News

Out West Roundup: Utah town headed toward keeping booze prohibition

Author: Associated Press - November 17, 2017 - Updated: November 24, 2017

AP-Utah-Blanding.jpg
This Nov. 2, 2005, file photo shows traffic moving through downtown Blanding, Utah. One of Utah's last "dry" communities will keep its prohibition on alcohol sales after voters on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017, rejected a measure Blanding residents said might broaden the town's appeal to tourists but could threaten the city's way of life. (AP Photo/Jerry McBride, File)This Nov. 2, 2005, file photo shows traffic moving through downtown Blanding, Utah. One of Utah’s last “dry” communities will keep its prohibition on alcohol sales after voters on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017, rejected a measure Blanding residents said might broaden the town’s appeal to tourists but could threaten the city’s way of life. (AP Photo/Jerry McBride, File)

Utah

Utah town headed toward keeping booze prohibition

SALT LAKE CITY — One of Utah’s last “dry” communities is on track to maintain its eight-decade prohibition on alcohol sales after voters rejected a measure to allow sales that proponents said would boost tourism and opponents said would threaten the small city’s way of life.

Following last week’s vote in Blanding, a city of about 3,500, the count of ballots was 573 in favor of keeping the ban and 299 for overturning it, according to unofficial results.

The city in Utah’s southeastern corner has seen an influx of tourists in recent years, especially with the naming of the new Bears Ears National Monument nearby. Some restaurant and hotel owners say that even though most locals are Mormon and avoid alcohol, Blanding needs to accommodate drinkers.

“I just feel bad for those who want a bottle of wine or a glass of wine with your meal,” said Sharon Guymon, a restaurant owner who pushed to allow beer and wine sales after years of customer complaints. “I don’t think a glass would hurt anybody.”

Others argued prohibition is key to the city’s character and worried that allowing alcohol could lead to public drunkenness and other problems.

Arizona

Arizona lawmaker accused of sex remarks loses committee post

PHOENIX — The publisher of Arizona’s largest newspaper last week joined a growing list of women who say a top Republican state lawmaker subjected them to inappropriate sexual comments or actions, allegations that led to his suspension from the chairmanship of a powerful committee.

Arizona Republic Publisher Mi-Ai Parrish wrote in a column online that state Rep. Don Shooter told her last year during a meeting in his office that he had done everything on his “bucket list,” except for “those Asian twins in Mexico.” Parrish is Asian-American.

Shooter would not comment about Parrish’s column but has denied other allegations revealed this week.

Republican House Speaker J.D. Mesnard suspended Shooter from heading the appropriations committee pending the results of an investigation.

Shooter denied allegations from Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita and accused her of pursuing an affair with a House staffer. Several other women — lawmakers, lobbyists and Parrish — have come forward with similar accusations since Ugenti-Rita gave a television interview, including allegations of sexually tinged comments or unwanted touching.

Shooter wielded considerable power as head of the House Appropriations Committee and is known around the Capitol as a politically incorrect jokester who threw booze-laden parties in his office on the last day of legislative sessions.

New Mexico

New Mexico considers limiting access to police lapel video

SANTA FE — New Mexico lawmakers have begun drafting legislation that would restrict public access to video recordings from police lapel cameras of people with mental illnesses, in an effort to bolster privacy over personal medical conditions.

Presented to a panel of lawmakers last week, a preliminary draft of the bill would add exemptions to the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act to prevent or limit the release of audio, video and photographic recordings of people with a mental illness without consent.

Rep. Gail Chasey, D-Albuquerque, said public availability of video recordings taken by police can discourage people from calling emergency services or interfere with the work of mental health crisis teams as frightened patients hold back information.

Republican Rep. Jim Dines of Albuquerque cautioned that broadly written legislation might interfere with public oversight of police.

Wyoming

Cheyenne Police Department to phase out oldest patrol cars

CHEYENNE – Some Cheyenne Police Department officers are due for a new set of wheels, and they’re going to get them soon.

