Friday, December 28, 2018

Olde Pink House looks forward to re-opening "as soon as possible" after fire

Posted By on Fri, Dec 28, 2018 at 3:47 PM

The aftermath of the Pink House fire; note upper story windows. - PHOTO BY SOPHIA MOREKIS
  • Photo by Sophia Morekis
  • The aftermath of the Pink House fire; note upper story windows.

Donna Moeckel, owner of The Olde Pink House, released a statement Friday afternoon regarding a fire at the favorite Savannah restaurant that happened on Dec. 27:

“Although we are devastated about the fire at The Olde Pink House, we are thankful no one was hurt and major damage appears to be confined to the ballroom. Our team is truly a family, and we are taking care of one another during this difficult time," says Moeckel.

The fire broke out Thursday morning upstairs in the ballroom area, and was apparently caused by a Christmas tree which caught fire. One woman had slight injuries during a successful rescue from the second floor.

"On behalf of everyone at The Olde Pink House, I want to thank all the firefighters and first responders who assisted at the scene of the fire yesterday. The professionalism and timely arrival on the scene saved this treasured building from far more extensive damage, and we will be forever grateful. We also appreciate the outpouring of concern and support from the entire Savannah community," she says.

"We’re committed to repairing the damage from the fire and restoring this historic structure to its original grandeur. We’re currently assessing the damage and determining the timeline for repairs. We look forward to re-opening as soon as possible," says Moeckel.

Originally built in 1771 as the residence of James Habersham, Jr., the Olde Pink House is also home to Planter’s Tavern and Arches Bar, in addition to its legendary restaurant. It employs about 250 people, many of whom have worked there for over 20 years.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

No-fee adoptions at Animal Services through end of year

Posted By on Thu, Dec 27, 2018 at 9:28 AM

Chatham County Animal Services will host a no fee adoption event for the remainder of the Holiday Season.

Adoptions include age appropriate vaccinations, FELv/FIV test, heartworm test if over 7 months of age, spay/neuter and a microchip with FREE lifetime registration.

"While the adoption fees will be waived, there will be a $5 cost for a rabies tag and registration for each pet," a spokesperson says.

The event runs December 27-31, 1-4:30 p.m. at 7211 Sallie Mood Dr. directly behind the Humane Society.

For more information, and photographs of some of the available pets, visit Chatham County Animal Services on Facebook, or call 912-652-6575.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Slowdown "very likely" for Savannah metro economy, Georgia Southern Economic Monitor says

Posted By on Wed, Dec 26, 2018 at 10:11 AM

Georgia Southern University’s latest Economic Monitor, which analyzes Q3 2018 data and identifies trends affecting the regional economy, reports "signs of weakness are emerging more clearly in Savannah's three-county metro economy."

Electricity sales and boardings at the airport "lifted the economic index," the report says, while port activity remained strong and unemployment faded.

“Consumer confidence in the south Atlantic states has been volatile for about two years but generally rising while oscillating between ups and downs,” stated Michael Toma, Ph.D., Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Economics, and director of the Center for Business Analytics and Economic Research (CBAER). “Overall, the regional economy’s growth phase is expected to further weaken in early 2019.”

During the third quarter of 2018, the Savannah metro economy expanded at a rate of 0.6 percent, or 2.5 percent annualized. Much of the upward movement in the index of current activity is attributed to electricity sales (measuring residential, commercial and industrial activity) and boardings at the airport.

Port activity increased about 2 percent during the quarter and is up 11 percent compared to last year’s data.

The regional service sector, which includes leisure and hospitality, as well as retail trade and state and local government saw the most job losses, while the information sector, and education and health experienced job increases. Manufacturing and construction saw gains in employment.

Overall, the Savannah metro economy grew during Q3 "but at a much slower rate with evidence pointing toward a sluggish near-term future," the report says.

"Declines in total employment, utilization of the workforce, new home construction and business/professional services employment suggest a slowdown is very likely. With the fall in the forecasting index, this suggests the regional economy may be approaching a stall," it says.

