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November 20, 2017
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43 Veterans take part in recent Honor Bus tour
43 Veterans take part in recent Honor Bus tour

VETERANS AT THE MUSEUM — Batson-Cook recently sponsored an Honor Bus Tour from West Point to the National Infantry Museum in Columbus. Shown above are the veterans, members of their families and guests who participated in the trip, which took place the week of Veterans’ Day. (Photo Special to VT-N)

Special to Times-News

WEST POINT — Rain didn’t dampen the spirits of 43 veterans, their guests, and a host of Batson-Cook Construction employees who participated in a recent Veterans’ Day “Honor Bus Tour” to the National Infantry Museum in Columbus.It was the ninth annual “Honor Bus Tour” – a day-long trip from West Point to Columbus that included a guided tour of the National Infantry Museum (NIM), a buffet lunch, a movie about D-Day and the Normandy invasion, lots of time for veterans to share memories, and a huge outpouring of respect and appreciation from the Batson-Cook employees on the tour, active duty soldiers, and NIM staff.

The 43 veterans – some from as far back as World War II – and their guests gathered at Batson-Cook’s West Point office for a continental breakfast before boarding a chartered coach for the ride to Columbus.

The National Infantry?Museum is dedicated solely to the American infantryman’s journey to defeat tyranny around the globe. The museum boasts 1,845 historic artifacts on display from its collection of more than 29,152 items; 38 immersive walk-throughs, interactive kiosks and guest-triggered videos; and 42 individual monuments, including the Vietnam Memorial Plaza and WWII Company Street.

Batson-Cook organized the first Honor Bus Tour in 2009, the year in which the company completed construction of the 190,000-square-foot museum.

Project Manager Travis Evans, who was assigned to the 33-month-long project, was inspired to create this event for veterans because he was deeply moved by two things during the construction process: the developer’s commitment to make NIM one of the nation’s leading military history destinations, and the incredible contribution of the American infantryman throughout history. The result was the Honor Bus Tour, which to date has provided a memorable and moving experience for the nearly 375 veterans who have participated.

City, county work together on boat landing improvements
City, county work together on boat landing improvements

By WAYNE CLARK

Times-News News Editor

LaFAYETTE — in July, the Chambers County Commission and the City of Valley agreed to partner in paving the entrance and parking areas at the Shawmut and Langdale boat landings. In addition, the city will be resurfacing the airport’s walking trail.

The Commission has assisted the city in the past by blading the boat ramps to keep them accessible. Last year, the Commission decided to discuss the possibility of doing some paving at these sites.

“The Chattahoochee River is such a wonderful resource to our community,” said District 6 Commissioner Debbie Wood. “We decided it was a worthwhile investment to do this. It’s a means of promoting the recreational use of the river.”

The City of Valley was not only in favor of the partnership but decided to leverage the projects to acquire a better price for resurfacing the Shawmut Airport walking trail, an investment Valley city officials were already looking at.

“We’re very appreciative of the county’s willingness to assist us with these improvements,” said Valley Mayor Leonard Riley. “Together with the Walking Trail, we feel like this continues to provide our citizens with multiple recreational options along the river.”

Under the current agreement, Chambers County will provide approximately $143,000 to pave the existing entrances and parking area at the Shawmut and Langdale boat landings. The city will provide approximately $80,000 to resurface the Shawmut Airport walking trail and to add an additional paved parking area near the Shawmut boat ramp.

The Chambers County Highway Department provided the construction plans and the grading work to prepare for the paving. Chris Clark Grading and Paving, Lanett, was awarded the paving and the striping bid.

Reward offered for information on Carol Evans
Reward offered for information on Carol Evans

By JACOB HOLMES

Special to The Times-News

WEST POINT – A cash reward is being offered as investigators search for their seventh day for 75-year-old Carol Evans, who was last seen Nov. 10 at her home on Lower Lovelace Road in West Point.

Sgt. Stewart Smith with the Troup County Sheriff’s Office said a large cash reward is being offered for information that leads to the location of Evans. Smith said the reward is being offered by someone who knows the family and not by the Troup County Sheriff’s Office.

“If there’s anybody out there that’s hesitant to come forward, hopefully that reward can push somebody a little further to bring that information [in],” Smith said.

Evans’ family is hopeful that she is alive and is asking anyone with information to call the police if they know where she might be. Bill Evans, Carol’s husband, said the Troup County Sheriff’s Office has been professional throughout the search and has kept the family up to date with the latest information.

