Hayden candidates' forum set

— After many years of sitting in back of the audience during Hayden Town Board meetings, Joe Schminkey wants to take a seat up front with the board.

After serving on several community boards in Hayden, Andrea Hayden feels it is time for her to take a seat on the board as well.

Both Schminkey and Hayden will join trustees Tim Frentress and Chencho Salazar in a candidate forum tonight.

The four candidates are running for three spots on the Town Board in the April 2 municipal election.

The question-and-answer session begins at 7:30 p.m. at Hayden Town Hall.

The town canceled the forum last week because most of the candidates were not able to attend.

Trustees Tim Frentress and Chencho Salazar bring a combined 24 years of service to the Town Board. Salazar served on the board from 1982 to 1992 and earned re-election in 1998. Frentress served a four-year term, took two years off, and then served a second four-year term.

Both Salazar and Frentress said they chose to run again to finish what they started many years ago, such as improvements to the town's aging water plant and construction of Dry Creek Park.

Schminkey, who owns M&J Storage on Walnut Street, said he sees a great deal of apathy among residents. He once felt the same indifference until he decided to raise his own awareness about the town, he said.

"I don't feel it's right to sit around and complain and not be happy with what's going on in our community if you're not willing to stand up and let your voice be heard," Schminkey said.

Any and all action taken by the board directly affects the community, he said.

He said he did not want to run for a trustee position until he felt confident about his own knowledge of the town, he said.

"If a person is going to try to run for this board, they should educate themselves and know what they're talking about," Schminkey said.

Andrea Hayden, who owns Hayden Mercantile with her husband, Bill, said she wants to use her position on the board to learn everything she can about the town and its residents.

"I want to know every street corner, each neighbor, the needs and concerns of each person," Hayden said.

Her experience on the Hayden Planning Commission has taught her, as a public representative, to carefully weigh her decisions.

"It made me realize the vital importance of being sure that the choices we make are appropriate and positive to the community's needs," she said.

Trustees must honor the town's term limits, which require board members to take a two-year break after two four-year terms.

The town's ballot in 1996 gave residents an opportunity to overturn term limits, but voters overwhelmingly voted against the measure.

Mayor Chuck Grobe will run unopposed for the mayoral seat this election.

The mayoral seat, unlike the four-year trustee positions, becomes available every two years.

People who wish to vote absentee must pick up an absentee ballot at Hayden Town Hall by March 29.

"This is a way to encourage more voting, so hopefully more people can come to the polls," said Town Treasurer Lisa Johnston.

Absentee ballots must be received by mail or dropped off at Town Hall by April 2.

The polls will be open at Town Hall on Election Day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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