Five candidates are in the mix for three Wellington village council seats this November.
Meeting last Wednesday’s deadline to file to run were incumbents Gene Hartman and Keith Rowland and challengers Vickie Rutherford, Steve Boham, and William Bogan.
Councilwoman Sandy Denes has decided not to run for a third four-year term and will bow out Dec. 31.
The three newcomers stopped in at council’s meeting last Monday to introduce themselves and gain perspective on the issues being discussed.
“It’s really awesome to be here,” said Rutherford, a seven-year village resident who worked in the pharmacy at Wellington’s Discount Drug Mart for 32 years before retiring in February. “At this point, I’m very interested in what happens in this community and I want to see it succeed. It needs to keep continuing to be great like it seems right now.”
Boham has lived in the village for 45 years, owned businesses in Elyria, and worked at area accounting firms.
“I’m here to do my part in the later years of my life,” he said. “I have a degree in accounting and business and it’s very important to me to try to help and support this village.”
Bogan, a 27-year Wellington resident, is a former member of the Wellington board of education and current teacher at Lorain High School.
Last fall, he made a run at the school board seat vacated by Lois Wulfhoop that was eventually filled by Brett Murner.
“I’ve been involved in this community through sports and the school board for many years now,” he said. “I believe in community service. My father spent 20 years in Milan on council. My kids are grown up and it’s time for me to give it a try.”
Hartman and Rowland welcomed the challengers and said Wellington is a better place because of them.
“Thank you for extending yourselves and I’m happy to sign any petition you have,” said Hartman. “Your involvement here and in volunteering in the village benefits everyone. I appreciate the time and energy you’ve spent in doing this.”
Meanwhile, only two candidates, incumbents Murner and Ayers Ratliff, have filed to seek reelection to the Wellington board of education. No one else is in the running for the third open seat.
That opens the door for a write-in candidate. The deadline to file with the Lorain County Board of Elections to run as a write-in is Aug. 28.
If no one takes that step, sitting school board members will appoint someone to fill the empty seat for two years.
A similar situation is unfolding in the Black River school system, where Daniel Sexton is the only candidate to file but two board of education seats are open, according to Medina County Board of Elections records.
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In Wellington Township, Nancy Fisher and Fred Pitts will keep their trustee seats another four years, barring a write-in challenge.
The same is true in Brighton Township, where Christopher Stanfield and Steve Urbansky are shoe-ins for two open trustee positions.
In Camden Township, James Hozalski and Gus Ristas are unopposed for two open trustee seats, while Connie Karney will serve as Camden fiscal officer through March 31, 2020.
Richard Conrad and Duane Johnson are on the ballot for Penfield Township trustee seats.
In Rochester Township, Gerald Cowie and Adam Mourton will serve as trustees, filling two open seats. In the village of Rochester, just one candidate — Andy Kurpely — filed to run for council, but there are four open seats. Cynthia Kurpely will serve as mayor for an unexpired term through Dec. 31, 2019.
The November ballot will also feature a number of issues for our readers to consider.
State Issue 1 is a proposed constitutional amendment to better define crime victims’ rights. It calls for victims to be notified of major court proceedings and case developments, to allowed to be present at court proceedings, to speak with a prosecutor before any plea deals are made, and to be heard at plea, sentencing, and parole hearings.
If passed, victims would also receive restitution from the convicted party and be able to refuse interviews and depositions that are requested by the accused during the legal process.
The measure has bipartisan support among prosecutors and law enforcement officials, but has been criticized by defense attorneys who say it would give victims more rights than the accused, who are innocent until proven guilty.
State Issue 2 seeks to put the Ohio Drug Price Relief Act in place through a referendum. It would require state agencies to buy prescription drugs at a cost that matches or is lower than what the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs pays.
The VA negotiates prescription prices up to a fourth less, and the Ohio Taxpayers for Lower Drug Prices says Issue 2 would force pharmaceutical companies to lower prices.
Ohioans could save about $400 million per year, the group argues. Funding for the ballot push comes mainly from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
A counter-group called Deceptive RX Issue, backed by a prescription drug company CEO, says Issue 2 would raise prices.
Lorain County voters will also get to vote on:
• A 0.065-mill renewal levy for tuberculosis clinic services, which are required under state law.
• A 0.5-mill renewal for 911 emergency services.
• A 0.08-mill renewal for the Lorain County Drug Task Force.
Local issues include:
• Huntington residents will be asked for a one-mill property tax increase to fund road and bridge repairs.
• The Black River Schools are asking voters to approve an emergency 7.8-mill renewal.
Jonathan Delozier and Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews and @EditorHawk on Twitter.
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