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2012: A year of new beginnings in Paulding
by Tom Spigolon
December 27, 2012 03:43 PM | 1882 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The inaugural Salute America 2012 Air Show, staged seven months after a devastating tornado at Paulding airport, was among the top stories of 2012 in Paulding.
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Paulding County withstood the effects of a tornado, re-elected its political leadership and saw events which could lead to a more productive future for the county in 2012.


WellStar Health System broke ground April 10 on a 265,000-square-foot hospital at U.S. Hwy. 278 and Bill Carruth Parkway in Hiram. It will replace the company’s current facility in Dallas and will be WellStar’s first hospital built from the ground up.

The $85 million hospital was targeted for an April 2014 opening with 56 licensed beds, with plans to double that amount to 112.


A March 2 tornado packing 165 mph winds swept through northern Paulding County March 2, damaging homes, the county airport and Poole Elementary School but causing no serious injuries.

The tornado caused about $5 million in damage to a large hangar, the roof and windows at the new terminal building and destroyed 18 of the 23 planes at Paulding Northwest Atlanta Airport, according to airport manager Blake Swafford.

The twister also destroyed 14 homes and caused damage to 149 others, county officials said. It took off part of the roof and overturned some portable classrooms at Poole Elementary School near the airport.


Paulding Northwest Atlanta Airport reopened March 9 following the tornado, and about 170 volunteers worked with airport staff to host the inaugural Salute America 2012 air show seven months later.

More than 5,500 were in attendance under sunny skies Oct. 20 to see acts ranging from Gary Rower’s Super Stearman stunt plane to the Sky Solders’ military helicopter rescue demonstration. Static displays included a Lockheed C-130 ‘Hercules’ military transport aircraft and an F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet.


Some Paulding County office-holders survived strong challenges during the July 31 primaries and Aug. 21 runoff elections.

Incumbent David Austin turned back a challenge from Tony Crowe in the Paulding County Commission chairman race to win re-election. Former Paulding commission chairman Bill Carruth of Dallas was unable to unseat District 31 State Sen. Bill Heath, R-Bremen. Chief Magistrate Judge Martin Valbuena defeated challenger Dan Collins by eight votes out of more than 5,900 votes cast.

Paulding voters overwhelmingly said “no” to the proposed 1 percent regional transportation sales tax July 31. They overwhelmingly supported Republicans Mitt Romney for president and Tom Graves for the new 14th Congressional District seat Nov. 6.


Paulding Atlanta Film Studios opened for business early in 2012 in a county-owned building.

RoadTown Enterprises operated the 11-acre facility, which featured two 20,000-square-foot soundstages and a 30,000-square-foot mill space.

County officials were predicting an economic boon to the county because of the expected work. Later in the year, such movies as “42,” about the life of baseball player Jackie Robinson, were being produced at the facility off Bill Carruth Parkway in Hiram.

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