Six weeks and counting and the debates just keep on coming
by Joe Kirby, Otis A. Brumby III and Lee B. Garrett, - Around Town Columnists
April 08, 2014 04:00 AM | 6694 views | 1 1 comments | 74 74 recommendations | email to a friend | print
DEBATE SEASON continues full bore this week in Cobb with the May 20 party primaries just six weeks from today.

Candidates for the 11th District congressional seat will pick up tonight where they left off Saturday. The Cobb County Republican Women’s Club is kicking off this year’s series of debates tonight with two such confrontations in the Cobb County Commission Meeting Room in the main County Administration Building on Marietta Square.

The first debate tonight is for gubernatorial candidates. Incumbent Gov. Nathan Deal won’t be there, claiming a scheduling conflict. That will leave the stage to challengers David Pennington, former mayor of Dalton, and state School Superintendent John Barge.

That debate will be followed by a debate featuring those hoping to succeed U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey in Congress. Gingrey is running instead for U.S. Senate.

All six candidates have committed to show up, according to CCRWC spokeswoman Rose Wing: former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr of Smyrna, former state House Majority Whip Ed Lindsey of Buckhead, former state Sen. Barry Loudermilk of Cassville, retired Army Col. Larry Mrozinski of Woodstock, businesswoman Tricia Pridemore and Allan Levene, who also is running for Congress in three other states.

Moderator tonight will be Wynn McCurdy, CCRWC board member and sister of Georgia Public Service Commissioner Stan Wise. Panelists will be Realtor Rosann Hall, Chip Lake and local tea party chieftain J.D. Van Brink.


TONIGHT’S DEBATE will be followed Thursday by similar-styled debates for state school superintendent and three Cobb school board posts.

State super candidates Mary Kay Bacallao, Ashley Bell, Michael Buck, Allen Fort, Nancy Jester, Fitz Johnson, Kira Wills and Richard Woods will be at the first debate. Sharyl Dawes had not yet responded as of late Monday.

Retired educator Elizabeth Rhodes will serve as moderator Thursday.

The debates will run from 7 to 9 p.m. and will be televised live on the county’s Channel 23.

For more, email Tonya Boga at


MORE POLITICS: Bentley, Bentley & Bentley along with former Cobb Superior Court administrator Skip Chesshire will host a breakfast fundraiser for Cobb Solicitor General Barry Morgan from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at 241 Washington Ave., Marietta.


PEOPLE: Marietta banker Ron Francis punched the time clock for the final time last Monday, retiring that day after a 40-year career. Meanwhile, also heading into retirement Friday was Marietta Housing Authority executive director Ray Buday. … Retired Cobb Board of Realtors executive director Liz Owens was presented with her 25-year Legion of Honor pin and plaque from the Marietta Kiwanis Club — thereby becoming the first female member of the once all-male club to gain that distinction. ... The YWCA of Northwest Georgia has named Libby Spencer as its new director of development. ...

U.S. Senate candidate Jack Kingston (R-Savannah) has named former state Rep. Bill Atkins of Smyrna as head of his Cobb campaign committee.


THE “BRAIN DRAIN” from SPSU and Cobb County continues, courtesy of the state Board of Regents’ decision to merge Kennesaw State University and Southern Polytechnic State University. It was learned two weeks ago that SPSU President Dr. Lisa Rossbacher, who had led the school to unprecedented heights during her lengthy tenure, has been appointed president of Humboldt State University in California.

Now comes word that Dr. Zvi Szafran, vice president for academic affairs and professor of chemistry at Southern Polytechnic State University, has been appointed president of the State University of New York-Canton.

SUNY-Canton is in the Adirondacks in upstate New York about an hour south of Ottawa, Canada, and has 3,800 students. Szafran has been at SPSU since 2005, previously serving as VP for academic affairs at New England College in New Hampshire. He and his wife, Jill, have a son, Mark.


THE MARIETTA CITY SCHOOLS are once again taking nominations for the 2014 Marietta City Schools Athletic Hall of Fame, reports athletics director Paul Hall. Nomination forms can be found in the athletic office at Marietta High School or on the Marietta High School Athletics Website. For more information, please contact the athletic office at (770) 429-3154.

The Hall honors athletes, teams, coaches, administrators and others who have brought recognition, honor and distinction to Marietta through outstanding contributions to the athletic program at Marietta High School, at the former Lemon Street High School, at the collegiate level or beyond. Nominations are due by May 22.


CAMPBELL MIDDLE SCHOOL sixth-grade Social Studies teacher Rhonda Lokey is one of 10 finalists in the annual Georgia Teacher of the Year contest, state school Superintendent John Barge announced Monday. The 10 were chosen from among the 156 Teachers of the Year selected by their local county or city school system. The winner will be announced at the Georgia Teacher of the Year conference at the Georgia International Convention Center on May 16. Marc Pederson, a biology/chemistry teacher at Paulding County High in neighboring Paulding, is also one of the 10 finalists.


IT WOULD TAKE many of us a week to run — or even walk — a 26-mile marathon. But a group of Cobb-based Marines is training hard for a fundraiser next month that will see each of them running 14 miles — or slightly more than a half-marathon — every day en route from Atlanta to Washington, D.C. on behalf of the Shepherd Center’s SHARE Military Initiative.

Spearheading the effort is Travis Ellis, 40, of Marietta, operator of Mobilized Fuels Inc. in Marietta. He’s not a Marine but learned about the Shepherd Center and SHARE while recently chairing the Honorary Commanders leadership development program sponsored by the Cobb Chamber of Commerce. The program pairs business and community leaders with local military commanders for a year. Last year’s class held a fundraiser that netted $50,000 for the program, but Ellis set his horizons higher.

He and eight Marines will run the 687 miles from the Shepherd Center to the Iwo Jima Memorial in Arlington, Va., leaving May 19 and arriving May 25. They’ll take turns running 14 miles each while the rest of the team rides in an RV. They hope to raise $100,000 for SHARE, a comprehensive outpatient program for U.S. veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, primarily those who suffered mild traumatic brain injuries and in some cases have significant physical, behavioral and/or cognitive problems as a result. The SHARE program was established courtesy of a 2008 donation by Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus.

All of the Marines taking part are based in Atlanta, with several of them members of Company B, 4th Reconnaissance Battalion in Smyrna.

Also going on the run to handle PR duties will be current Honorary Commanders Chair Glynda Thor, newly retired from Cobb EMC, and her husband, Glen.

Sponsoring the run are Superior Plumbing, MHC Kenworth, First Landmark Bank, SA White Oil Co. and Mobilized Fuels.

For more about the SHARE program or to make a donation, go to

Comments-icon Post a Comment
April 08, 2014
Thank you AT for mentioning Barry's event! It is greatly appreciated! Just wanted to make sure everyone knew the event is Tomorrow! Thanks!

"Bentley, Bentley & Bentley along with former Cobb Superior Court administrator Skip Chesshire will host a breakfast fundraiser for Cobb Solicitor General Barry Morgan from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at 241 Washington Ave., Marietta."

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