Archives for September 2018

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Gunnison City leaders met with the BYU Urban Planning Group to begin creating a new general plan on Wednesday, Sept. 26. Dr. Michael Clay (standing, left) and his students said the city needed to decide on its goals and priorities for the group to move forward with the plan.


Gunnison says growth is the goal and the challenge in general planning meeting


By Robert Stevens

Managing editor



GUNNISON—To kick off a discussion on creating a new general plan, BYU’s student-staffed Urban Planning Group told Gunnison City leaders and residents a tale of two cities last week.

Not the book, mind you, but the group’s experiences in helping two other Utah rural towns craft its general plan.

Accompanied by Dr. Michael Clay, professor of urban planning at BYU, the student planners told the city council the first step is to prepare a vision statement at a meeting Wednesday, Aug. 26.

“A vision statement is a clear and simple statement that declares what the city intends to become,” said Jake Harding, BYU student and project manager for the Gunnison plan.

Harding challenged the city leadership to prioritize Gunnison’s values and ambitions.

“What is it to you that makes Gunnison great?” Harding asked. “All the goals that we create with you will be pointing back to your vision statement.”

Harding showed examples of the goals adopted by Manti City and the town of Eureka in Utah County. The two municipalities had very different visions and goals.

For example, in the area of land use, Manti and Eureka had some shared values, but Manti was focused more on growth, while Eureka’s land use goals were focused on maintaining what the town had.

The Manti City vision statement is: “Be a beautiful, clean, healthy, safe, friendly small town; preserve, restore and honor the community’s heritage in all actions taken; and foster a community that is progressive, organized and attractive to new businesses.

Several of the Gunnison City leadership commented that Manti’s vision statement paralleled the Gunnison City motto, “Progress with purpose.”

Essentially, Harding said, Manti’s priorities were maintaining a small town feel, while boosting economic development without ruining the historic nature of the town.

Eureka’s plan focused on paying homage to the town’s heritage as an historic mining community.

“Manti was about growing, Eureka was about not losing any more (population),” Harding said.

Harding and other BYU Urban Planning Group members encouraged the mayor and council to consider their priorities.

Growth, both economic and residential, and how to encourage it, was the dominating goal raised by Mayor Lori Nay and the council members.

Harding told the council that, according to the group’s research, for a long time, Gunnison City had flatlined in population—until the prison came.

Now, based on their projections, Harding says the growth expectancy for the city over the next 20 years is approximately 25 percent. In 2040, the BYU group expects population to reach nearly 2,500 people.

The general plan needs to address potential growth before it becomes a problem, Harding said.

“If half of the 200 families that work here and live elsewhere decided to move here, I don’t think the infrastructure could handle it,” Councilman Andy Hill said. “If we threw a hundred more homes in the mix, how do we handle that?”

Councilman Robert Anderson added, “Our culinary water is sufficient for our needs right now, but if you add more people, it won’t be.”

Jeff Coons, assistant project manager in the BYU group, said, “It’s possible that other things like the prison could come to the area and boost growth beyond expectations, but that could be regulated, if desired.”

Councilmember Michelle Smith and Nay both said they felt it was important to draw both tourists and move-ins to the city.

Nay said the area needs more nice rentals, but the area doesn’t offer enough incentive for people who have land available to develop homes or rental housing on it.

Councilman Blane Jensen said the reason lots don’t get developed is because fees for hookups make it unprofitable. He added that there are only so many places that can be developed, because Gunnison is mostly landlocked, and much of the surrounding area is state trust land.

Hill posed the question, “Do we as a city want to foster partnerships with the people who have land to encourage development? Subsidies? How can we make it worthwhile to develop the land?”

Harding said it was possible that if the city incentivized growth, demand for homes could increase enough to make hookup and other fees bearable.

“These people cannot afford it with wages they make,” Jensen said. “You can demand prices go up, but if people still can’t afford payments, what do you do?”

Coons said emphasizing the development of duplexes, triplexes and other multi-family housing units might offer greater incentive for people to develop their available property.

