The year 2004 in review
by Emanuel County Live | December 29, 2004 12:00 am
Jan. 7, 2004
• At its first meeting of the year Monday night, Swainsboro city council tabled the motion to adopt a parking ordinance on the north side of West Main Street. The proposed ordinance is a result of an unresolved parking dispute between owners of Bangles and Alterations on West Main.
• Darryl Gray, former library manager at Franklin Memorial Library, has been appointed to the position of chief appraiser at Emanuel County Tax Assessor’s Office. Gray has several years experience with the office and holds a certified appraiser III designation.
• Dr. James T. Laney, former United States Ambassador to South Korea and former president of Emory University, will kickoff the 2004 Vision Series events schedule when he speaks in the auditorium of the Luck Flanders Gambrell Center Wednesday, Jan. 21.
Jan. 14, 2004
• Superintendent Butch Frye announced at the first Board of Education meeting of 2004 that Emanuel schools have been delivered yet another blow by the state. “We received an e-mail Dec. 23 indicating that we will get an additional 2 1/2 percent cut at mid-term,” said Frye. “This equates to $492,000 for us. We’ve been cut almost $1.8 million. It’s a heavy hit.”
• Walter W. Rountree will be the 2004 grand marshal of the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade in Swainsboro. Festivities will begin at 1 p.m. downtown. In l983, as District Coordinator of 11 counties of the NAACP, Rountree and the group filed suits against the County Commissioners, the Board of Education of Emanuel County, and the City Council of Swainsboro demanding black representation on the three bodies.
Jan. 21, 2004
• Swainsboro firefighter Tony Alexander was arrested Friday, Jan. 16 by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on transportation of obscene material (child pornography). “The arrest is based on a warrant from the Eastern District of Michigan,” said Ed Reinhold, supervisor of the FBI office in Augusta. Alexander lived in Michigan prior to coming to Swainsboro. He was released on a $10,000 bond.
• On Jan. 12, the Court of Appeals of Georgia ruled against Enviro Pro, a metro-Atlanta based company seeking to dump tens of thousands of gallons of septic tank waste on agricultural fields in Emanuel County. According to the ruling, Enviro Pro’s “appeal is frivolous. Accordingly, we impose a sanction of $1,000 against Enviro Pro for pursuing this appeal.”
Jan. 28, 2004
• The Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) has named Swainsboro one of Georgia’s best managed, most livable cities in its “Cities of Excellence” awards ceremony at GMA’s 46th annual Mayors’ Day luncheon at the Omni Hotel in Atlanta.
• Rumors of a “chemical spill” at Crider Poultry in Stillmore on Sunday, Jan. 25 at about 3:30 or 4 p.m. were denied by Terry Cole, vice president of human resources. “What we had was a build-up of carbon dioxide in the area where it’s used to cool down the finished product,” said Cole.
• At the regular meeting of Emanuel County Board of Commissioners Tuesday night, Jan. 20, Duane Tomlin, director of Emanuel County DFACS, presented the department’s annual report to the board. Tomlin stated that during 2003, $3,298,492 in food stamps was issued to Emanuel County households.
Feb. 4, 2004
• Great Wall Express restaurant in Swainsboro was robbed Tuesday, Jan. 27 at approximately 10:09 p.m. Upon arrival at the scene, the police officer reported he saw the offender, Steven Lamont Way, 215 Oak Grove Church Road, Swainsboro, punching the owner, Han Pin Huang, in the forehead with his fist. Officer said he went inside the premises and grabbed the offender, who then started to hit the officer on his chest.
• Emanuel County’s Teacher of the Year for 2003-2004 has received yet another honor. Melanie Frye, social studies teacher at Swainsboro High School, was recognized recently as a “Top Teacher” by WTOC-TV in Savannah.
• Swainsboro Primary School has been named a 2004 Title I Distinguished School by the Georgia Department of Education, according to Superintendent Butch Frye. The school is being recognized for having made adequate yearly progress (AYP) for five consecutive years, as authorized in the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.
Feb. 11, 2004
• Some Swainsboro residents on the wrong side of the law were paid an unannounced visit early Tuesday morning by agents and law enforcement officers of the East Central Georgia Drug Task Force (ECGDTF), Emanuel County Sheriff’s Department, Swainsboro Police Department, Georgia State Patrol and Department of Corrections in an undercover drug bust. According to Emanuel County Sheriff Tyson Stephens, the sting operation resulted in about 100 warrants that were executed Tuesday morning. “We had a total of 37 defendants of multi warrants,” said Sheriff Stephens. “We have 26 in custody in Emanuel County Jail being held without bond and are actively seeking 10 adults and one juvenile.”
