Candidates file for school board, village, township races

State, county issues also on November ballot

By Jason Hawk -

Five candidates met Wednesday’s deadline to file to run for the Amherst board of education, making for an interesting race this fall.

Three seats are open this November, with incumbents Ron Yacobozzi, Bob Kamnikar, and Teresa Gilles seeking reelection.

They’ll face challenges from Markos Athineos and former board member Valerie Neidert.

Firelands will also have a contended school board race. Ben Gibson and Daniel Pycraft will run to keep their seats with challenges from Bob Danicki and Joshua Frederick.

School board races are nonpartisan and candidates file in August instead of appearing on the spring primary ballot.

That’s also true of township and many village races, such as in Amherst Township where Dennis Abraham and Neil Lynch are shoe-ins to keep their trustee seats, barring a longshot write-in campaign by a third candidate.

South Amherst has a different situation: Only three candidates filed to run for village council, where four seats are open. They are Dennis Burdue, Robert James, and Jeri Leigh Siss.

Dean Nichols is the lone candidate for an open village board of public affairs position.

To the west, Brownhelm Township will see a three-way race for two open trustee seats. Monica Bauer, Orrin Leimbach, and Jim Northeim are running.

In Henrietta Township, Ronald Baumann and Joseph Knoble are unopposed for two open trustee seats.

The ballot could still change. The Lorain County Board of Elections will certify candidates’ petitions by Aug. 18, and potentially disqualify any who did not turn in enough valid signatures to run.

The News-Times will send surveys to all local candidates in September and publish their responses prior to Election Day.

That includes Amherst city council candidates, who filed early in the year for the primary.

The slate remains the same, which one major exception: Republican councilman David Goodell withdrew from the second ward council race on Aug. 1, saying an ill family member requires his undivided attention.

Precinct committee members chose to place former councilman Ed Cowger on the ballot in his stead. Cowger has been both a Democrat and Republican in prior elections, but will run as a Republican.

The November ballot will also feature a number of issues for our readers to consider.

State Issue 1 is a proposed constitutional amendment to better define crime victims’ rights. It calls for victims to be notified of major court proceedings and case developments, to allowed to be present at court proceedings, to speak with a prosecutor before any plea deals are made, and to be heard at plea, sentencing, and parole hearings.

If passed, victims would also receive restitution from the convicted party and be able to refuse interviews and depositions that are requested by the accused during the legal process.

The measure has bipartisan support among prosecutors and law enforcement officials, but has been criticized by defense attorneys who say it would give victims more rights than the accused, who are innocent until proven guilty.

State Issue 2 seeks to put the Ohio Drug Price Relief Act in place through a referendum. It would require state agencies to buy prescription drugs at a cost that matches or is lower than what the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs pays.

The VA negotiates prescription prices up to a fourth less, and the Ohio Taxpayers for Lower Drug Prices says Issue 2 would force pharmaceutical companies to lower prices.

Ohioans could save about $400 million per year, the group argues. Funding for the ballot push comes mainly from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

A counter-group called Deceptive RX Issue, backed by a prescription drug company CEO, says Issue 2 would raise prices.

Lorain County voters will also get to vote on:

• A 0.065-mill renewal levy for tuberculosis clinic services, which are required under state law.

• A 0.5-mill renewal for 911 emergency services.

• A 0.08-mill renewal for the Lorain County Drug Task Force.

Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.

State, county issues also on November ballot

By Jason Hawk