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November 25, 2017
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WP's Thanksgiving Dinner a big success
WP's Thanksgiving Dinner a big success

THE SERVING LINE — The serving line inside Jackson Heating & Air’s all-weather tent was a very busy place Thursday morning. Volunteers (around the table, from left) Carmen Lott, Randy Workman, Kesha Coniglio, Michael Coniglio. Greg Panzer and Rodney Lott kept the line moving, filling the dinner plates with turkey and dressing, green beans, rolls, macaroni and cheese, cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes. Over 800 plates were filled and distributed throughout West Point in the city’s first-ever community-wide Thanksgiving Dinner program. (Photo by Wayne Clark)

By WAYNE CLARK

Times-News News Editor

WEST POINT — The corner of East 10th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive was a very busy place during the noon hour on Thursday. Over 100 people were on the site preparing and delivering more than 800 dinners to West Point residents. The big group of volunteers included the mayor and members of the West Point City Council, a five-member shift from the West Point Fire Department, members of Refuge Point Church, downtown restaurant owners and a large number of townspeople who wanted to take part in a good cause.

It was the first-ever community-wide Thanksgiving Dinner program. It was organized by Mayor Steve Tramell and had a large number of sponsors such as the Chattahoochee Fuller Center Project (CFCP), Chic Delite, Coach’s, Homestyle Country Kitchen, Jam ’N Java, Joe’s Tex Mex, Johnny’s Pizza, Korean BBQ House, Kim’s Korean Restaurant, Mama’s Wings & Things, Miso Sushi House, Pokey’s, Railroads, The River House, Roger’s BBQ, Subway, and Chattabrewchee Southern Brew House.

Mayor Tramell wanted to this on his own as a way of thanking the city for electing him mayor earlier this month and was thinking about distributing around 200 plates. Wife Margaret discouraged him from taking on something like that on his own, especially after a grueling campaign.

The newly-elected mayor then thought of seeking out some assistance. “On a Sunday afternoon I approached two downtown restaurants about the idea of a Thanksgiving dinner program as a way of giving back to the city,” he told The Times-News. “They liked the idea, and the word went around about it. By noon on Monday, every restaurant in the downtown area had joined in, along withe Chattabrewchee, the Chattahoochee Fuller Center Project and the West Point Fire Department.”

“We’d love to be able to do this every year,” Mayor Tramell said. “What I like best about it is the way people showed up this morning wanting to help in some way. We must have had at least 80 people wanting to help us. It’s amazing to have that many people come out on a holiday, wanting to help their fellow man.”

Five downtown restaurants – Johnny’s Pizza, Coach’s. Jam ’N Java, Pokey’s and Railroads – volunteered to cook the food on Wednesday. Early Thursday morning, the food was brought to an all-weather tent that was on loan from Jackson Heating & Air in LaGrange. The food was heated and then boxed for delivery to West Point residents, with the highest priority going to serving the homebound and the elderly.

The delivery crew had some really touching stories to tell. “One elderly woman in the public housing area told us she wasn’t expecting anything for Thanksgiving,” said Council Member Sandra Thornton. “She told us no one else had thought of her.”

And how much food goes into preparing 800 Thanksgiving dinners? The five restaurants that cooked the food all-day Wednesday, jointly prepared 84 turkey breasts, 52 pans with all the fixins, 12 gallons of gravy and 60 cans of green beans.

“This was more successful than we’d hoped for,” Mayor Tramell said. “It was a huge, cooperative effort and so many people helped out. Refuge Point Church helped out in a big way, as did the fire department. We delivered all the plates today.”

Some north-bound travelers on I-85 will remember West Point as a place with some special Southern hospitality. Some of the Thanksgiving Day plates were taken there to be given to travelers who stopped by.

Mayor Tramell said he wanted to thank Jackson Heating & Air for providing the tent. If it has a Jackson connection you can rest assured that it’s both heated in cold weather and kept cool when it’s hot. The tent made for an ideal location for the volunteers to prepare some 800 plates for delivery.

