Less Than Brilliant Salt Lake County Utah Employee Jed Bogenschutz Used Government Email Address To Send eMail Filled With Facist Remarks To Business Owner

October 15, 2012

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – The Salt Lake County employee who sent an email filled with racist remarks to a Sandy business owner is making a public apology.

ABC 4 News was the first to tell you about the email sent by the employee using his government email account to Linnaea Mendoza owner of Salsitas Mendoza. After seeing our report the County Assessor called ABC 4’s Kimberly Nelson to set the record straight; the Assessor’s office does not, and will not, tolerate bigotry or abuse of power.

Salsitas Mendoza has been open just a year. Linnaea and her husband sell jars of salsa out of the store, but because they don’t have a kitchen there yet they have to rent one. They’re looking to put a commercial kitchen in their store but still need a $12,000 dollar commercial hood.

In order to raise the funds Linnaea started a Kickstarter page where people could donate money. To promote the fundraising efforts, her sister posted an ad on another website under charity advertisements. The feedback was positive until she got this email from a Salt Lake County government employee.

The email in question was sent by Jedd Bogenschutz and reads, “I respond to people in need in this section that really need it. After reading your ad I had to respond and say are you … f…ing serious?? your ad had to be the most disgusting ad I have ever read, really taking donations so you can finish a kitchen so you south of the borders can get ahead, you can bet I would never buy any of your garbage, I do have some connections, board of health, business license, ect. I will make sure your (sic) on the up and up.”

The words “you south of the borders” still sting, but Linnaea Mendoza says the racial slurs weren’t the worst part about the cutting email. She was worried about how a government employee could use his power in such an abusive way.

Mendoza asked, “How far is there a hatred? How far would it go will you try to revoke my licenses that I worked so hard for? Will you try to damage my business that’s new? You know, we’re all in on this. This is everything to my family.”

Whether or not they were empty threats, when he heard one of his employees had done such a thing Salt Lake County Assessor Lee Gardner was quick to respond.

“Bigotry in any way shape or form has no place in our community,” said Gardner. “Intimidation by anyone in government will not be tolerated, not in my office and it should not be tolerated in any office.”

Gardner continued, “My thought process is when an offense is public then the apology or explanation needs to be done in public. That’s why I’ve not only asked, I’ve requested Jedd to be here to give his explanation.”

Jedd Bogenschutz said, “To be honest not in a million years would I have thought I would have done something so insensitive.”

Bogenschutz says he wrote the email in an impulse. He was upset because he didn’t think the Mendoza’s finishing their kitchen should have been a charitable cause.

“I always felt myself as being an open-minded person willing to accept people’s differences as my own as well and I’m just absolutely embarrassed,” said Bogenschutz.

Kimberly Nelson asked Gardner, “There are many people who want Judd to lose his job over this. If you or I were to do something like this with the very public email address that we would lose our job.”

Gardner responded, “This is an opportunity for education not only to the community but for Jedd and I’m sure there’s none of us who are immune to making some statements. As I’m watching the national debate and campaign, we would not have anybody in government right now. So maybe a little forgiveness and a little understanding that yes, we do make mistakes.” He continues, “I assure you the punishment I’m giving is in no way shape or form is a slap on the wrist.”

Bogenschutz says he plans on apologizing to the Mendozas personally and for the Mendozas that’s enough.

Mendoza said, “I don’t want to cause any long term damage to his family just as I didn’t want his comments to cause any long term damage to my family via my business.”

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Utah: Increasing Speed Limit On Interstate To 80 MPH Results In 20% Less Accidents

September 23, 2012

UTAH – A study by the Utah Department of Transportation suggests raising the freeway speed limit from 75 to 80 miles per hour may be a good thing — at least on some stretches of interstate.

When the speed limit went up on four stretches of road between Nephi and Cedar City, accidents went down by 20 percent, according to the three-year study by UDOT.

The findings were somewhat unexpected, but it appears drivers tend to comply to higher speed limits.

“Everyone naturally goes 75 to 80 miles an hour anyways. So it’s that comfortable speed limit as most people drive on the freeway,” said driver Kyle Taylor.

The House Transportation Committee discussed its findings Wednesday and showed interest in putting more 80 mile per hour zones throughout the state.

“This was designed to be a test. Let’s see how it works and now it’s time to perhaps take it to another level,” said Rep. James Dunningan, R-Taylorsville.

Not all 75 mile per hour zones are going to change to 80. UDOT is looking for ideal locations, specifically where it is straight and there is less chance of an accident.

“Maybe north on I-15 or I-80 out to the Wendover area,” said Carlo Braceras, UDOT’s deputy director. “So, it’s kind of a wait and see what happens.”

Rep. Dunnigan plans to present a bill this legislative session.

