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Published: Sunday, 11/6/2005

Races for mayor, council to be largely decided on Tuesday

BY ERIKA RAY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

With a few exceptions, northwest Ohio city and village council races resemble games of musical chairs, with one more candidate than seats available.

Perrysburg voters will also decide who they want as their mayor for the next four years. The September primary election whittled the field for mayor of the Wood County city from four candidates to two - retired Perrysburg Police Chief Nelson Evans, 51, and Councilman Thomas Mackin, 40.

Former Councilman Kim Klewer finished a distant third, and Jonathan Orser, an ex-mayor and councilman, was last among the four primary candidates.

As for the city council, three incumbents are up for re-election with three political newcomers challenging their seats.

Incumbents Maria Ermie and John Kevern, who are finishing their first four-year terms, and Joe Lawless, who has been on council for eight years, are up against challengers Matthew Hawkins, Michael Olmstead, and John Strouse.

In Lucas County, all seven Oregon City Council seats are up for grabs, and six incumbents will be running against five challengers. Councilman Jeff Keller is not seeking re-election because he filed petitions to run for Oregon Municipal Court judge.

Jerry Peach, council's senior member with nine terms, seeks another term along with Sharon Graffeo-Rudess, James Seaman, Michael Seferian, Michael Sheehy, and Matthew Szollosi.

"There's always unfinished business," Mr. Peach said.

They're being challenged by former Oregon councilman and former city finance director Sandy Bihn, former Oregon recreation director Doug Joyce, former councilman Steven Kusian, former Oregon volunteer firefighter Marvin Belknap, Jr., and resident Paul Lambrecht.

Elsewhere in the county, Maumee City Council will have at least one new face when voters choose four people from six candidates - half of whom are incumbents. Councilman Thomas Shook did not file petitions to run for another term.

The incumbents include Michael Coyle, with four years experience; Brent Buehrer, with eight years, and Richard Carr, with 12 years. The challengers are Timothy Pauken, David Westrick, and Maria Zapiecki.

In Sylvania, five candidates have filed petitions to run for three city council seats, including three incumbents seeking re-election.

Incumbents Read Backus, the dean of council with 34 years; Todd Milner, and Barbara Sears are running against David Berland and Mark Bula.

Three seats are up for grabs on Waterville Village Council, with all three incumbents seeking re-election against 19-year-old challenger Derek Merrin.

Norm Witzler, with 12 years experience, is running for re-election along with six-year council member Ann Cherry and four-year member Lori Brodie.

In Wood County, four incumbents are running against one challenger for Northwood City Council. Incumbent Michael Myers and veteran councilmen James Barton, David Gallaher, and Connie Hughes - who have all been on council since 1993 - are running for re-election against Randy Kozina, a 14-year school board member.

Three incumbents are running against two newcomers for four seats in the Rossford, Grand Rapids, and Millbury council races.

Long-time councilman Molly Jakubec did not seek re-election for Rossford City Council, leaving incumbents James Richards, Richard Kovach, and Caroline Zuchowski-Eckel running against challengers Leonard Michaels and Pamela Simenski.

The Grand Rapids Village Council race pits incumbents John Berry, Louise Estep, and Pam Sherwood against newcomers Carolyn Erdody and Patricia Snyder.

Incumbents running for re-election on Millbury Village Council are Fred Densic, Chalence Wilburn II, and Michael Weis. Challengers are Christopher Abbey and Randal Readel.

Elsewhere in Wood County, councilmen Gary Brann and Brandon Donaldson resigned from Pemberville Village Council in the last two months, and Cheryl Sharp is not seeking re-election.

Though Mr. Donaldson's name will most likely be on the ballot, he said he planned to ask the board of elections to remove it, leaving one incumbent and five challengers running for four vacant seats.

Incumbent Patricia Vandersall will be running against Eric Campbell, Keith Madaras, David Miesmer, and Marc Mullholand.

"I knew we needed somebody to carry on and continue with some of the programs we had going," Ms. Vandersall said. "If I win, I win. If I lose, I lose. I just take it however the people vote."

In Ottawa County, Genoa and Elmore village councils each have four council seats up for grabs on Tuesday, with all eight incumbents seeking re-election.

Five challengers are going up against Genoa Village Council incumbents Elizabeth Slotnick, Eric Hise, Doug Avery, and Dennis McLargin for their four council seats. Those challengers are Martin Clement, Jennifer Kreager, Christina Lewis, Jerry Neff, and Mark Williams.

The Elmore Village Council race pits challenger Nikole Gyuras, who was appointed to council two years ago to serve four months, against incumbents Rick Claar, Matt Damschroder, Robert Eickel, and Mark Koenig.

Sandusky County voters will also choose between five candidates for four open Woodville Village Council seats.

Ty Tracy, who is seeking his first term on council, will be running against incumbents Gerald Kepus, Monte Porter, Joseph Riffle, and Jeffery Tate.

Contact Erika Ray at: eray@theblade.com or 419-724-6088.



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