All posts by Phil Mueller

Blanding-Monticello Results – San Juan Voters Approve Transportation Tax

Prop 1 Transportation Sales Tax

  Blanding Monticello Outside City Totals

Yes 348        291             771               1410

No   273        180             565               1018

Blanding Municipal General Election

San Juan County Propostition #1

Yes 348

No 273

Four Year Term City Council Seats

Travis J. Whatcott 235

Trent Herring 134

Ruth Smith Johnson 221

Kathrina Perkins 345

Joe B. Lyman 376

Trevor Olsen 433

City of Blanding Proposal #1

Yes 424

No 196

Bluff Service Area General Election

Bluff Service Area Board

Westley E. Shook III 57

Edward M. Dobson 46

Mark C. Bond 84

Monticello Municipal General Election

San Juan County Propostition #1

Yes 291

No 180

Four Year Term City Council Seats

Blaine Nebeker 349

Sarah English 247

Sanford Randall 348

Nathan Chamberlain 249

Chris Baird 157


Ballot Snafu in Moab

City Ballott issue(Moab Utah)- Around mid-day Election Day, voters in the Moab City Council Election began reporting what they thought might be an irregularity in the printed ballot.  One source said it was a mistake made by the contract printer in Price.  Another source said the incorrect ballots were being used with the primary election loosing candidate’s name crossed out.

The Utah Lt Governor’s Office Elections Division reported it was in “discussions” with the Moab City Recorder’s Office about the reports.  Following those talks, two statements were provided by the City and the Lt Gov’s Office:

Election Notice: During today’s General Municipal Election a ballot printing error was discovered at one voting precinct. The printing company that supplies City ballots erroneously printed some Primary Election ballots. These ballots were only distributed to one precinct and the error was caught quickly and the issue was resolved for all ballots after that point. The City Recorder is working closely with and under the direction of the Lt. Governor’s Office to find the best solution to resolve the counting of the ten ballots that were cast that contained the printing error.

Election Resolution: As the City reported earlier, we have been in contact with the Lt. Governor’s office regarding the misprinted ballots and we have a resolution. Based on the direction from the State of Utah Lt. Governor’s Office and the State of Utah Attorney General’s Office, the City will count the ten Primary election ballots in today’s General Election Results. This resolution is in direct compliance with Utah State Code Annotated 20A-4-105(7).



shopko(Blanding, Utah)   Shopko announced plans for the construction of a new Shopko Hometown store at 860 S Main Street.  The store is expected to open in January.Shopko Hometown combines Shopko’s strong reputation for customer service with a broad and dynamic offering of national brands and private label brands at a great value.  Product offerings include clothing,  home furnishings, toys, consumer electronics, seasonal items and lawn and garden products – all in attractive, well laid out, easy-to-shop store format. “We’re excited to bring Shopko Hometown to Blanding,” said Peter McMahon, Shopko CEO. “The Shopko Hometown store format, featuring our unique merchandising strategy and improved store design, is an ideal fit for the location with its exceptional service and community-minded approach. We understand that consumers in smaller towns are looking for value and convenience without having to travel outside the community. Customers of our Hometown stores tell us they appreciate the vastly improved shopping experience and access to a broad, differentiated selection of merchandise, including products and brands previously not available in their community.”  This new store will be part of the over 200 Shopko Hometown stores, making Shopko one of the nation’s largest retailers serving smaller communities. The grand opening is planned for February 2016.


Grand County High School Students Of The Month

11heathersweeneyGrand County High School’s students of the month for October 2015 are Heather Sweeney and Rowan Antonuccio. Both are juniors.

Sweeney is the daughter of Judy and Dennis Sweeney. Sweeney said, “My favorite classes are geography and math. Geography is one of my favorite classes because I like learning about different cultures and Mrs. Labrec has some pretty rad stories about the countries she has gone to.” She also added, “My most challenging class is Spanish because there are so many rules and words that you have to learn.” Sweeney’s in-school activities consist of multiple clubs and sports, including National Honor Society, the Moab Red Devil Mountain Bike team, Science Olympiad, soccer, track, and swimming. Outside of school, Sweeney volunteers at the Moab City Recreation teaching kids in grades K-6 how to play soccer. She also stated that she has started a business in Salt Lake City with fellow student Jayelen Knowles recycling milk cartons and turning them into plant trays. Sweeney’s plans after high school to go to the University of California Berkley and study either civil or chemical engineering.

Antonuccio is the son of Marc Antonuccio and Molly McClish. Antonuccio says his favorite class is ceramics because “it is relating and fun.” “I also like English because writing is fun and I like novels,” he added. Antonuccio also added, “Math is definitely one of my harder classes along with Spanish. Spanish is just different.” Antonuccio is a member of the National Honor Society. Outside school, he works for Turner Lumber, where he has been employed for four months. “Working consumes most of my after school free time,” he said, adding that he does find time to volunteer to clean up the parks from time to time. Antonuccio says he plans on going to college at Utah State University in Logan, Utah, to become an engineer in computing.

