Airport board OK'd
The McDuffie County Board of Commissioners approved the formation of an Airport Advisory Committee last week, an eight person board that will keep up with operations at the Thomson-McDuffie Regional Airport and report back to the local governments.
"This is not a voting authority; it's strictly a board to hear recommendations. It's a go-between...I think it's a good idea," said Commissioner Darrell Wester.
The committee will consist of Commission Chairman Charlie Newton, Thomson Mayor Bob Knox, two McDuffie County aircraft owners and pilots, one citizen interested in aviation, a member from an industry or business that regularly uses the airport, Executive Director of Forward-McDuffie Don Powers and one representative from public safety. The Thomson City Council is also expected to approve the formation of the committee at tonight's meeting.
Hospital asks for help
McDuffie Regional Medical Center CEO Doug Keir spoke with county commissioners at length last week about the shortfall in the hospital's 2004 indigent care funding. Mr. Keir asked the Board of Commissioners for a payment of around $350,000 to help offset excessive hospital costs, which have helped cause the hospital to lose money over the past several months. Commission Chairman Charlie Newton suggested that approximately $200,000 of undistributed SPLOST III monies be allocated to the hospital immediately, to be paid back by SPLOST IV payments over time. However, both County Attorney Sammy Fowler and County Manager Don Norton thought more time was needed to examine the legality of such an action. As a result, the board decided to table the topic until next month's meeting.
Gym work takes off
County commissioners gave a local construction company $3,000 to perform a preliminary inspection of the Dearing Gymnasium in anticipation of a proper renovation to begin sometime later this year. Both a moisture and termite inspection are expected to be performed within the next few weeks, which should give commissioners a better idea of just how much work has to be done on the facility. Commissioners also said that they probably will seek bids on the total renovation project after the preliminary inspections are complete. Earlier this month, the Thomson-McDuffie Recreation Board stipulated that the total cost for the renovation should not exceed $65,000.
A German television station visited McDuffie County several weeks ago to record footage for a documentary on former President Jimmy Carter and his new novel, The Hornet's Nest. There are several indirect references to Wrightsboro and the Rock House in the book, and the station shot footage of some of McDuffie County's historical landmarks to show during an interview with Mr. Carter.
Storm slams power
High winds from a storm that came through the area at 9:30 p.m. on Sunday night knocked out power for some 1,700 Jefferson Energy members. According to Jefferson Energy officials, customer service personnel was brought in to handle the influx of calls, and line crews were dispatched to affected areas.
Crews worked into the night, and by 12:30 a.m. Monday morning, power was back on for 99 percent of those that had lost it.
Eastern McDuffie County was hit hardest by the outages. Other areas affected by the outage included parts of South Richmond County and Warren County.