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City official back from Afghanistan

FLOWERY BRANCH, GA. — A Flowery Branch councilwoman is headed back to suburban Atlanta after being deployed in Afghanistan for six months.

Tara Richards’s husband, Mike, picked her up early Sunday from Pope Air Force Base in North Carolina.

Her husband said the captain in the Air Force Reserves is “doing well – she’s just tired.”

Friends and neighbors spent the weekend tying yellow ribbons to trees in Richards’ neighborhood.

She was called to deployment as part of the 628th Civil Engineer Flight at Dobbins Air Reserve in Marietta. She was in the middle of her first four-year term on the Flowery Branch Council at the time.

A civil engineer by trade, Richards had to learn how to fire an M4 carbine and M9 semiautomatic pistol.

Mayor Mike Miller said he expects Richards will return to her council chair Thursday.

Man begs to get transplant for wife

ANDERSON, S.C. — A 76-year-old Anderson man is walking the streets wearing a sign begging for help to get his wife a kidney transplant.

Larry Swilling says he didn’t know what else to do. The sandwich board reads “Need Kidney 4 Wife.”

Swilling said he and his wife, Jimmie Sue, have been married for 56 years. He said she developed kidney problems after their first child and they have gotten progressively worse.

Medical workers have told the couple they will need several hundred thousand dollars to pay for the transplant.

Swilling said he’s working nine hours a day because of the couple’s financial situation. He walks the streets on his days off from Consolidated Southern Industries, wearing the sign with his phone number. He said he believes God will help him find a donor.

Tourism spending down on Strand

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — Tourists have continued to come to South Carolina’s Grand Strand, but they’re not spending as much money there as they used to.

About the same number of people came this summer as last year, with lodging in the area’s hotels averaging nearly 80 percent, according to the Coastal Carolina University’s Center for Resort Tourism.

Visitors sought out deals this summer and took advantage of free attractions such as simply spending time on the beach. More dollars from the vacation budget were eaten up by lodging costs, which are more than $5 a night higher on average than last summer, the tourism center said.


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