Newcomers Miller, Imer Win Open Council Seats

New Wheeling City Council members Ken Imer and David Miller will join incumbents Gloria Delbrugge, Robert “Herk” Henry, Don Atkinson and Eugene Fahey in July, as a result of the Tuesday municipal election.

– In the 2nd Ward, Imer will replace longtime Councilman Vernon Seals, who is retiring after serving on council since 1988. Collecting 175 votes, Wheeling Island resident Imer pulled out a narrow, two-vote victory over downtown resident Charles Ballouz, who took 173 votes. Also in the 2nd Ward, Aaron T. Wilkinson received 114 votes; Alex Coogan, 99; Desmond Lekanudos, 70; and Tony Domenick, 70.

Imer wants to focus on reducing the city’s crime rate, while working to see abandoned properties are repaired or razed. He has never held elected office, but Imer believes he is ready for the challenge.

Ballouz said he will wait to see the results of the vote canvass to evaluate the official results. Ohio County Commissioner Randy Wharton said Ballouz has the option to request a formal recount once the canvass is complete.

“I will take a look at it,” Ballouz said of a recount. “I expected to win.”

– With 493 votes, Miller will replace one-term Councilman James Tiu, who chose not to seek re-election. Also gaining votes in the 4th Ward were Mark Garrett, 265; Keith Bell, 123; Marjorie Klemm, 122; and Randy Berisford, 100.

“I definitely did not walk in here thinking I would win by this many votes,” Miller said in reference to his 228-vote margin of victory. “There were some very good candidates in this race, so I feel very fortunate to have this much support.”

Miller said his main goals are to help attract new development to the downtown area – and to see the city take a more active role in the burgeoning natural gas industry.

– In the 5th Ward, Councilman Don Atkinson will return for a second term after collecting 608 votes. Atkinson’s closest competitor, Lloyd Adams, took 466 votes; Robert Boord, 169; and Perry Napier, 70.

“I feel very fortunate. It is good to see that the voters recognize what we are trying to do downtown and in East Wheeling,” Atkinson said regarding the ongoing demolition to make way for downtown green space and a planned East Wheeling sports field.

– In the 1st Ward, Councilwoman Gloria Delbrugge earned a third term by defeating challenger John Bishop by 549 votes to 381 votes, respectively.

“I am thankful the people have confidence in me. I am happy to get the chance to help finish what we have started,” Delbrugge said, noting some may have disagreed with the plans to raze the dilapidated structures in the 1100 block and along 15th Street. “This is a new century, and we’ve got to move on.”

– In the 3rd Ward, longtime Councilman Robert “Herk” Henry will return for another term on council. He collected 164 votes, with his challengers receiving the following: Chris Hamm, 123; Christopher Dean, 120; Duane Ellis, 104; Bob Kleeh, 62; and Ted Maxwell, 24.

“I hope I can do a good job for the voters who have entrusted me to represent them,” he said. “I want to get the 1100 block down so we can get something new in there and get the sports complex up and running.”

– The 6th Ward race was uncontested with Vice Mayor Eugene Fahey moving to a second term with 774 votes.