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Local news for Screven County and surrounding areas.

Female teens arrested for spray painting slurs

The Screven County Sheriff’s Office arrested three female teenagers in connection with the isolated property damage, arson crimes, and spray-painted racial slurs on residences and vehicles in the Twin Oaks Road area that is predominantly African-American.
The arrests were made on a trio of white female suspects; two juveniles ages 14 and 15 and one 18-year-old adult. The names of the juveniles are not released.
The 18-year-old is Shelby Leann Widener of Sylvania.

County to spend $50,000 on new firefighter gear

The process of unification of the city and county departments continues to move forward and now, thanks to a Screven County Commission Tuesday vote, the volunteer firefighers will have new gear.
Gary Weaver, who will oversee the combined fire departments that will be for the City of Sylvania, requested and received the permission to purchase $50,000 worth of gear for the firefighters.
The gear would include pants, coats, boots, hats and gloves for the volunteers. There will be four new sets of gear at the 10 fire stations located throughout the county.

Grand jury announces 43 indictments

The July Superior Court Grand Jury indicted 43 people Monday at the Screven County Courthouse.
The grand jury no-billed Robert Reno on a felony charge of animal cruelty and then indicted Reno on a lesser misdemeanor charge of animal cruelty.
Reno is accused of intentionally driving his truck over neighborhood geese in Sylvan Heights in June.
Jimmy Lee Price was indicted on counts of rape; aggravated sodomy; and aggravated child molestation from an arrest made by the Screven County Sheriff’s Office in June.
Other indictments decreed by the grand jury were --

Tax-free sales holidays before school starts

Just in time for the first day of the 2015-2016 school year, sales tax holidays will be held in Georgia from July 31-Aug. 1 to help ease the burden of buying back-to-school supplies.
The exemptions will occur during a period to start at 12:01 a.m. July 31 and conclude at midnight on Aug. 1. Another set of set of tax-free holidays will be from Oct. 2-4.
The holidays provide exemptions from Georgia state and local sales and use tax. The exemptions apply to certain items of tangible personal property sold.

Same-sex couple issued marriage license application

A same-sex couple in Screven County has been issued a marriage license application according to the county’s probate court office. The couple who potentially could be the first in the county’s history to take advantage of the June 26 U.S. Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriages had not returned the form back to the probate court as of the Sylvania Telephone press time. Only once the completed paperwork is filed at the courthouse would the names of the two be public record. Georgia became one of the states that now have to recognize and perform same-sex marriages after a 5-4 U.S.

GSU’s Keel voted new GRU president

Georgia Southern University president and Augusta native Brooks Keel was approved Wednesday as the new president for Georgia Regents University.
The University System of Georgia approved Keel, the sole named finalist for the position, at a called meeting.
Keel has served as the GSU president since January 2010. He will replace Dr. Ricardo Azziz, who was appointed in July 2010 and resigned in January to take a year of paid educational leave beginning July 1.

St. Patrick Farms keeping blueberries top pick in Georgia

Georgia is the Peach State. Well, at least that’s what the signs say.
License plates have the motto on it. So do billboards. And there’s lots of Peach-oriented names, especially in Atlanta.
However, in actuality, Georgia has fallen behind neighboring South Carolina in its production of peaches.
Georgia still produces its share of peaches, but it has become famous for another fruit as it has traded in the peach color for blue.The state is tops in its growth of blueberries.
Blueberries are Georgia’s most lucrative fruit crop.

Screven County vital part of U.S. history

Countless communities have history, but few have what Screven County has or eventually could have.
And nothing says “Independence Day” quite like an actual battle that led to our nation gaining its independence from the British.
In June, officials from the Department of Natural Resources met with local individuals who have remained very knowledgeable about the Revolutionary War Battle of Brier Creek that was fought on the soil of what is today the Tuckahoe Wildlife Management Area.

Cyclist riding 400 miles visiting state’s Revolutionary War sites

A Savannah man will pioneer a bicycle route along Georgia’s Revolutionary War Trail to celebrate American independence.
With Screven County being one of his destinations, William Bailey will leave from Richard Russell State Park near Elberton, Ga., today, July 2, and plans to arrive in St. Simon’s Island July 6.
Bailey will visit sites at Richard Russell, Nancy Hart, and Elijah Clark State Parks, Kettle Creek Battlefield, and Augusta, on his way to the Brier Creek Battlefield at the Tuckahoe Wildlife Management Area near Sylvania.

