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Petersen re-elected as Portage Township supervisor

November 7, 2012
By KURT HAUGLIE - DMG writer ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

PORTAGE TOWNSHIP - Despite a challenge from a former planning commission and zoning board of appeals member, Portage Township Supervisor Bruce Petersen was re-elected to the position.

Petersen received 788 votes to 691 votes for challenger Mike Wilmers.

After vote totals were calculated Tuesday, Petersen said he was pleased with the results.

"I'm glad we can now move on," he said.

There are projects for the township the board can discuss, and there are pending grant requests to fund those projects.

"I'm hoping those will come through for us," he said.

Petersen said one of the projects he'd like to undertake is constructing a parking lot at the Hurontown recreation fields.

Wilmers said Tuesday he was disappointed in the results of the election.

"I gave it my best shot," he said. "Best of luck to Mr. Petersen."

On July 12, members of the township board of trustees voted 6-1 to remove Mike Wilmers from his positions because he presented himself as a representative of the township at a public hearing in Lansing supporting proposed legislation on mining although the township board was opposed to the legislation. In September, Wilmers filed suit in Houghton County Circuit Court against the six members of the board who voted to remove him from the planning commission, where he was chairman, and zoning board of appeals stating the action violated the Open Meetings Act by not properly announcing they were considering his removal. A panel found in Wilmers' favor and awarded him $1,500.

He thought the election would go his way, Wilmers said.

"I was kind of surprised," he said. "We ran a good campaign."

Wilmers said he's uncertain if he'll seek any other government positions in the township in the future.

Voters made some changes on the board of trustees.

Incumbent trustees Peggy Anderson (720 votes) and John Ollila (727) were returned to the board. Challengers Bill Bingham, a former township supervisor, received 793 votes, and Andrew Kemper received 677 votes, and both earned seats on the board. Incumbents Mark Jalkanen (502) and Jim Zerbst (671) will not return. Challenger Jonathan Stone received 419 votes. There were four write-in votes for trustee.

Treasurer Carol Little received 1,069 votes and challenger Quincy Higgins Arney received 264 votes. There were six write-in votes for the position.

At the August primary election, Clerk Sandra Luoma was defeated by challenger Jamie Solka, who received 1,040 votes Tuesday to 41 write-in votes.

Roy Britz (1,042) and Robert Laux (822) were returned as township constables.

There were 15 write-in votes for the position.



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