LUMBERTON — Years of hard work, training and service in law enforcement were recognized on Thursday when 17 Robeson County Sheriff’s Office deputies received a North Carolina Advanced Law Enforcement Certificate from the North Carolina Sheriff’s Education and Training Standards Commission.

“This is a great achievement for any law enforcement officer in the state, but to have 17 officers receive the certification at the same time shows their dedication towards the profession and their willingness to go the extra mile for training to better serve the county,” Wilkins said.

The Advanced Law Enforcement Certificate is the highest professional certification that an officer can achieve in North Carolina, Wilkins said.

Receiving the certificate were Retired/Auxiliary Sgt. Richard Adams, Lt. Eldon Alford, Deputy Robert Levi Bass, Detective Duron Burney, Lt. James Davis, Deputy Trent Deese, Lt. Brian Duckworth, Sgt. Mark Graham, Deputy Michael Hardin, Lt. Kevin Hickman, Capt. Joey Hucks, Deputy Christopher Douglas Hunt, Lt. George Dwayne Leggett, Lt. Daryl Little, Lt. Brandon Patterson, Sgt. Reginald Roberts and Detective/FBI Task Force Travis Roberts. Lt. Davis and Detective Roberts were not present during the ceremony.



Wilkins said several recipients are still are in the early years of their law enforcement careers, and because of that he would like to see an effort to create a certification achievement above the ALE Certificate.

“Training is a big thing,” he said. “We’ll still be, you know, pushing for you to go to more training and enroll in your classes.”

Professional award levels include the Intermediate Law Enforcement Certificate and the Advanced Law Enforcement Certificate.

The North Carolina Department of Justice website explains the origin and objective of the Law Enforcement Officers’ Professional Certificate Program,

“In order to recognize the level of competence of law enforcement officers serving governmental agencies within the state, to foster interest in college education and professional law enforcement training programs, and to attract highly qualified people into a law enforcement career, the Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission established the Law Enforcement Officers’ Professional Certificate Program,” according to the NCDOJ website.

“Under this program dedicated officers may receive statewide and nationwide recognition for education, professional training, and on-the-job experience,” the website reads in part.

LUMBERTON — A 13-year-old boy who is accused of two murders and has been the subject of a two-day manhunt is back in the custody of law enforcement.

Sheriff Burnis Wilkins confirmed Wednesday night that Jericho Werrell had surrendered to authorities. At 9:30 p.m. he was being taken to a juvenile detention center in Cumberland County.

Werrell’s uncle, Wayne Lambert, told WRAL that he had walked and followed the railroad tracks after he escaped. He showed up at Lambert’s house Wednesday. He allowed Werrell take a shower and get cleaned up before calling the marshals.

Lambert also said Jericho had removed the shackles from his legs and had spent the Tuesday night in the woods.

The 13-year-old escaped custody of the Department of Public Safety on Tuesday, fleeing from the Department of Social Services and disappearing into woods off N.C. 72, near the Lumber River.

Lawmen on Tuesday afternoon took the unusual step of releasing the first name and a photograph of the 13-year-old. Law enforcement typically doesn’t release the names of criminal suspects who are 16 or younger and newspapers, as a courtesy, typically don’t publish them. The Robesonian made an exception because the suspect is at-large and also because of the nature of the crimes with which he is charged.

Jericho W. and 19-year-old Derrick Deshawn Hunt, both of Lumberton, are charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths this past month of two people. Jericho also is charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon.

They were arrested at a residence on Belyn Road in Rowland on Oct. 17, two days after deputies responded to 131 Marigold Lane in Lumberton and found both Frank Thomas, 34, and Adam Thomas, 33, had been shot to death in their mobile home.

LUMBERTON — The search for a 13-year-old boy who is accused of two murders continued on Wednesday without success and seemed to concentrate on the Lumber River.

Multiple boats could be seen in the river in the N.C. 72 area, just west of Interstate 95, not far from the Department of Social Services building from which Jericho W. escaped on foot about noon on Tuesday. The Robesonian has learned that among those involved in the search are Lumberton police, sheriff’s deputies and U.S. marshals as well as local rescue units, including Lumberton Rescue and EMS.

Sheriff Burnis Wilkins could not confirm where the search was centered, but issued the following statement: “My office continues to assist the Department of Public Safety with following up leads and searching for the suspect. I am pleading for the public’s assistance in locating the suspect and stress that anyone harboring him in any way will be charged.

