Election primer: Who's on Lake County ballots
The Nov. 6 election is about one month away, campaign signs are up and early voting started Sept. 21 in Lake County.
Residents can request, receive and cast an absentee ballot until Election Day from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday at the County Auditor's Office in the Lake County Courthouse in Two Harbors.
Residents may also apply for an absentee ballot online or download an application on the Lake County Auditor's website, co.lake.mn.us/departments/auditor.php.
According to the Minnesota Secretary of State's website, absentee ballots must be received on or before Nov. 6 or returned in-person to the Lake County Auditor's Office by 3 p.m. Election Day.
The following is a comprehensive list of races and candidates on Lake County ballots Nov. 6.
Lake County Commissioner District 1
Joseph Baltich: Baltich is the owner and operator of North Wind Lodge near Jasper Lake. He previously served as mayor of Ely and was on the Ely City Council until 1994.
He said he decided to run because the Lake County Board of Commissioners doesn't represent the northern part of the county very well, particularly Fall Lake Township, where the county's broadband network remains unfinished.
He says the property taxes on his Fall Lake resort are too high. He hopes to encourage the construction of a methanol plant in Lake County, which he believes will provide another outlet for loggers to sell wood pulp when Duluth paper mills are not making purchases.
Baltich is an advocate for mining exploration in the northern part of Lake County. He claims his closed Facebook group, "Fight for Mining Minnesota," used a "Twitter bomb" to influence President Donald Trump's decision to reopen the area for exploration.
Peter Walsh: Walsh lives in Crystal Bay Township and is seeking his second term as a county commissioner. He works in Lutsen.
Walsh said the board's top achievement over his first term was the construction of the broadband project, Lake Connections. Although the final 2 percent of the network was unfinished, particularly in Fall Lake Township, businesses have been able to stay in and even come to Lake County as a result, he said.
Lake County Commissioner District 4
Jeremy Hurd: Hurd, a Two Harbors native, was first elected the county board in 2014. He is a partner at the law firm Ordman, Nord & Hurd in Duluth.
Lake County Auditor
Linda Libal: Libal is seeking her second term as Lake County Auditor. A Two Harbors native, she previously worked as an accountant for the Lake County Highway Department for 22 years.
Lake County Attorney
Russ Conrow: Conrow was appointed as Lake County attorney in April 2017 following the retirement of Laura Auron. Conrow served as county attorney for two terms from 2002-10.
Lake County Sheriff
Carey Johnson: Johnson is seeking his fourth term as Lake County sheriff. He is a Two Harbors native and has worked in law enforcement for 32 years, including 22 in the Lake County Sheriff's Office.
Lake County Recorder
Lori Eckstrom: Ekstrom is seeking re-election as Lake County recorder after being appointed in 2016 upon the retirement of Erica Koski.
Silver Bay City Council Mayor
Scott Johnson: Johnson moved to Silver Bay in 1979 and retired from a job as a probation officer in Lake and Cook counties in 2013. He was elected as mayor in 2014 and has served in city government off and on since 1987.
Johnson said the top accomplishments over his past term as getting state bond funding for the construction of Black Beach Municipal Campground and keeping the budget constant while still completing needed maintenance and upgrades.
His top priority for the coming term would be the retirements of four to five department heads in the city and hiring replacements, which could set the course of the city for the "next 20 years."
Steve Jones: Jones moved to Silver Bay in 2016. He is retired, but was previously chief executive officer of LaCalhene, a sheet metal company in Rush City, Minn.
The News-Chronicle was not able to reach Jones before press time.
Silver Bay City Council At-Large (vote for 2)
Richard DeRosier: DeRosier, a Silver Bay native, works as an investigator for the Lake County Sheriff's Office and is assigned to the Lake Superior Drug and Violent Crime and Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms and Tobacco task forces.
Seeking his second-consecutive term as city councilor, he cited the state bond funding the city received for the construction of Black Beach Municipal Campground as one of the top accomplishments of the council during his previous term. He wants to continue to make Silver Bay a more attractive place for tourism on the North Shore and hopes to prioritize alternative ways to generate revenue for city infrastructure projects.
Shane Hoff: Hoff is seeking his second term as a Silver Bay city councilor and works as an account manager for BASF, according to the Silver Bay website.
Hoff did not respond to the News-Chronicle's request for more information.
Carol Youngberg: Youngberg has lived in Silver Bay more than 60 years, is recently retired from North Shore Federal Credit Union and previously served on the Lake Superior School District Board for 12 years.
Youngberg said she decided to run because there are "issues with the communication and decision-making process" with the current council, citing a situation where her husband was not allowed to speak at a meeting in 2017.
She said the biggest issue facing Silver Bay is the "lack of enforcement and citizens neglect" of city ordinances, specifically parking and blight enforcement.
Two Harbors City Council At-Large
Zach Anderson: A Two Harbors native, Anderson is the food and beverage manager at Lakeview National Golf Course in Two Harbors.
He said he is concerned about the current council potentially favoring the interests of businesses over those of individuals.
Anderson believes the city's top priority should be getting the road sidewalk projects done in a timely manner.
Jackie Rennwald: Rennwald moved to Two Harbors 17 years ago and is a literature teacher at Two Harbors High School. She has been attending City Council meetings for the past two years in preparation for her bid.
She said her priorities for the near future are continuing the city's capital improvement plan and updating the city's wastewater treatment facility.
