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Darr challenges Childress for Grandview's top elected spot

GRANDVIEW - One believes she can make a positive change while the other feels things are running fine the way they are.

The two people in question, Grandview City Councilwoman Helen Darr and Mayor Norm Childress, currently know a great deal about one another, as they will be facing one another in this fall's election.

Darr has two decades of service on the Grandview Council, but now she would like to add to her resume the role of mayor.

Darr already serves on the Grandview Council in a position that is not up for election this year. Darr will still be serving on the Council, regardless of the outcome of the mayor's election.

"I hope to change the future for the town," said Darr as one of the reasons why she is running for Council.

Darr, now retired, worked for 20 years as an escrow agent for Grandview Investment Company. She has been involved with a number of different groups in the community, including serving on the local fair board and being involved with Cub Scouts and 4-H.

"I don't know of anything I haven't done," said Darr.

One of Darr's personal crowning achievements has been the formation of the Friends of the Library in Grandview. The Friends of the Library opened a branch library at the Carl L. Stevens Senior Center that is open three days per week to help the city's public library, which is already at capacity. In the five years the Friends of the Library has been in existence, the group has secured $3,000 in grants, which have helped purchase computers, furniture and books.

Darr said one of the reasons she is running for mayor is to bring some positive, common sense leadership to the city.

"That is what I am running on," said Darr.

Darr feels strongly about a number of issues, such as the controversial aquatics center. Darr said the community needs to focus on improving the current city pool and not worry about building something as complex as an aquatics center.

Darr said as mayor she would like to have more cohesiveness among Council members while holding the governing body accountable to the community.

Darr said if the people of Grandview want someone who will fight for their issues, then they should vote for her.

"I fight for what I feel is correct and I am not afraid to stand up for an issue," said Darr. "I think the issues through."

Childress's involvement in politics began nearly 14 years ago. At that time, he decided he was going to be involved in making the community where he was raising his family a better place to live. Childress hopes to continue his efforts in coming years, as he seeks re-election to the highest office in Grandview, the seat of mayor, this fall.

Childress, who works as a traffic engineer for Benton County, served as a Council member for 11 years prior to being appointed mayor at the beginning of this year. Prior to serving on Council, Childress was a member of the Grandview Planning Commission for a couple of years.

"I think my time on Council we have done a lot," said Childress.

Some of the successes Childress is proud of while serving on Council include the addition of the Grandview campus of Yakima Valley Community College, remodeling and improvements to the fire station and the addition of the Wal-Mart Distribution Center. Childress also cites the housing construction boom that is taking place in Grandview.

"I think Grandview is heading for some really good times," said Childress.

But, he still has many concerns, such as addressing the fireworks situation on the Fourth of July and the condition of the Grandview pool. But without referring to a specific situation, Childress said he wants to address issues that improve the image of Grandview, instilling community pride. Childress said he feels most all of the issues that come up can be traced back to the matter of community pride.

"I think we have a beautiful, little community," said Childress. "I want to continue to promote a positive image of Grandview."

As mayor, Childress oversees the business of the city, holding a number of different powers.

"I am responsible for the business of the city," said Childress. "I look to the Council for policy decisions."

Childress feels what has been accomplished during his time and involvement with projects on Council speaks for itself.

"I think we are doing a good job at city hall," said Childress. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

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