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Local news for Screven County and surrounding areas.

Potter sues Sardis officials for wrongful death of son

Diane Potter, the mother of a former Sardis police officer, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit for more than $1 million in compensation for the 2013 death of her son.
According to the lawsuit that was filed Tuesday, Potter claims Sardis police officer Mark Cates used unnecessary force on former officer D’Wayne Burke during a reportedly burglary at the Sardis Police Department resulting in his death.
The lawsuit states that when Cates returned to the police department on the morning of June 10, 2013, he noticed the door had been kicked in to the department’s evidence room.

Arrest made in October theft of pickups at local Ford dealership

A man was arrested in Aiken, S.C., in connection with an incident that occurred last year at a car dealership in Screven County.
Lavar Tirie Delee was apprehended by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division on June 1. Delee was charged with three counts of theft by taking (motor vehicle) as well as one count of burglary. Delee was allegedly involved in the theft of three pickup trucks from the Sylvania Ford Dealership last October.

Bacon now certified economic developer

Dorie Bacon, Executive Director of Screven County Development Authority, recently earned the designation of Certified Economic Developer (CEcD), a national recognition that denotes a mastery of principal skills in economic development, professional attainment and a commitment to personal and professional growth.
The CEcD exam was administered by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) on June 6 and 7 in Madison at the Monona Terrace Convention Center. With 10

Telephone earns dozen state press awards

The Sylvania Telephone claimed a dozen Georgia Press Association awards at the 129th annual state convention at the Weston Jekyll Island on Jekyll Island on June 5.
Of the 12 honors for the 136-year-old publication, four of which were for first place as the newspaper was in competition in one of the GPA’s largest weekly divisions based on circulation. Earlier this year the Telephone won four advertising awards to bring the newspaper’s total to 16 GPA awards for the 2014 calendar year.

150 flags placed at Battle of Brier Creek for Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a patriotic day, but when you actually can trace your ceremony back to the Revoluntary War then it takes on more significance.
With 150 flags -- including some British ones -- placed in the grounds of Brier Creek Battlefield, a gun salute and moment of silence was observed on May 24 for the Americans and British who lost their lives during the battle in Screven County. 

Parent disputes arrest on national airwaves

Ten parents or guardians have been arrested during the 2014-2015 school year for a count of failure to comply with mandatory school attendance.
But one, a former substitute teacher in the school system, has taken her displeasure with her arrest to the national television media.
Julie Scott Giles, 43, of Sylvania was arrested on May 14.
Giles has been on the Fox Network’s Fox & Friends. She had her story published on and other major news outlets have picked up her story.

State Dept. of Education not notified of protocol concerns

During the recent weeks, Screven County’s school system has been on the national scene for its attendance protocol. However, according to officials with the state department of education, no notice has been made to their office concerning the dispute over a resident’s May arrest for failure to comply with mandatory school attendance as her child reportedly had excessive unexcused absences. Julie Scott Giles, 43, of Sylvania was arrested on May 14 and has a July 14 court date in Screven County.

Grant to buy protective fire equipment

The Sylvania Fire Department has received a federal grant for $120,877. There is a 5 percent cost match, requiring that Sylvania contribute $6,043, making the total amount of money received by the fire department $126,920. The money received from the grant will be used to purchase personal protective gear and equipment for firefighters. The fire department will now be able to update its older turnout gear and self-contained breathing apparatuses that needed to be replaced, as well as the aging thermal imaging camera.

Man dies in boating crash at river

The body of a man who had been missing was recovered from the Savannah River Monday morning.
Fifty-one-year-old Charles Winfield Morel Jr. of Effingham County was discovered earlier this week after perishing in a boating accident on Saturday.
According to witness reports, the boat he was in flipped and landed on top of the man, killing him. His body was subsequently taken to the Screven County coroner’s office.

Rep. Allen to hold Community Office hours in Sylvania

U.S. Congressman Rick Allen (R-Ga.-12) has announced his staff will be holding Community Office Hours in Sylvania on Wednesday, June 10, from 3:30 – 5 p.m at the Screven County Courthouse, Commission Boardroom.
These office hours offer the opportunity for constituents to receive personal assistance from Congressman Allen’s office in their local communities.  

Suspect charged in church burglaries

A Pooler man on probation for an aggravated child molestation conviction and prison sentence has been charged by the county sheriff’s office in a string of church burglaries that span over at least three counties including Screven.

