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Voting to start Monday for Mr. Niagara and First Lady

EMILY PAYETTE

NIAGARA, Wis. — This year’s Mr. Niagara and First Lady of Niagara candidates have been announced.

Candidates for First Lady include Emily Payette, Tiffany Hametner and Alissa Hedlund.

Mr. Niagara nominees are Gordy Behnke, Michael Chapman and Joey Swanson.

The annual event is sponsored by the Niagara Women’s Civic Club.

Voting is $1 and can be done at Forward Financial Credit Union or Nicolet National Bank in Niagara. Votes may also be mailed to Debbie Lindgren, N20875 Chapman Road, Niagara, WI 54151.

TIFFANY HAMETNER

Voting begins Monday and ends Friday, June 28.

Winners will be crowned at the Niagara Lions Club’s Picnic on Saturday, June 29.

Emily Payette

Payette grew up in Spread Eagle, Wis., and is married to Brock, with two children, Grace and Jacob.

She received her bachelor of arts degree in early childhood development from Lake State University. Payette then followed her dreams and opened Auntie Em’s Daycare in Niagara. She continues to grow her business, opening the baby center in the building next door. Her proudest accomplishment is having a successful child care center and baby center.

ALISSA HEDLUND

Payette volunteers as the Niagara area representative for the Norway Little League. The months of April through July are especially busy, as she manages the concession stands.

Payette has coached Little League for the past seven years, as well as being the junior varsity volleyball coach and the assistant varsity softball coach. She is a substitute teacher in the Niagara Public School System.

She is a member of Niagara Area Business Association.

In her spare time, Payette loves to be outdoors. Her hobbies include gardening, camping, spending time at the lake, fishing and, most importantly, spending time with her kids.

When asked what she liked best about Niagara as a community, she said, “The small-town community atmosphere, where people come together for the big things, whether it is sending off a sports team to tournaments or coming together to help a neighbor through a hard time. We’re all part of the big family of Niagara somehow.”

GORDY BEHNKE

Tiffany Hametner

Hametner grew up in Pembine, Wis. She and her husband, Ryan, have two children.

She manages Northwoods Market, which her father owns. On any given day she can be found stocking shelves, helping customers or doing paperwork for the business.

Hametner attended college in Milwaukee, with a focus on early childhood education. The couple decided not to raise their family in the city and moved back to this area.

She likes to volunteer at her children’s sporting events and can be found in the concession stand serving fans or in the dugout quieting the excited kids.

MICHAEL CHAPMAN

Hametner is also a member of NABA and works with their fundraisers as well as other fundraising area events when needed.

When asked what she liked best about Niagara as a community, she said it’s that her children are able to be in any sport they wish to participate in instead of having to choose just one sport as in a larger school system. She also likes the fact that everyone has each other’s back when times get tough.

“The community rallies together to support one another, just like one big family,” she said.

Tiffany’s proudest accomplishment is her kids and her goal is that they would grow up to be decent people.

Alissa Hedlund

JOEY SWANSON

Hedlund grew up in Milwaukee and is married to Eddie Hedlund, with two children, Claire and Lilly and a golden retriever, Milly, who also comes to work with her with the title of greeter at the bank.

She attended Milwaukee Area Technical College for nursing and then University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, where she earned her degree in finance. She is the bank manager of IncredibleBank and has been with them since 2010.

Outside of work, her activities include vice president of the Imagination Factory and Children’s Museum, treasurer of Kiwanis Club, treasurer of the Niagara Youth Basketball League; secretary of the Niagara PTO; member of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, board member for United Way and a Gus Macker committee member.

In her spare time, Hedlund enjoys the outdoors and watching her children’s sporting events, including basketball, baseball and soccer.

When asked what she likes best about Niagara as a community, she said it is a close-knit community. “You are only ever one neighbor away from getting something you need or want,” she said.

She also likes that the kids can walk to school and the teachers have the kids’ best interests in mind.

Her proudest accomplishment is being a mom, as no job keeps you busier, but no job is more rewarding.

Gordy Behnke

Behnke, who grew up in Niagara, is married to Ann, with three sons and a daughter, along with nine grandchildren.

He did a stint in the Air Force before coming back to Niagara to work with his father, Ronald, at his machining shop, Niagara Tool. He has since taken over the shop and supplies companies such as Tesla, Caterpillar, John Deere and Snap-on with stamping dies.

He and Ann also own and operate Affordable Carpeting.

Behnke has been involved with the Lions Club for the past 20 years in a variety of officer positions. He is very proud of the programs the Lions Club offers to the community and surrounding areas, such as the vision screening program, the Leader Dog program and camps for kids and adults with developmental challenges. He is also an integral part of the Lions Club picnic planning and organizing.

Behnke was quick to say the people and the small-town feeling are what he loves about Niagara. “We have a great school system and all kids have the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities,” he said.

His proudest accomplishment is raising his kids and now having input with his grandkids.

Michael Chapman

Mike Chapman assumed the role as the new chief of police April 5, after the retirement of former Chief Angie Moreau. When Chapman joined the police department four years ago, it was apparent he had the necessary leadership, communication and technology skills, as well as the motivation and respect required to eventually assume the position.

Chapman was raised in Niagara, graduating from Niagara High School. After attending a local community college and working in the trades, Chapman returned to college and earned his bachelor of arts degree in criminal justice. He began his career in law enforcement with Marinette County, working in corrections before transferring to Florence County. He then graduated from the police academy.

Since joining the department, Chapman has successfully written grants, developed and manages an evidence room, become a school liaison officer, conducts trainings and coordinates programs, along with his other officer duties.

Chapman’s proudest career achievements to date are his community outreach efforts, including day care and school programs such as “stranger danger,” “good touch/bad touch” and safe driving skills, among others, as well as numerous acts of volunteerism. His goals include taking a proactive approach to maintaining peace and order while providing service to the citizens of Niagara.

When Chapman leaves his office to make patrol rounds or answer a call, he always says he’s off to try to make a difference.

Joey Swanson

Swanson grew up in Niagara and is married to Denise, with 9-year-old son, Ray.

He is the owner/operator of Swanson Solutions and Evergreen Nursery. He also owns the Big Red Barn, a place to visit for fun events, including the Pumpkin Fest and a visit with Santa. They feature wagon rides, kids rides, great food and other fun events for young and old alike.

Swanson is involved as a board member in the Wisconsin Christmas Tree Plantation Association. He is also a proud member of the Main Street Makeover Committee, aka “Joey and the Golden Girls.” He is an integral part of the planning and layout of the decorations that can be seen lining Main Street in the fall and winter months. He supplies the straw for the Halloween decor and delivers it to each site where it will be used and also makes wreaths for the light poles.

When asked what he likes best about Niagara as a community, he said the small-town feeling and being able to sit down with the older generations to hear how things were in their day.

When asked about his hobbies, he said, “I guess my job.” After a minute more, he said definitely his family. “We spend the weekends together doing fun things and that is the best,” he said.

His proudest accomplishment is being able to create a successful business in his hometown.

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