Morgan native guilty of inmate murder
A Morgan native has been found guilty of a racially-motivated murder in a Atlanta, Georgia, penitentiary facility.
Federal prosecutors say Jason Robert Widdison, 35, of Morgan, along with 53-year-old fellow federal prison inmate Donald R. LaFond of Massachusettes, beat another inmate to death in March of 2011.
White supremacist prison gang code was at play, say prosecutors, when the victim refused to protest having a black cellmate. The victim died a month after the attack, which included the inmates stomping on his head and neck as many as 20 times after he fell to the ground. A correction officer who witnessed the incident intervened.
A federal district court jury recently found Widdison and LaFond guilty of second-degree murder.
Ricky Maxwell, Acting Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, stated in an FBI press release, “The FBI, with assistance from the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, Special Investigations Section, was determined to bring these two violent inmates forward and hold them accountable for the murder of a fellow inmate with the firm understanding that within the federal prison system, the rule of law still applies.”
County commercial zones declared enterprise zones
The Morgan County Council unanimously voted to declare all commercial zones in the county as new enterprise zones.
The move will benefit businesses, which can “benefit from a variety of things, with no cost to the county,” Councilman Lyle Nelson said.
“It is a potential gain for every business,” Nelson said. “We just have to establish the zone.”
Chairman Logan Wilde excused himself from the vote, declaring a conflict of interest. He said he and his family are planning a recycling facility near the Holcim Cement Plant in Croydon, and therefore could financially gain from the council’s decision.
DWR presents PILT check
Justin Dolling of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources presented the Morgan County Council with a “payment in lieu of taxes” check for $3,585. Dolling said the DWR owns and manages 7,000 acres in Morgan County, including the East Canyon and Round Valley wildlife management areas.
The money comes from the proceeds of fishing and hunting licenses, he said.
“We rely on the sportsmen to do good things for the county,” Dolling said.
Wasatch Shadows lot up for bid
A county-owned building lot in the Wasatch Shadows subdivision will be up for sale. The lot was originally slated for a Community Development Block Grant project that never came to fruition.
Those interested in the lot can submit their sealed bids to the county. The bid will include a minimum amount to cover county expenses, and are due Feb. 17. The Morgan County Council will open the bid at their Feb. 18 meeting.
UTA considering Morgan bus service
The Utah Transit Authority is taking notice of a request made by the Morgan County Council in November, considering transportation options for the elderly, disabled and commuter population of the county.
While UTA representative Ryan Taylor said commuter bus service may be too expensive to operate in Morgan now, his research in the past couple of months has pointed to other “creative solutions” to help Morgan’s local transportation needs.
“We are excited at the prospect of working together with Morgan County,” Taylor said. “After discussions with the general manager and executive staff, we have come up with some creative solutions that could lead to full bus service in the future.”
Taylor plans to present his findings to the UTA board of trustees next week. After their response, he will plan a working meeting with Morgan County officials.