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Local News Headlines

Talented Local Youth Performing Orchestra Fall Concert Tonight

The Uintah Basin Youth Chamber Orchestra is ready to perform for the community tonight in their first concert of the 2019-2020 season. The program includes ‘Jupiter, The Bringer of Jollity’, ‘Intermezzo’, and ‘Into The Storm’ and while the names may not ring a bell for you, the tunes most likely will. “The instrumental music the youth in the Vernal and Roosevelt areas are able to perform is outstanding,” shares UBYCO board president Teresa Rasmussen. “The talent in the Uintah Basin Youth Chamber Orchestra is awesome.

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Outdoor Gear Swap at Uintah High School

If you happen to have any outdoor gear that you aren’t using, a very unique opportunity is coming up. On December 14th, at the UTC Building at Uintah High School, there will be an Outdoor Gear Swap. Bring camping, fishing, hiking, skiing, hunting, outdoor clothing or any gear that is used for outdoor fun. Bring youth and adult sizes but NO weapons allowed. Weapons of any kind are strictly prohibited. Sellers must register and pay $20 dollars that will go to the Uintah High School Outdoor Recreation Program.

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Releases from Flaming Gorge Dam Scheduled to Increase Starting Today

Releases from Flaming Gorge Dam are scheduled to increase starting today. As of November 3rd, the Flaming Gorge Reservoir pool elevation was just over 6,031 feet which is 91 percent of the live storage capacity, according to the Bureau of Reclamation. Inflows for the month of October totaled 69,564 acre-feet which is 95 percent of average. As a result, the average daily releases are being increased from 1,100 cubic feet per second to a daily average of 2,150 cubic feet per second by early December.

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School and Community Theatre Options Abound Through the Holidays

There will be no shortage of entertainment available through the holidays in this part of the world as school and community theatre productions have a full lineup! This weekend Rodgers & Hammerstein’s ‘Cinderella’ opens at Union High School. Visit www.uinionhighdrama.com for ticket information. Next Thursday, ‘Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach Jr.’ opens at Meeker Elementary School through the Meeker Arts & Cultural Council. Also next Thursday, ‘Seussical The Musical’ opens at Altamont High School.

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Union High School Student of the Week

Union High School's Student of the Week is Sophomore Wintersun Lebeau, nominated by Mrs. Blackhair. "Wintersun came into this year ready to work hard," shares Mrs. Blackhair. "His grades and attitude toward school have been nothing but positive." Congratulations Wintersun Lebeau, Union High School's Student of the Week!

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Uintah School Board Approves Use of Funds for Raises, Critical Needs

In a 3-2 vote on Wednesday evening, the Uintah School Board approved the use of funds for employee raises and the hiring of school counselors and additional security resource officers. Board vice president Robin McClellan made a motion to revise the budget that would allow approximately $3.1 million dollars for use from the maintenance and operations fund for the specified purposes.

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Public Comment Invited for FY2020 Uintah County Budget; Budget Officer Hired

The time is approaching for Uintah County to approve their Fiscal Year 2020 budget and the public is invited to offer their input. Uintah County issued the invitation in an announcement on Wednesday stating that public comment will be taken on Monday, November 18th. The proposed 2020 budget totals $68.2 million dollars, a decrease the county points out is $5.9 million dollars below the $74.1 million dollar budget approved for 2019.

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Local Photographer Finding Success in the Unique Medium of Light Painting

A local photographer is finding success in the unique form of photography known as light painting. Liberty Best got her start through photojournalism and began taking more photos for fun at home of her kids. She started light painting, the art of using long exposure photography along with effects using flashlights, while she was camping several years ago. Now, a relatively short time later, Best’s work has been displayed in multiple art shows and has even been selected for special exhibits around the United States as well as overseas.

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Rotary Club ‘Shares the Warmth’ and Prepping for Santa’s Community Effort

Joining forces with the Vernal Christian Church, the Rotary Club literally helped “share the warmth” with community members over the weekend. After a month long coat drive, anyone in need of a winter coat was invited to the Vernal Christian Church on Saturday to pick out free winter gear. Rotarian Carl Dieckmann estimates that around 300 coats were given out, mostly to young kids. “We had $14,000 dollars worth of coats donated from Sportsman Warehouse as well as other amazing donors and probably gave out around $22,000 dollars worth of coats,” shares Dieckmann, who served as the event Chairman.

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UBTECH Announcement on New Vice President of Development

In August, UBTech’s Vice President of Development Bob Peterson was named the director of student affairs at Utah State University-Uintah Basin. UBTech started an extensive search for a replacement that included 30 qualified applicants from throughout the United States. The search is over and ended with Mark Dockins, a 25 year community member of the Uintah Basin. Dockins has been named the new UBTech Vice President of Development effective January 6th, 2020. UBTech President Aaron Weight states, “Dockins brings knowledge in education as well as leadership and funding experience as he oversees the development office.

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DWR Offers Cougar Safety Tips for Public

Three mountain lions were spotted in a person’s backyard in a Wasatch Front neighborhood. In response, Utah’s Division of Wildlife Resources wants to remind the public about cougar safety, especially since cougars live all across Utah. Adult cougars tend to weigh 90 to 200 pounds and prey mainly on deer. However, they will eat elk, antelope, small mammals, birds, and whatever they can get.

