Three vie for two Akron council seats

Posted October 17, 2013 at 5:00 am

By Julie Ann Madden

There are two Akron council seats on the Nov. 5 ballot.

One is the seat currently held by Sharon Frerichs, and she is seeking reelection.

The other is held by Councilor Chad Ericson who is not going to serve another term.

Joining Frerichs on the ballot are two first-time candidates, David Irizarry and Tony Tripp.

David Irizarry

People may not be able to pronounce his last name or even know his first name but many know him by his nickname, “Izzy.”

After living in Akron for eight years, David Irizarry feels it’s time to get more involved in the town.

“Since I’ve been here so long, I feel like I should finally be able to get involved and have a voice,” said Irizarry who is seeking public office for the first time.

In 1997, Irizarry graduated from Springstead High School located in his hometown of Spring Hill, Fla.

When he and his wife, Katrina, were looking to move to a place with a “cold” climate, his father-in-law was driving truck for Heyl Truck Lines. The Irizarrys visited Akron and decided to call Akron home. He is the son-in-law of Boyd and Sue Chadwick of rural Akron.

The Irizarrys have three sons who attend Akron-Westfield Community School: David Jr., a junior; Dylan, a freshman; and Donovan, a sixth grader.

Since coming to Akron, Irizarry worked at Higman Sand & Gravel and Akron Farmers Coop before beginning a career at Heyl Truck Lines as a diesel technician in February 2010.

He is an Akron firefighter and has served on the Akron Golf Club Inc. Board.

His No. 1 hobby is golfing but he also enjoys watching sports, especially baseball and football. He’s a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals and Indianapolis Colts.

Sharon Frerichs

It was just four years ago Sharon Frerichs was appointed to fulfill the term of Councilor Brent James who had just been elected to serve a term when his job required him to move closer to Sioux City.

“As I complete my fourth year on the council, the town council has a lot on its agenda,” said Frerichs about seeking reelection, “and I’d like to see them completed.”

For instance, working with the Akron Development Corporation to fill up our vacant buildings in the downtown business district is one of her top priorities.

Two important things that she’d like to see improved in town are sidewalks and recycling.

Some places have sidewalks which need to be replaced and some other properties have none, explained Frerichs. With the Healthy Iowa emphasis, exercise is important and one of the best forms is walking. Sidewalks make it much safer for Akron residents.

“Every other town in Plymouth County is recycling,” she said, “and I think we should, too.”

Frerichs would like to see Akron’s recycling efforts expanded from the current Akron Lions Club’s Paper Barn and the city’s recycling dumpsters placed in that area.

She would also like to see some of the Akron Senior Center’s “projects on the drawing board” completed.

“I feel that I’m a good representation of the needs of the elderly in Akron,” said Frerichs.

I’d also like to see a new swimming pool complex — both for the sake of her own grandchildren as well as all the children and adults in the Akron area, Frerichs told The Akron Hometowner.

A retired Akron-Westfield business teacher, Frerichs is a lifelong Akron resident.

She graduated from Akron High School and returned to teach in her hometown as soon as she graduated from Wayne State College.

She and her husband, Bob, have three children: Shawn, Nicole Johnson and Hollie St. Pierre, all of Akron. They have seven grandchildren: Kayla, Katie and Kenzie Johnson,Tanner and Tess Frerichs; and Ben and Cole St. Pierre.

Currently, Frerichs is the manager of Ridgewood Apartments and secretary at Immanuel Lutheran Church.

She previously served on the Akron Library Board of Directors for 32 years; the Siouxland Housing Authority; and the Healthy Iowans Project – Akron Core Committee. Frerichs planned and coordinated many All-Class Reunions. She has also been a member of the Akron Parks & Recreation Auxiliary for several years. Frerichs currently is the treasurer of the Akron-Westfield Community School Backpack Program, in cooperation with the Akron Ministerial Association.