Nay mentioned a proposal to use the old Gunnison City Elementary as a site for a subdivision of multi-dwelling units.

Well,” Anderson said, “If people want to be inspired to live here, they need something to set a little fire in them.”

Councilman Blake Donaldson said he thought the city’s Main Street needed to improve to attract more businesses, and Nay agreed, saying they should lean on the historic nature of Gunnison Main Street in the process.

Hill mentioned improving recreation in the area to attract people. This started a discussion about how Gunnison could take advantage of people visiting 12 Mile Canyon or possibly even develop a trail system within the city that linked up with the canyon, or circles the city.

“We need to help and promote those who are here and that have gone through the struggle,” said Matt Reber, director of public works. “Why don’t we take care of who is here and focus on them a little bit. They’re the ones who have got us to where they are at. Yet we’re willing to go out and waive fees for someone new to come in. You got to take care of the ones who have got us to this point.”

Around that time, Harding broke in and said, “We’ve gotten a lot of good feedback, and we’ll start working on (ideas) and come back with some suggestions. Once goals and mission statement are firm with the mayor, council, and planning and zoning, we will start involving the public in things.”

He added the city will try to complete plan discussions in eight meetings. The council set a tentative date to meet again about the general plan on Tuesday, Sept. 18 at 7 p.m.

Ruben Hernandez


Inmate firefighter accused of raping woman at Coal Hollow camp


By Suzanne Dean




INDIANOLA—A woman working in the Coal Hollow Fire Base Camp was raped last week in one of the trailers in the camp, according to the Sanpete County Sheriff’s Office.

Ruben Hernandez, an inmate from the Idaho Department of Corrections, who had been brought in to help fight the fire, was booked into the Sanpete County Jail on Wednesday, Aug. 29, in connection with the incident.

According to Det. Derick Taysom, public information officer for the Sheriff’s Office, the victim said Hernandez had been flirting with her over the previous week.

On the day of the assault, she was inside a wash trailer when Hernandez entered. He asked for her phone number. In an attempt to get him to leave her alone, she gave him the number for a friend’s husband. That’s when Hernandez raped her.

The woman said she did not scream or try stop Hernandez, because she knew he was a prisoner and was afraid he might hurt her. She said she “froze” and didn’t know what to do. Following the assault, the victim went to a local hospital for an examination.

The victim’s name and role in the fire fight were not released. The case has been referred to the Sanpete County Attorney’s Office.

Believes problem with Mt. Pleasant is Kevin Stallings

Last week’s kerfuffle in Mt. Pleasant over Mayor Sandra Bigler’s resignation reminds me of John Dean’s appearance before a Senate Committee in 1973, in which he said, “There’s a cancer at the heart of the presidency.” The resignation of Mayor Bigler has revealed a ‘cancer’ at the heart of the Mt. Pleasant City Council, and its root cause, in my opinion, can be laid directly at the feet of Councilman Kevin Stallings.

Mayor Bigler’s resignation is far more a palace coup than a simple resignation, facilitated by the bullying and hostile work environment created by Stallings and his minions. It overturns the will of the people when they reelected her as the city’s chief executive officer eight months ago.

Stallings, I call him King Kevin now, has engaged in a relentless campaign intended to thwart almost every executive decision of the past two mayors, including direct interference in city personnel matters.

Mayor Bigler cited this unwarranted interference as the major reason for her resignation. She told me, “Steve, I just couldn’t take it anymore.” In conversations with former mayor, David Blackham, he said, “I couldn’t get anything done because Kevin Stallings wanted to run everything himself.” He added that his resignation was prompted by Stallings’ constant interference more than any other issue.

Now Stallings and his cabal have concocted a plan to appoint an all-powerful “temporary emergency support” executive, who, according to the municipal code, will have all city employees under his authority.

His name is Paul Madsen. He is not is a qualified, professional, municipal administrator. He is a construction worker and miner. And surprise, surprise, he is one of Stallings’ closest personal friends. Without denigrating Mr. Madsen, being friends with King Kevin appears to be a pretty good gig.

