MCFR captain retires after 20 years of service
McDuffie County Fire/EMS Captain Bobby Reynolds gives Capt. David Durrence an ax as a parting gift. The ax was engraved with the number six.
Capt. David Durrence, of McDuffie County Fire and EMS, announced his retirement at the end of January.
Durrence, who has worked in McDuffie County for 11 years, began his career in the fire service in Appling, Georgia. The fire service recognized him at a retirement service Feb. 18.

Reese and Alligood receive Golden Apples
Thomson Elementary School second grade teacher Seymone Reese, last year's McDuffie County Teacher of the Year, (right) and Marcianne Alligood, this year's Maxwell Elementary Teacher of the Year, (left) were named as WJBF-TV Golden Apple Award winners on Friday. Look for their stories to air in the coming months on WJBF-TV/Channel 6.

Wilkes Co. celebrates history with Revolutionary Days
Re-enactors stand ready as the 1776 colors are lowered from the flagpole.
History came alive in Washington, Georgia, over the weekend as re-enactors dressed in colonial attire descended on the Town Square. The Revolutionary Days, celebrated each year during the second weekend in February mark the anniversary of the Battle of Kettle Creek, fought on Feb. 14, 1779. The battle, according to Georgia’s Revolutionary War Trail, was the only Revolutionary battle won in Georgia.

Warrenton native provides healthcare for U.S. Navy Sailors
Lashandrea Young
A 1996 Warren County High School graduate and Warrenton native is serving in the U.S. Navy at Naval Medical Center San Diego.
Chief Petty Officer Lashandrea Young serves as a information system technician at the San Diego based hospital.
“I am the command drug and alcohol program advisor and I am the liaison for sailors who might need assistance with treatment for drugs or alcohol,” said Young. “I love seeing the success of sailors who transition from being in difficult situations and begin to excel.”

Sims family honors daughter’s legacy with talent showcase
The late Oriona Sims is shown showcasing the creative side of her personality.
The Sims family, formerly of Thomson, is planning to hold the first annual ORIONa Talent Showcase on March 11.
The showcase will benefit the Oriona Sims Fine Arts Memorial Fund, established in 2016. The fund is a tribute to the memory of Oriona “Ori” Jada Sims.
The showcase will be open to all ages, and it will take place at 304 Greenway Street in Thomson. Tickets are $10, and the price includes admission, entry into raffles and a $5 donation to the fine arts scholarship fund. The doors will open at 5:30 p.m.
Oriona Sims’ mother, Dr. Latisha Sims, said Oriona was a selfless, artistic young lady who knew how to find the beauty in everything. Ori Sims passed unexpectedly at the age of 15 on July 25, 2014.

Three students place first in local DAR essay contest
The winners of the American History Essay Contest were announced Feb. 1 during an award ceremony at Dearing Elementary School. The Captain John Wilson Chapter of the National Society of the American Revolution sponsored the essay contest that focused on the National Park Service. The winners--Priscilla Kelley, Virginia Smith and Leah Ashley-- are pictured with Gladys Rodgers, the chapter’s regent.
Three fifth grade students—two from Norris Elementary and one from Dearing Elementary—won top honors in an American History Essay Contest sponsored by the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
The three first place winners were selected from 15 contestants who wrote about the National Park Service and the areas it manages.
The winners were identified at a Feb. 1 award celebration at Dearing Elementary School. Two students from Norris Elementary—Leah Ashe and Virginia Smith—two-way tied for first place and Priscilla Kelley, from Dearing Elementary School, won first place.

Local girl overcomes injury to compete at high level
Sandra “Andi” James is shown with just a portion of the trophies, pageant sashes and medals she has won during her twirling career.
Sandra “Andi” James recently traveled to both Texas and Indiana to compete on the national stage of baton twirling.
James, a senior at Thomson High School, has been twirling for seven years, four of which have been competitively.

Vicky Grady Band delights Augusta-area crowds
The Vicky Grady Band consists of Vicky Grady, Ruby Culpepper, Mike Dansevicus and Erik Powell. The band plays in different venues around the Augusta area.
The Thomson area has a new band to entertain with guitars and vocals.
The Vicky Grady Band started in 2009 when Vicky Grady moved to the United States from England. She currently lives in both Warrenton and Augusta.
Grady was born in Norwich, England, and moved to Georgia at the end of 2009. In addition to her music career, she is also a mother.
Grady said she is a self-taught musician and has been writing songs since she was a teenager.

Silver Sneakers encourages seniors to be healthy
Jesse Wilson, Annie Warren and Joey Windham are shown marching in place during the Silver Sneakers class.
The Silver Sneakers program, an amenity at the Family Y in Thomson, allows seniors in the area to stay healthy, both physically and mentally. The program is funded by supplemental insurance when people turn 65 years old. At that age, people are eligible for Medicare, and the supplemental insurance that is purchased along with Medicare usually covers Silver Sneakers.

NES students participate in robotics competition
NES Principal Shantell Crockett and Emma Kate Alfriend are shown with the robots and project boards for the NES Brick Builders.
Norris Elementary students recently competed in the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Robotics competition.
The students traveled to their first tournament at Athens Academy on Dec. 3, competing under the theme “Animal Allies.” This year’s theme looks at relationships between animals and humans.
According to Emma Kate Alfriend, one of the students who participated in the competition, the FIRST LEGO League is part of a global education program and is conducted in more than 80 countries worldwide with more than 25,000 teams.
The NES Brick Builders, as the students call themselves, consists of two teams -- the Lightning Bolts and the Hurricanes.

McDuffie Progress

McDuffie Progress

McDuffie Progress

McDuffie Progress