1999 Year in Review

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 2, 2000

Philip Scott Jr. was 1999 New Year’s baby

Philip Scott, Jr. is Pike County’s 1999 New Year’s Day baby.

He was born to proud parents Latrice and Philip Scott at Edge Regional Medical Center at 2:46 p.m. Jan. 2 and weighed into life at 6 pounds and 6 ounces.

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Baby Philip was the county’s first arrival of the year because his parents themselves are new arrivals. The couple moved to Brundidge from Newark, N. J. only two months ago with their daughters, Amy 10, and Mariah, 4.

Mrs. Scott’s due date was Jan. 6 but she had no problem with little Philip arriving a few days early. However, she never gave hay thought to having a New Year’s Day baby or the county’s first baby of the new year.

"I just wanted him to hurry and get here," she said laughing.

But she was not in too big or a hurry, according to her husband.

"She went into labor that morning but she wanted to eat before we went to the hospital," he said, laughing.

Scott pampered his wife with sausage, grits and toast and she gave him the baby boy he wanted.

Pike Sheriff’s Department recovers cow float

The Pike County Sheriff’s Department was able to wrap up an agricultural crime involving an artificial cow and a custom made trailer last week.

The cow and trailer had been manufactured in Wisconsin for the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association in Montgomery for use in parades. The cow and trailer, emblazoned with the "Eat More Beef" slogan, had been loaned to a Pike County farmer and cattleman for use in a local parade.

Pike County Sheriff Russell Thomas said the trailer was reported missing last Friday and was recovered Monday morning.

The cow and trailer were valued at approximately $6,000. Thomas said the cow had been removed form the trailer and was recovered in Troy. The trailer was later recovered at a different location.

Thomas said charges against the suspects are pending and the property has been returned to the Alabama Cattlemens Association.

The case was investigated by the Pike County Sheriff’s Department and Alabama State Agricultural Investigations.

Miltope, Coca-Cola announce Troy facilities to close

Miltope Corporation told its employees Tuesday it is closing the Troy facility.

Miltope, which opened the Troy plant in 1985, manufactures microcomputers and computer peripheral equipment for use in demanding environments, said Edward Crowell, vice president of administration at Miltope’s headquarters in Hope Hull.

He described the company’s computers, printers and disk drives as being "ruggedized."

The 95 employees currently working at the Troy office will be absorbed into the Hope Hull operation beginning in June, Crowell said. This means no one is being laid off at this time. Employees will work at the Miltope headquarters in Hope Hull west of Montgomery.

Miltope officials in Troy declined to comment on the closing.

"We plan to relocate all employees who desire it," Crowell said. "We plan to make the transition as seamless as possible by moving one product line at a time, moving all the people who work on that line to Hope Hull."

To not cause a burden on the employees living in Troy, Miltope might consider a providing a bus to transport workers from Troy to Hope Hull or giving them extra compensation to car pool.

"We value the relationship we’ve established in the Troy community," he said. "We know this change will be difficult but are ready to make the transition as smooth as possible."

Other Miltope workers are not as optimistic about the change.

"This is a sad thing for Troy," said James Green, who is a senior lead products employee for Miltope in Troy. "Other jobs here don’t pay a lot.

"Many people will lose their jobs because they aren’t making a lot of money and can’t afford the wear and tear on their car to drive from Troy to Montgomery," said Green, who moved to Alabama with Miltope 14 years ago. "Miltope is a big part of this city’s history. It will hurt Troy."

Green plans to move with his family to Montgomery and continue working for Miltope.

Marsha Gaylard, Pike County Chamber of Commerce president, attended a meeting in Montgomery Wednesday at which the Miltope closing was announced.

"I hate it that Miltope is closing, but we want to work with them in the placement of those employees who don’t want to go to Montgomery," Gaylard said. "We will work to place them in other jobs in Pike County."

Lunsford said the City will also assist workers who want to stay in Troy with job training.

Gaylard said she is optimistic the Miltope workers who want to stay in Troy will find work.

As for the buildings which house Miltope and Coca-Cola, Gaylard said the Chamber is marketing the facilities. This can be an opportunity to recruit new industry to our area, she said.

Lunsford said the City will also try to help the companies market the buildings.

"Miltope is trying to make their company more profitable, and we wish them the best," Gaylard said.

Uniforms fail in Troy City School system

Troy City Board of Education approved Superintendent Henry W. "Hank" Jones’ recommendation to not adopt uniforms for city schools Monday night.

Two board members – Doug Patterson and Ron Pierce – voted against Jones’ recommendation at the board meeting.

"If we allow it, the issue of uniforms can be divisive within our community," Jones said. "The Troy City School System is only as good as the community.

"I know we will all work together to make a good school system better."

Jones described the three public hearings held to find parents’ opinions on school uniforms as productive. From the hearings, the superintendent confirmed parents are appreciative of the school system’s programs and believe Troy schools do not have the discipline problems of other schools which have gone to uniforms.

After defeating the school uniform proposal, the board unanimously approved Jones’ resolution about the system’s goals as a result of the hearings.

According to the resolution, based on recommendations from the public hearings, the system should pursue an agenda in the following areas: conflict resolution training for both faculty and students, stricter and more consistent enforcement of the dress code, seek additional funding to lower the teacher student ratio, campus security such as personnel, cameras and staff training, referrals to counselors for students with discipline problems and increased parental involvement.

Raw sewage leaks at Troy trailer park

The sewage runs downhill at Southland Village Trailer Park in Troy.

Tenants at Southland Village Trailer Park have complained since last summer about what they say is raw sewage near their homes.

Officials at Pike County Health Department say they are "at the end of their rope" when it comes to asking the property owner to repair faulty waste water lines.

Louis F. "Sonny" Williford, health department environmentalist, said the problem began last summer when residents at the trailer park and owners of adjacent property complained to the health department that septic systems there were malfunctioning.

Williford said he contacted the trailer park’s owner, Troy attorney Timothy J. Magee, to advise him of them problem. It has not yet been repaired to Williford’s satisfaction and he has turned to the court system for help.

Magee was arrested on a warrant May 8 and charged with unsanitary operation of sewage disposal, which is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a $500 fine. Magee is pleading not guilty.

He is charged with a violation of Code of Alabama 22-26-1. According to the law, it is a misdemeanor to maintain an insanitary sewage collection facility or one that is likely to be a menace to public health.

The state board of health and county boards of health require property owners to install facilities that allow for proper disposal. The is was set for trial July 23 at 2:30 p.m. at the Pike County Courthouse. Magee is representing himself.

In a statement to "The Messenger" Thursday, Magee said, "According to information provided to us by our consultants, there exists no problem with the septic system (in Southland Trailer Park)."

