Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Alderman Van Johnson makes statement on Trump travel ban

Posted By on Tue, Jan 31, 2017 at 1:04 PM

Savannah's First District Alderman Van R. Johnson, widely considered to be mulling a mayoral run in 2019, is the first local politician to make a public statement on President Trump's controversial travel ban involving seven predominantly Muslim nations.

"I believe that President Trump's executive order not only violated the spirit of the US Constitution, but are contrary to the basic principles upon which our great nation was founded. People should be judged by the content of their character and by their actions, not by their religion," said Johnson.

"Savannah,GA, a port City with a history of slavery, early Jewish settlers, Irish and European immigrants, is also the home of thousands of Muslims, who actively and positively contribute to the vitality of our City," he said.

"I urge Mayor DeLoach and my fellow Council members to quickly and publicly denounce the President's unjust and, I believe, unconstitutional ban to send a loud and clear message that Savannah will continue to be the inclusive, tolerant and Hostess City that we say that we are."

Monday, January 30, 2017

St. Paul and the Broken Bones play Lucas in May

Posted By on Mon, Jan 30, 2017 at 8:17 AM

St. Paul and the Broken Bones will play the Lucas Theatre on May 6 at 8 p.m. Tix go on sale to general public Fri. Feb. 3 at 10 a.m.

Presale opens 10 a.m. Thursday Feb. 2 with the code 'flow.' 

The early Savannah Stopover alumni are touring behind Sea of Noise, their second full-length album. Produced by Paul Butler and recorded at Nashville’s Sound Emporium, the group’s sophomore effort features an expanded eight-piece lineup of the widely praised soul-based rock unit.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Man shot at apartment complex on White Bluff

Posted By on Sat, Jan 28, 2017 at 8:50 AM

Police are investigating the shooting of a 21-year-old male on Saturday, Jan. 28 on the 12500 block of White Bluff Road.

"At about 1:00 a.m. Metro officers responded to Windsor Crossing Apartments finding Jamon Davis with non-life threatening injuries. Davis was transported to Memorial University Medical Center for care," police say.

"Detectives believe this was not a random incident and believe risky behavior to be a factor," police report.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Pending death investigations ruled homicides

Posted By on Wed, Jan 25, 2017 at 6:20 PM

Two separate pending death investigations begun late last week have now been ruled homicides, police say.

The rulings now bring the number of homicides for 2017 in Chatham County up to four.

Investigators arrested Brian Lewis, 44, on Friday, Jan. 20, charging him with concealing a death of another, in connection with the investigation of human remains found on the property he shared with his wife and father in law, Ronald Redding, 67, on Ft. Argyle Road and Leopard Lane. Investigators believe the human remains to be those of Redding, who was reported missing to SCMPD on Jan. 20.

At about 8:45 a.m. Jan. 20, Metro officers responded to the scene finding gunshot victim, Patrick Miller, 26, deceased inside of a 2001 Buick LaSabre at the Frank O. Downing Pier just off Diamond Causeway.. Miller’s remains were found by a sanitation crew working in the area.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Homicide on the Southside

Posted By on Tue, Jan 24, 2017 at 8:22 PM

Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police are investigating a homicide on the 12300 block of Mercy Blvd. at the Joseph’s Landing Apartment complex.

"Around 2:30 p.m. officers were called to the apartment for a welfare check. A female was found dead inside. Next of kin has not yet been notified," police say.

Police are following active leads and they say this does not appear to be a random incident.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Savannah Tech receives $35K grant for students with Solar for Schools program

Posted By on Mon, Jan 23, 2017 at 4:51 PM

Savannah Technical College was selected to receive a grant for $35,000 in the Solar for Schools Program funded by the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA).

"The GEFA Solar for Schools Program will provide students the opportunity to enter the workforce specializing in electrical applications of installing, inspecting, and repairing solar panels," says Savannah Tech's Amy Shaffer.

Savannah Tech will distribute the GEFA grant through the GEFA Photovoltaic Systems Scholarship to at least ten students, who are high school/GED graduates from 2016 or are graduating senior/GED graduates for 2017 from a Georgia institution or an accredited home school program.

