By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Looking back on the year that was in Bryan County
Pushing a symbolic button to activate Bryan Countys Caesarstone plant on May 27 are, from left, Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Chris Carr; U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Ga.; Bryan County Commissioners Chairman Jimmy Burnsed; Caesarstone CEO Yos Shiran; and Caesarstone Plant Manager Yaakov Dory. Obscured is Richmond Hill Mayor Harold Fowler. - photo by News file photo

Now that 2015 is coming to an end, the Bryan County News is taking a look back at what happened over the last 52 weeks.

It was an eventful year. Check out our list of headlines from throughout the year to see just how eventful it was.

• Bryan County announced it would join the Savannah Harbor-Interstate 16 Corridor Joint Development Authority with Bulloch, Chatham and Effingham counties.
• Four people were injured, one seriously, when a car collided with a school bus near Richmond Hill High School.
• Richmond Hill decided to get a one-year line of credit for $3 million in order to cover gaps in state funding for its new wastewater-treatment plant.
• Robert Hodgdon was named Georgia’s top middle-school science teacher by the Georgia Science Teachers Association.• Randy Alexander was sworn in as the new chief of police in Pembroke.
• James Rodney Shuman of Ellabell, who was wanted on charges of aggravated assault and methamphetamine, was captured by Bulloch County deputies.
• Richmond Hill police apprehended Corey Hamlet after he reportedly responded to a text on a cellphone he had allegedly taken at gunpoint.
• Richmond Hill Pharmacy was named the 2014 Business of the Year by the Richmond Hill/Bryan County Chamber of Commerce.
• Environmentalist Roy Hubbard was named the new curator of the Richmond Hill History Museum.

• Caesarstone announced plans to expand its operations in Richmond Hill, adding 130 jobs.
• The Bryan County Board of Education approved the new McAllister Elementary School’s attendance zone.

• Bryan County High School senior Reed Walker was named the school’s STAR student. She named Keith Corbin as her STAR teacher.
• The Richmond Hill City Council unanimously voted to send the issue of Sunday package-alcohol sales to the voters.
• The Bryan County Board of Commissioners announced that a roundabout would be built on Highway 144 at Belfast River Road.
• Jaden Freeze was named Richmond Hill High School’s STAR student and named Richmond Hill High School Band Director Dr. Daniel Kiene as his STAR teacher.
• A truck of tires that was involved in a fatal accident March 5 on Interstate
16 caught fire after being towed to a salvage yard near the Bryan County Courthouse in Pembroke. Firefighters from around the region needed 90 minutes to extinguish the blaze.
• Mark Wilson, who went 22-30 in five seasons as head football coach at Bryan County High, announced he was leaving the program to become the head coach at Taylor County High School.
• Bryan County was to be included in the Savannah-area test market for collecting U.S. Census information over the Internet.
• Thomas Darieng, the last living member of the first Richmond Hill City Council, died at age 87 in Savannah. After being appointed to his first term in 1962, Darieng helped set up the original city charter.
• The Pembroke Police Department opened a new substation at Miller Village. The substation has room for police to conduct business — including doing interviews and filing reports — and has a kitchen.
• The Bryan County Board of Education approved more than $540,000 to improve the football stadiums at the county’s two high schools.
• Two South Carolina men were arrested for the March 18 burglary of Plantation Building and Lumber Supply and the Ford Plantation maintenance shop.
• Mary Ann Tiedemann was named the first principal for McAllister Elementary School.

• U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter spoke at the Bryan County Health and Rehabilitation Center in Richmond Hill about the recent passage of a measure to fix Medicare.
• Dustin Peebles was unanimously approved by the Pembroke City Council to be city administrator.
• Five Georgia Southern University nursing students were killed on Interstate 16 in North Bryan in a seven-vehicle accident. A truck struck some vehicles that were stopped because of an earlier accident in that area. Wrongful-death lawsuits were filed over the next several weeks in Bryan County State Court against Total Transportation and U.S. Xpress Enterprises.
• A public hearing by Kinder Morgan about its proposed Palmetto Pipeline, which would run through Bryan County, was well-attended, with most in opposition, at the Richmond Hill City Center.
• Malic Stevens of Savannah was arrested by Richmond Hill police for in the shooting of Cooper Suddath in Richmond Hill in August 2014.
• Former Bryan County High teacher and coach Zachary Anderson Giebner was arrested for sexual exploitation of children. He had resigned from BCHS in May 2014.

• The Georgia Department of Transportation denied the request by Kinder Morgan for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity, which would have given the company the power of eminent domain to push through its proposed Palmetto Pipeline.
• Robert Washington of Savannah drowned May 13 in the Ogeechee River after his boat had motor trouble. He was recovered at King’s Ferry on the Bryan-Chatham county line.
• Ninety-six Bryan County High School students and more than 400 Richmond Hill High School students received diplomas during the schools’ graduation ceremonies.
• The grand opening for the new Caesarstone plant in South Bryan was held May 27.
• A reception was held for Clara Shearouse, who retired after 26 years as an administrative assistant to the Bryan County School superintendent and Board of Education.

