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July 24, 2014
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Rainy weather has Valley Sportsplex renovations behind schedule
Rainy weather has Valley Sportsplex renovations behind schedule

A rainy summer has caused the Valley Sportsplex project to fall behind schedule. It's been too wet to have hauled in any dirt this week, and next week's forecast doesn't look much better. "The schedule depends on the weather," said Mayor Leonard Riley. Delays due to rainy weather are allowed for in the contract and are based on national averages. Leveling of the above field is almost done and work is taking place on a second field. Work is on schedule to replace the roof on the central building. The entire project is due to be completed by Dec. 15. (Photo by Wayne Clark)

Unemployment rate moves up in Troup and Harris
Unemployment rate moves up in Troup and Harris

By THE TIMES-NEWS

ATLANTA — Unemployment rates in Troup and Harris counties spiked upward in June, following a statewide trend.

Harris County saw its jobless rate climb to 6.3 percent from 5.8 percent in May. Employment fell by just 19 to 15,583, but the county's civilian labor force grew by 71 to 16,638. Unemployment in the county stood at 1,055 compared to 965 in May.

A year ago, Harris County had an unemployment rate of 6.9 percent.

Troup County's unemployment rate rose to 8.6 percent from May's 7.9 percent as employment in the county dropped by more than a hundred while the civilian labor force was also expanding.

Troup employment stood at 32,737 in June compared to 32,851 in May, and the labor force grew to 35,798 in June compared to 35,667 in May.

Unemployment in the county was 3,061 in June compared to 2,816 in May.

Regional city unemployment rates included Columbus, 8.6 percent, compared to 8.1 percent in May, and LaGrange, 9.5 percent, compared to 8.6 percent in May.

Lyles named Chambers Schools director of federal programs
Lyles named Chambers Schools director of federal programs

By WAYNE CLARK

LaFAYETTE — At a called meeting Wednesday afternoon, the Chambers County Board of Education named a new federal programs director for the school system, promoting from within to fill a vacant position.

The board unanimously backed Superintendent Dr. Kelli Hodge's recommendation for Alicia Lyles to be promoted to central office post. On Aug. 2, Lyles will be graduating from Auburn University with an advanced degree in educational leadership. This fall, she will continue her education in Auburn's doctoral program. She has a BS in special education from Auburn and an MS in counseling and psychology and a certificate of endorsement in educational administration from Troy University.

This past school year, Lyles was a counselor at LaFayette High taking on such roles as providing counseling services to students on a daily basis, auditing transcripts, registering new incoming students, assisting students with filling out applications for early admission to college, hosting a college/career day at LHS, facilitating parent workshops and classroom guidance activities for grades 9-12, and serving as the test coordinator for the high school graduation exam, ACT testing and Access for all ELL students.

Prior to coming to the Chambers County system, Lyles had been a special education teacher in the Russell County system for six years and a special education teacher in the Phenix City system six years before that.

Lyles was chosen from a field of 22 candidates. She will be succeeding Lura Reed, who resigned as the system's federal programs coordinator to accept a position as principal at Sanford Middle School in Lee County.

Lyles is being hired on a 12-month, 240-day contract. She will be paid $68,134 for the remainder of 2014-15 and $73,000 annually after that.

"We needed to have this position filled prior to the start of classes," Dr. Hodge said, explaining the need for a called meeting.

Dr. Hodge reported that the system is very close to having all positions filled. Two resignations came in on Wednesday. One of those vacancies was quickly filled. It's not expected to take long to fill the remaining opening.

Teachers will report for the start of the new school year on Friday, Aug. 1. They will have several days of professional development and school year planning before the students return on Aug. 13.

Sports Sports icon 1 Sports icon 1 Sports icon 1 Sports icon 1

Valley softball trio on Bama Babes 18U travel team
Valley softball trio on Bama Babes 18U travel team

By Scott Sickler

Sports Editor

VALLEY — Following a school-best 32-win season and an appearance at the AHSAA Softball Elite Eight at Lagoon Park, it was a memorable and record-setting softball season for the Valley High Lady Rams.

That success this spring has carried over to summer travel ball action as three Lady Ram standouts in Lacy Striblin, Lexus Burrows and Ryan Simpson are all perfecting their skills as part of the Bama Babes Elite 18U class A travel softball team, Rams assistant coach Todd Striblin told The Times-News Wednesday.

The Bama Babes 18U team is based out of Montgomery and have posted an impressive 25-10 record against some of the strongest competition not only in the Southeast but also the nation.

“The girls just returned from Oklahoma City where they finished in the Top-8 at the Hall of Fame tournament,” Striblin added. “They also earned a berth into the ASA/USA 18U class A Nationals which will played in Montgomery this year,” said Striblin.

Pool play, Striblin noted, opens Monday and will continue through Thursday.

The Bama Babes first game will be Mon., July 28 at 11 a.m. CT against an opponent TBD.

Elimination play starts Wed., July 30 and the national tourney will take place July 28-Aug. 2, added Striblin.

Martin motorcycle benefit ride set for Aug. 2
Martin motorcycle benefit ride set for Aug. 2

By Scott Sickler

Sports Editor

OPELIKA, Ala. — A benefit motorcycle ride will be held Sat., Aug. 2 from Big Swamp Harley Davidson in Opelika to raise funds, help offset family expenses and help find a cure for Andy Martin.

The ride is in conjunction with the Bikers for Christ (BFC) organization.

