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Lula may hold June 16 election to replace late City Councilwoman Vicky Chambers
City looking for way to honor businesswoman, community volunteer
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Lula Mayor Milton Turner, left, and City Council member Garnett Smith sit on each side of Vicky Chambers’ former seat Monday evening as they prepare to begin the meeting in City Hall.

Lula officials are eyeing a special election June 16 to replace a Lula city councilwoman who died Jan. 26 following a head-on collision with a driver charged with DUI.

Mayor Milton Turner said at Monday night's work session that City Council could opt for a March election to fill Vicky Chambers' seat, but he, along with council members, favored the June election.

Regardless, Turner said, the city charter calls for council positions to be filled within six months of a vacancy.

City Manager Dennis Bergin said he would prepare an ordinance the council could vote on at its regular monthly meeting, set for 7 p.m. next Monday.

Also, the council voted 3-1 to name Councilman Larry Shuler mayor pro tem, a position Chambers held. Mordecai Wilson, who sought the position, was the lone opponent.

The mayor pro tem fills in when the mayor can't, such as presiding over council meetings.

Chambers, 57, died following a Jan. 10 wreck on Joe Chandler Road in East Hall County.

Her Toyota Sienna minivan was struck by a Honda Accord driven by Joshua W. Armour, 23, of Gainesville, according to the Georgia State Patrol.

A grand jury has indicted Armour, charging him with first-degree vehicular homicide, serious injury by vehicle, misdemeanor driving under the influence, reckless driving, no insurance, failure to maintain lane, driving on the wrong side of the road, open container and seat-belt violation.

Authorities believe Armour was “cresting a hill driving on the wrong side of the road while it was dark” on Joe Chandler Road, according to the indictment.

The state patrol said the Accord driven by Armour crossed over the center line and struck Chambers’ van head-on. An open alcoholic beverage was allegedly found in the passenger area, according to the indictment.

Chambers died at Northeast Georgia Medical Center. A passenger in her car, Lisa Page, also received injuries and was taken to the Gainesville hospital.

The indictment alleges the crash caused serious injury to Page by rendering her fingers useless.

Chambers’ death has rocked this small Northeast Hall County community on the Banks County line.

She was remembered as an active businesswoman — she owned Around the Corner Florist at Main and Athens streets — and devout community volunteer, including with the Lula Area Betterment Association, Lula Downtown Development Authority, Hall County and Banks County Cemetery Restoration, Lula Historical Society and animal rescue.

Chambers particularly was interested in redeveloping downtown and sprucing it up through a city-led “streetscape” effort. One of her favorite accomplishments was the construction of downtown Lula’s Veterans Park.

Beyond replacing Chambers on the council, the city will “find some way to honor her passing,” Bergin has said. “We’ll look to see what works best. She made a great impression on the city ... and (her death) leaves a void.”

 

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