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May 31, 2007 Issue

Buzzard Blast launches Saturday
RDC assists county with disaster mitigation plan
Celebrating Memorial Day

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Buzzard Blast launches Saturday

• Louisville festival, scheduled for Saturday June 2, will benefit downtown facade grant program

By Faye Ellison
Staff Writer

The city of Louisville has not seen a festival since the middle of the 1980s when the city celebrated soybeans.

Now with the urging of citizens, the city has found a new mascot to lead their festivities.


The Buzzard Blast will be held in Louisville on June 2, with several events, rides and vendors for the citizens to enjoy.

“This is an idea that began with Mary Reynolds and myself to do a festival for Louisville,” Louisville Downtown Development Authority member Lil Easterlin said.

“No one had addressed the issue of the city of Louisville needing a festival for years. As we talked to the city about it, we decided it would be a fundraiser for the façade grant program.”

Easterlin explained that the city of Louisville had received a Streetscape Grant to Transportation Enhancement Grant to go along with the city’s Streetscape program that would beautify areas of downtown Louisville.

But the city and the Louisville Downtown Development Authority did not want to stop there.

They also wanted to beautify the storefronts in downtown Louisville. For that project, the city and Development Authority must raise their own money locally to be able to do the facades of the businesses.

Though the city and Development Authority do not expect to make much their first year, they hope this year will set the tone for what citizens can anticipate for the next Buzzard Blast.

“We are not sure what we will have at the end of this,” Easterlin explained. “It is expensive to bring in the shows and bands, but we know we wanted something fun for the city of Louisville.”

Events will be held throughout the day at Helen Clark Memorial Park and the adjoining football field at the park beginning at 9 a.m. and lasting until 4 p.m.

Easterlin said the arts and crafts and food vendors will be located in the park area.

After gaining access to the football field, which will cost $3, there are activities for children young and old. “We will have the Birds of Prey Raptor Show from the Mary Q. Ball Raptor Center out of Statesboro,” Easterlin said. “We will have a wildlife exhibition going on for children and adults to look at. This is something different and we’ve never had the show here in Louisville.”

Though plenty of wild things will be on hand for the festival, Easterlin said no pets are allowed because they may scare the trained animals.

She added that the show will be held once at 11 a.m. and again at 3 p.m. She said there will be pony rides, gymnastics in the afternoon and a live band playing throughout the day.

Jefferson Energy will have bucket rides, there will be a golf cart pulled train inside the football field, a moonwalk, face painting and a 21-foot slide will also be available for the enjoyment of children and citizens.

Easterlin said the $3 wristband to gain entry to the football field will allow citizens to come and go as they please.

Inside the gated area, tickets will be available to purchase to participate in the other activities. The wristband will also allow citizens to see the Raptor Show.

Later that night, there will be music in the Queensborough Building Courtyard located behind Pansy’s.

The Ogeechee River Band will warm the crowd up at 7 p.m. just in time for Pieces of Eight to perform at 8 p.m.

“Pieces of Eight is a large beach music dance band,” Easterlin said. “We have some local people in the band, Bobby Dollar and his son Bobby Dollar play in it. We are lucky that they are able to find time to play here.”

Easterlin said that Pieces of Eight will perform until 11 p.m. The gated event will cost $15 per person. Citizens can bring in chairs and food, but cannot bring in their own coolers.

“Inside the gated area, we will have drinks for sale,” she said. “We will have water, soft drinks, beer and wine.

Queensborough National Bank will grill hamburgers and hot dogs for sale.” All day at Helen Clark Memorial Park, a dunking booth will be on hand for citizens to dunk a few local public fi gures.

Sitting in the wet seat will be Abbott Easterlin at 10 a.m., Taylor Barrentine at 10:30 a.m., Commissioner Johnny Davis at 2:30 p.m., Louisville First Baptist Church Youth Minister Shane Padgett at 3 p.m. and Lousiville Middle School Assistant Principal Ken Hildebrant at 3:30 p.m., Louisville Associate Reformed Presbyterian Minister Will Anderson and others including someone from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department and some of the local football stars.

“The dunking tank is turning into a fun event,” Easterlin said. “We worked pretty hard to get people that are well known and well liked. There may be some surprise visitors during the day.”

