MGC members were welcomed to the airport by Mark Fidler, director of operations. Fidler talked with the group and answered questions about the airport, explaining why the airport is important for businesses in the area.
There are three conference rooms in the terminal. One is large enough to accommodate 50 people and has the latest audiovisual equipment.
The catering kitchen makes it convenient for those flying to town for a day’s meeting. The pilot’s lounge is used when a pilot must stop for some reason like the weather.
As everyone looked at planes on the tarmac, Fidler said there are 9 acres of concrete and the runway is 5,500 feet long and 100 feet wide — all 11 inches thick. The LED lights along the runway are state-of-the-art. The blue LED lights can be seen at night if you drive down Michigan Avenue Road.
Fredricka Lawson conducted the business meeting and gave the secretary’s report. Linda Cross gave a devotion, reading the poem, “Goldenrod” by Bette Woolsey Catro. The financial report, including the yearly donations made by Magnolia Garden Club, was given by Sue Taylor. Members voted to accept Ginger Cloud as a member of the club.
Bettis presented the program, “What’s That in the Sky?” She began by comparing the difference in transportation today and when John James Audubon traveled to Tennessee by boat and horse in the early 1800s. Audubon is known for his painting of birds. He traveled to Tennessee several times to draw detailed pictures of birds he saw in this area. Because of his talent and desire to draw every bird he saw, today we have many pictures of birds that are extinct.
Bettis concentrated on the owl for the program. Drawings of the barred owl and the snowy owl are some of the illustrations Audubon left for future generations. Throughout history, people have been fascinated with the owl. Owls are known for their big, round glistening eyes, and often are a symbol of wisdom. They are usually solitary and many are in their element at night, so we do not see them as often as other birds. Therefore, much is left to the human imagination. Contrary to popular myth, an owl cannot turn its head completely backwards. It can turn 135 degrees in either direction, giving the owl a toral field of view of 270 degrees.
There are 222 known species of owls. The species range in size from 1 ounce to 10 pounds. Owls have acute vision and hearing that make it easy to hunt their prey at night. They make a variety of sounds from the familiar hoot to a blood-curdling shriek. Some owls have special feathers which help them fly almost silently . Owls can be dangerous if you get near their nest.
After the program everyone gathered in the parking lot for refreshments served tailgate style.
Others attending the meeting were Bess Neil, Sayle Bowen, Annette Stanbery, Sheila Webb and Brenda Nakdimen.