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Long County asked to oppose expansion of bombing range
Long County Commissioners David Richardson, left, and Andy Fuller, right, listen as Long County resident Tommy Houston talks about the proposed Townsend Bombing Range expansion.
Long County commissioners addressed a recent surge of opposition to the expansion of the Townsend Bombing Range during the commission’s September meeting.
Long County resident Tommy Houston went before the commissioners and said he thinks the proposed range expansion will hurt county revenue and the environment. Houston said the county already recently lost more than 300,000 taxable acres to eminent domain, and the proposed expansion would take another 51,000 acres.
The resident estimated that Long County will lose $252,714 annually if the expansion goes through.
“Nobody in this room would deny the military what they need, but I don’t think they need all of this,” Houston said.
He thinks that if the land is used for the bombing range project, the county should request additional financial compensation because of the potentially negative impact on Long County.
 “If this happens, look for your taxes to go up,” Houston said. “What I’m asking you (the commissioners) to do is to adopt a resolution against this expansion based on its environmental impact and socioeconomic impact.”
After Houston spoke, Commission Chairman Bobby Walker said several more public hearings regarding the expansion have been scheduled. He encouraged all county residents to attend and offer their opinions.
Also at the meeting, Liberty Regional Medical Center Chief Financial Officer Sam Johnson told commission members about a proposed wellness program for county employees.
Johnson said LRMC has established a presence in Long County with Coastal Manor Long Term Care Facility and the emergency medical services. He also said 20 percent of LRMC’s business is from Long County, and the hospital plans to add an adult day care center in the future.
Johnson said a county employee wellness program would encourage healthy lifestyle choices through education and access to affordable health care. The program also would include a free annual flu shot clinic, annual medical exams, cardiac screening, diabetes testing, cholesterol tests, prostate exams and three sick visits per year.
Walker asked how difficult would it be to add Long County senior citizens to the program. LRMC CEO Scott Kroell, who also attended the meeting, said it would be easy to make the addition through Medicare.
After a brief discussion, commissioners decided to consider the plan further and get back to Johnson soon.
In other business commissioners:
• Appointed Harold Tatum, Lillian Simmons and Joyce Williams to the Coastal Regional Center’s aging services advisory council.
• Appointed Roger Houston to the Long County Development Authority.

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