The April 7 primary election will let voters decide which two candidates for Ely City Council seats 2 and 4 will go on to run in the general election. The Ely Times gave each of the primary candidates the opportunity to write a short biography to let voters know why they are the best. Here they are. 

Marty Westland – seat 2

My name is Marty Westland and I am seeking a second term as your Councilman.  I’d like to meet you all in person, but until then here is my background.  I earned a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from Montana State University, and have worked for Conoco and Halliburton. At DynoJet I designed the dynamometers for NASCAR.  I taught Mechanical Engineering at Montana State, and maintain my Professional Engineering license.  I am a 30 year member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and currently serve on its Locomotive Boiler Committee. I have been a landlord, store owner, farmer, and School Board Trustee. I have started non-profit chapters of SCCA and Crime-Stoppers, and donated land for the Rae Volunteer Fire Department.

Through the years I have learned the importance of people making a difference in their community.  I appreciate the value of conviction and compromise: in politics you have to keep your values even when the opposition paints you as a villain; and sometimes to do the most good for the community you must partner with other organizations.  My belief is that those with the ability to help others must do so for the good of the community – not for personal gain.

I first visited Ely in 1999 while driving to California to visit a sick Aunt.  I was filling up at the R-Place and smelled coal smoke from the railroad.  My first experience as a volunteer was washing locomotive 40 for her first run of the season. She sparkled as she rolled out of the enginehouse to greet a large cheering crowd of admirers.  Over the next five years I visited Ely and volunteered as frequently as I could, moving here permanently in 2006.  I was attracted to Ely by the railroad but moved here because of its climate, rural lifestyle, and most importantly its people.

Kurt Carson – seat 2

My name is Kurt Carson and I am a candidate for seat 2 for the Ely City Council.  I was born in Ely in 1975 and I have lived here for most of my life.   After graduating from High School in 1994, I returned to Ely to work for my family’s construction company. The company was started by my grandfather Dewey Carson in 1969. I have lived and worked in this community for the past 23 years. I am married to my wife of 17 years and we are raising three children together here in Ely.

I have a lot of fond memories and enjoyed being raised in Ely. Now, I want to raise my family here. My family is a big part of why I am running for Ely City Council. It seems to me that Ely was a better place, when I was younger, then it is now. I know that the economic times have changed and that things are not what they used to be. But that doesn’t mean we can’t plan for a future that reinforces our strengths as a community.

I have been a small business owner in Ely. I know how important it is to capitalize on the busy times so you can make it through the slow times.  The City of Ely has always been a strong and resilient place. It is its proud citizens that make this community work.

Now is the time for the City of Ely to adapt to the changing times. We need to develop and take advantage of what we have to offer. The City of Ely needs concrete leadership to develop a path into the future. We need to be proactive and develop a master plan for our community. Let’s look to the future and plan for what we want to happen.

We all need to work together for the good of the community. I want to be part of a City Council that is progressive and is looking ahead. I know we can find common ground. I want to be part of the give and take.

I want to be on a City Council that will work together for the betterment of our community. I want to be part of a City Council that can resolve, not only today’s problems, but can plan for a bright future. To do this, I need your vote. Please vote for Ely’s future, please vote for Kurt Carson.

Dorothy Sundell – seat 2

No biography was received as of press time.

George Chachas – seat 4

I’ve been a resident of Ely for 60 plus years and I operate The Greek/Ely’s local Radio Shack Dealership. I am a Viet Nam Veteran, a member of the Veterans of Foreign War and the American Legion. I worked for Kennecott Copper as a Safety-Security Inspector prior to going into business. I have a B.A. Degree in History with a Minor in Police Science from Weber State University.

Over the years I have served as Mayor  and City Councilman of the City of Ely, member and chairman of the White Pine County Tourism and Recreation Board, and I attend numerous City and County meetings on a regular basis. In many cases I have attended more meetings than the board members combined. I am knowledgeable of the situations and problems we have as a city and county community. It is important in a small community to have an understanding of other governing boards  because it is the taxpayer ultimately that shoulders the burden of support for everything.

I’m concerned about the lack of proper handicap access to the new Aquatic Center.  There is a lack of sidewalk from the Veteran”s Boulevard to the pool.  A person in a wheelchair is forced to use the roadway, which is narrower than the minimum width required by Ely City Code, and this presents an unacceptable hazard.  There is something wrong when the taxpayer pays 7 million for  what was to be a 4 million dollar pool and we can’t get a proper sidewalk!