• Motorists waiting to use the new West Swainsboro Bypass should get their wish this summer. Wet weather has caused severe delays in construction, but Georgia DOT engineers now believe the new stretch of road will be complete by August.
Feb. 18, 2004
• After weeks of batting the issue around, Swainsboro city council voted to adopt the parking ordinance on West Main Street at its meeting Monday night.
• At the regular meeting of Emanuel County Board of Commissioners on Monday night, Feb. 16, Jeff Wiggins and Jolly Martin representing WXRS Radio Station requested permission to allow them to place a “pine tree sitter” in the new downtown park 36 days prior to the Pinetree Festival. Even though the radio station will have insurance to cover damages to the park, commissioners were reluctant to agree to anything that would cause damage to the new park.
Feb. 25, 2004
• Mr. Nareshchandra R. Patel, 49, and his wife, Mrs. Lattabenn Patel, 47, operators of Petro (formerly Raco) on the corner of Coleman and E. Main streets in Swainsboro, were shot by a single bullet during a burglary attempt Monday, Feb. 23 at approximately 10:30 p.m.
• The Swainsboro Post Office Retail team was recently honored at a dinner celebrating their achievement of ten consecutive perfect Mystery Shopper evaluations. They were one of the top five to achieve this distinction among 15,000 offices who participated.
•According to a press release from the office of Superior Court Judge Kathy S. Palmer, the murder trial of Walter C. Mason, scheduled to begin March 15 in Danielsville, Madison County, has been indefinitely postponed.
• Bonnie Ogburn of Ogburn Hardware & Supply Inc., located at 225 E. Main St. in Swainsboro, has been awarded $385,535 in damages in his lawsuit against the Georgia Department of Transportation (DOT).
March 3, 2004
• The malingering issue of the one-hour parking ordinance on West Main Street visited Swainsboro city council again Monday night as Chet Lynch, co-owner of Bangles, brought his attorney, Hugh Peterson of Vidalia, to address council. Peterson asked council to rescind the parking ordinance and said council was “running into a questionable area of the law as far as equal protection goes.”
• Out of 11,245 registered voters in Emanuel County, only 1,828 (16.26 percent) turned out to vote on Super Tuesday last week. Incumbent President George W. Bush received 354 votes. Democratic candidate John Edwards narrowly beat his opponent John Kerry with 625 votes to Kerry’s 595. However, Edwards lost in all 10 states during the election and quit the race last Wednesday.
March 10, 2004
• Emanuel County Sheriff’s deputies and East Central Georgia Task Force agents assisted Georgia Department of Revenue agents in serving arrest warrants for the alcohol-related offenses at Morris’ Place Friday, March 5 at around 10 p.m. Club owner, Clinton Morris Hall, along with several club employees, were arrested on various charges including underage alcohol sales, Sunday alcohol sales and carrying a concealed weapon.
• The rocket at Sam’s Drive-In on Highway 1 South in Swainsboro was removed Tuesday, March 9 to be placed in Emanuel County Farm and Home Museum by Emanuel County Historic Preservation Society. Installed by Sam Woods, owner of Sam’s Drive-In, the rocket represented the up-and-coming space age. The drive-in was a popular hangout for teenagers in the 50s, 60s and 70s.
• Emanuel County School Superintendent Butch Frye reminded the public at Monday night’s board of education meeting that school construction and renovation projects are still on the agenda and will go ahead as planned. Frye said there was a misconception by some citizens that these projects were put on hold due to budget cuts. However, Frye said these projects are funded by the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) and will proceed.
March 17, 2004
• After a month-long investigation conducted by members of Emanuel County Sheriff’s Office and East Central Georgia Drug Task Force, two arrests were made Thursday, March 11. Arrested were Matthew Jermaine Coleman of 95 Nunez-Lexsy Rd., Swainsboro; and Reginald Hudson of 534 Gumlog Rd., Swainsboro. Coleman was charged with trafficking cocaine, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, obstruction of an officer and giving a false name. Hudson was charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.
March 24, 2004
• Swainsboro Exchange Club will hold its annual Public Service Appreciation dinner Tuesday, March 30. Guest speaker will be Judge Dudley H. Bowen Jr., chief judge of United States District of Georgia.
