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Town elections: Palmyra, Lanesville

Town elections: Palmyra, Lanesville
Town elections: Palmyra, Lanesville
Alvin Brown

Residents in several towns will have the opportunity to vote Tuesday, Nov. 3, for town council members and clerk-treasurer positions. Questionnaires were recently sent to candidates. Today, we continue publishing their profiles. Answers to the questionnaires are printed as submitted by the candidates. This week, we feature contested candidates in Palmyra and Lanesville. Palmyra: Seven candidates are vying for the three council seats. They are Independent incumbents Alvin M. Brown and Virginia L. Kirkham, Independents Stephen W. Hamm, Roy McClanahan and Mike Shireman and Democrats Kerry W. Ingle and Michael Sinclair. Sinclair did not respond to the questionnaire. Clerk-treasurer candidates are Debra L. Jones, who is completing the term of a former clerk-treasurer, and Jesse R. Hall; both are Independents. Lanesville: Four people are seeking a seat on the three-member council. They are incumbents Herb Schneider, a Republican, and Independents William (Bill) Lafayette, who resigned earlier in the year due to work commitments, Linda L. Smith, who is completing Betsy Blocker’s term after the two switched positions (Smith was the clerk-treasurer), and Julie Ann Wolfe, who is completing Lafayette’s term. Blocker was not challenged for the clerk-treasurer position.
Palmyra At Large
Name: Alvin Brown
Age: (did not answer)
Contact information for voters: 812-364-6643; 812-972-1960
Family: Wife, Linda; 2 children, Jamie and Jeremy
Education/Occupation/Political Experience: General Education diploma New Albany High School; shop steward, recording secretary for Local 6828; Harrison County councilman 16 years, Palmyra Town Council member 8 years
Why are you seeking the office (no more than 100 words)?: This is somewhat difficult to answer. The voters of northern Harrison County have elected me to serve in public office six times. I truly enjoy serving in my elected position. I receive gratification in knowing that I listen to public concerns and, in turn, attempt to find solutions to problems. In many ways, I have found it more challenging to serve as a town councilman than it was to serve 16 years on the county council. The town council of Palmyra is responsible for legislative as well as financial decisions, whereas the county council dealt only with financial issues.
What do you see as the town’s three main areas of concern in the next five years (no more than 100 words)?: 1) financial; 2) water utility; 3) sewer utility. The town has paid $20,000 in delinquent federal and state taxes and penalties, spent $27,000+ in cell phone costs and paid a financial consulting firm $15,000 to fix mistakes made by the clerk-treasurer. The town has a proposal on the table that would raise sewer rates by 89 percent. The water utility, according to industry standards, doesn’t have adequate operating funds. Total cost of town employee wages/benefits has increased 50 percent the last four years. Enough money was wasted in the last four years to provide free trash pick-up for the town.
How would you address those concerns (no more than 200 words)?: As one town councilman equals one vote, on a town council of three it takes two votes to make any significant changes. I am optimistic the voters will elect myself and at least one other person who together will address major financial problems Palmyra faces. The town’s financial structure must be examined from top to bottom. Examples: $6,800 for a computer technician is ridiculous. There are too many employees. Each employee having a smartphone at a cost of $9,600 a year borders on a criminal waste of public funds. None of the major issues can be addressed unless I have at least one other vote on the town council to make the necessary changes to avoid a financial catastrophe. Residents of Palmyra must be made aware of how serious the issues facing the town have become. Most people are aware that four officials of the Town of Palmyra were indicted by a Harrison County Grand Jury. Three areas of concern and how to address them? Three areas of concern don’t scratch the surface. Unless the operations of the Town of Palmyra are examined from top to bottom in the near future, Palmyra faces its biggest financial crisis in anyone’s memory.
Name: Stephen W. Hamm
Age: (did not answer)
Contact information for voters: 812-598-2467
Family: (did not answer)
Education/Occupation/Political Experience: General Education graduate; Indiana Law Enforcement Academy graduate; Marengo High School graduate; county coroner 4 years; deputy coroner 2 years; Palmyra town marshal 4 years
Why are you seeking the office (no more than 100 words)?: As a retiree, I have the time to speak with the residents of the community one on one, address their concerns directly with the board and follow through with the expectations of each individual resident. As an established native of the community, I have earned the trust and friendship of those individuals who preserve the town’s integrity. I strongly believe the town will not survive another year without the proper guidance and leadership which I can provide.
What do you see as the town’s three main areas of concern in the next five years (no more than 100 words)?: Due to the mismanagement and corrupt financial practices, delinquent taxes and penalties which have ensued for well over a decade, our town has vastly deteriorated. The town is in dire need of an exceptional management overhaul in order to rehabilitate and become whole again. Restructuring of management is critical to not only the survival but preservation of our town.
