A flurry of activity between Tuesday and Thursday's 5 p.m. filing deadline virtually doubled the number of candidates for some 70-plus positions up for grabs in the May 17 special districts election.

A flurry of activity between Tuesday and Thursday's 5 p.m. filing deadline virtually doubled the number of candidates for some 70-plus positions up for grabs in the May 17 special districts election.

By Friday morning, most races for school, fire, water and sewer boards showed a candidate for each position, with a small number of positions to be decided via write-in.

Contested races were, by and large, for school district positions, likely a sign of the budget-strapped times and community members frustrated over cutbacks to education.

School districts in Ashland, Butte Falls, Central Point, Phoenix-Talent, Pinehurst and Prospect all showed a host of incumbents and previous board members vying for available seats.

The Eagle Point School District showed a challenge between WaterWorld Boating Center owner Ted Dole, an incumbent, and newcomer Ralph Meeker, a local rancher and Eagle Point graduate.

Incumbent Mary Ann Olsen, a retired teacher, will face off against newcomers Raygina Sizemore and Curtis Sather.

In Medford, two of three positions showed a challenge. Incumbent Sally Killen, a retired teacher, will vie to keep her seat against newcomers Scott Kohlmeier and David DuBeau.

Newcomers Frank Grant and Kimberly Wallan will square off for an available seat, and retired teacher Ron Anderson will face Curt Ankerberg for another.

In Rogue River, Medical Eye Center business development director Robert Hileman will challenge incumbent Howard Wand, while incumbent Trayce Jensen will run unopposed and interim board member Niki Coulter, a Rogue Community College instructor, will race against childcare provider Amber Swann.

 Two incumbents for Rogue Valley Transportation District, Connie Skillman and William Mansfield, will run unopposed for re-election, while newcomer Sharon Kohlmeier will run for Position 3, for which incumbent Rick Schreffler decided not to seek re-election.

Likewise, three incumbents for Rogue Valley Sewer Services, Robert Dunn, Kay Harrison and Bill Stults, all threw their name in the hat for re-election there.

In addition to available positions for the special districts, the May 17 election will include four ballot measures. A trio of measures will ask voters to decide whether to fill the county assessor, surveyor and clerk positions by appointment, rather than election. A fourth measure for Ashland voters will seek approval for a $3 million general obligation bond to finance replacement of the city's Fire Station No. 2.

To see the complete list, including candidate names for various fire and water districts and language pertaining to the ballot measures, visit online at www.co.jackson.or.us/page.asp?navid=3475.

 Buffy Pollock is a freelance writer living in Medford. E-mail her at buffyp76@yahoo.com.