As 2010 comes to a close, the Courier is taking a look back at this past year’s headlines. The dates listed are the dates on which the Courier published these stories, not when the events occurred. The following is a look back at the biggest stories of February and March 2010.
• Liberty High School students raised $7,000 to donate to the earthquake ravaged island nation of Haiti through the American Red Cross. “When I first heard the news and saw what was happening in Haiti, I thought that it was very sad and I wanted to make a difference. I just had to help somehow,” student Brittney Wilson said.
• Sheriff Don Martin left Memorial Health University Medical Center after a two-month stay following a Dec. 3 traffic accident. His wife, Polly Martin, had written a journal entry about the family’s ordeal on the hospital’s CaringBridge.org website.
• Spc. Marc Hall, the soldier jailed for alleged threatening rap lyrics, fights the Army’s transfer of jurisdiction. The Army had initially attempted to try Hall in Iraq. He was awaiting trial in the Liberty County jail at the time.
• Squelching rumors of an early redeployment, 3rd ID commander Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo told the Courier in a telephone interview from Iraq that Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield soldiers deployed to Iraq would be completing a full 12-month deployment cycle.
• The single soldier mom who missed deploying with her unit managed to avoid a court martial. Former Spc. Alexis Hutchinson was granted an administrative discharge and was demoted to the rank of private once her discharge was granted.
• A former Long County Department of Family and Children’s Service worker was charged with killing her sister. Allenhurst resident Rosie Payne, 54, was charged with the murder of her sister, Doris Warshup, 50, after autopsy results were provided to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Long County Sheriff’s Department. Warshup was disabled and Payne had been her primary caregiver for four years.
• Ray Huff, 51, of Hinesville was shot through a closed door during a robbery at the Domino’s Pizza store on Memorial Drive in Hinesville. According to Hinesville police, a wounded Huff managed to unlock the door to his office and let them inside following the robbery.
• Armstrong Atlantic State University decided not to build a planned 20,000-square foot facility in downtown Hinesville because of state budget cuts. AASU told the Hinesville City Council it would not participate in the center project, which was part of the city’s urban redevelopment plan.
• President Barack Obama announced he would visit Savannah as part of his “White House to Main Street Tour.” Obama landed at Hunter Army Airfield and toured Savannah Technical College. Nearly all of the Courier’s news staff was there.
• Long County State Court Judge Richard Phillips died at the age of 71. Phillips was a lifelong resident of Ludowici and considered by many to be an institution.
• Coastal Georgia welcomed President Barack Obama to Savannah. Obama announced details of a proposed energy rebate program “HOMESTAR.” The program would reward people who bought energy-saving equipment with an on-the-spot rebate of $1,000 or more.
• Liberty County schools implemented a new online grading system for students and encouraged parents to use it and be more active in their children’s academic progress.
• Area developers and businesses that invested millions in projects in anticipation of a canceled fifth brigade at Fort Stewart were told they would not receive any of the $40 million in federal assistance funds. The Office of Economic Adjustment under the Department of Defense announced only public entities could receive brigade remediation funds.
• Liberty County was recognized by Georgia Trend magazine as a County of Excellence. The magazine highlighted the efforts of Keep Liberty County Beautiful Executive Director Sara Swida. Swida reduced litter through various campaigns, volunteer clean-ups and communitywide challenges.
• In a conference call from Iraq, 3rd ID commander Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo told reporters the 22,000 troops under his command in northern Iraq would draw down to 9,000 by Sept. 1. Cucolo said troops would take on more of an advise and assist role.
• The Courier reported the Hinesville City Council had voted Jan. 7, in a closed session, to more than double the salaries of the mayor and council members.
The Courier questioned whether the vote was done legally because it did not appear on the meeting’s agenda. The council then voted to raise the mayor’s salary from $15,000 to $40,000 per year and council members’ salaries from $7,500 each to $20,000 annually. The raises would not go into effect until 2012. (Editor’s note: the vote was later retaken.)
• Ludowici City Council member Debbie Bollick resigned amid allegations she was illegally in office due to questions over her residency.
• Alleged burglary and arson suspect William Gordon was shot and killed by authorities after law enforcement stopped his car off Highway 84 in Midway. “I understand the suspect was armed and that shots were fired. Fire was returned and the suspect was hit,” said Liberty County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Keith Moran.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation later ruled the suspect had fired first, prompting officers to return fire.
• The city of Hinesville issued a temporary limit on water usage due to an “unknown breakage” in the city’s sewage system. The Courier later reported the break resulted in more than 10,000 gallons of sewage to spill into Peacock Creek.
• Gunfire erupted during a private party at the County Line Club. One victim was taken to Winn Army Community Hospital and another was taken to a Savannah area hospital. Most of the 200 people who attended were older teenagers.
• The Kiddie Kare Learning and Pre-K Center located on Wilson Avenue burned down. The fire occurred at night and no one was injured. Owner Lavern Young had provided care for more than 80 children.