Thursday, May 31, 2018

Hilary Swank to address SCAD commencement

Posted By on Thu, May 31, 2018 at 10:09 AM

SCAD has announced that two-time Oscar-winning actress Hilary Swank will address the Class of 2018 as SCAD Savannah’s distinguished guest speaker on Friday, June 1.

"The university will honor and celebrate graduates during two commencement ceremonies to accommodate the largest graduating class in the university's history," a SCAD spokesperson says.

Presidential Conferment of Degrees ceremony will take places at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Savannah Civic Center. Swank will address graduates at both ceremonies.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Funeral arrangements, motorcade details announced for deceased Savannah Police Officer Christie

Posted By on Tue, May 29, 2018 at 6:41 PM

Details of the services for Officer Anthony Christie, who died this past Friday in a collision on I-16 while responding to a separate accident, have been announced. 

Visitation will be at Fox & Weeks Hodgson Chapel, 7200 Hodgson Memorial Dr. on Thursday, May 31 and Friday, June 1, 10 a.m. to Noon and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The funeral service will be 2 p.m. Saturday, June 2, at Compassion Christian Church, 55 Al Henderson Blvd. Viewing will take place at the church from Noon to 1:30 p.m. prior to the service.

Following the service, a motorcade will lead to the Fox & Weeks Hodgson Chapel. The procession will proceed east on Little Neck Road to Ogeechee Road. The procession will turn right on Ogeechee Road and then take the eastbound on-ramp to Highway 204. The procession will continue along Highway 204/Abercorn Street to Montgomery Cross Road. The procession will turn right onto Montgomery Cross Road to Hodgson Memorial Drive and continue to Fox & Weeks. Starting at 4 p.m., Hodgson Memorial Drive between Mall Boulevard and Eisenhower Drive will be blocked throughout the service at the funeral home.

"Rolling road closures can be expected along the motorcade route prior to the funeral on Saturday as the body is transported to the church," Savannah Police Dept. reports.

"Following the service, which is estimated to last about 1 hour, there will be prolonged road closures to the entire route as the procession moves from the church to Fox & Weeks. All intersections along the route will be blocked. Residents should be prepared for road closures, traffic congestion and delays between 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Roadways will be reopened as intersections are cleared. Hodgson Memorial Drive between Mall Boulevard and Eisenhower Drive will experience closures throughout the final service at the funeral home. These closures are estimated to last until around 5:30 p.m.," police say.

Police say that, "Anyone who wishes to show support to SPD and the Christie family is invited to set up along the processional route. SPD recommends those supporters be in place by 3:15 p.m. to avoid traffic closures along the route."

Friday, May 25, 2018

Savannah Police officer killed while responding to I-16 accident

Posted By on Fri, May 25, 2018 at 3:22 PM

Officer Anthony Christie
  • Officer Anthony Christie
The morning of Friday, May 25, Savannah Police Officer Anthony Christie, 37, was fatally wounded after his patrol car was struck by a tractor trailer on Interstate 16.

"About 2:30 a.m. SPD officers responded to a head-on collision on eastbound I-16 at Dean Forest Road that was the result of a vehicle traveling the wrong way. The crash resulted in the closure of eastbound lanes while officers and our Traffic Investigation Unit managed the scene," police report.

Officer Christie and multiple other SPD officers responded to the scene to assist with traffic control.

"Officer Christie was parked in his patrol car with lights activated in the eastbound lanes of Interstate 16 to divert traffic off of the interstate onto Dean Forest when a tractor trailer struck the side of his vehicle, resulting in critical injuries to the officer. He later succumbed to those injuries," police say.

Christie, a decorated war veteran, has served with Savannah Police Department since December 2015 and was officially sworn in on May 19, 2016. He was assigned to the Central Precinct.

He, along with other officers, was awarded a Team Work Award for assisting in the search and rescue of a missing child who was abandoned in the woods by a robbery suspect in 2016. Prior to his law enforcement career, Christie served his country for 13 years in the Navy as a Master-at-Arms Second Class in the 4th Fleet and remains a reservist.

“Officer Christie was doing what many of our officers do every day when he was tragically struck this morning,” said Chief Mark Revenew. “We know policing is a dangerous job, but that doesn’t make incidents like this any less heartbreaking for our community, our department and the entire blue family.”

“This is a sad day in the City of Savannah,” said Mayor Eddie DeLoach. “Please keep Officer Christie and all of our officers in your prayers. If you see an officer, please stop them and thank them for their service.”

“This is a terrible tragedy for our City and it is a reminder to us all of the sacrifice our first responders make, along with their families,” said City Manager Rob Hernandez. “Our hearts are heavy for the pain now being felt by Officer Christie’s family, friends and fellow officers.”

