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

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, December 30, 2020

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EDITORS NOTE: This is the third of a four-part series looking back at the year 2020 in Troup County.

July 3

Beloved Walmart employee remembered

Carl Green, a longtime Walmart employee who was beloved by shoppers and colleagues, died in early July. The Walmart stockman, who was well-known for his kindness toward others, was honored by his fellow employees at a ceremony on July 3.

July 5

Natalie Jones goes missing

Natalie jones, a Heard County mother of two, was last seen by friends leaving a Fourth of July party on July 5. Her body was found in her car in Heard County in October.

July 8

Dr. Olugbenga Obasanjo resigns

Georgia Department of Public Health District 4 Director Dr. Olugbenga Obasanjo resigned abruptly. Obasanjo, known colloquially as “Dr. O.,” had been the public face of the response to COVID-19 in District 4, which includes Troup and 11 other counties.

July 11

Harmony House cancels Dragon Boat Race

The annual West Point Lake Dragon Boat Race was canceled due to COVID-19. The event typically raises upwards of $40,000 for local domestic violence shelter Harmony House.

July 16

JSL Attic sale moves online

The Junior Service League Attic Sale was held virtually due to the pandemic. The year 2020 was the first year since 1974 that the attic sale was not held in-person.

July 22

86’d bar owner charged with rape

Joshua Overkamp, owner of the bar 86’d, was charged with rape by the LaGrange Police Department.

July 20

Florence Hand Home tops 90 COVID-19 cases

Florence Hand Home, a nursing home within Wellstar West Georgia Medical Center, reached 9 cumulative cases and 13 deaths as of July 20. Since then, the home has reached 120 cumulative cases and 15 cumulative deaths.

July 23

LaGrange man wanted by police posts viral TikTok

William Reeves Durga, 21, posted a TikTok video that went viral mocking the LaGrange Police Department, which had posted on Facebook seeking Durga’s whereabouts. Durga was wanted on drug charges and was arrested shortly thereafter.

July 23-25

TCSS holds delayed graduation ceremonies

Months after completing high school, 2020 graduates of LaGrange, Troup County and Callaway High Schools walked the stage and received their diplomas. The ceremonies were held separately at Callaway Stadium with COVID-19 safety procedures in place.

July 28

Troup tops 2,000 cases, 50 deaths

Troup County reached more than 2,000 cases of COVID-19 and 52 deaths as of July 28. Troup has now had more than 3,900 cases and 121 deaths.

July 25

Former TCSS attorney dies

John Taylor, who served for 46 years as the attorney for the Troup County School System, died at the age of 77. Taylor was remembered by friends and colleagues for his professionalism, public service and encyclopedic knowledge of the school system and its history.

July 30

Marshal shot by friendly fire

A Troup County marshal was shot and injured by a fellow marshal when both fired at a charging pit bull at Glass Bridge Park.

Aug. 1

Back the blue boat parade held

Hundreds of boats filled West Point Lake for a back the blue boat parade. Boaters waved pro-police and pro-Trump flags at the event.

Aug. 7

Man accused of lighting ex on fire

Damario Davis was arrested on Aug. 7 by the LaGrange Police Department for reportedly setting fire to his ex-girlfriend. The woman escaped from the man’s car, flagged down police and was taken to the hospital.

Aug. 8

Sweetland cancels concert year

Sweetland Ampitheatre announced the cancellation of all 2020 concerts due to the pandemic and began the process of refunding ticketholders and rescheduling acts for 2021.

Aug. 10

Former county manager Mike Dobbs dies

Dobbs served as manager for more than 40 years and retired in 2012. Dobbs oversaw many projects in his tenure and was remembered for his large impact on the county government’s services, facilities and development.

Aug. 11

Leonard wins State Court Judge election

Wesley Leonard defeated Kyle Lovejoy to win the election for Troup County State Court judge. Leonard received about 60 percent of the vote. He replaces outgoing judge Jeanette Little, who is retiring.

Aug. 17

Georgia Radio Museum shuts its doors

The Georgia Radio Museum closed permanently. CEO John Long attributed the closing to a lack of interest from the public and a lack of support from community and government leaders. Long announced plans to take his museum elsewhere in the state.

Aug. 17

School returns

Troup County School System students returned to school after being out since March. Online and in-person options were made available and masks were required for all students and staff members.

Aug. 18

LaGrange and West Point pass mask restrictions

The cities of LaGrange and West Point passed similar ordinances that allowed law enforcement to enforce the wearing of face masks at businesses who wish to require them. The ordinances were designed to let businesses decide if they wanted to enforce mask-wearing and ask police for assistance. Hogansville considered but did not adopt a similar ordinance.

Aug. 21

TCSS announces reduced capacity at Callaway Stadium

TCSS announced that Callaway Stadium’s capacity would be reduced to 30 percent of its normal capacity.

Sept. 3

Inmate accused of attempt to solicit murder of deputy

A Troup County Jail inmate was charged with criminal attempted murder after allegedly trying to hire someone to murder a Troup County sheriff’s deputy.

Sept. 5

HOPE Walk retired

The organizers of the annual HOPE Walk for breast cancer retired the walk. Paint the Town Pink was held virtually, and organizers are planning to do a different type of charity event in the future.

Sept. 9

Phoenix Landing completed

Phoenix Landing Apartments, a $12 million affordable housing project, was completed by the Lagrange Housing Authority. The 66-year-old Phoenix I, formerly known as Benjamin Harvey Hill apartments, was torn down.

Sept. 15

LaGrange High opens new athletic facility

LaGrange High School celebrated the opening of its new, $15-million athletic facility. The new facility features an indoor gym with bleachers, an indoor practice field and a large practice room for wrestling and competitive cheerleading. The old gym was 70 years old and falling into disrepair.

Sept. 22

LaGrange pays $600k in hazard pay to employees

The City Council of LaGrange approved the payment of $600,000 in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds to city employees. The money was awarded to about 400 employees as hazard pay, in recognition of their work throughout the pandemic.

Sept. 29

Troup reaches 100 COVID-19 deaths

Troup County crossed a grim milestone as it reached 100 deaths from COVID-19. The county now has had 121 deaths, a rate of 171.8 per 100,000 people, compared to Georgia’s rate of 89.7 per 100,000 people.

Sept. 30

Suicide reported at KMMG

A 25-year-old Kia Motors Manufacturing of Georgia contractor employee died by suicide in the south parking lot of the KMMG facility in West Point.