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By CHARLES RICHARDS
Paris attorney Will Biard captured the 62nd State District judgeship Tuesday night, defeating State Rep. Ervin Cain by a 96-vote margin — 6,218 (50.4 percent) to 6,122 (49.6 percent).
He carried Lamar County, the largest of the four-county region that is served by the court, winning 64 percent of the votes. That was just enough to withstand Cain’s edge in Hopkins (Sulphur Springs), Franklin (Mount Vernon), and Delta (Cooper) counties.
In another high-interest race locally, Scott Cass — the chief deputy for current Sheriff B.J. McCoy, scored a decisive victory over longtime former law enforcement officer Johnny Williams. Cass received 4,341 votes (61.5 percent) to 2,516 (35.7) for Williams.
Lawrence Malone won the GOP nomination for county commissioner of Precinct 1, receiving 1,117 votes (68.7 percent) to 510 votes (31.4 percent) for challenger Dennis Johnson.
In an often contentious race for county commissioner of Precinct 3, Rodney Pollard won back the job he lost four years ago to Kevin Jenkins, when a wave of Republican voters meant victory to almost everyone running under the GOP banner. Pollard trailed after the early vote, but came on strong to win, 945 (52.5 percent) to 854 (47.5 percent).
Madaline Chance, who became Precinct 1 constable four years ago when incumbent Randy Boren ran unsuccessfully for sheriff, successfully won her bid for re-election, but by a razor-thin margin. Chance led after the early vote, then fell behind after the first few boxes came in from Tuesday’s vote. But she surged ahead again at the end and won by 14 votes — 503 (50.7 percent) to 489 (94.3 percent).
Cindy Ruthart repelled the challenge of former Paris mayor Jesse James Freelen to win re-election to Justice of the Peace of Precinct 5, Place 1. Ruthart got 2,149 votes (68.4 percent) to 991 (31.6 percent) for Freelen.
In other contested local races, Larry Cope won the GOP primary for Constable of Precinct 3 without a runoff, getting 743 votes (59.5 percent) to 379 votes (30.0 percent) for Steven C. Hill, and 133 votes (10.5 percent) for Sam Hurst.
Gene C. Hobbs Jr. outpolled Jimmy Hodges 1,675 (59.7 percent) to 1,129 votes (40.3 percent) to win the GOP primary for constable of Precinct 5.
In the only contested local Democratic race, county Democratic chairman Brady Fisher won re-election over Mike Mosher by 398 (64.9 percent) to 215 (35.1 percent).
Lamar County gave Biard a 1,938-vote margin — 4,437 to 2,499. Cain won Delta County 447 (51.9 percent) to 414 (48.1 percent); Franklin County by 1,295 (68.9 percent) to 584 (31.1 percent); and Hopkins County by 1,881 (70.6 percent) to 783 (29.4 percent).
Both candidates were in the Republican primary. Biard will win without opposition in the November general election, since there is no Democrat opponent, and will take office next January.
“A win’s a win,” Biard said, adding that he was “on my knees praying” while he sweated out the two hours it took for the last four boxes in Franklin County to be counted.
“I had a big turnout and a lot of supporters in Lamar County, so that was helpful. I feel good. I’m excited. It’s going to be fun,” Biard said.
Biard succeeds District Judge Scott McDowell, who did not seek reelection.
For results of all elections on the Republican and Democratic ballots in Lamar County, go to:
For a summary of statewide results in the Republican Primary, or for any other county’s voting in the GOP primary, go to:
For a summary of statewide results in the Democratic Primary, or for any other county’s voting in the GOP primary, go to:
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|ALL LAMAR COUNTY PRECINCTS|
|LAMAR COUNTY ONLY:|
|62ND DISTRICT COURT|
|***** 4-COUNTY TOTALS FOR|
|62ND DISTRICT COURT RACE|
|WITH A FEW BOXES STILL OUT|
|FRANKLIN COUNTY||424||935||5 OF 10|
|HOPKINS COUNTY||710||1701||1 box still out|
|LAMAR COUNTY||4437||2,499||33 OF 33|
|LAMAR COUNTY SHERIFF|
|CO COMMISSIONER, PCT 1|
|Dennis P. Johnson||510||31.35%|
|CO. COMMISSIONER, PCT 3|
|JP, PRECINCT 5, PLACE 1|
|Cindy Cooper Ruthart||2,149||68.44%|
|Jesse James Freelen||991||31.56%|
|CONSTABLE, PRECINCT 1|
|CONSTABLE, PRECINCT 3|
|Steven C. Hill||379||29.96%|
|CONSTABLE, PRECINCT 5|
|Gene C. Hobbs Jr.||1,675||59.74%|
|DEMO COUNTY CHAIRMAN|
|Darcy G. Richardson||37||6.13%|
|U.S. SENATOR, GOP|
|U.S. SENATOR, DEMO|
|Addie Dainell Allen||111||19.44%|
|U.S. REP. DISTRICT 4, GOP|
|Ralph M. Hall||4,025||61.17%|
|6TH CT OF APPEALS|
|Bailey C. Moseley||2,740||55.73%|
|GOP SCHOOL CHOICE|
By JEFF PARISH
Student loans may no longer be an option at Paris Junior College before long, thanks to those who haven’t paid back their debts for classes.
