Subscribe News Feed Subscribe Comments

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Remember Our Veterans

The Air Force ROTC at Utah State University in Logan, Utah is holding a POW/MIA Tribute for Veterans.

The POW/MIA tribute begins at 5 p.m. Nov. 10 and lasts until 5 p.m. Nov. 11 — Veterans Day.

Capt. Mitcheal A. Cooksey Jr., an assistant professor of Aerospace Studies at USU, says, “This vigil is a way we can show we are grateful for them, their sacrifice and our freedoms that we enjoy daily.”

The American and POW/MIA flags will be displayed at the sidewalk crossing on the USU Quad and will be circled by two Ceremonial Guardsmen at all times. A wreath and miniature flags will be on display near the flags.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Remembering Sammy

Though Sammy was a member of our family for such a very, very short time, the impact of his death has been like a boulder to the heart. Married to Whitney only a few short 6 months ago, Sammy has been stationed in Hawaii ever since the wedding and, as with so many of our young men protecting this country, not a day goes by that we don't think about him.

Now Sammy is at peace with our Father in Heaven and we will remember him always. My heart goes out to Sammy's parents and other family. We let our children go and we are so proud of them and their accomplishments. Our pride for our children is a powerful fire in our hearts and can never be extinguished.

LCPL Samuel Lee Johnson, 20, passed away on September 24, 2011 in Honolulu, Hawaii.

He was born in Logan, Utah on November 4, 1990 to Rex and Kelly Hyde Johnson. Sam grew up in North Logan, and graduated from Cache High.

He had a strong desire to serve his country, and started his military career just weeks after graduation. He encouraged others to do so as well. Sam trained at Fort Sill, OK. in field artillery, finishing second in his class. Sam was stationed at Kaneohe Bay in Hawaii, including a seven month deployment to Japan. He was proud to be a US Marine.

Sam was a member of the LDS church, and married Whitney Deffinger in March 2011.

Sam loved his friends and family, especially his little sister.

He loved sushi and food in general. He considered going to Culinary school after the Marines. He had a passion for a wide range of music genres, but preferred it heavy and loud.

He took Kenpo Karate in his youth, enjoyed scouting, video and computer games and played sports. He had a keen mind and amazing memory. Next to his infectious smile, Sam’s greatest attribute was his capacity to love and reach out to others. He was always ready with that mischievous smile and great big hugs. We are so proud to be his family.

Our heartfelt thanks for the love and support we have received at this difficult time. A special note of love and appreciation to those who have traveled long distances to be here to honor our Sammy. There is no greater tribute.

Sam is survived by his parents, sister Veronica, and grandmother Arlene Loosle Johnson. He is also survived by Whitney and her family. Sam had so many Aunts and Uncles and cousins that loved him, too many to list by name. He loved you all.

Grieve not, nor speak of me with tears, but laugh and talk of me as if I were beside you... I loved you so-- 'twas Heaven here with you. Isla Paschal Richardson

Funeral services will be held at 1:00 PM on Friday, October 7, 2011 in the North Logan 3rd Ward Chapel, 1850 North 400 East in North Logan.

A viewing will be held on Thursday evening from 6:00 to 8:00 PM at the Allen Mortuary of North Logan, 420 East 1800 North, and prior to services at the church on Friday from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM. Interment will be in the Smithfield City Cemetery with Military Honors. Condolences may be sent to the family at

Thank you, Whitney, for sharing these wonderful pictures of Sammy when we were working on your wedding invitations. My thoughts are for you too, as Sammy's wife for such a heartbreakingly short time.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Kind of early for this, isn't it?

Significant Fall storm beginning Wednesday (Oct. 5) and continuing into Saturday morning.

Two storms in the Pacific will move into the western U.S. and an Alaskan upper area of low pressure will move in and bring substantially cooler temps.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Motorcyclist: Life saved by heroes who lifted car

This accident made national news. I was on my way from a training session on campus when an ambulance, fire truck, and several campus security vehicles stopped traffic and zipped right by the building I work in. I wondered what had happened and hoped it was nothing serious.

