Five candidates running for four seats on the Grayling Charter Township Board

Five candidates are vying for four seats on the Grayling Charter Township Board of Trustees at the Tuesday, August 4 primary election polls.
Incumbent trustees JoAnn Michal, Claudia Selthoffer, and Joseph Smock are running against Brandi M. Ginnever and Shannon Sorenson for four seats on the board, which are four-year terms.
Incumbent township trustee Duane Brooks is not seeking reelection for his position on the board.
Ginnever is a captain and firefighter/EMT with over 15 years experience in the field. She has been a resident of Crawford County for over 30 years. She is a 2000 Grayling High School graduate. She is married to a Michigan Army National Guard Veteran and has five children ages 19, 17, 17, 13, and 12. Currently, she is  a captain with the Frederic Fire Department and is the human resources and record retention officer as well as the head of the logistics and planning section. She is also a Michigan Notary Public. 
Michal has lived in Grayling Charter Township since 1984, but has lived in the community her whole life. Her parents first bought property  in the community in 1932. She has been a member of the Grayling Charter Township board as a trustee for the past 10 years.  
Selthoffer is retired. She and her husband moved to the community from Warren in 1968. Her husband’s family settled in the area in the early 1900s.
Smock is currently a private contractor for the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation in Grayling. After high school, Smock joined the Michigan Army National Guard, and retired in 2016 as a Master Sergeant with over 29 years of service. He was also a full-time Department Of Defense employee for 24 years in Grayling. In the past, he sat on the Crawford County United Way board, coached and sat on the Grayling Little League board, and coached Grayling Redskins football. He is on the board for the Military Wall of Honor, which is located at Grayling High School. 
Sorenson is the assistant vice president-branch manager at Huntington National Bank in Grayling. She was born and raised in Grayling and is a graduate of Grayling High School. She is a graduate of Kirtland Community College and Grand Valley State University with a master’s in communication. For the past 10 years, she has been involved in several projects in the community to help initiate small business viability and economic development. She also has over 30 years of work experience in nonprofit management, fund development, and financial management. In addition, Sorenson  spent six years in the Michigan National Guard stationed at Camp Grayling.
Ginnever said she is running for the trustee position to be more involved in the community and to help with economic development.
“We live in one of the most beautiful places in northern Michigan and there is no other place that I would rather call home,” she said. “I have been wanting to get more involved in our community and be a part in keeping Grayling beautiful and a place people want to come visit while also bringing in needed growth to the community.”      
Michal said she simply wants to continue to serve the residents in the township.
“I want to serve the people who elect me. I listen to what they have to say and want – always,” she said. “They trust me to make the right decision for them and the township that I represent.” 
Selthoffer is running for her second term as a township trustee.
“I want to be actively involved in my community and give something back to improve the place I live,” she said.
Smock, who was appointed to fill a vacancy on the board, said he wants to continue to serve the township.
“I am running for office to continue looking out for the best interest of Grayling Township, its residents, and our plans for the future,” he said.
Sorenson said she wants to give back to the community.
“I am running for a trustee position with the Grayling Charter Township because I feel it is important to give back to the community where I live.  I feel that I have significant work and volunteer experiences that will contribute to the accomplishments and the future feasibility of our township,” she said. “Plus, our community has been good to me and I love living here. Because of this, I feel an obligation to participate.”
Ginnever believes the growth of the community is one of the biggest challenges that the township will be  facing. She said she believes that listening to the residents while taking into account their feelings and ideas of the community as a whole, not just the wants of a few, is vital to ensure the township will get the growth the community needs.    
Michal said it’s important to keep a balanced budget and not to raise taxes. She said providing safe drinking water to  residents and finding funding so it’s no  expense to them is a big issue. She added that having good roads is another big problem, adding that the township tries hard to match projects, but the county is part of the process. Finally, she said the township splits the cost with the City of Grayling for the fire department, and it’s important to keep all residents safe.
Selthoffer said the township needs to encourage growth in the community. She said officials need a solution on the PFAS water issues. She added the need to ensure the township has fire/police protection that is adequate and well funded.
Smock said the township needs to continue working on repaving the roads in Grayling Township in a timely manner and at the lowest cost possible to the residents. He said officials need to focus on continuing to seek new business ventures in Grayling Township and aiding the current businesses with their growth and needs. He added that the township needs to keep working on opening the ORV trails in the county to support local income.
