Ripley County Republicans had reason to rejoice on election night as the party swept the county with one lone Democrat winning anything - DeeDee Holliday, who retained her seat on the Osgood Town Council over challenger Jeffery Volz 273 to 217.
Ripley County also elected Mitt Romney for president, but, the country's voice was louder with incumbent President Barack Obama retaining his position as the leader of the free world. While some Republicans in the county expressed their disappointment, they agreed it is now time to work together to make America the great nation it is.
On the local level:
A race that was watched closely in the county was that of the Council At-Large. There were six names to choose from with the top three (all Republican) emerging the winners.
Mark Horstman from Sunman, handily took the lead with 6270 votes, followed closely by Brenda Wetzler, Osgood, who had 6146 votes and incumbent William Warren who came in third with 6044 votes.
Mark E. Busching, Republican incumbent commissioner, retained his seat easily with 6881 votes over his Democrat challenger, Vaughn Bowers, who had 3575 votes.
The Milan School Board At Large seat was another one watched closely as people huddled around the screens at the courthouse on election night. With four choices available, Jason Honeycutt came out on top with 749 votes. In that race, Linda Baker had 625 votes; Todd Delap with 204; and Jeff Poole came in with 310 votes. Another seat on the Milan School Board of Trustees (Milan Town) saw Ted Amberger win with 960 votes over Anna Burress who had 849 votes.
Jac-Cen-Del had two school board positions available with both incumbents taking a back seat. Travis Neal garnered the highest votes at 711 over incumbent Paul C. Hardy with 631 votes trailed by Joyce Muckerheide at 419 votes for the school board at large seat.
The JCD (town) school board position was taken by Stephen D. Huntington with 891 votes over Bill Roberts' 782 votes. Huntington was in the courthouse watching as the election results rolled in Tuesday evening. He was elated when he realized he had won. Huntington told The Versailles Republican he knocked on every door, campaigning hard for the position. He said he has no hidden agenda, commenting, "my only reason for running is the education of the kids." This is his first try at the political arena, which is of course non-partisan.
Two new school board members for South Ripley were chosen with Carol Holzer(District 6) taking the lead with 1006 with a narrow margin over Shawn Halcomb who had 993 votes followed by Jason Liming with 391 votes. Jeff Cornett (District 7) won with 1569 votes over David Forwalt who had 644 votes. Randel McIntosh ran unopposed to retain his seat on the school board in District 3.
Sunman Dearborn School board winners were Clifford Giltner with 586 votes over Brandon Burress with 375 votes; David Anderson with 533 votes over John McKay with 424 votes and Joseph Graf with 631 votes over Michael May who had 299 votes.
Cindy Blessing won the Batesville District 3 School Board race.
There were several uncontested races in the county. Mary Ann McCoy will remain clerk of courts, Ginger Bradford, recorder; Amy Copeland, treasurer; Ronald Buchanan, coroner; Jean Leising, District 42 State Senate; Osgood Clerk Treasurer, Tamara Wilhoit; Gerald Stutler, commissioner; and the entire Holton Town Council along with the clerk-treasurer.
On the State level:
Republican Mike Pence saw a victory for the Governor of Indiana over John Gregg, Democrat, which also held true in the county with Pence garnering half again more votes than Gregg with a count of 7018 to Gregg's 3224. Rupert Boneham got 557 of the Ripley County votes.
Attorney General Greg Zoeller retains his position gaining the most votes at the state and county levels.
Republican Randy Frye retained his seat as the District 67 State Representative. He was challenged by Democrat Tom Cheek with the votes being 4390 to 2357 respectively in Ripley County.
Republican Luke Messer won the county handily with 7148 votes over Democrat Bradley Bookout getting 3000 votes and went on to win the state for the District 6 Congressional seat.
Although Republican Tony Bennett won the popular vote in Ripley County, he lost overall to Glenda Ritz for the position of Superintendent of Public Instruction. The same went for Republican Richard Mourdock who was in a contested race with Democrat Joe Donnelly for the US Senate seat. Donnelly took the state to win over Mourdock.
Democrat David Moeller pulled ahead of Republican Cindy Meyer Ziemke to take the District 55 State Representative seat. Ziemke took Ripley County, but lost the district race.
Ripley County Clerk Mary Ann McCoy said the election process in the county went great. "I can't praise the poll workers enough…things worked like clockwork last night," she expressed to The Versailles Republican the day after election.
McCoy noted there were minor glitches in the system, but said no matter how much testing is done you can always count on little things going wrong. However, with over 1700 absentee votes coming in, the workers had their hands full and believe the voting process was an overall success.
The first township to bring their votes into the clerk's office was Washington 1 followed closely by Adams 1. McCoy said for her workers the night ended about 11:00 p.m.