“We’ve been getting by the best we can,” Bill said. “[The TCSO] is a very professional, competent group. We have been impressed with their work. We still are holding on to hope to find her alive. They’ve searched all around here and in these woods and everything with dogs and they have not found a thing, but we have not given up hope that somebody’s going to find her alive.”

Carol, 75, went missing Friday afternoon around 2 p.m. while Bill was cutting grass. Bill said he realized she was missing when he came back to their house.

“I had been gone about an hour. I have a tractor that I keep over in [another] building, and it’s got a regular garage door on it where the light [will turn] on when you open and close the door. I left the door open. It also comes on if someone goes in there. When I got back from across the road with the tractor, the light was already on,” Bill said. “I didn’t think anything about it. I thought it was a dog or something that had walked in there.”

Bill said he thought his wife was looking for him when he realized the house was empty. He then went into the woods behind his house to look for her.

“I got a bunch of trails up through there, and after about 15 or 20 minutes, I decided I needed to get some professional help, so that’s when I called 911,” he said.

The TCSO has been looking for Carol ever since.

Bill said his wife suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease.

“She was forgetting things. She also had trouble reacting to things that normally she wouldn’t have any problems with,” Bill said. “That Alzheimer’s is a bad situation. She was dealing with it the best she could.”

On Thursday, investigators canvassed the neighborhood, asking neighbors if there was any other information they could share regarding Evans’ disappearance. On Wednesday, a neighbor on Lower Lovelace called the sheriff’s office about a suspicious rust-brown Cutlass with plain rims and a loud muffler that was seen leaving the area at a high rate of speed. The car ran a stop sign and turned left onto Shoemaker Road. It was driven by a black male.

Smith said Wednesday the information about the car may not be related to the case.

Investigators spent Thursday talking to neighbors again about the disappearance.

“We went door-to-door to make sure nobody has any other information that they need to offer to us,” Smith said. “Tomorrow we are going to meet back up with another one of the dog handlers and just let her work the area again.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact 911, the TCSO at (706) 883-1616 or Troup County Crime Stoppers at (706) 812-1000.

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CA Rebels look to close out perfect season Friday
CA Rebels look to close out perfect season Friday

By Scott Sickler

Times-News Sports Editor

LaFAYETTE — He’s by far the most successful coach in Chambers Academy football history and been to the state finals four times (losing all four) but for veteran CA coach and former player Jason Allen, Friday’s AISA 1A state championship showdown against the Patrician Saints is the one final piece of the puzzle in what could be the Rebels best team in school history.

Chambers (12-0) and Patrician (8-4) will meet for the AISA 1A state championship Friday at 12 noon CT at Troy University.

Simply put, CA has done everything they’ve been asked, defeating 12 foes and have beaten teams with overwhelming offense on the ground but used a sterling, team defensive effort last week against Abbeville to earn its spot in the 1A finals.

In short, the Rebels can do it all and when they needed players to step up and meet challenges, they did so, particularly last week, with an amazing team defensive effort. CA stopped Abbeville 7-of-8 times inside it’s own 40, including five red zone stops and three inside the CA 10. That’s what a championship team is all about — being relentless and doing what it takes to get the win.

In the finals, CA will clash with Patrician, the other No. 1 seed from the west bracket.

“Patrician is a hard-nosed football team that plays extremely hard from start to finish,” Allen said. “They are a mirror image of us on offense as they run the Wing-T and like to control the line of scrimmage with their running game. Defensively, they are only giving up 15 points a game, so they are really stingy on that side of the ball. It will be important for us to play well offensively. We are really excited to be back in this position and representing our school in a state championship contest. We’ve been here before and we know what to expect. Hopefully our past experiences will serve us well and we can bring back the championship that has alluded us for a long time.”

CA is 0-5 all-time in the state finals, losing in 1996 (under coach Ken Fordham, Allen was an assistant), 1999, 2000, 2015 and 2016. Allen has been head coach since 1998 and the Rebels lost a pair of gut-wrenching state finals in 1999 at home at Torbert Field to Autauga (28-27) and in 2016 dropped a heart-breaking, last-minute 34-33 game to Marengo. The Autauga loss in ’99 was even more painful as CA drove the field to score — 92 yards to be exact — in the last few minutes of the game to narrow the deficit to 28-27. They went for the win on a two-point run around the left flank and was stopped just short of the goal line and denied the win.

But as Allen, CA players and fans will tell you, this is the 2017 season and this may be the best overall team in Rebels history.

