San Juan County | KUER 90.1

San Juan County

San Juan County school board meeting.
Kate Groetzinger/ KUER News

School will likely look very different in the northern and southern regions of San Juan County this fall, given a stark split in parental preferences. 

The San Juan School District surveyed parents to come up with a reopening plan, which was approved by the school board on Thursday. Around 60% of parents in the southern region of the county said they prefer online learning, while over 70% in the north said they want school to resume in-person. 

Photo of the outside of a building that says "Four Corners Regional Care Center"
Kate Groetzinger / KUER

Dalene Redhorse lost her dad and her grandfather over the weekend. Both lived at the Four Corners Regional Care Center in Blanding and tested positive for COVID-19 last week. 

An aerial image shows two large ponds of uranium tailings with Sleeping Ute Mountain in the background.
Tim Peterson/LightHawk

Wednesday evening, July 8, 2020

Picture of sign that says “La posada pintada,” with a small hotel and bluffs in the background.
Kate Groetzinger / KUER

The Town of Bluff will remain under the red, high risk category in the Governor’s pandemic reopening plan. The state gave the town permission to continue implementing strict guidelines for businesses, as the rest of Utah moves from high to moderate risk. 

Photo of San Juan County courthouse.
Ken Lund / Flickr Creative Commons

  

Tuesday morning, May 5, 2020

A young Navajo girl works on a laptop in a living room decorated with Native American weavings
Courtesy of Celia Black

Briana Lee is a junior at Monument Valley High School. She received her hotspot last week, and said it’s already helping her get more work done. But after three or four hours, she usually maxes out her daily data allotment. 

Photo of Goosenecks State Park
Creative Commons / cm195902

San Juan County relaxed its public health order restricting leisure travel on Thursday, one day before Gov. Gary Herbert announced Utahns can visit state parks outside of the county they live in. 

Photo of Monument Valley High School Sign that reads
Kate Groetzinger / KUER

MONUMENT VALLEY, Utah — Like most parents, Sheila Holiday is struggling to teach her three children math at home while schools are closed because of COVID-19. But unlike many other parents, she can’t just go online and watch a YouTube video to help explain calculus and fractions, because of where she lives. 

Photo of a tent in the foreground at a developed campsite by a lake with campers in the background
Carolyn Dailey for KUER

San Juan County’s health department announced its first confirmed case of COVID-19 Friday morning. Minutes later, the department issued an order to curb tourism in the county. 

Photo of a sign welcoming people to the city of Bluff in Utah
Wikimedia Commons

BLUFF — Hotel owner Jen Davila normally staffs up in the spring, ahead of the busy tourist season. But this year nothing is normal. 

Photo of a school bus
Tina Carter / Millard County School District

As schools and businesses gear up for closures, school districts in Utah are looking for ways to keep learning going outside the classroom.

Photo of three men and a woman sitting at a table smiling and signing papers
Kate Groetzinger / KUER

TEEC NOS POS, ARIZ. — A 2-year-old stalemate over who should maintain roads on the Navajo Nation in San Juan County ended Monday, with the signing of a new road maintenance agreement. But county officials say the arrangement doesn’t go far enough. 

Photo of the slickrock bike trail
Wikimedia Commons

Moab and Grand County officials breathed a sigh of relief last week, when the Bureau of Land Management announced it will defer leasing land inside the Sand Flats Recreation Area to oil and gas developers in an upcoming lease sale. 

Photo of Navajo Mountain
Kate Groetzinger / KUER

NAVAJO MOUNTAIN — Big, wet snowflakes fell on this small community on the Navajo Nation yesterday, blanketing its red dirt roads and thwarting the San Juan County Commission’s latest attempt to hear from residents of the Utah Navajo strip. 

 

Photo of the San Juan County administrative building.
Courtesy of San Juan County

Weber County has completed an investigation into an allegation of electioneering by the San Juan County Clerk. But San Juan will have to find another county to determine whether or not to file charges. 

A deer looks at the road while stuck.
Kate Groetzinger / KUER

 


BLANDING — Every weekday morning, Derek Bethea drives from his home in Blanding to Monticello, where he works as a therapist at the San Juan County jail. His route — State Highway 191, which runs north-south along the eastern edge of the state — is not prone to traffic. But it can be treacherous.

