Contentious election season draws to a close

Christmann, Hicks, and Steele re-elected

Published by James Cressman, Date: November 10, 2023

After a contentious election season in Slippery Rock borough, voters cast their ballots on Nov. 7 and made their decisions clear.

Borough Council members, John Hicks, Lauren Christmann and Ronald Steele were all re-elected. Candidate Jennifer Ravert, who ran on both the Democratic and Republican ticket, was also elected to the council.

Borough Council hopefuls, Ian Oman, Bob Bowser and Jonathan Foust were unsuccessful in their bid. With the election finalized, thus comes an end to an election that seems to have centered around the Grand Old Flag, which is situated in Slippery Rock Park.

As The Rocket previously reported, residents brought their concerns about an amendment to the borough’s noise ordinance. One of those residents was Borough Council hopeful Oman, who had submitted a complaint to Council over noise being created by the Grand Old Flag.

The complaint led to the borough hiring engineering firm Gateway Engineers to conduct decibel testing within the borough. The results of the testing concluded that noise within the borough was at its loudest when the flag was not flying.

According to a social media post by Slippery Rock Mayor Jondavid Longo, Bowser has claimed that the noise of the flag spooks his dog.

Over the last several weeks, there have been several instances where local politics have spilled over onto social media. Longo reminded the Slippery Rock residents to get out and vote on Nov. 7.

In one post, dated Oct. 16, Longo posted to his Facebook a graphic that read, Bob Bowser approved Eleven (11%) Tax Increase; A vote for Bob Bowser is a vote for High Taxes. Bowser previously served on Slippery Rock Borough Council between 2010 and 2017.

The comment section soon erupted into a back-and-forth between Longo, Bowser and his wife, Di Bowser. The mayor also shared screenshots of Facebook posts from Bowser’s personal page where he expressed his personal views on U.S. Representative Mike Kelly and the Republican party. The post can be viewed here.

In another post, in reference to Oman and Bowser’s complaints about the flag, Longo asked his followers, “Are Ian Oman and Bob Bowser really bothered by the noise from the flag over 600 feet away or are they simply bothered by the sight of an American Flag?”

At the Oct. 17 Borough Council meeting, Longo spoke out about the amount of money the borough had to spend to investigate Oman’s claims. According to Longo, Oman alleged that he was reading noise decibels on his phone in the range of 110db due to noise emanating from the flag.

Later in the same meeting, Oman was given an opportunity to speak during the public discussion. Oman asserted that at no time did he say the flag was creating noise at the level of 110db, and he was instead referring to impulse noise similar to the crack of a whip. Councilwoman Tuten disagreed with the assertion.

When questioned if his phone was professionally calibrated to take such readings, Oman ended the discussion.

Longo spoke to the fact that a lot of time, effort and thousands of taxpayers’ dollars went into the investigation of Oman’s complaint. “I think that you’ve all done your due diligence here, and I’m proud of it.” Longo said to the Council Members.

Several candidates including Oman were present outside the community center in Slippery Rock Park greeting voters as they arrived. Voters were given leaflets, pamphlets, and even a smoke detector battery asking voters to vote Kevin Boozel for Butler County Commissioner.

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James is a senior Strategic Communication and Media major with concentrations in digital media production and multimedia journalism. He also minors in film & media studies. James serves as the News Editor at The Rocket and President of Lambda Pi Eta: the National Communication Association’s Honor Society. James is a movie enthusiast, a “Star Wars” fanatic and a fan of all things comedy. James previously served as the President of WSRU-TV (2022-2024).


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