Park Hills voters will decide a race for the mayor’s seat along with two city council races in Park Hills.
Tracy M. McRaven is unopposed in his bid for the Ward I council seat currently held by Jeff Cunningham.
Incumbent Lawrence “Larry” R. Kelly is unopposed in his bid for re-election in Ward IV.
John A. Hagerty, Charles Politte and Ward II Councilman David Easter have filed for the mayor’s seat, currently held by John Clark.
Hagerty, however, has withdrawn from the race. His name will be still be on the ballot, because his withdrawal took place after the ballot was printed. A court order is necessary to take a name off a ballot, St. Francois County Clerk Mark Hedrick explained.
Politte, 47, is making his first bid at elected office. He grew up in Elvins and graduated from Central High School.
A member of Trinity Lutheran Church, Politte is married to Marianne, with whom he has three children: Kegan, Hannah and Sarah.
He began his career at Union Pacific, then opened a restaurant. He started several businesses before moving for a while to Italy, where he ran an advertising agency. After starting another company in North Carolina, he moved here. Currently, he is a photographer for Life Touch in Park Hills.
“I’ve seen a lot of places, but when we started having kids, I wanted to raise them here,” he said. “I have only the interests of the city at heart.”
Politte said he wants to help the city continue to be a great place for children. He also wants to contribute to making Park Hills an even better community.
His networking skills would be helpful in bringing new businesses to the area, he said.
Easter, 53, is making his first bid as mayor. He has been a member of the city council for six years.
A resident of Park Hills since 1985, Easter graduated from Farmington High School and attended Mineral Area College, where he was Phi Beta Kappa. He earned a bachelor’s degree in English, speech and drama from Southeast Missouri State University.
He is married to Betty and serves as president of the Downtown Park Hills Association, which he helped revitalize in 2006. Easter is a member of the Freemason Lodge 132 in Farmington.
Easter owns Not Just Comix, located in Downtown Park Hills.
While on the council, Easter has worked on several committees to enhance community development and support parks functions and recreational activities including the Sports Complex. He has been involved in library projects and has dealt with land annexations, street improvements, and water issues.
“Park Hills needs leadership to continue the positive programs that have been established, a leader who has experience in both political public service and business representation and a leader who has put the people of Park Hills first,” he said.
Easter said his dedication is evidenced in his attendance record. In six years as a councilman, he has missed only three meetings, he said.
Easter wants the city to place more emphasis on areas that are open for development, especially in the Parkway Drive and Fairgrounds areas and on property along U.S. 67. As mayor, he would oversee the aesthetics of the new roundabout that is located in front of Central High School. He also wants to focus on the water tower that is needed for fire protection near the Fairgrounds.
“We need to open the doors to industry, government jobs and the medical field,” Easter said. “I have experience and proven leadership, and I will continue to serve the people I have served for six years.
“As mayor, I will continue positive programs that were started by Mayor John Clark and the rest of the council.”
Incumbent Linda Dickerson is being challenged by Kurt Glore and Bob L. Vineyard Jr. for the seat in Ward II.
Dickerson, 37, is seeking a seventh term on the council. A native of Flat River, she graduated from Central High School and attended Mineral Area College.
She has a daughter, Haleigh, and is a member of the board of directors of the Park Hills-Leadington Chamber of Commerce.
Dickerson is executive director of Habitat for Humanity. Before that, she worked 18 years for East Missouri Action Agency (EMAA), where she worked with the Self-Help Housing program.
Dickerson said she enjoys her role and would like to continue working to help the city grow.
“I’m a people person and I like to help,” she noted.
Glore, 27, is making his first bid at public office. A native of Park Hills, Glore graduated from Central High School and DeVry University in Kansas City, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in telecommunications management. He currently is completing a master’s degree in business administration from Keller Graduate School of DeVry.
He is married to Shanna and they have three children: Elijah, Grant, and Christian.
Glore is a member of Parkland Cyclists and is a systems analyst in informational technology at Covieien/Mallinckrodt in St. Louis.
“I want to see our area grow economically,” he said. “When you see that Bonne Terre, Desloge, Leadington and Farmington have multiple businesses doing well economically, Park Hills doesn’t seem to be doing as well.”
Glore said he wants to make sure the city is making the best use of its budget. He believes his education and experience will be a benefit to the council.
