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Roundup of 2022 Ledger News

Jan. 5
Local and national weather services were caught by surprise when a surprise tornado ripped across southern and eastern Jeff Davis County, doing extensive damage in some areas.
Chandler Davenport and Garrison Miles represented Georgia Southern University in the 2021 National College Cornhole Championship in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Offensive lineman Nate Lewis and linebacker Tre Chandler were named to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Class AA All-State Football Team.
Jan. 12
Hazlehurst native Joel Wooten was named one of the 100 Most Influential Georgians by Georgia Trend Magazine.
Jan. 19
Hazlehurst’s City Hall was closed to foot traffic because several employees tested positive for COVID-19.
Jan. 26
All ears were on Jack Floyd as he spoke to the Hazlehurst City Council about the city-owned Twisted Pine Golf Course, urging the council to keep the course open.
All four JD senior wrestlers, Noah Hernandez, Deivon McMillian, Brian White and Jesse White, qualified to continue to GHSA State sectionals.
Feb. 2
Jeff Davis Hospital Chief Executive Officer Barry Bloom attended a meeting of the Telfair County Board of Commissioners and made a presentation explaining how the hospital could provide services in Telfair County five days a week through opening a Primary Care Clinic.
Jeff Davis High School tennis started the season by facing off with the Hurricanes from Fitzgerald. Both Jeff Davis boys and girls swept the canes 5-0.
Feb. 9
With the newly redrawn district lines in Georgia, for the first time in many years all of Jeff Davis County was in one State House District. House District 157 includes all of Jeff Davis and Evans counties, about half of Appling County and almost all of Tattnall County.
Feb. 16
Vernice Thompson, City Clerk of Hazlehurst, was elected Secretary of the Georgia Municipal Clerks Association (GMCA) for 2022-2023.
The Jeff Davis girls varsity soccer team opened the season with three consecutive wins. The girls were ranked eighth in the state.
Feb. 23
The County Commission took steps to keep the Jeff Davis County Public Library open by amending the county budget to add $14,000 to go to the library.
The Hazlehurst City Council named Ward 1 Councilman Dywane Johnson as mayor pro tem.
Dr. Shelly McBride was named the new principal at Jeff Davis Primary School.
In a busy week of action the Lady Jackets soccer program remained undefeated.
Both Jeff Davis High basketball teams qualified for the Class AA State Playoffs by finishing fourth in the Region 2-AA tournament.
Hayden Turner hit a walk-off double to center to break a 3-3 tie and give Jeff Davis a 4-3 baseball win over Wayne County .
March 2
The Lady Jacket varsity soccer team remained undefeated at 7-0 and 3-0 in region play.
Jeff Davis High’s baseball team was ranked 3rd and 4th in statewide polls.
March 9
The Lady Jacket soccer team defeated Vidalia and Toombs County to push their record to 9-0 and 5-0 in region play. The team’s state ranking moved up to No. 6.
The Jeff Davis High Lady Jacket Golf Team placed 2nd in the Lady Trojan Invitational in Coffee County.
March 16
Jeff Davis High senior Bryce Williams was named the school’s 2022 PAGE STAR Student. Williams selected Christy Deloach, Algebra teacher, as her STAR Teacher.
Signing athletic scholarships were Levi Manning – South Georgia State College – Cross Country; Zoie Marchant – Flagler College – Cross Country & Track/Field; Cam Lewis – Truett-McConnell College – Tennis; and Sandra Trejo – Georgia Military College – Soccer.
Jeff Davis High’s girls soccer team was ranked No. 6 in the state with an 11-0 record.
March 23
The Lady Jackets soccer team continued to win, moving to a perfect 13-0 overall and 8-0 in Region 2-AA.
Senior Josh Griffin hurled a no-hitter in a 2-1 win over visiting Dodge County.
March 30
Jeff Davis High’s girls soccer team secured their first-ever Region 2-AA Soccer Championship with a 10-0 shellacking of visiting Vidalia High.
Jeff Davis High’s baseball team opened Region-AA play with a 3-game sweep of Toombs County.
