Thiensville voters choose change over experience

Incumbents keep seats in other North Shore muni races

April 4, 2012

It was a tough election night for incumbents in Thiensville, with voters selecting two newcomers for vacant seats on the Village Board. Longtime trustee and former village president Don Molyneux got caught on the outside of the vote, missing out on re-election by 11 votes, while newcomers Ken Kucharski and Kim Beck won the vacant seats. Incumbent Toni Ihler finished last.

The vote total, according to unofficial results Tuesday:


Van Mobley 778

Roland Runge 229


Ken Kucharski 639

Kim Beck 427

Don Molyneux (i) 416

Toni Ihler (i) 312

Results are not official until certified by the board of canvassers, which meets after press deadline.

Van Mobley will be village president, beating Roland Runge, a first-time candidate for public office. Current village President Karl Hertz did not seek re-election.

Mobley said he campaigned door-to-door three times over the last few weeks.

"I would like to thank the voters and my family," he said. "Our future is bright in Thiensville and we are going to be moving forward. I am thankful for the trust voters placed in me, and I look forward to working on their behalf."

A professor of history at Concordia University, he is up to speed on local issues because he has been a trustee since 2006.

"The first thing on our agenda will be the selection of a new police chief," he said.

With the retirement of former Chief Richard Preston, the current board has narrowed a field of 40 candidates to two. The new board will meet April 23 and hold a second interview before making a selection. The board will also have to decide what to do with Mobley's seat on the Village Board now that he has been elected village president.

Kucharski, the owner of Skippy's Sport Pub, was the top vote-getter in the trustee race. He attributed his success to the help of his two sons and friends in getting his name out to voters.

Although candidates for the board typically begin attending board meetings during election campaigns, Kucharski did not.

"Like anything, this is a learning process but I will always do my homework, am open-minded and will listen," Kucharski said. "I am all for the growth and success of Thiensville."

Beck, who squeaked by Molyneux with 11 more votes, said he won "the old fashioned way."

"I got out and introduced myself," he said, estimating that he called on 80 percent of the residences in the village during the campaign. "I am honored and a little humbled that enough people thought of me and put me in this position."

He noted the long service of Molyneux.

"Don is such an icon in community," he said. "We have two parks, Village Park and Molyneux Park."

Molyneux whose service included 12 years as village president and 28 years as a trustee, was disappointed but gracious over the results.

"I was disappointed that all the years on the library board, Village Board, civic groups wasn't recognized, but I think a lot of people didn't know about that," he said. "After all the years I spent with the village I hope I did some good work for them."

Molyneux said he would not ask for a recount.

"I'll just retire," he said. "I'll miss it but that's the way it goes. I like to play golf so I will have more time for that, work on the yard and do things around the house."

Ihler could not be reached for comment.

Both the village president and trustees serve three-year terms. The president earns $3,600 and trustees earn $1,800 per year.


In the city's only contested race, Alderwoman Pam Adams won with 491 votes to challenger Nancy Anderson's 401 votes and will continue to represent the 8th District.

The vote total, according to unofficial results Tuesday:

Pam Adams (i) 491

Nancy Anderson 401

Results are not official until certified by the board of canvassers which will meet after press deadline.

Reached at a small election night party at her home, Adams said she is very happy.

"I appreciate the support of the district and will continue to represent their interest in furthering Mequon's future," she said.

Adams has not faced any opposition in 12 years but said she campaigned hard.

"I did a lot of door to door and I find that very inspiring," she said.

Adams, 53, works in the marketing program at CME Resources.

Anderson was out collecting signs following the election but in an email thanked supporters.

I'm grateful to my supporters and the many people who spent countless hours helping me," she wrote. "I worked very hard to keep my campaign positive and honest. I congratulate Pam and wish only the best for her and all of our leaders here in Mequon as they deal with the considerable challenges ahead of us. I would also like to thank the talented and dedicated employees of the city of Mequon, with whom I had the privilege of working."

Voters also returned John Hawkins to the 6th District seat on the council and elected newcomer Andrew Nerbun in the 7th District. Incumbent Dan Gannon did not seek re-election.

Aldermen serve three-year terms and earn $4,800 a year.


The Village Board will remain unchanged, with incumbent Jeff Hanewall retaining his seat and appointee Thad Nation beginning his first full term in office.

The unofficial results, which were reviewed by a Board of Canvassers after press deadline:

Jeff Hanewall (i) 1,859

Thad Nation (i) 1,690

Avi Zarmi 955

Hanewall, 47, will be entering his third term in office. He is a project manager with Engberg Anderson and is married with one child.

"I'm very happy with the election results," Hanewall said. "I take them as an affirmation that the work of the current Village Board is appreciated by most residents, and I hope to continue in this positive direction. We've accomplished a great deal over the past several years and need to keep moving forward."

Hanewall said he remains committed to seeking resolve in the extensive sewer work planned in the years ahead.

"We have the master plan, but I want to make sure it doesn't get derailed," Hanewall said. "I think it should remain our number one focus at the moment."

Other issues Hanewall would like the board to remain focused on in the years ahead include redevelopment of the Pick 'n Save and now-razed Riverbrook Restaurant sites, in addition to seeking resolve on the future of the police station.

Nation, 39, is the owner of Nation Consulting. He is married with four children.

He could not be reached for comment by press deadline.

Shorewood Village Board members serve three-year terms. The village president receives $1,300 annually; all other members earn $1,000 annually.

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