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August 28, 2014
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Two West Point projects will focus on city's black heritage
Two West Point projects will focus on city's black heritage

The Rev. Bill Fannings is shown during Tuesday’s West Point Mayor and City Council work session explaining plans the Bethlehem Foundation has to develop a 10th Street School Museum and Community Center on the site of the now demolished 10th Street School. The project would involve renovating the remaining lunchroom building for a museum and community center, while using adjoining property for a walking trail, an amphitheater and a pavilion that could host picnics and other events.

By CY WOOD

WEST POINT — Two city landmarks of historic significance to West Point, especially its black residents, were discussed in terms of renovation and reuse during Tuesday's Mayor and City Council work session.

The Rev. Bill Fannings unveiled a proposal for developing a park and community center at the site of the old Tenth Street School building, and Mayor Drew Ferguson brought up plans for renovating the Virginia Cook Day Care Center.

Fannings said the Bethlehem Foundation acquired the property that once housed Tenth Street School. All that remains today is the former lunchroom.

He unveiled a plan that would convert the existing building into a 10th Street School Museum and Community Center, with adjoining property being used for a walking trail, a large pavilion and an amphitheater.

He suggested the city, which owns property surrounding the foundation's property, could use West Point Forward Fund grants to help in developing what would be an attractive greenspace on the 10th Street Corridor.

He said the West Point Forward Fund is designed to support sustainable projects in the Tenth Street Redevelopment District, and this project, right on 10th Street, would enhance the appearance of the area while providing much-needed civic facilities.

He suggested the city could gravel part of its property for a parking lot and assist in the construction of the other amenities.

Fannings said the amphitheater would be an ideal location for church meetings and concerts, and would be a very symbolic location for the black community.

The museum would enable the city to preserve important artifacts of its history, he said.

Everything that is envisioned involves simple construction, Fannings continued, and added he hoped the city would be willing to collaborate with the foundation in redeveloping the area.

Later in the meeting Mayor Drew Ferguson mentioned the work of another group that is developing plans for the Virginia Cook Day Care building.

A group of concerned citizens, including Council Members Ben Wilcox and Gloria Marshall, have been working on that project, Ferguson said.

It has been determined that the West Point Housing Authority owns the building, and has agreed in principle to convey it to the city.

Ferguson said the building is envisioned as a center for preserving the African American history of the city and for community use.

"There's momentum to get the project going," he said, "and it could be another catalyst for revitalization of the Ninth Street area."

Wilcox cautioned the Bethlehem group to be prepared for a long, involved process in developing the Tenth Street School project.

He said it could take up to two years to get through all the legal work involved with a non-profit undertaking, and said he would be glad to talk with them about what they had experienced with the Virginia Cook project.

City Manager Ed Moon said the city would need council approval before it could formally ask the West Point Housing Authority to convey the building to the city.

Valley employee raises reduced by health insurance cost
Valley employee raises reduced by health insurance cost

By WAYNE CLARK

VALLEY —A three-percent cost of living adjustment (COLA) City of Valley employees were expecting next year may be reduced to a onepercent raise with that extra two percent covering the rising cost of health insurance.

The Valley City Council discussed this possibility at a Monday evening work session. Mayor Leonard Riley told council members that he, City Clerk/Treasurer Regina Glaze and accountant Chris Kirk had met with representatives of the city's insurance provider, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, last Thursday at city hall.

"Three weeks ago, the first rate sheet came in showing an 18 percent rate increase," he said. "We worried about it for two weeks and set up a meeting to discuss it. We were then told that our rate had been grandfathered in at a 12.63-percent increase."

The city received a 10 percent increase last year in health insurance costs. There had been no increases for the previous six years.

Riley said that studying health insurance rate sheets is a new experience for him. The 20 years he was the county school superintendent he didn't have to do that. "The state provided it for us and dictated the cost," he said. "With the city, we are a group and can influence increases and decreases."

The city covers 32 individuals and 41 on family plans for a total of 73 people.

The rising costs are the result of a combination of rising claims, general industry trends and taxes caused by the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.

The city made money on insurance through 2009-10 but has lost it since then. A reserve has been depleted, and there has been a high rate of payouts this year.

