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Citizens qualify for town seats

They must be doing something right.
The mayors of Newington, Oliver and Rocky Ford all will be returned to office since they had no opposition in qualifying that ended Friday.
Newington Mayor J. Donald Scott, Oliver Mayor Justine T. Brown and Rocky Ford Mayor James Hankinson all will be returned to office. Qualifying in municipalities in Screven County ranged from Oliver, where only enough people qualified to fill the seats that were up for grabs, meaning there will be no election, to Rocky Ford, where seven people will be vying for three council seats. The elections will be held on Nov. 3.
In the county’s largest municipality, Sylvania, five people are running for three council seats: Connie Beasley; Preston Dees, incumbent; Herbert Hill; the Rev. Thomas Norman; and Tripp Sheppard, who was appointed to serve the last seven months of Jeremy Hill’s term. Hill resigned earlier this year to take a job in Kansas.
Incumbent Joette Black chose not to run again for the council in the city, which has a population of about 3,000. Beasley is a former assistant principal at the elementary school. Hill is a former Sylvania city council member who resigned his seat to run against Mayor Margaret Evans and lost. The Rev. Thomas Norman of St. Andrews United Methodist Church is a community activist. Sheppard is a vice president of the Bank of Newington and is president of the Screven County Chamber of Commerce.
 
Out of the five contenders, the top three vote-getters will be elected, said Sheila Snow, assistant director of finance and administration.
 
The next-largest municipality, Hiltonia, with a population of 390, does not have staggered terms and has no election this year.
 
Next up is Newington, with a population of 380. Scott was correct when he said recently that no one else would have the job of mayor; he has no opposition. In addition to Scott being returned to office, Albert Perkins also has no opposition, for council seat No. 1. The only race on the ballot will be for council seat No. 2, with incumbent Jene Perkins facing challenger Joyce Seyle. Jene Perkins is Albert Perkins’ mother.
 
In Oliver, population 230, incumbent Mayor Brown and incumbent council member Gary Curtis are returning to office without opposition. Morgan Street was the only person who qualified to fill the remaining, vacant seat, so there will be no election in Oliver this fall.
 
In Rocky Ford, population 185, interest was high in the election. Mayor Hankinson has no opposition and will return to office. But seven people will vie for three council seats, with the top three vote-getters coming out winners. Running are: Barry Durden, incumbent; Jericho Flanders; Bobbie Miller; Ken Mock; Thad Simmons, incumbent; Larry Ward; and Watson Wright.
 
Incumbent Fred Ruffin chose not to run for another term.
 
Tuesday, Oct. 5 is the last day to register to vote and be eligible to vote in elections on Nov. 3.