Year in Review Part II: Summer months were a busy time in LaGrange during 2017

Published 6:59 pm Thursday, December 28, 2017

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second part in a three-part series looking back at the year 2017 in Troup County.

May 2

Gov. Deal signs budget at WGTC

Gov. Nathan Deal spoke at West Georgia Technical College in May to sign the state budget, which included $11 million in funding for equipment at technical schools in Georgia.

Deal made the decision to sign the budget at West Georgia Technical College to highlight the importance of the programs the budget would fund, including the newly-enhanced lab at the college.

May 3

Troup County Sheriff’s Deputy fired

over domestic dispute

Troup County Sheriff’s Deputy Lakee Snell was arrested in May under Georgia’s Family Violence Act for stalking and simple assault. Snell, who had served as a deputy since 2015, was fired from his position after an investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

May 5

Board of commissioners votes to close Troup County Correctional Institute

The Troup County Board of Commissioners voted to get rid of the Troup County Correctional Institute and the work release program so that it could afford a countywide salary increase for employees.  The correctional institute and work release program were considered non-mandatory services and were one of the largest expenses the county could legally cut. Cutting the prison and work release was expected to save the county about $1.57 million.

May 6

Firehouse Subs opens in LaGrange

Firehouse Subs opened at 1507 Lafayette Parkway. The restaurant is owned and operated by Bhumika and Bhavesh Patel, who have also opened Firehouse Subs in Newnan, Peachtree City and Fairburn.

May 18

More than $600,000 found inside

seats of unmarked van

An unmarked van was pulled over in May for a routine traffic stop, but it quickly turned into much more. Sheriff deputies recovered approximately $678,000 hidden inside the seats of the van. K-9 officers gave indications of illegal drugs, but no drugs were found inside the van.

May 23

Hogansville city manager relieved of duties

Hogansville City Manager James Woods was fired by the Hogansville City Council in May. Woods had served in his position since 2011.

May 25

Man found guilty in wrong way driver case

In May, a jury found Humphrey Kisia Semo guilty of two counts of homicide by vehicle, serious injury by vehicle, possession of a schedule I controlled substance and reckless driving for a 2015 incident. Semo drove the wrong way on the northbound lanes of Interstate 185 for nearly six miles before he collided head on with a SUV.

Michael Dillon and his cousin Kirkland Baker, both in a Toyota RAV4 that was traveling northbound, were killed in the crash. Kenrick Dillon, Michael’s son, was seriously hurt and airlifted to an Atlanta hospital. He was paralyzed from the waist down. Semo was sentenced to 45 years to serve 40 in a state prison.

June 7

Community leader Hamilton passes away

Community leader James Hamilton Jr. passed away in June at the age of 87. Hamilton was one of the founders of the LaGrange Industrial Development Authority in the 1970s and helped attract dozens of industries and businesses to the city during a crucial time.

June 10

Gill concert sells out Sweetland

Country music star Vince Gill sold out Sweetland Amphitheatre. The concert featured the biggest crowd to date in the history of the amphitheater and more than 2,300 tickets were sold.

June 14

Berta listed as one of top 10 schools in Georgia in fights

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote a story that listed Berta Weathersbee Elementary School as one of the 10 schools in Georgia with the most

fights. Berta had 35 incidents per 100 students during the 2015-2016 schol year. The elementary school unveiled renovations in September. At that time, principal Willie Cooks said suspensions had decreased by 99.4 percent compared to 2016 at the

same time.

Kayle Lanning Minchew named

Georgia’s Writer of the Year for history

Minchew, retired executive director of the Troup County Archives, was honored by the Georgia Writer’s Association for her book, “Franklin Delano Roosevelt: A President in Our Midst.”

June 21

Jones donates Model T  to Georgia Tech Auto Show

Fred Jones donated his 1925 Model T Speedster to the Georgia Tech Auto Show in June. The Model T was inspired by Georgia Tech’s actual Ramblin’ Wreck vehicle that the school uses at football games. It is painted in the Yellow Jackets’ colors of old gold and white and has the number “51” on the back fender, a reminder of the year Jones graduated from Georgia Tech.

June 24

Sheriff’s Deputy injured in accident

Troup County Sheriff’s Deputy Stephanie Masouka was injured in an accident that knocked her over a guard rail in June. She suffered a broken leg in the accident. Masouka was working an accident on Interstate 85 North near mile marker 12. She was talking to the driver of a wrecked pickup truck when a tractor trailer struck the back of the wrecked truck and knocked her over the guard rail.

July 3

Building on the square partially collapses

The TWFG Insurance building, located at 10 North Lafayette Square, collapsed after 10 p.m. on Friday, June 30. Nobody was in the building when it collapsed and nobody was injured.

July 15

Frios Gourmet Popsicles opens in downtown

Frios Gourmet Popsicles officially opened in LaGrange in July. The store is owned by Matthew and Lynsay Oleson, who decided to open their own Frios after discovering one on vacation three years before.

July 24

Ribbon cutting held for The Thread

A ribbon cutting was held for The Thread’s Model Mile in July. Hundreds of citizens celebrated by walking, jogging and running down the 1.3 mile circle.

July 29

Former councilman Moore passes away

Former LaGrange City Councilman and respected educator George R. Moore, Sr. passed away in July at age 87. Moore served on the LaGrange City Council from 1996-2007. He served as a non-commissioned officer in the United States Army from 1953-1956.

Aug. 1

14-year-old LHS student drowns

Fourteen-year-old Nar’Quevious Tucker, a rising freshman at LaGrange High School, died after drowning in a pool at LaGrange College during a team event. LaGrange High School had rented out the school’s natatorium from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Aug. 22

LaGrange views historic solar eclipse

LaGrange residents took a few minutes in mid-August to take in a full solar eclipse. The eclipse was the first in 99 years to go from the west coast of the United States to the east coast.  LaGrange didn’t have a full eclipse, but 94 percent of the sun was blocked. LaGrange College and the LaGrange-Troup Chamber of Commerce each held viewing parties and LaGrange Academy allowed students to go outside and watch history.

Aug, 24

Duracell marks major milestone

Duracell marked a major milestone in August, as the manufacturer celebrated the topping-off of its new manufacturing facility. Duracell announced last year that its LaGrange campus will be taking over manufacturing of all AA and AAA batteries for Duracell in North America.

Aug. 29

LaGrange man dies at Alabama’s Lake Martin

The body of a LaGrange man was recovered at Alabama’s Lake Martin in August. The man was identified as 44-year-old Thomas Huelan Spence of LaGrange. The search lasted five days.