Annual Christmas Parade features floats, bands, horseback riders and decorative town square

Judge Julia Spree served as Grand  Marshall for the 2018 Christmas Parade

Thursday, December 6, 2018 marked the annual Greene County Christmas Parade sponsored by the Eutaw Area Chamber of Commerce. Probate Judge Julia Spree served as Grand Marshall. This year’s theme: All Hearts United for Christmas. Christmas is not as much about opening our presents as opening our hearts.
The Old Courthouse Square in the center of town was creatively adorned in Christmas and holiday decor letting you know Christmas is right around the corner.
Other local officials participating in the parade, local businesses and organizations sponsoring floats included: Greene County Sheriff Jonathan Benison leading the parade; GCHS JROTC; Miss Homecoming, Miss and Mr. GCHS and court; the GCHS Marching Band; Eutaw City Councilwoman Latasha Johnson, Town of Boligee Councilwomen; Christian Lighthouse School; Debutantes sponsored by Greene County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.; the Volunteer Fire Departments of Mantua-Lewiston and Tishabee, Boligee as well as the Eutaw City Fire Department; New Generation Church. The horse riders closed out the parade.
The winners of the contest for best Store Front decoration are as follow: 1st Place – Banks & Company; 2nd Place – Eutaw City Hall; 3rd Place – Spiller’s Furniture Company. Child Choice Award was awarded to the Greene County Sheriff Department.
Float Winners include 1st Place – Christian Light House; 2nd Place – Merchant & Farmers Bank; 3rd Place – Town of Boligee. Honorable Mention- Eutaw Primary.
Following the lighting of the Christmas tree, Eutaw Primary students sang several Christmas Carols on the square as proud parents looked on.
Ms. Beverly Gordon, President of the Eutaw Area Chamber of Commerce, along with a committee of Chamber members and other volunteers organized the Christmas Parade and related events. Numerous businesses decorated their store fronts lifting that old saying: Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

County Commission supports Northfolk’s sale of land to WestRock

At its regular meeting held Monday Dec. 10, 2018, the Greene County Commission approved a resolution supporting Northfolk Southern Railroad’s sale of property to WestRock (box plant). As discussed in the previous commission work session, Northfolk Southern offered the county first option to purchase a 350 ft. parcel of land near the railroad. As indicated in the resolution, the commission declined the offer and gave support of the land sale to West Rock at a cost of $18,850. This parcel is also adjacent to the approximate 2.75 acres West Rock purchased recently from the county.
In other business the commission took action on the following:

  • Approved a retail beer license for TJ & J Grocery and Deli in Clinton.
  • Approved the contract with Means Construction for a storm shelter pad in Forkland.
  • Approved the extension of the county’s garbage exemption until January 18, 2019.
  • Approved travel for engineer and assistant engineer to training in Prattville, AL, Jan.30-31, 2019.
    Authorized Chairman Smith to execute papers with Goodwin & Mills for preliminary engineering work on County Road 69.
    Approved the county engineer’s demolition of the old daycare center in Forkland.
    In the financial report, CFO Paula Bird presented the following bank balances as of November 18, 2018: Citizen Trust Bank, $2,413,982.41; Merchant & Farmers Bank, $2,375,492.14; Bank of New York, $359,378.56; Total CD Bond Sinking Funds, $923,021.52.
    The commission approved finance report, payment of claims and budget amendments.
    Having no further business, the meeting was adjourned.

Newswre : African activists demand action at World Climate Confab in Poland

African negotiators at Climate conference

Dec. 10, 2018 (GIN) – Dorothy Nalubega was far from home but close enough to the U.N. climate summit in Katowice, Poland, to give the 200 world delegates in attendance an earful of her views on climate change.

Nalubega was among thousands of protestors at the climate conference – the third such meeting since nations adopted the Paris climate agreement in 2015 when it seemed that developed and developing countries would share a path toward cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Nalubega, an activist from Uganda and a member of Global Greens, was among the crowds marching down the cold Polish streets, shouting “Wake Up!”, “Keep the Coal in the Hole” and other messages. Protestors were allowed only one day to march at the site of the 2-week long annual confab amid a heavy police presence.

