Technicians are shown above installing audio-visual equipment for the event center at Point University Golf Club (formerly Riverside Country Club). The former clubhouse is being extensively renovated and will offer a venue for local events with seating for up to 200 and other features. Marilyn Butler of Heart of the South Restaurant will be opening a restaurant in the event center.
By CY WOOD
LANETT — The merry month of May will bring a new venue for merriment to the Greater Valley Area.
Friday, May 1 will mark the first event to be held at the newly renovated Point University Golf Club (formerly Riverside Country Club) event center.
The Chambers County Development Authority will hold its annual Existing Industry Appreciation Luncheon at the event center.
Since Point University acquired the facilities earlier this year, extensive renovations have been made to the former clubhouse.
Troy Higdon, operations manager for Point, said the facilities are de-
signed to serve the community, not just Point University.
The main dining room in the building has been expanded, and will seat up to 200 people, he said. Previously, maximum seating for meal events was 85.
The room features a 12-foot automated screen for presentations.
The biggest news about the changes at the event center revolve around food. Marilyn Butler, whose Heart of the South Restaurant in West Point has been a preferred dining tradition for years locally, will be opening a restaurant in the event center. Lunch will be served Tuesday through Friday and Sunday.
Also, the event center will feature a short order grill to provide food for golfers at the adjoining golf course. Butler said there would be three burger options available at the grill.
Higdon said the event center has retained an event planning company, so the facilities should enjoy extensive utilization.
He said that parking is being studied, and that with larger groups using the event center would be a challenge with present capacity.
All facilities will be open to the public, Higdon said, and Point is emphasizing using local providers to support activities at the center.
The golf course is open to the public, and player passes, on a monthly or annual basis, will be available. The pro shop now has three full-time staff members ready to serve golfers, he said.
For more information visit www.pointgolfclub.com.
By CY WOOD
DETROIT — Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia has increased its commitment to local STEM education and widened the range of students who can benefit from the A World in Motion program in local schools.
KMMG, which is winding up a three-year, $900,000 commitment to the SAE Foundation for its AWIM science, technology, engineering and math program, announced Thursday that it is extending the commitment another three years and at a higher level, $1.2 million, and making the program available to students in Harris and Chambers counties in addition to Troup County.
KMMG's Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Administration Randy Jackson was in Detroit Thursday to make the announcement.
Kia is now the largest automotive underwriter of the SAE Foundation program.
Jackson said expanding the program to other school systems will enable the children of Kia team members who live in those areas to benefit from the AWIM program.
"Our future workforce will come from all these counties," Jackson said. He noted that AWIM gets students interested in and excited by science, technology, engineering and math at an early age.
"On behalf of all KMMG team members, we are excited to continue our partnership with SAE and for even more local students in Harris and Chambers counties to join students in Troup County who have been benefiting from this fantastic program," Jackson said. "This curriculum is making a big impact, and as a learning organization, Kia understands that the students of today will be our workforce of tomorrow.
"The SAE Foundation's relentless pursuit of innovative, effective STEM education is made possible by corporations like Kia Motors — innovation and continuous improvement are key components of the Kia brand's core values and A World In Motion exemplifies this in its curriculum design and delivery, as well as its ability to create the next generation of innovators," he added.
Jackson said he hopes Kia's commitment to STEM education will be embraced by other local industries in supporting the proven AWIM model.
He praised the Troup County School System for its embrace of the AWIM program, noting that it's not just an after-school or extracurricular activity but something that has been embedded in the school system's curriculum.
"Kia understands that A World in Motion's carefully crafted curriculum based on the Engineering Design Experience secures a learning process that instills problem solving and the skills of working in teams, communication, analytical thinking and data analysis that will facilitate lifetime learning and career success,"Lori Gatmaitan, director of the SAE Foundation, said.
"By investing in SAE's AWIM program over the next three years, Kia is ensuring that students in both Georgia and Alabama are not only prepared to be potential employees, but that they will also enrich their communities by being excellent problem solvers and analytical thinkers, innovators who provide practical solutions to everyday problems," Jackson said.
Corinne Hodges, senior manager, public relations at KMMG, shared some numbers about the AWIM program in Troup County. Better than 94 precent of students developed an increased interest in math or science, 72 percent had increased math and/or science scores and 84 percent demonstrated an interest in an engineering career.
The SAE Foundation estimates that over the six-year commitment KMMG has made to AWIM, the program will touch more than 73,000 students.
Jackson said KMMG's commitment to workforce development covers the full range of educational institutions.
