Pilot Light: Gen. Petraeus Makes Sneak Visit for Special Forces Association Gala
Typical of clandestine operations by Special Forces, Gen. David Petraeus dropped in on Moore County unannounced, then left without fanfare.
The general, who now heads the U.S. Central Command, flew into the Moore County Airport to attend a Special Forces Association gala in Pinehurst recently. It was no more than an overnight stay.
"I thought that was a compliment for our airport," said John Owen, chairman of the Moore County Airport Authority, in a presentation to the Board of Commissioners Thursday afternoon.
Last year, then-Vice President Dick Cheney attended the event. He managed to slip in and out of Pinehurst without any media attention.
Owen mentioned the Petraeus visit as an illustration of the value the airport has to the overall community.
MATCH -- Owens asked the commissioners to provide a $45,000 match to enable the airport to draw down a $450,000 federal grant needed to cover a new master plan
Because the airport no longer offers commercial passenger service, it must compete with other airports for a portion of block grant funds awarded to North Carolina by the Federal Aviation Administration.
The airport was one of 22 successful applicants among more than 200 airports applying for funds from the state.
"We do not have the $45,000. We can't afford to lose this grant," Owen said in his plea to the commissioners.
Owen said the money is not needed this year but the certification approving the appropriation is needed to claim the grant in the next funding year.
The board did not take action on the request but promised to look into the matter.
RETREAT -- The authority's request came during a day-long planning retreat held by the commissioners at the airport.
The board will hold another retreat, to last two days, in late January but planned the December work session to get an early start on budget planning for 2010-11.
The commissioners were complimentary of the accommodations provided at the airport terminal and hinted that they would consider the site for other meetings in the future. Board Chairman Tim Lea noted that in planning for the Thursday retreat, the county learned that other facilities, such as the Senior Center and the Agriculture Center, were already spoken for.
Contact Florence Gilkeson at (910) 693-2479 or by e-mail at email@example.com
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