Voter’s Guide 2012: Part 3

 

2 Albertville candidates vie for mayor, 6 for council

Up for election in Albertville are seats belonging to Mayor Mark Meehan (two-year term) and councilors Larry Sorensen and John Vetsch (four-year terms). Filing are current councilor Jillian Hendrickson for mayor. She is joined by mayoral candidate and former mayor Donald Peterson. Filing for council are Sorensen and Vetsch, and challengers Paul Turpin, Mark Barthel, James Krutzig and Rob Olson.

Candidates were asked to provide a statement about their background and the issues they feel are important in the election.

Those who responded are included here.

Jillian Hendrickson

My name is Jillian Hendrickson and I am running for Mayor.

As Mayor I will provide a sound representation to Albertville’s elected leadership. I became a resident of Albertville 7 years ago when I bought my townhome in Town Lakes. Since my first days in Albertville, I have been blessed to have met my husband Ryan and we were married in town Sept. 23 last year.

We made our home on the west side of Albertville in a wonderful neighborhood and love living in this community for several reasons. My sister and brother-in-law with their three children live less than a mile away and many other young families like ours are seen in abundance on every neighborhood street. We have excellent school systems and partner well with neighboring cities to provide outstanding amenities for our children. Lastly, we love the location; our outdoor hobbies are well accommodated in Albertville because it provides a healthy work/life balance. Commutes to work are reasonable and it’s an easy jump on the freeway to head north for the weekend.

My educational background includes an undergraduate degree in international business with a minor in communications and leadership. Professionally, I work as a medical representative for Lilly. I completed my masters in business administration in 2009 through St. Cloud State. My educational background has provided me with insight when making difficult decisions affecting our city.

As a current council member I have enjoyed serving at the pleasure of Albertville’s residents and business owners. These past few years I’ve addressed several concerns facing our community. I have worked to improve efficiencies by streamlining communication between business owners and city staff. Organizational changes were made in order to attract new businesses to the community and as an added benefit these changes have reduced expenses in our city’s budget. As the freeway ramp project nears completion this fall, I will continue to support the project through its future phases as these efforts are essential in filling empty store fronts within our community. Throughout my public service I have worked closely with staff to minimize spending while maintaining the vital services our city provides. Other issues important to residents I support include, improving public awareness, maintaining a safe community and supporting youth programs.

In summary, I will provide leadership to the council by representing the best interests of Albertville. I believe the job of an elected official is to be in tune with the community’s needs and desires; I look forward to listening to voice of the Albertville community.

Don Peterson

My name is Don Peterson.

I have been a resident of Albertville for over 30 years and graduated in 1985 from St. Michael/Albertville High School.

While attending the University of Minnesota I majored in political science. I am a graduate of the Carlson School of Management. I served six years in the U.S. Army as an infantry soldier and fought in the Gulf War.

I have two beautiful daughters, Alexis (17) and Kaitlin (15). I’m a member of St. Albert’s Catholic Church.

As past Mayor of Albertville I was part of the expansion of County Rd. 19, city hall, water treatment facility, city maintenance building and I had signal lights installed at I-94 and County Rd. 37. I was also involved with the expansion of the I-94 ramp to Albertville Mall and went to Washington, D.C., to get funding for the ramp.

Specific challenges include identifying an acceptable design for phase two of the I-94 ramp and then selecting a sound financial plan to pay for them. Finding a way to expand cultural and recreational opportunities and other community amenities.

We need to work with the sheriff’s office and support them in controlling traffic problems. We need to continue to work with our fire department and support them.

Our challenges are many and varied. Maintaining a quality school system at a time when money seems to be so limited is a big challenge. Schools are the foundation of our community. One of our biggest challenges is how to grow our community in such a way that we keep that small town feel.

In closing I would like to serve the citizens of Albertville as your Mayor once again. I want the citizens of Albertville to know who their mayor is! So when you see me out and about you can approach me at anytime of day or night.

My actions are guided by my strong family values to create and maintain a good, clean and safe place to live and raise our children. If you elect me as your mayor once again, I will continue to be proactive and look for what is best for Albertville, networking and building relationships with our neighbors where necessary. I will always strive to make Albertville a better place to live, work and raise our families.

I ask for your support in November and during my term. Thank you!

Larry Sorensen

My wife, Karen, and I have been residents of Albertville for 16 years, and have raised two children, Jon and Andrea. Jon is a freshman at the University of North Dakota, and Andrea a sophomore at STMA High School.

I was born and raised in Two Harbors, Minn., and attended UW-Stout, where Karen and I met. We have been married for 25 years and love being part of this great community. Over the years I have been active in coaching STMA youth athletics and volunteering for various school functions.

I am currently employed in the marketing department of Merrill Corporation.

I was elected to City Council four years ago and have been honored to serve the people of Albertville. During my time on the council I have served on various committees, including Parks and Recreation, STMA Ice Arena Board, Public Works, FYCC, and Fire Department/Public Safety.

The city of Albertville has seen tremendous growth over the last several years and we need to elect City Council members that are prepared to look to the future. Albertville needs to be able to develop to its full potential while maintaining its small town identity. Our elected officials should have the ability to see the big picture, and the character to respectfully and professionally represent us. When voting on issues, they must put aside personal biases and agendas, and simply vote for what is right and fair.

In my time on the council, I championed the effort to change recycling vendors and switch to single sort recycling, and since implemented, we have seen participation rise from 46% of households to over 90%. I have also strongly supported the I-94 distributor road project, which will be completed this November. This project will not only lead to far less traffic coming through our city streets, but it will most certainly make the undeveloped land near the outlet mall more attractive for economic development.

Finally, with the economy still limping along, and local government aid to Albertville being eliminated, we need to continue to keep this an affordable place to live and run a business. It hasn’t been easy the last four years, but I feel we have done our best to keep taxes down without jeopardizing the essential services (fire, police, roads, etc) that our residents expect. If re-elected, I will continue to fight to make common sense decisions and keep this a safe and affordable place to raise a family. I will continue to represent the residents of Albertville with honesty, integrity, and fairness. Together, we can make Albertville an even better place to live.

I appreciate all the input I have received from residents the past four years. I stand by my voting record and my commitment to the people. And I would appreciate your vote Nov. 6.

Rob Olson

Hi, my name is Rob Olson, I am 33 years old and live in Albertville with my wife, Kelly, and four kids, Tyler (8), Ella (6), Gavin (2), and Madelyn (6 months). Tyler and Ella both attend STMA Schools.

I am a graduate from the University of North Dakota and am employed as a Civil Engineer with MFRA, Inc. in Plymouth. I currently serve on the Albertville Planning Commission and have done so since 2009. I am a member of St. Michael Catholic Church and am involved with numerous activities within the community.

As your Albertville City Councilor, I will strive to spend tax dollars wisely and will look for cost-saving measures to ease the tax burden on the families and businesses within our city. As a planning commission member I have had the pleasure to advise the council on the growth of our community and I look forward to the opportunity to promote business and growth within the city of Albertville. The downtown area has improved over the past and I believe that finding more opportunities to work with and promote the great businesses along Main Street will help preserve and enhance this area for the future. The City of Albertville also has a lot of upcoming projects that need financing, such as the I-94 Interchange Phase II, Wastewater Treatment Plant Improvements, Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation, and the need for an additional sheet of ice for the Ice Arena. These a just a few of the projects that will need our full attention as we move towards the future and that I plan on working towards creative and cooperative ways to fund these projects.

I will continue to support of our Public Safety departments to ensure their ability to provide the great service we currently have. I will look at ways to maintain and improve the existing parks and look for ways to build new parks as development occurs. I also plan on working with Wright County on developing and completing the trails along County Corridors and will also look for opportunities within the city to complete and connect the missing pieces of trail and sidewalk system.

Albertville is uniquely situated in the fact that we are closely bordered with other great communities and we have two school districts within our city limits. Due to this proximity I will explore and continue to work towards finding cost efficient ways to provide mutual aid with joint benefits to these communities and schools. While always keeping the eye on Albertville, activities in St. Michael and Otsego can have great benefits to the residents of Albertville and vice versa.

I will always listen and make myself open to hearing both sides of an issue before making a decision. I will work hard to be the voice for all of the citizens of Albertville. Please find me and “like” me at www.facebook.com/RobOlsonforAlbertvilleCityCouncil to follow me during the election. Your support will be greatly appreciated. Thank You.

2 new candidates seek Champlin Council Ward 3 seat

There are two candidates running for one seat to represent Ward 3 of the Champlin City Council. The incumbent is not running. The two challengers are Bruce Miller and Nick Rice. Ward 3 residents vote at Servant of Christ Lutheran Church, 740 East Hayden Lake Road, Champlin. To find out which ward you reside in, visit the city’s website at www.ci.champlin.mn.us

Bruce Miller

Education: Graduate of Armstrong Sr.High and Arizona Tech

Occupation: Small business owner of A Regal Impression signs and employed at Earle Brown Heritage Center

Family: Wife (Kim) and two children (21 and 19)

 

If elected, what will be your top 3 priorities?

My number one priority is to keep the city budget under control. Champlin citizens do not favor higher taxes to create more government. Individuals and families help finance government. If they are cutting back, then so should their government. We are all in this together and no one is above sacrifice, including government.

Property values are mostly relative to the community they are located. I hope to keep the city of Champlin one of the more desirable communities in the Twin Cities to live in. We have a small town feel that is appealing to a majority of our residents. I hope to keep it that way.

Highway 169 is the lifeblood for small business and retail in Champlin. Our city needs to promote growth and yet maintain a balance with existing ordinances of the 169 Corridor Plan. I was a member of the Planning Commission when this plan was being developed. It was meant to reflect a clean consistent quality vision for travelers as they passed through our community. As your representative, I will weigh all needs to meet this goal.

What distinguishes you from your opponent?

My goal is to meet the people I will represent, to introduce myself, and to find out the concerns in our Ward. I have been focused on trying to knock on every door in Ward 3 before Election Day. People often ask me who I am running against and why he is running. All I can tell you is what he told me when I asked him why. He said, “No one should run unopposed.”

 

On what issue(s) do you have a differing philosophy than the current council?

I cannot say that I have any major differences with the sitting council, as a whole, but this is all about to change. We could have four new people on a council of five. This could be a major change in the way this city operates for both the short and long term. Government is in place for the well-being of the people it governs. It should never become so intrusive or cumbersome that it inhibits growth and freedom. Yet it should also not be so laid back as to allow chaos. We do not need new laws or ordinances to govern better. We are already overburdened with so many rules that they are becoming meaningless. What we need to do is enforce the goods ones and remove the bad ones. Recent studies show that residents are pleased with the quality of life we currently enjoy. My goal is to see that I serve the families in Champlin to the best of my ability.

NICK RICE: Did not choose to respond to the Champlin Dayton Press questionnaire.

3 vie for Champlin Council’s Ward 4 seat

There are three candidates running for one seat to represent Ward 4 of the Champlin City Council. The incumbent is not running. The three challengers are Rick Klemesrud, Edward Schmitz and Kara Terry. Ward 4 residents vote at Jackson Middle School, 6000 109th Avenue North, Champlin. To find out which ward you reside in, visit the city’s website at www.ci.champlin.mn.us

RICK KLEMESRUD

EDUCATION: Candidate chose not to answer.

OCCUPATION: I worked for Ford Motor Company, St. Paul assembly plant from 1972 until I retired at the end of 2002.

FAMILY: I am married to the same woman for the past 42 years and we have two grown sons and three granddaughters.

PREVIOUS POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: I have never run for any public office. Over the past few years I have volunteered for candidates that have both won and lost. I have first hand experience with the hard work and dedication it takes to win an election and be an effective leader. OTHER BIOGRAPHICAL INFO: I have lived in Champlin for more than 15 years and at my current address for more than eight years. I am a Vietnam-era Veteran of the United States Army. I am a member of the American Legion.

If elected, what will be your top 3 priorities?

The city’s income is received directly from city residents through the taxes we pay. In these difficult economic times, our city government’s number one job should be fiscal responsibility. As many people are still without work, and homes are continually being repossessed, keeping property taxes as low as possible while still providing clean and safe neighborhoods is my number one priority. Through fiscal responsibility we can make sure Champlin will be a great place for us to live and to raise our families for many generations to come. I will encourage the police department to enforce all laws including the current immigration law. If there are city ordinances or laws that are out of date or not in our city’s best interests, then we should change the law or ordinance. I would have the city council review existing laws and ordinances, updating when needed and eliminating them when possible. In addition, I believe legal immigration is the backbone of America. I believe illegal immigration is just that, illegal. If an illegal immigrant is involved in a crime in our city, it is our law enforcement’s responsibility to enforce current laws to their full extent. Throughout cities in the United States there have been many crimes committed by illegal immigrants. There have been high profile motor vehicle accidents involving the death of young people caused by illegal immigrants that happened in our state. They could have been prevented by following the law when the illegal alien had first been discovered.

What distinguishes you from your opponent(s)?

1. That I am older and have more life experience. 2.  I have worked in the private sector since I was12, starting as a paperboy, except for my two years in the Army. Where as one of my opponents is a government employee and the other is a younger family man.

On what issue(s) do you have a differing philosophy than the current council? Candidate chose not to provide an answer to this question.

EDWARD (EDDIE) SCHMITZ

Education: High School graduate Occupation: Precast Site Foreman

Family: Married for 13 years and have 3 boys ages 5,10 and 12

Previous Political Experience: None

Other Biographical Info: I was born and raised in Dayton,Mn. I have been a resident of Champlin for 14 years. I have always had an interest in our community but did not have the time to invest in it until now.

If elected, what will be your top 3 priorities?

My top priority is to help keep the city a safe and welcoming place. I would like to make sure we continue to have the resources to support our police, fire and other programs such as the explorers. These departments play a major role in our safety and I believe that is important to our residents. My second issue would be some of our current ordinances. I believe we have some that could be looked at and possibly revised. My third priority is to make sure that the needs of the community are maintained and recognized when brought forward. If we can be successful at meeting the needs of our residents I believe we can continue to be a city that people want to live in and come and visit.

What distinguishes you from your opponent? I

think not having a background in politics will help me see the city with fresh eyes. I see things and act on them like the average resident would.

On what issue(s) do you have a differing philosophy than the current council?

I’m not sure it’s so different but maybe just not noticed. I believe the council members should be out in their neighborhoods visiting with the residents on a regular basis to make sure that what gets decided in the city is actually what the residents are wanting. My efforts would be to make sure I am out in the neighborhoods talking to the residents and know what people want before issues arise.

KARA TERRY

Education: MBA Occupation: Supervisor in Human Services and Public Health Department of Hennepin County

Family: Blended family of six, 3 boys and 3 girls, just like the Brady Bunch but only the 3 boys are home now as the girls are older and have moved out. 2 of the boys are 15 (twins) and attend Champlin Park and my youngest son is 10 and attends Oxbow Creek.

Previous Political Experience: Currently the Ward 4 Representative on the Parks and Recreation Commission for the City of Champlin Other

Biographical Info: Lived in Ward for over 12 years. Worked for Hennepin County for 10 years. Active in CDAA and the NWLC.

If elected, what will be your top 3 priorities/issues?

Mississippi Crossing: The redevelopment of this property will help the city of Champlin to utilize its greatest asset, the river. In this development plan, we hope to have a restaurant, docking area, village green (community area) and some shopping opportunities. This will help draw people to Champlin not only to live here but also to spend their money here. Attract new business: Since the economic downturn, businesses have had difficulty starting, expanding and merely keeping their heads above water. Banks have also been impacted and are not as willing to lend money. The City of Champlin is not able to offer incentives to attract businesses but we can market the city as a great place to own a business. This marketing will attract new business to the city. Expand housing opportunities: I would like to have a balance of affordable housing and high-end housing. I would work with other council members to figure out a way to make that happen within the city.

What distinguishes you from your opponents?

I am able to see the big picture in relation to city government. While working for Hennepin County, I have been able to learn more about all levels of governments, how they work best and how they don’t work at all. I am able to bring this knowledge, as well as my experience from the Parks and Recreation Commission to represent the residents of Ward 4 in a way that is effective and makes sense.

On what issue(s) do you have a differing philosophy than the current council? Please explain efforts you would take to make changes?

At this time, my thoughts are very much in agreement with the overarching things the current council is doing. For example, I agree the Mississippi Crossing project is beneficial. I am also in agreement the Capital Improvement budget is essential. While I am in agreement on these issues, this does not mean I will not be willing to stand up for the residents of Ward 4, if their thoughts differ from that of the City Council. I consider myself a collaborator, able to work with a variety of people. While being a collaborator, I will also stand up for my beliefs and the beliefs of my Ward. If I were to differ from the current council, I would be mindful in the way I present the issue offering information, data and context behind why I feel the way I do. I would then encourage a discussion on the issue and come to an agreement that is the best possible option for all involved.

Champlin Mayor’s seat up for grabs

There are three candidates running for the mayoral seat on Champlin City Council. The incumbent is not running. The three challengers are ArMand Nelson, Greg Payer and Ryan Sabas. All residents may cast a vote for the mayoral position. To find out which ward you reside in, visit the city’s website at www.ci.champlin.mn.us

ARMAND NELSON

Education:BA Bemidji State University

Occupation:IT Director at Gander Mountain Company

Family: WifePam Nelson; sons,Spencer Nelson and Carter Nelson

Previous Political Experience:Current member of the Champlin City Council for Ward 4.

Other Biographical Info: Past experience in Champlin has included Public Safety Commission where I served as a commission member for 1 year and chairperson for 1.5 years. I served on the Park and Recreation Commission for 5 years with 1 year as a commission member, 1 year as vice-chair and 3 years as chairperson. I was also appointed by a past council to represent Champlin on the Community Education Advisory Board where I served for 2 years.

If elected, what will be your top three priorities/Issues?

The Mississippi River Crossings redevelopment project has been a vision of the City for years and we are very close to make the first phase of this project a reality. This project is very important to the future tax revenues of Champlin and the ability to raise funds for continued redevelopment. This area will be a focal point of Champlin and we need phase one to be successful. This project needs leadership and the ability to work with the developers and staff to make it successful. Champlin provides many services that are paid by tax dollars, but as we have lost home values we have lost some tax revenues. We have cut items from our budget and became more efficient in a number of areas in the past 3 years keeping taxes flat. Going forward we will need to take a hard look at the services we provide and continue to look for ways to reduce expenses. We need to continue to provide great service yet control taxes. As a city we need to work on ways to get more feedback from the residents as to what the city priorities are, what opinions residents have and what issues are important to them. We do resident surveys every five years but we should be doing this much more often because priorities change much quicker than five years. We should also be looking at social media tools to collect information and feedback from the residents on a regular basis.

What distinguishes you from your opponent(s)?

I have held leadership positions in Champlin for more than 18 years. I’m past president of Oxbow PTO and Servant of Christ Church and currently serve as of President of a software users group. In my day-to-day work I deal with many people and aspects of projects to come up with the right decision for our business, this experience gives me the leadership skills to lead Champlin. I’ll lead this city with an open mind and am willing to listen to all points of view before making a decision. I’ll be responsive to everyone and will respect their views.

On what issues(s) do you have a differing philosophy than the current council?

Recently we had to decide on how to replace a councilperson for Ward 1 because of a resignation. I was the lone councilperson voting to take the vote to the residents for the Ward 1 replacement. There were two years and three months left on the term and you the voters should have been able to decide on your representative. I will work on an ordinance on how these replacements will happen in the future. I am not running for Mayor because I have a big difference of philosophy of the current council. As a council member I have been fiscally responsible with your tax dollars. I will continue to lead the council to use your tax dollars wisely and provide a good value on the services the city provides. One of my opponents talks of lowering taxes but wants to provide tax incentives to incoming businesses; this is not a realistic goal, a very difficult balance without raising taxes.

GREG PAYER

Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration – Business Management; Master’s Degree in Business Administration – Finance

Occupation:Workouts Officer for TCF Equipment Finance, Inc

Family:My wife, Andrea & I have two Champlin Park High School students, Joshua (16) and MacKenzie (14)

Previous Political Experience:Champlin City Council Member (Ward 3) 2005-2012; Champlin Parks & Recreation Commission 2002 – 2004

Other Biographical Info:My wife and I moved to Champlin in 1998, shortly after we were married. We chose Champlin because it was a clean, safe and vibrant community to raise our children; a community that had a nice mix of local businesses and services, while retaining that desirable close-knit community feeling.

What are your top three priorities?

A critical issue for Champlin is the redevelopment of the Mississippi Crossings and Commons areas. It is imperative that we redevelop this area to create a unique riverfront development that brings in new businesses and residents and opens up improved access of the Mississippi river to everyone. However, we must draw from our experience to ensure that we make sound redevelopment decisions to ensure that this development is both successful today and far into the future. As such, we need to be judicious in choosing the right development projects for this extremely important location. Champlin has had a longstanding tradition of operating under a very fiscally conservative budget. For many years, Champlin has one of the lowest per capita tax expenditures for a full service city. Under my leadership, I will continue to lead towards low property taxes, while maintaining city services, and avoiding the financial pitfalls that other communities have encountered. I am proud of the fact that even though our budget has been stressed under the economic downturn, we haven’t had to resort to eliminating or drastically reducing city services. Instead, the City has operated under a financial management plan for many years and we will continue to plan and prepare for capital expenditures, while avoiding excessive bonding and/or borrowing. Champlin is nearly fully developed. As such, it will be imperative that we make sound decisions on the developments that are brought forth to ensure that they continue to add to our housing stock. Equally important, Champlin needs to focus on attracting businesses to our existing open strip mall locations, as well as, developing our available business lots. Recently, we have had some success in bringing in new businesses, and we need to continue to market our community to the business market.

What distinguishes you from your opponents?

The main difference between my opponents and me is experience and leadership. I have been an active and vocal member of the Champlin City Council for the past eight years. As such, I’ve had the honor to serve this community and exhibit leadership in both the economic boom times, as well as, the trying economic downturn. Neither of my opponents can claim this level of experience, nor can they claim that they exhibit the same leadership characteristics. The role of mayor is an important one, requiring experience and leadership, and as mayor I will represent this community well.

On what issues do you have a differing philosophy than the current Council?

I do have some differences of opinion with my fellow council members and staff, not on the need for diversity of housing stock, but the proper location for these potential projects. I do realize that we have removed some affordable housing from the community with the Mississippi Crossings project, and as a result, we have created some demand for that type of housing. However, I think we need to be extremely cognizant of the location that we consider for these apartment facilities and/or lifestyle plus developments. If we have learned anything from our neighboring communities, it is that you have to be extremely careful not to cluster too much of any one type of housing in an area. I differ from the council’s preferred location for some of these projects due to the proximity of existing apartment complexes and/or the location being better suited for commercial development. Two examples of locations that I have concern about are Theatre Drive near the existing Elm Creek Apartments, due to the potential effects of clustering too many apartments in one area, as well as, near SuperTarget, where I believe that the land is better suited for commercial development to support that business hub.

RYAN SABAS

Education: Champlin Park High School

Occupation: President of Sabas’ Outdoor Services, Inc.

Family: Son of Mary and Kevin Sabas. Brothers Darren, Devin and Joe Sabas. Sister and brother-in-law Dana and Brent Ringate, 7 nieces and nephews. Girlfriend Halley Manous (two daughters Ella and Adalyn).

Previous political experience: Always involved in politics and keeping up with city affairs. Previously an election judge and not politically affected.

Other Biographical Information: I am a lifelong resident of Champlin. My entire family is from Champlin and we love our great city. I am a fiscally conservative small business owner and operate my business right here in Champlin. I own a home at 11332 Jersey Avenue North, Champlin.

If elected what will be your top 3 priorities?

Working with the residents to gather more of their input regarding issues such as community development, continuing the safe and clean communities that we currently have and improving on them. I believe it is very important that we all work together as a community to improve our way of life. We need to be more transparent with the residents and be able to listen to opposing viewpoints. We need to work with our business owners to create a better environment for them to have success. Ease up on restriction such as license fees, business permits, signage, zoning etc. Make Champlin an appealing place where other quality business owners want to come and do business, without the intrusiveness of the city council on petty issues. By not having a reputation of a council that is hard to work with and wants it their way or no way we will have more business owners coming to us wanting to bring their business to Champlin. If we bring more business into Champlin this will create a larger tax base for retail and commercial and in turn lessen the tax burden on the residents of Champlin. The river project has to be an immense priority of the next council. I believe as a city we should take a step back and take in more resident input on the project, as to what happens next with this project will have a large impact on the way our community goes in he near and foreseeable future. I believe we have one chance at this project to get it right and we need to not rush into it without all the knowledge of the residents. I believe a line-by-line audit of the city budget is necessary to cut any and all wasteful spending.

What distinguishes you from your opponents?

I am a lifelong resident of Champlin, successful business owner of Sabas’ Outdoor Services, Inc. right here in Champlin. I am young not politically affected, energetic, knowledgeable and I have the courage to do what’s right for the people and not be pulled on way or the other. I have the ability to listen to opposing viewpoints and not just work off my own agenda. I am willing to ask the questions that need to be asked, do what’s right and I will make myself readily available to the residents at all times.

On what issues do you have a differing philosophy than the current council?

I believe that as a council we should be there for the residents, fighting for them on issues that our residents and business owners are facing. We should not be there fighting against them. Many of our residents and business owners complain about the current council and how hard they are to work with and believe that they already have a set agenda and are not willing to listen to any opposing viewpoints. As mayor, I will strive for our council to be more transparent with the residents unlike the current council who will give you vague answers so their agenda is not contested. I will always be available to the residents for questions, concerns or objecting viewpoints on any issues facing our community. We need to utilize the land we have off the 169 corridor to the best of our abilities. Attracting quality business here such as nice restaurants, retail, and professional office buildings. No more empty strip malls under my watch. This will create a larger tax base and keep taxes from rising and ease the tax burden on all residents. By bringing in more office jobs this will help our existing and future restaurants and retail.

3 Corcoran candidates seek 2 council seats

Up for election in Corcoran are seats belonging to Mayor Ken Guenthner (two-year term), and councilors George Gmach and Roz Milbrandt (four-year terms). Filing is Guenthner for mayor, and Milbrandt, former councilor Ron Thomas and Diane Lynch for council.

Candidates were asked to provide a statement about their background and the issues they feel are important in the election.

The responses appear here.

Diane Lynch

As the city of Corcoran continues to grow in number, the city will be faced with a variety of decisions on how to preserve the integrity of our small town and meet the needs demanded by the growth.

