SYRACUSE — There are nine candidates running for office in Turkey Creek Township and Syracuse.
There are three candidates running for Turkey Creek Township Trustee. Julie Close is the Republican candidate while Martha Stoelting and Tim Yeager will face off to be the Democratic candidate in the May 8 primary to run against Close Nov. 6.
Turkey Creek Township Trustee
Close has lived in the area for 14 years. She said she decided to run for office because, “I want to be more involved in my community and help those in need.”
A challenge she sees the township advisory board tackling in the near future is to continue to maintain top quality fire protection for the citizens of Turkey Creek Township and to provide township assistance for those in need.
Stoelting has lived in the area for 29 years. She is a former business owner and serves on the Syracuse-Wawasee Historical Museum board, North Webster Chamber of Commerce board and Syracuse-Wawasee Garden Club. “Good government is encouraged by the voters having options and by running I am giving the voters that important choice,” she said as to why she is running for office.
She sees keeping the tax rate where it is while continuing to provide important services to the residents of Turkey Creek Township community as important to both voters and the township advisory board.
Yeager is a native of the area. He said he was inspired to seek office because, “A lot of time the Democrats don’t have anyone on the ticket. I’m retired and can take on another job and I’ve always been interested in government.” While retired, Yeager has been teaching language arts at Milford School as a permanent substitute this year.
As for challenges he sees facing the advisory board, Yeager said he is still in the learning process about the job of township trustee.
Turkey Creek Advisory Board
Republican incumbents Dennis Darr and John D. Heckaman are both seeking a third term on the Turkey Creek Township Advisory Board.
Darr is a native to the area. He believes one of the biggest challenges the advisory board will have to deal with is the renovation of both fire stations I and II.
Heckaman is also a native to the area. He also believes the renovation of both fire stations should be completed within the next year or so. He sees the main part of being on the advisory board is overseeing the fire department. “I believe training of the firefighters needs to be promoted more,” he said.
Also seeking a spot on the township advisory board are Democratic candidates Victoria “Vicki” Morton and Jama Owens Brown.
Morton has lived in the Syracuse area since 2013. She grew up in Indianapolis and has an bachelor’s of science degree and masters in business administration from Indiana University-Bloomington. She had 36 years of financial management experience before retiring.
As a volunteer for a number of local non-profits, she sees the needs of the community and would like to give back. She believes her financial experience will be an asset in overseeing the township’s finances to provide for the needs of the fire department, poor relief and cemetery maintenance.
Owens Brown has lived in Indiana her entire life. “I was a Silver Lake Rambler before moving to Syracuse for the past 18 years,” she said. She said running for office is in her blood. Her father was a town council member in Silver Lake for 17 years. She hopes to serve her community in the same way her father did, with hard work and listening to residents.
Owens Brown said she is eager to bring EMTs into the conversation “as their role is just as important to the community as the firefighters and making sure their needs are met.”
Syracuse Town Council
Larry Siegel is running unopposed for Syracuse Town Council District I. He has served on the town council for 16 years. During that time the town has seen a new water distribution system, enhanced stormwater drainage systems, rebuilt the sanitary sewer system and installed street lights for safety and installed street lights. The park system has also developed green spaces and an athletic field.
Siegel serves as president of the Syracuse Redevelopment Commission which has developed the technology park. He also worked with Ian Rolland through the annexation and redevelopment of Oakwood Park. He currently serves on the Oakwood Foundation board of directors and on the executive committee guiding Chautauqua Wawasee.
Paul Stoelting is running unopposed for Syracuse Town Council District 2. He is a native of Syracuse. He left to attend college and worked in San Antonio, Texas, returning to the area in 1990. He has served district two for 20 years. “There’s something about being a resident and giving input,” he said.
He finds it rewarding to be part of the growth of the town. He said he believes the creation of the technology park is one of the biggest goals that have come to fruition recently and he hopes for continued growth and development in the park.