BC Forum

Voters will have the opportunity to decide whether all three incumbent Boyne City Commission officials remain in office—but not before the Boyne Area Chamber of Commerce and the Boyne City Gazette newspaper co-sponsor and host a candidates forum.

Who do you think should run your city government after the Nov. 5 election?

Voters will have the opportunity to decide whether all three incumbent Boyne City Commission officials remain in office—but not before the Boyne Area Chamber of Commerce and the Boyne City Gazette newspaper co-sponsor and host a candidates forum.

“Decisions made by our city commission are critical to those of us who live here, and we think that a candidates forum is a great way for people to educate themselves on who the best candidates are,” said Boyne Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jim Baumann. “They can see for themselves how a candidate thinks on his or her feet, and what their priorities are.

Three seats are open, and Don Ryde is the only challenger to incumbents Boyne City Mayor Ron Grunch, Boyne City Commissioner Laura Sansom, and Boyne City Commissioner and Mayor Pro Tem Delbert “Gene” Towne.

“The candidates forum has always been a good avenue for Boyne City residents to learn about the people wanting to serve and represent them,” said Boyne City Gazette Publisher Chris Faulknor. “It is an excellent way to meet the people who will have a significant impact on your local town and get your questions answered.”
He added, “We will gladly take suggestions for questions, and are happy to get them answered so that the voters can make informed decisions about who they want representing them in city government.”

The forum is scheduled from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Monday Oct. 14, in the Boyne District Library Community Room.

“Each candidate will make a two-minute opening statement and a one-minute closing statement, and answer a variety of questions in between,” Baumann said. “The chamber and the Gazette will develop some questions and we will also solicit questions via Facebook, e-mail (jim@boynechamber.com) and on cards distributed to audience members at the forum.”

The candidates forum will primarily interest registered voters who live in the City of Boyne City, but it is open to any interested citizen who wants to hear what the candidates have to say.

Email your questions to jim@boynechamber.com or drop off your questions at the Chamber or the Gazette offices. They can also submit questions on the Chamber or Gazette Facebook pages.

The candidates forum may be a few days away but the Boyne City Gazette recently contacted each of the four candidates, asked them each the same set of questions, and compiled the following profiles:

Newcomer Don Ryde

• What do you hope to accomplish?

To give a new voice to the Commission from a local business perspective.

• Why should people vote for you?

To have a progressive vision for our community. I have a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Detroit and a B.S. in Management with a Concentration in Finance from Oakland University. I run a very successful business in Boyne City.

• What do you do for a living?

General Manager of Cafe Sante, previously of Red Mesa Grill. Prior I owned 2 Postal Connection businesses for 11 years in Petoskey and Harbor Springs, prepared income taxes, taught accounting and business classes at N.C.M.C. part-time for 3 years and have 38 years restaurant experience in California and Northern Michigan.

• How long have you lived in Boyne City?

Over 12 1/2 years. Grew up in Petoskey.

• Tell us about your family

Married to Mary Palmer, one third owner and corporate chef for Magnum Hospitality. Came from a family of seven. Family has owned Ryde Marine in Ponshewaing on Crooked Lake since 1967.

• What are the biggest issues facing Boyne City?

Growth and expansion of jobs and business with a small town feel in a slow economy. Support Historic and Main Street projects as well as Boyne City Marina development.

Boyne City Mayor Ron Grunch

14 years on the city commission

• What do you hope to accomplish?

To help keep our winning team together to achieve our City Wide Planning Goals.

• Why should people vote for you?

Ron has been on the City Commission fourteen years. He earned bachelor and MBA degrees in business from Pacific Western University. Ron is a veteran, serving four years of active duty and two years reserve in the USAF.

• What do you do for a living?

Ron and his wife Elaine owned, operated, and managed four retail franchises from headquarters in Boyne City. We employed over fifty employees.

• How long have you lived in Boyne City?

He and his wife Elaine have lived, worked and loved Boyne City for forty years.

• Tell us about your family

He was raised on a farm in Charlevoix with eight brothers. Ron graduated from Charlevoix High School.

• What are the biggest issues facing Boyne City?

The first and most important is Job Retention and Job Creation. The biggest issue still facing us is the economy, and to do more with less through strategic planning

BC Commissioner Laura Sansom

Year 4 on the city commission

• What do you hope to accomplish?

I have a passion for preserving and promoting our local history and for protecting our natural environment, especially trees.

• Why should people vote for you?

I attended Western Michigan University, where I earned degrees in both Fine Arts and Education. After graduating from Western, I accepted a teaching position in Vermont. From there, I decided to travel and see the United States. I ended up on the Central Coast of California where I stayed for 10 years. I spent most of my professional life in the areas of graphic design, advertising, and public relations. During that time, I also owned and operated a local artists gallery and was very active in the local business association. Over the years since I’ve been back I have assisted with many local events, have been a Chamber Ambassador, and a member of the original Main Street Board. I also volunteered to do the needed research for Boyne’s Historical Plaques. I currently serve on both the Historical Commission and the City Commission.

• What do you do for a living?

Sansom is a Customer Service Clerk at Glen’s Markets of Boyne City.

• How long have you lived in Boyne City?

I was born in Detroit but I was lucky and I grew up here in Boyne City.

I returned to Northern Michigan in 1992.

• ­What are the biggest issues facing Boyne City?

I encourage everyone who has specific questions, concerns or other issues to please attend the forum on Monday. I hope to see everyone there!

Boyne City Commissioner

Mayor Pro Tem

Delbert “Gene” Towne

2.5 years on the city commission

• What do you hope to accomplish?

I would like to work at keeping the city financially sound and be part of the team that keeps Boyne moving forward—and I think I can do that.

• Why should people vote for you?

I guess I believe I’m a good representative for all the citizens of Boyne City and I think I make good common sense decisions based on their wants and needs.

• What do you do for a living?

I worked a little over 38 years at the East Jordan Iron Works (EJ). When I retired from there I was the quality supervisor.

• How long have you lived in Boyne City?

I was born in Boyne City. I went into the air force for four years and my wife and I lived in East Jordan probably 12 years, so I guess I’ve been in Boyne City probably 30-some years.

• Tell us about your family

I have a wife, and a daughter who lives in Ludington, and two grandkids.

• What are the biggest issues facing Boyne City?

The biggest issue, the one I hear about the most, is the Devlon property. People say it’s an eyesore and ask why it wasn’t developed and what’s going on with it.