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Published: Wednesday, 11/2/2005

Waterville, Grand Rapids: Incumbents have edge in numbers in council races

BY ELIZABETH A. SHACK
BLADE STAFF WRITER

In Waterville and Grand Rapids, several seats are up for grabs.

Four people, three of them incumbents, are running for three seats on Waterville Council.

The challenger is Derek Merrin, 19, who wants to reduce the village's income tax by 0.25 percent. He said the tax is bringing in more money than it did last year, so it can be reduced without cutting any village services.

Mr. Merrin has lived in the village for about eight years. He emphasizes his accessibility and his willingness to listen and respond to residents' comments.

He is an economics student at Owens Community College.

Lori Brodie, 39, is finishing her first term on council. She has a graduate degree in business and formerly worked in corporate finance.

Ann Cherry, 56, has served on council for six years after being appointed to a vacant seat in 1999, following four years on the planning commission. She serves as vice mayor and recently retired from teaching after 30 years with Washington Local Schools.

As chairman of the parks and recreation committee, she helped develop Conrad Park and Waterworks Park. She plans to continue to improve green space in the village.

"We need more parkland as development comes," she said.

She sees growth and development as an issue.

Norm Witzler, 58, is finishing his third term on council. He has been involved in several community activities, including Boy Scouts and the Waterville Historical Society.

Five people are running for four seats on Grand Rapids Council. Three are incumbents.

Council President John Berry was appointed to council in 2001 and then elected. He has been active in the town's historical society and the fire department and rescue squad.

The other incumbents are Louise Estep and Pam Sherwood.

Challengers are Carolyn Erdody and Patricia Snyder.

Mrs. Erdody, who has lived in the village for more than 30 years and is editor of the local paper, has been involved with the historical society, the Apple Butter Festival, the arts council, and the chamber of commerce.

Mrs. Snyder is president of the swimming pool board, which she has been involved with for six years. She said she thought the voters needed a choice of someone who could provide a fresh perspective on issues.

Whitehouse and Haskins council races are uncontested.



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