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Leaders who can coax economic growth to this county, in spite of ourselves

Our community is in desperate need of an economic jolt. An injection into our veins of the fuel that propels a 747, if you please.
That is what this county seeks. Unfortunately, not all, at least through their generations and generations of actions or lack of actions, agree that Sylvania, Hiltonia, Newington, Oliver, Rocky Ford and Screven County as a whole require such a meteoric boost.
Folks, this is not about the construction of skyrises so you can see all the urban sprawl erode the quaint family lifestyle you enjoy. No, this is about survival. This is about finding a way, any way to create quality jobs within the four corners of our county so fathers and mothers can truly provide for their children, not merely live paycheck-to-paycheck.
For this, I have composed the letter below that is intended to be seen by our elected representatives in Screven County, but directed to the individuals in the state and federal positions of power. I can assure you that your elected officials have subscriptions to the Sylvania Telephone.
Some of you reading this may believe I not only am stepping on your toes, but rather crushing your feet by slamming an aforementioned skyrise on them. Others of you, sadly, may not even know that your sleepwalking through life has and will have catastrophic effects on us, our children and our children’s children.
Also, those of you who have worn calluses on your hands, reduced your hours of sleep down to a virtual nil, and done more for your fellow man and woman than you have done for yourself, I applaud you, but more must be done. 

Enoch Autry is the publisher-editor of the Sylvania Telephone.

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                                                                                                                                    February 4, 2010

 

Dear Elected and Appointed Officials Who Represent the Georgia County of Screven,

Please remember us in Southeast Georgia as you form economic partnerships with businesses of any size. Do not fault us for the actions and comments of the few. Without new companies in Screven County, we will cease to exist.
Various members of our local leadership, unfortunately, do not lead with a vision for the future. If plans have been created for the next five, 10 and 20 years by boards, then those roadmaps are not being followed. Some boards look to break the Guinness Book of World Records for the fastest meeting, while others just cancel their gatherings altogether.
To you, our state and federal officials, those local representatives do not represent the beliefs of citizens of our beautiful community.
Please sir and madams, we all do not have that myopic view of our existence. Others of us understand that the “just barely getting by” mentality is not a salvaging of the status quo, but rather an evolution of the “status don’t.” We know we are not and never will resemble a metropolitan area with a Starbucks on every corner and Fortune 500 companies throughout the area, but that level of effort to bring in those caliber of businesses must be the level we must reach to entice jobs.
Maybe, just maybe, a “Visit Sylvania” billboard in the metro Atlanta area would prompt a potential suitor to say, “I’d like to know more about that place.” What that person will find is we have a special population of people willing to do a special job.
While it is true, we cannot shell out thousands of dollars in incentives to corral a company to Screven County, apple fritters from Donna’s Bakery & Deli, some barbecue from Pop’s Kitchen, and catfish from Net’s Seafood serve up quite tasty memory makers. It will not have a strawberry flavor, but even a postcard with the message “Thanks for keeping us in your thoughts” will stick in your memory banks.
When our local lawmakers saw a chance for a state prison to come our way, a Screven County group performed a full-court press on those of you in Atlanta. However, when the prospects of such a facility here deteriorated, our discouraged group returned to its woe-is-me attitude.
State and national officials, despite our board members’ setback, we are a strong unit of people willing to work hard.
So, in short, officials who represent us on a state and national level, we beg for your assistance. We pled for your help. We request your aid.
We ask you to do what you can, simply in spite of ourselves. We, however, do not seek handouts. As citizens of Screven County, we will continue to urge our elected brethren to unite as city and county leaders and think of the entire community not just the chosen few, but this takes time.
Time, unfortunately, is something that is quickly fleeting. Sylvania Yarn Systems closed, taking away its 150 jobs. For any new restaurants that open in our county, an equal number of eateries close.
Glimmers of light have popped into sight with employee hirings at Koyo, formerly known as Timken, and a promising video of the splendor of Screven has been produced to show witness of our community’s many attributes.
We are Work Ready-certified. We are centrally located between Augusta and Savannah. We have acreage available at our county’s airport and industrial park. If you can help us coax any businesses large or small to Screven County, we would be glad to show those company owners exactly what we can do for them.

Sincerely,
The Citizens of the Georgia County of Screven