Year in review: Looking back at October, November and December

Published 10:00 am Thursday, December 31, 2020

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

Oct. 6 

Body of Natalie Jones found

The body of Natalie Jones, the mother of two who had been missing since July 5, was found on Oct. 6. Jones was found in her car in the woods off of Roosterville Road in Heard County. The Heard County Sheriff’s Office said at the time there was no evidence of foul play. Autopsy results are still pending with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Jones’ case attracted national media attention, and friends and family staged events and advertised to raise awareness of her disappearance before she was found.

Oct. 12

Hogansville celebrates 150 years

The city of Hogansville celebrated its 150th birthday with flags and art throughout the city. A grand celebration that had been planned did not occur due to the pandemic.

Oct. 17

LSPA returns to the stage

For the first time since March, the Lafayette Society for Performing Arts performed in-person. “The Show Must Go On!” was shown twice at Sweetland Amphitheatre, featuring performances by singers, storytellers, dancers, ballet performers and thespians.

Oct. 20

Newman teacher remembered

Donna Webb, 49, a Gardner Newman Middle School teacher, died in October from cancer. Webb was remembered for her passion for teaching and students.

Oct. 20

Troup County awards $461k in hazard pay

Troup County commissioners followed the example of the City of LaGrange by awarding hazard pay, using money received through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Full-time employees received $1,000 each — part-time employees received $500 each.

Oct. 21

Callaway High shuts down

Callaway High School shut down for three days in October due to spread of COVID-19 in the school. Other closures followed later in the year, including Troup High School in December.

Oct. 22

Hogansville calls out CSX

The City of Hogansville publicly criticized CSX due to a train stopping on the tracks and blocking the entrance to Industrial Boulevard and Boyd Street for about a week. CSX issued a statement apologizing, saying the train was stopped due to mechanical and operational issues.

Oct. 27

Biden speaks in Warm Springs

Former Vice President Joe Biden visited Warm Springs, just down the road from LaGrange, one week before election day. Gov. Brian Kemp and Rep. Drew Ferguson campaigned for President Trump at the same time in Manchester. Biden later won Georgia, the first Democratic presidential candidate to do so since 1992.

Oct. 28

Two children and mother killed in fire

A deadly mobile home fire on Cherry Valley Drive resulted in the death of three people. William Chester, 12, and Desmond Chester, 8, died in the fire. Their mother, Lynette Chester, succumbed to burn injuries and died later. The boys’ father, Jason Holmes, survived.

Oct. 29

Hogansville event leads governor to quarantine

A campaign event at Roger’s Barbecue in Hogansville led to Gov. Brian Kemp being forced to quarantine due to possible COVID-19 exposure. Also in attendance was Rep. Drew Ferguson, who tested positive for COVID-19 shortly thereafter, and several Troup County elected officials.

Nov. 1

Newnan man found dead on train tracks

A 23-year-old Newnan man was found dead on train tracks near East Depot Street. The cause of death was blunt force trauma and was ruled an accident.

Nov. 2

LaGrange settles utilities lawsuit

The City of LaGrange reached a $450,000 settlement with plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed by civil rights groups. The suit accused the city of violating federal law and restricting access to utilities. One policy required applicants to pay non-utility debts owed to the city before receiving utilities — another required applicants to provide social security numbers or U.S. or state photo ID. Both policies have been reversed.

Nov. 3

Local Republicans sweep the board, senior tax relief passes

In the 2020 election, Republican Sheriff James Woodruff and Republican County Commissioners Lewis Davis, Morris Jones and Ellis Cadenhead were all reelected with comfortable margins. Republican David Jenkins also flipped state House District 132, ousting Democrat and House Minority Leader Bob Trammell. The senior tax relief question passed with 80 percent.

Nov. 3

Hogansville police chief retires amid investigation

Hogansville Police Chief Brian Harr retired following a third-party investigation into his department. Investigators found evidence that officers falsified timecards, violated departmental policy and engaged in sexual misconduct.

Nov. 6

New and
improved cancer center unveiled

Wellstar West Georgia Medical Center cut the ribbon on its new Enoch Callaway Cancer Center. The new, 40,000-square-foot facility cost $24 million and was funded by Callaway Foundation, local businesses, residents and Wellstar employees. It features linear accelerator machines, new diagnostic technologies, more exam rooms, expansion of medical oncology’s practice suite, an in-house pharmacy, a boutique selling wigs and other items, a resource center and a chapel and public meeting space.

Nov. 12

LaGrange High junior dies in car crash

Trae Cole, a 17-year-old LaGrange High School student, was killed in a car accident. Cole was a junior at LHS and played on the football team. The community rallied around LHS and the Grangers honored Cole’s life at their game against Troup High.

Nov. 13

American Home Shield lays off 130 locals

About 130 people in LaGrange were laid off from home-warranty company American Home Shield.

Nov. 16

Hogansville gets a new logo

After soliciting designs, narrowing down submissions and having citizens vote, the City of Hogansville adopted a new logo. The logo was designed by Shannon Belletti.

Dec. 1

Hyundai Transys expands operations in West Point

A $240-million expansion of the Hyudai TRANSYS operation in Georgia was announced. The new facility in West Point is expected to bring 678 jobs.

Dec. 3

Christmas to the rescue

The 44th annual Christmas Parade took place in downtown LaGrange. More than 100 entries participated in the event, one of the first large public gatherings since March.

Dec. 5

Hogansville gets in on the fun

Hogansville held its own Christmas parade on Main Street, featuring Santa Claus, first responders and schools.

Dec. 5

7-year-old killed in ATV crash

Bradley Kennedy, a seven-year-old Hollis Hand Elementary School student, was killed in an ATV crash on a farm in rural Troup County.

Dec. 9

Respected choral instructor dies from COVID

Longtime music educator Marty Davis died from COVID-19 at the age of 75. Davis was remembered by colleagues and former students for her talent and drive. 

Dec. 14

TCSS announces week of all-virtual school

Superintendent Brian Shumate announced that the first week of school after the holiday break would be virtual in order to avoid further spread of the virus.

Dec. 14

announces West Point expansion

Interior car part supplier JinTech announced a $4.5-million investment in West Point which will create 70 jobs.

Dec. 14

West Point decriminalizes marijuana

West Point adopted an ordinance that made possession of less than an ounce of marijuana punishable by civil fine instead of a criminal offense.

Dec. 21

Vaccines arrive in Troup County

COVID-19 vaccines began being distributed to healthcare workers in Troup County at Wellstar West Georgia Medical Center and other medical facilities. First responders are now receiving vaccines.

Dec. 27

Fatal shooting at Commotions

Five people were shot and one at Commotions Adult Entertainment, a strip club in LaGrange. One person, Steve Perkins, 47, of Hogansville, died from his injuries. Perkins’ brother and sister-in-law are accused of causing the shootout and face several felony charges.

Dec. 29

Callaway wins first state title

The Callaway High School Cavaliers won its first football state championship, beating Fitzgerald 22-17 to become the 2020 Georgia Class AA champs.