Anaconda Fire evacuations lifted, officials warn residents to be ready at moments notice
(KUTV) Evacuations prompted by the Anaconda Fire in Tooele were lifted Monday evening, but emergency managers warn residents to be ready at a moments notice in case the fire spreads.

The blaze, which has burned over 100 acres, evacuated 10 homes and left seven homes on standby earlier Monday evening.

The wildfire is located near a gun club about four miles east of Tooele. The fire started Sunday and was rekindled Monday afternoon.

Another fire earlier this season destroyed the gun club. The only structure in the area left to burn is a double wide trailer that replaced the building.

No injuries have been reported from the fire.

2News will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.

(Copyright 2014 Sinclair Broadcasting Group.)

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Mother arrested, baby tested positive for meth
(KUTV) Technology and good timing came together Monday to help police arrest a woman they say had stolen her baby that was born on methamphetamine.

Police say Michelle Yallup, 29, took the child from a Montana hospital last month and ended up in Utah.

On Monday, an officer happened to be in the right place at the right time to help catch the mother and find the baby.

"It was pretty incredible," said Utah Highway Patrol Lt. Lee Perry.

Just before 10:00 a.m. Monday, the Utah Statewide Information Analysis Center alerted a highway patrol trooper in Box Elder County about a 1970s motorhome parked at a Flying J off I-15 in Willard.

"We've had officers all throughout the state looking for this vehicle the last five days," said Perry.

Inside, police believed, was 29-year-old Michelle Yallup. She was wanted in Montana for stealing her infant son from the hospital right after she'd given birth. Both mother and baby had tested positive for methamphetamine.

"They could see that there was a trooper within a short distance from where this vehicle had been spotted," said Perry. "So they sent an instant message to his computer telling that trooper that just a couple miles from where you're at right now is a possible child abduction."

The trooper raced to the scene. He found the motorhome and Yallup. At first, the woman denied having the baby with her However, once the officer placed Yallup in handcuffs, "she willingly admitted that she had the child in the vehicle," said Yallup.

Paramedics soon arrived and took the baby to the hospital "The baby seemed to be okay," said Perry.

Child welfare services eventually took custody of the infant while his mother went off to jail.

"This was really a precise kind of a pinpoint attack," said Perry of the process that led to the woman's arrest. "It was literally within about three to four minutes of the phone conversation, the post to our computer on our trooper, that we had the woman in custody and had the baby recovered."

Michelle Yallup now faces several felony charges here and in Montana including endangering a child and fraud. Police say she also had drugs with her when she was caught.

2News spoke with Police Chief Tim Barkell in Anaconda, Montana, where the baby was taken. He said they planned to extradite Yallup back there.

By: Daniel Woodruff

Follow Daniel on Twitter: @danielmwoodruff

(Copyright 2014 Sinclair Broadcasting Group.)

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Teenage Pilot encountered bad weather on flight to Vegas

(KUTV) Family and friends are grieving the loss of two teenage brothers from Clinton, Utah, killed in a plane crash near the Utah/Arizona border on Sunday.

The bodies of 19-year-old Daulton, and 16-year-old Jaxon Whatcott were recovered from the crash site Monday. They were the only two people on the plane.

"This community is definitely mourning and the family is deeply mourning, so we would appreciate any privacy that people could offer them at this time," said family spokesperson, Taunie Reynolds.

Reynolds says Daulton was at the controls of a single engine Cessna 172 that took off from Bountiful airport on Sunday. The two boys were flying solo to Las Vegas, to attend a basketball tournament where Jaxon was scheduled to play.

"They did land in Beaver, because there was bad weather ahead," said Reynolds. "I know they were in contact with their parents there."

The boy's parents were driving to Las Vegas, and made plans for everyone to meet up in Mesquite. "When they didn't arrive, the parents started worrying and one thing led to another and they found out what happened," said Reynolds.

