Springfield holds African American community meeting
The McDuffie Progress/Caitlin Boland YMCA Augusta CEO Danny McConnell, one of the many presenters, is shown speaking at Springfield Baptist on Feb. 19.
Springfield Baptist Church hosted an African American Leadership Roundtable Community meeting on Sunday evening to help inform the attendees about different aspects of the community.
On Feb. 19, people gathered at the church to hear from representatives from the Family Y, the McDuffie County School System, the Toombs Judicial Circuit District Attorney's Office and McDuffie County. The Rev. Frederick Favors said the purpose of the community meeting was to allow the people to be informed of what's going on in their county and to be able to talk about what's going on from an informed perspective.
Danny McConnell, president and CEO of YMCA Augusta, was the first person to speak. He talked about the new Y building on East Hill Street and how it would be for all people, regardless of race, economic status or religious affiliation.
He said the new Y will open on May 13, with a soft opening on April 21. McConnell said the new Y will also have a pool, and they are hoping to implement swim lessons and water safety classes.



Warren Co. Schools ranked eighth in state for dual enrollment
The Career Academy, located on Gibson Highway in Warrenton, is shown above.
Warren County Schools’ dual enrollment program is gaining steam.
According to Carole Jean Carey, school superintendent, Warren County is ranked eighth in the state in terms of percentage of students involved with dual enrollment.
This number is thanks to the Career Academy.



2013 lawsuits against Thomson-McDuffie Co. dismissed
Portions of lawsuits filed against Thomson-McDuffie County following the 2013 plane crash have been “dismissed with prejudice” after the city and county entered into a confidential settlement.
State Court of Fulton County Judge Jay Roth entered orders Jan. 27 and Jan. 30 dismissing The City of Thomson and McDuffie County, owners of the Thomson-McDuffie Regional Airport, individual representatives and parties working on behalf of the city-county with prejudice following a Dec. 19, 2016, confidential settling of negligence suits filed by families of the five people who perished in the Feb. 20, 2013, plane crash.
A Beechcraft 390 Premier 1 jet crashed in the woods shortly after 8 p.m. on Feb. 20, 2013, after an aborted landing at the Thomson-McDuffie Regional Airport and struck a concrete utility pole. A Vein Guys doctor and four staff members were killed. The two pilots survived.



Acclaim Lighting relocates to new facility in Acworth
Acclaim Lighting, which opened at the I-20 Industrial Park in McDuffie County in 2008, has relocated to Acworth, effective Jan. 1, and moved into a 135-square-foot facility that includes larger offices and increased warehouse capabilities.
A business that opened in McDuffie County in 2008 and worked to give homes and businesses outside ambience and curbside acclaim quietly departed.
Acclaim Lighting, quietly and under the radar, relocated from the 1-20 Industrial Park in Thomson to a new office and warehouse in Acworth.
The company’s relocation to a new 135,000- square-foot facility became effective Jan. 1
Acclaim Lighting, quietly and under the radar, relocated from the 1-20 Industrial Park in Thomson to a new office and warehouse in Acworth.
The company’s relocation to a new 135,000- square-foot facility became effective Jan. 1.



Thomson Police seek assistance in identifying suspect
The man shown in the photo is a suspect in a shoplifting incident at Rimpy's Liquor Store on Oct. 31, 2016.
The Thomson Police Department needs the public’s assistance in identifying a suspect in a shoplifting incident at Rimpy’s Liquor Store on Old Washington Road. The incident occurred on Oct. 31, 2016, at 9:02 p.m. Anyone with information on his identity is encouraged to call the Thomson Police Department at 706-595-2166 or Dispatch at 706-595-2145.



Briarwood reaches goal for new building
The photo shown above shows the design of the new building planned for Briarwood Academy.
The Briarwood Academy Board of Trustees announced on Feb. 9 that they have reached $1.67 million in written gifts and pledges as well as $30,000 in verbal commitments. The combined gifts and pledges exceed the $1.7 million capital campaign goal.



Tractor-trailer strikes deputy's vehicle on interstate
The McDuffie County Sheriff's Office patrol car was hit on the driver's side by a tractor-trailer on Feb. 7. The deputy was inside the vehicle when it was struck.
A McDuffie County Sheriff’s Office deputy sustained minor injuries after the patrol car in which she was sitting was struck by a tractor-trailer on Interstate 20 on Feb. 7.
According to McDuffie County Sheriff’s Office Major Ronnie Williamson, the deputy had positioned the patrol vehicle with blue lights flashing to warn motorists to slow down because a disabled tractor-trailer was just off the roadway and on the fog line eastbound at exit 174 at 8:49 p.m.
Deputy Christen Adkins was inside the unit when it was hit.
The deputy went to University Hospital McDuffie to be treated for minor injuries and returned to work that evening,” Williamson said. “She is doing great. She will be fully back to work Friday, Feb. 10,” the major said.



McDuffie Co. Chamber celebrates 2016 with banquet
Barbara Dooley was the keynote speaker for the night. Dooley told stories about her and her husband as well as business basics.
The Thomson-McDuffie County Chamber of Commerce celebrated 2016 with its annual Chamber banquet on Jan. 31.
The night began with a welcome and invocation done by Skip Griffin, the 2016 Chamber Board of Directors chairman. Griffin then passed the gavel on to Andy Knox Jr. the 2017 Board of Directors chairman.
Following the passing of the gavel, both the Leadership McDuffie board and the Youth Leadership McDuffie board chairmans gave the crowd some information about what’s going on with the two programs.
Wayne Parham, 2016 Chamber Ambassadors director, then presented the Ambassador of the Year award to Juanita Thomas. Julie Langham followed by presenting the Mike Carrington Volunteer of the Year award to Tina Swan, a teacher at Thomson High School.
The next award was presented by Bill Doupe´, Toombs Judicial Circuit district attorney. The award went to Family Care Group.
Bennett Dudley, the 2017 vice chair of the Chamber Board of Directors, then took to the podium to present his mother, Robin Dudley, with the Darrell M. Johnson award.



Dearing man charged with cruelty and molestation
Jeremiah James Arriola
The McDuffie County Sheriff’s Office investigated a spanking that resulted in a Dearing man being charged for alleged child molestation.
On Dec. 28, 2016, a Hobbs Mill Road woman called 911 to report a spanking with injuries which resulted in the Dec. 31, 2016, arrest of Jeremiah James Arriola, 31, of the 3100 block of Mitchner Road in Dearing.
According to a McDuffie County Sheriff’s Office incident report, the Hobbs Mill Road woman reported that her friend came to her home and stated that Arriola inappropriately spanked a six-year-old female child, leaving marks on her legs and bottom.



Columbia Co. grand jury indicts two McDuffie men in 2016 vehicle death
Two McDuffie County men were indicted Jan. 25 for their roles in the death of a Harlem man who was killed after being thrown from a moving car last August.
The Columbia County Superior Court indicted Jackson Bleau Pentecost, 19, of Thomson, and William Clayton Myers, 19, of Thomson, in the Aug. 14, 2016, death of Tyler Ross Crawford, 24, who was a passenger in the 1994 Jeep Cherokee driven by Pentecost.
Pentecost is facing three felony counts of vehicular homicide, and four misdemeanor counts including failure to maintain lane, no insurance, no state registration and no seatbelt. Myers was charged with a felony count of giving a false statement and a misdemeanor count of alcohol possession by a minor.






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