Nalubega said greed was the cause of Africa’s environmental devastation – from industrial-scale sand mining degrading the Lake Victoria ecosystem to the vanishing Mabira forest, logged excessively by sugar cane planters. “So we are here today to tell our leaders to stop the greed and think about the generation to come.”

Makoma Lekalakala from Earthlife Africa said she was marching “to amplify voices of poor people all over the world demanding climate justice. We have no more time. This is time to act.”

Lekalakala, this year’s co-winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize was protesting nuclear power. It’s not a solution to climate change, she pointed out, and it should not even be considered.

In a year which saw record weather extremes and an extraordinary announcement from the UN that we have only 12 years to limit catastrophe, the need for meaningful progress has never been greater.

“We aren’t facing the end of the world… but if we do nothing to mitigate climate change then billions of people will suffer,” said Mark Maslin, professor of Earth System Science, University College London.

Patriciah Roy Akullo from ACT Alliance Uganda Forum said she was marching for action now. “We are having long droughts and flooding so the communities cannot grow crops. Children are not going to school because there’s no food at school. Their parents cannot afford school fees, because they don’t have crops to sell and raise money for their family. So the impact is quite grave.

“It’s not fair. It’s not climate justice. So that’s why the ACT Alliance is saying we want action now. Act now for climate justice.“

Newswire :Supreme Court hears important civil forfeiture case

graphic of civil forfeiture
By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
The Supreme Court last week considered limiting the practice of civil forfeiture, which law enforcement has used since the War on Drugs mostly against African-Americans, Hispanics and those in poor communities.
At the heart of arguments in the nation’s highest court are two questionable forfeitures.
The first occurred in October of 2016.
Alexander Temple, a Maine resident, was pulled over on Interstate 95 in New Hampshire for a routine traffic stop. Police in that state seized $46,000 from Temple, claiming they felt it would be used for illegal activity.
Even Though Temple was released without ever facing a single criminal charge, the police kept the cash.
The second is Tyson Timbs, a recovering opioid addict from Indiana who pled guilty to dealing drugs in 2013. After he was sentenced to probation and ordered to pay a fine, the state seized his $42,000 Land Rover in an act of civil forfeiture.
That despite the fact that Timbs proved that the funds he used to purchase the SUV were not from drug sales, but from a life insurance policy he received from his father.
“I’m feeling very good,” Timbs told ABC News as he entered the High Court last week. “This has been a very difference experience for me with so much attention.”
Timbs attorney Wesley Hottot argued the seizure of the Land Rover violated the 8th Amendment’s protection against excessive fines, a Constitutional guarantee that should be upheld in all states.
A majority of the justices reportedly seemed receptive to the idea. And, if they at least limit the practice of civil forfeiture, many a minority could regain previously lost property.
Civil asset forfeiture is the ability of authorities to seize private property used in a crime. However, most legal experts agree that the practice has enriched states and law enforcement and usually the forfeitures occur without a court hearing.
In the 26 states and District of Columbia that report forfeiture activity, law enforcement agencies collected more than $254 million in funds and property in 2012 alone, according to an analysis by the Institute for Justice, a non-profit libertarian public interest law firm.
“This is an incredibly important case,” said Christopher Riano, lecturer in constitutional law and government at Columbia University, told ABC News “Historically, whenever the court takes these types of cases, the court does usually move to incorporate the federal guarantees against the states.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center reported that, since the advent of the War on Drugs, law enforcement agencies have used civil asset forfeiture laws to strip Americans of billions of dollars in cash, cars, real estate, and other assets.
Under these state and federal laws, officers are legally empowered to seize property they believe is connected to criminal activity – even if the owner is never charged with a crime.
In most states, the agencies are entitled to keep the property or, more typically, the proceeds from its sale.
An analysis by the Southern Poverty Law Centerfound that while federal forfeitures totaled $93.7 million in 1986, this revenue grew by more than 4,600 percent – to $4.5 billion a year – by 2014. Forfeitures handled by states have also poured millions, perhaps billions, of dollars into law enforcement agencies.