Highlights from the latest Economic Monitor include:

Total employment reported in Savannah’s metro area was 178,800, a decrease of 1,000 jobs from Q2, reducing the 12-month growth rate to 0.3 percent.

The goods-producing side of the economy added about 300 jobs while manufacturing added 100 workers, extending its streak of growth to seven consecutive quarters, during which employment increased to 17,700. Construction gained 200 workers, rising to a post-recession high of 7,600 workers.

For the second consecutive quarter, lower wages and a shorter workweek did not translate into increased unemployment in the region. Initial unemployment insurance claims fell 1.5 percent, from 516 to 508 in the previous quarter. New claims remain 10 percent below normal, suggesting firms appear to be managing payroll more efficiently and remain reluctant to lay off workers, letting attrition reduce the workforce. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell from 3.6 percent to 3.3 percent in Q3.

The regional housing market, based on seasonally adjusted building permit issuance for single-family homes, fell 18 percent. This puts the regional-market leveling in line with national trends in home construction. Building permits issued for single-family homes fell to 420, compared to 513 in Q2. On the other hand, the average valuation of the building permits issued increased 4.2 percent, rising from 219,000 to $228,000.

The forecasting index fell 0.2 percent, or -0.6 percent annualized, representing a significant decline from the 5.5 percent annualized growth rate of the previous quarter. The forecasting index decreased due to weaker activity in the regional housing market and consumer expectations.

The Economic Monitor presents quarterly economic trends and short-term economic forecasts for Savannah’s Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). The quarterly report measures the heartbeat of the local economy, based on the analysis of economic data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the City of Savannah, Georgia Power and the three counties in the MSA: Chatham, Bryan and Effingham.

The report is available for free by email. To subscribe, email

Pedestrian dies in collision on Abercorn

Posted By on Wed, Dec 26, 2018 at 10:03 AM

Savannah Police Department’s Traffic Investigation Unit is investigating a crash on Abercorn Street Dec. 24 that resulted in the death of a pedestrian.

About 8:20 p.m. a Chevrolet Cruze, which was driven by Kelli Bowen, 26, of Midway, was traveling north in the far left lane in the 10000 block of Abercorn Street when an unidentified male stepped off the median into the path of the vehicle. The driver braked and attempted to swerve out of the way but struck the male.

He was transported to Memorial Medical Center. Just prior to midnight, he died as a result of his injuries. Bowen was not injured.

The deceased has not been identified. He is described as a white or Hispanic adult male. Anyone with information should contact the Traffic Unit at (912) 525-2421 or the Savannah Police non-emergency line at (912) 652-6500.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Ft. Pulaski closed for duration of government shutdown

Posted By on Sat, Dec 22, 2018 at 9:55 AM

"Due to the lapse of appropriations and the subsequent shutdown of the federal government," a spokesperson says, Fort Pulaski National monument is closed for the safety of visitors and park resources.

The only area accessible to the public will be the Lazaretto Creek Boat Ramp.

"Many other national park sites across the country will remain as accessible as possible while still following all applicable laws and procedures," the Fort says.

Visit and select “Find a Park” for additional information about access to other parks and sites in this area.

However, note that because of the federal government shutdown, NPS social media and websites are not being monitored or updated and may not reflect current conditions.

For updates on the shutdown, visit

Friday, December 14, 2018

Savannah Police participate in 'advanced active shooter training'

Posted By on Fri, Dec 14, 2018 at 12:18 PM

An officer during training
  • An officer during training
This week, a group of Savannah Police officers received training to educate other officers on how to handle an active shooter scenario.

“Our Training Unit has worked very hard this year to bring relevant and critical trainings to our department,” said Sgt. William Bailey, of the Training Unit.

“Now more than ever, it is very important for our department to stay up-to-date on the best practices when dealing with an active shooter situation. That’s why having this ‘Training the Trainer’ course was high on our priority list.”

