4 trying to win pair of council seats in Warren

Warren Town Council candidates are (from left) Julia Glessner, Ethan Stivers, Tavis Surfus and Michael Yoder (no photo).
Warren Town Council candidates are (from left) Julia Glessner, Ethan Stivers, Tavis Surfus and Michael Yoder (no photo).

Two seats on the Warren Town Council have attracted the interest of four candidates in the municipal election.

Members of this council are not elected on the basis of political affiliation, so all candidates are running as independents. Of those candidates, two are incumbents, Julia Glessner and Ethan Stivers. The other hopefuls are Tavis Surfus and Michael Yoder.

Yoder could not be reached for comment.

The early voting period is underway. For a list of locations that offer early voting, visit the Elections page on www.huntington. in.us/county.

Election Day is Nov. 5.

Julia Glessner
Glessner, 55, has held a seat on the Warren Town Council for 14 years.

“I’m seeking to retain this office to continue working with the town council and clerk-treasurer to keep the Town of Warren moving forward,” she says.

If re-elected, Glessner pledges that she will continue to be fiscally responsible and endeavor to help Warren grow and be a great place to live.

Ethan Stivers
Stivers, 35, has served on the Warren Town Council since 2011.

He is the pastor at Warren Church of Christ. He serves on local boards and volunteers as a coach for Knight Bergman Center sports teams.

Stivers highlights a variety of accomplishments during his time in office. Of those accomplishments, one is the renovation of 11th Street. The council applied for and received a Community Crossings Matching Grant from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) for the project, which paid for all but 20 percent of the work, he says. The original scope of the project did not include a sidewalk, but Stivers states that he pushed for one to be constructed, contending that it would get utilized, as 11th Street connects to major roads in town.

“My family will often bike down this road to go to the Dollar General store,” he says. “I spearheaded an effort to add a sidewalk the entire length of the new road.

“The new sidewalk makes our pedestrians so much safer. It is fulfilling when I see others walking or riding a bike along this sidewalk.”

Another accomplishment, Stivers says, is the attainment of a Prime Certification from OCRA for 40 acres of land near Interstate 69. The council and Huntington County Economic Development worked together to earn that certification, notes Stivers, which signifies that a site is ready for immediate development. At the time the certification was attained, the site was the only one in northeast Indiana to be certified as such, says Stivers.

Ultimately, Golfo di Napoli Dairy built an organic cheese factory at the site. That facility, which also includes a café, opened in August.

“This has had a very positive effect on our community,” says Stivers. “The obvious positive effect is well-compensated jobs. But this has also allowed us to update utility infrastructure. And our assessed value is on the rise!”

An additional accomplishment, says Stivers, is keeping garbage fees down and negotiating better prices for large pieces of equipment that the town needs.

“From my first day in office until my last, I have always been a fiscal conservative,” he says. “I have viewed each purchase and money decision as if it was coming out of my own wallet.”

If re-elected, Stivers says that he would continue to advocate for improving the town’s infrastructure.

“I want to continue to be proactive on big infrastructure projects,” he shares. “When we are not looking ahead, we get behind. I know how to see needs before they arise. Small things noticed early can save our citizens a lot of money later!”

Stivers also pledges that he would continue to be supportive of the town’s employees.

“Encouraging our employees to get advanced training and work together as a team will help Warren succeed for many years to come,” he notes.

Tavis Surfus
Surfus, 43, is a longtime Warren resident with a background in utilities.

He states that he is seeking a seat on the council to offer a new perspective.

“I think it’s time for change,” he says, “the town board needs fresh ideas and you can’t complain if you’re not willing to do something about it.”

If elected, Surfus says that he would make sure the voices of residents and town employees are heard. He adds that he would address the town’s stormwater and sewage backup issues.