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Ogden Utah Request To Fly Unmanned Blimp To Spy On Its Citizens Shot Down By FAA As Safety Risk

August 20, 2012

OGDEN, UTAH – The Ogden Police Department wants to fly an unmanned surveillance blimp at a height of just 400 feet over high crime areas of the city to watch for “suspicious activity,” but an initial request for approval was rejected by the FAA on the basis that the program would be a safety risk.

Recently released FAA documents obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation illustrate how law enforcement bodies across the country are rushing to deploy drones and surveillance blimps with scant regard for the fourth amendment or privacy rights.

In a letter sent to the FAA by Jon J. Greiner, the Ogden Police Chief attempted to assure the federal agency that the UAS surveillance blimp the police department planned to use was air worthy and safe.

In the letter, Greiner describes the blimp as a “nocturnal surveillance airship which will be used for law enforcement surveillance of high crime areas of Ogden City.”

From a height of just 400 feet in the sky, the dirigible would use its camera system to spot “suspicious activity” on city streets and send the footage back to police headquarters.

“The Pilot in Command would also be able to manually operate the UAS so that it could remain on scene waiting for an officer’s arrival,” states the letter.

The FAA responded by refusing to give approval for the police department to deploy the blimp, noting that the operation “presents an unacceptable high risk to the National Airspace System (NAS),” because the blimp would not be under visual observation throughout its use.

“Your Program Executive Summary addresses a Concept of Operation (CONOPS) where the VIPAR UA will be utilized in a patrol capacity for nocturnal surveillance within a high crime area of Ogden, UT. The CONOPS describes the launch and recovery of the UA from a Department of Public Safety Building in Ogden at which time control of the UA would be transferred from the ground control station at the launch site to a control station located in the Police Command Center. The COA application does not address the use of visual observers during the operation and without conforming to policy guidelines regarding the utilization of visual observers, this application cannot be approved,” states the FAA letter.

It is likely that the police department will get permission to use the blimp so long as they give assurances that the dirigible will be under visual observation at all times.

The use of surveillance drones and blimps to carry out sweeping surveillance of the public with total disregard for privacy rights is expected to accelerate in the coming years. The FAA has forecast that 30,000 surveillance drones will be in U.S. skies by the end of the decade.

Last month, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano told a House Committee on Homeland Security that the federal agency was working on deploying drones for purposes of “public safety.”

As we reported earlier this year, the DHS is already using another type of airborne drone surveillance, also utilized to track insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq, for the purposes of “emergency and non-emergency incidents” within the United States.

US law enforcement bodies are already using drone technology to spy on Americans. In December last year, a Predator B drone was called in to conduct surveillance over a family farm in North Dakota as part of a SWAT raid on the Brossart family, who were suspects in the egregious crime of stealing six missing cows. Local police in this one area have already used the drone on two dozen occasions since June last year.

The U.S. Army recently tested a football field-sized blimp over the city of New Jersey. The blimp can fly for a period of 21 hours and “is equipped with high-tech sensors that can monitor insurgents from above.”

Recently released FAA documents obtained by the Center for Investigative Reporting revealed that the FAA gave the green light for surveillance drones to be used in U.S. skies despite the fact that during the FAA’s own tests the drones crashed numerous times even in areas of airspace where no other aircraft were flying.

The documents illustrate how the drones pose a huge public safety risk, contradicting a recent coordinated PR campaign on behalf of the drone industry which sought to portray drones as safe, reliable and privacy-friendly.

Alex Jones predicted the use of blimps for invasive surveillance in his 2005 film Martial Law. Watch a clip below during which Alex discusses this and related issues during a CBS San Antonio interview.

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BROKE: 16 States Now Rationing Prescription Drugs For Medicaid Patients

July 31, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Sixteen states have set a limit on the number of prescription drugs they will cover for Medicaid patients, according to Kaiser Health News.

Seven of those states, according to Kaiser Health News, have enacted or tightened those limits in just the last two years.

Medicaid is a federal program that is carried out in partnership with state governments. It forms an important element of President Barack Obama’s health-care plan because under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act–AKA Obamcare–a larger number of people will be covered by Medicaid, as the income cap is raised for the program.

With both the expanded Medicaid program and the federal subsidy for health-care premiums that will be available to people earning up to 400 percent of the poverty level, a larger percentage of the population will be wholly or partially dependent on the government for their health care under Obamacare than are now.

In Alabama, Medicaid patients are now limited to one brand-name drug, and HIV and psychiatric drugs are excluded.

Illinois has limited Medicaid patients to just four prescription drugs as a cost-cutting move, and patients who need more than four must get permission from the state.

Speaking on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal on Monday, Phil Galewitz, staff writer for Kaiser Health News, said the move “only hurts a limited number of patients.”

