UTAH (News4Utah) - The year 2017 saw many noteworthy news stories that profoundly affected Utahns.
Trump Shrinks National Monuments
Political change dominated 2017 in Utah. President Trump,under the advisement of Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, reduced the sizes of two of Utah's national monuments, including Grand Staircase Escalante and Bears Ears. The President and Hatch said the monument designations were an abuse of the Federal Antiquities Act, and wanted more local control in those areas. The decision to shrink the monuments sparked the ire of land conservationists and other groups. "Our precious national treasures must be protected, and they, from now on will be," Pres. Trump said in an address to Utahns during a December visit.
Jason Chaffetz Resigns
Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) announced he was stepping down back in May. The former Congressman claimed he had had a midlife crisis and was in need of more family time. He later took a permanent position as a pundit on Fox News. Former Provo Mayor John Curtis (R-Utah) took over Chaffetz's coveted seat after a special November election.
First Female Mayor in Salt Lake County
Salt Lake County elected its first female and Hispanic sheriff. Rosie Rivera was sworn in, following Sheriff Jim Winder's resignation, taking a job as Moab's new police chief.
Summer Domestic Violence Homicides
Utah saw a wave of domestic violence homicides over the summer, including one that shocked a community in Sandy. A mother and her son, gunned down in the street next to his elementary school just before summer vacation. The gunman turned the weapon on himself. "I've been with Sandy City for 34.5 years," said Chief Kevin Thacker. "I don't think I've ever seen anything affect our department the way this has."
Utahns Killed in Las Vegas Shooting
A devastating mass shooting on the Las Vegas strip claimed the lives of more than 50 people, including three Utahns. It was the worst mass shooting to date in modern U.S. history.
Plane Crashes on I-15
A small plane crashed onto I-15, killing two couples inside. The plane had just taken off from the Ogden-Hinckley airport before crashing.
Paul Swenson Disappears
A weeks-long search for a missing husband and father in American Fork ended in tragedy. Paul Swenson was found deceased after disappearing in late July. His disappearance prompted a massive search for him, and the mystery captivated many here in Utah and around the world online. Swenson leaves behind a wife and baby daughter.
Operation Rio Grande Begins
A push to combat problems with the homeless in downtown Salt Lake City, Operation Rio Grande saw state and local leaders teaming up to clean up the downtown area, getting vagrants help for drug addiction and working to get them jobs. The operation netted dozens of arrests.
Arrest of Nurse Alex Wubbels
The video of the arrest of University of Utah Nurse Alex Wubbels was seen around the world, sparking outrage against the Salt Lake City Police Dept. Wubbels was roughly handcuffed and arrested after refusing to let a Salt Lake City police officer draw blood from an unconscious patient, which was against hospital protocol. "I stood my ground, I stood for what is right," said Nurse Wubbels, "which was to protect the patient. As a nurse, any nurse I think would have done exactly what I did." The incident led to Detective Jeff Payne's firing, and a $500,000 settlement for Nurse Wubbels.
University of Utah Shooting
A University of Utah student died after a domestic disturbance in the hills above campus led to his carjacking and shooting. Chin Wei Guo was an international student who was sitting in his car just before Halloween, when police said Anthony Boutain approached him and shot him to death. Boutain's wife had come down from the hills above campus where the couple was living to report Boutain for a domestic disturbance. In his hurry to get away, Boutain approached Chin Wei Guo and attempted to carjack him, police said. The shooting prompted a massive campus lockdown. Boutain and his wife were later arrested, and also accused of another murder in Colorado.
BYU Sells Caffeine on Campus
BYU Cougars "rose and shout" at the announcement that caffeinated soft drinks would be served on the campus of Brigham Young University for the first time since the 1950s. "I've been waiting for this for three years," said BYU Junior Cameron Olsen. "It's just great! I love my Coke!"
Solar Eclipse Captivates Utah-and the Nation
For all the political bickering and divisions that came with 2017, one nation came together, for something much bigger than ourselves. Utahns flocked to southeastern Idaho for a glimpse at a total solar eclipse. It was a shared experience that many will never forget:
Just like the year that was.
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