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Hughes fills spot on Shady Cove council

SHADY COVE ' The City Council has appointed Gary Hughes to replace the vacancy created by the resignation of Councilman Fred Wendt Sr.

Wendt, who served on the council and planning commission for more than a decade, resigned in October for health reasons, and died Nov. 8.

Hughes will be sworn in at the council's next regular meeting at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

Hughes, 57, is a retired Verizon coordinator and project manager. He and his wife, Linda, moved to Shady Cove from Orange County, Calif., 6&

189; years ago.

The couple decided to get to know the community by volunteering to manage the town's ACCESS food pantry shortly after arriving. They recently turned the volunteer program over the community center, Hughes said.

— Hughes said he initially became interested in Shady Cove politics because of neighborhood water concerns.

We don't have enough up here, Hughes said.

He started attending council meetings regularly before submitting an application for the open seat.

Hughes' application was originally considered along with real estate agent Lisa Coleman and former Police Chief Jim Johnson. Coleman later withdrew her application and the council selected Hughes.

Hughes said his first order of business will be to encourage developers to work with the city and the Jackson County watermaster to create a solution to the local water shortage, he said.

Hughes would like to see developers work with the city to get new water rights and pump from the Rogue River to supply the needs of new and existing development, he said.

Additionally, Hughes would like to see the county remove its day-use fees from Upper Rogue Regional Park. It is the town's youngest and poorest residents who are most affected by the fees, he said.

Forty-six percent of our school kids are at poverty level, Hughes said. I would love to see all the citizens of Shady Cove have access to the Rogue River for recreational purposes.

In an earlier interview, former Mayor Tom Anderson said the council decided to wait to appoint a new member until newly-elected Council Dick Bailey took office in January.

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 776-4497 or e-mail