San Juan County | KUER 90.1

San Juan County

Photo of White Mesa Mill in Blanding, Utah
Flickr Creative Commons / Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Uranium mines in Southeast Utah will remain idle — for now — as President Trump has delayed a decision to impose a buy-American quota on U.S. nuclear producers that would have bolstered domestic mining. 

Photo of commissioners.
Kate Groetzinger / KUER

The San Juan County Commission met in Monument Valley on Tuesday to conduct its bimonthly meeting. It was the first time the commission has ever met on the Navajo Nation, according to Commissioner Willie Grayeyes. More than 50 people attended the meeting, around two-thirds of whom were Navajo. 

Photo of cows.
Judy Fahys / KUER

Colorado residents Rose Chilcoat and her husband, Mark Franklin, were leaving southeastern Utah’s Bears Ears National Monument after a camping trip in April 2017 when they were pulled over by three cowboys in a pickup truck.

Utah has 29 counties, but it could get a few more under a bill awaiting debate at the Utah Legislature. A proposal being pushed by Rep. Kim Coleman, R-West Jordan would allow communities to break off and form their own county.

Erik Neumann / KUER

Two Navajo Democrats won an election last November in Southern Utah’s San Juan County. In the lead-up to the election, the county was redistricted after coming under fire for alleged racial gerrymandering.

Photo of commissioners.
Judy Fahys / KUER

MONITCELLO — San Juan County reached an historic milestone earlier this month when a Native American majority assumed control of a county’s governing body — a first for Utah.

Photo of San Juan County commission swearing in
Judy Fahys/KUER

MONTICELLO — In an historic first, Native Americans hold the majority on the San Juan County Commission following a packed swearing in ceremony Monday in Monticello.

Erik Neumann / KUER

A historic election near Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah faces a legal challenge as Republicans have appealed a federal judge’s earlier ruling that allowed the eventual winner to be on the ballot.

Erik Neumann / KUER

The court battle over whether Willie Grayeyes, who appears to have won a seat on the San Juan County Commission, should have been allowed to run for office in Utah has ended, after a federal judge ruled last week to dismiss the case.

Photo of Willie Grayeyes.
Erik Neumann / KUER

A small but symbolic race in San Juan County has captured the attention of Utahns far outside County Commission District 2, which is home to Utah’s portion of the Navajo Nation and the Bears Ears National Monument.

Julia Ritchey / KUER

The U.S. Department of Justice announced Monday that its sending officials to monitor Tuesday’s election in San Juan County, following similar election poll-watching efforts in 2016.

Photo of Holland waving from truckbed.
Marsha Holland 2018 Campaign

He’s a Republican candidate with a criminal conviction and name recognition that make him a local hero. She’s a political novice who’s raised four times as much campaign cash while running without any political party affiliation.

Photo of Grayeyes at canyon.
Erik Neumann / KUER

On a recent Sunday evening around dusk, Willie Grayeyes stood on a sagebrush and juniper-studded mesa, scanning the southeast Utah landscape. It was a place the Navajo Democrat’s family had lived for generations and where he’s hoping to be part of a political first.

Willie Grayeyes
Judy Fahys / KUER

A Navajo man will be put back on the ballot for a Utah county commission seat after a judge sided with him Tuesday in his lawsuit against a county that disqualified him in the first election since a judge ruled local voting districts were illegally drawn based on race.

Judy Fahys / KUER

A lawsuit announced this week in Salt Lake City focuses on a contested county commission seat, newly redrawn voting districts and a Navajo candidate well known for his opposition to shrinking the Bears Ears National Monument.

Courtesy/Mark Maryboy

San Juan County is asking a federal court to finalize a recent decision on voting districts. County leaders want to appeal the ruling, as the county’s Native American majority applauds it.

Judy Fahys/KUER

There’s a little round building in front of the visitors’ center in Blanding. It’s San Juan County’s memorial to those who’ve served or died in the military. Toni Turk is showing me around.

Judy Fahys / KUER News

President Donald Trump told Utah leaders Friday he’s going to shrink the boundaries of two national monuments in Utah. Supporters and opponents of the move are already stepping up to make their views known.

Howard Berkes / NPR

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, says he received a surprise phone call from President Donald Trump Friday about shrinking the Bears Ears National Monument. In a news release, Hatch says the president told him: “I’m approving the Bears Ears recommendation for you, Orrin.”

Judy Fahys / KUER News

San Juan County in southeastern Utah has just two incorporated communities: Monticello and Blanding. Now the village of Bluff may soon be adding itself to that list.

KUER

The San Juan County Sheriff and two of his deputies will remain on the job for now. All three were charged Friday with criminal misconduct and obstructing an investigation.

Judy Fahys/KUER

 

San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman says he might look to the county for legal help after he was told to find a new lawyer to fight federal criminal charges over an ATV protest he led last spring.

Judy Fahys / KUER News

Dozens of all-terrain-vehicle riders drove into San Juan County’s Recapture Canyon a month ago. Federal authorities say that ride into off-limits territory was illegal, but they haven’t filed any charges yet.

Now, the San Juan County Commission is asserting authority over the scenic trail in a non-binding resolution. Recapture is filled with ancient burial sites and antiquities, and county leaders say the U.S. Bureau of Land Management is taking too long to decide how to safeguard them.

Judy Fahys / KUER News

Federal investigators are continuing their probe into a protest ride Saturday through Recapture Canyon. And that includes sizing up the impact that the all-terrain vehicles might have had on the canyon's archaeological sites.

Some people regard Recapture Canyon as a mini-Mesa Verde National Park. Both contain prehistoric ruins, religious kivas and ancient burial grounds that make them world famous. But over the weekend more than 60 protestors drove ATVs into those sensitive areas.

Judy Fahys / KUER News

A protest in Utah’s San Juan County ended without violence on Saturday. But the conflict between a federal government agency and its critics is expected to continue.

San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman organized the ride into Recapture Canyon, where the U.S. Bureau of Land Management banned motorized vehicles 7 years ago. Lyman urged protesters at a morning rally on Saturday to steer clear of the closed areas because of the risk to the archaeology and to their reputations.

Colorado Parks & Wildlife

  The U-S Fish and Wildlife Service has published a draft environmental assessment on its proposal to designate critical habitat for the Gunnison Sage Grouse in Utah and Colorado.  The Gunnison grouse is a smaller and rarer cousin of the greater sage grouse that lives in most of the states of the Mountain West.