By Alex Bridges
Local elections feature a few contested races.
Middletown voters may choose from four candidates seeking three seats on Town Council. Clarence C. "Trip" Chewning III, Mark H. Davis, Mary L. Shull and Carole S. Snyder appear on the ballot for council seats. Mayor Charles H. Harbaugh IV is running unopposed for election to the mayor's position.
Council appointed Chewning and Snyder to fill vacancies made when Councilmen Gilbert D. "Gil" Barrington and John Wesley Blaisdell resigned their positions in protest in March, along with Mayor Marshall J. "Mark" Brown, also in protest. Members appointed Harbaugh, then a councilman, to take over as mayor, leaving his seat on council vacant.
The town also is holding a special election to fill two vacancies on council - Harbaugh's seat and one created by the resignation in May of Councilman Carl Heinz Bernhards Jr. Councilmen John A. Copeland and Thomas M. Simon appear on the ballot for the special election. The candidates seek election to fill unexpired terms through Dec. 31, 2014.
Bernhards cited "personal reasons" for stepping down. Less than a month prior a Frederick County grand jury indicted Bernhards for three counts of failing to file tax returns and one count of making a false statement on a return. Bernhards on Oct. 26 in Frederick County Circuit Court pleaded guilty to the counts of failing to file tax returns and received 12-month jail terms for each, with all but 16 days suspended on one sentence. He also must pay a $3,000 fine.
In Winchester, voters may choose between Mayor Elizabeth A. "Liz" Minor and Patrick Farris for the mayoral position.
The following candidates are running unopposed for re-election: Councilman Leslie C. "Les" Veach, First Ward; John W. Hill, Second Ward; and John A. Willingham, Fourth Ward.
However, a shift has taken place in the Third Ward and has created two vacancies. Councilman Art Major resigned mid-term because he moved out of the ward. The city needed to hold a special election to fill the seat for the remainder of the term, set to end Dec. 31, 2014. Councilman Milton F. "Milt" McInturff, whose four-year term expires Dec. 31, decided to seek Major's seat in the special election rather than another full term, according to Winchester Registrar Joyce Braithwaite. R. Ben Weber is running for election to fill McInturff's seat and the full term.
In other local elections:
Peggy Lee Harkness runs unopposed for a seat on the New Market Town Council. The vacancy came open after voters chose Councilman Douglas Bradley as mayor. Bradley defeated Mayor Larry Smith for the post. Council appointed Harkness to fill Bradley's seat until the town could hold a special election for the position.
In Stephens City, three candidates are running for three seats on Town Council. Councilmen Ronald L. Bowers, Joseph E. Grayson and Joseph W. Hollis are seeking re-election to their seats.