Archive for Wednesday, November 6, 2002

County commission seats filled

Voters in Richmond turn out mayor; Wellsville liquor store wins approval

November 6, 2002


Area voters elected commissioners in Franklin, Jefferson and Leavenworth counties.

They also threw out a mayor in Richmond and approved the opening of a liquor store in Wellsville.

In Franklin County, Donald Hay outlasted fellow Republican Dennis Woolman, 70 percent to 30 percent, for the 4th District seat that covers much of southern Ottawa, including Ottawa University.

Hay, a farmer and retired banker, won the Republican primary but faced an organized write-in campaign from Woolman, a business owner recently appointed to serve the last few months of Raymond Carey's unexpired commission term.

Hay acknowledged that his opponent staged a respectable write-in campaign, garnering 358 votes to his 884. Ultimately, though, voters endorsed Hays.

"I run to give the people a voice, and that's exactly what I intend to do," he said. "They have that voice, and I think the vote clearly indicates that they will continue to have it. I will carry on the agenda that I started with.

"I have been honest with the people over the years. I think that has made a big difference."

In Franklin County's 5th District, which covers eastern sections of the county including the cities of Wellsville, Rantoul and Lane, incumbent Republican Commissioner Don Stottlemire topped Democrat Chet Leach, 71 percent (1,091 votes) to 29 percent (447 votes).

"I'm just glad, evidently, that everybody in the district must have been halfway pleased in the last two years," he said. "I'm glad now that I'm going to have a little more time, at least four years, to continue."

Incumbent Commissioner Don Waymire ran unopposed and was re-elected to represent the county's 1st District, which includes areas of northern and western Ottawa.

Jefferson County

In Jefferson County, voters settled a three-way race by electing Republican Lynn Luck of Oskaloosa to represent the 1st County Commission District, which covers Oskaloosa, McLouth and three townships in the southeastern portion of the county.

Luck received 1,165, or 52 percent of votes. Competitors Glen Phillips of Perry and Donna Fairbanks of rural Oskaloosa received 26 percent (575 votes) and 22 percent (495 votes) respectively.

Luck, a Republican and director of the Jefferson County Service Organization, said she wanted to standardize construction and maintenance of county roads.

Leavenworth County

Leavenworth County voters elected Democrat Don Navinsky of rural Easton over Republican James C. "J.C." Tellefson of rural Leavenworth to represent the commission's 1st District, which covers northern Leavenworth County and portions of the city of Leavenworth. In what became a tight race, Navinsky beat out Tellefson 52 percent (2,336 votes) to 48 percent (2,190 votes).

"It was very close. I'm very happy to be able to serve the people of this district another four years," Navinsky said. "It was a very clean race. I think I and my opponent kept everything above board. He worked very hard, and so did I."

Navinsky, an incumbent who has served since 1995, said he would work to prevent the state from taking back any of the $4.2 million in transfer funds slated to be allocated to the county budget.

Richmond recall

In Richmond, voters tossed Mayor Ron Yager out of office on a vote of 69 percent (98 yes votes) to 32 percent (46 no votes).

A petition drive drew 96 signatures to recall Yager after two years on the job, accusing him of misconduct by forging the signature of the planning commission chairman on a hearing notice, and by failing to notify a fellow council member about a special meeting called to accept bids on a roof-repair job and trim the planning commission's membership from seven to five.

Yager admitted to both actions, but maintained in a statement posted at Richmond's polling site that "these actions I have taken as Richmond's mayor are neither incompetent nor illegal."

Contacted for comment after the results of Tuesday's ballot question were tallied, Yager said: "It looks like I'm out."

Wellsville liquor

In Wellsville, voters decided that Gary and Diane Bonzo will be able to open a liquor store along Kansas Highway 33 at the southeastern edge of town. The vote was 58 percent for, 42 percent against.

The couple pushed for permission to sell package liquor by collecting more than 340 signatures on a petition.

The Bonzos had announced plans to spend $225,000 on the store, which would be stocked with $35,000 worth of beer, wine and liquor. They said the business would pump thousands of dollars in sales-tax revenue into the city treasury.

Gary Bonzo was ecstatic about the results.

"It was an uphill battle for a year and a half," said Bonzo, a former machinist now on disability. "We have so much money invested in this.

"My life was dependent on people's vote today."


Voters in Wakarusa Township, which covers much of the rural area adjacent to Lawrence, elected Republican Trish Eckart over Democrat C.V. Williams to be township clerk.

Eckart, a Republican who works in the Utilities Department for the city of Lawrence, garnered 62 percent or 572 votes to Williams' 38 percent or 347 votes. Eckart said she wanted to spend the township's money effectively and efficiently, while keeping the fire department up to date on equipment and training.

Results from uncontested Douglas County township elections were as follows:

Republican Jim Baldwin received 161 votes to become Clinton Township clerk.

Republican Randy Hartford won a write-in campaign with 138 votes. He will be Grant Township clerk.

Kanwaka Township's clerk will be Republican Jeanne M. Waisner, who received 523 votes.

Republican Frank Rhodes received 256 votes to become Marion Township clerk.

In Lecompton Township, Republican Ken Norwood won the clerk's spot with 537 votes.

Republican Jerry Smith became Willow Springs Township clerk with 478 votes.

Palmyra Township went to Republican Jan Ballinger with 1,612 votes.

Workers still were counting write-in ballots late Tuesday in the race for Eudora Township clerk.

In Douglas County, 1st District Commissioner Charles Jones was unopposed, and he was re-elected with 6,864 votes.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.