Strong competition for seats on Granite Quarry board

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 29, 2011

By Mark Wineka
GRANITE QUARRY — Three longtime incumbents face considerable competition this year to retain their seats on the Granite Quarry Board of Aldermen.
William “Bill” Feather, Jake E. Fisher Jr. and Mary S. Ponds have a collective 32 years of experience on the board (since 1999) and again are seeking four-year terms.
Five residents have stepped forward as challengers, including J. Robert Anderson, Michael Brinkley, Robert “Danny” Gay, Jim LaFevers and Baxter L. “Buddy” Miller III.
Among those challengers, Brinkley and LaFevers have served on the board before.
The Granite Quarry Board of Aldermen has five seats in all. The seats of Aldermen Eloise Peeler and Brad Kluttz are not up for election this year.
Municipal elections in Rowan County will be held Nov. 8.
Anderson, the first person to file this year for a Granite Quarry town board seat, is making his initial bid for public office. Retired, he worked for the town maintenance department for several years.
He said in a previous interview he would like to bring some positive changes to the town.
Brinkley served on the town board from 1991-2001. He runs W.F. Brinkley & Son Construction Co. Inc.
Brinkley would like the town to review current spending and organization within town departments. He said he would work to protect the town’s fund balance and promote “some commercial development in those areas near the town which will help ease the tax burden on homeowners.”
Brinkley said he would be receptive to citizens’ needs and concerns. He is a former chief and longtime member of the Granite Quarry Fire Department.
Feather, presently mayor pro tem, was first elected to the board in 2003. He ran in the Republican primary for the Rowan County Board of Commissioners in 2010, but did not win a party nomination.
Fisher seeks his fourth consecutive term on the board after being elected in 1999. He also had served several terms in the 1970s.
Gay has lived in Granite Quarry since 1997.
“We’re going to have to lower taxes if people are going to keep their homes,” said Gay, a retired Veterans Administration employee. “Limit spending, like a family has to do on a daily basis. You have to balance the budget, and I don’t think that’s going on.”
In recent months, Gay has criticized the Brookwood Drive culvert project, where he lives. “The spending part of Brookwood was uncalled for, to be honest with you,” Gay said. “Money is being spent and is being wasted. I want to lower people’s taxes. I just think there’s a simpler way.”
LaFevers served on the Board of Aldermen from 2001-2005, a period that included the land acquisition, engineering and construction of Granite Lake Park.
“I would like to return to the Granite Quarry board to give the citizens as new voice,” said LaFevers, a retired construction manager for URS, an international engineering and construction company.
“Granite Quarry has grown and needs representation from the growth areas.”
LaFevers said his work experience makes him qualified “to meet the changing and detailed issues of today.” “As a licensed, N.C. general contractor,” he added, “I have demonstrated my ability to manage and work within codes and governmental regulations.”
Miller also is making his first run for public office. He has lived in Granite Quarry all his life.
“Something told me personally I needed to run,” Miller said.
Miller was dismissed from his captain’s position at the Salisbury Fire Department earlier this year after an investigation into misconduct that also led to the firings of two other employees and the suspension of another.
Miller continues as a volunteer with the Granite Quarry Fie Department, where he has been an officer and firefighter since 1993. He worked for the city of Salisbury for 15 years.
Ponds, first elected in 1999, is wrapping up her 12th consecutive year as mayor. (Every two years, the sitting board members choose a mayor and mayor pro tem among themselves.)
A self-described “active retired teacher,” Ponds said she still serves as a mentor and support person for new teachers in Rowan-Salisbury Schools, in addition to her heavy community involvement.
As mayor, Ponds says, she listens to the heartbeat of Granite Quarry citizens. “And there are some things we’re working on I would really like to see completed,” she added.
Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.

Meet the candidate:

Name: J. Robert Anderson
Age: 70
Address: 1208 Juniper St.
Phone number: 704-279-5275
Occupation: Retired, formerly worked for town of Granite Quarry’s maintenance department, Hoechst-Celanese and Taylor Manufacturing.
Education: Spencer High School
Previous elected office: None.
Family: Wife, Brenda; two children and three grandchildren.

Name: Michael Brinkley
Age: 59
Address: 115 S. Jack St.
Phone number: 704-279-7394
Occupation: Head of W.F. Brinkley & Son Construction Co. Inc.
Education: East Rowan High School, 1970; Also attended Gaston College
Previous elected office: Granite Quarry alderman, 1991-2001
Community involvement: Retired from Granite Quarry Fire Department after 25 years. Member, Shiloh United Methodist Church
Family: Divorced, two sons

Name: William “Bill” Feather
Age: 53
Address: 135 Kerns St.
Phone number: 704-212-2808
Occupation: Consultant, Concord Consulting Associates; former owner Kori Investments of Salisbury and district sales manager with Carolina Building Solutions.
Education: Windber Area High School, Windber, Pa.; attended University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.
Previous elected office: Granite Quarry alderman since 2003
Community involvement: Member, Wittenberg Lutheran Church; past chairman of Cabarrus-Rowan Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Transportation Advisory Committee.
Family: Wife, Kathy; son and daughter.

Name: Jake E. Fisher Jr.
Age: 75
Address: 977 N. Salisbury Ave.
Phone number: 704-202-3608
Occupation: Farmer, caterer, former owner of Fisher Homes Corp.
Education: Granite Quarry High School
Previous elected office: Granite Quarry alderman since 1999 and also for three terms in the 1970s.
Community involvement: Member, Wittenberg Lutheran Church, Keller Memorial Lodge No. 657 and Rowan Shrine Club.
Family: Wife, Phyllis, and four children.

Name: Robert “Danny” Gay
Age: 59
Address: 215 Brookwood Drive
Phone number: 704-209-3282
Occupation: Retired, U.S. Veterans Administration
Education: Graduated high school in Savannah, Ga.; bachelor’s degrees in allied health science and medical technology, Baylor University.
Previous elected office: None
Background: Attended National Conservative Foundation in Houston, Texas. Once a campaign manager for congressional candidate in Georgia’s 1st District.
Family: Wife, Donna; a son.

Name: Jim LaFevers
Age: 73
Address: 424 DeLara Circle
Phone number: 704-431-4214
Occupation: Retired construction manager for URS.
Education: A.L. Brown High School, also attended N.C. State University. N.C. licensed general contractor.
Previous elected office: Granite Quarry aldermen, 2001-2005.
Community involvement: Member, Stallings Memorial Baptist Church; vice chairman, Granite Quarry Parks & Recreation; president, Countryside Homeowners Association.
Family: Wife, Alice; six children and 10 grandchildren.

Name: Baxter “Buddy” Miller
Age: 38
Address: 415 Barringer St.
Phone number: 704-279-1456
Occupation: Unemployed. Former captain with the Salisbury Fire Department.
Education: East Rowan High School, 1991
Previous elected office: None.
Community involvement: Member-officer with Granite Quarry Fire Department since 1993.
Family: Wife, Kelly; son and daughter.

Name: Mary S. Ponds
Age: 67
Address: 709 S. Salisbury Ave.
Phone number: 704-279-2493
Occupation: Retired educator, still works as mentor and in new teacher support for Rowan-Salisbury Schools.
Education: Price High School, Livingstone College (1967 graduate) and Appalachian State University
Previous elected office: On Granite Quarry board since 1999. Has served as mayor for past 12 years.
Community involvement: Officer and/or member, Rowan Regional Medical Center; Nazareth Children’s Home; Smart Start; White Rock AME Zion Church (district church officer, too), Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.
Family: Divorced; daughter.