Newspaper Archive of
The Hogansville Herald
Manchester, Georgia
January 27, 2000     The Hogansville Herald
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January 27, 2000

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The ADC 310 2:3 Official Legal Organ, City of Hogansvl|le Formerly The Hogansvi|le Herald Received Each Week in 4,000 Homes in the Hogansville-Grantville Area omb Threat at Elementary School By Bryan Getm'/Siaff BENNINGS K-9 UNIT ON THE SCENE - Sgt. Stammeyer enning's K-9 Unit with his canine "X", diligently search the at Hogansville Elementary School Thursday for a " after a call was made to the school earlier that nP)rS: le caller stated a bomb had been planted in the building. COMMANDS -'q'omka" the bomb dog follows the of his handler Sgt. Gary Plantanda of Ft. Benning as they a bomb at Hogansville Elementary School last Thursday. were found, Danny Lee of said Friday he would a bill in the to revoke the city has had no valid i years no services to its cit- Lee said. Said he visited Corinth Seeking to speak with and officials to see how about their town. I talked to know Corinth was said. "They seemed to learn the city had : said he asked only three when speaking with of Corinth. asked three ques- city officials. Where have you been Past ten years, you have By Bryan Geter Associate Editor "There is a bomb in the building." These were the words Hogansville Elementary School secretary Elaine Pendi heard over the telephone spoken by an anonymous caller Thursday morning just before to 8 a.m. Principal Peggy Smith said they couldn't alert the class- rooms by two-way radios since a radio signal could "set off" the bomb. Smith and other members of the administrative staff quickly went to each classroom telling students and teachers to evacuate the building. Smith said Assistant Principal Jody Hale told her later it took 2 minutes to get all the children out of the school. "I called the Hogansville Police Department and E-911," Snn'th said. "My main concern was to get the kids out of the building and to safety," she said. "We then called for the return of the buses to transport the children away from the school to safety and to a warm place. The students were trans- ported by bus to the Ingles park- ing lot. "That was the only place I could think of that could easily hold seven buses," she said. The students were later transported to Callaway High School. Smith said she was grateful Callaway allowed the students to be housed there. "They let us use the gym and helped us prepare sack lunch: es for the students," Smith added. Hogansville Elementary School has an enrollment of 417 students. At noon, when stu- dents were allowed to return to school, there were only 27 stu- dents remalnin4. Smith said the parents of the children were called and informed of what was happen- ing. They were told they could take their children home if they desired. The parents of the 27 students could not be contact- ed. Friday morning, Smith said she couldn't tell if any students had stayed at home due to the bomb threat or whether they were absent due to the cold weather. "On cold days like these," she said, "some students stay home." She stated the school, nor authorities, were able to trace the call or determine who had made it. However, the school doors were opened on schedule Friday and the students returned to classes as normal By Bryan GetedStaff HOGANSVILLE POLICE ON THE SCENE - Hogansville's Police Chief Hilton Odom (left) and Troup County Board of Education employee, Jerry Webb await the arrival of the Ft. Benning K-9 Units last Thursday after a "bomb threat" was made at Hogansville Elementary School. Fort Benning K-9 Units Used to Search School Bryan Geter Associate Editor Ft. Benning K-9 units were summoned to Hogansville Elementary School Thursday morning to sarh for a bomb, after the school received an anonymous call reporting a bomb had been placed on the school campus. Shortly before 8 a.m., the school secretary received a phone prank call about the bomb. U.S. soldiers with trained dogs arrived at Hogansville Elementary School around 10 a.m. to begin a search. Four soldiers with two canines searched every square inch of the building and even a construction site on the cam- pus looking for possible explo- sives. After two hours of search- ing, it was determined there was no bomb on the campus. Each unit consists of two sol- diers, a spotter and a handler, along with a dog, usually a German Shepherd. "X" a brown German Shepherd was handled by Sgt. Stammeyer and Anthony Guilli. Sgt. GaryPlantandaandSgt. Lang