Justice Court Judge Mike Arledge will resign his judge’s positon this week and qualify to run for Lowndes County sheriff on Friday. Arledge ran for sheriff in 1999 after retiring from the Mississippi Highway Patrol to do so. Relatively (politically) unknown at the time, Arledge narrowly lost to eventual winner Butch Howard (who won his first of three terms that year after serving as Ed Prescotts’ chief deputy for three terms) by around 700 votes in one of the largest county-wide turnouts in many years. After the loss, Arledge returned to the highway patrol for a brief period before being elected judge in 2003, his first of two terms.
With 31 plus years of law enforcement experience, Arledge brings a long resume to the sheriff’s race. As well as serving as judge and with the highway patrol, Arledge had a stint with the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics as well as the MBI (Mississippi Bureau of Investigations), where he assisted police departments and sheriff offices with broad-based investigations.
Arledge will run as a Republican.
Campaign Signs Already Dotting The County Landscape
With the 2011 election beginning to take shape and with the qualifying deadline approaching (March 1st), campaign signs are already rearing their ugly heads along the county roadways. I say ‘ugly heads’ because most of us in the county will have to look at these things for practically the rest of the year. There should have already been a county ordinance in place limiting the amount of time before an election that a candidate can put up campaign signs. With signs hitting the roadsides as early as late January, more than 6 months before the party primaries and 9 months before the general election, that’s a long time to have to look at these signs.
90 days before any election would and should be plenty of time and would make it fair to all involved. Then, give the candidates a short period of time after the election to get the signs up or MDOT or the county can charge them for doing so…simple as that!
A lot of the signs won’t make it long anyway. MDOT and the county have right-of-ways. In particular, MDOT..they won’t tolerate campaign signs being erected on their ROW. It’ll be an expensive lesson for some, but granted..they’ll get them sooner than later.
More Qualifiers Sign Up
Concrete contractor Phillip Atkins signed up this past Monday to run for District 1 supervisor against incumbent Harry Sanders. Atkins is a longtime member of the 12 Man Supper Club and Caledonia Supper Club. He always cooks regardless if he is hosting the supper or not. Atkins will run as a Republican and this is his first entry into the political arena. He resides at 3205 Caledonia-Steens Road in Caledonia. Phillip is a lifelong resident of Lowndes County.
Supes Meet This Past Tuesday Morning
The Lowndes County Board of Supervisors met this past Tuesday for their regular scheduled mid-month meeting. Again, the supes heard from county resident Jennings Cox, who had come before the board previously asking the county to replace a fence that a contractor he had hired had taken down on his property. The contractor had said that a county official warned him he could be arrested if he didn’t take down the fence because it could possibly be on county right-of-way. Cox wanted the county to replace the fence at a cost of between 4-500 dollars. Board attorney Tim Hudson visited the property and road (Piney Grove) in question last week to see if he could find where the old fence existed and possibly determine if the fence was actually on the ROW (the road has been maintained by the county for at least 10 and possibly 30 years and therefore is designated a public county road). District 5 Supervisor Leroy Brooks asked Hudson, “my question is, do we put a fence back up or not.” Hudson responded, “if the fence was in the right of way..no. If the fence was not in the right of way of the road..then yes.”
It was obvious there was no clear way to resolve the situation. Cox argued that the county was liable, but due to the fact that his contractor took it down without being actually instructed to do so (he was simply warned that, “if it’s on ROW”) , Harry Sanders decided to make a motion that the county not pay for it to be put back up. Frank Ferguson and John Holliman voted with Sanders, with Leroy Brooks and Jeff Smith voted against the motion..it passed 3-2. Cox then wanted an explanation from the county as to where he could reconstruct the fence without it being on ROW. It was then agreed that Cox, Road Manager Ronnie Burns and resident Danny Walden (who oversees property nearby) would meet to determine a suitable resolution.
In Other Supe Action:
Interim Director for the Convention and Visitors Bureau Nancy Carpenter came before the board to seek the supes approval on a loan for the new CVB building. Carpenter told the board that the CVB property had been appraised for $600,000 and the CVB was purchasing the property for $734,000 (the CVB is only purchasing part of the downstairs portion of the building..another portion downstairs and 6 upstairs condos are not included). Board president Harry Sanders asked Carpenter, “why are ya’ll paying $134,000 more than the appraisal” to which Carpenter replied, “i’ve only been on the job for 3 weeks” (Carpenter has been put in a tough position, assuming interim status after former directer James Tsismanakis left to assume similar duties in Georgia). Both Sanders and District 5 Supervisor Leroy Brooks told Carpenter that the county can’t legally sign-on to a deal where a monetary loan exceeds the appraisal. Carpenter had said that she had to seek approval from the county and the city before they could close on the property and the CVB had intended to close next week. But that will be further delayed because the board tabled the matter till more info could be sought as to why the appraisal is lower than the loan. (Sanders had pointed out that the CVB had an attorney (David Dunn) and that he should have known better). I had heard that Dunn would come before the city council meeting held Tuesday night..but he never showed up.
Columbus City Council Meets Tuesday Night:
The Columbus City Council met Tuesday night with its regular mid-month business. Among many items on the agenda, the council voted to bring back longtime Federal Programs Director George Irby on a part-time basis (not to exceed 29 hours per week). Irby will assist current Director Travis Jones.
Ron Williams can be reached by email at Ronsings2you@aol.com0