“For everyone’s safety, it would be in his best interest to surrender to authorities or have a family member bring him in voluntarily.”

Lawmen on Tuesday afternoon took the unusual step of releasing the first name and a photograph of the 13-year-old. Law enforcement typically doesn’t release the names of criminal suspects who are 16 or younger and newspapers, as a courtesy, typically don’t publish them. The Robesonian made an exception because the suspect is at-large and also because of the nature of the crimes with which he is charged.

The boy’s mother spoke with WPDE and blamed others for her child’s problems, saying her pleas for help were not answered.

“You’re telling the social workers and the mental health workers and the social services that that’s what your problem is and you’re calling them every day, then that’s something that should’ve been done a long time ago. But they going to wait until he’s charged with these other charges,” Nikki Jacobs said.

Emily Jones, a public information officer for the county, issued the following statement on behalf of the county Department of Social Services:

“Although we cannot speak specifically about this case, Robeson County Department of Social Services is tasked with investigating allegations of abuse, neglect and dependency and determining whether these allegations warrant implementing services including diligent efforts to work with families to maintain children safely in their homes or with family. It is not a job that we take lightly.

“Each family comes with its own unique set of circumstances. There is no cookie-cutter option to address every family’s needs. Our job is compounded by budget constraints and the lack of resources in this area. There are simply too few out of home placement facilities that offer a secured environment for juveniles who have mental health issues coupled with violent delinquency history and substance abuse.”

The U.S. Marshals Service Carolinas Regional Fugitive Task Force is offering a $1,500 cash reward for information that leads to the capturee of Jericho W. Call 877-926-8332 to provide tips.

Jericho W. and 19-year-old Derrick Deshawn Hunt, both of Lumberton, are charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths this past month of two people. Jericho also is charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon.

They were arrested at a residence on Belyn Road in Rowland on Oct. 17, two days after deputies responded to 131 Marigold Lane in Lumberton and found both Frank Thomas, 34, and Adam Thomas, 33, had been shot to death in their mobile home.

According to the Robeson County Sheriff Office, Jericho W. was in the custody of a North Carolina Department of Public Safety Transport team when he escaped from the DSS building, where he had been taken for a court hearing. Wilkins said the court hearing had been held and Jericho was in a holding area but somehow managed to free one of his legs from restraints and was able to escape past Department of Public Safety officers.

On Tuesday, the search was concentrated near N.C. 72 and Country Club Road, where Pinecrest Country Club and the Department of Social Services building are located. About 40 officers, including sheriff’s deputies, Lumberton police and U.S. marshals, were taking part in the search. The helicopters were from Bladen and Brunswick counties.

Jericho is about 5 feet tall, weighs 110 pounds and was wearing a white T-shirt and beige pants. He is an American Indian.

When last seen, he had on leg restraints and no shoes. He apparently was able to free one leg from the restraints before he fled.

Anyone with information should call the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office at 910-671-3170 or 910-671-3100. Callers can remain anonymous.

PEMBROKE — The campus police officer involved in a homecoming pepper spray incident no longer works for The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

The news of the officer’s status was included in an email sent out recently to students, staff and faculty by Lisa Schaeffer, vice chancellor for Student Affairs. The email included news that the university had completed its investigation of the incident on Oct. 12 when pepper spray was used on people gathering for UNCP’s homecoming football game.

Schaeffer’s email did not include the officer’s name or state if the officer resigned or was fired.

“With the investigation now complete we can focus our efforts collectively on moving our campus and community forward,” Schaeffer’s email reads in part.

“I thank you for your patience as we worked diligently and thoroughly toward resolution. I have full confidence in our ability as one BraveNation to focus on our future, learning and growing from this experience together,” Schaeffer’s email reads in part.

LUMBERTON — Local manufacturers and businesses shared a wealth of knowledge with students on Wednesday during Robeson Community College’s inaugural Made in Robeson event.

The event showcased manufacturing companies in the county and offered students the opportunity to ask questions and learn about those companies.

“The students were able to actually explore certain fields,” Singler said. “Today it was welding, HVAC and advanced manufacturing.”

Tracy Santoro, Mueller Steam Specialty Co. Engineering manager, demonstrated the St. Pauls-based company’s rainwater harvesting systems to students at an informational booth. And they had a lot of questions.

