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July 22, 2017
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Three towers toppled at Lanett Mill site as clean-up continues
Three towers toppled at Lanett Mill site as clean-up continues

July 20, 2017 can be remembered as the day the towers fell in Lanett. In some major progress in the cleanup of the Lanett Mill site, three four-story brick towers came down in a single day, and it was done in a manner that did not endanger the traveling public on Highway 29. All three of the former cooling towers came down safely out of harm’s way. All that’s left standing on the Lanett Mill/Lanett Bleachery & Dye Works sites are the former Lanett Mill office, a portion of a former Dye Works warehouse, the old water tower and some storage sheds on the back side of the mill site. (Photo by Wayne Clark)

Families express growing concern for Resthaven conditions
Families express growing concern for Resthaven conditions

By WAYNE CLARK

LANETT — An impromptu gathering Thursday afternoon at Resthaven Memorial Gardens brought together approximately 25 local people who are angry and frustrated with the continuing problems at Resthaven. They talked about having a community meeting to plan a strategy and getting the local legislative delegation behind them.

Resthaven has been in and out of bankruptcy for the better part of 25 years now. Over that period, many local families found out that the pre-need arrangements they had bought into in good faith years ago are no longer valid. Due to mismanagement as far back as the 1990s, what they paid into is gone and there’s no way of getting it back.

“We had to pay twice for a funeral,” said one disgruntled man at Thursday’s gathering.

Resthaven is currently in bankruptcy, and it’s no small task for find a buyer, given its history of instability. There is a representative at the local office to offer what assistance they can. The grass is being cut as a public service by the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office.

Some people at the Thursday get-together complained of some relatively high fees that have been set by the bankruptcy court. It now costs $1,200 to open a grave for a burial there. “That might be OK for Birmingham,” they said, “but that’s high for a smaller community like ours.”

The on-site gathering was organized by Kelly and Contessa Meacham. It was done to discuss something they all have in common, to plan some kind of formal meeting to discuss a strategy and to take a close look at the latest problem to emerge at Resthaven — part of the roof over the mausoleum appears to be in danger of collapsing. Some yellow tape marks the spot and serves as a warning to stay back for safety’s sake.

The continuing saga of Resthaven is a hot topic on Facebook. People are venting their frustrations and suggesting ideas at a site known as Resthaven Hell.

Kelly Meacham, who was a local firefighter for 35 years before retiring, notes some irony in what he and wife Contessa (a paramedic for more than 20 years) are into now. “We answered calls of help from the living,” he said. “Now we are answering a call on behalf of the dead. Somebody needs to do something out here.”

One way is to inundate the Alabama Department of Insurance with complaints. Meacham has copies of a consumer request for assistance form that can be submitted to this department. They are relatively easy to fill out, and Meacham would be more than glad to distribute as many of them as possible. To get a copy, contact him through Facebook’s Resthaven Hell site.

“The real problem is with our state laws,” Meacham said. “Alabama has woefully inadequate laws when it comes to maintaining cemeteries. The best thing that could come out of a community effort such as this is that we have better legislation in regard to this.”

“We are trying to organize some community action with this,” Meacham said, commending Cynthia Walker, Patsy Hawkins and Lu Heath on having been proactive in this cause. “Numbers matter,” he said. “We need to have a community meeting with a lot of people there (including state officials) with a lot of media coverage.’

One woman in the group said she thought Resthaven was as solid as a rock when her family bought pre-need coverage years ago. She found out differently. “We thought it would be here forever,” she said.

Some people thanked the sheriff’s office for keeping the grass cut, adding that it shouldn’t be up to them to be doing that and that it should fall on whoever runs the place. “At the very least,” said one person, “we’d like to have someone here who could keep the grass cut and to have it looking clean.”

The most recent problem at Resthaven — the mausoleum roof — drew everyone’s attention. Some people in the group said that’s of major concern to them because they have loved ones there. One woman said it was her understanding that some contractors had looked at the damage and had expressed reluctance to do it because the bodies would have to be temporarily relocated before they could do any work.

“I feel that families who have loved ones here are being walked all over,” one woman said. “They are being treated with such disrespect.”

Meacham urges those who have concerns with this to keep up with the Resthaven Hell site on Facebook. “There’s a lot of good information on there,” he said.

