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GUYTON, Ga. (WSAV) – The Fergerson Cemetery Committee is looking for help restoring their graveyard after tornado winds brought trees and debris down onto graves this week.They said this job is a little too heavy-duty to tackle on their own. Committee member Robert Hunter said they’re looking for anyone with chainsaws or small tractors to come out and volunteer to help.“If we don’t do anything Sunday, I will be out here bright and early Monday morning with my chainsaw,” said Hunter. “Whatever...
GUYTON, Ga. (WSAV) – The Fergerson Cemetery Committee is looking for help restoring their graveyard after tornado winds brought trees and debris down onto graves this week.
They said this job is a little too heavy-duty to tackle on their own. Committee member Robert Hunter said they’re looking for anyone with chainsaws or small tractors to come out and volunteer to help.
“If we don’t do anything Sunday, I will be out here bright and early Monday morning with my chainsaw,” said Hunter. “Whatever I can axe, whatever I can cut and move on my own, I will be moving, but I know that I will have some help.”
For Hunter and other cemetery staff, maintaining the lot is a labor of love. He has family going back five generations buried there.
A historic cemetery, Fergerson has more than 100 graves. Some date all the way back to the 1800s.
WSAV talked with one man visiting the cemetery for the first time who came ready to pitch in.
“If we could get as many people as we can, it’d help out a whole lot of other people,” said Anthony McCallie. “All the people that’ve already passed away, they can see this and I think the Lord wants us to do that.”
McCallie didn’t waste any time before getting his hands dirty Friday. He said he heard about the damage and felt called to help.
“We have a little funds but we don’t have the funds to do a job like that,” said Hunter. “And we don’t have insurance to cover it, because those things would create more expenses.”
Since they try to keep burial costs low, he said they won’t be able to do it on their own.
Hunter says he hopes that people will join in on Sunday, but he understands that right now, like himself, others in the area may still be cleaning up their own yards after the storm.
He said that if a member of one of these families buried under the fallen tree were to pass away, they wouldn’t be able to bury them next to their loved ones without removing the tree.
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In a bold move, the City of Guyton is eyeing property for future development into a recreation site, along with a possible collaboration with the YMCA, which may add a facility to the project.The property at 718 Central Blvd., is currently owned by Savannah-based Spiva Law Group, who is agreeable to the sale. The City and Spiva Law Group have signed a letter of intent to complete the transaction for $750,000. The funds would come from Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) funds and proceeds from two certificates of deposit....
In a bold move, the City of Guyton is eyeing property for future development into a recreation site, along with a possible collaboration with the YMCA, which may add a facility to the project.
The property at 718 Central Blvd., is currently owned by Savannah-based Spiva Law Group, who is agreeable to the sale. The City and Spiva Law Group have signed a letter of intent to complete the transaction for $750,000. The funds would come from Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) funds and proceeds from two certificates of deposit.
Mayor Russ Deen and the City Council expressed excitement about the project, saying if the YMCA of Coastal Georgia came on board, it would be able to offer childcare, recreation, and sports programs within walking distance from Guyton Elementary School.
“The YMCA has expressed use of those buildings (currently on the property) which should lead to future expansions,” Deen said. “We are still in the conversation phase so no agreements have been made at this date, but we should know a significant amount more (after) the April 4 meeting.”
The city is hosting a workshop with the YMCA of Coastal Georgia at the Guyton Gymnasium, 505 Magnolia St., on Tuesday, April 4 at 7 p.m. The public is invited to share ideas and input on what they want at the proposed facility.
The only YMCA facility in Effingham County is in Rincon.
However, the project is not without its detractors. Theodore Hamby of Guyton addressed the council at its March 14 meeting. Hamby accused the council of “bailing out” Spiva for a “bad real estate deal.” Hamby was warned by Mayor Deen regarding his accusatory and potentially slanderous tone.
Hamby stated the property at 718 Central Blvd. was purchased by Spiva last year for $500,000 and was now selling it to the City of Guyton for $750,000. He stated that the city “already has” a recreational facility at Bazemore Park.
According to Howard Spiva of Savannah-based Spiva Law Group PC, the sale of the property was not intended to “make a profit” but to help the community.
