published Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

Fort Oglethorpe uncorks Sunday alcohol sales

GEORGIA GENERAL ELECTION RESULTS

CATOOSA COUNTY

Fort Oglethorpe

Ward 2

Earl Gray (I) - 781

Arlene Walker - 393

Ward 3

Craig Crawford - 710

Scott Chastain - 277

Louis Hamm (I) - 204

Ward 5

Paula G. Stinnett - 810

Clay Kissner (I) - 810

Sunday sales of beer, wine and liquor by the glass

For - 758

Against - 424

Sunday sales at stores of beer and wine

For - 740

Against - 432

WALKER COUNTY

Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax of 1 cent per $1 of sales until 2019

For - 3,605

Against - 1,713

Chickamauga City Council

(three winners)

Evitte Parrish (I) - 350

Shannon Whitfield - 349

Randal Dalton (I) - 328

James Dale Powell - 158

LaFayette

Mayor

Andy Arnold - 570

Michael Lovelady - 181

James H. Mashburn - 64

Ward I

Robert Wardlaw - 367*

Beacher Garmany - 327*

Glenn Gunnells - 113

*In upcoming runoff

Ward 2

Ben Bradford (I) - 433

Ronald M. Underwood - 369

Rossville City Council

(two at-large seats open)

Rick Buff (I) - 154

Joyce Wall (I) - 141

William Larry Rose Jr. - 94

WHITFIELD COUNTY

Cohutta Town Council

Ben Manis (I) - 63

Greg Fowler - 57

Wesley Mahan - 15

Dalton City Alderman

Ward 4

Gary Crews (I) - 1,218

Jafar Ware - 428

Dalton City Schools Board of Education

Steve Laird - 1,363

Pablo Perez - 308

Varnell

Mayor

Anthony N. Hulsey - 170

Arthur David Owens, Jr. - 90

Council Seat 2

Jan Pourquoi - 145

Michael Willocks - 111

DADE COUNTY

Trenton, Ga.

Police Commissioner

Sandra D. Gray (I) - 242

Tim Riddle - 76

Recreation and Parks Commissioner

Terry Powell (I) - 237

Holly E. Moore - 84

Champagne lovers can pop corks in celebration in Fort Oglethorpe -- on Sundays -- since voters there on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved Sunday sales of beer, wine and liquor in restaurants and package beer and wine sales.

Also celebrating were opponents of the current City Council, because -- by a landslide -- voters elected a slate of City Council candidates opposed to the sudden and controversial dismissals on March 22 of City Manager Ron Goulart, police Chief David Eubanks and Public Works Director Jeff Long.

The candidate who fared the worst in Tuesday's election with the least number of votes -- 204 -- was Louis Hamm, a staunch opponent of Sunday sales who supported the employees' dismissal. Clay Kissner was the other incumbent who fell to a slate candidate.

"What a spanking," Goulart said Tuesday night at the slate's victory party at Park Place Restaurant.

"I'd like to say a big old 'thank you' to the citizens -- they're the ones that made this happen," Ward 2 incumbent Earl Gray, who was part of the slate. He received 781 votes to challenger Arlene Walker's 393. "I think they spoke pretty loud tonight. They set a record turnout for number of voters, and I believe they said what was on their mind. I'm looking forward to getting this city back on track."

Ward 3 challenger Craig Crawford got 710 votes, beating Hamm's 204 and Scott Chastain's 277, according to unofficial voting results.

"It feels great that it's over with," Crawford said. "It's great that the people's voices got heard tonight, and the healing process of Fort Oglethorpe can begin. We'd like to get our city out of the negative eye."

Paula G. Stinnett received 810 votes, beating incumbent Ward 5 Councilman Clay Kissner, who had 370.

"Come January, I'm looking forward to running a transparent government with the people," she said. "I want to hear from the people, just like the column I presented before I got kicked out of City Council that evening. Citizens email me, they call me, they see me at Bi-Lo. I want to be the steward of their money. And if you're not a good steward, you're not going to balance the budget."

If the three vote as a bloc, they'll run the City Council, which now has only has one other voting member, Johnnie "Red" Smith. Mayor Lynn Long votes only to break ties. The seat held by Charles Sharrock, who was voted off the council for sexually harassing female employees, has remained open while Sharrock appeals his dismissal.

No more 'dry island'

Fort Oglethorpe no longer will be the only dry island in a wet Catoosa County -- which has been its fate since November 2012 when voters in Ringgold, Ga., and the unincorporated areas of Catoosa County approved Sunday alcohol sales.

"That's good news," said Mitul Patel, the owner of Beverage World in Fort Oglethorpe, which bills itself as having the largest beer selection in the Chattanooga area.

"Everybody around us sells it," Patel said. "I have a gas station right across the street that sells it."

Larry Armour, the developer who helped bring a Costco warehouse store to Fort Oglethorpe, hopes to develop a new shopping center with restaurants on 52 acres in Fort Oglethorpe on the north and south sides of Battlefield Parkway next to Walmart.

"It wasn't just about Sunday sales, it was about being on an even playing field with the surrounding counties and cities," he said. "That's one hurdle we won't have to cross as we try to recruit quality restaurants to Fort Oglethorpe."

By-the-glass Sunday sales of beer, wine and liquor sales passed with 740 votes for and 432 against. Package sales of beer and wine won by 740 votes in favor to 432 against.

Election results are unofficial until certified.

Staff writer Jeff LaFave contributed to this story.

Contact staff writer Tim Omarzu at tomarzu@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6651.

about Tim Omarzu...

Tim Omarzu covers Catoosa and Walker counties for the Times Free Press. Omarzu is a longtime journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Nevada and California. Stories he's covered include crime in blighted parts of metro Detroit and Reno, Nev.; environmental activists tree-sitting in California's Sierra Nevada foothills; attempts by the Michigan Militia to take over a township┬╣s government in northern Michigan. A native of Michigan, ...

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