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‘Wooooooooo! Thank you Belleville,’ new mayor Taso Christopher says

By Michelle Poirier [1] and Mo Cranker [2]

BELLEVILLE – Businessman Taso Christopher will be the mayor of Belleville for the next four years.

“Wooooooooo! Thank you Belleville,” Christopher tweeted shortly after the results were released Monday night.

Christopher defeated fellow council incumbent Pat Culhane in what was a neck-and-neck race throughout election night.

With all ballots counted, Christopher had 3,914 votes to Culhane’s 3,753. Richard David Courneyea was third with 2,520.

Culhane said that she has had wonderful support during this race. She wished Taso good luck and said she plans to find another job that has nothing to do with politics.

Former Intelligencer editor Bill Glisky came in fourth. Bringing up the rear were Jill Raycroft, Lonnie Herrington and Kenzo Dozono.

Meanwhile, the winners of the six Ward 1 council positions were Jack Miller, Garnet Thompson, Mike Graham, Egerton Boyce, Mitch Panciuk and Kelly McCaw.

Jackie Denyes and Paul Carr were the winners in Ward 2, which has two seats.

Neil Ellis, Belleville’s mayor for the past eight years, is moving on, running for Liberal Party in the Bay of Quinte riding in the next federal election.

It was a crowded race in this year’s election, with seven people running for mayor: Christopher [3], who has run a sporting-goods store in Belleville for over 35 years; Courneyea [4], who owns a downtown business and previously served on the municipal council of the central Hastings County village of Tweed; Culhane [5], a retired nurse who has served on Belleville’s council since 2006; Donozo, who owns a karate school and was inducted into the Belleville Sports Hall of Fame in 1994; Glisky [6], formerly managing editor at the Belleville Intelligencer; Herrington [7], who operates a local roofing company and ran unsuccessfully for mayor in the last election; and  Raycroft [8], who worked in education for more than 20 years.

The councillor candidates in Ward 1 (Belleville) who were hoping to be re-elected were Thompson, who has been on council for nine years; Miller, who has been on council since 2006; and Boyce, who has been on council since 2003. Newcomers seeking one of the six Ward 1 council seats were Kyte, who has been on the Quinte West council since 2003; Tyler Allsopp, a co-owner of Doug’s Bicycle in Belleville; Richard Black, a salesman; Jeremy T. Davis; Devon Dings; Doug Ellis, a manager in the newspaper-distribution business; Neal Ford, who is in the food-brokerage business; Steven Georgeiou, a realtor; Graham, who is retired from the Belleville Police; Lonnie M.D. Herrington, who owns a roofing company; Ted Howe, who taught kindergarten; Stanley Jones, the chair of Heritage Belleville; Gary Magwood, who is heavily involved in the arts community; Laura Mason, who works at Loyalist College in the information-technology department; McCaw, a business owner; Bob Millard, a professor at Loyalist; Panciuk, the first vice-president of the Belleville Agricultural Society and Quinte Exhibition; Larry Pohjola; and Brandon Charles Ross, who works for a cementing and roofing company.

In Ward 2 (Thurlow), where there are two seats, Denyes, a council member since 2003, was seeking re-election. Also running was Carr, who was on council from 2000 to 2003; Bruce Airhart, the eastern regional manager for Bokke Inc.; Michael Clark, who works at an online radio station; Mike Letwin, who has served on Belleville’s planning advisory committee; Brian Rosebush; Tracy Trumble, a business owner; and Lisa Warriner, the executive director for victim services of Hastings, Prince Edward and Lennox and Addington counties.

The school board trustee (public) candidates for two positions were Peter Erglis, David Patterson, and incumbents Merrill Stewart and Mary Hall. Patterson and Hall were elected.

Tom Dall and Sean Patrick Kelly were acclaimed as trustees for the separate school board.

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