Hasan Master, one of the partners in the Dairy Queen that will be opening in Valley later this year, was the guest speaker Thursday for the Rotary Club of West Point meeting. Master said the new restaurant will have interior seating for 76, another 20 patio seats and will be completely renovated and expanded before it opens. Joining him at the meeting were family members and business associates. From left are Hasan Master and his wife, Reema; Rotary President Debbie Kelley; Johel Momin; and Quseem and Duvi Momin, who will manage the restaurant. See related photo, page 2.
By CY WOOD
LANETT — The new Dairy Queen in Valley should be open before Thanksgiving, and the owners are delighted to be doing business here.
Hasan Master, one of the owners, spoke Thursday at the Rotary Club of West Point.
He said the contractor began this week renovating and expanding the building that previously housed Popeye's on Highway 29 in Valley.
The Dairy Queen will be larger, with interior seating for 76 (versus 44 in the previous restaurant) and handicap-accessible bathrooms. Patio seating for an additional 20 people will also be included.
Master said the restaurant opening date is tentatively Nov. 15, but it could be any time between Halloween and Thanksgiving, depending on the variables.
He said the company will initially hire 75 people. That number could increase or decrease depending on the volume of business once the restaurant opens.
Master has been involved with Dairy Queen operation in Monroe, Ga., for 20 years, and also has a a Popeye's franchise there.
It might be that Popeye's connection that drew him to the Greater Valley Area.
Master said he knew the owner of the Popeye's that closed in Valley, and asked if he was interested in selling the property. When he said he was, Master and his partners toured the area, talked to Chamber of Commerce and city officials, did some research and decided they wanted to have a Dairy Queen franchise in Valley.
He said once the construction work is completed, staff will begin training and they will host a "friends and family day" before the restaurant formally opens.
Master was accompanied by his wife, Reeme Master; his partner, Johel Momin; and Quseem and Duvi Mormin, who will manage the Valley Dairy Queen.
By THE TIMES-NEWS
ATLANTA — The Georgia Department of Labor reported job growth in both Harris and Troup counties in July, with Harris County's unemployment rate dropping to 5 percent from 5.1 percent in June, while Troup's rate edged up to 5.6 percent from June's 5.2-percent reading.
Harris County's civilian labor force grew to 15,745 in July from 15,682 in June, while the county added 67 jobs for an employment total of 14,956. Unemployment in the county stood at 789, compared to 793 in June. A year ago, Harris County had an unemployment rate of 5.8 percent.
Troup County's employment total was up sharply to 35,399 from 35,040 in June, but the county's civilian labor force expanded even more, growing to 37,502 from 36,962 in June. Unemployment in the county rose to 2,103 from 1,922 in June. A year ago, Troup's unemployment rate was 6.8 percent.
Statewide, Georgia had an unemployment rate of 5 percent in July, down from 5.1 percent in June.
By DAVID BELL
WEST POINT – A West Point man wanted in connection with a shooting incident earlier this year that left two people wounded has now been captured.
Kwmane Marquez Trammell, 25, was taken into custody Wednesday by West Point Police and U.S. Marshals. He had been sought by authorities since March 14, when he and an accomplice, later identified as 22-year-old Morquavious Monriqua Brooks, allegedly shot two people during an attempted robbery on East 11th Street in West Point.
The victims, Jasmin Silmon and Demarquez Jenkins, both age 22 of Valley, were treated for their wounds at area hospitals and later released. They each identified Trammell and Brooks as the people responsible for the shooting.
Brooks was arrested on May 6, but Trammell remained at large until his capture Wednesday, resulting from an extensive investigation by West Point Police and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Both Trammell and Brooks have been charged with attempted murder and attempted armed robbery, and are being held in the Troup County jail.
By Scott Sickler
Times-News Sports Editor
WEST POINT — The Point Skyhawks football team will open the Julius Dixon era Saturday on the road at Reinhardt College in the season opener.
The Skyhawks had a tremendous season in 2015 in winning the Sun Conference championship with an unbeaten mark, advanced to the NAIA national playoffs and were ranked in the Top-15 with an overall record of 9-3.
Unfortunately in the offseason, the school had to forfeit three conference wins, dropping its overall record to 6-6 and had to give up its conference championship as well.
Point will be led up front by former Beulah High standout and three-time academic all-conference selection Austin Hodge at offensive tackle.
In addition, senior wideout Charles Ducksworth will be one of the premiere players in all of NAIA football with a terrific skills set.