As a result, there has been a massive transfer of wealth and assets from American citizens – and especially the most economically vulnerable – to police, who can largely use the funds however they see fit, the SPLC reported.
Many states do not even require local agencies to track or report seized property. In civil forfeiture cases, as many as 80 percent of people who have their assets seized are never charged with a crime.
In most state and federal courts, the government is only required to show there is a preponderance of evidence – more likely than not – that the property abetted a criminal act.
Homes have been seized from owners whose children or grandchildren were accused of committing drug crimes, even though the owners themselves were never implicated.
In one money-laundering case in Florida, SPLC officials noted that law enforcement seized approximately $49 million but did not bring a single indictment.
The drug war has unduly harmed racial minorities, and its civil forfeiture provisions are no different, according to the SPCL.
Because of racial profiling, Black and Hispanic motorists are disproportionately searched and put at risk of having their cash assets seized, even though Black and white drivers are equally likely to be found with narcotics.
A 1993 investigation by The Orlando Sentinel revealed that nine of every 10 motorists who were stopped and stripped of their cash by police in Volusia County, Florida, were either Black or Hispanic, and three out of four were never charged with a crime.

In Philadelphia, where nearly 300 houses are seized annually,African Americans make up 44 percent of the population but 63 percent of house seizures and 71 percent of cash forfeitures unaccompanied by a conviction, according to the SPLC.

Forfeiture is also most likely to affect economically disadvantaged communities: One study found that areas with high income inequality were targeted for civil forfeiture operations, likely because these police departments have limited funding and are inclined to use forfeiture to secure needed revenue.
The profile of suspects who have their assets seized, a researcher observed, “differ greatly from those of the drug lords, for whom asset forfeiture strategies were designed.”
, as the Supreme Court considers the law, many like Temple and Timbs wait with great anticipation. “For ordinary citizens, the real-world consequences can be devastating,” Timbs’ attorney argued in a brief to the Supreme Court.
“The Excessive Fines Clause secures a single, unitary right: freedom from excessive economic sanctions that are at least partly punitive.“To be sure, that right can be violated in countless ways, using countless tools; in this regard, governments are endlessly innovative, ‘with more and more civil laws bearing more and more extravagant punishments.’”

Newswire: Detroit NAACP slams Michigan Republicans for trying to limit Democrats power

