LANCASTER – The fivecandidate race for two trustee positions in Walnut Township was the hottest lake area contest in Fairfield County.
Incumbent Trustee President Terry Horn weathered a blistering attack from retiring Trustee Sonny Dupler to lead the pack with 628 votes. Challenger Doug Leith came in second with 509 votes and will take Dupler’s seat. Walnut Township Board of Education member Vince Popo’s ‘low key’ campaign garnered 416 votes for third place. Former Trustee Walter Gabriel came in fourth with 398 votes and former Village of Thurston council member Jimmy Dee Barber Jr. was last with 311.
Leith told The Beacon that his focus in the race was on representing the entire township, not segments of it. “I don’t have an axe to grind,” he said. Leith believes the most impressing issue is finding someone to replace the late Ralph Reeb as zoning inspector. “That’s an important job for our township,” he explained. “We need to find someone who can take than and run with it.” Billy Phillips has temporarily returned to the post that he groomed Reeb for.
“I’m very appreciative and humbled,” Leith said. “I will do my best to represent everyone.”
In Liberty Township, incumbents Randy L. Kemmerer and Betsy Alt turned back challenger Craig Getz. Kemmerer lead the field for his second term with 712 votes. Alt, who was appointed to fill the balance of Dave Keller’s term after he unexpectantly passed away, received 674 votes for her first full term. Getz received 639 votes.
Four candidates vied for two seats on the Walnut Township Board of Education. Incumbent and retired teacher Carol King led the field with 569 votes. Incumbent Thomas Cumbow took the second seat with 296 votes. Second-time challenger Sandra Lines was third with 262 votes. John Singleton garnered 238 votes.
Incumbent John Hutton lead the three-candidate field for three positions on the Liberty Un ion-T hu rston Boa rd of Education. Incumbent Shaun Hochradel was second with 691 votes. Caryl Caito received 671 votes. She will replace retiring President Mike Raver who has served on the board for 24 years.
There were no contested races for village council in Baltimore, Millersport or Thurston. Mike Hamilton led the Baltimore field with 270 votes. He is replacing Council President Judy Landis who is retiring after 12 years on council. Incumbents Dwayne Mohler, James R. Hochradel and Robert J. Hankison were reelected with 260, 246 and 238 votes respectively. Village of Baltimore AEP customers were almost split down the middle on whether to reduce their electric bills by aggregating their electric demand. Unofficial results were 207 for aggregation and 204 against. Provisional ballots will determine the outcome. If voters approve the measure, all local residents supplied by AEP will become Integrys Energy Services. Customers will have 21-days to opt out.
In Millersport, incumbent council member Gary Matheny led the pack with 182 votes, followed by council members Donna J. Thogmartin, Charles Misko and Thomas Middleton with 174, 149, and 134 votes respectively. Middleton was recently appointed to fill the last few months of Jim Wright’s term, who resigned for health reasons. Doug Carpenter was reelected to the village’s Board of Public Affairs. Millersport voters overwhelmingly renewed a 2.7 mill levy for current operating expenses for another five years by a 155-73 vote.
The Village of Thurston still has an open seat on village council after voters elected Garry A. Boring, Dave Carpenter and Russell Lowell Hite. Pleasantville voters elected Judith S. Boyer, Jason D. Henderson, William R Mason and Chad A. West to village council. An effort to renew a 1.0 mill levy for current operation expenses for five years is trailing 45-42 in unofficial results.
There were no county-wide candidate races. Voters replaced a 0.5 mill levy for the Fairfield County Library for five years by a 8773 to 7313 vote. The 0.5 mill renewal levy for county roads and bridges is now permanent, following a 13,564 to 7,195 vote. A 0.5 mill renewal levy for Meals on Wheels for five years was also approved by a 15,457 to 5,377 tally.
The turnout of registered voters in Baltimore was 23.3 percent, Millersport 33.5 percent, Pleasantville 17.2 percent, Thurston 23.7 percent, Liberty Union-Thurston School District 23.9 percent, Liberty Township 23.9 percent, Walnut Township 28.4 percent and county-wide at 26.2 percent.