“Drugs make up a fair amount of costs for Medicaid. A lot of states have said a lot of drugs are available in generics where they cost less, so they see this sort of another move to push patients to take generics instead of brand,” Galewitz said.

“It only hurts a limited number of patients, ‘cause obviously it hurts patients who are taking multiple brand name drugs in the case of Alabama, Illinois. Some of the states are putting the limits on all drugs. It’s another place to cut. It doesn’t hurt everybody, but it could hurt some,” he added.

Galewitz said the move also puts doctors and patients in a “difficult position.”

“Some doctors I talked to would work with patients with asthma and diabetes, and sometimes it’s tricky to get the right drugs and the right dosage to figure out how to control some of this disease, and just when they get it right, now the state is telling them that, ‘Hey, you’re not going to get all this coverage. You may have to switch to a generic or find another way,’” he said.

Arkansas, California, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and West Virginia have all placed caps on the number of prescription drugs Medicaid patients can get.

“Some people say it’s a matter of you know states are throwing things up against the wall to see what might work, so states have tried, they’ve also tried formularies where they’ll pick certain brand name drugs over other drugs. So states try a whole lot of different things. They’re trying different ways of paying providers to try to maybe slow the costs down,” Galewitz said.

“So it seems like Medicaid’s sort of been one big experiment over the last number of years for states to try to control costs, and it’s an ongoing battle, and I think drugs is just now one of the … latest issues. And it’s a relatively recent thing, only in the last 10 years have we really seen states put these limits on monthly drugs,” he added.

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SkyWest Pilot, Wanted For Killing Girlfriend, Steals And Crashes Plane In St. George Utah, Shoots Himself – Airport Security, Not So Much…

July 17, 2012

ST. GEORGE, UTAH — A commercial pilot wanted in connection with the killing of his girlfriend in Colorado Springs tried to steal a commercial airplane early Tuesday at the St. George Municipal Airport, then committed suicide, investigators said.

The man who shot and killed himself inside a commandeered SkyWest airplane early Tuesday was 40-year- old Brian Joseph Hedglin, St. George spokesman Mark Mortensen confirmed.

In Colorado Springs, police have been looking for Hedglin since Friday in connection with the death of his girlfriend, 39-year-old Christina Cornejo. Hedglin had previously been arrested for a harassment case involving Cornejo, but was free on bail, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette. The two had been dating for four years when she told him in March she wanted a break.

Friday, police were called to Cornejo’s apartment by a relative to perform a welfare check and found her dead inside.

Just before 1 a.m. Tuesday, a security guard doing a routine check at the St. George Municipal Airport spotted a motorcycle parked next to the barbed wire gate that borders the airport property, Mortensen said. The engine was still warm.

He then noticed a rug thrown over the wire part of the fence as if someone had climbed over. Moments later, he heard a SkyWest CRJ200 aircraft start up.

Hedglin first backed the plane up, Mortensen said, then moved forward, clipping the terminal. Somehow, the plane ended up in the parking lot and crashed into parked vehicles, he said.

Enlarge image
Brian Hedgelin, who was wanted in connection with a stabbing murder in Colorado Springs, apparently stole a a plane and then shot himself while on board in St. George.

No one on the ground was injured. The crash apparently prevented Hedglin from taking off.

Hedglin then shot himself once, killing himself inside the plane, Mortensen said.

“The aircraft did sustain damage. The extent of the damage is currently being inspected by our maintenance and safety professionals,” SkyWest said in a prepared statement.

The plane was not in service at the time and there were no passengers on board. It was not immediately known how Hedglin gained access into the aircraft. Hedglin held a commercial airline pilot license and worked for SkyWest. The airline released a statement saying he was “on administrative leave” at the time of the accident.

“While the airport was closed overnight, a SkyWest aircraft at the St. George Municipal Airport in Utah was involved in a ground incident while the aircraft was not in service,” SkyWest said in a prepared statement. “Until the airport is reopened, passengers with Delta Connection flights to and from St. George are being re-accommodated on other flights as well as with ground transportation from nearby Cedar City.”

The FBI and St. George police are investigating the incident.

“The FBI is on scene at the St. George Airport, along with St. George police and the TSA. We are conducting a joint investigation. We are still gathering facts, but it is important to note there is no ongoing public safety issue and the scene is under the control of law enforcement,” FBI spokeswoman Debbie Bertram said.

Mortensen said all commercial flights were cancelled until further notice. The private portion of the airport was still open. The St. George airport handles seven flights a day.

Both Cornejo and Hedglin were with the Colorado Army National Guard. Hedglin has been part-time with the Guard since 2008, said Colorado National Guard spokesman Capt. Darin Overstreet. He was a “food service specialist,” or a cook, he said.

Hedglin participated in traditional National Guard drills, but was never deployed, Overstreet said. Cornejo was a full-time National Guard member, joining in 2006 and becoming an officer in 2011. She was part of the 100 Missile Defense Brigade, Overstreet said.

