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Most incumbents to run again

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Long-time Mayor Dave Foubert, unopposed in his last three election runs, will face a candidate this fall who wants to transform Yellow Springs from its “old hippie image” by promoting the village’s innovative, green and community-centered ways of living.

Michael Cannon, who got his first glimpse of Yellow Springs as a Dayton teenager in the 1970s, said he would represent the village as a more modern town.

Cannon, in his first try for public office, challenges Foubert, 68, who is completing his 10th term as mayor.

Foubert and Cannon are among seven candidates now seeking to fill eight positions in local public office in the Nov. 8 election. Candidates are still needed to fill seats on the school board and Village Council. Those interested can obtain petitions from the Greene County Board of Elections and need to file them by Aug. 10.

Mayoral race heats up

Foubert, also a Presbyterian minister and nonprofit consultant, has faced opponents in about half of his races. He said he still has passion for the position, which consists largely of presiding over the bi-weekly Mayor’s Court in addition to making proclamations, serving as a spokesperson for the community, and performing weddings. Foubert has performed more than 500 weddings, which he can do as a minister or mayor, including one on Christmas Eve in the Pine Forest when the temperature was below zero.

Regarding Mayor’s Court, Foubert said he enjoys helping people have a positive court experience and carefully listens to both sides before making a decision.

“What I’d like to do is to continue to maintain the values of Yellow Springs in a local community court,” said Foubert.

Cannon, a designer for Proctor & Gamble in Cincinnati, has lived in Yellow Springs on several occasions and attended Antioch College. He has worked at Yellow Springs Chamber of Commerce and volunteered for African American Cultural Works.

Cannon wants most to use the public relations function of the mayoral office to coordinate and share the village’s “smart” ways of living, including localism, slow food, green building, “art as a way of life” and compassionate community, in part through a weekly blog. On the Mayor’s Court, Cannon said he will use precedent and common sense.

“The prime thing for me is that people understand what they’re being charged for and they have the opportunity to express what they want to express,” Cannon said.

Councilors run again, move on

Incumbents Lori Askeland and Rick Walkey are running for two of three open spots on Council. The election winners will join councilors Judith Hempfling and Karen Wintrow, who are both in the middle of their second four-year terms. The two highest vote-getters will serve four years while the third will get a two-year term.

Walkey, who was elected to a two-year term in 2009, said he is running again so that his work as part of an open and diligent Council can continue.

“I especially like the Council’s process and openness and wanting to carefully consider all the issues, sometimes regardless of how long it takes,” Walkey said. During his tenure, Walkey is most proud of Council’s decision to discontinue fluoridation of the Village water supply and to put up a solar array on Village land. Walkey said he has no personal cause to promote, instead gathering as much information and opinions as he can before voting.

“I don’t have any burning agendas,” Walkey said. “It’s not about me, it’s really about what we do collectively.”

Askeland seeks re-election to maintain the continuity of Village leadership and because she feels there is more work to be done. Askeland, a professor at Wittenberg University, secured a four-year term in the 2007 election by receiving the second-most votes.

“We’re at a place where we have some stability and that’s pretty important,” Askeland said, especially since the Village hired a new Village manager in 2008. Supporting Antioch College’s revival and rejecting the Meigs County coal plant were her most significant accomplishments as a Council member, she said, while more work needs to be done to update the Village’s zoning code, cut Village expenses and partner to build affordable homes on Cemetery Street. Also important to Askeland is keeping residents up-to-date on Council with an e-mail blast, a blog and office hours downtown.

“I’ve been very accessible as a Council person,” Askeland said. “I believe people should be active participants in their own government.”

Booth, who is stepping away from public office to spend more time with his young children and focus on his poetry, stands by his votes as a councilor.

“I’m leaving the village in a better place,” Booth said of his tenure, citing among his accomplishments decisions to pursue renewable energy and forgo coal and make pool passes more available to children visiting the village. But Booth also warns that contentiousness on Council may deter many residents from running for public office.

“In a village of people of such intelligence we can’t communicate civilly,” Booth said. “There’s a reason that people, espeically those who have lived here a long time, are choosing not to be involved in Village government.”

School board race open

With two open seats on the five-member school board, only one candidate — Creighton — has announced his intention to run. Board members Benji Maruyama, Angela Wright and Aida Merhemic have two more years left of their four-year terms.

Creighton, who heads a higher education consortium, was elected in 2007 and has been the board president since 2010. In that role and as a board member he co-initiated the 2020 strategic plan, worked to pass a tax levy and co-led the process to hire a new superintendent and treasurer for the district.

“We ran an extremely successful search for the top administrators,” Creighton said. “We feel like we have the top administrators in the state.”

In addition to continuing to steer the board as president, Creighton wants to focus on preparing students to succeed in college and strengthening the board’s effectiveness in addition to bringing his unique qualities to the position.

Though Lapedes will not seek re-election when his second four-year term expires, he has indicated a willingness to continue working to raise funds for the district, according to Creighton. In April, Lapedes volunteered to craft a development office in order to implement the 10-year strategic plan.

Township candidates unopposed

Miami Township Trustee Chris Mucher is seeking a fifth term while Fiscal Officer Margaret Silliman is running for her fourth. Both will serve four-year terms if elected and are currently unopposed. Trustees Mark Crockett and Lamar Spraklen have two more years left in their terms.

Mucher said his experience will help him lead efforts to address the Township’s future budget deficits, revise its zoning code and build a new fire station for Miami Township Fire and Rescue. Mucher is most proud of completing the historic preservation at the Grinnell Mill and working for a cooperative economic development plan with the Village that led to the development of the Center for Business and Education, he said.

Margaret Silliman runs again for the fiscal officer position, in which she acts as a manager of the township’s finances and a clerk for Trustee meetings. Silliman is the innkeeper for the Yellow Springs Country Bed & Breakfast and an 11-year resident of the Township.


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