Name: Jerry Courter

Age: 33

Number of years you have lived in community: 29

Occupation: Medical equipment sales representative

Family members: Megan (wife), Urijah (son – age 4), Bristol (daughter – age 1)

What things – clubs, activities, special events – have you been involved in within your community?

I have been on the City Council for almost four years (one term) and I have also been involved in coaching recreational youth sports (soccer, baseball, and wrestling). In addition, I was on the town’s Parks and Trees committee for a year. I have also donated time to a number of community projects, financially supported local fundraising events and have a wife that is on the town’s local library board. Finally, I have long supported anything that is pro-Collins. I grew up here, I am raising my family here and it is very important for me to see that Collins is around for my children and grandchildren to enjoy.

What goals would you have as a council member?

Collins water bills are outrageous, mainly because of loan payments associated with a lagoon project that we were forced into. I was outvoted when I tried proposing offsetting some of that cost with our general fund. But I’d still like a new hardship program that allows us to help out some in our town who can’t absorb those rate changes.

Too many speeders are driving through town, causing serious safety issues. Those of us with small kids want to see something done to slow things down a little. There are cheap ways we can do that, and grants that might help. I’d also like the city to find a way to help promote a new, alternate truck route to save wear on Main Street.

Keeping an eye on the budget is a big issue to me. The city needs to do better controlling spending, managing overtime hours, working with other towns to share services and making sure that we are supporting cost-neutral ways to make Collins grow.

Finally, my biggest goal is to continue being a voice for the people in town that don’t feel they have one, while doing my best to make Collins a better place.

What specific issues need to be addressed in your community?

Water bills, safety, tighter spending practices, solving our fire department repair needs and finding ways to revitalize our Main Street are all important issues that the city of Collins needs to address. Collins needs to grow. In the last census, Collins was one of only two towns in Story County that did not grow, and we can change that.

Name: Dawnell Kennedy

Number of years you have lived in community: entire life

What things – clubs, activities, special events – have you been involved in within your community?

Parks and Trees committee member for 12 years, Collins Fire Department for 2 1/2 years

What goals would you have as a council member?

The reason I am looking at becoming part of the City Council is because I believe that there needs to be a bit of variety added to the council. I would like to hear a "female" voice and a different point of view once again on the council. I have attended a great number of the city council meetings over the past few years, all except when I was going to school to become an EMT for the fire department. I am so glad that I have attended these meetings, heard the public’s concerns and solutions or decisions that were resolved or put forth to resolve these concerns. There is so much that the council is approached with, constantly, that cannot be fully understood unless you hear it firsthand.

We need reliable people in those chairs around the table who are going to look at the "whole picture" and do what is best for the entire town and not just look at what is going to benefit themselves. We, as a community, need to stick together and continue to move in the right direction. I would like the opportunity to listen to your needs and concerns and be that "voice" and advocate for you and for the continued betterment of Collins.

Name: Otis Parham

Age: 79

Number of years you have lived in community: 49

Occupation: Security guard, mechanic, retired

Family members: 5

What things – clubs, activities, special events – have you been involved in within your community?

V F W # 381

What goals would you have as a council member?

Try to keep town moving forward

What specific issues need to be addressed in your community?

Cleanup of town as needed

Name: Winston Reitan

Number of years you have lived in community: 28 years

Occupation: U.S. Coast Guard for 21 years, owned full service hardware store along Main Street

What things – clubs, activities, special events – have you been involved in within your community?

Since coming to Collins, I have worked with several local civic groups, being appointed as the chairman of the Collins Parks and Trees by the former Mayor Christie and working as the Commander of American Legion Post #81. I also have dedicated countless hours volunteering my time to infrastructure repairs and other community projects (such as the wellness center).

What goals would you have as a council member?

I believes that my experience as a councilman has given me the knowledge on how to run a town within the fiscal constrains of a small city budget. I also credit my longevity on the council by being fair, honest and to being able to work with other people.

If re-elected, I hope to clean up Main Street and to attract new business to town. I also wants to help the city accomplish building a new fire station.

Name: Greg Schlueter

Age: 65

Number of years you have lived in community: 25

Occupation: Sales

Family members: Susan-wife, three kids, 14 grandkids and two great-grandchildren

What things – clubs, activities, special events – have you been involved in within your community?

Helped open the Wellness Center last year and become debt-free in six months; active member of the Collins United Methodist Church

What goals would you have as a council member?

Improve the quality of the residential portion of our town and continue to re-establish our downtown

What specific issues need to be addressed in your community?