The Cheyenne Police Department spent $835,895 of its fifth-penny sales tax money on 20 new police vehicles – 12 patrol cars, three unmarked cars for the traffic unit, four pickup trucks and one SUV for detectives.

The new vehicles will replace worn-out patrol cars, some as old as 2006.

Cheyenne Police Department spokesman Kevin Malatesta said police cars wear out more quickly than a regular car, mostly because they’re used so often.

The new cruisers are 2017 Ford Police Interceptors, a law enforcement version of the Ford Explorer.

Since the new vehicles are SUVs, it gives officers more room to carry equipment.

Those being arrested will also see a perk – more leg room.

“There is a ton of leg room back here … we have to wedge people into the sedan ones, and you could actually fit a bigger person back there,” Malatesta said.

Nebraska

Nebraska to use 4 drugs never tried together in an execution

LINCOLN — Nebraska’s corrections department took a key step last week to prepare for the state’s first execution since 1997, unveiling a new combination of lethal injection drugs that no state has ever used on an inmate before.

The state Department of Correctional Services notified death-row inmate Jose Sandoval of the lethal injection drugs to be used in his execution, although no date has been set.

The announcement came almost one year to the day after Nebraska voters reinstated capital punishment, overriding state lawmakers who had abolished the death penalty in defiance of Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts.

A corrections department spokeswoman said the state intends to use the sedative diazepam, commonly known as Valium; the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl citrate; the paralytic cisatracurium; and potassium chloride to induce death.

Sandoval, 38, was sentenced to death on five counts of first-degree murder for the September 2002 deaths of five people in a bank robbery in Norfolk, a city of 24,000 about 110 miles northwest of Omaha.

Nebraska’s last execution, in 1997, used the electric chair.

Kansas

Kansas prosecutor wants help investigating former detective

WICHITA — A Kansas prosecutor has asked for help in investigating a retired white police detective accused of preying on black women for sex over decades and pursuing the wrongful murder conviction of the son of one of the women.

Wyandotte County District Attorney Mark Dupree, the first black elected district attorney in Kansas, noted in an interview that Kansas City Police Chief Terry Zeigler recently said there should be an investigation of former detective Roger Golubski, who numerous residents say wielded his power to terrorize the Kansas City, Kansas, black community for years.

Dupree shocked those attending a court hearing on Oct. 13 when he said there had been “manifest injustice” in the conviction of Lamonte McIntyre for the 1994 murders of two men, when he was a teenager. A judge let McIntyre go free after 23 years in prison.

No physical evidence linked McIntyre to the crime, and he did not know the victims. The case rested on contradictory and coerced testimony that police and the prosecutor at the time allegedly knew to be false.

McIntyre’s mother, Rose, said in an affidavit that years before her son was convicted Golubski coerced her into a sexual act in his office and then harassed her for weeks, often calling her two or three times a day, before she moved and changed her phone number. She believes Golubski retaliated against her son because she spurned his later advances.

Affidavits also accuse the prosecutor in the case, Terra Morehead, of intimidating witnesses who told her McIntyre was not the killer, and then not informing the defense about those statements. And the presiding judge, Wyandotte County District Judge J. Dexter Burdette, had a romantic relationship with Morehead before the trial that neither disclosed at the time.

Montana

Drivers get turkeys instead of traffic tickets in Montana

BILLINGS — Some Montana drivers got Thanksgiving turkeys instead of tickets when they were pulled over by traffic officers.

Officers with the Billings Police Department checked for outstanding warrants last week after pulling over drivers for traffic violations.

If they found none, they issued a written warning and a frozen turkey.

Businessman Steve Gountanis bought the 20 turkeys and asked the department to distribute them in time for the holiday.

Driver Larry Riddle appreciated the surprise after he was pulled over for not signaling a turn.

Riddle’s wife died of cancer and he lives alone on a limited budget. Each year, he tries to make a holiday meal for his daughter and himself.

Associated Press

Associated Press