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August 22, 2017
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Greater Valley Area gets a glimpse of solar eclipse Monday
Greater Valley Area gets a glimpse of solar eclipse Monday

Students in Lindsey Ennis’ second grade class at Bob Harding-Shawmut Elementary School in Valley had the chance to see a total eclipse of the sun Monday afternoon. And they did it with maximum safety, looking at it through NASA-approved safety glasses. Monday’s celestial event was the best solar eclipse for the continental U.S. since 1918. For second graders, it was an opportunity to experience something early in life and even better days lie ahead. They will be in the ninth grade when another total solar eclipse comes our way in April 2024. The students above include, from left, Irish Pritchard, Jordan Sharpe, Deanna Travis, Nl’Haveyah Tigner, Carly Yates, Bryson McCurdy, Karsten Peterson, Jordyn Morgan, Russell Lauderdale, Macy Wadkins, Madison Dent, MyKeylan Thomas, Blake Overton, Ayden Newton and Kenadie Thompson. (Photo by Wayne Clark)


Aug. 21, 2017, was a date VT-N News Editor Wayne Clark had looked forward to for a long time. Forty-seven years to be exact.

When he was in high school in March 1970, Wayne had been greatly disappointed by a major solar eclipse that took place over the southeastern United States. Thick clouds took away any chance for good viewing that day. It was hugely disappointing that another one like it wouldn’t come along until the year 2017.

If I’m still living by then, Wayne thought to himself, I’ll be really old and won’t have any interest in things like eclipse watching, but if I am still around to see it I sure hope it won’t be another cloudy day like today.

Wayne never thought of that date in the ensuing years, only to be reminded of it by his younger brother on New Year’s Eve. Amid sips of a potent concoction the Clark boys call Chattahoochee Hooch, Jeff brought up a big solar eclipse that was going to take place sometime in the new year. A few days later, Wayne started making plans, looking up the date and time and getting a welder’s filter that could adapt to a long lens camera.

Then it was the matter of counting off the days. Surely it will be better than 1970. It must be.

As the months and days passed, sporadic accounts came in of an eclipse that was in store, the best one for the continental U.S. since 1918. And it would be a uniquely American thing, a total eclipse that would pass over just one country.

Then came some early disappointment, a long-range forecast for cloudy skies and rain on the Weather Channel. The predictions got better over the weekend. Saturday and Sunday were beautiful days with hardly a cloud in the sky. If only Monday would be like that.

The forecast called for partly cloudy skies. That wasn’t too bad. If it was partly cloudy, the sun would be covered by passing clouds for short periods, leaving long minutes to see and photograph the eclipse, so Wayne thought.

The eclipse would start around 1:30 and peak around an hour later. Surely there would be a chance to see this very rare event. Things looked really grim, though, around one o’clock when huge, puffy clouds rolled in. It could really rain on a parade some 47 years in the making, Wayne couldn’t help but think.

During the one o’clock hour after taking a photo of a group of children in front of Bob Harding-Shawmut Elementary School practicing eclipse watching, Wayne got a break when the clouds parted briefly. This allowed him to take his first eclipse photo of the day against a brilliant blue sky.

“Well, it’s not total defeat,” Wayne muttered to himself. “At least I’ll have one decent picture.”

Later when he looked at that image on the computer he found it to be sharp and distinct but rather colorless. It looked to be a white orb against a black sky. In its transit in front of the sun, the moon had blocked out an upper portion of old sol, the sort of thing that might happen when one of Daenery’s flying dragons took out a bite-sized chunk.

But what was truly amazing were the pictures taken through the clouds. Crescent-shaped images of the sun were unexpectedly bright and distinct. More unexpected were the visual images of the patchy clouds. What’s especially hard to understand is that the eclipsed sun appears to be in front of, not behind, the gloomy green clouds. Those colors, no doubt, are because of the welder’s filter, but why is the sun out front?

The passing clouds were only a few thousand feet up, and the sun is 93 million miles away!