Easterlin said there still are some spots left for vendors. If anyone would like to have set up shop at the Buzzard Blast, they should contact Maiben Beard at the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce.

“We have a lot of great corporate sponsors on the local level,” Easterlin said.

Those local sponsors, which she said have helped in the success of planning the event, include the city of Louisville, Queensborough National Bank and Trust, Jefferson County Commissioners, Kiwanis, Rotary Club, First State Bank, Thermo King, Jefferson Hospital and The News and Farmer/ The Jefferson Reporter.

Easterlin also mentioned the Broad Street Business Partners, which are downtown Louisville businesses who have come together in supporting the Buzzard Blast to receive help in earning façade money to do the fronts of downtown buildings. Easterlin said the money will be used to paint and replace awnings, windows and doors.

The Jefferson County Board of Education and the Recreation Department have lent the Buzzard Blast use of the football fi eld and helped in other areas.

Smith Sheppard has donated supplies used to build some of the items that will be seen Saturday.

Easterlin said that the Buzzard Blast steering committee has been working on making the Buzzard Blast a success.

“The Steering Committee spearheaded this whole thing,” she said.

“The whole thing started in January and they have done this pretty quickly.”

Of the members, she said Don Rhodes, Reynold, Beard and Reggie Morgan helped with the Helen Clark Memorial Park side of the festival; Robert Yonchak and Julie Evans have worked to make sure the football field and its events are ready; Mark Cooper, Pat Durden and Edie Pundt have worked to ready the concert; and Becky Irwin has led the Logistics Committee.

“This festival is interesting and there has not been one like it in the immediate area,” Easterlin said.

“This is the year of setting a standard of what the festival will look like and be.

We have put together a committee of people who are creative and organized and will not do stuff that has been done before. We want people to come out and have a great time.”

RDC assists county with disaster mitigation plan

• County must have plan in place to eligible for future post-disaster funding

By Faye Ellison
Staff Writer

Legislation was passed several years ago requiring All counties to have a predisaster mitigation plan that addresses how various agencies will react should a disaster occur. Because of this law, FEMA is no longer mandated to give post-disaster funding to any county without an approved plan in place.

In order to comply with this legislation and to be eligible for grant money to assist in any clean up or rebuilding efforts should a disaster occur, Jefferson County officials have asked the CSRA Regional Development Center to help create the plan.


“Public safety officials along with Board of Education, health department and hospital personnel as well as elected officials have been diligently working collecting data on previous natural disasters within the county,” said Linda Grijalva, a planning and development specialist with CSRA RDC who is writing the plan. “This data will assist the planning committee in creating goals and objectives to minimize the effects of future natural disasters. We are asking long term residents of the community to send information regarding any disaster such as floods, tornados, snow and ice storms to our office. It is vital to the plan to have accurate data.

We rely on the contributions of all citizens,” she said.

“I cannot stress how important this information is.

All information, especially of events occurring before 1970, is important,” she said.

“We would also like to see photographs of any of these weather events.

We are interested in gathering as much specific information as possible in order to best serve the citizens of Jefferson County.

The most complete picture that we can provide to FEMA will allow the agency to better address our funding needs.”

Jefferson County Administrator Paul Bryan said part of the plan will include communications interoperability, pointing to the devastating results the breakdown of communications had in the aftermath of Katrina.

Anyone with information that could assist in this project should contact Grijalva by calling 706-210-2000, extension 119, emailing lgrijalva@csrardc.org, or mailing CSRA RDC, 3023 River Watch Parkway, Suite A, Augusta, Ga. 30907.

Celebrating Memorial Day

Grateful for service

Cadet Chief Petty Officer Michael Thomson (above), a junior at Jefferson County High School, secures the flag during the flag raising ceremony portion of the Memorial Day Celebration Sunday, May 27, at the courthouse.

Rev. Larry Montgomery (at right), pastor of the First Baptist Church in Louisville addresses about 35 citizens who attended the event.


About those who serve in the military, Montgomery said, “We’re grateful to them and we honor them.”

The flags displayed at the front of the courthouse were purchased by family and friends and donated for the event.

They will be used in future Memorial Day events.

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