West Point Senior Center Director Fran Buchino and West Point Parks and Recreation Director Mike Pitts had to bring out some extra tables and chairs to accommodate the large crowd present at Monday evening's dinner meeting of the Booker Hills Neighborhood Watch chapter, held at the West Point Senior Center. More than 100 people were in attendance. The city's new police chief, Tony Bailey, was a special guest. Chief Bailey thanked everyone for the warm welcome he has received and talked about the vision he has for the department. Capt. Robert Fawley gave an update on gang-related activity in the local area. The chapter's block captains were introduced, Barbara Ruddick was recognized for organizing the event and women of the neighborhood were thanked for the great job they did in preparing the food for the potluck picnic. Among those present were Mayor Drew Ferguson, council members Sandra Thornton, Steve Tramell and Ben Wilcox and Harris County Commissioner Jim Woods. (Photo by Wayne Clark)
By THE TIMES-NEWS
Harris County District 2 Commissioner Jim Woods won reelection over Andy Sivell in Tuesday's Republican runoff election, while Morgan Marlowe won the District 2 Board of Education seat in a race with Tim Edgar.
Woods won by a 333-289 margin over Sivell. In the first primary, they had tied at 384 votes each, forcing the runoff. Turnout was 146 votes less in the runoff.
Marlowe won by a 373-310 margin over incumbent Edgar.
Those were the only two local races on the ballot Tuesday that saw businessman David Perdue narrowly defeat Rep. Jack Kingston for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate to replace the retiring Saxby Chamb-
liss. Perdue will face Democratic candidate Michelle Nunn and Libertarian Amanda Swafford in the general election Nov. 4.
Harris and Troup voters favored Perdue. Perdue led in Harris 1,095-972 and in Troup by 1,617-1,137.In other statewide races, the Democratic ballot had a runoff between Valerie Wilson and Alisha Morgan for state school superintendent. Wilson won with 54 percent of the vote, outpolling Morgan 73,423 to 61,575.
In Harris County Wilson led by 111-103 and in Troup County trailed Morgan 175-200.
In the Republican runoff for state school superintendent, the race is too close to call. Richard Woods had 199,071 votes and Michael Buck 198,343.
Harris County favored Woods by a 913-797 margin, and Troup favored Woods by 1,318-1,149.
By ANNE GLENN-HOLLIDAY
LANETT – Speaking to Lanett Police Chief Angie Spates on Monday evening about the gangs in the city, Councilman Stanley Roberts told her that he'd asked her at the July 15 work session where she'd gotten her information about gangs and added that he wasn't asking for information pertinent to her investigation.
“You told me you rely totally on your observation and said that you're the cop,” Roberts said. “Of course you know I had already gone to the Uniform Crime report, the ABI report and the FBI report, and I found out we were zero to two.”
He then asked the police chief if she could identify how many gangs are operating in the city.
Spates explained that the department has been talking about the number of people involved, not about the number of gangs.
He told her he'd asked the question because there is something called profiling.
“Councilman Heard and I've gotten numerous complaints about profiling,” Roberts said. “Just to label everything a gang works for the good at some points, but sometimes it's not so good. I would love to know, and I think everyone on this council would love to know when you're going to make a big announcement that something is about to be going on in the city. My constituents are calling me, and I have no clue. It has me at a disadvantage.”
Speaking next, Councilman Jamie Heard said he agrees with Roberts.
“I work with the school system, and we don't have gang members in the schools,” he said. “There's no evidence, and there's no proof that there's gang-related activity in the schools in Lanett.”
Councilwoman Shirley Motley asked the other council members if Roberts and Heard were saying that they (gang members) are young adults in their 20s and asked where they're coming from.
“Are they from out of town or out of state,” she asked.
Answering her, Spates explained that some are from the area and said that some are from Georgia. She also told Motley that they are of all different ages.
“Everybody gets upset because of gangs,” Motley said. “It's like Lanett is the worst place to be, and it's not.”
Roberts thanked the electric department for speedy action in taking care of a power outage, that occurred Sunday and extended from First Avenue to Spring Road.
“They did a good job,” he said. “I'm going to tip my hat to you for a job well done.”
