Graham inducted into Augusta racing hall of fame
Archie Graham was inducted into the Augusta International Raceway Hall of Fame in September for his career in drag and micro-midget racing.
A local man, Archie Graham, was recently inducted into the Augusta International Raceway Preservation Society (AIRPS) Hall of Fame.
An avid racer named Henry Jones, along with other road racing enthusiasts, established the AIRPS in 2003. The group began to grow and raised funds to place a monument at the Diamond Lakes Community Center in Augusta. According to AIRPS, Diamond Lakes sits on the former site of the Augusta International Speedway’s (AIS) 3.2 mile road course. When AIS opened in 1960, it had a drag strip, micro-midget track, a go-cart track and a motorcycle scramble track. In 1961, a half-mile dirt track was added, and in 1963, a 3.2 mile road course was added.
The speedway folded in 1966 and was bought by the Warr brothers and headed up by State Sen. Mike Padgett who changed the name to Augusta Raceways. The track remained open until 1970.
In 2004, AIRPS inducted its first class into the hall of fame. The class was composed of 1960 NASCAR Champion Rex White, Augusta road racer Ted Tidwell, an Augusta Grand National driver. Graham’s class will round out 65 total hall of famers for AIRPS. Graham was inducted for his career in drag racing and racing micro-midget cars.

Fun Rocks McDuffie to host supervised kids rock hunt
Rocks such as the ones shown above will be hidden at Sweetwater Park for children to find on Nov. 4.
Fun Rocks McDuffie will host a rock hunt for children at Sweetwater Ballpark on Nov. 4.
The hunt, which will run from 3 – 6 p.m., will offer rocks for all age groups, and children don’t have to be members of the group to participate.
“All children are welcome,” said Fun Rocks McDuffie administrator Barbara Reid. “We want to have a lot of kid involvement, and we want every child to find at least one rock.”
The hunt will be supervised by volunteers and will offer separate hunts for children ages 2 to 5, 6 to 8, 9 to 12 and 13 and older.
Each child, after checking in with their parents near the Sweetwater gymnasium, will be given a pail to collect rocks. T-shirts will also be for sale for members of Fun Rocks McDuffie. While searching for rocks in the field behind the gymnasium, each age group will also have a prize rock hidden among the others in the field.

Local organization looks to empower young women
Young women in Thomson and Warrenton have a new opportunity to learn and embrace their value and purpose.
The Royal Majestic Beauties is a mentoring group for girls ages 11-19, and the mission of the organization is to empower young women to know and embrace their value and purpose, according to Latrish Climons, one of the leaders for the Thomson portion of the organization.
The goal is to educate them on their identity as far as who they are, teach the girls about taking steps to know what abstinence is, about domestic violence, making wise decisions, choice-making and how to be a positive role model for society.

Schools receive fire safety education materials
Thomson Fire Rescue and McDuffie Fire Rescue and EMS joined efforts to advance their public education areas with the purchase of more fire safety materials to make children aware of how to prevent fire and fire losses and to help children know what to do when confronted by fire. The fire departments mailed letters to businesses and community partners asking for their financial support for fire safety education. The fire safety education materials will be provided to all second and third graders in McDuffie County. On Oct. 6, Thomson Fire Chief John Thigpen and McDuffie County Assistant Fire Chief Russell Barnes dropped off fire safety materials to Thomson Elementary School. Pictured are Barnes and second graders Parker Chester, Jeffery Story, Lyli McGath, Lauren Whitfield, Raul Mireles, Thigpen and Vice Principal Sherrika Brown.

ORION Foundat;on breaks the silence on suicide
The ORION Foundat;on held an event to bring awareness to suicide on Sept. 30, the final day of Suicide Prevention Month.
The foundation was established as a tribute to the memory of Oriona “Ori” Jada Sims.
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.
“Ori was an ideal student with many innate artistic abilities,” Sims said. “She was an upcoming sophomore in high school whose passion for music led to participation in the school choir and concert band. Ori learned to play various musical instruments: viola, trumpet, euphonium and piano (self-taught).”
Jordan Deshong provided an instrumental and singing performance.

Dr. Latisha Sims, the late Oriona Sims' mother, served as emcees for “The Silent S” presentation.

Local woman graduates from high school through McDonald’s Archway to Opportunity program
Evonne Bailey celebrates her graduation from online high school in front of McDonald’s.
Hard work and determination helped Evonne Bailey overcome long odds to finish her high school diploma.
Thomson McDonald’s co-owners and operators David and Janie Cravens held a graduation for Bailey on Sept. 22.

Teaching local children to ride a horse is a ministry for Willie “Cowboy” Peterson
Tyliyah McCord positions herself in the saddle as Willie Peterson holds horse Tilly in place.
Every so often a man is seen riding a horse through Thomson, through Harlem and down Adams Chapel Road. At times he is accompanied by a group of children who are learning all they can about horseback riding.
“I have always wanted to ride a horse since I was young,” said Tyliyah McCord, of Harlem. “I saw him riding one day and told my dad I wanted to ride and my dad asked if he gave lessons,” she said of her discovery two years ago. “I find this beautiful.”

UGA offers small business consulting to local area
Rick McMurtrey, area director for the Augusta office of the UGA SBDC, is shown teaching a class to new business owners.
The University of Georgia Small Business Development Center (SBDC) consults with small businesses in Georgia to help not only start ups thrive but also help existing businesses improve.
“We are tasked with increasing the economic well-being of small businesses in Georgia,” said Rick McMurtrey, area director for the SBDC Augusta office. “We help get financing, put together projections, help refine business plans, develop marketing plans as well as social media strategies.”

Dove hunting season begins at McDuffie Public Fishing Area
Melvin Edwards, of Crawfordville, checks his gun before the noon start time.
With the fall comes hunting season for various types of animals.
At the McDuffie Public Fishing Area on the opening day of dove season on Sept. 2, 25 hunters were able to begin hunting at noon.
Vernon Baldwin, with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, said this year’s hunt was changed to a quota hunt.

Mixon retires from UPS after 37 years of service
Photo courtesy of Donna Mixon After 37 years of service to UPS, Jay Mixon retired from the business to enjoy a slower pace of life.
A local man well-known for driving his UPS truck around Thomson for three decades has retired.
Jay Mixon, who retired Aug. 23 after 37 years of service, said he got his start at UPS because a man who lived down the street from him encouraged him to apply for an opening made by a woman who moved from an office job to being a driver. From 1984 to 2017, Mixon served as a driver on the same route.
“I was on the same route for 30 years,” Mixon said. “I developed a relationship with many of the people, even if I’d only see some for 10 minutes every day or so. Everybody was so wonderful and made my job easy. I tried to treat them well and hoped they would do the same for me.”

McDuffie Progress

McDuffie Progress

McDuffie Progress

McDuffie Progress