A visit to Southland Village Thursday revealed what appeared to be raw sewage flowing from a ditch at Lot No. 36 and down the road into neighboring yards. Williford identified the material as raw sewage.

Between Lots 42 and 44, the dirty water percolated from the ground.

At trailer No. 48, the outflow pipe from the trailer is not even connected to a septic system, Williford said. Waste water flows straight from the pipe into a ditch and across the road behind the trailer park. Feces, toilet paper and waste water stood stagnant in the ditch Thursday morning.

"I stood outside and watched the pipe as the man flushed his toilet," Williford said. "I saw the toilet paper and feces flowing directly from the trailer across the yard."

Sewer lines, which normally dispose of solid waste flushed down the toilet, occasionally malfunction, he said.

Residents who are served by the City of Troy Waste water Treatment Plant have their sewage treated there. But people who live outside the system, like residents at Southland Village Trailer Park, must rely on septic tank systems.

A septic tank system takes waste from the toilet inside a residence and delivers it through pipes to a septic tank, where the waste is separated from the water, Williford said. The water goes into a disposal field where it is absorbed by the soil, and waste stays in the septic tank.

He said residents of several trailers use each of the septic systems.

"Those systems are not properly sized for the number of people who are using them," Williford said. "They are more than 25 years old and are overused.

"Any system will fail overtime if it is abused and overloaded. That’s when the system backs up and raw sewage flows to the surface."

That’s exactly what Williford alleged happened at Southland Village Trailer Park.

When raw sewage flows to the surface, it creates "a serious health hazard," said M. Britton Kelly, area 10 environmental director for Alabama Department of Public Health. "Anytime human excretia is deposited on the soil’s surface, there is the potential for microbial pathogens, hepatitis, typhoid fever and salmonella."

Pests, including rats and fleas, that come in contact with the raw sewage can spread other diseases, he said.

Fortunately, the health department has received no reports of illness resulting from the situation at Southland Trailer Park, Kelly said.

Residents of the trailer park began complaining to officials at the Pike County Health Department about the problem in July of 1998.

Willie Mae Slaughter lives downhill from Lot No. 36, from which sewage flows across the street to her yard. Gravel is banked up in front of her No. 44 trailer to keep the sewage from flowing into her yard.

Slaughter said her grandchildren aren’t able to play outside when they visit her house because of the problem.

"I have to make them play in the hall," she said. "It’s unsafe for everybody, and the smell bothers us. That’s why we stay inside."

"I hope (Magee) doesn’t put us out because we’re complaining since we don’t have the money to move. Another woman got to complaining and he made her move." Despite Slaughter’s efforts to keep the waste water out of her yard, the septic system serving her trailer has also malfunctioned. Sewage percolates from the ground above her septic tank, she said.

Williford said the Pike County Health Department has been trying for more than one year to get Magee to repair the malfunctioning sewer lines.

Williford said he mailed an official notice dated June 9, 1998, to Magee about the sewage problem. When it was not repaired to his satisfaction, Williford reported the problem to Mark E. Fuller, district attorney with the 12th Judicial Circuit, in June 1998. Fuller wrote a letter to Magee stating that he had been contacted by Williford about getting a warrant. Williford gave a copy of the letter to "The Messenger" Thursday.

"If you are unable to get this matter resolved within the time period specified, please contact Mr. Williford at his office," Fuller stated in the letter. "If no action is taken within 14 days, I will have no choices but to prosecute this case."

"The property owner has made attempts to correct the problem," Williford said. "It would be fixed for a short time then fail again.

"He hasn’t 100 percent ignored us."

Several months later, Williford said he sent Magee another letter, dated December 1, 1998, discussing "numerous attempts to repair the failing sewage disposal systems" at Southland Trailer Park.

The letter, provided to the Messenger by Williford, stated sewage was seeping from the ground at the north end of mobile home No. 36 and between mobile homes 42 and 44.

In the letter, Williford gave Magee two options. The first was to remove the mobile homes connected to those systems, which would not repair the system but would stop all sewage from going into the failing systems.

The second option was to seek the service of a qualified engineer to evaluate the problem and submit plans for the repairs to the health department. Williford gave Magee about a month to take action, stating a warrant would be issued for his arrest if the problem was not repaired.

When no action was taken, he filed a complaint Feb. 2, 1999, with the Sheriffs Department. The warrant was not served until May 8.

Fuller could not be reached for comment.

"If you read history, you know this kind of thing – sewage in the street – was common during Medieval times," Williford said. "But this is 1999.

"The problem needs to be fixed."

Culpepper gets 16 years in prison, fine

Thomas E. Head, Pike County district court judge, sentenced Jamie Brian Culpepper to serve 16 years in prison and to pay $18,000 in restitution Thursday.

A Pike County criminal petit jury found Culpepper guilty on two counts of criminally negligent homicide May 4 after a three-day trial. They convicted him of driving drunk and causing a fatal wreck June 8, 1998, on U.S. Highway 231. The accident killed Jeffrey Lynn Meredith, 41, of Troy, and Willie B. Griffin Jr., 50, of Brundidge.

Testimony showed Culpepper, 23, was driving a black 1998 Chevrolet pick up traveling south on U.S. Highway 231 at about 9:30 p.m. June 8. He lost control of his truck and crossed over the median into the northbound lane. He collided with Griffin, who was traveling north in a green 1996 Chevrolet pick up. Culpepper’s truck also hit Meredith, who was driving north on a 1986 Harley Davidson motorcycle.

After the wreck when Culpepper arrived at the emergency room of Edge Regional Medical Center, he had a blood alcohol level of .16 percent. That is twice the legal limit for driving under the influence in Alabama, which is .08 percent.

TPD says cougar posed risk to citizens

Officers with the Troy Police Department say they had public safety in mind when they killed a cougar near Monticello Drive Friday night.

The animal reportedly fell off of a truck as it traveled through Troy on U.S. Highway 231 North Thursday.

The large cat, also known as a puma or panther, is native to lower Alabama and Florida. However, they are rarely seen in the wild. Some people keep them illegally as pets.

"It posed a danger to a residential area," said Troy Police Chief Anthony Everage. "We were afraid of the cat being hungry and not being afraid of humans."

The male cougar was more than six feet long and weighed about 150 pounds, Everage said. Officers spotted the cougar 50 yards from two houses on the east side of Highway 231 at about 6 p.m. Friday. After all other options had been exhausted, the animal was shot in the head.

Before making the decision to destroy the cougar, officers consulted with experts in the field of wild animal handling and the Alabama Department of Conservation Game and Fish Division, he said.

"We were prepared to tranquilize the cougar, but were told not to if we could not do it from a truck or other safe area," Everage said. "The tranquilizer is slow-acting.

"We were in a thickly wooded area, and tranquilizing the animal posed a danger to the officers."

Besides considering the use of a tranquilizer, officers put out a trap for the cougar.