March 31, 2004
• Return the 16-ounce container of Vince’s Famous Southern Style Potato Salad you purchased at Bi-Lo supermarket if it has an expiration date of April 18, 2004, Georgia Department of Agriculture Commissioner Tommy Irvin told consumers recently.
• Ronald M. Zaccari, president of Valdosta State University, will feature his sculpture at Kalmanson Gallery of Emanuel Arts Center with a reception Sunday, April 4 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. President Zaccari will also exhibit a piece of his artwork, “Luminous Flight: Exploring the Boundaries of Knowledge,” in the East Georgia College Library and was purchased by the East Georgia College Foundation.
April 7, 2004
• William Rodriquez “Ra-Ra” Strange of Adrian was killed in the line of duty in Iraq Friday, April 2. He was a 2003 graduate of Swainsboro High School. He was with the 91st Engineer Battalion 1st Cavalry Army Unit in Baghdad.
• The Forest-Blade gets a new look! According to Publisher Wally Gallian, “Most newspapers are not printed on-site, but rather printed at more advanced facilities with better equipment to meet the demands of today’s products. Over the last few years, almost all newspapers have begun producing process color pictures and advertisements. The equipment we had in Swainsboro limited our ablity to do a good job of producing color newspapers.”
• U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall announced April 2 that included in HR 3550, Transportation Equity Act of 2004, is $500,000 for a streetscape project in Swainsboro.
• Emanuel County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to Coleman Lake Restaurant Friday, April 2 at 12:25 a.m. Upon arrival, deputies made contact with the victim, Fred G. “Trey” Mason III, 21, of 1538 Hwy. 56 N., Swainsboro, who had been cut on his inner thigh. Various witnesses identified James Allen “Jamie” Johnson, 24, 123 Bell Rd., Summertown, as the suspect, who had left the scene. Deputies went to the suspect’s home and took him into custody. Johnson is charged with disorderly conduct and probation violation.
April 14, 2004
• At its meeting Monday night, Emanuel County Board of Education agreed to accept sealed bids on the old Swainsboro Elementary School property on Gumlog Road. Bids will be opened May 7 at 4 p.m. at the Board of Education Building.
• Indigent Care Trust Funds have been allocated to EMC to assist in providing primary care and other medical services needed by low-income patients with health care as defined by the Department of Medical Assistance.
• Swainsboro Technical College will hold a dedication and open house ceremony commemorating the new Larry J. (Butch) Parrish Technology Center Wednesday, April 21 at 1 p.m. on the campus in Swainsboro. The public is invited and a reception will be held immediately following the dedication ceremony.
April 21, 2004
• Fire Chief Mike Strobridge announced to Swainsboro city council Swainsboro Fire Department will be receiving $169,937 grant from the Department of Domestic Preparedness to acquire equipment. The equipment will train local firefighters on the HazMat (hazardous materials) technology level.
• At the Emanuel County Commissioners April meeting Monday, the board approved a motion to adopt a resolution proclaiming the month of May as Community Action Month in Emanuel County. The month of May has been designated as National Community Action month throughout the United States. The CSRA Economic Opportunity Authority, Inc. is Emanuel County’s local Community Action Agency.
April 28, 2004
• Emanuel County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a home invasion at the residence of Robert Overstreet, 73, on Sam Overstreet Road in Twin City. Overstreet had been severely beaten and required immediate medical attention and was hospitalized, treated and released. Overstreet identified his assailants as James Earl Bush, 21, and Raymond Andy Bush 19, both of Hadden’s Trailer Park, Swainsboro.
• Ben Troupe, 21, son of Cheryl and John Troupe of Swainsboro, received a very important telephone call Saturday evening: He is the number one pick for the Tennessee Titans football team and will now be among the elite of the National Football League.
• At its workshop meeting Monday night, a group called Community Action for the Youth approached Emanuel County Board of Education to ask that it consider using the old Swainsboro Elementary School property on Gumlog Road to be used as a facility for the youth of Emanuel County.
May 5, 2004
• Emanuel County Sheriff’s Department deputies were dispatched to 309 West 5th Avenue in Stillmore Friday, April 30 at around 7 p.m. in reference to a shooting. Upon arrival, deputies discovered a black male, identified, as Randolph Buie, lying face up in the screened-in porch area of the residence with a single gunshot wound to the chest. Buie was pronounced dead by Emanuel County Coroner’s Office.
