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At-large seat contested in Cherokee

Monday, November 5, 2007

The incumbent and a challenger are running for an at-large seat on the Cherokee City Council. City council terms are for four years and the election will be held Tuesday Nov. 6 for municipal offices throughout the state.

Dwight Varce is the incumbent council member.

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Dwight Varce
He said that the town has made some progress on getting streets repaired but has much still to do as far as infrastructure improvement. He pointed out that there needs to be investment in the community center, giving priority to essential repairs such as the roof and to that which will make the community center more efficiently such as replacing the furnace and installing new windows.

Community beautification is something Varce supports both through board action and through personal involvement. He has supported city efforts to enforce public nuisance ordinances. He is a member of the ABC committee that is involved in volunteer beautification projects.

Varce believes that a city manager is needed to provide leadership and supervision in city government. "A city manager is needed to get things done that we take for granted," he said.

He pointed out that there will be many employees retiring soon and the city needs the continuity provided by a supervisor over all city employees.

Varce said a city manager can open new avenues for funding and work toward attracting industry to the community.

He said he doesn't have a particular agenda. He just wants to do his best for the city.

"I'm glad that we came to Cherokee and I'm honored to have been part of this community," Varce said.

Varce graduated from Waverly-Shell Rock High School in 1974. He worked more than 20 years for Fareway.

After leaving Fareway, he joined his wife Bonnie in operating their two businesses in downtown Cherokee, the Framing Nook and Main Street Antiques. They have recently added another business, a J.C. Penney's catalog store.

Their son Quinton is attending the University of Sioux Falls and their son Brett is at the Des Moines Area Community College.

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Linda Burkhart
Linda Burkhart is running for her first term on the Cherokee City Council but has experience in public office, having served three three-year terms on the Cherokee School Board.

She believes that the city's population loss and the resulting financial situation are the top challenges facing the city.

She also believes that there needs to be communication between city officials and the citizens and that she has observed that some citizens have left council meetings not feeling that their voices have been heard.

She wants to promote the positive developments that have been happening in the community. She said visitors who have come back to Cherokee after being gone several years have been impressed with the many community betterment projects such as the aquatic center, the library expansion, the Main Street improvement, the depot renovation, the new Cherokee Middle School and other projects.

"Sometimes it takes someone from out of town to let us know how well we're doing," Burkhart.

She said she does not have a particular agenda or ax to grind. She simply sees Cherokee as a progressive community and wants to be part of that.

Burkhart graduated from Washington High School in 1967.

She received a bachelor's degree in education from Arizona State University with a major in English and a minor in Speech.

She worked as a part-time administrative assistant at the Sanford Museum and worked part-time at the Work Activity Center. In 1988 she became full-time educator at the museum and in 1991 she became director of the museum.

She and her husband, Terry, have a son, Michael, and two grandchildren.



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