The courthouse lobby had several people who stayed the course with the final tallies coming in around 9:30 p.m.
Voter turnout did not surpass the presidential election four years ago in Ripley County. The county has 20,947 registered voters and just a little more than half came out to vote – 11,140, giving the county a voting percentage of 53.18. In 2008 the percentage was higher at 58 percent and eight years ago it was even higher yet at 62 percent, according to Ripley Publishing Co. files.
It was noted that centralized voting in the county is something that could be financially a plus. McCoy said she and other clerks will be meeting with the Secretary of State to discuss ways to make the election process more efficient at a lesser cost. She noted that the paper ballot system is extremely expensive to the county.
CINDY WARD PHOTO
Pictured from left State Representative Randy Frye, Congressman Luke Messer and Governor Mike Pence, stopped by the Dillsboro Civic Center for a rally last week. The three all celebrated victories in their respective races on election night.
WANDA ENGLISH BURNETT PHOTOS
Pictured above left in the front row from left is Republican Chair Ginger Bradford, Shawna Bushhorn, assessor; Jeff Sharp, Republican vice chair; Amber May, deputy auditor; and Amy Copeland, county treasurer as they watched the numbers roll in on election night. The tradition to gather at the courthouse lobby in Versailles to socialize and watch the votes being tallied continues with several candidates and voters coming together to see the results first hand.
Pictured above right, first time politician, Mark Horstman is hugged by his fiance Tiffany Smart after his win. His mother, Karen Kamphaus, was in the background with a big smile watching her son who is just 26 get into politics in the county. Mark's brothers, Matthew, Luke and John, with a host of others helped him campaign.
Versailles family thankful for son's quick reaction
Wanda English Burnett
The Brent Pavey family of Versailles have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving season. Their family is alive and well thanks to the quick actions of an 11-year-old who saved his family from the silent killer, gas.
Noah, who is in the fifth grade at South Ripley Elementary School, was sleeping soundly on the morning of October 21 when about 4:30 a.m. he heard some beeping. "At first I ignored it," he told The Versailles Republican. Then he got his older brother Dustin, 16, out of bed, not a pleasant thing to do on a Sunday morning that early, and they found the source of the beeping – the carbon monoxide detector upstairs.
Marika and Brent were awakened by the children and the family called 911 and got out of the home safely. The boys were already experiencing symptoms of having carbon monoxide poisoning, Marika noted. She said her sons had stomach and headaches from the odorless and tasteless gas that can kill quickly.
"It's a miracle Noah even woke up," his mother said. She quickly added, "God did that."
Just a month before this, the Pavey family decided to have a trial run with the detectors. Actually, Brent said they decided to see how Noah would respond if the detector went off. The detector was set off and Noah stayed where he was, in the bathroom. When Brent checked on him, he grinned and said "I'm in here, I'm okay."
That wasn't the reaction Brent and Marika had hoped for so they sat down with their family and made sure they had a plan and everyone knew what to do.
"That's what I encourage families to do," noted Brent. He wants people to hear their story, and have their own plan in place and practice to make sure everyone knows exactly what needs to be done.
This time of year firefighters always encourage people to have their smoke and carbon monoxide detectors tested. Make sure the batteries are powered up. Also, the Paveys had SIEOC come to their home to do a weatherization check last year. This is when they had a carbon monoxide detector installed since they burn wood.
Brent noted that there was no smoke in the house on Oct. 21. "It wasn't that smoke was filling the house, it was that carbon monoxide was coming in from the chimney," he noted.
When firefighters from the Versailles Volunteer Fire Department arrived, the family said they tested the level of danger from the carbon monoxide. It was three times stronger in the basement where the boys were sleeping than it was upstairs. "We're just so glad we tested him (Noah) on it," Brent noted. "Please teach your kids," he continued.
Brent said he had cleaned the chimney flue, but the gases still built up to cause the situation to become dangerous. "You just never know," he said.
Marika said it isn't the first time Noah has come close to death. She told a story about how when he was only four years old he was playing on a couch at a relative's house. For whatever reason, only God knows, the little boy moved to a chair, and seconds later a van came crashing through the front window of the home. It landed in the exact place where there were little toys left behind by Noah. She calls him her little "miracle boy".
The family attends the Versailles First Baptist Church and say they have a strong faith and definitely believe in miracles. They are thankful for everything that happened prior and Noah to rising to the occasion and all the people who responded afterward.
WANDA ENGLISH BURNETT PHOTO
The Pavey family of Versailles is all smiles as they pose for a photo after their lives were undoubtedly spared thanks to the quick actions of son, Noah, 11, pictured left on the couch holding one of the family's pets, a chihuahua named Prada. Seated next to Noah is his mother Marika and step-father, Brent Pavey, and older brother Dustin. Noah heard the carbon monoxide detector going off and was able to alert his family to safety.
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