The plane went down south of the Virgin River Gorge. Investigators have not released a cause for the crash.

Daulton had just earned his pilot license three months ago and wanted to become a commercial pilot. He had apparently flown solo before.

"He would come into my classroom and say, 'you know I'm getting close to getting my license', said Tony Wilson, a teacher and basketball coach at Syracuse High School, who taught and coached Daulton for four years. "Once we found out we were really excited for him."

Both brothers attended Syracuse High and were standout students and athletes. Daulton graduated last year and was attending Utah State University. Jaxon would have been a high school junior in the fall semester.

"Daulton and Jaxon, if you were to describe them, they're such people people," said Wilson. "They love the community, they have so many friends."

By: Chris Miller

Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisMillerKUTV

(Copyright 2014 Sinclair Broadcasting Group.)

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Refusing to be lazy costs injured firefighter his retirement earnings
MANILA, UT (KUTV) Mike Wayman is what many would define as a hero.  He's a man who has dedicated his life to preserving the lives of others.

Today, he does it for free as the volunteer fire chief of the volunteer fire department in Manilla, Utah. Mike is an unpaid administrator, instructing and training others in the fire-fighting and paramedic ways.

It was not always that way. For nine years Mike was a paid firefighter for West Valley City. But a little more than five years ago, Mike was injured on a call – an injury that changed his life.

Ironically, it was not the flames that wounded Mike - it was the water used to fight the flames. It was the dead of winter and the water turned to ice in subzero temperatures.

"We were trying to get a family protected, out of their house," Mike recalls. "I slipped fell on the ice. A bunch of fire gear, equipment came down on top of me. I injured my back and made it to where I was out of commission."

The injury forced Mike into early medical retirement. He tapped into his retirement savings but with medical bills, that was not enough to survive. Mike was left with a choice: collect disability and go probably go bankrupt or find a way to earn some money.

"I want to be able to get up and contribute if I can," he said.

Mike put his training to use, organizing the Manila firehouse and training to become a flight nurse. Eventually he landing a job with AirMed. It's a job that pays better than did his firefighter gig, which apparently the state doesn't like.

Mike received a letter from Utah Retirement Services which says that he's making too much money so the state is taking some back. The letter reads, "We will deduct $2,231.36 each month," from Mike's retirement checks.

But Mike believes his retirement that is money he has earned. He says he appealed the garnishments and even called his state representative. Neither move did him any good, he says.

Mike decided to Get Gephardt and we began our investigation calling Utah Retirement Services. They said their hands are tied to enforce state law which is inflexible.

The law in question says that when you add a person's current salary to their medical retirement, that person can't make more than 125% of what they made when they were injured. It's a law that appears to be designed to battle fraud – preventing someone from faking an injury and then, essentially double-dipping. But the consequences of the law, Mike says, are that capable people, like him, are better off not working or taking lower paying jobs to avoid having the retirement they already earned garnished.

We wanted to ask lawmakers about this law. Neither of the men who sponsored the most recent enactment of the bill are still in the Utah legislature. Mike's representative, Melvin Brown, R – Coalville, admitted to having talked to Mike but said he was not familiar enough with the law to comment on it.

Mike has seen more than $20,000 taken from him out of his own retirement earnings as punishment for getting back to work. He continues to struggle to pay medical bills for his workplace injury.

"I just want to see there be some fairness," Mike said. "I think the law should be changed."

Mike says he thinks the solution would be to make the law more flexible. He thinks the Utah Retirement Services board should be able to look at an individual's situation, with evidence, and be allowed to make a judgment as to whether or not that individual is trying to cheat the system or if they really do deserve the money they have earned.

At this point Mike he says it's too late for him. He believes his money is gone and will not come back. He says he is fighting for the next man or woman injured on the job in Utah.

By Matt Gephardt
Produced by Michelle Poe
Edited by Steven Gayle
Photography by Mike Fessler

(Copyright 2014 Sinclair Broadcasting Group.)

