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Kingston candidates see bright future

Published: Friday, April 5, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

KINGSTON – Three of trustees who helped Kingston expand its police department, repave roads and update its infrastructure are hoping to finish what they started.

Incumbents John “Jack” Fischer, Robert Ruehl Jr. and Joseph Hengels hope to continue their decade-plus run on the Kingston board of trustees and fend off challenger Barrie Greenwell for the three positions up for election Tuesday.

Ruehl, the longest-tenured of the candidates at 16 years, said he is proud of the improvements the board has made during his time, including expanding the police department from one part-time to two full-time officers.

But he said Kingston can grow if it fosters a closer relationship and more partnerships with Genoa – a relationship he said he can facilitate.

“We share enough services already, so there is no reason we can’t work hand-in-hand to benefit both communities,” Ruehl said.

Greenwell could not be reached for comment. He did respond to the Daily Chronicle’s questions on its Election Central website, on which he said one partnership could come in the form of a bike path that connects both communities to provide safer transportation.

He also targeted improvements to the village’s water system as a top priority – a stance with which all three incumbents agreed.

Hengels said he hopes residents take the power back by taking control of their electricity prices. The 12-year board member said he hopes the second time is the charm for electrical aggregation in the village, which would allow residents to save on their power bills by receiving a bulk price on the open market.

Although the referendum failed once before, Hengels said he believes the village did a better job educating residents about the option and letting them know they can opt out of the alternative price.

“Getting that referendum to pass is huge for me,” Hengels said. “Even if you’re only saving $10 a month, it’s still a win-win.”

Fischer, also a 12-year veteran of the board, said he would focus on expanding business opportunities in Kingston. Because of budget constraints, Fischer said the village is unable to offer incentives, but he believed a partnership with the DeKalb County Economic Development Corp. could help.

He said the village is working with the corporation to develop industrial business on the southwest side.

“We went through a growth spurt a few years ago, and we handled that well,” Fischer said. “Hopefully this partnership can spurt more growth.”

Candidate bios 

Name: Barrie Greenwell

Age: 54

Career: Service technician at Midwest Energy Management

Family: Married

Experience: Challenger

Name: John “Jack” Fischer

Age: 42

Career: Shop foreman at Yes Equipment and Service

Family: Married with two children

Experience: Incumbent, 12 years

Name: Robert Ruehl Jr.

Age: 47

Career: Controller at molding company in Elgin

Family: Married with two kids

Experience: Incumbent, 16 years

Name: Joseph Hengels

Age: 48

Career: HVAC technician 

Family: Married with one son

Experience: Incumbent, 12 years

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