Law enforcement offers Halloween safety reminders

(Franklin) — It’s that time of the year for all of our little ghosts and goblins to come out and play.

“Next to Christmas, Halloween is one our children’s favorite times of the year. Kids love it! They get the chance to dress up and get FREE CANDY!  Chief Hannah and I have discussed different safety issues that we feel are important and we wish to share these safety tips with each of you” stated Sheriff Ross Henry.

Tips for Adults:

  • Know the route your child will be taking if you are not with them
  • Make sure a parent or another responsible adult goes with your children.
  • Know what activities your child may be attending: such as a party, school or community function.
  • Make sure to set a time for your child(ren) to be home.
  • Explain the difference between trick-or treating and vandalism to your children.
  • Consider safety when assisting your children in purchasing and/or designing their costumes. Consider factors such as: bright colors, reflectiveness, length of costume to avoid tripping, and flame resistant materials.
  • Make such costume accessories such as swords, knives, brooks are made of a flexible and soft material.
  • Warn children not to eat their candy until a parent or other adult has inspected it
  • Remind children of everyday safety such as talking or riding in a car with strangers and looking both ways before crossing the street.
  • Follow traffic laws
  • Watch for slow driving and frequent stopping vehicles.
  • Treat your children to a filling, spooky meal before heading out to trick-or-treat to reduce on the amount of candy they may consume.
  • Attend community carnivals/festivals rather than door to door trick-or-treating

Tips for Kids:

  • Never go into someone’s home.  Accept candy and treats at the doorway only.
  • Walk, don’t run.
  • Walk on streets and in driveways and out of the roadway.
  • Take a cell phone with you for emergencies.
  • Carry a flashlight or glow stick.
  • Always use common sense.
  • Don’t trick-or treat alone.  Go with an adult and have a couple friends with you.
  • Plan your route with your parents.
  • Don’t eat your candy until your parents inspects each piece.
  • Be polite and say Thank You for your treats.
  • Don’t play near a lit jack-o-lantern.
  • Go only to house where an outside light is on.
  • Trick-or-Treat only at houses where you know the homeowners.
  • Allow you parents to assist in choosing a safe costume.
  • Trick-or-Treating should be done during the earliest part of the evening before dark.
  • Don’t take short cuts through fields or people’s back yards or dark alley ways.
  • Use crosswalks when crossing the street.
  • Stay in well lit areas.

“As fun as Halloween and Trick-or-Treating may be, in these days and times, we have to be more cautious of our children and what they are doing and who they are doing it with. We can no longer allow our children to walk the streets alone, even in a small town such as Franklin” added Chief Kevin Hannah.

“Explain to your children that being safe and having fun goes hand in hand. I think all of you will agree with us that providing a safe, happy night for our children to cherish and to pass on these traditions to their children will make lasting memories for all. Franklin Police Officers and Heard County Sheriff’s Deputies will be on patrol keeping a check on all our Trick-or-Treaters throughout the evening. If any of you have any problems or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact you local law enforcement agency” concluded Chief Hannah and Sheriff Henry.

Doubleheader split forces do-or-die game for Lady Braves

(Franklin, GA) — After splitting a doubleheader Wednesday afternoon with the visiting Bleckley County Royals, an exciting post-season softball run for the Lady Braves will continue at Heard High School this afternoon with a deciding game three that will determine which team will move on to Columbus and which team will see its season come to an end.

Each team battled back from a four-run deficit to gain victories yesterday and there was plenty of offensive power on display as the two line-ups combined to score 34 runs in the twin bill that lasted almost six hours.

The Lady Braves led 4-0 heading to the fifth inning in game one before a grand slam by lefty Landa Dominy tied the game at 4-4.

After starting pitcher Haley Bennett held the Royal hitters at bay through the first four, they exploded for 10 runs over the last three innings to take game one 10-5.

In game two, it would be the Lady Braves that would comeback from a deficit. After scoring two as the visiting team in the top half of the first, the Lady Braves would allow the visiting Lady Royals to rally to a 6-2 lead heading into the fourth inning.

With the season on the line, the Lady Braves would tie the game at 6-6 with four runs in the top half of the fourth and the teams were tied at 7-7 heading into the final inning.

The Lady Braves would score three huge runs in the top of the seventh with only one hit, a lead-off double by senior Ally Harris to take a 10-7 lead.

Mallory Gallaway earned the win in game two yesterday, tossing 6.1 innings in relief

Mallory Gallaway earned the win in game two yesterday, tossing 6.1 innings in relief

The very potent Royals line-up would not surrender however as Faith Harris belted a 2-run HR to draw the Royals within one at 10-9.

