The filing period for candidates in Wheeling’s upcoming municipal balloting on May 10 expired over the weekend, and now Friendly City residents know which citizens wish to represent them as members of Wheeling’s City Council.
A total of 23 individuals completed the necessary paperwork and paid the $50 fee to run for the mayor’s position and for the six seats representing the wards of Wheeling. At this time no debates featuring the candidates are scheduled, but several of those running have expressed a willingness to do so.
In the race for Wheeling mayor, four candidates wish to follow the two terms served by Mayor Andy McKenzie, a former 12-year senator in the West Virginia Legislature prior to winning the position in 2008. Two residents of Wheeling Island, one from Elm Grove, and a resident of downtown Wheeling registered to run for mayor.
- Alex Coogan resides on the north end of Wheeling Island. He has run for council and for Ohio County Board of Education prior to this race, and he is the owner of Reliable Appliance in the Warwood section of Wheeling.
- Tony Domenick, also from Wheeling Island, has been a candidate for mayor in the past. He is the lead organizer for an annual fundraiser that is staged in the downtown district, and the event features live and local music.
- Glenn Elliott, a Wheeling attorney who once worked as a Capitol Hill aide to the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd, announced his intention to run for the mayor’s office last summer. He is an active member of the Wheeling Rotary, ReInvent Wheeling, and the Young Preservationists.
- Gene Fahey, a vice president with Altmeyer Funeral Homes, is currently serving his second term as the council representative for Ward 6 and as vice mayor to McKenzie. Fahey was instrumental in developing new pension funds for the city’s police officers and firefighters, and has pushed officials with the state DOH to expand the Kruger Street-National Road intersection to include a turning lane.
Because Gloria Delbrugge made the decision to retire from public service after 12 years as a member Wheeling Council, Ward 1 is one of three sections guaranteed to elect a new representative come May 10. Two candidates will be on the ballot — Warwood residents John Bishop and Chad Thalman.
- Bishop, a Warwood Terrace resident who is a veteran of the United States Navy, ran against Delbrugge in 2012.
- Thalman, a graduate of Wheeling Jesuit University, had moved away from Wheeling but returned a few years ago to take a position with Warwood Armature.
Incumbent Ken Imer is seeking re-election as one of five residents wishing to represent Ward 2, a section of Wheeling that includes Wheeling Island, a portion of North Wheeling, the downtown district, and the Fulton neighborhood. Imer will be joined on the ballot by Charles Ballouz, Karen Corona Merritt, Loma Nevels, and Morgan Wood.
- Ballouz, a downtown resident for more than 30 years, was defeated by Imer in 2012 by a single vote. Ballouz has served on several city-related committees and commissions and was the president of the OVRTA Board for more than a decade.
- Merritt is a resident of Wheeling Island who has worked over the past year to save the Aetnaville Bridge for pedestrian traffic. The state Division of Highways recently announced a total closure, and workers have installed chain-link fencing to block access to the span.
- Nevels, a Wheeling Island resident, worked for the Wheeling Water Department for 31 years and decided to run for the Ward 2 position soon after retiring last year.
- Wood moved to North Wheeling 11 years ago and currently manages a real estate company that owns more than 90 rental units throughout the municipality.
Residents of Ward 3 also will elect new council representation in May as Robert “Herk” Henry will step down after more than two decades in the position. The ward includes East Wheeling, Center Wheeling, South Wheeling, and Mozart. Three of the four candidates reside in Mozart, and Brian Wilson resides in East Wheeling.
- Thomas Conner is the business manager for IBEW Local 141. He is a graduate of Wheeling Park High and is a first-time candidate for Wheeling Council.
- Chris Dean was a candidate for Ward 3 four years ago and was defeated by Henry by a narrow margin. The businessman has owned and operated several businesses in the Wheeling area and is currently employed by Five Guys at The Highlands.
- Chris Hamm has been a candidate in Ward 3 before, running for the position both in 2008 and 2012. His office furniture company, Indoff Inc., has been located in Center Wheeling for many years, and he is the son of legendary newspaper editor Harry C. Hamm.
- Wilson is a preservationist who is currently renovating an East Wheeling home that was vacant for more than 20 years. He is a member of the Young Preservationists and has been an active member of the East Wheeling community since moving there nearly four years ago.
Wheeling’s 4th Ward includes much of the Woodsdale section of Wheeling, an area stoked with in-demand residential and commercial properties. Two candidates, the incumbent and one challenging, will vie for the council position.
- David Miller, director of marketing and sales for Mitsui & Co., won the seat four years ago and since he has worked on issues involving vandalism, flooding, and the development of the hilltop that separates Woodsdale and Greggsville.
- Wendy Scatterday is an independent architect in Wheeling who is one of the founders of Woodsdale United, a community group that has been very vocal concerning the lumbering that’s taken place on that hilltop.
Wheeling’s Ward 5 includes a fraction of Woodsdale plus Edgwood, Pleasanton, Dimmeydale, and the residents living along National Road between Washington Avenue and Park View Lane. Four residents filed candidacy papers, including two-term incumbent Don Atkinson.
- Lloyd Adams retired from the state Division of Highways a couple of years ago and is a graduate of West Virginia University and Wellsburg High School. He’s remained active in the community and is a proud grandfather.
- Atkinson was one of nine candidates for Mayor in 2000 and was ultimately defeated by former Mayor Nick Sparachane. Since winning the council position, he has persistently pushed for economic development and for owners of dilapidated properties to be held more accountable.
- Frank Calabrese worked for many years in the demolition business throughout the Upper Ohio Valley and is now more of a developer in the Centre Market area of Wheeling. He is a board member of the Mountain State’s ACLU chapter and has been active with Wheeling’s Human Rights Commission.
- Ty Thorngate is a Wheeling Park graduate who returned to his native Dimmeydale neighborhood following his graduation from West Virginia University. Thorngate works in marketing with A&B Kia and has been an active member of the Dimmeydale Neighborhood Association since his return to his hometown.
The third and final area that will select a new representative on Wheeling Council is Ward 6. Fahey has represented the ward for the past seven-plus years after defeating Barry Crow in 2008, and now voters will choose between two gentlemen, both of whom are residents of Elm Grove.
- Dalton Haas is a graduate Wheeling Park High School and a current student at West Liberty University. He is employed as a funeral assistant by Altmeyer Funeral Homes and is a former member of Wheeling Park’s club hockey team.
- David Palmer was a Wheeling police officer before beginning a 25-year career with the Wheeling Fire Department. He retired in 2012 and then was employed by the city as a Code Enforcement Officer. In October 2014 Palmer accepted the position as associate director with the United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley.
(Photos by Steve Novotney)