This is the third installment in a multi-part series. It includes stories from the Bryan County News from March–June 2007.
April 4 - Richmond Hill High School grad and local realtor Clint Murphy is tabbed to serve on presidential candidate John McCain’s Georgia Advisory Committee.
- The Richmond Hill Convention and Visitor’s Bureau plans to use southern history to help lure visitors to Bryan County.
- Bryan Animal Caregivers’ second annual "See Spot Run" is touted a success. The fundraiser at J.F. Gregory park raised about $5,000.
April 7 – Bryan County Commissioners turn down a request by Don Jones of Modern Craft Homes to have land off Spur 144 rezoned to residential for a project that would have put 44 homes on 42 acres of land.
- State Rep. Ron Stephens announces he has asked the General Assembly for $50,000 to help pay for a conference center in Richmond Hill.
- Capt. Mark Long was named Richmond Hill’s top cop.
April 11 - The Bryan County Board of Education votes to accept the resignation of Richmond Hill High School Band Director Charles Westman in a called session. The school board had earlier voted not to renew his contract.
- Reviews are mixed for a proposed – and increasingly controversial - school uniform policy.
- California man Chuck Johnson walks through Richmond Hill carrying a cross. He has been walking for seven years "just to get people to think about Jesus."
April 14 - Pembroke man Jack Barfield IV, serving time for the deaths of Ginger and Garrett Reagin in a 2005 traffic crash, won’t be allowed to speak to students in Bryan County about the dangers of reckless driving, school officials decide. Barfield was sentenced to 10 years in a detention center and 20 years probation – and ordered to speak to area students about his case.
- Richmond Hill developer Wayne Jackson unveils plans to build a laser tag facilty and more for kids.
- Richmond Hill’s Tara Crooks, an Army wife whose husband is deployed to Iraq, is featured on GPTV for her website armywifetalkradio.com.
- Richmond Hill officials make public a preliminary annexation plan which calls for the city to add some 24,000 acres by 2025.
April 18 – Pembroke officials give their nod to the first reading of a rezoning request which would allow apartments to be built on the Strickland Street Extension adjacent to Northside Cemetery.
- The dry weather is taking its toll on Pembroke farmer Hugh Lynn Page’s corn crop. "I’ve seen some dry times but this time of year I’ve never seen it this dry," he said.
- Developer Lamar Smith outlines plans for his 1,100-acre "city within a city," at a meeting with city and county officials. The proposed mixed use development off Daniel Siding Road is called Richmond Reserve. It draws fire from some nearby residents concerned about the traffic it will create.
- The JROTC program at both Bryan County High School and Richmond Hill High School is growing in popularity among teens.
- Operation Red Dot nets two more arrests. The drug bust is a joint effort by county deputies and Pembroke police to "run every drug dealer out of town." Earlier, eight men were arrested.
April 21 – County Commissioners want the Development Authority’s water system deeded back to the commission as part of an effort to create a county wide water authority.
- The Bryan County NAACP honors Gene Miller, the first black to be elected city councilman in Pembroke, as part of its 12 Months of Black History program.
- Both Pembroke and Richmond Hill gear up to celebrate Georgia Cities Week.
April 25 - Richmond Hill Middle School student Mallory McGee’s essay "If I Were Mayor, I Would …" wins District 12 in the Georgia Municipal Association contest for sixth graders across the state.
- Richmond Hill High School’s three Odyssey of the Mind teams win at state competition, earning them the right to compete at the world finals in May at Michigan State University.
- Michael Toma, director of AASU’s Center for Regional Analysis, tells local officials Bryan County has the potential for explosive growth.
- Arts on the Coast gears up to hold its second annual art show at the Wetlands center at J.F. Gregory Park.
April 28 – Richmond Hill High School’s Odyssey of the Mind teams will be allowed to travel to Michigan. There’s one catch, however: The school board won’t pay for the trip.
- The school board votes 4-3 to table the proposed school uniform policy after opposition from some parents. The move is expected to mean there won’t be a school uniform policy in place for the beginning of the 2007-2008 school year.
- The weather keeps getting drier, prompting burning bans and outdoor watering restrictions. "It’s the worst I’ve seen it," Pembroke Fire Chief Jimmy Cook said.
- Bryan County firefighters respond to blazes on both ends of the county – and go pitch in to help Ware County, which is battling a wildfire which will burn nearly half a million acres before it’s finally contained.
- Mallory McGee’s essay on what she would do if she were mayor wins first place in Georgia.
May 2 – Pembroke council member Elijah Lewis is arrested for DUI for the fourth time and second time in the last five years, according to a Pembroke police report.
- Pembroke’s city shop is broken into. A pickup is stolen and inside the pickup is a $60,000 camera used to photograph the sewer system.
- Pembroke officials dedicate the park behind city hall to former mayor Woodrow Picket. He served as mayor from 1978 to 1989.
- Richmond Hill gears up for Relay for Life.
- Cancer survivor Ben Bothelo’s inspirational tale of cancer survival leads him to become Georgia’s representative in Washington, D.C. for the Children’s Miracle Network.