Current issues such as the moving and construction of the public works buildings (as well as the general obligation bond consideration), road maintenance and sewer systems are just of few of the areas that city leaders will need to consider.

As a resident of the city of Corcoran, I would like to represent the needs of the people.

Biography: Healthcare administrator. Licensed Nursing home Administrator. MBA — University of St. Thomas. Board member of local nonprofit.

My experience in business operations lends excellent understanding to budget constraints, working on behalf of all citizens while keeping an eye on the needs of the future.

Ken Guenthner

I am the current Mayor of Corcoran and my wife Kathy and I have lived on a hobby farm in Corcoran for 25 years. We have two sons, ages 20 and 17. I am a business lawyer in private practice.

I was first elected to the Corcoran City Council in 1996 and have served six terms as Mayor. I am also a past member and chair of the Corcoran Charter Commission.

The City Council recently approved a long-term finance plan that provides the City with a blueprint for managing taxes, cost of services, and maintaining our fiscal integrity. Our financial reporting processes give us continuous oversight over budget performance and have allowed us to operate within budget over that past two years. We are on target to restore the City’s budget reserves consistent with standards set by the State Auditor’s office. Disciplined financial management is not an exciting topic, but it is the bedrock of cost effective local government.

The City is just completing the extension of public sewer and water lines from Maple Grove to our downtown area. The project was made possible through the use of tax increment finance funds. By applying this funding mechanism, we were able to create this infrastructure improvement and opportunity without depending on future development or unfairly burdening our current taxpayers.

After many years of study and debate, the Council has also taken steps to build a new public works facility. We have barely gotten by in decrepit, unsafe facilities for way too long and this investment will immediately enhance equipment maintenance, efficiency of services, and workplace safety.

We are continuing to search for cost effective, equitable approaches to maintaining our many miles of gravel roads. Demand for our limited park facilities remains high and we are looking at ways to cost-share with other landowners, including the Rockford schools and Three Rivers Parks, to provide our residents with basic recreational facilities.

The members of the City Council all appreciate the input we’ve received from the community over the past two years and I can’t stress enough how important it is for each of us to make our thoughts and opinions known. We are always looking for new ideas and we need you, the owners of this effort we call the “City of Corcoran,” to be full partners along the way. Thank-you for your support.

Rosalyn (Roz) Milbrandt

I have lived in Corcoran for the past 16 years.

I was raised on a farm, and I chose Corcoran for my home because of the country qualities and potential. I am a mother of two, a grandmother of five, and a widow.

I started my career as a teacher and then worked as a corporate trainer, manager, project manager, and director of corporate quality.

I have served as a Parks and Trails Commissioner for 6 years, the Chair of the Planning Commission for 2 years, and a City Council member for the past 4 years. I have worked on many city committees including the Comprehensive Plan committee.

Corcoran is a beautiful country community. We have many opportunities and challenges. City Government should work with the community to achieve positive results and goals. Based on my past years of city service, I believe the following opportunities are priorities for Corcoran City government.

Creating and developing City Utilities is a major challenge. Phase I of the water and sewer project will be a reality in 2013. The development and management of the service in additional phases is critical to the community.

Completing the Public Works facility is another major challenge. This project has taken many years. It is important to provide a safe, efficient, and financially sustainable work facility for our city employees and our community.

Infrastructure is an ongoing challenge for Corcoran. The maintenance and development of our roads and bridges requires sustained attention to ensure the safety of school buses and emergency vehicles, as well as the day to day travel of commuting.

Senior Housing is an important issue for Corcoran. We need to work and plan to provide appropriate housing options for retiring citizens. All residents should have the opportunity to stay in the Corcoran community close to family and friends.

Financial Management is a major responsibility of local government. The Corcoran tax base needs to be balanced with additional light industry and commercial development in zoned areas. Tax dollars need responsible management and collective, sound judgment. City government is a service to the community, and it should be managed to achieve the goals of the community.

2 candidates seek Dayton mayoral job

There are two candidates running for the mayoral seat of the Dayton City Council. The incumbent is not running. The two challengers are Tim McNeil and Anne Ziebell.

Tim McNeil

EDUCATION: Graduate of St. John’s University with a business management degree. Occupation: Business Consultant, self-employed

Family: Single, no kids, parents live in Dayton

Previous Political Experience: Six years on Dayton City Council

Other Biographical Information: 5th generation Dayton family. Have been an executive at Target, Play it Again Sports and Best Buy. In those companies I have worked with multi-year plans, budgeting, and sales and inventory in excess of $200 million per year.

What distinguishes you from your opponent(s)?

Deeply dedicated to the community as a member of the Dayton Lions, Dayton Knights of Columbus, and Parks Commission. Six years experience on Dayton City Council put me in an ideal position to continue work on the issues facing Dayton. I have regular personal interactions with the Met Council, County Commissioner, Hennepin County Director of Transportation, MN Speaker of the House, Dayton’s House Representative and Dayton’s Senator as well as our member of the US House of Representatives. Having worked on the budget for six years I have a plan to change our spending priorities and lower our taxes.

If elected, what will be your top 3 priorities/issues?

The budget is the top priority, followed by reduced budget and communication. Due to the economic downturn we are not positioned well for the future. We need to adjust our spending priorities and look at every area of the budget. Next, we have to rely less on borrowing, and when possible, save for items we know we will eventually need just like any family does. Lastly, but just as important, we need to work on communication with the residents. My goal is to get the council meetings visible on the Internet within the first year after the election.

On what issue(s) do you have a differing philosophy than the current council?

Please explain efforts you would take to make changes. I have been fortunate to be a member of a very experienced council that can work together even when we disagree. In the past six years I have been in the minority more than any other member. Having many votes that have gone 4:1 or 3:2 can be very frustrating, but it just makes me that much more determined to work for a change in our current direction. Almost all of the votes I have lost fall into one of three categories; spending, borrowing, or property rights. Many times I have felt the council has tried to do the right thing, but in the wrong way. When ordinances are put in place to restrict how you use your land I think the council goes too far. We may be changing to a more urban community, but we are not there yet, and forcing large lot owners to act as if they have a 1/3-acre lot makes no sense to me at all. I have fought (and lost) on such votes. I also voted against the last budget, because I felt it borrowed too much, and spent too much on salaries, and not enough on roads and other tangible things.

Current and retiring city council members who are not up for election this year provided the following questions for candidates to answer. This includes Rick Shermer, Scott Hoke and retiring Mayor Doug Anderson:

What is the reason you chose to run for council?

I am running because in the past year I have looked at our long-range budget and determined that we are heading in the wrong direction. Spending more and more on salaries and less on roads and equipment does not serve us well long term. Borrowing when we should be saving also is a recipe for long-term fiscal disaster. Our comprehensive plan needs to change to preserve our rural character, and our borrowing and spending habits need to change to preserve our fiscal future. With the experience I have I can set the agenda to achieve better results.

What do you believe are the 3 most important strategies or actions to ensure Dayton’s future success?

1) Reduce borrowing. Debt service ties the hands of any council. With less borrowing we can position ourselves to react quickly to the right growth opportunities. 2) Focus on our rural character. The #1 reason people tell me they move to Dayton is for it’s rural character. If we work to strengthen that asset people will see Dayton as a more desirable place to live. 3) High End Commercial/industrial outreach. We have a new hospital right next to us. We need to focus on attracting high paying jobs in business districts. Higher end homes follow, and increase our tax base.

What steps would you take to keep the Brockton interchange project moving forward? Fortunately a large amount of work on the interchange is already complete. The next steps involve continuing to work the MN Department of Transportation, Hennepin County and Washington DC to fund the remaining planning and construction of the interchange. Fortunately I have relationships with many of the key players due to my time on the council. The other thing we need to prepare for is the impact on local traffic on our local roads. By starting to save towards potential roadwork we can ensure that we are not simply building a traffic jam in our community.   The Brockton Interchange carries a hefty price tag. The Interchange part is estimated at $30 million and the infrastructure outside ramp is $60 million the city would have to pay a portion of that.

How would you proceed with the current debt structure the city has now in funding our portion of project? The question of debt structure is key for the survival of any city, and it is why I have made the issue of borrowing such a high priority. Debt gives future councils limitations, while saving gives future councils options, which is exactly why I have opposed adding more debt to our balance sheet. There are many tools that can be used in the future (such as TIF and bonding) but the best tool to have is a dedicated cash reserve. The only way to build up cash is to change current spending priorities.

Anne M. (Wadsworth) Ziebell

Education: BA in Business Management

Occupation: Program Manager/Paralegal

Family: Husband Dan, Sons, Daniel and Mitchell, Niece, Steffie

Previous Political Experience: I served on the Dayton City Council 1997-2000. I am currently on the Public Safety Commission since 2005 and have been chair of Public Safety Commission since 2006.

Other Biographical Information: I moved to Dayton in 1988. In 1991, I married Danny Ziebell (plumber and retired Dayton firefighter) and raised three children, Daniel, Mitchell and Steffie. I have a BA in Business Management, have worked at Medtronic since 2004 and am a volunteer director of US Federal Credit Union since 2006.

What distinguishes you from your opponent?

What distinguishes me from my opponent is my professional experience in the area of corporate governance both in business and my role as a director of U.S. Federal Credit Union. I have visibility to processes and procedures of a Fortune 500 corporation and one of Minnesota’s largest credit unions in the areas of budgeting, strategic planning, executive compensation, technology, compliance and governance. Having served on the Dayton City Council from 1997-2000, if elected Mayor, I will leverage my current professional and volunteer expertise when finding solutions that serve in the best interests of Dayton residents.

If elected, what will your top 3 priorities / issues?

Meet taxpayer needs and expectations for city services with efficiency, fiscal discipline, and reform. I will review and assess the City’s operations to make sure we are running efficiently and effectively when providing services to our residents. If there are areas for improvement or of fiscal concern I will focus on solutions that will result in a strong balance sheet for the City. I will insist that there is accountability for all department purchases and performance and will work to reform any process that is not transparent or has become outdated. Continued commitment to develop existing transportation plans to encourage business expansion and job growth along Dayton’s industrial corridor. With regard to the current transportation plan, including the I-94 and Brockton interchange, I will continue to effectively promote and articulate Dayton’s interests to local, regional, state and federal decision-makers to obtain significant project funding. With regard to the business corridor along County Road 81, I plan to interact collaboratively with business leaders and be open to reviewing and revising overly-burdensome regulatory obstacles that limit Dayton’s competitiveness with surrounding cities. Support residential housing growth with ability to adjust course. Prior to the recession, Dayton was certain that development would occur and occur quickly. All departments ramped up to be in a position to manage this growth. These decisions were made with the best of intentions since few predicted the housing crash. If elected, I will review the existing residential development plans and, if necessary, pursue any changes to account for the current housing market landscape. I will actively support residential development that takes into account Dayton’s rural and scenic character.

On what issue(s) do you have a differing philosophy than the current council? Please explain efforts you would take to make changes.

Since I am not certain of the philosophies of the current council, I would just like to say that any elected official most certainly believes in public service. I am thankful to all current and past individuals who have served the City of Dayton. My philosophy is that elected officials must listen to residents and encourage differing perspectives at the table when seeking solutions to issues affecting their City. I believe in transparency and sharing of information so that all parties are working from the same set of facts. Further, I fundamentally believe that tax levies for services provided by the City should be set with restraint. I know that the recession has caused personal wealth to decline due to 1) loss of equity in our homes, 2) increase costs to run our daily lives, 3) stagnant economy, and 4) fewer prospects for employment. Taxes are collected from hard working people who expect safe and efficiently maintained communities. As Mayor, I will always be mindful that every dollar spent by the City comes from a hard working resident and that I must earn taxpayer trust by managing City’s resources with transparency and integrity.

Current and retiring city council members who are not up for election this year provided the following questions for candidates to answer.This includes Rick Shermer, Scott Hoke and retiring Mayor Doug Anderson:

What is the reason you chose to run for council? In early June, I was honored to be asked to run for Mayor by several Dayton residents for whom I have much respect. After learning that there was only one candidate running, it became evident to me that the residents of Dayton deserved a choice when electing a Mayor. Now that our kids are off to college, having received the support of my family and friends, and knowing I have the support, skills and ability to be Mayor, I chose to run so that the residents of Dayton have an alternative option outside the status quo.

What do you believe are the 3 most important strategies or actions to ensure Dayton’s future success? 1. Candid and collaborative communications: More visibility into the underlying decisions and plans impacting the City with clarity on what the residents and business constituents truly value. Improve linkages between plans, performance and accountabilities. 2. Fiscal restraint with today’s spending and well as future borrowing: Resource allocation is driven more by residents needs for city services and making real tradeoffs, rather than historical budgeting levels. 3. Reform any obstacles that limit Dayton’s competitiveness: Dayton must design a competitive framework to attract business and continue to pursue its transportation plans.

What steps would you take to keep the Brockton interchange project moving forward? I recently attended the Sept. 25 Open House and reviewed the Brockton interchange design. After design approval is received by the relevant agencies, Dayton will need to seek project funding. I would personally speak and meet with federal, state and local legislators to solicit funding support for Dayton’s design plan. I’ll maintain support of existing local project partners and look to encourage uncommitted partners. An interchange will expand development opportunities and competitiveness for Dayton along the business corridor, reduce commute time to and from the metro area for residents, improve safety and reduce emergency response times to accidents on I-94. The Brockton Interchange carries a hefty price tag. The Interchange part is estimated at $30 million and the infrastructure outside ramp is $60 million the city would have to pay a portion of that.

How would you proceed with the current debt structure the city has now in funding our portion of the project? I believe the cost estimates will be significantly less than indicated in this question. However, I can assure the residents of Dayton that while I support the Brockton Interchange, I do not support it “at any cost.” Simply stated, I will not approve funding of an interchange solely on the backs of Dayton’s taxpayers. If unable to obtain significant project funding, I will not support it.

4 candidates seek 2 seats on Dayton City Council

There are four candidates running for two open seats on the Dayton City Council. While one incumbent is retiring, incumbent Phil Forseth is running again along with James Jadwin, Eric Lucero and Scott Salonek. Voters will be asked to vote for two of the four candidates.

PHILIP FORSETH

EDUCATION: Candidate chose not to answer.

OCCUPATION: Own and operate Protronics, a television and electronics repair shop in Anoka for 32 years.

FAMILY: My family and I have lived in Dayton since 1978, my wife Lillian and I are the parents of seven children.

PREVIOUS POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: I have served as Mayor for 8 years, public safety commissioner for 2 years and as a city council member for 8 years. I have served on a number of other committees and task forces to protect the interests of our community.

OTHER BIOGRAPHICAL INFO: I served in the Air Force during Viet Nam as a missile guidance technician and did classified missile research and development. I’m a member of the American Legion, St. Stephens Catholic Church, Dayton Lions, and Aircraft Owners and Pilots Assoc.

What distinguishes you from our opponent(s)? Experience. I have served as Mayor for 8 years, public safety commissioner for 2 years and as a city council member for 8 years. With the departure of Scott Hoke (8 years council, 12 years planning commission) and Doug Anderson (12 years on the council and 8 years as Mayor) we are losing fully two-thirds of the experience on the city council. The remaining city council members and candidates have 6 years or less experience. This historical knowledge is important to keep from reinventing the wheel, to keep us from retrying things that haven’t worked in the past and for remembering the history and rationale for decisions.

If elected, what will be your top 3 priorities/issues? One: The Brockton interchange, we have to decrease our dependence on residential property tax and increase our commercial tax base. We have worked hard to make the interchange a reality and we are almost there. We were given an $800,000 grant by the federal government to do the final design and environmental work. With that work almost completed, the next step is the financing. I have to believe after receiving the $800,000 grant we have convinced the feds that the interchange is a necessity. For that reason I believe we will get at least some help with the financing from the federal government. We did have the financing in place with a public/private partnership, but partisan politics at the state legislature scuttled our legislation. The political climate is better at the capital now so that partnership may still be a possibility. Two: Produce literature and actively promote our industrial/commercial areas. More industrial/commercial equals lower residential property taxes. Three: Taxes, last and certainly the most important. It is expensive to be small, with 32 square miles of city and 1,800 households to pay the cost of public works, police, fire and administration. When you plow a mile of street it costs the same if there is one house on it or 10 to share the cost. When the economy collapsed we had 1000 homes on the table, had they been built we would have seen a dramatic decrease in taxes on individual homes. We need to continue to look for and implement new strategies for reducing taxes as well as more rooftops and more commercial/industrial.

On what issue(s) do you have a differing philosophy than the current council? Please explain efforts you would take to make changes. For the most part I agree with my fellow council members. Two of them I have worked with for nearly twenty years. We have come to respect each other’s opinion and if we disagree we make our arguments, vote and move on. I have had 4 different city councils as mayor and two as a council member, they were all different, with different ideas, different ways of doing things. The important part is not your differences, but the way you resolve them. The last eight years we have had a solution driven council. We have worked to find ways to resolve the issues facing our community rather than self-promotion or being partisan. We have had some tough issues, ones that tear cities apart. Sewer and water, the comp plan, the crash of the economy but we figured out solutions. In my twenty years of being involved with Dayton city government it’s been the best council I’ve had the pleasure to serve with.

Current and retiring city council members who are not up for election this year provided the following questions for candidates to answer. This includes Rick Shermer, Scott Hoke and retiring Mayor Doug Anderson:

What is the reason you chose to run for council? I am running this time because I saw with Scott and Doug leaving, we were losing nearly 40 years of experience on the council. I felt we needed to have someone with a historical perspective as well as someone that remembered the rational for the decisions we made as a council, this keeps us from wasting money by reinventing the wheel. I also love this town. Dayton is a great place to live. My wife, Lil and I have raised 7 kids here, and we have never wanted to live anywhere else. For that I want to give something back. What do you believe are the 3 most important strategies or actions to ensure Dayton’s future success? A. Continue to be fiscally responsible, Dayton’s budget reserve coupled with the fact that most of the cities debit is paid for by assessments just got us an upgrade to our credit rating by Standard and Poor to “AA-“ along with a “stable outlook.” At a time when the U.S. government’s credit rating is being downgraded that’s an accomplishment. B. Promote the interchange at 94, I know I have said this before but that will do more to insure our future that anything else I can think of. C. Look for partnerships with other cities to share services where we can. Police, fire, public works. As the money gets tighter more cities will look to sharing services as a way to get more bang for their buck.

What steps would you take to keep the Brockton interchange project moving forward? We spent $2,500 to send our Mayor to Washington to lobby our representatives. He came back with a grant for $800,000 to do the final design and environmental work. We need to continue to lobby for federal funds, grants and public-private partnerships to fund the project. Working with state, county and city staff as well as elected officials and developers in the commercial/industrial area to develop a plan to finance the interchange. The interchange has a regional and local benefit. I believe we can get this financed through TIFF or special legislation if everyone works together. The Brockton Interchange carries a hefty price tag. The Interchange part is estimated at $30 million and the infrastructure outside ramp is $60 million the city would have to pay a portion of that.

How would you proceed with the current debt structure the city has now in funding our portion of project? As I stated above, this is a regional project on a federal transportation system, I think we can fund the interchange through grants, federal money, TIFF or special legislation. The infrastructure portion would most likely be phased, build what is needed today using TIFF or grants or federal money and as development occurs that development can pay for the rest of the infrastructure. It’s the same philosophy we used when we did sewer and water, those that benefit pay for the improvements. The cities, MnDoT, the county, feds, elected officials will need to come together and brainstorm the best ideas.

JAMES JADWIN

EDUCATION: Graduated from high school in Minneapolis and attended two years at the University of Minnesota.

OCCUPATION: Investigator with a national law firm for over 45 years.

FAMILY: Mary Jo and I have been married over 40 years. We have two children.

PREVIOUS POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: Served one term on the Dayton City Council and mayor for one term.

OTHER BIOGRAPHICAL INFO: Dayton Lions Club member for over 25 years.

What distinguishes you from your opponent(s)? My professional and prior experience with the city as well as professional experience with the law firm. I have been involved in many issues with the city over the years.

If elected, what will be your top 3 priorities/issues? •First set up a meeting with the Dayton city auditor to discuss how we can best handle all of the active loans; as well as determine what loans are locked in and what loans can be changed. •Obtain a second opinion from a qualified engineer to review our current sewer plan and find out what has to be corrected. This project is a mess. •Review the duties of each city employee. It doesn’t make sense to use our city clerk’s valuable time to replace the senior coordinator who was laid off. This is too costly.

On what issue(s) do you have a differing philosophy than the current council? Please explain efforts you would take to make changes. I don’t believe we should have to keep borrowing money – this is the reason why the city is in so much trouble. We should budget our money for each project. If we buy a new fire truck or a new squad car, we should budget the money ahead of time instead of borrowing money. I was told by a council member when I served my first term on the city council ‘to spend each dollar like it was yours’ – I don’t believe this council has done that.

Current and retiring city council members who are not up for election this year provided the following questions for candidates to answer. This includes Rick Shermer, Scott Hoke and retiring Mayor Doug Anderson:

What is the reason you chose to run for council? I have received many calls from residents asking me to run for the city council again. I, personally, don’t like what is going on and I think there has to be a dramatic change in the city. One person can’t do it by himself; however, the majority of the council can make the changes needed. What do you believe are the 3 most important strategies or actions to ensure Dayton’s future success? We have to stop borrowing money. I have campaigned on this issue before and I am not going to stop until we do.

What steps would you take to keep the Brockton interchange project moving forward? I believe everyone would like an interchange. I think many people have missed the boat – you have to know where the money is coming from before you approve a project. It’s like buying a vehicle; do you go to a car dealership and tell the salesman that you will take the car before he tells you how much it will cost? There is something wrong with this picture. I have contacted the county and state to see if there is currently any funding for this project – the answer is no, not at this time. The Brockton Interchange carries a hefty price tag. The Interchange part is estimated at $30 million and the infrastructure outside ramp is $60 million the city would have to pay a portion of that.

How would you proceed with the current debt structure the city has now in funding our portion of project? I don’t know what the cost of the Brockton Interchange is going to be. I have heard a variety of figures. If the Brockton Interchange was approved today, the question would be ‘Who is going to pay for it?’ If the Dayton taxpayers have to pay for it, I am against the project since we can’t afford to pay our loans right now and we have had to lay staff members off. I hear the city is in good financial condition – Who is fooling who?

ERIC LUCERO

Education: Bachelors in Law Enforcement; Bachelors in Computer Forensics; Masters in Business Administration

Occupation: Cyber Security Professional

Family: Loving Wife of 15 years (Erum) Previous Political Experience: I have never held elected office.

Other Biographical Info: I also work as an instructor in the Minnesota State college/university system in which I teach computer security and computer networking courses. Additionally, I combined my background as an experienced real estate agent and general contractor with my MBA to form two small businesses.

What distinguishes you from your opponent(s)? My experience. I have a demonstrated track record of successfully analyzing information, formulating strategies, developing and executing processes, mitigating risks, mentoring others, and listening to the concerns of all people. I am an out-of-the-box thinker in which I will bring a “New Voice” to the Council by providing new leadership, new ideas, and new accountability.

If elected, what will be your top 3 priorities/issues? I have personally door knocked on 1,100 homes all throughout Dayton. Based on the feedback I received, my top three priorities are: 1.) Fight our high property taxes. 2.) Increase the economic vitality of both residential and business property by strategically preserving Dayton’s country living while spurring economic growth. 3.) Ensure spending efficiency within the City’s budget. To achieve economic viability and lower property taxes for Dayton’s future, it is absolutely essential Dayton expand the count of both businesses and residential households within its borders. There are approximately 1,200 rooftops in the City of Dayton comprising a city population of approximately 4,800. The fact that Dayton’s population has fallen below the 5,000 population benchmark has negative consequences for Dayton regarding state funding aid. Moreover, Dayton has a level of fixed operating costs and fixed debt obligations, which cannot immediately be changed. If Dayton does not increase the resident and business base, the net effect will result in spreading the City’s fixed costs over fewer residents in the form of increased taxes. The construction of the I94 / Brockton Interchange will spur economic development. Spurring economic development in strategic sections of the City will contribute to the needed increase in Dayton’s population and number of businesses. An increase in Dayton’s population and number of business will help lower property taxes by spreading fixed costs over a greater population base. My goal is to preserve the historical nature, which Dayton has enjoyed for many decades by using a strategic approach to manage Dayton’s growth. The preservation of Dayton’s country living as well as growing Dayton strategically can both be accomplished. Regarding city spending, Dayton residents must have the confidence tax dollars are spent on the highest priorities and with the highest efficiency. I seek to ensure these goals.

On what issue(s) do you have a differing philosophy than the current council? Please explain efforts you would take to make changes. 1.) The current council does not believe in a future zoning which allows for half acre or larger lot sizes. The overwhelming majority of Dayton residents believe Dayton needs to grow. That same overwhelming majority also believe there must be more space between houses than three homes per acre. The present council has charted a vision for city development, which largely mimics the look and feel of Maple Grove, Champlin, and Rogers. While we absolutely need to grow, I DO NOT want to see Dayton become the next Maple Grove, Champlin, or Rogers. Rather, I hold the same position as the vast majority of Dayton residents in that the City’s comprehensive plan must maintain Dayton as a strategic differentiator to the neighboring cities. I am in favor of changing zoning and modifying the City’s comprehensive plan to allow for larger lot sizes. 2.) The current council has situated the City with high levels of debt. The City is now in a position where spending has increased in order to service the high debt level. My position is to begin lowering the City’s debt level in order to decrease spending as much as possible. 3.) The current council has not allocated sufficient savings for road repair. My position is tax dollars should be better managed to account for annual depreciation of existing roads without further borrowing.

Current and retiring city council members who are not up for election this year provided the following questions for candidates to answer. This includes Rick Shermer, Scott Hoke and retiring Mayor Doug Anderson:

What is the reason you chose to run for council? My primary motivation for running is to bring new blood to the council. I seek to ensure local government protects and promotes individual liberty and quality of life. I believe it is healthy to elect new faces to positions of leadership and government to elicit fresh ideas and perspectives.