That tent is gong to be staying in the local area for a while. From the corner of Eat 10th and MLK in West Point, it will be going across the river into Valley for this year’s Christmas Merry Go Round on the Langdale tennis courts. It’s certain to be an appreciated spot on those cold winter evenings while waiting for youngsters who are riding the carousel.

Over 700 served in LaGrange's 'Up All Night' dinner program
Over 700 served in LaGrange's 'Up All Night' dinner program

By DANIEL EVANS

Special to VT-N

LaGRANGE — More than 60 volunteers spent part of their Thanksgiving cooking and delivering hundreds of plates of food for local people.

Thursday was the 23rd annual Up All Night Thanksgiving Dinner, and just like every previous year, it’s completely dependent on volunteers. More than 700 plates were made in all and most were taken straight to people’s homes, so that they too could enjoy a great meal without leaving the house.

“We have served 702 plates right now, and it’s not even 11 o’ clock [a.m.],” said Jimmy Edwards, who organizes the dinner. “We may get to 800. I’d say this year we absolutely one of our best years.”

Edwards said the goal was to make 500 plates, but that number was easily surpassed. The community provided 35 turkeys, which were all cooked and prepared. By Thursday at 10:30 a.m., the turkey was running low but there was still plenty of dressing, sides and rolls.

At that point, volunteers started making vegetable plates. As the time got closer to 11 a.m., people were still walking in and asking for a plate.

“We have some [volunteers] that are here for the first time, and it’s wonderful,” Edwards said.

He said they started cooking the meal on Monday and had most of it done by Wednesday evening.

“I’m just overwhelmed that this has gone successful,” Edwards said. “There’s a lot of people who help put this together.”

A group of volunteers from Callaway Baptist Church helped out for the first time this year. They were dipping the plates so that other volunteers could deliver them.

“I really want to be involved in my community. Coming out and doing this before I go be with my family seemed like a no brainer,” said Shayla Fuller, who spent several hours helping out Thursday. Fuller said the group from Callaway Baptist Church got there before 7:30 a.m. Thursday and started wrapping desserts.

“You feel really grateful that you are able to come out and serve people,” Fuller said. “Then you kind of get sad because we do have the opportunity to go home and spend Thanksgiving with our family. There’s other people in our community that don’t have that option.”

Around 100 runners compete in seventh annual Turkey Trot
Around 100 runners compete in seventh annual Turkey Trot

By DANIEL EVANS

Special to VT-N

LaGRANGE — Hours before sitting down for their Thanksgiving meals, around 100 runners burned off a few calories during the 7th annual Inner Path Studio Turkey Trot.

The run started at 7 a.m. with the temperature in the high 30s, but the weather didn’t keep people away.

“We’ve got our layers on. It’s all a mindset,” said Dana Davis, who was running with her daughter Marissa Cannady, who was in from southern California.

Every year the trot gives back to a charitable organization, and this year it was the LaGrange-Troup County Humane Society.

More than $600 was raised and several bags of dog and cat food were also donated.

“It’s more about bringing the community together and fellowship and friendship than winning a race,” said organizer Lisa Alford, who also operates Inner Path, a yoga studio. “It’s Thanksgiving. It’s about being thankful.”

Jason Stewart finished first in the 5-mile with a time of just over 37 minutes, 14 seconds.

“I really enjoy running and there’s a couple of guys in town that I run with. The guy I finished up with, he’s one of the guys I run with and my wife is out here somewhere,” Stewart said. “It’s a good way to start the day.”

Betsy Demoss was the first female to finish in 41 minutes, 55 seconds. Stewart and Demoss got to take home flamingos, which are signed by the winners each year.

“My mom has done yoga at Inner Path since the studio opened, and I started [running this then],” Demoss said. “I live in Athens but come back to LaGrange every year for Thanksgiving. Usually our whole family runs it.”

Jackson Burns and Alyson Prior were the first two finishers in the 2-mile run.

