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2013 A guide to your local candidates in northwest Guilford County

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CONTENTS Oak Ridge candidates


Summerfield candidates


Stokesdale candidates


Letters of endorsement


Meet the Oak Ridge candidates Three candidates are running for two open seats on the Oak Ridge Town Council.

Current council members are: Ray Combs, Roger Howerton, Spencer Sullivan, Danny Yanusz and George McClellan.

The 4-year terms of Roger Howerton and Danny Yanusz are ending this year; Roger Howerton is not seeking re-election.

We posed these questions to the Oak Ridge candidates Short-answer questions 1 2 3

Month/year you became an Oak Ridge citizen? How many Oak Ridge municipal elections (held every two years) have you voted in since you have been a Summerfield citizen? In the last year, how many Oak Ridge town council meetings have you attended, and of those you attended, how many of them did you stay until the meeting adjourned?


In the last year, how many Oak Ridge planning and zoning board meetings have you attended? What were the issues before the board at those meetings?


In the last year, how many Oak Ridge committee meetings have you attended or served on? Please specify the committee, and whether you attended or served on it – for example, “Served on finance committee and attended all meetings held, attended two public safety meetings,” etc.




MEETING OBSERVATIONS What observations have you made about the meetings you attended, with regard to council, board members, committee members and staff members’ preparation for the decisions before them, members’ decorum, citizen engagement, respect shown to citizens, etc.? What, if anything would you do to improve any of these things? ORDINANCES Do you feel your town’s ordinances are clearly and effectively worded so as to leave little doubt as to what the rules are regarding development, signage, noise, etc., and enforcement of the ordinances? Would you suggest any changes to any of


TIME COMMITMENT On a monthly average, how much time do you anticipate spending in your role as a council member, and how will you work this into your personal and professional life?

13 CROSSFIT Ironically, one of the most contentious

issues in the history of Oak Ridge has to do with its next door neighbor, Mustang Fitness/CrossFit. Do you think there is anything that could have been done to avoid the town and this business going head to head and ending up in court, with both sides collectively spending $65,000 or more in attorney fees to date, and countless hours of the town’s staff and volunteer board members’ time?

PAST SERVICE How has your past service to Oak Ridge, your knowledge of the Oak Ridge community, its history and its citizens’ wants and needs prepared you to represent your fellow citizens on matters that come before the town council?

10 AGREE/DEBATE Unlike its neighbors in Stokesdale

In-depth questions 6

some of its citizens for doing so; Oak Ridge taxes its citizens well over twice that amount – 8.63 cents per $100 property value – but the few citizens who come to the annual budget hearings applaud the town for being good stewards of their money. On this issue, why do you think things are so different in Oak Ridge?

the ordinances to put more “teeth” into them, make them more specific or more clearly define the rules, or to delete permitted uses in any of the development ordinances? Please be as specific as possible.


and Summerfield, Oak Ridge Town Council members almost always agree, as reflected in their votes, and even on those rare occasions when there is a split vote, the discussion remains very civil. Are the issues in Oak Ridge just easier to deal with, are the council members just more homogenous, or does the council just debate the issues behind the scenes before they are brought to a discussion in public?

14 MUNICIPAL WATER Roger Howerton, who will

CITIZEN CONCERNS What have you heard from your fellow citizens in recent months regarding what their greatest concerns, wants and/or frustrations are (if any) about your town’s local government, and what, if any changes they would like to see in how the town is governed, how their taxpayer dollars are spent, etc. – or are they just happy with things exactly as they are?

15 NEXT CHALLENGES What do you think are

12 PROPERTY TAX Stokesdale has no property tax


and the town’s citizens seem intent on keeping it that way; Summerfield taxes its citizens 3.5 cents per $100 property value and gets very vocal criticism from

retire from the town council after November, says bringing a municipal water system to Oak Ridge is a project near and dear to his heart; though the project has been sidelined for the last several years, he hopes someone else on the council will make it a priority. How important do you think it is to bring a municipal water system to the town? the three most challenging issues facing Oak Ridge in the next five years, and what will you do as a council member to meet those challenges?

16 PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE Describe the Oak Ridge of 15 years ago and specifically compare it to the Oak Ridge of today. Now describe the Oak Ridge you envision 15 years from now.


ADDITIONAL COMMENTS Is there anything else you want to tell the Oak Ridge citizens? If so, this is your opportunity to do so.

and a few housing developments. We’ve addressed site plans, text amendments and ordinance application issues.

MIKE STONE, 52 BIO: I was born and raised in Guilford County and, except for my military service with the U.S. Air Force, I have lived here all my life. • I am a business manager for a plastic manufacturing company near the airport. • I’m a member of Central Baptist Church in Oak Ridge, and serve on short-term mission teams in Cuba. • I’m married to my wife, Sandy (the most beautiful, patient, and tolerant woman in the world), and we have two grown children, a daughter-in-law, a grandson, and another grandchild on the way.

5 In addition to the Planning and Zoning and Town Council meetings, I have attended numerous Parks and Recreation Commission meetings, Historic Preservation meetings, and Board of Adjustment meetings. Responses to in-depth questions


citizen volunteers in Oak Ridge who serve on the various boards and committees perform an outstanding service to the community. They are all dedicated to performing their duties with respect and are clearly well-informed about the issues that are presented to them.

• I’m the vice chairman of the Oak Ridge Planning and Zoning Board and have served on that board since 2007. I volunteer with Preservation Oak Ridge and enjoy working on the AI Church renovations. I coordinate the Oak Ridge Military Academy’s annual car show, and I enjoy serving in various capacities for the town’s RidgeFest activities every year.

Many issues require these volunteers to spend countless hours of research to understand the town’s ordinances and guidelines in order to render fair and consistent decisions. The boards and committees go the extra mile to ensure that citizens’ concerns are heard and that all of the facts are presented to the town council members so that they can make sound decisions for the town.

Responses to short-answer questions

I am so impressed with the dedication, thoughtfulness and preparation that these individuals take in order to serve the town and its citizens. These volunteers are one of the major reasons that Oak Ridge is such a great place to live.

1 February 2006 2 All (I never miss an election). 3 All of them. I don’t miss town council

meetings, and I always stay until the end.

4 Since I serve as Planning and Zon-

7 ORDINANCES Ordinances are

ing vice chairman, I have attended all of the meetings. We addressed multiple rezoning cases for individual properties


typically looked at in the rear-view mirror to gauge their effectiveness and clarity. There will always be opportunities for improvement. The town’s volunteer

registered voters in

Oak Ridge

boards and committees, the town staff, and the town council work diligently to ensure that ordinances are applied consistently. Our town staff works closely with the community to address ordinance concerns and enforcement. This ensures that everyone understands the expectations, ordinances, and any alternatives that can address particular questions or concerns. Our citizens recognize that the spirit and intent of our ordinances are meant to maintain the character and quality of life in Oak Ridge. I support the town’s existing process for reviewing and updating ordinances and guidelines through the citizens’ boards and committees as the needs arise.

8 TIME COMMITMENT I’m committed to providing the citizens of Oak Ridge with all of the time necessary to perform the duties of a council member. Balancing personal and professional life as well as service to the community is something we all do every day. My past volunteer service to the town and to my church requires that balance, and I adjust my daily activities (personal, professional, and volunteer service) constantly based on those ever-changing priorities. The best answer that I can provide is that I will commit whatever time is necessary to serve the town’s citizens to the best of my ability. 9 PAST SERVICE I love the town of

Oak Ridge – I always have. It’s an honor and a joy to live in this small town, to serve the town, and to participate in the community activities and events the town has to offer. Those events allow me to meet folks, make new friends, and learn what’s really important to our community.

Many activities provide a glimpse into our town’s history and remind us all how important our town’s past is to our future. Our town’s history and heritage are at the root of who we are. It is criti-


VOTER Q&A Q How do I find out where I



In Early Voting, you can vote at any site in the county. On Election Day, you must vote in your regular precinct. To find out where it is, visit www.sboe.state., click on My Polling Place and type in your address.

Q Where do Oak Ridge citizens vote on Election Day?

A OR1: Oak Ridge Town Hall,

8315 Linville Road or OR2: Oak Ridge United Methodist Church, 2424 Oak Ridge Road.

Q When are polls open on Election Day?

A Polling places are open on

Election Day from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Q What will be on this year’s ballot?


Since this is an odd-numbered election year, it is a municipal election only. In Oak Ridge, citizens will vote for two town council members.

...continued on p. E-4



OAK RIDGE Stone, continued from p. E-3 cally important that we preserve the rural character, rich history, and the heritage of Oak Ridge for our future generations. The Oak Ridge Land Use Plan serves as a guiding principal for those matters that come before the town council. My volunteer activities provide me with a solid foundation to continue to serve our town.

10 AGREE/DEBATE There are no

behind-the-scenes discussions or deals. The town operates in full view of its citizens. Town council members are well informed; therefore, they are well prepared to discuss the issues. The town’s volunteer boards and committees (along with the town staff) do the research necessary to provide the town council members with all of the information necessary to make informed decisions. The level of civility displayed at any Oak Ridge meeting is because we value everyone’s input and opinions. We appreciate and respect one another. Even those rare contentious issues facing the town are handled in a respectful manner.


want to know that the town is a good steward of the tax dollars that they have entrusted it with. They want to know there is a transparent process for spending tax dollars and for decision making. Oak Ridge citizens want a small, limited, and efficient government. When you look at our community, you see a town park that is the crown jewel of Oak Ridge. All of the work and planning that goes into managing that facility is a prime example of the value-added service and infrastructure the town provides. The open lines of communications and ease of getting in touch with the people who govern and manage our


town is exactly the sort of thing the citizens expect for their tax dollars.

12 PROPERTY TAX It’s all about transparency, open communications, and value. The reason folks don’t complain about our tax rate is because there is a well-established, open budgetary process, and all citizens are invited to be a part of the planning process. There were eight planning meetings and public hearings that stretched over a five-month period for the current budget. Everyone interested in playing a part in this process was welcome to participate and lend their ideas to the final product. The end result is a consistently stable tax rate with no tax increase that ensures that we meet the town’s obligations while providing those limited services and objectives deemed important by the citizens. As a council member, I will continue to support this process and those who work so hard to develop our annual budget. I believe in the principles of low taxes and a small, efficient government.

13 CROSSFIT Anyone who has ever been involved in the planning, development, and execution of a large scale project could look back at the process and pick things that they might have done differently or would like to change. Town ordinances and guidelines are readily available to help guide everyone through the entire development process. The town’s board and committee members, the town staff, and the town council all desire to work with individuals and businesses through a spirit of cooperation and mutual respect to successfully facilitate projects within our town. While “countless hours” can be spent resolving any project’s issues, the citizens of Oak Ridge appreciate this level of commitment from the town’s volunteers, town staff, and the town council. This attention to detail ensures that the town’s character and quality of


life are maintained. This is an important part of what makes Oak Ridge such a desirable place to live.

14 MUNICIPAL WATER Roger Howerton is correct. Water has always been an issue and needs to remain at the forefront of our town’s future planning. As our community grows, the stress on our water resources will continue to grow also. Many Oak Ridge residents will not see this as an immediate issue until an event occurs where a well or series of wells run dry, and then it will become a huge priority. The town will surely hear from its citizens if a housing or business development suddenly impacts neighboring wells and their water supply.

Our town must continue the efforts started by Roger and others to pursue any feasible opportunities to bring water into Oak Ridge without impacting the town’s tax rate. A whole host of questions, issues, and concerns will have to be addressed as potential solutions are developed, but we must continue to explore all viable, cost-effective options and solutions.


above, a long-range planning issue for our town will be access to water. While a full-blown municipal water system is not cost effective or desired, there will likely come a point where future developments may be required to connect to a water service rather than install individual wells. Any water solution will have to ensure that the town’s tax rate remains stable and low. I will work diligently with town citizens, businesses, and other municipalities that can offer solutions to this concern, and I will make sure that Oak Ridge residents are kept informed of our efforts. A second challenge will be to figure out what our town will look and feel like once the future I-73 bypass is constructed. Everyone has experienced the nightmarish traffic jams every morning

and evening as traffic cuts through the heart of the town. A week doesn’t go by where an accident hasn’t further snarled traffic. While the bypass will likely relieve that problem, it will also transition the town from a point along a busy thoroughfare to a more quiet, less visited community. That change may have an impact on our town (especially our business core) that we will need to consider. We will have to get creative in further developing Oak Ridge into a destination – a place that people want to come to in order to enjoy community activities and events. The bypass is full of opportunities and challenges that the community will need to consider.


Oak Ridge was the place that you passed by on your way to Belews Creek or Martinsville. It was a little community off the beaten path populated with tobacco fields and family farms. We called it “going out to the country.” Today, Oak Ridge has a vibrant town core, a wonderful park, and a great sense of community. It retains its small-town charm in the midst of all of the changes going on around it. It’s the place where people want to live. Fifteen years from now – not much will have changed. It will still be the town where people want to live and raise a family. We’ll be a community where neighbors value one another and we embrace our heritage and history. We’ll celebrate the vision that was started by those who helped establish our town. As our town seal proudly proclaims, we truly are living “In God’s Country.”


I look forward to serving the citizens of Oak Ridge and greatly appreciate the support and words of encouragement I have received. I will work hard to represent you in the manner that you all deserve.


really hard to get to the meat of the subject matter and meet the needs of the petitioner.

• Helped to develop Oak Ridge’s lighting ordinance

Sometimes there is some “lively” conversation from both sides of the table. However, most times I have witnessed that even after some heated debate and frustration, both sides accept the resolution even if it is not what they thought they would achieve going into the meeting.

• Specification sales specialist in the lighting industry. “LC” certified by The National Council on Qualifications for the Lighting Professions (NCQLP). Member and president of the local section of The Illuminating Engineering Society (IESNA)

Both sides are usually well prepared to present or hear a case. I believe that because they all do their homework and they all present well throughout the arguments, that a resolution becomes pretty clear and usually is easier to accept.