"We might have handled things differently if the cat had not been in the woods, but in that situation, the cat posed a danger to people," Everage said. "We did what was best for public safety.

"We know the decision might not sit well with everybody but we did what we think was in the best interest of out citizens."

The animal was first reported to police Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

Three people reported "suspicious circumstances" at U.S. Highway 231 North, said Sgt. Benny Scarbrough, public information officer with the Troy Police Department.

"The individuals advised they saw some kind of cat larger than a domestic animal fall off a trailer on the back of a truck," Scarbrough said.

The vehicle was traveling in the northbound lane of Highway 231 near Continental Cinema 5. Troy Police officers responded to the scene and began looking for a large cat.

Scarbrough and other officers spent much of the day Friday in the area where the animal was reported to have disappeared into the woods. They also contacted zoos and other wildlife experts to find out how to handle the cougar.

Everage said police also contacted law enforcement agencies across the state searching for the cat’s owner, but no one claimed the animal. It was being transported illegally, he said.

It is against state law to transport a cougar without a permit. One permit was issued for Thursday, and Everage said he located that cougar at a hunting show in Birmingham.

Everage said he thanks the people who assisted in getting the situation under control.

"We are so happy the individuals who saw the animal thought enough and were responsible enough to alert police so we could locate it," Everage said. "The officers are to be commended for putting themselves in danger in tracking the animal."

Because cougars live in the wild in Alabama and Florida, human contact with the large cat may occur again. If you ever see a cougar, do not approach the animal, Scarbrough said. Get to safety, preferably indoors. Report the animal to police if it is in a residential area.

"I hope we don’t have this again," he said. "We have not had a problem with this type of animal."

City of Brundidge waits for response from landfill owner

Officials from the city of Troy are waiting to hear a response from a Brundidge waste disposal firm about an alleged breach of contract.

City of Brundidge representatives plan to present the company with similar claims this week.

The action marks the first time in at least 15 years that Troy has filed a legal complaint against one of its vendors, said Johnny Witherington, president of Troy City Council.

Council authorized the Troy law firm of Cevera, Ralph and Butts to file a formal complaint on behalf of the city of Troy against Waste Away Group Inc. involving Brundidge Waste Disposal Group Inc. May 25.

The complaint alleged Waste Away breached a contract when it refused to let Troy dump garbage in its landfill, Witherington said.

The agreement between the city and Waste Away began in the late 1980s when the Environmental Protection Agency regulations made operating a solid waste landfill for the city of Troy economically impossible, he said. The new laws required cities to line landfills with thick plastics and install wells to measure leaking of liquids from the landfill.

Troy contracted with the Brundidge Company to dispose of its garbage. Brundidge Waste Disposal Center Inc., which is not affiliated with the city of Brundidge, agreed to haul solid waste to its landfill for a fee, he said. The company also agreed to build a recycling center.

Troy began plans to close its landfill, which cost the city between $350,000 and $500,000, Witherington said. The landfill was closed because it did not meet the new EPA regulations. Bringing the landfill up to code would have been economically prohibitive.

Brundidge Waste Disposal merged with Waste Away in December of 1997, he said.

Waste Away refused to allow Troy to put garbage in its landfill and did not build the recycling center. As a result, Troy had to haul its garbage to the Coffee County landfill and build its own recycling center, Witherington said.

About a month ago, Troy officials met with Waste Away’s attorneys and gave them the amount of damages incurred, said Troy Mayor Jimmy C. Lunsford. The purpose of that meeting was to settle the claim without arbitration or going to court.

"We filed a notice of intent with Waste Management stating a dollar figure for damages incurred and gave them 30 days to invoke the arbitration clause included in the contract or we would file suit," Lunsford said. "The company responded on the last day of the contract."

Troy alleges Waste Away’s action of not opening the landfill and constructing a recycling center cost them $2.3 million, said Alton Starling, city of Troy clerk and treasurer.

Lunsford said he anticipates a response from Waste Away within the next two weeks.

City of Brundidge officials are planning to meet this week with Waste Management representatives to discuss their claim, said Brundidge Mayor Jimmy Ramage.

"Our claim concerns that the landfill never opened," Ramage said. "We would have had substantial income up to this point and for years to come from tipping fees had the landfill opened."

A tipping fee is based on every load dumped at a landfill. Brundidge negotiated the fee of 50 cents per ton of garbage.

Ramage said Brundidge has lost several hundred thousand per year as a result of the alleged breach of contract.

Local man loses daughter in Ozark killing

Lanier Beasley and his daughter J.B. said goodbye to each other Thursday afternoon with the promise of being together the following weekend.

Three days later, J.B. Beasley’s body was discovered in the trunk of a car in Ozark along with that of a friend and classmate at Northview High School in Dothan, Tracy Hawlett.

"J.B. told me she would see me next Saturday. I kissed her and said goodbye. That was the last time I saw her or talked to her," said Beasley, who owns and operates Ed’s Barber and Style Shop in downtown Troy.

According to information released by Tony R. Spivey, chief of Ozark City Police, the bodies of the two Dothan teenagers were found around 2 p.m. Sunday in the trunk of a 1994 Mazda on Herring Avenue in Ozark.

The vehicle was reported missing along with the two occupants saturday night.

After the discovery of the vehcile by the Ozark City Police, officers began to process the vehicle and, at that point, both female victims were discovered in the trunk. Both had sustained gun shot wounds to the head.

Beasley learned his daughter was missing around noon on Sunday with the tragic news following a few hours later.

Beasley described his daughter "as nearly perfect as a daughter could be."

"J.B. and I shared a telepathy. We were good friends," Beasley said. "She trudted me explicitly. If I could have described the perfect daughter, J.B. would be her."

J.B. Hilton Green Beasley celebrated her 17th birthday on Saturday, the day of her disappearance.

"What I understand is she and Tracy had been to a party somehwere around Headland," Beasley said. "Around 1:30 Saturday night, Tracy called home and told her mother they would be a few# minutes late because they had taken a wrong road and gotton lost. They were in Ozark at the time."

When the girls didn’t arrive home they were reported# missing, Beasley said.

"I’m in a state of denial right now," he said. "We have this wonderful faculty that keeps us from being suicidal at times like this. We see in terms other than what is real. That’s where I am right now."

Beasley said the family hasn’t made any funeral arrangements at the time.

the bodies were scheduled to be released from the Deaprtment of forensic Science in Montgomery late Monday afternoon.

"The arrangements can’t be made right now, because we just don’t know," Beasley said.

The circumstances surrounding his daughter’s death are also unknown.

"It didn’t appear to be a robbery because their purses were still in the car," he said. "their jewelry wasn’t taken. The car was unlocked. Only the keys were missing."

Beasley said he won’t let himself think of the last minutes of his daughter’s life.