The Savannah Police Department welcomed instructors from the LSU- National Center for Biomedical Research and Training/Academy of Counter Terrorist Education (LSU-NCBRT/ACE) to the city to train not only SPD officers, but officers from the Chatham County Police Department, Board of Education, Georgia Ports Authority and the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office.

This four-day course gave officers the tactical training needed to reduce threats when dealing with an active gunman.

"An active shooter can happen anytime, anywhere, so it was important for us to not only have the training, but to open it up to surrounding agencies. This collaborative effort makes for a more resilient community, and helps everyone have the necessary skills to respond to potentially devastating situations," said Assistant Chief Robert Gavin.

The training was funded by the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. 

Teen charged in Southside sign shooting

Posted By on Fri, Dec 14, 2018 at 12:12 PM

The Savannah Police Department has charged a 13-year-old boy in connection to the shooting of the sign at Windsor Park.

"On Nov. 28, officers responded to Windsor Park after someone discovered that the new sign had been shot several times. Around this same time, the 13-year-old boy was admitted to the hospital for a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Following an investigation, the teen admitted to also damaging the sign," police report.

The teen was charged with reckless conduct, interference with government property and possession of a handgun by a person under 18.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Groups sue to prevent seismic airgun blasting off Georgia and South Carolina coast

Posted By on Tue, Dec 11, 2018 at 12:15 PM

A Right Whale mother and calf
  • A Right Whale mother and calf
A remarkable array of leading environmental groups sued the federal government today to prevent seismic airgun blasting in the Atlantic Ocean.

This controversial process backed by the Trump administration is used to search for oil and gas deposits deep below the ocean’s surface, and is a first step toward offshore drilling.

Seismic airgun blasting uses extremely loud and invasive sound waves which disrupt the activity and life cycles of marine life, including whales, dolphins, fish and zooplankton.

“With a vibrant commercial fishery industry and the only known calving ground for endangered North Atlantic right whales just off our coast, Georgians oppose seismic testing for offshore oil exploration and the threats it poses to our state’s wildlife, wild places, and quality of life,” said Alice Keyes, vice president at One Hundred Miles.

Keyes said all Savannah coastal delegates supported resolutions in the Georgia legislature opposing seismic testing, including State Sen. Lester Jackson, Rep. Ron Stephens, and Rep. Carl Gilliard.

Tybee Island Mayor Jason Buelterman also opposes seismic testing.

Keyes said the North Atlantic right whale — designated as Georgia's official state marine mammal — is particularly threatened.

Already critically endangered due to net entanglements and ship strikes, the whales might be at a crucial tipping point.

"Last year there were no documented births" of right whale calves, Keyes said.

“The Trump administration is letting the oil industry launch a brutal sonic assault on North Atlantic right whales and other marine life,” said Kristen Monsell, ocean program legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity.

"Right whales will keep spiraling toward extinction if we don’t stop these deafening blasts and the drilling and spilling that could come next. That’s why we’re taking the administration to court.”

The lawsuit, filed in South Carolina, claims that the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) violated the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act when it issued Incidental Harassment Authorizations (IHAs) in late November.

Those permits authorize five companies to harm or harass marine mammals while conducting seismic airgun blasting in an area twice the size of California, stretching from Cape May, New Jersey to Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Some estimates say the sound and concussion from the blasting can cover a maritime area equivalent to the distance between New York and Los Angeles.

The primary sponsor of the lawsuit is Oceana, the largest international advocacy organization focused solely on ocean conservation. Groups signing onto the lawsuit include Center for Biological Diversity, National Resources Defense Council, Southern Environmental Law Center (on behalf of South Carolina Coastal Conservation League, North Carolina Coastal Federation, One Hundred Miles, Defenders of Wildlife), and Earthjustice (on behalf of Surfrider Foundation and Sierra Club) .

At a press conference in downtown Charleston sponsored by the Coastal Conservation League, Congressman-Elect Joe Cunningham (D-Charleston) said "200 east coast towns, cities, and counties have passed resolutions opposing seismic airgun blasting. We the people of the Lowcountry strongly oppose offshore drilling and we strongly oppose seismic airgun blasting."