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent

Dr. Wendell Anthony, President of the Detroit NAACP
Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony isn’t taking the latest efforts by the outgoing Republican administration in Michigan sitting down. Anthony, who’s president of the NAACP in Detroit – the Civil Rights organization’s largest branch – is leading an effort to stop several bills proposed by lame duck Republicans who lost the midterm elections.
Anthony said the actions taken by the GOP-led legislature are “more crooked than the great train robberies committed by Jesse and Frank James in the Missouri territories.”
“The only thing the legislature in Michigan lacks is a face mask and a six-shooter,” Anthony said. The outspoken Anthony listed seven bills as troublesome:
· Senate Bills 1238-1240 undercuts the Promote the Vote proposal.
· Senate Bill 1254 undercuts the anti-gerrymandering proposal.
· Senate Bill 1252 shifts the oversight of campaign finance law from the incoming Secretary of State.
· House Bill 6553 would allow the Michigan House of Representatives and the Senate to interfere with legal proceedings involving the state (traditionally the responsibility of the state Attorney General or the Governor’s office).
· Senate Bill 1175 would change the way employers provide paid sick time and the number of employers exempted by various business entities.
· Senate Bill 1171 would gut the minimum wage initiative, a measure that would assure the minimum wage would rise according to inflation. “Rogue lawmakers are already trashing the one fair minimum-wage agreement, fought for by workers across the state,” Anthony said.
· Senate Bill 1182 would change the way law suits and civil actions should be awarded to both the attorneys representing the plaintiffs and the defendants. “It is designed to discourage citizens and organizations filing civil actions against various injustices,” he said.
Anthony told NNPA Newswire that the actions are “a treacherous mean-spirited, underhanded and deceptive Republican theft of what should be a democratic process.”
“They have not gotten the memo that we won the election and they are mad, and they are upset and trying to offset the result of the election by setting themselves up to maintain power before the Democratic administration can come in,” Anthony said.
Together the proposals, which would still require the signature of outgoing Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, would essentially take away or greatly diminish the power from Governor-elect Gretchen Whitmer, Secretary of State-elect Jocelyn Benson and Attorney General-elect Dana Nessel.
`The GOP-sponsored bills came within hours of similar efforts in Wisconsin, where lawmakers voted earlier to shift clout to the Republican-controlled Legislature and weaken the Democrat replacing the GOP governor.
In January, Michigan Democrats will jointly hold the governor, attorney general and secretary offices for the first time in 28 years, but the Legislature will continue to be controlled by Republicans.
A day after GOP lawmakers finalized an unprecedented maneuver to gut minimum wage and paid sick leave laws, a Senate panel passed legislation that would create the Fair Political Practices Commission to enforce the campaign-finance law rather than Benson, who ran in part on a pledge to advocate for election transparency.
Democrats called the bill a blatant power grab that would fly in the face of voters, according to NBC News. “At no point did voters say they wanted the rules manipulated. At no point did they say they wanted bills rushed through a hasty lame-duck session,” Patrick Schuh, state director for the liberal group America Votes, told NBC News.
He, like Anthony and others, questioned the timing, saying such a commission was not proposed until a Democrat is on the verge of leading the secretary of state office for the first time in two-dozen years.
Chief among the many proposals rankling Democrats and voters alike is a proposal that requires a legislative committee rather than the Attorney General to sign off on withdrawing from federal lawsuits, now sits on the table.
In Wisconsin, it would also give the legislature oversight over Governor-Elect Tony Evers, potentially preventing him from seeking waivers for health care. Outgoing governor Scott Walker is even backing away from his promise to ensure coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, made during the height of the recent election.
“He is hiding behind a political mask of a lawsuit filed this past February which attempts to declare the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional,” Anthony said.
Two years ago, several similar measures were declared unconstitutional in the state of North Carolina. One measure in particular was the 2016 ruling by the federal courts that ended the practice of gerrymandering in the state. Judge James A. Wynn of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit Court indicated, “When maps are gerrymandered, the government no longer reflects the will of the people.”
The resolution to these issues in Michigan, Wisconsin, and North Carolina is very simple, Anthony continued. “Respect the will of the people. Get better policies and you will win more voters. Don’t try to steal it, after you have lost it,” he said.
“Now is the time to be encouraged. We must not step back. We must all step up. Governor Rick Snyder, please don’t go off into the pages of history having turned back the page on Michigan democracy,” Anthony said.
“When these bills arrive on your desk, remember the words of the former First Lady Nancy Reagan, and ‘Just say No.’ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. reminds us, ‘Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. The time is always right to do what is right.’ We shall not be silent because the time is always right, to do what is right, to preserve and protect our democracy,” he said.

Hundreds attend celebration of Senator Hank Sanders 35 years of service in Alabama Legislature

More than 300 people from around the state attended a program on

Passing the Torch Ceremony L to R are: Attorney Faya Rose Toure, Attorney Malika Sanders Fortier, Senator Hank Sanders, Askhari Little and Attorney Ainka Sanders Jackson

Saturday, November 17, 2018, to celebrate and honor the 35 years of service by Senator Hank Sanders in the Alabama State Legislature. The program was held at the Wallace Community College in Selma, Alabama.
Sixty speakers, dancers, poets, musicians and others spoke and offered tributes on the program which culminated in a ceremony passing the torch of leadership from Hank to his daughter, Maliki Sanders Fortier. She was elected as Senator from the 23rd District of Alabama, comprising ten counties surrounding Selma, in the Alabama Black Belt, in the November 6th General Election, to succeed her father.

