Three former councilmen look to get back on China Grove board

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 29, 2011

By Shavonne Potts
CHINA GROVE — Three former Town Council members are trying to reclaim seats on the board after some absence, while longtime Mayor Don Bringle has no challengers for his office.
Incumbents Lee Withers and Ron Overcash are also looking to return to the board. This is challenger Donnie Herring’s first attempt at elected office.
Butch Bivens, 62, served previously for a total of 14 years and hopes to fill one of two available seats. Allen Welter, 68, served on the board from 2005 to 2009, while former police chief Steve Stroud, 58, was appointed to the board in early 2000.
Bivens, whose last term on the board ended in 2010, said in a statement the main reason he’s running is for “planned and controlled growth and economic development for the town.”
Welter wants to “create more transparency in local government,” he said in a statement.
Stroud has a desire to serve the community again, he said in a statement.
He also hopes to be a part of the selection process to hire a new town manager, he said, to ensure “that we get a manager that can understand our town and its citizens and operate accordingly.”
Stroud said he doesn’t have any issues with how the current board operates, but feels “I have something to offer.”
Overcash is currently in the midst of his second term.
He wants to continue on the board and “work to improve the town,” he said by phone.
Overcash said he thinks the town has a very good existing board.
Withers is completing his first term on the board. He is the current mayor pro tem.
Withers said he thinks he’s accomplished a lot in his first four years, including working to bring back the recycling program.
“It would be an honor to continue to serve the people of China Grove,” Withers said by phone.
His priorities include downtown growth.
“We have a very nice downtown that has a few issues that we need to clean up and that is a major priority,” he said.
Withers said he wants to clean, re-energize and revitalize the downtown.
Bringle is currently in his second term as mayor, first winning election in 2003. Welter ran unsuccessfully against Bringle for mayor in 2007.
Bringle is seeking re-election so that “I and the town council can continue to market and grow our town to individuals, families and businesses,” he said.
The board needs to continue positive controlled growth so “we can be viewed as a desirable community to visit and relocate to,” Bringle said.
He also wants to be part of the construction and completion of the new town hall and fire station.
Herring, 65, is the only first-time candidate, but said he isn’t intimidated.
“I feel like I can be an asset to the board,” he said.
He opposed the town’s merger with Salisbury-Rowan Utilities.
“I did not like the decision to give the water to Salisbury-Rowan Utilities,” he said.
Herring encouraged his nephew, Brandon Linn, to run for the board during the last election. Linn won a seat and is currently serving on the town council.
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.
Name: Donald “Don” Bringle
Office sought: China Grove mayor
Age: 58
Address: 310 Park St.
Phone number: 704-857-3341
Occupation: Director of Rowan County Parks and Recreation
Education: N. C. State University, bachelor of science degree
Previous elected office: Mayor since 2003
Community involvement: A member of First United Methodist Church, China Grove Civitan Club, China Grove Eureka Lodge 283, Rowan County Rescue Squad Board, Girl Scouts Hornets Nest Council Board
Family: Wife, Gigi DeMarcus-Bringle; son, John Bringle; daughter, Ashlyn Mounts; son-in-law, Justan Mounts
Name: Julius “Butch” Bivens
Office sought: China Grove council
Age: 62
Address: 410 South Franklin St.
Phone number: 704-639-3016
Occupation: Maintenance director for Rowan-Salisbury School System
Education: Albemarle Senior High, Western Carolina University, certifications/licenses from N.C. State University, Georgia Tech, University of North Carolina, Stanly Tech, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College. A bachelor of arts degree in business administration and marketing management
Previous elected office: Town council 1994-2004 and 2006-2010.
Community involvement: China Grove Planning Board, China Grove Parks and Recreation Department, Rowan County Historic Landmark Building, N.C. Public School Maintenance Association, N.C. Rural Water Association, N.C. Waterworks Operators Association, Civitan Club and the China Grove Historic Society
Family: Wife, Shari Bivens and daughter, Brie.
Name: Donnie Herring
Office sought: China Grove council
Age: 65
Address: 506 S. Bostian St.
Phone number: 704-857-1926
Occupation: Food Lion Mechanic
Education: South Rowan High School and Rowan-Cabarrus Community College
Previous elected office: N/A
Community involvement: Member of the China Grove Fire Department for 31 years, lifelong member of Landis Baptist Church where he served as a deacon for the last 19 years
Family: Wife, Brenda; daughters Cindy McHouell and Anita Holmes and grandchildren — Brian and Kara McHouell, Chance Holmes
Name: Ronald “Ron” Overcash
Office sought: China Grove council
Age: 68
Address: 421 Park St.
Phone number: 704-224-4872
Occupation: Inventory Control Specialist, Food Lion Distribution Center
Educational background: High School in China Grove
Previous elected office: Town council 1992-1996 and currently in second term
Community involvement: China Grove Civitan Club, member of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, board member and commissioner of the China Grove Cal Ripkin Baseball League
Family: Wife, Linda Overcash, four children and eight grandchildren
Name: Steve Stroud
Office sought: China Grove council
Age: 58
Address: 412 W. Ketchin St.
Phone number: 704-202-0477
Occupation: President of Tarheel Safe & Lock Inc.
Educational background: Associates degree in criminal justice from Davidson Community College. Served in law enforcement since 1975 and began at the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office. Served as China Grove police chief from 1981-1985.
Previous elected office: China Grove town council.
Community involvement: Auxiliary police officer with Cleveland Police Department.
Family: Wife, Teresa Hildebrand Stroud, five children — Brad, Andrew, Geoff, Heather and Sabrina.
Name: Lloyd “Allen” Welter
Office sought: China Grove council
Age: 68
Address: 503 Hickory Nut Lane
Phone number: 704-855-3788
Occupation: Self-employed
Educational background: Graduate from Park Avenue School in Holland Landing Ontario
Previous elected office: China Grove council 2005-2009
Community involvement: Carson High School and racing
Family: Wife, Barbara, two children and four grandchildren
Name: Roger “Lee” Withers
Office sought: China Grove council
Age: 34
Address: 900 Patterson St.
Phone number: 704-651-8295
Occupation: Territory Sales Representative for Husqvarna
Educational background: Horticulture degree from Catawba Valley Community College, Hickory
Previous elected office: Currently in first term
Community involvement: Chairman of Farmer’s Day, China Grove Civitan Club, South Rowan YMCA board of directors and Eagle Scout
Family: Wife, Kelly, three children.