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Local news for Screven County and surrounding areas.

Runoff early voting concludes Friday; election Tuesday

Screven Countians are reminded that in-person early voting continues through Friday, July 18, for three runoff elections.
On the Democratic Party ballot, Alisha Thomas Morgan and Valarie D. Wilson face each other in a runoff for the party’s state school superintendent nomination.
On the Republican Party ballot, J.H. “Jack” Kingston and David A. Perdue face each other in a runoff for the party’s nomination for U.S. Senate, a seat being vacated by Saxby Chambliss.

Breaking new ground at SV Pittie Textile site

Encouraging entrepreneurs and other business owners to follow his company’s lead, Vinod Pittie of SV Pittie Texiles officially made a mark in Screven County soil Monday morning as he, Gov. Nathan Deal and other dignitaries broke ground in the industrial park for a new plant projected to pump up the local economy.
Pittie, chairman of the ShriVallabh Pittie Group, was joined by his family and additional textile officials from the India company creating not only its first United States, but also its first plant beyond its home country, where the group has established itself since 1898.

Woman, 27, perishes in holiday weekend crash

Georgia State Patrol troopers continue to investigate a July 5 evening Poor Robin Landing Road crash that left one Sylvania woman dead and a man critically injured.
The driver of the 2000 Chevrolet truck, James Oliver Cantrell, 26, was airlifted to Georgia Regents hospital in Augusta after sustaining incapacitating injuries after the truck he was driving left the road and hit a tree. As of Wednesday morning Cantrell is listed in “serious” condition, which was downgraded from the “critical” condition.

Grand jury indicts 31 accused

Thirty-one people involved in 24 cases were indicted by the Screven County Grand Jury July 7.
Additionally, there were two indictments no-billed, meaning the suspected were not indicted on the charges presented.
Jovona Antesha Bostic, who had been charged with aggravated assault (with a motor vehicle), making a false statement, entering an automobile, and criminal trespass.
Richard Elbert Neal, Jr., also was no-billed by the grand jury. He was accused of theft by taking house appliances in April 2013.

Monday yarn plant groundbreaking for big economic boost

July the Fourth affords the local community an opportunity to reflect and celebrate American heritage while spending time with family and friends.
After a three-day weekend, Screven Countians will have more reason to celebrate as ground will be broken in the county for a new plant that is projected to eventually employ 250.

50th anniversary of the death of Vietnam War helicopter pilot Maj. Charles Kelly

On July 1, 1964, the life of Maj. Charles L. Kelly was ended as he was killed during the Vietnam War by an enemy’s single bullet after the military hero was warned out of a “hot” landing zone. Maj. Kelly’s reply that day: “When I have your wounded.”
Marking the 50th anniversary of the passing of Maj. Kelly, Kelly’s son and daughter-in-law gathered with local VFW members and others for a tribute at the fallen soldier’s grave in Screven Memorial Cemetery. A wreath was placed in honor of Maj. Kelly.

Sparklers only: All other fireworks still illegal in Georgia

While sparklers and similar non-explosive fireworks devices are legal in Georgia, Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens urges citizens to use extreme caution to avoid injuries when using legalized fireworks during the Fourth of July holiday.
“Even legal fireworks should only be used with close adult supervision,” Hudgens said. “For the sake of safety and seeing a spectacular display, your best bet is to attend a professional show.”

Governor to attend new yarn plant groundbreaking

Screven County Development Authority has extended an invitation to everyone to attend a groundbreaking for SV Pittie Textiles Monday, July 7, at 10 a.m. at Screven County Industrial Park.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal will make remarks.  
Authority officials urge the public to “come join in and welcome our new partners to the community.”

Major accomplishment

Experience helps.
Rising Screven County High School senior Darius Williams returns this year as the Gamecock Marching Band’s drum major.
With this honor before the 2013-2014 school year, Williams attended the University of Georgia Summer Marching Band Camp. He learned and honed his skills as a leader.
This year from June 8-12 Williams excelled even more at the UGA camp to claim the “Roger L. Dancz Young Conductor Award” as the top high school drum major to attend the camp out of more than 100.

