Friday, March 29, 2019

Savannah named as finalist for Smart City Award

Posted By on Fri, Mar 29, 2019 at 11:45 AM

The City of Savannah has been named a finalist in the transportation/Infrastructure category for its partnership with the company Roadbotics.

It’s a recognition bestowed by International Data Corporation’s (IDC) 2019 Smart Cities North America Awards. Roadbotics worked with the City to create a database of road infrastructure conditions through machine learning technology that grades every mile of the Savannah road network.

Voting is open to the public for the final round through April 3. The City encourages the public to go to and cast their vote. The winners in each category will be announced on Monday, April 8.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

'Black Media Only' event garners criticism, roils mayoral campaign

Posted By on Thu, Mar 28, 2019 at 11:41 AM

A controversial decision to bar white media from an African American political meeting has garnered negative national media attention for Savannah, and thrown a new twist into what was already going to be a contentious mayoral campaign this year.

The Trigon Group, headed by Rev. Clarence Teddy Williams, organized the event for March 27 at the Bolton Street Baptist Church, with the stated intent that it was about "supporting ONE candidate from the African American community for Mayor 2019."

Currently there are three African American candidates, Alderman Van Johnson, Louis Wilson, and former Georgia Rep. and State Sen. Regina Thomas.

Johnson and Wilson attended the meeting; Thomas said she had Bible study that night at her own church.

The sign on the door said "Black Media ONLY," and at least one white reporter from local media, leading TV station WTOC, was barred from entering.

In a lengthy statement on Facebook he posted Thursday morning, Johnson said: "I accepted this invitation as an opportunity to share my vision for a progressive Savannah, as I have with business, civic, labor, neighborhood, veteran, political, Latino/Hispanic and LGBTQ groups in private and public settings.

"I did not coordinate or schedule this event and did not participate in any of the discussions beyond giving my statement. I was made aware that the organizers restricted this event to "Black Media" only. I chose to give my statement as scheduled and afterwards made myself available to the media gathered outside," he wrote.

"I have expressed my concerns to the organizers of this event as my history of service in this community has ALWAYS been one of inclusion, of partnership and of communication. While this decision of this group is unfortunate, I work toward the day when we trust each other enough to be inclusive in all of our gatherings."

Judging by social media reaction, however, the fallout from the incident is unlikely to disappear anytime soon.

Incumbent Mayor Eddie DeLoach, who is white, is running for re-election. He was the first white mayor of Savannah elected in two decades when he defeated Edna Jackson in 2015 in a contentious race which came down to a runoff.

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Monday, March 25, 2019

Georgia Southern Economic Monitor shows across-the-board gains for 2018's fourth quarter

Posted By on Mon, Mar 25, 2019 at 2:23 PM

Georgia Southern University’s latest Economic Monitor, which analyzes Q4 2018 data and identifies trends affecting the regional economy, reports that Savannah's metro economy "closed out 2018 with across-the-board gains in all eight key economic indicators monitored. Port activity, consumer spending and electricity sales provided the most lift to the index, with improving consumer expectations, overall employment and tourism playing supporting roles."

During the fourth quarter, the Savannah metro economy expanded at a rate of 0.8 percent, or 3.2 percent annualized, which is an increase from the previous quarter, the Monitor reports.

"In general, the Savannah metro economy appears to have strengthened substantially during the final quarter of 2018," it says.

"While the eight key indicators of economic activity in the Savannah metro region all improved, modest employment gains and the uptick in the unemployment rate warrant continued close monitoring of regional economic data in the near term. With this shift, improving regional economic conditions throughout much of 2019 is anticipated."

Friday, March 22, 2019

Demolition begins on blighted properties

Posted By on Fri, Mar 22, 2019 at 12:09 PM

This week, the City of Savannah began demolitions of blighted property that it obtained through the use of eminent domain laws.

"The process took over two years and included Superior Court hearings, changing a State law and holding special council meetings, but City leaders agreed the effort was worth turning “blight to bright” for residents in the West Savannah neighborhood," a City spokesperson says.

Of the 37 properties on Cumming Street, located between Augusta Avenue and Love Street, 21 are abandoned or blighted.

