Village of Amherst President Juris retires

At its April 11 meeting, the Village of Amherst Board presented retiring Village President Mike Juris (right) with a plaque thanking him for his years of service and then gave Dave Crubaugh (left) the Oath of Office as Village President.

“Government service is all about serving the needs of the people,

and local government is the fundamental level.”

By Brent Frankenhoff

After more than 20 years as Village of Amherst President, Mike Juris has retired from his leadership role as of April 18. He told the Spirit that he plans to continue to serve the Village as a representative to the Amherst Fire District and on the Groundwater Citizens Advisory Committee.

Juris and his wife, Julie, moved to the area from Middleton as newlyweds in 1976, settling first in Amherst Junction and then moving to Amherst itself in 1981. He began a 41-year teaching career at the Amherst Middle School, teaching seventh and eighth grade. In addition, he coached high school track for two years and then junior varsity girls volleyball for 30 years.

Among the courses he taught his middle-school students was civics and, he said, “I got to practice what I preached” when he first ran for a seat on the Village of Amherst Board in 1985.

After his election in that first race that saw four candidates running for the three Trustee positions, Juris remained on the Village Board, with the exception of a one-year hiatus in the early 1990s. Upon election again to the Board, he served as a Village Trustee until he was elected Village President in the spring of 2001.

In the newsletter that’s inserted into Amherst’s monthly utility bills, Juris wrote, “It has been very fulfilling to work alongside so many dedicated people to address the challenges and opportunities that the Village of Amherst has encountered.

“Acting in concert over that time with fellow trustees, our staff, and our residents, important work proceeded on daily village business and operations, as well as on numerous projects that involved the Village’s wells and water supply system, the wastewater treatment facility and collection system, the Village Hall and garages, the Lettie Jensen Library, the Amherst millpond dam, the Mill Street bridge, the Village streets and sidewalks, the Business Park and our commercial areas, our residential neighborhoods, and our Village parks. Over those years, wonderful opportunities arose for me to work together with other local leaders from our Tomorrow River communities on the formation and operation of the Amherst Fire & Safety District, on the construction and initial operations of the Jensen Community Center, and on the expansion of the Portage County ambulance service into our community.

“It is with love and gratitude that I thank my wife, Julie, and our daughters, Beth, Ali, and Amber, for their understanding and their support of my tasks, obligations, and absences during this time on the Village Board. I am extremely grateful to have served with a whole host of past and present Village trustees whose time and efforts charted the course for the Village of Amherst; grateful to have worked with former staff members Marcy Peterson, Rich Stuczynski, and Dave Dombrowski during their tenures of service in the Village; grateful for the efforts, skills, and enthusiasm that our current staff members Jodi Patoka, Travis Stuczynski, Nic Lea, and Dale Peterson commit to their daily tasks and essential duties administering Village business and conducting municipal operations; and grateful to the members of the Plan Commission, the Library Board, the Lettie Jensen Library staff, the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Tree Board, Zoning Administrator Dave Drake, Building Inspector Mike Bembenek, Village Attorney Gary Villnow, and our Village’s contingent of poll workers for their dedicated service in these essential roles.

“In closing, the Village of Amherst will continue to improve and grow as long as residents continue to step forward to accept positions to support meaningful dialogue and serve to affect positive change; I pass the gavel on to just such a group.”

A celebration of Juris’ career is scheduled for May 25 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Central Waters Brewery, and the public is invited.

The cash bar event will have light refreshments and non-alcoholic options are available.

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