Village board elections throughout the county will be the opposite of contested this year: Some have fewer candidates running than there are open seats; some have candidates who have filed as write-ins, and some don’t.
Two candidates are running for two open seats on the Sutherland Village Board: Ken Main, an incumbent, and newcomer Samuel Haworth, who will replace James Bliss.
Haworth has lived in Sutherland for 35 years and worked in maintenance for the village on two occasions: once from 1984 to 1988, and again from 2000 until 2002.
The Union Pacific Railroad machinist first ran for the Village Board in the February 2018 special election, which replaced recalled candidates John Lutz and Ray Ravenscroft.
“I told people if I was unsuccessful in the recall, I would run again in the fall,” Haworth said.
He believes in an “open and transparent government involved in the community,” and a board that makes decisions “based on what the public feels and wants.”
Haworth hopes to see community and economic growth, as well as public safety, but acknowledged his newcomer status.
“It’s going to be quite a learning process,” he said. “I have kind of vague idea but there’s a lot, a lot of things to learn.”
Ken Main is completing his 20th year on the Village Board.
He was appointed to begin his latest term after the resignation of John Sauer in December 2016. Main previously served from 1972 to 1982, and from 1990 to 1998, according to the Jan. 26, 2017, Telegraph story at the time of the appointment.
“I was a businessman my whole life and the board is a business,” he said. “It’s a different kind of business. What keeps me going is trying to run the business more efficiently.”
Main owned his trucking company, T.R. Main Inc., for 46 years in Sutherland.
In his “third go-round” on the board, Main wants to resolve the ongoing drainage issue between the village and Union Pacific.
In September, Lincoln County Court ruled that the village could condemn railroad property to grant an easement for a new sewer line. The court granted the railroad $1,000 in village dollars for compensation.
Union Pacific has appealed the ruling, saying the easement was unnecessary and that the railroad and village already entered an agreement on the property. The village did not sign the agreement because of certain stipulations, such as being liable for future repairs, according to a Sept. 22 Telegraph article about the decision.
Main said that Sutherland “investigated problems” by placing a camera in the sewer, in the process that took nearly a year to reach a judgment.
“That will be the most important thing on the deck,” he said. “I don’t know how long that will take but we’re still involved with it.”
As for progress Main has seen on the board, he said the board lowered its residents’ property taxes by $2,000 two years ago and haven’t raised them since.
“It shows we’re doing something right,” he said.
Three seats are up for election in Hershey.
Thomas Wolfgang is running for his third term on the Hershey Village Board.
“There’s some unfinished business in the village that I would like to see accomplished,” he said.
Wolfgang elaborated that this included work to the town’s viaduct as well as completing a new park, with land donated from Hershey Land Corp., right across the street from the existing Washington Park.
Wolfgang works as the director of operations for Kwik Stop Stores and has lived in Hershey for 13 years.
Originally from Denver, Wolfgang relocated to work as a manager for Western Convenience Store in Hershey.
“This place is a special place to me,” Wolfgang said. “There’s a lot of good-hearted people in this village.”
Wolfgang spoke of the businesses’ support of the Hershey Public Schools district, from which his three children all graduated. He now has five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Loren Johnson is also running for Hershey Village Board, and Peter Cullan is a write-in candidate. Neither candidate could be reached for comment.
According to the Village of Hershey, Johnson is an incumbent on the board who currently serves as the vice chairman. He is retired. Cullan, who is also on the board, works for Simplot Grower Solutions.
Linda Smith is running for one of three open seats on the Maxwell Village Board; there are no other candidates.
Smith is retired, having worked for Walmart, according to the Village of Maxwell. She is a newcomer. She could not be reached for comment.
Exiting the Maxwell Village Board are Kevin Paul and Derek Johnson.
Incumbents Arlee Gentry and Steve Hild are seeking re-election.
Gentry has been on the board for two terms. He is a North Platte firefighter and emergency medical technician.
“I like what we’re doing over there,” he said. “We have a good group of people on right now. We all seem to work really well together. I would like to keep it going, move it in the right direction.”
Gentry noted the village’s lagoon, which was redone completely two years ago.
“We’re doing some good things with the street, getting them fixed up,” he said.
Gentry is from Brady originally and returned to town five years ago. The father of six children said he returned for the school system, “and just the people who live there are good people,” he said.
Hild works at Nebraska Link. He could not be reached for comment.
Wallace has three write-in candidates for two seats: Lynn Swanson, Cynthia Wickizer and Charles Andrews.
Mary Oldham and Paul Prochaska are both running as write-in candidates for two available seats.