Church and state dominate news during break


    By Seth Blaylock

    Temple break-in

    On Dec. 22, a young couple with six children forced their way into the Jordan River Temple in South Jordan, which was closed for the holidays.

    The couple, Michael Robinson and Dea Robinson, both 28, pushed past an elderly temple worker and ran into the upper floors of the temple with their six children, all under the age of 10.

    The husband and wife are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and live in West Jordan.

    Police responded and eventually found the family praying in the veil area of the temple near the celestial room.

    Michael Robinson resisted arrest and had to be pinned by four officers.

    Michael and Dea Robinson were taken to Jordan Valley Hospital and later to University of Utah Medical Center and underwent psychological evaluations.

    Michael Robinson later explained to police that he thought he was in the celestial kingdom – that he had been crucified and died. He said blood had been cut off to his hands and his heart had stopped beating.

    Dea Robinson was charged with trespassing. Michael Robinson was charged with trespassing assault. The two charges are misdemeanors, but the assault charge carries the possibility of jail time.

    The couple are scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday.

    Census controversy

    On Dec. 28, the U.S. Census Bureau released preliminary results of the latest census, including congressional seat redistricting. Despite its high population growth rate, Utah did not gain a congressional seat. It lost out to North Carolina by a few hundred people.

    Census officials said that while Utah was ahead after the regular count, when overseas military government personnel were counted, North Carolina came out on top by 856 people.

    However, the close count did not include the estimated 14,000 Utahns serving overseas missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    Gov. Mike Leavitt has raised the possibility of bringing a suit in federal court to solve the dispute.

    The Census Bureau counts residents where they are living at the time of the census, except for military and government personnel.

    Salt Lake Tribune sold

    On Tuesday, MediaNews Group completed its acquisition of the Salt Lake Tribune.

    The management and former owners of the Tribune have disputed the sale by AT&T in court. They claimed it violated a contract with the former owners who have an option to buy the paper before the end of 2002.

    MediaNews owner W. Dean Singleton returned to Salt Lake City on Wednesday and changed the makeup of the Newspaper Agency Corporation, which runs the advertising, circulation and printing aspects of the Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News.

    The newspapers own 50 percent each of the NAC.

    Singelton placed himself on the NAC board and removed Dominic Welch, publisher of the Tribune, and Randy Frisch, chief operating officer of Tribune Publishing.

    The NAC also amended the agreement between the two newspapers, paving the way for the Deseret News to become a morning publication by September.

    The possibility of the News” becoming a morning paper has long been a source of conflict between the News and Tribune.

    Tribune managers say they will continue to fight the changes in the NAC and the newspaper”s sale in court.

    General Authority dies

    Elder Hugh W. Pinnock, a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, died Friday, Dec. 15, 2000, after a brief illness. He was 66.

    At the time of his death, along with serving in the First Quorum of the Seventy, Elder Pinnock was second counselor in the North America Southwest Area Presidency.

    Elder Pinnock was born on Jan. 15, 1934, in Salt Lake City. In 1953, he graduated from Granite High School.

    He graduated from the University of Utah in 1958 with a degree in management from the College of Business.

    Before earning his degree, Elder Pinnock served for two years in the Western States Mission for the LDS Church.

    He served as president of the Pennsylvania Mission from 1973-76, and he served in various LDS Church callings before that, including stake high councilor, bishop, general president of the Sunday School, managing director of the Priesthood Department, member of a mission presidency and regional representative.

    In October 1977, he was named a member of the First Quorum of Seventy.

    Elder Pinnock is survived by his wife, Anne Hawkins Pinnock, six children and 21 grandchildren.

    Tabernacle Choir to perform at presidential inauguration

    The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has been invited to perform in the inaugural celebration for President-elect George W. Bush.

    The choir has performed before at the inauguration for Bush”s father and at four other U.S. presidential inaugurations.

    In addition to performing at George Bush”s inauguration in 1989, the Tabernacle Choir performed for the inaugurations of Lyndon Johnson in 1965,

    Richard Nixon in 1969 and 1973, and Ronald Reagan in 1981.

    Choir conductor Craig Jessop told the Salt Lake Tribune that the details of the choir”s participation are “still sketchy,” but he expects that the choir will sing in the inaugural parade on Jan. 20 and might perform at other events connected with the inauguration.

    The 325-voice choir will also broadcast its weekly “Music and the Spoken Word” program from Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21. The venue for that broadcast has not been decided.

    The inaugural invitation was secured through the efforts of Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.

    Missionaries injured in mugging.

    Two missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints serving in Dallas were injured Tuesday when attacked by two men carrying a baseball bat and a gun.

    Elder Burke Jensen, from Orem, suffered critical injuries to the head and was hospitalized in the Baylor University Medical Center.

    Jensen is currently listed in serious condition.

    Elder Jason Mortenson, from South Jordan, Salt Lake County, suffered bruises to the back and shoulder.

    Dallas Police said the assailants emerged from a passing vehicle to mug the missionaries.

    The attackers took $30 from Jensen”s wallet.

    Dallas Texas Mission President Blaine Morgan said Jensen will not need surgery and will most likely spend the expected six weeks recovery in the mission field.

    The elders were traveling to visit a recently baptized member when the mugging occurred.

    There were reports of similar attacks in the area that same day.

    EPA Delays decision on Legacy Highway.

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency told supporters of the proposed Legacy Highway on Thursday they would need to provide further justification for the project before the agency will approve it.

    The project had already received approval from the Army Corps of Engineers. It was expected to either be approved or vetoed by the EPA within 15 days of the corps” endorsement.

    Instead, EPA Regional Administrator William Yellowtail sent a letter to the corps with a list of problems the EPA will likely find with paving 114 acres of wetlands.

    In the letter, Yellowtail also said he would like regional regulators to resolve the issues with the state rather then involving the federal government.

    The projected highway would run from Salt Lake City to Farmington, cutting through protected wetlands.

    The EPA”s action will most likely put the final decision in the hands of the incoming Bush administration.

    Given Gov. Mike Levitt”s connection with the president- elect, this could bode well for Legacy supporters.

    Leavitt inaugurated to third term

    Mike Leavitt officially became Utah”s 14th Governor for the third time on Thursday.

    In the process Leavitt became the second governor in Utah”s 105-year history to begin a third term.

    Supporters attributed Leavitt”s success to both his image and his achievements.

    Democrat J.D. Williams said Leavitt is one of the three greatest Utah governors in his lifetime, on par with Scott Matheson and Cal Rampton – Utah”s other three-term governor.

    In his inaugural address Leavitt continued to push familiar themes – states” rights, technology and land stewardship.

    Some of Leavitt”s goals include completing Legacy Highway, doubling education spending, being an exemplar host for the Olympic Games and preventing storage of nuclear waste on the Goshute Indian reservations.

    Thursday”s swearing in coincided with statehood day in Utah.

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