Alabama New South Alliance makes local endorsements

Last Saturday and Sunday, members of the Alabama New South Alliance (ANSA) the sister organization to the Alabama New South Coalition (ANSC) met to screen candidates for local offices in Greene County. ANSC develops a slate of candidates that the feel would do the best job and be accountable to the people of Greene County.

All local candidates, in contested races, were invited by letter to the screening, which was held in the Renaissance Theater, since the Greene County Commission did not grant permission to hold a “political meeting” at the Eutaw Activity Center. Commissioner Corey Cockrell has requested that the County Attorney seek a State Attorney General’s opinion on whether a political meeting can be held on county owned property.

It is a general rule of ANSA that candidates who do not attend the screening are not likely to be endorsed. District Judge Lillie Osborne presided over the screening process. Each candidate was given three minutes to introduce themselves and explain why they are they are the best person for the position. A ten-minute period for questions from the membership followed. Candidates for the same position were generally asked the same questions by the membership.

For Commissioner for District 1, Garria Spencer was endorsed. Shelia R. Daniels, his opponent did not attend the screening.

For District 4, incumbent Commission Chair, Allen Turner Jr. was endorsed. Neither of his opponents, Christopher Armstead or Malcolm Merriweather attended the screening.

In District 5, for Commissioner, Marvin Childs was endorsed. Anikia Coleman Jones attended, however, incumbent commissioner Roshanda Summerville and Sharlene French did not attend.

Incumbent Commissioners Tennyson Smith and District 2 and Corey Cockrell in District 3 are running unopposed and were not screened.

For School Board District 1, incumbent School Board Chair Carol P. Zippert was endorsed. Robert Davis Jr. attended the screening, her other opponent Fentress ‘Duke’ Means did not.

For Board of Education, District 2, incumbent Kashaya Cockrell was endorsed, neither of her two opponents, Brandon R. Merriweather or Tameka King attended the screening, although Merriweather called and said he had to attend some employment related training out of town.

For Sheriff of Greene County, Jimmie Benison and Beverly Spencer attended the screening. Incumbent Sheriff Jonathan ‘Joe’ Benison and challenger Hank McWhorter chose not to attend the screening. Both candidates, who came to the screening, were questioned in depth about their positions on law enforcement and the operation of electronic bingo. Beverly Spencer received the ANSA endorsement.

“We had an open, democratic and transparent screening process, over six hours on two weekend afternoons. All of the candidates, including myself, were questioned in detail on their thoughts, policies and programs. Now we need to go to work registering, educating and turning the people out to vote,” said District Judge Lillie Jones Osborne, Chairperson of the local ANSC/ANSA Screening Committee.

Kashaya Cockrell seeks re-election to School Board Seat, District 2

I am Kashaya Cockrell and I am a candidate for Re-Election to the Greene County Board of Education District # 2 in the Democratic Primary Election scheduled for May 24, 2022.
As you are aware, the coronavirus has caused disruptions in our school system. When the numbers rose in positive tests in the schools and in the community, we had to offer the academic program virtually, but through “God’s Grace” we’ve made it thus far, with no child lost due to this unforeseen pandemic. I am devastated that we have lost staff members. I am still praying for their families.
We have to stand together and continue to pray. God will help us to move forward. We are taking all protocols available in keeping everyone safe.
I am dedicated to working to provide the best educational preparation for our students. I have children in the Greene County School System, and as I work for their progress, I work for the progress of all children in the system.
I am asking you to go to the polls on May 24, 2022 and vote for me Kashaya Cockrell District #2 Greene County Board of Education. I will love to continue to serve you and to be a voice for our children. Please be safe. Thank You.

Tennyson Smith seeks re-election as County Commissioner, District 2

To the Citizens of Greene County and Voters of District 2:
When I took the oath of an elected official years ago,  I pledged to do my best to help improve Greene County and  District 2. Today, I am pleased to say, I have done my best to uphold that pledge. Each decision and vote was made with you, the citizens and voters of District 2, in mind. I am seeking re-election as Greene County Commissioner of District 2 in the May 24, 2022 Primary Election.
-I am dedicated to the task that is before me
– I am available to you whenever you need me.
– I operate an Open -Door Policy; no appointment is needed to see me.
– I will continue to return each of your calls and check on and resolve all concerns and problems to the best to my ability.
– I am here to serve you.
-I will try to the best of my ability to be fair, firm, effective and respectable at all times.
Voters of District 2, we have come a long way and made many improvements in our county; yet there is much work to be done. Please go to the poll and vote in the Primary Election of May 24, 2022 and re-elect Tennyson Smith as Greene County Commissioner District 2.

