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July 29, 2015
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Five-year-old reads 1,011 books during summer
Five-year-old reads 1,011 books during summer

Five-year-old Brady Bannister (above) was off the charts with what he did this summer in Bradshaw-Chambers County Library's summer reading program. He read an absolutely amazing total of 1,011 books! Brady was recognized for this feat at Friday evening's summer reading awards night hosted by the library staff. This year's theme was "Every Hero has a Story." Youth programs coordinator Kati Behrens wanted the children to realize that some of the most wonderful heroes are not that hard to meet. "They are all around us, everywhere you look," she said, pointing to such examples as supportive parents, outstanding teachers, police officers and firefighters. The summer reading program received lots of participation and lots and lots of books were read. A total of 441 children took part and collectively they read 24,221 books. (Photo by Wayne Clark)

Commissioners, judge discuss sentencing program, court costs
Commissioners, judge discuss sentencing program, court costs

By CY WOOD

LaFAYETTE — The Chambers County Commission had its day in court Monday during a meeting of the commission's Rules, Ways and Means Committee as Circuit Judge Tom Young outlined a sentencing plan that could reduce costs for the county and responded to comments that judges might be lax in administering court cost assessments.

Young said that a community corrections program now in effect in Randolph County is actually making money for the county while having a positive influence on the people who are participating in the program.

Young said the Alabama Department of Corrections or local judges can identify candidates for community corrections. Local governments administering such programs can refuse to accept certain candidates, but those enrolled in the program wind up in what Young characterized as a "rolling jail cell." They are still prisoners, they are still subject to the same restraints and conditions as regular prisoners, but they can live at home, go to work and pay their fines and expenses.

Under the supervised program, the courts pay the counties with such programs to supervise the the prisoners. Young said it is similar to probation with some social work thrown in.

Randolph County employers are embracing the program, Young said. It gives them a "little hammer" over the worker's head. As long as the people are working, they can pay their bills, pay their child support, he said.

The key to a successful program is having the right person administering it, he said. Randolph County has an excellent person heading up its program, Young said, and added that Tallapoosa County is in the process of hiring someone to head their community corrections program.

Randolph County has had expenses of $48,000 and revenues of $114,000 so far this year, he said. There are some expenses upfront, but once the program is up and running it should make money for the county, he said.

"It's a win-win situation," Young said, adding that it gives judges another sentencing avenue.

People become eligible for community corrections when they have less than two years to serve.

Judge Steve Perryman pointed out that in Randolph County, 92 percent of the people in community corrections are working.

Young responded to published comments about the county court cost revenue declining. During a previous committee meeting, Chairman Debbie Wood had wondered why the court cost revenue had dropped so dramatically and if judges were waiving the fee.

Young said the problem is that there are fewer cases being processed in county courts. He pointed out that in 2007 Chambers County had 19,000 district court cases and last year had 9,500.

He said there are several reasons for the decline. Back then Chambers County had one and half state troopers patrolling the county, and now it has a half a trooper.

At one time Valley police patrolled Interstate 85, but they've cut back on that, he said.

To suggest that judges are not collecting the court cost fee is an irresponsible statement, Young said. He pointed out that Chambers County District Court Judge Calvin Milford had a collection effort in place in Chambers County two years before the state launched its own collection effort.

Another problem is that it costs so much to file a suit now. Young said if a mother wants to have a child support agreement modified, it will cost her $305 in court costs before she pays an attorney.

"If the cases aren't here, the money isn't here," Young said. "We're doing the best we can but we have challenges in every county."

Young said the Legislature is woefully underfunding the court system.

As for the court cost fees, which help pay the debt service on the courthouse annex construction, Young said the county is placing the burden "on the backs of the people least able to pay."

After Young's comments, Wood said learning the district court caseload had been cut in half is a huge issue for the commission. "If it's an ongoing trend, we have to totally redo our budget," she said.

Perryman stressed that judges are not waiving any court fees.

County Attorney Skip McCoy suggested the community corrections concept be referred to committee for further study by the commissioners.

Valley approves sewer grant contract, sets polling hours
Valley approves sewer grant contract, sets polling hours

By WAYNE CLARK

VALLEY — In a rather short but active meeting Monday, the Valley City Council approved its part of a sewer grant contract, approved contracts for two resources officers for local schools, and established the polling hours and set the compensation for an absentee voting manager for an upcoming referendum on Sunday alcohol sales.

Also approved was an 11-item consent agenda declaring four properties public nuisances and imposing weed liens on seven others.

The sewer grant is being administered through the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA). The East Alabama Water, Sewer and Fire Protection District will be implementing it. Their board has already approved its share of the contract. In this instance, the city is a pass-through agency whose approval is needed to finalize the contract.

The contract will be going to low bidder Crawford Grading and Pipeline of Luthersville, Ga., who offered to do the work for $684,163.04. The sewer system improvements will be taking place in a 16th Avenue neighborhood in the Langdale community.

