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Pine River-Backus School Board: Two newcomers to join board

Katy Botz1 / 4
Wanda Carlson2 / 4
Leslie Bouchonville 3 / 4
Ryan Trumble4 / 4

After a close race, voters chose two new board members for the Pine River-Backus School Board - Ryan Trumble and Wanda Carlson.

There were four seats open on the board with one incumbent, Richie Bean, not filing for re-election. As a result, a new face on the council was guaranteed. There was no guarantee of a return for one incumbent - Katy Botz, Garny Gaffey or Leslie Bouchonville - after Trumble and Carlson applied for a board seat.

Gaffey was in a tight race against Carlson, which could have turned at any time until votes from the Crosslake and Ideal Township portions of the school district were counted. That solidified Carlson's lead by 17 votes, or .2 percent.

All four seats are four-year terms. Gaffey started on the board of the Independent Backus School District and continued in Pine River with the merger. He earned 1,481 votes.

Botz has been on the board since 2005 and earned the highest number of votes at 1,947.

Bouchonville was first appointed to the board in 2013 following the resignation of John Palmer. She did not file for re-election in 2014 but returned to the board after being elected in the 2016 special election to fill the remainder of Lee Aimers' term after he left the board to continue as a teacher with the district. She won 1,554 votes in Tuesday's election.

Trumble is a local volunteer firefighter, parent to a PR-B student and part of the coaching staff for the community education program. He won 1,772 votes.

Carlson is a parent of three children in the PR-B School District and a long-term resident. She has worked in the district and volunteers with several local associations. She won 1,498 votes.