• Friday, April 30 just before noon, Franklin Lilo Smith, 18, of 133 Davis Road, Twin City, was apprehended by Candler County authorities and returned to Emanuel County. Smith had been on a week-long crime spree, which started Monday night when he reportedly assaulted his mother and sister and stole a family member’s vehicle.
May 12, 2004
• According to a police report from Swainsboro Police Department, Anthony Smith Johnson, 65, 413 Main Street, Norristown, was pronounced dead at Emanuel Medical Center after officers received a call that there was an accident at Sonic Drive-In on S. Main Street.
May 19, 2004
• The cause of death of Anthony S. Johnson, 65, has been determined by Deputy Coroner Tommy Wilkerson as “natural due to atheroselerotic coronary heart disease.” Johnson, who was driving a car down Highway 1 South at the time, ran into the building of Sonic Drive-In.
• At a meeting of the Parks and Recreation Committee Monday morning at Swainsboro-Emanuel County Chamber of Commerce, committee members decided to meet again prior to the next county commission meeting in July to decide the fate of the palm trees in the downtown square. Six trees are dead and 14 are in poor health.
• According to Emanuel County Sheriff Tyson Stephens, Emanuel County Sheriff’s deputies and East Central Georgia Drug Task Force agents served a narcotic search warrant on Room 123 of Western Inn Motel in Swainsboro Friday, May 14 at about 7 p.m. Arrested were Tanisha W. Coleman and Jerome Gregory Turnquest.
May 26, 2004
• At its workshop and called meeting Monday, May 24, Emanuel County Board of Education approved the sale of the gymnasium at the old Swainsboro Elementary School on Gumlog Road to the citizens group, Community Action for Youth.
• Governor Sonny Perdue announced over $12.5 million in grant and loan awards from the OneGeorgia Authority to spur economic development in rural Georgia communities. These projects, along with their respective local leadership representatives, were recognized at the regularly scheduled OneGeorgia board meeting at East Georgia College Friday, May 21. Emanuel County will receive $300,000 to construct 10,000 SF of additional warehouse space ($209,107) and provide parking-lot improvements ($90,893) for Capro, Inc.
June 2, 2004
• In a ruling dated May 24, the Georgia Supreme Court denied to hear a case brought by Enviro Pro, Inc. against Emanuel County Commissioners. The company filed suit last summer in Emanuel County Superior Court, alleging, among other things, that the commissioners had improperly revoked their permit to apply septic tank waste on agricultural fields.
• According to a report from Emanuel County Sheriff Tyson Stephens, on Thursday, May 27 at about 1 a.m., deputies from Emanuel County Sheriff’s Office and Treutlen County Sheriff’s Office, along with Georgia Department of Corrections K-9 tracking team, captured Dadge William Parrish, 18, of Swainsboro. Parrish was wanted by Treutlen County Sheriff’s Office for offenses of kidnapping and carjacking relating to an incident that occurred in Treutlen County May 12.
• Georgia Department of Corrections will host a Job Fair Saturday, June 5 for people interested in employment with Emanuel Probation Detention Center. A number of jobs will be available to fill positions in the new Swainsboro Unit of the PDC and to fill vacancies created at the Twin City Unit. The new Swainsboro Unit will be housed in the YDC facility that was closed as a juvenile facility in March.
June 9, 2004
• At its meeting Monday, Mayor Ricky Stevens’ report to council involved the very serious matter of potential water shortages. According to the mayor, the city is currently in violation of a state permit that allows the city to pump 1.8 million gallons of ground water per day. The city must more closely regulate the amount of water being used to avoid potential fines from the state. The mayor proposed that an odd-even watering system be imposed on city residents and fines for violators.
• Emanuel County recently installed court security screening devices in new Courthouse. As a cooperating agency with the U. S. Marshal Service, the Emanuel County Sheriff’s Office was able to receive the x-ray screening machine as the fully operational devices were upgraded in various federal courthouses.
June 16, 2004
• Mayor Ricky Stevens called an emergency meeting Monday morning to discuss the deteriorating condition of the police department. Due to heavy rains over the weekend and existing damage, parts of the ceiling tile have fallen, soaking a large section of the main office of the building. After discussion, council voted to proceed with preliminary plans drafted by Buckley & Associates and to seek bids on the building project. Mayor Stevens also asked council members Faulkner and Stafford to speak to members of county commission about the condition of the police department and to seek assistance from them.
• Peggy T. Corbin was named recipient of The Herbert Tillman Humanitarian Award during the annual Emanuel Medical Center Employee Awards Banquet on June 10.