Arrest made for child molestation

A Sylvania man has been arrested on charges of molestation of a child under the age of 10.
Following an investigation by the Screven County Sheriff’s Office, Jimmy Lee Price, 53, of Beaver Dam Road, Sylvania, was arrested and charged on June 24 with rape, aggravated child molestation, and aggravated sodomy.
Price currently is being held at the Screven County Jail without bond, awaiting court proceedings.
The victim in the case, which included acts of forced sexual intercourse and sodomy, was a female child under the age of 10.

Business OK’d for city sewer improvements

The Sylvania City Council approved a a contract with a business to handle the improvements to the city’s sewer system during a Monday morning called council meeting.
The motion to enter into a contract with Shockley Plumbing, Inc., was made and passed by the council. The city will pay Shockley $369,406 for 2014 Sylvania Community Development Block Grant sewer rehabilitation.
The sewer lines on Cail, Thompson, Randall, Heirs, South Elm, North Elm, Lee and Davis Streets will be the focus of the rehabilitation.

New gas tax now in effect

Wednesday marked the first day of the state of Georgia’s newly imposed gas tax on its residents.
Gas prices were expected to rise around six cents per gallon in order to collect $900 million per year as a part of House Bill 170 that was passed earlier in the year.
The money collected for the new tax will go toward repairing roads throughout the state after Gov. Nathan Deal made transportation a priority. Georgia’s roads have slipped in national rankings from ninth to 13th since 2009.

SCES amends its tardiness policy

Last year changes were made to reduce the number of parents walking their children to classrooms in the morning at Screven County Elementary School.
When the 2015-2016 school year begins on Aug. 3, another policy change will occur and it does involve walking.
If an elementary school student arrives after 8:05 a.m. on a school day, then the parent or guardian must walk into the school and check that student in for the day.

Kinder Morgan appeals Palmetto Pipeline decision

Pipeline giant Kinder Morgan appealed a Georgia transportation official’s decision that put its proposed billion-dollar Palmetto Pipeline project in limbo last month.
In its 58-page filing last week, Kinder Morgan takes the Department of Transportation to task for what it says are procedural errors, including a slow and incomplete response to its open records request, as well as for what it sees as a faulty decision.

City fired up about departments’ merger

The approval of the Screven County/City of Sylvania Fire Department contract is nearly a done deal following Tuesday’s city council meeting. The contract is set to last for 50 years pending that City Manager Stacy Mathis and City Attorney Hugh Hunter accept the proof of insurance for the contract. The council members approved the contract pending the insurance review.

Summer heat arrives

We knew it was coming and summer South Georgia heat has made its blistering appearance in Screven County.
With temperatures hitting 100 degrees Fahrenheit and still climbing since the start of the week, everyone is urged to drink lots and lots of water to stay hydrated. Unless it is necessary, it is wise to minimize your time in the blazing sun, especially during the peak temperature hours daily after noon.

BOE mulls over millage increase

With the state providing fewer dollars toward public schooling in the state of Georgia, Screven County school board members are in considerations on raising the millage rate to offset the funding shortages.
The BOE currently is looking at a 2 mill increase which would afford the system to ability to maintain its current programs and personnel.
While other school systems in the past years have raised taxes, Screven County has not, but now, officials say, looks to be a necessity.
Local school systems statewide are having to fund more and more.

Tribute to Old Glory

The national day of observance for Flag Day was Sunday, June 14, but on the day before the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7116 and the Brier Creek Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution held a Flag Retirement Ceremony at the Sylvania City Fire Department. 
The was community was encouraged to attend, bring any flags that needed to be retired, and to honor the American flag.
Hundreds of worn, tattered flags were retired following the ceremony.

Deputies make arrests for meth-related charges

A Statesboro man who escaped and fled from Screven County authorities June 11 was apprehended early Saturday morning along with two other individuals.
William Anthony Taylor, 28, of Lee Street in Statesboro, was caught after an extensive two-day search.
Authorities say they attempted to serve a warrant for parole violation related to methamphetamine-related crimes. Taylor fled after being identified and stayed missing until the early morning on Saturday when he was found.


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