Dahlonega supports Gov. Kemp’s extension of shelter in place order

News

Mayor Sam Norton

PRESS RELEASE

DAHLONEGA, Ga., –– During his 4:00 p.m. press conference on April 8, Governor Brian Kemp announced he was extending Georgia’s state of emergency declaration through May 13, and extended his original statewide shelter-in-place order set to expire on April 13 through April 30. The public health state of emergency declaration helps ensure that the state is eligible for any emergency federal assistance and programs offered in response to the current COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.

The Governor and state public health officials detailed the importance of adhering to the sheltering-in-place order to help prevent further spread of the Coronavirus as the next two weeks will be critical for Georgia. Total cases in Georgia have risen to 10,204 with more than 2,000 hospitalized and 370 deaths reported as of the April 8 daily report offered by the Georgia Department of Public Health. With additional testing centers opening, these numbers will continue to rise as more patients can be readily diagnosed. As of that same report date, Lumpkin County now has nine confirmed cases of COVID-19.

“We support Governor Kemp’s decision to extend the shelter-in-place order,” said Mayor Sam Norton. “These aren’t easy decisions, but they are necessary if we are going to save lives.”

Gov. Brian Kemp

Governor Kemp also announced a new executive order prohibiting residential vacation rentals. The order is in effect as of 12:00 a.m. on April 9 and ends at 11:59 p.m. on April 30, unless otherwise extended by executive order. It does not include vacation rentals fully paid for prior to the April 9 start date and time, nor does it apply to property leases where the location is used as the person’s primary place of residence.

This new mandate was offered by state officials in response to local government leaders from North Georgia as well as coastal Georgia who in recent days have formally objected to state parks and public beaches being open and accessible to the public during the public health crisis. Local elected officials from both regions of the state, noting visitors traveling from hotspot areas, recently sent letters to Governor Kemp urging action to curtail metro-area residents and visitors from other hotspot areas around the US. Leaders noted the limited resources typically available in more rural areas and healthcare systems that are unequipped to respond to an overrun of patients.

“I was pleased to see this new executive order,” said Norton. “That being said, the Council and I remain concerned about increased traffic at nearby state parks, but appreciate the Governor’s assurances that park rangers are closely monitoring attendance numbers.”

The state also announced more aggressive measures at all Georgia assisted living and nursing homes, following the recent outbreak and deaths at an Athens-area nursing facility. The mandates require more sanitary measures by workers, and prohibits all visitors and non-essential workers from entering the facilities except in end of life circumstances.

All executive orders are available on the Governor’s website here.

CDC’s “What to do if you are sick?” – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html

Northeast Georgia Health System COVID-19 information – https://www.nghs.com/covid-19

CDC – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention.html

FEMA’s Coronavirus Rumor Control – https://www.fema.gov/coronavirus-rumor-control

Georgia Department of Public Health – https://dph.georgia.gov/novelcoronavirus

District 2 Public Health Department – http://phdistrict2.org/

 

 

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LCHS announces upcoming REACH Adult Field Day event

Community, Education

DAHLONEGA, GA

Leadership Lumpkin Class of 2019 and Lumpkin County High School will host the second annual REACH Adult Field Day event on March 28, 2020.

Leadership Lumpkin Class of 2019, partnered with Lumpkin County Schools, hosts the event and according to LLC’s social media page, “The mission of the Leadership Lumpkin County Class of 2019 is to have an indelible and positive impact on the Lumpkin County community by advancing the post-secondary educational opportunities for these local students…We believe that by seeking collaboration with local businesses, community members, and sponsors, we will have a progressive impact on the future of our children. held each year to raise money in order to help underprivileged Lumpkin County students excel academically and reach their future goals.”

Last year, over 53% of  LC students received free or reduced lunches, 150 students were homeless, and Lumpkin County had approximately 25% of their students receive a college or technical college post-secondary education. LCHS assistant principal, Jason Lemley, told FYN, “We have a goal to raise $20,000 this year!  We raised over $15,000 last year, and we are confident we can get to 20K.  We already have our first sponsor, and we will be reaching out to many others soon.  Last year was a great first year, and we want this to grow year after year.  Even if you don’t participate on a team, come out and enjoy the hilarious “talent” and join us for a day of fun!”