Perhaps the worst that has come out of all this mess is the revelation that King Kevin seems to have been feeding richly from the public trough. A GRAMA request this week revealed that Stallings’ company, Stallings Sheet Metal, has been paid some $150,000 by the city since he took office. According to the former public works director, he is the exclusive contractor for maintenance and repair of heating and air conditioning in city buildings.

Councilman Justin Atkinson has a similar conflict of interest issue in regard to his employer, Sunshine Engineering.

I have queried both former mayors as to whether either Stallings or Atkinson ever recused themselves in any vote, including approval of bills, that either Stallings or Atkinson’s employer would have benefited from. Both said they had never seen either man do it.

The optics here are terrible, giving the strong appearance of corruption at the heart of the Mt. Pleasant City Council. I believe there are grounds for an immediate state auditor’s investigation.

What can you do? Citizens should fill the chambers of the next council meeting to demand an end to all this. To put it in a medieval perspective, the oligarchs have seized the castle and ransacked the treasury, and are in the process of usurping all authority unto themselves. “To the barricades,” good citizens of Mt. Pleasant, “to the barricades.”

All should read Dianne Blackham’s open letter posted to Facebook entitled, How We Mix Church and State, which details King Kevin’s terrible abuse of ecclesiastical position to attempt to browbeat the Blackhams into bending to his secular will.


Steven Clark


Member, Mt. Pleasant Main Street Committee

Supports Draper, resignation brings back hard memories


Editor’s Note: The following is a letter former mayor David Blackham wrote to Sam Draper after Draper resigned as public works director in Mt. Pleasant. Blackham asked the Messenger to reprint portions of the letter in our letters-to-the-editor column.


Dear Sam:

I just arrived home from the council meeting today held at the acceptance of Mayor Bigler’s resignation and I couldn’t help but think of you and your resignation. The three council members (as two were absent) acted as if there were no problems as they presented you and the mayor’s departure as nothing more than a peaceful severance. We both know it was different.

I, having experienced an insatiably hostile environment before resigning as mayor, was targeted with false sexual harassment accusations and completely pounced upon by the two senior councilmen. Today, those memories couldn’t escape my thinking.

The absolute desire of the two councilmen to usurp my executive authority and circumvent my prerogatives while mayor with threats of reversing any and all actions I would take was the ultimate bullying to me.

I remember how painful it was then; and today at the council meeting it was beyond my ability to overcome my own feelings as the events unfolded. It was not a normal second council meeting of the month.

The second meeting was established to only pay the bills. Today they added to their agenda the resignation acceptance of the mayor and announced your resignation and installed a mayor pro temp without allowing any public comment. It was so wrong to do!

I remember while I was mayor, the two senior councilmen would deride and belittle you and the other public works employees, and I would have none of that.  I consider you as one of the most talented and capable persons I have ever known when it comes to systems analysis and maintenance of anything.

I fondly still think of you as “Superman Sam” and always will. I could and did rely on you for anything that would go haywire in the overall city workings. You never had a word of complaint and always assured me that it would be taken care of. As it always was.

I never would allow the short-sighted complaints of the two councilmen to detract from the exceptional work you were so dedicated to.

I truly lament the extreme adverse environment that was created when I left office.  I had no idea that Mr. Stallings and Mr. Atkinson had so much hatred for you and the other public works employees. I don’t understand their reasoning when we were so successful in fulfilling so much good work for the citizens.

I know you will be sorely missed by so many of our citizens and I hope that we can survive without you.

If I could only turn back the clock and weather the storms; then I would have remained in my position as mayor and I would have never allowed this to happen to you or the other employees.

It looks like the two have colluded to successfully convince the other council to not only remove me and the recorder Jane Banks, you and Mayor Bigler, but it looks as if they are now working on Coulter Allen and Gary Bennett, and others to name a few, by creating a hostile work environment for them.

I have asked the city for information on the two councilmen and have sought to find a possible reason for their efforts to subvert oversight by any mayor.  This is what I have found.

Mr. Stallings’ business, Stallings Sheet Metal, has received approximately $150,000 for work for the city since his election, all without a bid process.

Mr. Atkinson works for Sunrise Engineering and his firm has received over $190,000 to date in contracted work.

I am curious if their conflicts and cash-cow work has anything to do with their attitudes to seek to subvert oversight by any future mayor.  Their goal seems to make the mayor into a “puppet” with no executive authority.

Thanks for the wonderful time we had while I was mayor. You are the very best employee and servant of the people I have ever known.

David H. Blackham

Former mayor

Messenger’s view of Trump is off-base


Imagine if….

Our Messenger newspaper is SO amazing—truly fortunate are we. Continued Trump-bashing though compels this letter. Imagine if President Trump hadn’t won and we were here today with Hillary: Our 4.1 percent GDP would be Obama’s 1 percent; my taxes would be the same horrible level as last year; ISIS would be bombing us instead of defeated; and North Korea would be busy lobbing missiles our way.

Granted, it wouldn’t be as contentious—the globalist swamp rats would be too busy creating our utopian society to bother, the illicit things they have done hidden instead of exposed, and our ability to have a say in our futures mostly gone.

We would be on the way to politically correct madness—the flag a symbol of racist oppression instead of freedom to my grandkids, and we would feel powerless watching our country disappear. Instead, the ship is being turned by a courageous man, facing unprecedented condemnation in mainstream media at all levels, while Americans turn to other sources to understand the real story.

Amazing to this old info manipulator to see near 50 percent approval ratings for a president where 97 percent of media coverage is bad. InfoOps isn’t as effective as we’d hoped—thank heavens it’s not.


Carl Sullivan


Sandra Bigler explains why she served, why she left


I was deeply touched when I watched Sen. John McCain’s funeral in the National Cathedral. His honesty, integrity and courage caused me to reflect on my resignation as mayor. I wondered if I had let down the people who voted for me by leaving office after serving just eight months of a four-year term.

I want my supporters to know that I arrived at a point where I could not serve effectively as the chief executive officer of the city as I had done during my previous term in office. There were just too many differences between me and the city council. I leave office with no regrets.       The city is in excellent financial condition. When I completed my first term as mayor, we had a $100,000 surplus. It is much greater today. As I said in my budget message on May 8, 2018, we erased a projected budget deficit of $111,000 by the power department’s providing $367,000 and by exercising frugality.

I said in my message that a budget is more than figures on a piece of paper. It is a road map that articulates the goals and objectives we set to serve all of our people in a conservative and competent manner.

That is what I tried very hard to do during 25 years of service to the city of my birth, the city I love.

Sandra Bigler

Former Mt. Pleasant mayor

Julie Ann Hansen Cosby


Julie Ann Hansen Cosby


Our loving mother, grandmother, aunt, sister, friend and neighbor, Julie Ann Hansen Cosby, 56, passed away Sept. 3, 2018 at her home in Centerfield.

She was born in Gunnison, May 23, 1962, to Junior Lester and Glenna Allred Hansen. She attended elementary school and high school in Gunnison. She married Larry G. Cosby Aug. 4, 1979. Together they had Larry Jr., and Nikkie Ann. They later divorced.

Julie worked at Perfect Pleet in Aurora, Melva Lund’s Drive Inn in Gunnison and Hansen Yardcare in Centerfield. She then went on to pursue her talents as a ceramic artist and tole painter with a ceramic shop, J & L’s Unique Ceramics and Suntan Unlimited, where she taught tole painting, ceramic and plaster classes.

She continued this for many years until she was diagnosed in November 2000 with Guillain Barre Syndrome (French polio) and RSD nerve disorder. This paralyzed her from the waist down and caused continuing health problems. Because of her love for all animals, she created Julie’s Puppy Palace where she groomed dogs until her health no longer allowed her to work.

Julie had many hobbies and talents. She loved hunting, crocheting, painting, baking, cooking, yard work, her flowers and camping. She loved being with her family, especially her grandchildren. She loved to tend her grandchildren and any time spent with them. She also enjoyed the many years spent tending her nieces and nephews. She was their special Aunt Nana.

Julie was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Her favorite calling was serving in the nursery with the young children. She had a strong testimony of her Heavenly Father and loved to pray to him.

Julie faced many challenges with her health throughout her life. Despite all of her struggles, she never let it get her down. She still found a way to help others and her door was open to anyone. Her greatest love in this life was her family. She will be deeply missed by all those she touched throughout her lifetime. Her lovable, spunky personality and great sense of humor left us with memories that we will never forget.

Julie is survived by her children, Larry Jr. (Katie Jo) Cosby, Aurora; and Nikkie (Adam) Higham, Centerfield; five grandchildren: Bronsen, Brylee, Erica, Dax and Kaydence (K-Dawg); siblings: Harvey (Connie) Hansen, Gunnison; Brent Hansen, Centerfield; Vickie Ludvigson, Centerfield; Kathy (Kevin) Crane, Centerfield; aunts: Joye Hanson, Gunnison; Ludean (Frank) Atwood, Nephi.

She is proceeded in death by her parents; brother, Larry Glen; brother-in-law, Glade Ludvigson; nephew, Jason Ludvigson; fiancé, Lee Bartholomew.

Funeral Services will be held Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018 at noon in the Centerfield LDS Ward Chapel, 210 South Main, where friends may call Friday, from 6-8 p.m., and again Saturday from 10:30-11:30 a.m.

Interment will be in the Centerfield City Cemetery. Funeral Directors, Magleby Mortuary, Richfield, Salina, and Manti. Online guestbook at




Larry Gardell Osborne

Larry Gardell Osborne


Larry Gardell Osborne, 81 of Fairview, died Aug. 28, 2018 in Provo.

He was born July 5, 1937 in Fairview, to Gardell and Alta Amundsen Osborne.  He graduated from North Sanpete High School, Snow College, and Utah State University.  Larry served in the U.S. Army from 1960-1965.

He married Baerbel Weber while stationed in Germany in 1964.  They had two children: Patti (Mike) McCormack, New York, and Chris Osborne, Salt Lake City.  They later divorced.

He worked at the Veteran’s Hospital in Salt Lake City as a cardiology technician and after retirement he moved back to Fairview.  He enjoyed hunting, riding horses and herding sheep in his younger years.

He was a great fan of John Wayne and his home is full of John Wayne memorabilia.  He was also an avid follower of baseball and enjoyed playing golf in his later years.

Larry was preceded in death by his parents, and a sister, Jeanette Terry.  He is survived by his children, two sisters, LaWana Shepherd, Spanish Fork and Jeri Brady, Fairview; brother-in-law, Ross Terry, Fairview, and many nieces and nephews.

Funeral services were held Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018 at 1 p.m. at Rasmussen Mortuary, with viewing prior to services. Interment in the Fairview City Cemetery.  Online condolence at

Robert Warren Evans

Robert Warren Evans


Robert Warren Evans passed away Friday, Aug.24, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada after a long fight with congestive heart failure.

Robert, “our gift from God, our guardian angel”, was born on July 25,1971 to parents of his choosing, Richard W. and Patty Evans of Mojave Valley, Arizona, and Kathleen M. (Prock) and Richard Shepherd of Sterling, Utah.

Kathleen says, “His father and I had a very close relationship with our bright, mechanically inclined, artistic and creative-minded, very fun-loving soul.”

Robert loved to laugh a lot, play pranks, and was just plain fun to be around. He touched the lives of many friends and family.

His one dream was to design gas tanks for Harley Davidson motorcycles, and he loved choppers.

He will be missed immensely by all whom his path crossed, and with whom he shared his life.

He is survived by sister Leslie, brother Patrick, stepsisters Athena, Angel, stepbrothers Bryant and Steven, and many aunts, uncles and cousins.

Preceded in death by grandparents Warren and Mary Evans, Lois Christiansen, Frank Prock, and other aunts, uncles and cousins.

