Year in review: A look back at January, February and March

Published 4:00 pm Tuesday, December 25, 2018

EDITORS NOTE: This is the first of a four part series looking back at the year 2018 in Troup County 

Jan. 1

Hobby Lobby officially opens

Hobby Lobby opened in LaGrange on New Year’s Day. The store was greeted by a line of shoppers standing outside the store, counting down the minutes until the doors opened.

Jan. 10

Loveland named Sweetland’s new director

The Downtown LaGrange Development Authority promoted Keyal Loveland to Sweetland Amphitheatre’s director. Loveland had previously served as the venue manager for Sweetland.

Jan. 16

Terry Godwin Day in Hogansville

Godwin, a LaGrange native, was honored in Hogansville on Jan. 14 after his Bulldogs reached the College Football Playoff Championship game. The proclamation announcing Terry Godwin Day was made during the city’s Martin Luther King Ceremony at Hogansville Elementary School.

Jan. 27

Cranford named District attorney

Herb Cranford was appointed as the Coweta Judicial Circuit District Attorney by Gov. Nathan Deal. Cranford took over for former district attorney Pete Skandalakis, who left to serve as executive director of the Prosecuting Attorney’s Council of Georgia.

Jan. 31

Man shot, killed

Antonio M. Harris, 31, was killed after multiple shots were fired into a house on Lady Elaine Street in late January. More than 20 shots were fired in all. Harris, two adult females and two young children were in the home, but only Harris was shot.

Feb. 1

WellStar alters visitation policy as flu spreads

WellStar West Georgia Medical Center implemented temporary visitation guidelines in January to held reduce the spread of the flu virus. Under the new guidelines any person showing signs of illness was asked not to enter the patient care areas.

WellStar had already treated 254 flu cases at that point, more than the previous two flu seasons.

Feb. 2

Hotel celebrates ribbon cutting

The Courtyard by Marriott in downtown LaGrange held its official ribbon cutting to celebrate joining the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce.

Feb. 3

LaGrange College students help with Super Bowl

Seven LaGrange College students helped with Super Bowl LII in February as part of their sports management program. The students had a chance to work in the NFL House, and they directed fans and staff through U.S. Bank Stadium.

Feb. 8

Kidnapping suspect arrested in LaGrange

Kyle E. Smith, 22, was arrested in Troup County after allegedly kidnapping a female in Kentucky as she was leaving a daycare. Smith was charged with kidnapping, robbery and auto theft in Kentucky. He also faced an arson charge from the LaGrange Police Department after the 1999 Mercury Villager he had been driving was found engulfed in flames.

Feb. 14

Elementary school gets name

The Troup County School Board discussed name options for its new elementary school as its board meeting on Feb. 12. Three nights later the board settled on and voted to approve Clearview Elementary as the name.

Feb. 16

Sutton passes away

Former LaGrange High School star Vince Sutton, who went on to play football at the University of Alabama, passed away Feb. 15. Sutton led LaGrange to a 14-1 record in 1983 and a spot in the class AAAA state championship game.

Feb. 22

Archives celebrates 100 years

The Troup County Archives celebrated the 100th birthday of its building in February. The building had previously served as a home to several banks and other businesses.

Feb. 24

Robinson speaks at fundraiser

Brooks Robinson, a Hall of Fame baseball player, was the special guest at the Boys and Girls Clubs of West Georgia fundraiser. Robinson played his entire 23-year career with the Baltimore Orioles and is considered one of the greatest third basemen in Major League Baseball history.

Feb. 27

Four-year-old shot

A 4-year-old girl was shot at one of the Benjamin Harvey Hill Homes on Whitesville Road. The girl’s mother and two siblings — a 2-year-old and 7-year-old — were at home at the time of the shooting.

Man runs from police for 6 hours

Police arrested 19-year-old Paul Lamar after a six hour search in February. Lamar was in the backseat of a vehicle pulled over on Interstate 85 Northbound for speeding. As Georgia State Patrol pulled the vehicle over, Lamar ran through the woods and was eventually arrested. While tracking him, police recovered a stolen pistol assigned to LaGrange Police Chief Lou Dekmar. The gun was stolen in 2015.

Feb. 28

K9 Rik retires, dies a few days aFter

K9 Rik was forced to retire in late February due to a cancer diagnosis and died several days later. Rik served with the LaGrange Police Department for six years, including four with Clayton Bryant, his K9 handler at the time of retirement.

March 3

Hillside  announces new school

In March, Hillside Montessori Director Bethany Hedrick announced that Hillside was building a new elementary school near Great Wolf Lodge. The school is expected to cost $4 million.

March 6

Ruby Tuesday closes

Ruby Tuesday abruptly closed in March, leaving a sign on the door as the only notice. The restaurant opened in LaGrange in 1998.

March 15

Students take part in national protest

Students at Callaway High School and Troup High School took part in a national protest against gun violence. The protest took place on the one-month anniversary of a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School in Parkland, Florida.

Hardigree named teacher of the year

LaGrange High School teacher Randy Hardigree was named the Troup County School System’s teacher of the year in March. Hardigree teaches anatomy and life sciences.

March 22

Kemp speaks at Rotary Club

Brian Kemp, who at the time served as Secretary of State and is now the governor-elect, spoke at the LaGrange Rotary Club meeting in March. Kemp used the speech to talk about his time as secretary of state. In May, he emerged from a crowded Republican ballot to win the Republican nomination. In November, he defeated Stacey Abrams in a tight race.

Roger’s Bar-B-Que damaged in fire

Roger’s Bar-B-Que, a local staple in Hogansville, was damaged in a fire in March. No one was injured in the fire, which started when the gas was turned up on a fire pit instead of off.

March 23

Industry leaders announce Business Park

Business leaders gathered in LaGrange in late March to announce the creation of the Georgia International Business Park, the largest industrial park in the Southeast in terms of size, employees and investment in the community. The park stretches from Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia in West Point all the way through companies like Interface and Milliken.

March 28

City decides to hire a fire chief

At its retreat in March, the LaGrange City Council discussed hiring a fire chief. Lou Dekmar had overseen the LFD and LPD for a decade John Brant was hired as fire chief in November.