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Bypass name debated

By Staff
Board asking state to name it in memory of Ashley B. Futrell Sr.
By MIKE VOSS
Contributing Editor
The Beaufort County Board of Commissioners voted 5-2 on Monday to ask state transportation officials to consider naming the U.S. Highway 17 bypass in honor of Ashley B. Futrell Sr.
Futrell was the chief executive of the Washington Daily News for more than 50 years. He died Feb. 11, 2005. He also was a state senator from 1965 through 1972.
Commissioner Hood Richardson, whose motion to name the project the Democrat Bypass was defeated by a 5-2 vote, warned Republicans on the board that “hell will come on you if you vote for that bridge to be named after Ashley Futrell.”
Richardson and Commissioner Stan Deatherage voted against the proposal to name the bypass in honor of Futrell. That proposal was made by Commissioner Robert Cayton.
Richardson said the bypass should be named Democrat Bypass because Democrats are responsible for the location of the bypass. Richardson said the public is becoming more and more aware the bypass is being built in the wrong location. He maintains the bypass, especially its bridge, should be on the east side of Washington.
Building the bypass east of the city would have united the eastern portions of the county separated by the Pamlico River, he said. The commissioner also contends building the bypass and its bridge east of Washington would have saved money and travel time for county residents, emergency-service providers and others.
Board Chairman Jay McRoy and commissioners Jerry Langley, Al Klemm, Ed Booth and Cayton voted to ask state transportation officials to name the bypass in honor of Futrell. They voted against Richardson’s motion.
The 6.8-mile, $190 million bypass project will eventually extend from Springs Road just north of Washington to Price Road just south of Chocowinity. Construction on the bypass began in February.
In other business, Richardson chose to postpone making a motion that would prohibit Spanish-language from being available on all of the county’s telephone systems. Richardson said the county should not provide those options because doing so puts the county in the position of providing services to illegal aliens.
The commissioners are scheduled to meet with a Michael Hethmon, a lawyer with expertise in illegal immigration matters, on Jan. 14. The county wants Hethmon to determine if there is a legal way to verify U.S. citizenship before the county’s departments and agencies render services to people seeking those services and if the board could legally make access to those services contingent upon verification of citizenship.
For additional coverage of the commissioners’ meeting, see future editions of the Washington Daily News.