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June 30, 2016
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Pre-construction conference held on Lanett bridge replacements
Pre-construction conference held on Lanett bridge replacements

On Tuesday afternoon, a pre-construction conference took place in the council chamber at Lanett City Hall to discuss the replacement of the bridges on Cherry Drive and North 11th Avenue that were either washed away or seriously damaged by the Christmas Eve flood. Chris Clark Grading & Paving Inc. will be the project contractor. Chambers County Highway Engineer Josh Harvill (seated at the far end of the table) reviewed the drawings and specifications for the two bridges with Clark, Mayor Kyle McCoy, city department heads and representatives from the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT). Work should get started the first week of July and should be complete by Sept. 30. "With good weather all the way through we could finish a little ahead of schedule," Harvill said. Both bridges will be built in similar fashion to the one that's now open on North 12th Street. Each will have three large pipes directing water from Tanyard Creek to the Chattahoochee River. City, county and state officials are working to replace the bridges according to Federal Highway Department standards. The federal government is picking up 80 percent of the cost on these two projects. (Photo by Wayne Clark)

Chambers considers abatements for two industrial projects
Chambers considers abatements for two industrial projects

By WAYNE CLARK

VALLEY — The Chambers County Commission's Rules, Ways and Means Committee met with Valerie Gray, Kimberly Carter and Chris Busby of the Chambers County Development Authority (CCDA) Wednesday to discuss not just one, but two, industrial prospects that have committed to locate in the LaFayette area.

One of them is Origis Energy, the Miami-based solar energy company that will be making an investment of between $100 million and $140 million to build a solar power plant near LaFayette. It's on schedule to go into operation in the fourth quarter of 2018 with five permanent employees. There will be a massive amount of labor here — estimated between 200 and 300 people — during the construction phase,

The second project is an automotive supplier that will be locating in an existing building that's located inside the LaFayette city limits. The company will be making a capital investment of just under $1.7 million and will employ 30 people.

The two companies are seeking tax abatements from the county commission and the City of LaFayette.

County Attorney Skip McCoy told members of the committee that he'd met with attorneys representing Origis Energy and that some changes had been made in the proposed project agreement.

McCoy said that the ad valorem abatement would not go into effect until production was under way. The county will be getting commercial rates on the property until that takes place. The sales and use tax on the property has a different stream. Collections will start earlier than they will with the ad valorem taxes.

Project PSR, or the auto supplier, is asking for a 10-year abatement. The city and county are in agreement on this. The abatement will be on the building improvements that are to be made. Under state law, there will be no abatement on what's already there. The company is expected to make around $350,000 in upgrading the building for production.

"Everything seems to be going smoothly," Carter said. "We are very excited to have them coming to Chambers County.

McCoy will be reviewing the proposed project agreement for the two industries. Approval of them could be on the agenda for the Tuesday, July 5 meeting of the county commission.

Project PSR is a plastic injection molding plant.

Commissioner Debbie Wood said that she would like for Alabama television, such as Channel 12 in Montgomery, to be seen by cable and satellite viewers in Chambers County. At present, only Georgia stations are available. Wood said that State Rep. Bob Fincher had succeeded in doing this for Randolph County and that she would like to see it done for Chambers as well. The first step in doing this is to have petitions signed.

"It's for both cable and satellite viewers," she said. "We need to get in touch with Rep. Fincher and see what we need to do. We need his input and direction."

Commissioner David Eastridge said that he missed getting Alabama news from Channel 12, something local viewers could do not that long ago. Commissioner Joe Blanks added somewhat jokingly that his reception was getting better. "When mine left Atlanta and went to Columbus I felt like I was getting closer to home," he said.

Wood added that she'd like for the "Reach the Teach" initiative to be on Tuesday's agenda. This would take some funds from the hotel/motel tax that's being collected and purchase school supplies that are needed by local teachers. At present, the teachers pay for this out of their own pockets. The county-funded program would have a central supply room location where teachers could go and get the materials they needed.

The supply room would be manned one day a week by a volunteer who would be there at a convenient time for the teachers.

Wood said she was pleased to learn that Alabama will be the first state in the union to receive an Internet sales tax from Amazon. "This will create a lot of sales tax for the state," she said. "There are some good things happening in Alabama. I just want to bring it to everyone's attention."

