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Peabody, Florence candidates address issues

Peabody mayor candidates Frank William Doerrler Larry K. Larsen and city council candidates Roxanne Dallke, Pamela Lamborn, Lewis R. Litton, James C. Philpott, Stephen Rose, and David Scott were asked to respond to the following questions.

Responses follow for Larsen, Dallke, Lamborn, and Scott.

Peabody mayor candidate

Larry K. Larsen

Q: Why do you want to be re-elected?

Larsen: Peabody is my home. Because it is my home, I have a vested interest in its future. Some of those interests are keeping a school system in place that will give our children a school that keeps their interest and provides a great education. A community that supports its established businesses, while reaching out to help establish new businesses. A community that provides proactive emergency medical services, a fire department, and police services. We need to continue the support for affordable housing and create new jobs. We have just sold our industrial park and have invested the proceeds into the former Baker buildings. This is an opportunity.

Q: Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the current administration?

Larsen: No one should ever be completely satisfied with the job that has been done. As mayor, I ask myself “What else could I have done” and “Is what I have done so far enough?” Since the mayor and city council are volunteers (that’s right, last summer we suspended paying ourselves), we put in many hours because this city is our home. I am satisfied with the beginning of many items we have started. We now have a street project with many areas of new pavement. Other streets will follow during the next 10 years. We have created a tree project in the big park to replace dead or dying trees. We have lowered the city mil tax the past two years in a row.

Q: What is your background or what are your qualifications for office?

Larsen: I have been a volunteer on the Peabody Ambulance Department for 24 years. I have been a part time Peabody policeman for four years. I am a retired paramedic who served in Sedgwick County for 15 years. I have been the director for Marion County Emergency Medical Services, supervising 90 EMS volunteers. I served on the Marion County Economic Development Council and the Peabody Economic Development Committee. I have served on the Peabody nursing home board of directors. I served on the original Peabody Main Street Board of Directors. I have been a small business owner in Peabody for four years. I have been a 4-H leader and soccer and baseball coach. I do foster care in my home and have adopted a former foster child who has become our own. I have raised two grown children, three grandchildren, and have two teenage boys at home. My wife serves with me on the Peabody ambulance. I continue to share and teach my medical knowledge by teaching for Wichita State University, Hutchinson Community College, LifeTeam, Morris County Hospital, American Heart Association, ACE, and others. I have placed myself in a serving and teaching roles for many years. I served on the Peabody City Council for two years and have served as your mayor for almost two years, making hard decisions in regards to the city. I have helped to create large budgets as the EMS director and as an elected Peabody councilman and mayor. With this diverse background in the public and private sector, I do have contact with the many needs of our community and have helped the community move forward.

Q: What are your goals for the city? How do you plan to accomplish them?

Larsen: My long-term goals must work with my short-term goals. They must all start with “What is the best thing for the people that live in Peabody?” We who live in Peabody must all the time weigh shopping in Peabody vs. shopping elsewhere. Sure, shopping out of town or on the Internet will allow you to buy some of the things that you need cheaper or in a different color. What you must also remember by not supporting the local storeowner, they make less, they cut services, lower stock availability or quantity, and in the final stage may go out of business. At that time, you and I must leave town to shop for the $2 item that was once available in town. So our first goal should be the support of our local store owners. We must also attract other new storeowners to our community. We must attract out-of-town people to come to our community and spend their time and money here. Part of that is the July Fourth and Operation Celebration events. We must continue to improve our streets. We must partner with the schools to keep our children interested in a quality education. We must maintain our beautiful parks to allow outsiders to join us in part of our heritage. We have sold our industrial park on the highway and with the aid of federal and state money bought the former Baker Buildings. No Peabody tax money was used to buy them. When we all heard that they were leaving we all thought of the worst. We must look at this as an opportunity and not as if the sky was falling. If we do nothing – nothing will happen except for the destruction that will occur with no upkeep on the buildings and their final collapse. A study was done and we need in this area around 240 extra homes. With the renovation of the Baker Buildings, funded by non-Peabody tax money, or the mill level going up because of the remodeling, we will end up with five remodeled downtown buildings in prime readiness for the new 13 apartments upstairs to be moved into. We hope this will attract young families with children that will attend our schools, spend money in the Peabody shops, and aid in the declining population and revenue loss we now see. The renovation will also provide space to attract new businesses to town. Our future starts now.

