President Biden issues first pardons, including first
Black to serve on a Presidential Secret Service detail

By Lauren Victoria Burke, NNPA Newswire Contributor

On April 26, President Biden used his pardon powers as President for the first time.
The White House announced three pardons and the commuted sentences of 75 nonviolent drug offenders. The move by President Biden follows calls by justice reform activists to use the pardon power to correct disproportionate justice impacting minorities in the U.S.
Biden’s pardon list included Abraham Bolden, Sr., an 86-year-old former U.S. Secret Service agent who was the first African American to serve on a presidential detail.
“In 1964, Mr. Bolden was charged with offenses related to attempting to sell a copy of a Secret Service file. His first trial resulted in a hung jury, and following his conviction at a second trial, even though key witnesses against him admitted to lying at the prosecutor’s request, Mr. Bolden was denied a new trial and ultimately served several years in federal custody. He has steadfastly maintained his innocence, arguing that he was targeted for prosecution in retaliation for exposing unprofessional and racist behavior within the U.S. Secret Service.
Mr. Bolden has received numerous honors and awards for his ongoing work to speak out against the racism he faced in the Secret Service in the 1960s, and his courage in challenging injustice. Mr. Bolden has also been recognized for his many contributions to his community following his release from prison,” a statement from the White House regarding Bolden’s pardon read.
Dexter Eugene Jackson, 52, of Athens, Ga., was pardoned by Biden for his 2002 conviction for using his business to facilitate the sale of marijuana. “Since his release from custody, Mr. Jackson has converted his business into a cell-phone repair service and hired local high school students through a program that seeks to provide young adults with work experience. Mr. Jackson has also worked to build and renovate homes in a community that lacks quality affordable housing,” the White House release stated.
Betty Jo Bogans, 51, of Houston, received a pardon for her 1998 conviction of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine. Bogan, a single mother with no record, received a seven-year sentence because of harsh penalties at the time. “At the time of her conviction, Ms. Bogans was a single mother with no prior record, who accepted responsibility for her limited role in the offense. Because of the harsh penalties in place at the time she was convicted, Ms. Bogan received a seven-year sentence. In the nearly two decades since her release from custody, Ms. Bogans has held consistent employment, even while undergoing treatment for cancer, and has focused on raising her son.”
The number of pardons indicate Biden may have many more to come. The use of the pardon power varies from President to President. Donald Trump used it several times to send political messages and celebrity cases.
Lauren Victoria Burke is an independent journalist and the host of the podcast BURKEFILE. She is a political analyst who appears regularly on #RolandMartinUnfiltered. She may be contacted at LBurke007@gmail.com and on twitter at @LVBurke

Merriweather is candidate for County Commission District 4

My name is Malcom Thomas Merriweather, Sr. and I am a candidate for District 4 County Commissioner here in Greene County, Alabama. I’ve lived, worked, and farmed here in the Forkland community for the past 40 years. My wife and I, along with our two sons Malcom (Jr.) and Tyler, are all active members of the Lloyd Chapel Missionary Baptist Church.
One question that people typically ask when you are a candidate in my position is, “why run for county commissioner?” The answer is straightforward. I was born and raised by both of my parents. I was married here, raised my family here, farm here, and plan to stay here long enough to see my grandchildren grow up in this part of the county. That’s four generations of the Merriweather bloodline in the Greene County Community. I am running for county commissioner because I want to see a difference in my community for future generations to come. 
 My Experience: My 35 years in the paper industry have granted me countless opportunities to manage and work alongside a diverse group of people in the public and private sector that stretches from Forkland, Alabama to Portland, Oregon. My years of experience with these groups of people have exposed me to the various challenges and obstacles that different demographics face keeping their businesses, counties, and state infrastructures in place. The plan would be to work together and implement knowledge as well as new technology for our community. This new technology will be focused on helping the citizens of Greene County understand the means and methods of creating/writing grants as well as sourcing outside funds for the community. With these measures, we aim to create new opportunities to reconstruct/revamp roads, bridges, schools, and hospitals.
  I want to see this county grow and upgrade in ways that we have not seen before. My proposal is to maintain the same small-town community feel, but have better roads, schools, and health care facilities for the people who are rooted here in Greene County. My vision is to also clean up the overall appearance of the county by putting a stop to the illegal dumping of trash/littering on the roadways.
As a member of this community, I take pride in where I am from. Let’s work together to make our district beautiful, safe, and clean for ourselves and the future generations to come. A new beginning for Greene County, Alabama starts here, and it starts with us. Let’s make a difference together now, so we have something to be proud of.
 I am asking you for your vote and trust. I will work hard for everyone here in District 4 to keep this community a place we can be proud to call home.
Your candidate for County Commissioner District 4 Greene County Alabama,
Malcom Thomas Merriweather, Sr.