The cost is $20 per bike and $5 for extra riders.

All proceeds from the motorcycle benefit ride will go to the Martin family.

Registration will take place at 10 a.m. CT and kickstands up at 12 noon.

Sausage dog plates will be sold for $5 each.

In addition, a 50/50 raffle will also be held and door prizes will be available as well.

For additional information, contact: Karie Dalton at (706) 586-8313.

Sikes named DBs coach at Shaw HIgh School
Sikes named DBs coach at Shaw HIgh School

By Scott Sickler

Sports Editor

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Veteran high school football coach Ronnie Sikes has left Callaway High School to take the defensive backs job for the Shaw High Raiders, Sikes told The Times-News Saturday.

One of the most successful high school coaches in AHSAA history, Sikes has enjoyed success wherever he’s led the program.

Shaw High will be the ninth school in which Sikes has served in a stellar 33-year coaching and teaching career.

Local fans may recall Sikes began his coaching career at Valley High in the early 1980s.

He then moved on to Notasulga High, where he enjoyed great success with the Blue Devils for the longest tenure of his career.

Following Notasulga, Sikes went to Mortimer-Jordan High, then to Beulah High and back to Notasulga.

He left Notasulga when the Lanett job came open in 2004 and served as the Panthers head coach for five seasons through the 2008 campaign.

Sikes and his staff did a masterful job in rebuilding the Lanett program from a 3-7 first-year mark to 12-1 and ranked as high as No. 2 in 2007 in claiming the school’s first region championship since 2001.

Sikes’ 2007 Lanett team was one of the school’s all-time great teams and only a gut-wrenching state quarterfinal 18-12 overtime loss to No. 1 and eventual state champion Leroy High kept the Panthers from winning a state title.

He retired after leaving Lanett High following the 2008 season before taking on the challenge of rebuilding the Springwood Wildcats AISA program in 2009.

Following his Springwood tenure, Sikes moved to Callaway High in the GHSA ranks and will join the Shaw High football staff this fall.

Sikes told The Times-News he’s glad to have an opportunity to continue coaching and teaching in Georgia.

“I’m glad to be working in Georgia, being retired in Alabama, it was best for me,” Sikes said. It’s a little drive (Shaw High in Muscogee Co.) but looking forward to working with coach Kyle Adkins as he tries to get that program on track. I’m happy to be getting my foot in the door in Muscogee Co. schools and hopefully it will be great professionally for me. I am looking forward to the challenge,” Sikes noted.

At Shaw High, Sikes will teach two health courses and physical education as well in addition to his duties as the Raiders defensive backs coach.

Obituaries

Obituaries for Thursday, July 24, 2014
Obituaries for Thursday, July 24, 2014

MS. ABNER

LaFAYETTE — Ms. Margaret Abner, 61, of LaFayette died Wednesday, July 23, 2014, at LaFayette Extended Care in LaFayette.

Silmon-Seroyer Funeral Home of LaFayette is handling arrangements.

MS. McCANTS

ELLENWOOD, Ga. — Funeral arrangements are pending for Ms. Dorothy McCants of Ellenwood, who died Wednesday, July 23, 2014, at her residence.

Foreman Funeral Home of Valley is handling arrangements.

MS. ROSE

LANETT — Ms. Daphne Mitchell Rose of Lanett died Wednesday, July 23, 2014, at Midtown Medical Center in Columbus.

Funeral services and survivors will be announced by Davis Memorial Mortuary of Valley.

MRS. WOODY

LANETT — Mrs. Mattie Lou Woody of Lanett died Wednesday, July 23, 2014, at her residence.

Funeral services and survivors will be announced by Davis Memorial Mortuary of Valley.

Obituaries for Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Obituaries for Wednesday, July 23, 2014

MR. ADAMS

DAHLONEGA, Ga. — Mr. Joe Tinsley Adams Jr., 73, of Dahlonega died at home Sunday, July 20, 2014.

Funeral services will be held Thursday, July 24 at 2 p.m. at Gainesville First United Methodist Church Chapel, 2780 Thompson Bridge Road, Gainesville. A family inurnment will be held at Shady Grove Cemetery in Opelika.

Little & Davenport Funeral Home of Gainesville is handling arrangements.

MR. ELLIS

OPELIKA — Mr. Alizah K. Ellis of Opelika died Monday, July 21, 2014, at East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika.

Funeral services and survivors will be announced by Davis Memorial Mortuary of Valley.

MR. LEVERETT

VALLEY — Funeral arrangements are pending for Mr. Walter J. Leverett, 61, of Valley, who died Tuesday, July 22, 2014, at EAMC-Lanier Hospital in Valley.

Silmon-Seroyer Funeral Home of LaFayette is handling arrangements.

MR. STONG

LANETT — Mr. Bruce John Stong, 69, of Lanett died Friday, July 18, 2014.

The celebration of Bruce's life will be private.

Obituaries for Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Obituaries for Tuesday, July 22, 2014

MR. CUMMINS

CUSSETA — Mr. David Cummins, 66, of Cusseta died Friday, July 18, 2014, at his residence.

Funeral services are planned for Wednesday, July 23 at 11 a.m. CDT at Jeff Jones Funeral Home in LaFayette with the Revs. Rick Thomaston and David Babson officiating. Burial will follow at Garden Hills Cemetery in Opelika.

Jeff Jones Funeral Home of LaFayette is handling arrangements.

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