"We're working with the four-year colleges, the two-year schools, elementary and high schools," Jackson said. "We hope KMMG's financial support will make a difference."
Jackson said industries need to collaborate and communicate with the educational system in helping to develop the workforce of tomorrow.
He pointed out that Kia had a need for employees with mechanical and electrical training. It was difficult to find those employees in the labor pool, so KMMG set up its own training program. That program has worked so well that it will be transferred to West Georgia Technical College, which will use the curriculum developed by the company.
He said that KMMG looks for ways to support programs that benefit workforce development, including sponsoring robotics programs in local schools.
"A strong workforce development program will set us apart from the rest of the state and the nation," Jackson said. "It can help us attract new business and serve as a model for the rest of the state."
AWIM is a teacher-administered, industry volunteer-assisted program that brings science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education to life in the classroom for students in Kindergarten through Grade 8. Benchmarked to the national standards, the AWIM program incorporates integrated STEM learning experiences through hands-on activities that reinforce classroom STEM learning.
By THE TIMES-NEWS
VALLEY — An investigation spanning several months has resulted in a drug trafficking arrest and the seizure of thousands of dollars in illegal drugs.
Robert Chambers of the Chambers County Multijurisdictional Drug Task Force said the agency had been investigating Eric Ledell Smith, alias Shaq, for several months on suspicion of unlawfully distributing controlled substances.
Wednesday, agents of the Drug Task Force stopped Smith in a 2004 Chevrolet Suburban on Trammell Avenue in Valley and intercepted a delivery of crack cocaine. Smith was arrested on the scene for unlawful possession of a controlled substance.
Stanley McCants, alias Rooster, was a passenger in the vehicle driven by Smith. McCants was arrested for unlawful possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Agents obtained a search warrant for Smith’s residence on Mindy Lane in Valley. Upon executing the search warrant agents discovered less than a gram of marijuana and a plastic bag containing approximately 96 grams of crack cocaine. The estimated street value of the crack cocaine is between nine and ten thousand dollars.
Smith was subsequently charged with trafficking in cocaine and possession of marijuana second degree. Additional charges involving the unlawful distribution of controlled substances are pending for Smith.
Citizens may report drug activity at 334-756-0570. For emergencies, call 911 or after hours, 334-576-0914.
By Scott Sickler
Times-News Sports Editor
GROVE HILL, Ala. — The No. 5-ranked Springwood Wildcats baseball team (22-5) moved one step closer to its goal of winning the AISA 2A state championship after posting an impressive and dominating doubleheader sweep over Clarke Prep Academy here Thursday.
Dr. Walter Banks’ team was the superior team in all phases in routing CPA 11-2 in Game 1 and completing the twinbill sweep in the Game 2 nightcap with a 10-5 win.
The 22 wins ties the 1998 Springwood team as the second most victories in Wildcats history. The 1998 Wildcats went 22-4 and won the 2A state title and the 1999 Springwood team went 26-2 and also won the state championship.
Springwood will play at Macon-East next week in Final Four play.
Macon-East routed Wilcox 10-0 and 9-0.
•In Game 1, Connor Caldwell (4-2) earned the win on the mound for the Wildcats.
Lanier Gleaton led the offense for Springwood with three hits, Kyle Campbell tallied two while Dustin Hudmon, Caldwell and Brandon Bryan all had hits.
In addition, Tyler Wright had three walks and David Miller scored three runs.
•In Game 2, Springwood completed the sweep as Bryan (2-2) earned the win on the mound.
Caldwell blasted a grand slam to lead the offense for Springwood.
Campbell tallied two hits while Wright, Gleaton, Miller and Jake Sullivan all had hits.
“It’s great to make it to the Final Four,” Banks noted. “We’ll play Macon-East Wednesday at a time to be announced,” noted Banks.
By Scott Sickler
Times-News Sports Editor
LaGRANGE — The Troup Tigers (22-3, 12-2) needed a statement game and they got exactly that and more as coach Craig Garner’s squad played its most impressive game of the season here Thursday in a 13-4 rout over the No. 2-ranked Whitewater Wildcats at Tiger Field.
The stars were many for Troup in all phases of the game as the Tigers got a great effort on the mound from Winston Turner, superb defensive play from shortstop Ryan Bliss and centerfielder Miles Cameron, as well as a potent offensive attack at the plate led by Cameron with four hits and Bliss with three as well.
