Auburn Reporter editor Mark Klaas discusses all things Auburn, including comings and goings, local issues and community efforts.
It seems the Auburn Reporter has attracted many online comments from Shelley Erickson, who was ousted from the recent mayoral primary election. However, we continue to hear from her camp as if she, and not her purported rival, Virginia Haugen, were running for mayor. Isn’t it about time we heard more from the challenger herself? Haugen supporters have indicated that she has maintained a low profile in the mayoral race, apparently letting Erickson do her talking. Erickson, a small business owner, has been critical of city matters, targeting the mayor himself. Her frequent comments can be read here online. As a concerned citizen, Erickson has the right to be a part of the dialogue. However, with the general election less than nine weeks away, we want to hear directly from the challenger herself. We want to hear what she has to say. Virginia, you can speak for yourself? Right?
Auburn is a generous community. Special kudos go to the Valley 6 Drive-In Theatres, which hosted a recent one- day food drive. The good folks brought in 2,945 pounds of food for the Auburn Food Bank. And it came at a good time. The food bank’s shelves were empty after serving a record day of clients, according to Debbie Christian, the food bank’s executive director. Doors West helped with the
delivery. The food bank plays a crucial role in the community. To keep pace, the food bank welcomes donations. The public can bring donations directly to the food bank, 930 18th Place N.E., Auburn. The facility is just east of the north Auburn Top Foods parking lot, between 17th Northeast and 18th Northeast on I Street Northeast. Hours are 9 a.m. to 1:15 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and on the second Wednesday of the month from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Paul Fouhy’s alumni cast put it all together with a superb, eight-performance stint with ‘Little Shop of Horrors.’ The rock musical/comedy, spun by the Summer Alumni Theatre Company, turned out profitable and rewarding for a collection of seasoned cast members and technical staff who put their best foot forward at the Auburn Mountainview High School Theater. According to Fouhy, the production turned a profit, of which the proceeds will go to the school’s scholarship fund for graduating theater arts students. Saturday’s finale drew a good crowd, which was treated to a rousing performance. The music and execution were flawless. John Tague (Seymour) and Jacklyn Kellogg (Audrey) were solid in lead roles. David Allen Ellis, the senior cast member, played an excellent role as the floral shop owner, Mr. Mushnik. Special kudos go the versatility and talent of David Cox, who played many parts, none more challenging than the sadistic dentist. And Terry Thibodeaux, Fouhy’s right-hand man for many years, also was impressive, playing the role of a derelict and providing a tremendous, booming voice for the monstrous and sly Audrey II, the play’s man-eating plant. Special credits also go out to choreographer Lauren Slettedahl, music director Maddie Slettedahl, costumer Melinda Zimmerman and stage manager Molly Whittaker. Too many others to credit. An exceptional body of work. And great entertainment. Nice job, Paul.
If Auburn wants a good fight at the ballot box, they have it. Mayor Pete Lewis and his main rival, City Councilmember Virginia Haugen, will settle the race once and for all. While the Nov. 3 general election is less than 11 weeks away, both candidates will be busy trying to secure the extra vote. Lewis, as expected, locked up one berth with a convincing showing in Tuesday’s primary. No surprise there. He genuinely has the support of the business community. Haugen, a resilient fighter, took the No. 2 spot, but has considerable ground to make up. She trails Lewis by roughly 22 percent (results will change and vary with the mail ballots). Haugen is optimistic she can pick up votes from her ousted allies, Frank Lonergan and Shelley Erickson, and make it a much closer race. Knowing both candidates, they will take nothing for granted in the fall campaign. Lewis will keep it direct, to the point. He remains the favorite. Haugen, no doubt, will put up a challenge. Stay tuned. We will continue to follow the race.
Kudos to Cara Rudd. The former Miss Auburn and golf chairperson for the Kiwanis Club of Valley, Auburn, orchestrated an interesting fundraiser – a golf ball drop at Auburn Golf Course that attracted TV news
crews. The deep recession has taken a big bite out of the club’s community service fund. Looking for a way to close the gap, Rudd thought of a golf ball drop, a closest-t0-the-pin contest. “My idea,” Rudd said modestly. “I can’t believe I pulled it off.” Rather than use one of the course’s official putting greens, organizers used a makeshift putting green/pin in the middle of the 10th hole. The helicopter then made separate airdrops, about 1,000 golf balls in all. Each ball was purchased for $5. Two balls actually found the cup – Nos. 0788 and 2166, belonging to Barb Pitney and Heather Holte, respectively. They will split the $1,000 first-place prize and each will receive a free helicopter ride from Auburn-based Airwork LLC. The golf ball drop was part of a fundraising effort, “Helping Kids Out of the Rough,” for the community service-oriented Kiwanians, who held its 24th annual tournament at the municapal course. Again, a fun event for a good cause.
Coming in Friday’s edition is a peek at the mayoral primary election. Four candidates, including two-term incumbent Pete Lewis, will battle for two spots in Tuesday’s all-mail vote primary. Reporter Robert Whale spent extra time with each candidate as a good gesture, an opportunity for them to add any late comments regarding the city and their respective platforms. Each carries a different tune, and I encourage voters to read their accounts and cast an informed vote, if they haven’t already. Throughout the race, we have encouraged letters and blogs from each candidate. We kept our door open for free-flowing thought. The Lewis campaign has been the most active and consistent, as readers will find by the series of published pro-incumbent letters. Again, we encouraged all parties to do so. As the campaign enters the autumn weeks ahead, we again will provide comprehensive coverage. We invite readers to offer their views and suggestions. We will invite the candidates to blog on our site. We encourage letters. Good luck to each candidate in the primary, and please vote.
The City of Pacific celebrated its centennial this past weekend in grand style. The carpentry/construction program at Bates Vocational-Technical College rebuilt and moved the Yates Cabin from 5th and Milwaukee to Centennial Park, formerly Volunteer Park. City officials renamed the park in honor of the centennial. They also buried a time capsule in a ceremony Monday evening. The cabin currently had no foundation and a concrete slab was provided for its new home. The bottom row of logs was significantly rotted. The composition roof was replaced with rustic shakes.
The race for mayor enters a new phase this week as the four candidates work for votes. Clearly, Mayor Pete Lewis’ well-organized and operated campaign has been in high gear since Lewis returned from vacation back East. Lewis has the support and the connections. While the Auburn Reporter doesn’t intend to endorse a particular candidate, all indications are Lewis will be the strong front-runner in next Tuesday’s mail-vote primary. The quest for No. 2, however, remains up in the air. Many people like Frank Lonergan, a locksmith security technician, as he battles City Councilmember Virginia Haugen and Shelley Erickson for the right to advance to the Nov. 3 general election. Lonergan has local businesses at heart. Given the rough times of a deep recession, with blue-collar Auburn being especially hit hard, Lonergan represents a receptiive, new voice. But will he have enough political and monetary support to challenge Lewis? That remains very much in doubt.