January 4, 2023
On Thursday, December 29, a reception was held at Durden Banking Company in Swainsboro to celebrate the retirement of two long-term employees. Jan Lamb, a 35-year veteran and Peggy Hurst, a 32-year veteran, retired in December. Judy Price was also recognized for having 50 years of service in banking.
January 11, 2023
Stevens was promoted to Army Chief Warrant Officer 5 (CW5); however, his exceptionally meritorious career began 20 years ago in 2002 when he joined the U.S. Army. In 2003, Stevens attended Warrant Officer Candidate School and flight training until 2004 when he joined the Third Armored Cavalry Regiment (ACR) at Fort Carson, Colorado. Stevens’s badges and awards include: the Meritorious Service medal, Air medal (3x), Army Commendation medal (3x), Army Achievement medal, National Defense service medal, Iraq Campaign medal (2x), Operation Inherent Resolve medal, Global War on Terrorism Service medal, Army Service rib-bon, Overseas Service ribbon (3x), Georgia National Guard State Active- Duty ribbon, Georgia National Guard Counter Narcotics ribbon, Combat Action badge and the Army Master Aviator badge. His Sikorsky Awards are 500 Hours Incident/Accident Free, 1000 Hours Incident/Accident Free, 500 Hours Combat, 2000 Hours Incident/Accident Free, and the Sikorsky Rescue Award.
January 18, 2023
The legendary Swainsboro Raceway made history on Friday, January 13, when longtime owners, Paul and Debra Purvis, passed their torch over to new owners, J.J. and Dana Williams, who purchased the South Georgia landmark on Thursday, January 12. The Purvis’ purchased Swainsboro Raceway 22 years ago and since that moment, it has played an essential part in the thrills that Emanuel County has to offer for the Southeastern United States.
January 25, 2023
Newly elected Emanuel County Commissioners, Timmy Oliver of District 5 and Jim Sherrod of District 4, were sworn into office for terms beginning January 1, 2023, and ending December 31, 2026. Oaths were administered at the Probate Court on December 22, 2022, by Emanuel County Probate Judge Don Wilkes.
February 1, 2023
The Swainsboro-Emanuel County Chamber of Commerce hosted its 68th Annual Membership Meeting and Awards Banquet on Thursday, January 26, at Swainsboro Golf and Country Club. As always, the event was held to honor and recognize those who made Emanuel County a wonderful place to call home during the year of 2022. David Emanuel Academy’s 2022-2023 STAR Student is Senior, Peyton Free; Emanuel County Institutes 2022-2023 STAR Student is Senior, Karly Olliff; Emanuel County Institutes, 2022-2023 STAR Teacher, Frank Wimberly; Swainsboro High Schools 2022-2023 STAR Student is Senior, Manuel Fernandez; Swainsboro High Schools 2022-2023 STAR Teacher, Joseph O’Neal; Leanna’s named Business of the Year; Porter named Citizen of the Year. After STAR Students and Teachers were given their awards, Bertoch then announced the County-wide winner as ECI STAR Student, Karly Olliff and her teacher Frank Wimberly.
February 8, 2023
A long-awaited project that will enhance industrial growth in Emanuel County is about to be-come a reality. Later this month, officials are expected to announce the completion of the rehabilitation and reopening of a formerly inactive rail line from Swainsboro to Vidalia. The culmination of this project is the result of nearly two decades of work from a dedicated but unsung group of state politicians, local mayors, development authority and county commission members and interested local citizens.
February 15, 2023
Two Swainsboro High School senior football players recently signed letters of intent to attend college on athletic scholarships. During the early signing period in December, Ty Adams signed with the University of North Carolina of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. In the February signing period, Jonorian Foots signed with Georgia Institute of Technology of Atlanta, Georgia. Both young men have been integral members of the Tigers football team for the past four years.
February 22, 2023
East Georgia State College (EGSC) is proud to announce that Harley Strickland Smith has been named the new Vice President for Institutional Advancement at EGSC. In this role, Smith will provide leadership and strategic focus to further the college’s development, alumni relations, marketing communications, and engagement. She will work with the EGSC Foundation and its members to implement strategies to increase private funding for college programs and capital needs, as well as secure gifts from private foundations and government sources.
March 1, 2023
East Georgia State College (EGSC) is excited to celebrate its 50th anniversary with a panel discussion on Tuesday, March 7. The Golden Anniversary Panel Discussion will begin at 6 p.m. in the Luck Gambrell Building Auditorium on the campus of EGSC.
