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Local news for Screven County and surrounding areas.

Ground broken for new county animal shelter

Screven County officials broke ground Wednesday on a new animal shelter on Rocky Ford Road that will be built by prisoners and paid for with sales tax money.
About 40 people attended the groundbreaking – something of a who’s who in the county, including several county commissioners and Sylvania city council members, the county fire and EMS chiefs, the sheriff, chamber leaders and volunteers from Friends of Screven County Animals.

School bus routes changed

The time changes that will affect schools’ start and finish times beginning Sept. 8 also will affect bus routes. As part of cost-saving measures, two routes will be eliminated and consolidated into other routes.
Although changes have been made, transportation still will be available for any child who needs to ride to school and back to the residence.
Route No. 4 and Route No. 9, which both served the downtown Sylvania area, have been combined, while a total of nine bus routes have been changed for budgetary reasons and efficiency.

Shortened school day for students starts Tuesday

The changes that will evolve Tuesday may seem to some people like its the beginning of new school year all over again.
The actual start of the school year began Aug. 3 with the school board slicing off almost $2.7 million – including 22 educators’ jobs -- from its budget to handle the reduction in state funding. Then before the ink was dry on the school board’s approved budget, the state urged school districts to furlough teachers three days and reduction their budgets another time – this time by 3 percent.

A flimflam sham

He’s oh so slick.
Police are warning store owners about a flimflam man who is making his way around Sylvania, conning unsuspecting clerks at five stores out of a total of $1,200 last week.
The man acts very friendly, chatting with other customers and the store clerks, distracting them and catching them off guard while he deftly switches bills and claims to have been shortchanged. He points out the “error,” gets the extra change he says he is owed, and before the clerks realize what’s happened, he’s left with a tidy profit.

Provide a 'Way'

Bring on the pledges.
The annual United Way of Screven County campaign kicks off Sept. 1 as it becomes increasingly important to raise money in support of those groups who are in need.
This event that each year jump starts the campaign to generate funds for 20-plus local agencies will be in the social hall of the First United Methodist Church in Sylvania at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday and the meal will be sponsored by Farmers And Merchants Bank.
Representatives from various agencies are scheduled to talk about how United Way funds benefit residents who are part of the agencies.

Camp's potential boom sparks excitement

Jay Saxon will come and he will bring others.
Saxon is the Cub Master for Troop 648 in Statesboro. He has 10 Cub Scouts under his direction and he expects the group to also have 10 Boy Scouts this year too.
Saxon said his troop-- among the strong scouting contingent in Bulloch County -- will be among the thousands projected from Georgia’s Coastal Empire Council and possibly neighboring states to take advantage of the new Boy Scouts of America camp located in Screven County, just off Poor Robin Road and Highway 21.

Another bio plant on the county radar

The bad news is the biomass fuel plant that Screven County had been courting has been put on indefinite hold. The good news is a different company is considering building a similar plant in the county.
Gayle Boykin, executive director of the Industrial Development Authority, said she isn’t sure why the first project was put on hold, but she said the vice president of the company who had been leading the search is no longer with the firm.

The marching band asks 'Are you ready to rock?'

Kelly Memorial Stadium will be rocking this football season.
Head football coach Pat Collins has his Gamecocks primed for the rigors of another tough region schedule, but the rocking doesn’t stop at halftime.
Director of bands Chris Harper’s marching Gamecocks will present a mixture of current and classic Rock ‘N Roll tunes to keep the Friday night intensity up.
One of the largest SCHS bands Harper has conducted in his nine years in Sylvania will showcase “Rock Retro Grade.”

Screven County now the new home of a Scout camp

This year marks the 100th anniversary of scouting and it also marks the first year of Screven County as an official scout camp site.
The scout council closed on a parcel of property off Poor Robin Road and Highway 21 that will become the newest camp site for the 14-county council. The property is 380 acres with a 45-acre lake in the center.
Scout officials say facilities will be constructed on-site as it will have a full-time park ranger. The Screven County location, unofficially named the Black Creek Reservation, will replace the Blue Heron Camp in Riceboro.

Town seats up for election

Being a mayor may seem glamorous, but looks can be deceiving.
J. Donald Scott has been mayor of Newington for eight years, and he figures he’ll run for another term, or as he likes to call it, another “sentence.”
Other people have shown little interest in the job.
It doesn’t pay anything. The hours are long and the issues are sometimes contentious. “That’s probably why we can’t get people to run for the job,” Scott said. “I guess I’ll run for another term,” he said. “Nobody else will take it.”

Stimulus dollars coming to Sylvania

Some federal stimulus money is making its way to Sylvania.
The city has won two grants worth a total of about  $700,000 – one to improve water lines along St. Andrews and Mock streets and a second to pave E. Ogeechee Street, City Manager Carter Crawford said.
“We only qualified for two shovel-ready stimulus projects and we got both of them,” Crawford told city council members at their regular meeting at City Hall on Tuesday. “Quite frankly, I didn’t think we had a chance” of getting the grants, he said. “I was quite pleasantly surprised.”

Bahamian missionaries to visit

Think of the Bahamas and most people conjure up images of pristine beaches, turquoise waters, drinks with umbrellas and lounging by the pool at a four-star resort.
But just behind the pretty, touristy façade are people living in abject poverty. Some members of Screven County churches have seen the seedy side of Grand Bahama Island during mission trips aimed at helping the people who live there.

16-year-old male student bites high school principal

The school year began with hardly a hitch in Screven County, except for the 16-year-old who bit the high school principal.
It took four men – a police officer and three school officials -- to subdue the student in the incident that began with him being accused of cutting in the lunch line on Wednesday, Aug. 5, the third day of school. The boy was arrested and charged with three misdemeanor counts – battery, obstruction of an officer and disrupting public school.

Hunting preserve for sale at $4.2 million

The Savannah River Preserve, a 1,200-acre full-service hunting preserve that opened in Screven County in March 2008, is for sale for $4.2 million.
Owners Nicky and Kay Powell have put the property up for sale because of his health problems. Kay Powell said the preserve has done well in its first few months of operation, attracting several hundred hunters.

Four-day week or 20 fewer days in 2010-2011? It’s a possibility.

The county’s board of education approved the administration’s recommendation of cutting 30 minutes off the students’ school day to create mandatory budget-cutting scenarios, but that unanimous vote did not stop board members from discussions about a possible four-day week or a shorter school year for 2010-2011.
Board member Tom Avret’s question about the feasibility of having students in school four days a week instead of five opened the door for the consideration of other ideas for future school years.

School day gets shorter for students Sept. 8

Parents, if your children come home and tell you that their school year will be shortened after Labor Day, don’t immediately think they are attempting to slip one by you.
For very serious state-mandated budget reductions, an abbreviated school day for Screven County students will go into effect Sept. 8, the day after the scheduled holiday.

'Hill' top priority

Call it the little town that could.
Hiltonia may have its problems – high poverty and dilapidated buildings chief among them – but some residents are banding together to make things better. They’ve been meeting and planning and scheming.
And if it takes going through a long, elaborate process to craft an “urban redevelopment plan” in an effort to capture federal dollars, by golly, they’ll do that too.
The goals include improving housing, stimulating economic development and giving the town a face-lift.


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