Give credit to Garner and his staff as they perfectly executed its gameplan in putting Whitewater under pressure from the start from aggressive hitting, bunts and all-around superb team baseball.
Cameron led the offense with four hits, including a tape measure 400-foot plus smash to left centerfield, clearing the fence by a good 30 feet.
In addition to four hits and four runs scored, Cameron made an Otis Nixon-special home run stealing catch in the seventh inning.
Cameron leaped over the centerfield fence and pulled down the blast, denying Whitewater one last glory and the final out in a decisive 13-4 Troup win.
It was the Tigers 14th win in its last 15 games and set the stage for what will be a state championship-like atmosphere today at Whitewater in Game 3 for the GHSA 4A-Region 5 championship and No. 1 seed in the state playoffs.
In addition, Bliss had three hits and righthander Turner was outstanding on the mound, earning the win and ripped a solo homer to help his cause as well.
•Troup and Whitewater will decide the region championship today in Fayetteville at 5:30 p.m. ET.
By Scott Sickler
Times-News Sports Editor
LaGRANGE — The Troup High Tigers are moving ahead in its search for a head football coach as the school is interviewing candidates this week, Bob Schweizer, Troup High athletic director, told The Times-News.
After less than eight weeks on the job, Shawn Sutton resigned as Troup coach two weeks ago and the school is trying to find the best possible candidate for the job with spring practice looming just around the corner.
“We hope to interview a new pool of applicants this week,” Schweizer said.
Spring drills are crucial for the development of a football program and if no new coach is in place for spring practice, Troup may opt to play two scrimmage games this fall, Schweizer added.
“We’d like spring workouts but we may play two scrimmage games in the fall instead,” noted Schweizer. “The players are really motivated and we have some great character coaches here who are dedicated to the kids and who are conducting workouts,” Schweizer said.
“I think this is a special group of kids we have here right now who just have pride in what they are doing and have some of those intangible things you need to be successful,” noted Schweizer.
“They are goal-oriented — that is difficult to teach regardless of who the head coach is,” noted Schweizer. “My son and his friends are sophomores in this group and I have been impressed by how they have responded to every challenge we have faced.”
The new Troup football coach will be the school’s sixth since Tommy Walburn resigned following the 2005 season and took the job at Northgate High School in Coweta Co.
The Tigers played in 11 state playoff games from 2000-2005, compiling an overall mark of 5-6.
Since 2004, however, Troup is 1-8 in playoff games.
Troup had arguably the best team in school history in 2001 under Walburn in posting an 11-3 record and made the 4A state semifinals at the Georgia Dome, falling to eventual undefeated state champion Statesboro Blue Devils.
Troup went 3-1 in the 2001 playoffs and had standouts such as Avery Hannibal, Stephen Watts, Kevin Reese, Jonzie Dunn, Maurice Grier, Dominique Bruce and Randall Brooks.
WADLEY — Mr. Howard L. Fennie Sr., 65, of Wadley died Saturday, April 18, 2015, at East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, April 25 at 1 p.m. CDT at Greater Pine Hill Missionary Baptist Church in LaFayette (Penton) with the Rev. Rodney Thomas, pastor, officiating, and the Rev. Rickey Cofield, eulogist. Burial will follow at Standing Rock Cemetery in LaFayette.
Silmon-Seroyer Funeral Home in LaFayette is in charge of arrangements.
WEST POINT — Funeral services are pending for Ms. Mary "Mae Fannie" Fleeten of West Point, who died Thursday, April 23, 2015, at EAMC-Lanier Hospital in Valley.
M.W. Lee Mortuary of West Point is in charge of arrangements.
ORLANDO, Fla. — Mr. James "Mac" Patterson, 72, of Orlando, formerly of Camp Hill, died Saturday, April 18, 2015, at Vitas Innovative Hospice Care in Winter Park, Fla.
Graveside services will be held at New Hope Baptist Church Cemetery, County Road 89 South, Camp Hill, Saturday, April 25 at noon CDT with the Rev. G.H. Pulliam offciating.
Vines Funeral Home of LaFayette is in charge of arrangements.
LANETT — Toddler Jaddex Ky'Leece Story, 16 months, died Sunday, April 19, 2015, at EAMC-Lanier Hospital in Valley.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, April 25 at 1 p.m. at Mt. Hermon Baptist Church with the Rev. Louis Upshaw, the Rev. Carterris Tucker and Minister Jackie Varner officiating. Burial will follow at Pine Hill Cemetery.
M.W. Lee Mortuary of West Point is in charge of arrangements.