Additional qualifications for the GEFA/Photovoltaic systems scholarship include: applicants must be U.S. citizens and residents of Georgia living in Bryan, Chatham, Effingham or Liberty counties; be admitted to Savannah Technical College and enrolled in the Photovoltaic Systems Installation Technical Certificate of Credit; must plan to enroll in the Photovoltaic Systems Installation TCC no later than Summer 2017; include two letters of recommendation and submit a 500-word essay about how this scholarship will benefit the applicant and his/her future education and/or employment plans.

Savannah Tech students will use the knowledge they acquire in the classroom and apply it to installing solar projects on their campuses, including one 15 kilowatt (kW) fixed roof mount; one 38 kW, fixed roof mount; one 3-seat, solar covered table with electrical connections; and one solar covered bus stop with electrical connections.

In addition to the classroom knowledge and hands-on experience, the students will develop marketing initiatives, record and edit a video case study, and increase interest about the benefits of solar power in local K-12 schools, colleges, and the business and investor communities.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Man charged with concealing death of father in law

Posted By on Sat, Jan 21, 2017 at 5:28 PM

Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police investigators arrested Brian Lewis, 44, on Friday, Jan. 20, charging him with concealing a death of another, in connection with the investigation of human remains found on the property he shared with his wife and father in law, Ronald Redding, 67, on Ft. Argyle Road and Leopard Lane.

"Metro responded to the residence at noon to check Redding’s welfare when the remains were located and recovered with assistance from Savannah Fire Department and Southside Fire and EMS," police report.

Investigators believe the human remains to be those of Redding, who was reported missing to SCMPD on Jan. 20.

Circumstances surrounding Redding’s disappearance remain under investigation. The remains will be turned over to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for identification and to determine the cause of death.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Armstrong/Georgia Southern town hall leaves many unanswered questions

Posted By on Fri, Jan 20, 2017 at 10:09 AM

“Is this truly a consolidation or is it an acquisition?” was one question asked yesterday evening at Armstrong State University’s Town Hall Meeting.

The Fine Arts Hall was filled to the doors with faculty, staff and students, some optimistic and inspired, and others concerned and enraged by the shocking, yet nearly unpublicized news which was approved by the Board of Regents last Wednesday.

The Armstrong Pirate has set sail, making room for what will soon be Georgia Southern University, the Savannah campus.

The Board of Regents approved what they wouldn’t necessarily call a merger but a consolidation, a word John Fuchko, Vice Chancellor of the University System of Georgia claims “is a very deliberate word.”

“There’s so many positive things, that are at this institution and at Georgia Southern, and when we go through this process as we’ve done in the past, we should really say ‘what is the best of both, and how will we bring that together in a way that correctly requires change," Fuchko said.

Student athletes in the crowd seemed to be the most concerned and angry in the crowd as there were plenty of questions regarding the new placement of those already in Armstrong’ sporting teams, their scholarships and even the change in coaches.

A lot of concerns went unanswered with the response from Georgia Southern University’s President, Jaimie Hebert. “We do not have every answer.”

The process is said to take up to 18 months, with the next step being a new mission statement for the new university.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Stage On Bay alcohol license vigorously opposed by Savannah City Council, neighborhood

Posted By on Thu, Jan 19, 2017 at 5:04 PM

In a contentious hearing today at the regular meeting of City Council, Mayor and Council members largely seemed to side with many residents of the Hudson Hill community in opposing granting an alcoholic beverage license to the new performance venue Stage On Bay.

Located near Southbound Brewing to the west of the Viaduct in Alderman Van Johnson's district and not far from the proposed site of the nearly $200 million new Westside Arena, Stage On Bay has already scheduled its first show for Feb. 3, by the Marshall Tucker Band.

However, that booking was thrown into question as Johnson, then residents, and finally Mayor DeLoach himself, grilled venue owner Charles Schmitt as he spoke in favor of being granted the license, which is almost certainly vital to the business being successful.