What do you believe are the 3 most important strategies or actions to ensure Dayton’s future success? 1.) Maximum Efficiency of the City Budget 2.) Brockton / I-94 Interchange 3.) Strategic Growth and Economic Vitality

What steps would you take to keep the Brockton interchange project moving forward? The momentum must be continued. I will seek to continue the relationships and next step conversations with all stakeholders including Dayton residents, bordering cities which have a vested interest such as Rogers, Maple Grove, Corcoran, and potentially Brooklyn Park with the impacts to 610 and 81, the State of Minnesota, and the Federal Government. The Brockton Interchange carries a hefty price tag. The Interchange part is estimated at $30 million and the infrastructure outside ramp is $60 million the city would have to pay a portion of that.

How would you proceed with the current debt structure the city has now in funding our portion of project? There are many stakeholders who will reap the positive benefits of the construction of the Brockton/I-94 interchange. I listed several stakeholders in my answer to the previous question. Interchange planning and construction occurs in separate phases with different portions of the costs distributed among all stakeholders. At the appropriate time(s) in the future, the City has multiple mechanisms available by which to fund its portion of costs. Examples include but are not limited to, development grants, TIF zones or districts, public-private partnership funding, bonding, etc., or any combination thereof.

SCOTT SALONEK

Education: Delano High School

OCCUPATION: Self-employed

FAMILY: Wife Connie, daughter and son

PREVIOUS POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: None

OTHER BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION: Dayton resident for last 25 years. Own and operate an elk and whitetail deer farm. Hobbies include bow hunting, golf and camping.

What distinguishes you from your opponent? I am very open in any conversation or topic. Common sense goes a long way in life and business. I have no hidden agenda or gain to hope for. I feel my common sense approach will be the best asset for our city.

If elected, what will be your top 3 priorities/issues? The tax burden in our city is way out of line. This has in the last six years more than doubled. The current council has created ugly debt problems from over spending and excessive borrowing. The future debt will be a devastating problem through 2018. In 2008, Dayton’s payroll was $868,000. In just four years this has ballooned to over $1,444,000, an over 40 percent increase with 20 percent less staff. Dayton needs more roof tops to help spread out the debt.

On what issues do you have a differing philosophy than the current Council? On spending, if you want a new building or other equipment you have to use the same philosophy your residents, or any business, should use. Plan ahead, save for it and do not borrow past your means. On the NE sewer and water project that was forced on many residents, I believe created Dayton’s largest debt problem, the city borrowed $23 million on the hope houses would come. The best hope the residents can ask for is this mistake does not cost them for next 30-plus years.

Current and retiring city council members who are not up for election this year provided the following questions for candidates to answer. This includes Rick Shermer, Scott Hoke and retiring Mayor Doug Anderson:

What is the reason you chose to run for council? I have been a resident for 25 years and our taxes have continually risen for the last six years, city debt is out of control. The current council’s spend and pass the burden strategy needs to stop or we will lose more residents than we have.

What do you believe are the 3 most important strategies or actions to ensure Dayton’s future success? I keep saying this but city office needs to stay within the boundaries of what you have, spend less and save, not borrow and pass the buck. We also need some development to create more revenue. City payroll in the last four years is up 40 percent with less employees that needs a hard look.

What steps would you take to keep the Brockton interchange project moving forward? The interchange would certainly help development. Dayton Council has this at no cost 30-plus years ago. Now the price may be too steep. The Brockton Interchange carries a hefty price tag. The Interchange part is estimated at $30 million and the infrastructure outside ramp is $60 million the city would have to pay a portion of that.

How would you proceed with the current debt structure the city has now in funding our portion of project? This is another tough deal. Over the last six years Dayton’s current debt is ugly. If Dayton’s portion is just 5 percent that is a new burden of $4.5 million. I would first look at development to pick up the largest share. Again this could have been avoided with better planning and saving for the future.

5 seek 2 Delano City Council seats

Five candidates are competing for two seats on the Delano City Council. They are Harlan Lewis, Dan Gustafson, John D. (Jack) Russek, Betsy Stolfa and Jon Sutherland. The two seats each carry a four-year term.

This newspaper asked the candidates to submit biographies containing a maximum of 100 words. The candidates also were asked to comment on what they think are the top issues facing Delano and to describe their visions for Delano’s future. The length of these statements is limited to 400 words.

Following are the candidates’ biographies and statements. This newspaper did not receive information from Dan Gustafson.

Harlan Lewis

Candidate Biography:

Delano resident for 25 years. Married to Jane for 47 years. Two children. Three grandchildren.

B.S. degree from Moorhead State University and Automated Machine Technology degree from Hennepin Technical College. Served three years with US Army Security Agency — 22 months in Korea. Was production manager for medical device company before retiring.

Member Delano American Legion Post 377. Has 40 years of Boy Scout membership — 10 as paid professional. Member Delano Community Education Board, Delano Public Safety Commission, Delano Dream Team II/Downtown Task Force, Delano Community Emergency Response Team, Delano Commons Community Action Board, and Delano Senior Issues group.

Candidate Statement:

I hear what citizens are saying and will listen to their concerns. I’m willing to tackle any project. I have the time and expertise to get things done.

Two major issues are rising property taxes and the need for good paying jobs in Delano for Delano residents.

Concerning property taxes, we must reduce taxes and create revenue. We need a fresh review of how best to operate our city within a reasonable budget framework. With our current economic reality, we cannot keep doing things the same old way. We must find ways to hold spending down to the level it was last year or less. Also, we need to be more resourceful in helping commercial development in Delano.

Regarding good paying jobs, filling commercial lots still open along Highway 12 would be a great start. Next is the need to develop our new Industrial Park site on Highway 12 on Delano’s northwest side. This site already has access to sewer, water and electricity.

We need an inventory of empty commercial lots to know how many sites are still open. (We can gather info from developers, current businesses, numbers of pulled city permits, Wright County, state of Minnesota, recent city surveys, etc.) Next, we should put together a “Start a Business in Delano” task force, operated by the Chamber of Commerce. The task force would generate a list of businesses that Delano is looking for and develop contact ideas for these targeted business types. We need someone to promote Delano on a regional and national basis at trade shows — promoting our good schools, water, power, land, quality of life and excellent workforce.

The new industrial park needs someone to plan, manage, sample site ideas, recruit tenants, etc. Lets recruit a group of CEOs, business owners, banking groups, citizens who have or are now working outside of Delano on planning projects, known suppliers to these companies, etc. for a “Blue Ribbon Committee for BUILD DELANO.” This Park will create a new source of revenue for Delano, thereby reducing your taxes. The Park will bring more jobs to Delano resulting in less drive time to work, less gas use and more family time.

If we are to become a world-class city, we cannot ignore our seniors. As a city we need to be friendlier to senior issues. I recommend forming a “Commission on Senior Needs” reporting to and working with the city of Delano.

Jack Russek

Candidate Biography:

I am 77 years old, have been married to wife Renata for 53 years and I have two married daughters and nine grandchildren. I have lived my whole life in or near Delano. We farmed from 1961 until 1995, and then we moved to town in 2005. I was a Franklin Township Supervisor for eight years and now a Wright County Commissioner since 1993.

Candidate Statement:

My interest in serving as a Delano City Council member is to lower the budget and get our streets repaired. I believe if we don’t keep our streets in good repair, so goes the town.

Betsy Stolfa

Candidate Biography:

Seven years ago, my family chose Delano for the excellent schools for my two daughters, the small-town feel and the bright potential of the city. I have deep family roots here. My community service includes the Women’s Club, the garden club, the ECFE Advisory Board and the Dream Team. I graduated from University of Wisconsin-Madison. I operate a business services company, focused on bookkeeping.

Candidate Statement:

My commitment to making Delano an even better place to live and work motivated my run for re-election. I am passionate about the city’s long-term health. Voters may expect my full attention and a proactive, transparent approach.

Business retention and development is my first priority. A healthy level of business growth will be just as effective in holding our property tax in check as cost cutting. My goal is to attract more shopping, services and quality well-paying jobs to Delano.

Helpful, flexible and fair business policies make it easy for businesses to locate and thrive in Delano. Since I took office, we have had record-setting commercial growth, including new retail and services at Delano Crossings, major expansions such as the clinic and Randy’s Sanitation, and redevelopments in the industrial park and the old Dodge dealership. We also took a giant leap forward on making the new west-side business park a reality. Let’s keep this track record going.

Maintaining our quality of life is another priority. Some of my goals:

• Implement our comprehensive road maintenance plan so we have smooth streets.

• Continue advocating for safe crosswalks and trails so all ages can move around the city.

• Protect and improve our parks and senior center. They are gems.

• Build on our Spirit of Community Initiative, encouraging cooperation with our fantastic volunteer organizations.

• In all things, strive for clean, well maintained and beautiful.

The last four years, my approach to fiscal responsibility emphasized balance between increasing the tax base and looking for innovative ways to deliver services more inexpensively. In response to the recession, we cut costs in a number of ways. We stabilized city finances while prioritizing services directly affecting residents.

For example, we:

• Now share our building official and costly sewer maintenance equipment with a neighboring town.

•  Reduced city hall staff.

•  Re-financed debts to more favorable interest rates.

• Partnered with organizations and businesses such as the Delano Athletic Club and Landscape Structures to improve parks. Volunteers have been invited to adopt a park.

• Received grants for flood control measures, road improvements, and other projects.

• Bought “used” instead of “new.”

Kudos to city staff for great efforts in delivering friendly, professional services with a lean budget.

I comb through each line of the budget, reassessing the need for each expense, every year, mindful that these funds are taxpayers’ hard-earned money.

Jon Sutherland

Candidate Biography:

I grew up in the Minneapolis neighborhood of Bryn Mawr and graduated from West High School. My wife Margaret (Field) and I built our home in Delano and we have three children — Cameron, Amelia, and Keenan. My son Eric lives in Portland Oregon. I attended Community College and the University of Minnesota for two years.

I work as a building Inspector for Minneapolis and I have 25 years of experience serving the public, including the position of building official/zoning administrator where I gained a great deal of experience and the skills necessary to serve Delano and protect tax dollars.

Candidate Statement:

I propose to:

Reduce the tax levy, contain spending, reset priorities, reduce subsidies, and hold taxes in line. Evaluate what is important and where to apply our limited funds.

Rescind street assessment policy; reallocate existing funds to street repair. Emphasize a capital improvement program that addresses street maintenance and existing deficiencies in funding without adding debt.

Establish a new normal of financial reporting; provide accountability of council and staff to the public by adding a “taxpayer’s cost analysis” to council actions. Explain cost and tax ramifications to the public prior to the action.

Improve and open government process; improve relationship between residents and business by providing qualified performance measurements of council actions. Evaluate performance and measure services to find areas for improvement.

Establish a required turnaround time for minutes of meetings. Assist staff, planning, parks and public safety commissions to improve communication and reporting to the public.

Support and work collectively with our schools. The city tax levy precedes the school referendum and this competes with tax dollars and providing for schools. The city typically has levy increases and the public is exhausted or taxed out by the time it comes to providing for schools. Plowing for city streets and school property is one and the same for taxpayers yet the entities do not work together to combine this service. We must work together to provide better service and save money.

Provide leadership and input in tax reform. The state impacts local and school taxes and this needs to work better. Delano is a hotbed for political action and reform; we should address tax reform, be innovative and work collectively with and give input to state representatives and work with the League of Minnesota Cities to resolve disparities.

My vision for Delano is a vibrant community that maintains its rural character and historic downtown. A small town. Slower and well managed growth. Excellence in its schools and government. A desirable place to live.

Let’s encourage a good marriage between existing uses and new growth. Assist both developers and residents by an open process. Manage future growth by fully utilizing our expertise for planning, zoning and engineering, including greater public input. This includes an interdepartmental review by city staff and commissions.

4 seek Hanover mayor, 5 for council seats

In Hanover, Mayor Martin Waters (four-year term) and city councilors John Vajda and Dave Malewicki are both up for four-year terms. Filing for mayor are Waters, current councilor Wendy Pinor, current councilor Chris Kauffman and Joe Kaul. Filing for council are Vajda, Malewicki, Chris Zanetti, Jeff Rengstorf and Doug Hammerseng.

Candidates were asked to provide a statement about their background and the issues they feel are important in the election.

Those who responded are included here.

Chris Kauffman

Business Owner 28 years; B.S., University of Minnesota, 1984; Married, three children; resident of Hanover 13 years; Hanover City Council 2010 and Hanover EDA 2009; I-94 Chamber of Commerce, Board Member/Past Chairman; Wright County Soccer Club, Board Member.

I have an extensive background in business, having run my own business for over 25 years. I understand the value of a dollar and the impact of taxes and regulation on business. Since 2009, I have served as a valued member of the Hanover Economic Development Authority, helping existing businesses and bringing new business to Hanover. In 2011 I was elected Chairman of the I-94 West Chamber of Commerce. During this term I was responsible for resolving a number of issues, including leading the effort to hire the Chamber’s current president.

This experience will be helpful in finding the best fit candidate for the open position of Hanover City Administrator. My involvement as a Board Member of Wright County Soccer Club has proved instrumental in successfully bringing soccer to three of our parks, Cardinal Circle, Mallard and Settlers, bringing many new visitors to our city. In addition to investing in our community through volunteering, in 2008 my wife and I invested financially in Hanover, purchasing the old 4th Street Hardware building and renovating it into a Multi-tenant retail center, which has directly brought new business to our community.

I have chosen to run for mayor to advocate for common sense solutions to issues facing our city: hiring a new City Administrator, stimulating housing construction on our many empty lots and addressing the need for a storage building for our public works. I will work hard to find responsible solutions to all issues that will actively better our whole community.

As Mayor my main objective will be to maintain the small town feeling of our community that makes Hanover special, while relying on my extensive business background and proven leadership to bring common sense growth to Hanover.

 

Joe Kaul

I moved to Hanover 7 years ago with my wife and two children. I operate two businesses in Hanover; Kaul Design Group, (graphics & web design), and Data Gnomes (computer support).

In my spare time I am a fisherman, golfer, musician and antique outboard engine collector.

I am currently the Treasurer for the Hanover EDA, and I am also directly involved with many local organizations including the Historical Society & Harvest Festival.

I can explain my decision to run for the office of Mayor with three simple words – I Love Hanover.

The next Mayor of Hanover will play an important role in selecting a new City Administrator. This selection will effect Hanover for many years to come. I believe that having an effective decision maker as Mayor will be essential to finding the right person for this important position within the City. I have a knack for evaluating personality types and skill sets, and will respect the opinions of every person that will be assisting with the selection process. My goal is to ensure that the City is served with the highest level of experience and expertise available within the pool of individuals looking to serve Hanover as our next City Administrator.

The current City Council is in jeopardy of becoming ineffective. All 5 Council members are either running for Mayor, or for re-election to their own seats. There are 5 individuals running for 2 City Council seats, and 4 people running for the office of Mayor. I am the only candidate for Mayor that is NOT currently part of the City Council, and I believe that this provides me with an opportunity to evaluate the parts that are working, eliminate what’s not working, and re-establish an effective City Council for the residents of Hanover. If elected, I will be committed to bringing a more fun, cooperative and open environment to Council meetings and official events.

We need effective solutions for senior housing & care in Hanover. During my tenure with the Hanover Economic Development Authority (EDA), I have been an integral part of a cooperative effort with a committed group of seniors in our community to bring developers and providers to the City in order to find solutions to our short and long term needs for senior housing and care. I will continue to work hard to ensure that those who helped build Hanover will be able to stay in Hanover for as long as they choose.

I would like to ensure that we guide Economic Development within Hanover in an intelligent fashion, and proactively address infrastructure and technology upgrades within our City to meet current and forthcoming needs for all residents and businesses. During this process, I firmly believe that we need to work extensively to preserve the History and “old town charm” that makes Hanover such a wonderful place to live and work – we need to keep looking forward while respecting the past!

Wendy Pinor

I am a married mother of two and have lived in Hanover for 12 years, spending 10 of those on either the planning commission or city council.

I have my masters degree in Regulatory Affairs and as a Regulatory Affairs professional.

I spend my spare time with my family and love the north woods and gardening. I help with the Hanover community garden and my family has adopted the garden at the fire department where my husband is a volunteer member.

Previous community involvement includes Hanover Harvest Fest, Buffalo Hanover Montrose Special Education Parent Advisory Committee, and United States Marine Corps reserve.

I will strive to:

• Implement 1, 2, and 5 year plans for the future of Hanover.

• Align city staff, EDA, planning commission and park board goals accordingly.

• Identify significant city assets, preserve those assets and determine how to use them for the betterment of the city.

• Encourage teamwork, and cross functional interaction to better align projects and outcomes.

• Promote individual input and involvement to maximize collaborative, interactive, fact based decision making.

• Work to together to try to determine long term impacts of our decisions.

• Encourage regular learning opportunities to educate and reinforce knowledge applicable to our positions.

• Promote thoughtful, well guided growth and development.

• Promote a positive city image.

• Foster economic growth and business retention.

• Monitor and invest in public safety.

Martin Waters

My wife Vonnie and I have raised our family in Hanover and care deeply about our community’s future.

Our son Alec attended Hanover Elementary, Buffalo Middle School and now attends Buffalo High School. Prior to Mayor, I served the community as the Chair of the Hanover Park Board. I earned by Bachelor’s degree at Concordia University in St. Paul in Organizational Management and Communications. During my career I have held both Management and Technical roles in the Information Technology industry. This background has firmly developed my leadership capability, creativity and innovative approaches to problem solving.

Hanover and its families deserve an active, engaged leader that: Attends meeting prepared, ready to work with others. Rolls up their sleeves and are willing to work on new inventive solutions… driving greater value out of our tax dollars. I am proud to have been told, “that no Mayor has ever worked harder and that Hanover is highly regarded.”

I will continue my focus upon community safety, inviting further business investment to Hanover, working together to help build a community for a lifetime, efficiently allocating grant dollars to our 2013 trail projects and having fun together as we continue to build our community spirit. Let’s work together to bring Jobs to Hanover so our families can work near their homes. One major project that I’d like to see accomplished if elected for the next term is re-decking of the 1885 Hanover Historic Bridge.

Involvement in the community and collaboration with other leaders has been the cornerstone of my first four years as Mayor. I have been active member within the following: Hanover Harvest Festival, Hanover Historical Society, Crow River Clean-up, Crow River Senior Center, Wright County Mayor’s Association, Northwest Hennepin League of Municipalities, Minnesota Mayor’s Association, and the League of Minnesota Cities.

Since I took office in 2009, I have worked to reduce our city tax levy success fully each of the past four years, while our strategic community investments continue to position us for the future. I’ve taken steps to add new accountability to our local government and led actions to improve the appearance of our city (non-conforming properties, weed mitigation, code enforcement, updated city logo and city website).

I am proud of my track record and stand ready carry forward the momentum. I humbly ask for your VOTE of support.

 

Doug Hammerseng

My wife and I have been married for 35 years. We have 4 children and 5 beautiful grandchildren. I have 34 years of practical business experience, including positions in management, with several years at the executive level.

This practical experience in leadership roles will lend itself well to helping analyze the issues that face us, making intelligent, responsible decisions for our community.

I am a graduate of the University of Nebraska with a bachelors degree in business and marketing. I have been a resident of Hanover for 4 years. I enjoy hunting, fishing, the outdoors and spending time with my family.

Encouraging and managing responsible growth is an important issue for all citizens of Hanover. I will bring conservative fiscal leadership to Hanover to manage that growth. A strong financial foundation will keep Hanover strong. Therefore, we must keep taxes down while staying within our budget.

The continued need for safety in our community is a must. My strong leadership experience will make safety a priority. Therefore, I support the strong fire department and police presence that Hanover residents of all ages have come to respect and deserve.

Any strong community requires that we address the needs of ALL Hanover residents. I will continue to support the parks, activities and recreational facilities for our youth and families to enjoy. In addition, we must provide for the needs of the Senior citizens in our community.

I plan to bring that balance and represent the interests of ALL Hanover residents, of ALL ages.

I will strive to be a clear channel of communication that will ensure that all Hanover residents have a voice in keeping our city strong going forward.

I believe that it is our privilege to give back to the community where we live, with whatever time or talent we have. Since I do not have any personal agendas, I believe that I am in the best position to represent all of the residents of Hanover fairly and equally, with fresh new ideas for our Future.

Using common sense and sound decision-making will help respect Hanover’s historic past, while protecting the future of our community.

Dave Malewicki

ऀI moved to Hanover long before we had stop signs, streetlights, or even mail delivery service. In October 1988, I joined the fire department as a way to give back to the community I felt part of.

I married my wonderful wife Claudia and we were blessed with three fabulous girls, one in her second year of college and two who are sophomores at Buffalo High School.

The past few years have personally been tough on a financial level, and with the support from friends and acquaintances within the community, I have really felt blessed to call Hanover my home. Thank you to all!

In October, I will have 24 years on the Hanover Fire Department. During those years, I have served as secretary, captain, and assistant chief. I have also served on the Hanover City Council for the past eight years.

ऀI own my own construction business, Crow Hassan Builders, Inc. Almost 15 years ago now, I started working for Allina Transportation as a way to have an ambulance service within our community. I still work part-time on the ambulance as an E.M.T.

ऀI am running for my third term of office for the following reasons:

ऀMy first task after taking office eight years ago was to hire a city administrator. Sad to say, we need to do this again, and I hope to find someone to fill some big shoes due to the loss of Dan Buchholtz.

ऀMy fellow members on the council personally asked if I would run again. They all stated they liked my decision-making leadership skills, and they needed someone who has been with the city as long as I have been. Now I feel old!

ऀI also enjoy being as involved as I am, and there are things in the works I would like to see come to fruition.

ऀI want to keep the small town charm of Hanover, I want to keep possible growth organized and manageable, and I want to keep the budget flat as we have been able to do for the past few years.

ऀMy wife and kids said they would support me.

ऀThe issues that come to mind would be having a tax base that would grow slowly, so that as more demands are put onto the city, we can address them without increasing the tax levy.

ऀI would like to see some kind of affordable senior housing available. I think the city should come up with some kind of program that would help our seniors be able to stay in their houses.

ऀThe joint programs we have been working on with the Buffalo school district need to be strengthened.

ऀWe also need more programs and activities for community growth.

ऀI would appreciate your support on Election Day.

John Vajda

My wife Sandy and I have lived in Hanover for more than 5 years.

We have three kids that are at the elementary school here in town. As a stay-at-home dad, I have enough time to volunteer for a lot of their activities. I have also been on the Hanover City Council for one term and cannot wait to start another.

I bring strong leadership and common sense when directing the city’s actions. I love to be out in the community, listening to wants and ideas and continuing to increase business and resident involvement within the city.

Four years ago, I ran for City Council to help make Hanover a better community for our families and businesses. Since I was elected, I have fought to keep our taxes low by not voting for a property tax increase, helped to create economic development programs to fill vacant commercial spaces, and make City Hall more friendly and approachable for our residents.

But, there is still more to do. Together, we need to continue efforts to increase community involvement by building a permanent framework for engagement, participation and directing the city’s actions. We need to listen to and support our local businesses to assure their continued successful growth. I will continue to personify your wants, ideas and inspirations when representing you.

I will continue to be your honest voice on the Hanover City Council. Feel free to contact me at the city for any questions or visions that you may have.

 

Christopher Zanetti

I moved to Hanover in 2003 with my wife Erin from Maple Grove.

What attracted us to Hanover was the remote countryside location away from all of the congestion, the great schools and the fact that we are only minutes away from everything we need.

For the past 5 years I’ve been a member of the Hanover Planning Commission and this year I’m currently the Head Chair. Besides volunteering my time for the city I enjoy coaching baseball and soccer for our two kids Ella and Zachary.

I would like to take what I have learned during my time on the Planning Commission to the City Council where I can represent you and work with you to make Hanover the best city in Minnesota. I will be your voice down at City Hall. As your City Councilman, I plan make sure that growth is done in a way that will allow us to preserve our history, sense of community and the agricultural fabric that makes Hanover such a great place to live.

I’m not running as a politician and I have no interest beyond City Hall. I am running for City Council as a way to give back to the community that has become home to me and my family. Thank you for your support on Nov. 6.

Greenfield residents to fill 3 council openings with Nov. 6 votes

The Greenfield City Council has three openings — one mayor and two councilor seats. The mayor serves a two-year term, while councilors hold four-year terms.

Two candidates are running for the Mayoral seat now occupied by Mayor Jerry Hertaus, and they are Brad Johnson (sitting councilor) and John Lund.

Three candidates are in a race for two council seats. They are Chuck Alcon, Michael Erickson (incumbent) and Mark Holton.

All candidates were asked for biographical information and statements.

 

Mayor

Brad Johnson

Candidate Biography:

I am a lifetime resident of Minnesota and an eight-year resident of Greenfield.  My wife of 24 years and I have three children, two in college and one in high school.

I have been on the Greenfield City Council and the Greenfield Economic Development Authority (EDA) since January 2011. I am the owner of a small business, Vice President of the Rockford-Greenfield Area Chamber of Commerce, and am on the Leadership Team of Riverwood Covenant Church.

I was Greenfield City Administrator from 2007–09 and Founding Board member of RiverWorks (the Rockford food shelf and thrift store people).

Candidate Statement:

I believe my years in the community, experience managing my own business, my time as City Administrator, Vice President of the Rockford-Greenfield Area Chamber of Commerce, my service on the City Council and EDA, and my volunteer efforts in the community have given me the right perspective on the issues that matter most to Greenfield residents.  As a parent with three children, I understand the challenges faced by families every day.

Since becoming a member of the City Council in 2011, we have successfully restored the city’s insurance with the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust thus saving the city thousands of dollars annually and reducing our liability. We also have refinanced city bonds, which resulted in a savings of $294,868. We have reduced costs on city sewer and water contracted services. Other accomplishments are adding to Greenfield budget reserves, improved the image of our city, and reduced expenditures on legal fees.

I am running for Mayor because as a current member of the City Council I want to continue the positive momentum and direction that we have established since taking office in January 2011. It is vital that Greenfield stays on this track and does not go back to the ways of the past.

As a Greenfield resident, I understand the history of our community and the challenges we have faced over recent years. I want Greenfield to be known for its beauty and quality of life. As a City Council member, I have kept my promises to be a voice of reason, to be respectful of residents and council members, to courteously make the case for my position, to cast my vote, to not keep score, to not hold grudges, and to support the results regardless if I was on the prevailing side or not.

As Mayor, I will continue this practice and do all that I can to help our city by providing a calm voice that is reasonable, respectful and responsible. My priorities will be to continue improving the image of Greenfield making Greenfield more attractive to businesses and residents, to work toward getting our deductible lowered with our insurance provider, to continue scrutinizing City budgets, spending, and contracts to find savings wherever possible, and to work with the City Council, Park Advisory, and volunteers to see new amenities come to the city park.

