5 compete for 2 seats as Butler Twp. trustees

BUTLER TWP. – Residents will decide between five candidates for two seats on the board of trustees.

Candidates include incumbent Thomas Sanor with challengers Homer “Chip” Althouse Jr., Chuck Biery, Rebecca McCracken and Kenneth Schwingle.

– Homer “Chip” Althouse Jr., a graduate of United Local, is currently the director of the Winona Ruritan Club and president of the United Community Scholarship Foundation. He has been an operator with the Columbiana County Engineer’s Office for eight and a half years.

Althouse’s work experience includes eight years with Sekely Tool and Die and five years with Cornerstone Electric. He is also a past 4-H advisor.

Drawing upon his experience in road maintenance, combined with a good work ethic and leadership skills, Althouse said he believes he would be an asset to the township.

“I have lived in Butler Township my entire live and take great pride in my community,” he said, “and that will show through given the chance to fill this seat.”

Althouse lives with his wife, Shari, on Price Road. They have two children.

– Chuck Biery, a West Branch graduate, is the owner of Damascus True Value Hardware where he also operates a water treatment and plumbing business. In addition to his plumbing experience, which includes being a licensed plumber by the state of Ohio and member of the Ohio Water Quality Association, he has worked in farming and highway and bridge construction.

Biery’s community activities include membership of the Greenford Christian Church and partner of the Big Reach Center of Hope, as well as membership in the Damascus Historical Society and supporting area 4-H programs, Ruritans and sports teams.

Citing his work experience, Biery said he believes he is as qualified for the position as the other candidates.

“I have owned and operated a successful business for 33 years, keeping honesty, integrity and efficiency as my goals,” he said. “I have business experience and road building and maintenance knowledge that will help keep our township a great township to live in.”

Biery lives with his wife, Denise, on Woodsend Drive. They have three children and eight grandchildren.

– Rebecca McCracken, a West Branch graduate, is a part-time field supervisor with the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) and charter president of the West Branch Area Ladies Ruritan Club.

Growing up on a family farm, McCracken plays a prominent role in the agricultural community. Co-owner of a dairy farm, McCracken has worked with the agricultural community since 1998, volunteering with local 4-H clubs and the Mile Branch Grange Fair as well as serving as current president of a national advisory council for the (NASDA). She has also attended and presented at regional and national training workshops.

McCracken said she believes a trustee’s job is to promote and protect the community, and that trustees should be proactive in those jobs.

“We should help provide unbiased access to information so residents area able to make informed decisions on current issues,” she said. “I’d like the opportunity to not only continue with the good stewardship our township has had in the past, but also bring a fresh perspective in the future.”

McCracken lives with her husband, Ken, on Valley Road. They have five children and 13 grandchildren.

– Thomas Sanor, incumbent, has served as a trustee for 16 years and has been the chairman of the Woodsdale Cemetery Board since 2002, steering committee representative for Butler Township since 2004 and chairman of the nominating committee for the Columbiana County Township Association since 2010. He has been a self-employed builder for 28 years, plus 13 years prior with builder Terry Rufer and Robert Coffee Heating.

A 1966 West Branch graduate and veteran of the U.S. Navy, Sanor is actively involved in the community, including 29 years of perfect attendance, two as president, of the Winona Ruritan Club; 16 years with the Ohio State Township Association and Columbiana County Township Association. He is also a life-time member of the Willow Grove Grange and NRA; a 42-year member, two as senior counselor, of the UCT; member of the Columbiana County Farm Bureau; and director of the Sebring-West Branch Hot Stove baseball league.

During his tenure on the board, Sanor has attended every course study offered by the Ohio Township Association leadership academy, as well as many Ohio local technical assistance programs (LTAP) across the state. He emphasized the hard work that township employees have contributed to mow along roads almost daily, minimizing potholes accordingly and keeping up with the unpredictable and challenging snowfall.

“My focus as Butler Township trustee was said best by Speaker William Batchelder of the Ohio House of Representatives as he opened the Ohio State Township Winter conference in 2013 by thanking officials for ‘their sacrifice in giving us the most efficient and effective form of government in the state,’ and applying that thought to Butler Township,” he said.

As the country goes through financial hard times, Sanor said he brings “experience and victory to the locker room” including proven leadership, dedication to service and responsiveness to concerns. He has played a vital role in establishing a slate of blighted and abandoned homes that will be razed this year at no cost to township taxpayers through the county commissioners program.

Sanor lives with his wife, Jackie, on Cidermill Road. He has three children, four step-children and five grandchildren.

– The Salem News did not receive a response from Kenneth Schwingle to an election questionnaire.