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Originally published: 2013-12-04 16:55:06
Last modified: 2013-12-04 16:55:52

Three apply for Boone council vacancy, deadline Friday

by Anna Oakes

Three people had applied for the vacant seat on the Boone Town Council as of Wednesday. The seat, to be vacated by Boone Mayor-elect Andy Ball, has two years remaining in its term, which expires in December 2015.

The applicants include Jesse McNiel of Farthing Street, a 13-year resident of Boone. McNiel holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in technical production from Western Carolina University and has worked with many nonprofit organizations, Appalachian State University and small businesses, he noted on his application.

McNiel currently works with Watauga County Habitat for Humanity and has served on the Boone Board of Adjustment.

McNiel said he wants to serve on the town council "to help and assist the people of Boone and Watauga County" and that "compromise is only possible if we all work together." McNiel had not yet submitted a required resume and cover letter as of Wednesday, Town Clerk Kim Brown said.

According to the State Board of Elections, McNiel is registered unaffiliated.

Applying on Wednesday was Virginia Roseman of Cherrybrook Lane, a six-year resident of the town and a Watauga County resident for more than a decade. Roseman is employed by Wahoo's Adventures and High Country Marketing Services and has spent nearly 10 years in the tourism industry following work with the U.S. Census Bureau. She studied child development and family relations and social work at Western Carolina University.

Roseman has served on the Boone Board of Adjustment and Tourism Development Authority since September 2011 and in 2012 lost a race for a seat on the Watauga County Board of Commissioners. Roseman is a registered Democrat, according to the State Board of Elections.

Roseman said she wants "to help be a voice for the people of our community, and when the town is faced with difficult and crucial questions, to help make decisions in the best interest of the community."

"I always try very hard to picture myself in others' shoes and see things from other points of view," she said.

The third applicant is Diane Warman Blanks of Green Street, who submitted an application to the town in November, the Watauga Democrat previously reported.

Blanks is a third-generation resident of Boone, noting that she was born and raised here and returned three years ago after retiring from Emory University in Atlanta, where she coordinated donor relations. Blanks holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from UNC-Chapel Hill and has a background in public relations and fundraising, according to her resume.

Blanks is a member of the Watauga County Public Library Endowment Board, Junaluska Heritage Association and Boone Historic Preservation Commission.

Blanks said she feels a commitment to the community and wants to provide a voice for small stakeholders, including local residents, senior citizens, individual homeowners, the Junaluska community and others.

According to the State Board of Elections, Blanks is a registered Democrat.

Applications for the seat are due to Town Clerk Kim Brown by 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6.

Newly elected council members Jennifer Pena and Quint David and re-elected Councilman Rennie Brantz will join Councilwoman Lynne Mason in voting on the council appointee after being sworn in at the Dec. 17 meeting.

Ball said the appointee will be sworn in immediately following the council's vote at the Dec. 17 meeting.