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Thanks for Stoehr column


Thank you to Jim Reed for his insightful column “Who’s minding the Stoehr?”

I have a daughter that has performed for the last several years with Savannah Danse Theatre. Not only is SDT the only local Savannah company, for The Nutcracker we also brought together a full orchestra under the exquisite direction of Mary Woodmansee Green, another local artist.

Mr. Stoehr refused repeated requests to write about us or the orchestra, even with all of Savannah crying out for live music. It was a slap in the face to every dancer that worked countless hours and every musician that practiced to perform perfection in the orchestra pit of the Lucas Theatre.

I wish Mr. Stoehr well in his new endeavor. Perhaps he will be happier in Charleston, S.C. Should someone call and warn them?

Amy R. Martin

Taking out tobacco


As a advocate for youth, it has always been very important to me that our youth have the opportunity to grow up in healthy environments and communities, with healthy bodies and eager minds to use their God-given talent to be successful.

Recent research findings suggests that smoking-related illnesses are the number one cause of death in the African-American community, surpassing all other causes of death, including AIDS, homicide, diabetes, and accidents. Death from smoking-caused disease is higher among African-Americans than among whites, despite the fact that African-Americans typically smoke less.

An estimated 1.6 million black Americans alive today, who are now under the age of 18, will become regular smokers, and about 500,000 of these will die prematurely from a tobacco-related disease.

It appears as if the tobacco industry has gone to great lengths to target the African-American community over the past 30 years. Through market research and aggressive advertising, the tobacco companies have successfully infiltrated our communities. The industry’s “investment” has had a destructive impact: African Americans suffer the greatest burden of tobacco-related mortality of any ethnic or racial group in the United States.

Research shows that cigarette company advertising and other marketing efforts greatly influence tobacco use among adolescents. One of the most heavily advertised brands, Newport, is the cigarette brand leader among African-American youths in the United States. Eight out of every ten black, youth smokers smoke Newport cigarettes.

This year, Congress has an historic opportunity to protect children and save lives. The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (H.R.1108) is bipartisan legislation that would give the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority over tobacco products and their marketing.

Among other things, the proposed legislation would ban outdoor advertising near schools, remove advertising with colorful pictures that appeal to children from stores and from magazines with high youth readership, and put larger, more effective warning labels on the cigarette packs themselves.

The bill’s strong, effective restrictions on advertising and marketing of tobacco products to children strike at the very heart of the tobacco industry business model. If the tobacco companies do not recruit kids to smoke, they lose a huge portion of their market.

As a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and a cosponsor of the legislation, Georgia Representative John Barrow (D-GA) will play a key role in passing this bill. I urge the entire Georgia delegation to work to enact this legislation that would end special protection for the tobacco industry, protect our children and save lives.

You can also do something really important for our children and families by contacting your our Congressmen and telling them to vote for the Family Smoking Prevention and Control Act. Our future depends on it.

Van R. Johnson, IIVice ChairmanAlderman, District 1

Peace out, y’all


The International Peace Day Planning Committee would like to thank the Savannah community for its support of the successful events organized for this year: the film series on peace and the peace festival.

The following institutions provided invaluable support in making the Third Annual Savannah Peace Celebration a reality:

Unitarian Universalist Beloved Community, Unity of Savannah, Catholic Social Services of the Diocese of Savannah, Skidaway Island United Methodist Church, Asbury Memorial United Methodist Church and the City of Savannah’s Department of Cultural Affairs’ Weave-A-Dream grant.

May peace prevail on earth,

Christine Neal, Ph.D.Chair, IPD Planning Committee


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