Thursday, September 19, 2019

City to host meeting to discuss potential archaeology ordinance

Posted By on Thu, Sep 19, 2019 at 4:07 PM

The City of Savannah will be hosting a meeting to discuss the formation of an archaeology ordinance on Thursday, Sept. 26, 6 p.m. at the Coastal Georgia Center.

Contrary to popular opinion, Savannah currently has no ordinance specifically protecting archaeological assets.

"Since the early 1970s, the City has developed and approved ordinances to protect the National Historic Landmark District, as well as other locally designated historic districts, during development. Yet, one feature not included in any of these regulations is an archaeology ordinance," a City spokesperson says.

"Through the creation of such an ordinance, the community will be better able to recognize our archaeological resources as well as understand and celebrate our community’s unique and diverse history," the City says.

Parking is available in the Visitor Center Parking Lot accessible from Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Visit Savannah collaborates with County Wexford in Ireland on history project

Posted By on Wed, Sep 18, 2019 at 4:58 PM

Visit Savannah has collaborated with the Dunbrody Famine Ship interactive museum experience to tell "a complete story of the Irish people who left the country during the Great Famine and arrived at the port of Savannah," a spokesperson says.

A new attraction at the Dunbrody called “Savannah Landing Point” depicts what Irish immigrants would have experienced when they arrived in Savannah in the 1840s and 1850s.

"The Savannah portion of the attraction includes a tour of a period-authentic ship and reenactment experience of the difficulty of crossing the Atlantic, followed up with the life-like representation of arriving at the port of Savannah in the mid-19th century," Visit Savannah says.

"Savannah’s long-standing Irish population can mostly trace its roots back to County Wexford Irishmen and women who fled Europe during this time with the hope of a new start."

The Savannah exhibit also features videos produced by Visit Savannah and a computer monitor encouraging visitors to explore the Visit Savannah website and Insider’s Guide for more information on visiting Savannah.

Visit Savannah President Joseph Marinelli says the project is a means of both celebrating the historical connections between County Wexford and Savannah, and of encouraging Irish visitors to check Savannah out:

“In 2016, Visit Savannah opened its first international sales and marketing office in London England, and now we have a very visible presence in Ireland. The Savannah Landing Point exhibit does a great job of telling the story of the connectivity between our two countries and more specifically between Wexford and Savannah," says Marinelli.

The CEO of the JFK Trust and Dunbrody Famine Ship agrees.

“We are very excited with the addition of the new Savannah Landing Point exhibit which completes the immigration reenactment experience and re-establishes the heritage links between our two countries in a real and informative way,” says Sean Connick.

“We are most grateful to Visit Savannah and the other participating partners from Savannah for their efforts and assistance in delivering this celebration of the New Ross and County Wexford connections with Savannah.”

The Dunbrody Famine Ship is located in New Ross, County Wexford, Ireland. Learn more about the exhibit at Dunbrody.com.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Savannah City Council passes gun control resolution

Posted By on Thu, Sep 12, 2019 at 4:01 PM

Savannah City Council today unanimously passed a resolution urging the local delegation to the Georgia legislature to take action to reform gun laws, including banning assault weapons, limiting magazine capacity, expanding background checks, and instituting so-called "red flag" laws.

Alderman Van Johnson reiterated that "The City has no standing" to institute gun control on its own, but that "we're going to ask the state to do that and define what that means."

Johnson commended citizens in attendance who pushed for the measure, saying "Any significant social movement, you have to have people who are committed to keeping the issue relevant... and mobilizing supporters to keep their foot on the gas.... this hasn't been about restricting the legal gun rights of gun owners. But I think gun laws should make sense, and make common sense."

Alderman Tony Thomas, who voted in favor, cautioned that such measures were unlikely to have an impact on criminals and how they acquire firearms.

In other business, City Council discussed Friday's groundbreaking for the new Arena — the final design of which hasn't been agreed on.

City Manager Pat Monahan told Council that the new Arena design is "about 70 percent done."

Alderman Julian Miller replied "that's the problem — the groundbreaking is tomorrow and the design is only 70 percent done.... it's been 70 percent done for the past two years."

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Panhandle Slim designs T-shirt for Bahamas relief

Posted By on Wed, Sep 11, 2019 at 4:49 PM

Local artist Panhandle Slim has designed a shirt to benefit victims of Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas.

100% of the proceeds from the sales of the $25 shirt will go to the National Association of the Bahamas Hurricane Relief Fund.

So far, the shirt has raised thousands of dollars. The campaign on Bonfire will be available until Sept. 20.

To see the shirt and place an order, click here.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Savannah Ballet Theatre awarded $8,000 grant

Posted By on Tue, Sep 10, 2019 at 4:30 PM

Georgia Council for the Arts recently awarded an $8,000 grant to local nonprofit organization Savannah Ballet Theatre.

This grant will help SBT meet essential needs such as lighting, costumes, and venue expenses to ensure its ballet productions continue to remain accessible and affordable for the community.

