Jackson's Gap Mayor Dies, Community Shocked

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By Tamika Bickham

The mayor of Jackson's Gap, in Tallapoosa County, passed away unexpectedly Monday. Tonight, the town council called a special meeting to determine what happens next.

Shock and sadness is setting in for the residents of Jackson's Gap.

The close knit town of about 800 lost their mayor of the last two and a half years, Janis Canham.

"This was a shock to us," said longtime friend Margaret Ray.

"We are saddened. Janis was a fixture in our town for many years," said newly appointed mayor Jeff Walker.

According to the town council, she passed away Monday at East Alabama Medical Center due to complications following surgery.

"She had health problems, but we thought she was going to make it through. So it is kind of a shock to lose her so suddenly," said Walker.

In a special called meeting, the council unanimously appointed town council member Jeff Walker to take over as mayor, at least until next month's elections.

Canham had been campaigning and her name will remain on the ballot. Her only opposition is local businessman Michael Crouch.

"I'm not the Messiah or nothing like that, but I want to be the man that can and maybe do something for the town," said Crouch.

Not on the best terms with the town, Crouch did say he filed a lawsuit against Jackson's Gap and the council confirmed that. But for what reason, he says?

"That's no comment on that. That will be an issue when I take mayor, that we will find out if it will be dropped or not," said Crouch.

His focus he says, remains fixed on becoming the town's new leader.

"It is sad that she did pass away, but I guess the Lord had something planned for her. Now it's my job to step up," said Crouch.

Those taking over for Canham say they will continue to lead in the best way they know how.

"We just pick up where she left off," said Walker.

But some residents are left unsure of the direction things are headed.

"I don't know what will take place now. We will just see," said Ray.

Jackson's Gap Town Council says, if Janis Canham is elected mayor, it will be the council's job to appoint a new mayor.

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