Green River Star -

By David Martin

Green River, county year in review


The last year was a busy one in Green River.

During the elections, Mark Peterson decided to seek higher office as a Sweetwater County commissioner and declined to run for his spot on the Green River City Council. That decision resulted in a race between Tom Murphy and Ken Ball. Murphy ultimately defeated Ball in the General Election.

“He’s a nice young man, I’m happy he did as well as he did,” Murphy said after the election.

Brett Stokes lost his re-election bid to Robert Berg. Berg said the race between him and Stokes was a pleasant one. While campaigning door-to-door, Berg said he stopped by Stokes’ house and had a long conversation with him and his wife.

In other elections, the Sweetwater County Board of County Commissioners will remain unchanged. Republicans Don Van Matre and Wally Johnson excelled in the General Election, beating Democrats Gary Bailiff and Holly Dabb and independent Scott Hamel. For Johnson, it is the third election in a row he has won. He initially ran for a special two-year term when the commissioners were increased from three to five members, in 2010. He was then re-elected in 2012 to a full four-year term. Van Matre followed a similar path, though he was chosen to fill Paula Wonnacott’s unexpired term during the last commissioners’ meeting of 2010, then won election to a full four-year term in 2012.

In Sweewater County School District No. 2’s board of trustees, Brenda Roosa and Steve Core won re-election to the school board, while new comers Corina Tynsky and Mark Sanders replaced out-going members Sherie Smith and Brad Cutler.

Outside of elections, there was some unfortunate news occurring throughout the year. The Flaming Gorge Days Committee announced plans to cut the long-running concerts at Stratton Myers Park.

The decision came after reduced ticket sales continue to impact revenue used to bring musicians to Green River. While music will continue to be showcased at the event, it will be a smaller stage than previous years.

The committee also plans to host more family-friendly activities at the upcoming Flaming Gorge Days event next year.

The city received a number of new way finding signs this year.

The signs are part of an effort to help visitors better navigate the city while visiting. Aside from general directions, the signs also point out local points of interest.

Deer continued to be a nuisance to some throughout the year, with the city council still considering a survey to residents soliciting their thoughts about what should be done about the resident herd. This is the second survey issued by the city, as the first resulted in a near 50-50 split between people who want to leave the deer alone and others who want to cull or remove the deer from Green River.

Union members working at Tata Chemicals demonstrated for a better contract during contract negotiations between worker representatives and the company. An agreement was reached before the demonstrations became employee strikes.

The city continued to discuss its waste transfer station as the closure of the Green River Landfill approaches. The station will allow trucks to move refuse to the landfill outside of Rock Springs. The landfill in Green River is part of a number of landfill closures designed to create a regional landfill system throughout the state.

For Sweetwater County, the long-running practice of the commissioners having lunch together was examined. The commissioners have met for lunch between meetings at the Sweetwater County Courthouse for a number of years. While the commissioners can meet and chat in a quorum outside their regularly scheduled meetings, they cannot speak about official business while having lunch.

“We will not make a decision in those meetings as long as I’m the chairman,” Johnson said at the time. “I would stake my reputation on it.”

In Granger, the town opened its community center.

The center was originally the town’s school building and was overhauled to provide space for the town’s library, as well as its town government and public performances.

The town used money from the State Lands and Investments Board to renovate the first floor of the building.


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