I hope you will support me with your vote on Nov. 6th.

John Lund

Candidate Biography:

Hi, My name is John Lund. I am running for the office of Mayor in Greenfield.  I have been a resident of Greenfield for 15 years. In that time I have served as a Planning Commissioner, your Mayor in 2010, and as a Council Member for 14 months as well as Mayor Elect during that time.

I volunteer at the Delano Area Senior Center and have served multiple terms on their Advisory Board.  I also serve on The Metropolitan Council Transportation Accessibility Advisory Committee.

Candidate Statement:

Greenfield is still faced with the issue of its’ insurance. We succeeded in getting some of our coverage back in the fall of 2011. At an August 2011 League of Minnesota Cities Board meeting, the League made the decision to begin to re-issue part of our lost insurance coverage. This was a result of the progress that was made in 2010 and continued into 2011. The League decided recently not to improve on Greenfield’s insurance terms for the next year. As Mayor I will strive to show them that we do deserve to take the next step towards being fully reinstated.

Greenfield has done refinancing of our long-term debt. In 2010 and again in 2012, bond debt was refinanced with lower interest rates. This will save the City approximately $360,000 and $300,000, over the life of these bonds, as well as reduce some of the pay off timelines.

We need to have a clear, long-term plan for moving the City forward. This needs to include capital improvements, depreciation and equipment replacement. Let’s have a plan for how the City should handle its’ Fire and Law enforcement obligations to its’ residents in the near as well as long term future. This will include working with our neighboring cities who also face some of the same issues. We need to continue to find ways to utilize the capacities of our treatment plants and make them pay for themselves.

If our Comprehensive Plan update, including a change in density, is accepted by the Metropolitan Council, it will be a new outlook. We would have the opportunity for more growth with the addition of more residents that is very much needed for us to thrive as a City. This would also mean more students and funding for our schools. We would see more business willing to make an investment in our community.

As your Mayor in 2010, we took a giant step forward from where we had been, and much sooner than had been expected. I will once again represent Greenfield in a positive manner, and we will continue to move towards being a place where people want to live and invest in their futures.

I would like to thank Mayor Hertaus for his service to Greenfield. This goes back several years and includes many contributions in addition to his term as Mayor. I wish the best for Jerry in his future endeavors.

 

Council

Chuck Alcon

Candidate Biography:

Married, wife Karen, two children, five grandchildren, Greenfield resident since 1999, BSEE and MSEE Purdue University, additional studies in contract administration and contract law, finance, labor relations, business management and strategic planning, U.S. Navy 20-plus years, Lieutenant Commander (USN Ret.); Program Manager Control Data Corporation (Ret.), past 18 years; Project Manager for residential and commercial developments, hundreds of hours of experience in numerous cities, large and small, with City Council; Planning Commission and Park Commission; DNR experience; MnDOT; multiple watersheds, MPCA and Hennepin County involving platting, comprehensive planning, levies, TIF, public hearings, variances, assessments, bonding, development/redevelopment and budgeting.

Candidate Statement:

I am a staunch fiscal conservative. Greenfield with its small population does not qualify for many of the State aid programs therefore we must be creative in our solutions to the problems presented. Police and fire protection along with maintenance of paved and unpaved roads are obvious budget priorities.

The Industrial Sewer and Water Enterprise Funds need additional users in order to sustain long-term financial stability.

Greenfield should maintain its history of agriculture and rural character, with open space, even as the agricultural operations gradually diminish. I support a density of 1 home per 5 acres throughout the City, that is, an equal development opportunity for all who wish to develop their land to the best use and highest value. The 1 in 5 density approach maintains the rural atmosphere and open space while maximizing the residential tax base and providing environmental protection for the necessary mound systems.

Our lakes, streams, and wetlands are very important assets. We should focus on preventing pollution and phosphorus buildup in these assets and seek grants for cleanup, where necessary, since most proposed cleanup projects are well beyond the limited financial resources of our City and many are technically unproven.

The Comprehensive Plan submitted to the Met Council contains a range of housing values, types and locations, which I support. I also support local control by our elected officials.

Development/redevelopment of the Highway 55 commercial corridor will be difficult but not impossible. I support actively seeking commercial opportunities for this corridor, i.e. retail, light industrial, manufacturing or passive industrial which will add to the commercial tax base and require sanitary sewer service and water within our limited capacities. If a tax increment project is proposed then I would support that approach.

Greenfield is a wonderful place to live and work and I will work to keep it that way.

Michael Erickson

Candidate Biography:

I was born and raised in Buffalo and I am a nine year resident of Greenfield. I am married to Heidi and we have a nine-year-old daughter, Angela who attends Rockford Elementary School. I have owned my own business for over twenty-five years. I am a graduate of Buffalo High School. I have an A.A. Degree from North Hennepin College and a B.A. Degree from the University of Minnesota. I have served on the Greenfield City Council for the past four years.

Candidate Statement:

Greenfield needs growth:

Greenfield needs a strong and vibrant business community, one that will give Greenfield a solid tax base. We would all like to see businesses that enhance the quality of our lives and make our day-to-day efforts easier. The business community wants to see a strong expectation of profit. When the economy picks up again, we in Greenfield will probably see growth first in single-family housing. Greenfield’s Comprehensive Plan identifies roughly two hundred acres, in areas bordering the High School and Elementary School for three home per acre development. This will answer the business communities call for more “rooftops,” and supply more customers for our sewer and water system to make it cost effective. The single-family homes will also provide younger families for our school system, delivering more “per pupil dollars” from the state and a greater property tax base for sharing the burden. Our Comprehensive Plan is now going through the Metropolitan Councils approval process. I have always promoted higher density for Greenfield and will not waver in standing for one house per five acres throughout the rest of the city.

Accomplishments:

Greenfield’s relations with our service providers has improved. I have served as one of our Fire Board representatives for the last four years. I worked to change that relationship, from one of suspicion and mistrust to what we have now; one of mutual respect and cooperation. I served as Emergency Management Director for two and a half years meeting regularly with the Police and Fire Chiefs in the area; as they are the people who fill the roles of Directors and Coordinators. They are good people who care strongly for the communities they serve. I have learned about the history of this city, to try to understand what happened and why it happened, so we might avoid making the same mistakes in the future.

Summation:

As with all things, there is a learning curve to this job. In the four years I have served, I have tried to do what was in the best interests of the majority of our citizens. I have honestly answered the questions asked of me and have always followed the rules under which we govern. If re-elected, I’ll continue to do the same.

I ask for your vote!

Mark Holten

Candidate Biography:

I and my wife of 31 years, Terry, have lived in Greenfield since 1990 and both our children were born and raised here. I grew up in the Twin Cities in a variety of locations, including a farm near Hugo, St. Paul and Edina.

I am a technology professional, and have worked most of my career as a small business owner or consultant solving problems for organizations large and small. I am currently working at Wells Fargo in their technology strategy area and am the President of the Lake Sarah Improvement Association.

Candidate Statement:

My vision for Greenfield is one that meets the challenges and opportunities of the next 20 years. We need to leverage our natural resources and diverse population to build an integrated community; one that meets the needs of all our residents: farmers, businesses, and commuter workers.

I have three main priorities for the city council. First, bring more businesses and jobs to the city; second, continue to strengthen our financial base; and third, build a stronger sense of community in the city.

In Greenfield, like almost everywhere, the biggest challenge is jobs. As the economy recovers Greenfield needs to be in a position to attract and support more local businesses. We have a lot to offer, but we need to do everything we can do to attract more businesses to our area. Reviewing building codes, looking at incentives, and aggressively marketing Greenfield to the business community are examples of potential activities.

In the last two years Greenfield has made a lot of progress, but there is more we can do to help strengthen our city finances. We need to fully leverage our resources to reduce expenses and generate income. We need to take advantage of the record low interest rates to lower our debt servicing expenses and we need to invest in our community in ways that address our core needs.

And finally we need to continue to build and maintain a strong sense of community. This can be done in a number of different ways, including making more progress on our city park and putting together events that encourage pride and involvement in our city.

Greenfield is a great city with a bright future and I hope to help lead us forward.

Lohr challenges Koch for Loretto Mayor

Three candidates are competing for two seats on the Loretto City Council and two are competing for the Mayor’s chair.

In the race for mayor, City Councilmember Clark Lohr is competing against current Mayor Kent Koch.

The City Council candidates are Cari Girk, Henry Pepin and Brenda Daniels. Jeffrey France has withdrawn from the race, but his name will be on the ballot.

This newspaper asked the candidates to submit biographies containing a maximum of 100 words. The candidates also were asked to comment on what they think are the top issues facing Loretto and to describe their visions for Loretto’s future. The length of these statements is limited to 400 words.

Following are the candidates’ biographies and statements. This newspaper did not receive information from Lohr and Daniels.

 

MAYOR

Kent Koch

Candidate Biography:

I have served as mayor the last two years and on numerous committees. I have lived in Loretto for 24 years. I worked previously for the parks department for seven years. Currently, I work full time at United Health Group in Minnetonka as a business analyst. I graduated in 2011 from St. Cloud State with a Bachelor’s degree in finance. I enjoy spending time with family, playing baseball for the Loretto Larks and hunting.

Candidate Statement:

One important issue facing Loretto is our aging wastewater treatment facility. In order for Loretto to meet permit requirements for renewal in 2017, the city will need to do upgrades. The two options to achieve this are to upgrade the current wastewater ponds to meet new standards, and the other option is to connect to the Metropolitan Council sewer line. Both will have large financial impacts to the city of Loretto. A large amount of planning and many informed decisions will need to be made regarding the future of our facility. I want to make sure that our action plan is in motion and Loretto is well prepared before our permit expires and.

My main goal as mayor is to simply keep Loretto, Loretto. I want to keep the small town feel and continue to build on our great relationships with our residents, businesses, and local organizations. I believe with our close proximity to the Twin Cities we can continue to make Loretto a destination point for visitors using the nearby parks and trails, looking for great food, or catching a ball game.

I want to continue to stay conservative when it comes to spending and look for ways to become more efficient. I plan to continue to look for grant funding for capital projects that we have planned to save the city money. Also, I want to leverage resources with neighboring communities to drive down operating costs.

In my two years as mayor, I have built lasting relationships and have loved serving this outstanding community. I have personally enjoyed the benefits of growing up in this town and want to continue to serve the community in a positive way. I am looking forward to the election, and I would appreciate your vote for mayor on Nov. 6.

 

CITY COUNCIL

Cary Girk

Candidate Biography:

I’ve lived on Mallard Lane for the past 10 years with my husband Chris and our three children ages 12, 7 and 5.

Candidate Statement:

For the past year I’ve been on the Loretto Redevelopment Committee. Our focus has been redeveloping the area on County Road 19 left vacant by the apartment fire. I would like to serve on the City Council as our town begins to market to, and work with, potential developers.

I have a background in residential architecture and design. Loretto is such a great place to live and raise a family. My goal is to make sure that budget decisions and future development are done in the best interest of the city and its residents.

Henry Pepin

Candidate Biography:

I live in the Loretto Highlands development with Katie, my bride to be. We absolutely love living in Loretto. We have a daughter with one grandson and two boys. I am a principal research and development engineer for Boston Scientific, where I am responsible for developing products in treating heart disease. My second job is as a member of the Loretto Fire Department, currently serving as a first responder and the safety officer. In both of these jobs I enjoy making people’s lives better.

Candidate Statement:

My experiences that I will bring to Loretto:

I consider myself as a visionary. I am able to set a vision, or a goal, and then map out a method of completing the goal.

My project management skills consist of being responsible for multi-million dollar projects — completing them on time and within budget.

I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in business management, with extensive budget classes and 20 years on managing project budgets.

I have lived in the Loretto area for 45 years and I am member of the Loretto Fire Department for 32 years. This has given me knowledge of what has happened in the past and what needs to happen in the future.

My experience as a project engineer and project manager will help the city in current and future projects it will need to take on in the future to maintain its identity and advance it as a premier city.

I have held several positions in the Loretto Fire Department. The positions held are assistant fire chief, captain, secretary, treasurer and my current position as safety officer.

My college minor in communication and experience at my work in dealing with multiple working styles across the nation and internationally will help me in developing relationships with various government entities the city has to deal with.

I am very committed in what I do. I enjoy what I do for my job and public service. The 29 years at Boston Scientific and 32 years as member of the Loretto Fire Department are examples of this.

My goals as a Loretto City Council member are:

A) Keep property taxes in line with city growth.

B) Continue to expand city businesses and work on methods of attracting new businesses to the city.

C) Expand on what past city councils have accomplished by making Loretto the premier city in which to live or work within Hennepin County.

D) Develop ideas to make Loretto not only a great place to live in but also a great place to visit and spend time in.

E) Refurbish and redevelop the Highway 19 corridor.

2 spaces open on Maple Grove City Council

Residents of Maple Grove will be voting Tuesday, Nov. 6, to fill two positions on the Maple Grove City Council. There are two city council seats open.

Candidates appearing on the ballot for two council seats are incumbents Erik Johnson and Leann Sargent, along with Mark Aubart Sr., David Brown, Jay Dirks, Sherri Marie Johnson and Dan Vogtman.

The candidates were asked to include their thoughts in statements. Each was asked to include in a response:

1. Candidate biography: Please include a short biography of yourself, your background, your personal and professional experiences and any other information you wish to share.

2. Candidate statement: Please comment on the top issues you feel are important in this election. Explain any changes you would like to see made and address the city’s most urgent problems. Please include your vision for Maple Grove’s future and what the council should do to govern and guide future growth.

The responses received include:

Mark Aubart Sr.

Candidate Biography:

A Christian, husband, and father of four living here in Maple Grove since 2005.

Served 21 years in the U.S. Air Force as a Senior Non-Commissioned Officer in places such as Panama, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

Graduate AF NCO Academy. Speak Spanish as a second language.

American Red Cross CPR & First Aid Instructor for over 12 years.  Teach IT at National American University since 1999. MBA Business Administration/Technology Management, BA in Workforce Education, AS in Computer Science.

Employment: US Bank since 2005.  Hold certifications MCSEx2, CCNAv2.  Donate time and money to our local United Way, Habitat for Humanity and local.

Candidate Statement:

I consider the chance to serve our community on the City Council in Maple Grove as a privilege. Having served our country and wonderful citizens for over 21 years in the Air Force and having lived in several less fortunate countries, I have a great appreciation for how totally blessed we are as citizens.

If elected, I plan to focus much of my efforts to improving the things that affect all residents as well as finding new, innovative solutions to everyday problems.

Safety and security of our city and its inhabitants is always high on the list of important concerns for our community. A professional police force and fire department gives our population peace of mind and provides our businesses with an environment that is safe, convenient, and prosperous thus ensuring long-term income for the city.

Safe, secure, affordable homes. Although Maple Grove is doing well with the Scattered Homes Project, a continued focus with the established along with new, innovative programs will ensure all our residents with safe, affordable, efficient homes in close proximity to the resources they need daily.

Transportation is always important, although we Americans love our cars, it is important for Maple Grove to focus on maintaining a safe, comfortable, affordable, easy-to-access and use transportation system. Also, maintaining safe/well maintained streets and roads eases congestion saving our shoppers, workers, businesses and employers, and, a bus and transit system that is easy to use as well affordable will be one of my top-ten.

Parks and recreation is important to our community, it is my intention to make sure we are providing safe, enjoyable, adequate places for all of us to participate in while at the same time ensuring an effective, comprehensive maintenance program is in place to ensure they are in place for years to come.

It is important to every community to balance their budgets, one of the number of things at the top of my list is that we spend the hard-earned money of our friends and neighbors in the most efficient, frugal, and productive way possible. This means finding new ways to get things done at the most affordable prices while at the same time preserving the standards our residents can live with. Developing and executing responsive strategies and compliant sourcing solutions up front so we don’t end up spending excess monies on repair and court costs down the road.

Erik A. Johnson

Candidate Biography:

My wife, Laura, and I bought our Maple Grove home 19 years ago.

I served with the 1st Special Operations Command during Operation Desert Storm and spent 12 years as a Patrol Officer with the Maple Grove Police Department.

In 2005 I left city employment to focus on my growing small business. I am now in management at a global logistics company.

I have served on the Maple Grove Planning Commission and Citizens Advisory Committee and am proud to have been on the City Council for the past four years.

Candidate Statement:

The past four years of service on your City Council has taught me a few things.

First, we have a wonderful staff of professionals who do outstanding work every day. Much of it goes unseen, but it is all important and has helped create one of the best cities in the nation.

We also have been well served by previous councils and staffs who put in the work that led to our success.

But, it all comes down to living in a city with great people, vibrant businesses and solid neighborhoods. Maple Grove is blessed to have all three. Really, my first job is to not mess things up.

We have all seen recent headlines of cities dealing with too much crime, rampant foreclosures and failing businesses. Some cities have even gone bankrupt. While Maple Grove has certainly seen its share of these troubles, we have not had the deep, lasting impact of others. We have turned the corner and are seeing builders select Maple Grove to create new neighborhoods and businesses expand their operations here. This new stability will benefit us all.

Our city remains safe and clean. Our neighborhoods continue to prosper and grow and the city finances are in AAA condition. The city treasury is a primary responsibility of the council and is not something to be managed with slogans and short-term ideas. Prudent financial planning will ensure the prosperity of the city and keep taxes low for the coming generations. The proposed 2013 budget allows for the city to remain stable and will reduce property taxes for the average homeowner.

Being a City Council member is not something you are, it is something you do. It is about knowing residents, business owners and understanding the impact of your decisions.

It has been my honor and privilege to serve on your council and I hope to have your support for a second term.

Please visit www.erikformaplegrove.org to learn more about my perspectives on these and other key issues.

Sherri Marie Johnson

Candidate Biography:

Education: University of Minnesota/Bachelor of Science/Political Science/Rhetoric/Pubic Health/Women Studies; Mn School of Business/Administrative Assistant.

Family: I raised my family in Maple Grove. I moved 5 miles from where I grew up. I have been a homeowner in Maple Grove for 21 years. I now have a grown son and daughter who graduated from Maple Grove Sr. High. I also have two granddaughters.

I have watched Maple Grove develop. My parents owned a hobby farm in southwest Maple Grove off Peony Lane, which is now a medium density sub-division.

Candidate Statement:

I was active with the community wide support for open space preservation southwest of Bass Lake Road/West of Vicksburg Lane in 1995. On the ballot we residents voted to preserve beautiful land for everyone to enjoy. This land was at one time considered not developable due to wetlands/water quality concerns. Some of this land that we voted for and paid to preserve was approved for sale by city council and sold for housing developments.

I have had concerns about Maple Grove becoming overdeveloped. Residents voices and concerns need to be heard and considered prior to city council approval.

However, I think Maple Grove has been a good place to raise a family. I would like to promote affordable upgrades to our city parks. I am running for Maple Grove city council for the following three reasons.

1. Stable property values.

2. Safe Parks Initiative —I would like to see police officer’s on trails in our parks.

3. Quality of Life/Open Space Preservation.

Also, families may benefit from a short term, drop-off child care center at the community center.

I am not seeking political campaign contributions. I am a mom/grandmother. I do not have a vested interest in the city council seat. City Council members are supposed to be non-partisan. If elected I will be responsive to residents concerns. Thank you for your consideration.

Leann Sargent

Candidate biography:

I have been humbled and honored to be your councilmember since 1990.  I have lived in Maple Grove over 25 years and the N.W. Suburbs all my life.

My 3 daughters had the opportunity to grow up here and went through Dist. 279. Being empty nesters gives my husband and I time to enjoy the city on a “Senior” level.

Prior to being elected as a city Councilmember 22 years ago I served 3 years on M.G. Lake Quality Commission.

Because of the city’s leadership and amenities we have been chosen in the 25 cities in the CNN Money Magazine’s Best Places to Live.

Candidate statement:

My experience, enthusiasm, common sense and listening to citizen input are the basis of my decision making for our city. Residents should understand that I am available 24/7 at 763-420-8945.

Issues include: Patience in development, we need to keep continuing to grow so as not the tax our infrastructure. In these economic times we have to make sure that we are being diligent in projects that will enhance the city.

Carefully Planned Development: We need to keep work carefully and cooperate with our county, stated and federal agencies to get closer to finishing the last 2 and a half miles of Hwy 610. Also we need to take in account what any development will do to the transportation, police, fire and public services.

Housing: We have very diverse housing in Maple Grove, and have to recognize with the state of the economy we cannot rely on the same old. We are fortunate to have life-cycle housing and strive to continue making this a very viable community.

Taxes: We have striven to keep the your city tax dollar lower than inflation plus growth. We have an AAA rating and have accomplished this with the work of our great city staff. As many of you may know the city receives minimal local government aid from the state so we have learned to be very fiscally conservative. Our upcoming budget is the lowest ever at 1.4 percent.

City Services: We need to continue to keep quality and efficiency in city’s services. A “Thank you” goes out to city staff for working hard and giving our citizens the quality service that they deserve. They make me proud to be a councilmember, as I have to rely on their expertise in many council issues.

Police and Fire: We have the finest departments in the Twin Cities. I will continue to support that they are the best educated, equipped and have the “tools” to do their jobs safely and effectively.

Youth: Are approximate 35 percent of our population. I will continue to support our community center, parks and rec department. As the school district is cutting afternoon programs the City must continue to provide programs and opportunities for all ages.

Community: Maple Grove has been blessed to have many caring individuals who volunteer their time and expertise not only to our many City Commissions but other Civic and community projects. I applaud each and every one of you for your commitment to Maple Grove.

Dan Vogtman

Candidate Biography:

Raised in Maple Grove, attended Elm Creek Elementary, Osseo Jr. High, Osseo Sr. High, and moved back to raise our family in the best city in Minnesota. Married to Miranda, one daughter Sydney (age 2), and our dog Cody the Springer Spaniel.

Education:  MBA — University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management (Finance, Business Administration); BS — University of Minnesota. (Political Science, Speech Communications, Business Education).

Employer: Euler Hermes North America, a company of Allianz.

Civic/Volunteer: City of Columbia Heights Charter Commission 2004-11 (President 2009-10); Board of Directors Midwest Global Trade Association (2012); President Alpha Kappa Psi alumni association (2010-present)

Candidate Statement:

Budget: Maple Grove’s annual operating budget has grown by 266 percent over the last 20 years. During that time, the population has increased by 56 percent. A budget that increases at five times the rate of population growth, and six times the rate of inflation is not sustainable. When elected I will not allow this continued unsustainable growth in the annual budget.

Jobs & Development: Maple Grove’s long-range development plan has done a great job of creating a vibrant retail environment. While this has created economic growth by drawing shoppers to the city, this plan has not been as useful for creating higher wage job opportunities. When elected to council, I will work to attract new manufacturing and industrial employers to our city, which will create jobs that pay living wages right here in Maple Grove and bring new revenue.

Public Safety: Public Safety represents 45 percent of our annual operating budget. Nearly every resident and business owner I speak to talks favorably of our police and fire departments. As our city’s population growth tapers off, we will need to focus more of our budget on police and fire, which have maintained at current staffing levels since 2009. I am committed to fully funding our police and fire at current levels or better.

Parks & Recreation: The parks budget represents about 15 percent of the annual operating budget for the city. Maple Grove has vastly expanded the trails system over the last 15 years, and many of these trails will be coming up for repair/replacement in the next 10 years. Our current budget does not address the trail system crisis that is on the horizon, and when elected I will find solutions to this pending budget problem.

Summary: Generally speaking, the biggest issues facing our city will be budget related. Most residents I speak with ask, “How are my taxes going up while my property values are going down?” When elected, I will take this message to city hall, and enact the following measures to help our residents see tax relief: 1) Cut Mayor and Council salaries by 10 percent, 2) Say no to discretionary capital expenditures, 3) Keep the budget flat for the next two years, 4) Fully fund Police & Fire, 5) Bring new businesses to Maple Grove which will create new jobs and revenue for the city. “VOTE Vogtman” for Maple Grove Council Nov. 6.

3 candidates run for Medina Mayor

Three candidates are competing for the mayor’s chair in Medina and three are competing for two City Council seats.

In the mayor’s race Karl Hanson and Darrell Johnson are competing against incumbent Tom Crosby for the two-year mayor’s term. In the City Council race, Jim Dailey, John G. Anderson and incumbent Elizabeth Weir are seeking four-year terms.

This newspaper asked the candidates to submit biographies containing a maximum of 100 words. The candidates also were asked to comment on what they think are the top issues facing Medina and to describe their visions for Medina’s future. The length of these statements is limited to 400 words.

Following are the candidates’ biographies and statements.

 

MAYOR

Tom Crosby

Candidate Biography:

My wife, Ellie, and I have been residents of Medina for over 40 years and have raised our four children in Medina. I am the incumbent mayor, having served since 2007. I served on the Council from 1977 through 1984 and was chair of the Planning Commission in 2007. I am an independent attorney after having been a partner in Faegre Baker Daniels, a Minneapolis based law firm, for many years. I have been active in Twin Cities community affairs and have held several leadership positions.

Candidate Statement:

The challenge for elected officials in uncertain economic times is to provide quality services and to remain current with necessary capital expenditures with concern for the tax burden on residents.  The Medina proposed general fund budget for 2013 is less than that of 2012 and has remained constant since 2007. Road maintenance projects have continued and a new public works and police facility will be occupied in 2013. Giving effect to all of these items, Medina will continue to have one of the lowest tax levy rates in the western suburbs. In 2012 Medina has the second lowest city tax levy rate of the eight neighboring communities, which at 21.342 percent is substantially lower than the average of 39.368 percent of such communities.

If elected to continue as mayor, I would bring the following attributes to the position:

• An understanding of the history, traditions and needs of the city;

• A fair and balanced approach to the issues facing the city;

• An understanding of city budget and financial issues, which will continue responsible financial management;

• Experience in negotiating with large municipal bodies, and

• My background as an attorney with extensive experience in land use and real estate.

Karl Hanson

Candidate Biography:

Age 51, B.S. in chemical engineering, J.D. law degree, former homebuilder and small business owner, owner of Localmakers.com Inc., aviator. Married to Adalia.

At age 19, started first business as a contractor. Revenue earned paid for engineering and law school educations. Sold company in final year of law school and took a job at a law firm in Washington, DC. Two years later, returned to Midwest to work for Minnesota’s largest manufacturing company as patent lawyer. I have studied finance, history, and politics and have been a successful investor, finding undervalued and overvalued companies and buying and selling their stocks.

