Cache Valley’s top stories of 2014

Apartment near 636 East 500 North, Logan where police were called early Monday morning at 12:16 a.m. When officers arrived they found two people, one male and one female dead from gunshot wounds.

As 2014 comes to a close, the editorial staff of and KVNU 610 AM/102.1 FM was asked to vote on what they thought were the top stories of the past year. In 2014, Cache Valley saw a lot of tragedy and an uncharacteristically high number of incidents that involved guns. But it also saw triumph in the face of adversity.

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below if you agree or disagree with the list, or if other stories should have been included.

1 – <a href=”” target=”_blank”>Murder suicide near USU</a>.  <span class=”first-paragraph”><span class=”paragraph-0″>Investigators say anger and jealousy led Army National Guardsman Jared Tolman to kill <span class=”paragraph-1″>19-year-old Mackenzie Madden and 25-year-old Jonathan Jacob Sadler and was looking for one other person before killing himself</span> early Monday, July 14th before fatally shooting himself.</span></span>

<span class=”first-paragraph”><span class=”paragraph-0″>2 – <a href=”” target=”_blank”>Shots fired at Cache Valley Hospital</a>.</span></span> Jason James Burr walked into the hospital’s emergency room and brandished two handguns on Friday, May 16. Two officers with Adult Probation and Parole (APP) were at the hospital on an unrelated matter and confronted Burr, shooting and injuring him.

3 – <a href=”” target=”_blank”>Caffe Ibis owner killed in traffic accident</a>. Randolph “Randy” Wirth, co-owner of Caffe Ibis, died at McKay Dee Hospital on Saturday, April 12 where he was being treated for injuries received in a traffic accident a few days earlier. Wirth was struck by a drunk driver. The 67-year-old Wirth was known as the “roastmaster” of Caffe Ibis and had a passion for the arts, the community and supporting local businesses.

4 – Changes in law enforcement: <a href=”” target=”_blank”>Lynn Nelson ousted as County Sheriff</a>, and <a href=”” target=”_blank”>Johnny McCoy resigns from Smithfield Police</a>. At the Cache County Republican Convention on April 12, candidate Chad Jensen received 82.3% of the votes which meant he replaced longtime County Sheriff Lynn Nelsen by avoiding a primary election. Nelson had been <a href=”” target=”_blank”>with the Sheriff’s office for nearly 35 years</a>. Meanwhile, Smithfield City saw a change at the top of their police force when Police Chief Johnny McCoy resigned effective immediately on Monday, September 8. McCoy said he was asked to resign during a meeting with Mayor Darrell Simmons.

5 – <a href=”” target=”_blank”>USU lecture canceled after mass shooting threat</a>. <span class=”first-paragraph”><span class=”paragraph-0″>An email sent to Utah State University staff and students on Tuesday, October 14 threatened a mass shooting against attendees and Women’s Center staff unless the school canceled a scheduled lecture with nationally-known writer and video game critic Anita Sarkeesian. The story got national attention, and <a href=”” target=”_blank”>USU received criticism</a> because of it would have had to allow concealed weapons permit holders to have their weapons at Sarkeesian’s speech, despite the threat.</span></span>

<span class=”first-paragraph”><span class=”paragraph-0″>6 – <a href=”” target=”_blank”>Lesley Jensen cancer fraud</a>. <span class=”first-paragraph”><span class=”paragraph-0″>Jensen was charged with multiple felonies after police say she faked a cancer diagnosis to steal money from her family, charity organizations and others. Cache County Attorney James Swink said local individuals, charity organizations and restaurants helped raise money for Jensen’s supposed cancer treatment during the past four months.</span></span></span></span>

<span class=”first-paragraph”><span class=”paragraph-0″><span class=”first-paragraph”><span class=”paragraph-0″>7 – <a href=”” target=”_blank”>USU football overcomes injuries and finishes with one of the best records in school history</a>. The football team saw nine starters suffer season-ending injuries, including three quarterbacks. The football team finished with a 10-4 season (second most wins in school history), capped by a bowl game victory over UTEP in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl.</span></span></span></span>

<span class=”first-paragraph”><span class=”paragraph-0″><span class=”first-paragraph”><span class=”paragraph-0″>8 – <a href=”” target=”_blank”>Hyrum self-defense shooting</a> / <a href=”” target=”_blank”>Shooting at the north WalMart</a>. While these two stories are not related to each other, they illustrate (as do some of the other selections on this list) that gun violence was more common in Cache Valley than it has been in a long time.</span></span></span></span>

<span class=”first-paragraph”><span class=”paragraph-0″><span class=”first-paragraph”><span class=”paragraph-0″>9 – <a href=”” target=”_blank”>Raysha Nielsen killed in snowmobile accident</a>.</span></span></span></span> Nielsen was the passenger on a snowmobile, riding in the Hilldale Canyon area, east of Franklin, Idaho. Friends of Nielsen said she was reportedly thrown from the snowmobile and hit a tree on Saturday, February 22. A new <a href=”” target=”_blank”>5k race was incorporated into the Cache County Fair</a> and Rodeo honoring Nielsen and raising funds for cancer research.

10 – <a href=”” target=”_blank”>Cache County Executive Lynn Lemon retires after 20 years</a>. <span class=”first-paragraph”><span class=”paragraph-0″>After 20 years as Cache County Executive, Lynn Lemon decided not to seek re-election this year. He said it is time to move on but in his words, “it has been a great experience.” <span class=”paragraph-1″>Lemon said he feels good about a lot of  things that have happened in the last 20 years, such as the new county administration building, renovation of the Historic Court House with help from former Logan Mayor Newel Daines and building a new law enforcement complex.</span></span></span>

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