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G.G. Rigsby

Screven County chamber director resigns

Heidi Jeffers has resigned after less than three years as executive director of the Screven County Chamber of Commerce and accepted a job as head of the Statesboro Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Jeffers will continue working at the Screven chamber through Friday and will start her new job in Statesboro Monday morning, said Tripp Sheppard, executive board member of the chamber.
Brooke Lariscy Lawn has been named interim director of the Screven County chamber while the board seeks a permanent replacement, Sheppard said.

Crusaders for animals

In a year-and-a-half of existence, Friends of Screven County Animals has saved at least 550 dogs and cats that otherwise would have been euthanized.
Each of those animals represents a happy ending that motivates the ragtag group to keep trying despite a constant lack of funds and volunteers.
A man in New Jersey who received a puppy from Screven County through a rescue group last week sent an e-mail to Friends’ president Lisa Guidos with photos of his 5-year-old son hugging the beagle mix.

Man faces cruelty charges

A Newington man who’s in jail has been charged with cruelty to animals after four skinny, sickly dogs were found chained up at his house, police said.
One of the dogs had a 53-pound metal chain around its neck, said Newington Police Chief Brian Barrs. The dogs, which have nice temperaments, had water but no food, Barrs said. They appear to be American bulldog or pit-bull mixes.

100-carrot gem for county

Santa came early to Screven County.
Michael Cutler Co., which  is going to process and package carrots in the county’s industrial park, will bring 30 employees from Statesboro and hopes to hire another 70 workers locally for a total of about 100 jobs in the next two to five years, Judy Gargiulo, (Gar-JU’-low) corporate director of human resources, said Tuesday.
The company was in a hurry to find a place where it could expand and wanted a building near Statesboro so the existing employees would have a short commute. The Statesboro facility will be turned into storage, she said.

P&Z recommends county rezone for ‘mini industrial park’

The planning and zoning board voted 5-0 Tuesday night to recommend that the Screven County Commission rezone 65 acres along Highway 301 S. in Cooperville so a “mini industrial park” can be built.
No one from the public showed up at the hearing at 7 p.m. at the courthouse; the only members of the audience during the 30-minute meeting were landowner Tony Bazemore, who also is a lawyer operating as Bella Vista Development Co., and a reporter from the Sylvania Telephone.

Girl, 2, dies in crash

A 2-year-old Sylvania girl who was riding in her mother’s lap suffered fatal injuries Saturday, Dec. 11, when the car they were riding in ran a stop sign and was struck by an 18-wheeler, authorities said.
Mya Howell, 2, of Pine Street, died after the accident at 2:20 p.m. at the intersection of Halcyondale, Captola and Jarrell Pond roads, Coroner James Strickland said.
The driver of the 1977 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 21-year-old Charles Anthony Howe of Pine Street, was seriously injured in the crash, the State Patrol said. Charges were pending, the patrol said.

Investigations lead to multiple burglary arrests

Investigators from the Screven County Sheriff’s Department made arrests in four residential burglaries last week – three because of a tip from a concerned citizen and a fourth because of a fingerprint match.
In the first three cases, the tip led authorities to arrest two men and a juvenile on burglary and drug charges and recover a number of guns, electronics and other items.

Economic vision improves because of carrots

In a deal hammered out at warp speed, Michael Cutler Co. has purchased the former Pallet Kraft building and 50 acres in Screven County’s industrial park. 
Contractors have already started renovating the 35,000 square-foot building for processing and packaging of carrots.   
Details were not available at press time, but the company was planning a news conference within the next few days. 
According to its Web site, www.michaelcutlerco.com, the company is a grower, packer and distributor of fresh produce. 

City electricity rates upped 6%

Electricity rates are going up 19.5 percent for Sylvania in January, but the city is going to absorb much of that increase so customers will pay 6.5 percent more.
City council members are proposing cutting the budget, raising some fees and using money that they would have used for water and electrical infrastructure to instead offset the increase in electricity rates, said City Manager Carter Crawford.
The city purchases its power from MEAG. Two officials from MEAG talked to city council members about the rate increase before their regular meeting Tuesday night.