For 21 years, SBT has further subsidized shows for area youth, and this contribution will allow the professional dance company to maintain their offering to students of a highly discounted ticket price of only $5 compared to the standard ticket cost of $30. Each year, grants and corporate underwriting have enabled SBT to present a subsidized matinée of two season productions to 1,000 students, their teachers, and 50 seniors from local assisted living communities as part of SBT’s Educational Performance Outreach Series (EPOS).
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“If the nonprofit’s income consisted of only ticket sales with no aid from grants such as this one, tickets would be very costly to offset expenses - discouraging many people from attending shows.” said SBT Managing and Education Director Abby McCuen.

SBT also plans to have low sensory performances as part of its EPOS program in 2020. These sensory-friendly performances are designed specifically for individuals with autism spectrum disorders, sensory sensitivities, or other disabilities. Before each Low Sensory performance, SBT hosts a touch tour for patrons who are blind or experience low vision. Low Sensory Performance and Touch Tours are being implemented by theaters and arts organizations throughout the United States in order to increase arts accessibility. SBT is proud to be the first professional arts organization in Savannah to offer this innovative and accessible experience.

For more information on the performances, history and mission of the Savannah Ballet Theatre & School of Dance, please visit their website at http://www.savannahballettheatre.org/.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Post-Dorian sanitation update

Posted By on Thu, Sep 5, 2019 at 11:31 AM

The City of Savannah reports that its Sanitation Department is putting a modified service schedule in place to collect refuse and recycling that was not collected due to Hurricane Dorian. All Sanitation collection services will return to normal on Monday, Sept. 9.

Customers on a Monday or Tuesday pick up schedule should place refuse and recycling carts along with bagged overflow waste out for pick up on Friday, Sept. 6.

Customers on a Wednesday or Thursday pick up schedule should place the same items out on Saturday, Sept. 7.

Yard waste collection will resume Monday, Sept. 9. Important items to note include:

- Leaves must be contained in brown paper lawn bags or reusable trash cans no larger than 32 gallons. City-issued refuse carts cannot be used.

- Limbs must be cut to not longer than 4 feet and neatly stacked.

- Larger limbs or haphazard piles will require special handling and delay collection.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Dorian: Wednesday afternoon update

Posted By on Wed, Sep 4, 2019 at 3:18 PM

The initial wind/rain bands from Hurricane Dorian have made their way into the Savannah area. Dorian will pass by as a Category 2 storm.

40-50 mph sustained winds inland are expected overnight, with 50-60 mph along the coast.

The strongest winds are expected to begin hitting the area around 9 p.m. tonight and continue for roughly 12 hours, with peak winds between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m.

A curfew remains in effect in the City of Savannah and City of Thunderbolt from 9 p.m.-6 a.m. tonight.

Chatham Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) is discouraging any evacuees from trying to return immediately.

CEMA says when ready, re-entry will be phased, in this order:

Phase 1 is for emergency crews to render the area safe from hazards like downed power lines, and to make sure bridges are safe.

Phase 2 is to bring in public safety crews for any rescue/safety purposes.

Phase 3 is for utility crews to restore services.

Phase 4 is for residents.

Phase 5 is for general public.

CEMA says there could be further restrictions on areas throughout the community as needed for safety reasons.

Contrary to any rumor you might have heard, there are NO plans to shut off any water service in Chatham County.

All local hospital emergency rooms will remain open for patients.

From 3 p.m. on, the Savannah Civic Center will be open as a refuge of last resort, with an evening meal scheduled. Transportation is on your own, however, as Chatham Area Transit has already ceased all operations for the duration of the storm.

The Talmadge Bridge will remain closed until further notice.

A downed tree in the Highlands area of West Chatham has caused a power outage to about 2,000 residents. Georgia Power and contractors are on the scene working to restore power as long as conditions allow.

Power is out in some areas of the islands.

Chatham County courts will be closed through Friday and reopen on Monday.

Georgia Southern University is canceling classes for Friday, Sept. 6. University officials will make an announcement Thursday evening about whether some or all business operations — including the re-opening of dining facilities and the residence halls on the Armstrong Campus — can resume on Friday.

The Eagles football home opener against Maine at Paulson Stadium is still scheduled for Saturday at 6 p.m.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Dorian: Tuesday night update

Posted By on Tue, Sep 3, 2019 at 8:17 PM

Curfews in the City of Savannah and City of Thunderbolt are in effect from 9 p.m. tonight to 6 a.m. Wednesday. They will be in effect nightly until further notice. This applies to vehicular, pedestrian, and bicycle traffic.

The Chatham Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) advanced to OPCON 1 at 6 PM. This the final stage before potential impacts in the next 24 hours.

Chatham County is under a Hurricane Watch, Tropical Storm Warning and Storm Surge Warning. This means the possibility exists for tornadoes, tropical storm force winds, and storm surge for the affected areas.

Tropical storm force winds could arrive as early as noon Wednesday.

Storm surge of 4-7 feet above normally dry ground is likely. It is likely that Highway 80 going to Tybee Island will be inundated with water during high tide periods.

Rain fail is expect to be 4-6 inches, however, could be as high 10 inches depending on the track of the storm.