March 8, 2023
The Kalmanson Gallery of Emanuel Arts Council will feature artwork from the African American community of Emanuel County with an opening reception on March 16, from 5 to 7 p.m. called “Black Art Inspires: Honor, History, Culture,” the exhibition will include various hand-made quilts, sketches, and paintings. Refreshments will be provided by the TLC CASA organization.
March 15, 2023
One of Swainsboro and Emanuel County’s most caring and philanthropic daughters was honored on Wednesday of last week by Georgia Women of Achievement. Luck Flanders Gambrell was among the four exceptional Georgia women of history chosen by the Board of Selections for induction into the 2023 GWA Hall of Fame.
March 22, 2023
BauerFinancial, Inc., the Nation’s Premier Bank Rating Firm, is proud to announce that Citizens Bank of Swainsboro has once again earned its Top (5-Star) Rating for financial strength and stability. Having earned Bauer’s 5-Star rating for 40 (or more) consecutive quarters, Citizens Bank of Swainsboro has earned an even higher designation as an “Exceptional Performance Bank”. This marks Citizens Bank of Swainsboro’s 43rd consecutive 5-Star rating.
March 29, 2023
On Friday, March 24, 2023, Emanuel County Senior Center Director Beth Gibson, was joined by the Emanuel County Board of Commissioners and the Chamber of Commerce to celebrate the ribbon cutting and grand opening of Swainsboro’s newly renovated facility located off Highway 56 North in Swainsboro.
April 5, 2023
East Georgia State College (EGSC) recently appointed Jennifer Fields as the Director of Admissions at the college. Fields will lead the department and oversee recruitment and processing.
April 12, 2023
Every nurse was drawn to nursing because of a desire to care, serve, or help. This was the driving force for Ogeechee OBGYN’s newest Nurse Practitioner, Denise Peebles, who has over 22 years of experience in the medical field.
April 19, 2023
2023 Swainsboro Exchange Club Youth of the Year recipients: Peyton Free DEA, Jason Brown SHS, Marti Woodward ECI, Racyn Faircloth DEA, 2nd place, Lawson Wade Mercer ECI and 1st place, Anna Donaldson SHS.
April 26, 2023
The Bulldog program has captured its first boy’s and girl’s tennis titles in program history. Following a string of unprecedented success over the previous two seasons, the current crop of players led by seniors, Landen Canady, and Jacey Allen, have continued to build on this tradition of growth.
The Lady Dawgs not only captured their first region title, but also, their first playoff appearance in program history.
May 3, 2023
Newly elected Emanuel County Commissioner, Ricky Thompson of District 2, was sworn into office for the unexpired term ending December 31, 2026. The oath was administered at the Probate Court on Tuesday, April 25, by Emanuel County Probate Judge Don Wilkes.
May 10, 2023
This year’s honoree and recipient of the green Jacket is a lifelong resident of Swainsboro. He is a 1960 graduate of Swainsboro High School and holds degrees from Georgia Military College and Brenau University. Dess Smith III has dedicated countless hours toward the betterment of the community through various organizations including the Swainsboro-Emanuel County Fes-tival Foundation for the past several years.
May 17, 2023
Trent Smoyer of Twin City, successfully completed four years of challenging academic, physical and professional military training, graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree in Quantitative Economics and a commission as a U.S. Marine Corps 2nd Lt. He is a graduate of Emanuel County Institute.
May 24, 2023
Casey Fountain was recently named the Director of Institutional Advancement at East Georgia State College (EGSC). In this role, she will oversee facility reservations, coordinate event requests, assist with communication strategies, and oversee alumni relations.
May 31, 2023
The River Rats have toured the Ogeechee once again. On Friday, April 21, 34 boats carrying 70 citizens who call themselves the River Rats, set off at the Bull Hole in Jenkins County to make their annual tour of the Ogeechee River. The monetary response has always been overwhelming, but this year topped them all with the River Rats making history through their annual fundraiser and raising a substantial $52,000, which was donated to the Greenville Shriner’s Hospital on May 23.
June 7, 2023
The Forest-Blade has proudly served the Emanuel County community for more than 160 years, and we believe that everyone in the community should have access to the community newspaper. With the recent closing of the Crossroads Chronicle, The Blade is offering Chronicle subscribers a way to continue receiving their community news.