• On June 8, Canoochee Riverkeeper received a complaint about some fish dying on a stream that flows into the Canoochee River between Twin City and Stillmore.The Riverkeeper, Chandra Brown, visited the site and found hundreds of dead fish ranging from small bluegills to larger fish, possibly bass. Water quality analysis found that oxygen levels in the stream were well below levels that support fish.
June 23, 2004
•At its council meeting Monday night, Swainsboro city council was approached by Lee Duke of Utilities Service in Perry about marketing the city’s water towers as antennae site management programs for cellular tower usage.
• At the June meeting of the Emanuel County Commission, chief property appraiser Darryl Gray addressed the body about the need for a permit program to be implemented countywide.
• Commencement ceremony for Swainsboro Technical College graduates was held Thursday, June 17 in the Swainsboro-Emanuel County Auditorium. Guest speaker was Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor.
June 30, 2004
• Two finalists for president of East Georgia College have been announced by the Board of Regents and University System of Georgia Chancellor Thomas C. Meredith. Both finalists have decades of experience in the University System: Dr. John Bryant Black and Dr. Timothy Dwight Goodman.
•Radio Jones of Swainsboro is hosting a Welcome Home Parade for the local National Guard unit Saturday, July 3 in downtown Swainsboro.
July 7, 2004
• Southwest Atlanta Christian High School’s Dwight Howard was the overall number one draft pick at this year’s National Basketball Association (NBA) draft. Howard was selected by the Orlando Magic over speculated first draft choice Emeka Okafor who led his University of Connecticut Huskies to the 2004 NCAA National Championship. He is the grandson of Cecile and Horace Hall of Swainsboro and the late Charles Hall; and Gussie Howard of Swainsboro and the late Paul Howard.
July 14, 2004
• Dr. John Bryant Black, a former vice president for academic affairs at East Georgia College in Swainsboro, has been named the college’s new president by the Board of Regents and University System of Georgia Chancellor Thomas C. Meredith.
• Swainsboro-Emanuel County received some welcome news Thursday, July 8 when Phil Jacobs, president of Georgia BellSouth Telecommunications, Inc. announced that our area has been selected to participate in a study that will highlight Swainsboro on the technology map. Part of the program will include a partnership between Swainsboro-Emanuel County Joint Development Authorities and BellSouth to advertise Swainsboro as a “Connected Community” in order to attract potential business and industry to the area.
July 21, 2004
•With a total number of 15 precincts and absentee votes in Emanuel County reporting, Rep. Butch Parrish retained his State House 156 District seat in the county during the General Primary election held Tuesday. Parrish garnered 2,151 votes in Emanuel County (62.26 percent) to challenger Bill English’s 1,304 votes (37.74 percent.) In the race for chief magistrate judge, Democratic candidate Ronald Wiggins garnered a whopping 1,919 votes (52.08 percent). Dorothy McGee received 1,075 votes (29.17 percent); and Spearman received 691 votes (18.75 votes). Lone Republican candidate Benjie Fennell received 310 votes and will face off with Wiggins in November.
July 28, 2004
• Swainsboro Unit of Emanuel Probation Detention Center will have its grand opening ceremony at 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 26 and will coincide with the 10th anniversary of the Emanuel facility. The building was procured by the Department of Corrections from the Department of Juvenile Justice after they were closed due to budget cuts. The first detainees will begin arriving at the center on Aug. 2.
•Georgia First Lady Mrs. Sonny Perdue is scheduled to speak at the luncheon and tour The Sunshine House in her Swainsboro during her visit Wednesday, August 18.
Aug. 4, 2004
• According to a report in The Augusta Chronicle Tuesday, Aug. 2, investigators may have a new suspect in the April 2002 murder of East Georgia College professor, Dr. Emily Pestana-Mason. The victim’s husband, Dr. Walter C. Mason Jr., is still under indictment for her murder and was released on a $100,000 bond pending trial. According to the report, an affidavit filed in Richmond County Superior Court last week, Georgia Bureau of Investigation laboratory agents matched a hair found at the homicide scene to Phillip S. Kirby, a 31-year-old Emanuel County man now serving a 12-year prison sentence for a May 2003 armed robbery in Swainsboro.
