Lamar Election Results 2021

About forty minutes after polls closed, poll workers posted election results to the front door of Lamar Town Hall.

Here are the receipts for Lamar Precinct No. 1, which is south of Main Street, and Lamar Precinct No. 2, which is north of Main Street (I live in the latter district).

Those don’t include the absentee ballots, which a poll worker announced aloud.  Here are the final vote totals (winners in bold green):

Mayor’s Race

James Howell – 164

Inez Bess Lee – 155

Town Council (2 Seats to Fill)

Tyler James Cook – 162

Mary Ann Mack – 176

Jerry Shull (Write-In) – 111

Here is a picture I took from a lady’s phone; she managed to get a photo of what I think is the sheet the poll workers used to tally everything:

Lamar Election November 2021 - Totals

The numbers on the left are the vote totals.  The first number to the right of each name represents the absentee ballots, which is what the Darlington News and Press is reporting at the time of this writing; the second number represents votes from Lamar Precinct No. 1; and the third number represents votes from Lamar Precinct No. 2 (cut off in this photograph).

Barring any chicanery, these look to be the official numbers.

Thanks to everyone who came out and voted today.  I appreciated your support!  Congratulations to all of the candidates for putting themselves out there to serve the public.

SubscribeStar Saturday: Trick-or-Treat When You Want

Today’s post is a SubscribeStar Saturday exclusive.  To read the full post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.  For a full rundown of everything your subscription gets, click here.

One of the more interesting aspects of serving as a Town Councilman is discovering the kinds of matters residents really care about.  While they tend to worry about big issue things—fixing the water system, for example, and keeping their water and sewage bills low—most of their day-to-day concerns are smaller:  getting lawn waste picked up in a timely fashion; being able to pay their water bill conveniently; requesting information about upcoming events.

That’s to be expected:  people have busy lives, and one reason we have representative government is because most folks want someone else to take care of the delivery of basic services.  Just as we expect the electric company to keep the lights on and our ISP to keep the YouTube videos piping in over high-speed connections, residents want their water to flow when they turn on the spigot.  I don’t lie awake at night wondering how to generate electricity because a lot of other capable people are involved in doing just that, and I’m happy to pay them to do it.

But one thing that I have noticed is that there are some matters that people really can figure out for themselves, but they still want some official guidance or direction.  I’ve noticed this most with questions about the time-honored Halloween tradition of trick-or-treating.

The issue is straightforward:  Halloween falls on a Sunday this year, which throws everything into chaos.  Here in the South, our relationship with Halloween is sometimes tenuous at best, although most everyone I know loves it and celebrates it in some way, including trick-or-treating.  But Sundays are for church, not for dressing up as witches and devils and ghosts.  Also, more practically, there is work and school the next day, and no one wants to be out too late.

The big question, then, is, “when do we trick-or-treat?”—or, as I have been asked by residents, “when does the town observe trick-or-treating?”

The Town of Lamar has answered that question:  Saturday, 30 October 2021, from 4-7 PM.  But I am still getting questions about trick-or-treating—more than about any other piece of town business.

To read more of this post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.

Lamar Candidates Forum

Last night my little town of Lamar, South Carolina, hosted a candidates forum to give voters an opportunity to learn more about the candidates for Town Council and the Mayor’s race.  Our Town employees did an excellent job organizing the event, which was held in the Fire Department’s fire truck bay.  I brought some sound equipment and setup a very basic sound system for the candidates.

There are two Council seats up for election, which Councilwoman Mary Mack and myself currently occupy.  We’re both running for re-election, so we are officially running unopposed.  Residents will have two votes to cast in the Town Council race, one for each position.

As such, Councilwoman Mack and I were invited to tell voters a bit about ourselves and our visions for the town.  The main event was the mayoral forum, which was structured in a series of questions (nine or ten) posed to each candidate.  The mayoral candidates received their questions in advance, and the audience was not allowed to ask questions (although I think several people did after the forum formally adjourned).

Both candidates acquitted themselves nicely, differing mainly in the margins.  Councilwoman Inez Lee focused on cleaning up the town, literally and metaphorically, frequently invoking Franklin Roosevelt’s “First Hundred Days”:  we have a number of dilapidated buildings on Main Street that are eyesores.  James Howell, a local landscaper, focused on improving the town’s infrastructure and zoning to make the town more attractive to businesses.

All candidates for all offices touted the need to fix Lamar’s water system, so we sell our own water again.  We are currently purchasing around four million gallons of water each month from the Darlington County Water and Sewage Authority, paying rates that are onerously high for residents.

Read More »

Playing Catch-up: TPP Update

Apologies to my regular readers for the very delayed post today.  Now that I have a large contingent of British readers, I really like to hit the 6:30 AM EST posting time, which I imagine is around lunchtime for them, so they have something to read over their tea and crumpets while my American readers have something to read over their grits and coffee.

