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Year in review: Looking back at July, August and September

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

July 2

Shumate sworn in as superintendent

Troup County Superintendent Brian Shumate was sworn into office on the first day of July. 

July 5

Locals take to downtown for parade

The 35th annual Sweet Land of Liberty parade was held in downtown LaGrange on the Fourth of July. The parade celebrated America’s birthday and honored parade grand marshals Debbie and Speer Burdette. 

July 7

Troup County names new fire chief

The Troup County Board of Commissioners named John Ekiatis as the county’s new fire chief. 

Prior to coming to Troup County, Ekiatis served as the fire chief for the Sumter County Fire Department for roughly seven years.

July 12

Road named after fallen solider 

The intersection of West Point Road at Pegasus Parkway was named after U.S. Army Sergeant Corey Emmett Spates. Spates was from Troup County and went on to serve in the United States Armed Forces. Spates was killed fighting in Iraq during his service.

July 13

Taylor appointed as 

Solicitor General 

Gov. Brian Kemp appointed Sandra Taylor to serve as Troup County Solicitor General in May. Taylor took over for Markette Baker, who was appointed to the Super Court of Coweta Judicial Circuit earlier in the year. 

July 16

Harmony House raises $40,000 through dragon boat race

The West Point Lake Dragon Boat Race included 28 teams and raced $40,000 to help domestic violence victims in Troup County. All of the money went directly to helping fund the shelter, which received 900 crisis calls in 2018. The winning team was Southern Rehab and Sports Medicine. 

July 23

Estes steps down as 

chamber president

Page Estes resigned her position as president and CEO of the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce in July. Estes had served as chamber president for 10 years. She was credited with the chamber being recognized as a five-star accredited chamber and with chairing the steering committee that founded THINC College and Career Academy.  

July 24

City appoints board to oversee tourism funding

The LaGrange City Council voted in July to nominate a board to oversee the city’s tourism funds in the future. The LaGrange Convention and Visitors Bureau will oversee the handling of the funding, which is a change from the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce. The commerce had overseen the hotel/motel tax since 1991. 

July 25

Tilley named interim president and CEO

Kathy Tilley was named the interim president and CEO of the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce in July.  Tilley also remained in her role as executive director of the Troup County Center for Strategic Planning during the transition.

July 30

Housing authority 

rebrands

The LaGrange Housing Authority rebranded in July. LHA changed its name to “The Phoenix” and unveiled a new logo. 

 Aug.  1

GMAS scores show work to be done for TCSS

The Troup County School System saw improvement in early reading levels on the Georgia Milestone scores. The improvements were shown in reading for third and fifth grade students, but many of the scores in other subjects stayed the same or decreased. 

 Aug.  6

Dancing for the Thread

The second annual Dancing for the Thread raised $73,616, mora than double what was raised at the event in 2018. Stacey Hardigree and Craig DeLoach won the competition.

Holloway convicted of felony murder

Malcolm Jamal Holloway, 29, was convicted of felony murder and other charges for his role in a failed armed robbery attempt in June 2018. Javontay Carr, 24, died in the shooting on Steeplechase Drive.

 Aug.  9

Man thanks first 

responders who saved his life

Mike Pilgrim, 54, was electrocuted helping a friend cut down a tree in July, but thanks to a team from American Medical Response, his life was saved. In  Aug. , he thanked the AMR medics, police officers and medics who saved his life. “Like I told you that day, you’re a lucky man,” said Retosha McKenzie, advanced EMT with AMR Medical Unit 88. “There was a higher power looking over you.”

 Aug.  13

Ride supports Baker

Hundreds of community members participated in a benefit ride in  Aug.  for Billy Baker, a deputy with the Troup County Sheriff’s Office who was diagnosed with cancer. Baker has stage four esophageal cancer, and 853 riders and hundreds of other community members showed up in support of him. “It’s been overwhelming to say the least. I always thought of myself as the guy on the job, and I’ve been doing the job a long time,” Baker said. “For the community and my brother and sister officers to show up and do this, it has been overwhelming for me. This is unbelievable.”