"I’m told they were apparently made to climb in the trunk of the car where they were executed. I can’t think about it. I just have to remember the good times."

Beasley said when he say his daughter she was "extremely happy."

"She was an incredible dancer," he said. "Incredibly talented. She had just performed in Mindscape at the Basketcase Café and was looking forward to perhaps a scholarship in dance when she graduated. She had a good future ahead of her. This is tough. Real tough."

Missing teens located in Texas

The two missing teens from Pike County have been found and will return home today.

Jaclyn Smith, 16, of Brundidge, and Stan Hammond, 16, of Troy, left Pike County together in the early morning hours on July 31 in Hammond’s 1995 green Ford Mustang, said Pike County Sheriff Russell Thomas.

Smith is the daughter of Diane and Gene Smith of Brundidge. Hammond is the son of Stan Hammond and Scarlett Hammond, both of Troy.

Thomas reported Smith and Hammond were located in Lake Jackson, Texas, about 60 miles south of Houston, late Friday evening.

Prior to locating the teens, there were reported sightings of the two on Interstate 10 near Biloxi, Miss., on Aug. 3, and the two were placed in the Alexandria, La. area on Aug. 8, due to calls made from a cellular phone. But until they were found, there were no reported sightings or contacts with friends or family members.

When the youth were reported missing the sheriff’s department began investigating the case, and eventually launched a nationwide search for the teens. Thomas said they stepped up investigations in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, but did not have any leads until the call from Texas.

"the car was stopped by the Lake Jackson Police Department, and when they ran the tag they got a hit on the vehicle and the missing teens," said Thomas. "The Lake Jackson police took them into custody until they were transferred to a juvenile holding facility."

Two deputies from the Pike County Sheriff’s Department left early Saturday morning to retrieve the teens from the Texas juvenile facility and are expected to return home later today. Thomas said Lake Jackson is about a 10 or 12 hour drive and he didn’t want the deputies to have to drive that far and turn around and come right back.

"Once we get them (Smith and Hammond) back here we’ll know more about what they’ve been doing," said Thomas.

Jaclyn’s mother was grateful to the sheriff’s department and that her daughter and Hammond were both safe.

"We are very proud of the sheriff’s department for the fine job it has done," said Mrs. Smith. "They have spent many hours on this case and have kept me informed during their investigation.

"We are very thankful to the Lord that they have been found and that they are safe. Knowing she is okay makes me feel wonderful."

Mrs. Smith said the time her daughter was missing was emotional and stressful for her and her family, but knowing she is safe has brought a smile back to her face.

"Prior to them being found I went to bed blue and woke up blue," she said. "Now I can finally walk around with smile on my face.

"I know we still have a long road ahead of us and there are a lot of adjustments to make, but the Lord will see us through,"

The Pike County Sheriff’s Deaprtment worked the disappearance with the Alabama Bureau of Investigation’s Center for Missing and Exploited Children, state police, police departments in Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana. Family and friends of the teenagers also cooperated with the sheriff’s department.

"We want to thank everyone for all their help with this case," said Thomas.

Brundidge plant loses 297 sewing jobs

The news from Russell Corporation was bitter-sweet in Brundidge yesterday.

JERZEES Activewear announced thta it will invest $300,000 in its Brundidge facility to convert it into a cutting operation.

However, the consolidation will require phasing out sewing to make room for the additional cutting production that will be moved from the Wetumpka facility that is currently a cutting, automatic sewing and dry finishing operation.

There are currently 117 employees at the Wetumpka operation which will be closed.

When the conversion is completed, the Brundidge plant will employ about 170 people. There will be 297 sewing jobs eliminated and 70 new cutting jobs added to the 100 jobs that will not be affected by the change. The consolidation is expected to be completed by the end of November.

"While we are extremely glad Russell will still have a presence in our town and feel very fortunate for that, the downsizing will mean a net loss of 227 jobs and that is a great loss," said Mayor Jimmy Ramage.

The change will impact the town in other ways.

"About 12 percent of our utility usage is Russell," Ramage said. "Those 227 jobs that are being lost are people who were operating sewing machines. That is bound to reduce thwir utility usage and could affect us as much as 4 to 7 percent."

Ramage said fewer people working in the town will mean different spending habits and that will affect sales tax.

"We don’t know right now what impact this will have and probably won’t know until about this time next year," he said. "But we will have to look at the bright side. Russell is still here and, if everything works out, they said they could expand this facility. We are hopeful."

Ramage said the town weathered a similar situation in 1994-95 when Fruit of the Loom closed its doors putting 800 employees out of work.

"Russell came in and put 450 of those people back to work," he said. "We survived then and we have faith in our future. We have to be thankful t still have a plant operating here – look at what has happened in other towns. We are still fortunate."

Nancy Young, vice president of communications for Russell, said no one knows what the future of the sewing industry is in the United States but the fact htat JERZEES (Russell) is spending money on conversion can be read as a good sign.

"Converting to a cutting facility should make the Brundidge facility as stable as anything can be in the sewing industry," Young said. "The issue with sewing is that it is labor intensive. The focus of cutting is technology and there is nothing that can be done to reduce the cost outside the U.S."

Even though there is a silver lining to the dark cloud that passed over Brundidge yesterday, there are those who are having a hard time seeing it.

"We’ve been through this before," said Ann Baker. "Now good, hard working employees have to face this bad situation again."

Joan Sawyer is one of those good, hard working employees. She has been employed at the facility for 35 years.

"I came to work here with the glove factory and then with Fruit of the Loom and now Russell," Sawyer said. "Sewing is what I know. Now I don’t know what I’ll do."

Sawyer said around 1 p.m. yesterday, the employees were called together in the middle of the sewing room and a representative from JERZEES read them a letter.

"What it said was our jobs would be eliminated," she said. "We weren’t exactly shocked but there was a lot of sadness. Some of us cried. But hten we had to go back to work. We;ll know more tomorrow about what’s available to us. I just don’t know what to think or how to think right now."

Dean Riggs, vice president of operations for Russell, said while the company regrets the impact this change will have on many of its employees at the Brundidge palnt and at Wetumpka, it has become a business necessity and will also help the company maintain an operation in Brundidge.

"This consolidation will help us create more efficient operation and will provide better use of our existing facilities, equipment and employees," Riggs said.

Employees who are not able to transfer to other jobs at Brundidge or other locations will receive a severance package based on years of service. The company will also continue to pay its portion of health insurance for 90 days or the length of severance whichever is longer.

Additionally, JERZEES will provide an aggressive job replacement program that includes funds for relocation and retraining, if needed, as well as outplacement service.

JERZEES Activewear, a division of Russell Corporation, manufactures and makes a wide variety of popularly priced fleece and lightweight activewear in the retail and imprintables market.