Additional details will be posted as they become available.

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Anti-Obama Parade Float Slipped Into Huntsville Utah Parade At Last Minute – Obama Farewell Tour

July 8, 2012

HUNTSVILLE, Utah — A parade entry portraying President Barack Obama and using the term “Obamanation” has made some angry, and others upset at the negative attention.

It happened in the city’s annual Fourth of July parade.

The float showed a person dressed as President Obama with one sign that read “Huntsville Welcomes Obama’s Farewell Tour?” On the back, another sign said, “Ask about our assault gun plan. Call Eric Holder.”

On one side of the issue, people are saying the float was disrespectful and had no place in a patriotic parade. The other side says it was all in good fun.

Huntsville Mayor Jim Truett and City Council member Laurie Allen say the entry doesn’t reflect the views of the city. They say it was entered at the last minute, not through usual protocol and they would not have approved it if they had seen it.

“I don’t think we would have allowed it, in fact I know we wouldn’t,” said Allen. “We just don’t want that. It’s a family-oriented celebration.”

Weber County Sheriff Lt. Mark Lowther told Fox 13 News his department contacted the Secret Service after some residents expressed concern the float was a threat to the President.

“We don’t decide what’s appropriate. That’s up to the town, the parade organizers and the people who design the float,” said Chief Deputy Klint Anderson, Weber County Sheriff’s Office, in a statement.

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Convicted Pedophile Running For Granite Utah School Board Seat

June 7, 2012

HOLLADAY, UTAH — A man who spent time behind bars for child sex abuse is seeking a seat on the Granite school board.

Richard Wagner Jones, a registered sex offender, is currently running against incumbent Dan Lofgren for the first precinct seat on the Granite Board of Education. He is listed on the ballot as R. Wagner Jones, according to the Salt Lake County Clerk’s Office.

Jones pleaded guilty to sexual abuse of a child, a second-degree felony, on July 30, 1990. Several other related charges against him were dismissed, according to court documents. He completed his sentence, which included both prison time and parole, in 2005.

Jones was out of town Wednesday and deferred an interview until later. In an email, he did say that he understands that voters “need to know why there is no risk or need for concern on that issue before the election occurs.”

Under state law and Granite School District policy, registered sex offenders are barred, with exceptions, from visiting elementary and secondary schools. District policy allows visits that are authorized and supervised with the school’s administration, but the sex offender must stay within eyesight of an administrator at all times. When public functions are being held at a school outside of regular school hours, a sex offender may be present at the regulation and discretion of the school’s principal.

Gayleen Gandy, president of the Granite School Board, said Jones’ legal barriers would not necessarily impede him from fulfilling the responsibilities of a board member. But she added that for her, visiting educators and students in their school settings informs the decisions she makes.

“I personally feel that it’s very important for me to be out in the schools as much as possible,” she said. “If I’m going to make decisions from the 30,000-foot level, I need to know what’s going on in the trenches.”

Gandy said there is no requirement for board members to visit schools, although most find it valuable to do so. She said for many voters, the most recognizable decisions that board members make are those that affect property taxes.

“The job of a board member is basically to make decisions regarding budgets and policies,” she said. “I think anyone who pays taxes ought to be interested in who their school board member is.”

Gandy said school visits have proved to be a benefit for her. In her first year on the school board, she made a goal of visiting every school in her district and volunteering for a half day.

“I called the principals and said, ‘I want you to put me to work,'” she said.

She said that time in the schools, and subsequent visits, have given her a perspective on education issues that she would not have had otherwise.

Utah Department of Corrections spokesman Steve Gehrke said the laws regulating the sex offender registry have changed since Jones’ conviction. An individual convicted today of the same crime would be placed on the registry for the duration of their life, compared to the former period of 10 years from the end of a sentence. Because Jones was not grandfathered into the new law, Gehrke said, his name will be removed from the registry in 2015.

Sex offender registries are designed mostly to keep track of offenders, he said. “It’s not intended as a punishment.”

Gehrke said the registry, like the department of corrections, is a balancing act between keeping the public informed and safe and equipping convicts with the skills necessary to re-enter society and be contributing members of a community. He said he understands there are special concerns regarding convicted criminals, especially those who commit crimes against children, but added that it is the hope of the Utah Department of Corrections that an individual could complete their sentence and live a happy, productive, law-abiding life.

It will be up to voters to decide who between Jones and Lofgren best represents their interests in education. Lofgren declined to comment on the race and his opponent. He said that this year, like his first election in 2008, he is not running against someone but is running on his own ability and desire to help improve education in the Granite School District.

“When I ran four years ago, it was because I had a very strong sense that we could do better,” he said. “It’s not about who my opponent is, it’s about an opportunity.”

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