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Govt-and-politics
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Two of three bond issues pass in Fremont

Two of three bond issues on the primary ballot were passed by Fremont voters on Tuesday night, according to the unofficial final results.

Fremonters had the option to approve $2 million bonds for three projects: a renovation of the City Auditorium, the addition of a lazy river into Fremont’s Splash Station and an expansion of the Keene Memorial Library.

Unofficial election results from the county show that the renovation of the City Auditorium and the expansion of the Keene Memorial Library appear to have passed, while the lazy river at the Splash Station appears to have failed.

The City Auditorium is one of Fremont’s main reception halls. It held 242 events in 2017, including company meetings, baptisms and more, according to numbers provided by the city.

The project will help modernize the facility, making it compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act by installing new restrooms on the main floor. In addition to other upgrades, the project will add a new community room for meetings and events, expand the kitchen to make it more caterer friendly and refurbish the gymnasium to turn it into a banquet hall.

The project is estimated to cost $3,381,000, according to designs assembled by Schemmer and Associates. The project would not have been possible without the bond issue, Fremont’s recreation manager Kim Koski told the Tribune last month.

Koski could not be reached for comment by press time.

The library project will expand Keene Memorial Library’s space; divide its single open space into separate sections for children, teens and adults; and would include a community meeting room. The total cost of the project is $8 to $10 million and will be funded predominantly through private donations and grants—the $2 million bond will help act as matching funds for many of those grants, Library Executive Director Tina Walker said in an interview last month.

Walker could not be reached for comment by press time.

The Splash Station project would have added a lazy river to the park, which was part of its original conception. It also would have added a new slide and would have cost $2.6 million. The city was not planning on moving forward with the project without the bond’s passage, Koski told the Tribune last month.


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Dodge County Supervisors races

Two challengers appeared to unseat incumbents in races for the Dodge County Board of Supervisors as unofficial results were posted for Tuesday night’s primary election.

At press time, longtime firefighter Doug Backens was in the lead by a margin of just over 100 votes in the race for the District 7 seat.

Backens appeared to claim the seat from incumbent James Vaughan, who was appointed to the position in September.

In the District 7 race, unofficial results at press time showed that Backens had 209 votes (51.99 percent). Vaughan received 108 votes (26.87 percent) and challenger Kirk Brown had 85 votes (21.14 percent).

Bob Bendig, who has extensive budget experience with multi-million dollar companies, appeared to take the District 1 seat from longtime incumbent Rob George.

The close District 1 race showed that Bendig had 472 votes (53.88 percent) compared to George’s 403 votes (46 percent).

On election night, Backens said he appreciated good support during his race for the District 7 seat.

“We just got out there and did a lot of door-knocking and talked to the people and listened to what the people had for concerns,” Backens said.

Backens said he was very grateful to the voters and appreciated help from his family, friends and “fire family.” Backens, who is a lieutenant at the Fremont Fire Department, said he has spent 35 years with the fire service helping people.

He also has had a rental business, Backens Enterprises, for 18 years and said he has experience working with budgets. Backens said he is a good communicator, has leadership skills and is a dedicated, hardworking individual.

Bendig hadn’t seen many results by the time he was called by the Tribune, but said someone texted him and said he’d won.

“I think it’s great,” Bendig said, adding that he believes the people of Dodge County want to see change. “It will be fun to get started and learn the position and see what kind of changes we can make.”

During the race, Bendig said he has more than 30 years of financial experience and 20-plus years of budget experience with multi-million dollar companies. He describes himself as a fast learner and noted that he’s worked in three types of businesses — banking, healthcare and seed production and manufacturing – which would be an asset as a supervisor.

George, the incumbent, had mentioned his long-term experience on the board as an asset, along with his committee work.

“I’ve got 16 years on the board,” George said. “I serve as chairman of the finance committee. I’m on the roads committee and I’m on the jail committee.”

“Probably the biggest thing I bring to the table on the board of equalization is — as a real estate agent — I understand what the current values of property in Dodge County are worth — whether it’s ag, commercial or residential,” George said.


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Givens retains Register of Deeds office

Synovec

It appears that Carol Givens of Fremont will continue to guide the Dodge County Register of Deeds office, as the Tribune calls Tuesday’s Republican primary election for the incumbent.

Givens had received 41.66 percent support with 1,134 votes in Tuesday’s Republican primary election, unofficial tallies showed at press time.

Givens led over two Republican challengers, Michelle Growcock and Terry Synovec.

Growcock had received 32.37 percent support with 881 votes, while Synovec had received 25.94 support with 706 votes, unofficial tallies showed at press time.

Michelle Growcock is the vice president of lending for Fremont First Credit Union and Synovec is a former member of the Dodge County Board and is the owner of 30 Bowl in Fremont.

