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Payson Lakes under algal bloom warning after young girl falls ill

The Utah County Health Department issued an algal bloom warning for Payson Lakes on Wednesday after a 12-year-old girl became sick while recreating at the lake this week.

Health officials stated Big East Lake, Box Lake and McClellan Lake are all under advisory warning, and the Division of Water Quality is monitoring the water and collecting follow-up samples, a press release stated.

Algal blooms can cause gastrointestinal distress, headaches and rashes, and toxins can also be fatal for livestock or pets.

The mother of the girl said she spotted algal on and near the shore of Big East Lake as her daughter played in the lake on Sept. 1 and 2.

“The girl’s symptoms are consistent with dermal exposure and ingestion of cyanobacteria,” the press release reported.

On July 9, the health department issued a warning advisory for McClellan Lake after noticing filamentous algae along the shore and observing the water was murky and had a green hue.

Officials ordered the same warning for Box Lake on Aug. 5 after finding “cyanobacteria resembling grass clippings throughout the water column and concentrated along the northern shore.”

Both warnings remained in place throughout the month as officials continued to monitor the lake and collect samples from each lake in the complex.

“The advisory for Box Lake can be lifted after two consecutive weeks of sampling fall below the recreation health-based threshold,” according to the press release.

Algal blooms occur normally when cyanobacteria in the water multiply quickly and form visible colonies or blooms, according to information from the Utah Department of Environmental Quality.

Most blooms are not toxic, but some types of cyanobacteria can produce nerve or liver toxins. A single bloom can have both toxic and non-toxic strains, and officials said a bloom could test non-toxic one day and become toxic by the following day.

People are encouraged not to swim, water ski, ingest water or let animals ingest water during warnings. Anyone aware of potential algal blooms can contact the 24-Hour Environment Incidents Line at (801) 536-4123.

Three unlikely Utah MMA champions share their LDS faith

Mixed Martial Artists have many nicknames and faces. There’s Frank “Twinkle Toes” Trigg, Steve “Red Nose” Berger, Ryan “Darth” Bader and Cuki “The Flying Cockroach” Beerbohm.

But what about Kaitlyn “Katniss” Neil, Carson “the Perfect Storm” Hardman or Westin Wilson?

This Friday in the center ring at the Legacy Fighting Alliance fight night at the Maverik Center in West Valley City, these champions will be fighting for the Utah MMA Championships.

MMA combines several forms of martial arts and boxing into one art form. Each fight has three rounds and usually involves fighting while standing or striking and on the ground or grappling.

It’s not their nicknames or even their wins that often brings these three fighters the most attention, it’s their faith.

Hardman, Wilson and Neil are all active members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Hardman and Wilson are returned LDS missionaries and Neil is a former cheerleading captain from Pleasant Grove High School.


Neil, 27, is in the flyweight division — 125 pounds — and has been fighting MMA for eight years. She is considered the best female fighter in Utah.

Neil grew up in Pleasant Grove and loved dancing and her cheerleading. She attended Dixie College and tried out for the cheerleading squad, but didn’t make it.

To help her get over the disappointment, one of Neil’s friends took her to the MMA fights, she was instantly hooked.

“I like the adrenalin rush,” Neil said. “I like going in testing myself and coming out a winner. It’s addicting and only a few people understand.”

Neil said that after the fight there is a dump of emotion. Hardman added fighting has helped him with his anxiety and depression.

“My mom hates that I fight,” Neil said. “I mainly fight in Utah, Idaho, Nevada and California.”

While her mom may not like her fighting, Neil said, “Everybody in my (Latter-day Saint) ward are over the top supporters with no backlash.”

While Neil said that fight fans are a different crowd, the sport is helping her show any woman or female she comes in contact with that you should reach for your goals and dream outside the box.

When she is not fighting, Neil owns a company called Bad Athletics in American Fork.

“We help women become stronger through exercise and health supplements,” Neil said.

‘The Perfect Storm’

Although he’s the “perfect storm,” Carson Hardman said he has experienced a few clouds in his life, but it has made him strong.

Hardman fights in the welterweight division and has been ranked No. 1 in Utah.

“I don’t pay attention to rankings,” he said. “I don’t think I’m the best fighter yet, but I know I can be.”

Like other areas of his life, Hardman said he was prepared to do this by his grandfather. He has been there for Hardman throughout his life.

“I’m adopted,” Hardman said. “My biological father came (briefly) into my life, signed up for the Navy and was gone most of my growing up.”

As a boy, Hardman was called upon to do most of the raising of his sister and little brother, and considers them his children.

“I would get up at night to change diapers when I was 12,” Hardman said.

Church has always been an important part of his life and that is where he has felt great support.

“I grew up LDS. I’m very strong,” Hardman said. “My young men leaders always checked in with me. I grew up on a farm. It was awesome and I was happy.”