Q: What is the most important issue for the city? Why?

Larsen: The needs of question five must be as question four. Our community is our home and the most important thing is for us to work together as a family. We will disagree, we will make up, but we must know and understand the challenges facing our community. We must bond together and strive to move forward in order to preserve the past and give continual rebirth with change to our beloved town.

Q: More information?

Larsen: I was born in the city of Marion in 1950. Donald W. and Jacqueline J. Larsen brought me home to the farm. We were Rural Route Box 108, Peabody. We moved to the Peabody community in 1955. I went to first and second grade here while my father Donald became a fifth-grade teacher. My aunt, Alice Winkley, called from California saying they needed teachers so we moved west to a town of 9,300 people, Livermore. I graduated in 1968 from LHS and went into the Air Force. I spent one year in Vietnam and eight months in Guam serving my county. I moved back to Peabody in 1974 through 1978. The old farm house burned and I, with my Grandfather Louis and neighbors, built a new home. When I left Kansas, I went back to Livermore and started my own contracting company and also ended up owning a termite control company. Grandfather Louis asked me to come back to Kansas in 1984 and I did. While here this time, I farmed, owned a wholesale and local retail store, helped my Mother who owed the front end of the drug store, and finally went into law enforcement, EMS, and into public service in Peabody. I am married to my best friend, Karen. We have two sons, Lucas, 15, Kiefer, 13; daughter Brianna 13, and a foster son, Xavier, 14. I also have two grown daughters who went to school in Peabody, Krissy Lovett and Becky Larsen. I have three wonderful grandchildren, Andrew Lovett, Trevor Foth, and Kortney Foth.

Roxanne Dallke

Q: Why do you want to be elected?

Dallke: I believe it’s time for a change; the people of our community need someone who will listen to them and stand up for what they want.

Q: Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the current administration?

Dallke: Dissatisfied with some, there are many issues that people have taken to them and they say one thing and do another.

Q: What is your background or what are your qualifications for office?

Dallke: First of all I will say I’m “no politician.” I’ve lived here 30-plus years and saw some good and bad changes in our community over those years. I’m a great listener and I’m not afraid to stand up for what “I” or the people believe is our best interest as a community.

Q: What are your goals for the city? How do you plan to accomplish them?

Dallke: To get back to small town living and rules. We are a small community with a lot of potential and great residents that take pride in our town, so why try to run like a “big city?” I believe in order to change that we may need to look at personnel and guidelines for hiring them.

Q: What is the most important issue for the city? Why?

Dallke: I believe there are many, including economical growth. As to why, because we’ve continued to sit in the same “rut” and not do anything.

Q: More information?

Dallke: I’ve been employed by Legacy Park four years as activities director, I run a fireworks business with my family which includes my parents and four children, and I’ve been involved with Boy Scouts and work closely with the school kids through my place of employment.

Pamela Lamborn

Q: Why do you want to be re-elected?

Lamborn: As a current council member, I want to finish projects that have been started, especially the Baker building project. I have been on the council for two years, having been appointed to fill a vacancy, and just now feel like I know what I’m doing. It will be easier now that I have gotten over the learning curve.

Q: What is your background, or what are your qualifications for office?

Lamborn: I came to Peabody 17 years ago to start a business. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in education and a Master of Arts degree in administration. I have served on the boards of Communities in Schools, Leadership Marion County, and the Peabody Township Library. As well as serving on the council, I am serving on the Christmas Light Committee.

Q: What are your goals for the city? How do you plan to accomplish them?

Lamborn: The current goal is to refurbish the former Baker buildings and bring in new businesses. This will be vital to the future of Peabody. I am looking for ways to save the citizens of Peabody money. During my current term of office, I made the motion to discontinue the intangible tax. It had been on the books since the 1980s, and no one knew why it was in place or why we were still paying it. We no longer have to pay it. I have suggested other things to cut from our budget. At the last meeting, we cut $1,500 out of the budget by discontinuing a maintenance agreement that was not needed. The current council will continue to find ways to save money wherever we can.