As I’ve alluded to in other posts, the past two weeks or so have been absolutely insane for yours portly.  As my school’s music teacher, I’m also the audio-visual wizard on campus.  With Homecoming Week last week, it was my responsibility to make sure the sound system at the football field was working properly, and to assist with setup for some of the Homecoming games.  I also set up another ad hoc sound system for my High School Music Ensemble to play a couple of songs at a pep rally Friday morning.  When most of your musicians play guitar and piano, the logistics of plugging everything in become more daunting when taken outdoors.

Needless to say, all of my planning time was consumed with these activities, and I spent most of my Music classes using student labor to move equipment to and from the football field.  That meant more time in the evenings and early mornings working on school-related stuff, and less time to focus on the blog.

In the midst of all of the Homecoming Week wackiness, I’m also running for reelection to Lamar Town Council and practicing and preparing for the 2021 Spooktacular.  Tonight I have a candidates forum for the former, and last night my buddy John and I practiced for the latter.

Add to all of that a whopping dollop of after-school music lessons, and you can tell I’ve had precious little time for much else.  I had a fun-filled day with my girlfriend on Saturday, then turned around Sunday and immediately set to work finalizing first quarter report card grades.

I’m not complaining—I like being busy—but I hope readers will extend some graciousness and excuse some occasionally late posts.  My poor dog has been getting the short end of the bully stick, too, though we both collapsed into a snoring heap on the couch last night after John departed.

Such are the rhythms of life.  Here’s hoping things return to a more stately tempo after the frenetic rhythm of the last few weeks.  Again, I don’t want to be bored, but having a little more time to focus on writing would be great.

Read More »

National Night Out in Lamar

Last night the Lamar Neighborhood Watch organized an observation of National Night Out, an evening dedicated to supporting law enforcement and encouraging strong community building.  Most communities observe National Night Out in August, but Texas and other States observe it on the first Tuesday in October, when the weather is a good bit cooler.  August in the South is rarely a good time to host outdoor events.

My walking buddy neighbor helped organize the event, but he took a unique approach to it:  rather than having one person or a committee coordinating all of the participants, he invited residents to host whatever bit of entertainment and fun they could muster.  The result was a small but truly grassroots street festival.

Read More »

Walkin’ II: Early Morning Strolls

I’m currently cutting back on my calories and have so far dropped around ten pounds in the past two weeks.  I’d let myself get comfortable and complacent after a long, lazy summer.  Sure, I’ll loosen up a bit—both my calorie restrictions and my pants—for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, but I’ve been doing pretty well regulating my daily intake.  It had grown, quite frankly, massive.

I mentioned this latest of my various weight loss odysseys to my neighbor, the man who takes Murphy out for me and—more germane to this post—who is the Zone Captain for our Neighborhood Watch.  My adventures in dropping unsightly pounds and inches inspired him to propose the Lamar Neighborhood Watch establish small walking groups, and yesterday morning, he and I met shortly after 6 AM to walk a short circuit downtown.

Read More »

SubscribeStar Saturday: Another Election

Today’s post is a SubscribeStar Saturday exclusive.  To read the full post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.  For a full rundown of everything your subscription gets, click here.

One month from today, my little adopted hometown of Lamar has another election.  There is a competitive mayoral race, between a current Councilwoman and another resident.  That should be an interesting race to watch.  If the Councilwoman loses, she’ll maintain her seat on Council, as she is in the middle of her term and not facing re-election this election cycle.  If she wins, it would trigger a special election—I think—to fill the vacancy.  Either scenario is interesting, but either way she would remain on Council.

There are also two Council seats up, both with incumbents running—another Councilwoman and myself.

For the Council races, residents will be able to vote twice—once for each seat.  Since there are no other filed candidates, it should be a fairly straightforward election.

That said, I lost my first run to a surprise write-in candidate (indeed, to the other Councilwoman running), so I don’t take anything for granted.

So, what is my approach this time?

To read more of this post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.

Driving the Georgia Backroads

Murphy and I spent this Labor Day Weekend visiting my girlfriend and her German Shepherd in Athens, Georgia, which is about three-and-a-half hours from Lamar.  As such, I spent a solid seven or so hours on the road this weekend, not counting time we spent tooling around Athens.

For a three-day weekend, that’s not much driving, and I’ve driven longer distances.  Way back in the mists of graduate school, circa 2006 or 2007, I drove from Knoxville, Tennessee to Rock Hill, South Carolina (not far), then from Rock Hill to Richmond, Virginia and back just to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra with a friend.  She took the wheel only for the last hour of the drive back, and apparently as soon as I got into the passenger seat, I was out cold.

Granted, I was twenty-one or twenty-two at the time.  In the intervening fifteen years, my zest for driving all night to hear live symphonic holiday power metal has waned considerably.  Now I’m lucky if I can make it to 10:30 PM without falling asleep on the couch, my multiple after-school drives to Universal Studios notwithstanding.

But I digress.  While I may lack the stamina of my reckless youth, I do alternatively loathe and appreciate a long drive.

Read More »