August: Close elections raise questions, football season starts strong

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Year in Review

By Alice Du Pont

With August came a lot of excitement in the political world. Early voting kicked off Aug. 4 and ended Aug. 11, with the primary election day coming Aug. 14. Voters, who had been mailed sample ballots, found the process easier with the required identification.

Non-profit organizations had a scare after the members of the Gadsden County Board of Commissioners thought they would have to slash all non-profits after an initial look at finances during the early budgeting process.

A Florida State University track star lent her name and presence to the annual Moose Lodge 5K Run for Special Olympics. While her brother was warming up in London to run track, Violah Lagat, All-American runner at Central Arizona State ran the hilly Quincy course in 18:45.

Stewart Street Elementary continues to earn recognition. This time the school was selected as an “Exceeding Expectations Award School” by the Florida East Coast Technical Assistance Center based in Sanford. The center provides technical assistance services to 31 school districts in the development and implementation of Title I and other related programs in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

A private party at the Gadsden County Senior Citizens Center got out of hand in the early morning hours of Aug. Killed was 21-year-old Anthony Jerome Hopkins Jr., who was shot several times outside of the center. The accused shooter is 31-year-old Omar Ahmed Mercer. Details of what happened were incomplete. The county leases the building to the center for a nominal annual fee.

No alcohol is supposed to be served on county property but Interim County Manager Arthur Lawson said the place was “filthy” and reeked of alcohol.

The Gadsden Arts Center celebrated the 100th birthday of the Bell & Bates Building, which was transformed from a hardware store to a museum-quality arts center.

Some supporters and candidates danced in the street while others stepped up their strategy for the General Election. That was the picture following the Aug. 14 Primary Election. Some won the primary by a wide margin, such as incumbent Sherriff Morris Young, while others such as County Commissioner Gene Morgan, District 3, eked out a win (by 18 votes over newcomer John Battles).

A week later, Battles raised issues about the primary, including the transfer of ballots from the polling place and the handling of absentee ballots. Days later, Battles said he had not fully read the complaint he filed and praised the supervisor of elections and her staff on the handling of the primary election.

The former Florida Highway Patrol Station off U.S. 90 West got a new lease on life. The building was donated to the Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office by the Florida Highway Patrol and will be used as office and meeting space for the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 120564, Citizens on Patrol volunteers and Keeping Independent Citizens Safe volunteers. More than 100 volunteers and citizens attended the dedication ceremony.

Tropical Storm Isaac was expected but never came. Instead, the storm skirted the Big Bend area and made landfall near Mobile, Ala., before heading north. Emergency Management Director Maj. Shaw Wood said the near hit was a good test for the county.

Havana’s Town Council voted down Sunday liquor sales. Several pastors representing the town’s churches spoke in opposition to Ordinance 352, which would have allowed a few businesses to sell alcohol from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays.
Teachers had classrooms prepared and students returned to school. “Hope and Hard Work” was the theme foe setting the tone for the year during the annual Success Rally.

Danny Hood became the new head football coach for the Robert F. Munroe Bobcats.

The East Gadsden High Jaguars started the season strong with a 33-14 win over Bainbridge High School in Bainbridge, Ga.

Pete and Hilda Perkins celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. They were married Aug. 17, 1952, in Quincy and have three children and four grandchildren.