The Georgia State Patrol’s Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team (SCRT) is conducting the investigation of this crash.

Chaplains and EAP will be providing support to officers, family, friends and co-workers in the wake of this incident.

Officer Christie is survived by his wife Nicole.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Grand jury decides not to charge officers involved in Boyd death; family to react

Posted By on Wed, May 23, 2018 at 6:07 PM

The family of Ricky Boyd will react in a press conference Thursday morning to today's news that a Chatham County Grand Jury opted not to file charges against any police officers in the January shooting of Boyd while police served a murder warrant on him.

“We are saddened but not surprised by today’s decision," says Boyd family attorney William Claiborne.

"We have said from day one that Ricky never murdered anyone. This presentment makes that clear. We are heartbroken to learn that law enforcement knew Ricky was not a murderer when they knocked on the door of the family home on Jan. 23rd, and yet still took his life. That we still do not know who is responsible for killing him — or for shooting their fellow Savannah Police officer – is shocking and appalling," Claiborne says.

“The shooting of unarmed black men is a national disgrace. We will not stop until the system is reformed. We will not stop until we secure justice for this family.”

The press conference is set for Thursday morning at 11 a.m. at Claiborne Law Firm offices on Bay Street.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Telfair Director Lisa Grove set to take Obama Foundation job

Posted By on Wed, May 16, 2018 at 2:56 PM

Telfair Museums announced today that Lisa Grove will be leaving her position as Director/CEO at the end of the month to join the Obama Foundation and its Obama Presidential Center to be built in Chicago.

“It has been a great privilege working alongside the Board and staff of Telfair Museums for the past six and a half years, and I am incredibly proud to have led the organization to record heights of financial stability and programmatic excellence,” said Grove.

“We will miss Lisa’s capable leadership talents, but we applaud her for her appointment to this important role,” said Ted Kleisner, Chairman of the Museum's Board of Trustees. “Lisa leaves the Telfair with an impressive legacy on which we will continue to build. She will be greatly missed... The Telfair Museums’ financial position has been significantly strengthened during Lisa’s tenure.”

Since joining Telfair Museums in January 2012, Grove has"raised record amounts of funding during her tenure, producing six consecutive years of operating surpluses while increasing the overall budget by 25%," says a Telfair spokesperson.

Since her arrival, Director’s Circle giving is up 60%, and museum attendance, admissions revenue, and memberships are each up 50%, the museum says.

“We’ve had an incredibly successful trajectory over the past several years, thanks to the dedication and hard work of our team,” said Grove.” I am confident that Telfair Museums will continue to reach new levels of success in the future.”

Kleisner announced that Telfair Museums has formed a search committee to begin the process of recruiting the next Director/CEO.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

City 'fine-tuning' property classifications for controversial Fire Fee

Posted By on Tue, May 15, 2018 at 3:50 PM

Partially in response to recent citizen confusion about the new measure, the City of Savannah says today it is "fine-tuning the fire fee database to ensure the fee is applied fairly across all property classifications prior to bills being sent out later this fall," a City spokesperson says.

Last week the City sent letters and postcards to all properties and included the estimated fire fee amount for each property, before any discounts are applied.

"The intent of this mailing was to give property owners an idea of what their fire fee will be, and to allow property owners the chance to alert the Revenue Department of any inaccuracies," the City reports.

The actual fire fee bill will not be mailed out until September, however, even though the deadline to apply for discounts is June 1.

As part of an ongoing process, the City is reclassifying some types of properties from Commercial to Single Family Residential, which will change the way the fee is calculated.

"By definition, a Single Family Residential property means developed property containing one residential structure with no more than two dwelling units in or attached thereto, situated upon a single lot of record. Residential properties with supplemental accessory structures, such as carriage houses, storage buildings or caretakers quarters, are also classified as Single Family Residential," the City says.

Condos are now also being classified as Single Family Residential. So are properties that have a commercial use within the residence, as long as the primary function of the property is residential and both uses contain a single Property Identification Number (PIN).

“It can be difficult, especially for properties with multiple structures on one parcel, to determine which properties do and do not meet this definition simply by relying on data presented in the Chatham County Board of Assessors Property Card,” said Revenue Director Ashley Simpson.

The City encourages residents to scrutinize their fire fee estimates, and notify the City of any issues such as property type or billable square footage through an online Request for Redetermination Form located at www.savannahga.gov/FireFee. Forms can be submitted online or mailed to the Revenue Department.

"This process is particularly important in the downtown area, with mixed-use zoning districts that often contain unique parcel combinations or multiple property uses on each parcel," the spokesperson says.