Mayor Riley doesn't think it wise for the city to change from its current coverage to the state municipal plan. "It would cost us more and we'd have fewer benefits," he said. "I don't think we should change until we know what we are doing. Whatever we do affects our employees. They have individual or family plans."

The city is looking at an increase of over $66,000 in health insurance costs for next year.

"I'd earlier asked the department heads to put in a three-percent cost of living adjustment in their budgets," Mayor Riley said. "I'm now recommending to have a one percent COLA and to use the other two percent to pay the insurance. We need to study this plan and its benefits. Any increases at this point the city has to pick up. We will make some changes, but we want to make sure we have a good plan."

Mayor Riley said that Valley wasn't alone in dealing with this. "Everyone else is going through it, too," he said. "I'm afraid we are going to learn more about insurance this year than we ever wanted to know."

During the council meeting that preceded the work session, Mayor Riley appointed council members Paul Story, Marquetta Madden and Jimmy Gilson to serve with him on a committee to study this. "Roll up your sleeves," he said. "We have some work to do."

City employees haven't gotten a raise in five years. Some of them have been furloughed over that period.

Council Member Lana Wiggins said she would like for the employees to get the whole three-percent raise.

Council Jimmy Gilson said that many companies aren't dealing with health insurance increases, opting instead to put their employees on the exchange. "That's over $1,000. It's like hanging people," he said.

Riley said the department heads still have the projected three-percent raise in their budgets. The anticipated loss of around $530,000 in revenue (due in part to the hospital merger) plus the cost of the Sportsplex upgrades could cause some belt tightening next year.

West Point millage rate unchanged for 2014
West Point millage rate unchanged for 2014

By CY WOOD

WEST POINT — The millage rate in West Point will remain the same in 2014, although the city will experience a $52,087 decline in property tax revenues.

At Tuesday evening's work session of the Mayor and City Council, City Clerk Richard McCoy reported that the city hall staff is recommending the city keep its millage rate at 9.525 mills. That millage rate would generate property taxes totaling $1,363,499, compared to $1,415,586 in 2013.

McCoy explained that the city's tax digest had declined in 2014, to a net of $143,149,542, compared to $147,579,902 in 2013. The decline was due to reappraisals, he said.

To generate the same revenue as in 2013, the city would have had to raise its millage rate to 9.575 mills, McCoy said.

The mayor and city council will approve the millage rate at Monday's regular meeting. Mayor Drew Ferguson jokingly asked the council if anyone wanted to vote to raise taxes.

City Manager Ed Moon said some of the revenue lost from property taxes would be replaced with increased revenues from other sources, but it looks like total revenue for the city would be about $35,000 less for the 2015 budget.

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Valley's Shiver honored in AHSAA football spotlight
Valley's Shiver honored in AHSAA football spotlight

By Scott Sickler

Sports Editor

MONTGOMERY — Valley High senior offensive/defensive tackle Rye Shiver was honored in this week’s first edition of the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) Prep Spotlight.

Shiver had an outstanding game in helping the Rams defeat rival Lanett High 21-0 in the 71st meeting between the two schools last Friday.

Shiver was one of 13 defensive players honored from around the state.

The following is from AHSAA Communications Director Ron Ingram’s Prep Spotlight media release from Tuesday.

•RYE SHIVER, VALLEY: Recorded eight tackles and two sacks as the Rams beat Lanett 21-0 for the school’s 16th win in the series over the last 19 meetings. The defense totaled five sacks and forced four turnovers.

Big weekend on tap for high school football teams
Big weekend on tap for high school football teams

By Scott Sickler

Sports Editor

Friday’s marks the first full weekend of the high school football season and there’s already some very important contests on the schedule.

•The Valley Rams (1-0) are coming off a big 21-0 win over rival Lanett last week and look to make it two straight at home Friday in its home opener hosting 5A Greenville High.

The Rams defense was outstanding against a very potent and explosive Lanett offense, holding the Panthers to a little over 100 yards and pitched a shutout in the process. Valley’s stop troops will play a big role in the team’s success this season.

Look for Valley to make it two straight Friday.

•The Lanett Panthers (0-1) are looking to rebound and take out its frustration from last week in a road contest at an improved Notasulga team Friday.

