County subsidizes Health Department
A budget shortfall led McDuffie County Health Department officials to ask for and receive $40,000 from commissioners last week. The shortfall is due to a change in the way the state handles funding the departments.
According to Commission Chairman Charlie Newton - who also serves on the Board of Health - as many as three employees could have been laid off by July 1 if the shortfall wasn't made up.
The money came out of the County's contingency fund. County Manager Don Norton warned commissioners from pulling too much more out of a quickly dwindling contingency portion of the budget.
Thomson High traffic
Traffic congestion problems before and after school at Thomson High caused McDuffie County Commissioners to act during a meeting last week. They voted to provide up to $5,000 to fund person directing traffic near the front entrance for the remainder of the school year.
County Manager Don Norton reported to commissioners that he had contacted School Superintendent Mark Petersen about handling the problem. Mr. Norton told commissioners that Dr. Petersen said he was in the business of educating children, not directing traffic.
The county provides the funding for one position at a school already, and the City of Thomson funds the same position at two schools. The position at THS would be short-term - two to three years - because officials believe the future bypass in that area will alleviate some traffic concerns.
Early voting to move
McDuffie County Elections Superintendent Phyllis Wheeler received approval to purchase a laptop computer for absentee and early voting. She needs the portable computer because she plans to move absentee and early voting from their current location at the courthouse to the Human Development Center.
Ms. Wheeler cited cramped quarters in the Elections Office during the early voting as the reason for moving. With voting machines set up in the small office, she said conducting regular business was difficult during those weeks. Plus, parking was difficult to come by while court was in session.
The Human Development Center - the former Recreation Department office - is located at 808 White Oak Road.
Forestry commission helps train firefighters
The McDuffie Warren Forestry Commission assisted Augusta Technical College earlier this month with a training exercise. The module one structural firefighting course was conducted Feb. 10 behind the Pea Ridge Fire Department in Dearing by Rangers David Cheeley and Josh Edwards.
Twelve firefighters from various counties were participants and witnessed demonstrations on the proper use of various wild land firefighting hand tools. The forestry commission thanked land owner Juanita Johnson for use of her property during this training exercise and Jerry Asbach from Augusta Tech for his assistance in the training.
McDuffie County Fire Chief Bruce Tanner said the exercise lasted nearly six hours and was a good success.
SunTrust selects new city president
A local man has been named the new Thomson City president for SunTrust Bank.
David Jopling started Feb. 20, according to Bill Thompson, president and chief executive officer of SunTrust Bank, Augusta. Mr. Jopling replaces Riley Stamey, who retired in January after more than 22 years of service in the McDuffie County community.
Prior to joining SunTrust, Mr. Jopling, served in increasingly responsible positions at Queensborough National Bank and Trust Company in Louisville for five years.
"David is a local native and currently resides in the community," Mr. Thompson said. "He is a graduate of Thomson High School, Georgia Southern University and the Georgia Banking School. Since college, he has made his career in the banking field.
David brings a strong commitment to the Thomson area. In addition to civic activities, David will focus his efforts on developing banking opportunities with local businesses."