CA has outscored its foes by a whopping 515-121 margin, rushed for over 4,000 yards yet again for the third straight season and on the verge of hitting the 14,000-yard rushing mark in three seasons as well. In terms of football stats, 14,000 yards rushing is absolutely off the charts and a record that may stand for all-time. Unless, of course, CA breaks it again next year.

•One of the greatest high school football trivia questions also involves coach Allen. Former Edgewood legend and now Autauga head coach Bobby Carr has an 83-game winning streak as a head coach. Can you name the last coach in the AISA ranks to have defeated a Carr-led team? You guessed it, coach Allen when he was leading the Glenwood Gators back in 2010 with a 13-12 win over the Wildcats.

•The CA-Patrician game will kick off at 12 noon CT Friday.

No. 2 Lanett hosts Sand Rock in second-round Friday
No. 2 Lanett hosts Sand Rock in second-round Friday

By Scott Sickler

Times-News Sports Editor

LANETT — After dispatching Tanner by a 41-8 score in the first-round of the AHSAA 2A state playoffs last week, the unbeaten and No. 2-ranked Lanett Panthers (11-0) will host Sand Rock (9-2) in second-round Friday at 7 p.m. CT at Morgan-Washburn Stadium.

Now in his ninth season at Lanett and the dean of local coaches, Clifford Story, a former standout quarterback at LaFayette and Jacksonville State, leads the talent-laden Panthers.

“Sand Rock is a well-coached team,” Story said. “They are physical and huge across the front. We have to execute in all phases of the game. We must gang tackle on defense and play fast on offense. We’ll need a complete game to win. I like the way we’re playing, it’s good football, and I will take my Panthers all day and twice on Sunday.”

Quarterback Kristian Story has enjoyed a brilliant first-season as the full-time starter. He’s completed 99-of-150 passes for 2,693 yards and 30 TD strikes.

Terrion Truitt has 23 TDs rushing and receiving, Anquaveious Pollard has tallied 21 receptions for 649 yards and eight TDs, Juwan Howell has rushed for 706 yards on 93 carries and four TDs and Trikweze Bridges has 17 receptions for 537 yards. On defense, Bridges has recorded six interceptions and has 24 career INTs.

Baraskious Dowdell, Braylon Harrington, Keavis Sands, Jarren Ross and Dee Dobbs have all had great seasons.

Lanett’s team defensive play is one of the main reason why fans, players and coaches alike think the Panthers can win the 2A state title. They have been terrific and when they needed to shut a team down, they have done so in impressive fashion.

Lanett has recorded 32 interceptions and rung up 41 sacks. That’s championship style team defense.

Contrast in styles: Troup by air; St. Pius X via ground
Contrast in styles: Troup by air; St. Pius X via ground

By Scott Sickler

Times-News Sports Editor

LaGRANGE — It will be a major contrast in styles here Friday evening in metro Atlanta when the GHSA 4A No. 7-ranked Troup Tigers (9-2) take on the region champion St. Pius X Lions in GHSA second-round playoff action.

Friday’s Tigers-Lions game will pit a high-octane passing game by Troup against a Lions team which favors a strong rushing attack. A Troup aerial assault force vs. a Panzer division ground game in St. Pius X should be an interesting matchup to see which team can force the other to play its style.

The undercard in the contrasting styles of offense is the underrated Troup defense, which played one of its best games of the season last week in a decisive 31-7 win over Heritage-Catoosa on the road in Ringgold.

The Tigers defense played a terrific game, dominating a high-powered Heritage Generals offense. It’s lone score was the result of a Troup fumble.

The best attribute for Troup is its athleticism and overall team speed. With a wealth of talented receivers, the Tigers can turn a simple bubble screen into a long scoring play with tremendous athletic ability. The top four receivers include Jamari Thrash, Kobe Hudson, Anthony Mark-Dixon and Kenly Bridwell.

On defense, Troup can run out several standout players including King Mwikuta, Joco Willis and Macenta Stafford just to name a few.

“We’re excited to still be playing and I'm very proud of our guys and the foundation that has been paid by our guys through their hard work,” said third-year Troup coach Tanner Glisson. After 1-9 season in 2015, Troup is now 17-5 the last two years. “St. Pius X is going to be an extremely difficult opponent, they have a tremendous coaching staff and a ton of tradition,” noted Glisson. “We've only been to the quarterfinals three times in school history and they've been there six times in the past 10 seasons.”

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