You can expect the Panthers to rebound in style as Lanett is still one of the premiere 2A teams in the state and can accomplish all of its goals, including a big playoff run for a state title.

“We are playing a well coached Notasulga team,” Lanett coach Clifford Story noted. “This is not the same team from last year. They are very organized and have a lot of athletes on both sides of the ball. We will have to play four quarters and stick to our rules. I expect my team to be up for the challenge and play Lanett football — speed, energy, and intensity.”

•The Springwood Wildcats are coming off a resounding 50-14 opening win last week at Lyman Ward and face a talented Lakeside Chiefs team in a key region contest Thursday in Eufaula.

The Wildcats lost to Lakeside last year 38-22 and it’s a must win for Springwood to stay at the top with No. 1 Edgewood. Springwood is a talented team and will get better on a weekly basis.

“We have a big region game at Lakeside Thursday and we know that they are going to run the ball right at us,” said Wildcats coach Thomas Hill. “We are going to be very physical inside. Offensively, we're going to have to get the ball to our athletes in space and make plays.”

Take the Wildcats in this one as I believe Springwood has a chance at having a terrific season.

•The Troup Tigers open the season Friday against arch rival LaGrange at what will be a jam-packed Callaway Stadium.

This Tigers-Grangers showdown will be a dogfight as LaGrange is a much improved team and had rival and 3A No. 2-ranked Callaway High down 14-0 late in the game only to drop a tough 20-14 overtime contest.

Look for Troup to utilize its ball control oriented, split back veer offense.

It should be a great game between two very good teams.

“We are opening with our traditional rival LaGrange High School,” said coach Lynn Kendall. “This game has a great tradition in our community and both schools will be ready to play.”

•The Beulah Bobcats will look to get off to strong start when coach Jarrod Wooten’s team opens on the road at a talented foe in Woodland High.

“Woodland is a perennial playoff team and they know what it takes to win,” noted Wooten. “They have some big backs that run the ball hard and they are very quick off the ball. Defensively, they really have a lot of quickness. They have a great front seven that's going to fly to the football. They are well coached and extremely disciplined. We will have to make big improvements over last week to be able to compete.”

•At Chambers Academy, coach Jason Allen will lead a talented and athletic Rebels team in AISA 1A play with its sights set on a big playoff run.

Chambers will open on the road at Cornerstone Christian.

“Our guys have worked really hard this fall camp,” Allen said. “We are excited to hit somebody else. Cornerstone is a scrappy team that plays hard. We are expecting a four quarter game and we need to play error free. The team that turns the ball over usually loses these types of games. It's a region game right off the bat, so we need to execute at a high level.”

•The LaFayette Bulldogs open the James Lucas era Friday at home against the Loachapoka Indians.

The Bulldogs are also a much improved team. LaFayette has size, good depth and excellent skill personnel.

It should be a solid season for LaFayette.

Former Ram standout Flournoy inks ABA deal
Former Ram standout Flournoy inks ABA deal

By Scott Sickler

Sports Editor

MONTGOMERY — A former Valley High Runnin’ Rams standout is going to the big leagues.

Terrance Flournoy, a standout for coach George Hancock’s Runnin’ Rams from 2000-2003, recently signed a professional basketball contract for play for the Alabama Blackhawks of the American Basketball Association (ABA). The ABA is considered a semi-pro developmental league with the best players trying to land a spot on NBA rosters.

“This is something I’ve worked for over 10 years and now it’s reality,” Flournoy said. “It’s always been a goal of mine to play professional basketball. I never gave up on my dream. I signed with the Blackhawks Aug. 18.”

Flournoy was a member of Valley’s 2000 Final Four team in Birmingham which faced USA-Today nationally-ranked Huntsville-Lee in the 5A semifinals.

A player with all the skills at shooting guard, Flournoy averaged 26 points per game his senior year with the Runnin’ Rams.

Valley won over 20 games each of his four years as the Runnin Rams, Lanett and LaFayette have all been powerhouse high school programs for decades.

Following a stellar career at Valley High, Flournoy also played college ball at Concordia College in Selma.

The Montgomery-based Alabama Blackhawks are one of over 100 teams which plays in the ABA. Bob Heard serves as the general manager of the Blackhawks and is the brother of long-time Lanett educator Jamie Heard.