“It's one of the reasons that I chose to sell the property to Guyton and even though they were against me making a profit,” Spiva said. “I sold it for a considerable amount less than what I could sell it to developers right now. I've turned down a number of people for long-term very lucrative leases.”
He added that the property could easily be sold for more than $1 million, and that Spiva also was hoping to move their own non-profit to the site, but instead chose to sell the site to the City of Guyton.
Regarding Hamby’s comments, Spiva said, “He's entitled to his opinion, but he's just completely wrong. He has false information. And he has no clue of what values of properties are in Effingham County.”
Mayor Deen added the site is close to Guyton Elementary and would be able to serve the city’s growing needs for recreation and childcare facilities, especially with the cooperation of the YMCA.
The Savannah-based attorney concurred with Deen’s assessment of what Guyton needs to do regarding the growth that’s coming to the county with all the new warehouses, jobs, and people.
“I think Guyton has been smart with putting (recreation and other infrastructure) in place and there's a lot more stuff that they're working on,” Spiva said. “People want to work at the plants and the warehouses in Fort Howard and all that. (Then) they want to come home to ‘Mayberry’,” making a reference to the small town portrayed in old TV shows such as The Andy Griffith Show.
Spiva added, “Guyton has gotten the historic district that they put in, you know, architectural plans and zoning and a Tree Protection Act, then they're going to have people coming in spending a lot of money, fixing it up and tours of homes and tours of churches and it’s going to be Mayberry; but if they don't, then it's going to be ‘Walley World’,” referring to a 1980s National Lampoon comedy.
Spiva expressed cautious optimism for Guyton when he said, “I think the mayor said it best when he said, ‘What's going on right now is a gold rush.’ And, and my comment to him was, ‘Yeah, there's a gold rush, but we've got a hidden diamond. And we have to preserve it because there are wonderful places in Guyton."
GUYTON, Ga. (WSAV) – A Guyton man pleaded guilty Friday to charges in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), 44-year-old Brian Ulrich pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy and obstruction of an official proceeding for his actions before, during and after the Capitol breach.“His and others’ actions disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the presidential election,” a statement from the DOJ rea...
GUYTON, Ga. (WSAV) – A Guyton man pleaded guilty Friday to charges in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), 44-year-old Brian Ulrich pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy and obstruction of an official proceeding for his actions before, during and after the Capitol breach.
“His and others’ actions disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the presidential election,” a statement from the DOJ read.
Officials said in the weeks leading up to the attack, using an app called “Signal,” Ulrich encouraged others in an “Oath Keepers of Georgia” group to join him in Washington.
“I seriously wonder what it would take just to get ever patriot marching around the capital armed? Just to show our government how powerless they are!” he messaged the group in one chat on Dec. 5, 2020.
“If there’s a Civil War then there’s a Civil War,” another one of his messages read.
According to the DOJ, Ulrich purchased items including tactical gear, two-way radio receivers, a recon backpack, a tactical holster, a medical tourniquet and a half skull motorcycle helmet. Officials said he was told by a co-conspirator that firearms would be made available.
On the day of the attack, wearing some of the aforementioned items, Ulrich and others traveled to the Capitol on golf carts. He and others formed a military “stack” formation and marched in a line up the stairs of the east side of the Capitol, entering the building at 3:22 p.m., the DOJ said.
“After officers deployed chemical-irritant spray, Ulrich left the Capitol and gathered with other co-conspirators approximately 100 feet from the building,” the department stated. “In the aftermath of Jan. 6, Ulrich continued to communicate with co-conspirators on Signal, including one message urging them to ‘stay below the radar.'”
Ulrich was arrested on Aug. 9, 2021, in Guyton. He was among 11 defendants indicted on Jan. 12, 2022, on seditious conspiracy and other charges.
The Guyton man is said to be the second member of the far-right Oath Keepers group to plead guilty, following Joshua James of Alabama in early March.
The remaining nine defendants have pleaded not guilty, including the Oath Keepers founder and leader, Stewart Rhodes.
Ulrich faces up to 20 years in prison for the seditious conspiracy charge and up to 20 years for obstruction.
No word yet on when he will be sentenced.
