Open meetings violations at Chelan Fire District 7

Following public outcry into local fire board actions, I made a public records request. I discovered through documents released that elected officials were circumventing the requirements of the state’s open meetings law and that some records were potentially unavailable to the public. That fall, the two fire commissioners who were up for re-election lost at the ballot box by 2-1 margins.

This is a series of stories, each appearing on its own page. Please use the links below to navigate.

Daggett County attorney fired

Daggett County was an often difficult region for coverage, sitting some 60 miles away from the nearest community with a newspaper or news radio station. So when the county attorney was suddenly fired, I was tasked with finding out what had happened. This yielded two stories about a month apart that tell two views into how the county commissioner and the county attorney saw their roles within county government.

This is a series of stories, each appearing on its own page. Please use the links below to navigate.

Two injured in emergency aircraft landing on U.S. 191

I was a working editor when I wrote this breaking news piece. I gained close access to the aircraft because I had a strong working relationship with the county sheriff, who drove me to the scene. The story and several accompanying photos were later picked up by statewide media.

By Les Bowen for Vernal Express   |   June 25, 2008   |   Original source not available
Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Jon Gardiner documents damage to an airplane after the pilot made an emergency landing on U.S. Highway 191 and collided with a truck hauling gravel. The incident restricted traffic north of Vernal Wednesday morning until after 10 a.m. The National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation report into the landing has not been released.
Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Jon Gardiner documents damage to an airplane after the pilot made an emergency landing on U.S. Highway 191 and collided with a truck hauling gravel. The incident restricted traffic north of Vernal Wednesday morning until after 10 a.m. The National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation report into the landing has not been released.

[T]he occupants of a small plane suffered minor injuries last week when the pilot made an emergency landing on U.S. Highway 191 north of Vernal. The incident occurred just north of Steinaker Reservoir a few minutes before 8 a.m. Wednesday. Continue reading Two injured in emergency aircraft landing on U.S. 191

Get out and vote … if you can

I wrote this opinion in response to the decision by the Utah Republican Party to close their election to unaffiliated voters.

By Les Bowen for Vernal Express   |   June 18, 2008

[I]’m a firm believer that anyone who is going to criticize government should be part of the process.

That means showing up to public hearings and participating in public comment processes. And most importantly, it includes voting.

However, like many other voters in this state, I’m going to sit home next Tuesday. Like one third of this country’s voters, I’m officially unaffiliated. And while I admit that I swing left on most issues, I have voted for members of the Green, Libertarian, People’s Choice and Constitution parties, in addition to several votes for both Democrats and Republicans. Continue reading Get out and vote … if you can

Helper PD, FBI arrest suspects in savings bonds investigation

With my career in community newspapers, crime reporting usually sticks to local officials and local courts. This was my first experience working with federal-level courts.

By Les Bowen for Sun Advocate   |   March 1, 2007   |   Original source

[L]aw enforcement personnel arrested five passengers on an AMTRAK train last week in Helper.

The arrestees were all from outside the state and ranged from 24 to 42 years old. Continue reading Helper PD, FBI arrest suspects in savings bonds investigation