Sorenson said the PFAS water issues, maintaining fiscal responsibility, economic development, and protecting natural resources are the top issues the township board will face.
Ginnever said her skills would help the township move forward as trustee on the board.
“I love this community and I want nothing more for it to be a successful place to live and grow. I am an excellent listener and I want to hear the input from the people, all the people,” Ginnever said. “I am organized and have experience doing planning and research. I am willing to put in as much work as necessary to help build our community up.”
Michal said she will continue to stand up for the township residents.
“I represent the people of Grayling Charter Township,” she said. “I took this job so their voices could be heard and counted. I listen to them.” 
Selthoffer said she wants to continue to represent the tax payers and older adults.
“I represent the older demographic in our township,” she said. “I attend every meeting and always have the best interests of our tax payers in mind.”
Smock said his roots in the community will help the township board with the decisions it makes.
“I feel by living and working in Grayling my whole life I have the knowledge and network needed to make an impact on any Grayling Township issues,” he said.
Sorenson said her skills and involvement with other community initiatives make her the most suitable candidate to be trustee on the township board.
“I believe that I am the best candidate for the Grayling Township Trustee Position because I am dedicated to our community,” she said. “In the past 10 years, I have served on several boards, including the Grayling Regional Chamber of Commerce, Grayling Main Street, and the Downtown Development Authority. Plus, I was part of the initial group, Grayling Revitalization Improvement Project, that was successful in achieving the Grayling Main Street designation, which has brought several economic development opportunities to downtown Grayling. My work experiences include nonprofit management and fund development. Currently, I am in the financial industry actively helping provide monetary solutions to individuals and the small businesses in our community.”
Two candidates vying to be next Grayling Charter Township Clerk as incumbent clerk is retiring after 37 years in office
Two candidates are seeking to succeed the Grayling Charter Township Clerk, who is not seeking reelection after holding the position for nearly four decades.
Incumbent Grayling Township Clerk Monica Ashton is retiring from her position at the end of the year. She has served as the Grayling Township Clerk since 1983. 
Diane Giska and Karen Martella are running as Republican candidates to serve as the next clerk for Grayling Charter Township at the Tuesday, August 4 primary election polls.
Giska is the deputy clerk, office manager, and executive assistant to the zoning administrator for Grayling Charter Township. 
Martella is retired chief deputy clerk for Crawford County.
Giska has been a resident of the community for 27 years, is a previous business owner, and has worked in the public sector in retail, banking, and government.
Martella has lived here since she was 10 years old,  so Grayling means home to her. She went to school and graduated in Grayling. She was married and raised her daughters in the community. She has volunteered on numerous committees as well as fund-raisers for the community and is the current secretary for the AuSable River Canoe Marathon.  She was employed by Crawford County for 24 years.
Giska has served the township for 15 years and is seeking support to serve as the next township clerk.
“I know the ins and outs of the clerk’s duties, so it will be a seamless transition,” she said. “No training required. I am dedicated, credible, responsible, and honest. Every day has been a pleasure and sometimes a challenge serving the residents of our community and I look forward to continuing to do so.”
Martella said she also has the experience to serve as the clerk.
“I’m dedicated to our community,” she said. “I’m hard working and I will bring local government experience to this office.”
Giska said the top issues the township must face include the  PFOA situation and providing residents with safe water. She said the township should continue with road improvements and finding additional financial resources for the projects. Giska also said the township must continue encouraging new business to the area. 
Martella said road construction is an issue the township will continue to face. She added that she will improve online public information for better communication and she would  be available to the public in the office.
Giska said her experience makes her the best suited candidate to serve as the next clerk on issues the township will face.
“I have worked with former and current supervisors on all of these issues,” she said.
Martella said she will bring new energy to the clerk’s office as the township faces issues in the upcoming years.
 “I’ve lived here most of my life and I’ve been very involved in our community,” Martella said. “It’s time for an update in Grayling Charter Township. We need new energy, new ideas, inspiration, and I’m the candidate to bring that to this office.”


Crawford County Avalanche

Mailing Address
Box 490
Grayling, MI 49738

Phone: 989-348-6811
FAX: 989-348-6806

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