Contested races few in county

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With the filing date for April’s general municipal election firmly in the rear-view, it’s clear that the ballot in Perry County will look a little sparse again this year.

Filled with mostly incumbents and highlighted by races in which an election is not necessary, the ballot features only three contested races in the entire county.

County-wide, the ballot will feature a contested race for a seat on the Perry County Memorial Hospital board as Sharon K. Unterreiner takes on incumbent Gregory Unger.

In addition, the Perry County School District No. 32 Board of Education will have four candidates seeking to fill three seats. The candidates include three incumbents — Nancy Voelker, Kathy Carron and Jamie Robinson — and newcomer Ashley Geringer.

At the city level, there will only be one contested race, for mayor of the City of Perryville. The City of Frohna will not be required to have an election as the number of candidates matches the number of positions available, nor will Altenburg.

The Village of Longtown, however, will have an election for its Board of Trustees, even though there are three candidates for three seats.

In Perryville, Mayor Ken Baer is seeking his fourth term, facing first-time candidate Thomas Handrick.

Baer, 74, was elected to his first term in 2014 after defeating then-incumbent mayor Debbie Gahan.

“We’ve done some really good things over the years,” said Baer after announcing his candidacy earlier this month. “Upgrading our infrastructure is the reason I ran the first time. We’ve worked on water lines, sewer lines and waste water and wastewater plants — we’ve got a lot of that in process right now. Those will serve our people well into the future in that way. We’ve got a capital improvement plan now that we’ve put in place over the last few years to enhance that process. And I want to help guide that along.”

Handrick, 71, was first to toss his hat into the ring, announcing his candidacy in December. A semi-retired Lutheran minister, Handrick said he wanted to find a way to give back to the community that proved so welcoming to him and his wife.

“Perryville has been very good to us,” Handrick said. “We’ve watched it develop. We’ve watched it grow. It’s a tight-knit city and it’s not always easy for outsiders to integrate, but we’ve been accepted. And what I want to do is, in the context of serving, give back to the community, show my thanks and gratitude for what we’ve received from it over 14 years.”

Also on the ballot in Perryville will be three seats on the city’s Board of Aldermen.

Ward 1 Alderman Tom Guth will be seeking re-election, as will Ward 2 Alderman Curt Buerck and Ward 3 Alderman Prince E. Hudson. All are running unopposed.

Guth was first elected in a 2011 special election to fill the seat of the late Al Oliver, who died in late 2010. His daughter, Sandra Stuart, was appointed by the mayor to fill his seat until the 2011 election.

Buerck has served on the Board of Aldermen since 2008 and is seeking a sixth term, while Hudson, in office since 2012, is seeking his fifth.

Municipal Judge Wayne Keller, who was appointed to the position in 2015 by Baer following the retirement of long-time Judge Bob Hershey, was first elected in 2016 and is seeking his third term.

In Altenburg, where Mayor Dan Foster in in the middle of a two-year term, incumbent aldermen Mike Engert and John Welker are both unopposed, meaning no election will be held.

However, the Altenburg Dist. 48 school board three candidates running for two spots on the board. Those candidates will be Bleau Deckard, Jessica Hecht and Amy Ussery.

In Frohna, which will also not have an election, Mayor Boyd France, Ward 1 Alderman Stuart Ruehling and Ward 2 Alderman Charles A. “Tony” Vogel were the only candidates to file.

In the Village of Longtown, the number of candidates also matches the number of seats available on its board of trustees, but voters will still get the chance to vote for board members James Hacker, Greg Bronenkant and Darrell Tanz.

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