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Community News Jan 2nd, 2020 - 09:46:47

Irma, Michael, Team Rebecca: Happenings from the last decade.

By Dave Whitaker
Jan 1, 2020, 23:19

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The last decade saw a lot happen around Cochran and Bleckley County. Wild weather, Cochran getting its first university, a local singer becoming a national name were just some of the many things that took place.

Goodbye MGC, hello MGSU- Middle Georgia College and Macon State University were merged by University System of Georgia Board of Regents in 2013 to become Middle Georgia State College. In 2015, the board approved MGSC’s ascension to university status.

Cochran goes red for Team Rebecca- Rebecca Howell auditioned for NBC’s “The Voice” in spring of last year. She made it and chose Kelly Clarkson as her coach. During her run which saw Howell make the top 24, red and black banners and signs could be seen all over showing they were on “Team Rebecca.”

Getting rocked by a hurricane- For two consecutive years (2017, 2018) Cochran and Bleckley County felt the brunt of hurricanes. In 2017, remnants from Hurricane Irma dumped rain, wind, downed trees and power lines. About 13 months later, Hurricane Michael barreled through. It’s destruction left some without power for over a week, caused a water shortage, and forced BCHS to postpone Homecoming.

Lithonia Lighting goes dark- Lithonia Lighting closed its doors in 2012. At the time, it was one of the biggest employers in the county.

Cochran gets a Walmart- For many years, people would drive to Dublin or Eastman to take advantage of Walmart’s low prices. In 2014, Walmart opened in Cochran, giving shoppers a local option.

Happy Birthday, Cochran- The City of Cochran held its 150th anniversary celebration in March of 2019. It featured various community events culminating in a festival and street dance.

No more relay, really- Relay for Life, once a spring staple, had seen a drastic decline in attendance and numbers. Following 2016's event which was marred by weather fears and not even 100 people attending, American Cancer Society pulled the event due to lack of participation and income.

Improved traffic flow along the bypass. The U.S. 23 Bypass has always been a heavily traveled road. A GDOT project which began in August 206 and was completed in November saw the bypass widened to four lanes starting at the U.S. 23 Business Route.

Food choices in Cochran improve- Captain D’s opened this past fall. Domino’s Pizza held a soft opening last week and will be holding a grand opening soon. Locally, Snow’s Asian Grill opened a couple of months ago, bringing traffic to downtown. On the horizon is a Daylight Donuts in the former Needle N/A Haystack Location and a Food Depot which will be in the former Harvey’s at Middle Georgia Plaza.

Local businesses close their doors- While there were many new businesses to come to Cochran during the past decade, some longtime local ones closed. They included Woody Butts Chevrolet, Lyles Department Store, Welcome Friends, and Calvin’s Cleaners.

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