Carol P. Zippert, School Board member from Greene County and Co-Publisher of the Greene County Democrat gave the occasion for the program. She said the program was, “ to honor Senator Hank Sanders as a spiritual soldier for justice, visionary and institution builder in the Alabama Black Belt.”
A number of Hank’s colleagues from the Legislature came and gave tributes to Hank’s ability, friendship and moving the state, not just Black people, but the state as a whole, forward in a more just and equitable way.
Former Lieutenant Governor George McMillan praised Hank for his struggles as a young man, which led him to be more concerned about the welfare of others than himself. He said Hank lived by the dictum, his mother taught him, “Take what you have, To make what you need”. He lives his life asking people, “to turn to each other and not on each other.
Jimmy Baker, a former State Finance Director, Senator Little, Senator Lowell Barron, Senator Roger Bedford and others called Senator Hank Sanders a champion of public education, dedicated to an equitable funding of public education which helped poor rural counties Black and white in the state. All said that they were honored and humbled to work with Hank and that they learned a lot from him in all of their interactions with him both political and personal.
Senators Roger Smitherman and Linda Coleman of Birmingham, two African-American colleagues praised Hank for welcoming them in the Legislature and helping them to learn the process in Montgomery of how to pass legislation. Smitherman said, “ I want to do everything I can to help Malika Fortier when she joins us in the Senate.”
Former Commissioner of Agriculture Ron Sparks said that Hank Sanders was always, “Honest and courageous; a man of vision and hope. I traveled the world with Hank and Rose, to India, Cuba and other places and it was always a great experience, especially learning other people and cultures.”
Many local African-American officials including Congresswoman Terri Sewell, School Superintendents and Board members, County Commissioners recognized Senator Hank Sanders for guiding and advising them on difficult decisions and situations that helped them in their careers and personal lives.
Joe Reed, leader of the Alabama Democratic Conference (ADC) said that he and Hank did not agree on all things but that he knew that “Hank never forgot who the real enemy was of the people of Alabama – poverty and injustice – so they could often work together to fight the real enemies of the people of Alabama.”
David White, a former reporter for the Birmingham News and now an aide to Governor Kay Ivey praised Hank Sanders for his persistence and raising important issues like the Moratorium on the Death Penalty, which even though not enacted raised aw3areness and consciousness on important issues.

John Zippert, Co Publisher of the Greene County Democrat recognized Hank Sanders for his work on the Pigford Class Action lawsuits for Black farmers; his work with the Alabama New South Coalition and for writing a weekly column, Senate Sketches, for more than 30 years. “ I am proud to say the Greene County Democrat has published each of the 1,640 weekly columns and we will continue publishing his column although it will now be called Sketches, since the author has retired from the Alabama State Senate.”
Members of the Senator’s family including siblings, wife Faya Rose, his children and grandchildren also gave various tributes.

At the end of the program there was a ceremony of passing the torch of leadership and responsibility to the community from Senator Hank Sanders to his daughter, Malika Sanders Fortier. The ceremony was symbolical of the transfer of Hank Sanders duties and role in the Alabama Legislature to his successor.

USDA Invests in Water and Wastewater Infrastructure in 46 States including $1.3 million for project in Greene Co.