The power of the vote in Greene County What do we do with Black History

Mrs. Edna Chambers was the first Black Woman elected to the Greene County Commission

Mrs. Lula Cook was the first Black Woman
appointed and elected to the office of Tax Collector
NDPA Political Planning Session
L to R: Rev. Peter Kirskey, School Board Member, Rev. William M. Branch Probate Judge candidate, Malcom Branch, Judge Branch’s son, Greene County Commissioner Franchie Burton, Dr. John Cashin, NDPA President, Rev. Thomas Gilmore, Sheriff Candidate, County Commissioner Levi Morrow, Sr., and County Commissioner Harry Means. The group shown here is meeting in a planning session for the special election for Greene County in 1968. (The Afro-American Newspaper in Baltimore MD.)
Greene County Elected Officials L to R: front row Vassie Knott, Levi Morrow; back row-Robert Hines, Harry Means, Franchie Burton and William Branch. ( James Posey is not in the picture.)

It’s that time of year when we go all out to publicly acknowledge who are are, from whence we’ve come and what we have accomplished as Black people. It is also at this time that we profoundly exclaim that truly learning and spreading our history and living ought to be done at least every month of the year, not just in February.
Stories we don’t share with our children today will be lost. Our role is to share our stories, teach their significance and assist the children with the application to their lives.
Since chattel slavery was abolished, except through imprisonment, the vote of Black folk has been the power to our voice. Black folk fought for the vote, we fought to use it, and we continue to fight to keep it and make it permanent.
During Reconstruction in this country, the power of our vote produced Black state and national political leaders. Scholars have identified more than 1,500 African American officeholders who served during the Reconstruction Era (1865–1877). From 1868 to 1878 more than 100 African Americans served in the Alabama Legislature.
Beginning in 1966, Greene County Alabama raised its voice and elected the first Black person to the Greene County Board of Education, Rev. Peter J. Kirksey; and the first Black person to the Greene County Democratic Executive Committee, Rev. W.D. Lewis.
From then on, With 80% of the population, Black folk in Greene County focused on organizing and registering people to vote.
With the assistance of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and the Student National Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and amidst physical brutality and displacements from local white officials and citizenry, the raised voices of Blacks in Greene County in 1969, under the National Democratic Party of Alabama (NDPA), elected the first Black County Commissioners: Rev. Vassie Knott, Mr. Harry Means, Mr. Franchie Burton, and Mr. Levi Morrow, Sr. That same year, Mr. James Posey and Mr. Robert Hines were elected to the Greene County Board of Education.
The vote continued to power our voices in Greene County and in 1970, Rev. William M. Branch was elected the first Black Probate Judge in Greene County and in the nation. Rev. Thomas Gilmore was elected the first Black Sheriff; Mrs. Wadine Williams was elected the first Black Circuit Clerk. Robert Cook was elected the first Black Tax Collector. Rev. Harold Abner Milton was elected first Black Coroner in Greene County. Deacon John Head and Mr. Earsrie Chambers were elected to the Greene County Board of Education and Dr. Robert Brown was appointed the first Black Superintendent of Greene County Schools.
In 1978, Rev. John Kennard was elected the first Black Tax Assessor in Greene County.
Ms. Amanda Burton was appointed the first Black Woman on the Greene County Commission, to complete the term of her husband, Franchie Burton, when he passed. Mrs. Edna Chambers was the first Black Woman elected to the Greene County Commission. Mrs. Lula Cook was the first Black Woman appointed to the office of Tax Collector, when her husband, Robert Cook, passed. She was subsequently elected to that office.

