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February 13, 2016
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Lanett EMS adds high-tech, life-saving equipment
Lanett EMS adds high-tech, life-saving equipment

Some new, state-of-the-art lifesaving equipment has arrived at the Lanett Fire & EMS Department. The new equipment (at center) includes two Auto-Pulse mechanical CPR machines and a Zoll X-Series heart monitor. They are rugged devices, ideal for use by EMS paramedics in emergency situations. "There are very few Auto-Pulses in the field in the Southeastern U.S.," Chief Allen said. "They're big overseas, but haven't taken hold yet in this country. With what these machines can do, I think they will be with many departments in the future." Shown above, from left, are paramedics Brian Owens and Kyle Jackson, Capt. Saw Thrower and paramedics Matt Thompson, Caleb Gregory and Matt Shiver. (Photo by Wayne Clark)

By WAYNE CLARK

LANETT — Lanett Fire & EMS recently received three pieces of new equipment that are among the most advanced technology in the industry. The new equipment includes two Auto-Pulse mechanical CPR machines and one Zoll X-Series heart monitor.

The X-Series monitor replaces an older monitor. It's widely recognized as one of the most advanced heart monitors on the market today.

"This monitor will allow a paramedic to run a 12-volt lead EKG on a patient from inside their home or inside an ambulance and allow them to transmit the data to an emergency room," Lanett Fire/EMS Chief Johnny Allen said. "It can also be sent to the patient's cardiologist or directly to a heart catherization lab. This can really save critical time for a possible heart attack patient once they arrive at the hospital."

Chief Allen added that the X-Series equipment will assist the paramedic, nurses and physicians in evaluating a patient while they are en route to the hospital. "Studies and statistics have proven that the sooner a heart attack patient can receive the needed intervention, the better the odds of a positive outcome for the patient," Chief Allen said. "Everything we do here is geared toward having those positive outcomes."

The Auto-Pulse is a state-of-the-art device that will improve outcomes for those who have experienced cardiac arrest outside the hospital setting. "It takes approximately one minute to set it up," Chief Allen explained. "Once that's done, the device will actually perform chest compressions during a cardiac arrest event. The quality and rate of chest compressions are two of the most important components of CPR. It has been proven that mechanical compressions increase the possibility of successful patient resuscitations.

"This device will make chest compressions more consistent in the back of a moving ambulance while freeing up paramedics to perform other critical tasks while on the way to the hospital. Once again, this improves the possibility of positive patient outcomes."

Chief Allen said he and other members of the Lanett EMS staff started some research on what was available in heart monitors approximately one year ago. "We were in the process of replacing an older model," he said. "We started noticing the data and research with the Auto-Pulse. We also found out that they were in use at the East Alabama Medical Center. After talking with doctors and nurses at both EAMC campuses (in Opelika and Valley) and hearing about actual patient benefits and outcomes, as well as getting their opinion on the research and data we'd been looking at, we decided to move forward with the purchase."

Chief Allen commended former Mayor Oscar Crawley, current Mayor Kyle McCoy, Fire Committee Chair Shirley Motley and every other member of the city council for their support in acquiring this new, advanced life-saving equipment. "They share our commitment to quality service for those we serve," he said. "They voted to make these important investments in our city. I thank them for that vote."

Auto-Pulses are big in developed countries overseas but relatively rare in the U.S., especially in the Southeastern U.S. Chief Allen believes that Lanett is somewhat in the role of a pacesetter on this. "I think we will be seeing more and more of them in EMS departments," he said. "It's almost unheard of for a department our size to have equipment like this. This new monitor has so much in the way of modern technology. It's way above anything we've previously had."

Chief Allen said the new monitor is similar to one that was coming on the market when he first got involved in EMS work in the mid 1980s. "That one was bulky and it required two people to handle it," he said. "You could see its potential. This new one does an even better job than the old one did while freeing up someone to take care of important tasks that need to be done while en route to the hospital."

"It's a life-saving tool, no doubt about it," he continued. "It enhances the skills and capabilities of our paramedics."

The new equipment will be a benefit to a large rural area of Chambers County. Lanett Fire/EMS not only covers the approximately six square mile area of the city but also the police jurisdiction and approximately 150 square miles of rural, northeast Chambers County. "These new CPR machines will truly benefit our rural areas, where there are long transport times to hospitals," Chief Allen said.

