Wednesday, October 30th, 2013
By Margie Wuebker
Six hopefuls compete for four New Bremen council seats
Election November 2013
NEW BREMEN - Six local residents are seeking four village council seats Tuesday.
Incumbents Dennis E. Burnell, Don Kuck, Delores Stienecker and Stephen E. Wills face competition from political newcomers Jim Kronenberger Jr. and Robert D. Parker.
Burnell, 63, 235 N. Franklin St., is seeking his fifth term because he enjoys helping people solve problems they might have in the village.
A comment he heard long ago from former Ohio State University football coach Woody Hayes - "You have to pay forward" - has stuck with him over the years and is one of the reasons he is seeking a new term.
"I really enjoy helping people solve problems here in New Bremen and keeping the community a quality place in which to live and raise families," he said. "I feel serving on council is my way of paying forward."
Burnell feels his 16 years of council experience and his passion for the community rank high in terms of qualifications.
He believes adding water wells is essential for positioning the community for future growth, and a decision will have to be made on how many wells to drill.
"I am interested in keeping equipment up to date and ensuring the safety of employees on the job," he said. "Other challenges include looking out for the welfare of residents and being a good steward of their tax dollars."
Burnell, who served as a teacher and coach for 31 years, currently works as a workshop specialist at Auglaize Industries in New Bremen. He holds a bachelor's degree from Ashland College and a master's degree from Marygrove College.
He and his wife Sue have four children and five granddaughters.
Jim Kronenberger Jr.
Jim Kronenberger Jr.
Kronenberger, 50, 27 Kamman Circle, is seeking his first elected position as a means of looking out for the welfare of the community he calls home.
"I have nothing against the people who are already on council," he said. "I have a lot of ideas and opinions that I am willing to share."
He said several residents encouraged him to run for the post.
"I am not a yes man," he added. "I will go to the meeting and voice the concerns of local residents."
Kronenberger, a corporation loss control specialist, holds a bachelor's degree in business management with specialization in environmental health and safety from the University of Findlay. He also attended Edison State College in Piqua.
Taking office for a first term would entail learning about the duties and responsibilities of each village department.
"I am willing to listen to the people," he said. "I am open and honest when it comes to hearing their concerns and passing them on to council."
Kronenberger believes being a concerned citizen interested in maintaining the community as a good place to live is his prime qualification for the job. He previously served as a member of New Bremen Emergency Services.
He and his wife Janet have four children.
Kuck, 64, 138 St. Clair Place, is seeking his fifth term after completing nearly 16 years on village council. He has served as president the past seven years.
He said one of the major challenges facing council during the next four years involves the drilling of new water wells to meet future needs as the village grows.
"We need wells capable of pumping 300 gallons of water per minute," he said. "It sounds like we may have a viable site as the water flow seems good on several test wells west of town."
Kuck has seen considerable progress since joining council and he wants the village to remain progressive.
"I love the way the village is going and the compliments we receive about the community," he said. "There has been considerable progress over the years and I want to make sure that continues."
A retired insurance agent in the community, he attended radio broadcasting school following graduation from New Bremen High School.
He and his wife Jacqui have two children - a son and a daughter - and five grandchildren.
Parker, 46, 131 Reed St., hopes to earn a seat on village council - his first elected post. He previously ran for the New Bremen Local Schools board of education.
"I've always been interested in running for council and serving in public office," he said. "The current council has done a fine job but several current members have been on several terms. I believe we could use fresh ideas and a new perspective."
Parker has taken an active role in the community since moving to New Bremen in 2002. He joined New Bremen EMS soon afterward, serving as president and now treasurer.
"I have been reading council minutes from the last two years," he said. "There are issues with the water department and electric rates - things that need to be addressed during the coming term."
Parker, chief financial officer with Waibel Energy Systems in Vandalia, believes his education and work experience qualify him for the post.
In addition to an accounting degree from the University of Dayton and a master's degree in business administration, he is a certified paramedic who completed training at Sinclair Community College.
He and his wife Michelle have four children.
Stienecker, 77, 15 Circle Drive, is seeking a fourth term after serving 12 years.
"I have had an interest in New Bremen all my life," she said. "I'm open-minded and not afraid to speak up. As a village council member, you have to look at what's good for the entire community and not just a certain area."
Challenges during the next term, which she said will be her last, include locating additional wells to assure there is adequate water in the future for anticipated growth.
"Another challenge we have to meet head on is replacing old vehicles and equipment," Stienecker added. "We have started the process but there is more to do."
Stienecker, a retired nurse, graduated from New Bremen High School and Lima Technical College. She has two sons and is an active member of the New Bremen Historic Association.
Stephen E. Wills
Stephen E. Wills
Wills, 64, 517 S. Walnut St., is finishing his first four-year term and seeking another. He has served on council's finance committee, which oversees spending.
Maintaining a strong budget is one of the challenges ahead. "It is consistent to the betterment of the community like maintaining streets and other programs," he added.
His interest in the community that has been home for the past 13 years sparked the desire to seek re-election.
"I've lived in smaller communities as well as larger metropolitan ones," he said. "This provides a different point of view. I enjoy serving people and believe the decisions we make affect the quality of life here in New Bremen."
Wills, who is pastor of St. Peter's Church, graduated from Christian College in Denver, Colo., with a double major in psychology and biblical studies.
He and his wife Connie have six children and 14 grandchildren with another expected soon.