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Teen brothers from Utah killed in plane crash
(KUTV) A teenage pilot from Utah and his younger brother died in a plane crash on the Utah-Arizona border on Sunday night.

Daulton Whatcott, 19, a recently licensed pilot, was flying with his 16-year-old brother, Jaxon Whatcott, in a single-engine plane when it crashed about 6:30 p.m., in the Arizona Strip just south of the Virgin River Gorge.

FAA records indicate the Cessna 172 the Clinton teens were flying was leased through D & G Aircraft Leasing, a Bountiful company. The company did not comment on the accident Monday.

Trent Whiting, a Syracuse High School assistant basketball coach, instructed Jaxon last year and Daulton the year before. He remembered them on Monday as star athletes and the best of friends.

"Wherever Jaxon was playing Daulton was there. Wherever Daulton was playing, Jaxon was there," Whiting said. "To lose one player would be difficult, and my heart just goes out to the parents. To lose two boys in one tragic accident is pretty difficult."

Daulton was in college and Jaxon would have entered his junior year in high school. Whiting expected Jaxon to lead the high school basketball team next year.

The brothers had been traveling to Jaxon's tournament basketball game with the Amateur Athletic Union in Las Vegas when they crashed, Whiting said.

Whiting opened up his West Point home to the Whatcott brothers' friends to write down their favorite memories of the teens and leave them in a memory chest for their family.

By: Christine McCarthy

Follow Christine on Twitter @ReporterXtine

(Copyright 2014 Sinclair Broadcasting Group.)

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Study finds infants' journey on Mormon Pioneer Trek safer than home
(KUTV) According to a new study from Brigham Young University, traveling along the Mormon Pioneer Trek was actually safer than staying home.

The study was about the death rate of the pioneers compared to the U.S. population.

"I had a perception of people dropping like flies they died left and right," said Justin Thunell, one of 10 BYU students who participated in the study that took a year and a half to complete.

The data was gathered from the LDS Church's History Library, where historians had already been working on the death toll of the Mormon Pioneers for five years. The study looked over the records of 56,000 pioneers who traveled from Nauvoo to Salt Lake City from 1847 to 1868.

Professor Dennis Tolley presented to his statistics class who were trying to figure out what a person would charge for life insurance to Mormon pioneers if they were starting a company back during that time.

"If you were selling an insurance policy that would pay $1,000 for each of your family that died on the trail, how much would it cost for a premium?" said Dr. Dennis Tolley.

The death results of people dying on the trail were surprisingly almost the same as if they would have stayed home in the general population.

"1,900 deaths for the pioneers represented about 3.5 percent death rate overall. The U.S. population for the same age distribution had about a 2.7 to 2.8 percent mortality rate," said Tolley.

According to the study, infants were actually safer to travel along the trial than those staying home.

"That's surprising to me. I would have guessed it would have been more," said Tolley.

"Whether it was miracles of God or the toughness of the pioneers it was less than we anticipated," said Thunell. 

After the study, the student calculated that the premium rate would be $116.00 for a family of four if you wanted to stay in business as an insurance company.

By: Dan Rascon

Follow Dan on Twitter: @DanKUTV

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(Copyright 2014 Sinclair Broadcasting Group.)
Utah reacts to Obama signing executive order banning gay discrimination
(KUTV) President Obama signed an executive order Monday banning discrimination against gays in federal employment or by government contractors, but Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch says the order should have had an exception for religion.

Davey Stevenson of the Utah Pride Center said there is discrimination in Utah and it may be stopped by this order.

“I firmly believe it's time to address this injustice for all Americans,” said Stevenson.

Though gay advocates have lobbied, the Utah State Legislature has refused to pass a non-discrimination law. Sen. Hatch says the order demonstrates, “the Obama Administration’s consistent disregard for religious liberty.”

(Copyright 2014 Sinclair Broadcasting Group.)

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