Tight race results in new reeve

As elections go, they don’t get much closer than this one.
The race for reeve of the Township of La Vallee ultimately came down to a recount late Monday night and resulted in Emily Watson defeating incumbent Ken McKinnon.
The margin of victory? Six votes (145-139).
“I knew it would be close, but not this close,” said Watson, who is no stranger to municipal politics. She served on La Vallee council for nine years and lost the race for reeve in the last election in 2000.
“I think people just wanted a change and that’s healthy,” she remarked.
Watson said she has some projects in mind for consideration by the new council, but wanted time to consolidate things before making any statements. She did say, however, that improving roads in the township is a serious priority.
In the meantime, Watson will continue in her capacity as chair of the Rainy River District Social Services Advisory Board and does not feel it will interfere with her job as reeve.
“This is a small community, not like Fort Frances, where being the mayor is a full-time job,” she noted. “I don’t see that as being an issue.
“After all, both John [Milling] and Tom Morrish are retired farmers and they were both defeated, so I don’t think the public is concerned, either,” she reasoned.
Reeve McKinnon, meanwhile, said he intends to make the most of his full-time retirement after three terms as reeve and one other on council.
“Hey, now I can get my life back and I can spend time spoiling my grandchildren,” he joked.
“Seriously, I wish the new council well. It’s not an easy job. Your family has to make a lot of sacrifices,” he noted. “It will be nice to have a break.”
The new La Vallee council will feature Len McCormick, who led all candidates with 168 votes, Jim Belluz (166), Freeda Carmody (158), and Dale Stamarski (131).
Rounding out the candidates for council were Morrish (126), Rod Storey (123), and Rick Seidel (116).
Further west in Rainy River, Glen Armstrong was elected mayor easily Monday over Gord Armstrong, winning by a 271-149 margin.
Meanwhile, four incumbents were re-elected to council there, including Brent Anderson (285 votes), Larry Armstrong (249), Gerry Marchuk (218), and Dennis Ewald (208).
There’ll be joined by newcomers Ed Tymkin (267) and Debbie Ewald (227).
Rounding out the field of council candidates were Dean Wiersema (164), Dave Armstrong (151), Gordon Prost (145), and incumbent Lance Lindal (104).
In Lake of the Woods Township, incumbent Val Pizey was re-elected mayor over challenger (and former councillor) Ken Pentney, winning by a margin of 218-188.
On council there, incumbents Bill Lundgren (147) and Alf Gate (130) were re-elected in Ward 1, with Nancy Gate (125) being the runner-up.
In Ward 2, Colleen Fadden (98) and Ernest McCormack (78) were the winners, beating out incumbent JoAnn Moen (68) and Rockford Moen (48).
In Dawson Township, John Amundsen was acclaimed reeve, but there was an election for the five-seat council there.
Newcomer Archie Wiersema led the candidates (155 votes), followed by incumbents Linda Armstrong (143), John Sanderson (142), and Alphonse Langlais (136).
The runner-up was Eric Westover (47).
Just 198 of the 783 eligible voters cast ballots (25.3 percent). Township clerk Pat Giles said the low turnout was mainly due to the fact that many of the eligible voters are non-residents and lived too far away to vote.
And in Atikokan, Mayor Dennis Brown easily won re-election Monday with 927 votes, beating challengers William Bell (387) and Robert Davidson (276).
The new Atikokan council will feature Marlene Davidson (1,010), Marj Lambkin (1,177), Mary Makarenko (1,167), David Maynard (1,209), and Charles Viddal (1,172).
No elections were needed in Emo, Chapple, and Morley on Monday as the slates were filled by acclamation.
In Emo, Reeve Russ Fortier is back for another three-year term along with incumbents Ken Fisher, Gary Judson, Geoff Pearce, and Harri Sheloff on council.
Similarly in Chapple, Reeve William Clink will serve another term, with Couns. Mark Hyatt (Ward 1), Rilla Race (Ward 2), Peter Van Heyst (Ward 3), and rick Neilson (Ward 4) also returning.
And in Morley, Gary Gamsby was acclaimed as reeve, as were incumbents Ken Haw, George Heyens, Gary Jolicouer, and Bill Romyn for council there.
(Editor’s note: Rainy River Record editor Ken Johnston contributed to this report).