It’s a land of fantasy, yet shrouded in mystery; in the middle of a bustling community, but in a time of its own. It’s a place packed with history where stories come to life, and a place where perspective and reality shift. It’s Evermore Park, and no, it’s not the setting for a new film or television show. It’s actually one of the newest members of the community: a unique, immersive theatrical experience set to finally open its gates to the public this month in Pleasant Grove.
Evermore has surfaced in the news on and off again for the past few years, but with its opening imminent (currently set for a soft opening Saturday and a grand opening Sept. 29), there are still a lot of questions swirling as to what guests of the venue can actually expect. With that in mind, here are XX things you need to know about the magic, mystery and history of Evermore Park.
An avid Pleasant Grove hiker may be spending his second night alone in the mountains Thursday.
According to close friends, Derrik Jenkins headed into American Fork Canyon at about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday and parked at the Granite Flat Campground gate. Jenkins’ best friend, Jon Scott, said he believes Jenkins planned to head up from there and do a loop of the three Box Elder peaks. Jenkins was supposed to return about 9 p.m. Wednesday to video call two daughters, but didn’t make it home.
His mother, Kimberly Jenkins, who lives in the Logan area, said she knew something was wrong and called and texted his number until about 11 p.m. that night. She talked to Jenkins girlfriend Thursday morning. When Jenkins didn’t show up for work Thursday morning, his girlfriend called Scott.
“We dropped everything to try to find him. We put out info on social media to get help to locate his car,” said DeLacy Healey, Jenkins’ friend and Scott’s girlfriend.
The friends belong to multiple Facebook hiking groups, and they asked for help. Hikers located Jenkins’ car and contacted the Utah County Sheriff’s Office. Sgt. Dave Sorensen said Utah County Search and Rescue crews started searching the mountains at about 1 p.m.
Crews searched until after 8 p.m. Thursday. Weather conditions were not great, and the teams could not get air support in where they’d hoped, Sorensen said.
“We had airplane help, but it was very limited. We weren’t able to do anything we wanted to do,” he said. “We were hoping things would clear up and we’d get a plane and helicopter up, but we were very disappointed.”
Scott posted a video in the afternoon showing the snow he encountered while searching for his friend. He’d hit patches of knee-deep snow, and other patches of just a few inches.
“We’re at over 24 hours now that he’s been out,” Healey said Thursday evening of Jenkins. “Chances are getting really bad. We have to find him.”
Healey said Jenkins was wearing hiking spikes and is a knowledgeable hiker who regularly hikes these mountain ranges.
“He’s fast and capable. He’s one of the most competent mountain people I know,” she said.
Several hiking friends of Jenkins planned to continue the search for him throughout Thursday night. Search and rescue crews planned to start their search again first thing Friday morning. More information is available through the Finding Derrik Jenkins Facebook page.
Jenkins was wearing a neon green trail-running vest and black shoes with yellow trim. If anyone noticed anything in the area, Sorensen asked that they contact the Utah County Sheriff’s Office. The search and rescue number is (801) 794-3970.
With the season of spooks upon us, the opportunities are ample to experience some adrenaline-inciting scariness. But did you know you don't actually have to head to a haunted attraction to get the same kind of rush? Just check out some of Utah's own, real legends and ghost stories, many of which take place right here in Utah County.
After another frustrating home loss — falling 7-6 to Northern Illinois on Saturday afternoon — BYU head coach Kalani Sitake talked about how the Cougars aren’t playing “BYU football.”
“I talked about being aggressive and letting it rip — and that didn’t happen today,” Sitake said. “That’s got to change. We talk about being aggressive in all three phases and trying to find ways to make plays. We didn’t do enough in all three phases to win the game. We have to establish our identity and who we are, and we went away from that today.”
He explained, however, when asked why he didn’t make the aggressive call and go for the first down on fourth-and-3 from the 46-yard line in the fourth quarter, he went into more detail about what he means by being aggressive.
“When I talk about being aggressive, it’s not just about going for it on fourth down every time,” Sitake said. “It’s about playing strategic football. Being aggressive is a general term, but it can be applied specifically to so many things on the field.”
