MT. VERNON – Two long-time local committee members have left office, but are looking forward to their lives after public service.
Bill Short, 77, had been a member of the Mt. Vernon Tourism Advisory Board for over eight years. He was recently voted out of office and now plans to devote his time to painting.
“My term just exhausted and someone else took over, but it's been a pleasure working for that group,” said Short, now a Radom resident.
Wendall Yaeger, 64, had served on the Mt. Vernon Planning and Zoning Commission for roughly 20 years. He resigned because he is moving outside the city limits and hopes to spend more time with his family.
“It's been a very good experience,” Yaeger said of his time on the commission. “We've always had quality people on the board (who are) concerned with doing what's best for the people of Mt. Vernon.”
Short has had a long and varied career in the Mt. Vernon area. He worked for over 18 years for Precision National Corporation and took early retirement at age 62. He then became a maintenance worker at Nature Trail Nursing Home, but stepped down after having a heart attack.
For over 26 years, Short and his wife, Linda, ran Cedarhurst Art Center. Linda passed away in 2010. Short is now engaged to be married again.
Short was also named to the Senior Saints Hall of Fame, which honors local residents who have spent their time improving the community.
Bonnie Jerdon, Mt. Vernon tourism director, said Short has been a dedicated member of the Tourism Advisory Board.
“His work with us has been very beneficial over the years and we'll be sorry to see him leave the board,” Jerdon said. “We look forward to working with him as a local artist.”
Short's passion for painting began some 30 years ago when his wife bought him a painting kit for Christmas. Later, Short created a painting for his mother-in-law, who loved it and paid for Short's first lesson. Short then studied with professional painter Don Ross and learned a great deal about the craft.
“If anyone is looking for a hobby, I'd advise them to give it a try,” Short said. “It'll pay for itself.”
Many of Short's paintings center around old, run-down barns or houses that have “a lot of character,” he said.
Yaeger worked as a special education supervisor for the Franklin and Jefferson County Special Education District for 11 years, retiring in 2012. Before that, he worked at the King City Federal Savings Bank, which is where he first joined what was then the Mt. Vernon Zoning Board of Appeals. It later became the Planning and Zoning Commission.
A co-worker at the bank was leaving the zoning board and asked Yaeger to get involved. Yaeger thought he would be a good fit for the board.
“I worked at a bank so in some ways (the zoning board) was related,” Yaeger said. “It's good when you work at a bank to be involved in the community. I've always been someone who liked to contribute what I can to the community.”
Yaeger and his wife, Jan, have two daughters and a granddaughter who live in Seattle and a son who lives in Mt. Vernon.