Candidates vie for three seats on council
Voters are reminded that all voting precincts for Tecumseh will be consolidated into two precincts at AJ Smith Recreation Center on N. Evans St. for the Tuesday, Nov. 5, election. Precincts 1 and 2 have been consolidated into Precinct 1; Precincts 3 and 4 have been consolidated into Precinct 2. Hours for voting are 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Five individuals will be on the city ballot for three seats on Tecumseh City Council. Incumbents Gary Naugle and Laurence Van Alstine Jr. will attempt to keep their seats, and the seat formerly held by Pat Housekeeper is also open. Residents Judith Lividini, Vicki Philo and Ann Wann join the incumbents for the 2013 election. Each position carries a two-year term.
Gary Naugle, an incumbent, and his wife, Garna, raised two daughters, Kim (Ahmad) and Kerri (Schkora) in Tecumseh, where Naugle has resided for 67 years. His educational background includes graduation from Tecumseh High School and the study of Criminal Justice at Jackson Community College. Naugle has also attended several educational sessions put on by the Michigan Municipal League. He is retired from the trucking industry.
Naugle has served on the council since 2004 and has served in the capacity of mayor pro tem. He has served as primary coordinator and parade marshal for the city’s Memorial Day Parade and ceremonies for 16 years, expending a considerable amount of time and effort in bringing a solemn and commemorative service and parade into the city which attracts visitors as well as residents.
He is also a Commander of the Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War — Camp No. 43, and has a special interest in assisting veterans. He has also served on the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority.
Naugle is a member of the Lions Club of Tecumseh and the VFW Men’s Auxiliary.
He lists as high priorities the following: maintain the tax base; keep city services of high quality; keep the city’s budget in line; and keeping spending under control.
“I think it was a great thing that we were able to get the Tecumseh Business and Technical Campus going so it would be ready when the economy turns around,” he said. “That park is ready to go and we’re ready for new business.”
He said one of the reasons he is running for council is his continued commitment to the city. “I want to make sure we maintain our current services, and also to try to encourage new business to come into the city, which I think we’re doing,” he said. “Things are starting to look up for the city.”
Laurence Van Alstine Jr., also an incumbent, has been married to his wife, Lorraine, since 1962, and their son, Laurence III and wife, Shayna, have given them two grandsons who live in the Adrian area.
“When you are reading a story in the Daily Telegram about the Adrian Police Department and a Laurence Van Alstine is quoted, it is not me,” Van Alstine said. “It is our son, of whom we are very proud.” Van Alstine’s mother, who is 94, still lives in Tecumseh.
Van Alstine has been a long time member of the Lions Club of Detroit and twice served as president. He’s currently a life member of both the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police, for which he was elected president in 2000. He has also served as a trustee of the city of Tecumseh Retirement system for four years.
Van Alstine served in the law enforcement community for 44 years, including 14 years as the Chief of Police in Tecumseh. He became a non-traditional student starting at the age of 29, and earned a BS at Wayne State University and MA from The University of Detroit.
After accepting the position of Police Chief in 1987, Van Alstine said they moved to Tecumseh as quickly as they could sell their home, following their parents here as residents. Lorraine’s parents followed shortly after.
“The migration was completed in 1990 when our son, after completing his first University degree, accepted employment with the Adrian Police Department,” said Van Alstine. “Several years later, we discovered we were not the first of the clan to live in Lenawee County. My paternal grandparents five generations back, had come from New York State in the late 1830s, lived in Lenawee County and were buried in Adrian’s Oakwood Cemetery, less than seven miles from my home.”
He said having served as a member of Tecumseh’s City Council for 12 years and as its Chief of Police should give some idea about feelings he holds for the community and its citizens.
“I believe the service provided by local government are extremely important to the quality of life we all live,” he said. “Many of these services we do not even think about. I put the trash out on Wednesday, it’s gone later that day. I walk around the city, not worrying about being robbed, my house being broken into upon my return, or being struck down by reckless drivers. I hire a contractor to work on my house and he obtains the required permits. The work is inspected by an expert and passes code, or is modified to comply. I hope to never have a fire in my home but believe if I do, well-trained, dedicated firefighters will respond properly equipped to limit the damage. I turn on the tap and fresh, clean water comes out. I flush the toilet and later water more pure than that it mixes with enters the River Raisin. All of this happens because of competent, dedicated, educated, well-trained city employees.”
Van Alstine notes that because of difficult fiscal conditions coming from many directions, federal cutbacks in grants to local communities, state mandates to local communities that are prohibited by the Headlee Amendment but exist nevertheless, large cuts in state revenue sharing to local units of government, and the drop in property values, yielding lower property tax returns for local government are a few examples of the challenges being faced.
