Voters put one new face on LF City Council; keep most incumbents in other city races

By Terry Lehrke, News Editor

Greg Zylka will be the lone new face on the Little Falls City Council. He was the only candidate to garner more votes than a sitting incumbent and will replace Urban Otremba in representing Ward 2,

Zylka said he was surprised when his wife, Wendy, told him he’d won. “I thought I missed a word or something,” he said.

He was surprised, he said, because he felt incumbent Urban Otremba “Is more than qualified.” He was quick to praise Otremba’s work for the city during the 30 years he spent on the Council.

“Urban helped shape this community,” he said.

Zylka is looking forward to the challenge. “I’m going to pay a lot of attention and work to get the vote going in the same direction,” he said.

“I love working with other people, I think that’s a strong trait to bring to the table,” he said. “We need to listen to everybody and come together to come up with the best decisions of your community.”

He said he respected his opponents. “I respect that Theresa (Skorseth) ran and respect Urban for everything he’s done for our community and I think we all should.”

Zylka received 1,130 votes; Otremba 141 and Theresa Skorseth 110.

Incumbent Loren Boyum won his seat for Ward 1 with 630 votes. Challenger Robin Hensel garnered 213 votes and Brent Wittwer 293 votes.

Boyum said, “It’s very nice to have the support and encouragement from residents.”

He’s interested in “getting more involved in things and working toward the solution of some of the things we have on the table.”

Some of those things include first and foremost, the city’s budget and levy, which will be set in December.

The city will also be renegotiating a cable TV franchise, said Boyum. “Just the normal upkeep of city business.”

In Ward 3, Frank Gosiak retained his seat, despite negative campaigning against him.
“I was surprised at how many votes I got; I didn’t know how the negative campaign affected me,” he said.

“I’m glad it’s over; we have a lot of work to do,” he said. “I’m ready to go back to work for the city — more than ready.”

Some of the things he’s eager to work on include the recreation complex in Little Falls. He sits on the committee to get that project done.

City voting statistics in Little Falls showed 1,382 voters were registered; 1,110 voted in person; 203 voted by absentee ballot and 251 people were newly-registered.

Other contested council races
Results in other contested city races in the county, included:

Bowlus — No one filed for mayor or city treasurer, but 76 write-in votes for mayor and 44 write-in votes for treasurer were cast. Winners will be determined later. Incumbent Theresa Trettel lost her Council seat with only 26 votes, and newcomers Joe Larson and Paul Rudolph were voted to fill the two seats up for election with 87 and 78 votes, respectively. Robert Maciej ran unopposed for the open city clerk seat and received 108 votes.

Buckman — No one filed to run for mayor or city clerk, but 42 write-in votes were cast for mayor and 38 for the city clerk. Winners will be determined later.

Elmdale — Incumbent mayor Ray Kurowski won re-election with 36 votes over challenger Bill Kulla’s 21. Incumbent Eugene Maciej retained his seat with 44 votes, as did incumbent Ron Stewart with 39 votes as compared to challenger Tonya Maciej’s 29 votes. Incumbent Marlene Carlson was re-elected as treasurer with 47 votes.

Flensburg — Sixty-two write-in votes were cast for mayor and 90 for two open council seats. Winners will be determined later. Incumbents Luann Morrow and Mike Zupko were re-elected with 63 and 86 votes, respectively.

Harding — Incumbent David C. Hayes was re-elected with 37 votes and incumbent city clerk Mary Lou Oppelt was re-elected with 38 votes, compared to five votes for challenger Tracy Ebertowski.

Motley — Incumbent mayor Nancy Nieken was re-elected with 199 votes. Incumbent Steve Johnson (122) and Pat O’Regan (108) won seats against incumbent Duane Solga (89), Keith Jares (63) and Bob Jenkins (58).

Pierz — In Pierz, incumbent mayor Toby Egan ran unopposed and received 549 votes. Newcomer Don Bujalski ran unopposed for the open council seat and garnered 536 votes. Matt Bell was voted in as city clerk with 425 votes, while challenger Brittany Wurzer received 158.

Royalton — Incumbents Ron Verley and Ed Zimny retained their seats with 385 and 379 votes, respectively and Scott Walberg won the special election for council with 271 votes as compared to Brandi Blais’ 168 votes.

Upsala — Incumbent Rollie Johnson was re-elected handily with 167 votes to challenger Joan Olson’s 39 votes. Robert L. Maciej ran unopposed and retained his seat with 158 votes. A second seat is open on the council and 24 write-in ballots were cast. Results will be determined later.