Later that evening, as I watched the news, it became apparent what had happened:

In this Monday, Sept. 12, 2011 image taken from video, a group of people tilt a burning BMW up to free Brandon Wright, on his back on the ground, who was pinned underneath after he collided with the car while riding his motorcycle on U.S. 89 in Logan, Utah. Authorities said Wright was riding his motorcycle near the Utah State University campus in Logan when the 21-year-old collided with the BMW that was pulling out of a parking lot. Tire and skid marks on the highway indicate that Wright laid the bike down and slid along the road before colliding with the car, Assistant Police Chief Jeff Curtis said.

Family thanks bystanders who pulled man from fiery wreck

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Started a New Job

Started a new job today at Utah State University in Logan, Utah.
Working as a Staff Assistant for the Food Sciences Department.

Romney Stadium during an Aggie football game

The building that I work in is behind the cemetery to the right of the stadium. Kiddy-corner from the stadium across the cemetery back behind all the pine trees.

When I hike, it is usually up Logan Canyon, which is in the background, about 15 miles to the Right Hand Fork Trailhead, which is just off Old Ephraim's Cutoff.

Old Ephraim's Cutoff and Trail Maps

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

ATK lays off 100 workers

ATK Aerospace Systems laid off about 100 employees on Wednesday as a result of the end of NASA's space shuttle program.

Employees were informed of the move at the end of June. Of the 100 who were laid off Wednesday, 28 volunteered. Five were transferred to other divisions, and 11 of them are out of state. The reduction was primarily in Utah - with locations in Magna, Clearfield and Promontory - but also affected locations in Alabama and Florida, according to a press statement.

"We have some of the most dedicated, passionate teams I've ever encountered," said Trina Patterson, spokeswoman for ATK Aerospace Systems. "It's a very, very hard day for us, and it's not easy to do this."

This is not the first layoff that ATK has had in recent years, but it is a smaller reduction, Patterson told The Herald Journal.

"We remain encouraged about ATK's long-term role in space exploration, with our commercial Liberty Launch Vehicle and the development of NASA's Space Launch System that can use our advanced solid rocket motor technology," Patterson said. "We are also actively engaged in securing future work that spans our heritage programs and customers, as well as strategically expanding in new, adjacent business areas."

ATK's Utah delegation is currently working to secure NASA's future heavy lift vehicle. It's also continuing to work on the development of the upgraded five-segment solid rocket motor and will conduct a third ground test in September.

Monday, August 1, 2011

August Comes in With a BANG!

Several hours after midnight and into the first day of August, I was awakened to what sounded like the middle of World War II. Lightning bright and constant with thunder following, cracking loudly right on top of me, or so it seemed. It kept up for most of the wee hours.

Homeowners south of here were flooded. - North Ogden homeowners wake up to flooded homes

Saturday, July 9, 2011

End of Space Shuttle Program Hits Utah Hard

For more than 30 years, NASA's space shuttle program has been a cornerstone of Utah's economy. That era ended Friday with the launch of Atlantis, which ends the shuttle program.

It stops the flow of hundreds of millions of dollars that came to Utah from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for tests and construction of the solid-fuel rocket booster motors that launch the spacecraft into orbit. Gone, too, are thousands of jobs from Alliant Tech Systems, known as ATK, and other northern Utah companies that supported the industry.

"I never thought they should end the shuttle program until there was a replacement for it," said Jake Garn, a one-time shuttle astronaut and former U.S. senator. "It has been a big boon to Utah, and I just hate to see the program come to an end."

On clear nights, Fred Perkins said he often looks up to see the International Space Station fly past. It represents a million tons of equipment that ATK's booster motors helped put into orbit.

"And you can watch it in the sky as if it were a new star," said Perkins chief shuttle engineer for the company which built the motor. "When I watch the space shuttle lifting off, it is overwhelming. I am in awe that human beings can actually come together and do that kind of work."

Some say the end of the shuttle program doesn't necessarily mean the future is all doom and gloom for Utah.

ATK will almost certainly be involved in the nation's future space-flight efforts, which virtually guarantees Utah will play a role — although the state may have to weather some tough times until NASA again sends astronauts into space aboard an American-made rocket.

Northern Utah's Box Elder County will certainly feel the pain. The county is the home of ATK's Promontory plant, where booster motors were assembled and tested.

"The economy in Box Elder County is going to be adjusting ... for some time to come," said John Matthews, a labor market economist at the Utah Department of Workforce Services who tracks northern Utah's workforce.