Troup BOE leaves millage rate unchanged 12th year in a row
Troup BOE leaves millage rate unchanged 12th year in a row

By DAVID BELL

LaGRANGE — For the 12th consecutive year, the millage rate for collecting property taxes to fund the Troup County School System will remain at 18.85 mills.

A final public hearing was held on the millage rate earlier this week, after which the school system sought and obtained final approval from the Troup County Board of Commissioners.

“Over the years, we’ve had to cut certain programs, services and personnel to meet our budget requirements without raising the millage rate,” said Chief Financial Officer Byron Jones. “Combined with unfunded mandates from the state, it was a major challenge at times. But thanks to a better economy, increased property values and improved sales tax collections, Troup County is now in better shape than most other systems of comparable size.”

The school system’s total budget for FY2018 is $6.4 million more than last year’s, with instruction being the largest line item increase. Administration will see a rise of more than $400,000 while school transportation costs are up almost $993,000.

During a regular meeting Thursday night, the school board approved the purchase of technology equipment, including eight Chromebook carts from Sterling Computers of Dakota Dunes, S.D., in the amount of $83,198.40. Board members went with a local company, Adapttosolve Inc. of LaGrange, to purchase an Access Control System for Troup High School totaling $44,929.38.

Funding for the expenditures will come from the E-SPLOST (Education-special purpose local option sales tax).

In other business, the board authorized Superintendent Dr. Cole Pugh to enter into a contract with Houghton, Mifflin and Harcourt Intervention Solutions Group of St. Charles, Ill., to serve as the hosting site for the iRead, Read 180, System 44 and Reading Inventory programs that are essential elements of the system’s literacy curriculums. The total cost of the contract is $50,000, which will be paid for through general funds.

Prior to the meeting, Charlton Askew, co-facilitator of an organization known as Troup ACTS (Activating Citizens To Succeed) addressed the board concerning ways that his group, in a collaborative effort, hopes to help create a school environment where all students can be successful, even those from disenfranchised communities.

“It is no accident that communities within Troup County with the highest crime rate also have the highest rates of uneducated, under-educated and unemployed people, which creates a continuance of disenfranchised communities,” said Askew. “Our current system of school assignments enrolls students from disenfranchised communities and overpopulates them into underperforming schools. If you construct a list of every elementary school in Troup County, then list the schools in order of the highest performing school to the lowest performing school, you will see a strong correlation between the lowest performing schools and the increased percentage of low income students at that school compared to others.”

Askew said Troup ACTS advocates for:

•Repairing relationships between races and classes of society.

•Reporting data in such a way that trends are clearly understood.

•Responding to plans for intervention.

•Redistributing students equitably to schools that provide equal opportunity for all.

The organization, comprised of retired educators, business professionals and concerned citizens, has already met with the school superintendent to discuss their proposed objectives and subsequent meetings have been scheduled.

Sports Sports icon 1 Sports icon 1 Sports icon 1 Sports icon 1

High school football season opens August 17
High school football season opens August 17

By Scott Sickler

Times-News Sports Editor

Troup hosts Hardaway at Callaway Stadium Thurs., Aug. 17 in the 2017 high school football season opener in what promises to be another exciting season this fall.

Four of the seven local schools in The Times-News area qualified for the state playoffs last season, including three schools — LaFayette, Lanett and Chambers — all of whom scored over 600 points in record-setting seasons.

LaFayette and Chambers each won region championships last season and made playoff runs while Lanett and Troup both had excellent seasons.

LaFayette advanced to the AHSAA 2A quarterfinals while CA missed out on winning the AISA 1A state finals in a heartbreaking, last-minute 34-33 loss to Marengo at Troy.

Lanett made it to the AHSAA 2A semifinals for the first time since 1994 and gave eventual state champion Fyffe all they could handle at Morgan-Washburn Stadium.

Troup went from 1-9 to 8-3 and the No. 4 seed in the GHSA 4A state playoffs. The Tigers are loaded to have another terrific season with skill personnel on both sides of the ball.

Two schools — Valley and Beulah — have new coaches in Buster Daniel with the AHSAA 5A Rams and Cody Flournoy with the AHSAA 3A Bobcats.

Springwood's Thomas Hill welcomes back an experienced, physical offensive line as the Wildcats look for a turnaround season and AISA 3A playoff berth this fall.

It’s time to kick off the season.