5 running for Mayor of Eutaw Municipal election candidates set for August 25th

July 21, 2020 was the deadline to qualify to run for mayor and city council positions in upcoming Municipal Elections in Greene County towns. The election is set for August 25, 2020. There will be contested elections in Eutaw and Forkland, while in Boligee and Union only the current incumbents qualified to run, so there will be no contested elections and the municipal officials will receive a new term.
In Eutaw, there are five candidates running for Mayor, including incumbent Raymond Steele, two current council members Latasha Johnson and Joe Lee Powell, and Sandra “Sandy” Walker and Queena Bennett Whitehead.
For District 1 Eutaw City Council, there are three candidates for the seat currently held by Latasha Johnson, they are Ke’undra Quintez Cox, Chandra Mayes and Valerie B. “Nippy” Watkins.
For District 2, Eutaw City Council, incumbent councilman, La’Jeffrey “Chris” Carpenter is opposed by Bryant N. Snyder Jr. In District 3, Eutaw City Council, which is the position currently held by Joe Lee Powell, only one person, Tracy Hunter qualified and will be running unopposed.
For District 4, in Eutaw, incumbent Sheila H. Smith is challenged by Larry Coleman. In District 5, incumbent Bennie Abrams Jr. chose not to run. Two candidates, Jacqueline Stewart and Rodney Wesley are contesting for this council position.
In Forkland, Alabama, incumbent Mayor Charlie McAlpine is being challenged by Rev. Michael Barton. Council seats for District 1, Joe Tuck, District 2, Christopher Armstead, District 4, Samitra Gray and District 5, Emma Sugars, are unopposed.
For Forkland, District 3, there are three candidates including incumbent, Willie Sashington, who is opposed by Alonzo Thomas and Preston Davis.
In Boligee, the current office holders are unopposed and will receive another term. Hattie M. Samuels, for Mayor, for District 1 Council – Teresa Head-Mack and Halee H. Vogt, for Council District 2 – Michael D. Gibson, Sr., J. E. Morrow and Earnestine Wade.
In Union, all current municipal officials are unopposed and will receive another term. They are: Mayor James Gaines and Council members: Gene Colvin, Louise Harkness, Rosie Davis, Helen Sanford, and Alonzo Thompson.
The last day to register to vote in these municipal elections is August 10, 2020. More information on absentee voting will be available in future issues of the newspaper. A City of Eutaw Voters List is included on pages 10-13 of this newspaper. Check the list to make sure your name is on the list in the right district.

Mary Edwards Otieno seeks District 5 School Board seat

My name is Mary Edwards Otieno and I am a candidate for the Greene County Board of Education in District 5. I am running for this position because as a board member I believe that I will be able to work directly with other board members, the administration and the public at large to improve the Greene County School System.
I am a retired teacher who worked in the Greene County School System for 25 years and because I care for our children and community, I cannot continue to sit by and wait for someone else to make a difference. It is time for me and others who are new to politics to get up and step out of our comfort zones for our children and our community.
At this time I want to share with the community more information about my background, training, experiences and goals.
I am the oldest of eight children of Raymond Edwards, Sr. and Nancy Craig Edwards. I was born in the Pleasant Ridge community of Greene County, Alabama and my parents moved to West Greene when I was three years old.
My basic educational training was in the Greene County School System, beginning with Mt. Hebron Elementary through Paramount High School, graduating in 1975. That was a special accomplishment since I was the first to graduate from high school on either side of my family
In the summer of 1975, I entered Alabama A & M University majoring in History and Political Science, with a focus in Education. I graduated from Alabama A & M University in 1979 and did further studies there and at Livingston University, (now the University of West Alabama).
Upon returning to Greene County, I worked as a long-term substitute teacher at Paramount High School and at Carver Middle School and volunteered at the former Eatman Elementary School. I was also an Adult Basic Education (ABE) Teacher, Librarian’s Aide at Paramount High School and a Social Studies Teacher in the Greene County School System for 25 years.
My earlier work experience also includes being a line inspector at Vanco Sewing Plant, working at the Greene County Nursing Home and the Weyerhaeuser Corporation’s former plant nursery facility in Pleasant Ridge.
Currently, I serve as a volunteer with the Greene County Coalition’s Strengthening the Families Program and a member of the Clinton Volunteer Fire department.
When not volunteering, I am an avid gardener. I love to grow flowers, vegetables and spoil my four-year -old granddaughter, grandnieces and nephews.
With the support of citizens in District Five (5) and the public at large, we can improve the Greene County School System. My goal is to support and keep good polices, good programs, and dedicated individuals who I think will be beneficial for our children, and the county. If elected I will obey all local school board rules, bylaws and guidelines to the best of my ability.
How will I achieve the goals? I will work to understand polices before voting on them. I will do my own research on polices and issues that will come before the board. I will always listen to facts/opinions from other boards members, citizens from District Five (5), teachers, students and the community. I will try to always use common sense and play by the “Golden Rule.”
I am married to James L, Otieno, Sr. and we have one son (James, Jr) who is married to the former Monice Thomas (They have given us the smartest and most beautiful, granddaughter (Lilah) in the World.
We have lived in Clinton, Alabama for the past thirty (36) years.