• Member and president of Oak Ridge Lions Club

7 ORDINANCES I do not know if

• Oak Ridge Town Council member for the past four years • Chairman, Town Hall building committee

• Member of Southbound – Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Club • Married to wife Linda for 36 years! • Two incredible daughters, Jessica and Sarah. Two equally incredible son in laws, Steve and Brad

Responses to short-answer questions

1 May, 1987 2 I might have missed the first one or

two, but once I was involved with the town, all of them.

3 All (current Town Council member) 4 None 5 None Responses to in-depth questions


I have not attended any non-council meetings in the last calendar year due to my work schedule, I have attended several meetings over my past four-year term. Those running the meetings try

there is any complete ordinance that leaves little doubt in at least some part. Layers of jurisdiction come into play that cannot be crystal clear sometimes. With state and federal laws, county and town ordinances, many times there is no clear answer to an issue. Sometimes there is also the issue of deferring to the most stringent part of a code or deferring to a higher authority. I think the way you put more “teeth” into ordinances is to make the language as simplistic as possible, and defer to legal counsel when conflicts of interpretation arise. I think all ordinances need to have periodic review to keep up with changes in language, law or technology.


served on Town Council for the past four years, I usually do whatever is asked of me for the town, while juggling that obligation around work, volunteer time, and personal time. The commitment to work hours is the only thing that could interfere with any town activity. I do have an obligation to my employer. While those hours are not

too flexible, I usually can flex all other activities to meet my obligation to Town Council. If the need is great enough, and I have enough notice, my employer will work with me on scheduling.

9 PAST SERVICE My service on the

council has shown me how much the people of this community care about the place they live. Seeing the issues that come before the council and various committees makes it clear that everyone in the town has a vision for the continued growth of the town, while being good stewards of the community. I have stated in the last election, as well as in this one, that we need to continually work at making Oak Ridge a community that will keep up with the world around it, while maintaining the unique character that makes us a good place for friends and family.

10 AGREE/DEBATE We are blessed

to have so many hard working people on committees and boards in Oak Ridge. They are doing the “heavy lifting” for our town. While we all have rules and guidelines to follow, much debate takes place at committee level. Usually, more than just five council members consider an issue. Dozens of citizen committee members, town staff, and legal counsel are involved in the decisions that we make. By the time an issue comes before council, it has been worked over pretty hard. The addition of the public comment to an issue helps to shape the final decision.


have to say that the good comments usually outweigh the bad. I hear quite often how the council is doing a good job. However, I also hear from some that they will never vote for us again, or that they can’t wait to see one of us voted out of office for one reason or another. The comments are as diverse as our town’s people. Sidewalks have been in the conversational forefront for a while. Develop-

ment of the park and its use are also things I hear about. We also hear about things that we can’t control, like some DOT issues, or issues with the schools. We do listen very carefully to the feedback from the citizens of Oak Ridge. We are committed to work on the issues that we can affect the most for the betterment of the citizens.

12 PROPERTY TAX I can’t really speak to why things are what they are in Stokesdale or Summerfield. I think the reason why Oak Ridge citizens are more accepting is the fact that so many of them sit on boards and committees that help to shape what the town does. They are all an incredible resource for the town, and are also the pulse of the community. As a result of their efforts, the town delivers quality! We have been committed from the very beginning to work our budget to the tax dollars available, not to tax for the sake of covering budget requests. We are also committed to hold that 8.63 cents tax rate at that level as we have from the beginning, for as long as possible. 13 CROSSFIT I believe that a final resolution to this issue is still in progress and that as a sitting member of council, it would be inappropriate for me to comment on it. 14 MUNICIPAL WATER It is incred-

ibly important to the continued growth and survival of this town. At some point, as already evidenced, areas of the town will start straining the existing water supply. Roger Howerton has made an incredible effort against incredible obstacles. I think that is going to take more than one person to pick up where Roger has left off. With an increased water supply also comes an increased sewage supply, so the task is not a small one.

I think that Roger’s effort has taught us what our limitations are. Now we

...continued on p. E-6



OAK RIDGE Yanusz, continued from p. E-5 can build on that to develop a plan to overcome those obstacles. If re-elected, I am encouraged that I will be able to work with other members of council and various committees to continue this effort, and to look at exploring avenues that we might not have considered yet.


that water and sewer and controlling growth will be something to keep an eye on. If a community is not growing, it is dying. Some communities grow like Kudzu, all wild and haphazard. I envision the growth of Oak Ridge to be more like a giant Sequoia. The Sequoia grows exceptionally slow, and has become a terrific habitat for a diverse group of species.

Councilman Roger Howerton and others have been trying very hard to get water to Oak Ridge for many years. The town has faced many challenges on that front, with little success to date. It has become evident in some areas of town that water is not as plentiful as in years past. If we want to continue to make Oak Ridge a really incredible place to raise a family, we have to look at the infrastructure necessary to support that future. Water is going to play a big part in that. I applaud Mr. Howerton’s incredible effort, and I think we need to look at more creative, if not aggressive actions to take to secure this necessary resource for the town’s continued growth in the future. It may not even happen in my lifetime, but I think that we have to lay the groundwork for others to build on for the future of this town.

16 PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE While I know that the town has changed significantly in the past 15 years (infrastructure and amenities), I still feel like it’s the same place as it


was 27 years ago. The slow pace of growth has eased us into the present. While I mourn the loss of some of the large farms, barns, and lazier days that are no longer here, the neighborhoods and people that have replaced them fit the community well. My wish for the next 15 years is to continue to grow slowly and easily into the future, so we keep up with the world around us. I also hope that the members of the community will increase their involvement so all the good friends and neighbors get to know each other and can work together to keep Oak Ridge true to its heritage. It will take leadership at many levels!


I am deeply rooted in this community. While I work mad crazy hours at my career, I still find the time to do many volunteer and leadership positions, both in my local community of Oak Ridge, surrounding, and professional communities. It enriches me as an individual and allows me to meet some incredible people from all walks of life, the best of whom live right here in Oak Ridge. Please get out and vote!

JIM KINNEMAN, 57 BIO: I grew up in a small town in New Jersey. After graduating from high school I joined the Air Force and spent six years overseas and on stateside assignments. I earned four Air Medals and an Air Force Commendation. I have a degree in computer science and work as a software consultant providing solutions to manufacturing companies. I am a member of Oak Ridge Lions Club, Preservation Oak Ridge, a Golden Horseshoe sponsor for Oak


Ridge Youth Association and I volunteer reading to the blind on the radio. I am chairman of Oak Ridge’s Board of Adjustment, an alternate on the town’s Historic Preservation Commission, past chairman of the Planning and Zoning Board, past chairman of the Ordinance Review Committee, and served on the Town Council 20072011. I have been married to Carol for 26 years.

Responses to short-answer questions

1 November 2000 2 All 3 8, 8 4 3. Rezoning on Linville Road, Land

Use Plan, Pedestrian Plan.

5 Historic Preservation Commission, 3, served as alternate. Board of Adjustment, 1, served as chairman. Parks & Recreation Commission, attended. Responses to in-depth questions


Ridge as a whole conducts meetings in an open and transparent manner and I will work to continue and expand that so that the citizens of Oak Ridge always have a clear and up-to-date view of what is happening in the town. Citizen input is critical. Each meeting has a period of time for citizen comments; we should look to expand this using Social Media and the web.

We can do more to explain the decision-making process. So much of the work of running the town of Oak Ridge is handled by volunteers. To help our volunteers I have and will continue to recommend annual training on how to conduct meetings and public hearings to ensure we follow both the letter and the spirit of the law.

7 ORDINANCES Discussions on

updating our ordinances have already started and I will push to speed this process up. Many of our ordinances were based on county ordinances; with over 10 years since incorporation and change in the pace of development, a full review and updating is needed. There are many new materials, construction techniques, and technologies that need to be addressed. Bringing our historic guidelines and development ordinances to be more complementary to each other is one area I would focus on. Cleaning up wording regarding the scenic corridor to remove any ambiguity is another area. Ensuring our ordinances support changes in our workplaces (more people working from home) need to be considered.

8 TIME COMMITMENT My work schedule is fairly flexible, so my duties as a council member will not present any issues. Including the time for town meetings and attending other committee meetings, a base time commitment of 10-15 hours. As issues before council and committees change and time requirement change I will be able to adjust my personal and professional schedule to accommodate them. 9 PAST SERVICE My time volunteer-

ing with the Lions Club and on town committees and the town council gives me a solid background and understanding of the issues facing Oak Ridge. During the time we have lived in Oak Ridge I have been an employee of a large manufacturing company, self-employed running my own business for several years, and now working for a small consulting business. My wife is a full-time physical therapist. These experiences help give me perspective on the issues faced by our local businesses and neighbors who live, work and do business in Oak Ridge.

10 AGREE/DEBATE Oak Ridge is blessed with an active group of volunteers serving on our boards and

committees. They do the hard work of analyzing and debating the issues before they come before Town Council. When an item comes before the council most of the contentious components have been resolved. When I was on Town Council there weren’t any backroom discussions or deals, and all discussion was out in the open. Oak Ridge is fortunate that its initial council members set a standard of civility that you can disagree without making it personal. I will work very hard to continue that.


concerns relate to how to keep Oak Ridge a connected community – one in which we see each other as neighbors and not just people who have the same zip code. Oak Ridge was a tight community long before its incorporation. How to maintain that in our fast-paced lives is a challenge Oak Ridge can win. Making Oak Ridge walkable again is a frequent topic – it was walkable 25+ years ago, and can it be again? Achieving a balance in active and passive activities in our park is another concern I hear. The park has been a super success; continuing this success while balancing demands on tax revenues is something I will pay particular attention to.

12 PROPERTY TAX Value is the key

Some built up significant reserves under the old method of tax collection; also, the physical size of a town allows costs to be spread across a larger number of properties. Keeping tax rates in line with citizen expectations will always be a priority for me.

13 CROSSFIT It is a tough situation in which the town has to uphold its ordinances in a fair and balanced manner, while businesses wish to have the most latitude to conduct their business. In reviewing the evidence for the appeal to the Board of Adjustment, there were numerous meetings and outreaches to see what could be done to address the issues at hand. That more could be done is always true and I am very supportive of reaching out to see if the issues can be resolved. 14 MUNICIPAL WATER Water needs to continue to be a priority and will be for me. While development continues to grow Oak Ridge, we have the same water sources for fire protection we had 40 years ago. Also, several areas of our town have low-producing wells.

To keep Oak Ridge a healthy and safe place to live, ensuring an adequate and safe water supply is critical. Mr. Howerton’s support helped the town put together a shovel-ready plan. The next steps are the hardest, ensuring we have broad support and obtaining the funding. The discussion around funding has to include, “Will this investment give us a return by keeping Oak Ridge a great place to live?” If it does, Oak Ridge has shown that it will make smart investments.

to how taxes are perceived – are we spending them on things citizens want and value? Oak Ridge residents see value in how taxes are spent; we are getting a good return on our investments. I call them investments because if done right they increase the value of Oak Ridge.


The town park is one example. People want to live here and have the quality of life our investments provide; this is combined with always getting input from citizens on what they want. Each major endeavor is done by getting input via surveys and public hearings. There are differences with other towns.

1. Counties and states pass costs of or responsibilities for services upon towns. There have been discussions at both the state and county level of either having towns pay or take responsibility for services such as police and roads. As a council member I will ensure Oak Ridge engages these topics before they

are forced onto us. 2. Town Park and related activities. The town park is approaching being fully built out. As the town grows there will be more demand for sporting events, picnic and passive activities. Meeting these needs has to be planned for in advance so that we are ready as the demand grows. 3. ETJ (Extra-territorial jurisdiction). As more properties join Oak Ridge we need to ensure they become part of Oak Ridge as a whole. Will we need to change our land use plan? Will they need/want a park? As more properties come on board, can we adjust our taxes down?


I will go back a bit further than 15 years. Twenty-five or more years ago Oak Ridge was a tight community where you could ride a horse or walk just about anywhere in the community. Most everyone knew each other. Neighbors allowed you to ride your horse or walk through their back fields or woods. Traffic was minimal. This allowed kids to walk to their friend’s house, play in the woods and safely walk home. Traffic, fences, new development and the loss of farming have reduced this natural connection. Going forward we can get some of this back with our park, sidewalks and trails – sidewalks where it makes sense and trails between neighborhoods. Well-connected neighborhoods are good for business. Well-connected neighborhoods are safer neighborhoods. Well-connected neighborhoods are good for Oak Ridge.


My time on Oak Ridge boards, committees and town council has always been done with one thing in mind: “How to keep Oak Ridge a great place to live.” If we do that, people will want to live here, start and do business here. This is the place I want to live and I will work hard to keep it a place that you want to live too.


Of the registered voters in Oak Ridge,

1,097 are Democrat

2,497 are Republican


are unaffiliated, and


are Libertarian.

2,492 2,376

female voters male voters

258 voters are black, 4,378 are white, 51 are Hispanic, 74 are Asian, 10 are Native American, and 108 are multi-race or other



Meet the Summerfield candidates Two candidates are running for mayor and five candidates are running for two open council seats on the Summerfield Town Council.

Current council members are: Mark Brown (mayor), Dena Barnes, Alicia Flowers, Elizabeth McClellan, Dianne Laughlin and John Wray

The terms of Mayor Mark Brown and council members Dianne Laughlin and John Wray are ending this year.

We posed these questions to the Summerfield candidates Short-answer questions 1 2 3

4 5

Month/year you became a Summerfield citizen? How many Summerfield municipal elections (held every two years) have you voted in since you have been a Summerfield citizen? In the last year, how many Summerfield Town Council meetings have you attended, and of those you attended, how many of them did you stay until the meeting adjourned? In the last year, how many Summerfield planning and zoning board meetings have you attended? What were the issues before the board at those meetings? In the last year, how many Summerfield committee meetings have you attended or served on? (please specify the committee, and whether you attended or served on it – for example, “Served on finance committee and attended all meetings held, attended two public safety meetings, etc.)




