The ongoing dislike between Caledonia Mayor George Gerhart and Caledonia Town Marshal Ben Kilgore hit a high note last week when Gerhart didn’t inform Emergency 911 or Kilgore about plans to move a large building/structure from property that he recently sold inside the town limits, according to Kilgore. After witnessing the building about to be moved, Kilgore asked if E911 or the proper authorities had been contacted with a plan. (Whenever a large structure is to be moved along streets that could impede emergency vehicles or streets could be blocked off, E911 is to be contacted beforehand with a plan so that they can reroute emergency vehicles. RW). Kilgore said he received no answer when he asked. Kilgore found Gerhart and said that he asked again about a plan, to which he said he received no reply. Kilgore said that he contacted E911 and said no plans had been reported to them.
“He is an idiot” — Caledonia Town Marshal Ben Kilgore in reference to Mayor George Gerhardt
When it neared 3 p.m. and nearby Caledonia school was to be let out, Kilgore began to worry about the blocking of traffic or emergency vehicles, especially with school children in the area. After the structure was moved a few streets over, Kilgore finally found Gerhart and gave him “a bill”. He said that Gerhart responded by telling him where could stick the bill (something to the effect of ramming it up his…posterior? RW).
A few more words of wisdom was uttered by Gerhart, said Kilgore, as Gerhart phoned E911, and even what Kilgore said sounded like a mumbling of “bring it on!” To which Kilgore said he asked, “What did you say?” He said that Gerhart failed to answer that time. (During the phone call to E911, Gerhart can be heard saying that Kilgore needed to “mind his superiors!“)
“He’s (Gerhart) is an idiot,” Kilgore said to me in a phone conversation Tuesday afternoon.
Gerhart will not be seeking another term, after 3 terms (though not consecutive), and a new mayor will be elected in the upcoming town elections on June 4th. The voters will decide between Susan Bell and former mayor Bill Lawrence.
Gerhart could not be reached for comment Wednesday morning when I called Caledonia Town Hall to speak with him about the dispute between him and Marshal Kilgore. Writers note: “I’ve known both George Gerhart and Ben Kilgore for nearly a lifetime. Neither have ever been at a loss for words when I speak with them, and both are usually very candid when they do speak with me.
With that said, I expect Gerhart will provide his own account of the situation when contacted, though will likely be similar because I’ve known both of these men to say exactly what they feel with nothing held back.”
Richard Hutcherson Makes Impassioned Plea To Supervisors
When the Lowndes County Board of Supervisors concluded their Monday meeting, county resident Richard ‘Hutch’ Hutcherson spoke up and asked if he could be allowed to address the supervisors. Board President Harry Sanders responded by saying that he could as long as none of the supervisors objected because Hutcherson was not on the agenda (and none objected. RW).
Hutcherson made an impassioned plea for the supervisors to take action on – what Hutcherson described as – a long-standing attempt to get a neighbor property owner to clean up their dilapidated property. Hutcherson said he’d been trying to get the neighbor to clean up their property for more than five years now.
Hutcherson showed photos of a large trash pile, an abandoned old pick-up truck (where he says he watched a chained-up dog die a few years back) and other such photos of the property. Hutcherson said that the property, located at 18 Daisy Road in Lowndes County, is owned by Christie Wooten. An attached directive from county Building Director, Administrator Charlie Culpepper, verifies that Ms. Wooten has been contacted about complaints to the property.
After making his case, Sanders promised Hutcherson that the supes would deal with the matter appropriately. He thanked Hutcherson for coming before the board. One county official told me that some corrections had already been made to the property since some of the photos had been made. He did not elaborate.
Sheriff Arledge Wants County Bars To Close At 1 a.m.
During the supervisor meeting, Lowndes County Sheriff Mike Arledge asked the supervisors to consider an ordinance to require county bars to close at 1 a.m. Currently, county bars selling beer must cease selling at 1 a.m. (unless they have resort status) but aren’t required to close their doors and remove customers from the premises as do those establishments inside the city of Columbus. Arledge says this creates a situation where many of the city patrons leave city establishments and go to county bars and end up staying all night. That, in turn, creates opportunities for illegal alcohol consumption, fights, illegal drug use and sales, and even shootings and stabbings in many county establishments and/or parking lots. The lack of manpower to stop these scenarios are a concern and Arledge feels that a set closing time and removal of patrons would help alleviate the problems and opportunities for illegal activity.
One concern is the closing time of The Pony, the strip club on 45 Alternate. It stays open until 4 a.m. except on Sundays when it stays open until 2 a.m., according to its website.
Susan Mackay and Joseph Mickens
At Tuesday nights Columbus City Council meeting, Ward 2 City Councilman Joseph Mickens announced he would hold a community meeting for his ward on Thursday evening, April 11th. Well, it just so happens that is the same evening that the candidate political forum will be held for those running for mayor and city council in Columbus. After the meeting concluded, Mickens opponent, Susan Mackay, walked up to Mickens and asked him if that meant he wouldn’t be attending the political forum – a chance for the two candidates to voice their political differences – to the voting public.
Mickens answered that he’d “have to see about that”, an indication that he wasn’t aware of the forum, though it had already been announced! Whether Mickens announced the meeting to avoid a head to head debate (though it won’t really be a debate, but a chance for the public to hear their different political views) with Mackay or not remains to be seen.
Ron Williams can be reached by email at Ronsings2you@aol.com0