Cities could have an unfair advantage over counties with this. Anyone with a "Valley, Alabama" address, for example, would have their sales tax on an Internet purchase go to the city even though they may live in an unincorporated area.

Committee members talked with County Engineer Josh Harvill about the possible widening of Phillips Road near Huguley Elementary School. The commission has been looking at this due to traffic tie-ups when school is in session. A road project could also be a way of getting sewage to the school, something that's clearly needed.

Wood suggested having a town hall-type meeting to discuss this with residents of the Huguley community. Harvill said the county had to have clearance from the federal government before they could discuss right of way acquisitions. That would be necessary in a road widening project. Approximately 20 landowners would be affected.

McCoy brought up another potential issue: in the event there's a mortgage on any of the affected property, the lending bank would have to give its approval, too.

"It's not just residential land we are talking about," Harvill said, pointing out that the Circle K and Big Cat gas stations along with the Farmers & Merchants bank location would be affected as well.

Harvill said there was around $1.2 million in federal funds available to be used on this project but that $1 million more would be needed to be comfortable with taking on such a project. It's not eligible for ATRIP money.

Harvill added that a six-cent gas tax that was under consideration by the Alabama legislature this year could have some significant benefits for Chambers County. "We could get an additional $13 million over 10 years," he said. "This would allow us to complete our ten-year transportation plan in half the time."

The ten-year plan calls for the paving of 54 miles of roads and four bridge projects.

Black bear seen in Chambers County captured in Opelika
Black bear seen in Chambers County captured in Opelika

By DAVID BELL

OPELIKA — A young black bear, first sighted in the 1500 block of South Eighth Avenue in Lanett Monday morning, was sedated, captured and relocated by state wildlife officials Wednesday after it appeared in an Opelika neighborhood.

Game warden and wildlife experts had been tracking the bear since Monday afternoon following numerous sightings across Chambers County, including communities in Valley and Cusseta. The animal was last seen Tuesday evening near the truck stop at Exit 77 on Interstate 85, headed toward Lee County.

Wednesday morning, residents living near Allen Street and Plum Avenue in Opelika were alarmed to find the bear in their neighborhood, and quickly notified law enforcement. Upon arrival, officers found the animal in a tree and contacted wildlife officials. The bear was then successfully sedated and relocated to another area.

Steve Bryant, District 2 supervising biologist for the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, provided a possible explanation for the rare sighting.

"Late spring and early summer is usually when sub-adult males are expelled from their mother's territory, and will wander for miles seeking a new place to establish a home range," said Bryant. "Other potential reasons for their increased visibility include habitat fragmentation and simply a natural growth in the black bear population."

There were no reports of local property damage or direct contact with domestic animals during the period of time the bear was in Chambers County.

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Lanett football at Alabama State Hornets 7-on-7 camp
Lanett football at Alabama State Hornets 7-on-7 camp

By Scott Sickler

Times-News Sports Editor

MONTGOMERY — The Lanett Panthers open the first of what will be three 7-on-7 skills camps this summer when coach Clifford Story’s team travels to Alabama State University today for a multischool skills camp competition.

The camp today at ASU is one of three the Panthers will participate in and see where they stand against several top-notch programs.

Led by senior and three-year starter Tre Story at quarterback, Lanett will feature a potent offense, some excellent wideouts and good defensive play.

Lanett is looking to bounce back from tough seasons in 2014 and 2015 and earn a playoff spot, challenge for the region championship and make a big run in the AHSAA 2A state playoffs.

West Point 10U, 12U baseball stars at Peachtree City
West Point 10U, 12U baseball stars at Peachtree City

By Scott Sickler

Times-News Sports Editor

WEST POINT — They won’t be hosting any all-star baseball and softball events this summer but the West Point Recreation Department will still have nine all-star teams competing for district and state honors, George Greene, West Point Recreation Department assistant director, told The Times-News Wednesday.

West Point will field six baseball all-star teams, including 10U, 10-11, 12U, 14U, 16U and 18U.

In addition, they’ll also field three girls softball all-star teams, including 10U, 12U and 16U.

Greene said the 10U and 12U baseball all-stars are competing this week at the District IV tourney in Peachtree City.

“The 10U and 12U baseball teams are the only two teams playing district tourneys,” Greene noted. “All of our other teams (four additional baseball and three softball) are advancing directly to state tourneys." State tournament play will open Sat., July 9, Greene added.