The event will be at the Lumpkin County High School. For more information, contact Mr. Lemley at LCHS.

 

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McDaniel accepts plea deal in child molestation case

Featured Stories, News

LUMPKIN CO., GA

Erica McDaniel, 34, was sentenced to 15 years —  three to serve and 12 on probation — after pleading guilty to one count of child molestation during her court trial on Friday, Sept. 13.

McDaniel was arrested in September of 2018 for sexual misconduct with a minor that took place over a one-year span for included one count of child molestation and two counts of statutory rape. According to court records, McDaniel and her lawyer, Andrew Richman, entered a plea deal for one count of child molestation. According to the terms laid out in the plea deal, she will serve three years of her sentence in confinement, and the remainder will be served on probation.

In addition to the sentencing, court records reveal that McDaniel is also barred from Lumpkin County, “or the Enotah Judicial Circuit during the period of probation for any reason whatsoever.” Contact with the victim and/or his family is also prohibited.

McDaniel is also required by law to register as a sex offender, that will prohibit her from having contact with minors, residing with a minor, having images of minors, or entering relationships with anyone who is a parent or guardian of minors, with the exception being her own children.

The other two counts of statutory rape were dropped under Nolle Prosequi (NOL PROS), meaning “we shall no longer prosecute.” NOL PROS is used as a legal statement of dropped charges from the prosecutor in a criminal case.

 

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Many downtown businesses will close on 9.14 due to rally

Feature News

DAHLONEGA, GA

The list of local businesses on the historic Dahlonega square that will be closed on September 14 has steadily increased as the impending rally approaches.

Some of the first businesses to announce closing on the 14th are, Spirits Tavern, Gustavo’s, and Knuckles Sandwich Shop. Spirits posted on their reason for closing on their Facebook page, which was later shared by Knuckles  “Spirits Tavern will be closed on this day (Saturday, September 14). The safety of our employees and guests are our highest priority. The revenue lost is not worth acknowledging hate of any kind.”

Since then, several other businesses have taken to social media to announce their closing on 9.14, including Mayor Sam Norton’s business, the Picnic Cafe and Dessertery. According to Picnic Cafe’s Facebook page, “It’s not always about the dollar. Family values and a sense of community are what most businesses on the Square are about here in Dahlonega. We will close Saturday, September 14th and encourage others to be home with their family. We will reopen the day after these disruptive protests and counter-protests. We look forward to seeing you on Make-Up Monday (9/16/19).”

Crimson Moon told FYN that they will be closed during the day and open only to host the concert scheduled for Saturday night. Capers on the Square, Brad Walker Pottery, Paul Thomas Chocolates, The Dahlonega General Store, Jolie Day Spa, Walking Ghost Tours, and Studio Jewelers are amongst the businesses that will also be closed. The Dahlonega Farmer’s Market is also canceled for 9.14.

While many downtown businesses will be closed, there are some who will remain open, or open later Saturday evening. This includes The Fudge Factory and Outlaw Jerky will open at 4 p.m. on Saturday, 19 Degrees North, Pueblos, Grapevines, Johnny B’s, Naturally Georgia, Giggle Monkey Toys, Shenanigan’s Irish Pub, and Bourbon Street Grille, (downstairs dining only) will all remain open.

Deb Rowe, owner of Shenanigan’s and Bourbon Street Grille, explained that they will remain open, but the upstairs dining area and balcony area of Bourbon Street will be closed. Patrons will still have the option to dine downstairs at Bourbon Street. Both businesses expressed support and appreciation not for the rally, but for the many law enforcement officers and emergency personnel who will be diligently working to keep everyone safe during the rally,

“Shenanigans and Bourbon Street will be open on Saturday 9/14, offering our employee discount of 30% to all emergency personnel. We are aware that many businesses are taking a different approach, and that’s just as understandable. We will stand in the confidence of our law enforcement to monitor and protect, as well as being steadfast with safety and security ourselves. In addition to our local emergency personnel, there are several hundreds of additional officers coming to serve our community and it is our hope that after a contained and uneventful demonstration, we will be able to serve them in appreciation of their service to us all.”

