By Mason W. Canales
Killeen Daily Herald
NOLANVILLE – Red, white and blue signs litter the green, empty lot next to the Nolanville Roadhouse Cafe. The names of candidates running in the city election are prominent on the signs.
Similar signs are scattered along Avenue H. In certain neighborhoods, signs appear in about every fourth or fifth house.
The municipal elections are well under way for the city, which had an estimated population of 2,650 in 2006. Tuesday is the last day for early voting in Nolanville, and election day is May 10.
Residents going to the polls have plenty of choices.
Two candidates are running for mayor: Carolyn Sterling, the current mayor, and James Cox Sr.
Five candidates are running for two full-term, at-large seats on the City Council: Wayne Hamilton, who is currently serving a year of a former councilman's term; Emma C. McCullough, current mayor pro tem; James W. Tibbetts Jr., Skip Matthews and Monica L. Shults.
Two candidates are seeking to serve the remaining year of a former councilman's term: Donnie Rolhoff and Clifford Tibbetts.
By Thursday, about 60 residents had taken advantage of early voting, and many more were planning on doing that, including Pete and Nora Salazar.
The Salazars are three-year residents of Nolanville. As former election judges for other cities in Bell County, they both believe voting is one of the most important things they can do.
"I have been an election judge in Belton, Killeen, Harker Heights and Temple," Pete said Thursday afternoon. "Tomorrow, we are going to take our vote in the city elections. ... It is very important. You get to voice your opinion, and that is where it all counts."
Like many residents of Nolanville, the Salazars want the council to address several problems. The most important one for them concerns city streets.
"The streets are in bad condition and need to be repaired," said Pete, pointing to pothole-filled Avenue H and 10th Street as examples.
The Renchenskis, Brian and Aimee, believe that policing is a big concern in Nolanville. They are casting their votes on election day, they said.
"Hopefully, the new election will add at least two more officers to Nolanville," Aimee said.
They are excited about the election because for the first time, a candidate stopped by their house and asked them what they want for the city, Aimee said.
Mary Faye McDonald, who attends every council meeting, has served on the council and has lived in Nolanville for most of her life, is taking the election very seriously.
"The person running has to have an interest in the city," McDonald said after Thursday's council meeting. "It is a very serious position that should be taken very serious. Whatever decisions that are up there are going to affect the city, regardless."
While attending most of the council meetings for the past year, McDonald has heard many residents complain about problems to the council.
In her opinion, "If they don't vote, they don't have a reason to gripe," McDonald said.
To the Renchenskis, local elections are important because in towns like Nolanville, you can see the corruption, Brian said.
The smaller population lets you watch more carefully where your money goes and if people are cheating the system, he added.
"That is why it is important to vote in everything," Brian said to his infant child.
Contact Mason W. Canales at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7554.