Unemployment in the county currently sits at 9.2 percent, much higher than the statewide rate of 7.3 percent. Much of the difference can be traced to the loss of thousands of workers let got from ATK since the wind-down of the shuttle program began in 2009.

"It has been really devastating for a lot of people around here," said Leon Payne, a 71-year-old Tremonton resident and ATK retiree who recently saw of his two brothers-in-law and a son let go from the rocket motor maker.

Payne, who started worked at ATK predecessor, Thiokol Corp., out of high school in 1958, says it's clear that what ATK needs going forward is new contracts.

"It was a good place to work, and it helped build me a home, buy a little property and raise three kids," said Payne who worked on the 1981 launch of the first shuttle before moving to the propellant program. "Those jobs helped put a lot of meals on a lot of tables. But I'm worried it could be a long time before we see those jobs return."

Former Tremonton Mayor Max Weese, who worked at Thiokol in the 1960s and 1970s, said even residents who didn't work at ATK's Promontory plant understood its importance. He's confident the jobs will return and that area residents will again hear the roar of rocket test firings from the hills west of the city.

"You could hear it and see the exhaust climbing into the sky," he said. "It would rattle windows, and sometimes there would be dust settling on the cars. But if they made a mess in your yard, you could always call them and they'd come out and clean it up.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Long Way Gone

A Long Way Gone Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

I am pushing a rusty wheelbarrow in a town where the air smells of blood and burnt flesh. The breeze brings the faint cries of those whose last breaths are leaving their mangled bodies. I walk past them. Their arms and legs are missing, their intestines spill out through the bullet holes in their stomaches; brain matter comes out of their noses and ears. The flies are so excited and intoxicated that they fall on the pools of blood and die. The eyes of the nearly dead are redder than the blood that comes out of them, and it seems that their bones will tear through the skin of their taut faces at any minute. I turn my face to the ground to look at my feet. My tattered sneakers are soaked with blood, which seems to be running down my army shorts. I feel no physical pain, so I am not sure whether I've been wounded. I can feel the warmth of my AK-47's barrel on my back. I don't remember when I last fired it. It feels as if neefdles have been hammered into my brain, and it is hard to be sure whether it is day or night. The wheelbarrow in front of me contains a dead body wrapped in white bedsheets. I do not know why I am taking this particular body to the cemetery. ------Ishmael Beah

Ishmael Beah is a former Sierra Leonean child soldier and the author of the published memoir, A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier.

Link to the website: A Long Way Gone

My high school friends have begun to suspect I haven't told them the full story of my life.
"Why did you leave Sierra Leone?"
"Because there was a war."
"Did you witness some of the fighting?"
"Everyone in the country did."
"You mean you saw people running around with guns and shooting each other?"
"Yes, all the time."
I smile a little.
"You shoulld tell us about it sometime."

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What Fresh Hell Is This?

What evil could lurk in the human heart to cause so much terror on this earth? Are we dealing with brain-washing, weak-minded followers, or the bowels of Satan?
Need a refresher?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Postponing the Inevitable?

May 9, 2011

LOGAN, Utah—
A flood watch has been canceled by the National Weather Service for parts of Northern Utah as cooler temperatures are preventing mountain snowpack from melting.

A flood warning, however, has been issued in Cache County for the Blacksmith Fork River, but no serious damage or injuries have been reported. The river has reached flood stage, but water receded a couple of inches Monday morning. Residents nearby the river have been bracing for weeks since the area has been forecasted to be one of the hardest hit by floods in the state. More rain has been forecasted for the area in the next coming days and crews are pumping water out of several areas in danger.
"At the Country Manor subdivision we have pumping operations going," said Craig Humphreys with Logan City Fire. "The residents are still pumping water to keep that from collecting in their basements and the city has some pumps running there also."

Debris is also a concern for fire marshalls because it could hit bridges and back water up, leading to road closures. There are no reports of homes flooded at this time.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

God Bless America

May 3, 2011

Lets get our boys and girls home from endless wars and back to work building their future.

Lets help our homeless get off the sidewalks.

Lets inspire our fellow citizens into making a success of their lives, and then give them the opportunity.

photo by Donald Kinney

Monday, May 2, 2011

What is Prompt Global Strike?

Prompt Global Strike (PGS) is a United States military effort to develop a system that can deliver a precision conventional weapon strike anywhere in the world within one hour just as an ICBM can do with a nuclear warhead.

