On Tuesday evening, the Interfaith Food Closet held its annual meeting in the fellowship hall of Fairfax United Methodist Church. Board Chairman Donnie Erwin-Brown thanked them for their invaluable assistance in helping provide food to local people who are dealing with some kind of personal crisis such as a job loss or health setback. Since May 2013, the volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours in this continuing cause. A total of 1,714 households have been served. This is close to 4,780 people, more than 1,600 of whom are children. A total of 20,140 meals have been provided over this span. IFC volunteers include, seated from left, Lessie Beck, Sandra Newton, Michelle Scott, Libby Leak and Aleathea Burdette. On Row 2, l-r, are James Cotton, Ida Bell, Marilyn Stokes, Janice Cawley, Bobby Wingo, Lynn Hinkle and Ellen Quinton. In back, from left, are Linda Cotton, Diane Holmes, Diane Porter, Larry Porter and LaFayette Lanier. (Photo by Wayne Clark)
By THE TIMES-NEWS
LaGRANGE — Gov. Nathan Deal Tuesday announced that W.S. Badcock Corp., one of the largest privately held furniture retailers in the United States, will construct a new regional distribution center in LaGrange, investing $22 million and employing more than 100.
“Badcock’s new regional distribution center is an excellent addition to Troup County,” said Deal. “This expansion is a testament our state’s top-ranked business climate, and I have no doubt that Georgia’s skilled workforce and globally recognized logistics infrastructure will support future growth and success.”
The 535,000-square-foot facility will be located at the Callaway South Industrial Park in LaGrange and is scheduled to open in the third quarter of 2015. The project will include enhanced energy efficiency technologies and is designed for expansion to 700,000 square feet. This facility will replace two existing facilities in Thomson and Cullman, Ala.
“We are very pleased with the cooperation from the officials in LaGrange,” said W.S. Badcock President Mike Price. “Their progressive attitude and effective leadership were influential in our selection of the community. This is a significant project for our company, and we are delighted to make this investment here and become an integral part of LaGrange and Troup County. The new distribution facility is designed to handle distribution to our current network of locations and will also accommodate our planned growth of new stores.”
“We are thrilled that Badcock chose Georgia for their new regional distribution facility,” said Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Chris Carr. “Georgia’s logistics infrastructure will give them easy access to supply their growing number of retail stores across the Southeast.”
Charlie Moseley, senior project manager at the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD), assisted Badcock on behalf of the state, along with the LaGrange Office of Economic Development and Lonnie Smallwood at Electric Cities of Georgia.
“We welcome Badcock’s distribution facility to LaGrange,” said Mayor Jim Thornton. “They are a strong brand with an outstanding reputation for excellence and we are excited to have these jobs created in our community.”
By WAYNE CLARK
LANETT — Four local Masonic lodges and a local chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star have come together for the presentation of their first-ever humanitarian award.
West Point Lodge No. 43; Solomon Lodge No. 74, LaFayette; Valley Lodge No. 516; Lanett Lodge No. 656 and Vashti Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star, No. 431 are in agreement that this first award recognizing an individual's (or couple's) tireless service and selflessness to our community and dedication to the needs of others be presented to Dr. Charles and Ruth Otto.
The presentation took place Sunday afternoon at the Lanett lodge.
The award will be given on an annual basis and from now on will be known as the Dr. Charles and Ruth Otto Humanitarian Award.
John J. Hall III, the worshipful master of the Valley lodge, said that Eddie Holloway of the Lanett lodge had approached him with the idea of honoring the Ottos with a humanitarian award and thought them to be very deserving. He talked to others about this and didn't get anything in the way of negative feedback from anyone.
Hall said the Ottos reminded him of a famous quote he'd heard that what one does for one's self in life goes to the grave with them but what they do for others will live on.
Hilda Jones, the volunteer coordinator for Chattahoochee Hospice, thanked the Ottos for being Hospice volunteers for a combined total of 46 years. "They have been volunteers a lot longer than I've been with Hospice," Jones said. "Dr. Otto has done it for 25 years now and Mrs. Otto for 21. That's amazing!
"They've pretty much done all you can do in being a Hospice volunteer, and as many of you know, Ruth has spent a lot of time in the nursing homes dancing with the residents. We appreciate what they have done on behalf of those who are experiencing an end-of-life crisis. It's just one little piece of what they have contributed to this community over the years, and we just want them to know just how much we appreciate them and what they've done."
One of the couple's four boys, John Otto, said he'd like to mention how dedicated his mom and dad were to Scouting. "My dad was a scoutmaster and my mom a den mother," he said. "Hundreds and hundreds of kids benefitted from that. They had three Eagle Scouts under their guidance.