MEETING OBSERVATIONS What observations did you make about the meetings you attended, with regard to council, board members, committee members and staff members’ preparation for the decisions before them, members’ decorum, citizen engagement, respect shown to citizens, etc.? What, if anything would you do to improve any of these things? ORDINANCES Do you feel your town’s ordinances are clearly and effectively worded so as to leave little doubt as to what the rules are regarding development, signage, noise, etc., and enforcement of the ordinances? Would you suggest any changes to any of the ordinances to put more “teeth” into them, make


TIME COMMITMENT On a monthly average, how much time do you anticipate spending in your role as a council member, and how will you work this into your personal and professional life?

15 IMPACT OF I-73 What impact do you think the on/off ramp for I-73 and the widening of N.C. 150 could have on Summerfield, and what do you think could be done to lessen the negative effects on the rural landscape after these projects have been completed?

TAX FUNDING PUBLIC TRAILS Do you favor using Summerfield taxpayer dollars to fund public trails in Summerfield?

10 PAST SERVICE How has your past service to

Summerfield, your knowledge of the Summerfield community, its history and its citizens’ wants and needs prepared you to represent your fellow citizens on matters that come before the town council?


In-depth questions 6

of U.S. 220, some believe it will further divide the Summerfield community between those who live on the east and those who live on the west side of this highway, and that it will change the “small town” feel of Summerfield. What do you think can be done to keep this from happening?

them more specific or more clearly define the rules, or to delete permitted uses in any of the development ordinances? Please be as specific as possible.

PROPERTY TAX RATE The town council has been criticized by some for continuing to tax its citizens 3.5 cents per $100 of property value while having over $7 million in reserves. Based on what you know about the present and future wants and needs of Summerfield citizens, do you support this tax rate? Why or why not?

12 CITIZEN CONCERNS What have you heard

from your fellow citizens in recent months regarding what their greatest concerns, wants and frustrations are (if any) about your town’s local government, and what, if any changes they would like to see in how the town is governed? Please be as specific as possible.


REZONING If you had been a council member on Oct. 8 and had to vote on a request to rezone property on N.C. 150 and Deboe Road from residential use to general business, how would you have voted and why?

14 WIDENING U.S. 220 Regarding the widening


16 REVIVING DOWNTOWN At one time the

corner of Summerfield Road and Oak Ridge Road, where the Town Hall is now, was the hub of the town and had a mix of residences and businesses. Some people envision reviving that downtown look and feel with a mix of residential and commercial development, sidewalks, etc. Others, however, are adamantly opposed to the concept of businesses populating Summerfield Road and want it to be left like it is. What do you think?


NEXT CHALLENGES What do you think are the three most challenging issues facing Summerfield in the next five years, and what will you do as a council member to meet those challenges?

18 PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE Describe the Summerfield of 15 years ago and specifically compare it to the Summerfield of today. Now describe the Summerfield you envision 15 years from now.

19 ADDITIONAL COMMENTS Is there anything else you want to tell the Summerfield citizens? If so, this is your opportunity to do so.


3 Attended 12. Stayed until meeting

adjourned or adjourned for closed session for all of them.

4 Have attended at least 3; Strader

BIO: As a lifelong resident of Summerfield, I’ve served our community in many ways, from being a member of Boy Scout Troop 103 through years of service. Thanks to the great education received in our local schools I now work for one of the fastest growing privately held businesses in NC that competes on a global scale. • NC A&T University in Greensboro, Mechanical Engineering • Postgraduate studies in numerical analysis, structures and materials; assorted IT certifications. • Summerfield Town Council experience; UNC Essentials of Municipal Government training

Road, Collins’ property on Summerfield Road, commercial rezoning on Deboe Road

5 Attended at least four finance committee meetings (committee doesn’t meet every month) Responses to in-depth questions


Citizen participation is not encouraged. Two council members are very noticeably better prepared than the rest. Processes and procedures should be explained so all can understand. On rezonings, what can and cannot be considered should be emphasized early and consistently.

7 ORDINANCES Following through

• Served on Summerfield Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee • Volunteer for first children’s fishing tournament, recycling event, Founders’ Day, etc • Personal contributions: First personal donation to benefit the athletic park; donated to volunteer appreciation and other events • Fundraising volunteer for local VFW Veterans Memorial in Summerfield

with the intent of the Comprehensive Plan, the town ordinance needs to be updated to be consistent with the Comprehensive Plan.

8 TIME COMMITMENT I anticipate spending as much time as it takes to get the job done. I am fortunate my employer supports a flexible work schedule. 9 TAX FUNDING PUBLIC TRAILS

Responses to short-answer questions

I support trails consistent with the Comprehensive Plan, with prudent planning and consideration on long-term maintenance costs.

1 1997 by annexation

10 PAST SERVICE I grew up here.

• Organized successful petition in 2005 to allow the people to elect the mayor



This is my home. I talk a lot, perhaps to a fault, to anyone who wants to

registered voters in


have a discussion about Summerfield. I’ve gone back and read past surveys, questionnaires, and passionately written letters to council stored away and forgotten by some. I collect facts about Summerfield like others might collect stamps or sports memorabilia. Past service and broad knowledge about Summerfield history is of little consequence if selectively applied to justify a personally desired outcome. My intent is to serve every citizen equally to the extent possible based on my lifetime of experience living here based on all facts, including facts some would rather keep locked away in a closet.


measure, Summerfield’s reserves are excessive. The citizens have repeatedly made it clear we desire to be a small, rural, bedroom community to Greensboro, with a government that provides limited services and low or no property taxes. Some see the almost $8 million in the bank as an opportunity to do great things, almost always couched in context of “giving back” to the citizens. When government spends other people’s money, it’s not “giving back,” it’s “just spending.” I favor zero property tax until such time town reserves are not excessive.


months? By far the most concerns (in terms of volume and head count) I’ve heard in last few years has to do with the October 2013 commercial rezoning on Deboe Road. If reasons are cited why a rezoning is not consistent with the Comprehensive Plan, three council members who say it is consistent “just because” (no reasons given) doesn’t make it so. Days after that rezoning, one of my fellow Comprehensive Plan Committee members said to me, “Dwayne, if they don’t have to cite reasons from

...continued on p. E-10


VOTER Q&A Q How do I find out where I vote?


In Early Voting, you can vote at any site in the county. On Election Day, you must vote in your regular precinct. To find out where it is, visit www.sboe.state., click on My Polling Place and type in your address.

Q Where do Summerfield

citizens vote on Election Day?


SF1: Summerfield Community Center, 5404 Centerfield Rd; SF2: First Baptist Church, 2300 Scalesville Rd; SF3: Morehead United Methodist Church, 3214 Horse Pen Creek Rd; SF4: Pleasant Ridge Christian Church, 2049 Pleasant Ridge Road; NCGR1: Center United Methodist Church, 6142 Lake Brandt Rd

Q When are polls open on Election Day?


Polling places are open on Election Day from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Q What will be on this year’s ballot?

A Since this is an odd-num-

bered election year, it is a municipal election only. In Summerfield, citizens will elect a mayor and two town council members.



SUMMERFIELD Crawford, continued from p. E-9 the plan, then what was the purpose of those two years we spent working on the plan? The three that voted for it barely said anything.” What changes do I think the citizens would like to see? Perhaps more evidence of rational thought? Perhaps hearing the citizens’ concerns recited (with specificity) so at least they know they’ve been heard and understood?

13 REZONING The Comprehensive

Plan that the town adopted in 2010 suggests the intersection of Hwy 220 and I-73 as the appropriate location for major commercial development. The Comp Plan also suggests major commercial development next to residential is not appropriate. Personally, I’m extremely concerned about the negative impact that major commercial development will have on recharging the local aquifer system. For these and other reasons cited repeatedly, including by many who were on the Comprehensive Planning Committee, I would have voted against the rezoning.

14 WIDENING U.S. 220 Sum-

merfield is a bedroom community populated by very decent, extremely civilized citizens. We go about our business every day, taking care of what is important to each of us…and though I expect most don’t think about Summerfield in these terms, I think we can agree that this is a very, very, fine state of affairs we should all be extremely thankful for. The Highway 220 widening (in more technical terms, a “Super Street”) changes the dynamic of how we will go about our daily business, but I know this will not change who we fundamentally are.


15 IMPACT OF I-73 I fear the con-

sequence that will come from having such convenient/easy access on and off a major interstate will have to the neighborhoods near that intersection. Easy access to getting a cheeseburger or gas means it’s just as easy for others with less peaceful intent to do the same.

TIM SESSOMS, 51 MAYORAL CANDIDATE BIO: I was born and raised in Hoke County, N.C. The youngest of four, I began working in my family’s plumbing and heating business when I was 9.

16 REVIVING DOWNTOWN Unlike Stokesdale, the town of Summerfield has never had a proper town core. There are some who wish to take us there, going so far as to repave Summerfield Road with cobble stones and providing a local trolley service for visitors. I’ve also heard from countless Summerfield Road citizens who just want to be left alone.

What do I think? I do not think government vision-re-engineering, where a community is fundamentally transformed despite the broad wishes of those who live there is acceptable. I do not support government vision-reengineering.

17 NEXT CHALLENGES I think the biggest challenge to the town of Summerfield is not a local problem, but a national one. Spending by the federal government has us all on the path to major financial meltdown.

I graduated from UNCG with a B.S. degree. I have worked in many areas of employment throughout my life: retail, youth and music, construction, food industry, delivering newspapers, group home houseparent, entrepreneur and business owner. In 1994, I founded a Guilford County company that currently employs over 200 people. Since age 18, I have been involved in many areas of volunteerism. Most of that consists of church work in youth and/or music ministries and also as a coach of Guilford County and Summerfield youth organizations for football, basketball, softball or soccer. My wife Heather and I married in 1984. We have a blessed and busy life raising seven kids. We have seven grandkids with another on the way in March.

Responses to short-answer questions

I think the best course of action we can take is to follow the Comprehensive Plan…to keep local government small and to keep services limited.

1 January 2000



My neighbors of 15 years ago are just as peaceful and civil as the many more neighbors I have today. I see this continuing for the next 15 years and beyond.



23 3 4. 4. 50 Responses to in-depth questions


served a group of citizens that sincerely come together for the good of Summerfield. That goes for the mayor, council

members, and all in attendance. It is very obvious how much everyone really cares about the future of Summerfield, although not all are capable of expressing their feelings in a positive manner. Everything is not a conspiracy. That being said, it is also noticeable when people have either not taken the time to be prepared or not gotten the information in time to prepare. One thing that would help our meetings would be if the entire council could go through a review of Robert’s Rules. Strict adherence to these rules would move our meetings along and provide more order. We need to create a positive forum where citizens can be engaged more and be heard and responded to without the threat of intimidation from other citizens.

7 ORDINANCES While I do think

they are clear, I also think it is a good time for Summerfield to review our ordinances and permitted uses. We need to make sure they are aligned with the goals and policies of the comprehensive plan so that we stay on track with what the citizenry worked so hard to prepare and plan for our town’s future.

8 TIME COMMITMENT I will make myself accessible to all daily. I operate my own business so I have a great deal of flexibility and can be available quickly. In addition to our planned meetings, I look forward to continuing to meet local residents and business owners as I have been doing over the last four months. I also look forward to getting to know more of the people who serve on our committees. 9 TAX FUNDING PUBLIC TRAILS

If we can’t obtain it by grants or other sources, then yes, our Comprehensive plan and the A&Y Feasibility Study both indicate we have much interest in pursuing trails and open spaces. Almost everyone I have talked to or heard from is excited to hear from our Trails and Open Space Committee. The trail will

definitely play a large role in keeping our town a community.

10 PAST SERVICE If I have learned

one thing from phone calls and knocking on doors, it is that we have some super friendly people who don’t mind sharing their opinions and concerns. It has been refreshing to hear how what some term “Old Summerfield” does embrace a lot of the ideas brought by “New Summerfield.” We need to work hard to foster these relationships and find areas where we have common ground and build on them. We can do more to bring us together.


portant to have reserves for unforeseen needs and emergencies. We should keep our property tax low and responsible. Our tax rate should be based on what we are doing and what covers the budget.


want a positive, productive town government. They want a mayor and council that can move forward to answer the needs of the citizens. People have communicated they are tired of the negatives and just want us to move on with the business of the town.

13 REZONING I’m thankful I didn’t

have to make that decision. Ten people spoke for it and nine spoke against it. I think both sides presented good, valid points for consideration. I agree that houses would not have been a good choice for the land and am encouraged by the fact David Couch will be doing the development. Mr. Couch also indicated he was going to meet with the citizens and we will have input on what goes there.

14 WIDENING U.S. 220 The widen-

ing will be a challenge. We must work together to stay together. The A&Y will certainly help and also doing things that maintain and create community such as events we can do in the park and other things that bring us together.

Our churches and activities around church like Brunswick stews and sports will also help.

15 IMPACT OF I-73 The traffic is-

sues remain to be seen. The things listed in the development ordinances are a great start. We just have to work together and communicate with the developer to end up with a project we all can be proud of.


Summerfield Road does have a mix of residences and business. It is also where the post office and the fire department are as well as Summerfield Elementary. Soon our new substation for the sheriff’s department will open. I think we should look at what our study says and get more input from the residents there before approving any more commercial development in that area. In addition, there are many things we could do to make Summerfield Road more beautiful.


ing our rural charm as we experience growth. Summerfield is going to grow and traffic is going to increase.

Staying focused on maintaining community and not be separated by the widening of 220 and I-73 coming through. Controlling growth and business development around the new roads. I will listen to each request, try to do what we can to let people do what they want with their land while trying to discern what our residents would want and ultimately what’s best for Summerfield.

18 PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE Summerfield 15 years ago was 50 percent smaller than it is now, but was a community filled with good people, beautiful land, and lots of horses. I think today it is pretty much still that.

My goal in 15 years is for Summerfield to still be the place in this area where people want to live and raise their children. I want our schools to still be great. I hope we are a place that

has protected our small town community feeling where our kids want to and can afford to raise their own families. Summerfield is a great place!