Candidate Statement:

I am running for mayor because I believe that individual liberty and free-markets best facilitate persons, families, and businesses in reaching their full potential. Wealth kept in the private sector creates yet more wealth, which in turn raises the standard of living for all, enabling the arts and sciences to grow in an exponential fashion.

This model was given to us by our founders, stemming from their readings of the capitalist-economist Adam Smith in his 1776 publication “The Wealth of Nations.” Using his teachings, they gave us a capitalist republic of limited governance. With that we started from essentially nothing in 1789 and in a few short years passed every other nation on the planet. We have since strayed from the path they paved for us and accordingly have suffered the consequences. The restoration of our capitalist republic begins locally — hence my mayoral candidacy.

Darrell Johnson

Candidate Biography:

I am your non-attorney choice for Medina Mayor, (Both other candidates are attorneys.)

Education: Bachelor of Science, electrical engineering, University of Minnesota, Married 34 years, four children, Medina resident 23 years. Prior public service: President of Fairmont Economic Development Authority.

Candidate Statement:

The core value in a city government is demonstrated through providing quality public services. My goal as Mayor would be to emphasize the “service” and enhance efficiency of public services, and advocate privacy rights for our citizens.

To bring to light differences of opinion regarding a few issues that have come before the Mayor in 2012, I have chosen the following three items for review.

In January a woman and daughter requested they be allowed to keep nine dogs on their acreage. The Mayor told them they had to dispose of half of their dogs because their city private kennel license did not allow for that many. I fully recognize that the definition of “private” is “not public.” I believe the public city should not be dictating controls on them regarding their private decision to love as many animals as they wanted on their personal property.

Secondly, the Mayor directed a city attorney to appeal a judicial decision that a man on a Segway cannot be charged with a DUI. State law is very clear in specifying personal mobility vehicles imbue the operator with all the rights of a pedestrian. I believe Medina will lose the appeal and waste almost $10,000 of our taxes.

The largest issue in this election is the city’s purchase of a 69,000 plus square foot commercial building for renovating into public use. This $7.5 million project will increase the total city building capacity for our current 25 employees such that we would need to hire an additional 100 people to reach current space utilization. Even if we tripled the current spaces used by our Public Works, Police, and City Hall, fully half of this building would remain empty.

This building provides inadequate outside storage required by Public Works, impaired emergency access by the Police, and increases the city tax levy rate by 24 percent for the next 20 years even after diverting $1.4 million in existing tax bonds meant for a new water tower to help pay for this behemoth.

Purchase of this building fails the “sanity test” on many different levels. I am opposed.

 

CITY COUNCIL

John G. Anderson

Candidate Biography:

My family has lived in Medina for over 40 years. Together with my wife Trish, I have lived in Medina since 2002.

Current member of Medina Planning Commission.

B.A. degree, University of Minnesota. M.B.A. degree, University of St. Thomas.

Married to Trish, for 15 years.

Small business owner with office/warehouse in Loretto.

Active in community affairs. Hobbies include tennis, golf, and working around the house.

Candidate Statement:

I am running for Medina City Council for several reasons. First, I believe that the city will be challenged over the next several years in managing both its’ growth and its’ finances, and I want to be a part of the team that successfully manages these issues.

In order for us to maintain the special character that is Medina, we need to understand that growth is inevitable, and can benefit the city. But, growth needs to be dealt with in a responsible and environmentally sound fashion and with an eye towards maintaining the special character of the city. As a member of the Medina Planning Commission, I have participated in the review of over 400 residential lots in sewered areas of the city over the past two years. This experience has given me the knowledge and understanding of both the issues and the parties who will shape our city’s future growth.

I believe our city must manage its finances conservatively, and I think that the current administration has done a good job in accomplishing this goal. Medina has the second lowest city tax levy rate of the eight neighboring communities. Our city’s general fund budget has remained essentially constant since 2007. Yet we need to continue to think creatively as to how best to manage our finances while at the same time delivering high levels of city services.

I am a local small businessman. It is imperative that Medina continues to attract small and medium sized businesses to our community, especially along Highway 55 and in the uptown Hamel areas. Small business not only adds to our tax base, it also brings new life and opportunity to the city.

Jim Dailey

Candidate Biography:

My wife Amy and I and our two kids have lived in the Orono/Medina area for the last 14 years. I coach youth hockey and baseball and have been a small business owner since 1999. In 2003 I brought 50 new jobs to the area with the opening of two new businesses and was named “New Business of the Year” by the Lake Minnetonka Chamber of Commerce in 2004. I was honored to be elected to the Lafayette Club Board of Governors, serving a six-year term — two served as club treasurer and one as president.

Candidate Statement:

I am running for Medina City Council because I want to get more involved in our community. As a small business owner, I have gained a lot of experience in presenting to and dealing with various city councils in multiple cities. My experiences have given me an above average knowledge of how city government works and the ability to relate to people who have to deal with and present to city councils.

I am a big fan of limited government and think that the government should support people but not dictate. Medina is experiencing substantial growth. We have 250 single-family home lots that have been approved and/or construction has begun during the last year, with another 250 lots in the planning stages. Also, in December of this year the city is closing on a new building for the public works department. This growth is new territory for Medina, which has traditionally been a more rural community. I understand that a lot of residents want to keep that rural charm we are known for and I think there can be a good balance between the two.

My broad leadership and business skills will allow me to relate to and represent all citizens of Medina while helping the city maintain fiscal responsibility during this time of growth.

Elizabeth (Liz) Weir

Candidate Biography:

Ken and I have lived in Medina for 31 years, and we love our city. I worked as a Registered Nurse at Methodist Hospital and Long Lake Nursing Home, and when an opportunity arose for me to write for local newspapers, I covered the County Board of Commissioners for Lakeshore Weekly News. This experience triggered my interest in local government, and I was appointed to the Medina Planning Commission in 1997. I served for seven years in that capacity and have been a council member for eight.

Candidate Statement:

Among the top issues for Medina, a growing city, is how to maintain high quality services to residents, provide adequate working conditions for personnel in cramped, nearly 40 year-old facilities and still keep the tax levy among the lowest in the western suburbs. (My colleagues and I have held the city budget practically flat since 2007.)

As early as 1990, it was recognized that a new Public Works facility was necessary, both for safe working conditions for Public Works employees and for indoor storage of expensive road maintenance equipment. Our crowded Police facility also has functional problems. We are addressing these long-overdue needs by agreeing to purchase and remodel the Clam Corp warehouse near Highway 55, which will house both the Public Works and the Police Department with room to spare. The opened space at City Hall will accommodate Administration into the future. These essential expenditures will impact the 2013 levy but, with interest rates at historic lows, this is the right time for the Council to act. In the western suburbs, Medina remains among the lower-taxed cities.

Another question is how to reduce run-off from the increasing hard-scape of roofs, driveways and roads in new neighborhoods. Nutrient-laden run-off flows along streets and drains into lakes, adding to their degradation. The mandated clean-up of degraded public waters is a massive expense, and many of Medina’s lakes are ranked, “Impaired.” The Council has acted to improve run-off standards for new development, but more can be done to improve water quality. I will pursue Legacy grant funds to capture and treat storm water run-off before it depletes lakes.

My vision for Medina is to continue to manage the city budget responsibly; reach out to the business community in order to maintain a diversified tax base; guide well-planned, compact growth around existing utilities; work with developers to protect natural features, such as woodlands and wetlands in order to prevent further impairment of troubled lakes, while allowing landowners to sell and develop their land; preserve Medina’s rural character as the city grows; respond to residents concerns.

Osseo voters to pick three candidates

Residents of Osseo will vote Tuesday, Nov. 6, in the election for the city to fill three positions on the city council.

The three positions include the position of mayor (two-year term) and two city council positions (each four-year terms).

Candidates appearing on the ballot include incumbent Al Lindquist and Duane Poppe (current councilor) for the mayor’s seat.

Candidates for four-year city council terms are incumbent Mark Schulz, along with Claudia Gisvold, John Goth, Bonnie Heinen and Daniel Spanier.

The candidates were asked to include their thoughts in statements. Each were asked to include in a response:

1. Candidate biography: Please include a short biography of yourself, your background, your personal and professional experiences and any other information you wish to share.

2. Candidate statement: Please comment on the top issues you feel are important in this election. Explain any changes you would like to see made and address the city’s most urgent problems. Please include your vision for Osseo’s future and what the council should do to govern and guide future growth.

The responses received include:

 

MAYOR

Al Lindquist

Candidate Biography:

I attended four years at St. Cloud University majoring in psychology and sociology.

I joined the Navy during Vietnam and then became an employee at Crystal Tower and Control Tower at the Minneapolis International Airport. I retired after a 37-year career.

I was the Osseo Business Association President for four years when I initiated a free trolley service. It began in 2007 and has provided 5,000 rides.

When I was President of the Osseo Lions Club, I raised $180,000 in contributions and built the Osseo Band Shell where we conduct concerts and movies in the park during the summer months.

Candidate Statement:

I’ve been Mayor of Osseo since 2011 and I ran because we needed new ethical leadership in our community.

On Aug. 9, 2010, the previous administration removed our administrator after 19 people testified on his behalf.  Since then the three members of the previous administration, and councilors have voted resulting in four lawsuits, removal of the former Police Chief and removal of the former Fire Chief.

The Fire Chief was removed when he was out of town celebrating his daughter’s golden birthday, not at the previous meeting when he had the majority of the department supporting him.

Many of the decisions arrived at have not been supported by sufficient discussion prompting the public to express concern over violation of open meeting laws. Additionally, this group of three made a ridiculously foolish offer to purchase the Osseo Elementary School when the administrator was on vacation.

These three have hired a former Fire Chief that has had four DWIs and is on probation until 2014. The Human Relations Representative from the League of Minnesota Cities indicated the liability associated with this individual provided too great a risk to our community. They hired him anyway.

These three have virtually dominated the Osseo City Council meetings by a three to two vote ranging from committee nominations to proposing to spend $1.5 million on a new police station. This expense would only be the beginning. The new station would have to be staffed 24 hours a day by two to three additional people. It is true, our police officers need a new station to effectively work out of, however, we certainly do not need a 1.5 million dollar one.

Two councilors are indicating I am not in favor of keeping our police department. Once again this is not a true statement. The community survey indicated members of our city considered our police department essential to Osseo’s identity. I know we need to keep our police department and the excellent service it provides members of our community.

We have an excellent City but we must begin to deal with truthful issues instead of false statements originating with these three individuals. We need ethical moral leadership in our community.  Vote for the people you can trust. I have appreciated your support in the past and I look forward to it in the next two years.

Duane Poppe

Candidate Biography:

My name is Duane Poppe.

I am a commercial real estate agent with Transwestern and I am currently a city council member of the City of Osseo and am running for Mayor this fall.

I have lived in Osseo for almost 13 years. I have three children and I have been married for over 16 years.

Candidate Statement:

I have decided to run for Mayor because, as a father of three small children, I believe that we must continue to preserve the small town feel by keeping Osseo a safe place where families and businesses can thrive. As Abraham Lincoln has stated “I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him. ”

We will be able to accomplish these goals through long term planning and controlling expenses of the city while providing high quality services in a cost effective manner. Based on our recent community survey 95 percent of the people rated the quality of life good or excellent and over 70 percent of the people feel the city is heading in the right direction.

As Mayor I will continue to support public safety — both the police and fire departments.  As the citizens told us on the community survey, 89 percent of the people support the City keeping its own police force.  On Oct. 10, 2011, I voted against the motion by the Mayor to allow Hennepin County Sheriff Department to provide policing services to the City of Osseo effective Jan. 1, 2012. I will continue to fight for the people of Osseo

As Mayor I want to continue to build on the solid financial foundation that we have built over the last three years. We have cut 10 percent out of the budget, helping to save you money while still being able to buy new equipment and repair the streets. We established a long-term capital improvement and financial management plan that gives a roadmap of the future impacts of decisions today, insuring Osseo stays Osseo, not a neighboring community.

I have supported and made decisions that are best for the people of Osseo for the long-term, not just today. I have stood against other governmental agencies coming into our town and telling our citizens what we can and cannot do. Our people of Osseo need representatives who represent the needs and wants of the citizens that are in the best interest of the city long-term.

I urge you to take the time to know the facts and the truth before you vote. I will continue the course that we started over three years ago to make Osseo a community that we can all be proud of.

 

COUNCILOR

Claudia Gisvold

Candidate Biography:

My name is Claudia Gisvold and I am running for the Osseo City Council. Most of you know me as “Clyde.” I’ve lived in Osseo for over 35 years and graduated from Osseo High School. My two children and two of my granddaughters also attended Osseo.

I’ve been a bus driver in the Osseo School District since 1976. I have proudly and safely transported your loved ones from kindergarten to senior high.

I am a small business owners in Osseo (Louise’s Ceramics) when I inherited the business from my mother in 1995.

Candidate Statement:

I’m a strong supporter of the Osseo police and fire departments. My late husband, Chuck Gisvold, was a Volunteer fireman for 29 years in Osseo. He was the Assistant Chief from 1993 until his untimely passing in April of  2011.

Our family has always been committed to keeping both the police department and fire department here in Osseo and not out sourced to some other city or county.

It will be my privilege to work with my fellow citizens of Osseo in resolving any problem or concerns you may have. I will work hard to keep the city moving forward. I want to bring Osseo back to an affordable place to live and to raise our families.

Bonnie Heinen

Candidate Biography:

I have lived in Osseo almost 42 years. I grew up in St. Cloud.

Attended St. Francis School of X-ray Technology and became a registered x-ray technologist. Attended St. Cloud University, St. Benedicts and St. Cloud Hospital School of Medical Technology and became a registered medical technologist. Graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a masters degree in allied health care.

Worked in hospitals in Minneapolis and started teaching at St. Paul College, where I was a teacher and then program director in the Medical Laboratory Technician, Associate Degree Program. Assignments included: teaching, curriculum development, hospital coordination and budget.

Candidate Statement:

I have belonged to the Osseo Friends of the Library, have delivered meals on wheels and belonged to the Osseo Book Club and helped my husband in his business. I have always liked living in Osseo.

I think the city of Osseo should be fiscally responsible. We cannot spend money we do not have. We have to set aside money in the budget for future improvements such as: our city streets, new equipment, maintaining our city parks, fire equipment and the police department.

We have to plan for redevelopment, use of city-owned property and actively promoting the city of Osseo.

We have to keep spending down and lower taxes so young and old can afford to live in Osseo.

Local businesses are major taxpayers and vital to the city’s viability. It is necessary to listen to their concerns as the future of Osseo lies in keeping their businesses here and profitable so they will prosper and this will attract other new businesses to the city.

I will listen and not have self-serving interests and be fiscally responsible. I will promote redevelopment and actively promote the city of Osseo. I want the citizens of Osseo and businesses to feel free to ask me questions. I will return all calls and e-mails. The growth of Osseo depends upon active citizen input and involvement.

Mark Schulz

Candidate Biography:

My name is Mark Schulz. I currently serve on the City Council in Osseo, am the owner of TPMI Healthcare — an Osseo business, and am a Chiropractor.  I Live In Osseo, and Pay Property Taxes In Osseo, with my wife Kerstin of 17 years and our four children, near the intersection of Fourth Street N.E. and Fourth Avenue N.E.

I actively volunteer at our Church Camp in McGregor, serve on the Board of Directors for the Brooklyn Center American Little League, and am a member of the Finance Subcommittee of the School Board of Parnassus Preparatory School.

Candidate Statement:

Three years ago I was elected to the City Council in the aftermath of the Central Ave reconstruction project. Let us not forget that time, but we must continue to focus on moving Osseo ahead. I have said many times — “in order for Osseo to stay the same, it needs to change.”

I have been very fortunate to serve all of you these past 3 years. I hope to get to be familiar with many more of you as I work to balance my responsibilities with our community, with my family and my career. It is impossible to serve everyone’s interests on a specific issue. There are times that we get what we want, and times that we do not. I have voted for what is best for all of us, in spite of how it affects me personally. This election is not about Me, it is about Us, and our community.

I hope the answer is Yes when you ask yourself “is Osseo in a better position for the future, and am I getting a good value and lifestyle for the city portion of my tax dollars.” That should be the goal.

I support local control of emergency services, keeping our Osseo Police, and my voting record reflects that. My position has been clear since we gathered facts from the Sheriff’s Department on costs in 2010. That report will be available on my website soon under the “documents.” Once our Osseo Police is disbanded, you will Never get them back. Plans begin at $500,000 for a new Police building that is in need because of very unsafe conditions. Many options remain for the new police building, and some of them would cost residents very little if anything. It all depends on who is on the Council at that time.

We have cut $200,000 from our budget over the past 3 years, resulting in a leaner, meaner and more efficient use of your tax dollars.

My focus is on the future of Osseo. I am making decisions so that our community can be preserved for our grandchildren. It can’t be about how will this affect “Me,” or “I will never see this happen.” It must be about our community.

I am looking forward to visiting with all of you at you homes in the coming weeks. You can see the ever changing campaign info on my website at markschulz.info.

Daniel Spanier

Candidate Biography:

I live in Osseo with my wife and four children.

I graduated from Osseo Senior High and received degrees from Winona State University and the University of St. Thomas.

I have a background in banking and teaching in the Osseo School District. I currently work in the real estate industry.

I’ve been involved in city government, including a term on the Planning Commission, the Economic Development Authority and the Public Safety Advisory Committee. I’m also a Trustee with the Osseo Community Foundation.

I’m active in my church at St. Vincent de Paul, where I currently serve on the cemetery committee.

Candidate Statement:

Osseo is a city in transition and needs to attract new businesses and redevelopment to our city. We need to act quickly and cut through the delays to bring new business and jobs to Osseo while helping the existing ones to expand. We need to attract a hardware store, a pizza place and more entertainment. It’s time to rebuild and redevelop Osseo in order to bring back property values and keep Osseo a walk-able and livable community.

There are many more streets and alleys that need repair and we’ll need serious solutions in order to keep our independence and balance our budget. Our property taxes are high and our water and sewer rates have seen large increases. Our budget needs to be reviewed line by line to look for spending that could be more cost effective. It’s our money; we need to spend it wisely.

I fully support our local Police and Fire Departments and appreciate the good work that they do. We should continue to support a strong, effective and independent police department. My work on the Public Safety Advisory Committee has given me good insight into their work.

Osseo also needs to continue to work to replace our current police station. We need to be shovel ready and should aggressively seek grants to help pay for a new station. Osseo Police officers deserve a safe and decent place to work. There are some other good options available to us to replace our old station.

And I disagree with any proposals to outsource our police department. I don’t believe there will be a cost savings with contracting with an outside agency, especially one where we lose our control over their work and the police budget. I pledge to protect our police department.

As a Planning Commission member, I worked to help implement rental property inspections and licensing. I would like to see stricter requirements on single-family homes used for rental properties, and ensure that all rentals are inspected and licensed.

We’re an historic city with a proud heritage. We should embrace our past as we look to rebuild our future. The future of Osseo is good, and I believe Osseo’s best days are yet to come. I can provide new leadership and will work to move Osseo forward.

Mayoral, councilor positions open in Rockford election

The city of Rockford has a mayoral seat and two council seats up for election. The mayor’s term, currently held by Mayor Mike Beyer, is for four years, as is each of the council seats.

Renee Hafften, sitting councilor, is running for the mayor’s seat.

Three candidates are vying for two council seats. They are Bill Decker, Bob Freese and incumbent Rick Martinson.

All candidates were asked for biographical information and statements.

 

Mayor

Renee Hafften

Candidate Biography:

Rockford resident over 24 years and graduate of Rockford High School with over 25 years experience in financial services as a leader, mentor and project manager.

Member of Rockford River Days Committee for 5 years and Rockford council member for 4 years.

Married over 18 years to husband, Mark, and have one son, Drew.

Candidate Statement:

I am proud to be a member of the Rockford community and plan to continue making needed improvements to enhance our city.

Our small community has many opportunities to grow and prosper and

I plan to use my strong leadership and analytical skills to keep us moving in the right direction. We can do this together with a proactive approach, reviewing all the facts, considering the long-term impact and making smart decisions.

 

Council

Bill Decker

Candidate Biography and Statement:

Bill Decker is a Minnesotan, born and bred. Bill attended and graduated from Irondale High School in New Brighton.

He currently resides in Rockford with his family. Wife, Liz and his children: Jessica, Austin, Olivya, Tyler, Kaitlyn, Jackson, Leighton and Allison where he has lived for 13 years.

Bill is a freelance photographer and does work for Press News, Minnesota FireWire, Rockford High School and has had work published by the Minnesota Twins.

Bill also serves as a captain on the Rockford Fire Department where he dedicates countless hours to events such as the annual toy drive and pancake breakfast. Bill was Rockford’s 2012 “Volunteer of the Year.” He has worked in the eyes of Rockford’s public on many events such as River Days, Crow River Christmas, and many more. He attends Riverwood Covenant Church as well.

Bill’s desire for Rockford is to be a voice for the community and a listening ear. Bill would like to see growth within the business community; therefore growth in jobs within Rockford.

Bob Freese

Candidate Biography:

My name is Robert Freese (Bob).

I moved to Rockford 7 years ago and worked in New Hope at Checker Machine as a Process Engineer. I purchased a home at this time.

My work experience is a Machinist for 11 years. Machining Fabrication Supervisor for 10 years. Manager of manufacturing 5 years. Machining and Fabrication plant Manager for 6 years. Machine and Fabrication Process engineer for 12 years.

Candidate Statement:

In the years that I worked at the above jobs I have made budgets for machines, tooling, work hours for the year. I figure the number of working hours for the year and the number of people I would need to make the shop run efficiently. I have done purchasing of raw material, manufactured materials, I have purchased and negotiated machines for machining parts, purchased machines for moving parts around the shop floor.

I have done employ evaluations for raises, job promotions. I also have done hiring for the shop and office personal. I also have done discipline of personal. I have done Union negotiations from shop side and management side.

I am running for City Council to help in keeping the spending down to prevent future increase of taxes. I also do not see the need for spending $900,000 on putting up a new building in the flood plain. I would like to get more information from the resident’s on what they would like to see done differently. There are safety issues that I have seen around town that need to be addressed. I also think that the idea of a co-op grocery store-would be okay if done correctly. The city of Rockford needs to get more people to buy and start places of business.

Rick Martinson

Candidate Biography:

My family and I have been residents of Rockford for 25 years.

I am married to Sally Martinson and have 3 grown children, Stephanie, David and Patrick.

I have been employed for the last 34 years in the diagnostic medical field as a service representative for Philips Health Systems.

Over the years, I have been a part of many organizations and community groups.  I am a proud member of the Rockford Lions Club and a member of the Rockford River Days Festival committee.

I have also been a part of many activities at the Rockford High School including Prom and Graduation Ceremonies.

Candidate Statement:

I am currently a seated City of Rockford council member running for reelection. In the past 4 years we have seen improvements in city services. Working with our staff, the council, and mayor, our combined efforts have given the City of Rockford a Class AA Bond rating. In this time of economic uncertainty, our city has remained strong and financially secure.

Having served almost 4 years on council I believe it is time we step up efforts to bring greater economic growth and prosperity to the City of Rockford. The search for a grocery store has been a challenge in that our efforts in talking to viable candidates for placing a store in our community have met some economic hard times. Hopefully with the economy starting to turn around there will be opportunities to start the dialogue again. In the meantime we hope to start a Food Coop if we can get enough investors to fund the initial beginning business costs.

On the top of my list of projects is building a community center at Lions Park. My belief is the city needs something to kick start interest in our town.  Businesses look at the functionality of a community and with this addition I believe other business will follow. We have the opportunity to really make a statement by creating a facility that can provide space for reunions, graduation parties, weddings, and also be a central element of support during our River Days Celebration.

I also believe that strong schools create greater interest in families moving into our town. With more families, comes more growth for homes, industry, and economic development. We need to make some small sacrifices to look to the greater needs of our children. Property values actually go up when the school system is healthy. Greater return on investment is the key to our success.

I believe we also need to keep vigilant on expenses. The City of Rockford staff has done a great job in providing essential city services and at the same time kept an eye on the bottom line. Part of any discussion is debate, and I feel as a member of the council, we have been able to make tough decisions and move forward in the best interests of the citizens of Rockford.

If I am reelected, I hope to continue my efforts to make Rockford a Great place to call home.

Rogers race pits 2 mayor challengers, 3 for council

Up for election in Rogers are Mayor Jason Grimm (two-year term), and councilors Jay Bunting and Rob Bell (four-year terms). Candidates squared off in the primary election. Moving on to general election ballot are Bunting and challenger Bob Ivey for mayor. On the council ballot will be former councilor Darren Jakel, Don Hall and Garrett McConnach. Candidate Steve Swanson withdrew from the race.

Candidates were asked to provide a statement about their background and the issues they feel are important in the election.

Their responses are included here.

Jay Bunting

I grew up in Cedar Falls, Iowa. I received a B.A. in Business Management from the University of Northern Iowa and a M.B.A. from the University of Iowa.

I served in the U.S. Navy (enlisted) and Army (officer). Me and my wife, Jane, own Wayzata Bay Spice Company, a Rogers-based company.

Prior to starting the company, I worked as a director of finance and senior financial analyst. I support numerous charities, and was a reserve police officer and served on the planning commission.

I was elected to the city council in 2008 and became Mayor June 26, 2012.

Rogers is a fantastic and unique community. Like any city, there are challenges we must face and overcome. In meeting these challenges, we must always be fiscally responsible and continue to “think out-of-the-box,” while maintaining a long-term outlook for what’s best for our city.

Development is difficult to generate during a recession. Even so, Rogers is experiencing a renaissance in growth, both residentially and commercially. Policies that, in less than two years, attracted over one-half million square feet in new commercial/industrial growth must continue. We need to facilitate the growth in our residential districts, which this year-to-date has surpassed any of the past five years totals.

Maintaining and improving roads and intersections has always been important to our citizens. This reduces congestion, increases safety and lowers long-term reconstruction costs. In the past three years, we have completed more major road projects than at any time in the past decade. By working with county, state and federal officials, we’ve reduced the local portion of some project costs to less than 10% of the total. Our smart policies on infrastructure need to continue.

