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Local news for Screven County and surrounding areas.

Few attend first tax hike public hearings

The third and final public hearing to talk about the proposed Screven County Board of Education increase of the property taxes is scheduled for today, Aug. 13, at 4 p.m.
Since the 2008-2009 school year, the Screven County School System has endured cuts to programs and personnel because of reductions in state funding, while absorbing unfunded mandates through local dollars.

Qualifying for city elections to begin

The City of Sylvania, Georgia will conduct a General election to elect a mayor and three city council members.
The election will be conducted in the city on Tuesday, Nov. 3.
Advance voting begins Oct. 12 at the Screven County Registrar’s Office.
All persons desiring to qualify as candidates in the election should do so by filing notice of their candidacy at city hall and paying their qualifying fees at that time.
The qualifying fee for candidates desiring to run for mayor will be $144 and council will be $72.

County adds a fire station

In its meeting Tuesday, the Screven County Board of Commissioners elected to build a new fire station, reappointed some individuals back to their various boards and altered the date of the September meeting.
The board voted to build a new fire station on land that McDonald Baptist Church gave the county. The county received the reserve fire truck it needed for the station to operate. The building would cost around $15,000 to build.

Missing man passes away

A Screven County man local law enforcement searched for with the assistance of many died at a hospital in South Carolina.
Steve Volf passed away on Aug. 5 following a search after Volf, who suffered from dementia, drove away from this residence the day before.
Working with Screven County Sheriff’s Office deputies, members of the community drove vehicles throughout the county in search of Volf.
Screven County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Brett Dickerson said a concerned citizen in Dillon, S.C., saw Volf’s truck barely moving down the interstate.

Driver of logging truck dies from crash

A man has died after the Mack truck he was driving crashed on Highway 301 Monday.
Daniel Albert Davis, 38, of Sandersville, Ga., was traveling south near the mile 9 marker when his vehicle traveled onto the shoulder of the road and hit two metal posts and overturned. He was partially ejected from the vehicle and passed away en route to Savannah Memorial Hospital. Davis was not wearing his seatbelt at the time of the accident.

2015-2016 school year begins

Screven County school officials say the start of the 2015-2016 school year has been a smooth one.
“I want to commend the teachers for their preparations to begin the learning environment in their classes through their dedication and hard work throughout the summer,” said Superintendent William Bland. “We have had many teachers working in their rooms preparing for their students well before preplanning week.

Rep. Allen says nation needs to pray more

Speaking to the weekly Tuesday gathering of men’s ministry at the Pathway Center on U.S. Highway 301, U.S. Rep. Rick Allen said he and other members of Congress pray for guidance.
Allen said the nation needs more prayer.
The congressman spoke against the recent rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court on its upholding of the Affordable Care Act, or known as Obamacare, and the approval of same-sex marriage.

Soda Shop Gallery celebrates 10 years

Soda Shop Gallery is celebrating 10 years on the square in downtown Sylvania promoting local art to enrich and preserve our community.  
The gallery is a project of the Downtown Development Authority/Classic Main Street. 
It is an art gallery that was established in 2005 in an unusable building. Previously a restaurant for about 65 years, the building was in terrible shape and had not been occupied for many years.

Public hearing dates change for proposed tax hike

The three hearing dates have been changed for the public to discuss the proposed Screven County Board of Education increase of the property taxes.
The BOE will levy this year by 13.52 percent over the rollback millage rate.
The proposed increase would be 1.846 mills.
The first two of the three public hearings originally was scheduled for today, July 30, but now the hearings on this tax increase will be in the Board Room of the Screven County School System located at 382 Halcyondale Road in Sylvania, on Aug. 6 at noon and 6 p.m.; and Aug. 13 at 4 p.m.

Students return to classes Monday

Screven County students will head back to school on Monday, Aug. 3, but they also will have a chance to attend orientations and an open house beforehand.
The systemwide open house for the Screven County School System will be Friday, July 31, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the elementary, middle and high schools.
Orientations for those students who will be entering a particular school new will be today, July 30.

Development authority still in talks with textile plant officials

A year ago Gov. Nathan Deal joined with local leaders to welcome PV Pittie Textiles officials to Screven County and Georgia with a groundbreaking ceremony in the county’s industrial park.
However, since that date in July 2014 residents have not seen much visible progression. But Screven County officials say that does not mean work on the project isn’t progressing.

BOE proposes property tax hike

The Screven County Board of Education announced its intention to increase the 2015 property taxes it will levy this year by 13.52 percent over the rollback millage rate during Monday night’s BOE meeting.  
The proposed increase would be 1.846 mills. Over the last few months, the BOE had considered a 2 mill hike.
Each year, the board of tax assessors is required to review the assessed value for property tax purposes of taxable property in the county. 

Judge seeks more input on school attendance policy

A parent whose child reportedly had excessive unexcused absences during the 2014-2015 school year had her day in court Tuesday as her attorney contended the policy that the Screven County school system followed is not clear enough and that is takes fundamental rights away from parents and their children. Screven County State Court Judge Grady Reddick, after hearing from the school system and the defense for 43-year-old Julie Scott Giles during arraignment, requested both sides provide additional materials for him to review.

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.


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