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2007 Year in Review
The final installment of the series
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This is the last of a multi-part series that has taken a look back at what happened in the past year.

Oct. 17 – The ninth annual Great Ogeechee Seafood festival includes headliner Survivor, the Swinging Medallions and plenty of seafood. An estimated 35,000 people pack J.F. Gregory Park over the three-day event.

- The Development Authority talks about getting Interstate Centre II up and running at its monthly meeting. In addition, DA Executive Director Jean Bacon tells members she has a prospective client for the new park. "I can’t say who it is yet, but they are very serious about coming to the park," she said.

Oct. 20 – The giant flag at Tidal Construction Company is dedicated by Richmond Hill officials along with Congressman Jack Kingston and Lt. Col. Brian Gale from Fort Stewart.

- The North Bryan Chamber of Commerce unveils a new logo to go along with new plans.

- Bryan County’s comprehensive plan takes another step toward completion at a meeting to continue identifying issues and goals. "We got through most of them," County Administrator Phil Jones said. "I think we’re down to maybe the last one or two." Among the topics discussed are economic development, housing and natural and cultural resources.

Oct. 24 – Savannah man Lakeith Mitchell was allegedly shot and "nearly killed" at an Oct. 13 party in Ellabell, police say.

- Candidates for Pembroke City Hall outline reasons they’re running for office.

Oct. 27 – Candidates for Richmond Hill city council say handling the city’s rapid growth is one of their top objectives.

- The Georgia Municipal Association compares House Speaker Glenn Richardson’s HR 900 or GREAT plan to abolish property taxes to the Titanic.

Oct. 31 – STAPH infections start hitting closer to home. Officials say despite new media attention, there’s nothing new about the disease.

- The Coastal Health District and Pembroke police team up for Georgia Teens Ride with PRIDE (Parents Reducing Incidents of Driver Error). The free program is aimed at helping prepare teens for a lifetime of safe driving. "This is hopefully the beginning of more sessions in Bryan County," said Cristina Gibson of the Coastal Health District.

- Former Richmmond Hill physical therapist Scott Bowlin, who ran Total Rehab and Wellness with his wife Kim until early 2005, pleades guilty to health care fraud in federal court in Savannah on Oct. 22.

- Richmond Hill police and Bryan County sheriff’s deputies were praised for their help in convictine Savannah man Isaiah Johnson, 49, on weapons charges. A 12 gauge shotgun was found in the possession of Johnson, a convicted felon, during a traffic stop in Richmond Hill in 2005.

Nov. 3 – Pembroke residents grill challengers for city council seats during an open forum Oct. 30. Three of the incumbents didn’t show up – Ray Butler, Ernest Hamilton and Elijah Lewis Jr. Butler and Hamilton said they had to work.

- Controversial Colonial Marsh subdivision gets the nod from Richmond Hill’s planning and zoning board.

- The Georgia Budget and Policy Institute comes out against Richardson’s GREAT plan to abolish property tax. "They have far reaching consequences and people have to get beyond the general rhetoric," said Alan Essig, GBPI director. "If it sounds too good to be true then it probably is."

- Friends and family hold fundraisers for Emily Martin, the 15-year-old Richmond Hill student hurt in a September auto accident.

- One case of the MSRA staph infection is reported in the county. It was reported at Richmond Hill High School and was minor, according to school superintendent Dr. Sallie Brewer.

Nov. 7 – Challengers sweep to wins in Pembroke while Jimmy Hires retains his Richmond Hill city council seat and incumbent Billy Albritton and political newcomer Marilyn Hodges wind up in a runoff for the other open post. Incumbent mayor Judy Hodges and incumbent councilman Johnny Miller Sr. retain their seats in Pembroke after running unopposed, but challengers Douglas Kangeter, Tiffany Walraven and Angela Reed outpoll incumbents Elijah Lewis Jr., Randall Butler and Ernest Hamilton. Anthony Greeson wins his seat after Joey Burnsed is disqualified after it’s discovered he no longer lives in District 3.

In addition, the new ESPLOST passes by an 880-278 margin, according to unofficial first-night results.

