 million school will be dedicated at an open house on September 9. The new school replaces an aging structure that first opened in 1959. Staff photo
slideshow
A panoramic shot shows the width of the new Monticello Elementary School, which opened its doors to students on August 14.  Staff photo
A panoramic shot shows the width of the new Monticello Elementary School, which opened its doors to students on August 14. Staff photo
slideshow
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New police chief in Blanding
Aug 20, 2014 | 645 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Lloyd Watkins is the new Chief of Police in Blanding. Watkins’ hiring was unanimously approved at the August 12 meeting of the Blanding City Council. Watkins has served for nearly 20 years in law enforcement, including working as an officer in Blanding since May, 2014. Watkins served previously as chief of police in La Verkin, in southwest Utah. The council approved a salary of $60,000 a year for Watkins, with a $5,000 raise and a formal contract in January when he moves to the community. Blanding Mayor Calvin Balch said Watkins has a vision of working with the city administration. Balch said Watkins wants to be involved in the community and be a public police chief. Council members who talked with Watkins agree that they believe he will do a good job. Watkins said he is very supportive of the city alcohol and drug policies and that he will not show favoritism in law enforcement issues. Watkins is a graduate of San Juan High School. His family currently lives in Hurricane. His wife and family plan to move to Blanding by January, 2015. Watkins replaces Lyle Bayles, who resigned in July after serving six years as Chief of Police and 28 years in law enforcement. Bayles’ resignation comes on the heels of the March resignation of two other members of the police force. Additionally at the August 12 council meeting, the winners of the July 4th parade competition were announced. Blue Mountain Hospital was awarded first place with Tri-Hurst Construction second and Bluff Fort third. City officials also report that the Beehive Drive car show that came through Blanding donated $6,000 to the city. The drivers in the rally, who brought a host of high performance cars, report that they enjoyed their time in Blanding.
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