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City Council approves ordinances that impact upcoming events

Business, News

DAHLONEGA, Ga. — The Dahlonega City Council held a special called meeting on September 5 and approved ordinances that impact coming events, including the well-publicized Sept. 14 rally in support of President Donald Trump.

Ordinance 2019-24 will help regulate the time, place, and manner of “planned and spontaneous demonstrations on public property.” According to Dahlonega Mayor Sam Norton the ordinance, “Gives the city manager the authority to issue an order and broad discretion on how to investigate the time, manner, and place [of city events].”

According to 2019-24, the city manager is, “Authorized to issue content-neutral time, place, and manner regulations to govern upcoming demonstrations and counter-demonstrations in the city,” through written orders.

With this, the city manager will have the authority to “restrict the time and length of the event or place regulations on the number of participants who may gather or congregate upon public property, public sidewalks, public rights-of-way, and places of public assembly to which the public has access.” The purpose is to protect the “public’s use and enjoyment of public spaces.”

Dahlonega City Manager Bill Schmid explained that those who wish to participate in demonstrations held on public property would be designated to a specific “free-speech zone,” where they would also be required to follow any rules set forth by the city. Schmid explained that there would be, “Signage created to identify the rules,” and they would also be posted on the internet and handed out to participants as they arrive at the event.

City Marshal Jeff Branyon explained that law enforcement would be present to ensure all participants followed the regulations, and the proposed rules will be available online for the public prior to the event. The Council also set a “Sunset Date” for December 31, at which time they will revisit the ordinance and make any necessary changes or adjustments.

Ordinance 2019-25 will restrict the use of drones during festivals or large events that are held in the city on public property, and although they will be permitted otherwise, the City Council must be notified prior to use; those who wish to fly drones over the city on public property, will have the option to notify the proper persons online.

“This is a public safety issue,” explained Braynon. He also stated that the University of North Georgia Drill Field is designated as a landing pad in the event of an emergency, and the use of drones during festivals and large events may interfere.

 

 

Dahlonega City Hall announces special called meeting

Community, Feature News

DAHLONEGA, Ga. — Dahlonega City Council will hold a special called meeting at the Dahlonega City Hall on September 5, at 4:30pm to discuss Ordinance 2019-time, manner, and place, and Ordinance 2019-25.

According to City Hall, Ordinance 2019 is, “An ordinance regulating planned and spontaneous demonstrations on public property.” Ordinance 2019-25 is, “An ordinance to encourage innovative and safe uses of unmanned aircraft while addressing concerns about accountability.”

The public is encouraged to attend.

 

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Larson announces plans to run for re-election City Council Post 6

Community, Politics

DAHLONEGA, GA

City Councilman, Ron Larson, confirmed that he will run for re-election for the Post 6 Dahlonega City Council seat.

Larson has served as a City Councilman since 2016, and in a recent social media post he announced, “I registered today to run for re-election to the Dahlonega City Council, Post #6. Election day is November 5th. I hope I can count on your support to serve you for another 4 years (2020-2023). It has been an honor to represent the citizens of Dahlonega since January 2016. Thank you!”

Post 6 Councilman, Ron Larson at the grand opening of new Yahoola splash pad. Photo Credit: Lumpkin County Government

Larson is also a part-time lecturer at the University of North Georgia, in the Mike Cottrell College of Business Department of Management and Marketing, where he teaches management, ethics, and strategic

planning. He is also a member of the Dahlonega Sunrise Rotary, where he served as the club president from July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019. His extensive work experience includes serving as the manager of Achasta golf community, manager for The Lake Club at Reynolds Plantation, as well as several CFO positions, since 1981.