• Three major hotels were announced to be in the works for Richmond Hill, with two to be built off Interstate 95’s exit 87 and the other going up off exit 90. The three facilities would provide more than 260 rooms combined.
• U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., announced that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. He still planned to run for re-election in 2016.
• The 3rd Infantry Division welcomed the 63rd Expeditionary Signal Battalion as a new unit.
• Catherine Grant, co-owner of The Urgent Care Center of Richmond Hill, raised more than
$61,000 and earned the People’s Choice Award at the Georgia Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association Dancing with the Stars of Coastal Georgia in Savannah.
• The Bryan County Board of Commissioners raised the minimum fine for property-maintenance violations from $50 to $250.
• The Murphy McKeel Mile trail at DeVaul Henderson Recreation Park held its grand opening. The trail is named in memory of a young man who died after a January 2012 car crash.
• A prayer vigil was held at Calvary Missionary Baptist Church in Richmond Hill to honor the victims of a shooting June 18 at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.
• Pembroke was one of 40 winners of $25,000 grants through State Farm Insurance’s Neighborhood Assist program. The winners were determined by online voting; Pembroke received 86,184 votes in 20 days. The grant was used toward the purchase of new playground equipment.
• The Bryan County Board of Education approved a $61.1 million budget for fiscal-year 2016 — an increase of $5.6 million from the previous budget, but no taxes were increased.
• Teresa Merritt was named the Rotary Club of Richmond Hill’s Rotarian of the Year.

• A tractor-trailer hit the Interstate 95 overpass on Highway 17, which damaged nine support beams and required closure of one highway lane for more than three months.
• A 100-year-old house at 231 Highway 204 in Bryan County was destroyed by a fire. No one was injured.
• Country-music singer Joe Nichols was announced as the headline act for the 2015 Great Ogeechee Seafood Festival.
• Former Chatham County school teacher Alan Otwell Toney was indicted by a grand jury on charges he tried to lure a student into sexual contact.
• Three teenagers reported missing from Kentucky were found at the Cuyler Hunting Club in Bryan County when their car ran out of gas on Interstate 16.

• The Pembroke City Council voted to raise the millage rate, which didn’t raise property taxes because property values decreased slightly. Meanwhile, the Bryan County Board of Commissioners kept the millage rates for the school board and the county the same as the previous year.
• The 2015-16 school year started in Bryan County, and with the new year came a new school with the opening of McAllister Elementary.
• The Richmond Hill City Council unanimously approved adding two firefighters to the Richmond Hill Fire Department.
• A Bryan County High School student made a racially charged threat on social media to bring a weapon to school and harm other students. One parent kept her son home from school when news of the threat got out. According to Superintendent Paul Brooksher, an investigation showed there was no credible threat at BCHS, and the student who made the threat was expelled.

• Bryan County students’ SAT scores in 2015 — with a median of 1470 — ranked 23rd among the state’s 180 school districts.
• Richmond Hill ranked 20th on the list of “40 Safest Cities in Georgia” report by SafeWise. The city’s ranking was up seven spots from the previous year.
• Chatham County Sheriff’s Office Cpl. Rick Hall was killed in a two-vehicle crash Sept. 16 on Highway 280 as he was heading home to Ellabell.

• The Richmond Hill City Council approved the purchase of about 51 acres across from Ford Plantation to create a town-center development. The cost was about $1.05 million.
• Sabrina Marie Hampton of Highway 280 East near Claxton turned herself in to authorities in connection with the murder of a man in a home east of Daisy near the Bryan County line. Hampton was charged in connection to the stabbing death of her boyfriend, Calvin Oglesbee.
• The 17th annual Great Ogeechee Seafood Festival drew more than 30,000 people during its three-day stand, according to the Richmond Hill/Bryan County Chamber of Commerce.
• The new Bryan County Elementary School held a celebration ceremony.
• Ashleigh Place, a senior-living apartment complex in Richmond Hill, held its grand opening.
• The fourth annual Pembroke Spooktacular drew about 400 people for a full day of activities.
• Two Ellabell mobile homes were destroyed by fire on consecutive days.
• Lucius Penn of Bryan County was arrested on charges of possession and distribution of child pornography.
• Leaders in the Coastal District of the United Methodist Church broke ground for a new office building on the grounds of Richmond Hill United Methodist Church.
• The road at Interstate 95’s exit 87 opened after months of construction and traffic delays. Crews repaired damage done when a tractor-trailer into the overpass in July, resulting in the closing of the right lane of Highway 17 North.

• In local elections, Pembroke voters chose former mayor Judy Cook as the city’s next mayor and Karen Lynn as the new District 2 city councilwoman, and Richmond Hill voters overwhelmingly approved Sunday package-alcohol sales.
• Sgt. Austin T. Sneed of Pembroke, a soldier in the 3rd Infantry Division, was recovered after drowning in the Savannah River.
• The Richmond Hill High School Marching Band was named grand ghampion at the Georgia Marching Band Series finals in Thomson.
• The Coastal Regional Commission approved a resolution endorsing the proposed Spaceport Camden during the group’s meeting at the Richmond Hill City Center.
• The 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team dedicated a building on Fort Stewart to the late Robert E. Gallagher, a former command sergeant major during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Richmond Hill resident.
• Bryan County News publisher Mark Griffin announced he was leaving his position to become the coordinator of community education for Bryan County Schools.
• Chris Scholar, an American-literature teacher at Richmond Hill High School, was named the Bryan County District-Wide Teacher of the Year.
• Family Promise of Bryan County held an open house for its new day center on Ford Avenue in Richmond Hill. The day center will be able to be used by family members who need temporary housing.
• Former Pembroke mayor and city councilman C.E. “Gene” Cowart died at age 79.

• The Richmond Hill City Council approved the user-fee rate for its stormwater-management fund. The rate will be $4.75 per
3,000 square feet of impervious surface.
• Pembroke police officers began using body cameras. The department received
10 body cameras, as well as 10 new sets of body armor.
• The Richmond Hill Lions Club dedicated its new clubhouse at 75 Bass Drive.
• The Richmond Hill City Council unanimously voted to appoint a seven-member Downtown Development Authority. The area affected by the resolution runs the length of Ford Avenue and Highway 17, and includes the commercial centers at Interstate 95 exits 87 and 90.

Sign up for our E-Newsletters