.COAL VALLEY -- Write-in candidate Emil Maslanka won the race for Coal Valley mayor, beating opponent Rick Lasek 461 votes to 246.
Current mayor Stan Engstrom decided not to seek re-election after 19 years at the helm.
Rock Island County Chief Deputy Clerk John Brown said he can't recall the last time a write-in candidate won in a competitive election.
"It's far and few between, and particularly with the margin for the write-in candidate and particularly with that name," said Mr. Brown. "But the spelling doesn't have to be correct. The judges go with intent, they don't take off for spelling."
Mr. Brown said the votes won't be official until after the provisional two-week period that allows for additional ballots postmarked by midnight this past Monday to be counted.
Mr. Maslanka conducted a highly visible campaign, with candidate signs in yard throughout town.
"It truly demonstrates the involvement of the community," he said Wednesday. "I'm deeply honored that the residents placed their confidence in me for the next four years. I will work diligently to earn their trust."
Mr. Maslanka said he strongly encourages everyone to attend and participate in village board meetings. He said his next step is to start building relationships with village staff and trustees and tackle any outstanding issues.
Mr. Lasek, who will remain a trustee, congratulated Mr. Maslanka on his win and wished him success. "I would also like to thank my supporters for all their help and would ask they continue to support Coal Valley and its new administration," he said.
Today is Wednesday, Dec. 11, the 345th day of 2013. There are 20 days left in the year. 1863 — 150 years ago: The message of Abraham Lincoln, read in congress yesterday, is published in full in our paper today, with a new proclamation relating the terms upon which states can return to the union. 1888 — 125 years ago: An appropriation has been made by congress for the improvement of the upper Mississippi River with $200,000 set aside for the portion of the river between Keokuk and the mouth of the Illinois River. 1913 — 100 years ago: Work of remodeling First Swedish Lutheran Church at 4th Avenue and 14th Street was nearly completed. 1938 — 75 years ago: An unexplained outbreak of tularemia (rabbit fever) in the state has Illinois public health officials puzzled. Ten persons have died, and 243 are officially reported ill with the infection. 1963 — 50 years ago: A dramatic, multi-million dollar riverfront improvement project for the downtown area of Rock Island was unveiled at a meeting of 200 civic leaders at noon today. 1988 — 25 years ago: For several supporters of the Dispatch Goodfellow/Argus Santa program their donation is a year long project. Emma Pugh and Anne Persinger spent a good part of their spare time this year knitting forty pairs of mittens and slippers.