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Published: Wednesday, 10/19/2005

Perrysburg: 3 council incumbents face challenge by 3 newcomers

BY ELIZABETH A. SHACK
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Three Perrysburg City Council incumbents are up for re-election, and three political newcomers are challenging them.

Voters will choose three of the six candidates in the Nov. 8 election, when incumbents Maria Ermie, John Kevern, and Joe Lawless face challengers Matthew Hawkins, Michael Olmstead, and John Strouse.

Maria Ermie, 52, is serving her first term on council.

She says she has worked to promote sound business practices in the city and believes that growth in the city must be managed.

Matthew Hawkins, 28, a graduate student at Bowling Green State University, graduated in 1996 from Perrysburg High School and is seeking office for the first time.

He said he would like to see more mixed-use developments integrating stores, offices, and residences.

"We need someone on council who doesn't favor big box retail and strip malls," he said.

Council also needs to better communicate with residents, he said.

John Kevern, 63, is serving his first term on council and was on the Perrysburg Board of Education for 23 years. He chairs the economic development committee.

Mr. Lawless, 59, is serving his second term on council.

He decided to run again to make sure certain projects, renovations of Municipal Park and establishing Rotary Park, are completed and done right, he said.

Another process he'd like to be involved in is updating the comprehensive plan. Mr. Lawless has been involved in planning and zoning for several years.

"It's something I have a pretty good feel for," he said.

Michael Olmstead, 41, has lived in Perrysburg for nine years and is running for office for the first time. The owner of PTC Physical Therapy Consultants, a Perrysburg company, he said the city could use a more business-like and open approach to government.

"Decisions cannot be made without as much public discourse as possible," he said.

He said that if elected, he would listen to all points of view and make clear to citizens how he reached his decisions.

John Strouse, 38, has lived in Perrysburg for five years and is seeking office for the first time. He is a cafeteria manager for V/Gladieux Enterprises Inc.

"I want to help make Perrysburg a better place," he said.

He said that the city needs to be responsible about development so that it doesn't have an adverse impact on schools and services.



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