The first to be demolished was 226 Cumming Street. There are plans to demolish six more properties on Cumming Street after Superior Court hearings in June.

“One of the reasons I ran for office was the neglect the neighborhoods had in the City of Savannah,” said Mayor Eddie DeLoach “We are revitalizing our communities in Savannah.”

There are three qualifications that a property must meet for the City to take a blighted property using eminent domain:

1. Property is uninhabitable, unsafe and abandoned.

2. Property has failed to comply with municipal/county maintenance codes for at least one year.

3. Property contributes to crime in the immediate area. (112 Part-1 and Part-2 crimes committed on Cumming Street over the past 10 years.)

Alderman Van Johnson, whose district covers the West Savannah neighborhood, said, “We are here today to signal the growth and redevelopment that the City of Savannah has demonstrated over time and that we can do that responsibly under the laws of eminent domain.”

The City’s Housing & Neighborhood Services Department plans to build eight new single family homes on Cumming Street that will be sold to modest-waged first-time home buyers.

Three-car crash on DeRenne

Posted By on Fri, Mar 22, 2019 at 11:55 AM


Savannah Police’s Traffic Investigation Unit is investigating a crash involving three vehicles on DeRenne Avenue that resulted in one serious injury.

About 2:15 p.m. on Thursday March 21, "Janice Talley, 87, of Savannah, was traveling west on DeRenne Avenue in a Mercury Grand Marquis and entered the intersection at Paulsen Street. At the same time, Marsha Miller, 40, of Savannah, was traveling south on Paulsen Street in a Honda CRV and also entered the intersection. Both vehicles collided," police say.

"This resulted in the Honda striking a Mazda 3 that was stopped in the left turn lane of eastbound DeRenne Avenue. The Mazda was driven by Teresa Cullina, 66, of Tybee Island. The collision also resulted in the Mercury crashing into a power pole," police say.

Talley was transported to a hospital with serious injuries. Miller was treated at the scene for minor injuries. Cullina was not injured.

The circumstances leading to the crash remain under investigation.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Olde Pink House set to re-open April 8

Posted By on Wed, Mar 20, 2019 at 1:07 PM


The Olde Pink House, plans to re-open the first-floor dining rooms, Planter’s Tavern and Arches Bar on Monday, April 8, a spokesperson says.

The iconic restaurant, originally built in 1771, has been temporarily closed following a fire in the upstairs ballroom in late December.

"We’re thrilled to welcome guests back to this important piece of Savannah history, beginning on April 8,” said Olde Pink House General Manager Craig Jeffress.

From April 8-14, guests will be seated on a walk-in basis. Reservations are currently being accepted for April 15th and beyond. To make a reservation, please call 912.232.4286 or visit

“Our goal is to restore the interiors exactly as people remember," Jeffress said. "Some of the finishing touches will still be completed through the month of April, but we want to get our treasured staff back to work as soon as possible and to help our loyal customers make incredible memories once again.”

Since January, The Pinyan Company has been restoring the restaurant in the wake of the fire. "Much of the restoration involves custom pieces that take time to manufacture," they say.

“We will open with five dining rooms initially, but in the weeks to follow, more of the original home will be available to our guests for dining,” said Jeffress.

"Based on the current restoration timeline," the Pinyan group reports, "The Olde Pink House is expected to open daily at 5 p.m. and seat diners until 10:30 p.m., beginning April 8. The Planters Tavern featuring live music and the Arches Bar with indoor and outdoor seating will be open later into the evening."

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Seven indicted for multiple crimes, including the homicide of Shawntray Grant

Posted By on Thu, Mar 14, 2019 at 11:22 AM

Seven people have been indicted in connection to five homicides and other violent crimes in the Savannah area, including robbery and multiple aggravated assaults.

"In June 2018, the Savannah Police Department began linking a series of individuals that resulted in a 108-count indictment that resulted in the arrest of Osha Dunham, Nelaunte Grant, Cordell and Donnell Richardson, Malik McKenzie and Jevon Williams. Jahonne Manigo is still wanted," police report.

