Four Republicans seek 2 Bear Creek trustee candidate slots
From left: Joe Hoffman Jr., Donald Nowland, Jonathan Scheel, Jim Scollin (July 25, 2012)
Incumbent trustee and Republican Joe Hoffman Jr. is pursuing re-election this year. Vying with him on the GOP primary ballot are Donald Nowland, Jonathan Scheel and Jim Scollin.
The top two Republican vote-getters will appear on November's general election ballot. Mitch Brown is the lone Democrat pursuing his party's nod as a Bear Creek trustee candidate in the August primary.
Bert Notestine, who currently fills the other trustee position on Bear Creek's board, isn't pursuing re-election to it this year. Instead, he's seeking nomination as the GOP candidate for the 5th District seat on the Emmet County Board of Commissioners.
Hoffman, 51, currently is in his second four-year term as a Bear Creek trustee. He also has spent about 11 years serving on the township's planning commission -- including a past stint as chairman -- and three years on Resort and Bear Creek townships' joint fire board. Hoffman's private-sector community involvement has included a stint as vice president of Emmet County's Farm Bureau affiliate.
An employee of Circuit Controls Corp., Hoffman also helps operate his family's farm. He graduated from Petoskey High School, attended North Central Michigan College and received bachelor's and master's degrees from Central Michigan University. He's single and has no children.
When asked what attributes he believes would make him a good fit for the trustee position, Hoffman said, "I think growing up in Bear Creek Township and experiencing the beauty and what a great township we have." He added that the time he's spent in local elected and appointed positions "gives me that valuable insight into how the township works."
Hoffman believes the township is making good progress in maintaining local roads. He said he's proud of the local fire department, and hopes to help it move forward.
The township budget is one topic Hoffman believes Bear Creek Township officials will need to spend time on. He noted that the state's method for sharing funds with local governments recently has been evolving.
Hoffman hopes Bear Creek will continue to focus on recreational opportunities for the community, and that the township can find a way to help preserve some of the local open spaces and agricultural lands.
Nowland, 56, is making his first run for elected office, although he served in an appointed position on a Bear Creek sewer task force in the mid-2000s. He's currently employed with the Harbor Springs Area Sewage Disposal Authority, and has 35 years of work experience with water and wastewater utilities.
Noting his background with utilities and familiarity with infrastructure, Nowland said, "I think I can bring something to the township there."
Nowland said budget matters would be another topic of interest for him as a trustee, noting that he'd like to see taxpayer money continue to be spent wisely. Road needs and recreational offerings are other priorities Nowland sees for the township.
Born and raised in the Petoskey area, Nowland graduated from Alanson High School and received two associate degrees from North Central Michigan College. He's married to Carol and has two children.
Scheel, who will turn 55 on Aug. 9, previously pursued the Bear Creek Township treasurer's position in 2008, and was eliminated in the Republican primary that year. He spent about three years on Bear Creek's planning commission in the mid-2000s, including a stint as vice chairman, and also filled an appointed planning commission position in San Diego County, Calif., for about five years.
In addition, Scheel served in an appointed position on Concord Academy Petoskey's board for four years, three of them as chairman.
For the past 11 years, Scheel has worked as a zoning administrator for townships in Charlevoix County. He currently serves Hayes and South Arm townships, and worked for Hayes and Bay townships in the past. In addition, Scheel works with Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency to administer Community Development Block Grants that fund housing needs.
"I have been working within local government for approximately 20 years between San Diego County and Emmet County," Scheel said. "I have the public administration degree, the educational background, understanding how to deal with the issues of local government and how that differs from private enterprise."
Having dealt with local government matters from an administrative standpoint, Scheel believes he can use the information he's acquired to help Bear Creek move into the future.