Ben Lasseter


Ben Lasseter reports for KPCW in Wasatch County. Before moving to Heber City, Ben worked in Manti as a general assignment newspaper reporter and editor.

Before Utah, he reported for Alabama Public Radio as a student at the University of Alabama, near his hometown of Birmingham. He graduated with a degree in news media.

When Ben isn’t talking about what's happening in the local mountains, he might be taking photographs, skiing or camping in them. If at first you don't hear a southern accent, wait until you hear him talk sports.

Ways to Connect


With climate-dependent recreation being one of Park City’s major industries, the local climate activism group will host a debate for Park City mayoral and city council candidates this week.

The Wasatch Back chapter of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby is hosting the candidate forum on Thursday evening. It’ll run from 6 to 7:30 in the evening and will be held via Zoom.

Heber City

After a public hearing to discuss topics including the city moderate income housing plan, the Heber City Planning Commission will consider allowing a new school site to an ongoing development in its meeting Tuesday.



It's seeking public comment on three topics: changes to the city’s moderate income housing plan, subdivision and zoning ordinance changes and the Highlands development. 


A new sales tax will be on November ballots for Wasatch County voters. 

The RAP Tax is a local sales tax that would generate money that Heber City, Midway and the county could use for recreation, arts and parks.

It will only go into effect if Wasatch County voters vote in favor of it in the November 2 municipal election.

The new tax would add a tenth of a cent on the dollar to the current sales tax rate for the next 10 years. It would apply to all shopping, except most groceries.

Ben Lasseter/KPCW

After closing Friday due to weather, Guardsman Pass will remain closed today and into next week.

The Utah Department of Transportation said this morning it would keep it closed ahead of a winter storm in the forecast beginning Monday. There is no estimated reopening date, but it will depend on weather and safety conditions.

Guardsman Pass is a two-lane stretch of State Route 224 that runs from the Bonanza Flats trailhead near Park City to Big Cottonwood Road at the entrance of Brighton Resort.

Summit County Sheriff's Office


After a body was found in the Snyderville Basin, a representative for the Summit County Sheriff's Office said an investigation was underway. 

Lieutenant Andrew Wright told KPCW this evening, "We are actively investigating a suspicious death. Investigators are processing the scene and interviewing witnesses. They don’t think they’ll be done until late tonight."

Wright said the department would have additional information Friday morning.

This is a developing story. KPCW will provide further updates as they become available.

Google Maps

A development south of Heber City got a green light to build extra homes during the Wasatch County Council meeting Wednesday. Before the vote, nearby residents let council members know they didn’t approve of the decision.



Christensen Farms, a subdivision in Center Creek that’s south of Heber City, got permission to add homes to the proposal for its next phases. It convinced the Wasatch County Council to approve the change unanimously with an offer to build a public park there as well.


Wasatch County recorded another COVID-19 death today.

The victim was a man between the ages of 65 and 84 and wasn’t hospitalized when he passed. His death brings the number of Wasatch County COVID fatalities to 28 since the beginning of the pandemic.

Nine other Utah deaths were also reported Thursday, bringing the statewide death toll to 2,983.

The Utah Department of Health didn’t disclose the exact dates of death.

Earlier this week, Wasatch County Health Promotion Director Jonelle Fitzgerald gave the Heber City Council a COVID update.

Ben Lasseter/KPCW

A Smith’s Marketplace in Heber City has been a topic of discussion for years, and on Tuesday, the Heber City Council heard a proposal from the store.





The city has a lot hanging in the balance over whether a Smith’s Marketplace comes to town. It would be the first major component of an economic development project to build up the downtown and generate new tax dollars there.

The Rodriguez-Irizarry family

A man charged with first-degree murder in the death of a 7-year-old in Heber City in July will face a trial by jury.


Christopher O’Connell appeared in Fourth District Court in Heber City Wednesday afternoon for a preliminary hearing. Judge Jennifer Brown said there was significant evidence to try him for all charges, including first-degree murder and felony discharge of a firearm.

His lawyer, Rudy Bautista, told KPCW afterward that O’Connell didn’t enter a plea yet, but that he will plead not guilty.

Ben Lasseter/KPCW


If some people expected bland fall colors to follow the drought over the summer, the trees had other plans.

To the delight of Wasatch Back leaf-peepers, the leaves on various tree types changed to vibrant colors over the past couple of weeks. During hikes, runs or mountain-bike rides, or just viewed out car windows, locals are loving the mountainside tapestries.

While changing leaves aren’t an exact science, the recent rains could have come at a perfect time to make the colors really pop this year.

Google Maps

Wasatch County will hold a public hearing about a recreation, arts and parks tax and proposed public park during its regular meeting tomorrow evening.



Wasatch County Council will begin the regular meeting at 3 p.m., then the public hearing at 6 p.m.

During the hearing, the public can weigh in on the RAP tax that county voters will vote on in early November.

Heber City

In Heber City meetings today, council members and city planners will discuss a possible recreation, arts and parks tax along with some new developments.

Heber City Council will hold a work meeting at 5:00 at City Hall, followed by a regular council meeting.

In the work meeting, City Planner Tony Kohler will present an agreement for a development called Highlands. It would bring single-family homes and townhomes to land around the Utah Valley University Wasatch campus.

In the regular meeting, the council will consider preliminary approval of a 20-acre subdivision.


The Utah Department of Transportation has released proposals to alleviate traffic on Heber Main Street as part of a long-term study. 



Days before opening another public comment period October 5, 13 draft concepts are available for the public to view on UDOT’s website.

On the table are bypass roads that could be built on either side of the city, a new tunnel underpass, a bridge overpass and other ideas that could dramatically change the face of Heber’s downtown.

Park City Ski Swap

Following a year off, the annual Park City Ski Swap will be back with a room full of gear again early next month.

The sale will take place November 5 to 7 at the Basin Recreation Field House on Center Drive in Park City.

That follows a donation period when people can drop off their old items from November 1 to 4 at Jans Outfitters and Cole Sport, both located on Park Avenue. Organizers will accept gear between one and seven years old.

Associated Press

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced it will build a temple in the Heber Valley.

At today’s semiannual General Conference in Salt Lake City, President Russell Nelson said the church would build 13 new temples in total, including four in the United States. Those will also be in Cody, Wyoming; Rexburg, Idaho and Fort Worth, Texas.