Public safety is a priority. We must maintain our strong, well-trained fire department. Our police department has turned a corner with new leadership that is the envy of many communities. While Rogers has fewer police officers per capita than average, we have kept our city’s schools and streets safe. It is critical our first responders have the support they need.

To ensure a vibrant community, parks and recreation must keep up with growth. We must plan for facilities and recreation opportunities for our youth and seniors, and work with developers to coordinate trails and local parks in new residential areas.

These facilities, staffing needs and infrastructure requirements need to be part of our long-term planning process. Rogers’ prudent financial decisions allow us to have a lower tax rate than almost every comparable city in the area while strengthening services to our residents.

The mayor is the face of our city. The significance of this position cannot be underestimated when working with developers, business owners and Minnesota’s U.S. Senators and Representatives.

We need a mayor with experience that will represent us in a knowledgeable, intelligent and positive manner. Rogers has one of the area’s lowest tax rates, yet great facilities and infrastructure. Our city is in outstanding shape.

At election time, let’s not gamble with our future.

Bob Ivey

Rogers/Hassan resident for 18 years. Owner of Ivey Machine & Tool Inc. for 27 years. I have a B.A., Economics, University of Minnesota.

I have been married to Rosey for 25 years. My daughters, Amelia and Samantha attended Rogers schools. Amelia graduated from the University of Minnesota and Samantha (was on the billboard at Brockton Lane) graduated from St. Cloud State.

I was elected to two four-year terms on Hassan Town Board and proudly served as last chair of Hassan Town Board. I served as an Elm Creek Watershed Commissioner from 2005-2011. I am the Republican-endorsed candidate for mayor.

As Chair of the Hassan Township Board, I did things that many in government consider “unconventional”— like actually cutting taxes, reducing spending and holding people accountable. That is the common sense we need in Rogers, now more than ever, and it is what I’ll deliver as our next Mayor.

In 2013, with the former Hassan Township fully on the Rogers tax rolls, and with other tax increment financing dollars now flowing to the city, revenue to the city of Rogers will grow by at least 40%! However, the best our city council could do was a slight reduction of 3% in the tax levy. That’s not right.

If elected Mayor, I will provide the leadership necessary to lower the city’s tax rate by at least 10 percentage points with no impact to the delivery of services to Rogers residents. This isn’t simply an election year campaign promise. It can, and should be done.

Mayor Bunting says Rogers taxes are low. The Minnesota State Auditor’s Office says that Rogers is the fourth highest taxed city in the whole state. Do not take my word for it. Select Rogers in the first dropdown menu and hit GO. Here is the link: www.auditor.state.mn.us/Search/CitySearch.aspx

Like many of you, I moved to Rogers to enjoy the small town atmosphere and proximity to the metro area. Rogers is a great place to live and it is made even better by the people of our community. But the heavy-handed, no-compromise style of the current mayor and council has resulted in unnecessary division. From refusing to take questions at city council meetings to name calling and running negative campaigns, the current mayor has used a divide-and-conquer strategy to try to win re-election. We don’t need Washington, D.C., style politics in Rogers!

I’ll work to bring people together to get things done. I’ll never claim to have all the answers, and we might occasionally disagree, but I will work hard to move beyond the stalemate of the current council. Rogers is a great place to live. Working together, we will keep it that way for future generations.

I respectfully ask for your vote on Election Day.

Donald Hall

I am running for a seat on the Rogers City Council, and would like the opportunity to serve and give back to the community that I and my family have been a part of.

My wife Kris and our four children have lived in Hassan/Rogers for the last 17 years. I have worked for our family road construction business for the past 28, years working my way from fieldwork to currently holding the position of vice president.

We employ more than 250 employees in the summer months building many of our state’s highways. I have been a member of the Rogers Lions Club for 13 years and held offices including vice president, president and current director … I have received two Leadership awards given to Lions members, the Melvin Jones Award reflecting top leadership, and the Helen Keller award in recognition of helping those in need. I currently hold the seat of President of our construction trade association, the Minnesota Asphalt Paving Association.

I believe with the merger of Hassan last January we have a unique opportunity to collectively come together and build a strong and envious community … I plan to help HOLD the line on taxes and reduce spending. The use of public/private partnerships and efficiency through accountability. I believe my strong business background will help in making the often tough decisions that need to be made. I would like to STIMULATE and attract businesses to Rogers. I think we need to be prepared for the next wave of growth. Our proximity to the interstate and the unique composition of rural and residential should be an excellent attractant to any business. Lastly I would like to aid in DEVELOPING a park and trail system for all our residents to enjoy. With the merger we can easily access through the western portion of our city to tie into the Three Rivers Park system.

Four reasons why I am the candidate of choice for councilman:

1. My business background and decision making experience  will make an affective council member.

2. My community service with the Lions Club for the past 13 years is invaluable to the community

3. My time on the council since I was appointed to the open position gives me a head start on the issues.

4.  I am the most senior resident of all the candidates

I ask for your vote Nov. 6, I will continue to work for the entire community of Rogers

Darren Jakel

Experience: Currently serving on the Rogers Park Board and Trails Task Force. Previously served on the Rogers City Council, Planning Commission, Police Advisory Board and Joint Annexation Committee.

Community involved: Rogers Royals Tip Off Club previous President and current advisor, member Word of Peace, former youth coach for baseball, basketball and football.

Key issues and concerns: Maintain fiscal responsibility by spending cautiously, saving wisely and investing in our infrastructure while providing desired and needed service levels. Parks, trails and transportation need to be primary focuses in planning for the future.

Personal: Married to Joyce. Two sons, Evan and Kyle. Employed as Executive Director of Building Operations for StuartCo. Rogers’ resident since 1999.

I am proud to be a citizen of Rogers and want to be the voice for our youth, families, senior citizens and local business community in order to continue to make Rogers a superior place to call home. We need to learn from our past in order to plan for our future. Please get out and vote for me!

Garrett McConnach

I’m a graduate of the University of Minnesota-Duluth with a degree in finance and am employed in the financial services industry at RBC Wealth Management as an operations team lead.

I have always had an interest in getting involved in public service and I strongly believe I can bring added value to our city by serving on the council. My wife Katrice and I have a 1-year-old daughter, are expecting our second child in March, and are active members of Mary Queen of Peace Catholic Church.

Like many during the past 20 years, my family and I moved to Rogers to enjoy the best of its small town traditions rooted in agriculture, as well as to live in a city with safe, friendly neighborhoods, great schools and plenty of activities for children and families.

As the only recommended Republican Candidate by Senate District 34, my goal is to bring fiscal responsibility and budgetary oversight to the city council. The past approach of elevated spending has been necessary to accommodate the rapid growth of the past two decades, however we now need a new set of eyes to look at the budget and city affairs to prioritize spending, ensure city government lives within its means and keep taxes in check as the city becomes fully developed.

I will also work to continue the improvements to the city’s transportation infrastructure that have been underway for several years. With the annexation of Hassan now complete, we must ensure maintenance and upkeep of the roads, curbs, sidewalks and ditches in all four corners of our much larger city is done efficiently and on a predictable time schedule.

In going door to door and speaking with the people of Rogers, there is a common theme among many folks out there. People want someone new on our city council, a new perspective, a new voice, someone who brings something better and different than the status quo. I am the only person in this race who delivers that.

Part of my business experience and background is creating efficiencies within our processes. This expertise is something I intend to leverage as a council member to make government better, smaller, more effective and more efficient.

I humbly ask for your vote on Election Day and I appreciate your consideration and support.

5 seek 2 St. Michael seats, Zachman unopposed for mayor

In St. Michael, seats belonging to Mayor Jerry Zachman (two-year-term), and Chris Schumm and Joe Marx (four-year terms) are up for election. Filing for mayor is Zachman; filing for council are Schumm, Marx and challengers Cody Gullick, Thomas Biernat (had filed for mayor, withdrew and re-filed for council) and Michael Griffith.

Candidates were asked to provide a statement about their background and the issues they feel are important in the election.

Those who responded are included here.

Jerry Zachman

First, I would like to thank you, the residents of St. Michael, for the past eight years. Wow, I am now running for my fifth, 2 year term, as mayor. I am a fifth generation Zachman.

With my wife of 33 years, we have raised three children, and are proud of our community.

Since my first election we have had so many changes, challenges and accomplishments.

We are still the largest city in Wright County.

The number of businesses that are coming to or expanding in these economic times is a good sign for our city. Due to this same economy, we have lost a few businesses but are diligently working to bring in new ones. I feel the shop local program we have with our EDA and local businesses has helped to support our local merchants.

With our dedicated school board, teachers, staff and committed parents we have been able to keep our schools up to date, while enabling us to provide some of the best education in the state.

Hwy 241, County Road 19, & The One Way Pair. Who could forget? way you look at it, this was the biggest accomplishment for our city since the acquisition of Frankfort Township.

Our Senior Center is one of our accomplishments that is very close to my heart. In my first election I was shocked to find out that our seniors did not have any type of center. I also saw how our town library ” Roy Simms Memorial Library” struggled with the area that was allotted to them. Several of our newer residents had no idea where our city hall was located. Now we have a community center that houses all three of these vital parts of our community in one location and are an asset to us and our bordering cities of Hanover and Albertville. This again shows the forethought and planning that we diligently use to keep the tax-payers costs down while planning for the future needs of our city.

One of my goals for the future is to continue to keep our City’s costs down, while making our community the best place to call home. In this upcoming term, my continuing priorities will be:

To continue to control the city budget and your tax dollar needs to remain the highest priority.

With the economic slowdown “Downtown redevelopment” and “Town Center” developments have suffered. Be assured that we continue to promote both of these areas and are addressing renewed interest in housing for our community.

I also feel very strongly about staying in-touch and working with the residents of St. Michael for issues that relate to them.

We have also started to work in conjunction with our surrounding cities for I-94 transportation improvements. This is receiving very positive feedback from both federal and state agencies, as such a positive message of cities working together for the common good of our citizens.

Thank you for your support.

Thomas Biernat

I am a St. Michael resident with a strong desire to be involved in the progress of our community.

I have over 10 years of experience in the financial industry. The time I spent working with families and businesses over the years exposed me to community, retirement, and fiscal issues. It was in helping those families build solutions that my desire to run for office was born. I have been involved with Prevent Child Abuse MN and Best Prep Financial Matters Initiative. I also support the community by donating to Crow River Girl Scouts, Hanover Food Shelf, Sojourner Project, Prevent Child Abuse MN, and the St. Michael-Albertville/Hanover Library.

St. Michael is a wonderful city filled with involved residents and businesses. Our growth comes from ideas from within the community and the desire to continue to focus on our vision. I am running for City Council because I am interested in helping St. Michael progress towards a city with a thriving business community without losing our small town feel. I want to go to work with our community to make a better future for us and our children. While there are many issues that contribute to the progress of our community, here are a few I think are important.

Business Expansion and Taxes — In a struggling economy, we must keep taxes in St. Michael competitive so that we continue to attract the types of business that will help us expand and provide more local opportunities. Lower taxes mean more opportunities. There must be a balance as taxes are a very important to community development and we have to acknowledge the effect the sluggish economy has had on our city budget. St. Michael has been a low tax city within Wright County and I would continue efforts to keep taxes low and ramp up efforts to attract new businesses to our city.

Education — One of our prized ongoing areas in St. Michael is our school system and activities. This is a very fundamental foundation to our community. I supported and assisted the efforts to pass the recent tax levy to keep our schools some of the best performing and most desirable schools in the state. I will continue to be an advocate for our children and their futures.

Communication — Another area that is of high importance to me is the communication between the city, the schools and the residents. This includes local community events, school events, awareness of new local businesses, and the like. One key ingredient to helping create a more close knit community is to allow our busy residents easy access to information about city events and how to be involved.

Today’s technology can allow a better flow of communication to the residents regarding community events and school events. Our city has only 151 followers on twitter and only 425 likes on Facebook (Sept 2012). These are just a couple of the tools we could use to make us more connected. For more information, please see www.BiernatForCityCouncil.com.

Cody Gullick

My political view point can be best described as conservative-libertarian.  I am a non-denominational Christian, and I caucus Republican.

I am a proud father of two daughters of 7 and 2 years old. At J&B Group I am a meat salesman, and I have worked for J&B for more than 6 years.

I graduated and received a bachelor of arts degree in 2007 at St. Cloud State. This election year will be my second time running for St. Michael City Council.

I am running for city council to fight against the political culture of over-taxation, wasteful spending, wealth redistribution, and the burdensome regulation of private business and personal property. I will work hard to eliminate spending that is wasteful or ineffective. I will fight to lower your taxes, not raise them.

I will work to eliminate “Big Brother” city ordinances on businesses and private property that are burdensome, unnecessary, or outdated. I will represent the citizens of St. Michael, not special interest groups, and fight for high quality city services at the lowest cost.

Michael Griffith

I moved to St. Michael in 2001, the city had plans to bring prospective business ventures, so the city would expand and be successful. The only thing that has happened are broken promises, undeveloped land, taxes continue to escalate, and our home values are plummeting.

My goal to be on the city council is to, work directly with the economic and planning committees, and the citizens of St. Michael to address the issue of expansion for our city.

I will work diligently to fill all the undeveloped property we as residents have to witness everyday.

Our property tax rate increased 2.99% the last tax evaluation notice we received. It is rumored that another increase is on the agenda.

I will curtail any and all tax proposals that are brought before the city, including assessments and levies.

Home values are of great concern, in 2001 the cost of a home was based on $103 per square foot. Today it is at $68 per square foot, a 33% decrease.

Home foreclosures are down, but at the present time there are over 60 in progress.

We need to establish new growth and seek any and all potential business venues. It will increase our home values and offset any tax increases.

My goal is to be pro active and positive in making this city stand out above all of our other neighboring communities.

Joe Marx

Hello everyone, I am Joe Marx, 55 years old, wife Lisa of 34 years, 5 daughters, 4 grandkids, all living in the St. Michael-Albertville Area.

Small construction business owner for 30 years and we built it ourselves. I am currently serving on the St. Michael City Council by appointment to complete the balance of the late Dean Eggert’s 3rd term. It was with much honor to accept the appointment as I had served with Dean from 2005–09 on the council and was very fond of  his leadership and commitment to community service.

By serving on the council, I have seen St. Michael go through a lot of changes first hand. We had to make a lot of controversial decisions to do what’s best for St. Michael. Over the years we have partnered with Albertville and Hanover on various services such as, city water, senior center, library, sewer and compost site with Hanover, most recently Building Inspection Department and some engineering help with Albertville and so on.

We have a good report with our neighboring cities and need to continue that as it makes Fiscal cents. We have a dedicated staff, a very good public works and fire department, and good service from Wright County Sheriff’s Office for our police protection. St. Michael is in good shape and ready for what the future brings us.

In closing I hope I can count on your support in November and serve another term for our community. Thanks again.

Chris Schumm

As your current City Council Member, I am a voice for the people of St. Michael.

Since being appointed in December 2011, I hold a position on the STMA Ice Arena Board as well as Planning Commission. During my term, I have traveled to the State Capitol several times battling against unfunded mandates. I will also continue to strive to keep our taxes the lowest in Wright County.

I believe those who have the same ideals and common sense values that I possess need to keep a person like me to represent them. Many residents have shared with me that they believe I have the passion, vision, and good judgment to lead this city in the right direction.

I have been locally employed in the St. Michael/Albertville area for over 20 years, therefore, I know how important small business is to the community. Over the next four years, I will work closely with the residents and business owners to grow our city.

The Schumm family has resided in beautiful St. Michael for over 128 years. As a life-long resident myself, and a graduate of St. Michael/Albertville High School, I understand the needs of the residents of our great city.

My wife Michelle and I, along with my daughters, Nicole (5) and Alexa (3), have made our home in St. Michael. Both of our girls currently attend our STMA schools.

My family and I love St. Michael and plan on enjoying many more years of residency in this wonderful city. I pledge to do my best to make sure St. Michael continues to be a community that cares about its residents and makes them confident that they have chosen the best place to call home.

7 run for Delano School Board

Seven candidates are competing for six seats on the School Board for School District 879 (Delano Public Schools). Incumbents Amy Johnson, Randy Durick and Sarah Baker are seeking three seats that carry four-year terms. Jonathan Ness and Mark Larson competing with incumbents Corey Black and Carolyn Milano for two of the three seats carrying two-year terms.

School District 879 serves Delano and Loretto, as well as portions of Independence, Medina, Corcoran and Greenfield.

This newspaper asked the candidates to submit biographies containing a maximum of 100 words. The candidates also were asked to comment on what they think are the top issues facing Delano Public Schools and to describe their visions for the school district’s future. The length of these statements is limited to 400 words.

Following are the candidates’ biographies and statements.

 

FOUR-YEAR TERM (ELECT 3)

Sarah Baker

Candidate Biography:

Appointed to School Board January 2010. Moved to Delano with husband and two children in 2006. Chose Delano for its excellent school system as well as sense of small-town community. Worked as a school counselor at Mound-Westonka High School for over seven years. Been actively involved in Delano Public Schools as volunteer at elementary and middle school and in Partners in Education (PIE) and Site Base. Serves as School Board representative on Building and Grounds Committee, Negotiations Committee, Schools for Equity in Education (SEE) and Wright County Safe Schools Committee. Served as School Board liaison to district Q-Comp program.

Candidate Statement:

Delano Public Schools provides academic achievement within a cost-effective framework. Collaboration and shared goals produce exceptional educational results. Our district’s motto describes this shared vision — “Educational Excellence is our Foremost Goal.” My role as a School Board member remains focused on this outcome and is aimed at continued growth and success for our students, families, teachers and community.

A pressing issue facing our school district is the challenge of future fiscal decision-making. I remain committed to a responsible course of financial planning and a value-added approach to spending. Our district has a track record of conservative spending while encouraging and achieving academic success for all students. As local citizens, we must work together to develop and fund our Delano school system that serves our local students and families. Our school district provides a top-notch education for our children and we must stay vigilant to wise and resourceful use of tax dollars.

Another issue is our school district’s continued commitment to educational excellence — specifically preparation of students equipped with 21st century thinking skills. We must continue as educational leaders in curriculum and instructional innovation, technology, and rigor within academic programming. Creativity, innovation, and adaptability are hallmarks of great thinkers, and successful students are equipped with these qualities and critical-thinking skills. Technology will continue to be an important component of education. It should continue to be a tool that helps teachers and students turn information into knowledge, rather than an end unto itself. I want Delano students to continue traditions of language literacy, problem-solving competencies, effective communication and personal initiative that move them forward into their own best futures.

I value a financial future that allows our district to maximize its resources and continue to provide a high quality and relevant educational experience to students. I value teachers who are equipped with staff development tools and resources to allow for effective and efficient research and development of best-practice teaching and learning strategies. I value students, families and community members who are engaged in and benefit from the variety of educational experiences and opportunities available through district resources. All learners in our community (preschool aged to senior citizen) benefit from these opportunities whether it’s classroom learning, business partnerships, health and wellness through the TAC, or community education enrichment. I value continued collaboration between families, school staff, business leaders, and community members that keeps our schools and communities strong, thriving, and growing.

Randy Durick

Candidate Biography:

Married. Daughter attends Delano Elementary School.  The excellent school district attracted my wife and I to Delano nearly 10 years ago. Raised in North Dakota. Graduated from Pacific Lutheran University and University of Wyoming with degrees in Engineering Science and Chemical Engineering. MBA from St. Cloud State University.  Works as division director for private German company that maintains a US Headquarters in Plymouth. I enjoy the outdoors, spending time with my family, and a bit of travel.

Candidate Statement:

The most important issue facing the Delano Public Schools is funding. Delano’s mission, “Educational Excellence is our Foremost Goal…” is something that every person in the district strives for. This mission is becoming more difficult with the current funding model. I have been a school board member for one-and-a-half years. This experience has opened my eyes to the school finance challenges for districts such as Delano. We are a fiscally responsible district, and do well with the financial resources we are provided, however current funding is not keeping pace with district needs. I want to spend time advocating for districts such as Delano, districts that are fiscally responsible and are able to provide a high quality educational experience to students in our district to secure a funding model that allows us to deliver the educational opportunities to the kids of our district.

The Minnesota State Constitution mandates that our schools be funded adequately. We need to advocate that the politicians that we send to St. Paul are aware that the decisions made during the legislative session impose significant challenges on our district. As voters, we need to educate ourselves beyond the political rhetoric and hold our legislative representatives accountable so that current and future kids in our district are provided ample educational opportunities to become responsible and contributing members of our communities.

Delano continues to perform near the top of all districts in the state, delivering educational excellence in a fiscally responsible manner. Most of the recent work of the School Board and district administration has been centered around district budget, what cuts can be made, what fees can be raised, etc. I feel that we need to put ourselves in a position to keep the kids of our district at the center of our decision making process, stabilize the funding mechanism for districts such as Delano and provide the resources necessary so our educators and staff can continue to explore innovative ways to keep Delano performing at the high level that we as district residents have come to expect.

Amy Johnson

Candidate Biography:

I am seeking re-election to the Delano School Board. My husband Gino and I have lived in Delano for 10 years and are proud to have two boys in the school district, one in high school and one in the elementary school. I will celebrate my 15th anniversary with Best Buy Corporation in November, currently as a senior manager in the Business Team Operations Department. When I am not working, I enjoy walking our giant dog Duke, running, reading, and playing board games with my family.

Candidate Statement:

I’ve enjoyed being a part of the board for the past four years, establishing and maintaining organizational structure, helping to create a climate that promotes educational excellence. I am passionate about education; this is my way of giving back to the community and to be an advocate for students especially in these difficult times.

The district is facing a couple of urgent issues:

Classroom Sizes — When the levy proposal failed last year, we were forced to make approximately $750,000 in cuts that directly impacted class sizes, especially in the elementary and middle school. We need to secure the passage of both proposed levy questions on the ballot this November to ensure we are not forced to cut more, increasing these classroom sizes even further. I hope that through reform in state funding, we can increase revenue per student, allowing us to maintain classroom sizes of fewer than 25 students.

Introducing Technology — We are surrounded by districts that have passed technology levies that have allowed them to introduce Ipads and various other advanced multi-media based curriculum into their classes. Delano students have always excelled in test scores, ACT and other college readiness factors. How long will it take for our students to fall behind in comparison to the districts that have the curriculum and technology resources available to their students? We need to continue to test various technology offerings and find creative funding sources to ensure we are staying competitive in this space.

This district has nothing left to cut that won’t dramatically impact the quality of education for our students. As a community we need to start investing in schools. Median home prices have increased over the past three years by four percent in comparison to the declines seen in surrounding communities. However, if the proposed levy questions do not pass, we will continue to make cuts that will further increase class sizes and cause all middle school athletics and activities to move to community education where it will be 100 percent fee based.

This district has maintained excellent service to its taxpayers and will continue to do so through conservatism and fiscal responsibility.  Supporting an increase to our operating levy that will ensure we are able to provide an environment where students are able to achieve academic excellence is also the responsibility of our taxpayers.

 

TWO-YEAR TERM (ELECT 3)

Corey Black

Candidate Biography:

Running for re-election to Delano School Board. Married. Has two children attending Delano Elementary School.  Has lived in Delano for nearly 10 years.

I work for a fortune 100 company in the West Metro. I am a sales manager for our company covering the Midwest. I am a graduate of St. Cloud State University, and have been a professional sales person since I graduated in 1994. My wife and I were raised in small, rural communities. When I am not working or at school functions, I am in the outdoors enjoying hunting, fishing, water sports, biking, cooking, campfires, etc.

Candidate Statement:

My effort to get involved in the community has turned into a passion for schools. Delano Schools operates in a way that is fiscally and socially responsible, and a way that has children performing at very high levels in schools. The community’s responsibility is to keep schools strong. We have to work to ensure our children are given the same opportunities that all of us have been given. If re-elected, I will make myself available to everyone to provide answers to, and take guidance from, regarding Delano Schools.

A top issue facing the school district is how to fund our schools. The state continues to hold back on its commitment to fund public schools at an appropriate level. By doing this, the state forces that responsibility down to a more local level. As costs for running schools continue to rise, school districts like ours are forced to continue to ask for levies to bridge gaps in funding.

Who do we want to send to St. Paul to represent our children’s future in a responsible way? We need to hound our legislature on funding for schools. Some politicians follow their political party’s playbook with the illusion of “no new taxes” or “reduce our taxes.” That sounds great to all of us. But, have any of our taxes gone down even a little bit recently? State taxes might have, but this has forced county and city government to increase taxes to close their funding gap. We all need to better understand how our elected officials plan to shift funding from one source to another and then take credit for the savings that they claim. We all need to pay attention to details of elections.

When I was appointed to the School Board I had the notion of working on cool, new programs to keep our schools competitive and our children performing at a very high level. Replacing out of date teaching and curriculums with progressive ways of reaching our children without spending more money. Most of my time, however, is spent discussing the district budget, what cuts can be made, what teachers might not need to be replaced after someone retires, etc. While we spend time cutting programs and raising fees, other countries are catching us. My vision is to stabilize our financial challenges in our schools and move toward progressive and successful curriculum where are children will excel to performance higher levels.

Mark Larson

Candidate Biography:

My wife, Missy, and I have four children who are currently in the high school, middle school, and elementary. I am a CPA with 20 years of experience in accounting, auditing and finance. I have served on the Minnesota Society of CPA’s board of directors. I feel that I can bring understanding of complex financial issues and previous board experience to the School Board. I value the schools and believe that our number one priority should be providing the best education possible for every student in our district while listening to input from parents, staff, and the community.

Candidate Statement:

Obviously, the greatest issue currently facing our district is the need for both operating levy questions to pass. Current class sizes and cuts are unacceptable, and the cuts that will be needed if both questions don’t pass will be devastating. Even now there are classrooms with kids sitting on the floor because of large class sizes and lack of space. The board needs to continue to work on raising awareness in the community of funding schools in our current environment. Funding will continue to be an issue for Delano and all Minnesota schools well into the future.

Delano Schools has done a great job running extremely lean. Since school funding will most likely remain a problem in Minnesota for years to come, it is going to take creative ideas to maintain costs and increase revenue. Should the levy not pass, extremely difficult decisions would need to be made. I believe extra-curricular activities should be the first to absorb these cuts. The school may have to look at unique funding ideas that may not be ideal, like advertising in schools. We need to continue the great work we’ve begun on energy savings, recycling, etc.

I would like to see the schools become completely paperless. We’ve made significant progress towards paperless schools, but we can continue to improve. I’d like to see studies being done on cost of providing students with iPads, and what kind of savings this could give the district on textbooks, paper, etc. This may serve a dual purpose of keeping up with 21st century learning while eliminating many costs.