Cunningham said the first bill he will sponsor when he takes office next month will be a bill to reverse the Trump administration's backing of the policy.

"As a former ocean engineer I know how destructive offshore drilling can be," Cunningham said.

Keyes of One Hundred Miles urged concerned local citizens to contact Georgia Senators Johnny Isakson and David Perdue, and Savannah area Congressman Buddy Carter to oppose seismic testing.

She said it's also important to call Georgia Governor-Elect Brian Kemp and "ask him to officially oppose seismic testing" in the wake of a campaign promise that he would oppose offshore drilling.

In April 2017, President Trump issued an executive order to expedite permitting for harmful seismic airgun blasting, reversing the previous administration’s decision to deny all pending permits for such activity in the Atlantic.

“The Trump administration has steamrolled over objections of scientists, governors and thousands of coastal communities and businesses to enable this dangerous activity. Now it wants to steamroll the law,” said Michael Jasny, director at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “Allowing seismic blasting at this scale in these waters is not consistent with the laws that protect our oceans.”

Monday, December 10, 2018

Robin Nicholson named new Director/CEO of Telfair Museums

Posted By on Mon, Dec 10, 2018 at 12:21 PM

Robin Nicholson
  • Robin Nicholson
Telfair Museums’ Board of Trustees today announced the appointment of Robin Nicholson as the Museums' next Executive Director/CEO.

He is currently Executive Director of The Frick Pittsburgh, and Nicholson will assume his position in Savannah on March 1, 2019.

Nicholson’s appointment is the result of a national search, conducted by a Board of Trustees search committee created immediately following the May 2018 departure of Telfair’s former director, Lisa Grove.

Ted Kleisner, Chairman of the museum's Board of Trustees, said, “Robin distinguished himself throughout the interview process with his deep knowledge, passion, and clear vision of Telfair’s future. In many ways the Frick—with its historic property, art museum, and expansive collection—and Telfair Museums bear close similarities in terms of scale, variety of buildings, collections, and audience; his experience and skills are perfectly aligned with the needs of Telfair Museums.”

Nicholson’s connection to Telfair dates back to 2003, when he oversaw the installation of an exhibition he had curated from The Drambuie Collection at the Telfair Academy.

“I am thrilled to be coming to Savannah, a city that I love, and to Telfair Museums, three unique museums with world-class architecture, great collections, and extraordinary potential and opportunity,” Nicholson said.

Friday, December 7, 2018

'Battle of the Bikes' benefits local children

Posted By on Fri, Dec 7, 2018 at 12:11 PM

This evening, Dec. 7, Bike Walk Savannah (Formerly Savannah Bicycle Campaign) hosts Battle of the Bikes 4.

They describe it as "a competition in which bicycle mechanics compete in feats of skill (and silliness) in support of the annual Holiday Bike Drive, which provides bicycles to deserving children selected by Blessings in a Bookbag."

Contestants will prove their mechanical prowess and be required to participate in fun challenges to win the battle. The Prowl food truck and a selection of beers from Service Brewing Company will be available for purchase.

The event happens Friday night, 6-9 p.m., at PERC Coffee Roasters, 802 E Broad St, Savannah

Mechanics from Perry Rubber Bike Shop, Trek Bicycle Store, New Standard Cycles and more will square off in the competition. Mahogany Bowers of Blessings in a Bookbag will serve as emcee and play-by-play commentator.

Bike Walk Savannah (formerly the Savannah Bicycle Campaign) is a non-profit membership organization working to redefine our city as a place for people — no matter their mode of transportation.

The fifth Annual Holiday Bike Drive is organized in conjunction with Blessings in a Book Bag. After volunteers recondition donated bicycles, they are given to deserving children.

Bike Walk Savannah says "the Battle of the Bikes is a fun way to recognize the volunteers and local bike shops that support the effort each year."

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