My name is L. Allen Davis and I am running for a seat on the Town of Webster Board of Commissioners. My wife, Dawn Neatherly, and I live in the circa-1920s “Ensley House” in historic downtown Webster. Both of us have long time connections to this area from childhood church camping trips to higher education. After my retirement from a 17-year career with Ryan Homes, we moved to the southwestern mountains of North Carolina four years ago. I now work for Lowe’s as a delivery driver. My wife is the executive director of Circles of Hope Jackson County. We chose to live in Webster because of its wonderful, welcoming community that is committed to preserving a historical, small town, residential nature. It is my pleasure to restore the landscaping of our home to add to the welcoming nature of Webster. I strongly support the Town’s Guiding Principles, especially those encouraging the use of “landscaping, vistas, art and other landmarks to build unique character” for Webster. I believe in “public places that are attractive and conducive to personal interaction” as stated in the principles and will work to develop community-based initiatives that enhance those spaces. Webster is known for its walkability, and I will work to maintain that through transportation planning that emphasizes safety and tranquility. I ask for your vote as we work together to keep Webster wonderful.
I am a 1995 WCU graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in journalism with a minor in radio and TV. I have served as assistant director, Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, since 2014. For 14 years I served as a newspaper editor in Brevard, Morganton, Gainesville, Georgia and Cashiers. I have served on the Cashiers Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors (2009-12); Greater Cashiers Area Merchants Association Board of Directors (2012-14); Fishes & Loaves Food Pantry Board of Directors (2011-14); Cashiers Mountain Music Festival co-director (2009-2012); co-planner for Groovin’ on the Green & Leaf Festival (Cashiers, 2012-14); Dillsboro event committee (2016-18); Greening Up the Mountains committee (2016-present); Mountain Heritage Day volunteer (2017-18); co-planner for Sylva’s Concerts on the Creek, July 4 Fireworks Festivities, Hook, Line & Drinker Festival and more, and have served as a Town of Webster Commissioner since January of this year. I am still learning about Webster and how I can better serve this board. I’m eager to assist with projects such as making our ball field area more user-friendly for our community with possible picnic areas, playgrounds and concert/event facilities. We want to assure our roads are properly maintained after we incur the additional traffic from the Highway 107 project. We want to keep Webster safe for walkers, runners, anglers, cyclists and all residents. Personally, I want to improve our presence online with our website and social media.
FOREST HILLS TOWN COUNCIL
I was born and raised in the Washington, D.C., area but have spent time living in Texas, the Pacific Northwest, and overseas in Europe while serving in the U.S. Army as a physical therapist. After separating from the military, I started a PhD at UNC-Chapel Hill. My family and I were excited about the opportunity to teach at WCU and move to Jackson county, as I was finishing my degree. We have always loved the mountains and plan to make North Carolina our permanent home. After moving around so much, we felt ready to put down roots and knew that the Village of Forest Hills was the right place for us. I am running for a seat as a Village of Forest Hills council member because I believe we may have some significant decisions to make as a community in the near future regarding our identity as a village. It is my view that we should stay true to the original vision statement and guiding values of the village, both of which emphasize the uniqueness of our locale and the importance of protecting our local environment. It is my position that the village should retain its rural character and that we should investigate opportunities to permanently preserve the remaining unspoiled natural areas within our borders.
Efforts to reach candidate Jonathan Brookswere unsuccessful.
FOREST HILLS MAYOR
In the late 1990’s the residents of the Forest Hills Community voted to incorporate in order to protect the single-family residence community which had been developed by W. B. Dillard, a well-known Jackson county businessman and developer.
Since then I have served on the Village Planning Board, served several terms on the Council, and several terms as Mayor. During these times I have done my best to support the views of the majority of my neighbors.
Several years ago, I decided to step aside. However, a recent an article in the Sylva Herald implied that the VFH might lose its incorporation status since no one had volunteered to run for the mayor’s position. Hence, I decided to “come out of retirement” and run again as an attempt to protect the incorporated status of our village.
SYLVA TOWN BOARD
I am running for Sylva Town Board because I want to make a difference in the town where I live and work and where my wife and I are raising our daughter. I work at Harris Regional, where my daughter was born. My wife and I chose to move here because we love the natural beauty of this area and the people that live in it. We enjoy Story Time at the library, walking down Main Street, hiking at Pinnacle, cycling out Skyland on Tuesday night, running the Tuck in our kayaks and ending the day at one of Sylva’s many great restaurants. I have sat on the Town Planning Board for three years and have enjoyed being part of the decision making that leads to a healthy environment for businesses and residents. Our area is continuing to grow and prosper and that will affect our neighborhoods, businesses and infrastructure. As a commissioner I will be looking to focus on 1) Safety on our roads and in our neighborhoods, 2) Prioritizing natural resources like Scotts Creek and Pinnacle Park, 3) Expanding the tax base through smart housing and development choices and 4) Promoting economic development that preserves the character of Sylva that we all cherish while also creating opportunities for citizens to prosper. The next few years are going to present some large challenges to our small town. As a commissioner I will listen to and represent you, my neighbors and friends, to make sound decisions for the town we all love. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; guineyforsylva.com.