Local Food World employees on strike

Though about one-fourth of the Troy Food World’s employees have joined a company-wide strike, the business remains open and has enough people on hand to serve customers.

Troy, according to numbers released by Bruno’s Inc. officials, has a relatively low percentage of striking workers. According to officials, as many as 60 percent of employees joined the strike.

"We have a lot of part-time workers here," said Keith Judy, a worker who walked picket lines carrying a sign Monday. "We understand where they’re coming from. Most of them don’t want to strike, and there’s no bad will here. Everybody’s gotto do what they think is right."

Judy, the seafood manager of the store, said he is concerned about Bruno’s Inc. declared bankruptcy status and worries about his future.

"They tell us that they’re not planning to sell," he said. "But we have to get assurance that if they do our jobs will be safe. We just want to protect ourselves in the long run."

Bruno’s Inc. has been walking a financial tightrope and has declared bankruptcy. as the company begins to emerge, employees feel that the company may be ripe for an offer and are afraid they will lose their jobs in a corporate buy-out.

The situation is a precarious one for Judy and his fellow workers at Food World in Troy.

"We don’t want to be here," Judy said. "We don’t want to be out in the rain and heat doing this. But we have to do what we have to do."

Still, Judy said, Food World hasn’t been slowed by the strike.

"There are a lot of people at work," Judy said. "Everyody had to follow their own conscience."

Judy said 20 of Food World’s estimated 60 employees are striking, and that numbers remain relatively low due to part-time student help.

"There are about 20 of us," he said. "We walk the lines in front of the entrances to the parking lot, up to about six of us at a time."

Pike County voters slam education lottery

Pike County voters rejected Gov. Don Seigelman’s lottery for education proposal with resounding no yesterday.

Fifty-one percent of the 7,644 people in Pike County who cast ballots in yesterday’s election wanted no part of a lottery for education, falling in line with voters around the state who trampled Amendment 1 to the Alabama Constitution.

By 9:30 Tuesday night, Gov. Siegelman had accepted the defeat of the amendment.

"The people of Alabama have spoken," he said. "I accept their decision."

Siegelman called the battle for the lottery, "a tough fight" and vowed to continue to work to improve the state’s education system in the coming months and years.

"Now is the time for us to unite for the single purpose of providing the best possible education we can for the children of Alabama," he said.

Pike County approved of Amendments 2 and 3 on yesterday’s ballot. Amendment 2 would phase out Alabama’s supernumerary postition for elected officials, opting to put them on state retirement.

Amendment 3 will allow municipal school districts to opt to elect school board members. Currently, county school districts elect members while municipal districts appoint them.

Tuesday was marred by high rainfall, which Pike County Probate Judge Bill Stone believes may have been a factor in keeping turnout lower than many had anticipated.

"It has been my experience that weather does play a role in turnout," Stone said. "I feel as if the 42 percent turnout could have been close to 50 percent were it nor for the rain."

Stone was hoping for higher numbers, but was encouraged by the support of people of Pike County showed in the electoral process.

"Having seen the numbers in the last few years dragging in around 30 percent, I am encouraged by what I saw today," Stone said. "Our hope was to see 50 percent, but we showed definite progress."

New voting boxes at the precincts also approved effective, Stone said, bringing the Tuesday referendum to a smooth conclusion.

"It was very smooth," Stone said. "There are always some hitches early on with missing keysand getting the voting places open on time and that sort of thing. But all in all, it was a pretty good day."

Stone’s numbers were final Tuesday night around 9 p.m. including ballots fron all of the county’s 29 precincts and 330 absentee ballots.

State projections showed Amendments 2 and 3 would pass at press time Tuesday night.

Montgomery man dies in U.S. Highway 231 wreck

A Montgomery man died Tuesday from injuries received in an early morning two-vehicle accident at U.S. Highway 231 in Troy.

The Troy Police Department responded to the wreck at about 4:30 a.m. at 231 and the U.S. Highway 29 overpass, said Troy Police Chief Anthony Everage.

The victim was identified as Buford Charles Morgan, 51, of Montgomery, Everage said. Morgan was transported to Edge Regional Medical Center’s emergency room by Haynes Ambulance Service where he was pronounced dead.

Also involved in the accident was Frankie Joe Duke, 39, of Ozark, he added. Duke was not hurt in the wreck.

When the accident occurred, Morgan was driving a 1999 International truck belonging to Pensky Leasing, said Sgt. Benny Scarbrough, public information officer with the Troy Police Department. He worked for Specialty Dispatch of Montgomery.

Duke was driving a 1996 Peterbilt tractor trailer, Scarbrough said. He works for F& W Construction of Ozark.

According to information released by the Troy Police Department, Morgan was southbound on U.S. Highway 231, and Duke was crossing the southbound lane of 231 when the accident occurred.

The wreck is still under investigation by the Troy Police Department.

The Troy Fire Department Rescue Unit assisted Haynes Ambulance Service in removing Morgan from his vehicle, Scarbrough said. The Alabama State Trooper Motor Carrier Safety Unit also assisted in the accident.

Troy Police find body of homeless man

A homeless man was found dead Tuesday behind Troy’s OCAP building where he had gone many times for help.

Frank Lee Walker, 45, died of natural causes, said Pike County Coroner Jerry Williams.

He was found by a passerby in an old bus where he had apparently been living, Williams said.

OCAP (Organized Community Action Program) assists citizens with paying power bills, finding housing and other necessities, said the agency’s Executive Director Gene M. Schroeder.

Walker had been an OCAP client since 1995, but had not asked for assistance from the agency since February of this year, Shroeder said.

"It is alarming that this happened," he said. "We are here to help people in the community and wish he had come in."

Sgt. Benny Scarbrough, public information officer with the Troy Police department, said officers responded after they received a report at about 10 a.m. of the body found in a school bus parked behind OCAP.

The bus was used to transport OCAP’s Head Start students but is no longer being used, Schroeder said.

Scarbrough said, "We do not suspect foul play. This individual was reported missing Monday."

Walker was last seen around noon Thursday, Williams said. The cause of his death is still under investigation by the Alabama Department of Forensics Science Dothan office.

Police arrest suspect in Food World robbery

The Troy Police Department arrested a suspect in connection with an armed robbery Monday morning at Food World in Troy.

Frederick Barrow, 24, of Brundidge was arrested here at about 11:30 a.m. Thursday, said Troy Police Chief Anthony Everage. Barrow has been charged with third-degree robbery and placed in the Pike County Jail under a $50,000 bond.

According to Everage, a black male came into the grocery store, which is located on South Brundidge Street, at about 5:45 a.m. Monday. The suspect told a cashier he was armed and told her to give him money.

Although the clerk said she did not see a gun, she gave the subject an undisclosed amount of cash, Everage said. He fled the store.