They would have the tying run on third as sophomore Mallory Gallaway would get the final out via fly ball to center fielder Kaitlyn Baldwin to force today’s rubber match-up.

Gallaway pitched 6.1 innings in relief of freshman starter Katelyn Jiles to earn the win.

After using three pitchers in the first two games, Coach Matt Hornsby expects all four of his young pitchers to be ready in today’s do-or-die contest at 4:00 PM at HHS.

“We will have all four pitchers ready to go in game three and my guess is we may have to use all four to have a chance to win,” said Hornsby after the split. “They remind you of the offensive line-up of a much bigger 4-A or 5-A school and I think we are just going to outscore them today.”

Hornsby was again pleased with how his squad battled back after dropping the first game of a series for the second straight week.

“We can’t say enough about our girls and how they battled back out there today and bounced back in that game two. They were able to put game one out of their minds which is what you have to be able to do. Mallory Gallaway did an awesome job out there for us on the mound in game two.”

Ally Harris led the Braves offensively in game one with two hits and two RBI’s. In game two, it was again Harris and fellow senior Hannah Stephens who each tallied two hits. Kaitlyn Baldwin, Aspen Barker, and Alyssa Cosper also had run producing efforts at the plate.

The two teams will meet again today at 4:00 PM at Heard High in a do-or-die affair to decide which team’s season will end and which team’s season will continue on to next week’s State Championship tourney in Columbus.

The Lady Braves are vying for their fifth straight trip to Columbus to meet Bacon County in the opening game.

Bleckley County last earned a trip to Columbus in 2011. Bacon County, Dodge County, Vidalia, Rockmart, Harlem, and Jeff-Davis all completed sweeps Wednesday to secure their spots in next week’s bracket. Dade County and Berrien also split yesterday and face a game three today.

Brave Nation Weekly News & Notes (10/19/16)

(Franklin) — Each week during the sports season, brings you a weekly wrap-up of Brave Nation sports including news, notes, a weekly schedule, and the Brave Nation Player of the Week.

Anyone who would like to submit information for the weekly column, a question about anything Brave related, or a nomination for Player of the Week please email with either “News and Notes” or  “Player of the Week” in the subject line.


“Maroon, Grey, we’re going all the way” — The Lady Braves host the Bleckley County Royals in a best-of-three series beginning with a doubleheader today (Wed) and an if game tomorrow. The Lady Braves seniors are asking that all fans wear maroon and grey to the game. See game times in the weekly schedule below.

Homecoming Parade — The annual homecoming parade will take place in downtown Franklin at 4:30 PM tomorrow afternoon.

Middle School All-Stars — Three HCMS softball players, Dara O’Neal, Abigail Lathrop, and Emily Shelnutt competed in the West Georgia middle school all-star game at Mt. Zion yesterday.

Brave Nation Co-Players of the Week

Middle POWThe Brave Nation Co-Players of the Week are HCMS Lady Brave softball players Ms. Dara O’Neal, Ms. Abigail Lathrop, and Ms. Emily Shelnutt.

These three girls were some of the top leaders on the HCMS Lady Braves this season and were named as the middle Lady Brave representatives at the West Georgia All-Star game at Mt. Zion.

Congratulations to Dara, Abigail, and Emily for being named this week’s Brave Nation CoPlayers of the Week!

Sound of the County Invitational — The Marching Braves received high marks at the first annual “Sound of the County” band competition at Harris County High School over the weekend. Stay tuned to for further info later this week.

HCMS Football Championship — The HCMS Braves will host the Temple Middle School Tigers tomorrow (Thurs) at 6:00 PM at Staples Stadium in the middle school championship game.

NUC All-American Invite — Junior Brave football player Damion Hart has been invited to participate in the NUC All-American game in Atlanta on December 30, 2016.

Weekly Schedule BASE

Wednesday, Oct. 19

~ HCHS Varsity Softball State Playoff Round 2 DH vs. Bleckley Co. (3:00/5:00 PM)

Thursday, Oct. 20

~ HCHS Varsity Softball State Playoff Round 2 vs. Bleckley Co. (4:00 PM* if necesssary)

~ 2016 Homecoming Parade (4:30 PM -Downtown Franklin)

~ HCMS Football vs. Temple at Staples Stadium (6:00 PM – Middle School Championship Game)

Friday, Oct. 21

~ HCHS Varsity Football Homecoming vs. Jordan (7:30 PM)


Teacher killed in 3-car crash one week before her wedding

(Lagrange, GA) — Funeral services will take place Friday for a Troup County teacher tragically killed early Sunday morning just one week from her wedding date.

