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Wells elected Buckeye Lake Village Mayor; Lakewood challengers sweep

LANCASTER/NEW LEXINGTON/ NEWARK – Three lake-area races drew the most attention in Tuesday’s off-year election.

Two of the four lake area school districts had seven candidates seeking three positions. There will be three new faces on the Lakewood School Board in January. Incumbent Trisha Good didn’t seek reelection. Voters rejected Board President Judy White’s bid for a fourth term and Tim Phillips’ bid for a second full term.

Four of the five challengers out polled White and Phillips. They were Tara Houdeshell, Jonathan Lynch, Bill Pollard and Chelsea Francis with 1,512, 1,305, 1,007 and 943 votes respectively. Phillips was fifth with 894, White sixth with 863 and challenger Doyle Pertuset was last with 534 votes. Turn-out was a respectable 33.7 percent.

A majority of Lakewood voters put aside the recent disputes over building a new football stadium before replacing or renovating the district’s 104-year old elementary school and an effort by current board members to extend Superintendent Mary Kay Andrews’ contract yet this year. Her contract issue exploded Wednesday night. See Analysis: Lakewood tries to nullify election.

Voters renewed a five year, 4.9 mill emergency levy on the first try by a 1,770 to 1,542 vote. The levy represents about 10 percent of the district’s revenue, bringing in $2,353,259 per year. Approval will NOT increase property taxes. Approval clears the way for the new board to place a new measure on the May ballot to fund a new elementary school and possibly some additional improvements.

In Perry County, seven candidates sought three positions on the Northern Local School Board. Incumbent Dan Snider did not seek reelection. Challenger Megan Miller lead the field with 1,924 votes, followed by incumbents Patrick Hogan and Kimberly Severance with 1,545 and 1,273 votes respectively. Challengers Aaron Wilson, Charles Nichols, Christopher King and Jeffrey Baird received 952, 649, 612 and 515 votes respectively.

In Buckeye Lake Village, two-term council member Peggy Wells gave up her council seat to challenge one-term incumbent Mayor Clay Carroll. Wells staked her campaign on “Wells for a Better Buckeye Lake,” while Carroll asked to be re-elected mayor. Wells presented detailed plans on how to make Buckeye Lake better. She dropped off five to six pages outlining her plans at the homes of nearly every voter in the village. Wells visited nearly 875 homes.

The secretive incumbent did not respond to candidate surveys from The Advocate, The Beacon or The Dispatch, leaving voters guessing what he would do in a second four-year term. Wells, who was often criticized for being negative when she brought up issues that needed to be fixed in council meetings, overcame Carroll’s negative campaign, primarily orchestrated by former Council President Charlene Hayden. An anonymous Facebook page appeared last week, throwing everything but the kitchen sink at Wells. Voters chose substance and vision over negativity, making Wells Buckeye Lake’s first female mayor with 61 percent of the vote. The tally was 270 to 175.

Three candidates sought three Buckeye Lake council seats after newcomer Kellie Lee Green failed to collect the required 50 valid signatures to get on the ballot. First-time candidate John Geiger led the field with 247 votes, followed by incumbent council president Kitty Zwissler with 216, and first-time candidate William French with 199.

Buckeye Lake voters overwhelmingly renewed the village’s five mill, five-year fire levy by a 322-121 tally. Voters also approved an additional five mill, five-year levy for streets and general operations by a 245 to 197 margin. The new levy will cost property owners $175 per year per $100,000 of property value. For example, the owner of a $50,000 property will pay an additional $87.50 per year; a $100,000 property $175 per year; a $150,000 property $262.50 per year; a $200,000 property $350 per year; a $250,000 property $437.50 per year; and so on.

In Fairfield County lake area races, Liberty Union-Thurston School District voters again rejected an additional 3.5 mill, five-year permanent improvement levy by a 1,352 to 782 vote. Proceeds were primarily earmarked for upgrading athletic facilities including the aging football stadium and track.

Voters had rejected the same request in May by a 2:1 margin. The additional levy was expected to raise $648,000 annually.

