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Mount Pleasant gets new blood on board, Feest narrowly wins re-election

MOUNT PLEASANT — Three new faces will join the first full, seven-member Mount Pleasant Village Board in a year after Tuesday’s election.

Voters went to the polls and, according to unofficial results, elected retired engineer Ram Bhatia — 3,055 votes to 2,027 — over John Martini, a hospitalist working in Kenosha, for trustee seat No. 5.

Lawrence “Bud” Eastman, a retired fire and explosion investigator, defeated retired farmer and former board member Don Schultz for trustee seat No. 2, by 2,919 votes to 1,924.

Gary Feest was narrowly re-elected by 55 votes to the village board, defeating Floyd “Skip” Leonard, a towing business owner, for trustee seat No. 4 by 2,453 votes to 2,393.

Former board member Anna Marie Clausen defeated Tom Giese, global director for Stepan Company, for trustee seat No. 6, by 2,755 votes to 2,251.

The winners of Tuesday’s election will officially begin their terms on April 17.

Bhatia and Eastman are new to the board, Clausen served from 2014-16, and Feest has been on the board since 2010.

Seven-member board

When Village President Dave DeGroot was elected to his position, the board was repeatedly deadlocked on who should fill his vacant trustee seat.

Bhatia said the race was very positive, and he looks forward to serving on the board.

“We should be able to get together to exchange ideas,” Bhatia said. “We all have to work together for the village, for our community.”

In winning the special election, Bhatia will serve for one year and be up for re-election in 2019. The rest of the seats will be up for election in 2020 and each have a salary of $6,500.

Clausen back on board

Clausen thanked her supporters and said she is “ecstatic” to be back on the board.

“Hopefully now we can move the village forward again, and the most important thing is to be positive and inclusive,” Clausen said.

Eastman was not immediately available for comment after the results came in.

Feest said he was worried that Tuesday’s bad weather might have a negative impact on voter turnout but said he is glad to have been re-elected.

“I just tried to put my message out there for the voters,” Feest said. “And I guess the voters believed in my message.”

All eyes have been on the village since it was announced that it would be the eventual location of the Foxconn development. The project has since been a main issue and village board members have been actively involved in the land acquisition process along with various agreements with neighboring municipalities on sewer, water and road construction.



Voters wait in line to check in to vote Tuesday afternoon at the Mount Pleasant Village Hall. Four village trustee seats were in play in Tuesday's election. The village saw some of the most contentious campaigns in the county.

Yorkville voters OK incorporation and school referendums

YORKVILLE — The Town of Yorkville is set to become a village.

Voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly favored incorporating Yorkville as a village, with 1,060 voting in favor of incorporation and only 54 voting against, according to unofficial election results.

“I’m very happy, of course,” said Town Chairman Peter Hansen. “I would like to give a great deal of credit to all the citizens in the town.”

Hansen expressed appreciation for the families who campaigned for incorporation.

“Everybody understood the situation and when that happens, when people understand what’s going on, and why we would want to do this, that just makes everything better for all the residents,” Hansen said.

The incorporation referendum was made possible through Foxconn-related legislation that allows towns adjacent to the site in southwest Mount Pleasant of the future manufacturing campus the option of incorporating into a village regardless of whether they meet the state’s standard population density targets for incorporation.

According to information provided by the Town of Yorkville, incorporation will give it governmental autonomy over planning and zoning and enable it to utilize economic development tools like tax increment financing. Incorporation would also protect Yorkville’s borders from annexation by adjacent communities.

Under state law, cities and villages have more statutory power than towns, including the authority to annex land from towns.

Yorkville will need to have an election this summer to vote for a village board, to replace its existing Town Board.

Yorkville Elementary referendum

After last year’s referendum lost by a narrow margin, voters on Tuesday approved Yorkville Elementary School District’s most recent referendum with 596 votes in favor and 370 against.

“I’m pleased that the board was able to find a solution that meets the needs of the district and that the community has shown their support through passing this referendum,” said District Administrator David Alexander.

He attributed the success to a larger voter turnout than last year, as well as more parent involvement in the referendum campaign.

