Consolidated elections are bringing changes to communities


There weren’t many contested races on the Edgar County ballots for the Tuesday, April 2, election, but they resulted in changes for some communities.

In Paris, Craig Smith returns as mayor after winning the challenge from Danny Briseno, 659 to 308.

The change for Paris is in the commissioner lineup. First-time candidate Drew Griffin was the top vote getter at 648. Incumbent commissioners returning to office are Harry Hughes, 614 votes; Jerry Branson, 553 votes; and Steve Kemper, 548 votes to fill out the four-member council.

Incumbent commissioner Bob Boyer got 503 votes, but that was not enough to retain his seat on the council. Jacob DuCharme, another first-time candidate, also failed to poll enough at 312 to secure a council chair.

Griffin decided to seek a city council position from a lifelong interest in government and a desire to serve the community.

“It felt like the right time for me to get involved,” said Griffin. “Paris has tremendous potential, and it’s a place I want to be. I want to bring a fresh perspective to the city council.”

Returning for his fifth term as mayor, Smith said it is important to build on past accomplishments while taking the city in some new directions.

One priority he wants the new council to address is quality of life for residents. He acknowledged some opposition is likely from a conservative community when changes are proposed as a way of improving the quality of life.

“Our job is to get out in front on the quality of life issues and lead the discussion,” said Smith. “You’ve got to make changes. You can’t grow without changes.”

Convincing people to move and live in Paris is the end goal of any quality of life campaign. Smith said the city needs more people to fill vacant jobs

“We’ve got great employment,” he said. “Our schools are as good as any and our healthcare is as good as any, but we need people and they need decent places to live.”

“Affordable housing may be our biggest issue,” said Smith.

The Hume Village Trustee Race brought changes to that body by a single vote, with incumbent Bob Denbo edged out of his seat by Fern Keys. Denbo received 50 votes but Keys had 51. Incumbent John Land received 67 votes to retain his position and first-time candidate Seth Eads had 68 votes and took the other remaining spot at the table.

Races existed for both the Paris Union School District Number 95 Board of Education and Paris Community School District Number 4.

No change occurred on the Paris 95 board where the voters returned all of the incumbents seeking re-election. Cindy Matthis came in on top with 661 votes; followed by Kevin Knoepfel, 591 votes; Amy Isaf, 580 votes; and Stephen Eitel, 534 votes. Candidates seeking to unseat a school board member for a chance to serve Troy Wilson, 325 votes, and Amy Hill, 315 votes, were unsuccessful in their challenge.

The story was somewhat similar for Crestwood with incumbents Jarrod Dyer, 343 votes; Keith Trogdon, 340 votes; and Kit Kirby, 323 votes; all coming back for another term. Johnathon McCarty won the fourth seat vacated by the decision of incumbent Paul Porter not to seek re-election. McCarty polled 302, and the fifth person in the race was Brad Adams who received 214 votes but not enough to win a board position.

Elsewhere in the county:

Chrisman Mayor Dan Owen was unopposed and won another four-year term with 86 votes. The commissioners are changing with the decision of incumbents Rick Jenness and Tim Owen not to seek re-election. Incumbent Rodney Wolfe was re-elected with 82 votes and first-time commissioners Thad Crispin, 88 votes, and Tyler Alexander, 79 votes, will come to the table when the council reorganizes.

Brocton and Kansas village trustee positions only attracted one person in each community. Richard Grise re-joins the Brocton Village Board with 12 votes, and Diana Acord got 34 votes for another term in Kansas. Vacant positions on those two boards will be filled by appointment.

Metcalf residents elected Janet Sue Gossett and Randall Wheeler as trustees. Gossett polled 14 votes and Wheeler got 10.

The villages of Redmon and Vermilion did not have any candidates for any positions.

The Kansas Township Library had three candidates for three trustee spots with Deborah Watson, 55 votes; Nancy Carreon, 57 votes; and Toni Brandenburg, 47 votes elected.

Chrisman Community Unit School District Number 6 was short of candidates with three people seeking election for four spots. Incumbents Mark Wyatt and Steve Lorenzen did not seek election. Incumbents Cory Chaney, 141 votes, and Karen Webster, 122 votes, are back for another four-year term. Daren Craig, 116 votes, is coming on to the school board as a new member. The fourth spot will require filling by appointment.

Kansas Community Unit School District Number 3 has a new board member. Gabriel Boedecker won the open seat of Steve Pinnell, who did not seek re-election. Boedecker got 58 votes. Returning incumbents filling out the four slots are Thad Brimner, 58 votes; Mark Eskew, 62 votes; and Britta Baker, 64 votes.

Shiloh Community Unit School District Number 1 is also getting a new board member. Incumbents filled three of the four spots with April Morris, 124 votes; Brian Rhode, 112 votes; and David Smith, 133 votes. Board member Dana Hales did not seek re-election and first-time candidate Justin Wood with 133 votes secured the fourth spot on the board.

Paris resident Alan Zuber was the only candidate for Edgar County’s representative to the regional board of education, and he polled 771 votes.

The Clark-Edgar Water Board had three trustee spots up for election and those positions were filled by the only three candidates: Roy Sweet, 141 votes; Darcy Keys, 195 votes; and Phil Adams, 142 votes.