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Looking Back At 2021

January 6
Jeff Davis High baseball coach Paul Glass was elected to the Georgia Dugout Club’s Hall of Fame.
Three men were arrested and another was wanted in connection to the homicide of Marcos Ramirez on Mark Hall Drive.
Jeff Davis County’s COVID-19 cases topped 1,000.
Jeff Davis County voters heavily favored Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in the runoff for Georgia U.S. Senators.
January 13
Lifelong Snipesville resident Hal Faulk was honored by organizers of the annual Snipesville New Year’s Day Parade.
The Southeast Georgia Department of Health announced plans to add adults age 65 and older, law enforcement officers, firefighters and first responders to the group eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
For the eighth straight week the number of positive COVID cases in the Jeff Davis County area of the state skyrocketed.
Roger Ogilvie was re-elected to a 2-year terms as chair of the Board of Education and Andy Ramay was re-elected vice-chair.
January 20
Lonnie Roberts of Hazlehurst was chosen as the new president of Coastal Pines Technical College.
Brad Crews was elected new chair of the Board of Commissioners and Hank Hobbs was named vice-chair.
Jeff Davis Hospital CEO Barry Bloom updated the County Commission on the progress at the hospital
After eight week’s of skyrocketing growth, the rate of increase in COVID cases in the Jeff Davis County area slowed.
Wyatt W. “Buddy” Spann received his 50-year Masonic Apron.
Because of the spread of COVID, Peaches to Beaches was postponed until August.
January 27
Most of the City Council meeting was consumed by discussions of the alleyway running behind the old Western Auto building off Hinson Street as Mayor Bayne Stone disputed who actually owned what parts of the alley.
Nate Lewis was named to the Class AA All State Football First Team and James Wood was named Honorable mention.
February 3
A fire raged through the Jeff Davis County emergency services building.
The number of COVID related deaths in Jeff Davis County increased to 33.
An investment group of Swedish retail giant Ikea purchased purchased 10,840 acres of forestland in southeast Georgia along the Altamaha River basin to protect the land and is diverse ecosystem from development.
All the late January JDHS basketball games were cancelled because of the spread of COVID.
February 10
A state of emergency was declared by the county commission because of the Jan. 30 fire that destroyed the building that house E-911, EMS and EMA.
Jeff Davis County native Gayle U. Wooten retired after more than 51 years as an educator and education advocate.
Tabitha Wooten was elected vice-president of the Georgia Association of Conservation Districts.
February 17
It was standing room only at the county commission meeting as Evans Subdivision residents asked for help to deal with a pair of mobile home brought into their neighborhood.
A push was underway to get the Hazlehurst Lions Club restarted.
The rate of new COVID cases continued to decline.
February 24
The Hazlehurst City Council battled over hiring a Police Captain.
Bank of Hazlehurst CEO Leonard Bateman retired after 51 years in the banking business.
The number of Jeff Davis County deaths due to COVID increased to 35.
March 3
James E. (Butch) Kirkley II was hired as the new president and CEO of the Bank of Hazlehurst.
JDHS senior Chanleigh Underwood closed out her long, successful career at showing livestock by again winning another Champion Showman honor at the Georgia National Livestock Show and Ellie Kate Marchant’s gilt received 3rd place Overall in the Market Gilt Show.
March 10
Hazlehurst Interstate Credit Union Branch Manager Grace Gibbs was chosen the new Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce.
Special needs students were highlighted at the Board of Education meeting for running “The Coffee Buzz” at Jeff Davis High School.
Longtime Hazlehurst downtown business owner Mary Carolyn Lowery died at the age of 80.
Explore Georgia announced it awarded a grant to the South Georgia Food & Wine Festival in Hazlehurst.
March 17
Board of Education members were recognized during School Board Appreciation Week.
After a slow start to the 2021 baseball season, the Yellow Jackets won four games in a week to improve to 7-5.
COVID deaths in Jeff Davis County increased to 36.
March 24
The Hazlehurst City Council announced plans to bring a Georgia Department of Driver Services office to Hazlehurst.
Local leaders began the months-long process of developing a new five-year plan for Jeff Davis County, Hazlehurst and Denton.
March 31
A potential catastrophe was avoided when a Jeff Davis County Schools bus caught on fire with students still on board. The bus driver, Portia Cappers, got all the children off the bus safely.
Jeff Davis Health Department planned drive-thru COVID vaccination clinics.
April 7
The Jeff Davis County Grand Jury returned murder indictments agains three men charged in the 2014 shooting deaths of Javonnie Mondrae Chambers and his mother Mary L. Chambers.
COVID cases in Jeff Davis County reached 1,281.
April 14
JDHS graduate Jordan Dubberly settled in as a pitcher with the Miami Hurricanes.
Kaitlyn Purser, daughter of Tommy and Jennifer Purser Jr., was a member of the 2021 National Champion Georgia Southern Cheerleading Team.
April 21
The County Commission agreed to ask for bids on building a much-needed, new law enforcement facility.
The Jeff Davis High girls tennis team won its sixth straight region championship.