Led by Larson in 2018, the Dahlonega Sunrise Rotary Club raised $20k for the assistance of the Lumpkin County Commission with the expedited installation of the Yahoola Creek Park splash pad for the benefit of Lumpkin County. During his current tenure as Post 6 City Councilman, Larson supported the installation of the Wayfare Signs around the Dahlonega City Square, the Historic Dahlonega Shuttle service, and the Dahlonega Gold Adventure All-Abilities park, as well as several other projects that have benefited Lumpkin County.

Election Day will be on November 5, 2020.

Post 6 Councilman, Ron Larson. Photo Credit: Ron Larson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Chestatee Artists Group announces new Folk School

Business

DAHLONEGA, GA

The Dahlonega Chestatee Artists Group has opened registration for their upcoming Folk School from now until September 27, 2019. The first classes of the Folk School will be held the weekend of October 11 through October 13, beginning Friday evening at 7p.m. until 9p.m. and ending Sunday around 11:30a.m.

Credit: Beth Stull Morning Glow

There will be an informational meeting on Thursday, September 12 for those interested in learning more about the mission of Chestatee Artists, the Folk School, and to meet the instructors. The meeting will be at 6p.m., in the United Community Bank Community Room.

According to their website, a variety of categories will be offered to the public, “Our Folk School classes will be held in our beautiful city of Dahlonega twice a year with some of the finest instructors in many exciting categories. Leatherwork, watercolor painting, acrylic painting, wire wrapping, jewelry making, weaving and more.”

Instructor, Oscar Rayneri, teaching at Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts

 

 

For those who cannot attend in October, a second Folk School will be offered in March of 2020.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dahlonega City Council announces public hearing to discuss millage rate

Politics

DAHLONEGA, GA

The Dahlonega City Council will hold a public hearing on Thursday, August 15, to discuss setting the 2019 millage and the adoption of the 2020 Fiscal Year Budget. The meeting will take place at the Dahlonega City Hall at 4:00p.m., immediately before the City Council Work Session.

The Work Session will cover department reports from the following:

  • Dahlonega City Marshal
  • Historic Preservation Commission
  • Downtown Development Authority
  • Finance Department
  • Public Works Department
  • Water and Waste Water Plants Department
  • Cemetery Committee

Other topics to be discussed:

  • 2019 LMIG Off System Safety Vendor Selection for Signs & Stripes
  • Ordinance 2019-14 Dilapidated Structure
  • Memo RE DOR (Department of Revenue) Sales Tax Information
  • Banking Services Contract Renewal

 

Taylor announces plans to run for re-election in 2020

Election, Politics

DAHLONEGA, GA

Current Post 5 councilwoman, JoAnne Taylor, has confirmed that she will run for re-election for Dahlonega City Council in 2020.

Taylor told FYN that her most important accomplishment during her current term was, “Tax reduction of 5.14% for the proposed 2020 budget.” She further explained that the City Council will hold a public hearing on Thursday, August 15, at 4:00 p.m., followed by a City Council meeting on September 3 at 6:00 p.m., “to adopt the budget resolution.”

According to Taylor, water, sewer, sanitation, and recycling costs for in-city residential customers will not increase, “We will continue a high level of service, make needed infrastructure improvements, and deliver new amenities to our community within the proposed budget.”

Taylor credits the tax reduction to the “teamwork and focus by the Mayor, City Council, and dedicated Staff on reducing costs,” and she also explained that her main focus item was reducing costs, “I have participated in all budget meetings. I also lent my business expertise to the staff in evaluating much-needed new financial application software…The new application, when fully implemented, will increase overall efficiency and improved citizen communication.”

Taylor also expressed to FYN her appreciation for being voted into the City Council, “I have been enormously privileged to be a public servant to Dahlonega. My $400 salary, net taxes, has been donated to local not-for-profits. I am grateful for the opportunity I’ve been given to serve.”

If re-elected, Taylor said her main focus would be, “Containing costs and managing growth while preserving the very special place we call home, Dahlonega.” Taylor further explained that she would focus on continuing to add amenities to Dahlonega, such as the Gold Adventures All-Abilities Playground in Hancock Park, the Farmers Market, and the Wimpy Mill picnic area, “We need to balance the significant costs of infrastructure, such as stormwater management, with providing improved amenities…I will continue to welcome feedback from our citizens, a vital form of government. Thanks in advance for your support!”