The city code needs to be enforced for all of our residents.


Name: Gary Halverson (running for mayor)

Age: 66

Years in the community: 61. I was born in rural Slater and only left the community for five years due to a work assignment in Colorado and serving my country in the Army.

Occupation: Retired from Qwest Communications…and current mayor of Slater

Family: I have three sons, Chad, Chris and Charlie. Chad lives in Chicago with his wife, Karen, and two daughters, Lucy and Anja. Chris and his wife, Molly, live in Des Moines. Charlie lives in Ames with his dog Emma. My brother, Rodney and his wife Janice, also still live in Slater, while my other brother, Dana and his wife Doreen live in Ankeny.

Clubs, activities, etc: I have been a member of the Slater Fire Department for 20 years and held several officer positions, including assistant chief. I have been involved with Community Club and enjoy helping with the 4th of July Celebration. I am also an active member of the Bethlehem Lutheran Church and the VFW Post 5060.

Top 2-3 things the city is doing well: Slater is growing! Our population increased 14 percent in 10 years and our residential growth is steady. During my last six years in office, the city has implemented a revolving loan economic development program to recruit and retain businesses. This program has brought four new businesses to town and restored a historic downtown building. We are annexing more property and expanding the city. This commercial and industrial development lessens the tax burden on our residents. We are also using tax increment financing programs to help both businesses and residential expansions. Because of these programs and the increase they have brought to our tax base, we have maintained the same tax levy for the last six years, while operating a clean, welcoming town that offers a great standard of living to its residents’ with a lot of amenities. I am committed to further expanding our recreational opportunities, including the continuation of our trail system and the development of additional sports complexes. In the past six years, the city has been awarded over $415,000 in grants for projects like these. We have also refinanced the city bonds to shorten the repayment time and lower the interest rate so that more projects can be completed.

Top 2-3 things to improve/change: Slater needs much of its infrastructure replaced. Streets are a top priority, along with water and sewer mains. Additional storm sewers also need to be built. These are expensive projects and all financing options will be considered. Slater has one of the higher tax rates in the county when considering the city, school and county rates combined. I feel that it is important not to raise the city portion of that rate, if at all possible, while still providing the desired services at a high standard. I am also concerned with the possible required upgrades in our water production and sewage treatment due to future regulations from the DNR. These processes are very costly to maintain and additional facilities would be a big undertaking for a city of this size. We also need to continue to be concerned with expanding our business base and developing our Main Street to encourage further community growth. A community that is not growing, is dying. Slater is a great town, with a fantastic location along the growth corridor of I35, and we need to capitalize on all opportunities.

Describe what you will be like/what do you bring to the position: Stability and experience! I have been the mayor of Slater for the last six years, eight years during previous terms and prior to that I spent almost six years on the City Council. I believe in listening to the citizens and letting them guide the direction of our town. I have always had an open door and am happy to talk to any of our residents about any issue, at any time. I have spent almost my entire life in this town and am vested in its activities, development and future.

Name: Howard R. Hammond (running for mayor)

Age: 83

Years in the community: 69 minus two (military service)

Occupation: Self-employed - career educator and consultant

Family: Two adult children and seven grandchildren

Clubs, activities, etc: Committee person and volunteer in American Legion Post, Business Alliance, Community Club and Historical Association

Top 2-3 things the city is doing well: City personnel responding to requests, operating a top notch public library

Top 2-3 things to improve/change: Improve street and sidewalk conditions, seek increased input of citizens serving on boards and commissions

Describe what you will be like/what do you bring to the position: I will be available, visible, a listener and a doer. I will bring experience in business, education and government.

Name: Shawn Birdsall

Age: 30

Number of years you have lived in community: 30 years

Occupation: Owner/operator Nite Hawk Bar and Grill

Family Members: Father, Gary Birdsall; mother, DeDee Birdsall; sister: Nikowah Okland and husband Dr. Matt Okland, niece Priya Okland

What things – clubs, activities, special events – have you been involved in within your community? Worked with community club, fire department and first responders for local charity events through the Nite Hawk Bar and Grill. Regularly attend City Council meetings to stay abreast of the changes in our city.

What goals would you have as a council member?

Strengthen community service partnerships.

Assist in the promotion of an open-minded and progressive community by bringing new ideas to the council.

Enhance and promote family-friendly events;

Increase usability of bike trails and local parks;

Encourage continued improvements to street repair;

Encourage fair city tax rates and fees and

Encourage pride in our city with continued cleanup and enforcements of property maintenance.

What specific issues need to be addressed in your community?