The Middle School baseball team won its conference championship.
April 28
The Chamber of Commerce celebrated Jeff Davis County’s women in business with Hats and Pearls: Lunch with the Girls.
The Hazlehurst City Council voted to rescind its April 15 decision to give pay raises to Hazlehurst Police Officers.
The JDHS baseball team was preparing to host Jasper County in the first round of the state playoffs and the soccer team advanced to the second round of the playoffs.
May 5
Mayor Bayne Stone defended the city’s doing work on private property.
A special election was called to elect a replacement for State Rep. Greg Morris who resigned after being elected to the State Board of Transportation.
May 12


May 19
Kabob Flint was the JDHS Class of 2021 Valedictorian and Kole Williams was Salutatorian.
Jeff Davis High’s baseball team was headed to the State Championship Series for the third time in three season after defeating Callaway in the semifinals.
Steven Johnson, 22, and Dedra Robinson, 27, were charged in connection with the shooting death of Kelsi Burns, 36.
More than two dozen people were arrested in a drug sweep in Jeff Davis County.
May 26
Jeff Davis High’s baseball team swept The Lovett School to win the 2021 Class AA State Championship, the team’s third state title in three seasons.
The Hazlehurst City Council held yet another chaotic meeting with much of the controversy swirling around the municipal golf course.
June 2
After nearly two hours, several intermissions and often confusing dialogue, the Hazlehurst City Council passed its 2021-2022 budget.
Hazlehurst native Joel Wooten of Columbus was named chairman of the Georgia Ports Authority.
The Heart of Georgia Altamaha Regional Commission scheduled a public hearing for the Hazlehurst Downtown Development Plan.
June 9
Five Yellow Jackets were named to the Class AA All State Team. Pitchers Cole Baucom and Matthew White were named to the first team, outfielder Cade Walters was named to the second team and first baseman Hamp Hayes and shortstop Trenton Clance received honorable mention honors.
A new mural brightened downtown Hazlehurst.
June 16
The Jeff Davis County School Nutrition Program was honored at the Board of Education meeting.
Jeff Davis County’s EMS was operating out of a mobile home office after the department’s offices were destroyed in a January fire.
June 23
Five men were inducted into the Jeff Davis High School Football Hall of Fame: Arley Finley (1950s-60s), Sammy Beecher (1970s), Dexter Knox (1980s), Jason Carver (1990s), Matt Wise (2000s), and in the supporting roles, former coach Neil Graham and Ledger editor Tommy Purser.
Legacy players chosen to wear the jersey numbers of JDHS football legends were Carter Mullis, Tyson Alls, Nastee Lewis, Landon Roberson, Kiyon Dotson and Tre Chandler.
The cost of building a State Patrol Post in Hazlehurst had reached $991,000.
June 30
Jeff Davis High’s State Champion Baseball Team was feted at their annual awards banquet.
Ten of the 11 Jeff Davis Recreation Department baseball and softball teams qualified for the state playoffs, and eight of those 11 made it to the title game and five of those teams won state championships.
Longtime Hazlehurst Police Department radio operator/city court clerk Deborah Kornegay retired after 30 years.
July 7
Sonya Miller was installed as the Hazlehurst Rotary Club President and Terry ?Stone was named a Paul Harris Fellow.
It may have been summer, but Jeff Davis High’s football and baseball players were working hard in preparation for the 2021-22 seasons.
July 14
Work got underway on the new Jeff Davis Sheriff’s Department Center.
The Joint Development Authority received a $500,000 Building Renovation Loan from the OneGeorgia Authority.
July 21
Dozens of law enforcement vehicles and a few hundred officers were in Hazlehurst for the funeral of Jeff Davis County Sheriff’s Investigator Duane Kirby.
Tempers flared at a profanity-laced meeting of the Hazlehurst City Council.
Dozens of arrests were made as law enforcement agencies combined forces to combat the spread of drugs in the area.
July 28
The official groundbreaking ceremony was held for the new Jeff Davis County law enforcement center.
COVID cases began rising in Jeff Davis and surrounding counties.
A vote to allow package sales in the City of Hazlehurst was scheduled for Nov. 2.
August 4
Southeast Georgia was the hot spot in Georgia for the spread of the COVID pandemic.
The COVID uptick forced the cancellation of a huge concert planned at the Cotton Patch Extreme.
Jeff Davis High’s softball team opened its season.
August 11
Rain put a damper on the Peaches to Beaches Yard Sale.
Imperative Entertainment premiered Fox Hunter, a true-crime podcast about the 1990 Jeff Davis County unsolved murder of Rhonda Sue Coleman.
State Representative Leesa Hagan (R-Lyons) was sworn in to represent a portion of Jeff Davis County.
August 18
All the hospital beds at Jeff Davis Hospital were filled as COVID continued to rage.
The COVID outbreak forced the schools system to adjust its weekly schedules.
August 25
Hazlehurst welcomed home Jeff Davis High School Principal Greer Smith after almost a month of hospital care battling a deadly COVID virus infection
Incumbent Hazlehurst Council members Dywane Johnson and John Ramay were the only persons to qualify to run in the 2021 election.
