What’s up for election? Three out of five seats on the county board.
About the race: The current Haywood commissioners have enjoyed a stable tenure, consistently winning their seats when they come up for reelection. They have largely avoided controversy and kept a steady hand at the helm. All three incumbents, with long histories of elected office.
Democrats: only three advance
•Kirk Kirkpatrick, a lawyer, has been on the board since 2002 and has been a supporter of recreation.
•Michael Sorrells has been a commissioner for four years and previously served six years on the school board. He is a service station, convenience store and café owner in Jonathan Creek.
•Bill Upton, the retired superintendent of Haywood County Schools, a principal and teacher, has been on the board eight years.
•Bob McClure has been a bailiff for 14 years for the Haywood County Sheriff’s Department. Prior to that, he worked at the now-closed Dayco manufacturing plant in Hazelwood for 33 years.
•Kyle Edwards owns the Stompin’ Ground in Maggie Valley, a campground, and is a general contractor. He considered bringing jobs to the area to be a priority.
“We need to keep jobs for our younger generation here in Haywood,” Edwards said. “Our jobs and our people are leaving the county.”
• Denny King, a conservative voice in county politics and frequent critic of sitting commissioner’s decisions, previously ran for a commission seat in 2012. He came within 300 votes.
• Phil Wight, owner of a motel in Maggie Valley and Maggie town alderman. Wight has long been involved in Maggie’s controversial breed of politics and a player in the tourism industry.
• Dr. Windy McKinney, is a historian and writer with a doctorate in Medieval Studies from the University of York, in the United Kingdom. She is the Libertarian Party of Haywood County’s first candidate for county commissioner and feels the area is ready for a candidate who will “change politics as usual.”
About the race: And the winner is… Sheriff Greg Christopher. Christopher has proven immensely popular and effective in just a short time, after being named sheriff barely a year ago after the sitting sheriff at the time stepped down. Christopher has made several innovations at the department. He has improved moral, public outreach, cooperation with other law enforcement agencies and drug enforcement. He has also made a point of being more visible and accessible in the community.
Word on the street was no challengers would have had a chance.
Not just anybody can keep up with Jim Pader. Last year alone, he hiked 534 miles and has logged 738.4 miles in Great Smoky Mountains National Park since 2001. Besides that, he works out for at least one hour per day and attends yoga class religiously. And just six months after completing a record-setting hike up Mount Whitney, the highest summit in the contiguous United States, he’s gearing up for a one-day out-and-back to the Grand Canyon.
Macon County commissioners decided in a split vote this month to spend $3 million building a tournament-scale baseball and softball recreation complex.
“It’s been two years of pretty steady work, but it’s well worth it,” said Seth Adams, Macon County Parks and Recreation director. “I’m tickled to death that we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
As the State Bureau of Investigations continues to probe embezzlement allegations in Macon County, the county is calling in the experts to help it pinpoint any internal policy failures that may have contributed to the alleged seven-month-long, $50,000 fraud at the Board of Elections. County Manager Derek Roland hopes to bring in State Auditor Beth Wood to examine the county’s paperwork and offer any recommendations for policy changes.
Sheriff Robert Holland is looking to ramp-up his department’s crackdown on drug dealers in Macon County, requesting that the county commissioners multiply his allocation for undercover drug buys from $1,000 to $20,000 in its upcoming budget.
When inflated real estate values in the second-home market came back down to earth, the touchdown wasn’t gentle.
It was more of a crash-landing, and five years later two mountains counties are still sifting through the wreckage.
Robert Holland has been pushing to place a resource officer in every school for years — long before the Sandy Hook school shooting tragedy catapulted cops in schools to the top of county funding debates, and even before assuming the sheriff’s badge in 2002, when he served as a deputy and juvenile detective.
Three weeks after the State Bureau of Investigation launched a probe into possible embezzlement at the Macon County Board of Elections, county leaders are still sifting through the paperwork to figure out just where it all went wrong.
After discovering $50,000 worth of unauthorized checks had disappeared from its budget and placing director Kim Bishop on paid investigatory leave, the Macon County Board of Elections is now trying to regain its footing.
By Holly Kays & Becky Johnson • Staff writers
An embezzlement investigation at the Macon County Board of Elections locked down the office for nearly a week between Jan. 17 and Jan. 23, but business is far from returning to usual.