She would like to see more women in the engineering industry and hopes the event resonated with students, Santoro said.

The stainless-steel sink manufacturer Elkay Southern Corporation also made an appearance at the event.

“Elkay values professional and career development,” said Maurice Townsend, focused factory manager.

Townsend said the company offers students entering the workforce after high school room to grow, with on-the-job mentors and leadership positions available to people with a high school diploma. Most of the job is learned in the field.

R.J. Sutton, a seventh grader at St. Pauls Middle School, admired a duck made of tobacco leaves displayed in an exhibit by the Robeson County History Museum.

The museum brought engaging exhibits, such as a preserved tobacco bundle from the Lumbee Tribe and size 22 Chuck Taylor Converse shoes, and each came with a story.

History Museum President Faye Middleton told students the history of the Chuck Taylor shoe that bears the signatures of workers in the former Converse factory in Lumberton. Middleton said the shoe was a replica made from the model specially designed for professional NBA player Wayman Tisdale. The shoe was presented to former U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre for his support of American-made footwear. Converse shut down manufacturing plants in the United States in 2001 and relocated production to Asia.

Floyd explained that turpentine, made from tree resin, was used to preserve the wood used to build ships and ropes, and that the industry was popular in the area in the 1800s. He also said his ancestors worked in the distilleries.

Rob Gable sat making tiny pieces of pottery with his wife, Katherine, by his side as students pointed and complimented his handiwork.

Singler , who became RCC’s president on Nov. 1, said she looks forward to hosting the event again next year.

“We value the relationship with Robeson County pubic schools,” she said. “We’re also proud to partner with charter schools.”

Students from Prospect, Red Springs, Fairmont, Orrum, Parkton, St. Pauls, Pembroke, Littlefield and Townsend middle schools; South Robeson Intermediate School; Southeastern Academy, Lumberton Junior High School and Magnolia Elementary School attended the event.

LUMBERTON — The City Council approved on Wednesday the rezoning request that paves the way for the Public Schools of Robeson County to move its central office to the vacant Janie C. Hargrave School in East Lumberton.

The council unanimously approved rezoning the school to B3 for office use without comment at the Wednesday meeting. The meeting was a full council meeting, instead of the usual policy meeting that takes place the first Wednesday of each month. The City Council’s regular meetings take place the Monday after the policy meeting, but the meeting was rescheduled because Monday is a federal holiday, Veterans Day.

The move to the 30,000-square-foot school, which was closed to students before the 2019-20 school year, would relocate about 70 school administrative staff from the old BB&T call center building on Kahn Drive. The school district would save nearly $1.5 million in rent over 10 years.

However, the PSRC Board of Education has yet to approve the move. Multiple school district leaders have said over the past weeks that the idea is being explored.

The Lumberton Planning Board approved the rezoning request on Oct. 22. Letters were sent to adjacent landowners, a legal ad was placed and a sign notifying the community of the rezoning request was placed at the school, which is located at 100 Hargrave St.

The City Council also signed off on Southeastern Health’s application to the North Carolina Department of Commerce for two grants.

The regional health care provider would use one grant to help purchase a second linear accelerator for treating cancer patients at the Gibson Cancer Center, said Reid Caldwell, government affairs officer for Southeastern Health. The hospital is expecting increased demand for cancer treatment over the next two to three years after the project is completed. The health care provider expects to add 28 jobs over that same period. The project will cost about $7 million.

Money from the second grant would be used to add 10 new licensed psychiatric beds in the former nursing building on the main hospital campus, Caldwell said. Southeastern Health also will relocate two licensed psychiatric beds to create a 12-bed unit to which will be added 15 new staff members who will operate the unit seven days a week, 24 hours a day. The project’s price tag is about $2 million.

“Both projects are scheduled to begin at the first of the calendar year with the behavior health projects projected to be complete by the end of summer, 2020, and the Cancer Center project is projected to be completed by spring, 2021,” Caldwell wrote in a letter to the council.

In other action, council members approved spending $13,136 to buy an infrared camera that locates faulty electrical connectors.

Also approved was the purchase of a a swift water rescue boat for $43,580. A $30,000 grant from Duke Energy will help pay for the boat, which will be manned by the Lumberton Fire Department.