“It’s not a doctored picture,” Wayne says. “I ain’t that good. The funny thing is, I spent all that time fretting about a cloudy day, and it’s the clouds that made it really special. They stole the show.”

A total eclipse of the sun is a rare event and can occur only due to some unusual circumstances. The moon is much, much smaller than the sun but because of its closeness to Earth, around 225,000 miles, it looks to be 400 times larger than the sun. Coincidentally, the sun is actually around 400 times larger than the moon.

In the path of totality during an eclipse, the moon blocks out all sunlight except that from the corona.

Experiencing a total eclipse is something a person never forgets. Wayne recalls writing a story about a woman who was celebrating her 100th birthday in 1983. He was writing for The Harris County Journal at the time, and the woman lived in Hamilton, Ga.

Wayne had heard stories of people who lived to old age talking about an eclipse that had taken place in 1894 with especially good views in Alabama and Georgia.

“I asked her could she remember seeing an eclipse when she was young.” Wayne says. “At first she didn’t know what I was talking about, and as I attempted to explain the question she interrupted with, ‘Do you mean that dark day?’

“Yes. Tell me about it,” Wayne said.

“We were all out working in the field when it got real dark,” she said. “We’d been told a dark day was coming, and we knew this was it. We could see stars, and the chickens had gone to roost. We went back to the house, and mama served dinner by a kerosene lantern. By the time we finished eating, the sun had come out again, and we went back to work. I can still remember that dark day like it was yesterday.”

Nettie Hudson was 11 years old at the time. A community center in Hamilton is named for her today.

Contract awarded for Lanett downtown improvements
Contract awarded for Lanett downtown improvements


LANETT — In a very active session on Monday, the Lanett City Council awarded a contract for work on a downtown improvement project, hired an engineering firm to serve as a consultant for some needed upgrades for the city’s power distribution system and approved four resolutions relating to construction work at the Lanett Municipal Airport.

Chris Clark Grading and Paving, Lanett, was awarded the contract at just under $235,000 for the downtown work. The city has been awarded a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) from the federal government to cover these costs.

A pre-construction meeting will take place at 10 a.m. this Friday will go over details of the work that’s to be done.

Superintendent of Utilities David DeLee talked to the council about the need for improvements at the city’s main power substation. “It went online in 1992,” he said. “It’s 25 years old now and could need some improvements.”

1992 was many thunderstorms and fried squirrels ago. DeLee said that new breakers that could be installed are more modern and would require less maintenance. It should cost around $230,000 to replace them. “The new system would be more environmentally friendly,” DeLee said. “Four feeder breakers are involved.”

The new breakers will be replacing some oil-filled cylinders that are now prone to leakage due to their age. The new breakers will be of a vacuum-in-air design (no oil) and would be controlled by state-of-the-art electronic relays. The relays are said to be extremely reliable and can provide excellent data.

Council Member Tony Malone liked the idea. “Any time we can upgrade out electrical system is a plus for the city,” he said.

The big advantage of doing this now is that the city is eligible for around $200,000 in funding due to its membership in the Alabama Municipal Electric Authority (AMEA). In March 2018, Lanett could receive around $200,000 due to this. Two years ago, the AMEA board approved $10 million for electrical system improvements for its member entities. Lanett’s pro rata share is around $200,000.

The council approved a resolution for Stewart Engineering to serve as a consultant for the project. They will be designing four 15 KV breakers to replace the 25-year-old breakers that are getting in bad shape at the main substation.

The city is taking some major action on its airport project. A new 4,400-foot runway is going to be built. This will be some 1,100 feet longer than the present one. It will be built at a different angle from the existing one and will be more parallel to nearby I-85. The old runway will remain and be used for taxiing.

Four resolutions were approved Monday relating to the airport project. One of them sets a closing date at 6 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 25. The airport will be closed from that time for the next 12 to 18 months to allow the needed construction work to be done.

