Law Enforcment Officers Recover The Bodies Of Missing Brothers In Strawberry Reservoir

Wasatch County Sheriff’s Office reported Sunday evening that the search for two men at Strawberry Reservoir has come to an end.

After 11 days of searching Wasatch County Sheriff Jared Rigby reported that the bodies of Jim and Mark Gardiner have been found. The Utah county brothers, aged 70 and 61 were found southwest of the island near the Ladders area. The Ladders area is located on the northeast side of Strawberry Reservoir.

The men were found using a combination of technologies. Sonar was used to identify objects in the water, once objects were identified remote operated vehicles would go to the objects to get a clear picture of the objects.

The search for the men began on Thursday July 18th when a DWR employee driving by noticed a boat floating in the reservoir unoccupied. When the man drove past again, he found the boat on the shore.

Officials found the boat engine running although not in drive. One pole had a fish on the line and the family reported that a net was missing from the boat that would normally be there.

Sheriff Rigby said that although they don’t know the details, what likely happened was some sort of an accident on the lake with the brothers trying to help each other.

The missing men’s youngest brother Mike Gardiner spoke on Sunday representing the family. Gardiner thanked Wasatch County Sheriff’s Department for their efforts to locate the brothers. Gardiner and Sheriff Rigby both thanked Search and Rescue volunteers from the county, as well as others who assisted in the search including officers from Summit, Utah and Weber counties as well as other agencies from the state and even as far as Wyoming. Sheriff Rigby also noted the support received from local businesses.

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Heber Valley Artisan Cheese held their 2nd annual Ice Sculptures Exhibition this weekend. Several local businesses sponsored the sculptures being displayed. There were also two different ice carving demonstrations. The event was free to the public.

The annual event began last year when Carolee Kohler saw ice sculpting on a Hallmark movie and thought it would be a fun idea for their farm. They are also considering a woodcarving event.

According to Lindsey Strother, social media and events coordinator, each sculpture takes between 1-3 hours to carve. “We contacted Amazing Ice Creations back in November, and we reached out to local companies to sponsor the ice sculptures,” she said. “Yesterday morning around 9 am, they came in a massive truck and dropped them all off for us, and we set them up.”

Along with the ice sculptures, sponsors receive a sign and canopy for the display and social media marketing. The sponsors decide what they want to have sculpted. After the event, they can take the ice sculptures and display them at their businesses. The creations normally last a couple of weeks. Some will be left in the field and can be viewed throughout the week.

The ice this year included Olaf, company logos, animals, and other items. Darron Kingston, the sculptor, has carved ice for over 10 years with his dad. According to Kingston, “I like sculptures that give me a challenge. Here, for example, my favorite was the lumberjack.” One of his favorite past creations was a 9-foot bear.

Grant Kohler, owner of Heber Valley Artisan Cheese, explained, “We decided to do something that was free and something that people could just get out and come and enjoy. Especially this year with Covid, it seems like Januarys are slow months. People are looking for things to be able to get outside and do.” He continued, “Businesses pay in and buy the sculptures, we have them sculpted, and then we just let people come and enjoy them.” Kohler estimated around 3,000 to 4,000 people will stop by the event.

The dairy farm also offers cheese-making classes and tours of their new robotic barn. “The tours are everyday except Sunday,” according to Kohler. “People hayride over, intermingle with the cows, see the barn and amenities, and watch the cows be milked. The cows will literally go get milked on their own.” Tickets for the tours and other events are available on the Heber Valley Artisan Cheese website: