Primary pares down rosters in Gunnison, Fountain Green

Primary pares down rosters in Gunnison, Fountain Green

By Robert Stevens

Managing Editor


Results for primary elections in two Sanpete County communities are in and six candidates have advanced to the final election top in each of two municipalities.

Preliminary results of primaries in Gunnison and Fountain Green came in at 9 p.m. on Tuesday.

Gunnison started out with 10 candidates for three city council seats.

In voting, 405 out of 820 active registered voters cast ballots for a 49 percent turnout.

Stella Hill had the most votes with 163, followed closely by Rodney Taylor, who had 161 votes. Next came Justin Mellor with 145 votes, Scott Reid with 134, Brian Sorensen with 115 and incumbent Blake Donaldson with 105 votes.

That left Michelle Christensen, Ron Christenson, Scott Andersen and Scott Pickett to try again another time.

Shawn Crane was on the ballot as well, but was appointed to fill a vacancy on the council that runs to 2021, so he withdrew from the primary.

Hill, 67, graduated from Snow College in 1972. In the early 1990s, she earned a master’s degree in elementary education and an administrative certificate from Southern Utah University.

She taught at Gunnison Valley Middle School for 25 years and retired in 2016. In the same year, she became chairwoman of the Gunnison Planning and Zoning Commission.

Taylor, 67, served on the Gunnison City Council for 14 years in the 1990s and early 2000s. He has been involved in planning and zoning in the city for more than 20 years. His roles in zoning have included serving as city council liaison with the Planning and Zoning Commission, serving as zoning administrator, and serving as chairman and as a member of the planning commission.

He was appointed to the council in June, replacing a councilman who resigned, and subsequently filed for the seat.

Mellor is a Gunnison native and says, “I love this city and the rural life, and I am open to ideas.  I believe in communication and never taking a side. What’s good for Gunnison is top priority. I have no other agenda.”

In Fountain Green, seven candidates were vying for three seats on the council. In the primary,

215 out of 555 registered voters cast a ballot for a 39 percent turnout.

Shelith Jacobson got the most votes with 130, followed by incumbent Jerime Ivory with 93. Stuart Smith received 87; DeWayne Omer got 85; Stuart Hansen had 79; and Julio Tapia got 77.

Jacobsen, who retired from managing the Radiology Department at Central Valley Medical Center (CVMC) in Nephi in February, graduated from Provo High School in 1972. She earned her vocational degree as a radiology technology in 1977 at the University of Utah.

She worked in radiology for 47 years, including 28 years at CVCM. During her last six years, she managed the department.

Smith, 54 has been a Fountain Green resident for 10 years. He has a bachelor’s degree in information management from BYU and is a software developer for Micro Focus in Provo. He is married with five children and four grandchildren.

Hansen was raised in Fountain Green, and attended North Sanpete High School, Snow College and Utah Valley University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting. He works as an accountant for National Vinyl Products in Nephi.

Ivory is finishing his third term as a Fountain Green councilman and says he stays involved with the community as much as possible through various service roles. Besides serving as a councilman, he has served on the Fountain Green Fire Department and on the board of the North Sanpete Ambulance Association. He and his wife have raised five children in Sanpete County.

Tapia is a veteran and has coached soccer for North Sanpete High School. This is his first bid for public office.

No personal information about Omer was available at the time of press.

Dr. Brian Casselman came in last and appears to have been eliminated from the race.

While results are not final, Sanpete County Clerk Sandy Neill says it is doubtful they will change much.

In Fountain Green, Tapia, with 77 votes, had a 54-vote lead over Casselman, who had 23 votes as of election night.

In Gunnison, there was a 13-vote difference between Michelle Christensen (92 votes) and incumbent Donaldson, who had 105. So it mail in votes could tighten the gap— or widen it.

“We expect a few more ballots to trickle in that were postmarked by yesterday and can be counted,” Neill says.

The Gunnison City Council will hold a final canvass on Wednesday, Aug. 21. Fountain Green will have its final canvas on Thursday, Aug. 22.