Changes coming to the Cloud, Newaygo stands pat
Voters went to the polls Tuesday to decide who would help lead our local municipalities through the changes looming on the horizon.
There will certainly be a new look in White Cloud. The mayor’s race was thrown wide open when Acting Mayor Charles Chandler announced he would return to his Council seat at the end of this term. Mr. Chandler inherited the post when Don Barnhard who had long served in that role stepped down to assume the position as Supervisor for the city’s Department of Public Works.
Two candidates came forward, Jerry LeBlanc who serves on the city’s Planning Commission and Jamie Denslow who is the Band Director at WCHS.
Deslow captured nearly 64% of the vote and the highest percentage among area mayoral candidates with the exception of Grant’s Julie Hallman who ran unopposed and defeated unopposed soundly receiving 100% of the lots cast.
Voters must be happy with the job Kay Scott has done since being appointed to fill the seat vacated by Charles Chandler when he became mayor. She led the Council race with 125 votes while three term incumbent Jeff Murchison pulled in an even 100 and newcomer Ashley Zatalokin edged Anthony Johnson for the third and final city hall spot by 9 votes 96-87.
“I think I'm most excited to get people talking about a vision for the City.,”said Mayor-elect Denslow. “Not so much the formal, Master Plan, but something they can see in their future about the way White Cloud feels and looks.
“White Cloud is on the verge of change. It seems that the community is ready for movement forward and we are just waiting for that small push. I'm hoping that I can help facilitate that push and really get us moving.
“ I don't want to see White Cloud be a duplicate of neighboring towns or to be continually comparing ourselves to other cities. I think we can, in some small way, work together with the County and collaborate for the betterment of all entities involved.
“At the end of the day, I just want to help get us going. I don't have all the answers, but someone does, and I want to get that person more involved.”
Fremont selected a new council member who is no stranger to city hall having toiled there for many years as a police officer. Steve Heiss polled 376 votes to earn one of two seats being contested Tuesday and outdistanced Michael Carpenter who tallied 314. The other spot on the council was won by incumbent Don Henry who led the threesome with 412 votes.
Sandy Siegel ran unopposed for a partial term and came just 10 write-ins from pitching a shutout
Mayor Jim Rynberg collected 62% of the votes to win another two years in office as 382 Fremont residents showed their approval at the polls.
"Serving on the City Council since 1985 has given me a wonderful view of our community,” said the Mayor. “I have been so fortunate to help in the decision making for many of the projects that keep moving Fremont forward. I am very thankful to have had this opportunity to 'give back'.”
In Newaygo 45 more voters put their mark by the name of incumbent Ed Fedell than those who did so for his opponent Brooke Shaffer. Ms. Shaffer was running for the first time.
"I am very appreciative of the voters who reelected me to my fifth term as Mayor, said Fedell. "In addition I hold all voters who cast their vote in high regard regardless of who they voted for.
"I am looking forward to my next term with great anticipation as it will allow me to see projects which we have been working on come to fulfillment under my administration."
Mike Hikade Eric Johnson and Roger Ederer were the only candidates for the three spots on the council.
The real winners Tuesday?
The voters who showed up.
In Newaygo your vote amounted to representing yourself and about 5 ½ more of the city’s registered voters.
White Cloud and Fremont? Each one of you who bothered to show up at the polls made the decision for four of your fellow citizens.
Ok, sure, maybe no one ran against the mayor and there weren’t even enough candidates to fill the three seats on the council but just 42 of the 608 folks who registered bothered to show.
That’s 7%, so a vote in Grant was akin to casting not just your ballot but holding the proxies for 13 of your neighbors
This isn’t exclusive to our area by any means. The turnouts for the Cloud and Fremont are actually pretty good for a so-called off-year election. It just seems ironic that the voting opportunities that truly affect the day to day lives of people on a local level are the least popular when it comes to showing up to do our democratic diligence.