June 14, 2023
The original 14 U.S. Flag poles at the Veterans and First Responders Memorial Park were installed in August 2021 using PVC pipes. The Veterans at the Library felt like the flag poles needed to be replaced with permanent metal poles. All a veteran has to do is put the word out in need and a Patriot Company will come to the rescue. The Central Fence Company located in Swainsboro, is just such a company. The park needed 14 black 10’ metal poles with metal attachments and the Dixons at Central Fence Company provided them with the supplies at no cost to the Veterans or Park. Thanks so much Andy, Teresa, Chesley and Bridget Dixon.
June 21, 2023
After getting knocked out of the Second Round of the State Playoffs the Swainsboro Baseball team received the news that their Head Coach Ashley Hooks was resigning from the job. He will be missed dearly, but the search was on to find the next Head Coach of the Swainsboro Tigers. They needed a guy who can develop talent on the field as well as good men off the field. After searching long and hard they found the right guy for the job in Billy Marchman, Burke County’s Head Coach.
June 28, 2023
Deputy Jamey Chalker graduated from the Georgia Public Safety Training Center’s Police Academy at the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office on Friday, June 23. He was elected president of his class and awarded the top marksman award. Deputy Chalker was honored to be given the “225th Guide On” flag for his leadership abilities. He is now a certified law enforcement officer entrusted with protecting life and property.
July 5, 2023
Twin City Mayor Matt Donaldson received the prestigious Certificate of Distinction award from the Harold F. Holtz Municipal Training Institute during the Georgia Municipal Associa-tion’s (GMA) Annual Convention in Savannah on June 26.
July 12, 2023
Hyundai Motor Group, Metaplant along with several other senior level officers of Hyundai signed an agreement this week to partner with Southeastern Technical College in a broad, new training program.
July 19, 2023
The Forest-Blade recently presented a contribution to Emanuel Medical Center through the Georgia HEART Program. Georgia HEART allows businesses and individuals to direct their Georgia income tax dollars to qualifying rural hospitals, such as Emanuel Medical Center.
July 26, 2023
Franklin Memorial Library is thrilled to present the Our Home Town movie filmed in 1947. This movie gives viewers the unique opportunity to see what life in Swainsboro was like during that era. The library has been given a photocopy of the original Swainsboro Forest Blade article from June 12, 1947, that first announced the making of this 20-minute-long historical film. The article states that Sol Landsman and Arthur Loevin shot the reels for the movie in the several days that they were visiting Swainsboro.
August 2, 2023
East Georgia State College (EGSC) recently named Malanie Freeman the new Sudie A. Fulford Community Learning Center Coordinator. Freeman will oversee the day-to-day operations of the center and organize the programming the Fulford Center will offer.
August 9, 2023
The dream of having first run movies and live performances in a downtown theater in Swainsboro is once again back on track. The firm of BAK Builders has been in town for the past two weeks beginning the next phase of renovation and restoration of the Karrh Theater. When the project is completed, the theater will once again host the latest movie releases in an elegant and updated state-of-the-art setting that will also serve as a venue for a variety of live productions.
August 16, 2023
Swainsboro High School DeMello Jones has been selected as a 2023 AJC Super 11. DeMello is a senior at Swainsboro High School. The Super 11 is one of Georgia’s most prestigious statewide awards for high school athletes. Swainsboro has had countless outstanding football players, but DeMello is only the second player to receive this recognition.
August 23, 2023
The U.S. Department of Justices’ Bureau of Justice Assistance, through Justice & Security Strategies, Inc. announced that it will award Swainsboro Police Department a micro-grant for body-worn cameras. This is part of a group of awards being made to 265 small, rural, and tribal law enforcement agencies for body-worn cameras.
August 30, 2023
The City of Adrian held their ribbon cutting for the grand opening of the new City Hall on Wednesday, August 23. Mayor Wynola Smith welcomed City Council members and community with a speech and gave a tour of the new facility.
September 6, 2023
The One Fore One Challenge, a concept assembled by Joe and Christy Holaway, owners of local favorite Ware’s Bar-B-Q, golfers are tested on their ability to adapt and overcome. By stretching the rules one hole at a time and providing players with a fun alternative to the game of golf, the Holaways are transforming one life at a time at The Refuge; a domestic violence shelter and sexual assault center.