Greene County High School holds 4th annual Tie Tying Ceremony

. — photography Cynthia Crawford

Judge Lillie Jones-Osborne assisting student
Marcus Steele assisting students
Student assisting student

The Greene County High School 9th Grade Academy, in its fourth year, held its annual Tie Tying Ceremony, Tuesday, August 6, 2019 in the school gymnasium. The Academy program focuses on detailed guidance and assistance for the incoming Freshman Class. The students will receive in depth academic monitoring, counseling, tutoring and guided postsecondary advising The 87 student Freshman Class, with an expected high school graduation date of 2023, will adorn the classic school uniform of navy blue blazer, white shirts and kaki pants with their own distinguishing red and white stripped tie. The ties were provided complimentary of the Greene County Children’s Policy Council, where District Judge Lillie Jones Osborne serves as President.
School Personnel and community stakeholders assisting students in learning appropriate tie tying included Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones, GCHS Principal Willie Simmons, Assist. Principal Andrea Perry, Marcus Steele, Sr., Alphonzo Morton, III and Alphonzo Morton, Jr., Mr. Gary Rice, Mrs. Theresa Mack and Joshua M Campbell.

Greene County School System adds new courses: Welding, Auto Mechanics, Apple Coding

The Greene County School System is offering new courses this current school year. Superintendent Dr. James H. Carter, Sr. announced at the school board meeting held Monday, August 20, that Welding, Auto Mechanics, and Apple Coding are added to the curriculum. Dr. Carter stated that the Greene County School System has partnered with Dr. James Mitchell, President of Wallace Community College Selma, to provide the instructors for the Welding, Auto Mechanics and Apple Coding classes. The Auto Mechanics will be housed at the Career Center at Robert Brown Middle School; Welding will be at Greene County High Career Center and Apple Coding will also be housed at GCHS. According to Superintendent Carter a computer science curriculum will be fully implemented this year for students and teachers to enhance their computer skills. “We will fine tune our technology initiative through a comprehensive professional development for teachers and a more aggressive strategy for training students and parents on how technology can be used to enhance student achievement,” he explained. Dr. Carter congratulated all three schools for receiving a $2,000 Bicentennial Grant. He also congratulated Dr. Rhinnie Scott, GCHS Career Center Principal, for being selected as a Director for CLAS, Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools. Carter announced that the system’s annual budget hearings are scheduled for Tuesday August 28 and Tuesday, September 11, 2018, at 3:30 p.m. in the Central Office Auditorium. According to Dr. Carter, to date, the Greene County School System has enrolled 1,048 students in its K-12 classes, and 36 in Pre-K, total of 1,084. The school board approved the superintendent’s recommendations of the following personnel items. Resignations: Tammy Anderson as first grade teacher; William Mack as bus driver; Su’Kova Hicks as English teacher; Russell Wesley, decline offer as Math teacher. Appointments for Eutaw Primary School: Lurene Smith as Kindergarten teacher at Eutaw Primary; Twelia Morris as long-term substitute secretary. Appointments at Robert Brown Middle School: Suntonna Miles as six grade teacher; Alisa Ward Allen as six grade teacher; Jacqueline Edwards as part-time custodian. Appointments Greene County High School: Jerria Prince as Career Preparedness Teacher, GC Career Center; Neshambia Sewell as Science teacher GCHS; Ashley Moody as English teacher GCHS; Cherema Gaines as Science teacher as long-term substitute at GCHS. Re-assignment: Cindy Taylor, from attendance supervisor to attendance officer. Part-time Employment: Cynthia Crawford as technical support for Greene County School Board District. Adjusted contract for Toice Goodson from 220 day to 240 days. The administrative services approved by the board included the following. * Approve Principal Contract – Greene County High School. * To hire a firm to survey and appraise property at Paramount Jr. High School, Eatman Elementary School, Berdine Elementary School, and Mt. Hebron Pre-School. * Authorize Attorney and Dr. Carter to make counter offer to the City of Boligee for property at Paramount Jr. High School. * Meal price change to be in compliance with the Child Nutrition Guidelines for visitors during the 2018-2019 school year. The necessary meal price adjustments are as follows: Visitor Students – Breakfast $1.50, Lunch $3.75; Visitor Adult – Breakfast $2.25, Lunch $4.00; Employees – Breakfast $2.00, Lunch $3.75. * Glimpse Proposal Grade K-12. * To accept proposals for Criterion Consulting Administrator Evaluation Support Services, for 2018-2019 school year. * Contract between the Greene County Board of Education, the Greene County Commission and the Greene County Sheriff Department for services of School Resource Officers at Robert Brown Middle, Greene County High School and Learning Academy for 2018 – 2019 school year. *Contract between Helping Hands Therapy and Greene County Board of Education for 2018 – 2019 school year. * Contract between Amy Quitt, for Provision of Speech-Language Therapy Services. Contract for Ebony Arrington Dance Education and Enrichment Program. Payment of all bills, claims, and payroll. The board approved the Parent & Student Handbook for the 2018-2019 School Year.

