Thursday, January 30, 2020

Police seek suspect in investigation

Posted By on Thu, Jan 30, 2020 at 4:25 PM

Savannah Police’s Family Violence Unit is requesting the community’s help locating a suspect in an on-going investigation.

"Jonathan Nathaniel Heyward, 26, is a black male who stands 5’8” and weighs approximately 165 pounds. He is known to frequent the area of the 100 block of W. 55th Street," police report.

Police say Heyward is currently wanted for aggravated assault DVA, battery DVA and probation violation.

Anyone with information on his locations is asked to contact detectives at (912) 525-3124 or CrimeStoppers at (912) 234-2020.

Suspect arrested in Dec. 22 homicide

Posted By on Thu, Jan 30, 2020 at 11:44 AM

Alajuakee Chamell
  • Alajuakee Chamell
On the evening of Jan. 29, Savannah Police, with assistance from the U.S. Marshal’s Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force (SERFTF), arrested a 31-year-old male in connection to a fatal shooting in December 2019.

"At around 2:15 a.m. on December 22, officers responded to W. 37th and Whitaker streets in regards to a shooting. Upon arrival, they located shooting victim, Tori Sterling, 25, who sustained serious injuries. Officers also located Georgesta Bostick, 26, and Anthony Mitchell, 33, with non-life threatening injuries. Sterling was transported to the hospital where he succumbed to those injuries," police report.

During the course of the investigation, "detectives identified Alajuakee Chamell Solomon as a suspect in connection to this case," police say.

He was apprehended on January 29 and charged with murder, two counts of aggravated assault and probation violation.

Detectives continue to investigate. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Port of Savannah sets calendar year record

Posted By on Wed, Jan 29, 2020 at 11:58 AM

The Port of Savannah "moved 4.6 million twenty-foot equivalent container units in Calendar Year 2019, an increase of nearly 250,000 TEUs (5.6 percent) compared to the previous year," Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) Executive Director Griff Lynch said Tuesday.

"This record-breaking accomplishment is thanks to a dedicated team of professionals including GPA and the International Longshoremen's Association, our partners in trucking and rail, and those making important investments beyond our gates to accommodate growth," Lynch said. "It's a testament to the trust our customers and stakeholders place in our ability to deliver reliable, on-time service, every day."

In Roll-on/Roll-off trade, GPA handled 657,685 units of cars, trucks and tractors in 2019, an increase of 12,167 units, or 2 percent.

"Both Savannah and Brunswick are outperforming the market, with Garden City container trade growing at a rate three times faster than the U.S. total, and Brunswick Ro/Ro units increasing despite a drop in U.S. vehicle sales in 2019," said GPA Board Chairman Will McKnight.

Ocean Terminal picked up two new customers in 2019 - GM and Volvo - with both carmakers exporting vehicles to Australia and New Zealand via Savannah. Volvo also began exporting cars to South American markets via Brunswick.

Total tons crossing all GPA terminals reached 38.5 million, up from 36.9 million tons in 2018, an increase of 4.3 percent.

Lynch says "an ambitious infrastructure plan will double annual rail capacity at the Port of Savannah to 2 million TEUs, expand berth capacity to handle up to six 14,000-TEU vessels by 2026, and develop another 400 acres on Colonel's Island" — which he says is enough to nearly double the autoport's annual capacity from 800,000 vehicles to 1.5 million per year.

BB gun targets vehicles

Posted By on Wed, Jan 29, 2020 at 11:51 AM

The Chatham County Police Department is investigating after three vehicles were hit with BB gun shots on Chevis Road and one person was injured Monday evening.

"Three vehicles were hit while they were traveling. In one instance, a person in a vehicle was hit in the hip with a BB. They declined EMS transport at the scene," police report.

Anyone who has information about this case is asked to call Chatham County Police at 912-652-6920 or Crime Stoppers at 912-234-2020. Tipsters are anonymous and may qualify for a cash reward.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

13-year-old arrested in shooting

Posted By on Sun, Jan 26, 2020 at 10:25 AM

Savannah Police arrested a 13-year-old in the shooting of a 22-year-old male Saturday.

"At around 11 a.m., officers responded to the 1100 block of E. 32nd Street in response to a shooting. Upon arrival, they located Shontavious Gooddine with a gunshot wound. Gooddine was transported to a local hospital in serious condition," police report.

Savannah Police officers identified a 13-year-old male as the suspect in this shooting. They say he was apprehended without incident.