State legislatures and county officials gathered in Guyton for the State of the County Breakfast to discuss issues within Effingham County.A panel of seven leaders within the area addressed the public in a Q&A session, with the majority of questions centered around growth and development.New warehouse jobs:...
State legislatures and county officials gathered in Guyton for the State of the County Breakfast to discuss issues within Effingham County.
A panel of seven leaders within the area addressed the public in a Q&A session, with the majority of questions centered around growth and development.
Here is what they said about three pressing issues in the county.
Although Effingham County has seen significant growth in the past few years, thousands choose to work outside the county. Brandt Herndon, chief executive officer for the Effingham County Development Authority, said that needs to change.
“We have 15,000 people leaving the county every day to go to work, and a lot of them are going to Gulfstream or a major supplier,” said Herndon.
“What we are trying to do is capture those people that are leaving to work in Chatham County and show them they can find an equivalent job here. If you can work here in warehouse distribution as opposed to driving 20-30 minutes and spending gas to get there, why not work here? We want to cut that 15,000 down to a more manageable number.”
Rincon is home to 10 manufacturers, including Georgia Pacific and Sampco among others. Herndon said when companies want to plant roots in Effingham County, they do not look at county lines. Instead, they focus on proximity to the port among other things that will make the move beneficial for them. He also pointed to the long-term advantages of growth and how business development benefits smaller communities.
“They are looking at the location of the site, proximity to Atlanta and all those different factors,” said Herndon.
“Balanced growth is important to every community because it provides fiscal and economic stability in the long term. As residential growth occurs in Effingham County, it is important to offset that growth with commercial and industrial growth as well. This is because commercial and industrial businesses typically use fewer community resources like schools and emergency services compared to the amount of tax revenue that they generate each year.”
Wesley Corbitt, chairman at large for the Board of Directors for Effingham County, said as the county continues to grow, they must protect agriculture, such as land used by farmers.
“When people move into our community, suddenly people want to sell land and you can’t blame them for that because they get a higher dollar for their retirement and families,” said Corbitt. “These subdivisions will be built and then there goes our agriculture.”
Corbitt said the county is going to take a closer look at their growth plan to identify the best areas for subdivisions.
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“The master plan will allow us to design the community we want,” said Corbitt. “We want to stay in collaboration with our cities and our school board because we don’t want to over-stress them. We have lowered our millage rate over the last nine years. It is commercial and industrial, and multifamily helps with that in the sense that you get more value per acre. But where does that need to be located? Now that’s the challenge we are going through. We are looking at ordinances and land use to determine those areas.”
Some community members want residents to ditch their vehicles when they need to make a short commute. Guyton Mayor Russ Deen said the Georgia Hi-Lo Trail that runs from Athens to Savannah was made possible by TSPLOST and will urge motorists to use that route when they can.
“We have always loved our trails,” said Deen. “Everyone compliments us on it. We need to encourage the things that make it great to live here in town. We want to connect municipalities and the county for an alternative for those who do stay in the county. We will encourage that in the next round of TSPLOST.”
Although a larger city within the county, Mayor Ken Lee would like to see less motorists on the road in Rincon as well. Though many will need their cars for their day-to-day travels, Lee would like to see residents bike or walk to places a couple miles from their doorstep.
“We are looking for connectivity,” said Lee. “We want you to be able to bike or walk wherever you want to go, whether it be visiting your neighbors in the neighborhood, local businesses or your church. We are looking to become a walking community and make it convenient to do that. We need that for a lot of reasons.”
Traveling from Effingham County to Chatham County can take 50 minutes or longer, depending on your starting point. Herndon touched on the significance of the Effingham Parkway project, a two-lane roadway that will connect Highway 30 to Blue Jay Road.
“Due to the fact that there is limited access to the other counties, this will have a significant impact and alleviate some of those traffic problems,” said Herndon. “It will run somewhat parallel to Highway 21 and it will take cars off Highway 21.”
It is on pace for its completion date in 2025.
Latrice Williams is a general assignment reporter covering Bryan and Effingham County. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Above file video: Guyton man arrested for Jan. 6 insurrectionThe following statement was issued Friday by the U.S. Attorney's Office:A member of the Oath Keepers pleaded guilty Friday to seditious conspiracy and obstruction of an official proceeding for his actions before, during, and after the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. His and others’ actions disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the presidential election....
