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Year in review: Looking back at January, February and March

EDITORS NOTE: This is the first of a four part series looking back at the year 2019 in Troup County.

Jan. 4

School board 

members sworn in

New school board members, Tanya Jones Cameron and Rebecca Grubbs were sworn in during a school board meeting in early January. Allen Simpson was also sworn in again after being re-elected.

Jan. 8

Deceased newborn found 

in cooler bag

A deceased newborn was found in a cooler on Boy Scout Road on Jan. 6. Witnesses told police that the cooler had been on the side of the road, near the wood line for several days. The child was a full-term, white female and showed no obvious signs of trauma or injury.  The case is still an open investigation.

WellStar WGMC posts prices

At the start of January, WellStar West Georgia Medical Center posted the prices for its services on its website, meeting a new federal guideline that went into effect Jan. 1.

Jan. 9

Hogansville decides on 

layout for new city hall

The Hogansville City Council voted in January to move forward with renovation plans for the PNC Bank Building, which the city plans to eventually make city hall. The plan chosen will have a meeting room at the center of the building and will have five total offices.  

Jan. 15

Sixth murder suspect 

arrested in June 2018 

shooting

Antony O’Neal was arrested in Mississippi and charged with murder-gun and three charges of conspiracy to commit a crime. He was one of six people arrested in a shooting on Lexington Park Drive from June 2018.

Jan. 23

Man found shot, killed in 

vehicle in LaGrange

Malenko Cooley, 18, was found dead from a gunshot wound on Spring Street on Jan. 22. Marquaveos Deshun Harris, 19, was arrested a few days later for murder, aggravated assault, armed robbery and concealing the death of another person. Police later determined that Cooley was killed during an armed robbery in Newnan but was driven to LaGrange. 

Jan. 30

Retracing Lafayette’s 

footsteps

Lafayette Trail Manager Julien Icher visited LaGrange in January during a journey to map out the trails that American Revoutionary hero Marquis de Lafayette would’ve taken during his farewell tour of the United States in 1824.

Feb. 2

LaGrange College students work Super Bowl

More than 30 students in the LaGrange College sports management program volunteered at Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta in February. This marked the second straight year that LaGrange College students worked the Super Bowl, although the previous one in Minneapolis, Minnesota was much further away and much colder.

THS students star in Super Bowl commercial

Students and faculty from Troup High School were filmed in December 2018 for Kia’s “The Great Unknowns – What if” commercial that aired on Sunday night. The scene was shown in the movie. 

Feb. 5

Twin Cedars raises $104,868 through Behind the Mask

Mike Angstadt and Katie Massey Jones were crowned King and Queen of the Mask as the candidates who raises the most money for Twin Cedars. Jones raised the most money of any candidate in the event’s history with more than $28,000.

Feb. 12

K9 officer Biko passes away

The Troup County Sheriff’s Office lost Biko after a long battle with several medical illnesses. Biko was a Dutch Shepherd trained in narcotics detection, apprehension and tracking. He was two years old in January 2010 when he began working with his handler, Lt. Nathan Taylor.

Feb. 13

Man dies after 

accidental shooting

A man was shot in an accidental shooting in the parking lot of Pal Express 1 gas station on South Greenwood Street. According to police, Alazea Carr, 22, was playing with a gun when it went off and struck 24-year-old Quydarius Weldon in the face. Weldon died from his injuries and Carr was charged with involuntary manslaughter.  Carr was later indicted for involuntary manslaughter, two counts of possession of firearm during the commission of a felony, possession of methamphetamine, possession of alprazolam, discharging a firearm under the influence, pointing a gun at another, reckless conduct, and possession of marijuana.

Southbend Park opens

The City of LaGrange and the Callaway Foundation held a ribbon cutting for the new Southbend Park in February. The park includes playground equipment, a dog park, a pavilion and an adjoining skate park.

Feb. 16

Kia celebrates start of production of 2020 Telluride

Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia officially unveiled the 2020 Kia Telluride at its plant in West Point. Gov. Brian Kemp attended the unveiling and drove the first Telluride off the assembly line. 