May 5 – At a regular meeting, School board Vice Chairman Frances Meeks requests the school uniform policy be put back on the agenda; several principals speak out in favor of the policy during the meeting.
- Odyssey of the Mind teams begin to raise funds for the trip to Michigan State. They estimate it will cost less than $20,000.
- Publix on Hwy. 144 opens for business and Krogers breaks ground on a new store not far from the old one.
- Daniel Kiene is hired as Richmond Hill High School’s new band director. He replaces Charles Westman, who reportedly was offered the same position at Burke County High School near Augusta
- Lifelong Pembroke resident and former city councilwoman Ruth Virgene DuBois Hughes dies from injuries she receives in a car accident in North Carolina. She was 70. Also killed in the crash is Tammy DuBois, the wife of Hughes’ nephew Phillip.
- McGee is honored by Richmond Hill officials for her state winning essay. The city also gives out awards to its winners, Gwendolyn Leahy, Blake Neal and Lukas Takacs in art, and Chelsea Cerame, Michelle Todd and Bradley Seuntjens in the essay contest.
- Pembroke officials go against the recommendation of their own planning and zoning board and vote to approve a rezoning request by Ray Butler, who wants to build apartments on Strickland Street Extension near Northside Cemetery.
May 9 – Richmond Hill’s Relay for Life raises nearly $100,000.
- Pembroke’s Relay is set to kick off.
- Former Richmond Hill High School Salutatorian Patrick Sisco hasn’t slowed down since graduation. He’s currently working as a research scientist at the University of South Carolina, where he’s worked on helping to find a cure for Alzheimers.
- Red Dot nets its last suspect. The joint operation by sheriff’s deputies and Pembroke police took place in March. In all, a dozen people were arrested and charged with various drug offenses.
May 12 – County commissioners adopt a "no gouging" ordinance to help deal with potential emergencies. The ordinance will keep businesses from overcharging customers in the event of a disaster.
- More soldiers from Fort Stewart deploy to Iraq, including Sergeant Brice Watson, an Arkansan who has spent the past 10 months living in a camper in the Richmond Hill KOA.
- Publix officially opens for business.
- Richmond Hill High School’s Odyssey of the Mind teams estimate they have raised $12,000 of the $18,000 necessary to travel to Michigan State University to compete in the event’s world finals.
May 16 – A group of 30 parents opposed to the school’s proposed uniform policy meet to discuss strategy. School officials say the majority of parents want the policy.
- The North Bryan County Relay for Life raises more than $48,000 for the fight against cancer.
- A Richmond Hill girl who went missing was found after two hours. She was found hiding in a store in Ford Plaza.
May 19 – The county announces it will retake control over the Development Authority’s water system. At least one authority member, Owen Thayer, felt that was breaking the law. County officials said it wasn’t.
- Richmond Hill officials give Ben Bothelo the key to the city. Bothelo is a cancer survivor who represented Georgia in Washington D.C. for the Children’s Miracle Network.
- The city announces it will soon have a third McDonald’s.
- Members of the Spike TV Bullrun race team get stopped in Richmond Hill and ticketed for driving erractically.
- North Bryan artists Carol Duggar and Glenda Carter exhibit their work in Pembroke. The two are North Bryan natives who find inspiration from local people and places.
May 23 – Michael Larson, the late Bryan County Sheriff’s Department sergeant who was killed in the line of duty on Dec. 10, 2006, will be one of four law enforcement officers honored by Gov. Sonny Perdue in a ceremony as part of Peace Officer Memorial Day at the Georgia Public Safety Center in Forsyth.
- Richmond Hill Elementary School Principal James Bing, one of only a few black administrators in the Bryan County school system, retires after 25 years.
- The Bryan County Development Authority adds nearly 300 acres to the industrial park in Black Creek.
- More than 100 graduate from Bryan County High School. Nearly 300 graduate from Richmond Hill.
May 26 – Larson is honored at Forsyth as part of Peace Officer Memorial Day.
- After plenty of vocal opposition, the school board votes 4-2 against implementing a uniform policy for the 2007-2008 school year.
- The Bryan County Sheriff’s Department Traffic Unit rings up about $60,000 worth of drug money in the past 30 days, officials said.
- Hurricane season is set to begin June 1 and forecasters expect it to be a busy one.
- Rangers at Fort Benning honor the late Master Sgt. Jessie P. Davis, a Richmond Hill native.
May 30 – Fires usher in the Memorial Day holiday in North Bryan, limiting visibility on roads near Pembroke. Firefighters keep the fires from threatening homes and businesses.
- Richmond Hill holds its annual Memorial Day Observance.
- Local officials begin tackling growth issues one workshop at a time. It’s all part of a state mandate for local goverments to come up with comprehensive plans on how they’ll manage future issues.
- Pembroke boy scouts, with help from American Legion Post 164 Auxillary and the NAACP, erect flags in downtown Pembroke and at local cemeteries.
June 2 – An on-again, off-again wildfire turns on again, forcing evacuation of roughly 100 Pembroke residents from their homes. None of the residences are damaged. In a somewhat related story, Pastor Gwendolyn Greene of Gospel Truth Church in Ellabell calls for residents to gather together and pray for rain.