How would you address those concerns (no more than 200 words)?: Re-evaluate the expenditures and make appropriate cuts as needed; promote a stronger infrastructure in which the town can build upon; provide appropriate training to qualified individuals for each respective position.
Name: Kerry W. Ingle
Age: 48
Contact information for voters: [email protected]
Family: Wife: Christall; Daughters: Meredith (17), Hannah (15) and Emily Rose (12)
Education/Occupation/Political Experience: B.A., Political Science – 1995 Indiana University Southeast; corporate paralegal (25 years); never held public office
Why are you seeking the office (no more than 100 words)?: I want to be more than just a resident of Palmyra. I want to be part of the town’s continued growth and success, and I want to make sure that Palmyra continues to be a town where its citizens are proud to raise a family. I believe there is a genuine need in this community for its citizens to be better heard and understood. I plan to host quarterly open neighborhood meetings where residents can meet and explain their issues and voice their concerns. I want to represent the people of this community, and I will do just that.
What do you see as the town’s three main areas of concern in the next five years (no more than 100 words)? First, we need to be receptive to the continued growth and success of Palmyra; that starts with retaining and supporting our local businesses. Next, we need to be prepared to meet the needs of this growth by maintaining and improving our utilities, infrastructure, public service and safety (most importantly, our first responders, fire department and law enforcement); that will help ensure that Palmyra’s growth is worthwhile and sustainable. Finally, I will be responsive to our community and as transparent as possible so our citizens feel they are part of the process, and that their needs are being heard and met.
How would you address those concerns (no more than 200 words)?: As mentioned earlier, I plan to host quarterly neighborhood meetings where any Palmyra resident is free to attend and share with me what they view as important for our community. I will meet with citizens and business owners seeking to run or start a business in Palmyra. I will play a constructive role in assuring that our utilities and infrastructure meet the needs of all of our residents. In addition, I will be available to bridge any gaps between our citizens and our public services and first responders. I will constantly advocate for transparency, and I will make certain that the town council works together with the citizens for the citizens’ best interests.
Name: Virginia (Jenny) Kirkham
Age: 70
Contact information for voters: 812-364-6661(home); 812-972-9518 (cell)
Family: Husband, Ron Byerley
Education/Occupation/Political Experience: High school, School of Cosmetology; Retired; 12 years on town council; 12 years on Solid Waste board
Why are you seeking the office (no more than 100 words)? I am seeking office to make the town a better place to live. I want to do what is best for all people in the town, not just to benefit one person. I would like to help the town move forward into the future.
What do you see as the town’s three main areas of concern in the next five years (no more than 100 words)? Rehabbing the wastewater system, stormwater drainage project, radio-read water meters in our whole water system.
How would you address those concerns (no more than 200 words)? We are in the process of obtaining a grant through the Office of Community & Rural Affairs to rehab our wastewater system. This grant will enable us to replace old lines, reline some of those lines and replace and rehab manholes. Some of our lines have been invaded with tree roots. The answer to our stormwater drainage problem would be to apply for another grant to address the fact that we live in an area where we have nowhere for water to go in heavy rains. In order to take care of this problem, we may need to put in retention basins, wetland areas or other considerations, depending upon what the engineers recommend. We have installed 400 radio-read meters in the town limits. We need to install these in the rest of our system. Doing this will save the town manpower, the cost of buying another vehicle and time preparing bills for our customers each month. Therefore, they give us a more precise reading and will enable us to alert our customers, in a timelier manner, of any abnormal usage.
Name: Roy (Speedy) McClanahan
Age: 73
Contact information for voters: P.O. Box 355 or 812-736-1795
Family: Cindy and Jackie McClanahan
Education/Occupation/Political Experience: GED. I have 1/2-year college. E-4 in the Marines on leadership. You cannot turn a bunch of men loose and not watch them.
Why are you seeking the office (no more than 100 words)?: We need a bigger water tank in Palmyra. The one we have now is old and too small. We have a senior center in town with lots more people.
What do you see as the town’s three main areas of concern in the next five years (no more than 100 words)?: We need to think ahead and fix sewer pipes and streets and a bigger water tank. Need to fix surface water. We need a store like Allen’s was with fresh fruit.
How would you address those concerns (no more than 200 words)?: We need to work on a way to keep our park. We need old junk cars out of town. We need bushes cut so you can see the stop signs. We also need to help the people. Look ahead, not behind.
Name: Mike Shireman
Age: 67
Contact information for voters: (did not answer)
Family: Married 47 years; 3 children; 3 grandchildren
Education/Occupation/Political Experience: Corydon Central High School; attended Purdue University 2 years; U.S. Army 3 years; Vietnam veteran; president, Uhl Truck Sales, retired; no political experience
Why are you seeking the office (no more than 100 words)?: I have lived in Palmyra since 1971. We have raised our family here. I have time since retiring to become more engaged. I feel I can use skills learned over 40+ years in running a successful business in raising the level of professionalism governing the activities of the town.