I would like to see, when money allows or is set aside, that we use it properly on street repairs, water mains, sewer mains, etc.

Name: Susan Erickson

Age: 56

Number of years lived in Slater: I have lived in Slater for nearly 40 years. I moved here when I was four years old and grew up in the same house where I live now. As a young adult, I lived in Ames for several years, but moved back to Slater in 1989, and have lived here ever since.

Occupation: I am a program coordinator in the College of Design at Iowa State University, and also work with the Community and Economic Development unit for Extension and Outreach. Much of my work centers on making connections between communities, academic departments in the College of Design, and Extension. I have also begun working recently with a team to provide design-related assistance to Iowa retailers. I have been working at Iowa State since 2001. My educational training is in landscape architecture, and some of my early career focused on commercial and residential real estate development.

Family members: My husband Tim Erickson has worked at Danfoss in Ames for 36 years. Our three children grew up in Slater and all graduated from Ballard High School. Our daughter and son-in-law Kelsey and Carl Grulke live in Lincoln, NE along with their children, MaryJane, Audrey, and Judah. Carl is a newly-ordained Lutheran pastor and they are both involved in ministry at Christ Lutheran Church in Lincoln. Our son Jesse lives in Denver, CO and works for an engineering consulting firm. Our daughter Lynnea lives in DeKalb, IL and works for KishHealth System in public health. We are lifelong area residents and love the quality of life in Slater!

What things—clubs, activities, special events—have you been involved in within your community?

My husband and I attend Fjeldberg Lutheran Church in Huxley, and have been actively involved in committees, leading small groups, and participating in music groups in the church. While our children were in school, I served on the Ballard Music Boosters board and volunteered at school activities and in the classroom. In addition, I serve on the Slater Library Board and in the past served on the Slater Park Board. I have worked on several short-term community projects in the past, including developing plans for the Arboretum Trailhead Park and early trail planning for Slater.

What goals would you have as a council member?

I am skilled in fostering good communications and looking critically at all sides of an issue. These are important skills that would enable me to serve Slater City Council.

If I am elected a council member, I would seek to use my past experience in community volunteer work as well as my professional experience in community development, economic development, and community planning to look to the future and guide Slater’s progress. Slater is a great community and we have a tremendous quality of life here, but we need to look to the future and make sure it continues to be a great place. All community development should be performed with consideration for the triple-bottom line of people, planet, and profits. All three need to be balance.

I would also work on making citizens feel more engaged in Slater’s decision-making processes; people should be informed of issues facing the city and feel they have an important voice in decisions. Making better use of social media and other forms of communication to publicize upcoming issues would help citizens to be better informed. I would also seek more input from the various City Boards on relevant issues, giving those Boards a stronger voice in decisions.

What specific issues need to be addressed in your community?

Planning for the future is important. Slater’s comprehensive plan should be updated and used to guide decisions for the future. Our infrastructure—streets, water, and sewer lines—should be analyzed and a capital improvements plan created to address long-range needs. The future of our swimming pool needs to be discussed and wise decisions will be necessary so that Slater can continue to provide this valuable community resource.

Maintaining our parks and considering additional facilities we may want to develop in the future will be important. In addition, we must consider health and safety issues. For example, the more people can walk, the healthier they are. Our sidewalks need to be safe for children to walk to school and for all of us to walk for exercise.

Main Street is also important. I am concerned that we work to keep our businesses, and particularly our Main Street businesses, thriving and healthy. I would like to see every building on Main Street occupied by a business, and supported by Slater residents.

Finally, Slater needs to remain an attractive, livable community for all ages. We should consider the needs of the youngest to the oldest residents in decisions we make for the future of our town.

Name: Dr. Kenneth E. May

Age: 52

Number of years you have lived in community: 11

Occupation: Veterinarian / business owner

Family members: Wife, Bonnie (still looks 26) : Son, Will 15 : Daughter, Lindzee 12 : Dog, Lucy 4 : Cat, Holycow 13

What things – clubs, activities, special events – have you been involved in within your community?

Active member of Community Club 11yrs, Active member (past president) of Slater Business Assn. 10yrs – now Ballard Business Alliance 1yr. School/kid’s activities, Slater City Council 5yrs

What goals would you have as a council member?

Continue conservative management with a balanced budget and not increase taxes. To promote economic development within Slater. Continue to foster the small town community values that make the quality of life in Slater what its known for.

What specific issues need to be addressed in your community?