Gooddine is currently in stable condition. Detectives continue to investigate this incident.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Jeff Rayno announces run against Ron Stephens

Posted By on Sat, Jan 25, 2020 at 9:41 AM

FORMER Chatham County Commissioner and frequent Connect Savannah columnist Jeff Rayno has announced he will take on incumbent Republican Ron Stephens in the race for Georgia's 164th State House District.

Except this time he is running as a Democrat.

Longtime residents will remember Rayno's term in office as a Republican on the County Commission from 2001-2004, where he displayed a notable independent streak.

Rayno says his party switch has to do mostly with his passion for solving the issues of affordable housing and homelessness, spurred in part by his experience serving on the board of the Chatham-Savannah Authority for the Homeless.

"The Democrats locally are now really about finding solutions to these issues, and taking real action on them," he says. "I don't see that in the local GOP, and I haven't for quite awhile."

Rayno says he is unimpressed with what he calls the usual local Republican response to people in need of homes or affordable housing: Just get a job.

"That doesn't cut it," he says. "It's not that they have bad ideas about how to solve those issues — they just don't even see them as being problems."

Rayno prefers the "housing first" method of solving homelessness. "That's been proven time and again to be most effective."

He says inclusionary zoning will go a long way towards helping with affordable housing in Chatham County, along with steps like tax rebates in exchange for building non-market rate units, and diminishing the area's very high eviction rate with a special Prevention Fund.

He looks forward to the day when the City and County governments are able to collaborate on homeless solutions, such as his proposal to create a central recreational camp to serve those who live in various far-flung tent encampments.

"It would have clean facilities, plenty of showers and hot water available, garbage pickup, be right on a transit line, and the J.C. Lewis Mobile Health Clinic could be there regularly," he says.

Other issues Rayno supports are term limits and reforming what he calls the state's repressive Homeowners Association laws.

"HOA boards wield too much power. They are unelected, they have little transparency, and their fees are way too high. There was a bipartisan effort a few years ago to roll back their power, but Gov. Deal vetoed it."

Rayno says that Rep. Ron Stephens has become too wrapped up in state-level jockeying in Atlanta rather than keeping his eye on what is needed in the constituency.

"That's why he's talking about bringing casinos to Savannah — he's up there with lobbyists whispering in everyone's ear all the time," Rayno laughs.

"The original idea of having state legislators spend such a short time in session was to keep them in touch with the citizens back home most of the year. But what happens is they get under the Gold Dome and become mesmerized by the drama and the self-importance."

Rayno says he will fight any effort to bring a casino to Chatham County.

Stephens has been in office since 1997. He was reelected in 2018, defeating Democratic opponent Alicia Scott.

Rayno says he doesn't worry about his past as a Republican haunting him in a Democratic primary.

"I got out of politics to raise my children. Now they are grown. A whole generation has passed since I was last in office. But the issues have all grown more complex. So much has been left to fester," he says.

He cites what he calls crossover bipartisan support during his collaboration with then-Democratic Commissioner Harris Odell on improving local mental health care services during their time together on the County Commission.

"Voters recognize that I care about people," he says.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Savannah Music Fest, Southbound Brewing set for concert & beer collab

Posted By on Thu, Jan 23, 2020 at 3:03 PM

In a newly announced Feb. 21 concert, Savannah Music Festival and Southbound Brewing Co. celebrate the release of this season's Wailin' IPA with a concert featuring pedal steel guitarist Roosevelt Collier and bluesman Jontavious Willis.

This sixth annual festival beer release party continues a collaboration between SMF and Southbound Brewing Company "that is fueled by our shared love of live music," a Festival spokesperson says.

In addition to pints and flights of all available Southbound brews, Chazito’s food truck will also be on-site with its full menu of Latin cuisine.

Friday, February 21
Doors: 6:30 pm | Show starts at 7:30 pm
Tickets: $20 (advance)
Southbound Brewing Co., 107 E Lathrop Ave,

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace begins ambitious renovation

Posted By on Tue, Jan 21, 2020 at 5:36 PM

The Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace on Oglethorpe Avenue.
  • The Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace on Oglethorpe Avenue.
The iconic Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace downtown begins the construction phase of a  major renovation, set to finish in September of this year.

This will be the first comprehensive renovation of the Birthplace since 2004. The project is moving forward after site plan approval by the Savannah Historic District Board of Review during the November 2019 meeting.

Juliette Gordon Low was born in Savannah in 1860 and used the house on Oglethorpe Avenue to begin recruiting for the first Girl Scout troops in the nation in 1912.

"Girl Scouts of the USA is investing heavily in the Birthplace to provide the features it needs to continue to be relevant, impactful and empowering to today’s girls, while also enhancing visitor experience," a spokesperson says.