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Colorado Historian Signing Books Tonight at Uintah County Library

The Uintah County Library Regional History Center and the Uintah Basin Chapter of the Utah Archaeological Society are sponsoring a book signing. For 19 years Robert Silbernagel was the editorial page editor for The Daily Sentinel, a newspaper in Grand Junction. Even though he retired in 2014 he continues to write the history column for the newspaper. He is the author of “Troubled Trails: The Meeker Affair and the Expulsion of Utes from Colorado”, a book about the chain of events that lead to the Utes being expelled from their homeland.

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Uintah School District Business Administrator Scott Ruppe Resigns

Uintah School District Business Administrator Scott Ruppe has resigned from his position after accepting another career offer. Ruppe made the announcement to district employees through email shortly before noon on Monday. Within his letter, Ruppe commented on Superintendent Mark Dockins’ resignation last week. “Out of the management teams I have worked with,” shared Ruppe in the letter, “the district leadership as presently constituted is by far the team that actually walks their talk. Mark Dockins’ departure will leave a large hole to fill but I am confident that the district as a whole will continue to collaborate to do what is best for our students. There are those who will claim that it is because the Levy didn’t pass that Mark is leaving.

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Uintah County Recorder Named Recorder of the Year by UAC

The Utah Association of Counties(UAC) has awarded a Uintah County elected official with a coveted recognition. According to the UAC press release, Brenda McDonald has been named the 2019 Recorder of the Year for her exceptional efforts and accomplishments. “Affiliates of the Year are selected from and voted on by their peers for demonstrating outstanding work ethic, bold leadership, and creative problem solving throughout the past year,” shares the announcement. “Brenda was elected as the Uintah County Recorder in 2015.

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Community Matters Conference Both Entertaining and Educational

On November 6th, Union High School hosted the Community Matters Conference with keynote speakers Clint Pulver and Dr. Hank Smith. Clint Pulver spoke first and inspired the audience with his speech on today's society. He talked about his life as a youth and how his struggles got him to where he is today. "I have to dedicate this to Mr. Jensen," said Pulver. Mr. Jensen was his Middle School teacher who changed his life entirely and inspired his love for drumming which eventually led him to start the Green Man Group Drumline at UVU.

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DWR Recommends Green River for November Fishing

Despite the cold weather, there is still plenty of good fishing to be had. In fact, Utah’s Division of Wildlife Resources recommends the Green River as a great place for some November fishing. It might even be considered the ideal month as the river is far less crowded. Fishermen can fish from the banks for large rainbow trout and brown trout. Randy Oplinger, the sportsfish coordinator for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, states, "There are a lot of fish in the Green River, but the fishing pressure there is high in the summer, making fall an ideal time to go.

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Ashley National Forest Proposes Projects for Flaming Gorge-Vernal Ranger District

The Ashley National Forest provides many wonderful opportunities to be outside and enjoying nature. The Flaming Gorge-Vernal Ranger District has six new projects that they are focusing on to improve the recreation and wildlife habitats in the eastern half of the forest. The six projects include the Highline ATV Trail reroute, Big Brush Creek - Outlaw ATV Trail Reroute, Round Park Hardened Stream Crossings, Dutch John Mountain ATV Connector trail, the west Northwest D1 Wildlife Habitat Improvement project, and the Buckboard Marina Improvement project.

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Duchesne Man Arrested for Kidnapping, Assault, and Drug Charges

A Welfare Check last week resulted in the arrest of a South Duchesne man. 60-year-old Garren Thomas Breach was arrested for the offenses of Kidnapping, Assault, Threat of Violence, Possession of a Controlled Subtance, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. According to the Affidavit of Probable Cause, deputies were dispatched to a trailer in South Duchesne for a Welfare Check on November 6th and the owner, Garren Breach, came out. After multiple requests, a woman also came out of the trailer, moving as if she was in extreme pain. “When asked about what had happened, the victim claimed she had been beaten and that she had attempted to get away,” shared the deputy’s probable cause statement. “We removed her from speaking distance from the owner.

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Uintah School District to Seek Board Approval for Funds to Cover Critical Needs

The Uintah School District announced Thursday that they are seeking approval from the Uintah School Board to take money from the district’s general fund balance to cover some of the critical needs that would have been covered by Proposition 4 if it had passed. The request will be made by District Business Administrator Scott Ruppe during the November 13th school board business meeting. The District explains that: “If the school board approves Ruppe's request, he will draft a revised budget for the current fiscal year.

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Vernal Man Killed in Wednesday’s Crash Identified; GoFundMe Set Up for Family

The Vernal man killed in a head on collision near Myton on Wednesday morning has been identified. 43-year-old Joshua D. Mordecai was traveling westbound on Highway 40 at Mile Marker 100 when the unthinkable happened. His car suddenly swerved in front of a semi tractor-trailer and a head-on collision was the result, according to Utah Highway Patrol. Since the devastating news, the community has rallied around the Mordecai family by making donations on a GoFundMe page called “Tribute to Josh Mordecai Loving Husband and Father.”

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