Robbery suspects jailed, but another still sought

A suspicious neighbor called authorities, leading to the arrest of two people and warrants for a third in burglaries of houses on Hiltonia-Perkins and Beaver Dam roads last week.
“They were caught in the act,” by the neighbor, said Sgt. Brett Dickerson of the Screven County Sheriff’s Department. “It only takes one person A. being alert enough to notice and B. calling it in that makes all the difference in our ability to clear burglary cases,” he said.

Physicians group finalizes deal for county hospital

In a deal billed as Screven County Hospital’s last, best hope, a group of doctors from Savannah paid $2.8 million Monday for the 25-bed, critical access facility.
The state attorney general’s office gave the go-ahead Friday and the hospital sold Monday for $700,000 in cash and assumption of about $2.1 million in debt. The agreement also calls for the county to pay up to $600,000 a year for 10 years for indigent care.

Privatization OK possibly by Friday

The sale of Screven County Hospital to a group of doctors from Savannah seems poised to go through, with no objections surfacing from the state attorney general’s office and time running out on their 30-day decision period.
“We’re confident that it’ll be approved,” by the end of this week, when the decision period is over, said George St. George, chief executive officer of the hospital. A retirement party was held Tuesday for St. George, who has run the hospital for 13 years. He plans to live in Bluffton, S.C., and travel around the world to play golf.

Tuesday’s low voter turnout makes runoff election costly

The runoff election for a state Supreme Court justice and state Appeals Court judge Tuesday attracted 236 voters in Screven County. That’s less than 3 percent of the registered voters.
All 12 precincts were open for 12 hours, each staffed with the state-mandated three workers. Even with Elections Superintendent Debbie Brown doing much of the prep work herself, saving the county $1,400, and not including her salary or the salary of one local elections worker, the election cost $6,700.
That comes out to $28.39 per vote.

Businesses won’t get as much as initially thought

The repeal of the state inventory tax by voters on Nov. 2 won’t help local businesses as much as originally expected.
Inventory taxes are slated to bring $118,000 to Screven County this year, and some local business owners said they expected save thousands of dollars because voters agreed in the statewide referendum that it should be repealed next year.

Higher crop prices for farmers

Some Screven County farmers have a lot to be thankful for – a decent harvest and higher prices for their crops.
“Individual situations can be tough, but overall, it should be a good year for most farmers in this county,” said Joe Boddiford, Screven County Farm Bureau president.
Hot, dry weather hurt the corn yield earlier this year, with hot nighttime temperatures hurting pollination, said Boddiford, who farms 2,000 acres, all in Screven County. The price of corn has gone up since then so farmers who have corn stored in bins may see some higher profits, he said.

One family has message for community

Farmers are having a good enough season that they’re going out of their way to help local families in need during Thanksgiving.
As part of the Farm-City Week celebration, the Screven County Farm Bureau delivered baskets of food to five area families this week.
Among those receiving food was Little family of Rocky Ford. Ten-year-old Jericho “Chase” Little has a rare degenerative brain disease – ALD, or adrenoleukodystrophy.

Time to get in touch with touchscreen again

The election isn’t over yet.
Voters return to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 30, for runoffs in two races -- a seat on the state Supreme Court and a seat on the state Court of Appeals.
Turnout is expected to be light, but all 12 polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
“We’re ready,” said Elections Superintendent and Probate Court Judge Debbie Brown. She said she has taken steps to personally ensure that mistakes caused by state elections workers that delayed the start of voting on Nov. 2 will not be repeated Tuesday.

Christmas Extravaganza in downtown Sylvania Dec. 2

The Christmas Extravaganza was shaping up this week with more than 40 groups planning booths and many more expected to sign up at the last minute.
People can sign up for booths through Wednesday, Dec. 1 -- the day before the celebration, which is set for 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 2, in downtown Sylvania, said Heidi Jeffers, Executive Director of the Screven County Chamber of Commerce.
People will sell food and crafts at the booths, as well as provide information about their services.

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