Eventually, although there are hurdles involved in scheduling, we might need to look at ideas like closing our buildings for breaks at higher energy cost times of the year. Other districts have spring break in February because it costs more to keep a building open in February than it does at the end of March. Creative ideas will need to be considered even though it isn’t how “we’ve always done it.”

I believe Delano will need to decide which direction we are aiming to take the district. Is it our goal to remain a semi-rural small town school, or a competitive suburban district? Good teachers and staff are able to find jobs in neighboring districts and make significantly more money. How do we attract the most talented staff and stay competitive, yet maintain low operational costs?

Carolyn Milano

Candidate Biography:

Reflecting on six years of committed service on the School Board, I believe my experience, training and understanding of the roles, responsibilities, decisions and vision has and will continue to positively affect the students, district and community. As a board member, my decisions have been based on what is best for all students, the livelihoods of district employees and the economic well being of our community.  My favorite job is mother to my four incredibly unique children.  My husband and I just celebrated our 18th anniversary. I am a professional free-lance photographer, who photographs newborn babies in hospital birthing centers.

Candidate Statement:

Two major issues facing our district are equity and adequacy in state funding. I have served as School Board liaison for Schools for Equity in Education (SEE), is an association of 60 Minnesota public school districts, for six years.

SEE districts tend to be lower property wealth districts that receive well below the state average in funding. School districts look like a Monopoly board. Delano represents the Mediterranean Avenue and Baltic Avenue type properties and our neighboring districts to the east represent the Boardwalk and Park Places. This is because the current funding system is broken and has created alarming funding disparities between Minnesota school districts, thus creating a very large opportunity gap amongst districts.

The bulk of the funding disparity is caused by the referendum levy. Years of inadequate state funding have forced increased reliance on voter approved property tax referenda just to maintain basic programming and operations. As a result of inadequate state funding 90 percent of all Minnesota school districts have had to ask local voters for additional revenue. However, funds generated by school levies vary between $5 per pupil unit (p/p/u) and more than $2000 p/p/u. This sets up the “Have” and “Have Nots” based upon where a child lives.

I, along with SEE, believe that the current level and distribution of funding fails to meet the constitutional mandate and is depriving Minnesota students of the high-quality education system they need and deserve because of its inadequacy of funding, inequity in educational opportunities and inequity in tax payer effort.

The solution to our current funding system is comprehensive funding reform. Given fiscal challenges that Minnesota is facing, it’s understandable that full-blown reform might have to wait. However, our legislature needs to take some steps need to immediately to remedy these problems:

• Promote taxpayer fairness by increasing the equalization factor for all levies, especially the referendum levy equalizing factor that has not been adjusted upward to reflect growth since 1993.

•  Re-establish the General Education Levy to provide greater funding stability, equity and tax fairness.

•  Cap the referendum levy at its current level.

• Reduce funding disparity between highest and lowest revenue districts.

•  Eliminate reliance on the referendum levy for all school districts.

All public school children must have equal access to a high quality education regardless of where they live in Minnesota… Our children’s future won’t wait”- SEE

Jonathan Ness

Candidate Biography:

I am fortunate to be married to my wonderful wife Sarah. We have lived in Delano for over five years with our three wonderful children, Gretchen (9), Hailey (7), and Nathan (6). I grew up near Dawson and Brookings, S.D. I graduated from South Dakota State University with a degree in economics and later received my Masters of Public Administration from the University of Oklahoma. After college I served for nine years in the military, leaving six years ago to develop a career in corporate finance and to pursue a more stable lifestyle.

Candidate Statement:

Six years ago my wife and I decided to leave the military and choose a life where we could raise our family in a small town with a great school, offering stability and a solid education for our children. Delano became our obvious choice when we compared the west metro school districts based on class size, ACT scores, and extra-curricular opportunities. I am running for the School Board to ensure that the Delano School District is the obvious choice 5, 10, and 20 years from now.

I believe the largest issues facing the school district are funding and maintaining top tier performance. The metrics I looked at six years ago are the outcome of the school board and administration efficiently leveraging the resources it had, and they’ve done a fantastic job. The challenge is being able to continue this excellence in the future as we face limited funds and increased class sizes. During my years as an Air Force officer I learned how to do more with less. Each year I was faced with both budget cuts and increased mission requirements.

Closely tied to the current funding issue is the other leading issue, maintaining top tier performance. At the end of all the great teaching, administration, and student performance are the metrics that families like mine, use to make the decision to move to Delano. While funding is a driver of academic performance, it isn’t the only factor. Delano has been able to maintain top tier test scores while having a low cost per pupil because of great decision making and efficient resource allocation.

Maintaining top-tier academic metrics is important for both our students and overall community. For students, it’s the measure of the academic opportunities they’ve received and how well they’ve utilized them. For the community, maintaining academic excellence means more families moving to Delano. This translates to more jobs, economic development and most importantly, incremental tax revenue. I view Delano’s academic excellence as our community’s greatest competitive advantage and maintaining that level of performance requires commitment to our schools and thoughtful decision-making.

I believe my years of experience in working with government budgeting while leading organizations through both fiscal constraints and increased scope, will allow me to effectively lead as a School Board member. I look forward to the opportunity to serve our students and our community on the Delano School Board.

3 incumbents, 3 challengers seek 3 Elk River School Board seats

For the Elk River School Board, four-year at-large seats belonging to Sue Farber, Janelle Henry and Holly Thompson are up for election.

All three incumbents filed. Also filing are contenders Dan Hunt of Rogers, Jane Frazier of Rogers and Tom McCauley of Elk River.

Holly Thompson

I have been married for 14 years to my husband, Mark. We have three children. Andrew is in 7th grade at Zimmerman Middle School, Lucie is in 4th grade at Westwood Elementary and Natalie is in 2nd grade at Zimmerman Elementary.

Currently, I stay at home with my children and spend as much time as possible volunteering in the schools. Previously, I was an accounting manager for a real estate developer.

Previous civic and community involvement — Weekly parent volunteer in elementary schools. Member of Parents United. Member of Interagency Early Intervention Committee. Member of Laurie Kerrr Foundation. Member of Legislative Action Team. Treasurer and Executive Committee Member for ISD 728 School Board for 3 years. Previously PTO Treasurer for Zimmerman and Westwood Elementary schools.

1.What prompted you to run for the Elk River Area School Board?

My decision to run for reelection was an easy one for me. I want to do all that I can to inspire children to learn and grow. My passion for children coupled with my financial skills prepare me to make tough decisions in these tough economic times.

2. What makes you qualified to be a member of the School Board?

As an incumbent, I have the experience and training as a board member. As a mother of three children, I have a vested interest in doing what is best for our children. My business skills will assist with financial decisions facing the district. This package, neatly wrapped, qualifies me to represent the constituents of our district.

3. What facets of the newly formulated strategic plan are you most fascinated with that you see the greatest potential for growth in the district.

Community collaboration is one of the basic tenets of our new plan and offers us the greatest opportunity to realize our goals. This isn’t because we are asking for handouts as we may have in the past, but achieving mutual goals and benefits. I am also fascinated with exploring course delivery options which incorporates technology.

4. What are the biggest threats the Elk River Area School District faces?

Simply stated I think our biggest threat is our resistance to change.

5. Do you support the operating levy renewal? Why or why not? Do you support the second operating levy question?

I support the renewal of the operating levy. I also support taking the second question to our taxpayers for their decision. Now that we have the direction of our strategic plan, we will need money to finance priority initiatives. Their decision on this levy will help us determine how quickly or slowly we will move ahead.

6. If the levies fail, massive cuts will needed to balance the budget. What elements of the strategic plan will still be doable in your mind? What will your approach to cuts be?

If the levies fail, there will be no sacred cows as we consider what cuts need to be made. We will have to decide which of the strategic plan initiatives are priorities that may be started with minimal financial support. What will be important for me is not to lose the momentum as we go through this grueling task.

7. Momentum is building to look at ways of adding auditoriums in Zimmerman and Rogers? What are your thoughts on what the role of the School Board will be to support this endeavor?

Our School Board decided to pursue auditoriums through community initiatives and not through a levy. Levies for this have not passed previously and our strategic plan supports more community collaboration. The results thus far show promise for a variety of funding options. The leadership of these groups can continue to breath life into a plan.

8. Equity has been an issue in the Elk River Area School District for a number of years. What work still must be done to remedy this?

First, we need to define what equity looks like across our district. Once we have agreement, we can assign priorities and consider these for funding through our annual budgeting process. Evolving needs would be reviewed and prioritized as part of the cycle.

9. Local manufacturers and those across the state and country often have a difficult time filling positions because applicants lack the necessary skills to perform the work. What can be done at a local level to help fix this?

Community collaboration will be a key methodology to fix the gap in educational skills and job requirements. We must research, report and communicate the results to parents, teachers and students. Once armed with good data, it will be easier to make decisions regarding curriculum, internships and other community initiatives.

10. So much has been learned about the brain and the importance of the first few years of a child’s life. Does the school district do enough reach the families of young children, so the children who show up at kindergarten at age five are prepared?

Our district takes the initiative to reach out to other preschools and daycares to align school readiness. In addition, early childhood screening ensures identification and services to children and families that may benefit from early intervention. This is a strength area for our district and the early assistance paves the way to a strong start for all children.

11. What separates your candidacy for School Board from your opponents?

I have the business training, experience and guts to manage the tough decisions that will be necessary during the next four years. I am committed to doing what is required to get the job done for our children. I have the passion to do whatever is necessary to help our children reach their full potential.

Sue Farber

I am the extremely proud mom of 3 boys – all graduates of Elk River High School…Jason 29, Jacob, 27 & Joey, 25. I am also blessed with 3 beautiful grandchildren Ella 4, Izzy 3, & JJ 2.

I have been a hair stylist in Elk River for 24 years, and have owned my own salon for 16 of those years. I also work as an administrative assistant for Community Living Options in Zimmerman.

Previous civic and community involvement — Prior to my commitment to the School Board, I was very active with Habitat for Humanity taking groups of Prior to my commitment to the School Board, I was very active with Habitat for Humanity taking groups teenagers and adults on trips across the country to help build homes for those in need.  I spent a year on the board for Sherburne County Habitat for Humanity as well.  Since being on the School Board, I have served for 3 years as a legislative delegate for the Minnesota School Board Association and have served for 2 years on the Executive and Legislative Boards for AMSD, setting legislative platforms to get our message to our legislature about what School Districts need from our State.

1.What prompted you to run for the Elk River Area School Board?

I’ve always been passionate with my ideas & thoughts about education & what kids need to become happy, successful, independent adults.  8 years ago I was encouraged by friends to put my money where my mouth was.  At that time our district needed to change direction & be more accountable to the stakeholders. I knew I could help make that happen & I have much more to offer

2. What makes you qualified to be a member of the School Board?

My passion for kids and education. My common sense approach to life & its problems. My sense of community and my dedication to making our district a place where people want to bring their kids to learn. The fact that I work and live in the district and have the ability to have conversations with a variety of people every day through my work and my outside activities.

3. What facets of the newly formulated strategic plan are you most fascinated with that you see the greatest potential for growth in the district.

The best part of our new strategic plan is that it involves so many people. Our first plan brought involvement and accountability to our administration. The new plan is more inclusive & brings the same accountability to every employee and to every community member. For the first time we have a plan that calls for a true investment from EVERYONE in our kids’ future.

4. What are the biggest threats the Elk River Area School District faces?

2 things – Losing kids to districts with all day every day kindergarten and more programs & lack of funding to provide these options. Our district spends it’s money very wisely & we wring every dime out of every dollar we can, but the state MUST fix the broken funding formula to provide true equity in funding so we can provide the same things other districts do.

5. Do you support the operating levy renewal? Why or why not? Do you support the second operating levy question?

YES & YES Without #1 there will be huge cuts to personnel and programs & that’s a lose lose for kids…As for #2?  Look around you – 2 & 3 year olds are playing with I Pads & electronic gadgets all day long. They are smart and very ready for all day every day kindergarten by 5 and if we greet them with out dated technology, we will struggle to keep them engaged & motivated

6. If the levies fail, massive cuts will needed to balance the budget. What elements of the strategic plan will still be doable in your mind? What will your approach to cuts be?

The strategic plan is an ever evolving process…even when facing massive cuts, there will be parts of

we can do now, and parts that will have to wait till finances turn around. The plan won’t change, it will just have to slow down. With cuts – unfortunately EVERYTHING will have to be looked at … people, programs, classes, activities… it will be devastating for our kids.

7. Momentum is building to look at ways of adding auditoriums in Zimmerman and Rogers? What are your thoughts on what the role of the School Board will be to support this endeavor?

The board should absolutely champion this endeavor – Auditoriums are necessary to High School curriculum.  With finances stretched to the limit, we need to look to partnering with local cities and businesses to finance them.  If Schwanns can build an ice arena & Target can build a baseball stadium, we can partner with local businesses to help fund the arts in our schools

8. Equity has been an issue in the Elk River Area School District for a number of years. What work still must be done to remedy this?

Equity doesn’t always have to mean having the exact same programs in every building, but it does mean that we need to have the same set of standards for every school in the district.  Our biggest focus needs to be getting equity in programming for our learners in our High Schools – through ITV, on line classes and/or additions to buildings – and we need to act now!

9. Local manufacturers and those across the state and country often have a difficult time filling positions because applicants lack the necessary skills to perform the work. What can be done at a local level to help fix this?

Partnering with local manufacturers to get interested kids into their business 1/2 days. Incorporating what they learn on the job with our curriculum would tie in perfectly with our new strategic plan.  Using our vast local resources would not only be cost effective, but an amazing way to integrate our schools and our communities, forming mutually beneficial partnerships.

10. So much has been learned about the brain and the importance of the first few years of a child’s life. Does the school district do enough reach the families of young children, so the children who show up at kindergarten at age five are prepared?

Our district has amazing programs in place to help families of children who have a difficult start in life.  Our Community Ed, ECFE & ECSE programs are amazing.  I would like to see these programs expanded & to be able to have the same facilities & programs in both the North and the South ends of our district, making them more readily accessible to everyone.

11. What separates your candidacy for School Board from your opponents?

I’ve dedicated 8 years to learning everything I can about what it takes to run a district with over 12,000 learners depending on us to do what is right for them. I now understand the “business” of education & can keep the momentum going for our learners without a huge learning curve I’m a lifelong resident with strong ties & a vested interest in our schools & communities.

Jane Frazier

Family — Mark, my husband of 23 years, and I have four children: John – 21yrs, Justin – 19yrs, Jessica – 18yrs, and Jared – 16yrs.

I have been a self-employed business owner for the last 18 years.

Previous civic and community involvement — Member of the district’s Legislative Action Team (LAT) for the last two years, volunteer summer camp youth counselor, youth mentor at church, volunteered often in the 3rd grade classroom when my children were in grade school, and chaperoned many fieldtrips.

1.What prompted you to run for the Elk River Area School Board?

I have a heart for young people and a mind for business. I feel that is a great combination for a school board member to have. My children have come up through this district and now that they are older, I would like to give back and help ISD728 be as efficient and successful as possible.

2. What makes you qualified to be a member of the School Board?

In this downturned economy, we need to do more with less. As a business owner, I have experience in making good economic decisions, prioritizing needs, and coming up with creative solutions. As a 19 year resident in the district, I’ve seen where we have come from and where we want to go. Having children in the district has given insight into it’s strengths and weaknesses.

3. What facets of the newly formulated strategic plan are you most fascinated with that you see the greatest potential for growth in the district.

I am so thankful for the development of such a thorough strategic plan. Having a vision is the key to success. There are many good ideas included in the plan. Flexible scheduling, including online training, would offer many more class choices as well as potentially saving money for the district. All day-everyday kindergarten is beneficial, too.

4. What are the biggest threats the Elk River Area School District faces?

The biggest threat may be the threat to change. We need to be willing to look at new ways of doing things that could be more effective, both in the classroom and well as saving the district funds. The funding crisis is also a threat. We must work at obtaining a balanced budget regardless to how much funding we are receiving from taxpayers or the state.

5. Do you support the operating levy renewal? Why or why not? Do you support the second operating levy question?

I support the levy renewal because school funding across the board is down. With less taxpayer revenue due to lower property taxes and stagnant growth, and less funding from the state, I think the renewal is reasonable. The second levy I am not so sure about. It will be up to the taxpayers to decide if they want to pass it and increase their taxes.

6. If the levies fail, massive cuts will needed to balance the budget. What elements of the strategic plan will still be doable in your mind? What will your approach to cuts be?

I believe all day everyday kindergarten should remain our goal regardless. I am optimistic that it can still be implemented and would help come up with creative ideas to do so. If the levies fail, we would need to explore every cost saving strategy possible to trim the budget.

7. Momentum is building to look at ways of adding auditoriums in Zimmerman and Rogers? What are your thoughts on what the role of the School Board will be to support this endeavor?

As I understand, the school board is very supportive of the auditoriums and has promoted a community lead effort to gather ideas to help make it possible. Since the district has limited funds and will soon be deficit spending, we must rely on the help of the community for this to happen.

8. Equity has been an issue in the Elk River Area School District for a number of years. What work still must be done to remedy this?

Equity is important and necessary for a successful school district. I believe all the needs from across the district should be gathered and prioritized on an annual basis. I also understand that there is an effort to come up with a new name for the district that would be more inclusive. All ideas are welcomed.

9. Local manufacturers and those across the state and country often have a difficult time filling positions because applicants lack the necessary skills to perform the work. What can be done at a local level to help fix this?

I would like to see more class choices offered in our high schools. Some can be more skills based classes that explore different career fields. We could invite leaders from local manufacturers and skill based careers to come into the classroom and talk to the students. Community involvement is valuable.

10. So much has been learned about the brain and the importance of the first few years of a child’s life. Does the school district do enough reach the families of young children, so the children who show up at kindergarten at age five are prepared?

I am not as familiar with the Early Childhood Education piece of the district, but I am aware that they have several programs in place and feel they have addressed this need well. I do think that all day everyday kindergarten should be available to all students in the district, but not mandatory.

11. What separates your candidacy for School Board from your opponents?

Having a passion for kids and a strong business background enables me to have a balanced approach to school board decisions. Living in the district for almost 19 years is beneficial, as well. I enjoy working with people and look forward to serving those in ISD728 if given the opportunity.

Tom McAuley

My wife Carrie and I have a seven year old attending Twin Lakes Elementary and a four year old attending New Horizon Academy.

Occupation —Rental Property Management.

Previous civic and community involvement — Currently president of my neighborhood home owner’s association.

1.What prompted you to run for the Elk River Area School Board?

I have two young children growing up in this district and the decisions this board makes will affect their future. I want to help ensure that future is as bright as it can be, and I want to do it in a way that our entire community can be proud of.

2. What makes you qualified to be a member of the School Board?

I have an MBA and a Bachelor’s in Computer Science. I am a parent, a taxpayer, a small business and home owner who respects the hard work and effort that we all put into paying our taxes so that our schools can provide our children with a first rate education. Our teachers work hard, our taxpayers work hard and the School Board needs to work hard too.

3. What facets of the newly formulated strategic plan are you most fascinated with that you see the greatest potential for growth in the district.

We asked everyone in our community for input on the plan; that is the most important part. We cannot ignore our community for 23 months between levy renewals—we must engage them as much as we can, as often as we can. This system belongs to ALL of our citizens and I think the more involved we all are the better.

4. What are the biggest threats the Elk River Area School District faces?

We depend on our community to provide us with the resources necessary to educate our children, yet there is a perception that the schools only communicate when they need money. This leads to community members who feel disengaged from the school district. Everyone has a stake in this, and we need to make sure everyone is involved.

5. Do you support the operating levy renewal? Why or why not? Do you support the second operating levy question?

Our district, compared to others in Minnesota, does a great job managing the resources it has. There is no indication of waste here, and these levy questions are not out of line with other districts’ funding. I will be voting for both levy questions and I hope you will join me.

6. If the levies fail, massive cuts will needed to balance the budget. What elements of the strategic plan will still be doable in your mind? What will your approach to cuts be?

We are already deficit spending and I can’t see any significant dead-weight left to remove; anything that goes now will hurt. Minimizing the impact to our children has to be the first priority, followed by improving our relationship with the community so that this does not happen in the future.

7. Momentum is building to look at ways of adding auditoriums in Zimmerman and Rogers? What are your thoughts on what the role of the School Board will be to support this endeavor?

The last bonding bill failed in 2007, and I agree with the administration’s assessment that the district is not likely to support such a measure now. Again, I believe communication is the key responsibility the board has. I like that we are involving our parents in the decision process by holding forums and that effort and others like it must continue.

8. Equity has been an issue in the Elk River Area School District for a number of years. What work still must be done to remedy this?

I believe that every child should have equal access to education and that our resources should be evenly and fairly distributed. This is basic fairness and I would make decisions no other way.

9. Local manufacturers and those across the state and country often have a difficult time filling positions because applicants lack the necessary skills to perform the work. What can be done at a local level to help fix this?

I want our children to be prepared for tomorrow’s economy. For me this means an emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). I want our kids to be doctors and scientists, architects and engineers. The decisions I make will be geared toward that objective.

10. So much has been learned about the brain and the importance of the first few years of a child’s life. Does the school district do enough reach the families of young children, so the children who show up at kindergarten at age five are prepared?

I believe that parents have the ultimate responsibility for the education of their children, for all age levels. Our schools are here to help, but they cannot be a substitute for solid parenting. It is sad and unfortunate that not all children are fully prepared for their future, but I do not believe we can fault the schools here.

11. What separates your candidacy for School Board from your opponents?

I want a future where our community is proud of its schools; where they know that the school system works hard and is as efficient with their resources as they are. I want a school system that prepares all of our children for the economy to come and I want our teachers and taxpayers to both have the respect they deserve.

Dan Hunt

I am an 18 year resident of Rogers where I live with my wife Shannon and my daughter Madison who is in the 8th. grade at Rogers Middle School.

Occupation — Hunt Painting Inc.

Previous civic and community involvement — I am an active member of Mary Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Rogers.

I have participated in numerous political events parades etc.. in the Rogers area over the years.

I’ve helped organize and assist in two fundraisers for families in our community.

I have chaired the largest fundraiser of the year for Mary Queen of Peace Catholic school.

I am also a member of the Knights of Columbus.

1.What prompted you to run for the Elk River Area School Board?

I am a fiscally disciplined small business owner who has to balance his checkbook each month. We should expect the same from our school board. I am concerned with the administrations proposal to the voters on Nov.6th. to renew the expiring levy and propose a second one which will result in higher taxes. Yet, if passed still results in a $1.9 million budget deficit.

2. What makes you qualified to be a member of the School Board?

Two terms on the Mary Queen of Peace Catholic School Advisory Board.

My firm belief that we as a society are failing our children. We must demand higher standards from our teachers and we must demand true fiscal accountability from our administration.

3. What facets of the newly formulated strategic plan are you most fascinated with that you see the greatest potential for growth in the district.

I am fascinated by the fact that a $1.9 million budget deficit in the 2013-2014 school year would be considered strategic.

I do however think we should continue to explore the public / private partnerships needed to fund proposals such as Rogers / Zimmerman auditoriums.

4. What are the biggest threats the Elk River Area School District faces?

1.Flat or declining enrollment, it seems the district has a business as usual attitude while ignoring the reality that the kind of rapid growth we have experienced in the past 15 years is sadly now in the past.

2. The erosion of the public trust.

5. Do you support the operating levy renewal? Why or why not? Do you support the second operating levy question?

Levies have expiration dates for a reason unfortunately the district has become reliant on the funding and cannot survive without it. We were told at the time of passage that this would never need to be renewed.

A poll tested wish list that any parent would be crazy not to support just doesn’t fit with the present fiscal realities of the district.

6. If the levies fail, massive cuts will needed to balance the budget. What elements of the strategic plan will still be doable in your mind? What will your approach to cuts be?

If the levies fail the district risks the loss of the public trust. I am confident that with the election of a new and fiscally conservative board we can turn this district around and put the district on a fiscally conservative path.

7. Momentum is building to look at ways of adding auditoriums in Zimmerman and Rogers? What are your thoughts on what the role of the School Board will be to support this endeavor?

With a budget deficit of $ 1.9 million in the 2013-2014 school year this clearly isn’t the time to look at building expansions at either campus. Momentum may be building on the school board for this project but having spent time out in the public door knocking recently I found very little momentum for these proposals primarily because of the tax implications.

8. Equity has been an issue in the Elk River Area School District for a number of years. What work still must be done to remedy this?

Work closer with your local / state representatives.

9. Local manufacturers and those across the state and country often have a difficult time filling positions because applicants lack the necessary skills to perform the work. What can be done at a local level to help fix this?

One suggestion may be to offer more life skills classes in the schools another would be more job specific classes in shop such as welding and electricians.

10. So much has been learned about the brain and the importance of the first few years of a child’s life. Does the school district do enough reach the families of young children, so the children who show up at kindergarten at age five are prepared?

It is not the school districts responsibility to participate in raising our children prior to Kindergarten.

11. What separates your candidacy for School Board from your opponents?

I am conservative.

Janelle Henry

Family — Husband-Jim, Daughter-Tina, Son-James

Occupation — I am the Assistant Store Manager at Skechers at the Albertville Premium Outlet Mall.

Previous civic and community involvement —Girl Scout Leader for 5 years; Tutor with Community Education for 6 years; Served on the School Board from 2002-2006 and 2008-present; Served as Vice-chair and Chair of the School Board; Served for 5 years on the School Board of the Northwest Suburban Integration School District; Served as Vice-chair of the Northwest Suburban Integration School Board

1.What prompted you to run for the Elk River Area School Board?

I am currently on the School Board and am seeking re-election to continue the amazing strides forward the Board and District has made over the last 4 years. MCA math and reading scores are the highest ever recorded in the District. More students are enrolled in Advance Placement than any other time in the District with over 500 college credits earned

2. What makes you qualified to be a member of the School Board?

I was a history major in college graduating with at Bachelor of Arts in Education. I have been a teacher in the past and currently tutor students in our District through Community Education. I have served on the School Board for a total of eight years. Our children getting a quality education is my priority.

3. What facets of the newly formulated strategic plan are you most fascinated with that you see the greatest potential for growth in the district.

