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Palacios, Linde pick up challengers with new filings

Five more candidates filed to run for public office yesterday (Thursday) in the Lower Yakima Valley.

Two of those people will be challenging others who filed earlier this week.

Mary Barrett will challenge Grandview City Councilman Jesse Palacios for position 7 on the Grandview City Council.

Barrett, who has spent the past five years attending nearly every single city council meeting, feels it's now her time to get on the other side and be an active part of the decision making process in Grandview.

"Grandview is the happening place right now with new businesses, industries and a new look," she said. "The residents deserve that."

She said growth in the city has been good without over burdening the taxpayer.

She would like to see some new facilities spring up in Grandview that corresponds with the courses offered at YVCC in Grandview because according to her those opportunities will benefit all Grandview residents.

If elected, Barrett also said she would like to concentrate on creating an alley program, where the residents of the city and the city itself share responsibilities in keeping them clean.

Sunnyside's Leroy Werkhoven will challenge Sandra Linde for director of district 4 of the Sunnyside School District. The school board position is currently held by Steve Carpenter, but he has decided not to run for re-election so he can spend more time with his family.

Werkhoven has 40 years of experience in public school service. He said he's been a teacher, an athletic director, a vice principal, a coach and a principal.

"I'm retiring from a business that I currently co-direct," he said. "I find when one has a purpose things are much more exciting in life."

Werkhoven is retiring from the Northwest Learning & Achievement Group, where Werkhoven and his partner have written more than $50 million in grants that have benefited central Washington schools through programs such as GEAR UP and 21st Century. He said the Sunnyside School District was one of those districts that has benefited from GEAR UP money.

He said he feels he can benefit the school district with his experience.

"Everyone has a responsibility to serve their community," he said. "I would love to have an opportunity to share my experience."

Werkhoven has lived in Sunnyside for the past eight years.

Sunnyside City Councilman Tom Gehlen officially signaled yesterday he will run for re-election. He currently holds the position 7 seat.

"I'm still not done with what we're working on with trying to get more representation from Hispanics," he said, noting that Sunnyside's population is 80 percent Hispanic.

"The city is going through a lot of changes and I think I can help," he added.

Gehlen said he would like to see the downtown area thrive again and make it more attractive for businesses. He also would like to see more soccer fields and other activities for youth and adult leagues.

Gehlen is so far running unopposed. If re-elected, this would be his second term.

Port of Grandview District 1 Commissioner Colleen Byam also filed to run for a third term.

"I really enjoy doing anything I can to promote the city and the port," she said. "We are in tough times right now and we're trying to position ourselves for when the tide turns."

Byam does what she can to promote the land of Grandview and its industrial parks, noting that anything the port does ultimately benefits the city of Grandview with a bigger tax base and jobs.

"It's a great opportunity to serve," she said. "You meet some really great people."

Jim Morford of White Swan also filed to retain his seat as position 1 commissioner for Yakima County Fire District No. 5. He was unable to be reached for comment.

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