 Aug.  15

Chattabrewchee moves tasting room to Columbus

Chattabrewchee Southern Brewhouse announced in  Aug.  that it was moving its tasting room from West Point to Columbus. 

Montessori asks city for Dawson Street property

Hillside Montessori asked the LaGrange City Council to donate the Dawson Street School property to the Montessori school in  Aug. . Mayor Jim Thornton noted that regardless of the decision, the actual school building would need to be demolished soon.

 Aug.  31 

THINC names new CEO

Gerald Wyatt was named the CEO of THINC College and Career Academy in  Aug. . “I am bouncing off the walls with excitement and the world is whirling,” Wyatt said. “It is a big change for me, and I’m so excited.”

Sept.  4

LaGrange sign catches Gameday cameras

During a portion of ESPN’s College Gameday’s show from Arlington, Texas, a sign that said “Visit LaGrange,” Georgia was shown in the background. Bobby Carmichael and his two sons, Rob and McCall, were responsible for the sign. Carmichael is the chair of the newly formed Visit LaGrange tourism board. “We went down there thinking we might could get some exposure for that sign,” Bobby Carmichael said. 

“We got there about half an hour into the show, so we were a little late getting there. It was packed. Anyway, so we had the sign, and I gave it to one of my sons and told him to work his way down there. He was pretty persistent.”

Sept.  5

Woman kidnapped out of Montgomery jumps out of car in Troup County

A woman reportedly kidnapped out of Montgomery, Alabama jumped out of a vehicle on Interstate 85, leading the Troup County Sheriff’s Office into a high-speed chase with the driver of the vehicle. A Troup County Sheriff’s Office deputy saw the woman jump out of the car. 

She told authorities she had been kidnapped by the driver, later identified as Rubin Mack, in Montgomery, Alabama, according to the press release. Mack, 40, was charged locally with fleeing/attempting to elude (felony), driving while license suspended, speeding, reckless driving, and failure to maintain lane.

Sept.  6

Man shoots, kills sister

A man shot and killed his sister, Sally Harrison, in the 5000 block of Riverside Drive, ran from police and was eventually killed after raising a gun at officers, according to information from the Troup County Sheriff’s Office. 

When officers located the suspect, later identified as Sam Burt, he raised his gun at officers and did not comply with officers’ demands. 

As a result, officers fired at the suspect and killed Burt. 

The man also allegedly killed several of his dogs.

LaGrange celebrates 

Lafayette’s birthday

Marquis de Lafayette Day was celebrated in Sept.  with the second annual wreath laying and commemoration ceremony.

Sept.  11

LFD honored with awards

Members of the LaGrange Fire Department were awarded at the Ronnie Thames Foundation Silent Hero Banquet in Atlanta. Chief John Brant won the Leadership Award and the LFD’s 3rd Battalion and Troup County Rescue 1 received the Teamwork Award for their work during a Labor Day fire that left six firefighters with injuries.

Sept.  17

Thousands raised at Walk to End Alzheimer’s

The annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s was held at Vernon Woods Retirement Community in Sept.  and thousands of dollars were raised to go back into researching a cure for the disease.

Historic marker unveiled in Hogansville

The City of Hogansville unveiled a historic marker in honor of former postman Isaiah Lofton, who survived an assassination attempt in 1897.

Sept.  18

Senior citizens speak out against property tax

An ongoing conversation started at the Troup County School System’s work session in Sept. , where a large group of senior citizens spoke against paying the school portion of their property taxes. Since then, a town hall has been held to discuss the issue, and the Troup County School Board has promised that it will pass a resolution so that a referendum can be placed on the ballot next year. The details of the resolution are unclear.

Sept.  20

TCSS graduation rate above state average

The Troup County School System’s graduation rate rose in 2019 to 86.6 percent, which is above the state average of 82 percent. 

Sept.  27

Phase four of the Thread completed

The fourth portion of The Thread opened in late Sept.  on Country Club Road. “I believe it is transforming our community,” said Friends of The Thread President Dr. Charles Metcalf. “The Thread is changing us as people. We are getting better physically. We are getting better mentally.” 

Six miles of the 29 miles planned for The Thread have been completed.