McHenry, Woodstock City Council candidates discuss upcoming campaigns

McHenry, Woodstock to see fresh faces on councils after April election

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Voters in several McHenry County municipalities will have a chance to see change on village boards and city councils after the April 2 consolidated election.

Woodstock will see changeover on its City Council no matter who wins. Three seats are open, and incumbents Mark Saladin, Maureen Larson and Dan Hart aren't seeking re-election.

Those who filed in Woodstock include Thomas Grell, Lisa Lohmeyer, Wendy Piersall, Darrin Flynn and Michael Stanard.

Piersall is a writer and runs Woo! Jr. Kids Activities; owns Lake Marine and RV with her husband, Dave Piersall; and serves on the Promote Woodstock advisory council and Old Courthouse and Sheriff's House commission. She has lived in Woodstock for five years and said she wants to run because she loves the community and thinks she would be a good fit for the role.

“My background is as a business owner and an artist,” she said. “I work in the big picture and in the really granular detail with data and spreadsheets. I love tinkering with numbers and the bottom line.”

Piersall said, if elected, her priorities would include growth of businesses and residents and finding a suitable use for the city-owned Old Courthouse and Sheriff’s Jail complex.

Flynn is a co-owner of D&A Salon Apothecary on the Square and serves on the Promote Woodstock advisory council. He is on the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce board and has lived in Woodstock with his partner for about a year. Their salon has been in Woodstock for three years, he said.

“Woodstock has such great potential and strong history,” he said. “I would like to be involved in its growth progress.”

Flynn said his priorities would include economic development and the attraction of business and residential development to the city.

Piersall and Flynn have both taken advantage of economic incentives from the city. Woodstock approved loans through its revolving loan fund to both the salon and Lake Marine and RV in 2017.

Stanard is the founder of Woodstock-based design and advertising company One Zero Charlie. He made an unsuccessful bid for the City Council in 2017. Stanard has lived in McHenry County since 1999 and has previously served as Greenwood's village president.

“I want to know what is going on in town, and I would like to have something to say about the direction of the city,” Stanard said. “I can make a contribution. ... This is my community, and it’s an extraordinary community.”

Stanard said his campaign in the upcoming election will be more “in focus” than it was in 2017.

Stanard said he would like to see the Old Courthouse and Sheriff’s Jail become a performing arts academy. He said he would also like to examine how the city uses its marketing money, particularly as it relates to the Promote Woodstock and Real Woodstock campaign.

Grell has lived in Woodstock for 41 years, and is currently raising two children with wife Annette. He works as a technical sales representative for the Sherwin-Williams Company.

“Woodstock is an amazing town to raise a family, but I think Woodstock can be better. I really just want to be involved and help make Woodstock the best it can be,” Grell said. “I am approaching this opportunity with an open mind to different ideas, and a lot of enthusiasm.”

Grell is a cancer survivor and serves on the Gavers Community Cancer Foundation Board of Directors.

He said his priorities would be residential and business growth, and to find revenues to fix the roads.

Lohmeyer is a local insurance agent who has lived in Woodstock her entire life, aside from her college years at Illinois Wesleyan University.

The 29-year-old said she wanted to see younger representation on the board.

“I wanted more young people in town to be more involved, and another female on board would be beneficial,” she said. “I have the time, energy and interest to be involved now where a lot of people in my generation don’t, but would still like a liason.”

Lohmeyer said she chose to return to Woodstock to build a career after college because of the sense of community the city has. She said her bid for the City Council was another way to become involved and that she wants to attract more residents to Woodstock.

McHenry City Council

In McHenry, seats in the 2nd, 4th, 6th and 7th wards are up for re-election, but the Ward 2 race is the only one contested.

Ward 6 alderman Patrick Devine is running for re-election. Ward 4 Alderman Scott Curry is not seeking re-election, and Bobbi Baehne is running to replace him. Ward 7 Alderwoman Geri Condon is also not seeking re-election, and Sue Miller is running for that seat.

Incumbent Andrew Glab will face Planning and Zoning Commission member Jim Walsh.

Glab last month filed an objection to Walsh's petition because he didn't specify which ward he was running for in his petition, and a signature in support of the petition allegedly came from someone outside Ward 2.

The McHenry Municipal Officers Electoral Board voted to allow Walsh to stay on the ballot.

Walsh has lived in McHenry with his wife and children since 2003. He ran unsuccessfully for the seat in 2015. He works in supply management and volunteers with the Chapel and Pioneer Center’s homeless shelter.

Walsh said that he aimed to be “honest and fair” with everyone if elected.

“This role requires you not just to represent yourself, but also to represent the citizens and the city of McHenry as a whole,” he said. “My decisions will be for the overall good of the city and not for my personal agenda. I want to help lead the way, by working with, not against our city officials, to continue to make McHenry the best city in the county and state.”

Glab has represented Ward 2 since 1997.

“Someone needs to watch what is going on for the people,” Glab said. “Things that are most concerning to residents aren’t moving forward as far as improvements.”

Those things include street conditions, code enforcement and property taxes, he said.

“I am not a yes man,” he said. “I analyze everything and make arguments and votes to go by a common-sense approach. That is what we need more of.”

McHenry Mayor Wayne Jett has announced endorsements for Walsh, Miller, Devine and Baehne.

Other towns, including Harvard, Algonquin, Spring Grove, Lake in the Hills, Fox River Grove and Cary, will have some contested races for village boards.