Hardman’s mom was always working and she figured he could take care of the family. He graduated from Lehi High School in 2013 and served an LDS mission in Lubbock, Texas.

Hardman’s mother tried as much as she could to keep him away from watching the fights, but that didn’t work.

“I started when I was 18,” Hardman said. “I had my first fight before I graduated. As soon as I turned 18, I signed up.”

Hardman said that according to church history, Joseph Smith, the first president of the LDS Church, broke a man’s leg wrestling and then got up and blessed him to be healed. He said he figures he too can fight and be active in his church.

Hardman is married with one son. He said finding his wife wasn’t easy, women would be put off when they found out he was a fighter.

When he met his wife, her first question, “Was why do you fight?”

“It keeps me healthy and sane,” Hardman said. He knew she would be the one.

Hardman would like to fight full-time and make the money that goes with full-time champions but he isn’t there quite yet. So for now, he works part-time as an installer for wire shelving and teaches MMA at a studio to children.

While some of those children may look up to him as some kind of hero, Hardman said he doesn’t like most of the popular heroes.

“Dr. Strange (of the Marvel Studios) is better then most superheroes,” Hardman said.

Neil chimed in, “I really like Wonder Woman.”

Just Westin

The most professional fighter of the three, Wilson, 30, is a featherweight — 145 pounds — who currently splits his time between Orange County, California, and Utah.

He is active in the LDS faith and served a mission in Rochester, New York, from 2008 to 2010. He graduated from Brigham Young University in public relations and communications. He is currently working full-time as a manager at a software company.

“I’ve actually had a lot of publicity being a Mormon fighter,” Wilson said. “I wanted to be the Steve Young of the MMA.”

He said he loves testing his body to see how far he can take it. He said he hopes to “endure all things,” as is taught in LDS scriptures.

Wilson is married and has three children, all girls. He said it is important to spend family time, then training time, then work.

As far as his faith, Wilson is a teacher in his elder’s quorum and before that, was a Sunday school teacher. When he was 18, he lived with his family in Brazil and also taught Sunday School.

He recently completed a book, “Gospel Lessons Learned in the Cage,” he is just waiting for a publishing date. He said fighting helps him stay in the church.

“MMA does not take me away but strengthens my testimony,” Wilson said.

Wilson had a desire to fight from a very early age. However, people discouraged him because he was small for his age. They said he should be a wrestler instead.

“I started as a grappler, then went to a striker,” Wilson said. “At 6 feet 2 inches tall, I am considerably taller (than those I usually fight) It helps with control and distance.”

Wilson went professional five years ago, but not without some pushback.

“My mom is against me fighting,” Wilson said. “She finally took my challenge and this Friday’s fight will be the first time she’ll see me fight.”

Convicted Orem sex offender pleads not guilty to molesting teenager at LDS church

An Orem man accused of sexually assaulting a teenager multiple times after meeting through an online game pleaded not guilty to eight felony charges in 4th District Court on Wednesday.

Christopher Jeremy “CJ” Prue, 27, was arrested in June and charged with child kidnapping, sodomy of a child and two counts of rape of a child, all first-degree felonies, as well as four counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor, all third-degree felonies.

On Wednesday, he appeared in 4th District Court in Provo and pleaded not guilty to all charges. The next court hearing is scheduled for Sept. 25.

According to court documents, Prue contacted a 12-year-old boy through an online Pokemon game in 2014. Between 2014 and 2018, Prue reportedly sexually assaulted the boy in a church parking lot and at the boy’s home.

As the father of the boy was serving as a bishop in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Prue reportedly convinced the boy to obtain a key to a church building and would sexually assault him inside the facility, charges state.

During interviews with detectives, Prue reportedly admitted to the allegations and stated the assaults ended in 2016. However, investigators learned he had been texting and using social media to try and meet with the teenager again.

This is the second time Prue has been arrested for sexually assaulting a minor. In 2016, he was arrested and charged with molesting a 14-year-old boy who lived near Alpine.

Charges state Prue met the teenager in 2013 through social media apps. The teenager told investigators that Prue gave him gifts, including sex toys, and sometimes paid him for sexual acts.

Prue pleaded no contest to one count of unlawful sexual activity with a minor, a third-degree felony, and the remaining nine felony charges were dismissed. He served one year in jail and was still on probation when he was arrested in June.

If convicted, Prue would face 25 years to life in prison for each first-degree felony. He is currently being held without bail at the Utah County Jail.

Revere Health buries time capsule to celebrate 50 years of growth

In 50 years, the medical equipment, photographs and other memorabilia buried inside Revere Health’s time capsule will likely be seen as archaic and in some cases, obsolete.

A lot is expected to change in health care in the next few years, much like it has in the five decades Revere Health has been in Provo.

“It’s hard to believe we are middle-aged now,” said Scott Barlow, the CEO of Revere Health, at a time capsule ceremony Wednesday.