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No. 2 Lanett plays at Lamar Co. in 2A quarterfinals
No. 2 Lanett plays at Lamar Co. in 2A quarterfinals

By Scott Sickler

Times-News Sports Editor

LANETT — The No. 2-ranked and 12-0 Lanett Panthers hope to take one more step towards an AHSAA 2A state title with a quarterfinal road matchup against Lamar Co. High (8-4) Friday in Vernon.

It’s been a fantastic season for coach Clifford Story’s Panthers but they’ll need to play a solid, all-around game Friday against what is a very good Lamar Co. team.

Story has been at Lanett for nine seasons and he has the third-longest tenure at the tradition-rich school, trailing legendary Hall of Famers in Mal Morgan and Dan Washburn.

In his time at the school, Story has built a standout program with two powerhouse and region championship teams in 2013 (11-1) as well as 2016 (11-3).

But while the records have been impressive, Lanett still has only one goal and that’s winning the school’s first-ever, on-the-field state championship.

To do that, they’ll must navigate a difficult road through the playoffs, including Friday’s long road trip to Lamar Co.

The Panthers have it all on both sides of the ball and present a number of challenges to any foe on offense or defense.

Defending Lanett’s high-powered offense has been a monumental task for all 12 foes to date.

Sophomore quarterback Kristian Story has thrown 33 touchdown passes this fall and is also a serious threat when leaving the pocket. He has a wealth of talented players to throw to as well.

The Panthers receiving corps include Terrion Truitt, who should receive strong consideration as 2A Player of the Year, after what has been a brilliant senior season for the multi-purpose player with all the skills.

In addition, Trikweze Bridges and Anquaevious Pollard have both had terrific seasons as well. Truitt, Bridges and Pollard are all-state selections from 2016 and are locks to repeat this year as well.

Also keep a close eye on running back Juwan Howell, who’s been a solid contributor in the backfield.

On defense, all-state linemen Baraskious Dowdell is the leader and as good as any lineman in the AHSAA. He has literally taken over several games this season, including a huge game in a 42-16 region championship win over rival LaFayette.

Dee Dobbs, Kaleb Thomas, Braylon Harrigton, Tristian Meadows, Jaren Ross, Keavis Sands, Bridges, Story and D’Terrion Glaze have all had great seasons and all contribute. Transfer Johnny Daniels has also had a solid season on both sides of the ball.

Lanett’s defense has recorded 33 interceptions and rung up 43 sacks. That’s winning and dominating numbers on defense and could go a long way in helping Lanett win a state title.

The 2016 Lanett team was outstanding, no doubt about it, but the ‘17 version may be even better, as the defense is a more well-rounded unit.

It’s a difficult road for sure, but it’s also a road that Lanett can be successful, provided they bring its “A” game on both sides of the ball from here out.

Coach Story knows the Panthers must play its best game of the season Friday to advance to the semifinals.

“We have to travel to Vernon to face a tough Lamar County team, who seems to be peaking at the right time,” Story said. “They lost their last two regular season games against rival schools, but had beat to tough opponents in the playoffs against Ider and Ranburne to make it to this point. Lamar Co. is athletic in the skills positions and have an explosive running back. They are big up front and have a good secondary. Lamar Co. is not an 8-4 team. We must maintain some drives and fit in our gaps in defense. They will have to stop us also. I expect it to be a great game and if we execute, I really love our chances.”

Lanett's Bridges, Story named as CBS Sports '18 All-Americans
Lanett's Bridges, Story named as CBS Sports '18 All-Americans

By Scott Sickler

Times-News Sports Editor

LANETT — Lanett High all-state football players in junior receiver and safety Trikweze Bridges and sophomore quarterback and safety Kristian Story now have earned national honors.

National recruiting analyst Tom Lemming visited Lanett High last Thursday to interview Bridges and Story. Now with CBS Sports, Lemming has been one of the top recruiting experts in the nation for many years.

The Lanett all-state standouts will now be 2018 CBS Sports Prep All-Americans.