“It looks like we’ll be coming back to you in June and asking you to allow us not to be in the student loan business any more,” PJC President Dr. Pam Anglin told the Board of Regents on Tuesday.
The change would not mean a great deal of difference to how students have traditionally paid for school here, she said. Grants and scholarships would still be available, and those have been how most funded their education, anyway. The jewelry school has largely been the one using student loans, Anglin said.
Student loans used to go through private lenders, such as banks, and those businesses bore the responsibility for collections. When the federal government switched to directly providing the loans itself a couple of years ago, collection efforts largely halted. That duty has largely been put back on the schools. PJC has hired an Austin firm to help collect on defaulted loans.
If a school’s default rate on student loans falls below a certain percentage, the federal government can take away its Pell Grants, which provide a major source of funding. PJC is fairly new to the student loan game, and its default rate is fairly high, Anglin said.
“The college was in student loans several years ago, and they got out for this very reason,” Anglin said. “We thought we’d try it again, and we did four years ago.”
That has not worked out well. And it’s a nationwide problem. This year, student loan debt passed $1 trillion. By comparison, Equifax says the nation’s consumer credit card debt is about $531 billion.
Anglin said four-year universities can manage better than a junior college, where high student loans don’t make as much sense.
“It worked just fine for years,” she said. “We can’t do it at the risk of losing our Pell Grants. It’s $15 million.”
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By JEFF PARISH
Curtis Fendley not only replaced Paul Gene Roden as a member of the Paris Junior College Board of Regents, he also replaced him as board president.
Fendley, along with Ginna Walker-Bowman and Ann Wyche, took their oaths of office at Tuesday’s board meeting. The board’s first action was to elect officers. Pam Bennett, the president’s administrative assistant, administered the oath.
“Thank you for that vote of confidence,” Fendley said as he took over from Vice-Chair Louise Taylor. “I look forward to working with the board for the next few years – and, of course, the administration.”
Fendley was elected 7-2, with fellow nominee Frankie Norwood getting a couple of votes. Taylor was voted vice-chair, a position she has held for two years. Berdie Gibson was re-elected board secretary.
Fendley and Walker were elected to six-year terms in the May 12 election. Fendley defeated Roden in at-large District 9. Walker beat Barney Bray in District 6. Wyche was elected to a new term without opposition.
Taylor unveiled a plaque the board plans to present to Roden in honor of his 24 years as a regent, including 12 as board president. He was not at the meeting, but Taylor read a letter he wrote to the board.
“The wisdom of the voters has retired me from your number,” Roden wrote, noting that he still had an interest and passion for the college and its students.
“I was honored when you repeatedly asked me to be your chairperson,” the letter said. “Being the fine board of regents that you are, you made my job easier.”
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|LAMAR COUNTY UNOFFICIAL||EARLY||TOTAL||PRECINCTS|
|RESULTS (AT 8:21 P.M.)||(May 14-25)||VOTE||PERCENT||REPORTING|
|DELTA COUNTY||0 OF 6||0||0||0|
|FRANKLIN COUNTY||(early vote)||275||609||884|
|HOPKINS COUNTY||(early vote)||378||823||1201|
|LAMAR COUNTY||30 of 33||4105||2285||5527|
|LAMAR COUNTY ONLY:|
|62ND DISTRICT COURT||30 of 33|
|LAMAR COUNTY SHERIFF||30 of 33|
|CO COMMISSIONER, PCT 1||COMLETE!||11 of 11|
|Dennis P. Johnson||226||510||31.35%|
|CO. COMMISSIONER, PCT 3||COMPLETE||7 of 7|
|JP, PRECINCT 5, PLACE 1||11 of 12|
|Cindy Cooper Ruthart||1,258||2,020||68.11%|
|Jesse James Freelen||555||946||31.89%|
|CONSTABLE, PRECINCT 1||COMPLETE||7 of 7|
|CONSTABLE, PRECINCT 3||COMPLETE||5 of 5|
|Steven C. Hill||136||379||29.96%|
|CONSTABLE, PRECINCT 5||11 of 12|
|Gene C. Hobbs Jr.||984||1,590||59.75%|
|DEMO COUNTY CHAIRMAN||30 of 33|