Archive for January, 2010
No one rushed in the door at 3:58 this afternoon — everyone was done filing by about 3:45. Some of the most interesting races are the ones that aren’t races at all. Judge-Executive John Wilson has no opponent in the primaries. John told me that a judge-executive hasn’t run completely unopposed in Garrard County since 1963. The County Clerk, Circuit Court Clerk, Jailer, PVA and district-one magistrate Joe Leavell are all running unopposed as well.
Here are the final slates:
- County Judge-Executive: John Wilson (R)
- Sheriff: Ronnie Wardrip (R), Allen Weston (R)
- Lancaster Mayor: Don Rinthen, Brenda Powers
- City Council: Brandon McGlone, Chris Davis, Maggie Morris, Jesse Wagoner, Mike Sutton, Bret Baierlein
- District One Magistrate: Joe Leavell (R)
- District Two Magistrate: Doan Adkinson (R), Mike Carter (D)
- District Three Magistrate: Ronnie Lane (R), Freddy Day (R)
- District Four Magistrate: Fred Simpson (R), Michael Condon Sr. (R)
- District Five Magistrate: Marvin Conn (R), Chester Satterfield (D), Brenton Causey (D), Betty Von Gruenigen (R), Teresa Dollins Locker (R), Larry Nicely (R)
- Circuit Court Clerk: Dana Lane Hensley (R)
- PVA: Kay Sparks Hall (R)
- Jailer: Kevin Middleton (R)
- Coroner: Daryl Hodge (R), Kenny Johnson (R)
- County Clerk: Stacy May (R)
- County Attorney: Jeff Moss (R), Mark Metcalf (R)
- District One Constable: Earl David Thornton (D) (Corrected — Thornton is running in District Two)
- District Two Constable: Daniel Napier (R), Earl David Thornton (D)
- District Three Constable: John Dixon (R)
- District Four Constable: Wayne Burkhart (D), Billy Sebastian (R), Carliss Conley (R), John Nichols II (R), Harold Lester Jr. (R), Scott Miller (R)
- District Five Constable: Bryan Wilmot (R), Bruce Potter (R), Shannon Sizemore (D)
As you can see, there are six people running for the seat currently held by Magistrate Marvin Conn, as well as six people running for the position of District Four Constable. There are also six people running for the six seats on the city council. Another statistic of note: Excluding the mayoral and city council candidates who do not run with a party, there are 30 Republicans and 6 Democrats running.
— — —
Correction: The way I originally wrote this post, it sounded like John Wilson told me no judge-executive had run unopposed in the primaries in Garrard County since 1963, which isn’t what he said. No judge-executive has run completely unopposed through a whole election since 1963. There have been occurrences of judge-executives running unopposed in their party’s primary and then facing a challenger in the main event.
With the deadline for filing to run in the May primary election a little more than 24 hours away (Tuesday at 4 p.m.), I thought I would post an update showing where all the local Garrard County races stand:
- Magistrate Race: There’s a five-way race for the fifth-district magistrate seat on Garrard’s fiscal court. Incumbent Marvin Conn is running against challengers Brent Causey, Larry Nicely, Chester Satterfield and Betty Von Gruenigen.
- City Council: Two people have filed to run for Lancaster city council seats. One is Chris Davis, who currently serves on the council. Brandon McGlone is the other. Brandon was one of the council’s top three choices to replace former Councilwoman Emily Whitworth when she moved into the county, but the council wound up selecting Maggie Morris instead.
- Sheriff Race: Sheriff Ronnie Wardrip and Lancaster police officer Allen Weston are both running for Garrard Sheriff.
- Mayor Race: Mayor Don Rinthen and City Councilwoman Brenda Powers are running to be mayor of Lancaster.
- Another Magistrate Race: Incumbent Doan Adkinson and challenger Mike Carter are competing for the second-district magistrate seat.
- Constable Race: Wayne Burkhart, Carliss Conley, John Nichols and Billy Sebastian are all running to be the fourth-district constable.
- Another Constable Race: Earl Thornton and Daniel Napier are running for constable in the second district.
Currently uncontested races:
- Judge-Executive (John Wilson)
- Magistrate District One (Joe Leavell)
- Magistrate District Three (Ronnie Lane)
- Magistrate District Four (Fred Simpson)
- Circuit Court Clerk (Dana Hensley)
- PVA (Kay Hall)
- Jailer (Kevin Middleton)
- Coroner (Daryl Hodge)
- County Clerk (Stacy May)
- County Attorney (Jeff Moss)
- Constable District Three (John Dixon)
- Constable District Five (Bryan Wilmot)
Jerome Isaacs has filed to run for the 36th district state representative seat, which is currently held by Lonnie Napier. Roger Ayers also filed to run for the seat last month.
Isaacs is running on the Democratic ticket, while Republican candidates Napier and Ayers will be squaring off against each other in a primary.
While Isaacs is a Democrat, when I talked with him yesterday I learned his stances on many social issues are not any different from Napier or Ayers. All three are self-described pro-life and pro-gun, and all three have anti-gay-marriage views.
Isaacs told me his strong point is his leadership skills, which he has gained through his experience with the Kentucky Division of Forestry, on the local Ag Development Council and as a past president of the Garrard County Soil Conservation District.
