Incumbent Alison Bartlett, who represents central Cobb but whose district was shifted into northwest Cobb by reapportionment, and who cast an unpopular vote against the proposed ninth-grade center and renovations at Harrison High School in her new area, has two hopefuls seeking her post. They are Heather Ryan, owner of Southryan’s Surgical Group (a medical recruiting company) who made her intentions known last month; and electrician Larry Darnell, a project superintendent for a local contractor, who announced his plans this week. Ryand and Darnell would face off in the July 31 GOP Primary for the right to face Democrat Bartlett in November.
Ryan, 46, has a daughter at Harrison and a son in seventh grade at Lost Mountain Middle School.
“I don’t know much about Alison, but my view about what’s gone on with Harrison just makes me extremely disappointed,” she told Around Town.
Darnell, 60, is a Cobb native whose father, the late Jack Darnell, represented the Osborne High area on the board for 12 years in the 1960s and ’70s. He said he chose not to run in 2008 because he didn’t want to go against then-board veteran Betty Gray. He was shifted into Bartlett’s area by reapportionment.
“I’m not really against Alison, although there are some philosophy differences, but it’s not so much about that as it is that there are issues with the whole board not working together,” Darnell said. “I see them getting away from students first and teachers second — that’s what I’m working towards.”
His wife, Karen, will retire at the end of this year from the Cobb district after 33 years of working with hearing-impaired students. The couple has two sons, both who attended McEachern High School. Kevin, 31, is a missionary in Spain, and Russ, 35, is in officer school at Fort Benning.
INCUMBENT board member Lynnda Eagle — who is still declining to say whether she plans to run again — will face a Republican Primary challenge if she does from retired Cobb educator Randy Scamihorn, 62, who retired in 2010 as assistance principal of Daniell Middle School following a 27-year career in the military. He and wife Debbie have been married 42 years. She is a gifted/language arts teacher at Palmer Middle School who’s retiring after this year. Their daughter, Amy, is a language arts teacher at Durham Middle School and Scamihorn still teaches as a substitute at Durham, McClure and Awtrey middle schools.
Kennesaw City Councilman Bruce Jenkins, who was weighing a run for Eagle’s seat, has decided to stay put.
“I felt like, given the amount of time that this has transpired, it’s better for me and the city,” he said. “There’s just too much going on right now. I can’t walk away.”
Had Jenkins chosen to run for school board, the city would have been required to hold a costly special election to fill his council seat.
“I wanted to (run) more than anything but there’s a lot that goes into that but if I do something, I want to do it well and not at half-mast,” he said.
Elsewhere, pilot Darryl Wilson, who ran unsuccessfully against board member David Banks in 2008 in the GOP Primary, is said to be considering another run.
PAYBACK TIME: Incumbent school board member David Morgan of south Cobb will face a Democratic Primary challenge from Shorter University professor Dr. Bobby Allen — who serves on the board of Imagine International Academy of Mableton.
Imagine will close its doors for good next week, thanks to a controversial vote by the school board last September not to approve its renewal petition. Morgan, who voted against the renewal, did not disclose at the time that he had ties to a competing start-up charter school and had worked with Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa to obtain $50,000 in federal Race to the Top funds for it. Many observers saw Morgan’s vote as a gross conflict of interest.
Allen is the father of three, all of whom attended Cobb County Schools, and has been married to his wife, Patrice, for the last 20 years.
THIS WEEK’S RETIREMENT ANNOUNCEMENT by Sen. George Hooks (D-Americus) means that Sen. Steve Thompson (D-Powder Springs) is now the undisputed “dean” of the Georgia Senate. Both were sworn in on the same day in January 1991 (and coincidentally, had been sworn in as House members on the same day in January 1981). So both were equal in seniority.
“But there was a lottery for office space right after we were sworn in, and George drew No. 2 and I drew No. 13, so he always based his claim of ‘seniority’ on that,” an amused Thompson told Around Town. “So eventually we used to joke that he was the ‘senior dean’ and I was the ‘junior dean.’ He’s one of my best friends.”
Being dean confers no special rights, “but the members come to you for what they hope is wisdom and for your knowledge of the rules,” Thompson explained. “Usually the dean is more likely to cross the aisle to build bridges, and that’s what I want to do, too.”
Thompson, whose brother Woody represents south Cobb on the Cobb Board of Commissioners, is running for re-election this summer for what would be his 11th term in the Senate. No one has surfaced yet as an opponent, but says Thompson, “I always run like I expect there will be one.”
THE COBB COMMISSION is expected to sign an agreement with ICE at its 7 p.m. Tuesday meeting finalizing its IMAGE certification process. That means the county agrees not only to use the E-Verify program but to submit to an inspection by ICE to ensure that it is actually verifying the identities of those it hires. And look for immigration reformer D.A. King that evening to request the commission pass an ordinance requiring that only IMAGE-certified contractors be used on county projects after Jan. 1, 2014.
HUBERT HOLLAND, who spent a half century practicing law out of a second-floor office a few steps from Tommy’s Sandwich Shop, died Tuesday evening. A solo practitioner specializing in trusts and estates, the most notable feature of his office since its opening in 1962 was a framed photo of President Kennedy, reports his friend and fellow attorney Michael Manely of Marietta.
His most memorable case involved the estate of Leone Hall Price, whose will (drawn up by Holland) specified her west Cobb acreage along Stilesboro Road and Allatoona Creek should be used to promote education and environmental projects. The will was contested by distant relatives after her 2001 death, who were supported by then state Attorney General Thurbert Baker. After a Cobb Probate judge ruled in favor of Holland’s will, the relatives and Baker appealed to the Georgia Supreme Court, which unanimously upheld the probate judge. Mrs. Price’s farm was later acquired by Cobb County with parks bond funds and is now 88-acre Leone Hall Price Park.
“Against all odds, Hubert had remained fiercely loyal and determined to see justice done for his former client,” Manely said, “Like in ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ Hubert’s life touched many, many people who may never know him and may never know the wonderful gift he helped give them.”
LAST DANCE: Organizers of tonight’s much-anticipated “Disco Night” at the Strand Theatre are hoping that Thursday’s unexpected cancer-related death of disco diva Donna Summer doesn’t put too much of a damper on things, reports the Strand’s Earl Reece. The theater will be transformed for the night into “Studio Strand” (a la once-famed Studio 54 in NYC), and many of those planning on going have reportedly been shopping for appropriate polyester gear in local thrift shops — or in some cases, the deepest recesses of their closets. Tickets are $10 for the event, which starts at 8. If you missed the “Saturday Night Fever” era the first time around, here’s your chance.
THE MARIETTA KIWANIS AND ROTARY clubs held their annual joint meeting Wednesday at the Marietta Hilton. Spotted sitting together were WellStar Foundation President Tracy Atwater, who broke her thumb while playing catcher in the annual softball game between the two clubs two years ago; and Metro Ambulance veep Devan Seabaugh, who suffered a double compound fracture of his wrist in a fall back in April. Quipped Atwater, “This is the table for people who’ve broken bones in their hand — but it has to be in the dominant hand!”