Onaway school election still in limbo

by Peter Jakey-Managing Editor

Approximately half of Presque Isle County voters went to the polls for Tuesday’s mid-term election that yielded few surprises.

“You could not split it more evenly,” said county clerk Ann Marie Main, when the final tallies were counted after midnight.

Of the 21,488 registered voters in Cheboygan County, about 45.23 percent went to the 33 precincts to make decisions; however, not all the votes are in. Of the 10,795 registered voters in Presque Isle County 49.55 percent went to the polls.

Cheboygan County’s Board of Canvassers has not gotten to the write-in votes in Forest Township and has delayed the results in the contested school board election for Onaway Area Community Schools.

The board of canvassers is scheduled to meet this morning at 10 a.m. to get to the write-in votes. There were 49 write-ins in Forest Township, but they have yet to be counted.

As of Thursday, Monica Larson, who was the only candidate with her name on the ballot, had 1,379 votes between both counties.

That leaves write-in candidates Donald Bastian and Vanessa Dean vying for the only remaining seat. Bastian led by 13 votes, 94 to 81, without the Forest Township vote count.

In other election results, incumbents ruled the day, including Gov. Rick Snyder (R), who won a second term over Mark Schauer (D), and carried Presque Isle County by less than 400 votes (2,743-2,365). The self-described “nerd,” also took Cheboygan County, 5,288 to 4,007.

“We’re not going to stop today,” Snyder stated on his campaign Web site. “We’re going to keep moving forward – we’re going to keep accelerating – tomorrow, and on Thursday, and on Friday, and for the next four years.”

If there was one surprise in Presque Isle, it was the passage of the countywide recycling millage that will add 1/10th mill to the December tax roll.

The county is planning on using the funding to refurbish recycling bins, pay for hauling to Emmet County and schedule a hazardous waste pickup day in the future.

“I think we can be proud that it passed,” said outgoing District 2 commissioner Kris Sorgenfrei, who helped get the word out about the millage. “”It’s not a lot of money for any single person and it does help to spread the cost of recycling, and I hope people take advantage of it.”

It passed in both Rogers City precincts by a total of 623 to 383. Presque Isle Township supported it 500 to 375, as did Onaway, 133 to 91.

While Onaway city voters were supporting recycling, they defeated the marijuana charter amendment, 148 to 82.

In the race for county commissioner, Bob Schell (D) defeated Green Party candidate Wayne Vermilya. Schell won District 1 by a comfortable margin, 537 to 285, although Vermilya was pleased with how he did, running as a third party candidate.

“I will live to fight another day and I am very pleased

to know that almost 300 people turned out in support of not only me but the Green Party platform,” stated Vermilya in an e-mail statement to the media. “I wish commissioner Schell the best in facing the county’s many challenges.” Carl Altman knocked off Gary Rickard.

In Cheboygan County’s District 5 commissioner’s race, it was Tony Matelski (R) over Jack Pappas (D), 727 to 544.

For Cheboygan County road commissioner it was Donald Spray (R) over Joe Lahaie (D), 5,285 to 4,081.

Dr. Dan Benishek (R) will return to congress for a third term after edging Jerry Cannon (D) 124,597 to 109,010.

“As a doctor from the U.P. I never thought I would run for Congress, but representing northern Michigan has been a privilege and I want to thank the hardworking people in this great district for their continued support,” stated Benishek in an e-mail.

Peter Pettalia (R) was a convincing winner over Robert Kennedy (D), 18,614 to 15,219.

Other winners included Gary Peters (D), who will take retiring U.S. Senator Carl Levin’s seat in Washington, D.C. He defeated Terri Land, 1,698,950 to 1,283,307.

Bill Schuette (R) was retained as attorney general and Jim Stamas (R) was elected to the state senate.

District Judge Maria Barton received 6,490 votes in Cheboygan County and 3,487 in Presque Isle. She was running unopposed.