Published 2:53 pm Friday, September 11, 2015

By Dwight Sparks

They had such a good time last week that there’s talk of another Clemmons village candidates forum. About 75 people attended last week’s forum at the Village Inn Conference Center, but only three of the seven village council candidates were there.

Another forum has been scheduled for Sept. 22 at 7 p.m., also at the Village Inn, hosted by The Clemmons Courier.

A debate is also planned nearer to the election date at West Forsyth High School sponsored by the students in civic class. The major news last week had nothing to do with the campaign. One resident asked if the rumors about the Florida-based Publix grocery locating in Clemmons were true.

Indeed, a Publix representative, Doug Stimmel & Associates of Winston-Salem, has met with resident across Peace Haven Road from the proposed site near the Clemmons Family YMCA. Council member Mary Cameron confirmed that Publix is looking at the site by no official request has been made for rezoning. Last week’s forum was organized by former council member Al Harbury, who paid for ads and expenses out of his own pocket. “I think it was a good thing that happened,” Harbury said. “I’m just sorry that a number of candidates elected not to participate, but the ones that did I thought were well received.” Harbury said he wanted the forum to be less confrontational than a debate often can be, remembering his own experience as a candidate. “You’re looking into glaring lights. It’s high pressure. You’ve got a few minutes to respond,” he said.

The candidates who attended last week were incumbent Bill Lawry and challengers Jack Ingle and Mike Combest.

“Last night you got a very good feel for each one of these three candidates,” Cameron said. She praised Harbury’s efforts. “He put up his own money to do this which speaks volumes about his commitment to this community. He and I disagreed on a lot of things, but he cares,” she said. Harbury said he wants to encourage voter participation in Clemmons elections, which he categorized as “abysmal” in most years. “I would like to see them get up there and help me make up my mind whether to vote for them or not,” he said.