“We love you, Rob, you are living in our hearts always.”

Dustin Allred and Kylee Baires



Dr. Enrique and Michelle Baires, Farmington, Utah would like to announce the marriage of their daughter, Kylee Baires, to Dustin O. Allred, son of Nancy Allred, Spring City, Sept. 1, 2018, in the Ogden LDS Temple.

The bride is a graduate of Davis High School.  She is studying graphic design and will graduate from Utah Valley University in December.  She is employed at IdealFit in Lindon.  Her grandparents are Kenneth and Colleen Clifford, Salt Lake City, and Delia Perez, El Salvador.

The bridegroom is a graduate of North Sanpete High School.  He received his associate degree from Southern Utah University and will continue his education at the University of Utah where he is studying engineering.  He is employed at Orbcomm in Salt Lake City.  His grandparents are Thomas and Dora Allred, Spring City.

The couple will make their home in South Jordan while they are attending school.

An open house will be held in their honor Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, from 6-8 p.m. at the Spring City Community Center, where they would love to celebrate with their family and friends.

Brantly Green


Brantly Green

Brazil Salvador South

Spanish-speaking Mission


Brantly Green has been called to serve an LDS mission in the Brazil Salvador South Mission Portuguese-speaking. He is the son of Ted and Jodi Meacham of Lehi, and Daniel and Michelle Green of Fountain Green.

He will speak in the Moroni 3rd Ward on Sept. 9 at 9 a.m., at 82 N. Center in Moroni. Lunch will be served at the Moroni City Hall park at 8 S. 200 West.

Brantly will report to the Sao Paulo Mission Training Center on Sept.11. Lunch will

Reporting to Sao Paulo MTC September 11

Trae Jaussi

Trae Jaussi – Florida Orlando Mission


Trae C. Jaussi recently returned home from honorably serving in the Florida Orlando Mission.

Trae will be reporting on his mission, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018 in the Ephraim 5th Ward at 11 a.m.

Trae is the son of Chris and Jamie Jaussi of Ephraim.

Rocky Mountain Power tells county it is reducing power rates


By James Tilson

Staff writer



MANTI—The Sanpete County Commission heard good news from a Rocky Mountain Power representative that residents will be saving about $4 per month on their power bills.

Brent Dewsnup of Rocky Mountain Power gave the county commission an “annual update” on activities of the power company in Sanpete County.

First, Dewsnup told the commission that the tax reform bill passed by Congress in December 2017 would allow Rocky Mountain Power to pass along tax savings to rate payers. The effect on a typical residential customer bill is a reduction of $4.17 per month, based on usage of 698 kilowatt-hours per month.

The reduction will appear on customer bills as a separate line item, “Tax Act Adjustment.” Following an order by the Utah Public Service Commission, which regulates large utilities, $61 million in benefits will be passed through to Utah customers by Dec. 31, 2018.

Dewsnup also told the commission Rocky Mountain Power had contributed to local celebrations, including $500 for the Fourth of July celebration in Moroni.

Commissioner Claudia Jarrett pointedly asked Dewsnup if Rocky Mountain Power would ever consider the same kind of sponsorship for a countywide event. Dewsnup replied, “Definitely.”

Dewsnup said Rocky Mountain Power could contribute to the county fair in the $400-$500 range as it did for Moroni’s celebration.

Dewsnup then talked about Rocky Mountain Power’s “Blue Sky Program” which aims to support efforts to bring renewable and sustainable energy production to the county.

He said a project to install solar power at the North Sanpete Middle School was part of the program even though the project was administered by Siemens under contract with the school district.

The commission also announced it will hire the law firm of Durham, Jones & Pinegar of Lehi to be the local counsel in national tort litigation against opioid manufacturers. The Utah firm will work with Phipps Deacon Purnell of Texas.

J. R. Reichl of Phipps Deacon Purnell said, “The opioid epidemic has become a line-item expense in most every local government budget. We must work together to hold them (opiod manufacturers) accountable.”

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