Gold Adventure All-Abilities Playground in Hancock Park.

City Council votes in favor for Occupational Tax amendment

Community, Police & Government

DAHLONEGA, GA

The Dahlonega City Council voted in favor, 6-0, of the amendment to “increase occupation tax rates to defray general fund expenses,” after a public hearing held on Monday. City Councilman, Bruce Hoffman, motioned for the proposed ordinance, and Councilwoman, JoAnne Taylor, seconded the motion.

The cost of a business license in Dahlonega is based on the number of people employed by the business. Taylor explained to FYN that, “The City’s fee structures are all being examined since some have not been changed in over 15 years. This fee change does not affect businesses with one employee. The change puts Dahlonega in the average for cities our size. We expect a small impact to our General Fund revenues.” 

A public hearing was held on Monday, August 5, before the City Council meeting to, “accept comments on the proposed new occupation tax schedule to be incorporated into the City’s code pertaining to occupation taxes.” According to Taylor, “We held a  public hearing on this topic [proposed Occupational Tax amendment] but to date have received no feedback.”

According to the ordinance outline, the tax increase is expected to bring in an additional $13,900 in revenue to help alleviate the “increased cost for general fund operations.” Changes went into effect on Tuesday, August 6, 2019.

 

 

 

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New mayor, council members take oath of office

News

Judge Raymond George administers the oath of office to Dahlonega’s new Mayor Sam Norton.

DAHLONEGA, Ga. – The Dahlonega City Council will take on a slightly different look in 2018.

Mayor Gary McCullough officially ended nearly three decades of service to the city, including three terms as mayor, during Tuesday’s council meeting. Sam Norton was sworn in to replace him. Norton served as the Post 5 councilman before stepping down to run for mayor.

Norton paid tribute to his predecessor, saying, “The city and all its accolades are a direct reflection of previous governments, which you were an important part of, and I want to thank you again for your service.”

Norton also thanked Mayor pro tem Bruce Hoffman for taking over after McCullough suffered a stroke.

“I want to thank Mayor pro tem Hoffman,” Norton said. “He was a very good mayor pro tem for the last couple of years. He got leaned on a lot more than I think he signed up for. You did a very good job and thank you for doing that.”

Helen Hardman, retired tourism professional and grant writer, is the newest addition to city council.

She took the oath of office along with incumbent councilmen Roman Gaddis and Mitchell Ridley.

Jeff Brannon was sworn in as city marshall. He has a strong background in law enforcement, having worked for sheriff’s offices in Hall, Clarke and Lumpkin counties and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

During the first meeting of 2018, council unanimously adopted a new eight-page ethics ordinance.

Council also reappointed Vivian Morse to the Lumpkin County Board of Health and Janet Tolbert to the Dahlonega Housing Authority.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Preview of upcoming City Council meeting

Police & Government, Politics

LUMPKIN CO., GA

The Lumpkin County officials will discuss Ordinance 2018‐16 during September’s City Council meeting.

The ordinance will be to amend Ordinance 77‐1, Chapter 32: Traffic, Article II: Stopping, Standing and Parking, Division 1: Generally, Section 32‐29: Violations. The amendment could result in a change to the Parking Violation Fee Schedule.

Preview of the work session agenda

Other discussion topics scheduled for Thursday’s meeting include: community development, Key Club Little Free Library, the Community Helping Place, Historic Preservation Commission, and tourism promotion services.

The meeting will be held on Thursday, September 20 at 4pm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dahlonega celebrates Christmas with holiday photos, performances, and proposals

Community, News

LUMPKIN, CO

Lumpkin County celebrated its annual lighting of the Downtown Square on Friday, November 23, with preformances by the local elementary schools, carriage rides, and even a visit from Santa and Mrs. Clause.