- Pembroke Food Bank is scheduled to close Jan. 1 because it is termite infested. That is expected to leave some 400 residents without a place to turn to for food assistance.

Nov. 10 – Richmond Hill city council gives the thumbs up to Colonial Marsh more than two and a half years after it was first proposed.

- Bryan County’s Emergency Services Department receives a grant for $620,000 for a "mobile command vehicle." "We’ll be able to set it up as a 911 center, should our 911 center ever go down," EMS Director Jim Anderson said.

- The final count was 1,073-330 in favor of renewing the ESPLOST, or penny sales tax for education. "We’re very excited about the projects this will make available," Superintendent Dr. Sallie Brewer said. "We’re also very excited about the fact that this is also a vote of confidence in our public schools and I think that’s very important."


Nov. 14 – Richmond Hill officials pay tribute to veterans with the annual Veterans Day Observance and laying of a wreath at the Veterans Memorial. "It is because of all the veterans of this great country that we can call America the land of the free and the home of the brave," Richmond Hill Mayor Richard Davis said.

- The flu season is here and the Bryan County Health Department has plent ofvaccinations.

- Work begins on the first stages of the new Richmond Hill Elementary School.

Nov. 17 – House Speaker Glenn Richardson visits the Richmond Hill Rotary Club to discuss his GREAT plan to abolish property taxes. "You can have a system that funds local government based on a consumption/sales tax that’s pay-as-you-go, and get rid of property taxes," Richardson said.

- The Richmond Hill Planning and Zoning Board voted to recommend a proposed master plan for Richmond Reserve that is denser than the original plan. The new plan calls for 2,200 units on 1,100 acres as opposed to 1,900 in an earlier version.

- The Bryan County school board hears a complaint about the survey sent home to parents. But that’s after the BoE hears plenty of good news, such as the awards received by BCES students Cassie Mock and Jakayla Davis after their work was displayed at Georgia Southern’s Art Extravaganza. BCES also was one of 13 schools in the state to win the 2007 Silver Single Statewide Accountability System award. As for the complaint, Richmond Hill’s Michelle Adams found fault with the survey sent home to parents. She said it wasn’t scientific and asked the board to rethink it’s process of surveying parents.

Nov. 21 – A Nov. 18 house fire at 259 East Old Mill Road in South Bryan claims the life Kimberly Collins, 37. Collins leaves behind a husband and two young sons.

- The Nov. 19 city council meeting in Pembroke drew a packed house after rumors got out that recently defeated city council members planned to fire Police Chief Bill Collins, Fire Chief Bill Cook and Clerk of Works Ricky McCoy

- Daniel Siding residents voice concerns over the proposed 1,100-acre Richmond Reserve project at a meeting with county officials. The development was annexed by Richmond Hill, but Daniel Siding Road remains in the county.


Nov. 24 – The school board mulls a 2008-2009 school calendar with a July 28 start date for teachers to return to school and an early August start for classes.

- Richmond Hill gears up for what may be the first runoff in the city’s history. It pits Incumbent Billy Albritton against challenger Marilyn Hodges.

- Mayor Richard Davis breaks a tie by voting for a master plan for Richmond Reserve that will include more homes. The vote includes a stipulation that only 750 homes can be built initially, with the remainder of the 2,200 home project seeing completion only if Daniel Siding Road is four-laned.

- Excecutive Director Vernon Martin of the Coastal Georgia Regional Development Center tells officials that planning for growth isn’t going to be easy with the population expected to double at some point within the next 10-15 years.

Nov. 28 – Arraignment hearings for a pair of vehicular homicide cases are set for Dec. 10: Tam Duc Le, who is accused of three counts of vehicular homicide for the March 21 crash that killed teens Heather and Melissa Arthur and Laura Cobb; and John Lynwood Smith, who faces one count of vehicular homicide for the Dec. 10, 2006 crash that killed Bryan County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Mike Larson.

- Former Bryan County High School valedictorian and homecoming queen Angie Cowart-Hammerstein dies after years of fighting cancer. She is 42.

- Margaret Davis Fennell Judy is named grand marshal of Richmond Hill’s Christmas Parade.

