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Local news for Screven County and surrounding areas.

As much as $9,000 IDA dollars available to bring state officials for airport

The Industrial Development Authority has agreed to spend up to $9,000 to bring state officials to Screven County in April and pitch the airport as a mega industrial site or inland port.
About 20 people from outside the area will be invited to the event on Thursday, April 22, including the governor, lieutenant governor, state director of economic development, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Transportation, Ports Authority representative and various lawmakers.

Despite bleak economy, 73 percent of property owners pay by deadline

Seventy-three percent of Screven County property owners paid a total of $6.8 million in taxes by the Dec. 20 deadline, said Tax Commissioner David Long.
“I think 73 percent is good with the economy the way it is,” Long said. “People are really trying.”
He said the 73 percent total doesn’t include about 120 property owners who are making payments and paying late-fee penalties. Late fees are 1 percent a month, jumping to 10 percent after three months. Within a year, late fees add up to 22 percent, he said.

GBI: Couple charged with Wade arson

A Martinez couple has been charged with arson in two fires on Wade Plantation in Burke County a year ago, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said.
No arrests have been made but an investigation is continuing into a third fire that occurred at the same time nearby. That blaze destroyed the historic railroad depot on Millhaven Plantation in Screven County.

Making tots’ Christmas better

Thanks to the generosity of the community many of Screven County’s youth will have presents under the Christmas tree this year. Items and monetary donations were made at Sylvania Ford, an annual Toys for Tots site. Organizers of the event say more than $700 was given for the purchase of toys. Pictured with the loaded sleigh are staff from the Department of Family and Children Services Anna Herrington, Vickie Horton, Kristy Kennedy, Tina Saxon, Nikki Albright and Heather Robbins with Sylvania Ford’s Garrett Sowell and Michelle Stubbs and Marine CWO-3 Willie Haynes.

Screven County's ready to work

We ain’t dumb hicks here in Screven County.
 And to prove it, we’ll subject a sample of our population to a four-hour test that measures math skills, reading for information and locating information.
It’s part of Screven County’s efforts to gain status as a “Work Ready” community, a state designation meant to show an area has an able workforce.

Suspect's choice leads to arrest

A Sylvania man who apparently mistook a big truck wreck on Highway 21 for a road block threw a bag of drugs out the window and was arrested later when he went to retrieve them.
Richard Sears Adams III, 24, of Main Street, was charged with two felony counts – possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute – and a misdemeanor – possession of a drug-related object, said Lt. Tony A. Taylor of the Sylvania Police Department.

SCHS stays in 3AA, but two others leave

Screven County High School lost its appeal to the Georgia High School Association Wednesday morning to move away from 3AA and into 2AA, but all was not lost.
SCHS was one of four schools from the current 3AA who sought an appeal. While Southeast Bulloch also lost its appeal, Toombs County and Vidalia won their bids to relocate.
With fewer schools in 3AA, the subregions will remain for sports other than football. However, in the case of football, SCHS will be able to schedule two games that are not region contests.
In 2009, SCHS played a 10-game region schedule.

Sanitation, water/sewer fees on the rise

The Sylvania City Council approved a $36.3 million budget for 2010 Tuesday night, which calls for an increase of $1.58 a month for sanitation fees and an increase of up to 15 percent for water and sewer fees.
The higher sanitation fees are due to higher health insurance costs for county employees, said Carter Crawford, city manager. Beginning in January and showing up on bills in February, sanitation fees will increase by $1.58 a month per household, from $17.82 to $19.40, he said.

U.S. News & World Report awards SCHS

For the second time in three years, Screven County High School has received the bronze medal from U.S. News & World Report as one of the best high schools in the United States.
Schools can earn a ranking of gold, silver, bronze or honorable mention. In Georgia, one school received a gold, while 10 received a silver and other 18 a bronze. No Georgia school earned honorable mention.
“It is a good pat on the back, especially this year when we hear about all the doom and gloom,” said SCHS principal Brett Warren.

Employees seek answers as yarn plant closes

Sylvania Yarn Systems Inc. let the majority of its workers go last week, ending 40 years in business in Screven County. About 120 employees clocked out for the last time, leaving about 30 workers at the carpet yarn manufacturing plant to finish orders in the next couple of weeks.
Don Aaron, president of the company, said the remaining workers will be gone before Christmas.
Company officials announced in early October that the plant would close in December. As work winds down, efforts already have begun to sell the equipment and market the building and land.

