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Thursday, July 1, 2021
Stories and photos by Wingate Lassiter
unless otherwise noted

Smithfield election postponed till 2022

Johnston County's Supervisor of Elections Leigh Anne Price confirmed this week that the election of four members of the Smithfield Town Council scheduled for this November has been postponed till next spring --- in conjunction with North Carolina's Primary Election March 8 for federal, state, and county offices.

The N.C. General Assembly made the change for municipalities that elect council members by district, as Smithfield does for four of its seven council seats every four years. A delay in getting final results from the 2020 U.S. Census is the reason for the postponement as district boundaries need to be adjusted, or at least reviewed, following the decennial census.

The delay means the filing period for candidates will be put off till later this year, depending on when Census results are received and district boundaries adjusted. Normally, candidates would begin filing in July.

Seats on the Smithfield Council up for election are presently held by Marlon Lee of the East Smithfield District, David Stevens of South Smithfield, Travis Scott of North Smithfield, and David Barbour of West Smithfield. The mayor's seat, now held by Andy Moore, is up for election every two years. Councilmen John Dunn, Steve Rabil, and Roger Wood hold at-large seats that aren't up for election again till 2023.

The Town Council will be asked at next Tuesday's monthly meeting to postpone the mayoral election (which isn't dependent on redistricting) till March 8 as well to avoid cost and confusion of holding that vote this November and the voting for council members later.

VIEW the complete agenda for the July 6 Smithfield Town Council meeting>

4th of July Sunday = holiday Monday

By law, Monday, July 5 is observed as a federal holiday whenever the Fourth of July falls on a Sunday as it does this year. State and local governments follow suit, and the federal holiday means banks will be closed as well. Smithfield won't collect garbage on Monday, and the Postal Service won't deliver regular mail to homes and businesses.

And yes, there will be fireworks in Smithfield

At 9 p.m. on Sunday --- this year at Johnston Community College where there's plenty of room to observe the show from the parking lots, which will open at 8 p.m. Hosting the event along with college are the Town of Smithfield Parks & Recreation Department and the Downtown Development Corporation. To protect the safety of spectators, College Road will be closed from Market Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Drive from 8:45 till about 9:30 p.m. Sunday.

South Smithfield assigned a new principal

Following a closed session last Friday afternoon, the Johnston County Board of Education accepted Superintendent Eric Bracy's recommendations for new assignments including a new principal at South Smithfield Elementary School. Clayton Middle's Principal Susan Jones is taking the place of Laura Makey, who is being reassigned as a coach in the school system's Curriculum, Instruction, and Accountability Department.

MORE about personnel changes and other school-board decisions>

JoCo Report photo by John Payne

Woman perishes in fire at Sussex Drive duplex

According to an initial report from the Smithfield Police Department, firefighters pulled the body of 58-year-old Judith Ann Phillips from a duplex on North Sussex Drive after responding to the emergency call at 1:55 a.m. Saturday.

According to the Smithfield Fire Department's incident report, a Selma E11 crew located the victim in the living room. She was transferred to EMS but "had no signs of life." Fire crews from Selma and Wilson's Mills as well as Smithfield extinguished the blaze, which caused an estimated $25,000 in damage to the property.

The Johnston County Fire Marshal's Office is in charge of an investigation into the cause of the fire.


May report shows drop in Johnstonians employed

The N.C. Department of Commerce reports 95,965 Johnston County residents held jobs in May --- down from 96,578 in April --- while the number of persons filing for unemployment benefits rose from  3,779 to 3,918. That produced a slight rise in Johnston's jobless rate --- from 3.8% in April to 3.9% in May. Still, those numbers are much better than a record-high unemployment rate of 11.6% in May 2020 when COVID-19 business shutdowns peaked.

VIEW the state's latest employment report for all N.C. counties>


Case total
since 3-2020
(last week)
since 3-2020
(last week)
In hospital
this week

(last week)
UNITED STATES 33,658,635
WORLDWIDE 181,996,280
(total doses)
Information from County of Johnston at 4:00 p.m. June 29, N.C. Department of Health and Human Services at 11:55 a.m. June 30, Johns Hopkins University at 3:24 p.m. June 30
* Percentage of total population (all ages)

VIEW the current list of Health Department vaccination clinics in Johnston County>

Click on the name to read an obituary, usually posted by the funeral home

LARRY LEE HOUSDEN, 73 - died June 27

DAVID LEON GRANTHAM, 60 - died June 23




A word about this "Digest Edition"

Things are usually pretty quiet around here during the summer, so many of us like to shift into vacation mode before we get back into the swing of things, usually just prior to the start of a new school year in August. Therefore, I'm going to take advantage of this laid-back season to experiment with this scaled-down "newsletter" version of the Weekly Sun.

It will have less content, but I'll continue to keep up with the basics of community news, especially the doings of our local governing boards, and faithfully e-mail my reports to subscribers every Thursday as I've been doing all along.

Perhaps we all could use a break after a testy year and a half of pandemic and politics.

P.S. If you're not a subscriber, send me your name and preferred e-mail address and I'll add you to the list (it won't cost you anything): wingate.lassiter@nc.rr.com.

Subscribers to this edition: 1,275

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