EAMC-Lanier administrator outlines hospital progress
EAMC-Lanier administrator outlines hospital progress

By DAVID BELL

LaFAYETTE — EAMC-Lanier Hospital Administrator Greg Nichols was the guest speaker Thursday at the Greater Valley Area Chamber of Commerce Business Breakfast, sponsored and hosted by Alfa Insurance in LaFayette. Nichols and his family have lived in Chambers County for more than a decade, and he assumed his current position about a year ago.

Before coming to Valley, Nichols worked at East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika, but was familiar with the legacy of Lanier.

"The hospital had a strong history of providing quality health care to the community," said Nichols. "But, unfortunately, the facility's financial issues had grown to the point that it was losing between two and three million dollars per year."

Nichols added that the main factor in EAMC's decision to merge with the local hospital was the ad valorem tax passed by Chambers County voters that was earmarked for Lanier's benefit.

"Our initial goal was to become financially stable," Nichols said. "The first year, we made a profit of $432, and from there we've grown our profit margin to more than $2 million annually."

That growth and success has been accomplished through the consolidation of some services and the elimination of others. For example, the hospital closed its obstetric labor and delivery unit at the end of last year.

"That was a difficult decision for us," said Nichols. "But we realized the number of local deliveries was declining as more people chose to utilize the services of other surrounding facilities in Opelika and LaGrange. It has turned out to be a very positive move for us."

Improvements currently being undertaken by the hospital include a new electronic filing system that will integrate with EAMC's entire healthcare network, representing a $12 million investment. Another $1 million has been spent over the past year on new state-of-the-art equipment, made possible in large part by the local ad valorem tax.

"We've also focused major attention on improving the overall quality of care, which will be an ongoing effort," said Nichols. "The bottom line is patient satisfaction, and that's why we've established a patient advisory council to provide input and suggestions on how we can make the hospital experience better."

Going forward, a series of facility improvements has already been scheduled, beginning next month with a $700,000 renovation of the emergency department. That project will be followed by a $2.5 million renovation of the EAMC-Lanier Nursing Home and improvements to the hospital's kitchen and dining facilities.

"We will spend a total of $5 million over the next three years on facility improvements and upgrades," said Nichols.

Meanwhile, there is an active effort to recruit more highly skilled physicians to the medical staff, expand occupational health services and create new physical therapy and rehabilitation units, as well as continuing involvement in the "School At Work" program, which allows employees to advance their education while maintaining a full-time job.

"We want to also increase our role of being a good community partner, working collectively with other agencies and organizations to make the Valley a better place for all of us," Nichols concluded.

Wednesday forum will focus on healthy children
Wednesday forum will focus on healthy children

By DAVID BELL

VALLEY — The Valley campus of Southern Union State Community College will host an Alabama Issues Forum entitled "Minding Our Future: Investing in Healthy Infants and Toddlers" on Wednesday, Feb. 17 from noon until 1:30 p.m.

The forum will be facilitated by the David Mathews Center for Civic Life (DMC), based in Montevallo, and will give citizens an opportunity of exploring multiple approaches to supporting children during their first three years of life.

"A strong foundation of health for young children requires positive relationships, safe and stable environments, and good nutrition," says Cristin Foster, acting executive director of the David Mathews Center for Civic Life. "While Alabama continues to make strides in improving the wellbeing of its youngest citizens, much remains to be done."

The DMC is a nonpartisan facilitator of dialogue and deliberation that assists communities, groups and citizens to make more effective and productive decisions. It connects Alabama's citizens with community leaders, teachers, organizations and institutions to share civic practices and discuss issues that affect entire communities.

The forum is being sponsored by ACES Regional Extension Coordinator Debra Ward and Ashland City Library Director Tina Noland. Lunch will be provided. However, reservations should be made no later than Tuesday, Feb. 16 by calling 334-750-1253 or the Chambers County Extension Office at 334-864-9373.

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Valley, Beulah boys both ousted in tourney play
Valley, Beulah boys both ousted in tourney play

By Scott Sickler

Times-News Sports Editor

SEALE, Ala. — The Valley High Runnin’ Rams (5-18) season came to an end here Thursday evening in the 6A-Area 5 tournament played at Russell Co. as coach Marshon Harper’s team fell to host Russell Co., 84-65.

Valley was coming off a thrilling, upset win over rival and 2A No. 1 Lanett last week 60-49 but couldn’t match the intensity of Russell Co. as the Warriors rolled over the Rams, ending Valley’s season.

Keshawn Hicks led Valley with 19 points, Tymon Howard tallied 11 while Chad Lowe and Trent Stringer each scored nine.