Truck bursts into flames after hitting RR crossing

Fire shot into the air to the height of tall pines Monday afternoon when a tractor trailer clipped a stopped tanker truck at a railroad crossing on the Highway 21 Bypass.
The tractor trailer carrying wood pallets for Williams Brothers Trucking then careened into one of the steel standard poles that holds the red flashing lights above the roadway.
The WBT truck driven by 43-year-old Larry Drake of Warrenton, Ga., was headed south toward Newington as his truck struck the right rear of the Eagle fuel truck, which, by law, must stop at crossings.

93-year-old woman in stable condition after losing arm in Highway 301 crash

A 93-year-old Sylvania woman had her left arm amputated and was in stable condition after a wreck on the Highway 301 Bypass Monday morning.
Lula Mae Morris, whose address was listed as a post office box in Sylvania, was driving a 1999 Ford Taurus westbound on Singleton Avenue at about 11:15 a.m., said Sgt. Trevin Moore of the Sylvania Police Department. As she crossed the bypass, a southbound truck carrying five U-Haul trailers struck her car.

Two other South Main residences opt out of ‘P’ consideration

Saying “enough is enough,” the owners of two houses on S. Main Street have withdrawn the applications to have their zoning changed from residential to professional.
“We feel that enough is enough, we aren’t going to change the minds of the city council who have demonstrated that they do not listen to their voters,” said Bill Revesz, owner of 315 S. Main St. He said his neighbor, Karen Thompson, also withdrew her application for 313 S. Main St. to be changed to professional.

Uses for Screven County Academy abound for those of all age groups

The people living in the duplexes out back already have asked if the seniors in the middle building are going to have bingo night.

And can they come?

It’s just the kind of interaction Dave Shah was hoping for on the 14.7-acre tract he bought in July on E. Ogeechee Street – the former Screven County Academy.

Shah, who also owns Sylvania Discount Tobacco, is going to keep the Screven County Academy name.

Three now ‘P’ on South Main

Despite vehement opposition from neighbors, the Sylvania City Council voted 5-1 Tuesday night to change the zoning of three houses on South Main Street from residential to professional.
The only council member voting against the change, Ben Smith, said he had been contacted by an “overwhelming number of people” who opposed the rezoning and that has to guide how he votes.
A dozen opponents of the change, who hired a lawyer from Atlanta to argue their case in letters to the city, said they were considering whether to file a lawsuit challenging the decision.

Dec. 3 downtown Extravaganza to offer fun, food & festivities

The Christmas Extravaganza that starts at 3:30 p.m. today in Sylvania is expected to have a longer parade, more entertainment and more booths offering food and crafts than ever before.
“It’s the largest we’ve ever had,” said Heidi Jeffers, Screven County Chamber of Commerce executive director. “We’re looking forward to a wonderful extravaganza.”
Nearly 70 booths were expected at the event, compared with 25 booths last year. Many of the booths will be operated by charitable groups trying to raise money during these hard economic times.

Maj. Gen. Johnson, a Sylvania native, honored for dedication

Maj. Gen. Jerome Johnson, a native of Sylvania, has retired from the Army after 36 years of service.
Johnson’s retirement ceremony was held on Nov. 24 at U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM), which is at Fort McPherson, Ga. He had served there since June 2007 as the deputy chief of staff G-4, which is equivalent to being a senior vice president for logistics for a large civilian corporation.
“I’ve enjoyed my service to my country and the camaraderie of being in the military, and I’ll miss being with soldiers,” Johnson said.

Downed stop sign possible contributor to minister’s death

A Methodist minister who recently had been appointed to head the Statesboro district died Saturday when he drove past a downed stop sign on Poor Robin Road and was struck by an 18-wheeler carrying paper on Highway 21.
It was daylight and clear weather at 4:40 p.m. when the Rev. Joseph Roberson, 57, was traveling westbound on Poor Robin Road, said Georgia State Patrol Sgt. Ben Forehand. A yellow sign saying “Stop Ahead,” was still in place, but the stop sign at Highway 21 was lying on the ground, the trooper said.

Bringing the 1950s into present day 2009

It took two-and-a-half years, but the wait is finally over.
Renovations are done on the former Hardee’s in Sylvania. The restaurant, called “Rok-N-Robin’z,” opened Monday with a 1950s theme and statue of Elvis and began serving fast-food including Angus beef burgers, chicken fingers and salads.
The restaurant owned by Robin and Diane Potter, who also own R&D’s Seafood Steaks & More on Highway 301, will be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to midnight on Friday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday.


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