The council approved directing city staff to draft an ordinance that would prohibit the parking of food vendors in spaces at Elm and Chestnut streets in the downtown plaza. The ordinance would reserve for food vendors two plaza parking spaces by the bricked median facing Second Street. Use of the spaces would be on a first-come, first-served basis.

The City Council approved a $20 administrative fee for reselling gravesites at city-owned Meadowbrook and Hollywood cemeteries. Plot owners are prohibited from reselling gravesites except back to the city.

The next meeting of the City Council is scheduled for Dec. 4. There will be a swearing-in ceremony for Mayor Bruce Davis and four council members, Chris Howard, Leroy Rising, Eric Chavis and Karen Higley on Dec.9. The mayor and the council members won their re-election bids on Tuesday.

RED SPRINGS — A Red Springs woman was arrested and charged with a felony after an altercation Tuesday at a Dollar General store.

Crystal Carter, 35, of 1556 Buie Mill Road, was charged with assault causing physical injury to law enforcement/probation/ parole officer, according to a release issued by Maj. Kimothy Monroe, of the Red Springs Police Department. Carter was taken to the Robeson County Detention Center and placed under a $2,500 secured bond.

According to the N.C. General Assembly, assaults that inflict physical injury on a law enforcement officer, probation officer, or parole officer while the officer is on duty are classified as a Class I felony.

Officers responded about 6 p.m. to the Dollar General store at 908 E. Fourth Ave. in reference to a fight taking place between several customers, according to Monroe. When Sgt. T. Lowery attempted to break up the fight, Carter bit her hand, causing the officer to seek medical attention. Lowery was treated at Southeastern Regional Medical Center in Lumberton and released.

Also involved in the altercation were Donella Bryant, 36, of 43 Lulu Road in Red Springs, and her husband, Kevin Brooks, 41, of the same address.

Bryant and Brooks were issued citations for simple assault and were released pending court hearings, according to Monroe.

Michael Bost, of West 26th Street in Lumberton, reported Wednesday to the Lumberton Police Department that while he was at the Lion’s Den, located at 3525 Lackey St., someone with a gun kidnapped him and stole a Moto E4 cellphone, his wallet and clothes. The value of the items was not disclosed.

April Clark, Reola Drive, Red Springs; Henderson Forestry, East Martin Luther King Jr. Drive/Montford Road, Maxton; Cody Miller, Affinity Road, Fairmont; Harrell Walters, West McRainy Road, St. Pauls; Tonya Hunt, Oakgrove Church Road, Lumberton; Dean Hunt, Huggins Road, Lumberton; Jimmy Oxendine, Joseph H Drive, Pembroke; Patrick Davis, N.C. 904, Fairmont; and James Pugh, Tom M Road, Rowland.

Calvin Tu, of Oak Street in Lumberton, reported Monday to the Lumberton Police Department that someone broke into his vehicle while it was parked at his residence and stole a silver duffle bag, black charging bank, and a U.S. Air Force book bag valued at an undisclosed amount.

Jacqueline Patterson, of Harrill Road in Lumberton, reported Monday to the Lumberton Police Department that someone broke into her residence and stole a gold 18-inch Herringbon necklace. The value of the necklace was not disclosed.

LUMBERTON — The Kiwanis of Robeson-Lumberton will hold its 57th annual Kiwanis Pancake Festival on Friday and Saturday at the Bill Sapp Recreation Center.

All-you-can-eat pancakes and sausage will be served from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, and from 7 to 9:30 a.m. on Saturday.

Ticket prices are $7 in advance and $8 at the door. Advance tickets can be bought at The Staffing Alliance on Lackey Street in Lumberton, RE/MAX Real Estate Exchange on Farringdom Street in Lumberton and from members of the Kiwanis of Robeson-Lumberton.

PEMBROKE — A Pembroke man faces multiple weapon and drug charges after a search of his home Monday that was prompted by an exchange of fire between two vehicles.

According to a statement from Pembroke Police Chief Edward Locklear, Joncasey Caulders, 27, of 203 Florence St., is charged with possession of a firearm by felon, felony possession of cocaine, felony possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and maintaining a drug vehicle.

Locklear said that at about 11 p.m. on Monday, Pembroke police responded to a call of shots being exchanged between a white Chrysler 300 and a burgundy Ford Escort in the area of N.C. 711 East and COMtech. Locklear said a Pembroke officer saw the Chrysler 300 and conducted a traffic stop, with the vehicle pulling into a residence at 203 Florence St. Two males, including the driver, Caulders, exited the vehicle.