Potential scenarios that would require a fast response, currently only available in nuclear weapons, include an impending North Korean missile launch or an opportunity to strike Al Qaeda leadership in Pakistan. "Today, unless you want to go nuclear, it's measured in days, maybe weeks" until the military can launch an attack with regular forces, said Marine Corps General James Cartwright.
The PGS system will be designed to complement Forward Deployed Forces, Air Expeditionary Forces (which can deploy within 48 hours) and Carrier battle groups (which can respond within 96 hours). Possible delivery systems include:

-a rocket like those of existing ICBMs, launched from the United States mainland, or SLBMs
-an air-launched hypersonic cruise missile, such as the Boeing X-51
-launch from an orbiting space platform

As of 2010, the Air Force's prototype is a modified Minuteman III ICBM.[4] In March of 2011, the Air Force Major General David Scott stated that the service had no plans to use a sea or land based ICBM system for Prompt Global Strike, as they would be expensive to develop and potentially "dangerous." Instead, efforts will focus on a hypersonic glider.[5] The next day the Air Force Chief of Staff Norton Schwartz said that it was still an option.[6]

The George W. Bush administration considered such a weapon, but shelved the idea because an ICBM-launched weapon may trigger the nuclear warning system of Russia.[7]

But the Obama administration and others believe such a system could allow the U.S. to shrink its nuclear arsenal while maintaining deterrent and quick strike capabilities.

Under the Obama plan, the Prompt Global Strike warhead would be mounted on a long-range missile to start its journey toward a target. It would travel through the atmosphere at several times the speed of sound, generating so much heat that it would have to be shielded with special materials to avoid melting. (In that regard, it is akin to the problem that confronted designers of the space shuttle decades ago.)

But since the vehicle would remain within the atmosphere rather than going into space, it would be far more maneuverable than a ballistic missile, capable of avoiding the airspace of neutral countries, for example, or steering clear of hostile territory. Its designers note that it could fly straight up the middle of the Persian Gulf before making a sharp turn toward a target.

The Pentagon hopes to deploy an early version of the system by 2014 or 2015. But even under optimistic timetables, a complete array of missiles, warheads, sensors and control systems is not expected to enter the arsenal until 2017 to 2020, long after Mr. Obama will have left office, even if he is elected to a second term.

Osama bin Laden Dead

May 2, 2011

I will say, if it wasn't for the fact it's on a reputable site like CNN, I'm not sure I'd have believed it... been such a long wait.

U.S. forces kill elusive terror figure Osama bin Laden in Pakistan

The mastermind of the worst terrorist attacks on American soil is dead, U.S. President Barack Obama announced late Sunday night, almost 10 years after the attacks that killed about 3,000 people.

Osama bin Laden -- the founder and leader of al Qaeda -- was killed by U.S. forces Sunday in a mansion in Abbottabad, north of the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, along with other family members, a senior U.S. official told CNN.

In an address to the nation Sunday night, Obama called bin Laden's death "the most significant achievement to date in our nation's effort to defeat al Qaeda."

"Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan," Obama said. "A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body."

The mission that killed one of the world's most notorious terrorist leaders was carried out by U.S. forces with the cooperation of Pakistan, U.S. President Barack Obama said Sunday night.

Osama bin Laden -- the longtime leader of al Qaeda -- was killed by U.S. forces in a mansion about 100 kilometers, or 62 miles, north of the Pakistani capital of Islamabad along with other family members, a senior U.S. official told CNN.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Raptor Research Project - Decorah Eagles

Live Video streaming by Ustream

Videos and Highlights

"Every day, I learn something new about their behavior. I literally sit here for hours on end sometimes, completely in awe of them, watching every movement, every attitude. I've been watching them since before the eggs hatched, and today for the first time, I saw the male feed the female while she kept the babies safe and warm from the winds (all day, windy and still windy). She took the food from his beak just like the babies do. It was so touching, gosh, I melted. She got impatient because it was fresh food, lifted herself off the babies and started to reach for the food. The male snapped at her, fiercely. She tried a few more times, and he got fiercer with each attempt. She finally submitted and went for the fish on the other side of the nest. It was quite interesting to watch that. Both of them seemed more hungry than usual. After full bellies, they both fed the little ones from opposite ends of the nest. The dad did the youngest, and the mom the older two, so sweet." --------Paula - Studio Reflections

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Another Round of Layoffs at ATK

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Solid rocket manufacturer Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK) announced a layoff of 134 employees at it's Utah facility today, Tuesday, April 5, 2011.