Above file video: Guyton man arrested for Jan. 6 insurrection
The following statement was issued Friday by the U.S. Attorney's Office:
A member of the Oath Keepers pleaded guilty Friday to seditious conspiracy and obstruction of an official proceeding for his actions before, during, and after the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. His and others’ actions disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the presidential election.
Brian Ulrich, 44, of Guyton, Georgia pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy in connection with the Capitol breach. As part of the plea agreement, Ulrich has agreed to cooperate with the government’s ongoing investigation.
Ulrich is the second Oath Keepers member to plead guilty to seditious conspiracy and obstruction charges. Joshua James, 34, of Arab, Alabama, pleaded guilty on March 2, 2022.
As described in court documents, Ulrich was a member of the Georgia chapter of the Oath Keepers. The Oath Keepers are a large but loosely organized collection of individuals, some of whom are associated with militias. Though the Oath Keepers will accept anyone as members, they explicitly focus on recruiting current and former military, law enforcement, and first-responder personnel.
In his guilty plea, Ulrich admitted that, from November 2020 through January 2021, he conspired with other Oath Keeper members and affiliates to use force to prevent, hinder and delay the execution of the laws of the United States governing the transfer of presidential power. He and others used encrypted and private communications, equipped themselves with a variety of weapons, donned combat and tactical gear, and were prepared to use force to stop the transfer of power.
In the weeks leading to Jan. 6, 2021, Ulrich and others used an application called “Signal” to prepare for the actions that would take place that day. Ulrich encouraged others in a group called “Oath Keepers of Georgia” to join him in Washington. In one chat, on Dec. 5, 2020, he messaged the group, “I seriously wonder what it would take just to get ever patriot marching around the capital armed? Just to show our government how powerless they are!’ On Dec. 11, 2020, Ulrich messaged the group chat that “Civil War” may be necessary if Joseph R. Biden became President of the United States, adding “I made my peace with God before I joined.” Another individual later messaged, “remember, it is not over until January 20th.” Ulrich responded, “And if there’s a Civil War then there’s a Civil War.”
Ulrich also purchased tactical gear and other items, including two-way radio receivers, a recon backpack, a tactical holster, a medical tourniquet, and a half skull motorcycle helmet. Ulrich was told by another co-conspirator that others would be available with firearms. On Jan. 4, he traveled with other Oath Keepers to the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, staying in a downtown hotel with others.
On Jan. 6, after learning the Capitol had been breached, Ulrich and others traveled to the Capitol on golf carts, driving around multiple barricades, including marked law enforcement vehicles. Ulrich was wearing a tactical vest, radio equipment, a body-worn camera, goggles, a camouflage tactical backpack, a black neck gaiter, and an Oath Keepers hat.
He and others weaved through the restricted area in a military “stack” formation with hands on shoulders and gear. Ulrich marched in a line up the stairs on the east side of the Capitol. He entered the building at 3:22 p.m., maneuvering himself toward the entrance to the Rotunda as law enforcement officers were attempting to clear the area. After officers deployed chemical-irritant spray, Ulrich left the Capitol and gathered with other co-conspirators approximately 100 feet from the building. In the aftermath of Jan. 6, Ulrich continued to communicate with co-conspirators on Signal, including one message urging them to “stay below the radar.”
Ulrich was arrested on Aug. 9, 2021, in Guyton, Georgia. He was among 11 defendants indicted on Jan. 12, 2022, in the District of Columbia on seditious conspiracy and other charges; codefendant Joshua James pleaded guilty, and the remaining nine defendants have pleaded not guilty, including Elmer Stewart Rhodes III, 57, the founder and leader of the Oath Keepers.
Ulrich faces up to 20 years in prison for seditious conspiracy and up to 20 years for obstruction of an official proceeding, along with potential financial penalties. No sentencing date was set. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia.
The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office and the FBI’s Atlanta Field Office, including its Macon, Georgia Resident Agency.
In the 15 months since Jan. 6, 2021, nearly 800 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including over 250 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. The investigation remains ongoing.
Anyone with tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit tips.fbi.gov