Looking back: Stage set for Council elections

Published 9:43 am Friday, May 6, 2016

May 6, 1966

Election for Franklin City Council is now six weeks off; and, with the deadline for candidates to file (April 14) long-passed, the stage is set for a four-way battle for the three vacant council seats to be filled by the June 14 elections.

The five Franklin City council seats are filled on an “at-large” basis.

Incumbents Floyd Briggs and Darden Jones, along with newcomers Rev. S.F. Daly and George Hedgepeth, are the candidates for the three open seats.

Briggs and Jones, if they are to continue on City Council, must stand for re-election this year. So, their Council seats are open.

A few weeks ago, Councilman Carl Steinhardt, hardware store owner, declined to seek re-election.

Councilmen John Murray, physician, and Robert Pretlow, farm chemical supply dealer, do not have to run in the upcoming election. Their terms of office will not expire this year.

Rev. Daly, pastor of First Baptist Church in Franklin, is seeking to become the first Negro to hold a Council seat in modern times. Daly told The Tidewater News recently that his campaign was “going along well.”

“I am pleased that there are just four candidates entered, because I think my chances are better this way,” he said. Daly added, “I am looking forward to getting my campaign into high gear; and, I believe that I have sufficient support to be elected.”

Daly said, emphatically, “I wouldn’t have run just to be ‘breaking ice’!”

The other newcomer, George (Top) Hedgepeth, Personnel Manager for St. Regis Paper Co., who declared back in February, is running hard.

“I am continuing with my primary theme — more citizen involvement in city government,” he said.

Mayor Darden Jones, a local dentist, is a veteran of 20 years on Franklin Council.

“I expect to run on my record as a councilman,” he said. “The City has made progress in all respects and I hope we can do a lot more in the future.”

Councilman Briggs, the State Automobile License Agent in Franklin, has been on council since 1957. He said, “Franklin has made progress in recent years and I hope that I will have the opportunity to be a part of it in the future.”

The three successful candidates will take office, along with the two not running this time, on September 1. At their first meeting, a reorganizational session, the five Councilmen will elect from among themselves a mayor and a vice-mayor. And, they will put their various ideas “on the table.”

Franklin Jaycees sweep convention

The Franklin Jaycees dominated competition for awards at the State Convention in Roanoke recently by winning eight of the ten first-place awards in its population division.

The local chapter received two sweepstakes awards: the Lacy McClelland Memorial Trophy for having the best Christmas projects and the Gary Powell Memorial Trophy for the best youth-sports activity in the entire State. The Gary Powell Memorial Trophy is sponsored and presented annually by the Franklin Jaycees in memory of one of its deceased members, Gary Powell.

“We are especially proud to win this award,” said Russell Gayle, president of the Franklin Jaycees. “We have sponsored it since 1956 and this is the first time that we have won it ourselves.”

The chapter also received the Giessenbier Memorial Award, which is given to the chapter having the most impressive and best-balanced overall program of the previous year.

This is the third year in a row that the Chapter has received this award. In receiving this award, the Franklin Jaycee Chapter was recognized as one of the five most outstanding chapters in Virginia. There are 142 Jaycee chapters in Virginia.

Franklin placed first in the “Project of the Year” competition for its “Operation Merry Christmas” program.

The chapter was awarded first place recognition for their efforts in the following areas: Community Development, Inter-Club Relations and Extensions, Americanism and Governmental Affairs, Public Relations, Ways and Means, Religious and Christmas Activity and Youth and Sports Activities.

The only categories in which the Franklin Jaycees did not win first-place were Publications and Community Health and Safety. In those categories, the Chapter placed second and third respectively.

“Last year was a very fine year for us,” said Gayle. “But we hope to do as well, if not better, this coming year.”

The convention also honored Jim Wagenbach of the Franklin Jaycees by presenting him with a Jaycees International Senatorship, the highest award given by Jaycees International. Only two were presented in Virginia.

Those attending the convention from Franklin were Mr. and Mrs. Russell Gayle, Mr. and Mrs. Jim Albertia, Albert Faison, Jim Barnes, Jim Wagenbach, and Charles Phillips. Sonny Draper of the Boykins Jaycees also attended.

CLYDE PARKER is a retired human resources manager for the former Franklin Equipment Co. and a member of the Southampton County Historical Society. His email address is magnolia101@charter.net