Jake Chapman’s special sign spent several weeks at the corner of Peachtree Street and U.S. 74 before someone stole it over the weekend.Lee Alverson is one of the world’s top impersonators of both Billy Joel and Elton John. He will perform during the Cherokee County Big Brothers Big Sisters annual dinner on June 22.

SCOUTING AROUND: Chapman gets attention for not running for office

    Anyone wishing to vote for Jake Chapman may have left their voting precinct disappointed. That’s because he wasn’t running for office. In fact, his sign planted in the median on four-lane highway at Peachtree Street in Murphy said just that.
    When Chapman, a Cherokee County sheriff’s deputy, saw all the campaign signs all over the county, he thought it would be fun to cut the tension with a sign of his own. He admits it wasn’t completely his idea – he had seen similar signs years ago for someone else.
    So Chapman went to Curtis Glass and had one sign made for $50, since he obviously didn’t have the campaign funds to purchase more.
    “I figured one would be effective enough,” he said Monday.
    And it was.
    Haley Rose, the county’s deputy director of elections, heard someone had put up a sign saying he wasn’t running for office, but didn’t know who. One day, a lady called the elections office to ask what Chapman was running for, and she replied nothing. The woman insisted that she had seen a sign for him and would check again.
    “I didn’t connect the two at the time,” Rose said.
    Rose said she also heard chatter about Chapman’s signs as people came into the office for early voting.
    “I thought it was hilarious,” she said.
    Chapman also has seen the results, as people have connected with him on social media because of the sign. He’s even had a couple of people offer to buy him more signs.
    “It’s interesting,” he said. “It’s surprising, in a way.”
    His sign, which states, “Jake Chapman, not running for office, just wanted my own sign,” started on the fence at Walmart in Murphy. After about two weeks, he moved it to the median to get higher visibility, where it has been for the last month.
    Chapman said maybe one day he will run for office, likely for sheriff in the distant future. He started working at the sheriff’s office in 2004.
    “I started at the very bottom and worked my way up the ranks,” he said. “I know what it takes.”
    For now, Chapman, a first sergeant in the sheriff’s office, just wants to continue working his way up. In a time when candidates often complain about their signs being blocked or stolen, Chapman’s one and only sign was taken by someone over the weekend.
    “It lasted longer than expected,” Chapman said. “I was hoping it would give people another day of smiles.”

‘Big’ tickets going fast
    Supporters of Big Brothers Big Sisters will be treated to a Billy Joel performance next month, and there’s still tickets left for any fans of the organization or the “Piano Man.” For the 200 seats available, only about 30 tickets remain.
    Lee Alverson will perform as Billy Joel for the Big Brothers Big Sisters annual dinner and show at McGuire’s Millrace Farm in Peachtree on Friday, June 22. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres start at 5:30 p.m., dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7:30 p.m.
    Tickets are $75 per person and include hors d’oeuvres, dinner, dessert, drinks (including beer and wine) and the show.
    Alverson has been performing, composing and recording music for more than 30 years and regularly appears in Las Vegas, Atlantic City and New York City. He is well known for his piano abilities, and is considered to be as one of the top Billy Joel and Elton John tribute artists. He also has performed as Jerry Lee Lewis.
    Tom Spencer, advisory council chairman for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cherokee County, thinks Alverson is perfect for the show since both young and old attendees will be familiar with the music.
    “The songs are lively and will inspire the audience to sing along,” Spencer said. “Lee’s piano and harmonica skills are amazing.”
    Alverson will drive from Pennsylvania with his own electronic piano for his performance, Spencer added.
    The event will include a live auction during the show’s intermission. Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel is again sponsoring the show, allowing more of funds raised to go directly to helping the organization support children.
    To purchase tickets for the show, email Spencer at jtspencer1960@gmail.com or call 644-4111.
    Samantha Sinclair is the Scouting Around columnist for the Cherokee Scout. You can reach her by email, scoutingaround@cherokeescout.com; fax, 837-5832; or by leaving a message in the office at 837-5122.