"These individuals were indicted in connection to five homicides stretching back to 2013. These homicide victims include Arderian Jefferson in July 2013, Shawntray “Puff” Grant in June 2018, Eric Cooley in July 2018, Robert Lee in July 2018 and Jernard Burton in August 2018," police say.

These individuals face charges including murder, the street gang and terrorism act, robbery, aggravated assault and other felonies.

“We could not have done this without the support of our community members,” Chief Roy Minter said in a press conference today. “While we work diligently on all our investigation, we also realize we need the community to continually support us with tips and other information to help us resolve investigations such as this.”

Minter also acknowledged the partnerships of the Violent Crimes Unit, the Forensics Unit, the Gang Unit, the District Attorney’s Office and our federal partners that worked together in these cases.

“As the Chief, I can tell you I am extremely proud of the outstanding work these investigators accomplished during this investigation, and I sincerely hope that this sends a clear message throughout our community that we will not tolerate illegal gang, guns or drugs activity in our community,” Minter said. “We want people to understand that if you commit these crimes in our community, no matter how long it takes, we will continue to relentlessly pursue you and continue to work as hard as we can and do whatever we can to keep these cases moving forward and move forward with prosecuting these cases.”

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Get your bike ready for St. Patrick's Day with a free safety check on March 14

Posted By on Wed, Mar 13, 2019 at 1:16 PM

Planning to ride your bike to the St. Patrick's Day festivities? Good idea!

Bike Walk Savannah's New Standard Cycles crew will offer free safety inspections and minor services such as tire inflation, brake adjustment and chain lubrication.

Bring your bike down to 1301 Lincoln St. on Thursday, March 14 from 7-9:30 p.m. and make sure it’s ready to roll. They'll have some free light sets available to light up your ride, and there will be some refurbished bikes available for sale at reasonable prices!

Proceeds from sales fund Bike Walk Savannah's New Standard Cycles program. When you buy a bike, you help provide dependable and affordable transportation for deserving people in our community.

Georgia Southern students to bring Savannah to Ireland in new Dunbrody Center exhibit

Posted By on Wed, Mar 13, 2019 at 12:57 PM

Visitors to the Dunbrody Emigrant Experience Center, a world-class visitor center in the historic river port of New Ross County, Wexford, Ireland, will soon be able to experience a taste of Savannah, thanks to several Georgia Southern University students. The students conducted primary-source research at archives in Savannah and in Ireland, and a permanent exhibition based on their discoveries is now being developed for the Dunbrody Center. The facility’s principal attraction is a full-scale reproduction of a three-mast, transatlantic sailing ship, the Dunbrody, which operated out of New Ross between 1845 and 1869.

The students determined that the Dunbrody’s first ever commercial voyage was to Savannah, seeking Georgia timber and that following voyages brought immigrants from southeastern Ireland to the Hostess City.

Seán Connick, director of the Dunbrody Emigrant Experience Center, is thrilled with the detailed work conducted and curated by the student-researchers from Georgia Southern. While over here Howard Keeley, Ph.D., director of Georgia Southern’s Center for Irish Research and Teaching (C.I.R.T.), says the new student research will bring tourism, economic development and further bridge a gap between Savannah and Ireland.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Fort Pulaski Presents the Student Art Exhibition “Picking Up the Pieces”

Posted By on Wed, Mar 6, 2019 at 9:04 AM

Fort Pulaski National Monument is proud to announce the installation of a new temporary art exhibit in historic Fort Pulaski entitled “Picking up the Pieces.” This art installation, completed in partnership with the International Fiber Collaborative (IFC), encouraged students throughout Georgia to create artwork highlighting the challenges Fort Pulaski has faced during its vast history. The exhibition will be on display inside historic Fort Pulaski through Tuesday, April 2, 2019.

More than 600 student artists from 16 different Georgia schools created art for this exhibition.

The IFC was formed to create deeper learning experiences through art, collaboration, and cross-curricular-themed programming for individuals and their communities.

Fort Pulaski National Monument is located on U.S. Highway 80, 15 miles east of Savannah. Hours of operation are from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. seven days a week. An entrance fee of $10.00 per person is charged for visitors 16 years old and older.

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