Three Seek Open P-S Water Board Spot

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Barring any last minute water users throwing their hat into the ring, the Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District Board will have three candidates from which to select a replacement for Terry Schleizer who resigned Feb. 18.

The board is expected to select the new member during a 7 p.m., March 17 meeting that was originally scheduled for Sept. 20, but later moved to tomorrow, Wednesday.

PSWID board president Bill Haney said the meeting date was changed because of scheduling conflicts and confirmed “we would like to select a new member at that time.”

Candidates to replace Schleizer include Sam Schwalm, Howard Matthews and Gary Lovetro.

When Schleizer resigned, she surprisingly recommended she be replaced by Schwalm, a longtime board critic who has not been shy about lambasting board members on many of their decision.

His selection to the board would certainly throw a monkey wrench into what has appeared to be a cohesive group since the spring of 2008 when four members, including Schleizer, were seated after a successful recall election.

In an e-mail to Haney, Schwalm said he would like to be considered for the board position because “I am well versed in the water issues facing this community and would provide an engineer’s attention to details and problem solving.”

Schwalm also detailed in his e-mail what some of his priorities would be should he be chosen.

They included acquiring the Strawberry Hollow Well and stopping the district’s efforts to acquire the Milk Ranch Well.

Howard Matthews is a former charter member and past president of the board who several times drew the ire of Brooke Utilities President Bob Hardcastle when he operated the then struggling Pine and Strawberry Water companies.

PSWID purchased the two small water companies on Sept. 30, 2009 after a long and continuous legal battle with Hardcastle.

Matthews, who is retired and has lived in Pine for 19 years, says the two biggest issues the board now faces is “finding an adequate supply of water and upgrading the delivery system” which many water users argue fell into disrepair under Hardcastle’s ownership.

Lovetro, was not available for comment at press time, but he is a longtime Pine area businessman who formerly owned and operated the Rimside Grill.

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