By Keith Gushard
The Meadville Tribune
There are few highly-contested Crawford County races in the May primary, but there’s one that stands out. A race in Vernon Township pits three Republican candidates who are vying for one seat up for election on the township’s board of supervisors.
The three candidates — Alden Hills, a current Vernon Township supervisor and retired toolmaker; Dick Astor, a retired Conneaut School District superintendent; and Denis E. Alexatos, a contractor and businessman, filed nominating petitions with the Crawford County Office of Voter Services by Tuesday’s deadline for a six-year term on the board. No Democrats filed for the seat, according to Melanie Mushrush, director of Voter Services.
Hills has been a member of the Vernon Township Board of Supervisors for 14 years while Alexatos often has been a vocal critic of township government, and Astor is a political newcomer.
Other township supervisor races for one six-year seat are:
- Venango Township with Democrats Bradley Temple, a truck driver, and Donald L. Merritt, a retiree;
- Greenwood Township with three Republicans running — Timothy McCracken, the appointed incumbent; Berkley Bossard Jr., a retiree; and Edward Wetzel, who listed no occupation;
- North Shenango Township with two Democrats — Joel Brown, an insurance investigator, and William Emerick, a retiree;
- Athens Township with two Republicans — Charley W. Loucks, a school bus driver, and Chadwick Wise, a truck driver;
- Randolph Township with two Republicans — Chuck Rambo and Gary Hollabaugh.
In Conneautville, five Democrats are vying for four seats for four-year terms on Conneautville Borough Council — Jennifer Hoover, a cook; Tim Prince, a retiree; B. Sue Joslin, manager at Conneautville Hardware; Paula Field, assistant manager at Conneautville Hardware; and Henry Mead, a worker.
At the municipal level, there are several tax collector races as well — all on the Republican side.
Townville has Carol Wyant against Linda McCarl; Cambridge Township has Republicans Linda Doutt and Donna M. Coburn; and Wayne Township has Ruth C. Graham against Michele Rambo-Cape.
In school board races, PENNCREST School District has six candidates seeking the nomination to one of four seats. All six candidates have cross-filed as Republicans and Democrats. Under Pennsylvania law, candidates for school board may cross-file, seeking the nomination of other parties.
Those seeking nomination in PENNCREST are Luigi DeFrancesco, an engineer; Harry Hicks, a retired educator; Mark Parker, a lineman; Gerry Deane, a quilt vendor; Fred McDermott, a radiologist; and Mark A. Gerow, an accountant.
Conneaut School District, which elects its school directors by region rather than on an at-large basis, has races in two of its three regions. All candidates have cross-filed as Republicans and Democrats.
Conneaut Region I, with one seat up for election, has Brandon King, a mechanical engineer, against David Schaef, a publisher.
Conneaut Region II, with two seats up for election, has Carol Bocan, a retired educator; Dorothy Luckock, a business owner; John Burnham, a farmer; and Cheryl Krachkowski, a teacher.
Conneaut Region III, where one seat is on the ballot, has only Donald Ellis Jr., a communications operator, on the ballot.
Crawford Central School District has four candidates seeking the nomination to four seats, but only two of the candidates were successful in having the required number of signatures to cross-file both as Republicans and Democrats.
The candidates who cross-filed are Jan Feleppa, a special education supervisor; and Melissa Burnett, an administrative assistant at Edinboro University. John M. Amato, a business owner, and Jeff Deardorff, a retired educator, both are only on the Republican ballot and didn’t have at least 100 signatures of registered Democrats to be placed in nomination on the Democratic ballot.
For countywide offices, Republican incumbents Christine Krzysiak, county treasurer, and Patricia Wetherbee, clerk of courts, are running for the Republican nomination for those respective offices. No Democrat filed for either office.
Lincoln Zilhaver, the magisterial district judge for the Saegertown area, is the lone candidate for a six-year term for that office. Zilhaver has filed for both the Republican and Democratic parties’ nomination. Like school board candidates, under Pennsylvania law, a magisterial district justice candidate may cross-file.
Meadville has only one candidate for mayor — John Christopher Soff, a Democrat, who is the incumbent.
Meadville City Council has two four-year seats up for election and one two-year seat, but few candidates.
Democrats H. LeRoy Stearns, an incumbent, and Sean P. Donahue are seeking election to four-year terms while Democrat Robert C. Langley, who was appointed to fill a vacancy in 2012, is seeking election to a two-year term.
On the Republican side, Nancy Mangilo-Bittner, an incumbent, is the lone candidate for one of the two four-year seats.
The primary election is scheduled for May 21.
Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.