Each year during National Nursing Home Week, Lanier Nursing Home hosts a pageant for the senior ladies residing there. This year's pageant took place Thursday evening in the nursing home's first floor dining room. A standing-room-only crowd was present, and each of the 10 candidates charmed the judges with their appearance and their outlook on life. Ms. Lanier Nursing Home 2013 is Nancy Sherman, seated at right, She has one daughter, Joann Magby, and loves to have good debates with people. On the left is Miss Congeniality Sybil Holmes. She and her husband of 67 years, James Holmes, live together at Lanier Nursing Home. Standing, from left, are first runner-up Catherine Welch and second runner-up Voncile Beck. Catherine, who still gets around quite well at 86, enjoys singing, watching TV and attending church with her grandkids. Voncile, 87, said that the most important thing in her life was her children and grandchildren. (Photo by Wayne Clark)
By TREY WOOD
LaGRANGE — Residents of Troup's District 3 on Thursday made their voices heard concerning county garbage collection — keep it the way it is.
Commissioner Tripp Foster held a sanitation panel discussion Thursday, one of five to be held. Each commissioner allowed several residents to be part of a panel who discussed changes to the county's collection methods.
"The capital budget since 2009 has been very, very tight, and we haven't been able to spend any money on capital in any of our departments, so it's been very, very difficult," County Manager Tod Tentler.
County administrators found themselves in a dilemma. They needed to spend $1 million to upgrade all of the county's convenience centers. A total 12 compactors need replacement at $264,000; 50 open top garbage containers need to be replaced at $400,000, and total renovations to all the sites will cost about $550,000.
The compactors needing replacement are not self contained. When the garbage is compacted together, large amounts of liquid flow out of the containers onto the ground, causing environmental hazards and destroying asphalt around them.
"The self contained ones, when you squeeze everything in, everything stays in it," Tentler said. "In the old ones that we have, they squeeze it in and all the liquid just oozes out, so it's not environ-
The containers also have rust problems due to the liquid.
It currently costs $455,553 to run each of the centers, all of which are run by an administrator and inmate labor and none of which are open seven days a week.
The containers of household garbage currently are carried off by the city of LaGrange, which charged $192,000 in tipping fees in 2012.
"We're just not set up to do that, the hauling of the bins," Tentler said. "… One truck, one driver right now."
To help combat the infrastructure costs, the commissioners put forward six options to discuss.
Option A includes maintaining the current systems and completing the required upgrades, with the $1,014,000 to be paid over five years through additional revenue streams.
Option B includes operating convenience centers seven days a week with the $1,014,000 to be paid over five years, along with increased annual operation expenses of $349,809.
Option C includes contracting with a private company to maintain and operate convenience centers.
Option D includes "pay as you throw" convenience centers with the same investment as option B. Residents would purchase special bags at designated locations to use the sites, with the bags funding the infrastructure upgrades and operating expenses.
Option E includes require each household to contract with a private hauler to handle household garbage and recycling.
Option F calls for a contract with a provider to provide curbside pickup with recycling, with each resident given a 96-gallon roll-out container and house pick-up available for elderly and handicapped residents.
Three convenience centers would be kept open.
Option F also included a separate can for recyclables, something the county receives no funds from.
Currently, the city of LaGrange charges $75 to pick up a single recyclable container. The city also keeps the funds from the sale of the recyclables.
"In 13,000 households, there's probably close to $900,000 in value in our recycling," Tentler said, "and we encourage people to recycle, but it's something very, very difficult to do."
The option would utilize a single stream system, allowing residents to pile all recyclables in one can without separation.
With only one option spoken on, residents at the meeting, as well as two other districts with meetings already held, made it very clear what they wanted the commissioners to do.
"I can tell you right now, as most of you already know, the two meetings we've had previously, almost eight out of 10 people liked Option A, which is keep doing what we're doing and replace those items," Tentler said. "That's where it's headed now.
"This group may do something different, I kind of doubt it, but it could happen."
Tentler's comment was met to laughter throughout the room.
When Foster asked for a show of hands of who wanted the count to go forward with forced curbside pickup, only one resident raised their hand.
"There's a lot of good ideas, but … there's no perfect idea," Tentler said. "We've just got to do what we can and get the best idea and make ours the best it can be. There's no way you'll ever make everybody happy. I learned a long time ago, even though I'm here today, that you don't mess with people's trash.
"I'm breaking one of my rules right now."
The commissioners are expected to hold two more meetings for the final two districts next week. They'll come to a decision following those meetings.
By TREY WOOD
LaGRANGE — The Troup County Board of Education received a bit of good news at Thursday's regular meeting after administrators saved more than $170,000 in the tentative 2014 food service budget.
A combination of low revenues with even lower expenses allowed for the lower budget, currently $6,400,357.
Last year's proposed budget was at $6,572,588.
Maintenance, salaries and U.S. Department of Agriculture purchases all came in lower than expected, with salaries showing a variance of $78,260 less as the largest.
Also Thursday, the board approved the 2013-14 tentative general fund budget, which showed no changes from Tuesday's caucus meeting.
The budget currently is $95,929,745, about $1 million short of last year's projected budget.
The system is required by state law to pass a balanced budget.
