Walkersville Election

Walkersville resident Robert Gross places his election ballot in the ballot box Monday evening during the town election for burgess and commissioners.

The makeup of Walkersville’s town leadership won’t change much after Monday’s election: Voters picked Chad Weddle again for burgess and elected four of the five incumbents competing for a spot as town commissioners.

Commissioners Michael Bailey, Mary Ann Brodie-Ennis, Tom Gilbert and Michael McNiesh all won reelection Monday, while John Zimmerman lost his seat after serving one term. Gary Baker will be returning to the town’s commission after previously serving from 2012 to 2018.

Weddle, who ran unopposed, won 407 votes in Monday’s election. He was first elected in 2015.

A total of 490 residents cast a ballot in this year’s election, representing a little over 10 percent of the town’s 4,814 registered voters. In the election three years ago, 672 people voted, up from 373 people in 2015.

Bailey, a project manager for the Department of Homeland Security, earned the most votes of the eight candidates running for a spot on the commission, with 333 ballots cast in his favor.

Next came Brodie-Ennis with 314 votes, then McNiesh with 286 and Gilbert with 268.

Baker narrowly beat Zimmerman out, earning 210 votes to his 192. Meanwhile, challenger Winch earned 184, and Bob Yoder had 164.

Earlier in the day Monday, candidates leaned back in folding chairs underneath tents set up in the parking lot outside of Town Hall. As the sun streamed down from a bright blue sky, they chatted with voters and — frequently — their competitors.

Clara Winch, the wife of candidate Russell Winch and an accountant in Walkersville, laughed as she recounted how a volunteer had asked her earlier that afternoon whether the town needed to keep people handy in case “fisticuffs” broke out among the candidates.

“He was teasing, but we’re all good-natured,” she said with a smile. “It’s a very cordial atmosphere.”

Residential growth in the town was top of mind for many residents who came out to vote Monday afternoon.

Cliff Quicksell, president of the Glade Valley Homeowners Association, referenced a scene from “Jurassic Park” to explain his perspective on the issue. In the movie, Jeff Goldblum’s character, Dr. Ian Malcolm, quips that the park’s scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could bring dinosaurs back to life, “they didn’t stop to think if they should.” The same could be said for some of the development that’s been happening in Walkersville, Quicksell remarked.

“I just see things just randomly growing up,” he said. “Nothing happens with the infrastructure, but we just build, build, build. It almost appears that you have to have 65 accidents and three people die before they do anything.”

He’s been living in Walkersville since 1999, and he worries the town is losing the “personal, hometown feel” it had when he first moved there. “I get it,” he added. “It’s expansion, it’s growth, it’s what we need, etc., etc. But it just makes me want to move to Montana.”

Samuel and Barbara Daniel, who called themselves “consistent voters,” recalled how there used to be only two traffic lights when they moved to Walkersville 33 years ago. Now, there has to be more than 10. And traffic is frequently backed up on Md. 26 to Woodsboro, Barbara said. They, too, said they want the infrastructure to keep up with growth.

Still, Samuel said the commission has done a “respectable” job during the past three years, especially considering the challenges the town faced during the pandemic.

“Some towns have suffered,” he said. “Any time you can run a city or a government entity and maintain a respectable balance, something must be done right.”

Jenni Gilroy also raised concerns about development in Walkersville. She’s president of the PTSA at Walkersville Middle School, where she has a 7th grader. Although that school and the elementary school aren’t overcrowded, Walkersville High School is, Gilroy said. That’s where her other child attends 10th grade.

“Walkersville is a really great small town,” she said. “Some growth is necessary, but I think we need the infrastructure to support it. And I think that’s going to be something that the town’s gonna have to focus on.”

The commission has done a great job over the past three years, she said. She appreciated its efforts to expand communication and bolster transparency between the town administration and residents. She’s looking forward to these efforts continuing over the next three years.

Gilroy added that she always votes in the town elections.

“You can’t complain if you don’t vote,” she said with a laugh. “Being in the PTSA, it’s the same thing — you can’t complain if you don’t volunteer.”

Follow Angela Roberts on Twitter: @24_angier

(3) comments

phydeaux994

A huge housing development going up next to the High/Elementary school complex, Rutters lit up 24/7/365 mini-truck stop right next to the existing Liberty station, and a new multi-pump 7-11 convenience store directly across 194 from Sheetz, a Dollar General store being built across from the Liberty Station on a piece of land about the size of my back yard and rumors of a Dunkin Donuts right next to that with the Safeway shopping center across 194 with empty storefronts. I’m used to it, I’ve seen it happen in every Maryland County I’ve lived in over my 81 years. But I bet that Walkersville has more gas pumps per capita than any town in the World.

Plumbum

Walkersville needs Lenny Thompson back

gabrielshorn2013

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