As a councilor, Frerichs has served as the council’s liaison on the Hazard Mitigation Committee and Akron Senior Center. She is also the Ridgewood Apartments’ representative on the Akron Area Chamber of Commerce.

The pretty flowers and trees in pots in Akron’s downtown business district are the result of the care and watering she and her husband do. He is also the caretaker of Akron’s parks and trail system.

Frerichs has also written grants, which netted about $30,000 for the city, Akron Senior Center, A-W Backpack Program and Ridgewood Apartments.

Frerichs is a certified election official and has worked for every election in Akron since she retired from teaching; however, the Nov. 5 election she is unable to work because she is on the ballot.

Frerichs still has time for hobbies, which include walking, gardening, photography, baby-sitting her grandchildren and making photo books for her family members.

Tony Tripp

Akron native Tony Tripp is in the political arena for the first time.

“I believe in the city of Akron and making it a great place for people to live, to raise families,” said Tripp. “Being born and raised here, I know what kind of community Akron is.”

“If I can get on the city council, I can make Akron an even better place to come to,” he said, explaining he’d like to work with the councilors and mayor to create some jobs to bring younger people back home. “I think we are a community of older folks but we need some younger people to come and play some roles in making it be a great place to live.”

“I feel like I’m the kind of guy who can help get that done,” said Tripp.

“Akron’s a great place to live,” he said, “and I want other people to see that and come to Akron.”

Tripp would like to work with city leaders to attract more summer activities here such as a carnival like the town used to have and/or bring the circus back again.

“I’d also like to work with the council to develop things for kids to do around Akron,” he said. “Maybe get a skate park going if there’s enough interest.”

“I know you’re limited to your budgets but maybe see about an indoor recreation facility with a year-round swimming pool and basketball courts,” said Tripp. “Things for the community to get together and do.”

“I’m willing to work with anyone who’s willing to do that,” he said. “I may not have the best ideas but if someone has an idea and they’re afraid to bring it up, I’ll certainly bring it forward and see what we can get accomplished.”

“If I’m going to try to attract a younger generation to the town of Akron, I feel like I need to get involved and show this can be done,” said Tripp, adding he supports local businesses as much as he can. “It takes everybody to make this city work.”

Tripp graduated from Akron-Westfield High School in 2001, then joined the U.S. Navy where he spent the next six years serving his country. He earned the rank of E4 Petty Officer Third Class, working as an aviation ordinance man with responsibilities to load bombs and missiles onto aircraft in support of ground operations. Tripp first was assigned to the Misawa Air Base in Japan, where he served for two years. The final four years, he was attached to the VFA 147 Argonauts in Lemoore, Calif. In 2004, they were deployed to San Diego, Calif., and made a “world cruise,” traveling to Japan, Hong Kong, and the Middle East, including Dubai and United Arab Emirates. His service also included a port call in Greece before they docked in Norfolk, Va.

Upon returning home, Tripp completed CDL truck driving training through Des Moines Area Community College. Then he lived in Le Mars and Ireton for a short while before moving to Akron in late 2006.

After working for six months at Alorica as a customer service representative and a short while at Farmers Coop Society of Ireton as a truck driver, he became employed at Heyl Truck Lines in Akron.

After driving over the road for two years, Tripp started as a company recruiter and dispatcher. He is currently a safety supervisor.

Tripp is the son of Richard and Donna Tripp of Akron and has one brother, Joe. He has four children: Brady and Taylor Tripp and Emma and Carter Hughes, all of Sioux City.

Tripp strongly believes in volunteering in his community. He helps prepare and serve lunch daily at the Akron Senior Center, is a Siouxland Paramedics Inc. ambulance driver; and assists with the Special Olympics of Iowa. He is a member of the Albert E. Hoschler American Legion Post No. 186 and St. Patrick’s Catholic Church.

Tripp enjoys watching sports, playing golf and bowling. He also collects football cards.

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