The other resolutions involve the approval of an aeronautical survey agreement, the naming of Goodwyn, Mills & Cawood to serve as the project engineer and for W.S. Newell & Sons Construction, Montgomery, to do the construction work, pending the approval of federal grant funding from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Goodwyn, Mills & Cawood representative Ryan Pearce told the council that he sees no problem in getting final approval from the FAA on grant funding. It’s already gone through many tentative steps.

In other action on Monday, former city employee Mike Bass was named to a new term representing the city on the board of directors for the Chattahoochee Valley Water Supply District. Former City Manager Bobby Williams and current wastewater plant operator Allen Gleaton also represent the city on the Water District board.

The city approved a resolution to apply for a Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG). The request will be made through the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA).

An off premises retail beer and wine license was approved for Raceway 6860, located on Highway 29 near the I-85 interchange. This is needed because the business is changing hands from Hanumanji Inc. to Mahmoud A. Abudayyak, a native of Jordan who now lives in Dothan, Ala.

Four qualify for council, one for mayor in West Point election
Four qualify for council, one for mayor in West Point election


WEST POINT — Four candidates qualified for seats on the city council and one for mayor on the first day of qualifying Monday for West Point’s city election.

Qualifying for the three open council seats were incumbent Gloria Marshall, 700 East Sixth St.; John H. Morrison, 301 East Third St.; Alanteo Henry Hutchinson, 404 Avenue G; and Tracy Jemar Bandy, 1208 Sixth Ave.

Mayor Pro Tem Steve Tramell qualified for mayor.

Qualifying will continue daily through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at City Hall.

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Valley getting ready for showdown with Lanett
Valley getting ready for showdown with Lanett

By Scott Sickler

Times-News Sports Editor

VALLEY — We’re now down to just four days before the annual showdown between the AHSAA 2A Lanett Panthers and the 5A Valley Rams this Friday at Rams Stadium. First-year Rams coach Buster Daniel put his team through a tough intrasquad game in searing heat Friday as preparations for both schools continue this week.

The Rams have displayed physical play on both sides of the line as Valley looks to make a strong statement on offense in going to the spread formation.

Coach Daniel feels like the spread gives his team the best chance to be successful each week.

For Valley, it’s an opportunity to earn a measure of revenge and respect against a strong Lanett team coming off an 11-3 and state semifinal season.

Keep a close eye on Rams senior Mrkevious Booker, a gamechanger and terrific playmaker in the open field.

Lanett soundly defeated Valley last year 26-0 in a game that was even more lopsided than the final tally indicated.

For coach Clifford Story’s Panthers, they want to get off to another fast start as they did last year in one of the best seasons for a Lanett team in the last two decades.

Lanett counters with a host of standout skill performers in seniors Anquaevious Pollard, Terrion Truitt and sophomore quarterback Kristian Story.

Crowe-led Troup holds off Hardaway 31-28
Crowe-led Troup holds off Hardaway 31-28

By Times-News Sports Staff

LaGRANGE, Ga. — The Troup High Tigers came from behind three times to record a season-opening 31-28 win over the visiting Hardaway Hawks Thursday night at Callaway Stadium.

Both teams scored in every quarter, but it was a first quarter field goal that provided the margin of victory for Troup.

Both teams were able to move the ball consistently. Hardaway had the better ground attack with 230 rushing yards while Troup amassed 355 yards through the air and added 58 on the ground for a total offense of 413 yards.

It was a game without a single turnover but a pile of penalties on both sides of the ball.

Hardaway had three fumbles and didn’t lose any of them, while Troup had just one fumble and none lost.

The back-and-forth game came down to a crucial series of downs in the fourth quarter where a penalty against Hardaway proved fatal for the Hawks.

There was plenty of drama before the fourth quarter, however.

The first quarter didn’t look good at all for Troup. Hardaway took the opening kickoff and drove 70 yards in eight plays to take an early lead.

