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Long BoE opposes bomb range expansion
Linda DeLoach and Billy Hall
Both board members Linda DeLoach and Billy Hall expressed opposition to expanding the Townsend Bombing Range because of the effect on the county's tax digest. - photo by Photo by Mike Riddle

The Long County Board of Education at its July 23 meeting continued to oppose the Townsend Bombing Range Expansion Project.
Superintendent Dr. Robert Waters brought the issue up, informing members that a public comment meeting is slated for Aug. 9 at
Ludowici City Hall. Representatives from a Marine Corps base and the Georgia Air National Guard will attend to answer any questions and provide information on the National Environmental Police Act process and the Environmental Impact Statement draft, Waters said. After discussing the matter, the board as a whole still agreed to oppose the proposed plan.
After the meeting, several board members elaborated on their feelings.
“I’m totally against this expansion project. If it goes through, our county is going to lose a lot of revenue from the timber taxes that the county receives from the land, and we can’t afford to lose it. If that land is taken, there has got to be something done where our county is compensated back, for this lost money,” 4th District BoE member Linda DeLoach said.
 “I’m all in favor of the military, but this will hit the landowners too hard, and it ought to be a concern for everybody in Long County,” 1st District member Billy Hall said.
BoE Chairman Dempsey Golden said, “The county can’t afford to keep losing real estate that brings in revenue to the county. The government has already taken a lot of land from us, and if this expansion takes place, they will be taking another substantial amount of land. I understand the Marines need this for additional training, but I am looking out for what is in the best interest of the people of Long County, and the people are already paying all that they can now.”
After talk of the bombing range project subsided, DeLoach brought to the floor the issue of reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and observing a moment of silence in each school. According to DeLoach, a parent told her that some of the classes have not been providing this option to all students. She wanted to know whether that was the case.  
“I believe in saying the Pledge every day and also giving each student a time to pray or reflect on their day,” she said. “We need to always make sure that this is taking place.”
Principals from each of Long County’s three schools assured DeLoach the option still is in place and said they’d make sure students are aware of the opportunity.
In other business, the BoE:
• signed statements confirming each BoE member has completed all required training.
• approved the Smiley Elementary School surplus food equipment tables.
• stated that tutorial services still would be available to all students.

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