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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:  

Rotary Pancake Day: 7:30 a.m. Feb. 28, Waukesha County Expo Center, 1000 Northview Road, Waukesha. Fundraiser for the Waukesha Rotary Club is 7:30 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Expo Center Arena. Advance tickets at Waukesha State Bank, downtown location., $5-$7. $5 advance, $7 at the door; free for children 5 and younger. www.waukesharotary.org.

Ninth Annual Oconomowoc Rotary Wine & Brew Fest: 5 p.m. Feb. 28, Olympia Resort, 1350 Royale Mile Rd, Oconomowoc. Wine, food and beer. Features foods from the best of our local restaurants. Purchase tickets at $50 from an O-Town Rotarian, through Facebook, or in person at most area First Bank Financial Centre locations, Books & Company & Lorleberg True Value Hardware. See more at www.oconomowocrotary.org. $50.

Chili Tasting: 11 a.m. Feb. 28, The Garden Mart, W297 S9115 Highway 83, Mukwonago. Chili tasting from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Local vendors will be selling unique merchandise. Judging is open to the public and all proceeds from voting will be donated to the Mukwonago Food Pantry. Event is free. Call (262) 363-5252 for information.

Dr. Seuss Birthday Bash Literacy Event: 10 a.m. Feb. 28, Hartland North Elementary, 232 Church Street, Hartland. Families with children in 4-year old kindergarten through second grade are invited to a special event. The Cat in the Hat and the Lorax will celebrate with a big birthday cake for all of our guests along with lots of literacy activities based around Dr. Seuss books.

Updates to this calendar are made weekly Monday afternoon. 

 

All weekend happenings.