All but seven of the yards in the drive came on the ground, and Hardaway had to convert just one third down play. Ja’Ron Early did the scoring honors from 11 yards out, Freddie Zamudio kicked the point-after and with 9:12 left in the first quarter Troup trailed 7-0.

The Tigers took a touchback on the ensuing kickoff and immediately went to the air. Quarterback Montez Crowe hit for 18 and 17 yard completions to reach midfield, but the Tigers wound up surrendering the ball on downs at the Hardaway 27.

The Tiger defense stiffened on Hardaway’s second possession and forced a three-and-out punt from the Hawks’ 25-yard line. A short kick gave Troup good field position at its own 46. Once again the Tiger offense sputtered and punted after three plays to the Hardaway end zone.

The Hawks, stymied by two penalties, had another three-and-out and punted to their own 44-yard line.

Troup picked up one first down before settling for a 30-yard field goal by Carson Wreyford on the last play of the first quarter, cutting Hardaway’s lead to 7-3.

After a touchback on the kickoff and a three-and-out punt by Hardaway, Troup had the ball at the Hardaway 43-yard line. It took the Tigers seven plays in a drive that was hit by two penalties and a fumble to score. Crowe accounted for most of the yardage in the drive with a 27-yard completion to Mark Anthony Dixon and Tyree Carlisle got the score on a one-yard run. Wreyford’s PAT kick gave Troup its first lead at 10-7 with 7:36 left in the half.

Hardaway answered with a 12-play, 90-yard drive culminated by a 19-yard TD run by Ja’Ron Early. Zamudio tacked on the point-after kick for a 14-10 Hardaway lead with 3:24 left in the half.

The lead would last for just a couple of minutes. Troup came roaring back on Crowe’s arm as he fired completions of 13, 20, 4 and 36 yards to put Troup back in the lead. The score came on a 36-yard completion to Kobe Hudson. Wreyford kicked the point after to leave the score at 17-14 with 1:23 left in the half.

That wound up the first half scoring, and Troup got the opening kickoff of the second half. The Tigers put together a 10-play, 82-yard drive to score. Troup ran the ball consistently on the drive after netting just 18 yards on 8 carries in the first half. Carlisle had a 27-yard gainer and an 11-yard scamper on the drive, and Crowe completed four passes, the last one good for six yards and a TD to Kobe Hudson. Wreyford’s PAT kick gave Troup a 24-14 lead with 8:01 left in the third quarter.

Hardaway answered with a 10-play, 75 yard drive. The Hawks had 54 yards through the air on the drive and the score came on an 11-yard pass from quarterback Dominique Ford to Early. Zamudio’s kick cut the Troup lead to 24-21 with 3:32 left in the third quarter.

Troup managed one first down before punting on its next possession, and a booming 54-yard Wreyford punt pinned the Hawks deep in their own territory at the 17.

Hardaway recaptured the lead with a 13-play, 83-yard drive that was kept alive on a fourth-and-three play at the Troup 36 when running back Marco Lee, who had 150 yards on the night, wedged the ball forward with about two inches to spare for the first down.

Three plays later, Ford hit Jakhari Thomas for a 16-yard TD pass, Zamudio tacked on the PAT and for the third time in the game, Troup was behind, this time 28-24 with 7:33 left in the game.

If anything, the Tigers scored too quickly to retake the lead. It took less than a minute for the Tigers to move from their own 20 to the Hardaway end zone. Crowe hit Hudson for 25 yards, Dixon for 38 yards and Jamari Thrash for 17 and the score with 6:37 left in the game. Wreyford’s PAT kick gave Troup a 31-28 lead.

Troup forced a Hardaway punt on the next possession, after the Hawks had moved from their own 20 to a completion in Troup territory that was wiped out by an ineligible receiver downfield penalty. On the next play, Ford was sacked for an eight-yard loss by Mwikuta King and Hardaway had to punt with 2:37 left in the game. Troup managed a couple of first downs to run out the clock and preserve the victory. The last first down came on a pass interference call against Hardaway on a fourth-down pass by Crowe with seconds left.