Q: What is the most important issue for the city? Why?

Lamborn: Keeping businesses in town and bringing in new businesses and new people are the most important issues right now. We need young families to keep the schools and the economy growing.

Q: More information?

Lamborn: I own Jackrabbit Hollow — Unique Books & Gifts. I grew up in Wichita, served in the Peace Corps for three years, and was a teacher in Tucson, Ariz. I like to play tennis, golf, and bridge, and read. You may also see me biking around town when the weather permits.

David Scott

Q: Why do you want to be re-elected?

Scott: I believe the Peabody City Council has started down a road to revitalize the community. The decisions that will be made over the next several years will impact Peabody into the foreseeable future. These decisions should be made based on facts, analysis of the options available, and the goal of rebuilding our community. I would like to continue to be a part of that process.

Q: Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the current administration?

Scott: Both. After having served on the City Council a little over a year, there are things that I like about the way we run the city and there are things that I feel should be changed. The small number of people involved in the “administration” of the city makes our system responsive to the needs of individual citizens. That same small number has made it easy not to make some changes in the areas of personnel administration and fiscal controls that I believe are necessary regardless of the size of an organization.

Q: What is your background or what are your qualifications for office?

Scott: I have spent most of the last 25 years of my professional life in management and administrative positions. In my current position as administrator of Legacy Park, I am responsible for the operations of the second-largest employer in Peabody, employing more 70 people from the local communities. For more than 10 years, I was responsible for the finances of the state’s child welfare agency, including preparation of the budget and presentation of testimony to the state legislature. That budget was in excess of $150 million. While that is significantly more than the city budget, the challenge of using resources in a way that provides maximum community benefit is just as large.

Q: What are your goals for the city? How do you plan to accomplish them?

Scott: My goal is for Peabody to be a thriving community in 2011 and beyond. In order to accomplish that we need to re-establish our economic base, re-build our infrastructure of roads, sewers, and water supply, and initiate programs encouraging new housing construction. None of this happens overnight, but by starting with job creation within small businesses, a financial base can be established that will provide long-term resources for community development.

Q: What is the most important issue for the city? Why?

Scott: The most important issue facing the city is its declining population. More importantly, without job opportunities for Peabody’s young people, there is little to keep them here. Peabody has many attributes that young families look for when deciding to raise their families. We need to work to insure that the jobs and housing are here for them.

Q: More information?

Scott: My wife, Rachel, and I have four children, seven grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. Our daughter and her family live in Maryland; a granddaughter and her family are in Hays; the rest are in Topeka. I have spent my professional life in the area of health and human services. I have worked with children, adults, disabled persons, and the elderly. For several years, I was the executive director of an adoption support agency. I have a bachelor degree in social work and a master degree in business administration. I have always felt this combination of degrees gave me a broad base of knowledge from which to analyze situations. Very few problems have black and white answers. I am comfortable in the “gray” world of making decisions based not just on numbers but including quality of life issues that may be hard to quantify but have a major impact on our community.

Florence City Council candidates were asked to submit information about themselves and their desire to be elected or re-elected to Florence City Council.

Mayor Mary Shipman did not submit information.

Florence City Council
Ward 1 candidate

John Swarm

Q: Why do you want to be elected?

Swarm: Everybody needs to serve. It is my time to step up and do so.

Q: Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the current administration?

Swarm: Hard to say without knowing the specifics of budget constraints. I am hoping they are doing the best they can with what they have.

Q: What is your background or what are your qualifications for office?

Swarm: No experience in public office. Just a hard worker who sees a need.

Q: What are your goals for the city? How do you plan to accomplish them?

Swarm: 1. Clean up debris and unsafe homes. 2. Grocery store for locals. 3. Ignite in this small town a sense of can-do spirit.

Q: What is the most important issue for the city? Why?

Swarm: Cleanup. If you do not have a sense of pride in how you look, it affects everything else.

Florence City Council Ward 2 candidates

Holly Pereillo

Q: Why do you want to be elected?