The Monday morning incident is the second armed robbery in Troy in less than a week, said Sgt. Benny Scarbrough, public information officer with the Troy Police Department.

A suspect described as a black male, who claimed to have a gun, robbed the Little C Texaco on State Highway 87 in Troy Friday, Scarbrough said. The incident occurred at about 12:45 a.m.

"Troy detectives are investigating a connection between these robberies," he said.

Police ask anyone with information about either of these two robberies to contact the Troy Police Department at 566-0500 or call the Secret Witness Line at 566-5555.

TPD encourages front seat

occupants to buckle up

In an effort to increase awareness of the approaching enforcement of Alabama’s primary seat belt law, local police officers are working to educate drivers.

Alabama’s primary seat belt law goes into effect Dec. 9. On this date, Alabama drivers and front-seat passengers must buckle up or incur a $25 fine.

Seat belts save lives and prevent serious injuries, according to Troy Police Chief Anthony Everage. That is why officers with the Troy Police Department are continuing to work to educate drivers about the importance of using safety restraints.

With this week being Red Ribbon Week, officers who go to area schools to teach children about saying no to drugs are also telling them about seatbelts.

"We hope the children will tell their parents how important it is to wear seatbelts and that the parents will listen," Everage said.

Officers are observing motorists at different check points, such as schools, and advising them to buckle up if they are not wearing seat belts, said Sgt. Benny Scarbrough, TPD public information officer.

Officers may check seat belts during drivers’ license and equipment checks, he said. They will give verbal warnings to people who were not wearing their seat belts.

The primary seatbelt law was passed by the Alabama Legislature and Gov. Don Siegelman earlier this summer. House Bill 7 allows state, county and local police officers to stop motorists for not wearing their seat belts. Under the previous law, officers can only site motorists for not wearing their seat belts if they pull them over for another violation, such as speeding.

"We want to let people know what the law is and what it says," Everage said. "This is a good law, and it is our job to enforce the laws.

"Our goal is not to ticket drivers. We want to encourage people to wear their seat belts, not just because it’s the law, but because it increases the risk of surviving a wreck."

"Too many people are needlessly killed who might have had survivable injuries if they had been restrained. When you don’t wear your seat belt, you are only hurting yourself."

Critics of the mandatory seat belt law are concerned it places a financial burden on poorer motorists who may not be able to afford putting seat belts in their older cars. Others say a mandatory seat belt law allows government to interfere in citizens’ daily lives and collect revenue from motorists.

Seat belt laws are meant to protect citizens and not to provide the government with revenue or greater control over people, Scarbrough said.

"This is not for the police department to have something else to do, but if it will affect the safety of people in our community, it is a great idea," he said. "Seat belts save lives."

The legislation amends Section 32-5B-6 of the Code of Alabama 1975.

Under the earlier law, a motorist could not be cited for failure to wear a seat belt in a moving motor vehicle unless the driver is stopped by a law enforcement officer for a separate violation and issued a ticket for it, according to House Bill 7. Also, a person subject to a penalty for a violation of the seat belt law is assessed court costs in the court where convicted.

The 1999 law repeals this provision. Its enforcement begins Dec. 9, which will be six months after Siegelman signed the bill into law. For six months after that, only a warning ticket will be issued unless the person was stopped for a separate violation. The law also said a person convicted of breaking the seat belt law would not be subject to paying court costs.

After the sixth month introductory period, 60 percent of the fines generated by violators of seat belt law will be allocated to the Department of Public Safety, Law Enforcement Division, the bill stated. The remaining 40 percent of the funds will be allocated to the state general fund.

The bill provides that a law enforcement officer may not search or inspect a vehicle, its contents, the driver or passenger solely because of a violation of the seat belt law.

Each state, county and municipal police department must maintain statistics on traffic stops for seat belt law violations of minorities and report that information monthly to the Department of Public Safety and the Attorney General, according to the legislation.

Troy City Council honors Charles Meeks

District 2 Troy Councilman Charles Meeks has made significant contributions to the betterment of the city, according to Resolution 413 passed Tuesday by the city council.

Oct. 1 was Meeks’ 20th anniversary of service as a council member, and he was honored with a reception after the council meeting.

His career in Troy politics began in 1975 when he served as a city commissioner. He held that post for nine years, serving three consecutive terms. Meeks did not seek reelection at the time the local government changed to the mayor-council form of government. Four years later, he decided to run again and won a seat on Troy City Council. Meeks is now in his third four-year term as a Council member.

He also operates Meeks Termite and Pest Control. Meeks owned the business for 39 years, then sold it to his two sons Greg and Tim Meeks.

Back in 1974 he decided to run for local government because "people were so kind and supportive of my business when I moved to Troy."

"I felt that I could return something back to the community, which had given so much to me," he said.

"I haven’t accomplished anything by myself," Meeks said. "By working with other commissioners and council members and the mayor, together we have accomplished a lot."

The city has accomplished much more in the past 11 years under the mayor-council form of government than it did with Troy City Commission because it has so much more revenue than before, Meeks said.

"There is more money to do more things with," he added.

During his years on the Troy City Commission, Meeks said the body’s greatest accomplishment was winning an $8 million grant to build a waste water treatment facility.

"It had gotten to the point where we had to get state approval for every house or industry we wanted to build," Meeks said. "The sewage treatment plant allowed the city to grow."

That led to the city’s purchase of the industrial park land. The first business to move there was Hutson, and the park has continued to grow, he said.

Meeks listed the following other accomplishments of the Troy City Commission:

-Increased recreation fields with the addition of ball fields at Knox Street, Academy Street and Franklin Drive

-Purchasing the James Oscar Colley Sr. Senior Complex so seniors citizens would have a place to go

-Recruitment of industries and major employers, such as Miltope and Sikorsky Support Services

-Increased support for education by giving the school system $75,000 to $700,000 a year to pay utilities

-Increased the efficiency of all the city’s departments, including administration, public safety, public works and utilities

Meeks said the most important accomplishment of Troy City Council was selling the hospital to a private management company.

"That hospital was costing the city $.5 million a year to operate. We got $14.5 million profit for the hospital, and it kept us from further expenses," he said. "We agreed to invest that profit in a trust."

Ninety percent of the interest from that trust goes to the city’s General Fund, and 10 percent of the interest earned is reinvested so the fund grows, he said.

The city also continued to increase recreational facilities by building the Troy Sportsplex dedicated to W. Bo Gaylard.

"We have as nice a recreational facility there as anywhere in the state," Meeks said.

Meeks listed the following other accomplishments of the Troy City Council and Mayor Jimmy C. Lunsford:

-Built recycling center

-Added another substation in 1996 to supply electricity and upgraded sewage facilities

-Continued renovations and additions at Troy Municipal Complex

Besides his work as a council member, Meeks is a businessman. He has been in the pest control business for 39 years, he said. He is a member of the Alabama Pest Control Association and has held every office in the association. Meeks is also a member of Troy Rotary Club.