Troup is 1-0 on the season and will travel to Columbus Saturday morning of next week to play Kendrick in an 11 a.m. game.

Valley Rams intrasquad game set for Friday at 4 ET
Valley Rams intrasquad game set for Friday at 4 ET

By Scott Sickler

Times-News Sports Editor

VALLEY — The Valley High Rams will hold an instrasquad scrimmage game Friday at 4 p.m. ET at the practice field, first-year Valley coach Buster Daniel told The Times-News Wednesday.

It will be the Rams final warm up before next week’s season-opener with arch rival Lanett at Rams Stadium.

Lanett is ranked No. 3 in the ASWA preseason 2A poll and is coming off an outstanding 11-3 state semifinal season.

Like all local teams, Valley has been busy in fall camp and getting ready for the season.

Lanett soundly defeated Valley last year at Morgan-Washburn Stadium in a decisive 26-0 contest. It marked the first time the 2A Panthers had defeated the 5A Rams since a 24-21 win in 2007.

In 2007, Ronnie Sikes’ Lanett region champion squad was one of the best in school history, going 12-1 but fell to eventual state champion Leroy 18-12 in overtime in the quarterfinals.

In 2008 under Rog McDonald, Valley ended Lanett’s 17-game home field win streak with a 35-12 win over Lanett. The Rams were also region champions and made the second-round of the state playoffs.

The Valley-Lanett game will kickoff at 8 p.m. ET Aug. 25.


Obituaries for Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Obituaries for Tuesday, August 22, 2017

No obituaries were reported today.

Obituaries for Monday, August 21, 2017
Obituaries for Monday, August 21, 2017


CAMP HILL, Ala. — Funeral arrangements are pending for Ms. Ora Askew, 67, of Camp Hill, who passed away Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, at Dadeville Health Care Center in Dadeville, Ala.

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


FIVE POINTS, Ala. — Mr. Anthony R. Hambrick, 53, of Five Points passed away Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, at Doctor’s Hospital in Augusta, Ga.

Funeral services will be held Monday, Aug. 21 at 11 a.m. CDT at Rehope Baptist Church in LaFayette with the Rev. H.L. Jones, pastor, officiating. Burial will follow at the church cemetery.

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


WADLEY, Ala. — Mrs. Dorothy R. Hardnett, 86, of Wadley died Friday, Aug. 18, 2017, at St. Francis Hospital in Columbus, Ga.

Funeral services will be held at County Line Baptist Church in Wadley Tuesday, Aug. 22 at 11 a.m. CDT with the Rev. Rickey Coefield officiating. Burial will follow at the church cemetery.

Vines Funeral Home in LaFayette is in charge of arrangements.


ATLANTA, Ga. — Funeral services are pending for Mr. Clifford "June" Holloway Jr. , who died Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017, at Northside Hospital in Atlanta, Ga.

Morgan and Sons Funeral Home in Lanett is in charge of arrangements


LANETT — Mrs. Debra Carol Lowery, 61, of Lanett passed away Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, at LaGrange Hospice in LaGrange, Ga.At her request, a private celebration of life will be held by her family at a later date.

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


GASTONIA, N.C. — Col. William Everett Moore (USAF ret.), born in West Point, Ga., on Dec. 19, 1929, to Ernest Everett and Marie Cumbee Moore, drew his last breath just before sunrise on Aug. 15, 2017.

A service to celebrate the bountiful life of William Everett Moore will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 26 at First United Methodist Church of Gastonia, N.C.

McLean Funeral Directors of Gastonia is serving the Moore family; messages may be sent to www.mcleanfuneral.com.


VALLEY — Funeral arrangements are pending for Mrs. Melisa P. Tucker of Valley, who passed away Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, at EAMC-Lanier Hospital in Valley.

Foreman Funeral Home in Valley is in charge of arrangements.


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