Responses to short-answer questions


3 I tried to make them all but I am sure I missed one or two. I tried to stay until the end of the meeting or until they went into closed session, whichever came first.

I do look forward to working for the people of Summerfield and working with you to make this an even better place. I’m asking for your vote on Nov. 5. Please help me in keeping Summerfield the best place it can be.

RICH LIPINSKI, 68 TOWN COUNCIL CANDIDATE BIO: Education and Certifications: US Naval Academy 1963-1964; Dickinson College 1964-1967 B.A.; Dickinson School of Law 1967-1970 JD; University of Pennsylvania Wharton School (#3 in US) 19701972, finance major, MBA; University of San Diego School of Law 1984-1985, advanced degree in taxation; admitted to Practice Law 1971 (passed bar exam 1st time); Certified Public Accountant 1973 (10% pass exam 1st time, as I did).

1 July 1999 2 Do not know

4 None 5 None Responses to in-depth questions


I find extremely disappointing is the lack of engagement with the residents by the mayor and the town council. One of my goals is to create ways to permit a dialogue without disrupting the proceedings and without prolonging meetings into the wee small hours of the morning. And I want the residents themselves to participate in this process of creating ways for us to work together in an open and honest way. I find it very inappropriate for our mayor to “roll his eyes” when someone is speaking, or a council member to “show” their boredom, or a consultant to work on his computer when someone is speaking. How rude can one get? If you pay your taxes, you will always have a seat at my table and I will listen! But after I have listened, and a decision has been made, it is time to move on.

Work Experience (taxation, accounting, M&A, horses): Touche Ross & Company (One of the original “Big 8” Accounting Firms) 1972-1976; Alco Standard Corporation (Mini-conglomerate) 1977- 1984; VF Corporation (world’s largest apparel company, now headquartered in the Triad. Lee and Wrangler jeans, The North Face, JanSport, EastPak, Nautica, etc.) 1985-2008, vice president – corporate taxes last 10 years

7 ORDINANCES I have personal

Personal: Divorced, two daughters (both attended Summerfield Elementary, Kernodle Middle and Northwest High). Laura is in senior year of law school, Molly in senior year at Appalachian State, majoring in Environmental Science.

Example: Code Enforcement Officer, John Ganus of N-Focus, Kannapolis says you cannot put up a fence in this town unless it is “permitted” under

experience with Town of Summerfield ordinances. If you have the “connections,” you can get an ordinance to say whatever you want it to say! Heck, you can even get it rescinded if you don’t like one of them!

...continued on p. E-12



SUMMERFIELD Lipinski, continued from p. E-11 Section 6-5.2 of our development ordinance. Here’s what he, and our intrepid town attorney, say is allowed: masonry or stone walls, ornamental iron, chain-link or woven wire and wood or similar material – and that is all! If you believe those are the only fences we can erect in our rural community, I have a bridge to sell you!

8 TIME COMMITMENT My No. 1 priority is my daughters and they have 100 percent of my time if they need it. Other than that, like it or not, I’m all yours! I need to make my farm look good for scenic corridor purposes, especially after a neighbor moved next door and trashed the view. But he has “buddies” in the sheriff’s department, don’t you know! Guess he can do anything! Funny story. In June I asked John O’Day if he was interested in running. He said “No, can’t. Too busy with work and travel. Some other time.” I filed. Six days later John filed! Funny, right?


Yes, I am in favor. Although I do not personally plan to use the trails, at least not yet, I think it fits with the rural character of the community. Summerfield is about being outdoors and staying healthy. Trails, bike paths, etc. are all good by me. And for those who might be opposed, let me say this. Someday you may be in favor of a project; if it’s good, I’ll support you, too!

10 PAST SERVICE I have seen all

the good about Summerfield but I have also seen the dark side – not its residents in general, the “privileged” who abuse the rest of us. This town is for all of us and I intend to return it to us. Let’s only do the good things! Back in 2009, my daughters had


graduated from Northwest and moved on. I could have easily moved away. (No comments, please, from those who wish I had moved away!) I decided I would stay and make this my permanent home.

officials who pay attention to what they want, not what special interests want. They want their town back and I intend to give it to them if I am elected!

13 REZONING I would have voted

Almost all of us want the peace and quiet, cleanliness and relative safety and friendliness that come from living in a rural community. Before I moved here, I lived in a town of 4,000. Summerfield is crowed by comparison! Seriously, we all know what we want and we can have it if we just vote the right people into office!

against the rezoning. As I mentioned earlier, I wish the town had purchased the one parcel earlier. Let it be unused.


To hear Milam and Couch speak at the hearing like they are doing us some kind of favor is laughable. It’s all about making money! Plain and simple! If you think their goal is to make this a pleasing place for us to shop, you don’t know businessmen. It is all about maximizing profits.

what we all know now, don’t you wish we would have used some of that money to buy the 45-acre commercial parcel near 150 and Deboe? Didn’t I hear the developer say it wasn’t very good for anything? Maybe a nice park, eh? It is my experience that when there is money sitting around, people have a tendency to find ways to spend it. At one town council meeting someone said “the town earns about 1/4 percent on this money.” Give it back to us in the form of no more taxation and we’ll get 1/2 percent in passbook savings.


heard it over and over again like a drumbeat. “We have to get rid of the ‘Old Guard!’” They mean the seats currently held by Mayor Brown, Dianne Laughlin and John Wray. Mayor Brown and Councilman Wray have chosen not to run for re-election. Let’s put everything else aside and thank them for the many good things they have done for this town. But it is time for new governance! But equally loud and clear is they do not want the “Old Guard” to simply be replaced by a “New Old Guard,” meaning Sessoms, Adams and Laughlin. They want elected officials who adhere to the visions laid out in the Comprehensive Plan. No large scale commercial developments; elected


We all know from our own experience, there is not a gas station and shopping off every interstate interchange. When I am running out of gas, sometimes I wish there were! These 80 acres should be vacant.

Isn’t it funny how some people like to use “scare” tactics to get their way? It goes like this: “If you don’t let me develop the property, you don’t know what will go there!”

14 WIDENING U.S. 220 Great!

I never liked the people on the other side of town anyway! (I am just kidding, honestly!) Let’s face it, the widening of 220 is not going away and there is nothing we can do about it. We can’t dig tunnels under 220 everywhere there is a through street. As far as I am concerned, this is a “state of mind” issue. If we “think” it will change the “small town” feel of Summerfield, it will. If we think the town is split between east and west and refer to it that way, the town will be split. But our children will be crossing 220 to go to school; I will still cross 220 to go to the bank, Southern States or wherever; I will still live in the Town of Summerfield, shop in the town, do business in the town, etc. After all, it’s

not the Berlin Wall!

15 IMPACT OF I-73 In and of itself, I

think this would have had minimal impact on our community. It is really the rezoning in the area that is the disaster. It could have been nothing more than a simple interchange, used by people visiting friends and relatives in the area and other such mundane matters. Who pulls off an interstate to wander around farms, looking at horses, cows and the pristine scenery? No one! With the rezoning and development, Summerfield will change dramatically. The development will suck people off of I-73 and dump them in our community. It will become congested. More people in the area will ask for more rezoning for commercial development. The commercial area will get larger and larger and some people will get richer and richer. The real question here is “Are the people surrounding this area done fighting?” Organize, investigate and vote! You can make a difference, really!


my travels and vacations, I have seen some very tasteful shopping areas which look like they “belong.” If you have not been there, visit Colonial Williamsburg and walk along the streets which have both residences and shops. I specifically use the word ”shops” because they are small, crafttype stores from Colonial America times. I am sure if we could live that way, we all would (if we could also have indoor plumbing, gas stoves, air conditioning, oil/gas heat…). But that was the 17th century and we live in the 21st century. I will certainly listen to people’s pros and cons, but I am strongly against ever imposing on people something they do not want, if it can be avoided. If I lived on Summerfield Road, I doubt I would want people walking around shopping near my

home. Is this something we need? (Where’s David Couch?)


Sessoms, Dianne Laughlin and Mike Adams! The challenge is to defeat these people at the polls. If these three win, we can expect more of the same. More 3-2 votes for special interests and against the majority of residents is not what I think people want. Sure, there are a lot of good things that have been done for Summerfield by its elected officials. I am not suggesting we “throw the baby out with the bath water,” but when the water is dirty, you throw the water out. It is time for new leadership in Summerfield! I am certainly not advocating a “new direction.” I think our Comprehensive Plan is a good one; trails may make the quality of life better for all of us (yes, I know I don’t exercise enough and should plan to hike on the trails). We are starting to veer from our desired path; it is not too late to get us back on track. More development needs to be stopped in its tracks. Although I have no trouble finding a gas station, if some developer wants a new one, put it somewhere other than Summerfield!

People want to move to Summerfield because of all its desirable qualities. What a great place to raise children and grow old! It’s why I decided to retire here. I see a Summerfield in 15 years which has changed less than it has in the past 15. Slower growth. As development starts up 68 and further up 220, maybe we can slow our growth. New residential developments will open up in Stokesdale and Oak Ridge. Let them have the developments!

19 ADDITIONAL COMMENTS “We the people…”, us.

My agenda is the people’s agenda, not those people, us! I have the educational and business experience to help make Summerfield what we want it to be, for us! I have the time and the motivation to make things better, for us! Our land is not for commercial exploitation, it is for us! What should you do at the polls? Vote for me; vote for us!


We can’t expect 220 to not be developed. But we can expect Summerfield Road, 150, Pleasant Ridge and other roads in our community to be commercial development free! Isn’t that what we want?

BIO: Personal: I am married to Todd Wilson and we have two children. Professional: We own Wilson & Sons Termite & Pest Control

18 PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE My ex-wife, who left 12 years ago, would have a hard time finding me now, which is good! Have you ever pulled up to a traffic light where there used to be a stop sign, looked both ways and thought it was safe to pull out? (For the sheriff’s deputies out there, I never actually pulled out, just thought about it!)

I realize there will always be change.

Volunteer/community involvement: I am a member of Summerfield’s finance committee & Summerfield Founders’ Day

Responses to short-answer questions

1 April 2000 2 All, as far as I know

3 Attended 3 town council meetings.

13 REZONING I would have voted

4 Attended zoning board meeting on Sept. 23 regarding Milam rezoning (commercial property at N.C. 150 and Deboe Road).

14 WIDENING U.S. 220 U.S. 220 is

Entire meeting - 1.

5 Served on the finance committee. At-

tended 3 out of 4 scheduled meetings.

Responses to in-depth questions


Citizen comments are at the beginning of the meeting. The board comments in response to the citizens should be moved from the end of the meeting to follow citizen comments to further engage with the citizens.

against the rezoning and feel that commercial development belongs on U.S. 220 in Summerfield. a road, it will not “divide” the people.

15 IMPACT OF I-73 The only place that N.C. 150 is scheduled to be widened is at the on/off ramp from I-73. N.C. 150 is still going to be a two-lane road, and the on/off ramp of I-73 will create excessive traffic. 16 REVIVING DOWNTOWN Our

historic town hall must be preserved. The residents/homeowners on Summerfield Road need to come together to decide what “they” want to do.

7 ORDINANCES No. The current

17 NEXT CHALLENGES Protect our

8 TIME COMMITMENT I will spend


ordinances and the process can be improved. The permitted uses should be included at every step of the rezoning process.

the time necessary to prepare for each and every meeting.

9 TAX FUNDING PUBLIC TRAILS Yes. Walking trails.

10 PAST SERVICE My service on the finance committee and as a local business owner has prepared me to serve the Summerfield citizens. 11 PROPERTY TAX RATE As a lo-

cal business owner I understand what a real budget is, and that is the truth. We must stop these inflated budgets. We have excessive reserves and we do not need to levy a tax unless there is a specific capital project.


ing that people are opposed to the Milam rezoning and they are concerned as to how this will impact the town and their property.

open space and rural character because it is so important to our quality of life. We must provide a higher level of fiscal responsibility to the taxpayers.

One example of our past and future is our historic town hall and this must be preserved for the long term. When we moved here there was very little commercial development. We loved the rural character of Summerfield. Today Summerfield is still a beautiful place to call home. And “we all” need to work hard to maintain the rural charm.


My husband and I live and work in Summerfield and have invested in our community for many years. We have worked hard to build our family-owned local business, Wilson & Sons. As a wife and mother I have volunteered for over 20 years to help with school and community events. If elected, I will work as hard for the citizens of Summerfield as I do in our business, and that is a promise you can count on.

...continued on p. E-14



SUMMERFIELD Wilson, continued from p. E-13

MIKE ADAMS, 63 TOWN COUNCIL CANDIDATE BIO: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, and the Adams family farmed in the Rio Grande Valley. My love for the land came from Dad, who was an entomologist; he taught me the values associated with the people connected to the land. We grew up in a Godly home. Through Dad’s job we lived in Mexico, Texas, and California. I went to college in Texas and California and followed Dad into agriculture. I was a licensed advisor CA for many years helping farmers raise crops, and I also farmed. I married Carol and God gave us four little souls to raise. After 30 years of marriage, Carol went home some 5 1/2 years ago. A little over a year ago God gave me another mate, Kim, who is a special gift in my life. My service includes Habitat for Humanity thru church, Rotarian service, Mosquito Abatement board, and church youth group leader.

Responses to short-answer questions

1 June 2001 22 3 3 and stayed until adjourned 4 1 in September, for the rezoning on

N.C. 150 and Deboe Road.



Responses to in-depth questions

6 MEETING OBSERVATIONS In the last several months, I have attended town council and zoning board meetings. In all such meetings both sides of the issues were given equal representation. For the most part, respect was shown both by the citizens and the elected officials and staff of Summerfield. There was verbal sparring at times at all levels, which I felt was unnecessary and not conducive to a display of respect for people, their opinions, or elected officials.

On occasion I noticed citizens, and sometimes committee members, board members, legal counsel, and council members who were on their mobile devices. I know this is a sensitive subject, but thought should be given as to not allow any mobile devices during sessions. I believe prep work for meetings is critical. The agenda regarding all meetings, to all members, should be sent in a timely fashion.

