Montcalm County candidates gather for forum in Crystal

By Lonnie Allen • Last Updated 10:39 pm on Friday, July 27, 2012

Pictured, from left, Curt McCraken, Dennis Lance, Jerry Stone, Chris Johnston, Kristine Stewart, Ted Padgett and Sandy Raines answer questions and explain why they are the one to vote for Aug. 7 during Thursday’s Meet the Candidates forum in Crystal Township. — Daily News/Lonnie Allen

CRYSTAL TOWNSHIP — Nearly 20 people gathered at the Crystal Community Center on Thursday night to hear from local and county candidates who are running for elected office this year.

The forum, moderated by Tim Bohen, gave community members a chance to hear from five of the candidates running for positions on the Crystal Township Board, as well as two candidates running for Montcalm County drain commissioner. One of the questions asked was, “What are the top three issues you will address immediately if elected?”

Crystal Township Board Trustee Jerry Stone wants to focus on community development and reign in spending if re-elected.

“The top issue is money,” Stone said. “It’s my personal opinion we spend money on items that might be cheaper if we did a little more public bidding.”

Stone would like to market the old school building more, too (currently the Crystal Community Center). According to him, it costs a lot of money to have it open.

Crystal Township Board Trustee Curt McCracken wants to do away with the anti-funneling ordinance around Crystal Lake if re-elected.

“We have been fighting about (Ordinance) 15A about four years,” McCracken said. “I would like to wipe that right out and get something new in there and make everybody happy.”

Chris Johnston who is running unopposed for supervisor of Crystal Township, wants to work with the Crystal Lake Association and watch Crystal grow.

“The DPW really needs a home of its own,” Johnston said. “I hope we get the 15A issue solved, I think something needs to be done with that. I want the lake to be a good experience for everybody.”

Kristine Stewart, a candidate for Crystal Township treasurer, is concerned about funding law enforcement.

“My top issue is to make sure that we come up with a funding source for our police situation,” Stewart said. “Whether it is the county or a local police department, the funds will be depleted in a year or two so we need to come up with a solution on how to maintain that service.”

Ted Padgett, another candidate for Crystal Township treasurer, wants the township board to be more open. His longterm goal is to see the township grow.

“I don’t want to see a plain resort town, I want to expand the local business base,” Padgett said.
Dennis Lance of Carson City and Sandy Raines of Sidney, both Republicans, are running against each other for Montcalm County drain commissioner in the Aug. 7 primary election. The winner will face off against Democrat Shane Jacobs of Howard City in the Nov. 6 general election.

Lance is the current Crystal Township treasurer and Raines is the current Montcalm County deputy drain commissioner.

Lance explained his past public service positions and how that experience has prepared him for the drain commissioner position.

“I feel these duties have given me a great deal of experience when dealing with the public,” Lance said. “I’ve always had a interest in the drain commissioner’s office, where I live drainage is our life blood on a lot of that property and if we don’t have well maintained drains we don’t farm it.”

Raines also explained why she is running for the position of drain commissioner.

“I have 34 years experience in the office,” Raines said. “When elected, I can take over the position without needing a learning curve.”

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