Town elections held today

Oak Creek, Hayden voters to decide on Town Boards

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— Voters in Hayden and Oak Creek will cast ballots today in two very different elections.

In Oak Creek, Town Clerk Karen Halterman said she expects more than half of the 530 registered voters to cast ballots for mayor and four open trustee seats. Hayden Town Clerk Lisa Dowling expects 15 to 20 percent of the town's 880 registered voters to vote in Hayden.

The Oak Creek Town Hall was packed with curious voters Thursday night for the candidate forum. Candidates have been rallying supporters, passing out literature and campaigning. The attendance at the Hayden candidate forum was low and candidates are relying on word of mouth to get voters to the polls.

"Traditionally, we have a healthy voter turnout," Halterman said.

Halterman said Oak Creek elections are unpredictable.

The two Oak Creek mayoral candidates -- incumbent Kathy "Cargo" Rodeman and Bill Babcock -- have distinct styles that have divided many voters. Their supporters may be more vocal than the candidates, who have remained civil toward each other throughout the campaigns.

"I have my way, and she has hers," said Babcock, who described himself as fiscally conservative and Rodeman as "spendy."

Rodeman said she is concerned what will happen in Oak Creek if she is not re-elected.

"I'm nervous," Rodeman said. "I'm nervous for the town. I'm nervous for the $4 million in grants that have to be followed through."

In addition to the two mayoral candidates, nine people are running for the four open Town Board seats in Oak Creek.

Oak Creek Town Board candidates are incumbents Tom Bleuer, John Crawford and J. Elliott, and Ann Kirton, Kelly Lipsie, Angie Kralj KenCairn, Dave Fisher, Chuck Wisecup and Stacy Hayes.

The three Town Board candidates who receive the most votes will serve four-year terms. The candidate with the fourth-most votes will serve a two-year term.

"So much is happening in Oak Creek, and that's why we have so many people interested," Rodeman said. "The same thing that makes people want to run and be a part of it makes people want to vote and be a part of it."

Her opponent agrees.

"When you have nine candidates running for four seats, I think that shows we have a healthy community," Babcock said.

All the mayoral and trustee candidates in Hayden seem somewhat satisfied with the direction the town is headed. The candidates are eager to serve so the town stays on course.

Four candidates are running for three Town Board seats. They are former trustee Jim Haskins, Mayor Chuck Grobe, Tom Rogalski and Andrea Hayden. Two candidates are running for mayor.

"The biggest issue is getting people to come and vote," Dowling said.

"The (town) staff is really affected by who is on the Town Board. Even though we don't directly report to them, they are the governing body. They could bring on a whole new flavor."

Mayoral candidate Richard "Festus" Hagins said he thought the election should be publicized better.

"I've been out and about and finding out a lot of people don't even know the election is Tuesday," Hagins said.

Hayden mayoral candidate Joe Schminkey said a lot of people just are not interested in local government.

"Those who wish to be are," Schminkey said. "You can't get everyone excited."

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