7 ORDINANCES For the most part I

feel the ordinances are fairly clear but I do believe, like any responsible official, there is a time that review of the ordinances needs to take place. This review must be based on and reflect the current needs and desires of the community as it faces the future. Ordinance 0-2009-001 (1/13/09) Prohibiting Sex Offenders from entering parks and park facilities comes to mind. In this particular ordinance we need to be mindful of the trails systems and include such wording. We also need to examine the development ordinances and the land uses permitted.


field is very fortunate to have involved community leaders and volunteers who are very capable and knowledgeable about key subjects and tasks at hand for our town. I also believe we have very


capable town staff members. As such, I do not feel the need to micromanage, but to hold people accountable to their responsibilities. Realistically giving 35 percent of my time monthly along with being accessible through e-mail and phone would be more than manageable at this time. As time goes on, I would reevaluate and prioritize my time accordingly.


The use of taxpayer dollars is a very serious matter, but in the case of trails in Summerfield it is clear our citizens want trails. This is made evident in the public study performed in 2005 when greater than 50 percent of our town responded they would use trails. Documented citizen comments made during the development of the Comprehensive Plan indicated trails were important, so I would say this spending would reflect the desire of our citizens.

10 PAST SERVICE I will admit my

service on committees and advisory boards to Summerfield have been limited. But what I bring with me is not limited or confined to the needs of Summerfield. I have lived in Summerfield for almost 13 years. Over the last several months I have been on an accelerated learning curve. I have listened to as many citizens who will give me their time. I have shared my platform with these folks and found it resonates well with their issues and concerns for our community. I bring with me new ideas and fresh insights. I have lived in small rural towns all over America. I have the agricultural experience of working with farmers and their crops. I have the managerial experience working with large groups of people for a Global company. Summerfield is unique, but its issues and concerns for the future is not. I can help here.


folks, I would prefer to live tax-free, and more particularly in my own community. Summerfield should not be a ‘bank’ for tax dollars. We in our community would likely be the envy of many communities across the U.S. in having a reserve, but these funds need to have plans associated with them for the betterment of, and in accordance with the wishes of, the citizens and in alignment with the Comp Plan. I am in favor of keeping our taxes as low as possible, and 3.5 cents is low, and together we use the reserves to better our community.

12 CITIZEN CONCERNS I have enjoyed visiting with a wide variety of citizens during this run for Town Council. The overlying concern I have heard is the polarity and the division of the citizens of Summerfield, i.e., the feeling of an “us and them,” and lack of a united vision of what Summerfield should be. The people want a more harmonious community. There is a concern about what the new roads will bring to our town – will they divide us further or help us thrive? The people love the land and the wide open spaces. There is a desire for more parks, trails, and natural spaces that people can enjoy with families and friends. There is a concern that there is going to be uncontrolled sprawl due to the lack of vision and unity. Over all, the people of Summerfield want a harmonious community they can be proud of and call home.

13 REZONING I attended the Zon-

ing Board meeting as well as the Town Council meeting on Oct 8. I have had the opportunity to speak with several key players, as well as reviewed the five potential Town Council Actions as suggested by William Hill, town attorney.

Again, I hold to the facts at hand. Approximately 45 acres of the almost 80 acres on this track had already been zoned GB with associated uses. It seems as though it is in the best of the community to have some control of the future of this property. However, with the limited information I have at my access, I would have leaned toward option 3: Request additional information from the public, developer, or ZB.

14 WIDENING U.S. 220 U.S 220

will cut the town north and south, but physical aspects such as a road will only divide the town if we let it. I strongly believe we have far too much division within our town right now. We need to have more community folks attending town meetings, seeking ways to better communicate, finding common ground to focus on together, and stop the negative behaviors. The spirit and desire of the people to strive to be more of a community is what will prevent the loss of our “small town” feel. We need to continue to have and support more activities that bring us together, such as music in the park, children fishing contests in our pond, town hiking days, expanding Founders’ Day, ice cream socials, etc.

15 IMPACT OF I-73 It is very dif-

ficult to predict the positive or negative impact of any on/off ramp from a major highway without knowing what might be developed at the off ramp. Given the fact there will be a development at the off ramp, this invites both desirable and undesirable elements into our community. The undesirable element can potentially bring with it crime, deviant behaviors, and additional litter around our town. Any visitors will not have the same sense of respect for our rural landscape or our enjoyment of living here in Summerfield. In order to minimize negative

impact I believe a greater sheriff’s presence is required along with appropriate lighting to reduce crime seekers. With the spirit of cooperation from the developer at this location, perhaps we can work together on the types of businesses that will minimize the unnecessary attracting of any criminal elements.


are two basic facts about Summerfield. First, the new road systems, I-73 and the widening of U.S. 220. Second, the town is growing in population. At the time of incorporation there were a little over 7,000 people and today that approaches 11,000. The Comprehensive Plan, which I believe all residents have the responsibility to read, plainly states Summerfield Road would be the historic and cultural center of the Summerfield community. The area would have a small town feel, with a mix of residential and non-residential uses. Small, quaint businesses regulated by firm town ordinances, and uses that reflect Summerfield. Summerfield has a rich historical component that needs to be preserved and enhanced for all generations. Whatever uses go into this area, it is critical they be compatible and aligned with the Comprehensive Plan.


cial Development & Redevelopment. As Summerfield began to grow, development ordinances were adopted and amended over time. A Long Range Plan was adopted which established land use patterns. In a few short years the Town Council found the need to appoint a Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee, which with a great deal of citizen sweat and involvement led to the development of a collection of all the town plans and ordinances into a final product, the Comprehensive Plan. I will be

one who wants clarity and to eliminate any ambiguity in the language between land uses, development ordinances, and the Comprehensive Plan. We need to offer a clearly defined town future to land owners who want to develop, and parameters to developers. • Recreation and open space. It has been a mandate, not only from the surveys done in the past but more recently in the Comprehensive Plan, that the citizens want walking trails, biking trails and recreational facilities which define the community’s image and quality of life. Being a steward of the land, I will support and engage all potential open space ideas. • Preservation of heritage and history. Summerfield has a rich heritage underpinned with validated historic sites. I will work with the property owners in order to identify more historic sites and restore and preserve the ones we already have identified.

18 PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE Summerfield had the basics, a grocery, a main road lined with history, and a feed & seed store that reminded me of the great memories of my favorite country towns. But it was the people that made us want to call this home. The people had character rooted in the values you find in rural America.

Today we still have those people with the love of rural small town America, who find warmth in saying the Pledge of Allegiance and having an invocation. Yes, there is more traffic. I find myself eating out a little more in Oak Ridge, and I even have a choice of drug stores and a doctor’s office. There are a few more very nice subdivisions now. What about 2028? I envision a town core, more parks for families, more subdivisions that melt into the rural landscape and a trail system leading to the historic center of town.


I want to be the representative for ALL the people of Summerfield. I feel as though we, as citizens, are living during a critical time of growth in the history of Summerfield. This time needs to be guided by individuals with vision, new ideas, and bringing diverse life experiences to guide decisions. We need people who will “dig in” and work hard and prepare Summerfield for the future. I am that person.

DIANNE LAUGHLIN, 71 TOWN COUNCIL CANDIDATE BIO: Personal: I will be 72 in December. I was widowed in September 2012. My late husband Willie and I have eight children (five are mine and three are his). These wonderful kids and their spouses have blessed us with 15 gorgeous grandchildren and 17 energetic great-grands. Professional: I’ve worked in the public since my youngest child went to school in 1976, and have attended several continuing education courses. I was hired full-time at various businesses and quickly rose to management at the request of owners or district managers. I received my insurance license and worked as an agent for 14+ years. As a Summerfield town employee, I attended town clerk schools and took various courses offered by North Carolina League of Municipalities. Willie and I owned and operated a successful antique business. Most of my experience and education came from the “School of Hard Knocks,” hard work and by God’s amazing grace.

...continued on p. E-16



SUMMERFIELD Laughlin, continued from p. E-15 Responses to short-answer questions

1 December. 1988 2 All 3 Attended all and stayed the entire


consistency for our staff, zoning board, Board of Adjustment, committees and property owners to use when making recommendations or requests to Council. Some ordinances are open to each person’s interpretations and we are striving to correct and clarify them to reflect what our citizens want. This will insure better decision making.


Responses to in-depth questions

of time spent as a council member can vary each month according to the agendas; various meetings in which a council member participates; interviews for prospective staff positions; attending various town-sponsored functions and many other activities that occur. I will spend as much time as needed to reference information, talk to citizens, and check on legalities with our attorney or NCLM, which will allow me to make appropriate decisions for the people of Summerfield.



4 As a town council member, I waited

to allow the zoning board to do the job they were tasked to do and received the information and their recommendations when it was presented to the town council.

5 I attended any meetings that were held as joint meetings with various committees for the budget prep.

citizens are prepared for the matters at hand and all are allowed to give their opinions at the appropriate time in the meetings. Some presentations have good information, but are presented in an unprofessional, hostile method.

Our town attorney or his representative is present to assure that staff makes the proper presentations and our town manager oversees staff preparations. I think everyone sticking to the matter at hand would make a more productive and informative meeting for committee members and those in attendance. Respect flows in both directions.

7 ORDINANCES As towns grow and develop, there is a need to re-examine and update ordinances. This makes a more controlled environment for property uses. Summerfield’s most recent ordinance is being worked on to make it easier to navigate and to have more


Citizens I have spoken with are much in favor of the trail systems and that is how I will vote. Americans are becoming more aware of these areas as recreation for family, a hobby, and exercise. The great outdoors belongs to Summerfield just as it does to everyone else. We are not alone in the trails effort. Funds are available through the government and organizations who agree with keeping nature and health at the forefront.

10 PAST SERVICE I was in favor

of the incorporation of the Town of Summerfield and have volunteered as a member of the Community Relations and History Committee. I served as the deputy town clerk/town clerk from 2001 to 2006. In my position as clerk/deputy clerk, I worked as the secretary to the town council and as recorder for the Zoning Board and the Board of Adjustment. I was responsible for preparing packages for all of these great boards,


so I learned much about how each case was considered, presented and voted upon. In 2009, I ran for and was elected to Summerfield Town Council. These years of experience have equipped me to represent the citizens of this wonderful town.

dents of that community that make or break the attitude of separation by their actions and community volunteerism and participation. Working for the entire community and not with a “just in my back yard” attitude will help keep any further disunion.

tinue to support low taxes for Summerfield. I will support a lower tax rate for the upcoming years. We receive monies from the state and county because we have a property tax. If that tax disappears, we would not receive those extra revenues.

15 IMPACT OF I-73 The impact of the on/off ramp to our town will mean a change in traffic patterns. We, as residents, need to obey road safety and to curtail road rage. Our community can work with DOT and businesses to make sure tree buffers and barriers are in place to reduce negative impacts on our rural landscapes and properties.



11 PROPERTY TAX RATE I will con-

have you heard from your fellow citizens in recent months regarding what their greatest concerns, wants and frustrations are (if any) about your town’s local government, and what, if any changes they would like to see in how the town is governed? Please be as specific as possible. Some will not be pleased with anything the local government does. Some seem to want to be Greensboro. We are not Greensboro, Oak Ridge, Stokesdale or Madison. We are uniquely Summerfield and I, for one, would like to see us keep things so that our residents have convenience as well as privacy. State and county ordinances have voices in the decisions that are made. Concerns about safety, water and traffic seem to be important to all residents and those are my primary concerns also.

13 REZONING I voted to approve

this rezoning because this area has been noted as a business node. People who purchased land in this area knew that I-73 was coming, and maybe they were thinking, “Not in my lifetime.”

14 WIDENING U.S. 220 A road is not what divides a town. It’s the resi-

erty owners on parts of Summerfield Road would like to see sidewalks/small commercial development, while others want the road left as it is, with further restrictions on large trucks and commercial vehicles. The “hub” of a town is where several businesses exist. There is an area that meets this criteria at the school, post office, auto dealer, fire department and small businesses. The area at the corner of Summerfield Road and Oak Ridge Road has not been the “hub” for many years. A great deal of thought and discussion will have to occur to bring this all together.

17 NEXT CHALLENGES 1. A united Summerfield with positive, constructive input from residents to help bridge opposing views. 2. Ordinance completion. 3. A government that insures all citizens have a voice in what happens in our town.


Summerfield 15 years ago was a growing community on the rise and wanting some guidance. That’s why we incorporated. Many items such as open space, trails, controlled development were es-

tablished. We avoided a granite quarry in the area where I-73 is being built. Forward 15 years … I see a community that has grown. The land in this 27-square mile area has been controlled by town and citizen cooperation and has slowly continued to be developed into a beautiful, desirable town in which the citizens live.


I think my leadership experience will be an asset to Summerfield and our government.

Responses to short-answer questions

1 March 2011 2 One 3 7/3

Vote! Volunteer! Become a part of what’s happening. Young and old, rich and poor, we are all part of this town. There are many arenas in which we can work together for what we want our town to be. We Are The People!

4 One, the rezoning of the Milam property bordered by I-73, Hwy 150 and Deboe Road.


Responses to in-depth questions



BIO: I was born in New Jersey to a military family and lived across the country. I landed in central Pennsylvania and earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science. While living in Pennsylvania, I served communities and organizations in a variety of volunteer positions from historic societies in Gettysburg to Appalachian Trail organizations. My wife and I were attracted to Summerfield’s rural charm and supportive infrastructure to live and raise our daughter. My son, a former marine, resides in Pennsylvania. We moved to Polo Farms in March 2011 where I became involved in our community, attending Town Council meetings and serving on the HOA Board. I’ve volunteered at town events, including Founders’ Day, and serve on the Trails and Open Space Committee. Professionally, I manage software implementation teams that serve clients by understanding their future vision.