— — —
I’d like to hear people’s thoughts on this race. Who has a chance and who doesn’t? With three candidates all touting many of the same views, does it matter who wins? What are the strengths and weaknesses that differentiate the candidates from each other?
It would be nice if we could have a good, honest, thoughtful discussion without it degrading into political theater. That kind of discussion ought to be able to occur somewhere, shouldn’t it?
I was tied up in meetings and other things like that all afternoon, but now I’m free to let you guys know what happened in the Bluegrass 911 meeting this morning.
As the title hinted at, the board members agreed to take out a 3.95-percent, 20-year, $90,000 loan from Farmer’s Bank. That loan will cover all the unpaid taxes and other debts owed by the 911 center.
Previously board members had estimated for me that the center could owe as much as $100,000, so it’s somewhat lower than that. Judge Wilson said the loan will actually be for about $93,000, all told. Over the course of the 20-year loan (if the board doesn’t make any early payments), the board will pay a total of $130,323, so about $40,000 in interest.
The story will be in tomorrow’s paper.
I was off for a few days for my birthday weekend, but now I’m back and apparently just in time.
The Bluegrass 911 Board is having a special called meeting this morning at 9 a.m. I don’t know what’s on the agenda yet, but we’ve been waiting since July for a resolution to the financial problems discovered when former director Ronnie Dobson resigned, and the board has not called a special meeting since I began covering it.
It’s possible the 911 board will be releasing information about its investigation into the 911 center’s finances. It’s also possible they need a formal motion on something technical, like an approaching deadline to apply for a grant, so it might not be anything huge.
UPDATE: I called John Wilson, who told me the board will be having an executive session and then taking action concerning the center’s finances.
Something else of note about today’s Fiscal Court meeting…
The Fiscal Court met for maybe 45 minutes in executive session to discuss a business proposal with an unidentified business. The discussion could be held behind closed doors because public discussion of the proposal could endanger the possibility of it happening. Kentucky statutes allow for businesses to meet behind closed doors with government entities in these cases, as long as it has not already been made public knowledge that the business is considring locating in the area.
Nathan Mick represented whatever business it was. Wilson said that the involved parties are still in negotiations.
There are two proverbial ‘feathers’ Garrard County officials have been seeking for their economic development hats: one is a grocery store and the other is a business to occupy the never-been-occupied spec building in the industrial park. It’s possible today’s executive session discussion could have been about either of those two projects. Of course, it could also have been about something entirely different. At this point, we’ll just have to wait and see.
Garrard Fiscal Court is meeting this morning at 9 a.m. On the agenda is Solid Waste Coordinator Chris Thomas, who will be giving a solid waste report, and Lancaster City Councilman Jimmy Crutchfield. The agenda doesn’t say what he’s going to talk about. At the last City Council meeting, Jimmy asked the council to consider a smoking ban.
— — —
If you haven’t read it yet, here is my story from Sunday about Lancaster’s empty houses.
— — —
UPDATE: Jimmy Crutchfield wasn’t able to make it to today’s Fiscal Court meeting, but two other women came in his place to provide some info about passing non-smoking regulations and ask the Fiscal Court to consider passing non-smoking rules for the county.
Judge Wilson said the magistrates will have to review the information and see if they want to do anything on this issue, but mentioned that he’s seen health departments take the lead on non-smoking rules more so than city or county governments.
Magistrate Ronnie Lane said he is opposed to initiating anti-smoking regulations because it should be up to each individual whether they want to smoke or not.
The Fiscal Court also heard Chris Thomason’s annual solid waste management report, which had some interesting statistics. Recycling in Garrard has been growing solidly and Chris is hopeful that growth will continue. He also mentioned that of the many things solid waste has gone out to pick up from people, one of the items was an airplane. Not many solid waste coordinators can say they’ve disposed of an airplane.
I have gotten my hands on a final order from the state ABC Board, suspending Big Jim’s liquor license from Nov. 30 until Jan. 9. because the business sold alcohol to a minor.
According to the final order and an earlier order to show cause, Vivian Rogers, who ran Big Jim’s while it was open and owned the liquor license, was scheduled to have a hearing before the board in December. But Rogers resolved the case with the board by entering into an “admission and settlement agreement,” the terms of which included the 35-day suspension.
Vivian did not want to comment on anything when I called her, and the state ABC Board has yet to return my calls. I’ll be filing an open records request later today for an earlier report of the investigation that will hopefully provide more details.
I just received word that Brenda Powers is planning to file as a candidate in the 2010 Lancaster mayoral race.
According to a press release from Brenda, she plans to officially file her papers at 10 a.m. Saturday in the clerk’s office.
Current Mayor Don Rinthen has already filed for re-election.
Here’s an excerpt from Brenda’s press release:
Lancaster City Councilwoman Brenda Powers announced today that she would be a candidate for Mayor of the City of Lancaster in the 2010 election. Powers decided to announce her decision today to end months of speculation about her candidacy.
“I decided it was time to announce my candidacy. Many citizens of our fine city have inquired about my future plans. I have decided that the best thing I can do for the city is to run for mayor,” Powers said.
“ I have decided to enter the mayoral race for Lancaster for the people of Lancaster. Serving on the council these two years I have come to realize that Lancaster has many assets and lots of room for growth. With lots of hard work and a love for people and this city, great things can happen in Lancaster. If I am elected these great things will happen,” she said.