The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

November 7, 2013

Conneaut school board winners happy to serve

CONNEAUT — Excitement mingled with gratitude expressed the feelings of Conneaut’s two victorious Board of Education members.

First-time candidate Diana DiPofi, a former Conneaut educator and administrator, and veteran member Michael Kennedy won the two seats at stake on Tuesday.

“I am absolutely honored to serve the people of Conneaut,” a thrilled DiPofi said Wednesday morning. “I was hoping to beat one of (two incumbents), To beat both of them is amazing.”

DiPofi collected 1,648 unofficial votes, tops in the race. Kennedy earned 1,618 votes to snag the second seat, while eight-year member Sonny Heinonen fell short with  1,101 votes.

DiPofi said she is ready to go to work and has three immediate priorities she wants to tackle.

“Academics, first of all,” she said. “Second, I want to get more kids to graduate and we also have to make our students more productive and able to compete with their peers across the state and nation.”

Kennedy, already the veteran member of the panel, will add a few more years to his service total.

“I’m glad for the overwhelming support,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of big decisions to make.”

Heinonen declined comment Wednesday.

Voters also picked a new City Council on Tuesday. Joining incumbents Doug Hedrick (Ward 1), Phil Garcia (Ward 2), Thomas Kozesky (Ward 4) and John Roach (at-large) will be a set of fresh faces, including Nicholas Church (president), Deborah Newcomb (Ward 3) and Jon Arcaro (at-large).

Only Roach, Arcaro and Kozesky were involved in contested races.

“I appreciate everybody’s support,” Arcaro, a former city police chief and safety-service director, said Wednesday. “I look forward to serving in a new capacity.”

Arcaro already has his top priority firmly in mind. “I want to restore services that have been cut,” he said.

Roach and Kozesky could not be immediately reached for comment Wednesday.

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