“The city of Tecumseh has been faced with the need to continually evaluate and prioritize spending,” he said. “I wish it was ‘cut out the fat,’ but the fat, if it ever existed at the local level, is gone, as are large chunks of meat and bone.” He added that in Tecumseh, examples include five fewer sworn police officers and a fire department with 25 percent fewer full-time firefighters.
“Hard decisions have been made, both by city administration and city council,” Van Alstine said. “Because of my experience in local government, my loyalty to the citizens of our community, and because of my demonstrated ability to make and support the difficult decisions that will by necessity be made in the future, I ask the citizens of Tecumseh for their support on Election Day 2013.”
Judith Lividini has been a resident of Tecumseh for 11 years, and she said she and her husband have found the area to be “quaint and growing.”
“I have never applied for an official position, however, with the constant upheaval in today’s world, I feel I could learn more of the city structure to help the community by sharing what I learned and citizens can forward their concerns and let their voices be heard,” Lividini said. “I believe that together we can keep the future of Tecumseh strong.”
Lividini lists the following priorities among matters that she would like to be considered and addressed:
• Providing the school system with the best education funding will allow
• Provide the senior citizens of the community with assistance (food, healthcare, transportation, etc.) as funding will allow
• Addressing everyday issues such as: sidewalk repairs; keeping branches and shrubs off public walkways; and control recycling so the neighborhood does not have clean-up from another’s carelessness on windy days, etc.
Lividini said there are more issues and she would invite opinions from the community so other voices may be heard.
“These are a few of my issues, and I do believe Tecumseh will be a stronger growing community as we work together,” she said.
Vicki Philo has been a Tecumseh resident for 23 years. She grew up in Dearborn and moved here in December of 1990. Her husband, Ed Philo, is a lifelong Tecumseh resident and together they raised three children who graduated from Tecumseh High School. The couple has five grandchildren who will be educated in Tecumseh. Both her sons live here and her daughter now lives in Maine.
Philo’s current occupation is Executive Director of the Tecumseh Area Chamber of Commerce. Previous jobs have included jobs in retail and accounting. She also spent eight years working for Motorsports International, which became Americrown, selling souvenirs at auto racing events throughout the country.
“Working for the Tecumseh Area Chamber of Commerce, I have the opportunity to work closely with city departments on numerous events and projects that take place here in Tecumseh,” Philo said. “I also have the opportunity to speak with visitors that come for the day and new residents as they move in and hear their thoughts and views on our town. I’m very involved and well-connected with the business community. I’m committed to this city and dedicated to its progress.”
Philo said she chose to run for city council because she lives and works here and has a vested interest in the quality of the community.
“I’m the type of person that if I’m a part of something, I’m going to be involved and help make it the best that it can be,” she said. “Tecumseh is a great community and I want to be a part of making sure that we stay on a progressive course. We need to keep Tecumseh at the forefront for attracting and keeping businesses and being as fiscally responsible as possible while maintaining the level of services currently offered.”
Ann Wann said she is running for Tecumseh City Council because she wants to be an advocate for the community, and to accomplish the following:
• Represent families by working with local officials to ensure that government works for us, the people.
• Partner with schools and local organizations to enrich our environment
• Support and grow local businesses
• Preserve our heritage by continuing to make Tecumseh the best place to live in America
Wann grew up in Tecumseh and graduated from Tecumseh High School. Her parents had a business, The Tog Shop, which she worked in off-and-on until they retired in 2001. She graduated with a BS in Merchandise Management from Michigan State University.
Civic involvement includes being a Deacon at First Presbyterian Church of Tecumseh, and president of The Little Garden Club of Tecumseh, which maintains beautiful gardens around the city. She is also president of the Child Study Group, which includes mothers that get together monthly to discuss current issues affecting local families.
“I love our little town,” Wann said. “And I can say ‘little’ since I have lived in cities such as New York, Chicago and Boston. It wasn’t until I worked as a National Field Trainer for Sears that I really grew to appreciate this town.” She said as a trainer, she traveled all over the United States, to small towns and large cities alike. “After seeing what else was out there, I appreciate what a ‘gem’ we have in Tecumseh. That is why my husband, Robert, and I moved back here four years ago. Not only did we want to be near my father, Dean, but we wanted to raise our son, James, in Tecumseh.”
Wann said that as a mother of a child in this community, she is constantly raving about why this is a wonderful place to live and raise a family, and Tecumseh has great schools.
“My son is in first grade and his teachers at Herrick Park are amazing!” she said. “We enjoy a vibrant downtown scene. We have outstanding organizations and individuals that make our town truly great. I have never felt such a sense of belonging and community in any other place. I have personally witnessed the hard work contributed by those who make this town special and I want to do my part and give back to the community.”