- A property owner in Ellabell finds human bones on his property.

- Congressman Jack Kingston visits Richmond Hill Elementary School.

Dec. 5 – BoE says no to fall break and earlier start date.

- Challenger Marilyn Hodges beats incumbent Billy Albritton in a runoff for Richmond Hill’s District 4 eat.

- Pembroke gears up for its annual Christmas celebration and announces that Johnny Miller Sr. will be parade grand marshal.

Dec. 8 – Richmond Hill sets its budget at $13.7 million while officials also talk about potential new restaurants, including a Cracker Barrel.

- Senator Eric Johnson discusses taxes, transportation, teaching and water during a speech to the Rotary Club.

- Developer Johnny Murphy’s bid to rezone land on Spur 144 for a 393-acre planned unit development is approved by Bryan County’s planning and zoning board.

- County commissioners OK funds for new software for EMS so they can do reports on laptops inside ambulances.

Dec. 12 – John Lynwood Smith pleads not guilty to vehicular homicide and other charges stemming from the Dec. 10, 2006 death of deputy Sgt. Mike Larson pleads not guilty at an arraignment hearing one year to the day after the accident that killed Larson.

- Bryan County’s graduation rates are steadily increasing, according to the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement. The county’s graduation rate increased from 64 percent in 2002 to 82 percent in 2007.

- The road to the new BCSD complex off Hwy. 17 Is named Sgt. Michael Larson Drive in honor of the late deputy, who was killed in the line of duty in 2006.

- Fort Stewart’s deputy garrison commander Paul Andreshak tells the Home Builders Association meeting that it looks as if the post will get a new brigade combat team.

Dec. 15 – Bryan County’s school board acquires 95 acres of land in the proposed Terra Pointe subdivision for a new middle school in South Bryan.

- Richmond Hill Mayor Richard Davis tells Rotarians that several businesses – including the department store Kohls – have shown interest in locating in the city.

- There won’t be another property revaluation during the 2008 fiscal year, commissioners are told.

- The human remains in Ellabell are identified as belonging to Savannah resident Roy Robert Barbaris Jr. The cause of death is uncertain. The case remains under investigation.

Dec. 19 – The Development Authority announces it wants to give away a home lcoted on the Gardner site in the Industrial Centre. There’s a few catches, however: whoever takes the home has to use a licensed mover to remove it from the site and pay a $1,000 bond in advance to make sure the site is cleaned up.

- Paul Anthony Lee, 48, of St. Petersburg, was killed on I-95 after he allegedly tried to run away from a Bryan County Sheriff’s Deputy and was hit by a semi.

- The Bryan County Chamber of Commerce’s board members met to discuss goals for 2008.

Dec. 22 – Richmond Hill approves annexation of 273.57 acres off Harris Trail Road.

- School board members approve the 2008 school calendar. It includes no earlier start date or fall break.

- Georgia Power announces it is raising rates by about $5.24 per customer per month.

- The Offshore Outlaws hold their first official trout tournament and proceeds go to buy bikes for every needy child in the county this year.

- Richmond Hill resident Joe Lennane, 52, dies in Switzerland of an apparent heart attack. Lennane is a tour manager and reportedly had managed tours for major recording artists such as Joan Jett and Meatloaf, among others. He was currently managing the tour for Maroon 5.


Dec. 26 – Richmond Hill’s comprehensive plan is soon to be available for public comment. The time is now for public comment, the CGRDC’s Tricia Reynolds says.

- Life-long Ellaball resident Edward Murchison is restoring the Maulden Chapel Cemetery.

- The Savannah Area Harley Owners Group gives Dylan and Travis Collins reason to smile during the holiday. The two boys lost their mother, Kimberly Collins, in a house fire in November.

- Dec. 29 – A rash of school break ins and vandalism continues over the Christmas holiday. Richmond Hill Primary, Carver Elementary and Richmond Hill High were all hit by vandals, who smashed windows, threw food and took money, officials said.

- Robert Crapse, the deputy who was run over and dragged during a a Dec. 14 traffic stop, is reportedly recovering after suffering an ankle injury.


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