5 Served on the Trails and Open Space

Committee and attended 3 out of 4 meetings.

general I believe the town staff is well prepared for all meetings. I’m happy with the diligence provided on behalf of our town, considering the hours of preparation required of the town staff. The committee meetings have been well attended by members and participation has been constructive and cordial. I’m impressed with fellow members’ preparation and thorough knowledge. There is a high degree of decorum at Town Council meetings and citizens’ opinions are generally well respected. I don’t feel all council members are always prepared for the issues brought before them. I will always be prepared and as previously stated, seek out differing opinions to ensure I represent all of Summerfield’s residents.

7 ORDINANCES More importantly,

Summerfield residents and business owners don’t feel our current ordinances are either clear or applied impartially. This simply should not be the case. Our community should expect local government to create/adopt ordinances

that are clear, enforceable, and applied evenly to all. We should also consider the wants or needs of Summerfield residents for new businesses to support changes to demographics and desire for healthier lifestyles. Our entrepreneurs should be encouraged to develop new businesses that Summerfield will support and meet our long-term development strategy.


considered running for Town Council, my family and I sat down and discussed the expectations and commitment. We made the decision, together, after careful deliberation, including discussions with sitting council members. I expect my work on Town Council to take between 10 and 20 hours per month. I will devote the time spent currently serving in volunteer capacities to the business of governing Summerfield. I have control over my professional schedule and currently work from home most of the time and am easily accessible when not in town. Summerfield deserves and will always get my very best.


As a heavy user of trails in the area, I do support Summerfield residents’ desire for trails. Our Comprehensive Plan, created by citizens, and surveys, confirm this desire. The majority of A&Y Greenway funding will come from sources other than Summerfield. While in favor of using tax dollars to fund the creation of trails, I will volunteer to create an organization to maintain the trail using more private funds.

10 PAST SERVICE My past service

to Summerfield has compelled me to serve Summerfield in a greater, more active capacity. I have taken the time to immerse myself in the community and discuss what’s important with the residents of Summerfield.

By taking the time to listen to a wide variety of citizens, and serving the town in volunteer capacities, I believe I will represent all of Summerfield’s residents on council matters. As a member of the council I will continue to meet with residents to have a continual feedback loop so that I remain truly a representative of our citizens.


ing from Pennsylvania, where our taxes were four times higher, I initially thought the tax rate was fair. I have taken time to explore the history of our large reserve ($7.55M if we spend the fiscal budget). Summerfield’s original founders built up the fund with the goal of keeping Summerfield property tax-free as long as possible. Given the historic intent, North Carolina’s guidance for municipal reserves, a lack of imminent capital projects, and, most importantly, residential input, I will support a tax holiday until reserves are at an amount set during the budget process.


spent many hours walking neighborhoods and meeting with Summerfield residents, so I feel I have a fairly representative sample of viewpoints. Most people I’ve met with don’t feel our local government is responsive to them and would like to see “new blood” making the decisions. Many people are tired of what they view as a “dysfunctional council” who doesn’t listen to its citizens when they do turn out at public hearings. People want their local government to apply its ordinances impartially, reach out for more representative input, and keep Summerfield’s rural charm and character intact.

Most residents familiar with the Comprehensive Plan believe it should

...continued on p. E-18



SUMMERFIELD O’Day, continued from p. E-17 be the guiding principal applied to any future development.

13 REZONING I would have pre-

pared extensively for a decision with this much potential impact to the character of Summerfield. My preparation would have included attending the zoning board hearing, meeting with residents, especially those most affected by the request, review of any site information or geological surveys, meeting with the developer to eliminate undesirable permitted uses, and careful review of the governing documentation, especially the Comprehensive Plan. My first instinct is to have asked for more time to remove permitted uses in hopes of achieving a unanimous decision by the council. Based on the concerns raised by residents regarding water, septic, permitted uses and the zoning not aligning with the residentdeveloped Comprehensive Plan, I would have voted against the initial motion.

14 WIDENING U.S. 220 I don’t

believe the widening 220 will disconnect east and west as much as impact our small town feel. While we know a noise barrier will be erected bordering Elmhurst, it should blend into the landscape. Additionally, there will be impacts to residential or business ingress and egress points due to limited turning options. Increased traffic on 220 will encourage additional commercial development along the corridor. The Zoning Board and Council will need to carefully consider the impacts of zoning requests to ensure we stay true to our Comprehensive Plan. The extension of the A&Y Greenway will be one connection point for multimodal trail users. Long range planning by NC DOT does allow for additional


road width to ensure more safety for cyclists along 150 and Scalesville Road. Along with the current traffic signals, east/west connectivity should be maintained.

15 IMPACT OF I-73 There is no doubt that neighborhoods bordering and near the I-73/150 interchange will be impacted by noise from and visibility of an interstate highway. Additional potential impacts include light pollution, increased or unwanted traffic, late night activity, storm water runoff impacts to aquifers feeding residential/ commercial areas, and additional commercial development.

have a choice how road projects will impact Summerfield. Residents want Summerfield to remain the town we love today while staying connected as a community. With the changes Summerfield faces we need to continually assess our long-term plans against reality, as well as solicit input from our citizens. I will make outreach to residents a common practice as a town council member. Only with input from all can I truly represent and serve our community.

We need to ensure our ordinances are in line with our long-term town vision as documented by residents in the Comprehensive Plan. I will work with the sitting council members and staff to bring older ordinances up to date and ensure they reflect the wants and needs of our residents.

Ordinance review and overhaul – not all our ordinances align with our Comprehensive Plan. The document was developed by Summerfield residents and is critical to our sense of community. The differences need to be remedied to protect us from undesirable development. Our residents and business owners expect clear and enforceable ordinances applied evenly to all, to ensure our rural character remains intact. This will be one of my highest priorities if elected.



I think of this concept I picture Blowing Rock, Waynesville, and many other towns across the country. I have no problem with the concept; however, I believe this will be driven more by developers than the town. My feeling is much more development is likely to occur along US 220 and I-73 due to higher traffic volume in those areas.

17 NEXT CHALLENGES The budget – Summerfield is a town with a large percentage (approximately 45 percent) of middle class homeowners with children living at home. Families are being stretched by soaring medical costs, the tax burden at most government levels, and increases in cost of living. I am a proven leader who understands their needs and will work to find efficiencies to ensure we spend money responsibly, and lessen the burden if possible. Major road project impacts – We


Summerfield was in its infancy 15 years ago. It had about 6,000 residents, no taxes and was predominantly farms. The change since 1998 is startling. The town now has nearly 11,000 residents and is a “bedroom community” with approximately 75 percent of us owning homes. In 15 years, I’m concerned we will lose our character and charm as a rural community. I will do everything I can as a member of the council to protect it.


Change is coming to our community and it is going to be here before we know it. It takes a true leader to navigate the future. I am the only candidate endorsed as a conservative, by conservatives (Conservatives for Guilford County). I want and expect to be held accountable to our values as a community.


Of the registered voters in Summerfield,

1,834 are Democrat


are Republican


are unaffiliated, and


are Libertarian.

3,960 3,713

female voters male voters

293 voters are black, 7,120 are white, 66 are Hispanic, 88 are Asian, 14 are Native American, and 103 are multi-race or other

Meet the Stokesdale candidates Five candidates are running for two open seats on the Stokesdale Town Council.

Current council members are: Randle Jones (mayor), Mickie Halbrook, Randy Braswell, Bill Jones and Frank Bruno.

The terms of Mayor Randle Jones and Council member Mickie Halbrook are ending this year.

We posed these questions to the Stokesdale candidates Short-answer questions 1 Month/year you became a Stokesdale citizen? 2 How many Stokesdale municipal elections (held

every two years) have you voted in since you have been a Stokesdale citizen?

3 In the last year, how many Stokesdale town council meetings have you attended, and of those you attended, how many of them did you stay until the meeting adjourned?

4 In the last year, how many Stokesdale planning

and zoning board meetings have you attended? What were the issues before the board at those meetings?

5 In the last year, how many Stokesdale committee meetings have you attended or served on? (please specify the committee, and whether you attended or served on it – for example, “Served on finance committee and attended all meetings held, attended two public safety meetings, etc.)

In-depth questions 6 MEETING OBSERVATIONS What obser-

vations did you make about the meetings you attended, with regard to council, board members, committee members and staff members’ preparation for the decisions before them, members’

decorum, citizen engagement, respect shown to citizens, etc.? What, if anything would you do to improve any of these things?

7 ORDINANCES Do you feel your town’s

ordinances are clearly and effectively worded so as to leave little doubt in the citizen’s minds as to what the rules are regarding development, signage, noise, etc., and enforcement of the ordinances? Would you suggest any changes to any of the ordinances to put more “teeth” into them, make them more specific or more clearly define the rules, or to delete permitted uses in any of the development ordinances? Please be as specific as possible.

8 TIME COMMITMENT On a monthly aver-

age, how much time do you anticipate spending in your role as a council member, and how will you work this into your personal and professional life?


How has your past service to Stokesdale, your knowledge of the Stokesdale community, its history and its citizens’ wants and needs prepared you to represent your fellow citizens on matters that come before the town council?

10 CITIZEN CONCERNS What have you

and frustrations are (if any) about your town’s local government, and what, if any changes they would like to see in how the town is governed? Please be as specific as possible.

11 LANDFILL If you had been a council member voting on a special use permit for a minor LCID landfill that came before you this past July, how would you have voted and why?

12 WIDENING U.S. 158 What is your opinion about the NCDOT’s plans to widen U.S. 158? Do you think it will change the “small town” feel of Stokesdale and if so, how can the change be made into a positive one?

13 NEXT CHALLENGES What do you think are the three most challenging issues facing Stokesdale in the next five years, and what will you do as a council member to meet those challenges?

14 PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE Describe the Stokesdale of 15 years ago and specifically compare it to the Stokesdale of today. Now describe the Stokesdale you envision 15 years from now.


heard from your fellow citizens in recent months regarding what their greatest concerns, wants

thing else you want to tell the Stokesdale citizens? If so, this is your opportunity to do so.



Responses to in-depth questions



MAYORAL CANDIDATE BIO: I was born and raised in Collinsville, Va. (just west of Martinsville). I moved to North Carolina 16 years ago. During those 16 years, I spent 8 years in Summerfield and the last 8 in Stokesdale, where I bought my first home with my wife. My wife and I just celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary this past June. She has blessed me with twin baby girls, who are the light of my life. I received my Bachelors of Science in Finance from UNCG. I have over 10 years of finance, accounting and budgeting experience in private industry, public industry and banking. It is this experience in finance where I believe I can lead Stokesdale. I am not a career politician or a good ole boy nor do I want to be, I am just an everyday husband and father who believes in doing what is right.

Response to short-answer questions

1-5 I do not believe that knowing how

many times someone voted or attended local meetings, because if you didn’t attend meetings, the minutes can be found online or contacting the Town Clerk, Mrs. Joyner. If you want someone who aspires to be a career politician then I am not the guy you want, but if you want a regular resident, who has the experience to make a financial difference, vote for me.

3,664 E-20

believe Mayor Jones has done an honorable job at the helm. I have reached out to Mayor Jones to tell him thank you for the time given to this town he loves. I believe the former council (prior 2011) had a lot of tough decisions to make and made them well. The former council had a consistently larger resident turnout for meetings than I have seen in recent years. I want to encourage residents to get involved. So with that said I plan to ask John Flynt, Randle Jones, Mickie Halbrook, Anthony Vaughn and Powell Shelton to take up committee meeting chairs as they can and if they can. I will be honored to work with those individuals I just mentioned. I will also ask Carolyn Joyner to assume a larger role in the budgeting committee, if she would take it.

7 ORDINANCES I personally have no issues with signs; however, if the people of Stokesdale would like a tougher ordinance, I would encourage that it be across the board, not picking and choosing which and what signs will be singled out.

8 TIME COMMITMENT I will be accessible 24/7 because I will have email, telephone and my current Facebook page for mayor will turn into the Stokesdale Mayor’s page. I plan to serve the entire 4 years, not 3 ¾ years, so that I can run for reelection. I believe if I have served the people well and they want me to serve a second term, I will serve with honor.


KNOWLEDGE My service to Stokesdale is every day, I believe in helping your neighbor when they need you and ask for it. I don’t feel you have to be part of an organization to serve your community; in fact you don’t even have to leave your street. Serving your community starts in your own home as a family and then out into your neighborhood. Family, I believe is the core to a good community.

10 CITIZEN CONCERNS They want someone other than who is currently there. They did not want to see the three new guys forming a majority. Added security (extra police officers). Closing of the Donation Center (library). Reducing Town Hall hours back to (close at) 2 p.m., and preferably (close at) 12 p.m. Listening to the people who elected them. Absolutely no taxes.

11 LANDFILL I would have voted in July “No” because the sheer number of residents opposed to it, rather than take three months of agony. 12 WIDENING U.S. 158 The widen-

ing of 158 has got to be done, given the amount of 18 wheelers and accidents involving them. Will Stokesdale lose its small town feel? No, I mean I come from a small town and it was surrounded by 4-lane highways and it was still a small town. The small town feel changes because the people of the town change it, not because of a highway.


registered voters in



Taxes. As Stokesdale’s mayor I will do everything financial possible to avoid Stokesdale ever having a tax, that’s why I am needed now more than ever. Town expansion. I would promote it

as a way to avoid taxing, more people, more area more revenue for the town. Water Maintenance. I plan to propose getting an agreement with one company for the long term, rather than multiple companies as needed short term. Short term looks cheaper to piece mill but long term more costly by at least 15%, the sheer fact of labor is going up not down fact that in with inflationary costs.


15 years ago, Stokesdale was starting its second decade of charter, coming thru its first decade. Life in this small town was a lot different than today. Stokesdale didn’t have a water system for those people who had contamination from the railroad that ran thru Stokesdale. Stokesdale also didn’t have many paved roads; in fact, Stokesdale was one of the most unpaved areas in the state and Guilford County. It was referred to by many police officers as the “Wild, Wild West of Guilford County.” Thanks to the work of Mayor Jones and Powell Shelton working with the Guilford County commissioners and the DOT we got most of the roads in Stokesdale paved by 2005. Thanks again to Powell Shelton and Mayor Jones for working with WinstonSalem to secure piping and water to the residents of Stokesdale by 2003. The miraculous piece to this is that they secured the lowest cost that WinstonSalem could give. This is why I want the former council members to serve alongside me.