Additional officers arrived, according to Locklear, and Caulders and the second male agreed to a body search, during which crack cocaine was found on Caulders. There also was a weapon in plain sight inside the Chrysler.

That led to a search of the vehicle, during which two more weapons and drug paraphernalia were located, leading to probable cause to get a search warrant for the home. A search of the home led to the discovery of an additional firearm, a quantity of cocaine and a quantity of marijuana, according to Locklear.

PEMBROKE — A Rocky Mount man was killed Tuesday night in a chain-reaction accident that involved two 18-wheel tractor-trailers on Interstate 74.

According to a report by state Highway Patrol Trooper J.M. Bullard, the accident happened about 9:49 p.m. on I-74, about 10 miles south of Pembroke, and was triggered when one of the tractor-trailers stopped because of an unrelated accident.

Killed in the accident was 66-year-old John Nelson Malloy, who was driving one of the two tractor-trailers involved in the accident.

According to Bullard’s report, all three vehicles were westbound in the right-hand lane when a tractor-trailer driven by David Bryan Barnhill, 59, of Ash, came to a stop because of an accident that had already occurred. Barnhill’s tractor-trailer was then struck in the rear by an SUV being driven by Christopher Scott Chassin, 47, of Charlotte, which was then struck in the rear by Malloy’s tractor-trailer.

Bullard estimated the speed of the SUV and Malloy’s tractor-trailer at 55 mph each when they struck the vehicle in front of them.

Chassin was taken to Southeastern Regional Medical Center with obvious injuries, while the injuries to Barnhill were considered minor.

The SUV was destroyed and damages to Malloy’s tractor-trailer were estimated at $10,000 and fixed at $3,000 for Barnhill’s tractor-trailer.

Malloy was the only one of the three people involved in the accident who was not properly restrained, according to Bullard’s report.

LUMBERTON — In mayoral races outside Lumberton, five incumbent mayors were re-elected and three municipalities have new mayors as a result of Tuesday’s election.

Pembroke voters returned incumbent Mayor Greg Cummings to office. Cummings beat a challenge by Allen Dial, who has served 16 years on the Town Council, and won another four-year term in office by a vote count of 248 to 207.

All results from Tuesday’s voting are unofficial until certified by the Robeson County Board of Elections. Counted among the results are the 1,280 ballots cast during the early voting period that ran Oct. 16 through Friday.

In Maxton, Commissioner Victor Womack defeated Paul Davis in the contest for the office currently occupied by Emmett Morton, who did not file for re-election. Womack won 229 votes to Davis’ 193.

Incumbent Red Springs Mayor Edward Henderson fended off a challenge by Largirtha Graham. Henderson beat Graham by a vote count of 484 to 103 to win another two years in office.

In St. Pauls, incumbent Mayor Gerard Weindel did not file for re-election for another four-year term, which set up a race between former Board of Commissioners member David Ayers and Mayor Pro Tem Elbert Gibson. Gibson emerged victorious by winning 184 votes. Ayers garnered 94.

Incumbent Rowland Mayor Michelle Shooter was unopposed in her bid for another two-year term in office. Shooter garnered 94 votes.

In McDonald, incumbent Mayor James Taylor was unopposed in his bid for another four-year term. He received 20 votes.

Also unopposed was Parkton Mayor Albert Harry McMillian Jr. McMillian cruised to another two years in office by receiving 42 votes.

Write-in votes, of which 19 were cast, determined the new mayor of Proctorville because incumbent Mayor Richard Pridgen did not file for re-election. Who won the office won’t be determined until the county Elections Board counts write-in votes on Wednesday.

In Fairmont, incumbent commissioners Charles Kemp, 446 votes; and J.J. McCree, 438; and challenger Heather Seibles, 406, won the three Board of Commissioner seats up for election. Each won a four-year term. Incumbent Cassandra Gaddy, 211 votes, lost her re-election bid. Also on the ballot was Melvin Ellison, who garnered 291 votes.

There were three seats on the Maxton Board of Commissioners up for election Tuesday. Two of those seats were won by incumbents Paul McDowell, 284 votes, and Elizabeth Gilmore, 214. The third seat went to challenger Toni “Kandy” Bethea, who received 248 votes. James McDougald did not seek re-election. Challengers Chandra Short got 122 votes, William Harold Seate received 105 votes and Donna Locklear got 81.