Boligee Mayor and Council members purchase fire truck for fire department

 

Monday, August 6, 2018 Boligee Mayor Louis Harper and the Boligee City Council purchased a $66,000 1995 Pierce 1750 /1000 rural Pumper Fire Truck for the Boligee Fire Department. Mayor Harper stated “I am proud of the fire truck It’s all about persons working together to build up the community and with the monthly funds the town receives from Bingo facilities the Town of Boligee is able to make this possible for the fire department.” Shown above: Mayor Louis Harper, Council members Teresa Head Mack, Michael Gibson, Sr., Harlee Vogt, Earnestine Wade, Hattie Samuel, Boligee Fire Department President Eddie Mae Brown; Boligee Assistant Fire Chief Marvin Oliver. and Maggie Oliver member. Not pictured Sharon Washington, clerk; Lucille Davis Asst. clerk and Barry Lusk Fire Chief.

Walton running for County Commission District 5

Marvin Walton.jpg

Marvin Walton, Sr. is announcing his candidacy for District 5 County Commission. Walton was born and raised in Eutaw and is a United  State Navy Veteran.  He and his wife, Valerie, have been married for 29 years and have reared two amazing children – Marvin Walton, Jr. a graduate of Alabama A & M University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Construction Management and Raven a student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham majoring in Health Management. Although a novice to the political arena, Walton understands the needs of his district and possess the knowledge, dedication and initiative to accomplish what is needed for progress, opportunities and new beginnings. He has a heart to see young people succeed and will consult with educators in the district to plan activities for youth during the summer months. In addition, he has a humble spirit when it comes to assisting people in his community and will be devoted to their needs once elected.
District 5 deserves a Commissioner who is Capable, Honest, Attentive, Noble, Generous and Efficient. Marvin Walton, Sr. is not a perfect man, but he is the perfect “Choice for Change!”

Benison announces candidacy for Sheriff of Greene County

Jimmie Benison

Hello fellow citizens of Greene County. My name is Jimmie L. Benison, Sr. and I am announcing my candidacy in the upcoming election for Sheriff of Greene Co. I was born here in this county and raised in Forkland. I am married and have a total of six children, two of whom are my step children that I have raised from toddlers.
I am a United States Army veteran and I have been in law enforcement since 2004. I worked as Chief Deputy under the late Sheriff Ison Thomas. Not only have I worked in law enforcement in this county, I have also worked in surrounding counties. Therefore, I have a thorough amount of knowledge of the law and the running of the Sheriff Department. My plans as Sheriff are to be vigilant and available to all citizens. I want to make sure that our communities are safe. I plan to reach out to our children, especially our young boys, while they will still listen and before it is too late. I will also make sure that all five of our bingo facilities are contributing to our school system, our hospital and our first responders departments. If you share my vision, vote for me, Jimmie L. Benison, Sr. as sheriff of Greene County.