"Mom and dad raised five kids all of whom are college graduates, some with advanced degrees," John said. "They did an excellent job not only with us but with other kids from the neighborhood they took in. They were always taking in people who were less fortunate. There were times when they had people living in their basement."
John said he could remember an incident from the late 1970s or early 1980s when he was awakened by his dad and was asked to go with him to the animal clinic to treat an injured animal. As he was helping his dad prepare for the animal's arrival he heard some sirens in the distance. They got louder and louder and he took a peek outside to see a police escort pull up in front of the clinic.
"Gov. Fob James came here with a dog that had been hit by a car," John said. "He didn't want to take it to anyone else."
Another son, Bill Otto, said that everyone in the family is looking forward to next February. That's when their parents will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary. "They still hold hands," he said. "They do all they can to take care of each other, and they always have God first in their lives."
Bill said his parents had always been good role models. "They gave us a good work ethic," he said. "They always worked side by side all those years. Each knew what they were supposed to do without asking the other one. When the doors of the church were open we would always be there."
The youngest child, daughter Marilyn, said that it had been a great experience growing up in the home her parents had provided. "Our house was always open," she said. "We would always host parties after football games and other such events. We learned so much from their volunteering so much and being so community minded."
Mrs. Otto then explained why they had five children. "Dr. Otto always wanted to have a girl," she said. "When the first four were all boys, we kept trying."
Dr. Otto knew they'd reached that special time when the doctor went into the waiting room at the hospital and said, "Finally, a girl!'
"We stopped at that," she said.
Dr. Otto thanked everyone for their kindness. "We appreciate this very much," he said.
He said that if he had worn a hat to the event he'd have to exchange it for a larger one. He couldn't help his head being bigger, given all the nice things everyone said. "It looks like we brought our own cheering section here today with us," he said to some laughter.
In thanking the members of the various lodges, Dr. Otto said he wanted to give credit to lots of other people for what they did to make the Greater Valley Area the special place it is to live.
"Ruth is very deserving of this award," he said. "For more than 25 years she and Lillyan Wilson went each week to all the local nursing homes and assisted living facilities to entertain the residents with singing and dancing. Even after Lillyan had to retire, Ruth continues her weekly visits 'to dance with the old folks' as she puts it. It's more of a shuffle now that she has arthritis in both hips."
Dr. Otto said he's most grateful the local newspaper, The Valley Times-News, has always had a generous policy with letters to the editor. He said that Millard Grimes was the editor when he brought up the idea of having a local chamber of commerce. He credited the late Maurice Duttera for taking the initiative to form a committee to get this done.
"Vince McDonald was hired to be the chamber director, and money was raised to build a chamber building," he said. "Vince and Shaefer Heard were instrumental in the building of West Point Dam. The chamber brought in our first industry not related to textiles."
Another letter to the editor penned by Dr. Otto got the ball rolling on having a local animal shelter. "It was something we needed because of the stray dogs and cats that were plaguing our cities and our county," he said. "It came through the efforts of Jim Murphy and a dynamic little lady named Diane Cook, who got WestPoint Pepperell to donate the land. She also organized a fundraiser to raise the money needed to build the shelter."
Dr. Otto was an early advocate for having a county manager form of government in Chambers County. "You have to have a good manager who sees to this on a day-to-day basis," he said. "This is a full-time job, and there's no way the commissioners can do this."
Dr. Otto commended The New Horizon Community Theatre for the quality entertainment it provides the local area but noted that it had a pretty good predecessor in The Painted Rock Society. "People like Ann Murphy and Jane Murray, together with some other artistic-minded people raised the money to hire a professional director to have this local amateur group having the polish of New York performers," he said. "Later on, people like Martha Cato, Suzie Britt and others helped others realize their dreams through the Valley Arts Council."
"I could spend the afternoon mentioning others who have done so much to make our Valley the special place it is," he said. "People like Doss Leak set the wheels in motion that led to having the City of Valley, which has brought such amenities as the Sportsplex and the Community Center. People like Drew Ferguson and the West Point Development Authority did something great when they helped the state get the land that brought in Kia. The supplier plants followed, doing much to help bring jobs to the local area.
"Let's not forget our county commissioners, the mayors, councils, police, fire and EMS personnel, health care personnel and people involved in the public services that enhance the well being we enjoy in this community," Dr. Otto said. "Every day I thank the good Lord for allowing me to be born in our great nation and for the people who brought us to this wonderful place. Thank you for giving us this honor. We are indeed grateful."
"You can sit down now," Mrs. Otto said as her husband finished his speech, The comment broke up everyone with laughter.
