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Sun Advocate

Tuesday August 17, 2010 845 East Main, Price UT

118th Year - No. 65

75¢

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435.637.0732

Mine bankruptcy ‘aftershock’ hits local companies Editor’s Note: Because legal negotiations and confidential financial information are involved, the newspaper has agreed to protect the identity of its local business sources for this report.

By JOHN SERFUSTINI DIANA ROOT - SUN ADVOCATE

Fishin’ for fun at County Fair Youngsters try their luck at the Division of Wildlife Resources Fishing Pond during the Carbon County Fair Friday. The popular pond was one of many fea-

tures and events at the fair. Live entertainment, arts and crafts, and livestock drew hundreds of visitors. Additional photos are on pages 11A and 12A.

Forty-year-old murder investigation reopened By RICHARD SHAW Sun Advocate publisher

RICHARD SHAW - SUN ADVOCATE

Carbon County Sheriff James Cordova and Detective David Brewer look at the door which Heidi Jones peered through as a three-year-old and saw her mother laying in a pool of blood in their home in south Price. The door was recently found in a shed behind the home.

When Carbon County Detective David Brewer heard a couple of years ago about the unsolved murder of a friend’s mother that occurred in 1970, it ate at him. How could such a thing happen and the perpetrator not be caught? For the last 12 months, Brewer has been digging into a horrible crime that shocked Price and the county, in which a suspect was arrested and the trial process begun. But before the year the Beatles broke up ended, the case was for the most Loretta Jones part dropped. Now, because of Brewer’s hard work, the cooperation of a number of law enforcement agencies, and witnesses who are still around, there reportedly may be enough to take the case and a suspect to court. Like the “Cold Case” crime series on television, Brewer (Continued on page 10A)

Sun Advocate reporter

Like the aftershocks following an earthquake, repercussions of a 2008 Emery County mine bankruptcy are sending financial tremors through scores of Castle Country businesses. Two sources have told the Sun Advocate that 120 local firms are affected by the failure of C. W. Mining Co., owner of the Co-Op Mining Beaver Canyon Mine. CWM was forced into involuntary bankruptcy in January 2008. This is not a case of the vendors going unpaid because of the bankruptcy, however. It is a case of having to refund all the money they received from CWM since October 2007. Attorneys for the bankruptcy trustee early last month delivered letters to local com-

Striker and sign at the picket line during the Co-Op walkout.

panies demanding repayment of money they received since 90 days before the bankruptcy filing. The demand letters are entirely legal, authorized by the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The law gives the trustee the power and the responsibility to collect money already paid to vendors and put it in the debtor’s account for distribution to all creditors.

The provisions of the code are intended to prevent “preferential” payments that might favor certain vendors or lenders over others. (These are sections 547, 548 and 549.) However, for businesses that thought they had been fairly compensated for equipment and services they provided for CWM more than two years ago, the demand letters are a nightmare. “When I first heard about this law, I thought I must be hearing wrong. This just can’t be,” commented one of the affected vendors. “But every lawyer in town will tell you it’s the law and there’s no way out,” he added. He explained that the situation is like making his company pay twice for the same thing, first to buy the original equipment and make payroll, then to refund the reimbursements received. “This is going to hurt, but we’ll make it. I’m not sure about Christmas bonuses this year, though,” said another vendor. The cause of last month’s (Continued on page 3A)

Price alley green space raises concerns about rights of way By KEVIN SCANNELL Sun Advocate reporter

An alley in Price city is at the heart of an issue and the final outcome could have effects on other alleys throughout the city. As part of the Division of Water Quality projects going on throughout the Spring and Summer, staff from the Water and Sewer Department identified possible problem spots in the city. A sewer line is being

845 East Main, Price, UT 84501

replaced in an alley near 450 E. 600 N. in the Parkdale Townsite Subdivision. An existing sewer main is in approximately two-thirds of the alley and is being replaced because it is old, deteriorating and substandard. At the center of the discussion was the issue of the city having to remove the landscaping, including a lawn and bushes, to accomplish the work on the project. Russell Seeley, city engi-

neer with Price City, said that the alley was determined to be a public right of way. In July, Gary Sonntag, public works director with Price City, sent a letter to the residence next to the alleyway notifying them of the work that would be done, Seeley said. The city explored different options to replace the sewer line including using the technique of pipe bursting so as not to disturb the area. The (Continued on page 2A)

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JOHN SERFUSTINI - SUN ADVOCATE

Not your basic chamber lunch Rock star and health care administrator Al Shakespaere provides and earful of tunes while the view from the Tavaputs Ranch provides an eyeful of scenery for chamber members and guests at a memorable luncheon Saturday. Butch and Jeanie

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Jensen hosted the affair at their award-winning ranch/resort. Besides lunch, the event also featured a historical tour and four-wheeler excursions. Additional photos and a story about how the ranch won conservation awards are on page 2B.


Cyan Magenta Yellow Black Sun Advocate Price, Utah Tuesday August 17, 2010 3A

Mine bankruptcy aftermath hits scores of local businesses as trustee demands payments

RICHARD SHAW - SUN ADVOCATE

Picketers line the access road to the Co-Op mine during the walkout in 2003. However, courts ruled that the mine’s failure to deliver on its contract was due to geology, not the labor dispute.

