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Day carries the night

By Ed Brock

Two new council members will join re-elected Mayor Joy Day and incumbent City Councilman Cliff "Rip" Sewell in leading the city of Jonesboro for the next four years.

Linda Wenz and Donna Meadows were elected to the council Tuesday night with votes of 233 and 206 respectively in the at-large election that had four candidates for three council seats. Sewell regained the seat he's held for 15 years by 256 votes while Carl Ayers came in last with 192 votes.

Day, 55, defeated challenger and now outgoing Councilman Luther Maddox 295 to 92.

"I want to thank all the voters and I pledge to them that I will continue to be committed to their welfare," Day said. "I think many of the people know I'm committed to them, to our neighborhoods."

Having lived in the city since 1971, Day is the principal at Suder Elementary School. She invites the public to continue to participate in the city's future.

Maddox will leave office in January when the new council members will be sworn in and Councilman Ed Adair choose not to run again.

Sewell said he is pleased that the people have shown their approval for the job he's done in the 15 years he's been on the council.

"Once again ? I'm humbled," Sewell said. "I'm proud to serve as a Christian, with sincerity, honesty and integrity."

He wants to move forward with the Livable Centers Initiative project, Sewell said. That project, sponsored by the Atlanta Regional Commission, would revitalize the city's downtown area with green spaces and other developments.

While she lived in the Jonesboro zip code for 33 years 55-year-old Wenz, an art teacher with two daughters and a grandchild, has lived inside the city for four years. She ran and lost in the previous council election.

"I'm really excited, it was very close," Wenz said. "I can't wait to be on the council."

A former city council member and mayor, 59-year-old Meadows said the free garbage collection and the end of ad valorem taxes came about during her time as mayor and she wants to keep those changes in place. A mother of two with two grandchildren, Meadows is retired from the tax service business she owned.

"Thank you," Meadows said to the voters. "I think we have a good council and I think things are going to go well."

Ayers, who has lived in the city for five years, said his mother called him around 5 p.m. Tuesday and asked him how he would feel if he lost.

"I said one of these night I'm going to lose five minutes of sleep," Ayers said before the votes were counted.

About 371 of the 1,592 Jonesboro residents registered to vote in this election came to the polls on Tuesday.

"We were hoping for about 500, but that's how it goes," City Clerk Joanie Jones said.

Katie Kirkland was escorting her aunt Eskete Taylor to the polls Tuesday afternoon.

"I voted this morning early before I went to work. I was number eight," Kirkland said.

Kirkland wouldn't say who she voted for, but she did say the mayoral race was the most important to her.