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Election upsets

August 15, 2012 - New faces will be seen on the Orion Township Board in November after the results of last week's election.

Chris Barnett took the supervisor seat with 3,417 votes, 65.38 percent over the 1,794 votes, 34.33 percent for JoAnn Van Tassel.

"I was thrilled with the results," said Barnett. "We had a great team and great effort of over 100 volunteers, but you never know until the votes are counted. It's nice to know the message resonated with the voters. Now the real work begins."

Barnett said he plans to stay active during the transition period to get up to speed with everything going on. He's already met with groups he said he needs to be in touch with and is moving forward.

After more than 30 years in local government, 13 of which were township superivisor, Van Tassel said she's won't be running for office again.

"Naturally when you run for office you run expecting to win, so I was disappointed I didn't, but the voters have spoken and I just wish the newly elected board all the success in the world," she said. "I will look to other groups in the community that may want a willing worker and go from there."

Mark Thurber took the treasurer's seat over Alice Young with 2,559 votes, 54.06 percent. Young had 2,158 votes, 45.59 percent.

Young and Thurber could not be reached for comment.

Penny Shults saved her spot as clerk with 4,080 votes, 98.77 percent over Write-in Candidate Elaine Hanes who garnered 51 votes, 1.23 percent.

Donni Steele will be the new trustee face on the board with 2,765 votes, 23.38 percent. She will be joining incumbents Michael Flood, 3,002 votes 25.38 percent, John Steimel 2,930 votes 24.77 percent and Neal Porter, 2,830 votes, 23.93 percent.

"I was pleasantly pleased," said Steele. "It's time to bring some new ideas and fresh thoughts."

Both the fire and the police millages passed with flying colors as well. The .9916 mill renewal for fire gained 5,646 or 79.33 percent "yes" votes and 1,476 or 20.67 percent "no" votes.

"We are very grateful the citizens who understand safety is first around here," said Interim Fire Chief Robert Smith. "We will still continue to give the best service they've known all these years."

The 1.9832 mill police renewal passed with 5,353 or 75.43 percent "yes" votes over 1,744 or 24.57 percent "no" votes. The 1.0168 increase passed with 3,662 or 51.8 percent "yes" votes over 3,408 or 48.20 percent "no" votes.

"We're very pleased with the turnout. We found that just educating the residents on the additional millage was a lot of the work when it came to the millage," said Substation Commander Lieutenant Dan Toth. "Educating them as far as our already reduced staffing conditions, increased cost per service and demands on police service. That was our biggest charge."

As far as the voter turnout over all out of 25,711 registered voters, only 7,331 ballots were cast. Clerk Penny Shults said she was disappointed with only a 28.51 percent turnout.

"I always like to see a high voter turnout," she said. I think it's important that people have a voice. "So much was decided in this primary election."

Shults said she hopes to see a bigger turnout for the November General Election which will include both the presidential and two seats for Lake Orion School Board. The last day to register to vote for the November general election is Oct. 9. Any questions regarding the election call the clerk's office at 248-391-0304 ext 104.

Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.
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