Adena kicked off 2014 with a new mayor and two new council members. 22-year-old Justin Dudzik was sworn in as mayor for a two-year term, while councilmen Chip Snider and Jeff Masloski took their oaths at Tuesday's council meeting. Mark Anderson was appointed president of council.
Dudzik, a 2010 graduate of Buckeye Local High School, says he made a quick decision to run for mayor and was somewhat surprised to learn he had been elected, but he's already has plans in store for his term.
"It's a big responsibility I'm taking on, but I'm going to do the best I can," Dudzik said. "I've had a lot of people tell me they'll help me out." His first council meeting went well, and Dudzik remarked that all the council members and treasurer Bobbie Gaffney were accomodating and helpful.
Dudzik says he became interested in national and world politics after 9/11 , but didn't pay too much attention to local politics.
"If somebody had told me three years ago I'd be mayor, I would have laughed at them," he said. He made the decision to run on his own, but says he has received nothing but support from friends and family.
"I knew our old mayor wasn't going to run, and neither was the current one, so I figured I'd give it a shot," Dudzik said.
He's not the only 22-year-old winning local elections. James Cesario, another 2010 graduate of Buckeye Local, was elected to the Buckeye Local Board of Education. In an unusually populated race, Cesario received more votes than any other candidate.
Dudzik says he has already begun to hear comments and concerns from residents while working at his other job. Many Adena residents know him as a delivery driver for Bernosky Pizza, where he has been employed for five years.
On Dudzik's agenda is a goal to re-open the community center, along with finding volunteers to operate the building. Before the center was closed it served as a local hangout for youth. Dudzik has already heard some offers from Adena residents to volunteer, and is considering seeking out early childhood education majors from Ohio University Eastern, where he is currently taking classes.
He's also considering approaching judges in Harrison and Jefferson counties to find people who have been sentenced to community service to help out the village street department. Dudzik is working on improving the vacant properties situation, an "eyesore for the community," and working with police officer Rob Rea to enforce the ordinance regarding garbage. Another priority is working with council to seek out grants to pay for fixing potholes in the village.
Dudzik wished to express gratitude to all those who work to serve the village, and complimented Snook Masloski, Ray Konkoleski, and Bill Marks on the village square decorations they put up for Christmas, comparing the trees to Oglebay's Festival of Lights.
Adena village council meets the second Tuesday of every month at 6:30 p.m.
Warner may be reached at email@example.com.