•Five of the seven Emanuel County schools have met with the state’s Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) overview report that was released last week. This has resulted in two more Emanuel schools making AYP compared to last year’s report. The report of the state’s AYP standards is required under the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, which became effective January 2002. Schools making AYP are Swainsboro Primary, Swainsboro Elementary, Swainsboro Middle, Adrian School of Performing Arts and Twin City Elementary. Not making AYP were Swainsboro High School and Emanuel County Institute. However, ECI did make AYP in 11 of the 12 designated categories. Swainsboro Primary School has made AYP for six consecutive years and has been named a Title I Distinguished School.
Aug. 11, 2004
•Emanuel County School Superintendent Butch Frye announced at the Board of Education meeting Monday night that the first day of school had gone very well. “We are very pleased,” said Frye. Although traffic on Tiger Trail clogged up as usual during peak hours, Frye said it was running smoothly after 8:15 a.m. According to Frye, a total of 4,337 students showed up for the first day of school in the Emanuel County public school system, compared to 4,216 last year.
• Insurance Commissioner John W. Oxendine has issued a directive urging auto insurance companies to reinstate active duty soldiers who may have let their coverage lapse while they were serving their country.
• Ann Buxton has been promoted to assistant library manager at Franklin Memorial Library. Mrs. Buxton was chosen from nearly 30 applicants following announcement of the vacancy, according to Jack Atkinson, library manager.
Aug. 18, 2004
• According to District Attorney Steve Askew, Middle Judicial Circuit, the indictment against Walter Cochran Mason has been dismissed. In a release to news media Friday, Aug. 13, Askew said, “At my request, the court has ordered a dismissal of the indictment of Walter Cochran Mason, who was charged with the murder of his wife, Emily Pestana-Mason. The request for dismissal states that ‘based upon further forensic investigation and review of the evidence, there does not presently exist a substantial likelihood of prosecution and conviction beyond a reasonable doubt.’”
•At its Monday meeting, Swainsboro city council voted to seek “qualified legal counsel” to deal with Georgia Environmental Protection Division in regards to the Land Application Spray Project. Mayor Ricky Stevens said that the LAS project, which was built by Thomas & Hutton, has not operated to its fullest potential and has been issued a proposed consent order by EPD. In hiring legal counsel, the city plans to request that Thomas & Hutton pay for the additional requirements at the LAS.
• Emanuel County Commissioners met Monday night in their regularly scheduled meeting. The main topic of the meeting was adopting a system to assure home improvements and new home construction were appraised by the assessors office in a timely manner.
Sept. 1, 2004
• At its meeting Monday night, Swainsboro city council agreed to contribute $5,000 to Access Emanuel to assist in its operating costs. Council said that contributing one-third of what Emanuel County Commission will contribute ($15,000) would be fair. Although council discussed its tight budget, members agreed that the program was valuable and deserved to be continued.
• State Rep. Butch Parrish, D-Swainsboro, who is chairman of the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee, is urging parents, school officials and other interested parties to come together and determine if a statewide starting date for the school year is in the best interest of K-12 students in Georgia.
Sept. 8, 2004
• At the quarterly meeting of the Emanuel County Historic Preservation Society (ECHPS)held at the Varner 4-H Center, long time civic leader Sam Smith was honored. Each year the society honors someone whose activities have promoted local history projects and historic preservation.
•The first Economic Development Education Advisory Council meeting was hosted by the Swainsboro/Emanuel County Joint Development Authorities at the Chamber of Commerce recently. The purpose of the meeting was to organize the advisory council and put in writing all of the educational programs and opportunities our community has to offer. This will be used in economic development marketing efforts as well as in providing community awareness. The leadership of the three educational institutions in Emanuel County were represented.
Sept. 15, 2004
• At the Emanuel County Board of Education meeting Monday night, Superintendent Butch Frye said that although all schools sessions had been canceled last Tuesday, “90 percent of the student body” attended school last Wednesday.
• According to Agent Glenn Allen of the office of Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John Oxendine, the fire at a mobile home on 24 Bowen Drive in Oak Park on Wednesday, Sept. 8 at 7 p.m. has been determined to be caused by arson. Additionally, a fire at Credit Guard of Georgia at 555 Ehrlich Farm Road in Swainsboro was reported the same day at about 11 p.m. Cause of the fire is undetermined. “The loss was estimated to be about $40,000,” said Allen. “It was declared a total loss due to the severity of the fire.” Owner of Credit Guard is Janice Newton.
