In preparation for Severe Weather Awareness Week, the Greater Valley Area Chamber of Commerce sponsored a seminar last Thursday hosted by Chambers County EMA/911. Chamber members, law enforcement and fire department personnel attended the session. Shown above, 911 Director Donnie Smith discussed with participants the importance of being prepared and developing a plan of action in the event of a severe weather threat. (Photo by David Bell)
BY DAVID BELL
As seasons change, weather conditions can sometimes develop into hazardous situations where timely information and preparedness can mean the difference between life and death.
Feb. 19-24 has been declared Severe Weather Awareness Week in Alabama, designed to promote advance planning and increased awareness that will help residents of Alabama prepare for potentially deadly storms.
Severe weather watches and warnings are ineffective if the public does not receive the message or is not knowledgeable of the safety procedures to follow. Whether in the form of severe thunderstorms, tornadoes or flash floods, severe weather can develop very quickly. Once a tornado approaches or flooding develops it is too late to start working on a preparedness plan. When warnings are issued, cover must be taken immediately in an area predetermined to be safe.
Last Thursday, Chambers County EMA/911 hosted a seminar, sponsored by the Greater Valley Area Chamber of Commerce, that provided information critical to public safety during severe weather events. According to 911 Director Donnie Smith, the most important aspect of preparedness is a good weather radio that will sound an alarm to warn of approaching danger. These radios are equipped with a battery backup system that allows them to continue operating in the event of a power failure.
Other items to have readily available should include extra batteries, a flashlight, blanket, first aid kit and cell phone. Know exactly the route to take for seeking shelter, whether at home, work or in a public building, and practice those safety procedures on a regular basis.
A statewide tornado safety drill will be conducted at 9:10 a.m. CST on Wednesday, Feb. 22. No actual tornado warning will be sounded, but schools, civic organizations and businesses are encouraged to participate as a way of practicing or implementing what they would do in a real emergency situation.
Also, in conjunction with the week’s activities, Alabama will hold its sixth annual Severe Weather Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday beginning Friday, Feb. 24, and continuing through Sunday, Feb. 26. Shoppers will have an opportunity to purchase items related to weather preparedness free of state and local sales taxes. Exempted are items such as batteries, cell phone chargers, portable self-powered weather radios, portable self-powered light sources, tarpaulins and weather-proof sheeting, duct tape, fire extinguishers and more. For a complete list, visit the Alabama Department of Revenue’s website at www.revenue.alabama.gov.
By WAYNE CLARK
LaFAYETTE — Chambers County Superintendent of Education Dr. Kelli Hodge had some good news to report in the way of countywide sales tax collections at last Wednesday’s monthly meeting of the board of education.
After several months of being down from the same period a year ago they bounced back in January and are now running ahead of what came in for the same period in 2016.
Sales tax receipts are a good indicator of local economic performance.
In action taken at the meeting, Tuesday, Aug. 15 was set as the first day for classes for the 2017-18 school year. Teachers report for professional development on Aug. 3. While the first day of school has been agreed to, there could be some changes to a preliminary calendar before it’s formally adopted. The central office is working with the Lanett and Tallapoosa County systems on having similar calendars.
As it is now, there will be a fall break, three days off for Thanksgiving and two weeks off for Christmas and New Year’s.
The board approved a state-required gifted plan for the 2017-18 school year. The plan recommended to the board by Dr. Hodge has already been cleared by the State Department of Education. One change from the previous gifted plan involves providing virtual education to those students.
A couple of overnight or out-of-state field trips were approved. On March 24, art students from Valley High will be going to the High Museum to see the current exhibit “Cross Country: The Power of Place in Art, 1915-1950.” This exhibit opens Feb. 20 and continues through May 7.
On April 4-5, some students from Fairfax Elementary School will be flying to Detroit, Mich., for a jet toy competition. Kia will be paying for a team of four students and their chaperones to attend. Fundraising will cover the costs of having another four-member team there. It will be a nationwide event taking place in the Detroit Automotive Convention Center.
“This will be a great experience for these students,” said Dr. Hodge. “It’s a STEM-education event and will expose them to a wide variety of learning opportunities. It’s the kind of event they may never again have a chance to take in.”
Dr. Hodge said that the board will be looking at a plan to expand the Chambers County Career Technical Center in a couple of years, this in large measure to the growing popularity of some of its programs. “Mr. Sealy has been working on a plan, and the fruits of his labor are paying off,” she said.