Later, he once again emphasized his directive to ramp up the attacking mentality.
“I just wish we would play our style of football,” Sitake said. “That’s what I would like to see in all three phases. I think we need to be aggressive — is there a stronger word than that? I’d like to be really, really aggressive next week and have some consistency and establish something. I think we are growing and learning and getting better, but we’ve got to get these wins. That’s the best way to learn is to win.”
The reality is that for the last two years the Cougars have struggled to consistently play at a high level and get wins. That’s clear looking at the 4-9 record in 2017 and the 4-4 record this fall.
The fundamental question for the university and specifically for director of athletics Tom Holmoe is how long do they give Sitake to turn the corner.
It’s no secret that college football has become more and more impatient with coaches who don’t show improvements, particularly at institutions that have a history of success in the sport.
BYU, however, is a little bit different because of its ties to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the inherent limitations of its moral code and mission program.
The fact that many LDS athletes serve two-year missions means that Sitake is still getting many of his first recruits into his program now in his third year, which might be a partial explanation for the number of freshmen who are currently either starting or playing significant minutes.
Historically, BYU hasn’t been quick to fire coaches. During the struggles following the retirement of Hall-of-Fame coach LaVell Edwards, the Cougars gave head coach Gary Crowton four seasons to get things on track.
Given the fact that Sitake just completely revamped the offensive staff and the scheme, growing pains are to be expected. Next year will likely be a better barometer on where BYU is on that side of the ball.
But there are some troubling signs that shouldn’t be ignored.
The Cougar defense has been OK, but certainly hasn’t been dominant or game-changing. Sitake came in with an extensive defensive background, yet that has yet to be a truly dynamic asset.
Sitake also had a reputation as an excellent recruiter and while there have been some successes, BYU seems to be lacking in explosive talent across the board. It’s tough to single out any individual for the Cougars as being the type of guy who makes opposing coaches lose sleep at night.
With the number of youngsters playing right now, the hope is that some of those attributes will develop in the future — but BYU really needs success sooner rather than later.
The Cougars still seem likely to reach bowl eligibility as they have games at UMass (3-6) and at home vs. New Mexico State (2-7), but trips to Boise State (6-2) and No. 16 Utah (6-2) look like huge challenges.
Reaching a bowl game would be a sign of improvement after the disaster last fall, but how far would it go to keep Sitake off the hot seat?
Perhaps the only people who can answer that are Holmoe and the BYU administration.
“Show me your muscles, Popeye!” a staff member called out as Eldon “Frenchie” Tervort emerged from his room at the Mervyn Sharp Bennion Central Utah Veterans Home in Payson, dressed for the trick-or-treaters who would soon swarm the building.
Ninety-two-year old Tervort raised his hands from his walker to strike a flexing pose, complete with his can of spinach.
It’s all part of the annual Halloween fun at the home, which serves U.S. veterans who have served active duty. Trick-or-treating has been a part of the Halloween celebration for five years, ever since the home first opened in 2013.
Kalisha Wilson, recreation director at the veterans’ home, said the event has been growing each year, and last year, and estimated 700 trick-or-treaters came through in 2017. The residents look forward to the event each year, and everyone participates, Wilson said.
“We’ll have to see how many (trick-or-treaters) we get this year,” Wilson said.
As soon as 4 p.m. rolled around, the halls filled with hundreds of eager witches, minions, animals and superheroes.
Tervort and the other dozen or so residents on his hall — all in costume — lined up in the dining area, armed with buckets of candy. A similar scene played out across the other halls in the building.
This is only Tervort’s second year handing out candy for the event, but he enjoyed last year’s event and looked forward to handing candy to the kids again this year. He dressed up as Popeye last year, too.
Tervort has at least one thing in common with the comic book character he dressed up as: both he and Popeye are sailors.
The white sailor hat perched atop Tervort’s head is far more than a costume: It’s the same hat he was issued when he first joined the Navy in 1944.
Tervort had to work harder than some to get that hat — the first time he got accepted into the Navy, he was under 18 and needed his parents’ signatures to join. His mother refused to sign and tore up the paperwork.
