The Village of Oblong has five candidates running for three trustee seats.
Incumbents Jay Haines and Dave Hasty are running to retain their seats, while former mayor Keith Waldrop along with Carrie Sablone and Jennifer Coulter have also thrown their hats in the ring. Trustee Debi Wilson has chosen not to run for another term.
All three seats are four-year terms, and the top three vote-getters will be elected.
Dave Hasty, 59, is married to wife, Elaine, and has three grown children. He is retiring this year after 29 years as a social studies and Spanish teacher at Oblong High School.
"I have served on the Village Board for three years," said Hasty. "I originally came on the board to fulfill the term of Joe Campanella, who had moved from the area and will have completed a two-year term of my own. I currently serve as the chairman of the Water/Sewer Committee, but also serve of the Police and Finance Committees."
"My main goal as a Village Trustee is to see the sewer dredging project through until its end. Currently our sewer lagoon is filled nearly to capacity. It functions well, but will need attention soon. Sewer rates unfortunately had to be raised last year in order to secure funds to complete the project that will run somewhere north of $250,000 dollars. With the help of the mayor, other board members, the village works supervisor and outside contractors were are working to qualify for a grant as well. Once the project is completed we should be in good shape for the immediate future." said Hasty.
"Another priority of mine is to keep our police department up to date with good equipment and personnel," said Hasty. "We are fortunate to have a dedicated police chief and have had good part-time officers. The addition of the K-9 officer was a plus for our village that was made possible by partners throughout the village and county. I would like to see us be able to add a full time officer at some time in the future if the budget will allow it."
"A third goal of mine would be to add affordable housing to our citizens and hopefully attract more families to our community in order to keep our schools and businesses vibrant," he said.
Jay Haines, 59, Oblong, is married with two grown children.
Haines currently sets on the board of trustees and would like to renewal of South Range Street. He would like to see the completion of the sewer lagoon project, and has not forgotten about lighting of the TIF district.
He is very proud of the improvements to the downtown area and new businesses.
"I have an interest in the village," said Haines. "I have lived here my whole life and want to give my part. I want to keep the town growing it is a good place to live."
Carrie (Slocum) Sablone, 51, Oblong, is divorced with two boys.
She is originally from Crawford County, however her father was career Air Force, so she wasn't raised here. "My ties and roots to Oblong have always been strong, so in 2007 I moved back here with my boys," said Sablone. "I knew being a single mother, Oblong would be a good place to raise them. I have been very involved with various groups and activities with my boys during their schooling. Now that my youngest is graduating from high school this year, my focus is shifting. I look to be more involved in the community as a whole."
Sablone helped found a national dog rescue organization (Pointer Rescue Organization) and was a board member for many years. She served on the board for the American Pointer Club, a national breed club.
She has served as a committee member and was for a period of time in charge of, Oblong Little League Soccer. She is involved in the class committees for both of her sons during their school days. She was in charge of the OHS Football team meals from 2015 - 2018 (and shared the position when we merged to make OPH Football). Presently she is on the Boy Scout Committee for Oblong Troop 219.
The three top issues for Sablone are public safety, advocating for new business and keeping Oblong a nice place to live.
"I believe we all should feel safe in our neighborhoods and not worry about crime and drugs taking over any aspect of Oblong," said Sablone. "I feel our police led by Chad Pusey do a great job, and with the addition of K9 officer Ruger, it will be even better!"
"By inviting new and keeping businesses here at home, tax dollars remain in the community, and helps keep Oblong viable," she said. "I would be an advocate for our community. Oblong is a great place to live, with great schools."
Why are you the most qualified of the candidates in the race?
"I don't think I am necessarily more qualified than any of the other candidates," said Sablone. "However, I do feel a community is made better by having citizens represented by those who are willing to serve-and that's why I am running."
Jenny Buckley Coulter
Jenny Buckley Coulter, 37, Oblong, is married to Ian Coulter and has two children.
She is a member of the Oblong Jr. Baseball League.
"If given the opportunity, I look forward to serving my community as part of the Village Board," said Coulter.
Keith Waldrop, Oblong, is married to Martha (Kirk) Waldrop and has two grown children.
Waldrop previously served on the village board from 1997 to 2001, under the leadership of Mayor Betty Cunningham. He then served as Mayor of Oblong from 2001 to 2005. During this time the new water tower was realized, along with the weather warning system and stop light at the 4-way stop. The uptown mini park was also build during his time of service.
Waldrop is an active member of the Oblong Community Club and Illinois Oilfield Museum.
"I would like to continue to support Mayor Fielder in town cleanup and see a covered pavilion built next to the uptown mini park to host events," said Waldrop.
He believes his experience and available time make him a qualified candidate for trustee. "I'm retired and have the time to devote to the village, along with my previous experience makes me a qualified candidate," said Waldrop. "Therefore I'm asking for your vote on April 2."