Two Harbors Ward 1
Uriah Hefter: Hefter moved to Two Harbors in 2011 and works as the corporate chef for the Vanilla Bean Group, which has restaurants in Two Harbors and Duluth.
He began attending City Council meetings about two years ago. He believes that through the experience, he has the knowledge and skills to make a difference in the community.
Hefter believes the city needs to focus on fiscal responsibility with some of its business ventures and look inward for solutions instead of contracting out work.
Miles Woodruff: Woodruff, who is finishing his first term as a councilor and grew up in Two Harbors, works for Superior Fuel Co., refueling boats and trains on the Two Harbors docks.
Woodruff cites the implementation of the city's capital improvement plan (CIP) and the recent $1.5 million grant to update the Two Harbors lift station as the top accomplishments of the council in his first term.
He hopes the city can continue the CIP over the next four years as well as begin to redevelop the Two Harbors waterfront to make it more attractive and usable for residents and tourists.
Two Harbors Ward 2
Benjamin Redden: Redden is seeking his first term on the Two Harbors City Council. He was recently appointed to fill the remainder of the current Ward 2 term following the recent resignation of Frank McQuade.
Beaver Bay City Mayor
Nancy Krull: Krull is a current city council member, appointed to the position in January.
Beaver Bay City Council (vote for two)
David "Buddy" Kindstrand: Kindstrand has lived in Beaver Bay for nine years and previously ran for City Council in 2014.
Barb Sterett: Sterett is an incumbent on the council, last elected in 2014.
Crystal Bay Township Seat B
Karl Klinker: The News-Chronicle was unable to reach Klinker before press time.
Crystal Bay Township Seat C
Paul Hartshorn: Hartshorn is the incumbent. He is a retired millwright and has lived in Finland since he finished service in the U.S. Navy in 1975.
Crystal Bay Township Treasurer
Lisa Abazs: Abazs, the incumbent treasurer, is co-owner of Round River Farms in Finland.
Beaver Bay Township Treasurer
Heidi Ellefson: Ellefson is a native of Beaver Bay Township and has served as treasurer since 2010. She was previously elected as township clerk.
Lake Superior School Board District 1
Steve Van House: Van House is a Silver Bay native and owns Van House Construction. He previously served on the Lake Superior School Board from 1990-2002.
Lake Superior School Board District 2
Paul Borg: Borg worked as the business manager for Roseville School District for 27 years. He was appointed to the School Board in 2012 and won re-election in 2014.
Borg said he is proud of the fact the School Board has kept the district on solid financial footing, while still providing a "good all-around education" for students.
In the future, Borg hopes to continue the "balancing act" between keeping district finances in order while providing robust educational experiences.
Adelia Kindstrand: Kindstrand graduated from William Kelley High School in 2004 and is pursuing a license in social work, previously interning at North Shore Area Partners in Silver Bay.
She decided to run for the School Board after the proposed budget cuts for the 2018-19 school year threatened to impact her family and community.
If elected, she hopes to prioritize transparency in the budget process, working with district parents to include their satisfaction as part of the program evaluation process.
Tracy Tiboni: Tiboni is a North Shore native and works at North Shore Federal Credit Union in Silver Bay. She was previously elected as clerk of Beaver Bay Township.
She said she decided to run because she believes she is ready to provide the high level of commitment to represent District 2 voters and students. Tiboni's top priority if elected will be to provide quality educational experiences and opportunities for students with the best teachers, staff and facilities available for the district.
Lake Superior School Board District 5
Tom Burns: Burns grew up in Minneapolis, but moved to Two Harbors nearly 30 years ago. He was appointed to the School Board in 2007 and is seeking his third full term.
Lake County polling places
Beaver Bay Community Center
711 McDonald Ave., Beaver Bay
Precincts: Beaver Bay Township, City of Beaver Bay
Fall Lake Town Hall
393 Kawishiwi Trail, Ely
Precinct: Fall Lake Township
Silver Creek Town Hall
1891 Town Rd., Two Harbors
Precinct: Silver Creek Township
Isabella Community Club Building
9521 Lankinen Rd., Isabella
Precinct: Stony River Township
Silver Bay ReUnion Hall
97 Outer Drive, Silver Bay
Precinct: City of Silver Bay
Two Harbors Community Center
417 South Ave., Two Harbors
Precinct: City of Two Harbors
Little Marais Community Center
6470 Minnesota Highway 61, Silver Bay
Precinct: Unorganized Territory No. 1
Knife River Recreation Building
199 Alger Smith Rd., Knife River
Precinct: Unorganized Territory No. 2, Precinct 1
Larsmont Community Center
701 Larsmont Rd., Two Harbors
Precinct: Unorganized Territory No. 2, Precinct 2
Two Harbors High School
1640 County Road 2, Two Harbors
Precincts: Unorganized Territory No. 2, Precincts 3, 4
Lake County Auditor's Office
601 Third Ave., Two Harbors
Mail ballot precincts: Crystal Bay Township, Unorganized Territory No. 2, Precinct 5
Mailers causing confusion
During the Lake County Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday, Oct. 2, in Two Harbors, County Auditor Linda Libal told commissioners her office had been receiving calls from residents confused by mailers from nonpartisan groups, like the Washington-based Center for Voter Information, offering to help them apply for an absentee ballot by including an absentee ballot and a self-addressed stamped envelope that would go back to the County Auditor's Office.
Libal stressed that the Lake County Auditor's Office did not mail the applications and the office does not send unsolicited mailers to voters.
However, if the mailer is returned, residents will receive an absentee ballot in the mail.