The greatest potential for growth are the nine priorities of the Strategic Plan especially the priority of all day/everyday Kindergarten. This priority has the potential to lower costs for the District. If children are provided a good educational foundation they do not have to repeat grades or classes at upper levels thus lowering educational costs.

4. What are the biggest threats the Elk River Area School District faces?

The biggest threat is and will be financial especially if the two levies do not pass. The passing of these two levies is critical in order to maintain current staffing levels and class sizes in all the schools as well as programs and services. New technology is needed in our schools for our students to be successful in school and after graduation.

5. Do you support the operating levy renewal? Why or why not? Do you support the second operating levy question?

I strongly support both. We have made significant strides over the last few years with the raising of test scores to new highs. This needs to continue. Failure to pass will result in programs being cut, staff being cut resulting in larger class sizes and elimination of services. We need all day/every day Kindergarten as well as technology improvements.

6. If the levies fail, massive cuts will needed to balance the budget. What elements of the strategic plan will still be doable in your mind? What will your approach to cuts be?

Only the elements that require little to no money could be done. The approach to cuts would be made with the least impact on students. Some programs would need to be cut. Elective classes would be reduced and potentially eliminated. Class sizes could potentially increase. Improved technology in the schools may be eliminated.

7. Momentum is building to look at ways of adding auditoriums in Zimmerman and Rogers? What are your thoughts on what the role of the School Board will be to support this endeavor?

The adding of auditoriums needs to be addressed as part of a total package to address equity issues in all parts of the District. Each school in our District lacks items other schools have within the District. These could all be addressed in the future with bonding once the economy recovers.

8. Equity has been an issue in the Elk River Area School District for a number of years. What work still must be done to remedy this?

Two months ago I gave the board members a list of at least 12 issues that need to be done to have full equity within the District. The list included building an elementary school and high school, auditoriums, field houses, as well at expanding the STEM and magnet programs to all elementary and middle schools, and Community Education facilities in all parts of the District.

9. Local manufacturers and those across the state and country often have a difficult time filling positions because applicants lack the necessary skills to perform the work. What can be done at a local level to help fix this?

We need to work with local businesses to start work study programs in all parts of the District. Students would learn necessary skills in their areas of interest. Local businesses would train the students and have new employees upon graduation. If further education is needed or desired, these students would already be ahead of others because of skills learned on the job.

10. So much has been learned about the brain and the importance of the first few years of a child’s life. Does the school district do enough reach the families of young children, so the children who show up at kindergarten at age five are prepared?

Through programs offered by Community Education, Early Childhood Family Education, Early Childhood Special Education, and Head Start the families in the District are offered many programs to prepare their children for kindergarten. Early Childhood screening is offered to check the physical, developmental and emotional growth of all 3 and 4 year olds within the District.

11. What separates your candidacy for School Board from your opponents?

I have eight years experience as a School Board member. I served when there was massive building taking place because of huge growth within the District as well as when necessary cuts had to take place because of the economic decline. I have served as vice-chair and chair of the Board as well as vice-chair of the Northwest Suburban Integration School Board.

5 candidates running for 3 Osseo School Board seats

Voters in the Osseo School District will select three candidates to serve on the school board. Five candidates are running. Current board chair Dean Henke is the only incumbent in the race.

The board members serve four-year terms, and are elected at-large. Since 2006, board members have received a stipend of $7,800 a year, which includes reimbursement for mileage and other expenses. The chair of the board receives $9,000 a year, and the clerk gets $8,100.

The following are candidate statements we received.

Linda J. Etim

Address: 8617 Edinbrook Crossing 209, Brooklyn Park

Family: Widowed with three adult sons Education: Masters in social work and 40-plus postgraduate credits in the area of education administration

Occupation: Emergency behavioral medicine clinical social worker

Years you have lived in the school district: 19 years

Top three community or civic organizations involvement: Brooklyn Park Domestic Violence Community Council and multiple other committees, including Northwest Suburban Integration School District between 2004 and 2008 and previous board member for North Point Health and Wellness (Pilot City Neighborhood Services) from 2002 to 2004

Have you run for any other office? If so, list what, when and for how long you served. Served on District 279 School Board Jan. 1, 2004 to Dec. 31, 2008. Also ran for State Representative.

How people can contact you: Creativeexpinc@aol.com

Q. What distinguishes you from the other candidates?

First of all, I think that we all want the same thing, and that is for all children in this school district to be academically successfully.

I believe that what distinguishes me from other candidates is the fact that I have worked in the area of human services and understand the social issues that impact one’s ability to succeed academically.

As well, I have successfully completed 40-plus postgraduate credits in the area of education administration. My education as a clinical social worker and postgraduate credits in education give me an advantage in understanding the educational and psychological needs of children including those children who are energetic and creative who need an instructional environment beyond the traditional classroom setting to be successful.

Q. Unless something changes, budget projections show the need for $14 million in cuts for the 2014-15 school year. How would you address the looming financial crisis?

There is no silver bullet for this issue. However, since we can’t always predict change, the district needs to slow its spending and make adjustments over time with the least amount of impact on our students.

Q. What does the district need to do to close the substantial achievement gap?

Research has demonstrated that parental involvement is one of the most meaningful ways to influence academic achievement. The district needs to be creative in coming up with a plan to address this issue, which includes engaging its community partners across all cultures. As well, we need to recognize and address the fact that all children do not learn or express what they have learned in the same way. Some children can demonstrate what they have learned using traditional testing while others may need to demonstrate their educational gains in a different way. We need to accommodate these differences. We also need to look at models around the country that have been successful in educating children who otherwise would have been left behind.

Robert Gerhart

Address: 12001 90th Ave. N., Maple Grove

Family: Wife Tiffany and four daughters

Education: Executive Master of Engineering Management

Occupation: Registered Patent Agent, Technical Advisor

Years you have lived in the district: 14 years

Top three community or civic organizations involvement: Two-year member of Rice Lake Elementary Parent-Teacher Organization, current Rice Lake representative to D279 Community Education Program Advisory Council and member of the District Website Redesign Advisory Group

Have you run for any other office? No

How people can contact you: electgerhart.org

Q. What distinguishes you from the other candidates?

There is one major fact that separates me from the pack.

During this next term, I will have my four kids in three district schools. That means I have a major hand in this game, and I have about 14 years remaining before that personal responsibility ends. Serving on the school board would not simply be a pastime for me; my own kids stand to benefit or suffer from my decisions just like everyone else’s. I cannot think of a better motivation to keep a board member honest.

Q. Unless something changes, budget projections show the need for $14 million in cuts for the 2014-15 school year. How would you address the looming financial crisis?

I think that we have been looking at this problem the wrong way. By fundamentally reimagining the classroom, we can increase the efficiency and effectiveness of teachers. By breaking the age-old idea of what a classroom is supposed to look like, we can give students more educational value per taxpayer dollar. I really do believe we can both improve student performance and maintain or even cut our budget.

Should cuts become absolutely necessary, I would first compile a list of all programs, departments and functions provided by the school. Second, I would categorize these items into those mandated by law, those that directly impact standardized scores and those that do not. Third, I would form a community advisory panel to rank the programs in the third category. The lowest-ranking of those programs would then be recommended for cuts. This seems like the most fair way to do something that nobody wants to see happen.

Q. What does the district need to do to close the substantial achievement gap?

We need to individualize the learning experience; no one size fits all. Every student has different needs, but our current classroom model pretty much forces us to treat all students the same.

New York City is testing a system called “School of One.” The academic needs of every student are analyzed, and technology is used to customize each student’s curriculum. This curriculum is adaptive; a unique plan is created for every student, every day. This way, individual students are moved ahead only after they have demonstrated mastery. Teachers are used more effectively because lectures and quizzes are offloaded to the technology, which gives the teachers more time to provide hands-on help to individuals and small groups. Teachers are freed to really put their passion and creativity to work to solve a wide variety of problems, including those that give rise to the achievement gap.

Jacki Girtz

Address: 12240 70th Ave. N., Maple Grove

Family: Husband John and five children

Education: Studied at Minneapolis Community College and University of Minnesota

Occupation: Insurance Agent and co-owner with husband of Girtz Insurance & Financial Services LLC

Years you have lived in the district: 10 years

Top three community or civic organizations involvement: PTO board member at Edinbrook Elementary for six years, KinderChurch Ministry Team Director at Living Word Christian Center, Partners in Policymaking

Have you run for any other office? If so, list what, when and for how long you served. No.

How people can contact you: jackigirtzforschoolboard@gmail.com

Q. What distinguishes you from the other candidates?

My district involvement has been very substantial. I have been on five district committees and done much volunteering at four different elementary schools, including fundraising chair, vice president and president of PTO. This has enabled me to see what is going on in the classrooms, to talk with teachers to understand the challenges they face. I have children in all levels of education (gifted and talented, special education and typical classroom). I understand challenges and benefits of them all. I am a great listener, problem-solver and have very creative ideas and solutions.

Q. Unless something changes, budget projections show the need for $14 million in cuts for the 2014-15 school year. How would you address the looming financial crisis?

I would support and advocate passing the operation levy now so that we do not have this situation. In the event the levy did not pass and we would be in that situation, I would objectively listen to and consider all of the options of budget items to cut. I would make my decision of which items to cut based upon what is best for all 21,000 students.

Q. What does the district need to do to close the substantial achievement gap?

Place the best teachers where the greatest need is. Train the current teachers to be culturally competent, and hire more teachers that mirror the diversity of our student population. Get the proper technology into the hands of teachers and train them on it. The type that can gather data and analyze and give feed back quickly as to understand what concepts were and were not understood by the students.

Dean Henke

Address: 8424 Underwood Lane N., Maple Grove

Family: Wife Donna and two young adult graduates of Maple Grove Senior High

Education: B.A. in Accounting from Augsburg College

Occupation: Financial Analyst at Children’s Hospital and Clinics of Minnesota

Years you have lived in the district: 25 years

Top three community or civic organizations involvement: OMGAA girls fast-pitch softball coach, OMGBA girls basketball coach and Osseo School District FISCAL Advisory Committee

Have you run for any other office? If so, list what, when and for how long you served. Served on the Osseo School Board beginning in 2004 to present

How people can contact you: dhdh@usfamily.net

Q. What distinguishes you from the other candidates?

My school board, work and industry experience make me uniquely qualified to serve on the board. I have nine years of experience serving on the Osseo School Board; 20-plus years of accounting and finance experience and 15 plus years of experience in the health care industry.

Q. Unless something changes, budget projections show the need for $14 million in cuts for the 2014-15 school year. How would you address the looming financial crisis?

I will continue to be a strong advocate for sustainable budgets and affordable labor contracts, given that our contracts comprise 80-85 percent of our budget. Adopting sustainable budgets would allow the Osseo School District to avoid the budget-cutting cycle that has become all too common. While it may not be possible to completely eliminate budget cuts, we can certainly do better in reducing their frequency, size, scope and the impact on our students, staff and community.

Q. What does the district need to do to close the substantial achievement gap?

The Osseo School District needs to ensure that there is an effective teacher in every classroom, an effective principal in every building and effective management staff to provide guidance and leadership. Continue to reform our outdated practices; communicate with, inform and influence our elected representatives of state statutes that hinder our “local control” ability and communicate with and inform students and parents of the opportunities that are available in our school district or opportunities available to our school district.

Collette Guyott-Hempel

Address: 9277 Trinity Gardens, Brooklyn Park

Family: Husband Bill and one child in the CEMS magnet program at Blaine High School

Education: Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Minnesota with a minor in child psychology

Occupation: Paraprofessional in the Minneapolis School District

Years you have lived in the district: 21 years

Top three community or civic organizations involvement: Former District 279 DPAC/Edinbrook PTO Member, Parent/volunteer for Boy Scout Troop 575, member of St. Alphonsus Catholic Church

Have you run for any other office? If so, list what, when and for how long you served. Ran for Osseo School Board

How people can contact you: cmguyott.home.comcast.net

Q. What distinguishes you from the other candidates?

The difference between me and other candidates is that I believe smaller class sizes and academic opportunities need more funding not less. Our children receive fewer electives than neighboring districts, including Minneapolis, Wayzata and Anoka-Hennepin. This limits their options of choice. I know the difference in Anoka-Hennepin is like an extra year of education and it is all electives. My son received 33.5 yearlong credits while his friends that attended Osseo Senior High received 24 yearlong credits. Minneapolis voted to have seven class periods in senior highs this year to give kids more electives.

Q. Unless something changes, budget projections show the need for $14 million in cuts for the 2014-15 school year. How would you address the looming financial crisis?

We will need to address the fact that enrollment has dropped by 1,100 students. We will need to look at funding our classrooms first. Smaller class sizes and more electives will have parents wanting to stay in the district. Not leasing building space and having a current facilities assessment will be part of the solution. Administration costs of staff not directly working with students will also need to be part of decisions. We have cut enough classroom staff in 2008 and again this year. Parents may need to pay for transportation under two miles or pay more for sports participation.

Q. What does the district need to do to close the substantial achievement gap?

We need to increase the class day to seven hours again. This will allow for electives and remedial opportunities for secondary students. Elementary students may need to have required summer school if not proficient in math and reading. We cannot continue to let students fail.

Rockford Area School Board candidates compete for 3 seats

The Rockford Area School Board, District 883, has three open seats on its six-person board up for election. Each board member term is four years.

Five candidates are in this race: Incumbents Kris Abrahamson, Todd Anderson, and Kathy Smith, and district residents and Michael Sanders and Steven Yakesh.

We asked for candidate biographies and statements. These are the ones we received.

Kris Abrahamson

Candidate Biography:

Kris Abrahamson seeking 3rd term for Rockford Area Schools school board.

My husband Dan and I have lived in Rockford for 29 years. It is a supportive community, and we wouldn’t have chosen any other place to raise our four kids. I have held many jobs over the last 30-plus years (family manager, office manager, kitchen manager, administrative assistant, school board member, and several community volunteer projects), and all included communication skills, organizational planning, budget management, and connecting with people’s need to feel valued.

Candidate Statement:

The biggest need facing Rockford Area Schools is the lack of funding and support from the state. We have community members and lobbyists working on our behalf to help equalize the state school funding formula to ensure that each school receives an equal share. Yet, as you know, anything with the government takes a long time, and most often gets stalled out depending on who is in charge of the MN House and Senate.

Rockford Area Schools is facing a severe budget need, not due to mismanagement of finances as some have suggested. It is the need to bring all the buildings, grounds, activity areas (both inside and out) up to safety code standards. The successful passing of the bond referendum will free up funds that will be used in the classrooms for programming, and for continuing to make good educational history… Due to the state not providing equal funding, monies (from the general fund — away from the classrooms) have, out of necessity, been used to create short-term repairs on the buildings. The oldest building is over 50 years old (1959). The temporary solutions are no longer an option.

Dan and I chose to invest in our children’s future by helping as much as we could towards their college educations. This was a true lesson in budgeting and living within our means. This same principle has been prevalent in the school finances over the last 5 years. I am proud to be part of our award-winning district. We have been recipients of the Minnesota Department of Education’s Finance Award every year since 2006.

In conclusion, I cannot tell you how to vote, that’s not the purpose of this candidate statement. If re-elected, I will continue to invest in the future of all the kids in the district, and the ones who have not yet crossed our paths. They deserve the best as our mission states: Building a Community for Life-Long Learning.

Todd Anderson

Candidate Biography and Statement:

A former Rockford High School graduate, I live in Corcoran in the childhood home where I grew up. My wife Ruthanne and I have nine beautiful children, six who currently attend the Rockford Public Schools.

Four years ago when I decided to pursue a position on the Rockford School Board, I felt Rockford was a “diamond in the rough.” I saw great potential for our district to grow and be a “shining” school. During my first year on the board, we were forced to cut 1.2 million dollars from our budget because of a failed operating levy. We weren’t cutting unnecessary “fat” but instead, necessary programs like World Language. Because of the failed levy and the cuts the board was forced to do, we saw an exodus of students. When students leave, so does our funding. Things were not heading in the right direction!

The following fall we were able to pass a small operating levy of $395. By passing this levy, the district receives roughly $760,000. Although this is well short of the $1.2 million we cut, nonetheless we now had a little money to bring some programs back and begin rebuilding. If we wanted to bring back everything that was cut, we were going to have to bring back students. It always takes longer to build than to tear down, and since those cuts, we have gained approximately 80 students to the district. We are very proud of this accomplishment. Since our low, we have been rebuilding our schools and programs, and there is a lot of positive “buzz” inside the buildings and in our communities. I want to continue to help this district grow in a progressive direction.

Another reason I am running for the school board again is because I currently serve as president on the executive board of Schools for Equity in Education (schoolsforequity.org). S.E.E. consists of a number of Minnesota school districts working for equitable, adequate, and sustainable education funding. The Minnesota State Constitution mandates that we have a public school system. If this is a mandate in our state constitution, shouldn’t funding be equitable no matter what district we live in? Some of our neighboring districts get up to three times “the bang for their buck” than we do in Rockford on levy referendums. So, in other words, the price it costs you for our $395 in operating levy in Rockford, the other districts get around $1200. That would translate to over $2,100,000 versus our $760,000. Hmm…do you suppose we have a problem here, legislators? It’s not a wonder why those districts can offer their students so much more.

If you vote for me, I will continue to help make Rockford a growing and vibrant school district. I will also continue to sit on the executive board of Schools for Equity in Education and help push for an equitable funding formula at our state level so Rockford gets the funding it deserves.

Michael Sanders

Candidate Biography:

My name is Mike Sanders. I have been married to my wife, Kari, for 17 years and we have 2 kids at Rockford school — one 6th grader and one 3rd grader.

We moved to Greenfield in 2011 after living in St. Michael for 10 years.

From 1996-2001 I worked at the Metrodome managing 2 different departments. For 3 years I managed the vending department and the last 3 years, I managed the commissary department. I have been a stay-at-home Dad since 2001 and have a whole new appreciation for parents who dare to tackle that role.

Candidate Statement:

One reason I am running for the school board is that we have 2 kids in this school and we want it to be the best it can be. We are so impressed with the quality teachers here and their passion for what they do. We believe that a strong school is vital to a strong community. I feel that I have leadership experience and qualities that I can use to help our school district make tough decisions.

Another reason I am running is that last year at a bond meeting lead by the school’s business manager, I asked what items were cut form the original list of improvements submitted by the various contractors. I was told that nothing was cut from the original list. Every single item that was noted by a contractor was put into the bond. That was unacceptable to me. I understand when we need structural improvements such as boilers or we need to fix water leaking into a building.

But I didn’t feel that the school board was acting in the best interest of the taxpayer in these lean times. I felt they were acting under the authority of what the school administration was telling them they wanted.

I know there are no easy answers and I appreciate the time that has been spent to keep our schools moving in the right direction. At home, we need to prioritize our wants and needs and I believe that has to be the case with our local schools. I believe that a budget should end with a bottom line and not rely on huge bonds to be passed just to keep the doors open. I am excited to serve in this area and work with the administration. Go Rockets!

Steve Yakesh

Candidate Biography and Statement:

This is a volunteer role that requires a lot of time and commitment; however, after talking it over with Rachel, and daughter (11 yrs) and son (9yrs); we feel the time invested in this venture is worth every minute, because of the positive impact I feel we can make for the students of our district.

Rachel and I have been residents of Rockford for 12 years and it is with great pride that I tell others the community my family is a part of. Over the past few years being active in our youth athletic programs, I have had the opportunity to meet the great families of this community and experience their passion and excitement. As a member of the school board, my goal is to be a voice for the same passion and excitement and bring it to the Rockford School District.

By working together with the other members of the board, I will bring sound decision making skills, teamwork and a want for an excellent educational experience for every child. Greatness is possible with a vision, passion and a strong commitment and I believe every student in our district deserves the opportunity for greatness.

Professionally, for the past eight years, I have run an executive search firm that places engineering, marketing, sales, IT, HR and finance professionals with a variety of businesses in the twin cities. The common theme between most of the individuals we place is they have had a broad experience and a diverse educational experience, from academics to arts to athletics. Most, if not all, contribute their professional success to the access they had to a wide variety of experiences inside and outside the classroom. I want to make sure our students have these same opportunities.

Many people have asked me, “What do you feel you can add to the school board?” My response is two fold dependent on another vote on Nov. 6th. As you may or may not know, the current school board is asking for support in a bond referendum. If the bond fails, I will bring to the board my experiences to find the best way to fulfill our students needs without a middle school, with fewer programs, fewer teachers, less technology and less support. On the other hand, if the bond passes, I will draw on my experience to make recommendations on how we can best take advantage of this opportunity to ensure that our students have every opportunity to learn and achieve greatness, in whatever their passion may be.

4 candidates square off for 3 STMA seats

For the St. Michael-Albertville School Board, four-year seats belonging Jeanne Holland, Drew Scherber and Carol Steffens are up for election. Filing are Holland, Scherber and Steffens, and challenger Jim Shovelain.

Candidates were asked to provide a statement about their background and the issues they feel are important in the election.

Those who responded are included here.

Jeanne Holland

My Name is Jeanne Holland and I am running for STMA School Board.

My history with STMA is I attended STMA and graduated in 1982 along with my husband, Wes, a Wright County deputy.

We raised five kids (Eric, Connie, Drew, Brent and Bryan) who also are alumni of STMA. I now have a grandson who is in the Fieldstone Elementary School. I have served on the STMA board for 12 years and appreciate the opportunity to serve the residents of St. Michael and Albertville and feel honored to be giving back to a district that has served my family so well.

I attended the Wright Technical center in Buffalo and because of the nursing program I attended there as a junior and senior in high school, it launched my career as a nurse. I have served on that Board as the STMA board representative for 8 years and enjoy working with the seven other board members from the schools they represent to continue the great tradition of this Co-op district. I enjoy seeing kids moving forward in their career pursuits and it also keeps me plugged into what our neighboring districts are doing as well. Along with that I continue to volunteer with the Boy scouts of America, the St. Michael Catholic church, and mission work at a health clinic in Jamaica.

The issues facing STMA, as well as our surrounding school districts, is school funding equity. In the past two years we have been continually meeting with our legislators and our organizations MSBA (MN School Board Assoc.) and SEE (Schools for Equity in Education) to fight in making our funding equal to that of the metro schools. It’s not fair to jeopardize our children’s education due to where they were born.

That said we have a wonderful community that has taken on the extra burden and approved tax money for both schools and levies and I believe I have an obligation to be a good steward of that money. I will continue to try and keep class sizes small as well as grow the programs to offer kids.

I made visits to all of our schools last year and am so impressed with how energizing and rigorous our school curriculum is and we are so lucky to have outstanding teachers/support staff and exceptional administrators who provide a great learning atmosphere for our kids.

I also noted how happy our kids and staff are, so was not surprised when we were among the few Star Tribune “Top work places” this year.In an age where money is tight and education is often viewed with a negative microscope this is a huge award! Our staff continues to put kids first and I hope to continue working with such a great team of educators to propel our district into one of the best in Minnesota!

I want to thank you for letting me serve the community in this position and hope you grant me more time to serve our kids.

Drew Scherber

My name is Drew Scherber and I am seeking another term on the STMA School Board.

I have been employed with the Wright County Sheriffs’ Office since 1995. I am currently a school resource officer at a nearby school district. I served one term on the St. Michael City Council prior to being elected to the school board. I am a member of the Sons’ of the American Legion, St. Michaels Catholic Church, Knights of Columbus and Suburban Law Enforcement Association.

Our school district has been able to battle through some tough years that other districts have not due to the support of our taxpayers. You have supported our schools in both the building bonds and the renewal and increased levies when we have asked. As much as our school district has changed one thing that has not is the tremendous support and pride we have in our school district. There has always been great support from our residents. As a school board member, I take this serious and thank you for supporting our schools.

We are well positioned in many ways for the future. However, the school district will be continued to be faced with issues in the future. Funding is always a concern. We must keep finding new ways to find funding and spend wisely. Class size is also an issue. We must try to find creative ways to keep class sizes manageable for our students so that our teachers can continue to do a good job. Large numbers in classrooms are not conducive to learning.

Communication is an important issue that fortunately is not dependent on school finances. The district has improved its communication with both parents and citizens that do not have kids in our schools and will continue to do so going forward. We are open new ideas and suggestions. There are numerous opportunities for parents and citizens to be involved.

There is always ways in which we can improve as a district, but overall, I feel that our school district is on the right track. There are many ways in which I am proud of our school district and I would like to continue to be a part of this as a school board member.

Jim Shovelain

My wife, Marie, and I have had the joy of raising five children in the STMA school district.

Our youngest, Dominic, is currently a junior in the high school. I am a volunteer for a variety of organizations in the community and recently have had the pleasure to serve in the following community leadership roles: 2010 – Present, Member of the Great River Regional Library Board of Trustees; 2008 – 2012, Head or Assistant Coach, STMA Youth Baseball; 1999 – 2005, St. Michael Catholic Church Parish Council (Chair 2001-2003); 1998 – 1999, Member of the STMA School Curriculum Committee; 1984 – 1992, St. Michael Catholic Church Finance Committee (Chair for 2 years).

Three top issues:

1) To make certain all students of St. Michael-Albertville Schools stay on target to meet the state academic achievement standards. I believe this is done by working with the strengths and weaknesses of each student as they prepare for life after high school.

2) To ensure we are financially responsible to the community by managing our fiscal budget appropriately to diminish future tax increases.

3) To make sure that parents are empowered to play the significant role of guiding their children through the education process.

Why am I seeking the opportunity to address these issues?

Serving on the STMA school board is an opportunity for me to give back to the district that has given many gifts to my five children. My experience with their progression through the education system gives me a unique background to contribute in this role. I believe we need to continue to make sure that our students receive an education that will serve them in the challenges of their choice of employment and lifestyle.

The fact that our district ranks in the top academic standards in the state is a credit to our administration and staff. We need to continue to support our administration and staff and provide the necessary assistance to enable STMA to improve on this ranking. My experience as a professional accountant with attention to detail at Xcel Energy for over 36 years provides me with an invaluable understanding of appropriately managing operating budgets.

The many years of volunteering as a member of the Jaycees (president of Monticello Jaycees 1977 to 1978), the Knights of Columbus (Grand Knight 1982-1983), and as a Pro-Life Advocate, speak of my commitment to youth, family, faith, and community. I believe I would serve well the STMA School Board.

  • Ken

    This would be more benificial if the PN would have inseted bookmarks and used links to jump to the city they live in. I went through the entire string and my city isn’t even listed so I guess it was a waste of my time.

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