I am not a good ole boy who has been on a committee; I have not served on the council. I believe that not serving in those capacities allows for a new viewpoint and uniquely qualifies me to take and lead this town in a different direction, a stronger direction but maintaining the small town charm that drew me and my family to take up roots here. I would appreciate your vote on November 5.

RANDY BRASWELL, 53 MAYORAL CANDIDATE BIO: I am a graduate of Grimsley High School in Greensboro and Nashville Auto Diesel College, and the owner of Tarheel Lift Trucks in Greensboro. I have served the local churches through the Good Samaritan Ministries, and my favorite mission is the Community Gardens that provides fresh produce to local food banks. Cindy and I have been married for 33 years and have three children.

Response to short-answer questions

1 We bought our first house in Stokesdale in September 1980. 2 All elections since 1980. 3 I have been to all the town council

meetings and stayed until the end.

4 I have attended 3 planning board

meetings and participated in all the training sessions.

5 I have been to all the budget,

safety, athletic and recreation, and property committee meetings. I have attended every workshop and special meeting.

Responses to in-depth questions


town council meetings often take on a courtroom feel, which is intimidating to most citizens. Creating a relaxed atmosphere will encourage more participation. A lack of preparedness and meeting etiquette has led to unnecessary, lengthy, unproductive topics. A lesson

in Roberts Rule of Order should be our first workshop. We will agree to disagree without being disagreeable.

7 ORDINANCES I believe the ordi-

nances are clear. The planning board and town council need to follow the law as it is written. Rubber stamping and failure to enforce existing laws are my issues with this ordinance. Public health and safety are priority with me.


much more than one meeting a month. It requires a lot of reading at times – for example, the Jordan Lake Rules were off the scientific chart! I don’t live in that watershed but have invested many hours understanding how it affects Stokesdale. I don’t get my water from the water system, but have spent many hours working on water issues. You don’t get to pick and choose, and I don’t like kicking the problem down the road. I am ready to give 100 percent.


KNOWLEDGE Cindy and I have raised three kids here and have spent many hours at Parks and Rec, PTA, local church missions, birthday parties and funerals. When tornadoes ripped the town apart we all became neighbors and a community. This is home to us and our kids.

10 CITIZEN CONCERNS Everybody wants transparency and the truth!

11 LANDFILL The town is in litigation over this case, so as a council member, Braswell is not at liberty to discuss it. #12It is not a widening project! It is a full blown four-lane divided bypass highway with a speed limit of 65 mph and can move either way 1,200 feet. Go look at what is happening on U.S. 220. The un-chosen, un-funded route has tied up personal property while the NCDOT plays with crayons. We need to crank up the

Highway 158 Committee, pronto!

13 NEXT CHALLENGES Operating the town with the revenue we have Providing safe drinking water through the town’s water system I would like to assist with placing the 5-cent rural fire funding on the 2014 ballot. If this does not pass by referendum, town council will need to look at another option for future funding of the Stokesdale fire department.

14 PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE I know everyone is not happy with all my votes or how I dealt with the mayor ripping into my backside or vice versa. I promised I would work hard, and I have. I have voted based on the facts and I will keep making what I think are solid business decisions for all 5,222 of us.

15 ADDITIONAL COMMENTS Stokesdale was once a small agricultural community where most families were related. As the family farms sell one by one, they have been replaced by developments changing this community forever. With this transformation, our challenges will be water and sewer to insure a healthy growing community. If low taxes attract new business, then get ready for an economic explosion. I don’t like to see the trees and farm land destroyed, but now the agriculture powerhouse of this community is gone. What can fill those shoes? As a few farms hang on, we should support them to help preserve them. In 50 years, that land might be where Stokesdale gets it food. We need to seek out our next powerhouse that puts Stokesdale on the map. Stokesdale is in a prime location for explosive growth. We need a 50-year plan, and I call you to the table to help develop it.


VOTER Q&A Q How do I find out where I vote?


In Early Voting, you can vote at any site in the county. On Election Day, you must vote in your regular precinct. To find out where it is, visit www.sboe.state., click on My Polling Place and type in your address.

Q Where do Stokesdale citizens vote on Election Day?

A Stokesdale Town Hall,

8325 Angel Pardue Road

Q When are polls open on Election Day?

A Polling places are open on

Election Day from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Q What will be on this year’s ballot?

A Since this is an odd-num-

bered election year, it is a municipal election only. In Stokesdale, citizens will vote for two town council members.

...continued on p. E-22



STOKESDALE ...continued from p. E-21

GARY ALBERT, 63 TOWN COUNCIL CANDIDATE BIO: I went to Bethany School for 12 years, graduating in 1968. I attended Rockingham Community College for two years, and graduated from Appalachian University in 1972 with a degree in business and economics. I worked as a management trainee for one year at Cone Mills in Greensboro at the main office before taking a job with Washington Mills in Mayodan as customer service manager for two years. I left the textile industry for the car parts business, where I worked at Motor Supply for 5 years. The opportunity to buy my own business came in 1980 when I bought Stokesdale Auto Supply. I retired this year after 33 years in business. I am married to the former Linda Simpson and we have two children, Jessica Clifton, 38, and Matthew Albert, 34. They both went to Stokesdale Elementary School and graduated from Northwest High School. We now have five wonderful grandchildren.

Response to short-answer questions

1 I have lived all my life within five miles of Stokesdale, but we bought our first house in Stokesdale in July, 1976. 2 All. 3 3, 2 4 None 5 None


Responses to in-depth questions

6 MEETING OBSERVATIONS I saw the members deal with the question of the LCID landfill and four members wrestle with the feelings of the people living close to the landfill. The mayor only seemed to care about the legal questions.

Every subject has to be considered on its own merits, but whenever an entire neighborhood is against an issue we must consider their concerns in deciding the question. The town council is voted into office to represent the citizens of Stokesdale and protect the quality of life for them.

7 ORDINANCES I am not familiar with all the ordinances at this time. but will make myself familiar with them as they come into play. At times the ordinances will need to be changed or amended as new situations arise. I am sure they are all not perfect as they are now written.

8 TIME COMMITMENT I will spend

whatever time is necessary to research each issue and decide it to the satisfaction of the majority of our citizens. I am retired now and have ample time to do the research needed on any issues brought before the council.


KNOWLEDGE The last 33 years being in business for myself in Stokesdale, I have heard what local citizens have said about wanting to keep our “small town environment.” Stokesdale is a small town and most of the people who live here would like for it to stay that way. We need to control the outside business interests that want to come in and have run away development to make themselves money and take away control of our town from our citizens and our local businesses. We don’t want Stokesdale to be just another city controlled by national chain stores and outside business interests wanting to ruin our small town atmosphere.


10 CITIZEN CONCERNS That we need to focus on what is in our small town’s best interest.

11 LANDFILL I believe they did the right thing by deciding the issue in favor of the neighborhood. I would have voted against the landfill and for the neighborhood that did not want another landfill. The people who have lived here all their lives deserve to be protected from changes wanted by outsiders to benefit themselves. They now need to find out if the other two landfills are operating within the rules laid out when the other LCIDs in the surrounding neighborhood were granted; if in violation, they should be shut down.

12 WIDENING U.S. 158 The widen-

ing of Highway 158 should not reroute all traffic around Stokesdale – that would hasten local business suffering and the buying of new business property by outsiders with more money, to the detriment of local businesses and citizens. The newcomers seem to want to make Stokesdale like the places they moved from. I want Stokesdale to remain a small, friendly community, without runaway development. We don’t need more traffic, more crime, more smog or more taxes. We feel the town should stay the way the 24/7 people want it to be. Those who have lived here all our lives don’t mind driving to nearby cities to do some of our business if it means keeping Stokesdale a friendly, small town that doesn’t get out of control.


you think are the three most challenging issues facing Stokesdale in the next five years, and what will you do as a council member to meet those challenges? As I have stated, the uncontrolled growth of Stokesdale, which would take away our small town feel and put outsiders in control of where some of us have lived all our lives.


We have gone from a farming community to a bedroom community. Most of our new citizens and lots of our old ones have to drive to work in surrounding larger cities. We don’t mind this because we want to live here the way Stokesdale is now. My vision would be for Stokesdale to be run by local citizens who are also involved in local businesses.


I will do everything in my power to keep Stokesdale the kind of place that I have wanted to live for the last 37 years. Newcomers who move here should not expect all the 24/7 conveniences that they left in Greensboro or WinstonSalem. If we had all of those, we would have all the problems that go along with them. We need to keep Stokesdale, Stokesdale.

VICKI WHITELAWRENCE, 61 TOWN COUNCIL CANDIDATE BIO: I was born and raised in Glenola, which is in northwest Randolph County. I graduated from Randleman High School and Appalachian State University with a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. I taught for 3 1/2 years in the Randolph County school system and then served as executive director of the Association for Retarded Citizens/High Point. That group merged its residential programs with ARC/Greensboro and I went with it as executive director. After marrying and starting a family (when I moved to Stokesdale 27 years ago), I opted to go with a less demanding job and worked for the Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina. For the past 18 years I have worked from home

and focused on volunteerism. My husband Scott and I have both been actively involved with the town as we have raised our two sons, Philip and Hayden.

Response to short-answer questions

1 November 1986 2 11 (town incorporated in 1989; not

sure about that one)

3 11 or 12; I always stay until the end. 4 There were eight (8) planning board

meetings held during the past year. As an alternate member who serves as a voting member when needed, I attended and served on four of them. Cases presented: In February, a request to close a temporary turnaround and grant access to an existing road in a subdivision; in March, a proposed change to Commercial Use/ Highway Business Zoning to add indoor shooting range to an existing building supply storage/wholesale business. Changed to retail gun sales only; In August, approval of minor subdivision; in September, expansion of pet resort and approval of site plans for two minor subdivisions.

5 I’ve attended a budget workshop and

an audit workshop, and at least one Library Committee meeting. I also attended a Health & Safety Committee meeting. In the past I was a member of this committee but am not sure of my status since it had been so long since we last met. We’ve held two Parade Committee meetings this fall and I’ve attended both, since I chair that committee.

Responses to in-depth questions


Recently the atmosphere has been better, but there has been open hostility and disrespect displayed among council members at times, and I’ve observed dismissive attitudes towards staff and the town attorney. I’ve been uncomfortable at some meetings and was at one when a resident who was not known to any of the rest of us stood and criticized one member for being so hostile and argumentative.

I believe that some members have been uncomfortable making decisions and so they put off voting or revisit an issue later and reverse action they took at prior meetings. I would hope to be as prepared as possible so that informed decisions can be made, although I do not think it is unreasonable to table action if more information is needed. I do not think it is acceptable to interject personal feelings into the proceedings and would hope we can avoid that in future.

schools that serve our area, my work with the local Boy Scout troop and on the Parade Committee, plus serving on the Planning Board and attending other meetings, I have met a broad spectrum of people in our community. I think this gives me a good base of people who I hope will feel comfortable giving me input. I hope they know they could contact me and ask me to consider issues they think are important, and to be fair in that consideration.

7 ORDINANCES These ordinances

I think because of my involvement I have a lot of knowledge about what goes on in our town, but I also know I can always learn more and be more involved.

are developed by citizen committees, who use state and county regulations as their guideline. Sometimes there is not a lot of “wiggle room” with them. Many times we citizens don’t pay attention to our ordinances until they apply directly to us, and then it is too late to do anything about them regarding our specific issues. It would require a lot of time and commitment, but perhaps it would be worthwhile to regularly review all ordinances, section by section, to ensure they say what we want them to say, and are updated as needed. This could be assigned to a citizen committee that would make recommendations to Council. As they are being reviewed we could get advice from staff and legal counsel on specificities.

8 TIME COMMITMENT I know there

will be at least one night a month for the actual meeting, plus time to review meeting materials and other information that might be helpful in order to be prepared to make decisions. Plus committee meetings as necessary, although I feel strongly that Council needs to go back to one council member to represent it on committees so that citizens can have more input. Just a guess, I think maybe 40 to 50 hours per month on average. Since I already attend many meetings, I think the main impact will be in doing my “homework.”


KNOWLEDGE Because of my previous writing position with the Northwest Observer, my work with the three


what I have heard is regarding how disappointed they have been in the way council members have conducted themselves during meetings. The general feeling has been that they could have been more respectful of each other, and of prior town councils. There has also been concern about how long it has taken decisions to be made and that decisions have been changed, leading them to believe that Council is trying to make everyone happy without considering what might be best in the long run. I continue to hear frustration that Council did not support the fire department in its request for support to raise the cap on the fire tax. I’ve also heard concerns about how things might change with two of our longest serving members leaving Council.

11 LANDFILL I believe this is one

of those ordinances that needs to be revisited, even though that has been done fairly recently. While I totally understand the feelings of the people living in the neighborhood where it was proposed, I believe the application was in accordance with our current ordinance, which means I would have had to vote in favor of the application. This is one of those instances of having to follow the law even if I don’t like it. To do otherwise could result in legal action

against the town, costing money and time to resolve it.

12 WIDENING U.S. 158 I wish we knew more about what the actual plan is, so we could better know how to plan. For Stokesdale, it is more than just a widening project. There are three (3) different proposals for a bypass. Through the years I have attended every presentation when input from residents has been requested. I have also asked that Council appoint a citizen committee to gather input so that we are being proactive instead of reactive when NCDOT is ready to proceed. Each of the proposed routes could have a major impact on our town and we need to be prepared to present and defend our preference. 13 NEXT CHALLENGES Whether or not to levy a property tax. I am not in favor of taxing our citizens, but if we want to expand services it may be necessary.