Meghann Estelle Smith, 24, of Lagrange died in a bizarre three-vehicle crash on I-185 near Columbus.

Smith was the passenger in a Kia Soul driven by her friend Emily Fomby Thompson of Franklin. Thompson, Smith, and two other friends had spent the day Saturday preparing for and celebrating Smith’s upcoming wedding to her fiancé Kenneth William Belcher.

Meghann Smith

Meghann Smith

Of the three vehicles involved in the two collisions, authorities believe Thompson was the only driver not under the influence.

According to accounts by Thompson, the first alleged under the influence southbound driver that crossed the median on I-185 in a Nissan Maxima did not cause the fatality, but rather a second northbound vehicle did the most damage and cost Smith her life.

This second vehicle did not notice the first accident in time and was also driven by an alleged under the influence driver according to Columbus Police Sgt. Fred Carnes.

Emily Thompson, a 2009 graduate of Heard High School, spoke with the Heard Citizen Tuesday evening about the accident and about the loss of her close friend.

“You just have to think about more than yourself when you decide to drive drunk,” said Thompson. “There are just too many options available now to take the chance of driving yourself! Because of the careless decision of two different individuals to get behind the wheel intoxicated, we have lost one of the best friends we could have ever had.”

Thompson says that Meghann Smith was a loving individual that meant so much to so many people.

“Meghann’s parents lost their daughter, her siblings lost their sister, her students lost their teacher, her fiancé lost his bride just six days before their big day,” Thompson stated. “Meg was such a sweet person. She was so kind-hearted and full of love — love for everyone. To know Meg was to love her. She never didn’t have a smile on her face. I hope her infectious smile lives on through the ones she loved. She wouldn’t want it to be any different.”

A native of Thomaston, Smith was a teacher at Ethel W. Kight Elementary School in LaGrange. She earned her undergraduate and master’s degrees from LaGrange College.

This was Smith’s second year at the school, where she ran a reading program for students K-5, said Troup County School System spokesman Yolanda Stephens to the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. The school offered the young students grief counseling on Monday.

“She was a bright young lady who touched many students’ lives. She was a kind teacher who was always excited about building relationships with the students and her faculty mates,” Ethel W. Kight Principal Candace McGhee said in a statement this week. “Meghann made a tremendous impact on those who were learning how to read or had difficulty grasping reading concepts. We are going to miss her and our prayers go out to her family during this time.”

The wedding was scheduled this weekend at Oakhurst Farm, a West Point event venue. And like many brides, Smith was counting down to the days on her Facebook page.

On Thursday of last week, Smith posted a selfie with one of her students.

“This little one has my heart!” Smith wrote. “Since last year, she has counted down with me to the wedding. Today we celebrated a little extra because we are in SINGLE DIGITS!!”

Funeral services for Meghann Smith will be held Friday, October 21, at 4:00 PM, at the First Baptist Church of Thomaston. Rev. Bill Barber and Rev. Joy Smith will officiate, and burial will follow in the Valley Grove Baptist Church Cemetery.

The family will receive friends in LaGrange on Thursday, October 20, from 10 until 12 noon, at the First Presbyterian Church of LaGrange, and in Thomaston, on Thursday evening from 6 until 8 PM, at Fletcher-Day Funeral Home.

Smith was a graduate of Upson-Lee High School and a member of the First Baptist Church of Thomaston.

(The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer contributed to this report.)

Ms. Margaret Gertrude Burke

Funeral services for Margaret Gertrude Burke, 92, of Glenn, Ga., formerly of Rock Mills, will be Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016, at 2 p.m. at Quattlebaum Funeral Chapel with the Revs. Horace Harper and Keith Benefield officiating. Burial will follow at Flat Rock Cemetery.

The family will receive friends at the funeral home from 5-8 p.m. on Tuesday.

Miss Burke died Monday, Oct. 17.

A Randolph County native, Miss Burke was born Sept. 19, 1924, the daughter of Jay Hugh Burke and Talitha Lipp.

Survivors include: special niece, Nita Starnes; special nephew, Ben Starnes; and one sister, Annie Lois Wilson; and several other nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents; three sisters, Ruth Rushing, Alice Owens and Thelma Barrett; and four brothers, George, Henry, Herman and Wayne Burke.

Pallbearers will be Benji Starnes, Logan Starnes, Patrick George, Mark Kirby, Michael Rushing and Jimmy Albright.

Online condolences may be expressed at

Quattlebaum Funeral Home, Roanoke.