WASHINGTON, Dec. 4, 2018 –Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced that USDA is investing $1.2 billion to assist 936,000 rural Americans living in 46 states, including Alabama.
Locally, Alabama State Director for Rural Development Chris Beeker III announced that $8.7 million of USDA’s investment will help improve water and wastewater infrastructure in rural Alabama.
“Access to water is a key driver for economic opportunity and quality of life in rural communities,” Hazlett said. “Under the leadership of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural communities in building prosperity through modern water infrastructure.”
Beeker said USDA is providing financing for four water and wastewater infrastructure projects in Alabama through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program. The funding can be used for drinking water, stormwater drainage and waste disposal systems for rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents. Eligible communities and water districts can apply online on the interactive RD Apply tool, or they can apply through one of USDA Rural Development’s state or field offices.
The Greene County Water and Sewer Authority will receive a $919,000 loan and a $426,000 grant to repair and repaint three water storage tanks and build a new office building. Refurbishing the water tanks is needed to prevent deterioration. The Greene County Water and Sewer Authority is renting its office building, which no longer meets its needs and does not have sufficient, secured storage space for trucks and equipment. The new building will provide ample secured storage for trucks, tools and equipment. One of the three storage bays will provide drive-through access to allow for more efficient delivery of equipment and supplies. The Authority serves approximately 1,342 customers in Greene County.

In addition to Alabama, USDA is making investments in rural communities in: Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia.
In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a key recommendation of the task force.
To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB).
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit

Greene County Chapter of DST sponsors 8th Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Walk

The Greene County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. held its 8th Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Walk on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018 on the old courthouse square in Eutaw, AL. Mayor Raymond Steele was present to deliver greetings from the City of Eutaw, applauding the efforts on behalf of the Delta to bring awareness to the community. Nancy Cole gave greetings on behalf of the chapter president. Johnni Morning served as Mistress of Order. This event was open to the public. All participants received various materials on breast cancer awareness. A collection of pink balloons was released in celebration of breast cancer survivors and their families, as well as for individuals currently struggling with the illness. The annual walk is also held to encourage the community to adopt more healthy life styles, including healthy food choices, regular physical exercise and medical exams. Isaac Atkins is President of the Greene County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Johnni Strode-Morning is Chairperson of the chapter’s Physical and Mental Health Committee.

Newswire :  Voter suppression scheme snuffed out in Georgia

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Contributor


The efforts of a prominent Washington, D.C. organization has resulted in a major voting rights victory for individuals of color in a small – but significant – Georgia town. District-based Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law led others including the ACLU of Georgia and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in successfully getting election officials in Randolph County, Georgia, to keep open polling sites in the mostly Black precincts. Officials in the town had voted to close the sites ahead of the midterm elections and as African-American female gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams counts as the favorite to win her race to become the state’s first Black female governor. “We won,” said Kristen Clarke, the president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “Our community partners beat back a voter suppression scheme that was being undertaken by officials in Randolph County. Remarkably, officials were trying to shutter 7 of 9 polling sites in this poor, majority Black community,” Clarke said. The scheme undoubtedly was hatched to silence Black voters in the small rural, low-income community where many residents lack access to public transportation, she added. “The burden would have been felt heaviest by Black voters, who are three times more likely than white voters to lack access to a vehicle. We pushed back against this textbook example of voter suppression and we prevailed,” Clarke said. The effort has galvanized national civil rights and voting rights groups aiming to block attempts to suppress minority voter turnout in Georgia and in other states ahead of critical midterm elections, according to USA Today. The Congressional Black Caucus urged county election officials to drop the plan, saying it would violate the 1965 Voting Rights Act to close the polling sites so close to an election. “We are deeply concerned that the bedrock tenets of democracy would be under attack should this proposal be adopted and implemented,” the caucus wrote in a letter. The two members of the Randolph County Board of Elections and Registration voted unanimously not to make changes. The board, which has one vacancy, held two hearings on the proposal. Tommy Coleman, an attorney for the county in southwest Georgia, said he doesn’t think the board members meant harm by considering the proposal but that it might have been ill-timed. “It gives you the appearance that you’re trying to do something to alter the vote in November. I don’t think that’s the case. I’m certain it isn’t,” he told USA Today. “The people who do this in rural Georgia – these two people – are just volunteers.” The issue garnered national attention in part because of the historic nomination of Abrams, the Georgia Democrat who could make history if she wins in November. Abrams and Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who is also running for governor, both called for officials to drop the plan. The proposal was offered earlier this year after the county hired a consultant when the election superintendent quit three weeks before the May primary, Coleman said. The consultant, Mike Malone, recommended closing the polling sites because they didn’t comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. But, Coleman said, the proposal “doesn’t seem to be backed up with any real data.” Critics of the proposal argue the sites were used for elections earlier in the year and in the years since the county was called out in 2016 for not complying with the ADA. “Why all of a sudden do you want it to be ADA compliant when you haven’t complied in all of this time?” said Helen Butler, executive director of the Georgia Coalition for the Peoples Agenda. “What is the rush if it wasn’t a rush in all these years,” added Butler, who also serves on the Board of Elections in Morgan County, Georgia. Nse Ufot, executive director of the New Georgia Project, a nonpartisan civic engagement group, said county election officials could have moved polls to local churches and other sites that are ADA compliant. “This is a blatant attempt at voter suppression,” she said. “Voter suppression in Georgia is a lot more sophisticated, I think, than people realize.” Coleman described Randolph County, the sixth smallest in the state, as very poor and struggling with a declining population and economic base. He said there have been discussions about the cost of polling sites because there were few voters there. For example, he said, one precinct had about 100 people. But Coleman said the timing of proposing closures could have been better. “It was probably ill-timed. We certainly went through the primary and the runoff from the primary and why we would need to do it before November in the teeth of this kind of heightened political environment, I think, is what the problem was,” he said. “It needs to be given more thought away from elections.” There have been lawsuits in the past over the county’s noncompliance with the ADA, Coleman said. The county used a $200,000 grant to upgrade some buildings, including the courthouse. Coleman said he suspects there are some buildings, including some of the firehouses that have been used for polling sites, that are not in full compliance. Coleman couldn’t say what steps the county will take to comply with the ADA, but he said, “I think they will now.” Meanwhile, Clarke and others celebrated the victory and vowed to remain vigilant on such issues. “The defeat of this proposal shows the power of resistance and the impact that we can have by leveraging our voices against injustice,” Clarke said. “We have seen these voter suppression schemes before – they have been pervasive throughout the 2018 midterm cycle… Now we move on to fighting other counties in Georgia that are entertaining similar tactics.”