Blackburn Elementary School Drama Club

The festivities kicked off with a performance from the Blackburn Elementary School Drama Club, featuring classic Christmas favorites sang by students and led by art teacher, Karen Harwood. Meanwhile, patrons had the opportunity to enjoy a cozy carriage ride around the historic square as well as have their photos taken with Santa.

For Dahlonega native, Chase Samples, the event was the perfect opportunity for him to propose to his girlfriend, Erika Worley. Worley told Fetch that she was completely surprised by the romantic moment, and when he got down on one knee,

Worley says ‘yes’ as Santa cheers them on

 

“Everything just went mute, and it was like no one else was there but Chase and I. It was the most perfect thing that had ever happened to me!”Samples said he was so nervous, but when he began to propose, he, “felt like it was only us two there at that moment in time.”

The Dahlonega/Lumpkin County annual Christmas ornament was also revealed during the lighting celebrations, and other limited edition Christmas ornaments were available for purchase, with proceeds benefiting the Community Helping Place.

 

 

 

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City/County Officials Host GMRC at Camp Merrill

News

City/county officials from all across north Georgia attended the GMRC meeting at Camp Frank D. Merrill last week.

DAHLONEGA, Ga. – The Lumpkin County Board of Commissioners and the City of Dahlonega hosted the monthly meeting of the Georgia Mountains Regional Commission (GMRC) Thursday in the dining facility at Camp Frank D. Merrill, the US Army Ranger facility.

The GMRC serves local governments of the Georgia mountains region by improving the quality of life through economic development, community planning, information technology, and workforce development to support and enhance the region’s prosperity.

Named for the famous Ranger General of World War II in the Burma Campaign, Camp Merrill is the home of the US Army’s 5th Ranger Training Battalion, where Ranger candidates receive mountain warfare training.

Lumpkin County staff and elected officials attend GMRC meeting.

Lumpkin County Commission Chairman Chris Dockery welcomed city and county officials from all across north Georgia. County Manager Stan Kelley, a former Army Ranger, Commissioners Bob Pullen, David Miller, Rhett Stringer and Bobby Mayfield attended along with Fire Chief David Wimpy and Public Works Director Larry Reiter.

Command Sergeant Major (CSM) Michael Hack briefed the audience on the rigorous training regimen ranger candidates undergo in order to accomplish their mission of providing logistical support, training, mobilization, deployment, supporting, sustaining and reconstituting forces.

Roseann Kent, director of the Appalachian Studies Center at the University of North Georgia, explained how the center provides students with a unique opportunity to discover the arts, history, music and nature of southern Appalachia through community engagement, service learning, undergraduate research and creative activities. The center is located on the Dahlonega campus across the street from Price Memorial Hall in the Historic Vickery House.

Lumpkin County Mayoral candidate Sam Norton (right) receives recognition during Small Business Week for his Picnic Cafe.

Dahlonega City Councilman Sam Norton, who is running for mayor in the Nov. 7 election, was given special recognition by Congressman Doug Collins’ office for during Small Business Week for the small business he started in Dahlonega called Picnic Café.

The GMRC also held a Workforce Development Board Meeting in the second floor conference room of the Lumpkin County Administrative Building in Dahlonega.

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

13 Candidates Qualify for Dahlonega City Elections

News

DAHLONEGA, Ga. — Dahlonega voters will have a large field of candidates to choose from in the November 7 municipal general election as 13 candidates qualified to run for 5 seats on city council.

Sam Norton, Michael Glenn Clemons and Rajpal Sagoo will compete for mayor. Current Mayor Gary McCullough, who has been dealing with health issues, announced earlier this year he will not seek another term.

In Post 1, the candidates are John Blaze Ariemma and incumbent Roman Gabriel Gaddis. Helen Fincher Hardman and Penelope Sharp will challenge for the Post 2 seat.

Lining up for the Post 3 seat are Wesley Barron, Dewey Moye and incumbent Mitchell Floyd Ridley.

Three candidates will compete in Post 5 where Sam Norton is stepping down to run for mayor. That field of candidates includes Alan Roach, Noah Steinberg and JoAnne Taylor.

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