Candidate races – Vandalia Mayor, Laddonia Board of Aldermen, Community R-VI School Board
Kuda, Jr. and Wenzel run for mayor
(Profiles appear in order as names appear on the ballot.)
Current City of Vandalia Mayor Ramon Barnes has decided to retire after serving the city in that office since 1992.
This means Vandalia voters will be electing a new mayor next week for the first time in 22 years.
Ralph Kuda, Jr.
Ralph Kuda, Jr. has lived in Vandalia for at least 60 years and will turn 65 in April.
He’s a Class of 1967 graduate from Van-Far High School.
He worked at Harbison-Walker for 44 years before retiring there in April, three years ago.
He’s married to Patti Kuda and has one son, who is also a Van-Far graduate.
Kuda, Jr. once served as a plant engineer in Jefferson City and was a union officer. He’s also served with the Vandalia Cemetery Association.
“I would like to see some jobs come into Vandalia, regardless of the size because the town’s dying,” he said.
“We’ve lost four businesses this last year. I’d just like to try to get some things (to) come in here. It’s going to take more than me, it’s going to take the city council and well a lot of people to try and get something going on. We have a couple of vacant places to get somebody in. The economy is starting to turn around…I know people are complaining about stuff and hopefully we’ll get some things done. I’m retired and I’ve got plenty of time.”
Teresa Wenzel is retired from Community R-VI. She taught 32 years in the Elementary School. Teresa is married to Kevin Wenzel.
They have lived in Vandalia for 35 years. Their two sons both graduated from Van-Far.
Teresa is a Ward I Alderman on the Vandalia City Council.
She teaches Sunday School at Vandalia United Methodist, is treasurer of Susanna Randolph Chapter, NSDAR; President of Audrain County Area Genealogical Society; and a member of Audrain County Area Public School Retirees; and Chapter CE, P.E.O.. Teresa believes a new library/YMCA will be a magnificent asset to the community. As a child, the Vandalia Library was an important source of new books to read each Saturday, this according to her YMCA website profile.
Teresa also values a healthy lifestyle and feels that the YMCA can be a wonderful place to help the youth and citizens of Vandalia with fitness opportunities.
“The Vandalia City Council has established Economic Development as one of its goals,” Wenzel said when asked about her vision as a mayoral candidate.
“I would like to see that continue as a primary objective. I am in hopes that when the economy gets stronger that more businesses will consider locating in Vandalia. We can help insure that, by making sure Vandalia is a great place to live and raise children. Fiscal responsibility is a primary objective of mine as well. Hard decisions have to be made because revenues have been decreasing and federal mandates seem to be increasing. I believe we have a very professional staff at City Hall and I hope we can continue to see a consistent professional staff.”
Residents can vote for the new City of Vandalia mayor on Tuesday, April 8.
Laddonia candidates battle in Ward II Alderman race
(Profiles appear in order as names appear on the ballot)
Voters next Tuesday morning in the City of Laddonia will be asked to pick one of two candidates to serve a two-year term in Ward II.
Jolene R. Match
Jolene R. Matich was born and raised in Mexico, Mo., where she graduated Mexico High School in 1994.
She served her country for three years in the U.S. Army.
She’s married to Scott Matich and the couple has two daughters. The Matichs have lived in Laddonia for 10 years.
Matich is a member of the Laddonia Fire Department as a First Responder.
Currently, she works as a substitue at “Learning As We Grow Daycare.”
“I believe that if I become City of Laddonia alderman, I will try to help make a cleaner, better looking town, that too many animals are running the streets, our water and sewer problems must be fixed,” she said in regards to her vision for Laddonia. “I strongly believe a police force protects everyone so Laddonia can thrive again.”
Francis Hunn has been married to his wife Judy for 40 years.
The couple has resided on 7th Street for the last six years in Laddonia and has three grown children. He’s originally from Lincoln County and graduated from Wright City High School.
While living in that area, Hunn was a maintenance worker for Wright City before going into a construction business. He retired as a union carpenter seven years ago.
He’s carried his practice into fixing up five houses in town.
He moved to Laddonia after years of traveling through town on his way to Mark Twain Lake to go fishing.
“I’d like to see houses fixed up and have people living in them,” Hunn said in regards to his vision. “I hope to see other peoploe doing that. I would like to see more people move in town. This is an ideal spot for people to retire and hopefully I can get that word out.”
During this election, he is also one of five candidates looking to earn a spot of the Laddonia Rural Fire Protection District’s Board of Directors.
Four candidates battle for three sports on R-VI Board
(Profiles appear in order as names appear on the ballot.)
Voters living inside the Community R-VI School District are being asked to choose three out of the four names listed on the ballot in the school board race. Each position would offer a three year term. Voters will also asked to pass a bond issue for the district, which was previoously covered by the Leader. A reference point this week is a Letter ot the Editor on Page 2.
Greg Forst has spent his life living around the Martinsburg area. He graduated from Community R-VI in 1984.
He’s married to his wife Cindy and he has two boys currentling attending Community R-VI Elementary School.
The couple farms about 500 acres. Meanwhile, he works for Ennis Implement in Mexico, Mo.
Fort is an active member of Grace Lutheran Church in Wellsville and serves on various committees there.
He is also the current president of the Martinsburg Area Fire District.
“My vision is to try to improve (the district) from where we stand now,” he said. “To try to provide the best education for the students as possible with the resources we have available.”
Glenn Jensen, Jr.
Glenn Jensen Jr. joined the Community R-VI School Board nine years ago.
He’s a Class of 1985 graduate from Community R-VI.
He has been married to his wife Christina for 26 years and has had four sons also graduate from Community R-VI.
While still running Glenn’s Garage part-time, he currently works full-time for the University of Missouri. Jensen, Jr. has also served as Laddonia’s Fire Chief and the department for more than 20 years.
“I’d like to see some issues get resolved,” Jensen, Jr. said. “I’d like to see our school district grow. I know it’s a rural community and not much chance to populate where the big school districts are at but I still want to see growth in education. It can be done. I would like us to have a top ranked school in the state and I think the teachers are there to help us accomplish that but we just need to fine tune some part to make sure that happens.”
The current school board president has served on the board for nine years.
He currently lives on the farm were he grew up and in the house he grew up in. He started his schooling at Community R-VI when the elementary school was opened and was part of the first class to eventually graduate in 1982.
He’s been married to his wife Faye since 1986 and has three sons. Two sons have already graduated while a third is currently attending high school.
“My vision for the school board and school…I want a strong school,” Fairchild said. “With a small community, the school is a focal point of the community. I want us to educate our youth and want them all to get educated in a strong manner. Overall, I’m after a strong school to be financially responsible…I believe in education and as a part of the community I believe I need to be involved in the community.”
Linda Gastler is currently serving as a board member for the Community R-VI School District.
She grew up in Middletown and went to school at Wellsville-Middletown. She’s married to Jim Gastler and has three kids. Two have graduated from Community R-VI while a third is currently attending the district.
“(My vision) is that our kids receive a proper education that we’ve prepared them for, for whatever they choose to do when leaving Community R-VI, whether it be college, a trade school, or work,” Gastler said. “I just want to see them educated the best way possible.”