Expansion of the water system. I think we need to continue to grow the water system as we have with new development; however, we may want to see if there are grants we can pursue as another means of expansion. Bringing more business/jobs to Stokesdale. In terms of bringing business to our town, I think we always need to keep in mind our Vision Statement, which says we want to maintain our rural nature. I think we need to adhere to the areas we have identified as being for business and we need to enforce our scenic corridor regulations. I would like to see us make use of resources we already have available before we expand into other areas of the town. The current use of the former Lowes Distribution site is an excellent example of this. We as a town will need to decide how we want to proceed with all of these issues.

14 PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE Fifteen years ago our downtown wasn’t as attractive or as busy, we didn’t have

...continued on p. E-24




Response to short-answer questions

White-Lawrence, continued from p. E-23

1 July 1988

the business area at Haw River Road and Highway 68, and many of the neighborhoods were new, with people moving here from other parts of the country.

3 5, 2

Recently development has slowed, but we have a more diverse population than we had in the past. In the future, I would like to see us work to develop and utilize the areas we have identified for business while maintaining/enhancing our rural atmosphere. I’d like to see us develop more of a community atmosphere, with more activities to bring residents together for celebrations. The holiday parade is an example of such an event, and maybe we could have other kinds of activities at other times of the year.


I have been actively involved in Stokesdale and plan to continue to be, whether I am elected or not. If elected, I will work hard to be informed about all issues and to make decisions that are in the best interests of our town. I hope to hear directly from our residents and would encourage everyone to be as involved with our town as they are able.

ERIC LOWE, 52 TOWN COUNCIL CANDIDATE BIO: I graduated from South Stanley High School in 1979. I have been married to my wife Denise for almost 25 years. We have four grown children and four grandchildren. I have coached for more than 15 years in the Stokesdale Recreation leagues. I work for Lowes Home Improvement.


2 All 40 50 Responses to in-depth questions


The town council seems to run rather smoothly. They appear courteous to each other and citizens in general. I would like to see some spirited debate on some of the issues that come before the council.

every so often and if so, why haven’t the neighbors shown up for that? The neighbors stated that more houses are being built in that area all the time. Therefore, for me it is a question of safety versus more truck traffic on a country road. I know it is irritating, but if I remember correctly, the police records showed no accidents or injuries associated with the truck traffic. One last thing, according to our ordinances this use is permitted.

12 WIDENING U.S. 158 While it will bring more traffic through our town, perhaps we can take advantage of it. Make Stokesdale a place where people might want to stop and spend some money and not just drive through it.

7 ORDINANCES I think the town has 13 NEXT CHALLENGES Continue

too many ordinances that infringe on its citizens rights. I will work to reduce government interference in your lives.

8 TIME COMMITMENT Fifty+ hours/month. I only work part-time now and our kids are all grown, so I have plenty of free time. 9 COMMUNITY SERVICE/ KNOWLEDGE Stokesdale families are proud of their town. Folks move here for lots of reasons, but I would be willing to bet one of the main reasons has to do with the small town feel and sense of community. I will work to see that continues.

10 CITIZEN CONCERNS I think the issue of the water system needs a fresh outlook and hopefully some kind of compromise. 11 LANDFILL As an outsider without

all the facts, I can only make my decision based on the knowledge I have available. I would have voted to allow the landowner a certain amount of time to fill in his hole. I understand the neighbors don’t want another landfill on their road. My first question is why the other two landfills have been allowed to operate so long. Don’t they have to be re-permitted


to NOT levy a local property tax. I am very proud of that fact. We must continue to live within our means. We need to ask ourselves, “Just because we can, should we?” Water system and related issues. Past due accounts and citizens’ issues must be addressed. Make Stokesdale a place where people want to and can do business. Reduce government regulations as much as possible for small businesses.


Stokesdale used to be a lot more rural than it is today. Tobacco fields were everywhere. Now people live in nice new homes on these former fields. We still have a sense of community, although not as strong as in the past. Perhaps that comes with growth. I hope in 15 years Stokesdale is still a place where people want to live and raise their families and do business with their friends and neighbors.


I am asking for your vote on Election Day. Don’t vote for someone just because they are your friend or neighbor. Vote for someone who will be honest and actually look out for YOU. I have no agenda other than working to get government out of your lives.


Of the registered voters in Stokesdale,


are Democrat


are Republican


are unaffiliated, and


are Libertarian.

1,870 1,788

female voters male voters

199 voters are black, 3,319 are white, 62 are Hispanic, 28 are Asian, 6 are Native American, and 78 are multi-race or other

Letters of


Braswell, Albert will be responsible leaders How many times have you heard the excuse, “You can’t run government like a business”? I have heard this numerous times since taking office on the Stokesdale Town Council in December 2011. The fact of the matter is, if government ran more like a business, our country would not be nearly $17 trillion in debt. It is time to run all branches of government more like a business. That is why I support Randy Braswell for mayor of Stokesdale. Randy Braswell has been a business owner since he was 19 years old. He understands the value of a dollar, how hard taxpayers work to earn it, and why it must be spent as conservatively as possible. I would urge the voters of Stokesdale to consider the many important matters Town Council has dealt with during the last two years, and think about who they want leading during the next four years. Mr. Tatum has attacked the Town Council on numerous occasions, but a fact check will easily determine that his statements are simply those of a desperate man who has no real ideas of his own. His sole recourse is to denigrate any decisions current members make.

I would also like to endorse Gary Albert for Town Council. Gary Albert was a business owner for many years, and also understands that government should be “By the People” and not “To the People.” I believe there will be many decisions made during the next four years which will have an impact on the Town of Stokesdale. It is vitally important that we elect those who have proven they will serve in a responsible manner. The stakes are too high to base one’s decision on any single issue when all the facts have not been considered.

WILLIAM “BILL” JONES Stokesdale Town Council

White-Lawrence has earned your vote Vicki White-Lawrence has the knowledge, experience and integrity to make an excellent town council member for the town of Stokesdale. During the past 12 years, Vicki has attended virtually every town council and committee meeting in Stokesdale. Whether in her capacity as a past reporter for the Northwest Observer or as an active citizen of the community, Vicki has been diligent in her attendance of council and committee meetings. As a result, Vicki has an intricate knowledge of the town’s opera-

tions, ordinances, budget, finance and revenue issues. In addition, Vicki knows the daily operational and testing requirements of the town’s water system. Vicki is dedicated to improving our community and town services without the burden of a property tax. She believes in providing a safe environment for our community and would work together with law enforcement and local fire department officials to maintain and improve public safety. Prior to seeking public office, Vicki worked with our schools serving as PTA/ PTSA president, and with representing our community before the county school board. She has worked with the local Boy Scout troop, has coached student teams in creative problem solving, served as chair of our Holiday Parade Committee, and supported the “Angel Tree” sponsored by the Good Samaritan Ministries. She has also served on the Stokesdale Planning Board and is a person who truly places service above self. During my 18-year tenure as mayor, I have witnessed Vicki continuously working in whatever capacity needed to improve our community and its citizens’ quality of life. I encourage you to give Vicki your consideration and your vote on Nov. 5. She has earned it.

Sesssoms, Adams, Laughlin are my picks Last year, on my 62nd birthday, I decided it was time to slow down after serving for 14 years as either mayor or council member in the Town of Summerfield. As such, I have decided not to run for re-election as mayor of Summerfield. Over the past few weeks, I have been asked by several community members which candidates I will be endorsing for the positions of mayor and member of the town council in Summerfield. I would like to use this space to share my endorsements. For mayor of Summerfield, I would like to publicly endorse Tim Sessoms. I have known Tim for many years, and during that time I have come to recognize him as a successful small businessman, a reliable family man, and a good Christian. I believe Tim has the professional qualities needed to be both a great leader and a true public servant in our town. For Summerfield Town Council, I am endorsing Dianne Laughlin and Mike Adams.


Dianne Laughlin retired as Summerfield’s town clerk several years ago. Following her retirement, she used her vast knowledge of the town and its business

Mayor, Stokesdale

...continued on p. E-26

LETTERS ... continued from p. E-25 in a successful run for Council. She has been, and I believe can continue to be, a great asset to the Summerfield Town Council for years to come. Mike Adams is a new friend, a successful businessman with a unique vision for Summerfield, who embraces both the wonder of our town’s history and the exciting possibilities that await its future. I believe Mike is ready to work for Summerfield, and I heartily endorse him in his run for town council.

MARK E. BROWN Mayor, Summerfield

Wilson gets my vote Please vote for Jane Wilson. She and her husband own Wilson & Sons Pest Control. She has experience on the finance committee. I have gotten to know her recently. She is smart, honest, sincere, and wants what’s best for Summerfield. Honesty and integrity, (not favoritism) is very much needed in Summerfield. As I heard one council member say, “I have no friends when I’m here at council meetings.” I admire that.

CHERI PIKETT Former candidate for Summerfield Town Council

Crawford puts actions behind words When heading up the first annual children’s fishing event in Summerfield, I needed volunteers. Dwayne Crawford was the first person I called because I knew that he would gladly give of his time and put forth the effort required to make the event a success.

A life-long Summerfield resident, Mr. Crawford has always had a heart for our community. He was a ready participant in raising the necessary funds to erect the VFW Veteran’s Memorial in Summerfield Park. He’s made generous financial contributions towards the building of our ball fields and events honoring our local volunteers. Mr. Crawford’s dedication to our community led him to serve for over two years on the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee. He’s a regular attendee of our town council meetings and volunteered for our Recycling event and Founders’ Day. When the sound system failed for the annual Christmas Tree Lighting event last year, it was Mr. Crawford who stepped in and fixed it. Mr. Crawford doesn’t just talk about “giving back” he puts action behind his words. That’s the reason he’s earned my vote for mayor of Summerfield.


Sessoms is bad driver, but good man My friend Tim Sessoms is a terrible driver, but a good man. Tim has numerous traffic tickets over his 35 years of driving. He owns several cars and drives thousands of miles each year doing his job and doing volunteer work. He has even had the registration lapse on some of his cars and he has gotten tickets for that, all paid or dismissed by the court. Tim started a business 20 years ago that failed. He filed Chapter 13, worked his way out of the bankruptcy and paid every penny back, even though he did not have to. Why is this important? Tim is running for mayor of Summerfield and Tim’s opponent and his opponent’s minions have put out a mail “hit” piece on Tim that infers he may not be a suitable

candidate for mayor.

high ethical standards.

Let me give you my perspective on Tim Sessoms. I first met Tim and his lovely wife in the late ‘80s, when they were running a home for delinquent boys. I remember visiting and watching how they helped those kids, often spending their own resources to give those kids a chance.

I believe Tim to be the candidate who will follow through with the vision that the citizens have for Summerfield.

Over the years I found Tim to be a volunteer who gives of his time, his talent and his money. I work with many different charities in helping them raise funds and Tim is always one of the folks I call on; he never fails me. I know Tim is active in his church, as a counselor for families, as a music minister and preacher. He coaches soccer for the school system. He visits needy families in their homes, in the hospital and is always available no matter how late or how long. Tim’s greatest pleasure is his family (seven kids) and serving others. He is an asset everywhere he goes. Tim is co-owner of a successful business that employs 200 people.

Help elect Tim Sessoms for Summerfield mayor.

BOB WILLIAMS Summerfield

What ‘we the people’ want I, like most of us in Summerfield don’t want a major Interstate (I-73) to run through our beautiful, rural community. Unfortunately, while there is nothing we can do to stop this road from coming through our town, we can stop the commercial development that does not serve the needs of the citizens in Summerfield.

Tim Sessoms gets my vote

Fellow citizens, there are three individuals (Diane Laughlin, Dena Barnes, and John Wray) on our town council who believe that commercial development is acceptable simply because there will be an exit ramp at Highway 150 when I-73 is completed. These individuals most recently approved a 34-acre rezoning from residential to commercial. This rezoning when combined with the adjoining commercial property leaves the real possibility that a large gas station and/or fast food restaurant could be built in this area. Furthermore, this commercial development will be in very close proximity to residential property and will clearly draw people who do not live in Summerfield off I-73 and into our town, increasing the level of traffic and potential crime in the area.

During my first campaign for election to Town Council, I was privileged to work with Tim Sessoms. At that time, I found him to be a man of integrity, a strong family man, and a successful business man. He has remained a person that I admire and respect for his

Is this what “we the people” want in Summerfield? I would venture to guess that most of us in Summerfield would answer no to this question. If you agree, then it is time for new leadership in Summerfield. We need all of our elected officials to have the fortitude and

Tim’s opponent and his minions do not know the real Tim. They know the poor driver, but not the man who in my opinion is the best candidate for Summerfield mayor. Please vote for Tim Sessoms, Summerfield mayor.

BJ BARNES Sheriff of Guilford County

backbone to say no to the special interest in our town and vote consistent with what the majority of people in Summerfield want, a “small rural community”. To that end, I ask that you join me in electing Dwayne Crawford as our mayor and John O’Day and Jane Wilson as our Town Council members. These individuals will fight hard to preserve our rural community and ensure that development in Summerfield is appropriate and compatible to the needs and desires of the majority of the citizens in Summerfield.

JEFF A. JOHNSON Summerfield

Stealing signs was malicious There was a robbery in Stokesdale this past weekend. Physically, the loss was minimal – only worth about $200. But, morally, it was worth a lot more. In the dead of night thieves stole over 30 “Elect Vicki White-Lawrence to Stokesdale Town Council” signs off of the streets of Stokesdale, off private lawns and from developments. Initially, I thought that it was just a silly prank, a childish political dirty trick. Then, I came to realize that no other

candidates’ signs had been touched and that Vicki had actually been targeted. Now, it was no longer just a silly prank, it was malicious intent. By stealing only Vicki’s signs these Yahoos wanted to limit your choices, pull the wool over your eyes. They wanted to manipulate your vote. Now, if you are OK with this, just go about your business. But, if you condemn this type of tactic, show them when you vote on Nov. 5 – and please vote for Vicki White Lawrence.




November 5

Local Election Guide | 2013  

A guide to your local candidates in northwest Guilford County, North Carolina

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