Polls are closed: Here’s 4 storylines we’re watching

All eyes on hotly-contested races in Spring Valley, Peru, Utica

Now the polls are closed, it will be at least an hour or so before we see the first results come in.

To view results in La Salle County, go here. Bureau County, here. Putnam County, here.

All results will be unofficial Tuesday night. There are at least 119 outstanding mail-in ballots that may be returned to the La Salle County Clerk’s Office and 25 to the Bureau County Clerk’s Office within the next two weeks (provided they have the proper postmark), which may alter results once they are counted.

Here is what the NewsTribune and The Times staff will be watching:

1) No matter what, there will be a new mayor in Spring Valley. Walt Marini decided not to run for re-election, meaning someone new will head the city. The five-way race is between Melanie Malooley-Thompson, Alderman Edward Jauch, Alderman Fred West, Mark Venegas and John French.

If Malooley-Thompson is elected, she would become of only a few female mayors in the Bureau, Putnam and La Salle counties area (depending on Tuesday’s results in other elections). Venegas also could make history if he were elected to the post with his Hispanic roots.

The race was highlighted by a five-person online forum hosted by Starved Rock Media (WLPO radio), in which candidates commented on downtown and Interstate 80 economic developments.

The race also grabbed attention when French had a verbal outburst during a Spring Valley council meeting, stating he’d be the most passionate candidate and “he’s going to fix this town.”

2) Things got interesting in Utica. How will that affect election results?

Prior to Tuesday’s election, Utica police reported a possible buy-your-vote effort after a village resident reported getting an unsolicited $100 bill attached to an anti-incumbent flier. Sunday, village police issued a report compiled after the investigation begun Saturday when they were alerted to a resident finding currency and a campaign flier inserted into his doorway.

That incident came after there were questions raised about voters registering from the Grand Bear Lodge, who were not permanent residents. As previously reported, 74 new voters registered to vote in Utica and most of the newcomers were identified as occupants of the vacation units at Grand Bear. When questions were raised about the validity of voters registering using their vacation home addresses, 12 rescinded their applications.

The races in Utica feature: Terry Mix is challenging incumbent David Stewart for the mayor’s seat, while incumbent trustees Mary Pawlak, Jim Schrader and Debbie Krizel are challenged by Chad McConville and Karen Lorenz with three seats open on the village board.

3) Will there be new mayors in Peru, Dalzell, Ladd, Sheridan and Earlville?

Dalzell and Earlville, yes. Gary Lee Orlandi, James A. Turigliatti and Dale Ammons are running for Dalzell mayor, for the right to succeed Dalzell Mayor Gloria Orlandi, who has served in the post for more than 20 years.

Sheridan mayor Shelly Figgins is not running for re-election, meaning either Joseph “Jay” Waldvogel or Marlene Woodward will succeed her.

In Peru, challenger Ken Kolowski has run an aggressive, especially with social media and public appearances, campaign against incumbent mayor Scott Harl. He has run on a campaign message of “time for different.” Harl has maintained the city is moving in the right direction under his tenure, citing construction projects of a splash pad, Centennial Park band shell and a new police station.

In Ladd, the race is between Frank Cattani and Andrew Ruggerio. Though J.D. Erickson is on the ballot, he’s said he will not accept the post if he’s elected, because he learned a state statute would bar him from being sworn in if he was elected after having a prior felony conviction on his record.

In Earlville, alderman Mark Actis is challenged incumbent Michael Hall for the mayor’s seat.

4) New blood in Streator

With the retiring of long-time councilman Ed Brozak, there will be at least one new council member elected in Streator. The race for two seats is between incumbent Joe Scarbeary, who is running to retain his seat, and political newcomer Matt McMullen, former county board member Timothy Geary and Will Price, who has run twice for council and has not won.