Minturn council candidates1 forum Thursday |

Minturn council candidates1 forum Thursday

Geraldine Haldner

While other small municipalities in the Vail Valley are having trouble filling their elections ballots<Eagle has cancelled its election, and Red Cliff is coming up a candidate short<Minturn voters have the choice of five candidates for four council seats and two candidates for the town1s mayoral position on Tuesday.On Thursday, Minturn can grill the line-up on issues ranging from controlling growth to economic development to what to do with the town1s ailing fire department. The Minturn Candidate Forum is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. in the Town Council1s chambers. Sponsored by the Vail Daily, it will be moderated by the Daily1s assistant managing editor, Randy Wyrick.Six of the town of Minturn Council candidates are incumbents and of those, four have are veterans at serving the Minturn community.Two candidates are vying for votes for the two-year mayoral term. Gordon 3Hawkeye Flaherty, 49, was first elected to the council in 1992. He won again against a past Minturn mayor, Michael Gallagher, in 1998. In the 2000 election Flaherty, a heavy-equipment operator for the town of Vail, ran unopposed.Earle Bidez, who last served on the council from 1994 to 1998, but chose not to run in the 1998 election, is Flaherty1s opponent in the bid for the mayoral seat. Bidez, 46, owns and operates Custom Audio Video Inc.Three incumbents, a newcomer and a past council member who narrowly lost his seat in the 1998 election will square off for four seats on the town1s council. The three highest vote-getters will be appointed to four-year terms; the fourth-highest vote-getter will get to serve until 2004.The three incumbent candidates are Darell Wegert, 52, a self-employed handyman; Bill Burnett, 81, a retired life-long resident of Minturn; and Ernestine Duran, 61, a cashier at Avon1s City Market.Wegert who won a four-year term in 1998, has served on the council since 1982, including two terms as mayor from 1986 to 1990.Bill Burnett first served on the council in 1958. Most recently, he was elected to a four-year term in 1998.Duran, a newcomer in the 2000 election, won by a few votes against incumbent candidate Fred Haslee, and was appointed to a two-year term.Haslee, 49, served four years on the council starting from 1996 to 2000, is giving it another try in this election after being appointed to the council in December following the resignation of Robert Kelly-Goss. A regulations administrator for the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District, Haslee is joined by Jerry Bumgarner, 59, who owns JB1s Barbeque, and is the election1s only newcomer candidate.The winners of the April 2 election will serve with current council members Jim Kleckner and Ron Spohrer, whose four-year terms will expire in 2004.Minturn1s municipal polling station at the Minturn Town Hall will be open April 2 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.Geraldine Haldner covers Vail, Minturn and Red Cliff. She can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext. 602 or at

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