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South county voters revamp government, pick several newcomers over incumbents


April 13, 2005 - Staff Report

South county voters last week renovated the look of some local governments, removing incumbents from office in favor of political newcomers.

Some governments, however, will have the same leadership.

By race, here are the unofficial results from the April 5 election provided by the county Board of Election Commissioners:

Mehlville Fire Protection District

Running for reform, Aaron Hilmer and Bonnie Stegman easily defeated incumbents Tom O'Driscoll and David Gralike for seats on the Mehlville Fire Protec-tion District Board of Directors.

In the race for the six-year term, Hilmer received 7,387 votes compared to O'Dris-coll's 5,146 votes. A third candidate, Steven Mueller, garnered 1,544 votes.

In the race for the four-year term, Stegman handily defeated Gralike with 8,767 votes compared to Gralike's 5,344 votes. Gralike was appointed in August 2003 to fill a vacancy created by the death of former Chief Joe Gaterman, who was elected in April 2003. The seat normally carries a six-year term.

About 19 percent of registered voters made the polls.

Lindbergh School District

Voters overwhelmingly rejected Prop-osition A, a tax-rate increase of 65 cents per $100 assessed valuation, and newcomer Bob Foerstel earned a three-year seat on the Lindbergh School District Board of Directors.

Foerstel replaces former board Vice President Barry Cooper, who was defeated in his bid for a third three-year term. Board President Mark Rudoff and Katie Wesselschmidt won election to their third three-year terms.

In the board race, Wesselschmidt got the most votes with 6,615. Foerstel re-ceived 6,045 votes and Rudoff garnered 5,699 votes. Cooper had 5,126 votes.

Roughly 34 percent of registered voters went to the polls.

Mehlville School District

Newcomers Karl Frank Jr. and Ken Leach earned three-year spots on the board along with board President Cindy Christopher, who was elected to her third three-year term.

Board Secretary Marea Kluth-Hoppe did not win re-election to a second term, however, and board Vice President Matthew Chellis did not seek election to a third three-year term.

Leach was the top vote-getter with 5,678 votes, and Christopher was right behind with 5,587 votes. Frank, who ran unsuccessfully last year for a seat, edged Kluth-Hoppe with 4,758 votes, compared to Kluth-Hoppe's 4,346 votes.

Roughly 15 percent of registered voters cast ballots.

Crestwood

Roy Robinson defeated Mayor Tom Fagan, and voters rejected Proposition 1, which would have allowed the city to issue up to $6 million in bonds to eliminate its line of credit, establish reserves sufficient to meet the city's cash-flow needs and reconcile debts the general fund owes other city funds.

Robinson, a former alderman, received 2,327 votes to become the new mayor of Crestwood. About 1,948 voters cast ballots for Fagan, who was elected last August after serving as a Ward 4 alderman since 1993.

And voters smothered Proposition 1, which needed a 57.1 percent majority to pass. Prop 1 received 42 percent of the vote, or 1,784 votes, while 2,505 voters were against the bond issue, or 58 percent.

In an uncontested Crestwood race, Ward 4 Alderman Joseph O'Keefe was re-elected for a one-year term. He was appointed in August after Fagan was elected mayor, and the seat normally carries a three-year term.

Roughly 47 percent of voters cast ballots.

Green Park

Green Park Mayor Steve Armstrong won re-election for another two-year term, and Bob Reinagel earned the Ward 1 seat formerly occupied by Judy DeWitte, who did not seek re-election.

With 435 votes, Armstrong beat challenger John Schott, who had 123 votes. Armstrong first was elected mayor in April 2001.

Reinagel defeated Michael Broughton for the two-year Ward 1 aldermanic seat. Reinagel got 195 votes to Broughton's 43.

In uncontested races, Ward 2 Alderman Chuck Deters and Ward 3 Alderman Mark Hayden reclaimed seats for two more years.

Roughly 33 percent of registered voters cast ballots.

Sunset Hills

Sunset Hills Ward 1 Alderman Michael Sawicki won re-election over Franklin Hardy Jr. and Doug McGuire Jr.

Sawicki received 207 votes to Hardy's 143 and McGuire's 43.

In uncontested races, Ward 2 Alderman John Littleman, Ward 3 Alderman Jan Hoffman and Ward 4 Alderman Donald Parker won re-election. All seats carry two-year terms.

Voter turnout was roughly 30 percent.

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