Friday, November 5, 2004

Latonia Lakes perks up

All elective offices filled, leaders busy planning parties, cleanups

By Chris Mayhew
Enquirer staff writer

LATONIA LAKES - Elections don't get heated in the City of Latonia Lakes, a hamlet sandwiched between southernmost Covington and Independence with 325 people and 152 homes.

Number of votes by candidate:
William Robert Dorgan Jr., 44
City Commission (vote for four)
T. Jeannie Salmons, 44
Lisa G. Gregory, 41
Teresa L. Cotton, 40
Merlin "Tommy" Ruth, 7
Regina Ruth, 3
Incorporated in 1953, nobody can remember the last time there was a contested race, said city commissioner Teresa L. Cotton.

This year's election was no different - except for the turnout: Candidates received 40 or more votes, massive by local standards, she said.

In previous years candidates, mostly write-ins, were elected with five votes or fewer.

Cotton said the number of votes cast for the three commissioners was a show of support by the citizenry.

"I think it's fantastic, because we feel the city has been unconnected for a long time," Cotton said.

The city was in danger of being annexed after one of the two city commissioners, the mayor and the city clerk all walked out in 2003 and officially resigned on Dec. 31, Cotton said.

The remaining commissioner, Bonnie Renaker (who received the most votes in 2000 with five) was joined by Cotton and several other residents who stepped forward.

Gov. Ernie Fletcher dispatched state Rep. Tom Kerr, R-Taylor Mill, and officially swore in a mayor and three interim commissioners including Cotton on Jan. 23.

Since then, the city's new government brought back a traditional fall festival in early September that hadn't been held since 1989 and resumed city services that had been neglected, Cotton said.

All three were reelected Tuesday, and a write-in candidate, Merlin "Tommy" Ruth will fill Bonnie Renaker's spot. Renaker will work as the interim city clerk until the position is filled.

"The goal was to get people involved," Cotton said.

Civic events have been revived.

The city had a teen dance in June, a book drive and a rummage sale in May, an Easter egg hunt, a small Halloween trail, and now, a small Christmas party is planned, she said.

"It' a community come back to life," said Terry Renaker, the wife of Bonnie Renaker and mayor of the city in 1989.

A cleanup of the city's lake was organized and roadwork is now being done, he said. Renaker himself even helped put in the electricity and a stage in the city's unnamed park, he said.

"There is a group of people who want stuff done, and it's back like it was," he said.

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