He asked Chief Spates about what can be done to keep the police department fully staffed and retain police officers
“There's a social aspect to it,” he said. “When people know the police officers, they're more likely to talk to them and help us with the problems we're having.”
He asked her what the council needs to do to remedy the situation.
“Police are a vital part of our community,” Roberts said. “They need to be known by the community. It's better to serve and protect than to harass and arrest.”
He asked her to give him a copy of her response in writing.
Roberts' next comment concerned surplus vehicles, and he suggested that the council receive a certified report from a mechanic stating what's wrong with the vehicles and what it would cost to repair them.
“I don't want to get to the point we just move the vehicle out, because we want a new one,” he said. “I would love to have a new vehicle, too, but if the money isn't there, we can't get one. The report would let us see for ourselves if it's warranted to be put out to the pasture or the grave. Some of them might be getting some good cars and will put $400 into them and resell them. That would help us make a decision whether we want to purchase new vehicles.”
Roberts then asked for an update on the recreation department and asked supervisor Ronnie Tucker about what's being done to the fields. He asked him to bring the council a report.
His next concern was school funding. Roberts said some things weren't done and said he investigated and found out a bill wasn't paid.
He explained that the city approves a contract with Georgia-Alabama officials and said that the high school coach wanted to get away from Georgia-Alabama officials, so it wasn't included in the payment.
“It was his fault because he didn't get it to us,” Roberts explained.
Councilwoman Shirley Motley also mentioned that people had complained that their lights had gone off five or six times Monday and it was explained that the light crew was working at Springwood.
“They have to check it every so often and it causes the lights blink,” she said.
Councilman Kyle McCoy mentioned that tearing down dilapidated buildings was mentioned in last Tuesday's work session and asked if the council is going to get an updated list of the properties before the next meeting.
“There were several concerns about some houses that shouldn't have been on the list and some that should have been on it,” he mentioned.
Code enforcement officer Jerry Thrower told him that it would be put in his box.
By Scott Sickler
OPELIKA, Ala. — A benefit motorcycle ride will be held Sat., Aug. 2 from Big Swamp Harley Davidson in Opelika to raise funds, help offset family expenses and help find a cure for Andy Martin.
The ride is in conjunction with the Bikers for Christ (BFC) organization.
The cost is $20 per bike and $5 for extra riders.
All proceeds from the motorcycle benefit ride will go to the Martin family.
Registration will take place at 10 a.m. CT and kickstands up at 12 noon.
Sausage dog plates will be sold for $5 each.
In addition, a 50/50 raffle will also be held and door prizes will be available as well.
For additional information, contact: Karie Dalton at (706) 586-8313.
By Scott Sickler
COLUMBUS, Ga. — Veteran high school football coach Ronnie Sikes has left Callaway High School to take the defensive backs job for the Shaw High Raiders, Sikes told The Times-News Saturday.
One of the most successful high school coaches in AHSAA history, Sikes has enjoyed success wherever he’s led the program.
Shaw High will be the ninth school in which Sikes has served in a stellar 33-year coaching and teaching career.
Local fans may recall Sikes began his coaching career at Valley High in the early 1980s.
He then moved on to Notasulga High, where he enjoyed great success with the Blue Devils for the longest tenure of his career.
Following Notasulga, Sikes went to Mortimer-Jordan High, then to Beulah High and back to Notasulga.
He left Notasulga when the Lanett job came open in 2004 and served as the Panthers head coach for five seasons through the 2008 campaign.
Sikes and his staff did a masterful job in rebuilding the Lanett program from a 3-7 first-year mark to 12-1 and ranked as high as No. 2 in 2007 in claiming the school’s first region championship since 2001.
Sikes’ 2007 Lanett team was one of the school’s all-time great teams and only a gut-wrenching state quarterfinal 18-12 overtime loss to No. 1 and eventual state champion Leroy High kept the Panthers from winning a state title.
He retired after leaving Lanett High following the 2008 season before taking on the challenge of rebuilding the Springwood Wildcats AISA program in 2009.
Following his Springwood tenure, Sikes moved to Callaway High in the GHSA ranks and will join the Shaw High football staff this fall.