Sept. 22, 2004
• Recent revenue shortfalls facing the state of Georgia have hit public higher education hard—and at least one local college who is feeling the sting is East Georgia College. According to a press release from Chancellor Thomas C. Meredith the shortfall has caused the University System of Georgia “to submit a FY 2006 Budget Request that challenges its ability to meet the demands of a continuously growing student body.” In short, the state needs to find $179 million to balance the FY ‘05 budget. According to Dr. John Black, president of EGC, the college will now have to absorb $170,832 in the FY ‘05 budget.
•Investigator Ashley Riner of Emanuel County Sheriff’s Department is warning local merchants and business owners to be aware of possible forgery or financial identity fraud cases that are currently being conducted over the telephone.
• During the monthly meeting of Emanuel County Commission, the body announced the resignation of Mr. Bill Schofill as a member of the Emanuel County Tax Assessors Board. The resignation takes effect on Nov. 1.
Sept. 29, 2004
• At its meeting Monday night, Swainsboro city council heard complaints from several residents who live on Bell Street. Hazel Jenkins, spokesperson for the group, told council that the neighborhood used to be a good one but has since fallen into the hands of some disreputable neighbors. Jenkins said that she has had, among other incidents, her front window shot, her front door screen torn off and the gas tank on her lawn mower burned.
• A fraudulent e-mail request is circulating throughout Emanuel County requesting personal and financial information from “Citizens Bank” customers. Do not respond to this e-mail. “Citizens” is a common name for banks and the e-mail being sent is in no way related to or a part of the Citizens Bank of Swainsboro and Laurens County. Online customers of Citizens Bank of Swainsboro and Laurens County have received this e-mail.
• Very much like déja vu all over again, Emanuel County Schools closed its doors to students Monday, Sept. 27 after reports of Tropical Storm Jeanne’s wrath flooded the airwaves Sunday night.
Oct. 6, 2004
• After little or no opposition to the proposed 3.93 mils increase to fund the 2005 city budget, Swainsboro city council unanimously voted to approve the new budget at its meeting Monday night. The last of three public hearings was also held that day. The increase will raise the city’s millage rate from 15.82 to 19.22 mils.
• The U.S. Economic Development Administration has awarded $400,000 to Georgia Tech’s Economic Development Institute (EDI) to provide services to manufacturing companies in areas of Georgia, including Emanuel County, that have been hard hit by high unemployment and falling wages.
• Peebles-Curry-Durden Mortuary is participating in Hurricane Relief for Florida residents and are collecting non-perishable food items, cleaning items and water. Hodges-Moore Funeral Home in Statesboro will be filling a tractor-trailer and transporting these items Oct. 31 to Pensacola, Fla.
Oct. 13, 2004
• Just in time for the Nov. 2 election, Emanuel County has received 12 new electronic voting machines to be placed in the larger precincts in the county. A total of 61 machines are now available for local voters. “This means there is one machine for every 200 voters,” said Jeb Cameron, Emanuel County director of Elections.
• H.D. Cannington, chief financial officer (CFO) of Emanuel Medical Center, has been named president-elect of Georgia Rural Health Association. He has been a member of the board of directors for two years and will assume the position of president next year. Cannington said his duties as president of GRHA will include providing leadership to the board and members of the organization. He will chair the association’s meetings at its headquarters in Sandersville.
• At its meeting Monday night, Emanuel County Board of Education passed a resolution to declare 2005-2006 as Swainsboro High School Centennial Year.
Oct. 20, 2004
• According to Emanuel County Sheriff J. Tyson Stephens, Lester LaShon Corley, 31, of Swainsboro, was arrested Friday, Oct. 15 as a result of a year long investigation into drug distribution complaints from the public. Corley was arrested at his residence on Grady Street in Swainsboro by authorities.
• During the regular monthly meeting of the Emanuel County Commission Monday night, the members considered appointments to several oversight boards. Commissioners discussed the attributes of several on a list but could come to no decision.
Oct. 27, 2004
• Emanuel Probation Detention Center was chosen as Georgia Department of Corrections’ Center of the Year. The award was accepted by Superintendent John Terwilliger during the first Annual Excellence in Corrections held Oct. 18 in Macon.
• Governor Sonny Perdue has announced tthat Dr. H. Kemp Jones of Swainsboro has been appointed to the State Board of Optometry.
Nov. 3, 2004
• Ronald Wiggins claimed victory over Benjie Fennell for the Chief Magistrate seat of Emanuel County in the Nov. 2 election. Wiggins garnered 4,578 votes to Fennell’s 2,649.