Savannah Chatham County Public School System are closed through Friday, September 6.

Chatham County Courts are closed through Thursday, September 5.

Savannah Animal Care at West Bryant Street will be open 24/7 for pet emergencies during the storm

The emergency rooms at all area hospitals will be open for patients.

24/7 Urgent Care has several open locations downtown, midtown, and in Pooler.

Chatham Emergency Services expects to maintain Fire and EMS operations throughout the storm event

GA Power has crews staged and ready to respond if necessary. Alabama Power and Mississippi Power are on standby to render aid if needed

I-16 Contraflow began at 8 AM on Tuesday, September 3, and will continue until further notice.

All Chatham Area Transit services have been suspended through the storm.

The Talmadge Bridge is closed. The bridges onto Tybee Island, Wilmington Island, and Whitemarsh Island are not scheduled to close at this time.

The Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport is open as of 2 PM, please contact your specific airline for flight details. It is recommended that passengers have a copy of their travel itinerary for movement in the evacuation zones.

On Tybee Island, no swimming in the ocean is allowed.

Curfew set for City of Savannah from 9 p.m.-6 a.m.

Posted By on Tue, Sep 3, 2019 at 12:02 PM

The City of Savannah and Savannah Police Department have enacted a curfew that will go into effect daily from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. beginning Tuesday due to Hurricane Dorian's approach.

This includes autos as well as pedestrian and bicycle traffic. The end of curfew enforcement is dependent on what the storm does.

The curfew only affects residents living in the City of Savannah, not unincorporated Chatham County.

“We enacted this curfew for citizen safety,” Savannah Police Chief Roy Minter said. “We want citizens to understand that this is a dangerous storm and residents do not need to be out unnecessarily. Please make plans and ensure you are in a safe area and do not need to travel during these hours.”

Those who are out during the curfew may be stopped by police, questioned about their travel during curfew hours, and reminded about the danger of the storm, police say.

"The primary purpose of traffic stops during curfew hours is to remind residents of the risks associated with traveling during the affected hours. Critical workforce employees will still be able to travel to and from work and will just need to explain their activities to officers or show a work identification badge," police report.

The curfew will remain in effect from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. each day until further notice.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Savannah City Council debates Rock 'n' Roll Marathon contract extension

Posted By on Thu, Aug 29, 2019 at 3:38 PM

The Savannah Rock 'n' Roll Marathon was renewed for another three years, through 2021, but not without controversy.

One of the terms of agreement is an annual payment of $25,000 to the Marathon, courtesy of taxpayers, which drew concern from two members of Savannah City Council.

Alderman Bill Durrence said it makes no sense to continue paying the for-profit Marathon when non-profits continue to have to pay the City for the right to hold events.

"I cannot support this and will not go for it," he said.

When it was confirmed that there will be no chance to renegotiate the contract for another three years, Durrence said, "That's three times the reason not to vote for it."

Defenders of the event say it nets at least one million dollars into the local economy.

Alderman Brian Foster said the $25,000 a year is essentially for selling Savannah as a destination city to a broader, national audience, and as such "from a marketing standpoint is a fairly reasonable fee to pay."

However, even Foster admitted that Savannah's calendar is more full than it was when the Marathon was first brought here in 2010 during the great recession — particularly that weekend in November concurrent with the SCAD Savannah Film Festival.

"At the time we were desperate to get an event like this when hotel occupancy was low," he said.

Alderman Van Johnson, while voting in favor of the contract extension, also voiced concerns, saying "there is a tipping point" where the event will eventually cost more to host than it brings in.

Johnson said the Savannah Police Department is already understaffed, and the event puts too much pressure on them, with taxpayers picking up the full tab for police presence during the weekend event, set for Nov. 2-3 this year.

In the end, Durrence was the only dissenting vote, with many of the others saying their hand was forced due to the next Marathon coming up in a few months.

In other City Council business:

Two controversial bond issues were approved, one in the amount of $45 million for more Arena funding, and one for $10 million to cover unexpected additional cost in building the Plant Riverside public/private parking garage on West River Street.

Also, Council awarded the management contract for the current Civic Center to OVG Facilities until the new Arena is built. OVG has already been awarded the Arena management contract.

OVG says they will retain current vested City employees at the Civic Center, and as many as possible will move over to the new Arena in West Savannah. (Alderwoman Carol Bell recused herself from the vote due to her son's company's cleaning contract with the Arena.)

Council approved leasing a future Arena parking lot from Tenenbaum Inc/Chatham Steel in the amount of $3.49 million for five years. Tony Thomas and Estella Shabazz were the only no votes.

A non-agenda discussion came up when Alderman Tony Thomas voiced citizen complaints about Georgia Power contractors destroying trees on the Southside during trimming operations in the City right of way.

"They are not a good neighbor," Thomas said of Georgia Power and the crews. They "come into yards" and "destroy trees," even killing azalea bushes.

Several aldermen concurred, saying it is a City-wide issue.

Alderman John Hall said "they've destroyed at least 8 or 9 trees on Sunset Boulevard" in his district.

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