Local deaths due to COVID reached 38.
COVID forced the cancelation of the Jeff Davis-Atkinson County football game.
September 1
Due to severe risks to patients, visitors and staff, Jeff Davis Hospital reinstated its no-visitation rules until further notice.
Sept. 3 was declared a state holiday to allow state employees an opportunity to get COVID vaccinations.
September 8
Four people were injured, two seriously, in an explosion at the Hazlehurst Wood Pellets plant.
The Glynn Grand Jury indicted former District Attorney Jackie Johnson.
A City of Hazlehurst audit report showed the city was spending more than it had budgeted because there were no budget controls in place. The auditor pointed out several areas that needed improvement.
September 15
The Board of Education heard an update on improvements to its facilities.
JDHS Homecoming Queen candidates were Zoe Spencer, Dalathia Black, Giselle Rubio, Morgan Yearty, Zoie Marchant and Christina Herndon.
September 22
Zoie Marchant was crowned 2021 JDHS Homecoming Queen. Runnerups were Dalathia Black and Giselle Rubio.
An attorney for Roland Environmental sent a letter to the City of Hazlehurst alleging the city had broken its waste contract with the company.
The County Commissioners held their September meeting wearing protective masks.
A prayer vigil was held for the parents of Rhonda Coleman, praying for closure on her 31-year-old murder.
September 29
The new bridge over the Altamaha River at Towns Bluff Landing was about to open. The bridge replaced the old Neal Lee Gillis Bridge.
The rate of new COVID cases in Jeff Davis County continued its decline.
October 6
Hazlehurst-Jeff Davis County Fire Chief Charles Wasdin completed a 3-year stint as President of the Georgia Association of Fire Chief.
Hazlehurst Police Officer John Lee retired with 38 years of service in law enforcement.
October 13
Laura Bloom was chosen as the new CEO of the Joint Development Authority and the Chamber of Commerce.
EMS Director Roger Ogilvie announced his retirement effective Nov. 1.
October 20
County Commission Clerk Heather Scott was named the new Jeff Davis County Administrator.
Mary Ann Anderson had three feature articles in the Ledger telling the stories of three breast cancer survivors.
October 27
The streets of downtown were filled with people for the annual Boo Bash and the South Georgia Food and Wine Festival.
The Hazlehurst City Council had a rare smooth and quick October meeting.
State Championship Rings were awarded to the 2021 JDHS baseball team.
November 3
The Jeff Davis High girls and boys cross country teams both won the Region 2-AA championships.
Hunter Glenn Smith was named the new Assistant District Attorney to serve Jeff Davis and Appling counties.
The Jeff Davis Health Department announced it had available COVID booster shots.
November 10
The County Commission and the Board of Education sought to clear up confusion created by state-mandated advertisements that implied that homeowners taxes were going up when, in fact, they were remaining the same.
Jeff Davis Hospital was recognized for its Quality Management System.
Hazlehurst Main Street was awarded a Vibrant Communities grant by the Georgia Council for the Arts.
November 17
Jeff Davis High’s 10-1 fotball team defeated Jefferson County to advance to the second round of the state playoffs against Rabun County.
The Jeff Davis Sheriff’s Drug Unit and the Hazlehurst Police Department Drug Investigator made drug related cases against six suspects.
November 23
The November Hazlehurst City Council meeting ended with a profanity laced tirade.
U.S. Army veterans Terry Powell spoke at the annual Veterans Day ceremony where WWII veterans Buddy Spann was honored.
December 1
Heart of Georgia Regional Development Commission planners revealed the completed Downtown Hazlehurst Master Plan to the Hazlehurst City Council.
Wainwright-Parlor’s Howard Rentz died at the age of 78.
December 8
Manson Phillips and his daughter Shaundra Phillips died in a fire at their home on Hallspur Road.
Beloved Hazlehurst Pastor the Rev. J. Barry Owens died at the age of 89.
Twenty-two Yellow Jackets were named to the All-Region 2-AA football team led by Athlete of the Year CJ Parker and Defensive Player of the Year Tre Chandler.
December 15
Members of the JDHS softball team were honored at their annual banquet.
The Jeff Davis Sheriff’s Office and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources worked together to make nine arrests.
December 22
The Hazlehurst City Council shot down Mayor Bayne Stone’s attempt to take hotel-motel tax proceeds away from the Hazlehurst-Jeff Davis County Board of Tourism.
The Grand Marshal for the 2021 Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade was “The Empty Truck,” honoring the 45 Jeff Davis County citizens who had died of the COVID-19 virus.
Hazlehurst Council Member John Ramay’s concerns about the still-not-occupied State Patrol Post building sparked contention at the city’s December meeting.
The County Commission agreed to pay its share of the cost of an industrial development project developed by the 4-county Southeast Georgia Regional Development Authority.
December 29
Work was progressing nicely on the new law enforcement complex for the Jeff Davis County Sheriff’s Office.
Snipesville area citizens were preparing for their annual Snipesville New Year’s Day celebration.

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