What do you see as the town’s three main areas of concern in the next five years (no more than 100 words)?: 1. Review the current state of our infrastructure, i.e. water, sewer, roads and fire protection. 2. Buffalo Trace Park is a major asset to the area. We need to work closely with the Harrison County Parks board in sustaining this valuable asset. 3. Engage the citizens of Palmyra to once again become active in the town board meetings.
How would you address those concerns (no more than 200 words)?: 1. Assess the status of our water, sewer, roads and fire protection with reviews and recommendations of the current managers and leaders. Identify the issues and formulate a plan to address them. 2. Engage with the Harrison County Parks board and encourage the local park advisory board to find common ground to a “way forward.” The end result being a much better park experience for us all. 3. Change the tone of our current board meetings. Encourage input from the town citizens and make them welcome at the monthly board meetings. And, most importantly, solicit their concerns and ideas for the improvement and long-term planning. What will we all envision for Palmyra in the next 5 to 10 years?
Palmyra Clerk-Treasurer
Name: Jesse R. Hall
Age: 48
Contact information for voters: [email protected]
Family: I am married to Ashley, and we have three daughters, Gabrielle (12), Chloe (9) and Gracie (6). I have lived in the Palmyra area for most of my life. I have lived inside the town for the last 10.
Education/Occupation/Political Experience: I graduated from North Harrison in 1985, have a bachelor’s degree in general studies from IUS (’09) and a master’s in Christian studies from Grand Canyon University (’14). I have worked for the last 15 years for Brown Bros. Cadillac in Louisville as the assistant parts manager. For the last 3 years, I have been treasurer for Charity Baptist Church. The only political experience I have is running for Congress in ’96 in the Republican primary.
Why are you seeking the office (no more than 100 words)?: It is no secret that Palmyra is in need of a change of its leaders. There had been talk that there was problems with the town’s record keeping, because of the turnover in this position. I want to make it clear that I don’t believe that it is on any particular former clerk, but lays more on the current board members. I felt that I could make a difference and I wanted to bring stability. Since that time my views have changed. Especially since Mrs. Jones was hired a few months ago.
What qualifies you for the office (no more than 150 words)?: If I have one positive quality, it would be that I am honest. I have asked myself that question a number of times since Mrs. Jones took over the office. Yes, I do the books for my church, but is that the same? A recent incident that happened made me realize that I would not be any better. The reason I wanted to run was to establish a constancy that has been missing. I believe that Mrs. Jones is now bringing that stability that this town needs. She is also working and learning to do the best job she can. What would I bring to the job? A sense of duty and determination and, if need be, to hire someone to make sure the job is done within the criteria that the State of Indiana mandates. A vote for me or Mrs. Jones is a vote for change.
Name: Debra L. Jones (Debby)
Age: 54
Contact information for voters: 812-972-9519
Family: I have been married to my husband, Tom Jones, for 36 years, and we have 2 children.
Education/Occupation/Political Experience: I have been the clerk-treasurer since April 2015. I took over the position after the former clerk-treasurer moved out of the town limits. I have several years of experience in banking, working my way up from teller to a relationship banker. I have also worked in insurance for a few years.
Why are you seeking the office (no more than 100 words)?: I take pride in the community I live in and look forward to working with the town council, and serving the town, as we move forward into the future.
What qualifies you for the office (no more than 150 words)?: My banking experience includes balancing a money drawer, loans, daily/monthly/yearly reports and including taking training to keep up with changing regulations. In every job I have had there has always been a lot of customer service, so working with the public is something I am very use to and enjoy. I really look forward to the ability to serve this town. I enjoy volunteering in my community. Some of the things I have volunteered for include working at the Pal Wow this year; formerly I have been the president and treasurer of the Milltown Lions Club. I also have taken on several different roles over the years in the church, including finance committee, administrative committee and mission committee. I have co-led the children’s programs.
Lanesville At Large
Name: William (Bill) Lafayette
Age: 61
Contact information for voters: [email protected]
Family: Daughters Danielle and Christina
Education/Occupation/Political Experience: B.A. — Monmouth College (Ill.) 1977, religious studies and psychology; M.A. — Spalding University (Ky.) 1982, counseling psychology; Doctoral Studies: University of Louisville (Ky.), educational psychology. I am in private practice a licensed marriage and family therapist with offices in Lanesville and Brandenburg, Ky. I consider myself a public servant. I have served on the Lanesville Town Council from 2012 until this past February. Due to an opportunity to once again be deployed by the Department of Defense, I resigned due to my lengthy absence. I am now returning to the United States and would once again be honored to serve the people of Lanesville.