Former Jeff Davis High basketball standout Ja’Queze Kirby was one of the team leaders that propelled Augusta State University to the NCAA Division II national title game in Evansville, Ind.
April 6
In a called meeting, the Jeff Davis County Board of Education approved an “apple basket turnover” of personnel with resignations and new hires.
The Lady Jacket soccer team finished the regular season unblemished as they won games against Toombs and Bacon for an overall record to 17-0 and 12-0 in region play.
Jeff Davis High’s baseball team got its second straight 3-game sweep of a Region 2-AA opponent to improve their region record to 6-0 and boost their overall record to 11-7.
April 13
Jeff Davis High improved to 9-0 in Region 2-AA play and ran their win streak to 10 as they completed a sweep of Swainsboro.
April 20
Georgia Association of Conservation Districts re-elected Tabatha Wooten as Vice-President at their Annual Meeting.
With the construction of the new Sheriff’s Department law enforcement center in the process of phase two of construction, the County Commission discussed with County Attorney Andy Ramay how to finance the balance that will be owed once construction is completed.
Alan Thigpen, President and CEO of Mount Vernon Bank and Virginia Hand, President and
CEO of Bank of Lumber City announced the proposed merger of their home owned community banks.
Jeff Davis High’s baseball team lost three games against Vidalia, leaving the Jackets with a 14-10 overall record and a 9-3 region record.
Jeff Davis High School Boys and Girls Tennis teams finish the regular season by winning the Region 2-AA championships.
April 27
The workshop of the Hazlehurst City Council erupted in shouting matches over the handling of Twisted Pine, the city-owned golf course and civic center complex.
Dr. Jason Laney was selected as Citizen of the Year at the Chamber of Commerce’s annual dinner. The Big Business of the Year went to Williams Brothers Trucking, Three Magnolia Café was awarded New Business of the Year, The Small Business of the Year went to the Jeff Davis Ledger, Insane Wangz and Blended Creationz won Minority Business of the Year, Farmer of the Year went to Ryan McLoon, Entrepreneur of the Year was a tie between Allie Lynn’s Studio M Hair Salon, STAR Student was Bryce Williams with Christy DeLoach accepting the STAR Teacher award.
Jeff Davis High School’s girls and boys tennis teams were one of only eight teams remaining in the 2022 Georgia High School Association State Championships.
The Lady Jacket soccer team continued their winning ways in the GHSA 2A playoffs with wins of A.R. Johnson of Augusta and Elbert County, to improve to 19-0 on the season and advance to the Elite 8 to face Bremen High School.
Jeff Davis High closed out the regular season by easily sweeping a 3-game series against East Laurens, 21-0, 14-0 and 11-1, and edging No. 6 ranked Bleckley County.
May 4
Following the resignations of Jeff Davis High girls basketball coach Nikki Perry and boys basketball coach Bo Boatright, new head coaches for the programs were approved by the Board of Education. KatyBeth Rentz of Clayton was tapped for the girls program and Will Johnson was named head coach of the boys.
Jeff Davis High’s two wins over Westside of Augusta gave the Yellow Jackets their ninth straight season with 20 or more wins as the victories upped their record to 20-10.
May 11
Retired educator John A. Ramay received one of the most coveted awards in education, that of being inducted into the Georgia Agricultural Education Hall of Fame.
When Jeff Davis County Schools closed down last year during the COVID pandemic, the School Nutrition Department worked long and hard to make sure the county’s school children were fed each day. They prepared the meals and, with the assistance of school system bus drivers, delivered breakfast and lunch to all the children in their homes until they were able to return to school and dine each day in the lunchrooms. At the Board of Education meeting, School Nutrition employees were lauded for their work.
Jeff Davis High moved into the third round of the Georgia High School Association State Baseball Playoffs with a 10-1, 3-2 sweep of Elbert County.
May 18
The Jeff Davis County Commission heard a presentation from School Superintendent Dr. Chris Roppe concerning the Commission’s discussions about the possibility of exempting senior citizens from paying school taxes.
Jeff Davis County Schools were named a 2021-2022 National District of Distinction by National Beta.