Wedgeworth wins Probate Judge race Summerville chosen District 5 Commissioner in Tuesday’s Runoff Election








Rolonda H. Wedgeworth won Tuesday’s Runoff Election by a vote of 1,291 (56.2%) to 1,006 (43.8%) for Jeremy Rancher for the Democratic nomination for Probate Judge of Greene County. Since there is no Republican opposition, Wedgeworth will be elected at the November 6, 2018 General Election.
Roshonda Summerville defeated Marvin Childs for the Democratic nomination for Greene County Commissioner District 5 by a vote of 248 (53.45%) to 216 (46.55%).
Turnout was down significantly in the runoff from the June First Primary election. Turnout in the Democratic party races was 2,308, down more than a thousand votes from June. Republican turnout was 115 votes. This highlights the dilemma of educating voters to vote in each and every election, which is critically important.
Wedgeworth, who serves as Chief Clerk in the Probate Judge’s office, won in all but three precincts. She thanked her supporters and said “I look forward to serving all citizens of Greene County in the Probate Judge’s office.”
Summerville, a political newcomer who works at the Greene County Physicians Clinic, said, “I learned a lot about my district and the people by campaigning door-to-door and I hope to be a good representative for people in District 5.”

Statewide Republicans completed their slate for the November 6 election with Will Ainsworth for Lieutenant Governor, Steve Marshall for Attorney General, Sarah Hicks for Place 1 on Supreme Court and Rick Pate for Agriculture Commissioner.
Attention turns now to the November 6, 2018 General Election, which is 100 days away. This will pit incumbent Republican Governor, Kay Ivey, against Walt Maddox, Tuscaloosa Mayor, the Democratic candidate, as well as other races for statewide and legislative offices. Candidates and politicalm organizations will be working on strategies to interest and excite voters to turnout at record numbers to participate in this upcoming election.