September 13, 2023
The two-year aftermath of a local shooting came to reckoning in Emanuel County Superior Court Friday, September 8, with the sentencing of Dallas Raymond Clark, 31, of Twin City. A jury found Clark guilty of voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during commission of a crime. In court documents, the combined sentence handed down called for a total of 65 years with the first 30 years to be served in confinement, and the remainder to be served on probation. The trial brought a conclusion to events that transpired in the early morning hours of Saturday, July 3, 2021, in the death of Jamichael Kirkland, 30, of Swainsboro.
September 20, 2023
To commemorate the 22nd anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, East Georgia State College (EGSC) held a ceremony to honor the victims and heroes of that tragic day. Several local public safety and service agencies, veterans’ groups, faculty and staff, and students attended the ceremony.
September 27, 2023
Dr. Denise Warnock recognized the following teachers: Cassie Way – Swainsboro Primary; Amber Street – Swainsboro Elementary; Kristy Wimberly – Swainsboro Middle School; Lucy McNeely – Swainsboro High School; Sonya Rountree – Twin City Elementary; Meagan Simmons – ECI
October 4, 2023
Willie Bush, Sons of the American Legion Commander and Henry Thompson, Adjutant installing four more pavers at Pine Brook Veterans Memorial Park.
October 11, 2023
The ECI Lady Dawgs softball team captured their third consecutive region championship last week, entering the state playoffs as a number one seed from region three. This marks the eighth regional championship in the last ten years for the Lady Dawgs softball program.
October 18, 2023
Renovation work continues to move forward downtown at the Barbara and Tobe Karrh Cultural Arts Center. Framing going up inside of the historic theater is reshaping the interior spaces both at the lobby entrance, the snack bar and in the upper floor spaces. The Theater Foundation members are looking forward to more “coming attractions” and appreciate the continuing support of all donors as well as the City of Swainsboro and the Fox Theater Foundation.
October 25, 2023
East Georgia State College (EGSC) recently received a $399,117 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women. The grant was awarded as part of the Grants to Reduce Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, and Stalking on Campus Program (Campus Program).
November 8, 2023
Chief Magistrate Judge Dawn Braddy has announced she will retire effective December 29, 2023, due to health issues.
November 15, 2023
It’s rare today for individuals to remain in the same industry for their entire career, and even rarer with the same company. This is not the case for three Pineland employees who are reaching a new career milestone. Sidney Rhoney, Jim Sherrod, and Ken Scott are retiring this month, with a combined total of 103 years of dedication and service at Pineland.
November 22, 2023
This time of the year we hear a lot about UGA Bulldog pride, but this week Bulldog pride has a very special meaning for Swainsboro. University of Georgia President Jere Morehead announced on Monday that following a nationwide search, Emanuel County’s own Jill Stephens Walton has been named vice president for Development and Alumni Relations (DAR) and Executive Director for the University of Georgia Foundation for UGA.
November 29, 2023
The Swainsboro Tigers are headed back to the Final Four after their 34-28 win over the Elbert County Blue Devils. This is the third straight year the Tigers have made it this far, which is one of the hardest things to do in the sport.
December 6, 2023
On a chilly night in Quitman, Georgia, the Swainsboro Tigers clinched their second straight State Title berth with their 24-17 win over Brooks County, a heavyweight in the state of Geor-gia. The game will take place this year at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the home of the Atlanta Falcons on December 11, at 1 p.m. Show up and show out! Go Tigers!
December 13, 2023
The Swainsboro Tigers, along with their faithful fans, headed up to Atlanta this past Monday to take on Prince Avenue Christian in the State Championship game. This was an outstanding game between the two best A-D1 teams in the state, played in the biggest non-collegiate foot-ball stadium in the state, Mercedes-Benz stadium. Prince Avenue Christian went down and added one more score with two minutes left to make it a 49-32 ballgame, and as time expired, the Tigers left the field having battled through four remarkable quarters.
December 20, 2023
The Lazarus Project Food Pantry officially opened in Swainsboro this week from a $50,000 grant from Aetna Better Health of Georgia and Beacon of Home Church of God. The food pantry is the result of a community-driven effort in collaboration with Aetna’s Emanuel County Community Health Council to identify the unique needs of the area and harnessing collective, local resources to create a lasting impact on the health and well-being of the community.
December 27, 2023
Swainsboro’s own Demello Jones signed a letter of intent to play football for the University of Georgia Bulldogs Wednesday, December 20. Jones was recruited by over 20 of college foot-ball’s top programs over the last two years including Tennessee, Alabama, Texas A&M, University of Florida, Vanderbilt, Ohio State, Auburn, Ole Miss, and Notre Dame.