“In any situation, it’s good to get fresh eyes on what’s going on,” Glore said. “People sometimes form voting alliances. After a while, they might not have the freshest outlook.”
Vineyard, 49, is making his first bid for public office. A lifelong resident of the area, Vineyard graduated from Central High School.
A former over the road, long-distance truck driver, Vineyard spent the past 13 years as an assembly line worker at the Chrysler Plant in Fenton.
Vineyard said some city codes are outdated and need to be addressed. He wants to work on some city ordinances, particularly those that deal with vehicles. For example, he opposes a prohibition against parking the trailer part of a tractor-trailer at the curb. He believes the city should have a work-in-progress permit for hobbyists who restore antique cars.
“An antique car that is being restored with an amount of disassembly is classified as a derelict automobile and is subject to ticketing — even if it is registered,” he said. “You have 15 days to move it once the code enforcement officer sees it. This has been a pet peeve of mine for years.
“There needs to be more discretion in codes.”
Vineyard wants to encourage new businesses to fill empty buildings in town. He said that he has the time to serve the citizens and he is easy to talk to.
“I want Park Hills to continue to be a place that our residents want to come home to and that others want to move into.”
Incumbent Tom Reed will face challengers Jarred Wampler and Joshua Hemmendinger for the Ward III seat.
Reed, 41, is seeking a fourth term on the council. A native of Park Hills, he graduated from Central High School and attended ITT Technical Institute. Reed graduated from Mineral Area College with an associate’s degree in civil technology.
He is married to Debra and they have three children: David, Andrew, and Katie. Reed is a member of Harvest Christian Centre Church and a member of the Elvins-Ionic Lodge 154 in Desloge.
He is a construction inspector and former highway designer for Missouri Department of Transportation, where he has worked for the past 10 years. Before that, he was a playground layout designer at Little Tikes.
Reed wants to improve the city’s older areas and make sure they have well-maintained streets and infrastructure. He said it is important to protect the integrity of neighborhoods.
He also wants to continue to work on economic development.
“I think the city is set to grow once the economy improves,” Reed said. “We’ve done the annexation, and we’ve put in the infrastructure needed for commercial growth.”
Reed said his strong points include his past experience on the council and the focus he’s had on strong growth. He plans to continue to see that the city wisely spends residents’ tax money.
“I believe that Park Hills has great potential as a city,” he said. “I have a proven track record on the council for pursuing economic growth and improvements to our cities infrastructure. I am always ready to aggressively represent all of the citizens of my ward on the council.”
Wampler, 28, is making his first bid at public office. A native of the area, he graduated from North County High School and attended Mineral Area College.
He is married to Megan and they have three children: Claira, Chloe and Noah.
Wampler is an Army veteran of 10 years and continues his service as a member of the reserves. He also is a member of Elvins-Ionic Lodge 154 in Desloge.
He works for Charter Communications as a warehouse manager in Farmington.
Wampler wants to see the city expand its businesses and increase the activities for children and residents.
“I’d like to see us get a Civic Center for Park Hills,” he said. “There’s not much for the people of Park Hills to do except the Sports Complex.”
Wampler also thinks the city should consider a traffic light at the five-way intersection on Main Street near the railroad tracks.
He said he wants to be “a new face on the council with a new outlook for the city.”
Hemmendinger, 30, is making his first bid for elected office. He has lived in Park Hills for five years. A graduate of Williamsport High School in Pennsylvania, Hemmendinger earned a bachelor’s degree in criminology from Drury College (now Drury University) in Springfield, Mo.
He is married to Cathy and has a child, Wade. He served on the city’s fire department before the birth of his child.
Hemmendinger worked as a correctional officer two years at Potosi Correctional Center before taking his current position in sales at Little Tikes in Farmington.
Hemmendinger wants to see the city grow economically and improve in appearance.
“Things don’t seem to change much,” he said. “I want to try to clean up Main Street and make it more beautiful. I also want more community involvement in cleaning up the parks.”
Hemmendinger said he would like to update the city’s Web site, because a Web site is “an important tool in putting the city’s best face forward.”
He said he would make a good councilman because “I’m an every day kind of guy, easy to talk to. I really like the city and I want to help make it better.”
Paula Barr is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-431-2010, ext. 172 or at email@example.com.