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Two incumbents lose their seats in Butler election

April 3, 2014

Village of Butler –The composition of the Butler Village Board will look different later this month as the results of Tuesday's election take shape.

Political newcomer Patricia Tiarks and returning board member Michael Thew Sr. unseated incumbent board members Jeanne Briggs and Susan Hesselgrave in a race that had five people vying for three open spots.

The vote totals, according to unofficial results:

Patricia Tiarks 335; 28%

Michael Thew Sr. 264; 22%

Dave Hesselgrave (i) 212; 17%

Jeanne Briggs (i) 205; 17%

Susan Hesselgrave (i) 193; 16%

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Election results remain unofficial until a board of canvassers reviews them.

There were a number of hot-button topics in Butler throughout this election season, most notably the future of public safety in the village in the aftermath of alleged inappropriate behavior within some members of the local police force.

Other issues that bubbled to the surface were taxes and commercial development along the village's main corridor on Hampton Avenue.

Reached by phone as results came rolling in, Tiarks said she was pleasantly surprised to learn she was the top vote-getter in this year's race.

"I appreciate all of the people who voted for me," she said. "I'm very thrilled. I'm going to do what I can for the residents and work toward making Butler a better place."

Tiarks served on last year's Centennial Committee, an appointed group that helped plan a number of festivities to commemorate Butler's 100th anniversary as an incorporated community.

Thew, who was defeated a year ago after having served two terms on the Village Board, said he is happy to be back in office.

"I think the results speak for themselves," Thew said. "The people of Butler wanted a change. I'm happy, and I want to get back into the swing of things as soon as possible."

During the election season, Thew said he was concerned about the state of public safety in the village. Last year's allegations against the police force gave Butler "a great big, black eye," he said.

When asked what his top priority would be as he resumes his duties on the board April 15, Thew quickly pointed to the police department. He said he will be working in the weeks ahead to help draft an ordinance that would require a binding referendum if and when the police department would be disbanded.

"If this ordinance is passed, it would require this issue go to the people for a vote," Thew said. "They should have a say if public safety gets outsourced to the sheriff or someone else."

Attempts to reach third-place winner Dave Hesselgrave for comment have been unsuccessful.

During the election season, Hesselgrave said he would like to see the village adopt policies that take short- and long-term planning into account. He also expressed a desire to ramp up communication between village staff and the community.

Members of the Butler Village Board serve two-year terms and receive $2,000 in compensation. The village president receives an annual salary of $3,000.

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Weekend Happenings

Featured this week:  

Lake Country Players present “The Diary of Anne Frank”: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 3, Lake Country Playhouse, 221 E. Capitol Drive, Hartland. $13 - $18 (262) 367-4697, www.lakecountryplayhouse.net.

Cottonwood Wayside Nature and Education Center Grand Opening: 5-7 p.m. Oct. 4, Cottonwood Wayside Nature and Education Center, 901 Cottonwood Ave., Hartland. Features the new chimney which will be home to more than 1,000 displaced chimney swift birds. Event also includes face painting, nature scavenger hunt, games and more. Hot dogs, chips and soda will be available for purchase.

Indian Summer: 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 3; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 4; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 5, Ashippun Town Hall, Highway P and Highway O, Ashippun. Buckskinner encampment, tepee tours,wigwams, Native American drummers and dancers, Highlanders Voyageur Camp plus Revolutionary, Civil and Spanish-American War camps. Free admission. (920) 474-4619 http://www.ashipppun.com.

Dark Carnival: 7-10:30 p.m. Oct. 4, 10-11, 17-18, 24-25, 31, Enterprise Building, 212 Wisconsin Ave., Oconomowoc. Formerly Haunted High, exhibit features more than 70 volunteers creating 50 specters and zombies plus special effects, lighting and sounds. $15, $23 fast pass. Open 2 to 4 p.m. Oct. 25 for kids 5-12 ($5) with lighted displays and treats along the way.

Updates to this calendar are made weekly Monday afternoon. 

All weekend happenings.