The referendum on Sunday alcohol sales will be taking place on Tuesday Sept. 22. Polls will be open that day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. EDT. The absentee election manager will be paid $50 per day for each day the absentee election services are performed.

A resolution approved by the council on Monday permits Police Chief Tommy Weldon to enter into contracts with the city's two resource officers, Lt. Sandra Crim and Officer Lawrence Howell. The term of employment runs from Aug. 1, 2015, to July 31, 2016. A portion of the salaries will be paid by the Chambers County Board of Education.

Planning and Development Director Travis Carter talked to the council about the four dilapidated houses and seven overgrown lots listed on the consent agenda. He said that three of the abandoned mill village houses are on 16th Avenue and one is on 19th Avenue. He said that all four had been neglected for years, were in an advanced state of deterioration and needed to come down.

Carter said the property owners had been notified of impending city action, had been given 45 days to respond and had failed to do so.

The weed liens were imposed on properties scattered throughout the city. This is done to cut high grass and weeds on lots where the owner has failed to do this. The cost of the city's cleanup is then passed on to the property owner in the form of a lien on that property.

Carter told the council that the demolition project would soon begin at Riverdale Mill and that people should be aware that trucks hauling debris to the landfill would be on the road until the needed work is completed.

Carter added that preliminary plans have been submitted for the new Steak and Shake that will be going up on Fob James Drive near Zaxby's. "Hopefully, construction will be going on there soon."

It will be one of the larger Steak and Shakes in the region, seating approximately 180 people.

Mayor Leonard Riley informed the council that a little under $186,000 is remaining in a Sportsplex fund. That's being held, he said, until all the contractor obligations are met. "There's still a few things left to be done," he said. "We expect to zero it out by Oct. 1."

Right now the city has around $2.8 million in reserve and $3.7 million on hand.

Mayor Riley commended Valley Parks and Recreation and volunteers for the success of last Friday afternoon's free tomato sandwich day at the Historic Langdale Mill Farmer's Market. More than 350 tomato sandwiches were served. A free watermelon day will be taking place at the farmer's market in a few weeks.

Public Works Director Patrick Bolt told the council the men in his department had been very busy lately, cutting grass on the city rights of way, patching potholes, fixing several sinkholes, taking out a beaver dam and cleaning up a lot of storm damage in the form of downed trees and big limbs.

After a severe storm last Thursday, more than 100 people were without power for a short time in some sections of Valley.

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Point's Strickland named to three NFL prospect sites
Point's Strickland named to three NFL prospect sites

By Scott Sickler

Times-News Sports Editor

WEST POINT — Point University two-time senior All-American punter David Strickland has been named to three NFL prospect sites, the Times-News learned Monday.

A Beulah High grad and former standout at Wallace State, Strickland has enjoyed an outstanding career for the Skyhawks football program.

The son of Vickie and Daryl Strickland, David has consistently been one of the nation’s leading punters and his talents haven’t gone unnoticed.

Strickland was named to three NFL prospect sites for NCAA Division II, Division III and NAIA players.

He is on the Pro Player Insiders (PPI) Others to Watch list and ranked among the Top-18 in the nation, the website reported.

In addition, Strickland is also an NFL Draft Diamond (NFLDD) 2016 small school prospect. He is one of just nine punters in the nation to be named by NFLDD.

RedZone Insider (RZI) also ranked Strickland as the No. 4 punter out of the Top-20.

Strickland enjoyed a terrific prep career at Beulah High in both baseball and football.

New Point coach Mike McCarty will count upon Strickland to help the Skyhawks win the field position battle with his booming punts.

EAB 11U stars win Grand Slam World Series
EAB 11U stars win Grand Slam World Series

By Scott Sickler

Times-News Sports Editor

PANAMA CITY, Fla. — The East Alabama Baseball (EAB) 11U team won the Grand Slam World Series championship held here last weekend.

The local all-star baseball team is made up of youngsters from Valley, Auburn, Opelika, Smiths Station and Columbus.

East Alabama Baseball enjoyed a terrific summer of tournament baseball.

The squad posted an overall record of 18-5 and won four tourney championships in five events entered.

Members of the team include: Kaiden Baxley, Brooks Bryan, Hunter Meadows, Austin Stephenson, John Austin Cochran and Todd Clay, Brock Beyleu, Taylor Lowe, Cade Beyleu and Wyatt McLean. Coaches for the team include Bo Bryan and Anthony Meadows.

High school football season just around the corner
High school football season just around the corner

By Scott Sickler

Times-News Sports Editor

Players, coaches and fans alike are counting down the days as we’re only a little more than three weeks from the start of the 2015 high school football season.

The Valley Rams and Lanett Panthers will officially kick off local play Fri., Aug. 21 when Lanett journeys to Rams Stadium to take on rival Valley in the renewal of one of the AHSAA most tradition-rich rivalries.

