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Three vie for one open seat in Union Township

November 4, 2011

Three people are vying for one open seat on the Union Township Board of Trustees at the Nov. 8 election.
Two incumbents and a newcomer are fighting for one position on the board after a mistake was made in filing forcing two incumbents to square off against each other. The one person elected, along with current board member Dale Miller, will have to appoint the third trustee after the election is completed.
Kelly Knutzen, 53, 20694 Fairmount Road, Wapak-oneta, is retired from the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and is the current fire chief in Uniopolis.
He and his wife, Colette Knutzen, have seven children.
Knutzen is currently filling an appointed term and has not served in any other elected positions.
“When I worked for ODOT, I enjoyed working with people and discussing issues,” Knutzen said. “As fire chief, I have a lot of contact with people. I found that this would just be another way of working with people and helping out.”
Knutzen said he cares about sitting down and working out concerns together to find a solution to all problems. He said a primary focus will be finances for the new administration.
“Everybody is getting funds cut,” Knutzen said. “Now more than ever, we need to really watch how our money is being spent.”
Steven Severt, 49, 19288 Blank Pike Road, Wapakoneta, is self-employed with a tree service. He and his wife, Patty Severt, have two children.
He is an 18-year resident of the township and is currently completing his first term in office.
“I like what I do and I like the residents,” Severt said of being a township trustee. “If you enjoy working with people it is a very rewarding position and it makes the job easier.”
Severt said his experience serving four years on the board and his prior experience serving 10 years on the zoning commission has helped prepare him for the job. He noted that his flexible schedule due to being self-employed is an advantage.
“I can leave my work when the need arises to address township business,” Severt said. “In the winter, I can donate 100 percent of my time to snow removal. My situation works out well for the township.”
Severt said an immediate focus will be for the trustees to maintain the township to the best of their ability with fewer dollars due to state budget cuts.
Also running for the position is Jason Shaw, 21320 Fairmount Road, Wapakoneta.
Shaw did not have a listed telephone number and was not able to be contacted.
Someone at his residence gave a cell phone number to contact him, but the number called was not answered on repeated attempts and he did not have a voice mail to leave a message.

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