Why are you seeking the office (no more than 100 words)?: I love Lanesville and care deeply about our citizens. We have a great community, and I would like to help set the course for preserving that which is the best for our town, improving that which is needed and creating new opportunities for growth.
What do you see as the town’s three main areas of concern in the next five years (no more than 100 words)?: 1. Completion of infrastructure projects: The sewer line from the I-64 interchange to the Lanesville Waste Treatment Plant will enable development of the interchange, adding value and jobs to our town. The street lights on Main Street add beauty and safety. The Pennington Street connection behind the apartments will improve traffic flow and afford an alternative to Main Street. 2. Protection of our schools: Our kids deserve a quality education. They get this in Lanesville. 3. Establish better communication and interaction between the council and Lanesville churches, organizations and schools. It’s time to renew relationships so we can work together for the betterment of Lanesville.
How would you address those concerns (no more than 200 words)?: I will continue to be active within my community, whether checking for needed road repairs or plowing snow from them at midnight. Working to improve our neighborhoods by being available to hear your complaints as well as compliments, and to take these to the council. Working in conjunction with our town police and other town personnel to ensure the comfort and safety of our citizens. We must protect our community.
Name: Herb Schneider
Age: 69
Contact information for voters: 7346 Main St., Lanesville (town hall)
Family: Amy, married 45 years; 4 children; 2 grandchildren
Education/Occupation/Political Experience: Associate degree in electronics; retired from Honeywell Inc., 36 years; Harrison County Parks Dept. 5 years; Lanesville Town Council 13 years
Why are you seeking the office (no more than 100 words)?: To complete my goal of reducing town utility rates. Sewer loan will be paid off in 2 years, which will help. Water rates are hard to control as we have to buy our water from others. Still, we are working to bring costs to provide water at a reduced rate.
What do you see as the town’s three main areas of concern in the next five years (no more than 100 words)?: We lost approximately 60 people from 2000 to 2010 census. We need to slow this trend down. The town depends on riverboat funds to do special projects, such as new sidewalks and lighting. Population increases in neighboring counties, such as Floyd County, has caused traffic volume through town to increase.
How would you address those concerns (no more than 200 words)?: By providing sidewalks with adequate lighting has provided walkers with a safe place to walk and still be safe during evening hours after dark. It seems that every few years we hear about someone wanting to take away our riverboat money. We support all candidates that not only say they will keep the riverboat here in Harrison County but then actually take steps to make sure the boat stays here. We are working with our state reps and INDOT to try and get speed limits through town reduced on each end of town. Safety is always a big concern.
Name: Linda L. Smith
Age: 69
Contact information for voters: 812-670-6680
Family: Husband, Rick; 2 children, son Chuck, daughter Jeri
Education/Occupation/Political Experience: Corydon Central High School; IUS, associate degree, business management; on the Lanesville Town Council; served as Lanesville clerk-treasurer 17-1/2 years
Why are you seeking the office (no more than 100 words)?: I want to continue to help Lanesville grow in an orderly manner, take care of our citizens and have them know we listen to them.
What do you see as the town’s three main areas of concern in the next five years (no more than 100 words)?: One main concern is the growth of our town. Lanesville needs to grow in order to survive.
How would you address those concerns (no more than 200 words)?: Lanesville’s growth needs to be addressed with the outlying communities. That is a long process.
Name: Julie Wolfe
Age: 52
Contact information for voters: 812-225-3005 (phone); [email protected] (email)
Family: Son, Jerred Wolfe, 29; daughter, Jill Wolfe, 27
Education/Occupation/Political Experience: Associate degree in business administration from Indiana Wesleyan; graduate of Lanesville High School 1981; senior administrative assistant at Kindred Corporate Office and wedding planner. This is my first political position. I applied for and was appointed to the position that William Lafayette Jr. resigned in March.
Why are you seeking the office (no more than 100 words)?: I try to walk 2 to 3 times per week, to meet the people in town and hear their concerns. As an Indiana Master Naturalist, I want to help keep Lanesville clean and beautiful. It was my idea to recognize the 4 people who have picked up trash in town for the past 30+ years. I would like to start a bicycle safety program for the youngsters.
What do you see as the town’s three main areas of concern in the next five years (no more than 100 words)?: Possible annexation of property; growth at the Lanesville exit that will contribute to the growth of the town; drugs.
How would you address those concerns (no more than 200 words)?: Along with the rest of the council, I would explain to people the benefits of annexation, which would include sewer hook-ups, trash pick-up and snow removal. Growth: I will help to make decisions that are in the best interest of the citizens of Lanesville, when it comes to the growth of the town. Continue to educate the children in the local schools about the dangers of drugs with the help of the Lanesville Police Dept.

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