Dr. Otto smiled and came back with a quip about a guy having no idea what might happen when he goes to a USO show hoping to get a good ham on rye sandwich. It was that search for a sandwich some seven decades ago now that led him to Ruth.
By Scott Sickler
Times-News Sports Editor
One local team is officially in the high school football playoffs and one more can accomplish the same feat this weekend as well.
The Chambers Academy Rebels (4-4, 3-2) are in the AISA 1A state playoffs and will travel to Choctaw or Sparta in first-round play, Fri., Nov. 7.
The Rebels will be a No. 3 or No. 4 seed in the AISA 1A playoffs.
The Springwood Wildcats (5-4, 2-3) can also earn an AISA 2A playoff berth with a homecoming win over Evangel Christian Friday.
Springwood will be a No. 3 or a No. 4 seed in the 2A playoffs.
Both Chambers and Springwood will be on the road for the duration of the three rounds in the AISA playoffs.
The AISA 1A-3A football finals are played at Troy University.
The other local team in the hunt for the playoffs are the Troup High Tigers (3-4, 0-2) in GHSA 4A-Region 5 play.
The Valley Rams (3-5, 1-4) in 6A-Region 3, defending 2A-Region 5 champion and preseason No. 2-ranked Lanett (4-4, 2-3), 3A-Region 3 Beulah Bobcats (2-6, 2-4) and 2A-Region 5 LaFayette Bulldogs (1-7, 0-6) have all been eliminated from the postseason race.
Clifford Story’s Lanett Panthers will close out the season at home Friday against the Reeltown Rebels.
The Valley Rams will host Pell City for Senior Night Friday before closing out the season Oct. 31 at 7A Prattville.
Coach James Lucas and the LaFayette Bulldogs will host the Beulah Bobcats Friday.
Jarrod Wooten’s Bobcats just missed earning a 3A state playoff berth last week, falling on the road to Prattville Christian 21-12. Beulah led 12-0 at the half but couldn’t hold on.
The third local team in the running for the postseason includes the Troup Tigers.
Despite an 0-2 region start, Troup still has three more 4A-Region 5 contests, including a key region battle on the road at Carrollton Friday.
Lynn Kendall’s team needs two wins in its last three games in order to earn a state playoff berth.
The final two region games of the year are against Fayette Co. and Whitewater and both are at the friendly confines of Callaway Stadium.
It’s possible Troup could lose to Carrollton, drop to 0-3 in region play but win it’s last two and also earn a 4A playoff berth.
By Scott Sickler
Times-News Sports Editor
WEST POINT — With just three regular season games left, the surging Point Lady Skyhawks soccer team (9-2-3, 5-0-2) is closing on the Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC) championship.
Coach Randy Douglas’ team hosts the Reinhardt University Lady Eagles (10-3-1, 6-2-1) Wed., Oct. 22 at 4 p.m. ET with a chance to secure at least a tie for the AAC championship.
Reinhardt is third in the latest AAC standings.
Point is the lone unbeaten women’s team in the AAC and took a huge step towards winning the title after a 2-1 win over Montreat College Saturday.
The win over Montreat extended the Lady Skyhawks AAC-best winning streak to five games and also set a school-record for most wins in a season.
The Lady Skyhawks have been dominant and are currently on an overall 10-game unbeaten streak (7-0-3).
The Point athletics department invites all students, faculty, staff and other friends in the community to support the team Wednesday against Reinhardt.
By Wayne Clark
Times-News News Editor
PRATTVILLE, Ala. — With a 3A playoff berth on the line, the Beulah Bobcats appeared ready to take that big step when they jumped out to a 12-0 halftime lead over the Prattville Christian Academy (PCA) Panthers, but the home team took complete control of the game in the second half, scoring on three touchdown drives and holding the Beulah offense at bay to win the game 21-12.
The loss drops the Bobcats to 2-6 on the year and 2-4 in 3A Region 3. Beulah will close out the season with a road game at LaFayette and their homecoming game versus Randolph County. PCA nailed down the Region’s fourth playoff spot with the win.
The Bobcats played some inspired football in the early going. They took a 6-0 lead before much of the crowd had sat down in their seats on homecoming night at Panther Stadium. They extended that lead to 12-0 when quarterback Tony Brown scored on an 11-yard run off the left side of the line midway of the second period.
The scoring play capped off a 55-yard drive that was set up by a nice punt return by Christian Gillespie. Runs by Brown and Ty McCants accounted for most of the yardage on the drive. The Bobcats made a big play on fourth and two from the Panther 35 when Brown ran up the middle for eight yards and a first down on the 27.
Runs by McCants and Kelvin Miller got the ball to the 11. Following a time out, Brown kept the ball around left end, following a host of good blocks to get the ball into the end zone.