In other action, Thursday, the board approved:
•Two purchase orders of $64,800 to Diane Mitchell of LaGrange and Sarah Christman of Carrollton for interpreting services within the school system and another purchase order of $34,000 to Judith Brown of LaGrange for other interpreting services.
•An order of $57,600 to Connie Toney of Ellerslie, Ga., for physical therapy services within the school system.
•Extending Superintendent Cole Pugh's contract for another year following him receiving a satisfactory annual evaluation by the board.
•Mauldin and Jenkins, Certified Public Accountants, of Atlanta for the system's contracted 2013 financial audit and special purpose local option sales tax performance review at a total cost of $46,000.
•An order of $50,000 to the Troup County Board of Commissioners to place a resource officer at Callaway High School.
•Selecting Torrance Construction Co. of LaGrange to be construction manager at risk at a 6-percent fee for classroom additions at Callaway and Franklin Forest Elementary school, for a total cost of about $228,000.
•Contracting with Sodexo Operations for the fourth of a five-year contract period for management services associated with all food programs.
By Scott Sickler
Times-News Sports Editor
LaGRANGE — Amazing, stunning, incredible and unbelievable.
Those are just some of the words you’ll hear from parents and fans at the Troup High baseball practices over the course of the last two weeks in its amazing run in the GHSA 4A baseball state playoffs.
Believe it because it’s real and getting better and even more amazing in each of the possible five rounds of the baseball state playoffs.
“A great group of kids,” Troup assistant coach Jamie Schmitt says of the 2013 Troup Tigers. “They’ve done everything we’ve asked of them and more. Coach Garner and I, our staff, school officials, parents and fans are really proud of our kids and what they’ve accomplished.”
What Troup has done at the very high skill and talent level they play in GHSA baseball is simply amazing and unheard of.
“We’re pleased with where we are and puts us in position to have a chance to do something very special,” said Garner. “Our guys have worked very hard and we do year-round. We keep to our system and it’s proven to be successful for the long haul.”
One of the keys to this year’s team has been terrific starting pitching, top-notch team defensive play, timely hitting and many times, flawless execution of its gameplan in utilizing “small ball” to win.
Troup has done it in the past and they’re doing it again in the state playoffs this spring as well.
Execution of “small ball,” outstanding pitching and team defense is why Troup is 6-0 in the playoffs (13-2 in road playoff games in the 2012-13 seasons.)
A former Tiger player, Garner is in 12th season as head coach of the Troup baseball program and he’s failed to earn a state playoff berth only one time.
That’s consistent success and although they haven’t broke through and won a state championship yet, has put the school truly among the elite of all of GHSA baseball.
Winning each year, making the playoffs and making long playoff runs is commonplace for the Tiger program.
That’s Troup baseball and they’re doing it very well and rewarded for their for discipline, character and mental toughness.
“We were able to do a good job of executing our plays against Veterans, who was a great hitting team and very talented,” Garner noted.
The next step for the Tigers is a semifinal showdown against a very strong Redan Raiders team (26-6).
Redan shocked three-time defending state champion Columbus in the second-round at the Blue Devils home field. The Raiders swept Columbus 5-4 and 9-4.
Like Troup, Redan is battle-tested and played a brutal schedule with 12 teams state-ranked.
•The Troup-Redan semifinal series will be a doubleheader Mon. May 20 with games at 2 and 5 p.m. ET. The “if necessary” Game 3 would be May 21.
By Scott Sickler
Times-News Sports Editor
LaGRANGE — Head coach Lynn Kendall and the Troup Tigers football team will conclude spring drills Friday evening when they hold the annual Blue-Gold intrasquad scrimmage at 6 p.m. ET at Callaway Stadium.
It’s been a very encouraging and productive spring for the Tigers, who once again are blessed with some outstanding personnel on both sides of the ball.
Troup will have a large senior class this fall and have numerous college prospects with running back Darryl Dunlap, lineman R.J. Hairston, noseguard Dikembe Billingslea, lineman Wellington Callaway, and multi-skill talent in the secondary and backfield in Devonte Swanson.
Interest in the program has been excellent, coach Kendall noted.
“We’ve had 112 kids out for spring drills and we’re working hard to prepare for what we hope is a really good season,” Kendall noted. “We’ve got a number of kids who are very talented on both sides of the ball, both in terms of skill personnel and size and we’re excited about the fall season.”
By Scott Sickler
Times-News Sports Editor
VALLEY — The Lanett Panthers and Valley Rams don’t play a regular season game anymore but football fans for both schools will be excited to know the long-time rivals will play a scrimmage contest Friday evening at 7 p.m. ET at Rams Stadium.
In these difficult economic times, it’s no secret any type of Lanett-Valley athletic contest is a money maker and for the Rams and Panthers football teams to get together, you can expect a huge crowd Friday evening in support of both programs.
Lanett and Valley both earned playoff spots last year and are expected to do the same again this fall.
Coach Clifford Story’s Panthers will be led by senior All-State and All-American candidate FS/WR Jalen Washington and senior quarterback Mandell Ray.
Valley coach Marshon Harper lost a wealth of talented players last year but do return a lot of size, depth and excellent skill personnel led by Martravious Williams.
Friday’s Rams-Panthers showdown is a scrimmage but a very good indicator for both teams about the strengths to build on for the fall and weaknesses to address come August.