Basketball fans will remember the ABA glory days in the late 1960s and early 1970s with the likes of Julius Erving or “Dr. J,” Artis Gilmore and Dan Issel among many others.

And yes, the ABA still uses the red, white and blue striped basketball which Dr. J made so famous on his length-of-the-floor drives to the basket and resounding slam dunks as a member of the New Jersey Nets.

Flournoy’s Blackhawks play a challenging 25-game schedule starting Nov. 1 and some of the games are broadcast on ESPN3. The team opens on the road in Miami.

To say the ABA is a high-scoring league wouldn’t do the term justice. Flournoy said the Miami ABA franchise scored 233 points in one game last season.

It should be an exciting winter for Flournoy as he embarks on his professional career.

Obituaries

Obituaries for Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Obituaries for Wednesday, August 27, 2014

MR. CROSBY

LANETT — Funeral arrangements are pending for Mr. William Marvin Crosby Jr., 72, of Lanett, who died Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014, at East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika.

Johnson Brown-Service Funeral Home of Valley is handling arrangements.

MS. LESTER

DADEVILLE — Ms. Laine Lester, 69, of Dadeville died Monday, Aug. 25, 2014, at Russell Medical Center in Alexander City.

Silmon-Seroyer Funeral Home in Lafayette is handling arrangements.

MR. MEHAFFEY

LANETT — Mr. Jesse Franklin “Jack” Mehaffey, 92, of Lanett died Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014, at EAMC- Lanier Nursing Home in Valley.

Funeral services are planned for Friday, Aug. 29 at 11:30 a.m. at Lanett First United Methodist Church with the Rev. Rusty Williams officiating. A private family burial will follow at Oakwood Cemetery in Lanett with the Rev. David Bradshaw officiating.

McCarthy Funeral Home of West Point is handling arrangements.

MRS. RAUGHTON

HUGULEY — Mrs. Emily Raughton, 74, of Huguley died Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014, at her residence.

Funeral services are planned for Thursday, Aug. 28 at 11 a.m. at Johnson Brown-Service Funeral Home Chapel in Valley with the Revs. Derrick Rutledge and Floyd Aikens officiating. Burial will follow at Hillcrest Cemetery in Lanett.

Johnson Brown-Service Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

MASTER WILLIAMS

LANETT — Master Kameron Q. Williams died Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014, at East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika.

Graveside services will be held Wednesday, Aug. 27 at noon at Greenwood Baptist Church Cemetery in Lanett with the Rev. Terry Magby officiating.

Foreman Funeral Home of Valley is handling the funeral arrangements.

Obituaries for Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Obituaries for Tuesday, August 26, 2014

MR. HENDRY

ALEXANDER CITY — Mr. William Harold Hendry, 87, of Alexander City died Monday, Aug. 25, 2014, at Russell Medical Center in Alexander City.

Funeral services are planned for Wednesday, Aug. 27 at 2 p.m. at Johnson Brown-Service Funeral Home Chapel in Valley with the Rev. Floyd Aikens officiating. Burial will follow at Hillcrest Cemetery in Lanett.

Johnson Brown-Service Funeral Home of Valley is handling arrangements.

MS. McCULLOUGH

LANETT — Funeral arrangements are pending for Ms. Alma McCullough of Lanett, who died Monday, August 25, 2014, at her residence.

M.W. Lee Mortuary of West Point is handling arrangements.

MRS. RICHARDSON

LANETT — Mrs. Henriette Richardson, 79, of Lanett died Monday, Aug. 25, 2014, at her residence.

Funeral services are planned for Wednesday, Aug. 27 at 4 p.m. at Johnson Brown-Service Funeral Home Chapel in Valley with the Rev. Mike Hawkins officiating. Burial will follow at Resthaven Memorial Gardens.

Johnson Brown-Service Funeral Home of Valley is handling arrangements.

INFANT WILLIAMS

LANETT — Infant Kameron Q. Williams died Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014, at East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika.

Graveside services will be held Wednesday, Aug. 27 at noon at Greenwood Cemetery in Lanett with the Rev. Jerry Magby officiating.

Foreman Funeral Home of Valley is handling the arrangements.

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