Dr. Hodge asked board members to keep track of what’s taking place in the current legislative session, which began Feb. 7. She said was pleased that District 38 Representative Isaac Whorton of Valley is on the Education Policy Committee. “He’s open to ideas from us,” she said.
Dr. Hodge recommended for everyone to go to Valley Community Center on Friday, March 24 to see this year’s Special Olympics, which will be taking place from 10 a.m. till 1 p.m. EST. “You will be glad you did,” she said.
Following the regular meeting, the board met in executive session to consider four student expulsions. They involved separate incidents and were heard separately. All four students were expelled, two for one semester and two for an entire school year.
By DAVID BELL
LAGRANGE — Troup County Sheriff James Woodruff appeared before county commissioners during a work session Friday to request an additional patrol deputy.
“Our daily traffic volume through the county continues to increase each year,” said Woodruff. “With the current construction of a Great Wolf Lodge and a massive tire plant, we would be kidding ourselves not to expect that volume to double over the next five years.”
Anytime a vehicle accident occurs in Troup County, a deputy sheriff is dispatched to the scene first for traffic control while state troopers conduct an investigation. Depending on the type of accident and number of vehicles involved, the deputy may have to remain at a wreck site for a considerable amount of time.
“On days when we’re fully staffed, I’ll have one patrol deputy in each of the county’s four quadrants per shift. But if someone is sick or attending off-site training, then I’m down to three for coverage of emergency and assistance calls countywide,” said Woodruff. “If I have to pull one of those deputies to work a wreck, then that coverage is reduced even further.”
“If I had one more patrol officer working an eight-hour shift during the peak daylight hours when most accidents occur, I could provide better service to our local citizens, which is my main priority,” Woodruff added.
The sheriff presented commissioners with an itemized cost list reflecting the total amount of money associated with hiring another deputy. It included $47,733 for salary and benefits, $23,808 for a patrol car, and $34,073 for lights and equipment, camera system, striping, radar and tag reader, totaling $105,614.
At the suggestion of Commissioner Ellis Cadenhead, chairman Patrick Crews asked County Manager Tod Tenter to add the request on Tuesday’s regular meeting agenda. The full board is expected to discuss whether funding is currently available or if the proposal should be postponed until the next budget process.
Woodruff’s appeal came on the heels of a presentation two weeks ago by Sgt. Maurice Raines, commander of the Georgia State Patrol post in LaGrange. Raines discussed the increasing number of traffic accidents investigated by his troopers that also included higher fatality rates.
“In one year’s time, between 2015 and 2016, the number of traffic deaths in Troup County alone doubled from 11 to 22. Ninety percent of those fatalities involved individuals who were not wearing seat belts,” Raines told commissioners on Feb. 3.
By Scott Sickler
Times-News Sports Editor
JACKSONVILLE, Ala. — They’ve already played three times, including an area championship a week ago, but without question, the fourth and final meeting between the No. 4-ranked Lanett Panthers (21-7) and the rival LaFayette Bulldogs (20-8) Tuesday is for all the marbles and another chance to capture a 2A state championship.
Lanett leads the season series 2-1 but Tuesday’s showdown for the Northeast Regional championship at Jacksonville State is for a Final Four berth and a ticket to extend what has been a remarkable local run of state championships.
The Chambers Academy Rebels under Jason Allen went 26-2 in 2013-14 and won the AISA 1A boys state championship and LaFayette (25-5) followed that up with another title, this time an AHSAA 2A boys championship in 2014-15, the first for coach Obadiah Threadgill and LaFayette’s fourth all-time.
In 2015-16, the Springwood girls (30-0) in AISA 2A play and the Lanett boys (29-6) in 2A play both claimed state titles. For Lanett, it was the school’s first and more may follow.
That’s three years running, four state championships in Chambers Co., and on the hunt for ring No. 5 in the next two weeks.
Regardless who wins between Lanett and LaFayette Tuesday, we’ll have another local team in the running for a state title for the fourth straight season, a remarkable accomplishment for a small county and a lot to be proud of.
