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Jenkins Co. seeks help to save aquarium
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      I know that you all have already heard about Georgia's June unemployment numbers. Our state's unemployment rate eclipsed 10 percent. But what you may not know is that neighboring Jenkins County has the highest rate in the state - 20.7 percent.
       Why am I delivering such dismal news? Because, our neighbors have reached out and asked for our help. Jenkins County is trying to save one of its attractions - the Bo Ginn Aquarium at Magnolia Springs State Park
       According to Paula Herrington, executive director of the Millen/Jenkins County
      Chamber of Commerce and Development Authority, the state of Georgia had plans to close the aquarium built in the 1960's.
       "If not for the Jenkins County Development Authority stepping up to the plate and agreeing to take over the operations of the aquarium, the state would have closed it." Herrington said. "We all need to help one another, but without the help from our surrounding counties we may not succeed."
       Part of the effort to raise the annual operating cost of $40,000 is a fundraiser that is going to be held at Magnolia Springs on Aug. 8.
       "We are having a bass tournament to fill the bass winner's tank with the largest bass caught in the tournament and a plaque to credit the fisherman who wins," she said. "We invite everyone, near and far, to come out to the aquarium on Saturday, Aug. 8th, for the weigh in of the tournament and at the same time, attend the aquarium open house and refreshments provided by Millen Better Hometown. The aquarium will be open for free; however, we will be glad to accept donations."
       Herrington said entertainment that night will feature Bryan Clees an award winning singer/songwriter originally from Tampa, Fla., now residing in Sylvania.
       "He has been taking the southeast by storm lately with his energetic live shows, while also opening for some national recording artists such as Kenny Chesney, Andy Griggs, Sawyer Brown, Mark Wills, JoDee Messina, and many more," Herrington said. "Bryan will be performing from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. so bring your lawn chairs, blankets, or what makes you comfortable and have a great time at the Bo Ginn Aquarium. You do not get a chance like this often to enjoy a concert and the free entrance to the aquarium and refreshments. There is no charge for parking if you come into the aquarium on Hatchery Road."
       Herrington said plant closings in Millen have had a devastating impact on the local economy and county officials are trying to do what they can to attract visitors to the area.
       "We know that the plants are not coming back, and we need to look in a new direction," she said. "We are hoping to bring people here to see some of our local attractions, and the aquarium is an important part of that. We hope that all of neighbors will come out to help us save one of our local institutions."
       If you would like more information on this event, or if you would like to ask how you can help in the ongoing efforts to save the aquarium, call Herrington at (478) 982-5595.

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