County to place guard rails on bridges; makes board appointments

The Greene County Commission held it regular meeting on March 8, 2021 at 3:30 pm in the William M. Branch Courthouse and approved several Engineering Department proposals. The commission approved a resolution for the 2021 HRRR Project which is an Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) Safety grant for guard rails on county road bridges. The commission also approved the engineer signing a utility relocation agreement for the power lines on County Road 69, near the bridge replacement project, for the approximate amount of $12,000. The commission will charge a $25 fee for flood plain permits. This applies to anyone who builds or locates in a flood plain in the county. The commission approved the annual tax levy on any alcohol beverage sold in the county. Bama Bingo’s ABC license application was approved and the ABC license for 432 South Lounge was ratified. The commission tabled the request from the Greene County Golf Course (Greens Committee) to be allowed get bids for timber cutting. Commissioner Allen Turner proposed getting legal research on the property first. Commissioner Lester Brown explained that the County is in charge of the Golf Course unless the property ceases to be utilized, then it returns to the original owner. Brown also stated that cutting timber has been a source of income for the Greens.“The county has not provided any financial support to the Golf Course for the last nine years,” he stated. During the public comment session, Mr. James E. Morrow, appealed to the commission to reconsider their decision, as he listed out various pressing needs of the Golf Course, including grading and cutting equipment, upkeep of the road and bridge across the lake and clubhouse repairs. “For the past nine years we have asked the county to place the Golf Course in its budget, but we have yet to receive a favorable response,” Morrow stated. The commission ratified several board appointments. In District 1, Martin Sellers was re-appointed to the Foster Ralph Water Authority; Cilla Morrow was re-appointed to the Library Board and Lucy Spann and John Zippert were re-appointed to the Hospital Board. At this point, Commissioner Allen Turner expressed a concern that Greene County was losing funds from the Greene County residents under the Foster Ralph Water Authority. Commissioner Brown explained that those residents get their water from Tuscaloosa so they pay their water bill to Tuscaloosa. Turner stated that he wants the commission to have more discussions on how to change that situation. In District 2, Sylvia Edgar was re-appointed to the Library Board and Katie Powell was re-appointed to the Greene County Housing Authority Board. In District 4, Eddie Austin was re-appointed to the Hospital Board and Vanessa Gray Bryant was appointed to the Library Board. In District 5, Rose Marie Edwards was re-appointed to the Hospital Board. Commissioner Corey Cockrell requested that all his board appointments be tabled at this time. Underwood reported the following bank balances as of February 21, 2021: Citizen Trust Bank – $4,012,268.44; Merchant & Farmers Bank -$3,337,636.62; Total Investments – $1,082,713.91. Claims paid included the following: Accounts payable – $128,434.89; Payroll Transfer – $299,184.92; Fiduciary – $206,113.54. Total claims paid – $633,733.36. Electronic claims paid totaled $72,974.19. The commission approved the following travel requests. * County Engineer to ACEA Conference, Perdido Beach, May10-14. * H.R. to ACAA Conference, Perdido Bech, May 10-14. * Property Clerk and Revenue Clerk to Birmingham, Introduction to Property Tax Administration, March 23-26. In his financial report, CFO Macaroy Underwood provided the commission with the total Bingo funds received this fiscal year as shown below: Sheriff’s Bingo Revenue to Greene County Fiscal Year to Date, Oct. 2020 thru Feb. 2021 Dream, Inc. – $152,850; TSP Support League -$187,394.10; Anchor – $152,850; Greenetrack – $120,000; Austin Foundation – $152,850; Interest income – $523.82. Total Bingo Revenue to County to date – $766,467.92.

Cockrell wins run-off election for District 2 school board seat


Kashaya “Newt” Cockrell won the District 2 school board seat in a run-off election held Tuesday, April 12, 2016.  Cockrell secured the District 2 school board position with a total of 189 (52%) votes to Madylen Thomas’ 173 (48%) total votes.
Cockrell and Thomas led the slate of five candidates vying for the open seat in the Primary Election on Tuesday, March 1, 2016. Cockrell will hold this position on the Democrat’s Party slate for the November 1, 2016 General Election. She is currently unopposed in the General Election. After the vote count was reported, Cockrell said “ I want to thank all those who helped in this election and all those who voted for me. I did not win by myself, it was because of a community effort. I ran to help and support the children of Greene County and provide a brighter educational future for all of them.
Cockrell is a lifelong resident of Greene County with three children, two of whom are enrolled in the Greene County school system. She is employed as finance manager with the Greene County Housing Authority and also works with agency’s youth department.