He tried again more successfully later, convincing his parents to sign the paperwork after telling them he refused to be drafted.
Sailing out of Oakland, California, Tervort ended up covering half the world during his two-year stint in the Navy.
World War II officially ended in September 1945, while he was at sea on his way to Okinawa, Japan.
A Spanish Fork man pleaded not guilty to reportedly strangling his wife inside their home while their three children were in an upstairs bedroom.
Curtis Nichols, 36, was charged in August 2017 with murder, a first-degree felony, and three counts of domestic violence in the presence of a child, all third-degree felonies.
A two-week trial was set for September 2019.
The Spanish Fork Police Department reported that Nichols had called 911 around 11 p.m. on Aug. 24, 2017 to report his wife was unconscious and not breathing.
First responders started CPR after they found Robin Nichols, 35, unconscious on the kitchen floor. Her arms and legs were cold to the touch, and she was transported to the Mountain View Hospital in Payson. She was pronounced dead at the hospital, according to court documents.
The medical examiner determined the woman’s death was a homicide caused by strangulation, court documents stated.
Autopsy reports revealed the woman had deep tissue trauma in her neck, a broken hyoid neck bone and thyroid cartilage in her throat. There were also injuries to her arms and the temples on the side of her head.
There were no signs of intruders inside the home and the couple’s young children were in an upstairs bedroom at the time, according to court documents.
During initial interviews with police, Nichols said he had left the home around 9 p.m. and went to Walmart and McDonald’s before coming home at 10:40 p.m.
Investigators found receipts that show Nichols made purchases at Walmart at 10:01 p.m. and at McDonald’s at 10:11 p.m. Officers checked surveillance footage from the Walmart that showed Nichols entering the store at 9:24 p.m., police reported.
Nichols reportedly told officers he then returned home, checked on the three children and found his wife on the floor, police reported.
Investigators found wrappers from the McDonald’s purchase on the kitchen table. Based on the house’s layout, officers believed Robin Nichols’ legs would be visible from the kitchen table, according to police reports.
There were about 17 minutes between Nichols’ reported time home and his 911 call.
In a later interview with police, Nichols said he got lost on his way to Walmart, but officers reported that the time frames given by Nichols did not match the times on the video footage, store receipts and his previous account.
He told investigators he and his wife had played a game with the children before putting them to bed at 7:11 p.m. Nichols said his wife went to watch TV and he can’t remember what he did until he left for Walmart, police reported.
Nichols had injuries on his forehead that appeared to be multiple lines from scratch marks, court documents stated. He also had scratch marks on his upper arms and on his lower left arm.
When officers responded to the home, Nichols was reportedly wearing a hat that covered the marks on his forehead. He told investigators that he hit his head on a kitchen cabinet, but the injuries did not appear consistent with hitting his head, police reported.
Court documents stated that Robin Nichols had male skin cells under the fingernails of her right hand and laboratory analysis showed the skin cells matched her husband’s DNA.
Nichols was arrested on Aug. 25 but released two days later after a family member paid the $100,000 cash-only bail. He was arrested again a month later and booked into the Utah County Jail with a $1 million cash-only bail.
A former counselor and assistant girls’ basketball coach at Spanish Fork High School pleaded no contest to touching and kissing a teenage student from another high school.
Prosecutors said Dylan Dewey, 35, could face up to a year in jail for a class A misdemeanor of unlawful sexual activity with a 16- or 17-year-old.
Dewey initially planned on pleading guilty on Friday, but disagreed in court with a statement of the events read by Utah County deputy attorney Lance Bastian. After counseling with his attorney, Dewey pleaded no contest instead.
He will also likely face three years on probation and register for 10 years as a sex offender, Bastian said.
Dewey was arrested in May after a 16-year-old girl told police he had kissed her and send her texts and Snapchats, court documents stated.
The girl was a student at another high school and told investigators she met Dewey in April through a friend who is also a local student.
According to court documents, Dewey and the girl kissed in his office and communicated through text messages and the Snapchat messaging app. In one instance Dewey reportedly showed her his underwear via the FaceTime video messaging app.
He also told the student to not tell anyone about their relationship so he could keep his job and not go to prison, court documents stated.