Sikes told The Times-News he’s glad to have an opportunity to continue coaching and teaching in Georgia.
“I’m glad to be working in Georgia, being retired in Alabama, it was best for me,” Sikes said. It’s a little drive (Shaw High in Muscogee Co.) but looking forward to working with coach Kyle Adkins as he tries to get that program on track. I’m happy to be getting my foot in the door in Muscogee Co. schools and hopefully it will be great professionally for me. I am looking forward to the challenge,” Sikes noted.
At Shaw High, Sikes will teach two health courses and physical education as well in addition to his duties as the Raiders defensive backs coach.
By Scott Sickler
The 2014 high school football season is only one month away when the Valley High Rams journey across the interstate to take on the rival Lanett High Panthers Fri., Aug. 22 at Morgan-Washburn Stadium in the season opener.
Lanett (AHSAA 2A-Region 5) and Valley (AHSAA?6A-Region 3) have not played since the 2011 season when the Rams defeated the Panthers 41-12.
•The Panthers last win in the series was in 2007 when coach Ronnie Sikes’ No. 2-ranked Lanett squad jumped out to an early lead and held on for a 24-21 win.
Lanett was unbeaten in 2007 and ranked as high as No. 2 in 2A play before a gut-wrenching state quarterfinal loss at No. 1-ranked Leroy.
Coach Clifford Story and his staff have done a terrific job in building Lanett into one of the elite small schools programs in the state.
The Panthers went 11-1 last won, went unbeaten in region play in winning the championship and advanced to the quarterfinals before a 31-6 loss to Fyffe ended its season.
You can be sure Lanett will use the sting of the Fyffe loss as motivation this year to make another big run for the state championship.
Lanett has all the tools in place to do just that and expect the Panthers to be ranked anywhere from No. 3-5 in the upcoming preseason poll.
•The Valley Rams have a huge challenge this fall in its move to 6A competition and Region 3 with the likes of Top-10 foes Oxford, Opelika and Benjamin Russell.
Coach Marshon Harper says the staff and players are ready for the weekly stern tests.
The strength of the Rams team this fall will be its defense as Valley returns all 11 starters with several standouts leading the way.
•The Troup Tigers (GHSA 4A-Region 5) return a number of standout college prospects led by all-state and All-American candidate Mitch Mathes at offensive tackle.
The Tigers will have photo day Saturday and begin fall camp July 25, coach Lynn Kendall told The Times-News this week.
Troup will play perhaps the toughest schedule in school history this fall.
•Springwood (AISA 2A-Region 1) Chambers (AISA 1A-Region 1), LaFayette (AHSAA 2A-Region 5) and Beulah (AHSAA 3A-Region 3) will all get underway with fall camp drills the first week in August.
DAHLONEGA, Ga. — Mr. Joe Tinsley Adams Jr., 73, of Dahlonega died at home Sunday, July 20, 2014.
Funeral services will be held Thursday, July 24 at 2 p.m. at Gainesville First United Methodist Church Chapel, 2780 Thompson Bridge Road, Gainesville. A family inurnment will be held at Shady Grove Cemetery in Opelika.
Little & Davenport Funeral Home of Gainesville is handling arrangements.
OPELIKA — Mr. Alizah K. Ellis of Opelika died Monday, July 21, 2014, at East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika.
Funeral services and survivors will be announced by Davis Memorial Mortuary of Valley.
VALLEY — Funeral arrangements are pending for Mr. Walter J. Leverett, 61, of Valley, who died Tuesday, July 22, 2014, at EAMC-Lanier Hospital in Valley.
Silmon-Seroyer Funeral Home of LaFayette is handling arrangements.
LANETT — Mr. Bruce John Stong, 69, of Lanett died Friday, July 18, 2014.
The celebration of Bruce's life will be private.
CUSSETA — Mr. David Cummins, 66, of Cusseta died Friday, July 18, 2014, at his residence.
Funeral services are planned for Wednesday, July 23 at 11 a.m. CDT at Jeff Jones Funeral Home in LaFayette with the Revs. Rick Thomaston and David Babson officiating. Burial will follow at Garden Hills Cemetery in Opelika.
Jeff Jones Funeral Home of LaFayette is handling arrangements.