Jeff Davis High junior Darius Barge captured the Class AA Shot Put State Championship at the Georgia High School Association Track and Field State Meet at Kinnett Stadium in Columbus.
Jeff Davis High’s baseball team’s chance to repeat as state champions was dashed in Thomasville as they fell 3-0 to Thomasville in the deciding game of their 3-game series.
May 25
Satilla REMC and Conexon Connect announced the connection of their first customer to gigabit-speed internet.
Maj. Gen. Edward W. Thomas Jr., currently serving in the U.S. Air Force, was announced as the speaker for the Veterans’ Association Memorial Day ceremony.
Jeff Davis High School’s girls golf team finished as the state runner-up in the 2022 Georgia High School Association Class AA State Championship Tournament played at Southern Landings Golf Club in Warner Robins. Jenna Miles was the Lady Jackets’ low scorer with a score of 85-79-164.
The Jeff Davis County Board of Education voted to appoint former Board member Pam Davis to serve as interim Board Member representing the Ocmulgee District.
June 1
Recognized as the Woman in Business of 2022 was Denise Darley of Family Connections and The Administrative Assistant of the Year was awarded to Jane Oliver of McLendon Reynolds Insurance.
The two Jeff Davis County Commission primary races turned out to be close. In the Whitehead district, James Emory Tate out-polled Darrell Hutto 238-219 in their bid to replace Brad Crews, and in the Ocmulgee District, incumbent Commissioner Vann Wooten won by only four votes, 256-252, over former Ocmulgee Commissioner Jerry Wooten.
Jeff Davis High junior Darius Barge competed in the Wingfoot Night of Champions, finishing 6th overall in the shotput with a new personal record and new school record of 53 ft., 2 1/4 inches.
June 8
Jeff Davis High rising junior pitcher Duke Stone participated in the East Coast Professional Showcase.
Former Hazlehurst resident Ryan Hybl, head men’s golf coach at Oklahoma, was named the winner of the Dave Williams Award, given annually to the national coach of the year.
June 15
Supervisor of Elections Christy Riner issued a call for a special election to fill the Ocmulgee District Board of Education seat vacated by the death of Board Member Randy Smith.
High School Athletic Director Roger Metts explained to the school board the school’s plans to join a growing trend across the state and nation as school systems move away from cash transactions, including abandoning cash transactions at sporting events.
June 22
Much of the County Commission meeting was spent in a teleconference to discuss financing details for the new Jeff Davis Sheriff’s Department complex.
The spotlight once again was on the city-owned Twisted Pine Golf Course and Hazlehurst Civic Center at the council’s June meeting.
Six more people were to be inducted into the Yellow Jacket Football Hall of Fame: 1950s-60s – Don Roberts; 1970s – Darrell Smith; 1980s – Johnny Howard; 1990s – Dexter Sanders; 2000s – Jonathan Roby; 2010s – Harrison Sheeler; former radio sports announcer and former School Superintendent Stan Rentz.
June 29
The city council voted 5-0 to raise garbage pickup rates for commercial customers, with the new rates to take effect in July.
Jeff Davis High School’s 2022 baseball team had five players to receive All-State honors. Senior Trenton Clance, junior Cason Clance, and sophomores Alex Mason and Duke Stone received first team honors and Sophomore Hayden Turner was named second team All State.
July 6
Chris Wright, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety (DPS), met with the Hazlehurst City Council to clarify that the city would pay for the new Georgia State Patrol Post in Hazlehurst, not the DPS.
Roy Anderson handed over the reins as president of the Veterans Association to David Miller, a U.S. Army veteran and the owner of Because He Lives Ministries in Hazlehurst.
July 20
The county commission held a called meeting to approve the FY2023 budget. But, according to the official minutes of the meeting, instead, the commissioners took up a number of items not announced prior to the meeting as required by law.
July 27
Hazlehurst’s first package liquor store in the 21st century was officially approved by the Hazlehurst City Council.
Aug. 3
Gary Brown, Shannon New and Roy Smith paid their qualifying fees to be on the ballot for the Special Election to name an Ocmulgee District Board of Education member.