“We are creating engaging and relevant program spaces for our girls; modernizing the store to attract all visitors and provide opportunities for experiences as well as retail; and creating an outdoor space where girls can have their pinning and bridging ceremonies in a space that is developed with them as the primary audience,” said Angela Olden, Chief Financial Officer, Girl Scouts of the USA.

The renovation focuses on "expanding use of the outbuildings as program areas, adding flexibility and accessibility throughout the site and enhancing the garden area. The plans align with the vision of Juliette Gordon Low to create a space to be enjoyed by Girl Scouts," the spokesperson says.

Designs for the renovation.
  • Designs for the renovation.

“As a member of the Birthplace Advisory Committee, I know what a thoughtful, respectful and professional process Girl Scouts has undertaken to develop this plan,” said Patti Lyons, President of Senior Citizens Inc. and Lifetime Girl Scout member. “Staff and BAC members have listened to ideas and feedback from community members, preservationists, Gordon family members, and visitors themselves. It is an honor to help further the legacy of Juliette Gordon Low through this renovation project.”

The Birthplace says "The plans do not jeopardize the historic designation. A majority of the material being removed is non-historic material. The main house itself, built in 1820, stands as a National Historic Landmark and as a contributing structure to a National Historic District. The Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace will maintain its status as a National Historic Landmark."

Follow the overall progress by visiting or touring the site at 10 E. Oglethorpe Avenue.

Renovation Timeline:

● January 20: Construction begins

● February 14 – 22: Archaeology activity

● February 21: Groundbreaking ceremony

● March: Garden level of Main house, first floor of outbuilding west and Bull Street ramp

● May: Outbuildings

● September: Complete garden, main house third floor and exterior painting

'Snitches get riches': New CrimeStoppers campaign unveiled

Posted By on Tue, Jan 21, 2020 at 5:30 PM

This afternoon, Savannah Police, in conjunction with CrimeStoppers, held a press conference announcing the start of a new campaign targeting gun violence.

Graphics with phrases such as, “Crime doesn’t pay, but CrimeStoppers does,” and “It’s not snitching; it’s truth,” were unveiled today and will start circulating on social media.

"The purpose of the campaign is to address the common misconceptions about reporting crime information to law enforcement and show the financial benefits of doing so," a spokesperson says.

“Cooperation and information are two vital components to our relationship-based policing model,” said Chief Roy Minter today. “There’s a saying in several communities that snitches get stitches and end up in ditches. What we’re here to say now is, snitches get riches.”

Calling CrimeStoppers allows the caller to safely and anonymously give information that will help police solve a crime, and if the information leads to an arrest, a reward is available.

“CrimeStoppers has created a marketing campaign with support from the SPD staff to encourage the members of our community to report gun crimes,” said CrimeStoppers Director Larry Branson. “The information here is designed specifically to let people know that 24 hours a day, seven days a week, anyone can call CrimeStoppers, submit a tip online and know that it is absolutely confidential.”

Savannah Mayor Van Johnson was in attendance and expressed his support for the campaign by saying, “This new campaign is a prime example of achieving more with partners by targeting a major issue in our community, specifically gun violence... If you see something, we want you to say something.”

Anyone who would like to give information about crimes in Savannah can call CrimeStoppers at (912) 234-2020. Tipsters may qualify for a reward up to $2,500, depending on the severity of the crime. More information on the process of submitting a tip and how rewards are processed can be viewed at

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

"City of Chatham Islands" legislation is a non-starter

Posted By on Tue, Jan 14, 2020 at 12:32 PM

Key members of the local delegation to the Georgia legislature, Sen. Ben Watson (R – Savannah) and Rep. Jesse Petrea (R – Savannah), today released the following statement on proposed legislation that would create the City of Chatham Islands:

“During the last legislative session, we allowed for a thorough vetting of the issue of incorporation by the people of the Chatham Islands of Wilmington, Whitemarsh, Talahi and Oatland," they write.

“We announce today that we will not pass any measure allowing for a vote on incorporation of the Chatham Islands. The citizens of these islands have expressed their objection to incorporation. Indeed, over 50 percent of the citizens of Oatland Island alone have expressed objection," they say.

“The proposed cityhood measure fails to reach unanimous approval from all islands involved. Accordingly, there will be no movement on this bill during the 2020 legislative session.”

Another local islands community, Skidaway Island, held a referendum in March 2019 on a proposal to incorporate into a separate township. It failed by a wide margin. 

Connect Today 08.07.2020

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