(Continued from page 1A) cascade of demand letters was years in the making. A Federal Court of Appeals summary shows that CWM ran into a series of problems that began just one month after a moment of triumph in 2003. In September, the company signed a contract to deliver 1.5 million tons a year for three years to Aquila, Inc., a Midwest electric utility. The ink was barely dry by October, when about half of the mine’s 120 workers walked off the job in a labor dispute. At the same time, the No. 1 mine was experiencing a lot of roof falls. That led the Mine Safety and Health Administration to order a halt to operations in

January 2004. Mines 3 and 4 might have picked up the slack, but geology prevented that. Miners encountered “hot spots” where coal had reached unsafe temperatures, and mud in other sections compounded the problems. Co-Op was unable to deliver fully on the agreement. Aquila (now Black Hills Energy) accepted partial deliveries, but had to shop on the open market to make up the deficit. The utility had to pay a higher price for the coal it got, and also had to buy emission credits because the sulfur content of the make-up coal was higher than Co-Op’s. By April 2005, CWM said it was going to cancel the contract. Aquila sued in Salt

Lake Federal District Court to recover the $24 million in extra coal expenses it incurred. It won a judgment against CWM, which was later upheld by the Appeals Court in November 2008. The district court ruled that it was not the strike but the geology that caused the production problem, and that CWM did not sufficiently advise Aquila of the situation. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court at Salt Lake City in July allowed the trustee to sell the mine to an out-of-state buyer for $15 million in cash. The buyer is Rhino Energy, LLC, which operates mines in Colorado, Kentucky, West Virginia and Ohio. Rhino produced 5 million tons in 2009, according to court documents.

Rocky Mountain Power gets high marks Large industrial customers of Rocky Mountain Power, an operating utility of MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company, continue to rate the company among the top utilities in the nation for overall customer satisfaction, according to TQS Research. Rocky Mountain Power scored high in the 2010 TQS survey, with 91.8 percent of industrial customers polled saying they were very satisfied. TQS Research is an Atlanta-based independent research firm that polls large

Pink Ladies donate $10,000 to CEU-USU nursing Castleview Hospital Pink Ladies President Kenna Mutz presents a $10,000 check to to CEU-USU Chancellor Joe Peterson. College Nursing Director Kimball Johnson, fund drive chair Luane Wilson and assistant chair Bonnie Johnson are also at the ceremony. The money will fund ten scholarships for nursing students. The Pink Ladies accumulated the money from fund raising events during the past year. The chancellor praised the community involvement of the volunteer organization and expressed the college’s gratitude for the donation.

Boys & Girls Club of Carbon County Teen Center Opening SoonRegistrations Now Available The Boys & Girls Club of Carbon County is an after-school and summer youth development program for kids ages 6-18. Our mission is to inspire and enable all young people, including those who need us most, to become productive, responsible, and caring citizens. A Boys & Girls Club will provide a safe place to learn and grow, ongoing relationships with caring-adult professionals, lifeenhancing programs, character development experiences, and hope and opportunity through daily, structured activities. We are here to fill a need or void for youth in the community. Initially we will be offering programming to the teen population (13-18 or 7th-12th grades). This teen component called ‘The Club’ will be available for all teens to have somewhere to be and something to do especially during the after-school hours. We see a gap in services for this particular population at this time and want to provide them with a positive option. The Boys & Girls Club of Carbon County will provide them that positive place to be. We will provide hope and opportunity for all participants through a variety of fun, creative daily activities. Our programs are structured and based on five core areas which are: Character & Leadership Development, Education & Career, Health & Life Skills, The Arts, and Sports, Fitness & Recreation. We focus on the whole child, every need and aspect of their life. It is also a place where they can learn new skills, meet new friends, and gain knowledge to assist them in the future. There are four key characterisƟcs that define a Boys & Girls Club. All are criƟcal in exerƟng posiƟve impact on the life of a child: 1. Dedicated Youth Facility --The Boys & Girls Club is a place – an actual neighborhood-based building – designed solely for youth programs and activities. 2. Open Daily --Many Clubs are open every day, after school and on weekends, when kids have free time and need positive, productive outlets. 3. Professional Staff --Every Club has full-time, trained youth development professionals, providing positive role models and mentors. Volunteers provide key supplementary support. 4. Available/Affordable to All Youth --Clubs reach out to kids who cannot afford, or may lack access to, other community programs. Annual membership dues are low, averaging $10 to $20 per year. All teens ages 13-18 or 7th–12th grade are invited to attend and participate in the fun, daily activities the Club will have available. Some of these activities will consist of a Gamesroom, Cooking Club, Photography, Pottery, Keystone Club (service/leadership program), Club Tech, Sports, Fitness, & Recreation activities, Fieldtrips to local venues, and much more. The Boys & Girls Club of Carbon County will be opening its doors on August 30, 2010. The Club will be housed at Mont Harmon Jr. High. It will operate Monday – Friday from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. A small membership fee of $20.00 is required to join the Club. Applications are now available. The registrations can be picked up at our main office which is located at 375 S. Carbon Ave. Ste. 101. We will also have registrations available at area schools during their registration sessions. For further information or questions please contact McKell Warburton at (435) 637-5032 Ext. 426 or at bgcccMW@gmail.com.

commercial and industrial customers of electric utilities for overall satisfaction. The annual TQS benchmark survey of the 60 largest utilities measures performance in critical areas, such as energy efficiency, account management, reliable power, price, handling customer contacts and company image. Rocky Mountain Power’s two sister utilities, Pacific Power and MidAmerican E n e rg y C o m p a n y, a l s o scored high in the TQS survey, at 97.5 percent and

91.5 percent, respectively. “We are pleased that our employees’ commitment is recognized by our customers,” said Richard Walje, Rocky Mountain Power’s president. “These dedicated employees help customers keep their costs down, improve reliability and provide innovative solutions, as shown by the survey results. We have been providing safe, reliable service for nearly 100 years and continue to adapt our service as our customers’ electricity needs evolve.

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Mine bankruptcy‘ aftershock’ hits local companies