Here’s a look back at 2016, starting with January.
Brown, council take oaths: Allen Brown took the lead again for a second time as Hinesville’s mayor. Brown previously served as Hinesville’s mayor from 1992 to 2000.
It was also a historic day for the city council as two new members, Diana Reid and Vicky Nelson, were sworn in as the first African-American women to serve on the council.
Former Liberty County students petition for diplomas: The Liberty County School System issued 136 diplomas to students previously denied diplomas because they did not pass the required graduation test but met all other requirements.
House Bill 91, approved by the legislature, discontinued the requirement of students earning a passing score on any graduation tests to earn a high school diploma.
Former students were allowed to petition their local board of education for a diploma. The bill covers all graduation tests on or after July 1, 1981.
Man dies after being shot at his home: Kenneth Lee Jackson was allegedly fatally shot by Thomas Edward Jordan Jr. after an argument on the front steps of a mobile home in Walthourville. The men knew each other and what appeared to be a short, heated verbal altercation escalated. Jordan, who later turned himself in and was denied bond.
A candlelight vigil was held for Jackson at Johnnie Frasier Park in Walthourville. The message of the vigil was to handle arguments and issues in a different way rather than through violence.
Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market East opens: The second Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market in Hinesville opened on East Gen. Stewart Way to serve the east side of Hinesville and nearby areas with a market and fuel station.
Judge David Cavendar retires: Liberty County Superior Court Judge David Cavendar celebrated his retirement after 33 years as a judge in the Atlantic Judicial Circuit. Throughout his career, Cavendar presided over thousands of cases, one which garnered national attention—the State vs. Hollaway, which went to the Georgia Supreme Court and eventually the U.S. Supreme Court.
Warren fondly remembered by many: Former Ludowici mayor and councilwoman Myrtice Warren died at the Golden Living Center in Jesup after an extended illness. Warren retired from public service December 2011, after serving as mayor and on the city council for 29 years. Several people who knew Warren spoke of her service to the community and their personal relationship with her.
Tornado touches down on Fort Stewart: Fort Stewart was hit with an EF-1 tornado. The tornado took out power to the entire installation, knocked down trees and branches, and damaging numerous structures and cars.
Eighty-seven rooms at the installation’s hotel were given to soldiers and family members displaced by the tornado. Diamond Elementary School was damaged along with 150 to 200 vehicles.
According to a preliminary report from the National Weather Service the tornado’s path was 5.7 miles long and 300 yards wide, with wind speed between 105-110 mph. It lasted 10 to 12 minutes before dissipating at Highway 144.
There were no injuries reported.
Sentenced reduces for F.E.A.R defendant: Michael Burnett, a member of the radical militia group Forever Enduring Always Ready, or F.E.A.R., had his sentence reduced after he cooperated extensively with the government against fellow members in the 2011 slayings of Tiffany York, 17, and Michael Roark, 19. He will now serve only eight years instead of 10 years, but he will be on probation for 40 years.