Grand County High School’s Student of the Month program is sponsored by the local Elks Lodge under the direction of Frank Vaccaro. The high school coordinator is Jeff Richards. The students are also recognized by the Rotary Club and Grand County School District Board of Education. The program was started by the Elks to recognize students who were outstanding in the areas of character, leadership, service, citizenship and scholastic performance.


Today Is Election Day

vote(Salt Lake City, UT)  —  Voters will head to the polls today, or have mailed in their ballots to choose city officials and to vote on a sales tax. In Moab, voting on city council candidates is in person, but the transportation sales tax is by mail in ballots.  In Monticello and Blanding, elections are by mail ballot.

Monument Valley Murder Arrest

police scene tape(Monticello Utah)- A Monument Valley man has been arrested and charged with first-degree felony murder in the stabbing death of his brother late last week.San Juan County Sheriff Rick Eldredge said Monday that Rodear Nelson, 34, was being held without bail, and that the county attorney had also charged Nelson in 7th District Court with felony possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person and misdemeanor public intoxication. Nelson’s brother, 32-year-old Rojaer Nelson, also of Monument Valley, was found stabbed to death on Friday along State Route 163. He had suffered multiple stab wound to his abdomen, the sheriff’s office stated. San Juan County sheriff’s deputies, the Utah Highway Patrol and paramedics found the victim after receiving a 911 call from a passing motorist.

Body Found Near Green River

Emery Sheriff(Green River, UT) — An investigation is ongoing into the discovery of a woman’s body along the banks of the Green River in Emery County.  Emery County Sheriff’s Officers say a man called 9-1-1 late last week to report the decomposed body on the west side of the river, on a sand bar south of I-70.  Police say the body is that of a 60 to 70 year old woman.  Investigators are still looking into who she was and how she died.


Big Plans For State Parks in SE Utah

Utah state parks(Moab Utah)- Fred Hayes, director of the division of State Parks and Recreation is planning major expansion of State Parks. He is telling lawmakers that his agency has righted its finances and is attracting more and more visitors with new amenities and activities, such as zip lines at Yuba and Deer Creek reservoirs, and yurts and bike trails at Dead Horse Point. On deck are plans to greatly expand Goblin Valley and Goosenecks state parks. Hayes has unveiled a 10-year plan that includes the idea of having a park in all 29 Utah counties. Southern Utah visitors turn to state parks to avoid crowds and look for new vistas, Hayes said. His point is well-illustrated at Dead Horse Point State Park, located near Arches and Canyonlands national parks. This year, it became the most heavily visited state park, with 383,000 visitors, up from 266,000 two years before. Hayes has big plans for tiny Goosenecks State Park, a 10-acre patch overlooking looping bends in the San Juan River near Mexican Hat. He is proposing to incorporate surrounding Bureau of Land Management lands into the park and add a campground, day-use amenities, hogans for overnight rental, bike and ATV trails, and an American Indian arts market. But the biggest plans are for Goblin Valley, which is looking to add nearby BLM and state trust lands ringing the San Rafael Reef.

Closing of Arches Health Plan Impacts Grand County

arches health(Moab Utah) Utahns buying their own health insurance face huge price increases for 2016, and if they haven’t already heard the news via email or letter, sticker shock will set in starting Sunday, when open enrollment begins. Health insurance plans will cost an average of 22 percent more next year for those buying in the individual market, meaning everybody who doesn’t get insurance through their jobs. Open enrollment for individual plans runs through Jan. 31, but those who want their insurance to begin Jan. 1 must sign up and pay their first month’s premium by Dec. 15. Those who sign up later won’t have insurance until February. Complicating open enrollment this year is the fact that the Utah Insurance Department put Utah’s second largest insurer on the federal exchange, Arches Health Plan, into receivership last week. The state was worried that Arches wouldn’t have enough money to cover next year’s claims, so it’s not letting the company write new policies for 2016 and will supervise the wind-down of current policies. It’s a member co-op created with federal loans as part of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, and the 10th co-op to fail in the country this year. A change in federal policy means the feds won’t cover losses as expected, and Arches is out $8.7 million it had expected this fall. Arches’ loss is a big disappointment in places such as Grand County, where nearly 80 percent of those buying insurance on — 810 people — chose Arches for 2015. Arches was able to corner the Grand County market because it responded to locals’ requests to add Grand Junction, Colo., specialists and a hospital to its network.

Excessive Force In Blanding BLM Raid?

jim reddSALT LAKE CITY — US District Court Judge Robet Shelby will decide whether a federal agent used excessive force in the raid of Blanding doctor’s home during an American Indian artifacts trafficking sting operation six years ago. The family of Dr. James Redd contends Bureau of Land Management assistant agent in charge Dan Love violated Redd’s Fourth Amendment rights when agents arrested him in June 2009. Redd took his own life a day after the raid. As many as 50 agents were at the Redd home at one time. Some were dressed in Swat Gear and armed with automatic weapons. Judge Shelby rigorously questioned attorneys for both sides in a hearing Thursday. He focused on Redd’s first encountering federal agents when he arrived home until he was taken into custody about three hours later after being interrogated in his garage. Its unclear when a ruling may be issued.