Feb. 22

Shumate named superintendent

Brian Shumate was named the superintendent of Troup County Schools in February and started in Troup County on July 1. Shumate spent 27 years at a public school system in Louisville, Kentucky before moving to Medford, Oregon in 2014. 

Feb. 23

LaGrange College raises more than $70 million

LaGrange College’s five year fundraising campaign, named From Promise to Prominence, raised more than $71 million. The goal had been set at $50 million. 

Feb. 27

“The Walking Dead” airs on AMC

“The Walking Dead” filmed one episode of its ninth season in Hogansville in September 2018. The episode aired on AMC late in February.

Body pulled from creek

A body pulled from a creek in Lanett, Alabama was later identified as 41-year-old Jeremy Fetner. Aaron Blake Creed and Donald Freeman Kee Jr. of Hogasville were arrested in the case, but charges were dropped after the district attorney’s office couldn’t determine beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendants committed the crime in Troup County. 

March 2

TCSO adds new K9

Chapo, a Belgian Malinois, joined the Troup County Sheriff’s Office in March. Chapo’s handler is Lt. Nathan Taylor.

23rd annual storytelling 

festival held

An estimated 2,000 people attended the 23rd annual Azalea Storytelling Festival in LaGrange. Donald Davis, Tim Lowry, Josh Goforth and Ed Stivender provided the entertainment for the March festival. 

Murder suspects arrested

In late February and early March, two murder suspects were arrested by the LaGrange Police Department. Omare Atcherson and Travis McFarland were arrested for their alleged role in the murder of James Jake Ponder on Feb. 9. McFarland and Atcherson were later indicted for four violations of the street gang terrorism and prevention act, felony murder, criminal attempt to commit armed robbery, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and possession of firearm during the commission of a felony.

March 7

Troup County gives back

After a tornado caused numerous damage and killed 23 people in Beauregard, Alabama and impacted areas of Georgia, many in LaGrange gave back. The City of LaGrange Public Works crews assisted in storm damage cleanup in Pine Mountain, and churches and other volunteer organizations collected food, clothing and other supplies for the affected areas. 

March 12

Longtime restaurant owner passes away

Tony Bishop, known for his restaurant The Cart Barn, passed away suddenly in March. For 15 years, Bishop was the chef, the entertainment behind the grill and ran the day-to-day operations of The Cart Barn.

Man dies in 

industrial accident

In Young Lee, 34, of LaGrange, was killed in an accident at PowerTech America in West Point n Saturday. 

March 14

Dennis hired as new parks and recreation director

LaGrange native Lance Dennis was named Troup County’s new parks and recreation director in March. 

Sewell named teacher 

of the year

Long Cane Middle School teacher Traviera Sewell was named the Troup County School System’s teacher of the year. Sewell is a sixth grade social studies teacher. 

March 22

Red Cross recognizes heroes

The American Red Cross of Central Midwest Georgia honored ten local heroes during a breakfast in March. The most heartwarming moment might’ve been when Troup County Sheriff’s Office Corp. Michael Hockett and Deputy Anthony Smith were recognized for saving the life of Ken Hines. Hockett and Smith used an AED defibrillator to deliver shocks to his heart on Thanksgiving night. Marie Hines ran over to get each of them a huge hug. “These are the young men who came to my house and saved my husband’s life, and it was on Thanksgiving night,” Marie said. “They should’ve been at home spending time with their families.”

March 26

Law enforcement, TCSS sign Handle with Care 

agreement

Local law enforcement agencies and the Troup County School System signed a memorandum of understanding in March, creating a process for how the school system is notified when a student is exposed to trauma. Through the agreement, an email is sent to a child’s school, letting them know when a child has been exposed to something that may affect them in the classroom.

March 28

WellStar named to top hospital

For the third time in four years, IBM Watson Health named WellStar West Georgia Medical Center as one of the nation’s top 100 hospitals.