Just over 13% of registered Greene County voters made their voices heard yesterday by sending a mix of returning and new faces to Springfield City Council and the school board.
McClure and council
For the city's mayor, the highest-ranking post on the ballot, voters reelected Ken McClure by a wide margin. McClure, who first was elected mayor in 2017, defeated challenger Marcus Aton with 10,250 votes, or 65.7% of the tally, according to the unofficial election results posted to GreeneCountyMo.gov.
McClure retired in 2015 as Missouri State University’s vice president for administrative services. Aton is a freelance marketer, according to past reporting.
Council's Zone 1 seat went to Halo Massage and Wellness owner Angela Romine, who gathered 1,209 votes, or 54% of the total. Her challenger was Isabelle Jimenez Walker, a real estate broker and owner of Eagle Management & Realty 1 LLC. Romine is slated to succeed Phyllis Ferguson, who chose not to run again.
Matthew Simpson, director of research, strategic planning and grant development at Ozarks Technical Community College, was reelected to council's Zone 4 seat. He secured 3,166 votes, or 51.7%, to defeat challengers Jean Kalapathy and Craig Kauffman.
Heather Hardinger, director of workforce and economic development consulting projects at the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning, is another new face to council after winning her bid for General Seat A on the city's governing body with 41% of the vote. She beat Randy Allen, Alexander Aton and Justin Burnett. Hardinger takes on the seat currently held by Jan Fisk, who did not seek reelection.
For General Seat B, attorney Craig Hosmer picked up 8,805 votes, or 58%, to maintain his seat. Real estate developer Brent Brown and private contractor J. Michael Hasty trailed with 25.5% and 16.6%, respectively.
Greene County voters elected all new candidates to the Springfield Public Schools Board of Education. Voters were asked to choose three candidates to serve three-year terms on the board.
Dr. Maryam Mohammadkhani received the most votes, at 9,374, or 17.6%. Scott Crise picked up 8,470 votes, or 15.9%, and Danielle Kincaid gathered 8,109 votes, or 15.2%.
Mohammadkhani is a pathologist at CoxHealth, Crise is manager of technical services for Associated Electric Cooperative Inc. and Kincaid is the co-founder of The Elder Law Group LLC.
Incumbent Jill Patterson lost her reelection bid. Kelly Byrne, Daniel Ogunyemi and Brandi VanAntwerp also were on the ballot.
On the school board, Mohammadkhani, Crise and Kincaid join Alina Lehnert, Denise Fredrick, Charles Taylor and Shurita Thomas-Tate.
Gerry Lee and Bruce Renner chose not to run again.
Voters in nearby counties yesterday approved mayoral candidates and tax issues.
Mayoral winners included Bradley Alan Jackson, of Ozark; Ashley French, of Strafford; Larry Milton, of Branson; Matt Russell, of Republic; and Samuel Snider, of Willard.
Branson voters also approved the renewal of a tourism tax that generates millions of dollars annually, and a $12.5 million bond issuance for fire station renovations and equipment was passed in Ozark.
Drive-thru coffee shop Bigfoot Coffee Co. LLC opened; a pair of Springfield attorneys launched medical marijuana certification clinic The Med Card Co. LLC; and husband-and-wife owners Ryan and Lesley Day debuted their first business venture with the opening of The Farmhouse on Boone Cafe LLC.
Andrea Petersberg, owner of the Local Bevy, says the appeal of a local store holds a lot of value for people in and outside of Springfield. Petersburg says being a supporting part of the local connection for artists is important for her.
Randy Bacon, professional photographer and humanitarian, shares his story on how he left his job in the corporate world to pursue his dream. Now 60 years old and with signature character to his photography and business, he says he still is a 15-year-old boy with a camera.
Becky Thomas, co-owner of Third Street Sportswear, gives her advice for maintaining good relationships with clients. Drawing on her experience working with customers coast to coast, Thomas says equity and fairness are some of the best ways to build trust and respect.
Don Helms, co-owner of Munchie Moe’s, says it's important to know your business and to think ahead of your supply chain. Helms says COVID-19 has changed the way he has experienced business operation. He says foresight is key.
Janet Susdorf, business consultant and founder of Brain Power for Hire, LLC, discusses the importance of adapting and learning from failure. Drawing from the struggles she has faced in her own life as a sixtime cancer survivor, Susdorf talks about when to fight and when to accept change.
Jennifer Charleston, a 20-year veteran of the Springfield Police Department and the only female lieutenant in the department, talks with SBJ’s Christine Temple about her career in law enforcement and her new position in the department as a liaison to the LGBTQ+ community.
Moving from physical meetings to digital meetings can feel like a barrier, but Mackenzie Scherer, an independent technology business consultant, says it can be an opportunity. Scherer says that with good moderation, a digital meeting experience can make people feel more included in the discussion.
Abby Glenn, development director for Habitat for Humanity, says corporate partners are a huge asset to the work they do. Corporate donation matching programs help individual donors feel they are contributing more and help Habitat for Humanity cover the large costs of their projects.
Alex Neville-Verdugo, museum director at the Discovery Center in Springfield, describes the opportunities the Discovery Center has through partnerships with other educational organizations. Neville-Verdugo says the Discovery Center’s virtual learning program reaches across multiple countries, with traffic mostly coming from the U.S. and Canada.
Elizabeth Hurst, business development manager at HR Advantage, says we do see fewer women in the workforce today than before the pandemic. Hurst says many women want more flexible work environments and that is one way employers can capture the female labor force.