Givens, who has been register of deeds since 1992, will face no opposition in the November general election.

“I appreciate the support,” she said. “There have been a lot of projects on hold as we waited to see what happened here, so I’m glad we can move forward now.”

According to Givens, some of those projects include further computerization of records and staffing priorities.

“I couldn’t promise anyone a position, when I didn’t even know if I had one,” she said. “The budget comes up in July and it should all fall into place and I’m proud to take care of Dodge County and their property records. It’s a huge responsibility.”

Givens also said that she is ready to continue to head up the Register of Deeds office as Fremont continues to grow and property values and records become more important.

“The changes ahead with how fast Fremont is growing, and how fast property is going up in value, affects my office greatly,” she said. “I look forward to being there for the citizens of Dodge County to help assist in those matters.”

Givens also thanked the residents of Dodge County for their continued support of her running the Register of Deeds office.

“I’m very appreciative of Dodge County’s residents. They recognized the hard work we do, and I’m looking forward to working even harder in the future to take care of property records,” Givens said.


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Glass defeats Meismer in Republican primary

Current Dodge County Attorney Oliver Glass will face off against Democratic challenger Pamela Hopkins in November’s general election as the Tribune calls the Republican primary election race for county attorney on Tuesday.

Glass received 70.47 percent support with 1,773 votes in Tuesday’s primary election, unoffical tallies showed at press time.

“It’s a great feeling,” Glass said. “I think I have done a good job and I think people appreciate that. I certainly appreciate the support that I have had for the things that I have done in the county attorney’s office over the last few years.”

Glass appeared to defeat fellow Republican challenger Bryan Meismer, who received 29.37 percent support with 739 votes at press time.

“I just want to say that Bryan Meismer is a great attorney and a good person and I wish him all the best,” Glass said of his opponent.

Glass, who has served as Dodge County Attorney since 2011, will contend against Democratic challenger Pamela Hopkins in November’s general election. Hopkins was automatically nominated as the Democratic candidate as she faced no opposition in the primary election.

Glass said that his campaign will not change much as he readies for the November challenge.

“I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing, I’m not going to change anything,” he said. “I’m going to keep up the philosophy I have and hope that people appreciate the fact that I am doing what I think is best for this community and county.”

Glass said that he believes his work prosecuting crimes when needed, and finding avenues for rehabilitation during his time in office were two of the main keys of his successful re-election bid.

“I think I have done a good job of prosecuting crimes when I need to and sorting those kinds of things out,” he said. “We know how to prosecute crimes and look for people who can be rehabilitated.”

Glass also thanked all the members of the community and his campaign for his support in the primary race.

“I think I have run a good office and have done a good job of relating to the people,” he said. “I appreciate all the support with people that have put my signs up and spread the word that I am a good person and good at what I do.”

Glass has worked in the Dodge County Attorney’s office since 2005, and was appointed to the position of County Attorney in 2011 by the Dodge County Board. He also recently served as temporary legal counsel to the City of Fremont after former city attorney Paul Payne resigned in 2017.


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Givens


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Landholm and Ellis advance to general election

Incumbent City Councilman Steve Landholm and challenger Glen Ellis appear to have won the Fremont City Council primary race for Ward 2, according to the numbers available at press time.

The pair will face off in the general election in November.

Landholm, who is seeking re-election, ran on his record on helping in major projects in Fremont over his first term, including the Costco and Lincoln Premium Poultry Plant.

“Hopefully, for the general election, I guess it’s going to be a challenge coming up in the fall, and hopefully we move forward there to where I get re-elected to serve my constituents,” Landholm said in a brief phone interview. “I feel honored to actually get the amount of votes that I have tonight, to be honest.”

Glen Ellis, a self-described entrepreneur who owns the May Brothers Building on 6th Street, hopes to restore divides in the community of Fremont and prepare downtown Fremont for growth, especially from entrepreneurs being priced out of Lincoln and Omaha.

“Looking forward to the race in November, and I want to thank Jim Bloom for his efforts and for wanting to make a difference,” Ellis said. He added that he was disappointed in the initial voter turnout results. “We gotta get voters to come out,” he said.

Challenger Jim Bloom described himself as an average citizen who was knowledgeable of the issues. He promised to be a genuine elected official who acted on what he believed was right.

Bloom could not be reached prior to press time.

The latest numbers at press time had Landholm leading with 44.87 percent of the vote, or 354 votes; Ellis in second with 35.36 percent of the vote, or 279 votes; and Bloom in third with 19.14 percent of the vote, or 151 votes.


Tribune File  

Glen Ellis


Landholm


Backens


Robb George


Bendig


Vaughan


Growcock