Red Springs Board of Commissioners incumbents Caroline Sumpter, 357 votes, and Duron Burney, 346, won re-election. The third seat up for election went to C.L. Edmonds, who received 420 votes. Incumbent Shearlie McBryde, 174, lost her re-election race. Also on the ballot were Sandra Wilson, who got 154 votes, and Robert McLean, 82.

Five alderman seats were up for election in Parkton. Incumbents Doris Underwood, 58 votes; Robin Hill, 49 votes; and Tony McVickers, 47; won their bids for another two-year term. Winning the other two seats were David Register, who received 45 votes, and Christopher Carlson, with 37. Also on the ballot was John Mitchell Matt, who got 28 votes. Incumbents Nathaniel Solomon and Annette McColl did not file for re-election.

Incumbents Vivian Wilson McRae, 49 votes, and Brenda Locklear, 29, were re-elected to their seats on Rennert Town Council. The third seat up for election was won by challenger Sabrina Colson, who got 27 votes. Incumbent Shirley Ashford Tolson received 25 votes, and lost her re-election bid.

Incumbent members of the Lumber Bridge town board Randy Russ and Alan Brunnet were unopposed for the two seats up for election. They each won another four-year term by receiving seven votes apiece.

McDonald town board incumbents William Britt, Donnie Bacot and George Dean Carter were all unopposed for the three seats up for election. The three incumbents each won another four-years term by receiving 16, 19 and 12 votes respectively.

Incumbent St. Pauls Board of Commissioners members Jerry Quick, 211 votes, and Evans Jackson, 204, easily fended off a challenge by Buck Terry, 69 votes, to each win another four years on the board.

In Pembroke, incumbent council members Larry McNeill and Ryan Sampson were unopposed in their bids for another four-year term each. McNeill got 286 votes, and Sampson, 315.

Three town council seats in Proctorville were up for election, but only incumbent member, Virginia Ivey, filed for re-election to a four-year term. Ivey received eight votes. There were 45 write-in votes cast, and those votes are to be counted Wednesday.

Rowland Board of Commissioners incumbents Jean Love and Betty Boyd were unopposed for the two seats up for election. They each won another four-year term by receiving 75 and 84 votes respectively.

LUMBERTON — Incumbent Lumberton Mayor Bruce Davis defeated write-in challenger John Cantey 1,811 votes to 467 on Tuesday, capturing 79.5% of the vote.

Davis, who earned his second four-year term, led Cantey by more than 200 votes after early voting and ran away with the vote on Election Day.

Cantey, mayor pro tem and Precinct 5 representative on City Council, staged a quiet write-in candidacy against Davis. He won Lumberton’s largely black precincts 5 and 6, but Davis won six precincts with large majorities.

Precinct 1, which Davis won 298 to 37, was the last Robeson precinct to report because the write-in ballots had to be counted by hand.

Davis thanked the residents of Lumberton for their support of his administration, which dealt with two catastrophic hurricanes and floods.

“I am proud that the voters have confidence in me and in this city,” said Davis at the end of a 14-hour day. “I’ve worked hard, city administrators have worked hard during the storms and when it wasn’t storming.

“I enjoy serving this city and its citizens, and I have enjoyed watching it grow,” he added. “I believe we have a lot of good things in our future.”

“I did not want to see the mayor have a free pass,” Cantey said. “There is no animosity, and I would like to thank the people who took the time to turn out and vote and write my name in.

“It’s time to work together to rebuild this city. I won’t rest until all citizens who need it get help.”

In Lumberton’s only contested precinct, incumbent Chris Howard defeated newcomer Roy Rogers. Howard will serve his second four-year term on the council.

Howard had an overwhelming lead, 178 to 53, after early voting. When the votes came in a little before 9 p.m., he had won 190 to 108, with 63.33% of the vote.

“I am thankful to the voters,” Howard said. “I’m a people person, and I’ve worked hard for all residents of this city. I look forward to coming together for a common cause.”

Also returned to City Council were Leroy Rising in Precinct 1, Karen Higley in Precinct 4 and Eric Chavis in Precinct 7. All were unopposed. Chavis is a newcomer, having won his seat in January in a special election to replace the late Leon Maynor.

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