Saying he "has major issues with this," Alderman Johnson said Schmitt should have picked a spot on the other side of the viaduct.

"Good concept, wrong place," said Johnson. Schmitt responded by citing his commitment of half a million dollars investment in the blighted area.

Schmitt pushed back against allegations from Hudson Hill neighborhood residents and Council that he hadn't reached out to the neighborhood enough to get their input.

"I can't force people to respond to emails and phone calls," he said.

When Council suggested Schmitt meet with the full Hudson Hill Neighborhood Association at its next meeting — which happens to be the night before the Marshall Tucker Band date — he said he would "probably have to close up shop" if that has to happen before they can open.

When the floor was opened up to Hudson Hill and nearby Westside residents, one said "we are looking for another loophole so we can deny this license."

A neighborhood leader said, "I promise you not a handful of people living in that area are interested in Marshall Tucker. What are we supposed to get out of this deal other than noise, confusion, and foolishness."

Bernetta Lanier, Westside resident and a former Council candidate, said the allowed zoning of Stage On Bay is legal but a legacy of racism. "We have lost neighborhoods because of our zoning," she said. "This will have negative impact on our community."

Echoing that line of thought, Alderman Johnson said there is much crime, poverty, and homelessness in that area of town, and "it's not a conspiracy, but it looks like a conspiracy."

Left unanswered was the question of why the nearby Westside Arena project, also scheduled for a full liquor license and a vastly more disruptive project in terms of scale, wasn't also held up for similar reasons.

As the discussion escalated, Mayor DeLoach, who had been largely silent, told Schmitt, "I think you jumped the gun on hiring Marshall Tucker before you got the liquor license you need."

DeLoach told Schmitt not only wouldn't he vote for the license today, but he also wouldn't vote for it if Schmitt didn't meet with the neighborhood again to assuage community concerns.

"That's on you," the Mayor said. "And if you don't make that happen I won't vote for it and we'll have to see you in court."

To which Schmitt responded, "With all due respect, I see your point and that's probably what will have to happen" — i.e., taking the City to court.

In an echo of previous contentious liquor license hearings, City Attorney Brooks Stillwell advised Council that they have "some discretion" on turning down liquor licenses, "but you have to tell applicants in advance."

Stillwell advised Council that if it's their desire to turn down the license, they would have to continue the hearing to the next Council meeting in two weeks.

The Mayor and Council voted to do just that.

Alderman Tony Thomas raised the point that the larger unsettled policy issues — of neighborhood concerns vs. private property rights and zoning — which seem to plague so many Council meetings still need to be formally addressed.

City Manager Rob Hernandez agreed and suggested that the issues should be discussed at the next regular workshop.

However, Mayor DeLoach had previously announced his intention to strongly consider doing away with the regular Thursday morning City Council workshops, held prior to each Council meeting since the Otis Johnson administration.

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Savannah Bananas offer 'internship' to President Obama

Posted By on Thu, Jan 19, 2017 at 10:56 AM

In a video, the owner of the Savannah Bananas made a tongue-in-cheek — or peel-in-cheek? — offer to President Barack Obama to take an internship with the local college summer league team.

"After 8 years in office we know you no longer have a job. But it doesn't have to be that way," says Jesse Cole in the video. "We're here to offer you an internship with the Bananas."

In the video, Cole strolls through the Savannah Bananas offices at Grayson Stadium while making his whimsical pitch.

"When you were in office you said there's nothing quite like going to the ballpark. Now you're going to have a chance to do that every day at Grayson Stadium," Cole says.

"We'll even pay you a stipend. To top it off we'll even get you a host family to help with all your housing."

For those without a sense of humor who still don't get the joke, at one point Cole passes by the office of team president Jared Orton.

"Maybe one day you'll rise up and become president of the Bananas. Sorry, Jared," he says. Orton then throws a folder of papers at Cole from his office.

Cole has made the joking offer before. In 2009 he offered outgoing President George W. Bush an internship with the Gastonia Grizzlies, the other summer league team he owns.

The offer of course is part of the Bananas' effort to promote its internships to college students. If you're interested learn more here.

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