Pereillo: I would like to make a positive difference, grow roots, and be involved in my community.

Q: Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the current administration?

Pereillo: I do not have an opinion about the current administration.

Q: What is your background or what are your qualifications for office?

Pereillo: I am an active participant in the Florence Focus Group and a current board member of the Florence Foundation. I am currently attending trainings sponsored by Leadership Marion County and the Community Development Academy.

I have owned several small businesses and was personally active in each level of the businesses. I have experience in administrative assistance, contracts, bookkeeping, research, legal issues, secretarial work, insurance, sales, property management, and customer service.

I try to be aware of how each person’s actions contribute to and effect the world around them. I believe I am well grounded while being open minded and fair, helping people help themselves. I am not afraid of hard work and participate in what needs to be done for everyone to succeed together. I enjoy community events, volunteering and getting to know people.

Q: What are your goals for the city? How do you plan to accomplish them?

Pereillo: I would like to see Florence as a fun, appealing town that can meet the needs and desires of its residents and anyone who comes to visit. As a member of the city council, I can hear from the citizens of Florence and participate in decisions that will affect the city.

Q: What is the most important issue for the city? Why?

Pereillo: I believe the most important issue facing the city of Florence is the lack of prospering industry. I believe this is necessary to create a healthy and thriving city that people would want to live in and visit.

Q: Other information?

Pereillo: My current career is that of a full time wife and mother. My husband is very supportive and the light of my life. Our three wonderful children are ages 12, 8, and 3. They keep us very busy and we enjoy being involved in their lives. We look forward to raising our family and building our future in Florence.

I enjoy tutoring, home schooling, teaching Sunday school, small group Bible studies, teens and kids programs such as AWANAS. I am currently helping with the kids KIX program in Florence. I love crafts, dancing, organic cooking, and learning new things.

Trayce E. Warner

Q: Why do you want to be re-elected?

Warner: There are projects I would like to see happen for the benefit of Florence, and I believe that a position on the council is an effective way of making them occur.

Q: Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the current administration?

Warner: As an incumbent, I would like to say “satisfied,” however there are things that I would have liked to see go another way. That’s politics. Overall, I believe this council has worked very hard to provide the best possible services for the citizens of Florence, and to find the most responsible answers to tough situations. I am honored and happy to have worked with two very committed mayors and a group of city employees whom I consider second to none.

Q: What is your background or what are your qualifications for office?

Warner: I am currently a council member, ending a four-year term. I have been a Florence resident for 21 years and active in not only this community but the larger community of Marion County.

Q: What are your goals for the city? How do you plan to accomplish them?

Warner: Seeing much needed street work accomplished. We have mostly been in emergency repair mode. There is capital improvement money available in our coffers and hopefully the state funded programs will have money available in the next year or two. I would also like to see more business in our downtown and hilltop areas. During the past four years, I have been developing a network of economic development experts to help us with these improvements. Also I am committed to seeing more opportunities available to the youth of our community. I would like for there to be programs that utilize our gym and YCAT buildings for classes and activities. I have been working to make the parks more enjoyable with improvements to equipment and a new handicapped-accessible water fountain at the park that most of the kids in town use. We are very lucky to have a strong leader in our pool manager, and I would like to find someone willing to step up in the same way to coordinate a recreation department.

Q: What is the most important issue for the city? Why?

Warner: The economy is of course a huge issue right now. Also there seems to be a feeling of apathy in Florence. Kind of a “We’ve lost everything (school grocery, businesses, population, etc.) We don’t really expect anything good to happen.” And yet there have been new residents moving to town and longtime residents with positive projects happening — such as Doyle Creek Mercantile, Florence Farmers’ Market, Old Goat Inn B&B, and a party interested in reopening the nursing home as examples. There are also the businesses who even though they may have struggled, are staying open.

Q: More information?

Warner: My age is 54, been married to Mike for 32 years, mother of three Marion-Florence High School graduates — Tisha, Kade, and Cody. Involved with Marion County Economic Development Council and Leadership Marion County, the Florence Chamber of Commerce, and the Labor Day Committee. Currently an inactive EMT.

Last modified March 24, 2011

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