In a word, INFRASTUCTURE. Including re-vamping Main Street, updating and replacing streets, sewers – both sanitary and storm, and water mains (all of which are far beyond their life expectancy). These are very large projects, with very large price tags, requiring a lot of planning, and will need to be done in stages. These are not exciting or fun decisions. They don’t show as people drive through town, but, are needed to keep the services functional, and key to being able to continue to grow.

Name: Ann Sobiech Munson

Age: 43

Number of years you have lived in community: 8 years (since August 2005)

Occupation: architect and specifications writer, Substance Architecture; mom, Munson household

Family members: husband, Kyle; son, Frankie (6th grade)

What things – clubs, activities, special events – have you been involved in within your community?

• member, Slater Garden Club

• attend Slater United Methodist Church

• volunteer, Ballard Clothes Pantry

• co-coach, FIRST Lego League Team, Ballard Middle School

• co-founder and past chair, Iowa Women in Architecture (iaWia)

• member and certification chair, Central Iowa Chapter, Construction Specifications Institute (CSI)

• member, American Institute of Architects (AIA)

What goals would you have as a council member?

One goal is to ensure that community members have an active voice in their city government. This requires clear communication between the council and the public, including: processes for listening to citizens’ concerns and ideas; ways to help all residents understand issues under consideration by the council and boards; and transparency in terms of how decisions are made.

My second goal relates to current growth and development in the city. As issues of annexation and expansion, property development, infrastructure improvements, recreational facilities, and rehabilitation of existing properties arise, I would push the city to collect as much information as possible in order to make educated decisions about growth, in the context of an overall vision for the city’s future, and considering the realities of available resources. To help guide these decisions, the city may need to consider a comprehensive master plan, which would aid in setting priorities as we face serious choices about how to move forward.

Finally, I would continue to find ways to support the many dedicated volunteers and organizations in town, encouraging their continued involvement, recognizing their important contributions, and understanding how they play a role in Slater’s rich history and future development.

What specific issues need to be addressed in your community?

The current council and boards have begun to address many of these issues, but they remain top priorities. One reason I decided to run for council at this time is that my background in design and construction, particularly with public and historic projects, might be especially useful as the city faces the following issues.

• Comprehensive planning. As the city expands and develops, what are the city’s priorities? What are the limitations in terms of resources? How will we balance the demands of existing infrastructure with new projects, and the preservation of history with continued growth?

• Economic development and Main Street. With the opening of the High Trestle Trail, many more people pass through town. Traffic on Linn St/R38 increases each year. How can we build upon this momentum in a way that will provide overall benefits for our community?

• Pool construction. We all love the Slater pool, but it has serious issues. What are these problems, and what are our options for addressing them?

• Trail maintenance and development. With three intersecting trail systems in town, we need to make sure we are capable stewards of these systems that are well-used by both visitors and residents.

Name: Charles Whiteing

Age: 39

Number of years you have lived in the community: 10

Occupation: UPS

Family Members: My wife Janet, who is a nurse at the Madrid Home and has been for the past 13 years, and my three sons, Andrew (age 14), Aidan (age 10), and Alaric (age 8).

What things – clubs, activities, special events – have you been involved in within your community? For the last five years I have been involved with the Slater Community Club and have volunteered for events such as the Slater 4th of July Celebration, Slater Fall Fest, and Slater Christmas on Main. I have also coached little league baseball and I am currently volunteering my time at the Ballard Community Schools.

What goals would you have as a council member? If I were elected to the Slater city council, infrastructure improvement would be one of my leading goals. Slater is in need of street improvements, as well as water quality and sewer improvements. But, I believe it is very important to pursue these issues without increasing the tax burden of the citizens of Slater. Another important goal would be encouraging business growth. I believe Slater to be a perfect location for business growth due to its small town atmosphere and its ideal location between Ames and Des Moines. Future business growth will also help alleviate citizens tax burden. As a council member I would also like to be actively involved in Slater Main Street revitalization. Furthermore, I believe that it is important that every small town has a community center, a central hub for the citizens to gather, a place for Slater to generate community spirit and unity. This is a goal, a vision that I would like to pursue for the future of Slater.

What specific issues need to be addressed in your community? Infrastructure. City streets, water quality, and sewer improvements need to be addressed. Main street revitalization is another important issue. As a citizen of Slater I am very proud of our main street. It has many thriving businesses. But, I believe that with revitalization Slater can encourage more business growth. And like I said before, Slater needs a community center.

I’m a proud citizen of Slater, and Slater is great community that has a lot to offer. I would be honored to serve on the city council. Thank you, and get out and vote on November 5.