He is married to Josephine Rodgers, and they gave two grown sons Tim and Greg.

His wife and sons were present at the reception Tuesday where Meeks thanked Troy citizens for gioving him the opportunity to serve them for 20 years.

Goshen High School,

diner burglarized Friday

The Pike County Sheriff’s Department responded early Friday morning to a report of two burglaries in Goshen.

Pike County Sheriff Russell Thomas said he believes the incidences are related.

At Goshen High School, sheriff’s deputies found entry was made to the school through the guidance counselor’s office when a suspect removed a window pane, Thomas said.

From the office, access was gained to the book keeper’s office when the door was kicked in. He said about $30 in change was taken from a desk drawer.

"It appears the suspect(s) went to the main office and used a trophy from the hall to break glass in the door," Thomas said. "They opened the door and entered the main office."

Taken from the main officer were four military-style flashlights, a partial roll of postage stamps and a tape backup from a computer, Thomas said.

The Sheriff’s Department is also investigating a similar incident at the Circle S Diner, which is located across from Goshen High School.

"Entry was gained through the front door by using a tool to pry open the lock," Thomas said.

Reported missing are a Quasar 27-inch color television and an AT&T cordless telephone.

Anyone with information about these incidences is asked to call the Sheriff’s Department at 566-4360 or the Secret Witness Line at 566-4347.

A cash reward is being offered for information in these cases.

Sheriff’s Department investigates Ebenezer shooting

A Pike County man is in stable condition at the intensive care unit of Edge Regional Medical Center after a shooting Saturday in the Ebenezer community.

The victim, whose name was not released by authorities, lives on a dirt road off of Alabama Highway 223, said Pike County Sheriff Russell Thomas. Sheriff’s Deputies responded to his call for help at about 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

According to Sheriff’s Department reports, the victim was standing in his yard when he was shot once in the chest. The shot came from a wooded area.

He told deputies he ran and got into his truck where he was shot two more times and hit in the head and chest.

"He was able to drive to a neighbor’s residence where he called for help," Thomas said.

The victim was transported to ERMC by Haynes Ambulance Service.

The investigating into this shooting is ongoing, Thomas said.

"We are interviewing several individuals to determine who was involved, what happened and why," he said. "We have developed leads and are following up on those.

"We hope to make an arrest soon."

He said a shotgun was used in the incident, and deputies have no motive at this time.

Troy Police extradite robbery

suspect from Georgia

Detectives with the Troy Police Department went to Columbus, Ga., Tuesday to pick up a man arrested there for allegedly robbing three Troy businesses in mid-November.

Bruce Earl Bogan, 31, was arrested Monday night in Columbus, said Sgt. Benny Scarbrough, public information officer with the Troy Police Department.

Bogan is charged with three counts of first degree robbery. Upon his arrival at the Pike County Jail, he is being held under $75,000 bond for each of the three counts, Scarbrough said.

Troy Police have been investigating the robberies that occurred Nov. 20 at about 2 a.m. at the Amoco on Alabama Highway 87, at about 5 a.m. at the Little C’s Texaco, also on 87, and at about 9:30 p.m. at Crowe’s Chicken on North Three Notch Street, he said.

A gun was allegedly used in the three robberies, according to police reports. Bogan was living in Troy at the time of these incidences.

Bogan’s arrest in Columbus occurred as a result of his report being entered into the National Crime Information Center’s computer, Scarbrough said. This is the computer database in which law enforcement agencies enter individuals wanted in connection with crimes committed in their jurisdictions.

It can be accessed throughout the United States by departments that subscribe to this service.

Troy Police were notified Monday night by authorities in Columbus that Bogan was in their custody.

An extradition hearing was held Tuesday morning in Columbus, he said. Detectives with TPD left here Tuesday morning to pick up Bogan and returned him to Troy later that afternoon.

Motown legends to perform

with TSU Sound of the South

Fans attending the Troy State University-Florida A&M football playoff game Saturday in Troy will get to see a lot more than football.

The Temptations Revue featuring Dennis Edwards will perform at halftime with the Sound of the South Marching Band. Edwards is one of the original members of the world famous singing group.

Kickoff for the NCAA Division I-AA football playoff game is 1:20 p.m. at Richard M. Scrushy field at Memorial Stadium.

Tickets cost $15 for chair back seats, $10 for reserved seats, $8 for general admission and $5 for students. To buy tickets, call 1-877-TSU-TICS.

Robert W. Smith, director of bands at Troy State University, encouraged people to get tickets early because the Temptations will play the show once toward to home side of the stadium. TSU is expecting the game to sell out.

"A whole contingent of our town that never comes to see the games will come Saturday to see the Temptations," Smith said. "We want to pack the stands."

He said the opportunity to get the Motown recording artists came through Shane Porter, a TSU graduate student.

Porter plays trumpet in the group’s backup band and writes the group’s arrangements. He is pursuing a masters of music degree in music composition under Smith.

He also serves as Smith’s graduate assistant and has been a member of the Temptations for eight years.

Porter was instrumental in getting the Temptations to alter their touring schedule to include Troy. They were scheduled to be in Philadelphia Saturday, but the group changed those plans as a favor to Porter, Smith said.

Saturday’s program will begin with the Sound of the South Marching Band playing "Get Ready," and the Temptations will join them in playing "The Way You Do the Things You Do," he said. The program will conclude with the group’s finale arrangement of "My Girl."

"The finale arrangement is the way the Temptations close their concerts," Smith said.

City of Troy plans expansion at

wastewater treatment plant

The City of Troy is anticipating for future growth in Pike County while complying with water quality permit guidelines in its plan to expand the Walnut Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Plans to expand the plant were underway before an Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) order required the city to look into its discharged wastewater quality, said Troy Mayor Jimmy C. Lunsford.

But discovering toxins in the effluent, or wastewater discharged from the treatment plant into Walnut Creek, has caused the city to push forward with its plans.

The city is working with ADEM to identify the pollutant that is causing tests of the effluent to indicate toxicity. Routine tests of the treated wastewater discharged from the Walnut Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant first showed unacceptable levels of toxins in September of 1997.

Subsequent tests also showed the water quality to be impaired.

These test results meant the city had failed to operate its plant under the guidelines for water quality set in its National Discharge Elimination System permit, Lunsford said.

"When we hear about failed water toxicity tests, the general public may be quick to assume somthing is dangerous to their health and welfare, but there is no danger here to any humans or animals," he said.

The city is being guided by an ADEM consent order in its work to bring the treatment plant under compliance.

