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UGA Extension retiree honored for 25 years of service

During the Troup County Board of Commissioners’ Thursday meeting, UGA Extension County Administrative Assistant Shirley Gilliam was honored for her 25 years of service to the organization. County Extension Coordinator Laura Mirarchi described Gilliam’s dedication to her job and presented her with an award.

“Shirley served as the administrative assistant for UGA Cooperative Extension Service for the last two and a half decades, where she fulfilled a myriad of responsibilities to the residents here in Troup County, positively affecting farmers, families and youth,” Mirarchi said.

Mirarchi said that Gilliam’s dedication to her job and to Troup County citizens during those years was consistent.

“She expertly juggled phone calls, soil samples, food preservation and canning,” Mirarchi said. “She greeted clients, she assisted us with all of the 4-H youth programs and simultaneously maintained all of the record keeping for the office.”

Mirarchi said Gilliam participates in the UGA Extension’s Master Gardener Program, is a respected member of her church, and is a dedicated poll worker.

In other discussion at the meeting, Team Leader Stephanie Valera of Civil Affairs Team 843, a military organization, gave a presentation on how her team worked to find solutions for a littering issue in Troup County.

Valera said this week, her team conducted a mission readiness exercise in preparation for future deployment. She said her team deploys to South America, where they aim to counter recruitment for illicit organizations. They do this with the help of partners, local governments and non-governmental organizations.

“This week, we worked with Troup County officials in order to address an issue within the community,” she said. “Specifically, we worked with Mr. Eric Mosley as well as Mr. Michael Strickland. And we talked about the issue of litter and pollution, especially when it leads into the West Point reservoir, which is an extremely important part of this community.”

Valera said her team came up with a problem statement and a mission for these issues.

“So, our problem statement reads, ‘Overall pollution along roadways and waterways continues to threaten the community of Troup County,’” Valera said. “‘Unaddressed litter collected in the West Point Lake reservoir could negatively affect the county’s tourism, recreation, and quality of life.’”

Valera said her team’s mission for this week was to conduct “civil affairs operations in conjunction with Troup County officials in order to identify root causes and develop proactive solutions to litter in the West Point reservoir.”

She said her team talked with Troup County government officials, the United States Army Corps of Engineers and Chattahoochee Riverkeeper to find solutions for litter and pollution in West Point Lake. They also talked to small business owners and Hudson’s Pro Bass to get their perspectives on the issue.

The recommended solutions the team came up with were to reactivate Keep Troup Beautiful, a government program that aims to keep Troup County clean, and for Troup County to work with the USACE and Chattahoochee Riverkeeper.

They also recommended putting up anti-littering signs.

In other business, Troup County Chief Appraiser Dana Eaton requested that the county lift a hiring freeze for a part-time administrative assistant position for property appraisal. This will be discussed again and voted on Tuesday.

County Attorney Mark DeGennaro discussed a LaGrange-Callaway Airport leasing agreement between LaGrange and Troup County, which will also be on the agenda for Tuesday.

Additionally, the 2021 Capital Improvements Element annual update was briefly brought up and will also be discussed on Tuesday.

County Engineer James Emery discussed a request for annexation for two parcels of property on Lafayette Parkway.