As 2009 comes to a close, the Courier put together a year-in review through
front page stories from 2009 newspapers. The dates listed are the date the Courier printed the stories, not the date on which
the events occurred. The following is a review of September and October news stories.
Access to Fort Stewart was limited to those with a vehicles registered by the Department of Defense. Any vehicle seeking to get on post without a sticker must acquire a temporary pass before entry. Fort Stewart’s gate 1, the main gate, will be the only gate issuing temporary vehicle passes. At Hunter Army Airfield, Wilson and Montgomery gates will issue temporary passes.
Health officials, in schools, hospitals and military installations, all prepared for a busy fall. Since flu season typically takes place is the fall, the additional H1N1 had health-care professionals busying themselves with preparations.
“With the start of school, not surprisingly, CDC surveillance information suggests the U.S., including Georgia is experiencing an increase in influenza-like illness, most of which is likely H1N1,” said Diane Weems, MD, chief medical officer for Coastal Health District.
Former secretary of state Dr. Condoleezza Rice visited Fort Stewart to speak to soldiers. Rice told soldiers they fight for America’s freedom and the spread of democracy.
“We foster democracy and push for equality for women and minorities.” Rice said. “We do this out of humility no ignorance.”
Fort Stewart’s semiannual Community Showcase had 67 showcase participants. Participants ranged from city chambers of commerce to military support groups to social organizations.
“It’s all about supporting soldiers and their families,” said Public Affairs specialist Patrick Young.
Soldiers, students and other members of the community gathered for the annual Freedom Walk, organized by Fort Stewart Emergency Services Department Director James Hackney and Terry Middleton. The Freedom Walk commemorated Sept. 11, 2001.
Plans for Fort Stewart’s new middle school hit a snag again when the Board of Education and the Army Corps of Engineers in Savannah were unable to reach a lease agreement. That meant pushing back the original 2010 deadline, though a new deadline was not set.
Approximately 187 soldiers assigned to the 135th Quartermaster Company, 87th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 3rd Sustainment Brigade and 3rd Infantry Division were reunited with their families. After a 12-month deployment to Tallil, Iraq, soldiers and families greeted each other enthusiastically.
The Liberty County Board of Education stopped construction on the new middle school on Fort Stewart. The board decided to finish pre-construction phase, but not to start any new construction.
“We’ve been declining (in enrollment) for the past five years and we have to account for the individual unit numbers which determine our funding,” said Dr. Cheryl Conley, deputy superintendent of Liberty County school.
The Liberty County School System missed the Adequate Yearly Progress standards mandated by the No Child Left Behind Act for 2009. Twelve of the 13 schools in Liberty County met the testing criteria after summer retests and summer graduation, but because Bradwell Institute missed the mark the LCSS cannot be considered an AYP system.
The Liberty County Health Department received 400 H1N1 vaccines from the Coastal Health District. The nasal spray vaccines were part of the first 35,000 vaccines sent throughout Georgia. The disbursement of vaccines throughout the state was part of the effort to minimize the spread of swine flu.
Hinesville’s first Oktoberfest, organized by Downtown Development Authority together with Zum Rosenhof, the local German restaurant, was a community success. The event brought hundreds of people into the Bradwell Park area for a night of yodeling, country music, German food and beer.
Brewton-Parker College decided to close its Liberty County campus after the end of the 2009 fall semester. Apart from the Flemington satellite campus, they also decided to close another campus in Norman Park. The remaining campuses would be the school’s home campus in Mount Vernon and the one remaining satellite campus in Newnan.
“Our trustees are putting us on an academic diet to make us healthier and viable for generations to come,” said President Dr. David R. Smith.
Soldiers, families and friends gathered in Cottrell Field for 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat team’s farewell ceremony. Nearly 5,400 troops stood in the field, preparing for a deployment later that week.
“Today constitutes the beginning of this deployment,” Col. Chuck Sexton said to the crowd, “… Let me assure you that your soldiers are the best prepared that they have been in years. In my opinion … you have the best brigade in the United States Army.”
A Hunter Army Airfield soldier’s suicide reaffirmed the need for anti-suicide efforts recently put in place by the Army. Pvt. Fernando Arroyo Ramos Jr., 19, killed himself in his barracks. This took place after soldiers were trained to recognize the warning signs of suicide among their peers and about suicide intervention.