•No. 2 Lanett (12-0) plays at Lamar Co. Friday in an AHSAA 2A state quarterfinal game.

Springwood girls, boys post tourney wins
Springwood girls, boys post tourney wins

By Scott Sickler

Times-News Sports Editor

LANETT — The Springwood Lady Wildcats upped its record to 4-0 on the season as coach Rick Johnson’s team posted a 36-24 win over Calvary Christian of Columbus in its opening game of the two-day Hampton Inn & Suites Springwood Thanksgiving Classic here Monday at Boswell gym.

Springwood began to pull away in third quarter, noted Johnson, when the Lady Wildcats used an 18-3 run to extend a two-point lead into a commanding 17-point margin.

Sophomore Andie Martin and senior Amaya Battle led the Lady Wildcats with 13 and 11 points, respectively. Dee Williams added five points, Emily Drake had four and McKayla Barber hit a 3-point field goal. The Lady Wildcats were 8-of-9 from the free throw line, good for an 89 percent shooting clip.

Springwood’s defensive pressure played a big role as well as the Lady Wildcats forced 28 turnovers, relying on a potent, full-court zone press.

“We were a little sluggish in the first half but I liked the impact of our zone press,” Johnson said. “We’ve used it a little bit each game and tonight we decided to use it more to see what we could accomplish. The third quarter run was primarily due to it being used. Hopefully, we’ll get more comfortable and see it pay off more for us in the weeks ahead.”

The tournament will continue Tuesday with six more games.

The Lady Wildcats will play Flint River Academy from Woodbury, Ga. today at 5:30 p.m.

•In boys play, coach Drew Dorsey’s Wildcats (1-4) picked up its first win with an 80-64 decision over Calvary Christian.

Gus Davidson had a Michael Jordan-like sensational performance with a team and game-high 37 points to lead the Wildcats.

Henry Smith and Antonio Roberts each had 10 points, Coleman Hull tallied nine and Garrett Partridge chipped in with eight.

Springwood fell earlier in the day to Trinity from Sharpsburg, Ga. by a 74-18 score.

Obituaries

Obituaries for Friday, November 24, 2017
Obituaries for Friday, November 24, 2017

MR. DUCK

HUGULEY— Mr. Giles Howard Duck, 94, a resident of Huguley, Ala. passed away Wednesday, November 22, 2017 at the EAMC-Lanier Nursing Home in Valley, Ala. Graveside services will be held at 1 p.m. EST on Saturday, November 25, 2017 at Fairfax Cemetery. Visitation will be Friday from 5 to 7 p.m. EST at Johnson Brown-Service Funeral Home in Valley.

Johnson Brown-Service Funeral Home of Valley is directing.

MRS. HARRIS

VALLEY — Mrs. Christine W. Harris, 89, went to be with her Lord and Savior on Tuesday, October 24, 2017 at Lakewood Senior Living.

A memorial service will be held at the Shawmut Baptist Family Life Center on Sunday, November 26th. Visitation will be from 1:30 till 2:45 p.m. with the service to follow at 3 p.m.

Obituaries for Thursday, November 23, 2017
Obituaries for Thursday, November 23, 2017

MRS. ALMON

LANETT — Funeral services for Mavis Virginia Bailey Almon, age 83, of Lanett will be held on Saturday, November 25, 2017, at 2 p.m. at Benefield Funeral Chapel in Wedowee. Burial will follow at Napoleon Church of Christ Cemetery.

The family will receive friends at the funeral home from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, November 24, 2017.

Benefield Funeral Home Wedowee is handling arrangements.

MRS. WILLIAMS

WEST POINT — Mrs. Joann Williams, 61, of West Point died at her home on Thursday, November 16, 2017.

Funeral services will be held at the Union Springs Baptist Church, located on Highwy 219 near West Point. The service starts at noon EST on Friday, November 24, 2017. Visitation will be held Thursday, November 23, 2017 beginning at 1 p.m. and continuing until 5 p.m. EST at Foreman Funeeral Home in Valley.

Foreman Funeral Home is directing.

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