Fifty-one-year-old Morris Cyral Gunter of 5050 Old Louisville Road in Pooler, was apprehended by Screven County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Michael Lacienski and Sgt. Brett Dickerson after a member of one the local churches noticed and bought items that reportedly had been taken from a Screven County house of worship. The church-goer made the purchase at a business in a neighboring county where Gunter was selling religious items like Bibles and other merchandise used in churches.

The observant shopper took her newly purchased items to the sheriff’s office and provided authorities with whom the items were bought and where. While the sheriff’s office continues its investigation into the possibility of additional church break-ins, law enforcement officers are in efforts to have congregation members identify items from their respective churches.

What’s happening? Plenty. Get ready to mark your calendar

Screven County has plenty of different event scheduled over the upcoming weeks.
Along with various Screven County sports contests involving the school system and the county recreation department, here are just some of the local happenings --
On Sept. 18, the 17th annual fish fry for the 12th Congressional District will be at the Pathway Center on Highway 301 starting at 6:30 p.m.
On Sept. 20, a Plantation Airpark Fall Fly-In will start at 9 a.m.
On that same day, Wild About Screven will be held on the Screven County Courthouse Lawn from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Farm Aid: National Resources Conservation Service offers help

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is ready to help farmers, big and small, with cost-share programs, expert advice and more.
District Conservationist Phil Hall is new to the area, but his wealth of experience and knowledge in natural resources is ready to help anyone who has questions. Hall can inspect the soil of land someone might be thinking about purchasing and let them know what would be best to plant – timber, corn, grass for grazing cows.

Armyworms march into Screven County

It’s hot then it rains; it’s scorching hot for a long period of time and no rain comes; it’s cooled off and rain comes every day. That seems to be the weather pattern for this year’s farmers, and it’s starting to take a toll on producers trying to pull peanuts or cotton for harvest.
Screven County Extension Coordinator Ray Hicks said the rainfall is creeping its way back to being about average compared to previous years, but the timing has been bad for some who planted at their normal time and good for those who planted a little bit later.

New mom Dr. Peter returns to work

Dr. Sherma Peter at Optim Primary Care in Sylvania has come back after eight weeks maternity leave following the birth of her fraternal twin boys Jonathan and Jacob.
Peter was seeing patients Monday, marking the first time she’s been away from her boys.
“So (Monday) was really hectic but I’m really happy to be back,” she said. “I was actually looking forward to seeing my patients again, though it was really hard being away from my babies.”
Patients were seen by Adult Nurse Practitioner Jean Bailey during Peter’s leave, and Peter was thankful for Bailey’s help.

GSU, Phinizy Center talk Ogeechee River Project

Georgia Southern University hosted the first of four Ogeechee River Research public information sessions on Tuesday, Aug. 26 at the Performing Arts Center, to discuss a two and a half year Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) titled “Assessment of Hydrological, Biological and Environmental Components of the Lower Ogeechee River Ecosystem.”
The project is an opportunity for the university and the Phinizy Center for Water Sciences to conduct basic research designed to ensure a long-term and holistic approach for research on the river.

Johnson named new United Way director

A life-long resident of the community has been named as the new executive director of the United Way of Screven County, according to the fund-raising organization’s board of directors.
Tina Johnson officially began her position Tuesday. She has quickly become acquainted with the various aspects of the county’s United Way. Johnson resides in Screven County with her husband Jody and the couple’s two children.
Johnson graduated from Screven County High School before obtaining her diploma as a nurse from Ogeechee Technical College.

Wild About Screven this month

The Wild About Screven Festival will be Sept. 20 as the Screven County Chamber of Commerce and the GFWC Sylvania Junior Woman’s Club have been working on several events.
First of these events is the Wild About Screven Catfish & Bass Fishing Tournament.
Starting Friday, Sept. 19, anglers are invited to fish the waters of Screven County for the biggest fish they can land. There will be a weigh-in at the Amphitheater behind the Screven County Courthouse at 11 a.m. on Sept. 20.  
For more information about this event, please contact Barry Durden.

Barrow educates SCHS students

U.S. Rep. John Barrow visited with Screven County High School students Aug. 29 to discuss government and what is occurring in Washington, D.C.
Barrow is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition which is a conservative group of legislators in the Democratic Party.
“We work with the other side of the aisle,” he said to Burton Kemp’s advanced placement class. “It is a frustrating time to be in Congress. There is a lot of good that could be done, but isn’t.”

A rededication like no other

The stadium located on the Screven County High School campus over the years has hosted several notable events like the senior class graduations and the state football championship in 2002.
On Saturday night, however, the stadium extended a welcome home to a friend who has been unified with the venture for 50 years.


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