Troup's Glisson: 'we're definitely progressing'
Troup's Glisson: 'we're definitely progressing'

By Scott Sickler

Times-News Sports Editor

LaGRANGE — Three summer camp events down and one to go for the rapidly improving Troup Tigers football team following Tuesday’s 11-on-11 team camp with rival Callaway High at the Tigers practice field.

The Troup-Callaway match was the third 11-on-11 event for the Tigers this summer.

Troup competed with Northside of Columbus and Marion Co. two weeks ago and traveled to Harris Co. last week.

The Tigers-Cavaliers camp was spirited action all over the field from offensive and defensive line play to the skill players, including quarterbacks, wideouts and defensive backs.

Tuesday’s action with Callaway featured a plethora of talented players, especially in the backfield and at wideout.

It was a good showing by both schools and facing a stout Callaway squad was a nice indicator of just how far coach Tanner Glisson’s Tigers have come against one of the top 2A programs in the state in fierce rival Callaway, a team loaded with skill personnel and expected to contend for the state championship.

“Today was a good measuring stick,” Glisson noted. “We looked a little unsure in the morning session, almost like we were feeling our way through things, but I was pleased with the afternoon 11-on-11. The mistakes that we are making now are correctable opposed to last year where we were just overmatched at certain positions. We saw some good things on film that we can teach from and that's always a plus. We’re definitely progressing, there’s no doubt about that, but we've still got a ton of work to do.”

Troup will host Jordan of Columbus and Marion Co. Thursday at 10 a.m. at the Tigers practice field.

Obituaries

Obituaries for Thursday, June 30, 2016
Obituaries for Thursday, June 30, 2016

MR. BARBER

STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. — Mr. Charlie Barber Jr. of Stone Mountain passed away Wednesday, June 29, 2016, at DeKalb Medical Center in Decatur, Ga.

Arrangements will be announced by Lakes-Dunson-Robertson Funeral Home in LaGrange.

MR. SLAUGHTER

DAVISTON, Ala. — Mr. Johnnie R. Slaughter, 62, of Daviston died Monday, June 27, 2016, at University of Alabama Hospital in Birmingham, Ala.

Funeral services will be held Friday, July 1 at 1 p.m. CDT at Leander Baptist Church in Daviston with the Rev. Calvin Trammell officiating. Burial will follow at the church cemetery.

Vines Funeral Home in LaFayette is in charge of arrangements.

Obituaries for Wednesday, June 29, 2016
Obituaries for Wednesday, June 29, 2016

No obituaries were reported today.

Obituaries for Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Obituaries for Tuesday, June 28, 2016

MRS. BARBER

LANETT — Mrs. Clara Jean Barber, 85, of Lanett passed away Sunday, June 26, 2016, at Erlanger Medical Center in Chattanooga, Tenn., surrounded by her loving family.

Funeral services will be held Wednesday, June 29 at 11 a.m. at First United Methodist Church of Lanett with the Rev. Russell H. Williams officiating. Burial will follow at Oakwood Cemetery in Lanett.

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

MRS. ELLIS

OPELIKA, Ala. — Mrs. Mary Emily Ellis, 92, of Opelika, formerly a longtime resident of Valley, passed away Saturday, June 25, 2016, at Arbor Springs Health and Rehabilitation in Opelika.

Funeral services will be held Wednesday, June 29 at 2 p.m. at Fairfax First United Methodist Church with the Rev. Bill Kierce and the Rev. Paul Gregor officiating. Burial will follow at Fairfax Cemetery.

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

MRS. THOMAS

DAVISTON, Ala. — Mrs. Juanita Thomas, 89, of Daviston died Saturday June 25, 2016, at her residence.

Graveside services will be held at noon CDT Wednesday June 29 at LaFayette City Cemetery with the Rev. Bill Hand officiating.

Jeff Jones Funeral Home in LaFayette is in charge of arrangements.

MRS. TUCKER

VALLEY — Mrs. Lera Rudine McClain Tucker, 87, of Valley, a beloved mother, wife, grandmother and friend, passed away peacefully Monday, June 27, 2016, at her residence in Valley surrounded by her family.

Funeral services will be held Wednesday, June 29 at 4 p.m. at Johnson Brown-Service Funeral Home Chapel in Valley with the Rev. Ron Lewis officiating. Burial will follow at Johnson Memorial Gardens.

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

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