By Wayne Clark
Times-News News Editor
VALLEY – Valley High head football coach Brad Lowe was the guest speaker at Wednesday’s noon hour meeting of the Kiwanis Club of Valley and talked about a subject that’s most unpleasant for Valley fans: the team’s 26-0 season opening loss to long-time rival Lanett.
As the score would indicate, the Rams made a lot of mistakes in that game, but the coach didn’t make any excuses. The simple truth is that Valley is very young this year, they’re trying to adapt to a new system and there will be ups and downs along the way.
“We’re obviously disappointed,” he said, “because of our mistakes, too many turnovers and a poor kicking game. It’s the kind of thing you take personal because you’re invested in it, and you’ve moved your family here.”
In times of crisis, one has to do some soul searching. “You have to believe in yourself, your system and in your guys,” he said. “Most of the time when you’re going through a transition there are growing pains.”
Lowe thanked the school system’s administration for being very supportive of him in his short time at Valley High. He also thanked Lanett High coach Clifford Story on having befriended him. “This is his eighth year at Lanett. That makes a difference,” he said.
Coach Story would be the first to tell you that he’s had some setbacks in his program. He’s also had a lot of high points, too.
Coach Lowe said that there would be accountability in his program. This means that from the head coach on down everyone will do things the right way. “We have a long way to go,” he said. “We are very inexperienced.”
The team started three freshmen in Friday night’s game with Lanett. Many of the starters on offense and defense are sophomores. That bodes well for the future, but there’s going to be a learning curve to get there. Most of the players had had very little varsity experience prior to this year, and there’s been little chance for leaders to emerge.
“There are a lot of variables we have to address,” he said, “and you can’t neglect any phase of the game. We are trying to get better every day. We need to be more physical and to be more mentally tough. It will take everyone working together for us to be successful. We need to have an exponential curve and take off. We don’t know when it will come, but we will continue to fight and push to get there. And we won’t give up.”
Lowe said his players are responding to what the coaches are teaching them but that it will take some time before they have the consistency they need. “We want to be tough, hard nosed and disciplined and we want that to mean more than something you put on a t-shirt,” he said. “Getting there won’t be easy – it will take some sacrifices – but I will do all I can do, as much as I possibly can, to do it the right way. Whether we win no games, one game or nine, we will do it the right way.”
Lowe thanked the administration for helping the program by installing some new stairs from the field house to the practice field and for painting the locker room. He said he liked some study hall sessions the players are taking to stay ahead with their class work.
“When things go wrong, I’m going to be the first one to look in the mirror and ask, ‘What do we have to do to get better?’” Lowe said. “Some people think that when you change coaches a new staff will come in with a magic playbook and things will be much better. It’s not that simple. Getting better will be tough. Some players will be weeded out before that happens. You have to make tough decisions and live by them. We will try to improve and go from there.”
The team is in pretty good shape health wise heading into Friday’s home opener versus Russell County. “We have a few bumps and bruises but nothing major. We’re not in great, great shape after week one, but we are in pretty good shape. You can’t prepare for a game without practicing, and you can’t prepare without hitting.”
When asked how his team would respond to the Lanett loss, Lowe said that he’s a straight forward, transparent kind of guy. “I don’t know,” he said. “We’re very young and lacking in leadership. We have so many guys who haven’t had to be leaders before. We want our ninth and tenth graders to be talking to our seniors about this. We’re hoping to see a lot of improvement from last week in our game with Russell County.”
The big thing is to avoid mistakes. “Last week’s game would have been a lot different if we hadn’t turned it over five times and had not given up a touchdown pass on a fourth and ten play,” Coach Lowe said. “We have to learn from that. We need to be more disciplined and to avoid those kinds of mistakes.”
By Scott Sickler
Times-News Sports Editor
Pack up the SUV, ice down the cooler, toss in the chips, salsa and sandwiches and head out Friday evening to support your favorite high school football team in the first full weekend of the season.
After Valley, Lanett, LaFayette and Troup all opened last weekend, all seven local schools will be playing Friday in a busy Week 1 of key games.
•The Valley Rams (0-1) are coming off a disappointing 26-0 loss to rival Lanett last week and need to regain its confidence Friday when coach Brad Lowe’s team hosts Russell Co. at Rams Stadium.
Valley struggled on both sides of the line last week and need a solid, all-around game Friday with a big win over the Warriors.
Valley leads the all-time series with Russell Co., 15-1.