Challenger Bill Moore led the four candidate field for three Liberty Union School Board seats with 1,196 votes. He will replace John Hutton who retired after many years of service on the board. Incumbents Shaun Hochradel and Caryl Caito were reelected with 1,139 and 1,081 vote respectively. Challenger Dawn Sutton received 889 votes.

In Baltimore, council members will have to appoint two council members in January. Long-time incumbents Robert Hankison and Jim Hochradel were not on the ballot. Incumbents Mike Hamilton and Dwayne Mohler were reelected with 451 and 450 votes respectively.

In Liberty Township, challenger Don Keller led the four candidate field for two positions. He garnered 1,041 votes. Incumbent Randy Kemmerer was reelected with 956 votes, narrowly besting incumbent Betsy Alt who received 931 votes. Challenger Adam Leith came in last with 741 votes.

In Millersport, four candidates were seeking four positions on village council. Newcomer John Hitchcock with 123 votes will be replacing Council President Pro Tem Dustin Bidwell who did submit his petition by the deadline. Incumbents Donna Thogmartin, Charles Mesko and Linda Willison were reelected with 183, 138 and 126 votes respectively.

Faye Whitaker is returning to the Walnut Township School Board after a two-year absence to replace Tom Cumbow who didn’t seek reelection. She garnered 494 votes. Long-time incumbent Carol King led the field with 589 votes. Challenger Amy Amspaugh received 418 votes.

Incumbent Walnut Township Trustees Terry Horn and Doug Leith were reelected, each receiving 925 votes. First-time candidate Rick Cochran received 458 votes.

The Village of Thurston will have a new council member in January. Newcomer Scott Whited was elected with 41 votes. Incumbents Jimmy Dee Barber Jr., Heather Baker and Russell Lowell Hite were reelected with 44, 35 and 35 votes respectively.

In Licking County, voters approved an additional one mill, 10- year levy for childrens services by a 18,979 to 15,020 tally.

In Hebron, former Mayor Clifford Mason led a six candidate field for four open council seats with 280 votes. Incumbents Scott Walters, Jim Friend and Annelle Porter were reelected with 261, 232 and 230 votes respectiviely. Challenger Paige Seymour was fifth with 216 votes and incumbent Tom Marietta came in last with 202 votes.

Incumbent trustees Dave Miller and John Holman were the only candidates for two open positions in Licking Township. Voters overwhelmingly renewed a one mill, five year fire levy by a 856 to 313 tally.

Incumbent trustees Charles Prince and Randy Weekly were the only candidates for two open positions in Union Township. Incumbent trustees Ben Hupp and Dan VanBuren were the only candidates for two open positions in Bowling Green Township.

In Granville Township, first time candidate Bryn Bird led the four candidate field for two open trustee positions with 1,452 votes. Incumbent Kevin Bennet was reelecte with 1,226 votes. Incumbent Melanie Schott came in third with 991 votes. Challenger Ben Yeater received 441 votes.

Licking County Municipal Judge David Stansbury defeated challenger James Hood 17,585 to 12,429.

In Perry County, Thornville Village Council will have to appoint three council members in January. Incumbents Dale Brussee, Debbie Moyer and Lynne Snider were not on the ballot. Incumbent Linda Savage was the only candidate on the ballot, receiving 211 votes.

No candidates were on the ballot for Village Council in Glenford. Four positions will be open in January.

Three candidates sought two open positions as Thorn Township Trustees. Incumbents Rick Wilson and David Lyle were reelected with 691 and 667 votes respectively. Challenger Jay Shafer received 382 votes.

Voters rejected the only county wide issue which would aggregate electricity in the unincorporated areas of the county. The vote was 2,432 to 2,056.

In Hopewell Township, four candidates sought two open trustee positions. Incumbents David Ours and Steven Swinehart were reelected with 355 and 302 votes respectively. Challengers Joseph Orr and Chad Wilkins received 257 and 188 votes respectively. Voters approved Tan additional 3.7 mill levy for fire protection and emergency medical services by a 351 to 297 vote.

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