I’m concerned that the Winter Road project may not have been properly engineered and surveyed.  Paving was done on private property without the knowledge of the owners.   To date nothing has been done on the Parker Avenue project where minimum standards regarding the burying of water and sewer lines were not adhered to by the contractor.  This may lead to freezing and repair or replacement and that does not include the digging up of a newly paved street.   The former Street Supervisor and the former City Engineer as well as the

Contractor know better and should be held accountable.   I’m waiting to see who is going to pay for the mistakes—it will not be the taxpayer if I have any say in the matter.

While attending County Regional Transportation meeting , I reminded the Commission that they needed to address the repaving of Murray Street which I had attempted to do when I was Mayor.  Councilman Bruce Setterstrom grasped that concern along with Councilmen Marty Westland and Sam Hansen.  A plan was formulated to start replacing sewer and water lines in that area that the City budget would allow along with any possible CDBG grants.  Then the RTC would repave that portion of the completed project—a good start!

The City finally has a qualified Clerk and Treasurer thanks to the present City Council, and I would like to contribute my expertise and desire to move our City forward.  Ely is my home and I have and will continue to work for equal opportunity for everyone  and not just a select few.   I’m focused on our future and would appreciate your consideration in the coming election on April 7th 2015.

Sincerely, George Chachas

Jolene Gardner

I was born in Ely, a native of 70 years. I attended Ely Elementary School and White Pine High School; I’m a 4th generation Ely resident. I have three children, Jackie, Dale, and Buddy and a companion, Mel of 30 years. By brother Gale (Al) Gledhill, just retired from the railroad as its Master Mechanic, after a lifetime of service there.

My family came from Italy and England. My mother was Viola Fondi Gledhill and my father was Gale Gledhill. They were part of Kennecott and the Nevada Northern Railway.

I started working for the City of Ely in 1988 and I retired in 2008. My first job was the Meter Maid. I worked at that job for 2 years, getting to know every inch of our downtown, and the merchants and citizens of the community. I was promoted to work in the office. What a great experience. In those 20 years, I have worked with all of our City Clerks, Mayors, City Council members and City Attorneys. With each passing year I would learn so much. That knowledge would stay with me for the next City Council coming in.

In those years we all worked together to make Ely a better place to live. City Hall always had an open door policy. Unfortunately, things have changed around here in the past few years. In 2013 the city council fired our city clerk. Two other employees quit. In the midst of this turmoil I was approached by two city councilmen to come back to work for the City of Ely. Based on my experience with the City, I was able to step in and fulfill this responsibility to train new employees and help the City.

Michael O’Brien

I am Mike O’Brien and I am running for the Ely City Council. I am an energetic 68 year old from Omaha, Nebraska.  After high school I spent 4 exciting years in the US Navy, the high point of which was serving 2 years on river patrol boats in Vietnam.  From the Navy I went back to Nebraska and graduated from University of Nebraska with a degree in eduction.

In 1986 I moved to Las Vegas and went to work for Department of Energy as a buyer, logistics officer, property specialist, hazardous waste specialist, and load master with the Nuclear Emergency Response Team.

My years for the Department of Defense gave me further responsibility and experience in moving people and millions of dollars’ worth of equipment around the world safely.  My career training included FAR Regulation, customs, ethics, accountability and regulations and laws for dealing with state and federal monies.

Having discovered the gem of Ely on a fishing trip, my wife, Judy and I decided to make Ely our home.  In 2006 we started by buying land and property.  2012 we moved here and I retired here in 2014.  I decided to run for Ely City Council to help provide communication among city and county boards.  My job is to take care of the citizens of this community.  I want to bring the past, present and future together.  The people are the most important part of the community; we need to improve our life for our children. Because they are the future I want to help make this city the center point of the state. I have plans to help develop projects that will make us a very special place, not just in the  state, but the region.  You’re the ones the constitution was written for, “Of the people, by the people and for the people.”

The City of Ely has made considerable improvements in the past year or two.  The finances are in good shape, Aultman is much more appealing to travelers, we have the animal control situation in good hands, and we are commencing a recycle program. I want to help keep our city moving forward.