At one point in April, Dewey picked up the student at a gas station in Orem and drove to Mapleton where they talked and kissed.
The girl told investigators Dewey had removed her shirt and inappropriately touched her while in his vehicle in Mapleton. Dewey denied removing the girl’s clothing or touching her, police reported.
Dewey was arrested on May 23 and booked into the Utah County Jail. He was released the next day after posting a $10,000 bail bond.
He was placed on administrative leave by the Nebo School District following his arrest.
In August, Dewey resigned from his positions as a counselor, assistant girls’ basketball coach and driver’s education teacher at Spanish Fork High School, said Lana Hiskey, a spokesperson for the school district.
He had been warned about breaking district policy in the past, according to a warning letter dated Dec. 13, 2017. The warning stated Dewey had broke district policy by sending Snapchats to a student.
School district employees are not allowed to communicate or follow with students on personal networking media, district policy states.
Employees are also barred from instant messaging students and cannot respond to a student-initiated conversation on personal social media profiles.
Two new Utah Transit Authority board members will be sworn in Monday as part of a massive restructuring of how UTA operates. The third UTA board member, who is supposed to represent Utah and Tooele counties, has not yet been selected, and may not be for some time.
Utah County filed a lawsuit in the Utah Supreme Court on Friday asking the court to compel Utah Gov. Gary Herbert to appoint one of Utah County’s already-submitted names to the new UTA Board of Trustees.
“Utah County respectfully requests that the Court grant this Petition and compel the Governor to fulfill his appointment duty under Utah Code section 17B-2a-807.1 by appointing one of Utah County’s nominations and for this Court to hold that the UTA Board is not legally formed and vested with authority until all three initial members have been appointed,” the petition states.
Utah County sent two names to Herbert in July, Rob Crawley and Ben Stanley, as part of the process of selecting three new commissioners to replace the previous 14-member board. Herbert declined to send either of those names on to the Utah State Senate to be confirmed, instead sending a letter to the Utah County commission asking them to submit different names.
In that letter, Herbert expressed concerns about how Utah County had selected the names without reaching consensus with the Tooele County Commission.
The three Tooele County Commissioners had agreed on a different nominee to send to the governor, and reached out to Herbert when that name was not among those Utah County sent to the governor.
“When appointing individuals to any board or commission, the governor has to consider not just aptitude, but also fit. He was uncomfortable with the initial names brought forward. At this point, Gov. Herbert is waiting for additional names,” said Paul Edwards, Herbert’s deputy chief of staff over communications and policy, in a prepared statement Thursday.
The lawsuit states that since receiving the letter from Herbert, Utah County Commissioner Bill Lee had been waiting to see if the governor would reconsider his position and appoint either Crawley or Stanley to the board prior to Nov. 1, when the new board was scheduled to take over.
“It has become apparent to Commissioner Lee that the Governor does not intend to reconsider his position and that Utah County must act to protect the interest of its residents before the two new UTA Board members convene as a board,” the lawsuit states.
The petition for extraordinary relief says Herbert failed to fulfill a statutorily mandated duty, whether intentionally or by misinterpreting the statute.
Without representation on the board, the lawsuit states Utah County will face negative consequences including taxation without representation and having its transit decisions made by two people with no ties to the county.
Beth Holbrook and Carlton Christensen will take their oath of office in Salt Lake City and officially begin their tenure as members of the new board of trustees at 3 p.m. Monday, according to a press release from UTA.
Christensen will represent Salt Lake County, while Holbrook will represent Davis, Weber and Box Elder counties.
UTA spokesman Carl Arky said Thursday afternoon that once the decision is made selecting the third commissioner, the person will be welcomed with open arms.
“I’m sure whoever it is will get up to speed quickly,” Arky said.
Until that happens, UTA operations will basically continue as normal. The two commissioners will hold board meetings scheduled in November and December.
Until a third commissioner is also sworn in, Arky said it’s unlikely that major decisions will be made.
“Once all the commissioners are in place, more of the big picture items will be addressed,” Arky said. “In the meantime, we maintain operations and try to make sure the trains and buses run on time.”