Revere Health employees celebrated the 50-year anniversary Wednesday morning at the organization’s Provo campus to look over its history and bury a time capsule that will be unearthed in 50 years.

Revere Health started with three physicians in 1969 in Provo. It now has more than 400 physicians, 1,900 employees and multiple locations across Utah. It rebranded in 2015 to Revere Health.

Wynn Hemmert, a former president of the organization, addressed those gathered Wednesday to talk about his own history with the group and how medicine has changed since he came to Revere Health. When he started medical school, CT scans were new and naloxone, which reverses opioid overdoses, was considered a miracle drug.

The business went through many evolutions and fought to continue existing as it separated from Utah Valley Hospital decades ago.

“We were motivated out of fear and out of providence to become what we are now,” Hemmert said.

Scott Bingham, the president of Revere Health’s executive committee and chairman of the board of directors, said the company’s leaps of faith led to improvements and rewards. He referenced the company’s multiple locations while standing in front of the pit for the time capsule, joking that the organization has gotten good at digging holes.

Within the next few decades, he expects the company will increase access points to doctors, will move more care online, will offer personal coaching and will provide upfront service costs.

“Competitive pricing will be the norm,” he said.

The company will also shift to a hospitality mindset.

“We are in this for the long term,” he said.

Revere Health presented a tree to Provo to symbolize its growth in the community. It will also give potted plants to the other cities it is located in.

Provo Mayor Michelle Kaufusi congratulated Revere Health on its success as a business, but also thanked it for its role in her own life. Revere Health helps her family when it ends up in one of its clinics, and also played an important part in her childhood.

Kaufusi said her mother worked for Revere Health as a single mother raising seven children.

“Without you, we would not have had food on the table, we would not have had gas in the car,” she said.

U.S. Sens. Lee, Romney decry loss of Hill AFB funding for U.S.-Mexico border wall

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Some $54 million in funding to two Hill Air Force Base projects will be diverted to aid in the construction of the wall between the United States and Mexico, per the call by President Donald Trump for beefed-up border security.

The news sparked concern Wednesday from Utah’s two U.S. senators, both Republicans. More specifically, in a joint statement, Sens. Mitt Romney and Mike Lee decried the means used to divert the funds, part of $3.6 billion to be pulled from a range of U.S. military projects in response to a presidential declaration last February of a national emergency along the border.

“Funding the border wall is an important priority, and the executive branch should use the appropriate channels in Congress rather than divert already appropriated funding away from military construction projects and therefore undermining military readiness,” Romney said in a statement

Lee couched his criticism in what he sees as the gradual chipping away of power from Congress.

“Congress has been ceding far too much powers to the executive branch for decades and it is far past time for Congress to restore the proper balance of power between the three branches,” Lee said.

The turn of events sparked a stronger response from some congressional Democrats, according to the Associated Press.

AP quoted U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman, a Democrat from Floriday, as calling Trump’s plans “his xenophobic border wall boondoggle.” The Democratic-led House, she continued, “will not backfill any projects (Trump) steals from today.”

Lee and Romney expressed concerns about the potential diversion to U.S. defense officials last April, Romney said. Their concerns notwithstanding, the loss of the funds isn’t necessarily permanent.

“Congress will have an opportunity to restore this funding in the next budget cycle, and I plan to work with the delegation to fight for funding for these projects, which are essential to Utah’s service members and our national security strategy,” Romney said.

The diversion impacts $26 million that had been earmarked for Hill’s Composite Aircraft Antenna Calibration Facility and $28 million that was to go to Hill’s Utah Test and Training Range Consolidated Mission Control Center. The Trump Administration has indicated it plans to seek replacement funding in the fiscal year 2020 budget request, said the statement from Lee and Romney.

News of diversion of the $3.6 billion came in a letter Tuesday from U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper to U.S. Rep. Adam Smith, chairman of the Committee on Armed Services. NPR published the letter.

The funding is to help build or reconstruct 175 miles of wall along the southern border, according to the Washington Post.

The planned projects “will deter illegal entry, increase the vanishing time of those illegally crossing the border and channel migrants to ports of entry,” Esper said in his letter. “They will reduce the demand for (Department of Defense) personnel and assets at the locations where the barriers are constructed and allow the redeployment of DoD personnel and assets to other high-traffic areas on the border without barriers.”

To address his concern that Congress has been losing power to the executive branch, Lee called for passage of the Article One Act, which he introduced last March. The measure would end certain emergency declarations after 30 days without a congressional extension.

In a letter from Romney and Lee on the potential loss of funds to defense officials last April, the senators singled out their concerns about the loss of funding to the Consolidated Mission Control Center, or CMCC.

“The CMCC is critical to maintaining fighter pilot combat readiness, sustaining fifth-generation aircraft and preparing our Air Force to face any threat against the United States,” reads the letter. “Diverting funds from this necessary upgrade will have a severe and unacceptable impact on our military readiness at a time when the U.S. faces increased threats around the world.”