The referendum is set to provide an additional $670,000 per year to fund Yorkville Elementary’s operational costs, adding $1.43 per every $1,000 of assessed property value to the district’s tax rate.

The tax increase is capped at five years, ceasing after the 2022-23 school year.

With the referendum funds, the district plans to close an ongoing budget gap, complete much-needed maintenance, update and enhance educational programs, keep and attract quality staff and add a full-time guidance counselor position.

Yorkville Elementary serves about 465 students in 4K through eighth grade.

Yorkville School Board

Chris Nelson beat out opponent Ann Wendorf in Tuesday’s election for a seat on the Yorkville Elementary School Board.

Nelson garnered 450 votes to Wendorf’s 392.

Nelson, 40, is assistant vice president of fulfillment at C.H. Coakley & Co. and the father of four current students.

Ann Wendorf, 55, is a nurse practitioner who comes from a multi-generational Yorkville School family.

Nelson will fill the seat currently held by School Board member Dan Goldsworthy, who is retiring after 15 years on the board.

Yorkville School Board members serve three-year terms, earning $1,600 per year.


Burlington High School varsity baseball coach Scott Staude congratulates the team after a win against Union Grove Thursday at Beaumont Field in Burlington.





City of Racine
Mason wins Racine municipal judge race; Wiser out as alderman

RACINE — Rebecca Mason won re-election to a four-year term Tuesday as Racine’s municipal judge.

The race was one of several before city voters Tuesday, including aldermanic elections in even-numbered districts. Incumbents in all of those districts ran for re-election, and four faced challengers. City Council President Dennis Wiser was unseated as District 10 alderman, according to the preliminary results.

John Buchaklian challenged Mason, the incumbent, for the City of Racine’s municipal judge seat. Mason was initially appointed to the position in 2016 to replace Mark Nielsen, who was elected as a circuit court judge. The local attorney and wife of Mayor Cory Mason was elected to the municipal judge post in an unopposed race last year. Mason took 4,742 votes in the race to Buchaklian’s 2,429.

Like Mason, Buchaklian was an applicant for the municipal judge job when the City Council sought Nielsen’s replacement.

The municipal judge’s salary is $50,232.

Mason said Tuesday that she looks forward to continuing her work as municipal judge.

“I’m very excited to continue the work and ensuring that our streets are safe, modernizing our court, working on our innovative approach to addressing truancy (and) to getting kids back to school, to get them on track to graduate and get good jobs,” she said.

Buchaklian congratulated Mason on the race and thanked his own supporters.

“I had a lot of support from family and friends, and I met a lot of people out there,” he said. “There’s a lot of citizens in Racine that are concerned about the city, that want to see the city do well.”

City Council races

Tracey Larrin won her bid for re-election against Dennis Montey by a vote of 187 to 122 in District 4. The district is located in the east-central portion of Racine.

In District 6, Sandy Weidner — who last year ran an unsuccessful campaign for Racine mayor — was re-elected over Jen Adamski-Torres, a member of Racine’s Redevelopment Authority. District 6 is on the northwest side of the city. Weidner took 333 votes to Adamski-Torres’ 311.

Q.A. Shakoor II, the incumbent District 8 alderman, barely won in his race for re-election against challenger Malcolm Platt by a vote of 88 to 85. The two advanced out of a three-candidate primary in February. District 8 is in the west-central portion of Racine.

Wiser, who has been an alderman since 2010, was unseated in his re-election campaign by Carrie Glenn. She received 319 votes Tuesday, compared to Wiser’s 262. The two received the most votes in a February primary election featuring three candidates. District 10 is on the south-east side of the city. Wiser remains a member of the Racine Unified School Board; his term ends in April 2020.

In Districts 2, 12 and 14, Mollie Jones, Henry Perez and Jason Meekma ran unopposed for re-election.

Alderman seats carry a two-year term and earn $6,899.88 each year.

The results reported by municipal clerks on Tuesday night are unofficial, pending a canvass of outstanding ballots.

“I’m very excited to continue the work and ensuring that our streets are safe, modernizing our court, working on our innovative approach to addressing truancy (and) to getting kids back to school, to get them on track to graduate and get good jobs.” Rebecca Mason, Racine municipal judge