Sheila Marchant was named the State Winner of the William H Booth Award.
With Jeff Davis High moving to Region 1-AA, the softball season began play with a much different schedule than in past season.
Aug. 10
The School Board, the County Commission and the City of Hazlehurst entered into an intergovernmental agreement to place qualified, armed School Resource Officers (SRO) in all five of the school system’s sites.
Jeff Davis High’s softball team was ranked No. 6 in a Class AA pre-season poll.
Aug. 17
The city-owned Twisted Pine Golf Course turned out to be the main topic of conversation at a meeting of the Jeff Davis County Commission.
Jeff Davis High’s 2022 football team opened its season facing the toughest schedule the school had faced in decades.
Aug. 24
Dr. Sidney Phillip Johnson, 86, of Hazlehurst, passed away peacefully Aug. 20 at his home.
Jeff Davis High opened the 2022 football season falling 20-14 in overtime to Charlton County.
More than a dozen motions were passed in the workshop and regular monthly session of the Hazlehurst City Council. The agenda item that took up the most time, as it has in many meetings in the past few years, was what to do with the city-owned Twisted Pine Golf Course and its adjoining Hazlehurst Civic Center.
Aug. 31
Jeff Davis High’s softball team swept its first Region 1-AA 3-game series of the 2022 season, but its season-opening, 8-game win streak came to an end in the annual Titan Warrior Classic softball tournament as they fell 1-0 to Commerce in a 5-inning game.
Jeff Davis High’s football team fell 56-17 to Pierce County.
Sept. 7
Jeff Davis High’s 10-1 softball team moved up to No.2 in the state rankings behind Appling County.
Jeff Davis High’s football team fell 47-0 to Swainsboro.
Sept. 14
Todd Claxton was selected to receive the Honorary American FFA Degree given to those who advance agricultural education and FFA through outstanding personal commitment.
Jeff Davis Schools Transportation Director Alvin Merritt felt particularly blessed that eight new buses were to be delivered to the school system bringing the department to the point that all the buses in the system except one will be air conditioned.
Jeff Davis High’s 30-15 loss to Metter was not as lopsided as the final score may indicate as the Yellow Jackets had opportunities to score but came up short.
Sept. 21
Former Jeff Davis County Commission Chairman Ray Harold Wooten, 77, of Hazlehurst passed away peacefully in his sleep at his home Sept. 19.
Former longtime Hazlehurst Mayor Wyatt Washington “Buddy” Spann passed away peacefully Sept. 14 with several family and friends by his side.
Jeff Davis High’s softball team outscored their opponents 55-0 in four games, including a 3-game sweep of Region 1-AA opponent Sumter County.
Sept. 28
Jeff Davis High got its sixth and seventh straight shutout and its tenth in 18 games as the Lady Jackets improved to 17-1 with a 10-0 win over Vidalia and a 15-0 win over Fitzgerald.
Jeff Davis High’s football team went into their game against 4th ranked Cook County as a 38-pt. underdog. But the youngsters amongst the Yellow Jackets did a lot of growing up and battled tenaciously before falling 31-15 to the 5-1 Hornets.
Oct. 5
Jeff Davis freshman Carrie Ellen Arnold had quite a week as she threw back-to-back perfect games and got her first career homer.
Jeff Davis High’s football team looked like it was about to win its first game of the season as they led Berrien County 24-14 late in the third quarter. But Berrien rallied and took a 42-24 win.
Oct. 12
Former Jeff Davis County Commission Chairman Lonnie Waters, 86, died Oct. 6 at his residence surrounded by his devoted wife, family, and friends.
Jeff Davis High improved to 24-1 overall and 16-0 in region play as they swept a 3-game series with Cook High. In winning the Region 1-AA championship, the Lady Jackets finished with an 18-0 record, 26-1 overall,
Jeff Davis High’s football team fell 21-14 to Dodge County.
Oct. 19
One teenager was dead and another injured in a shooting incident on Girtman Street in Hazlehurst. 18-year-old Malik McRae was killed and a 13-year-old juvenile was injured.