• Emanuel County Sheriff’s Deputies, with assistance from agents with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, executed a search warrant at a Jerome Street residence in Swainsboro after receiving tips about the production of counterfeit US currency. Seized from the residence was a computer system with scanning and printing equipment used in the production of the counterfeit money.
• Emanuel Medical Center has been named first runner-up in the 2004 “Hospital of the Year” award at the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals’ annual meeting at Callaway Gardens. Memorial Hospital and Manor in Bainbridge won the honor in the small hospital category (150 beds or less).
Nov. 10, 2004
• Georgia residents with insurance problems or questions can receive assistance directly from the Commissioner’s Office by contacting his Insurance Investigator working in our area. An investigator from the Office is scheduled to be in Swainsboro from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 10 at Emanuel County Courthouse.
• Georgia School Public Relations Association has awarded to an Emanuel Countian its highest award for individuals outside the school PR profession. Superintendent of Schools Butch Frye was recently presented the Georgia School Public Relations Association (GSPRA) Outstanding Leadership in School/Community Relations Award during the organization’s annual conference.
Nov. 17, 2004
•The Swainsboro/Emanuel County airport has been a work in process over the past three to four years. The runway has been resurfaced and extended now to 6,240 feet by 100 feet wide. A new taxiway has been added along with new landing lights and a new instrument landing system has been approved and is in the process of being installed over the next year or so.
• At its meeting Monday night, Swainsboro city council voted to study implementing occupational licenses on visiting vendors to the city. Mayor Ricky Stevens informed council that he has received several calls from local businesses and residents about vendors selling wares in parking lots and residents conducting frequent “yard sales” all across town.
• In the regular monthly meeting of the Emanuel County Commission Monday night, board members chose Emanuel County Chief Tax Appraiser Darryl Gray to occupy the open position on the Tax Assessor’s board. Part of the reasoning behind choosing Gray was his familiarity with procedures of the board.
Nov. 24, 2004
• The Emanuel Medical Center Volunteers were treated to a luncheon Nov. 18 at Spivey Pond House. Emanuel Medical Center Administration and Hospital Authority hosted the event in appreciation of the recent donation of the automatic doors and silk plants given to Emanuel Medical Center by the Volunteers.
• Georgia Office of Homeland Security (OHS) and Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) her reimbursed Emanuel Emergency Medical Services $59,922 for the purchase of a cargo trailer ,generator, personal protective gear and other equipment necessary for responding to incidents involving chemical, biological or explosives.
Dec. 1, 2004
• According to Emanuel County Sheriff J. Tyson Stephens, during recent weeks, there has been an unusual increase in the number of dogs being reported stolen or missing throughout Emanuel County. Numerous family pets, usually larger breeds, have come up missing—from Retrievers in northern Emanuel County, to Bulldogs in the Norristown/Norristown Junctions area to other large dogs in the Nunez area.
• Emanuel County Schools Superintendent Butch Frye announces the release of the Fall 2004 Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) scores for students in grades 3, 5 and 8. Overall, Emanuel County School’s results were slightly below the national average, but many areas increased when compared to last year’s results.
Dec. 8, 2004
• According to Emanuel County Sheriff J. Tyson Stephens, in the past 30 days, at least 41 green and white 911 road signs have been stolen and removed in Emanuel County. “These road-marking signs are vital for emergency response to residences,” said Sheriff Stephens. “In a life or death emergency, these road signs mark the route for law enforcement, ambulance and fire services to find the correct road. When these signs are missing, it delays emergency services, which can mean difference in life or death to a victim.”
• Emanuel County Farm Bureau President Robert Fountain Jr., was recently appointed to the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board to represent the board’s Southeast Unit consisting of Georgia and South Carolina.
Dec. 15, 2004
• Members of the Georgia Public Safety Educator’s Association held their monthly meeting Thursday, Dec. 9 in the Richard L. Brown Room of the East Georgia College campus.
Dec. 22, 2004
• In a drug bust conducted over the weekend, eight people in Emanuel County were arrested for street-level drug-related charges. The bust was conducted by officers from Emanuel County Sheriff’s Department and agents from East Central Georgia Task Force.
•Three people have been arrested in connection to a rash of burglaries in Emanuel County. The burglaries, which occurred Dec. 15, were on Old Wadley Road, RJ Holder Road and Foskey Road, said Sheriff Tyson Stephens.
• Dr. Madison Dixon of the Swainsboro Exchange Club recently presented the Book of Golden Deeds Award, on behalf of the Swainsboro Exchange Club, to Marie and Chuck Wofford for outstanding service to the community.