There are four candidates who have filed to fill two vacant Ostrander City Council seats, each are for four-year terms. They are Erin Brugh, John Schraeder, Vernon Thompson and Heidi Jones. All responded to our questionnaire except Schraeder. Pat Nesler was the only individual to file for the position of mayor, and he did not respond to our questionnaire.

The responses are listed in alphabetical order according to the last names of the candidates.

What has motivated you to file for this office?

Brugh: I wanted to have a voice in the decisions that were being made in the city of Ostrander. I have been attending city council meetings for the last five or six months now and I have many ideas about what is being discussed and would like to have a chance to remedy the situations that arise.

Jones: I'm running for my family and yours. My goal is to establish a better relationship between the public and the city council. I want to increase the methods used to inform the community of issues, concerns and opportunities in Ostrander as well as increase community involvement.

I have been a resident in the city of Ostrander for almost seven years and I feel that it's high time I put my thoughts to good use in regards to the community. I have many friends, my own parents and other relatives that live in Ostrander. I was raised with the belief that families and friends look out for each other's best interests. I want to contribute that same attitude toward the entire community.

Thompson: I have served two terms and have enjoyed being involved with various groups in city government.

Name one characteristic you have that has enabled or would enable you to be a valuable member of this office.

Brugh: I feel that the best characteristic that I have is that I am an attentive listener. I am able to take a question and make sure I understand so that I can come up with a solution that best fits the situation at hand. I am easily approachable and easy to talk to.

Jones: I am confident that with my experience and background including customer service, leadership, legal knowledge and problem solving, I can assist the council in making secure and meaningful improvements for the city of Ostrander.

Thompson: I am interested in making our community a better place to live.

Top priority: If elected, what is your top priority for 2013 and the next four years?

Brugh: Top priority would be to promote the city of Ostrander. Bring the town back to being a landmark that everyone wants to come to. This will bring revenue into the town and will help the businesses to keep the town alive. With UFFDA days starting back up this year and the great outcome we had from that I think we could have more events throughout the year to make the town more intriguing. I also have heard mention about getting a bike trail through Ostrander. I think this would be a great amenity that Ostrander could have not only to bring outsiders in as an attraction but also for the residents that live in the town. I always see people from all ages out and about. It would be nice to have a safe place for everyone to walk, run, or bike.

Jones: One of the suggestions I would propose is to have the agenda for city council board meetings posted on the website and/or printed on the back of our water bills. I understand that the agenda is tentative and may be changed, however I feel this would open the doors to the public more to get additional opinions and ideas for alternate resolutions. I believe spending the additional time to accomplish this would be well worth it to get the community more involved.

We need to involve the younger generations in order to keep the idealism of the neighborly and family-orientated community we have.

I want to create an inexpensive and successful marketing strategy to bring new families, businesses and activities to our community, so we may continue to grow, setting new goals and aspirations for the future.

I also look forward to the opportunity to treat the taxpayer's dollar with as much caution and consideration in spending it as wisely I would my own towards investments within our city.

I'm very passionate about family. I want to encourage the public to get involved and offer their input on changes and opportunities they would like to see within Ostrander that will benefit our families and businesses together.

Thompson: We need to upgrade and keep our fire department in service. Also improving city streets.

Biographical information: Briefly summarize your personal background and qualifications.

Brugh: I grew up in Stewartville and graduated in 2001. I then became employed at Mayo Clinic where I have been for just over 11 years. I started out drawing blood in phlebotomy and I was there for almost 5 years. I am currently working in the Department of Laboratory Medicine in customer service. I have been in my current department for about 6-1/2 years. I moved to Ostrander with my fiancé Jake Volkart in August of 2002 and we are raising our two daughters, Samantha Volkart, 8, and Kimberly Volkart, 3. We have greatly enjoyed the cozy town of Ostrander and coming from Stewartville it was definitely a change to have everyone wave (even when you didn't know who they were).

Jones: My name is Heidi Jones. Many people know me as Heidi Bly. I am a full-time single parent of two teenagers, both of which attend LeRoy-Ostrander High School. I was raised on a farm in rural Spring Valley. My parents are Robert and Marjorie Bly, also of Ostrander, Minn.

I attended LeRoy-Ostrander School from kindergarten through my sophomore year. I transferred to Kingsland my junior and senior year, graduating and obtaining my diploma from there in 1995. I started my career immediately after graduation at IBM. In 2003, I was laid off from an IBM Business Partner and enrolled at Riverland Community College in Austin Minn., to obtain an Associate in Science degree in business management. I attended for two years and to date, I am two classes short of my degree, which I intend to complete in the near future. I was employed at Baudler Law of Spring Valley as a legal assistant previous to my current position at Fillmore County in the Auditor/Treasurer's Office.

I am currently on the PTA Board at the LeRoy-Ostrander School. I also served on the LO Forever committee this past September.

I would be honored to be elected to the city council and I will do my best to represent you and help resolve issues and working to make secure and meaningful improvements for the city of Ostrander.

Thompson: I have lived in Ostrander my entire life. I am presently serving on the following boards: Ostrander Cemetery Association, Prairie View Manor, and Ostrander Lions. I am an active member of Trinity Lutheran Church and have served as a member of their council. Ostrander is important to me.