The Martravious “Tre Tre” Williams-led Rams posted a 21-0 win over the Panthers last year at Morgan-Washburn Stadium and coach Clifford Story’s Panthers will be looking to return the favor on Valley’s home field.

•Coach Marshon Harper’s Rams jumped out to a 3-0 start last fall but ran into some tough games, losing its last seven straight in a difficult 3-7 and non-playoff season.

The Rams will be led by all-star candidate defensive tackle Tyreic Martin, who already has 16 scholarship offers on the table.

•Lanett will be led by rising junior quarterback Tre Story, who’s a year stronger and a lot more confident.

The Panthers also had a rough year in 2014, posting a 4-5 mark and are determined to rebound with a playoff berth this fall.

•Tanner Glisson’s Troup Tigers have been busy implementing a Baylor-like offensive attack and hope to make a run for the GHSA 4A playoffs from Region 5A.

•The Springwood Wildcats made the AISA 2A state playoffs last fall and hope to do the same this year as well.

•The Chambers Rebels in AISA 1A, LaFayette Bulldogs in AHSAA 2A and the Beulah Bobcats in AHSAA 3A all hope to challenge for postseason berths this fall as well.

Obituaries

Obituaries for Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Obituaries for Tuesday, July 28, 2015

MS. BROOKS

LaFAYETTE, Ala. — Funeral services are pending for Ms. Dorothy Nell Brooks, 73, of LaFayette, who died Monday, July 27, 2015, at East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika, Ala.

Silmon-Seroyer Funeral Home in LaFayette is handling arrangements.

MR. BROWN

ATLANTA, Ga. — Funeral services are pending for Mr. Willie Lee Brown, 79, of Atlanta, who died Monday, July 27, 2015, at his residence.

Silmon-Seroyer Funeral Home in LaFayette is handling arrangements.

MR. GRIFFIN

LANETT — Mr. Curtis B. "Buz" Griffin, 70, of Lanett died Monday, July 27, 2015, at his residence.

Graveside services will be held Wednesday, July 29 at 11 a.m. at Oakwood Cemetery in Lanett with the Rev. Milton Newton officiating.

Johnson Brown-Service Funeral Home in Valley is in charge of arrangements.

MRS. PRESTRIDGE

LaGRANGE, Ga. — Mrs. Mary Ellen Weldon Prestridge, 83, of LaGrange passed away Sunday, July 26, 2015, at Hospice LaGrange.

Funeral services will be held Wednesday, July 29 at 10 a.m. at the Higgins LaGrange Chapel Funeral Home with Chaplain Mark McGee officiating. Burial will follow at Resthaven Memorial Gardens in Lanett.

Higgins LaGrange Chapel Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

MS. TOLBERT

MARIETTA, Ga. — Ms. MurRee Tolbert, 90, of Marietta, formerly of Lanett, died Wednesday, July 22, 2015, at Cobb WellStar Hospital in Austell, Ga.

Funeral services will be held Wednesday, July 29 at 2 p.m. at Greenwood Baptist Church with the Rev. James McTier, pastor, the Rev. Louis Upshaw, eulogist, the Rev. Lucious Lynch and Rev. John Samanie officiating. Burial will follow at the church cemetery.

M.W. Lee Mortuary of West Point is in charge of arrangements.

MS. MOORE

WEST POINT — Funeral services are pending for Ms. Sylvia Moore of West Point, who died Monday, July 27, 2015, at EAMC-Lanier Hospital in Valley.

M.W. Lee Mortuary of West Point is in charge of arrangements.

Obituaries for Monday, July 27, 2015
Obituaries for Monday, July 27, 2015

MR. BROOKS

VALLEY — Mr. Jesse B. Brooks of Valley died Friday, July 24, 2015, at his residence.

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

MS. DOZIER

ATLANTA, Ga. — Funeral services are pending for Ms. Sherry Dozier of Atlanta, formerly of Lanett, who died Thursday, July 23, 2015, at St. Joseph's Hospital in Altanta.

Contact address is Mrs. Griggs, 1929 31st St. SW, Lanett. Contact number is Mrs. Lockhart, 770-401-7596.

Foreman Funeral Home of Valley is in charge of arrangements.

MS. HOLLOWAY

LaFAYETTE — Ms. Rosa Holloway, 84, of LaFayette died Sunday, July 26, 2015, at LaFayette Extended Care in LaFayette.

Silmon-Seroyer Funeral Home of LaFayette is in charge of arrangements.

MRS. WOOD

LANETT — Mrs. Mavis Huddleston Wood, 81, of Lanett passed away Saturday, July 25, 2015, at LaFayette Extended Care in LaFayette.

Funeral services will be held Wednesday, July 29 at 2 p.m. at Johnson Brown-Service Funeral Home Chapel in Valley with the Rev. Howard Longshore officiating. Burial will follow at Shawmut Cemetery.

Johnson Brown-Service Funeral Home in Valley is in charge of arrangements.

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