Jeff Davis High was just too young, and too inexperienced to compete with defending Class AA State Champion and No. 1 ranked Fitzgerald as the Purple Hurricanes rolled to a 48-0 win.
The Jeff Davis High boys and girls cross country teams continued to have a strong season with solid performances at the Savannah Country Day School Hornet Invitational and the Coffee County Invitational.
Oct. 26
Overtime pay because of staffing shortages was blowing the Hazlehurst Police Department and Hazlehurst-Jeff Davis Fire-Rescue Department’s budgets to pieces.
Jeff Davis High School’s softball team won all three games in the first, four-team, double-elimination state playoff tournament and were set to play in the Elite 8 in Columbus.
Jeff Davis High’s young football team battled gallantly against Worth County but the Rams were just too big and experienced for the freshman and sophomore dominated Yellow Jacket squad, rolling to a 43-7 win.
Nov. 2
The Jeff Davis High School Cross Country teams hosted the Region 1AA Cross Country Championships. Both the boys and the girls teams came away with Region Titles.
Jeff Davis High School’s softball team swept through the Georgia High School Association State Tournament without a loss to win the 2022 State Championship. The Lady Jackets of Coach Steven Wilcox, who finished the season with a 34-1 record, won four tight contests led by senior pitcher Kelsey Parlor. Parlor pitched all 28 tournament innings, giving up only one earned run in four games against the best Class AA teams in the state.
Nov. 9
Gary Brown and Shannon New were headed for a runoff after an extremely close race for the Ocmulgee District Board of Education seat. Brown got 462 votes, New 457 and Roy Smith 115.
After back-to-back 4th place finishes in 2021 and 2020 at the GHSA State Championship, the Jeff Davis Cross Country boys team set a new standard for the program with a third place finish.
Jeff Davis High school avoided a winless 2022 season as they erased a 19-0 halftime deficit and pulled out a 22-19 victory over Sumter County to finish the season 1-9.
Nov. 16
The Jeff Davis County Commission balked at helping Beasley Forest Products with its efforts to access sufficient water to provide adequate fire protection for its Thompson Hardwoods mill on the Baxley Highway.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation charged Daimon Smith, 18, with felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, and two counts of participation in criminal gang activity. Jermon Roundtree, 17, Ahmad Clements, and Cameron James, both age 16, were charged with party to a crime murder, two counts of aggravated assault, and two counts of participation in criminal gang activity.
Nine members of the Jeff Davis High School cross country teams earned honors as members of the 2022 Altamaha Area Cross Country Teams, including Coach Will Wood who was named the Boys Coach of the Year.
Nov. 22
Terry Stone was honored Nov. 14 as the top Economic Development Volunteer in the entire state of Georgia.
Dec. 7
Jeff Davis County Agent Jennifer Miller was named the 2022 Senior King Cotton Award Recipient by the Georgia Cotton Commission.
Ocmulgee District Board of Education candidate Shannon Jump New turned things around in the runoff election, outpolling Gary Brown 547-418 to win the seat vacated by the death of board member Randy Smith.
The Georgia Dugout Club recognized Jeff Davis High softball Head Coach Steven Wilcox as Class AA Coach of the Year, Lady Jacket Assistant Coach Kaleb Brown as one of five Assistant Coaches of the Year and Lady Jacket senior pitcher Kelsey Parlor as Class AA Player of the Year.
The Jeff Davis Recreation Department’s football programs made a clean sweep of the Georgia Recreation and Parks Association Class C District 2 playoffs.
Dec. 14
The Jeff Davis County School System was one of 15 school districts in Georgia awarded federal grants for the purchase of electric school buses.
The Jeff Davis County Recreation Department’s youth football program won state championships in 8 and under team, 10 and under team and 12 and under team.
Dec. 21
Aging equipment and a shortage of employees had been plaguing the Jeff Davis County Road Department.
The monthly meeting of the Hazlehurst City Council rocked along smoothly until the agenda item of the Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) negotiations came up and the discussion became heated.

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