handled a black German Shepherd named "Tomka." Plantanda said his unit usu- ally handles about six bombs calls a year at different schools g I IIIIIIIII . IIIIII "I've never found a bomb in the two years I've been sta- tioned at Fort Benning..." Sgt. Gary Plantanda Ill I - in the area surrounding Fort Benning. "I've never found a bomb in the two years I've been sta- tioned at Fort Benning," he said. "Lang and Stammeyer have found bombs before," he said. Plantanda said the dogs are trained well before "hitting " the road. The trainers are given a two-month training course, then they are watched, observed and judged by com- manding canine officer Sgt. Lang before being allowed to participate in a bomb search. The dogs are trained at Lackland Air Force base in San Antonio, Texas before being transported to different posts across the country, he said. "We have a lot of bomb calls on post at Ft. Benning," Plantanda said, "because of the Schools of the Americas." He added they were trained to disengage a bomb and the proper procedures for handling a would-be attacker. "When a bomb is found, you'll know it," he said. "The dog will sit down on his rear and not moved an inch. You can't budge him at all." "Tomka" stopped at one point during the search. However, he had discovered a video tape in one of the chil- dren's desk. He said the dogs can't dis- tinguish the smells of chemi- cals used in bombs and certain chemicals used on the tape. "He wouldn't move," Plantanda said, "until I showed him the tape. That satisfied him and he moved on." He said the dogs follow the movements of the handler's hand and search each spot pointed to. It is also the spotter's job to check the high areas the dogs can't reach. Plantanda said bomb dogs usually only serve eight to twelve years. They are then returned to Lackland Air Force Base for examinations and observation. Since the dogs are also trained to attack, they can not be adopted at the end of their service. He said the military 'drug dogs' can be adopted after retirement by individuals. Lee Says He'll Call for Corinth's Charter had no elections; two, what ser- vices are you getting now, you wouldn't get if you had no char- ter; and three, what have you done with all the tax money col- lected by the city," Lee said he asked of city officials. Lee said he learned most cit- izens of the community want- ed only two things for their city, sidewalks and a playground. "They already have a play- ground," he said. "It just needs enhancing a bit. "I'll help them all I can to get monies for sidewalks," he added. "Their really not receiving any services in Corinth," Lee said. "Most people would prob- ably never know the charter was revoked. They simply wouldn't miss it." Not all the citizens of Corinth agree with Sen. Lee and have stated they will do all they can to save their city. A town meeting was held at the Corinth Baptist Church on Thursday, January 10, with about 35 citizens in attendance. Larry Hooks acted as mod- erator for the meeting. The group decided to begin a petition to save the city. Lee said he was not going to be influenced by a petition. "There has been no elections in ten years and the city pro- vides no services to the people," Lee argued. Former Councilman Walter Purgason said he didn't think the Legislature could revoke the city charter. "Heard County doesn't want us," Sara Purgason said. "We want to keep the charter. We'll have to have an election quick- ly if we are going to keep it." Purgason said the city char- ter calls for five elected coun- cilmembers. The mayor is then appointed by the elected coun- cil. Lee said he thought the cit- izens were concerned about a zoning ordinance adopted by the Heard County commission- ers that would require the citi- zens to travel to Franklin to obtain building permits and other zoning needs. "I don't think they travel to Franklin to obtain the permits," he said. Corinth mayor Roy Hammett and his wife, Brenda Richardson, pleaded guilty recently to stealing $36,000 in city franchise fees and excise taxes. They are scheduled for sentencing on January 26. --Bryan Geter By Bryan Geter/Staff WILL CORINTH SURVIVE?JThis Corinth city limit sign may be all that is left of the 'city' if Sen. Danny Lee has anything to do with it, He has said he would call for the city's charter in the Legislature this session. Lee said the city has not had an elec- tion in more than 10 years and until now they didn't seem to care about their charter., The city is actually in two counties. Part of the city is in Coweta County and the other is in Heard County.