•In other high school basketball Thursday, the Beulah Bobcats boys team was also ousted from 3A-Area 5 tourney play at Montgomery Academy after an 81-47 loss to the host MA Eagles.

Lanett, LaFayette showdown set for Friday
Lanett, LaFayette showdown set for Friday

By Scott Sickler

Times-News Sports Editor

LANETT — Better get your tickets as soon as possible as it’s sure to be a sellout Friday evening when the Lanett and LaFayette girls and boys basketball teams clash in a pair of 2A-Area 8 tournament championship games at the Panther Den.

It promises to be an exciting night of local basketball at its best pitting two of the top 2A boys teams in the state as well as a very good Lanett Lady Panthers team facing its arch rival in the LaFayette Lady Bulldogs.

In the boys showdown, No. 1 Lanett (22-6) faces No. 6 and defending 2A state champion LaFayette (21-7) with revenge on its mind after last season’s overtime upset by Bulldogs in the area finals. For the first time in many seasons, LaFayette won the season series with Lanett 2-1 after claiming the area title and used that momentum to run the tables and win the school’s fourth state championship.

In fact, the Bulldogs not only swept the seven-game run (two area, one substate, two regional and two Final Four) to the state title but won its last 11 straight.

Lanett is 2-0 vs. LaFayette this season with wins of 57-47 at the Dog Palace and a 65-31 rout at the Panther Den.

LaFayette began the season ranked No. 1 while Lanett was No. 6.

Now at the start of postseason play, Lanett is No. 1 and LaFayette No. 6.

When the Panthers and Bulldogs meet, rankings don’t mean much as its such an emotionally-charged contest for both schools and very personal.

It’s safe to say that the Lanett-LaFayette boys basketball rivalry is certainly one of if not the best in all of the AHSAA ranks. It’s decades of great tradition on both sides and bragging rights for another year. The Panthers-Bulldogs rivalry is the Iron Bowl of high school basketball.

Last year’s area finals overtime classic was one of the best and most hard-fought games between the two long-time rivals in years.

Expect the intensity level to be off the charts Friday as well and the same goes for the rabid fan base of both schools.

The winner will earn a substate home game next week while the loser will have to travel but both will face two quality foes regardless.

Lanett is led by future hall of fame coach Rev. Richard Carter, who’s won over 600 games in an illustrious, 40-plus year coaching career but — like Lanett — still searching for its first state championship.

Reaching the pinnacle, a long-awaited state championship, is always the goal at Lanett, which has won a plethora of games over the last 25 years and been ranked No. 1 seven times.

LaFayette is led by fifth-year coach Obidiah Threadgill, who two games ago recorded his 100th win at the helm of the Bulldogs. He also has a state championship to his credit, leading the Bulldogs to a 25-5 mark and routing Tanner and Elba at the Final Four last season.

•The first game of the evening Friday will pit the 2A No. 8-ranked Lanett Lady Panthers (18-5) vs. the rival LaFayette Lady Bulldogs.

The Lanett-LaFayette girls will tip-off at 5:30 p.m. ET followed by the Panthers and Bulldogs boys at approximately 7:30.

•In other high school basketball area tourney action, the Valley Lady Rams (11-15) defeated the Benjamin Russell Lady Wildcats 46-40 Wednesday at the AHSAA 6A-Area 5 tourney held at Opelika High School.

It was also the 100th win for Lady Rams coach George Grimes over the course of the last five seasons.

The Valley girls are 100-37 over the last five seasons.

Grimes’ Lady Rams erased a seven-point Benjamin Russell lead after the first quarter and trailed BRHS 23-18 at the half.

Valley trailed by three entering the fourth quarter and used a big, late game 14-5 run to take home a 46-40 win and advance to the area finals against Opelika.

What’s most impressive about the Lady Rams has been a pair of fourth quarter explosions in its last two games.

Valley trailed 2A No. 8 Lanett last week by 14 heading to the final quarter and outscored Lanett 26-6 to steal the win.

They did it again Wednesday against BRHS, outscoring the Lady Wildcats 14-5 to record the come-from-behind win.

That’s two games and have outscored the opposition 40-11 in the fourth quarter alone.

Taylor Miller led Valley with 18 points, Areil Patton added seven, Takayla Bussey had five, Star Core, Kenjadae Dunn and Asia Murphy all tallied four points each and Raven Houston scored three.

Valley will play Opelika Friday at 6 p.m. ET.

Lanett, LaFayette boys, girls area showdowns Friday
Lanett, LaFayette boys, girls area showdowns Friday

By Scott Sickler

Times-News Sports Editor

LANETT — The Lanett boys and girls basketball teams both posted big wins and the LaFayette girls and boys did the same here Tuesday evening in 2A-Area 8 tourney play at the LHS Panther Den.

