Prairie du Sac Village Board candidates want sustainable growth, harnessing natural resources
On April 2, Sauk Prairie area residents will head to the polls to vote for their elected officials.
In the April 2 election for Prairie du Sac Village Board, three seats are up for grabs on the board with four people running. Village board president is also up for election, with current village board president Cheryl Sherman running unopposed for the president seat. Incumbents Nick Lester, Eldor Fruehling and Raymond Bolton are running for reelection for the three at-large spots, while newcomer Abby Howell Dinger is also challenging for one of the three seats.
Sherman, has served on the village board for 29 years, with all but five serving as village board president. She has also served on a variety of other committees through her work with the board, including police commission, library board, and plan commission.
“I have lived here all my life,” Sherman said. “I love the area and its history. I think we have made a difference, really. If you look back at what it was like and how things weren’t getting done, I believe in the village. And I think it shows in the (board) members we have.”
Sherman said she enjoys serving and will continue to do so as long as people believe she is doing a good job, and she feels she has something to contribute.
For 26-year incumbent Eldor Fruehling, serving on the village board has been a “privilege.”
“(Serving) the community has been really good,” Fruehling said. “There has been little opposition so I decided to file papers again. I feel it is important to have representation on the ballot.”
Fruehling said street improvement continues to be a challenge because of the village’s limited ability to levy taxes.
“It is important for the community to continue to improve its facilities and publicity, like our bike trails,” Fruehling said. “We are fortunate to have the medical facilities, educational facilities and many services available to us. Because of that, we are unique in many ways.”
Like Fruehling, Lester said serving on the village board is a privilege, and he would like to continue to serve.
Lester said Prairie du Sac has a unique geography that provides a natural setting that appeal to a broad, cross-section of people.
After working for many years in the telecommunications industry, Lester said experience in management and executive level positions and the 12 years he has served on the village board have helped him in his role as a board member.
“Now I feel a devotion to the community,” Lester said. “I want to see the village continue to prosper.”
Bolton has about two decades of experience serving on the board.
“I joined just after I moved here,” Bolton said. “I felt I could give back to the community.”
Twenty years later, he still believes that.
“There’s not enough people willing to run,” Bolton said. “I just feel this is something I can do to help the community.”
Of concern to Bolton are taxes, snow removal and roads. He says Prairie du Sac’s biggest attributes are its natural ones.
“The river, the eagles … We developed a trail along the former rail corridor so people can enjoy the river,” Bolton said.
Newcomer Abby Howell Dinger is answering the call to serve, and hopes to use the skills she is learning from the Sauk County Institute of Leadership if elected to the board.
“I chose to run for village board because I have been looking for a way to get more involved in the community, and I learned that there is a need for people to run,” Howell Dinger said. “I have a passion for service and community and I see serving on the village board as a great way to fulfill that passion and do something good for the community.”
Howell Dinger said she acknowledges the years of service other board members have, but is hoping to bring diversity to the board with her youth.
“(I) plan to approach village board decisions by listening to citizen’s concerns and asking lots of questions,” she said.
Howell Dinger says she sees opportunities for the village to grow.
“There are many challenges facing Prairie du Sac and I will not pretend to have all the answers to solving them,” Howell Dinger said. “But I favor exploring a variety of creative approaches.”
Some of the challenges she has noticed are with growth, drugs, and conservation.
“The area’s population is rapidly expanding, which is causing living expenses to increase and (is) putting more stress on existing infrastructure,” Howell Dinger said. “We need to find a way to grow in a sustainable way and ensure that long-term residents are not pushed out.”
While Prairie du Sac is not alone in facing the opioid crisis, Howell Dinger said she supports “collaborative efforts” to help combat the crisis and get people appropriate help.
Howell Dinger said the Sauk Prairie area’s natural beauty is why it is such an attractive place to live.
“But we also need to conserve our natural resources to make sure they can be enjoyed by generations to come,” she said. “Everyone I meet here is genuine, nice and caring. I think we can harness this attribute to make Prairie du Sac a wonderful place to live, work and play for years to come.”
Polls in Prairie du Sac are open from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. April 2 at the village hall, 335 Galena St., Prairie du Sac.