This recent layoff was much smaller than in the past and is a result of the completion of the space shuttle program and the changes in the funding of the ARES program. The Promontory plant is located 20 miles south and west of Tremonton and while this loss is not as large as in the past, the loss of these jobs will be felt in the local economy.

More than 2,300 people still work at the facility and ATK plans to continue to work on NASA programs, as well as commercial and cargo programs.

This will most likely not be the last layoff at ATK, but the company is optimistic about ATK’s future in the solid rocket program.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Closest full moon of 2011 on March 19 – high tides – Saturn

How super was your full Moon on March 19, 2011?

Completely clouded out here! But friends are sharing their great images and I am finding shares across Twitter and Facebook.

This one is from Rita, a fellow MTA Tagger who says, "This shot looks so Damn cool in real life and this pic just don't capture it."

Perigee moonrise from Rothenfels, Germany. Credit: Daniel Fischer.

This one is from Daniel Fischer , who took a series of images of the Perigee moonrise sequence from Rothenfels, Germany.

Finally got a couple of my own shots early the next morning. Has quite the ring around it.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Dog Trainer Saves Dog With CPR

March 10, 2011

During a training session at the Canyon Crest K9 Training Center in Tacoma, WA, Sugar the boxer suddenly collapsed.

Fortunately, Canyon Crest K9 owner Ron Pace jumped in without hesitation and began performing CPR on the unconscious dog, and Sugar quickly came to.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

When Will Spring Get Here????

Commuter hell: Heavy snowstorm brings icy roads, dozens of crashes

March 8, 2011

A heavy overnight winter storm left Utahns slogging through snow-clogged roads Tuesday, while dozens of weather-related accidents slowed the morning commute to a crawl.

The Utah Highway Patrol reported more than 60 slideoffs and crashes on the state’s slick, snow-packed highways and interstates between midnight and mid-morning. Meanwhile, more than three-dozen weather-related traffic calls kept police dispatchers throughout the Salt Lake Valley hopping.

Rocky Mountain Power crews were out all night restoring service to thousands scattered electrical outages. As morning broke, most of those power failures — including 1,200 in the north Ogden-Pleasant Grove area alone — had been handled.

However, hundreds more Utahns awakened to powerless homes Tuesday, boosting the total to more than 2,000 active outages by 7:30 a.m. Rocky Mountain Power spokesman Dave Eskelsen said most of the outages were due to heavy snow on drooping or breaking tree limbs affecting nearby power lines.

“The outages are pretty scattered throughout mostly the Salt Lake Valley this morning,” Eskelsen said. “Our single largest remaining outage was about 375 customers in the Holladay area.”

Snowfall totals easily exceeded forecasters’ predictions for the storm. The National Weather Service, which had expected a few inches to blanket the valleys, was recording depths of 8-12 inches. Mountain totals were being measured not in mere inches but feet.

Ski Utah reported that 21 inches of new snow was on the slopes at the Eagle Point resort, while Alta and Brighton resorts measured 20 inches each. Snowbird, Solitude and Brian Head recorded new snow totals as of Tuesday morning of 18, 17 and 17 inches, respectively, and Park City Mountain and Powder Mountain records came in with a foot of new powder each.

The Utah Avalanche Center put the risk of potentially deadly backcountry snowslides at “considerable” for the Logan, Ogden, Salt Lake, Manti-Skyline and Western Uinta districts, while the Moab district was rated “moderate” for avalanche danger.

Indeed, the heavy snowfall overnight made the task of Wasatch County search and rescue crews even more difficult as they resumed looking for two missing snowmobilers Tuesday morning. The search for the men, ages 27 and 24, focused on the Lake Creek trailhead area about 10 miles southeast of Heber, had initially begun Monday morning but had to be suspended late Monday night as the storm system moved in.

Little Cottonwood Canyon was ordered closed Tuesday morning until 8:30 a.m. for avalanche control work, while Big Cottonwood Canyon was restricted to four-wheel drive or chained vehicles.

