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Published: Thursday, 10/11/2007

Candidates back economic boost for Northwood

BY ERIKA RAY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The hotly contested race for Northwood mayor and City Council in November pits fresh blood against years of experience.

But almost all of the 11 candidates running for city office agreed on one thing: the need for more economic development.

There s a three-way race for mayor and eight people are battling it out for three council seats.

Mayor Mark Stoner won a tight race over Councilman Dave Gallaher in November, 2003, to retain his position as mayor for a second term and is looking to do so again on Nov. 6.

Mr. Stoner, 51, a production operator, was a member of council for more than six years when he was elected mayor. He noted all the positives that the city has seen during his tenure, including the Miracle League baseball field, no income tax increase, the Brentwood soccer fields, a new city park, and new police and fire equipment.

You want to do something good for your community, and that s what I m trying to do make it change for the better, he said.

Mr. Gallaher, 50, a machinist, has been on council since 1994. He said he wants to take over the mayor s seat to continue working to improve the Woodville Mall; look for opportunities for affordable housing for senior citizens; create a master plan for the parks; foster a partnership among the city, local businesses, and the schools, and improve the city s debt and finance policy.

I think that there are more things that the city could be doing in order to improve the city itself and, in turn, make the lives of our residents much, much easier, he said.

But newcomer Jeff Duling, 54, said it s time for fresh blood to lead the city.

I figure if I can run my business, I should be able to run the city, he said.

The self-employed resident who installs central vacuum systems has never held public office, but sees a need to reorganize the way the city spends money so it can increase savings.

As for council, three seats are open and two incumbents, Jim Barton and Richard Radocy, are running for re-election. Councilman Jim Moore is not looking to retain his seat.

Mr. Barton, 60, who works in sales, has served more than 15 years on council. He said he wants to continue working for an overpass over Wales Road, avoid raising taxes, and improve roads and sewers.

Mr. Radocy, 56, is running for his fourth consecutive term on council. He could not be reached for comment.

At least four of their opponents have not held an elected position before: Rebecca Burch, Dean Edwards, Dale Niese, and Ed Schimmel.

Ms. Burch, 41, is a flight attendant and lifelong Northwood resident. She said she wants to work to see the city grow economically while focusing on fiscal responsibility.

Mr. Edwards, 40, is a sales manager and former Northwood volunteer firefighter who heads up the city s recreation board.

The lifelong Northwood resident said he would like to see a recreation facility in the city along with more economic development along Woodville Road, which he said is like a ghost town.

Mr. Niese, 48, is a medical technician who has lived in Northwood for 22 years. His wife, Denise Niese, is vice president of the Northwood school board.

Since he s lived in Northwood, he said there have not been many changes. One focus will be to give the city a sense of community.

We ve not taken any steps to develop a community here where people feel that they belong, he said.

Mr. Schimmel, 30, is an attorney who said his top priorities are to improve the Woodville Mall and Woodville Road, and to get the city s four red-light cameras taken down.

We ve had the current people on city council for quite a long time, and just need fresh blood out there, really, he said.

Candidates Stephen Romstadt and Lisa Irving-Radecke could not be reached for comment.



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