Recreation will be one of the hot issues when Uintah County voters go to the polls in November.
With the Uintah District Swimming Pool closing during the summer months, recreation has become a major issue. The current county commissioners appointed a recreation task force to study the issue and make recommendations. These recommendations will be acted upon after the November election.Interlocal agreements must also be arranged to make recreation work in the county, and unity between different entities has become an issue.
County Commission seat A
Dan Thacker, 61, is running on the Democratic ticket. He is the manager of Ponderosa Feed &
Tack. He served on the Dinosaur Round-up Rodeo Committee from 1971 to 1979, as chairman of the small livestock division for the Uintah County Fair and three years on the Uintah County Grievance Committee.
Thacker believes the Recreation Task Force's solutions are viable. "My main objective is to work with other entities and get some correlation, instead of each going their separate way. We need people in leadership positions to have a positive attitude, with everyone working together it saves a lot of waste and duplication.
"I support the Economic Development Task Force and the Water Conservancy District in their efforts. As county commissioner, there will be no frills, fanfare or magic wand, just a good common-sense type of government."
Lorin F. Merrell, 65, is Thacker's Republican opponent. He works as an automobile salesman.
Merrell admitted he lacks governmental experience, yet feels that he has been trained by his many associates. "Recreation should be available in Vernal," he said. "I can go along with the task force's recommendations.
"I feel very cautious about raising taxes right now. We need to look at other alternatives before raising taxes. If we do not work together, this county cannot prosper."County Commission seat B
Max D. Adams, 61, is running on the Republican ticket. He is the outside sales representative for Basin Auto and Industrial Supply. He served one term as mayor of Cedar Hills, Utah County; while mayor, he was a member of the Mountainlands Association of Governments. He said this has familiarized him with many statutes that regulate cities and towns.
"My first priority would be unity and communication between government entities in Uintah County. Second, we need some sort of master plan to develop new business and improve old business. Third, we need fiscal responsibility to get the most goods and services for the dollars we spend."
Wayne Hall, 59, is running as a Democrat for commission B seat. He is a welding contractor with no previous government experience.
"I would like to see tourism developed so that it can be economically feasible in Vernal," said Hall. I would like to see the Western Park facilities be used to the fullest extent with conventions, concerts, festivals, etc. I would like environmentally sound small industry to be brought into the area."
Leo Snow, who is running as an independent, was not available for comment.
Alan M. Williams, 37, a Republican, is the current deputy county attorney. He has served for two years in Uintah County, two years as deputy county attorney for Tooele and Wendover City prosecutor.
Williams served in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General Corps for four years. During that time, he was a special assistant to the U.S. attorney general for one year.
As the county attorney, he said he will focus on crimes where a person is the victim. Williams said, "The county does not need to constantly break in new people. The job needs continuity so that we can build on the foundations that previous commissioners and attorneys have started."
Harry H. Souvall, 32, is running as a Democrat. An attorney in private practice, he was previously a law clerk for the Utah attorney general's office and Utah Energy Office.
He has worked as a special prosecutor for Uintah County, prosecuting felonies and misdemeanors, and has been hired by the Uintah County Commissioners to give second opinions on legal issues.
As county attorney, he said he would not sue the county as has been previously done. "I would act as the county's legal advisor and would meet regularly with the commissioners and department heads to answer questions concerning their duties. By bringing someone new into the office, perhaps we can clear the decks and put old animosities and problems behind us. We can then move forward in the business of governing the county."
Lloyd Meacham, 37, is running on the Republican ticket for sheriff. He has spent 16 years in law enforcement, 12 of those years with the Utah Highway Patrol.
Meacham said he will work for faster response time and follow-up on criminal investigations. "I also feel that the sheriff should be held accountable to the community. If mistakes are made, they should be admitted."
Steve Hatzidakis, 38, is the Democratic sheriff's candidate. He has worked as a patrol officer with the Vernal City Police Department for 41/2 years, with an additional seven years in related duties.
Hatzidakis would like to educate the public on drugs and burglaries, promote neighborhood watch programs and be accessible to the public. He wants to be proactive in his response so that U.S. 40 will not become a major drug traffic route.
Drew Christiansen, 44, the incumbent sheriff, was defeated by Meacham in the primary and is running as a write-in candidate. He has served one term as sheriff.
Asked why he thinks he can win as a write-in candidate, he said, "I think that people understand the benefit of having some experience in a position. Granted, when I came into the office, I had no more experience than the candidates who are running now. I now have that experience and I'm able to cope and formulate solutions."