•The No. 8 Lanett girls (17-5) posted a 62-33 win over Horseshoe Bend as Ataiya Bridges led the way with 34 points, including 20 in the first quarter alone.

•The No. 1 Lanett boys (22-6) rolled over HBHS as well by an 89-37 score.

Zach Mosley led Lanett with 12 points while Tavares Geiger, Jalen Madden and Anquaveious Pollard all had nine points each.

•In LaFayette action, the Lady Bulldogs posted a 54-33 win over Reeltown and the boys squad (No. 6, 21-7) held off Reeltown as well 65-53.

Jarmarquez Boston-Gaines led the Bulldogs with 25 points and eight rebounds while Jartavious Whitlow tallied 14 points and had seven assists.

With the wins, the Lanett girls and LaFayette girls will square off for the area title Friday at 5:30 ET.

In addition, No. 1 Lanett and No. 6 LaFayette boys will clash for the area championship as well following the girls title game at approximately 7:30 ET.

Obituaries

Obituaries for Friday, February 12, 2016
Obituaries for Friday, February 12, 2016

MRS. HUGULEY

LANETT — Mrs. Bessie M. McCants "Anna" Huguley, 93, of Lanett passed away Monday, Feb. 8, 2016, at her residence.

Funeral services will be held Friday, Feb. 12 at noon EST at Greenwood Baptist Church in Lanett with the Rev. James McTier officiating. Burial will follow at the church cemetery.

Foreman Funeral Home in Valley is in charge of arrangements.

MR. MORRISON

WEST POINT — Mr. James Mitchell Morrison Sr., 88, of West Point died at home Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016.

Funeral services for Mr. Morrison will be held Saturday, Feb. 13 at 2 p.m. at McCarthy Funeral Home. Joe Yearwood will officiate. Burial will follow at Oakwood Cemetery.

McCarthy Funeral Home in West Point is in charge of arrangements.

MR. RICHBURG

CAMP HILL, Ala. — Mr. Samuel Richburg, 85, of Camp Hill died Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, at his residence.

Silmon-Seroyer Funeral Home in LaFayette is handling arrangements.

MRS. WALTON

LANETT — Funeral services for Mrs. Leila Dowdell Walton, 83, of Lanett, formerly of Opelika, will be held at 11 a.m. CST Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, at Mt. Nebo Missionary Baptist Church with burial following at the church cemetery. The Rev. Arthur Thomas will officiate.

Peterson and Williams Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements (www.petersonandwilliamsfuneralhome.com).

Obituaries for Thursday, February 11, 2016
Obituaries for Thursday, February 11, 2016

MRS. HOUSTON

ROANOKE, Ala. — Mrs. Johnnie Ruth Houston, 66, of Roanoke passed away Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, at The Inn at Traylor Retirement Community in Roanoke.

Funeral services will be held Friday, Feb. 12 at 1 p.m. CST at Canaan Missionary Baptist Church in Roanoke (Welch) with the Rev. Dr. Mario McDaniel, eulogist, and the Rev. L.B. Houston officiating. Burial will follow at Mt. Olive United Methodist Church Cemetery in Wadley.

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

MRS. HUGULEY

LANETT — Mrs. Bessie M. McCants "Anna" Huguley, 93, of Lanett passed away Monday, Feb. 8, 2016, at her residence.

Funeral services will be held Friday, Feb. 12 at noon EST at Greenwood Baptist Church in Lanett with the Rev. James McTier officiating. Burial will follow at the church cemetery.

Foreman Funeral Home in Valley is in charge of arrangements.

MRS. PARMER

LaGRANGE, Ga. — Mrs. Frances (Delores) Bailey Parmer, 67, of LaGrange died Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, at West Georgia Medical Center in LaGrange.

Visitation will be held Sunday, Feb. 14 from 1 to 3 p.m. at McCarthy Funeral Home in West Point.

McCarthy Funeral Home in West Point is in charge of arrangements.

MR. RAY

WAVERLY, Ala. — Mr. Clinton Ray, 89, of Waverly died Monday, Feb. 8, 2016, at LaFayette Extended Care in LaFayette.

Funeral services will be held Friday, Feb. 12 at noon CST at Antioch Baptist Church of LaFayette with the Rev. Calvin Marshall officiating. Burial will follow at the church cemetery.

Vines Funeral Home in LaFayette is in charge of arrangements.

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