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Publish Date: 3/25/2006

Firestone board wants more time; challengers want change


FIRESTONE — One thing became clear at the Firestone candidates forum Monday night: The three incumbent trustees and the incumbent mayor are running together to keep the existing Firestone Town Board intact.

But the man challenging the mayor and the woman running for a trustee spot believe it’s time for new blood.

The four incumbents — Mayor Mike Simone and Trustees Charlie Thomas, Butch Walb and Sharon Falcone — asked voters to give the current board another term.

“We work well together,” said Simone, who’s running for re-election against Trent John. “We have our differences like any family, but we work well together. ... There’s no reason to change anything.”

Falcone, Thomas and Walb point out the accomplishments of the town board over the past two years: new businesses, new paved roads paid for with cash, more parks and trails, and a foundation for better growth.

Even trustee candidate Erin McCarty and John don’t argue much about the board’s successes. But John, a former Firestone police officer, believes it’s time for some new blood and different opinions.

“The only individuality on that board is what the mayor says it’s going to be,” John said. “I’ve definitely felt like the Lone Ranger, with a different beat that I’m walking to.”

John believes the board needs to work on communicating better with surrounding municipalities and with the St. Vrain Valley School District, which is struggling with overcrowding and school- funding issues in fast-growing southwest Weld County.

Simone believes John has a personal agenda that won’t fit with the town, which John flatly denies. Simone said neither John nor McCarty has a clear message, except for calling for better communication.

The town communicates with the school district now, Simone said, though the board and district won’t always see eye to eye.

The 30-year-old McCarty, who has a bachelor’s degree in political science, missed the forum and a chance to comment for this article because she’s on vacation in Alaska.

In an earlier interview, McCarty said she doesn’t think the town needs to have the same trustees year after year. She also agrees that the town board could work better with the school district. “But I’m also not the biggest fan of the St. Vrain Valley (school board) myself,” she added.

Mayor candidates

Name: Mike Simone
Age: 52
Occupation: Chiropractor
Personal: Married; one son
Civic experience: Firestone mayor for four years; former member of the Firestone Planning Commission and Firestone Parks and Trials and Committee

Name: Trent John
Age: 34
Occupation: Vice president of manufacturing at Industrial Water Compliance, which makes a water treatment systems for industrial and agriculture industries.
Personal: Married for 14 years, five children ages 10, 8, 4, 2 years and 7 months.
Civic experience: Reserve police officer since 1996 in Adams County and Golden and in Firestone for six months until being named the community liaison for Firestone Police Department; volunteered for Carbon Valley Recreation District; adviser for the Boy Scouts of America; volunteer committee chairman for Carbon Valley Relay for Life

Trustee candidates

Name: Charlie Thomas
Age: 44
Occupation: Engineer: recently worked on demolition of Rocky Flats
Personal: Married for six years
Civic experience: four years on Firestone Town Board, serving as economic development commissioner and streets commissioner; board of directors, Denver Kappa Alpha Psi scholarship foundation since 1998

Name: Erin McCarty
Age: 30
Occupation: Licensed insurance agent assistant
Personal: Married; two children
Civic experience: Publicity chairwoman of Carbon Valley Relay for Life

Name: Sharon Falcone
Age: 61
Personal: Married for 43 years in April; two grown children; four grandchildren; two step-grandchildren.
Civic experience: Firestone Town Board for four years, serving as parks and trails commissioner; former president of United Methodist Women; former trustee of the board for United Methodist Church.

Name: Butch Walb
Age: 62
Occupation: Network engineer for Electronic Data Systems
Personal: Married for 28 years; four grown children; six grandchildren.
Civic experience: Firestone Board of Trustees for 14 years; former volunteer fireman; parent teacher association; former president of the Frederick Booster Club; former assistant leader for Boy Scouts of America; former president of the Tri-Area Ambulance District Board

Douglas Crowl can be reached at 303-684-5253, or by e-mail at dcrowl@times-call.com.

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