By Sheila McLaughlin
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Neighborhood activists apparently blasted three Loveland council incumbents from their seats Tuesday in what many saw as a battle to keep commercial development out of a historic site.
In unofficial final results in Hamilton, Warren and Butler counties, Paul Elliott, Todd Osborne and Katie Showler led the race, with Elliott taking 21 percent of the vote in Hamilton County, where most Loveland residents reside.
Mayor Donna Lajcak trailed with 13 percent of the vote in Hamilton County.
Elliott and Osborne have been key players in a legal battle against the city over last year's rezoning of the 85-acre White Pillars site on Ohio 48, the former home of Loveland's first settler. The group is embroiled in two lawsuits to undo that zoning and force the city to hold a referendum that could halt spot zoning.
Growth, development, finances and other issues were at the heart of several mayoral and council races across suburban Hamilton County.
In Evendale, where redevelopment along Reading Road and the hiring of former Cincinnati Police Officer Stephen Roach are hot topics, residents voted in a new mayor, while only one incumbent hung onto his council seat.
Don Apking staged a victory for the mayor's seat, pulling in 52 percent of the vote to incumbent Douglas Lohmeier's 48 percent.
In a field of seven council candidates, incumbent Councilman Bill Puthoff Jr., former councilman Christian Schaefer and newcomer Carolyn Smiley-Robertson won council seats.
Finances in the shrinking village of less than 900 residents was key in the Arlington Heights mayor's race, where incumbent Joseph Harper led the pack with 54 percent of the final vote, compared to 37 percent for former interim police chief Mark Groteke and 9 percent for retired police chief Chuck Huff.
In unofficial final results, Democrats in Reading lost the mayor's seat with Republican Councilman Robert "Bo" Bemmes taking the lead with 46 percent of the vote in a three-way race with James Perdue Jr., an independent, and James Pfennig, a Democrat and former city councilman.
Republicans also maintained their stronghold on city council, where 16 candidates lined up for eight seats.
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Volunteers swarm polls in last-minute try for votes
Taft's stimulus proposal rejected
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N.Ky. key to victory for Fletcher
ELECTION 2003: HAMILTON COUNTY
Zoo's vote elephant-sized
North Bend votes to remain village
Two of three voters stayed home
Voters consider pace of growth
Activists lead for Loveland council
2 school levies approved
Delhi changes trustee lineup
Williams appears victor in Norwood
Polling places not always par for course
Voters keep school board
ELECTION 2003: OHIO, INDIANA
Crone likely to return to Fairfield school board
Moeller leads Hamilton race
Children Services levy OK'd
Outlook bleak for money for schools, except Lebanon
Outsider, insider win W. Clermont
Clermont County voters return incumbent judges
3 Clermont villages get new mayors
Clermont MRDD vote in dead heat
Clermont voting down growth projects
Early returns show Kings school board may change
New faces join Mason and Lebanon city councils
Speidel advances over Morand in Deerfield Twp. trustee race
Write-in Columbus mayor's only foe
'Yes' to casino
ELECTION 2003: KENTUCKY
Stumbo survives caustic campaign to become AG
Krey remains property valuator
City passes tax on autos
Few problems in state voting
State losses new for Democrats
Ambulance levy voted down in Bromley
State victory by Grayson, 31, gives N. Ky., GOP clout
IN THE TRISTATE
Babies, movies find harmony
Parents push for new ball fields
Roselawn man held on robbery charge
Priest took charity money
Man killed in Avondale parking lot
Restaurant plans hometown feel
Rare disease leaves teen in need of liver transplant
Warren balks at money request
Franklin merger to be studied
Howard: Good Things Happening
Stella Harper worked for civil rights causes
John Wesley Seay began service to church at 9
200 more prison guards not enough, union says
Record high to be just a memory
Bar owners sue to stop smoking ban
Kentucky News Briefs
Kenton go-to guy looks for solutions
Truancy charge in the past