Animals denied free election!
Omena is going to the dogs.
Nineteen pets — mostly dogs, but some cats and even a pair of horses — are in the running for the title of “mayor” of Omena, a post occupied the past three years by Tucker Joyce. He’s a 10-yearold golden retriever whose term has been pretty laid back.
The election ends Friday, with a community celebration planned on Saturday.
The Omena Historical Society (OHS) is sponsoring the mayoral election as a fundraiser in which supporters vote with money which is “donated” to the organization. The first mayoral election in 2009 raised more than $5,000.
Eligible candidates could be any “living pet” that is a year-round or summer resident of Omena. No carpetbaggers allowed.
“Omena residents consist of those residents whose mailing address is an Omena post office box or who consider themselves residents of ‘Greater Omena,’” the election rules state.
Candidates were required to declare themselves as such by 5 p.m. last Thursday. Then an election information board listing all nominees was placed in front of the Putnam-Cloud Tower house next to the post office. Each dollar contributed to the OHS in the name of a particular candidate will equal one vote. Voting will continue through 5 p.m. Friday with the winning candidate announced at the end of a parade set for 11 a.m. Saturday. The parade will begin on Isthmus Road and ends near the beach on Omena Point Road.
As of presstime Wednesday, Maya, an English setter owned by Annette Deibel, was the frontrunner, according to the tote board in Omena.
Beau Lingaur, a 3-year-old border collie, was a close second. Beau’s favorite food is popcorn; he “loves going for walks” and his naughtiest deed is “peeing in his sister Ava’s dish.”
Beau’s entry form also said he should be mayor because he’s a yearround resident and “knows Omena.”
Endorsements can often make a big difference in election results. To date, it hasn’t given an advantage to Barkley Balas, a West Highland White Terrier “Westie” owned by Judy and Bruce Balas.
Suttons Bay Mayor Larry Mawby has publicly supported Barkley.
“Inter-community cooperation between the villages of Leelanau County has been established by the current Omena mayor Tucker Joyce,” Mawby said. “I feel that Barkley Balas can best continue that important relationship.”
Barkley’s entry election motto is “Barkley Cares” — Affordable Health care for all pets. He pledged to protect Omena from “Terrierists.”
On a more personal note, Barkley’s favorite pastime is “gunless hunting,” and his naughtiest deed is “licking the stripes off a chipmunk.”
Others in the running include:
Daisy, a Welsh corgi owned by Bill and Kay Sulau, who also enjoys chasing squirrels and barking to see if anything answers.
“If elected, I will start a doggie restaurant/ bakery … with happy hour all day.” Water would be served all day through a big dog dish placed by the post office.
The menu at Daisy’s diner would list pastrami sandwiches; all doggie pills would be taken with liver paté.
Brit Walker (aka Midnight Brittany of Maple Grove), a British black lab owned by Scott and Ruth Walker. Brit’s favor food is Pro Plan Plus Chicken and Rice, plus “whatever drops from Mom or Dad’s plate.”
His pet peeve is when the squeaky disappears from his toys.
Other candidates include Shimmer Disch, a golden retriever owned by Les and Debby Disch; Callie and Sweet Tart McKee, Calico cats owned by Harold and Kanda McKee; Tabby and Tess Kemper, cat and dog “running” mates also owned by the McKees; Mika Bradley, a Lhasa Apso belonging to Helen Putnam Bradley; Lily Vanilly Koeze-Bell, a pug/Jack Russell mix owned by Cynthia Koeze and Jerry Bell; and Elizabeth and Eileen Mampe, Shire draft horses owned by Bob and Kris Mampe.
The mares will be in the parade, which will be part of a full itinerary of activities in Omena Saturday that will include a yard sale from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., live auction at 1:30 p.m., and silent auction and games for kids from noon to 2:30 p.m.
Proceeds from the event will support the OHS, whose mission is to gather, preserve and display historical documents, information and artifacts relating to the Omena area and present educational programs and encourage writings of historical interest.
Editor’s note: In the interest of full disclosure, Beau is owned by Enterprise staff members Jeff and Sheila Lingaur. While a “ballot box” was brought to the newspaper office yesterday, no reporters or editors who contributed to this story voted for Beau — at least before publication.
Beau was unhappy, and according to his sister, fully capable of retaliating.