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News

Local news for Screven County and surrounding areas.

Council to vote on rezoning on election night; first reading on ordinance Oct. 26

The Sylvania city council is waiting until the last minute – which happens to be Election Day – to vote on a request to rezone two houses downtown so that one of them can be turned into a lawyer’s office.
Some of the council members said they needed the additional time to consider legal questions raised by opponents of the zoning change.
A Sylvania Telephone poll of city council members taken on Monday and Tuesday found one person willing to take a stand on the issue; Ben Smith said he’s planning to vote against it.

Every dollar helps to meet the United Way goal

Every little dollar helps.
The importance of the United Way of Screven County grows as the economic status remains bleak locally. Higher unemployment and closing of a local industry makes the need for supportive funds even more vital.
“We need money. We need money,” said Cathy Kight, executive director of the county’s United Way. “We are asking everyone to give.”

Driver jack knifes vehicle on bridge to avoid pigeon

A Florida woman who swerved to avoid an injured pigeon in the road Tuesday jack-knifed her SUV and trailer on a bridge on Highway 301 this side of the state line, authorities said.
 The woman wasn’t hurt in the wreck, but her vehicle cracked the concrete bridge and she was lucky the propane tanks she was carrying didn’t explode, said Screven County Sheriff’s spokesman Brett Dickerson.

Gurka named one of the state's top volunteers

A woman who has volunteered for a variety of causes in Screven County for more than 30 years has won a statewide award for her work with the Soda Shop art gallery, which is a project of the Downtown Development Authority and Better Hometown program.
Deanna “Dee” Gurka has been honored as most valuable volunteer by the Georgia Downtown Association and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.

BOE opts for another bank for loan

Screven County teachers are scheduled to be paid by month’s end, but a bank deal that unexpectedly got changed has forced the school board to reopen their own books.
With fewer-than-anticipated state dollars on their way to Screven, the county’s board of education decided in a called board meeting late last month to approve a measure that is unprecedented locally – borrow funds from a bank.

Blaze claims life of Screven County man

A 58-year-old Sylvania man died in a house fire Saturday night.
 Michael Steve “Mickey” Robbins died when his mobile home burned at 237 Twin Oak Road, said Screven County Fire Chief Harvey Cryder.
 An investigation was being conducted, but preliminary indications were that the fire was accidental. “All indications were that it was accidental,” Cryder said. “It looks like he was smoking in bed.”
The bedroom and bathroom of the single-wide mobile home were destroyed, Cryder said. Robbins was found in the bedroom.

150 to lose jobs as Sylvania Yarn Systems closes

Sylvania Yarn Systems Inc. announced Wednesday afternoon that it will close its carpet yarn manufacturing plant by the end of the year, putting 150 full-time employees out of work and ending a 40-year history in the county.
The company cited “the severe recession that the carpet industry has experienced for over a year, and the subsequent reduction in customer order volume at its plant.” The company “plans an orderly wind-down of operations by year-end,” it said in a news release.

Citizens urge, discourage Main Street rezoning

There was standing room only as 40 people attended a public hearing Tuesday night on a request to rezone two houses on S. Main Street so one of them can be turned into a law office. The Sylvania city council didn’t vote on the issue; the mayor said the members need time to let the comments “soak in.”
City code requires that they vote on the request at one of their next two meetings – which are scheduled for Oct. 20 and Nov. 3.

Three counts of child molestation for man among the grand jury’s October indictments

A Screven County grand jury has indicted a 50-year-old Sylvania man on three counts of child molestation.
Richard Cordell, of Sylvan Place, was arrested on Sept. 18 and accused in a case involving a 4-year-old girl, said Sylvania Police Lt. Tony Taylor.
Cordell has worked for many years in maintenance at Timken and has been a youth sports coach at the county’s recreation department. Taylor said the case began because of a report from the child’s family.

Brothers arrested for sex acts with minor

Two brothers from Sylvania have been arrested and accused of molesting a girl from when she was age 10 to when she was age 15.
Timothy Royce Warren, 34, was charged Sept. 30 with child molestation and his brother, Brandon Lynn Ward, 22, was charged Monday with aggravated child molestation and child molestation, said Sylvania Police Lt. Tony A. Taylor. Both men lived on Clifford Avenue. An investigation was started based on allegations made by the girl, Taylor said.