•The Lanett Panthers (1-0) will look to continue its outstanding play Friday when coach Clifford Story’s team is on the road at the Notasulga Blue Devils.
The Panthers passing game was in midseason form and Lanett’s team defensive effort was its best since the 2013 region championship season.
Look for Lanett to roll Friday as the Panthers are 7-0 all-time vs. Notasulga.
•The LaFayette Bulldogs (1-0) renew a local rivalry with the Loachapoka Indians Friday in Lee Co.
The Bulldogs were outstanding last week in a 44-29 win over Dadeville.
Expect much of the same for coach James Lucas’ squad as they move to 2-0. LaFayette leads the series with Loachapoka 10-8.
•The Springwood Wildcats will head to Kingwood for its AISA opener and begin its first season in 3A play.
Coach Thomas Hill’s team is big and physical and once they get back a few players who are banged up, they will be a force and tough foe for any opponent.
Shykee Thomas is an outstanding speedster and look for a big season for the senior.
Springwood trails in the series to Kingwood 3-1.
•The Troup Tigers (0-1) and coach Tanner Glisson dropped a 21-14 heartbreaker last week on the road to Hardaway.
The Tigers are improved but still learning the ropes of how to win and gaining the confidence they need on a consistent basis to be successful.
Troup will host Kendrick Friday at Callaway Stadium in search of its first victory.
Troup leads the all-time series with Kendrick 7-0.
•Coach Jason Allen leads the Chambers Academy Rebels as they head to Harpersville to take on Coosa Valley Academy in its season opener.
CA is loaded this fall and hoping to make a serious run for the AISA 1A state championship.
The Rebels looked terrific on both sides of the ball in a jamboree last week.
CA leads the series with CVA 23-8.
•Coach Jarrod Wooten is now in his fourth season leading his alma mater at Beulah High as they head to Spring Garden High.
Earning a big early season win will be huge for the Bobcats confidence and build upon that the rest of the season.
This is the first meeting between Beulah and Spring Garden.
VALLEY — Mrs. Heddie M. Brown of Valley died Sunday, Aug. 21, 2016, at her residence.
Funeral services are scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 27 at 1 p.m. at Friendship Baptist Church, Valley, with Pastor L.C. Thomas, eulogist, and the Rev. Vernon Carter, officiant. Burial will follow at Pine Hill Cemetery in Lanett.
Davis Memorial Mortuary of Valley is in charge of arrangements.
HUGULEY, Ala. — Mrs. Malinda Bishop Duvall, 51, of Huguley passed away Wednesday Aug. 24, 2016, at East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika, Ala.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, Aug. 27 at 4 p.m. at Johnson Brown-Service Funeral Home Chapel in Valley with the Rev. Rusty Letson officiating. Burial will follow at Resthaven Memorial Gardens.
Johnson Brown-Service Funeral Home in Valley is in charge of arrangements.
VALLEY — Mr. Bobby McDonald, lifelong member of First Baptist Church Shawmut and beloved friend and associate of so many in Shawmut, passed away on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016.
The church at 2300 23rd Drive, Valley, will sponsor a memorial service in his honor Sunday, Aug. 28 at 3 p.m.
CAMP HILL, Ala. — Funeral arrangements are pending for Mr. Howard Pearson, 66, of Camp Hill, who died Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016,at his residence.
Vines Funeral Home in LaFayette is in charge of arrangements.
VALLEY — Funeral services are pending for Mrs. Jerri A. Roughton, 71, of Valley, who passed away Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016, at EAMC-Lanier Memorial Hospital in Valley.
Johnson Brown-Service Funeral Home in Valley is in charge of arrangements.
LANETT — Mr. Gentle Varner, 84, of Lanett passed away Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2016, at his residence.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, Aug. 27 at 1 p.m. at Mount Nebo Baptist Church in Cusseta with the Rev. Arthur Thomas, pastor, and the Rev. Sam Marshall Jr. officiating. Burial will follow at the church cemetery.
Foreman Funeral Home in Valley is in charge of arrangements.
WEST POINT — Mrs. Ardell Davidson Winston, 84, of West Point passed away Monday, Aug. 22, 2016, at her residence.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, Aug. 27 at noon at Emanuel Chapel CME Church with the Rev. Derrick Miller, pastor, the Rev. Christopher Johnson, eulogist, the Rev. Thurmond Brown, the Rev. Charles Trammell and the Rev. Brandon Todd officiating. Burial will follow at Marseilles Cemetery.
M.W. Lee Mortuary of West Point is in charge of arrangements.