A larger treatment plant would give the city the infrastructure it needs to support more businesses and industries here, said James G. Glowers, the city’s general manager. This is the solution the city has come up with for its problem of toxicity in its discharged wastewater or effluent.

Although identifying the cause of the toxicity has been difficult, fixing the problem may be as simple as moving the wastewater treatment plant’s discharge point farther downstream.

City officials plan to move the effluent to a larger stream of water called Whitewater Creek.

Walnut Creek flows to Whitewater Creek so actually just moving discharge point downstream, Flowers said.

The current situation of using Walnut Creek as its outflow point limits the city’s potential growth because it can only handle a certain amount of water. Four million gallons of effluent a day are discharged into Walnut Creek, he said.

As the amount of effluent increases in proportion to the amount of creek water, the concentration of toxins will increase. But if the effluent is pumped into a larger stream, the toxins will be diluted. This will allow the city to pass its water quality tests, Flowers said.

Not only does the city plan to move its discharge point downstream – it is also looking at expanding its wastewater treatment plant.

Flowers said the city wold like to expand the plant to pump seven million gallons a day.

The city hopes to pay for the expansion with a $1.2 million grant it has applied for with the Economic Development Administration. Bonds would also be used to finance the project, which would cost an estimated $8 million, Lunsford said.

This would not be the first time the plant was expanded. The Walnut Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant was built in 1969 and is well-designed, Lunsford said. Its orginal capacity was 3.2 million gallons of water per day. In 1993 to 1994 it was upgraded to five million gallons a day, Flowers said.

City complex construction nears completion

Troy Police and Fire Departments will be getting new offices in the new year.

Renovations at the City of Troy Municipal Complex should be complete by year’s end, according to Mayor Jimmy C. Lunsford.

In early January the departments and the Southeast Alabama Gas District are expected to move into phase two of the municipal complex, which is located between Academy and Elm streets across from city hall, he said.

They are waiting to move until after the new year so that any issues involving the year 2000 can be resolved before the relocation, Lunsford said.

The $4 million Troy Municipal Complex project was split into two phases.

Phase two of the project includes renovations and additions to the Public Safety Building, Lunsford said. Also underway are improvements to the Southeast Alabama Gas District Building.

New parking lots, landscaping and sidewalks will be added to tie together the three-block complex.

"These major improvements in the area should complement the Downtown Redevelopment Project," Lunsford said.

Work on Phase Two began this past winter. It includes Troy Fire Department, which will be located between City Hall and the old Public Safety Building. The renovated Public Safety Building will house the Troy Police Department, Municipal Court, magistrate’s office and jail.

Additions and renovations being made to the Public Safety Building will transform it into a more user-friendly facility for the police department, Lunsford said. The work includes relocating municipal court to the first floor so it will be closer to the jail. This move will help protect officers, prisoners and citizens, he said.

The second floor will house the police department. The third floor will store records and house the evidence and dark rooms. Another change is moving the front entrance of the police department from Elm Street to North Brundidge Street.

"This will be so much better for the public and police department," he said.

Phase One was completed X. It includes an addition to city hall, renovations to the Old National Guard Armory and the addition of a general maintenance building.

Both parts of the municipal building are now handicap accessible. Along with the addition came a face lift for all the municipal buildings to make the whole complex have the same architectural style, he said.

Whaley Construction Company is working on the renovations.

Right now, city contractors are putting the finishing touches on phase two, Lunsford said.

They are completing drainage structures around Walnut and Academy streets. These areas should be fully open to traffic within two weeks, he said.

This work is being done by Floyd construction Company.

Construction crews are finishing the inside of the public safety building, Lunsford said.

Steps will be added to connect the upper and lower parking lots. A strip of lawn will be added through the center of the parking lots to give the area a park environment, he said.

A nine-foot monument to commemorate the city’s Year 2000 Celebration will be erected in front of city hall at the center of the Troy Municipal Complex as a finishing touch.

"It will be leftover after our celebration and left for the next century," Lunsford said. "The names of our celebration committee members will be inscribed at the base of the monument."

The monument, which will consist of "a perpetual gas-operated flame," will be created by Brundidge artist Ronald Godwin, he said.

Godwin’s work is well under way. The structural foundation has been built. It is expected to be unveiled May 6 at the final event in the city’s millennium celebration.

Gas District gives Chamber

of Commerce $12,500

The Pike County Chamber of Commerce’s goal of economic development got a boost Wednesday from a $12,500 grant from the Southeast Alabama Gas District.

The money represents the gas district’s mission "to promote industry and development in Southeast Alabama," said Shannon Gooden, marketing and communications coordinator for the Southeast Alabama Gas District. "It is a privilege to fund economic development.

"But if the cities don’t ask for the money, it stays on our books. The chamber and the city are doing the people justice by requesting those funds."

Troy Mayor Jimmy C. Lunsford, who is on the gas district’s board, said the grant program began four years ago to aid economic development for Southeast Alabama.

"The point of this is to assist the community development by recruiting new industry," Lunsford said. "Each director chooses where the money goes in his community.

"We feel it will do the best job funneled through the chamber, which is the city’s economic development arm."

Chamber President Marsha Gaylard said the money has been used to produce a brochure promoting Troy as a location for business and industry

"Last year, the money paid for recruitment advertising in a national magazine to target specific industries and area," she said.

The advertisement have led to "a lot of feedback" and about four prospects a month, she said.

This funding will be used to continue those recruitment parents.

Winn Dixie expands

Troy store to marketplace

Although the name of its location fools some customers, Winn Dixie at Troy Marketplace Shopping Center will be "a regular store" until the end of 2000.

That’s when company officials expect to finish remodeling that will expand the grocery store into a "marketplace-style" format, said Gary H. Peters, location manager of Troy’s Winn Dixie.

The Marketplace will offer a larger variety of merchandise and services than regular Winn Dixies, Peters said.

Several current departments, including floral, frozen foods and meats will be expanded as part of the remodeling project. The deli/bakery department will be turned into two separate departments, he said. A cheese shop and a pharmacy will be added.

"We are expanding the store to better serve the needs of our customers," Peters said. "We will have more room for product displays and items we have had requests for."

Peters said his company, which has headquarters in Jacksonville, Fla., is excited about the expansion.

Construction began in November, and Peters expects it to take about a year before the marketplace is complete. Once complete, the store will be a 42,000 square foot facility.

The site of the store’s expansion formerly housed Spring Fresh cleaners. Peters said the cleaners closed and Winn Dixie took over a lease on the property.

Peters said he expects Winn Dixie’s expansion into the Marketplace format will bring in shoppers who are not current customers.

He does not expect Winn Dixie’s remodeling project to temporarily deter shoppers.

"The contractors are used to working at locations that are open and creating a minimal disturbance to the customer," Peters said. "Please excuse the temporary inconvenience because it will be worth it in the long run."