Advance voting begins Oct. 12

Voters can go to the polls starting Monday in the three Screven County municipalities that have elections on Nov. 3: Sylvania, Newington and Rocky Ford.
 Those wishing to cast ballots early may request absentee ballots. Or they may vote in person at the voter registration office in the Screven County Courthouse, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday for the three weeks beginning on Monday, Oct. 12, said Registrar Dorothy Glisson.

Screven schools make the grade

When all the totals were tabulated, all three of Screven County’s public schools made Adequate Yearly Progress under the “No Child Left Behind.”
“We are very, very pleased,” said Superintendent Whit Myers of the AYP status. “The elementary and middle schools have made it for a number of years. The high school has had a couple of rough years in math and English/language arts. I appreciate the hard work of the staffs.”
Myers said the teachers have been about to educate the students while budget crunches have made their jobs more difficult.

BOE approves bank loan as ‘cash flow’ solution

With what officials call a slow state cash flow problem, the county’s school board approved a measure in a called meeting Sept. 24 to borrow money from local bank.
The reason for the borrowing from the bank – up to $1 million -- spews from what the Georgia Department of Education listed as its payment to Screven County a few weeks ago and what it became Monday, Sept. 28.
The former amount was $1,445,220. The new amount, take did not appease local administration, was $1,059,863.

Timken plant hires back some employees

Automotive and industrial markets are picking up, causing Timken Company to bring a handful of employees back to work and to pay others overtime.
The gains in recent weeks are modest compared to the 235 jobs lost at the needle roller bearings plant in the last year, but plant Manager David Burke said it’s a step in the right direction.
While Burke may be cautiously optimistic about the gains at Timken, increased activity in other sectors has the head of Screven County’s Industrial Development Authority “very optimistic.”

Slow cash flow forces school system to consider borrowing bank funds

In what the school system administration calls a “real curve ball,” the BOE is expected to be asked today in a called noon meeting to borrow up to $1 million from a local banking institution to handle its shortage of funds.
Superintendent Whit Myers said this would be the first time in the BOE’s history that it would seek funds from a bank through a Tax Anticipation Note.
“We would be asking for a line of credit until the property taxes start flowing,” Myers said. “This is not a budget flow problem as much as it is a cash flow problem.”

Surviving cancer -- twice

Elise Jenkins’ breast cancer was so bad that it had already spread to her lymph nodes.
But despite the odds, she beat it.
And she did it not once, but twice.
She’s been cancer-free for 20 years. The 74-year-old Sylvania resident said she urges women to do self-exams, get mammograms and if they ever find a lump, demand a biopsy.
She also says it helps to have a positive attitude and trust in the Lord.

Residents do their part to keep the rivers alive

Fifty volunteers spent an overcast Saturday morning keeping Screven County’s waterways clean at the third annual Rivers Alive event.
Citizens gathered at Brannen’s Bridges Sept. 25 and then dispersed in groups to various parts of the Tuckahoe Wildlife Management Area for clean up and returned to the starting location with collected trash items and an appetite for lunch.
“We hope to see this event grow every year,” said Alan Scott, chairman of Keep Screven Beautiful.

Another national NIE citation for Sylvania Telephone

For the third consecutive year, the Sylvania Telephone, thanks to local generosity and educational system support, has earned first place nationally among non-daily publications for Newspapers In Education sponsorship.
The National Newspaper Association presented the award to the Telephone at its “Toast to the Winners” awards reception in Mobile, Ala., Sept. 26 at the annual convention.

‘Parent University’ to educate the adults

With a ribbon cutting this afternoon, organizers hope communication and understanding will soon follow as “Parent University” opens to help educate adults about the struggles their children face inside and outside the classrooms.
The free-to-the-public “university” will be comprised of six Saturday sessions on various topics ranging from improving students’ study skills to bettering interaction between students. The university, which is funded through Title I federal funds, is an effort between the Screven County Board of Education and the Screven County Community Collaborative.

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