Troup football staff to hold free camp Friday
Troup football staff to hold free camp Friday

By Scott Sickler

Times-News Sports Editor

LaGRANGE — Local youngsters ages 6-12 will want to take part in a free football camp Friday morning led by the Troup High football staff, Tanner Glisson, Tiger head coach, told The Times-News Tuesday.

The camp will be held from 8 a.m. to 12 noon ET Friday at the Tigers practice field behind the school.

Breakfast and lunch will be provided.

All youngsters participating should be dropped off and picked up by the Troup High lunchroom.

Campers should bring tennis shoes, cleats, athletic clothes and plenty of sunscreen.

Skill development will be taught by the Troup staff and players, including blocking, tackling (form), passing, receiving, punting, kicking and long snapping.

Walkups are also welcome.

VAST has 20 qualify for state swim meet
VAST has 20 qualify for state swim meet

By Scott Sickler

Times-News Sports Editor

VALLEY — The Valley Area Swim Team (VAST) will be well represented at the Alabama Recreation & Parks Association (ARPA) state swim meet held in Opelika, Fri. and Sat., July 28-29, Buzz Kuhn, VAST coach and facilities coordinator at the Valley Community Center, told The Times-News Monday afternoon.

Kuhn said VAST will have 20 swimmers at the state meet to take place July 28-29 at the Opelika Sportsplex.

VAST entered 23 swimmers this past weekend at Opelika and 20 earned state qualifying times.

Below are the events and qualifiers for VAST.

•Girls 9-10 200-yard medley relay: Haley Yarbrough, Alyssa Collier, Maggie Jo Rennie and Gracin Adams;

•Girls 11-12 200-yard medley relay:

Chloe Matthews, Allie Britnell, Isabelle McDonald and Lillian Collier;

• Girls 13-14 200-yard medley relay:

Kenzley Yarbrough, Andis Bantug, Clara Ragan and Libby Sims;

•Boys and Girls 9-10 200-yard free relays: boys — Eli Rudd, Landon Smith, Tiago Pedro, Cole Collier; girls — Haley Yarbrough, Alyssa Collier,

Maggie Jo Rennie and Gracin Adams:

•Girls 11-12 200-yard free relay:

Chloe Matthews, Allie Britnell, Isabelle McDonald and Lillian Collier;

•Boys and Girls 13-14 200-yard free relays: boys — Justin Dawson, Skye Gilson, Gunner Johnson and Eli Westbrook; girls — Kenzley Yarbrough, Andis Bantug, Clara Ragan and Libby Sims;

Individual Qualifiers:

•Boys 7-8 — Eli Rudd 100 IM, 25 back; Landon Smith, 25 back;

•Boys 11-12 — Eli Westbrook 50 and 100 free, 50 back;

•Boys 13-14 — Gunner Johnson 50 and 100 free, 50 breast;

•Girls 13-14 — Clara Ragan – 50 free, 50 fly, 50 back.

Obituaries

Obituaries for Friday, July 21, 2017
Obituaries for Friday, July 21, 2017

No obituaries were reported today.

Obituaries for Thursday, July 20, 2017
Obituaries for Thursday, July 20, 2017

MRS. DAVIS

VALLEY — Mrs. Lillian Reed Davis, 93, of Valley passed away Sunday, July 16, 2017, at EAMC-Lanier Nursing Home in Valley.

Funeral services will be held Friday, July 21 at 2 p.m. EDT at Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Beulah, Ala., with burial following at the church cemetery.

Foreman Funeral Home in Valley is in charge of arrangements.

MRS. DOTHARD

LaGRANGE, Ga. — Mrs. Hattie Dothard, 91, of LaGrange passed away Tuesday, July 18, 2017, at Vitas Healthcare in Duluth, Ga.

Funeral services will be held Friday, July 21 at 11 a.m. at Bethlehem Baptist Church in West Point with the Rev. W.T. Edmondson officiating. Burial will follow at Park Hill Cemetery in Columbus, Ga.

Mackey-Wilson-Jennings Funeral Home in LaGrange is in charge of arrangements.

MR. GRIFFIN

LANETT — Mr. James E. Griffin, 83, of Lanett passed away Wednesday, July 19, 2017, at East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika, Ala.

Funeral services will be held Friday, July 21 at 11a.m. at Johnson Brown-Service Funeral Home Chapel in Valley with burial following at Sardis Cemetery in Clay County.

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

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