Arrests made in drug bust

After a month long investigation initiated by complaints of citizens, a Friendship Road home was raided by multiple law enforcement agencies executing a night time search warrant for suspected illegal drugs.
Screven County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Michael Lacienski, with the help of the Sylvania Police Department, Georgia State Patrol, and the Department of Natural Resources, arrested Shantell Laquan Francois, 31, of 2294 Effingham Highway, Keyanna Maria Tanksley, 31, of 1180 Friendship Road, and Robert Lee Burton, 41, of 1180 Friendship Road.

Teacher ‘links’ with pro golfer’s program

During the school year, Nancy Brinson educates students in Burke County’s SGA Elementary in Sardis. This summer she will spend time as a pupil in a prestigious program 800 miles up the east coast.
Brinson, a Sylvania resident, was selected as one of the mathematics and science teachers at the Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy that will be conducted in Jersey City, N.J., July 20-25. The Mickelson is for professional golfer Phil and his wife Amy.

School officials high on Costlow

An intensive hiring process concluded last week when an administrator from Bulloch County was announced as the newest principal for Screven County Middle School.
Dr. Robert (Bobby) Costlow was unanimously approved by the school board June 12 during a called BOE meeting. Costlow comes to Screven County after serving as assistant principal at Statesboro High School during the 2013-1014 school term. Before his stint with Statesboro High, Costlow was an administrator at Southeast Bulloch High School.

Major Kelly stadium rededication event to kickoff fall season

The first of next month will mark the 50th anniversary of the death of Maj. Charles L. Kelly. At the regular-season opening football game of the Screven County Gamecocks’ 2014 season, the Sylvania stadium will be rededicated in honor of the Vietnam War officer who heroically flew his Huey helicopter into war zones to rescue the wounded.

Retiring our Grand Old Flag

The Veterans of Foreign Wars  Post 7116 and the Brier Creek Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution hosted an American Flag Retirement Ceremony June 14 for Flag Day.
The event behind the Sylvania Fire Department and Police Department was open to the public and the community was encouraged to drop off any unserviceable flags at the city fire department or in one of the retired flag boxes located at county fire stations or the VFW location on Community Drive.

County school budget shows increase

The Screven County School System budget for the 2014-2015 has a $644,000 increase in expenditures, however no tax hike will be necessary to handle the extra charges.
A majority of the expense changes can be seen in instruction throughout the school district. Instruction includes activities that deal directly with the interaction between teachers and students. Included in instruction are the salaries and operational costs of teachers and paraprofessionals funded with state and Quality Basic Education funds.

Plenty of city decisions over the week

There have been two Sylvania City Council meetings since last week, and the council has approved a number of resolutions and decided to go forward on many projects.
During a June 11 called meeting, the council voted to approve an amendment to the memorandum of understanding with the Shrivallabh Pittie Group which moves the original July 7 timetable start to Sept. 30, 2014, after the EB-5 investing process and the bond process took longer than expected.

Going to school just got even more important

When the student handbooks come out for the county’s elementary, middle and high school students for 2014-2015, the attendance policy will be noticeably be more stringent.
If a student has more than five unexcused absences, the penalties for the student and the parent and guardian become tougher in the next school year.
The high number of unexcused absences in 2013-2014 forced the change, say school officials.

SCMS principal search continues

The Screven County Board of Education remains in search of a new middle school principal to succeed Brian Scott who has been tranferred to the high school. Superintendent William Bland recommended a candidate who was approved by the BOE by a 4-2 vote Monday evening. However, upon Bland contacting the candidate about the board’s approval, the candidate from North Georgia already had accepted another job offer. Voting against the candidate was Kevin Burns and Frank Johnson. Troy Lawton was absent from the meeting.


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