Chains and four-wheel drive restrictions also were in place for Interstate 70 from Millard to Beaver counties and northern Utah’s Sardine Canyon. State Road 143 from Brian Head to Mammoth Creek Road in Iron County was closed with not estimate for when it would reopen.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Two Men Critically Injured in Box Elder County Accident

March 1, 2011

Two men were critically injured in a collision with an ATK pick-up truck in Box Elder County Wednesday (February 23, 2011).

The victims were heading westbound on SR-83 when an eastbound pick-up truck turned north into a plant area near ATK – crashing into the smaller car.

The driver and passenger of the car had to be extricated from the vehicle and one was transported to Ogden Regional Medical Center and the other flown to the University Hospital – both in critical condition.

SR-83 was closed for nearly three hours during the investigation.

One of these men is an older brother to a dear friend that I used to work with at ATK Launch Systems. Kristin contacted several of us today to give us the status of her brother since the wreck:

My older brother Wayne was in the car accident out at ATK. Wayne finally became alert today and was following verbal commands very slowly, but he was at least doing them. He has many broken bones and a few other injuries. Below is a list of things he is going through:

Broken left femur (surgery has been done)
Fractured T-8 in back (surgery has been done)
Laceration on his kidney
Collapsed lung (slowly weaning off ventilator)
Broken eye sockets, cheekbones, jaw, nose and cracked palate (surgery is scheduled for this Thursday)

A little bleeding by his brain (they say it is good now, but he has some damage to a little of his brain that has to do with his motor skills. The doctor said other parts of his brain can help out with this area.)

They have basically said that Wayne has a severe concussion, but he wasn't waking up and that worried the doctors. He had several CT scans, an EEG scan and an MRI. He is now alert and trying to do what is asked of him by his therapists and doctors. We are so thankful!

We've had alot of prayers going out from everyone that knows Wayne and even some that don't.

There is a blog that my nephews set up on Wayne's recovery. The website name is You can start from the first and work your way up to today or just follow along as my nephews and niece update it with any little news we get.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Rattled By News of Traffic Accident

February 23, 2011

Having made the commute to ATK Launch Systems in Promontory for 11 years, the news of this accident has my stomache turning and rattled. No names have been released, but considering it was during the morning commute, I may very well know the people involved.

Two Critically Hurt in Box Elder Head-on Crash

Courtesy of Utah Highway Patrol Two men were critically injured when their car collided with a pickup on State Road 83 near Corinne and the ATK plant on Wednesday morning.

The crash occurred about 6 a.m. on State Road 83 near the ATK Launch Systems Plant. An eastbound pickup truck making a left turn collided with an oncoming passenger car. Two male passengers were flown by medical helicopters from the scene. The driver of the pickup truck suffered minor injuries.

The pickup driver was expected to be cited for failure to yield the right of way.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Arizona Shooting: Tragedy in Tucson, AZ

In his first interview since the tragic shootings at the Safeway in Tucson, Ariz., Mark Kelly, the husband of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, sits down one-on-one with ABC's Diane Sawyer.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Wasatch Fault

The Utah Geological Survey has a video titled “Wasatch Fault Flyby” that explains the Wasatch Fault and how earthquake activity there can impact nearby urban areas with over 1.6 million residents.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

First Debris Removed from Provo Tabernacle

The first piece of debris in the investigation of the Provo Tabernacle was lifted out of the burned building by a crane on Jan. 5.

It's the next step Provo fire officials are using in their investigation to find out what started the fire on the morning of Dec. 17.

"Getting the debris out will help investigators actually get in and start going through, sifting through the rubble to find the cause," said Provo Deputy Fire Chief Gary Jolley. "They've isolated a few points of interest where they want to start."

With walls stabilized, the contractor begins hoisting the first pieces out of the burned Provo Tabernacle for examination.

Investigators had been waiting to go inside until the brick walls were stabilized by a contractor hired by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

According to Jolley, the cold weather in recent days is also making the investigation more difficult.

"The freezing temperatures do set us back, because if things are frozen together, it's harder to remove. We've been working with the contractor there and they have been trying to cover things up for us and heat things up, so the investigators can get in there and remove things that aren't stuck together," he said.

Each piece of debris is being moved onto the lawn north of the tabernacle, where it will be inspected and documented.

Investigators have already questioned dozens of people about the building, including those who were inside during a concert rehearsal just hours before the blaze was discovered.

They will consider all of the evidence they gather to help determine what caused the fire, in a daunting process that could still take several weeks.