The City uses Chatham County Board of Assessors records as the basis for the fire fee database.

“The City wants to make the fire fee as equitable as possible,” Simpson said. “We want the fire fee to be reflective of the amount of resources needed to fight a fire on each property.”

If anyone has questions about the fire fee they can contact the City at (912) 525-2810 or by e-mail at firefee@savannahga.gov.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

St. Vincent's teacher/coach arrested for illegally photographing students

Posted By on Thu, May 10, 2018 at 9:40 PM


SAVANNAH, GA (May 10, 2018) – Savannah Police’s Special Victims Unit has arrested a 38-year-old teacher for charges of illegally photographing students.

"Joey Morcock is accused of taking photos up the skirts of female students while he was employed as a track coach and teacher at St. Vincent’s Academy," police report.

"The incident was first reported to Savannah Police on April 23. Detectives with the Special Victims Unit launched an investigation into the allegations and was officially taken into custody today on two counts of surreptitious recording of intimate parts. Morcock was removed from his position at the school while the investigation was ongoing," police say.

Anyone who has information on this case can contact the SPD tip line at (912) 525-3124 or the Special Victims Unit at (912) 651-6742.

Matt's Moon River Cruise to mark sixth year with bike ride, music, activities

Posted By on Thu, May 10, 2018 at 12:46 PM

The late Matt Kohler enjoying a Sand Gnats game, one of his favorite pastimes.
  • The late Matt Kohler enjoying a Sand Gnats game, one of his favorite pastimes.

A fun and education fundraiser for an important local organization, the Sixth Annual Matt’s Moon River Cruise will be held on Saturday, May 12 at Historic Grayson Stadium.

The event, benefiting the Savannah Bicycle Campaign, is named in memory of Matt Kohler.

Kohler, 22, was hit from behind and killed by a driver on July 26, 2012 while riding his bike on U.S. Highway 80 in Bloomingdale.

Matt's mother Debbie has become an outspoken advocate for increased bicycle safety measures in the wake of her son's tragic death.

"The most common response is 'I'm sorry for your loss,' which is truly expected," she says.

"Yet others come to me and express true gratitude that I will tell Matthew's story in hopes of getting the word out that bicyclists have a right to ride on the right side of the road, and that a car must yield to the bicyclist and give him or her three feet in order to ensure safety for all involved."

A casual bike ride will leave the stadium at 4 p.m. and return for a party featuring live music by Tall Tall Trees, a favorite Savannah Stopover alum.

A "mini beer festival" coordinated by Moon River Brewing Company will happen, along with a silent auction and games organized by Savannah Sport and Social Incorporated.

"The goal is to educate the public on how to safely share the road with people who bike and promote efforts to make our streets safer for all road users," says a spokesperson for the Savannah Bicycle Campaign, whose education programs are benefited by the proceeds.

Helmets are required for the ride.

Matt's Moon River Cruise is presented by Joe J. Steffen Bike Law.

National Park Service holds local public forums about Landmark District study

Posted By on Thu, May 10, 2018 at 11:24 AM

The National Park Service (NPS) will hold public forums Thursday and Friday as part of the agency’s "most comprehensive effort to assess the Savannah National Historic Landmark District," an NPS spokesperson says.

"The public has a chance to review an independent report prepared about the district’s condition and offer additional input prior to NPS making a final determination about where the area stands with regard to its preservation status," the NPS says.

Public forums will be held on May 10 from 1 to 3 p.m. and May 11 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Metropolitan Planning Commission, Mendosa Hearing Room, 112 E State St.

On hand will be:

Turkiya Lowe, National Park Service Chief Historian; Cynthia Walton, National Historic Landmarks regional program manager; and New South Associates, Inc. officials, authors of the Savannah National Historic Landmark District Integrity & Assessment report

The public can learn more about the current review of the Savannah National Historic Landmark district by visiting https://go.nps.gov/savannah where the New South Associates report is posted and public commenting is open through June 30.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Gas leak prompts Starland evacuations

Posted By on Wed, May 9, 2018 at 3:43 PM

PHOTO BY CAROLYN M. DIMMICK
  • Photo by Carolyn M. Dimmick
The Starland district in the area of 37th and Bull Streets was closed for a couple of hours this afternoon due to a gas leak, the Chatham Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) said.

All buildings north to 36th Street and south to 38th Street were evacuated. Chatham Area Transit buses aided in evacuation efforts.

"Savannah Fire says a construction crew excavating the parking lot at 37th and Bull Streets struck a gas line, which prompted the evacuations," a CEMA spokesperson says.

PHOTO BY CAROLYN M. DIMMICK
  • Photo by Carolyn M. Dimmick

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