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Published: Thursday, 11/13/2003

Incumbents mostly able to keep jobs

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Although a few challengers edged their ways into public office last week, voters in eastern communities went with familiar names for the most part on election day - allowing many incumbents to retain their seats.

The contest for mayor of Rossford became one of the most heated races in the Toledo suburbs. But in the end, Councilman Bill Verbosky Jr., easily defeated Councilman Chuck Duricek.

Mr. Verbosky, 48, who is assistant vice president of Sky Bank and sales manager of the Rossford branch, won the election 1,239 to 955.

He served eight years on city council, beginning in 1981 and subsequently served four years as city treasurer.

Mr. Verbosky, a Rossford native, decided to run again for an unexpired council seat in 1999, in part he said, because of the city s failed $48 million arena-amphitheater project.

In 1999, the Rossford Arena Amphitheater Authority began building an amphitheater and ice arena on a 1,600-acre rural site near the Ohio Turnpike and I-75.

Dubbed the Crossroads of America because of its strategic location, the arena-amphitheater project went under after the authority ran out of money.

“Everyone knows the biggest challenge is the project that has been stalled since 1999,” the mayor-elect said. “We will continue the economic development we have in the crossroads. We do have some fine stores out there already and plans for additional growth.”

Winning seats on Rossford city council were incumbent Gregory Marquette, city treasurer Ken Hermes, and Larry Oberdorf, Sr.

There were also heated mayors races in Northwood and Walbridge.

Assuring that two railroad overpasses in the city are completed will be a priority, Mr. Stoner, 47, said.

“Also, our roads are in desperate need of improvements,” he said. “We have a lot of neighborhood roads that we need to repave and we need to start putting more money in the budget to do a lot of roads.”

During the campaign, Mr. Stoner, a DaimlerChrysler employee, and Mr. Gallaher, a machinist, disagreed over the proposed building of a fire station - the funding for which would have come from an income tax increase, but voters rejected the proposal.

In Walbridge, Mayor Dan Wilczynski won easily against challenger Traci Taylor, a member of the village council.

Mr. Wilczynski was appointed to the office in February when Robert Robson, who was hit with accusations of sexual harassment last year, resigned.

The mayor said he wants to continue with developing a long-term plan for the village and improving its streets.

Since taking office, Mr. Wilczynski has worked to cut costs while maintaining village services.

Development was a buzzword during the fall campaign in Oregon, where only one incumbent, Tony Romano, was knocked out of his council seat.

Six incumbents and six challengers ran for the seven City Council seats, five incumbents retained their seats and two challengers - former council members Michael Seferian and Jeff Keller - were elected.

Council president Michael Sheehy pulled in the most votes, 3,249, with Matthew Szollosi just four votes behind him. Also re-elected were incumbents James Seaman, Jerry Peach, and Sharon Graffeo-Rudess.

“Very careful planned growth that we will experience in the next two to four years, will be huge issues,” Mr. Sheehy said. “We are experiencing more and more growth this side of the river ... I think we have to be very careful, and as for the industrial growth, we have to make sure it is of the quality that will make the community proud.”

Mr. Seferian spent 12 years as a councilman until 2001 when he made an unsuccessful bid for mayor when Marge Brown defeated him.

He plans to run for the office again in 2005.

On the Oregon Board of Education, incumbent Cathy Johnson and political newcomer Steve Hornyak were elected. Jim Ellerbush, Michael Hoeflinger, and Daniel Martin were runners-up.

Both winners said the district s budgetary concerns and space issues would take top-priority.



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