Beulah went for two on the conversion, and it looked like they were going to make it when McCants, who was running right, turned and passed back to a wide open Brown on a flea flicker play. The pass was low but catchable, and Brown probably would have scored had he caught the ball but he couldn’t find the handle.
Even with that missed opportunity, the Bobcats were in good shape at that point, holding a 12-0 lead with 6:15 left in the half.
The home team then showed some offense for the first time, driving the ball to a first down on the Beulah 12 in the final minutes of the half. The Bobcats stopped them, though, on an interception by Kelvin Miller near the goal line with a little less than two minutes to play.
Miller returned the pick to the Bobcat 13. From there, Beulah moved for one first down before time ran out. At halftime, the Bobcats could almost taste that playoff spot, holding a 12-0 lead.
In the second half, the Panthers were a completely different team, and Beulah could do little to get things turned back around to their advantage.
The home team drove the ball 80 yards for a score on their first possession to get the momentum going their way. Quarterback E.J. Spencer ran the ball effectively both up the middle and on the flanks to get the ball past midfield. On second-and-ten from the Beulah 38, big, bruising fullback Chase Bernard broke a big run off the left side of the line, running all the way to the Beulah one and a first and goal.
Spencer scored on a run up the middle on the next play and just like that, the Panthers had cut the Bobcat lead in half, 12-6. Holt’s PAT made the score 12-7 with 7:55 left in the third period.
The Panthers held Beulah to a three-and-out on the first Bobcat possession of the second half, and after a Zach Massengale punt, PCA had the ball on their 43 with a chance to take the lead. They did that on the running of Spencer, Bernard and Dawson Roy, driving it 57 yards for a score.
The key play came on fourth and two from the Beulah 22. Following a big line surge, Bernard ran right up the middle all the way to the Bobcat four. A facemask penalty added on put it on the two and from there, Bernard scored on the next play. Holt’s second PAT of the game gave PCA a 14-12 lead with 1:22 left in the third quarter.
At that point, Beulah was still very much in it, but they needed to get something going on offense. After a very shot kickoff, they started in good field position on their 36 but once again was held to a three and out.
A reverse play on third and seven looked promising, but a dropped handoff resulted in a four-yard loss.
Beulah punted it away on the first play of the fourth quarter. PCA put it in play on their 24 and began a third straight scoring drive. Once again, there were no pass plays and not much going wide. For the most part it was keeping it between the tackles and keeping the chains moving on power run plays.
The Bobcats got a break at one point when PCA was flagged for a false start, but on the next play Spencer got the yardage needed for a first down on a quarterback draw.
Most of the yardage on the drive came on fullback smashes up the middle by big No. 44. The Bobcats knew what was coming but could do little to stop it. On five of the next six plays, Bernard carried the ball up the middle, closer and closer to the Beulah goal. On the fifth time he touched it it was first and goal on the two.
From that close, he easily powered across the goal line against a very tired defense. Holt’s third PAT of the half extended PCA’s lead to 21-12 with 5:12 left in the game.
Now down by nine points, Beulah’s offense got their first first down of the second half on a run by Tony Brown. That gave the Bobcats a first down on the PCA 47, but that would be as far as they could get. On the next play Brown was sacked while attempting to pass. After an incomplete pass and a pass in the flat that lost two yards, Brown launched a Hail Mary on fourth and 21. The pass fell incomplete and PCA took over on the Beulah 43.From there, they ran out the clock ending the game with a 21-12 win on homecoming night.
VALLEY — Mr. Eddie B. Walton Sr., 78, of Valley died Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014, at EAMC-Lanier Health Services in Valley.
Funeral services are planned for Thursday, Oct. 23 at 1 p.m. EDT at Mt. Nebo Baptist Church in Cusseta with the Rev. Arthur Thomas, pastor, officiating, and the Rev. Sam Marshall Jr. presiding. Burial will follow at the church cemetery.
Silmon-Seroyer Funeral Home of LaFayette is handling arrangements.
CUSSETA — Mr. Mack O'Dell Mann, 65, of Cusseta died Friday, Oct. 3, 2014, at his residence.
Memorial services are planned for Wednesday, Oct. 22 at 7:30 p.m. at Grace United Methodist Church, 915 E. Glenn Ave. in Auburn.
Johnson Brown-Service Funeral Home of Valley is handling arrangements.
LANETT — Mr. Raymond Edwin Osborne, 73, of Lanett died Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014, at EAMC Lanier Hospital in Valley.
A memorial graveside service will be held Thursday, Oct. 23 at 2 p.m. at Shawmut Cemetery with Pastor Danny Spear officiating.
Johnson Brown-Service Funeral Home of Valley is handling arrangements.