Sobeck wins mayor; courthouse issue fails

by Peter Jakey–Managing Editor

Rogers City voters elected a new mayor during Tuesday’s general election.

Tom Sobeck, an incumbent city councilman, will succeed Beach Hall at the start of the year.

He outpaced a strong field of candidates with 375 votes. The next closest was Jerry Wagner with 200. Veteran councilwoman Debra K. Greene was third with 197, while Dana John LaBar was fourth with 149.

Plans for a new courthouse building in Rogers City were squashed as voters rejected the requested millage.

“I am humbled by the level of support the citizens of Rogers City have shown me and I look forward to working very hard for the next two years to meet their expectations,” said Sobeck.

There were 921 votes cast in the mayoral election and Sobeck received 40.72 percent of them.

“I am sorry that it turned out the way it did,” said Greene, a longtime member of council.  “I really think that I had a lot to offer.”

Greene wished Sobeck luck in taking the seat, “and I hope he can handle it, and rearrange his schedule so that that he can attend (meetings).”

She said her political career, which spans parts of three decades, is over for now. “It’s obvious that how hard you work, and how hard you try, people don’t appreciate it.”

Wagner and LaBar, along with Greene, were all at the courthouse awaiting results.

A.J. Przybyla (652) and Kenneth E. Bielas (618) were the top voter getters for council. They both earned four-year terms. Bill Stypick was a distance third with 292 votes; however, with Sobeck winning the mayoral race, another seat opens up.

Two countywide proposals were decided Tuesday with different results. The courthouse bond proposal was thrashed at the polls with 70.25 percent voting it down. The “no” vote tally was 2,071. The “yes” votes only 877.

There was concern that the negative tone associated with the courthouse project would affect other proposals. It did not in the case of the Presque Isle County Council on Aging’s transportation question. The organization will get its one-quarter of a mill with voters giving it a thumbs up, 1,886 to 1,075.

Posen Consolidated Schools renewal of 18 mills squeaked by 228 to 173.

The road proposal in Belknap Township made it through, 92 to 49.

In a widely publicized recall/retain election in Onaway, incumbent mayor Gary Wregglesworth survived a challenge by former police chief James A. Gibson.

Commissioner Chuck Abshagen will also be back, but incumbent commissioner Jessie R. Horrocks was recalled. Voters went with Roger Marsh by one vote, who will sit in on three regular meetings in November and December. He came

up short in a bid for the two-year term, which begins in January, and was beat out for the seat by Horrocks.

Abshagen also won a two-year term in a ballot filled with candidates.

Voter turnout was at 22.83 percent with 2,485 of the 10,886 voters showing up to cast votes.

“There were some bumps in the road,” said Ann Marie Main, working her first major election night as county clerk. “But, everything seemed to work itself out.” Pulawski Township, one of the least populated precincts in the county, and only 10 miles from the county seat, had printer problems. They came in after 11 p.m.

Results are unofficial until the county board of canvassers certifies them.