- Richmond Hill’s Odyssey of the Mind team finished sixth out of 34 teams at the world finals
- Richmond Hill police arrest Donald Hillis, 66, of Belle Grove Circle for alleged child molestation.
- After winning the Petite Miss title at the 2006 Miss Georgia Girl pageant, 4-year-old Kelsey Leggett fulfills a requirement to give back to her community by making cards for troops. Her Pre-K classmates in Pembroke help, too.
June 6 – Tropical Storm Barry dumps 3-5 inches of rain on Bryan County and helped quell a troublesome wildfire in North Bryan.
- An armed robber hits Leggett's Stop and Go on Hwy. 67. Armed robberies in Pembroke are rare, according to police.
- Richmond Hill resident Judy McCorkle’s life turns around after she receives a liver transplant.
- Richmond Hill resident Sue Romeo is named Memorial Hospital’s Nurse of the Year.
- Construction work on Hwy. 17 in Chatham County is all but finished. The road is used by thousands of Bryan County residents who commute to Savannah to work.
June 9 - Jack Barfield IV, serving time in a detention center on vehicular homicide charges for the 2005 deaths of Ginger and Garrett Reagin, is released from the detention center to get medical treatment for a spider bite, upsetting members of the victims’ family.
- Farmers got plenty of rain from Tropical Storm Barry, but it wasn’t enough.
June 13 – Pembroke officials get a hint of what an evacuation for a hurricane will be like after recent evacuation for wildfire.
- Blitchton artist Isaac Mock’s sculptures have attracted an audience from around the world.
- Carrie Hall uses her hope for a cleaner environment to help start her own recycling business.
- The Richmond Hill Exchange Club’s annual fishing derby packs young anglers in to the fish hatchery.
June 16 – Emily Mosley pleads no contest to charges of misdemeanor homicide by vehicle second degree, serious injury by vehicle, speeding, speeding in a construction zone and reckless driving. The charges stem from her reported involvement in an April 2005 wreck that killed Ginger and Garrett Reagin. The other driver in that crash, Jack Barfield IV, was sentenced to 10 years in a detention center.
- Donald Hillis, 66, faces an additional charge of child molestation as a result of a Richmond Hill police investigation into an incident in May.
June 20 – The late Michael Larson, the Bryan County Sheriff’s Department sergeant killed Dec. 10, 2006, in the line of duty, is awarded an honorary purple heart by the Savannah Military Order of the Purple Heart. Larson was an Army veteran before joining BCSD.
- Danny Lee Pfister, 22, is behind bars after he was charged with robbing an Ellabell home and then setting it on fire.
- Bryan County’s Juvenile Diversion Program, which gives kids a second chance, gets high marks from local authorities.
- The Bryan County News wins four Georgia Press Association awards in its classification, including a first place award in Best Local News Coverage. Photographer Michelle Seger took first for a sports photograph and the 2006 Newcomers Guide won first in Special Sections. The sports section placed third in that category.
June 23 – Despite opposition from Mulberry subdivision residents, Richmond Hill approves a rezoning bid from Charlie Stafford that will allow him to build a vehicle storage facility near the entrance.
- Nearly 20 percent of adults in Bryan County over 25 do not have a high school diploma, according to Rick Smith. Smith is director of Bryan County’s adult education program.
- Fort McAllister Marina owners get the OK to expand its dock from the Coastal Marshland and Shore Protection Committee.
June 27 – Richmond Hill’s Planning and Zoning Commission approves rezoning for a proposed 1,100 acre subdivision off Daniel Siding Road.
- Local kids get more than canoe lessons at Connie Shreve’s canoe camp at the Ogeechee River just inside the Bryan County line. They also get an upclose look at nature.
- Congressman Jack Kingston (R-Savannah) helps get $500,000 in federal funding for Richmond Hill’s Experience Works, Inc. The group helps seniors across the state find employment.
- Boy Scouts in Troop 527 hike 50 miles on the Appalachian Trail.
- Richmond Hill resident John Bennett begins distributing his Notch 8 barbecue sauce.
June 30 – The Bryan County Board of Education approves a budget of $50-million for the 2007 fiscal year.
- Richmond Hill’s annual July 4 celebration is set for July 7 with fireworks, a family festival and more.
- State officials warn people to be careful with fireworks over the holiday because of the drought.
- An elderly Hinesville couple is killed in a crash at the intersection of Hwys. 17 and 196 just inside the Liberty County line. According to Georgia State Trooper Joel Mock, Ruby Mock, 75, and her husband William, 78, were killed instantly when she pulled their Lincoln Town Car into the path of a tractor trailer while trying to cross Hwy. 17 South. The tractor trailer driver also was injured.
- Ellabell teen Jessica Michelle Cooke, 16, was seriously hurt in an accident on Hwy. 301. Authorities said she apparently pulled the car she was driving in front of a car she didn’t see. Cooke was airlifted to a Savannah hospital.
See more on 2007 in Wednesday's issue.