“I hope the people in Lanett will show up Tuesday because LaFayette has stated they will be there with pep bands and all,” said Rev. Richard Carter, Lanett’s coach. “We have a wonderful opportunity that not many schools can say that they've had a chance to possibly repeat. But the road for us to the Final Four will not be easy. The rivalry with LaFayette is one of the most bitter but also friendliest rivalries in the state of Alabama. Nothing would do but LaFayette to beat Lanett on Tuesday and the same for us. The winner has a very good chance to win it all. The key for us is stopping there big guns.”
By Scott Sickler
Times-News Sports Editor
JACKSONVILLE, Ala. — A terrific season for the Lanett Lady Panthers (21-4) came to a crushing end here Thursday afternoon at the AHSAA 2A girls Northeast Regionals held at Jacksonville State. Lanett managed just 22.8 percent shots from the field and dropped a heartbreaking and gut-wrenching 42-36 overtime game to the Fyffe High Lady Red Devils.
It was just a tough day all-around for Lanett as shots didn’t fall and the Lady Panthers hit just 50 percent from the free throw line, including missing several key 1-and-1s late in the game as well as overtime in the defeat.
Lanett led 8-6 after one and 17-12 at the half.
But give Fyffe credit, they didn’t quit and although they never led in the game until in overtime, they made the plays they had to and earned the win.
Ataiya Bridges capped what was a sensational, six-year career for Lanett with 19 points, five steals and seven rebounds.
R’ Tiana O’Neal added nine for Lanett while Ambria Jackson scored seven.
By Scott Sickler
Times-News Sports Editor
JACKSONVILLE, Ala. — The No. 4-ranked Lanett Panthers (21-7) displayed why they are the AHSAA 2A defending state champions as Rev. Richard Carter’s team rolled over the outmatched Asbury High Rams here Thursday evening at the Northeast Regional held at Jacksonville State. It was vintage Lanett basketball with a warp speed transition game, excellent movement to the basket, terrific team defensive play and played a complete game in finishing in a decisive 64-45 win.
The Panthers utilized its overall athleticism on both ends of the court in taking the early lead with a 13-6 edge after the first.
Lanett outscored Asbury 20-12 in the second for a 33-18 lead at the half as the Panthers quickness in the open court and swarming, team defensive play had Asbury gasping even before halftime.
The Panthers led 50-32 after three periods and easily cruised home to the 64-45 score which could have been a much wider victory margin.
Lanett hit 58 percent of it field goals to just 39.5 for Asbury.
It was the Panthers harrassing style and super aggressive defense that did in Asbury as Lanett forced 24 turnovers in the win.
Lanett had 52 points in the paint as Anquavious Pollard (14) and Manny Littles (16) both had great games.
On the other hand, Lanett limited Asbury to just 24 points in the paint and the Panthers held a whopping 27-9 edge in points resulting from turnovers.
Lanett held a 10-4 edge in fast break points and 10-0 off the bench.
Terrion Truitt tallied nine, Tre Story chipped in with eight, Jalen Madden scored seven and KenKen Story had four.
In short, the Panthers were clearly the superior team in all facets and they’ll be moving on to the Northeast Regional final Tuesday vs. rival LaFayette.
The Lanett-LaFayette final will be the fourth meeting of the season as Lanett holds a 2-1 edge and won the area title at the Dog Palace Tuesday.
VALLEY — Mr. Charlie Will Butler of Valley died Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017, at LaGrange Hospice in LaGrange, Ga.
Funeral services and survivors will be announced by Davis Memorial Mortuary of Valley.
HUGULEY, Ala., — Mrs. Mary Jean Crenshaw, 69, of Huguley died Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017, at Midtown Medical Center in Columbus, Ga.
Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. CST Monday, Feb. 20 at Osanippa Baptist Church with the Rev. Claude Bennett and the Rev. Phillip Johnson officiating. Burial will follow at Cusseta Cemetery.
Jeff Jones Funeral Home in LaFayette is in charge of arrangements.
VALLEY — Mr. Jesse “J.L.” Johnson, 89, of Valley passed away Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017, at his residence.
Funeral services will be held Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 2 p.m. at Johnson Brown-Service Funeral Home Chapel in Valley with the Rev. Chuck Anderson and the Rev. David Johnson officiating. Burial will follow in Hillcrest Cemetery.
Johnson Brown-Service Funeral Home of Valley is in charge of arrangements.
VALLEY — Mrs. Celia Bowers Landreth, 86, of Valley passed away Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017, at her residence.
Arrangements will be announced by Johnson Brown-Service Funeral Home of Valley.