Sorrow and grief fell upon many Richmond Hill residents Aug. 1 with the news that lifelong resident and storyteller Shirley Davis Hiers had been killed in what police deemed a murder suicide.
Hiers, 67, and her significant other, Richard Earl Bates, 55, were discovered with gunshot wounds at 62 Mimosa St. in Richmond Hill. First responders were dispatched around 8:15 p.m. that Monday to the scene following a call regarding a female needing medical attention. Bates died on the scene, and Hiers died later after being transported to Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah by Bryan County EMS.
“The preliminary investigation indicates that Bates shot Hiers before taking his own life,” Richmond Hill Police Chief Billy Reynolds said the day after the incident.
This year’s elections brought some new faces to the Richmond Hill and Pembroke city councils next year after residents chose new leaders in their communities.
Ernest Hamilton, a previous council member, defeated current District 2 council member Doug Kangeter in the council’s only contested race in the Nov. 8 elections. Hamilton will begin his term as the new council member-at large in January and replace Angela Reed who chose not to run again.
Though only one seat was contested in the Pembroke city council race, the city will see a new mayor for the first time in 12 years. Mary Warnell ran unopposed for the mayoral seat and will replace Judy Cook, who served the city as mayor for three terms.
Also at the polls, Bryan County voters approved a the special purpose local option sales tax, or SPLOST, for another six years. SPLOST dollars help pay for capital improvement projects and is expected to generate around $33 million. Bryan County Commission Chairman Jimmy Burnsed was pleased with the voters’ approval of SPLOST.
Read more in the Dec. 31 edition of the News.