Education: BA, Ma Ed.
Civic Engagement: Member of Jackson County Historical Commission; Advisory Board, Mountain Heritage Center, WCU; Former member and chair, Sylva Planning Board; volunteer, Great Smoky Mountains National Park; Shooting Sports Director, Daniel Boone Council BSA.
Current Employment: Retired. Currently working part time as the miller at the Mingus Mill in the GSMNP.
Statement: Each person who lives within a community owes the responsibility and duty to try to make the community stronger and better. We owe it not only to ourselves, but to our neighbors.
The election for Sylva Commissioner is non-partisan, as it should be. There is no room in local politics for outside money or influence on the election of what is purely a local matter. I will always put the concerns of the people above the politics of party. Any representative of the citizens is a representative of all the citizens.
The basis for local governance is to hear all sides, listen to all views, gather all facts, and then make decisions based on what is in the best interest of the town and its citizens. This is what I hope to do as your commissioner.
I was adopted from Nicaragua when I was 18 months old and grew up in West Palm Beach, Florida, and lived there for almost 30 years before moving to the mountains of Western North Carolina in 2005 to be with my sister and father. I have spent most of my working career in the restaurant industry and most recently, with a little perseverance and luck, became the newest Western Region Community Organizer for Down Home North Carolina in Jackson County. Having experienced my own health care crisis approximately two years ago, my eyes and heart were opened even further to the dehumanizing struggle to access medical care and life saving medications for those of us who don’t have health care coverage. Since then I have written opinion editorials for the Sylva Herald, the Smoky Mountain News, spoken at a press release in Raleigh, become a sitting board member for Meridian Behavioral Health Services and been part of a New York Times Video Opinion Editorial regarding Medicaid Expansion and why it’s critical to the wellbeing of over 600,000 North Carolinians, with over 2,000 here in Jackson county alone. I have also given several interviews with my local web host, Mountain Stream. I was raised in a politically passionate family and draw my strength, love, passion and sense of justice and equality from my family. I am committed to spending my time and energy in service to my community; forward we go, together!
Since becoming a board member in 2015 much has been accomplished:
• Connected sidewalks and improved crosswalks now lead through a thriving business district that is safer for pedestrians and is more efficient to pass through in a vehicle.
• A new Sylva logo sits atop wayfinding signage guiding visitors to our amenities. A warm welcome greets our community and tourists driving by the entry sign at exit 85.
• The Sylva mural is on the map. We are fast becoming an arts destination in the region. I see folks everyday stopping and posing for a selfie or a family photo. It has become a catalyst for more enhancements and the economy throughout town.
I am proud to play a part in studies we have commissioned to ensure that the quality of life and the health of our environment is improved for future generations.
Our budget is now responsible in that we are not borrowing from funds to pay the bills. We are also able to invest in important future projects.
The momentum continues, but there is still much to be done. We still have a number of accessibility and safety issues to address. More entry signs are in the works. I will continue to defend new amenities in our Jackson County seat. There are still many opportunities for enhancements.
My goal is to remain a good steward of Sylva for all of you. I hope to continue to express ideas that move us forward. Solid start. Go vote!
I am running for my second term as a Sylva Town Commissioner and asking for my community’s support once more.
The main reason I ran for my first term on the Sylva town board was to start getting Scotts Creek cleaned up and protect the Fisher Creek Watershed fund. We have finally completed a comprehensive watershed assessment of the Scotts Creek basin and have begun implementing a plan to get it cleaned up This is an effort that will take many years throughout many iterations of the Sylva town board, but I want to continue being a part of ensuring it gets followed.
Funding a paid part-time Main Street director focused on downtown revitalization and investment is another top priority for me. I served on the Main Street Sylva Association board for four years and saw firsthand the need for such a position. We also need to focus on our business community along 107 especially as DOT Right of Way acquisition for R-5600 draws near. We need to do everything we can to encourage relocated businesses to stay a part of our community and reopen in Sylva. This includes removing any impediment to reinvestment such as the various fees typically charged to new businesses as well as advocating for the removal of TWSA’s System Development Fees (formerly known as Impact Fees).
As for myself, I am a Sylva native, an electrical engineer, and enjoy bird watching. For more information on myself, these issues and more, please visit my website www.davidforsylva.com.
Candidate Danny Allen filed for a seat on Sylva town board but reports that due to health issues he will not actively campaign for the position. Allen will appear on the ballot; should he garner enough votes to win he would have the option of filling the seat or declining to take the oath of office. In that case the board could appoint someone to fill the position for two years.