Wednesday, May 23, 2018
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City, village council contests on tap around northwest Ohio

Council elections in Fremont, Port Clinton, and Bowling Green are among contested races throughout the region to be decided on Tuesday.

In Sandusky County’s Fremont, the fate of the Ballville Dam is among key issues.

The city’s 1st Ward race pits incumbent Democrat Don Nalley against Michael Koebel, a former councilman who is running without party affiliation. Mr. Nalley, who has served on the council for three terms, believes the city needs to take advantage of grant dollars awarded to Fremont to remove the dam, saying estimates from several years ago indicate it would cost $4 million to $5 million to repair it.

“I just think this is a critical time for Fremont …” he said. “It’s truly a time to embrace experience.”

Mr. Koebel wants the city to investigate the cost to repair the dam and use it to produce hydroelectric power. He’s also worried about the amount of silt that will wash down the river if it’s removed.

“I think that would be a disaster,” said Mr. Koebel, who also opposed allowing gas-powered boats on the city’s reservoir — a decision Mr. Nalley supported.

Democrat David Guardiola and Republican Kathy Stout are running for Fremont’s 2nd Ward council seat, while incumbent Democrat Angie Ruiz is unopposed in the 3rd Ward.

A three-way race for the 4th Ward includes Republican Robert Gross, appointed to the seat earlier this year; Anthony Taylor, who is running without party affiliation, and Joe Michles, who is also running without party affiliation and is known for his criticism of the city’s over-budget reservoir project.

Also in Fremont, incumbent Democrat Holly Elder seeks to continue her work as city treasurer. Her opponent is Republican Richard Holland.

In Ottawa County, three Port Clinton wards feature contested council races including the 1st Ward where Democrat Ronald Aukerman, who was appointed to the seat in 2012, faces challenger Kassie Anderson, a Republican who counts development of the city’s Water Works Park as among her priorities. Development of the waterfront area has been the topic of much debate for years.

Ms. Anderson supports leasing, but not selling, the property for a multiuse development plan and opposes using it for residential units. Mr. Aukerman could not be reached for comment.

In Port Clinton’s 2nd Ward, incumbent Republican Mark Coppeler is running against Democrat Jerry Tarolli. In the 3rd Ward, incumbent Democrat Margaret Phillips faces Republican Patricia McCartney, while Democrat Gabe Below is unopposed for the 4th Ward seat.

Port Clinton Auditor Cole Hatfield — a Democrat appointed to the position in December, 2012, when the former city auditor was appointed county auditor — faces challenger Republican Bert Fall. The winner will serve the remainder of a term that expires at the end of 2015, Mr. Hatfield said.

Four candidates are seeking two at-large seats on Bowling Green City Council, including incumbents Bob McOmber, a Republican, and Democrat Sandy Rowland and challengers Joseph DeMare, a Green Party candidate, and Republican Sandy Milligan.

In Bowling Green’s 4th Ward, attorney Theresa Charters Gavarone, a Republican, faces Democrat Robert Piasecki, who was appointed to the seat earlier this year. Incumbents in the city’s 1st, 2nd, and 3rd wards are unopposed.

In Wood County’s Grand Rapids Village Council race, voters will choose from seven candidates to fill four seats. Incumbents Carolyn Erdody and John Berry are seeking re-election, as is William Hutchinson, a former councilman and mayor.

Four challengers — Brian Habegger, Kevin Olman, Lynn Sylvain, and Rick Tolles — share some common visions for the village and have campaigned together through newsletters, Mr. Habegger said.

Mr. Habegger said he wants to create a more open government, start a farmers’ market, and open senior and youth centers.

Ms. Erdody, the current finance chairman seeking her third council term, said the council has done a good job of balancing its budget amid tight economic times.

North Baltimore voters will choose four council members from a field of seven candidates, including current councilmen Leslee Thompson and Janet Goldner. Also listed on the ballot are Edward Kaman, Art Patterson III, Richard Rose, Trenton Tatham, and John VanScoder.

In Seneca County, Tiffin voters will choose between Republicans Richard Cline, current 4th Ward councilman, and Mark Pardi for council president.

In Fulton County, six candidates are running for three seats on Wauseon City Council. The field includes incumbents Heather Kost and Jeff Stiriz, and challengers G. Michael Christman, Rick Frey, Kathy Huner, and Jon Schamp.

Contact Vanessa McCray at:, 419-724-6065, or on Twitter @vanmccray.

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