Six candidates are now running for the four Aug. 4 primary positions that will ultimately lead to a Nov. 3 election to decide who will fill two Boyne City Commission seats.
Incumbents Tom Neidhamer and Derek Gaylord, along with challengers Leslie Neilson, Gary Mellon, Eric Frykberg and Hugh Conklin filed the appropriate paperwork with Boyne City officials by Tuesday April 21.
“I’m running because I think I have a lot to offer the community,” said Hugh Conklin, former Main Street Program Director. “I understand the community, I know the community and I understand the issues.”
He added, “I think I’m a good team player and I can bring a lot of creativity to problem-solving.”
Conklin is retired but volunteers as a mediator for Northern Community Meditation, as well as working with Challenge Mountain and Unity Hall.
“I think I have a lot to offer but there’s a lot of good interested people who I think have the community’s best interest at heart,” he said…. “I’ve been involved with the community for a long time—we raised our family here and I think I could bring good energy and a cooperative feeling to the situation.”
Conklin said he has no specific agenda coming into the race.
“The respect I have for the community is motivating me to do this,” he said. “And, what the issues are today may be more different than what they are after November’s election.”
Gary Mellon, an optometrist of 37 years, sold his practice and now works in real estate. He also has served on the school board and airport committee.
“I’m willing to learn. There’s a lot that’s going on with the planning commission and things that I need to get up-to-speed on,” Mellon said. “Just because you’re elected, there’s a learning curve I think, for anybody, so I’m willing to put that time in—I’m willing to learn and listen to people.”
Mellon has a wife, and two children who live in Boyne, where he has lived for 41 years.
“My first order of business would be to find out where everybody’s at,” he said… “My first order of business is to be educated.”
Mellon is not running with an agenda because he plans to observe and learn the processes of the commission.
Tom Neidhamer has held his position as city commissioner for three-and-a-half years, and he said he wants to continue as commissioner because of the improvements made during his time as commissioner.
Neidhamer listed numerous accomplishments he and the commission have made over the last few years: the shopping dock, additions to police, ambulance and fire vehicles, the Trail Town designation, and non-motorized trail efforts in addition to the new dog park.
“I think we have a very successful community,” Neidhamer said. “I want to continue taking Boyne City in a progressive direction.”
He added, “I have the time and passion to make Boyne City a better place.”
A retired teacher and coach, Neidhamer currently serves on the committee for the Boyne Valley trail-way as well as the Boyne City Planning Commission.
“I think my experience over the past four years and my communication skills, through being a teacher, have made me a good communicator,” he said. “My leadership skills help me do better as a commissioner.”
Eric Frykberg, owner of the Boyne Avenue Greenhouse, is also in this race.
And, after living in Boyne for 31 years, he believes he has the city’s best interests at heart.
Frykberg’s father used to be the city manager, and feels he has seen a lot of the inner workings of politics in Boyne.
“I want to make a difference in this town,” he said. “I love this town, have lived here my whole life, and think it’s time to get some younger blood in there.”
Frykberg said his family is supportive of his candidacy.
“I’m young, not afraid, and know how to voice my opinion,” he said…. “I want to show that young minds can make a difference, and people who set their minds to something can make a difference.”
Frykberg will listen to the public’s opinions and will address all issues presented to him if he is elected as commissioner.
Neilson and Gaylord did not reply by press time but stories covering their respective election bids are expected in the next edition of the Boyne City Gazette.