Shoppers walk the mall during Black Friday.
David Fuchs / KUER

Friday afternoon, November 29, 2019

Aerial view of houses located in valley among red rock formations.
istock / Alena Mozhjer

GALLUP, N.M. — Most people in the United States will receive a letter in the spring asking them to fill out the 2020 census online. But residents of the Navajo Nation will receive a paper questionnaire, hand-delivered to their door. That means the Census Bureau must recruit workers to visit every home on the reservation. 

Photo of six people seated at a conference table, as an audience seated in chairs looks on.
Kate Groetzinger / KUER

MONTICELLO — Just south of Moab, across the boundary splitting Grand and San Juan counties, the night sky in Spanish Valley is dark enough for residents to make out full constellations. 

Photo of a hand painted sign on a gate that says "Dooda, proposition 10, vote no."
Kate Groetzinger / KUER

SAN JUAN COUNTY — A proposition to explore a change in county government in San Juan County has failed by a margin of just 153 votes. The county clerk called the race Friday morning, saying that the outcome wouldn’t change with the 125 still-uncounted ballots.

Two women walk up to a house with dogs running around on red dirt ground.
Kate Groetzinger / KUER

There is only one measure on the ballot this year in San Juan County. It asks voters if they think the county should explore changing its form of government, which is currently a three-member commission. That could mean more commissioners and new districts. And that’s got some residents concerned. 

Photo of Dalene Redhorse holding a Google plus code sign.
Elaine Clark/KUER

SAN JUAN COUNTY — It’s a hot, October afternoon, and Dalene Redhorse is driving down an unnamed road on the Navajo Nation. In the backseat of her pickup, she’s got a bag of small blue signs that she’s delivering today. 

Photo of a yard sign with donkeys on it that says, "Just Vote No on Proposition 10."
Kate Groetzinger / KUER

San Juan County is holding a special election on Nov. 5 to ask voters if the county should explore changing its form of government. But the county may have failed to adequately notify Navajo voters about it, according to Niki Venugopal, a voting outreach coordinator with the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah. 

A road with worn pavement and lots of patches.
Kate Groetzinger/KUER

SAN JUAN COUNTY -- As winter approaches, Navajo Nation residents in Utah say roads on the reservation are increasingly hazardous because of a lack of upkeep.

 

And they don’t know who to blame.

Photo of Navajo woman filling out form.
Kate Groetzinger / KUER

Updated 10:05 p.m. MDT 10/3/19

 

An upcoming special election in San Juan County has some Native residents worried they will lose representation in government.

Two Navajo men face each other for a conversation during a commission meeting.
Kate Groetzinger / KUER

Following a five-hour mediation process on Friday, San Juan County has agreed to pay the Navajo Nation $2.6 million in attorney’s fees. The county is responsible for compensation after losing a voting rights case brought by the Nation in 2012. 

Photo of a street sign on a highway that reads "Sunny Acres Lane."
Kate Groetzinger / KUER

MONTICELLO — From the potential construction of a 13-acre truck stop to the conversion of housing into overnight rentals to the loss of their dark night skies, people who moved to Spanish Valley for peace and quiet say their way of life is under threat. 

Photo of a rock showing pictographs.
Kate Groetzinger / KUER

Conservation and tribal groups are criticizing the Bureau of Land Management for its latest oil and gas lease sale of more than 70,000 acres of public land in Utah. 

The sale, which occurred this week, brought in around $1.63 million, according to the BLM, more than half of which came from 32,027 acres in San Juan County.

The sale is the third since March 2018 to include land between Bears Ears and Canyon of the Ancients National Monument, much of which conservation groups say should not be leased. 

Photo of Huckabay looking out her window.
Kate Groetzinger / KUER

This story has been corrected.

SPANISH VALLEY — When Marlene Huckabay moved to Spanish Valley in 1994, her two-acre lot was little more than a patch of desert with a tar paper shack surrounded by stark, red-rock cliffs.

Photo of former San Juan County CommissionerMark Maryboy at a town hall meeting.
Kate Groetzinger / KUER

Efforts to change the form of government in San Juan County brought cultural and political tensions to the fore last week, prompting accusations of racism. Former County Commissioner Mark Maryboy, whose brother Kenneth is a county commissioner, called some residents who support the change in county government “racist Mormons,” adding, “They are all probably a member of the Ku Klux Klan.”

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