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2007 - Year in Review, Part 1
January - March
The Exchange Club handed out their annual Public Safety Awards. - photo by Ross Blair

Firefighters here and elsewhere in the state earned their pay in 2007, as wildfire burned hundreds of thousands of acres in southeast Georgia.

And thought the brunt of the damage was borne by Ware County, Bryan County had it’s share of wildfires as coastal Georgia struggled through a severe drought during the early summer months.

Fortunately, paid and volunteer firefighters kept residents and their homes safe.

That’s why the Bryan County News thinks it’s important to remember their contribution as we begin to put 2007 in the rear view mirror. Without their dedication, many might have lost homes or worse this summer.

Note: This is the first of a multipart series.

Jan. 4 – Newly elected school board members Eddie Warren, Jeff Morton , Joe Pecenka and Judy Crosby were sworn in along with incumbent Mary Warnell.

- The Richmond Hill-Bryan County Chamber of Commerce settled into its new digs at the Spier-Brogdon building.

- Deputies, other public safety personnel try to brighten the holidays for the family of the late Sgt. Michael Larson, a Bryan County Sheriff’s Deputy who was killed Dec. 10, 2006 in a crash while responding to a call for backup.

- Pembroke’s Jay Stewart was sworn in as the newest superior court judge in the Atlantic Judicial Circuit.

Jan. 11 - Bryan County commissioners express concern over the school board’s reported plan to locate a school off Cartertown Road near a Fort Stewart training area.

- Incumbent commissioners Rick Gardner, Blondean Newman and Toby Roberts took their oaths of office.

- CBS anchor Katie Couric does the evening news from Fort Stewart as 3rd Infantry Division soldiers – including many from Bryan County – gear up for another deployment to Iraq.

Jan. 18 – Richmond Hill resident Ernest Williams, founder of Ernest Homes, dies at 51. -- Pembroke Police Chief Bill Collins is reappointed to another term. Probate Judge Sam Davis is reappointed as election superintendent for city elections and city clerk Betty Hill was reappointed as absentee ballot clerk.

- The job market in North Bryan looks brighter with the opening of Oracal and Oneida in the Interstate Centre in Black Creek.

Jan. 25 – March 1 is the cutoff for eligible residents to apply for the new homestead exemptions, which provided a $50,000 exemption for residents 65 and older and a $30,000 exemption for other homeowners.

- Richmond Hill receives a Georgia Municipal Association Trendsetter Award for its’ wastewater treatment facility.

- Bonnie Proctor takes reins as chairman of Richmond Hill Bryan County Chamber of Commerce. She replaces Rich DeLong.

Feb. 1 – The Rev. Francys Johnson, pastor of Pembroke’s Mount Moriah Baptist Church, is named Southeast regional director of the NAACP, a post formerly held by civil rights giants Medgar Evers, Earl Shinhoster and Ruby Hurley.

- Bryan County Sheriff’s deputies arrest 24-year-old Ellabell man Daniel Riggs, a registered sex offender. Riggs is charged with kidnapping his 4-year-old stepdaughter from her grandparent’s home in Rincon.

- The new Bryan County BoE, which is expected to allow more public comment at meetings, convenes for the first time. No one took advantage of the opportunity.

- Representatives from Oneida, Quick Start and Savannah Tech meet to announce a training program for workers at Oneida’s soon-to-open Black Creek facility.

- The trial of Jack Barfield is postponed. Barfield faces charges of vehicular homicide in the January, 2005, deaths of Ginger Reagin, 34, and her son Garrett Reagin, 5.

- Despite a spike in drug busts, Pembroke and county officials say drug problem isn’t widespread.

Feb. 8 – Richmond Hill city council members deny a rezoning application for the proposed Colonial Marsh subdivision for the third time.

- Nearly 100 people, many of them Keller residents, show up at a Bryan County Planning and Zoning meeting at the Courthouse Annex in Richmond Hill to protest two proposed townhome projects. Also at the meeting are Lanier residents opposing a commercial development.

- Richmond Hill resident and House of Blues co-creator Victor Pisano announces plans to start a new restaurant chain, the BluCarat, and open the first at Station Xchange in October.

- The Bryan County News announces plans to go twice weekly beginning on Feb. 28.

- Convicted felon Thomas Patrick Todd, 56, remains at large after escaping from the Bryan County Jail on Feb. 4.

Feb. 15 – Richmond Hill resident Sheila Galbreath tells county commissioners she will work tirelessly to see county seat moved from Pembroke to Richmond Hill.

- The Bryan County Sheriff Department’s drug unit stay busy working the interstates.

- Pembroke resident Linda Adam’s home at 683 W.E. Smith road is destroyed by fire Feb. 11.

- Members of the Richmond Hill business community and government joined the administrative staff to break ground at the new site of Richmond Hill Bank.

- The Bryan County News new and improved website is launched.

- Convicted felon Thomas Patrick Todd, 56, is arrested Feb. 9 in Bulloch County five days after his escape from Bryan County Jail.

Feb. 22 – The Richmond Hill Police Department honors the late Doug Ellis, the former mayor who created RHPD in 1977, by naming the building which houses the department the Douglas T. Ellis Law Enforcement Center.

- Congressman Jack Kingston (R-Savannah) visits Richmond Hill High School at the unveiling of the Coastal Electric and RHHS Sun Power For Schools project.

- Richmond Hill City Clerk Ursula Lee was named Clerk of the Year by the Georgia Municipal Clerks and Finance Officer’s Association.

Feb. 28 – Richmond Hill resident Sheila Galbreath starts a petition to move the county seat from Pembroke to Bryan County.

- Carver Elementary student Katie Threatt places second at the district spelling bee in Waycross to advance to the state spelling bee in Atlanta on March 23.

- USC-Beaufort Chancellor Jane Upshaw visits Richmond Hill to tout the school, which offers instate tuition to area residents.


See more of 2007 in review Jan. 2.

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