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Fort Valley construction update

Lakesha Rumph says the construction in Fort Valley on Camellia Boulevard and Highway 341 slows traffic and may make it harder for customers to get to the business where she works.

"They work on the parking lot sometimes. In those instances it's hard for the customers to get in and out," she said.

The construction started early last year to fix drainage problems.

"A lot of businesses were flooding due to the problems with the water drainage," Rumph said.

The Georgia Department of Transportation started the project and said it would last about 18 months.

The renovation costs around 8 million dollars and is funded by the department.

"The original date of the project to be finished we had been told was maybe about April or so. And then they extended it down to July," said Mayor Barbara Williams, but Camellia Boulevard is still covered with safety cones in July.

Fort Valley city council explore economic developments

In Fort Valley's City council meeting Thursday night, the mayor and city council members talked about ways to fund a multi-family housing unit.

The 60-unit building has already been approved by the mayor and the council, and will be located north of highway 341 near Nu-way Weiner. It will take $200,000 to build, and the funding would come from the Downtown Development Authority.

The council decided to apply for a Community Block Grant Thursday night. It would pay the city back through a revolving loan fund. The majority of council members supported applying for the grant.

Mayor Barbara Williams says it's because there was confusion as to whether the city would be liable to pay for the project in the end.

'Veggies in the Valley' encourages gardening

Patricia Alston Rohlman is looking for a "fresh" way to get food in Fort Valley.

"We're trying to promote the idea of a 'handup,' not a 'handout' so that people can view the gardens as like a learning lab, so they can come and learn how to garden for themselves," she said.

Rohlman started "Veggies in the Valley," a project that started 4 community gardens throughout the city.

The gardens are located on Oak Street, Love Street, on State University Boulevard near Fort Valley State, and behind the local Boys and Girls Club.

"People ask me all the time, 'Can I come and bring my kids?' So we have a couple of children signed up with their parents to come and work," Rohlman said.

The city donated three of the properties the gardens are built on.

The fourth one is privately owned by the City Marshal.

Softball tournament helps Peach County firefighter

Peach County Fire Sergeant, Jamie Smith, has to witness the aftermath at the scene of a lot of fires.

But he never expected it would happen to his own home.

He remembers that phone call from a fellow sergeant.

"He called me," remembers Smith, "and he said,'I'm sorry but it's pretty much burned to the ground."

No one was home at the time of the fire.

After the devastating loss, the other firemen are trying to help put back the pieces.

"We always say the fire department is a brotherhood," says Sergeant Jeffrey Oliver. "In situations like this it really shows."

Even though loss is an unfortunate part of their job, the dynamics change seeing it happen to them firsthand.

FVSU receives state funding to fix pool

Fort Valley State will be re-opening their pool, thanks to funding from the state.

"Local schools were heavy users of the pool," said Dwayne Crew, who is head of the facilities office, "When Houston County had their swim meets this place would be packed."

That was four years ago, before Fort Valley State University's pool closed due to cracks in the floor.

Crew says the cracks may have happened because the 12-foot pool was too close to the water table underneath the building.

The University System of Georgia has approved 400,000 dollars to the school to repair it.

Crew says construction should start at the beginning of September and be finished by early October.

He says different high schools would use the pool for regional swim meets, which brought in more revenue for the school.

Crawford County coroner sues county

For the past 18 months, coroner David O'Neal has been asking the Crawford County commission for a truck and an office with supplies because right now he uses his own pickup and works from home.

"I've had to have my son carry me in his own personal vehicle to scenes when my vehicle was not eligible to go. Without help, I could go hours," O'Neal said.

The county did not give him a truck but did provide him with an office.

O'Neal says it's locked and he doesn't have a key. And he wouldn't want it anyway.

Several times O'Neal told the county commission he would not accept that office.

Public invited to meet Peach Co. Superintendent candidates

The Peach County Board of Education announced a public meeting tonight with the top two candidates for superintendent.

The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. at Peach County High School on Campus Drive in Fort Valley.

At the meeting, the public will get to meet and greet the two candidates, and hear their plans for the future of Peach County Schools, if one of them is hired.

The first candidate is Dr. Daryl Fineran, who spent two years as the superintendent of Wayne County Schools in Jesup, Georgia, and worked as a teacher and administrator in several other school systems, including Peach County.

The second candidate is Jim L. LeBrun, who has been superintendent of the McDuffie County Board of Education in Thomson, Georgia for the past 5 years. LeBrun also served as superintendent in Jones County from 2005 to 2009.