Thursday, May 23, 2019

Deep Center receives NEA 'Our Town' grant

Posted By on Thu, May 23, 2019 at 10:07 AM

Deep Center has been named one of only 57 national recipients of the 2019 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Our Town award.

Of the $4.1 million awarded across the country, Deep will receive $150,000 to support Still Astronauts, a project of its Block by Block program.

"Launched in 2011, Our Town is the National Endowment for the Arts’ creative-placemaking grants program. It supports projects that integrate arts, culture, and design into local strategies for strengthening communities by transforming them into lively, beautiful, and resilient places," says a Deep spokesperson.

Still Astronauts, a project of Deep’s Block by Block program, "will employ creative writing and art-making to engage young and adult writers and artists along with policymakers and adult stakeholders in research, art-making and storytelling, community-building, and envisioning change for Chatham County’s birth-to-prison-pipeline," they say.

Partners include the City of Savannah, the Chatham County Juvenile Court, the Savannah Chatham County Public School System, and the Savannah Police Department. Still Astronauts gets it title from a poem, “No Longer Astronauts,” by Deep author Nadine Niang about the harmful effects of America’s juvenile justice system.

“Deep Center is following our young leaders in addressing Savannah’s most pressing issues for youth and their families,” said Dare Dukes, executive director of Deep Center. “And our region’s birth-to-prison-pipeline is right at the top of that list. We are grateful for the NEA’s support in helping Deep Center’s community elevate the dialogue, share the hard truths, and celebrate visions for changing the way Savannah supports its young people.”

“These awards made to organizations across the United States are a testament to the artistic richness and diversity in our country,” said Mary Anne Carter, acting chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. “Organizations such as Deep are giving people in their community the opportunity to learn, create, and be inspired.”

Suspect sought in Northern Tools shoplifting

Posted By on Thu, May 23, 2019 at 10:02 AM

Savannah Police Southside Precinct detectives are requesting the public’s assistance in identifying a suspect who shoplifted items from Northern Tools on May 9th.

"At around 5:40 p.m., the suspect entered the store on the 7500 block of Abercorn Street and stole items before exiting through a rear emergency door. The suspect is described as a white male standing approximately 6 feet tall, with a slim build. During the incident, he wore a blue shirt, jeans and white shoes," police report.

Anyone with information on this case or the suspect’s identity is asked to call detectives at 912-525-3100 x1076 or CrimeStoppers at (912) 234-2020. Tipsters are anonymous and may qualify for a cash reward.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Savannah Police officer killed in shooting is identified

Posted By on Sun, May 12, 2019 at 10:52 AM

 The Savannah Police Department confirms that an officer who was shot while responding to a robbery call Saturday night in the Starland area of Bull Street has succumbed to his injuries.

The officer has been identified in other official reports as Sgt. Kelvin Ansari, a 10-year veteran of the Savannah Police Dept. and a U.S. Army veteran.

"At approximately 8:10 p.m. on May 11, officers responded to the 2300 block of Bull Street to follow-up on a previous robbery call. Officers were notified of a vehicle description and upon locating and approaching the vehicle, a shooting occurred. Two officers as well as the suspect sustained injuries and were transported to the hospital at that time. The second officer involved was treated and released," Savannah police report.

As per standard protocol, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) was called in to investigate this incident further.

SPD is planning to hold a press conference Sunday afternoon to release further information. 

Friday, May 10, 2019

Owner of Flacos Tacos arrested on drug, gun charges

Posted By on Fri, May 10, 2019 at 11:26 AM

Adolfo Mitchell
  • Adolfo Mitchell
Shortly after 9 p.m. on March 7, 33-year-old Adolfo Mitchell, also known as Flaco, was stopped on I-16 by the Georgia State Patrol, reports the Chatham Savannah Counter Narcotics Team (CNT).

"The traffic stop evolved into a search of the vehicle that resulted in the seizure of multiple ounces of marijuana and two firearms. Mitchell was arrested on a number of charges to include two counts of Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, Possession of Marijuana, and Driving under the Influence. CNT assisted with the investigation and was present during the traffic stop. A juvenile was also in the vehicle at the time of the incident," CNT says.

Mitchell had been arrested May 1 on other charges.

On April 25, 2019, the Chatham County Grand Jury returned a True Bill on the charges Mitchell was originally arrested on in addition to two additional charges; Using a Minor for an Illicit Transaction and two counts of Furnishing a Pistol to a Minor.

"Mitchell was re-arrested on the new charges on May 1, 2019, at Flacos Tacos restaurant in Richmond Hill and booked into the Chatham County Detention Center. Mitchell was granted an $8,500 bond by Chatham County Superior Court Judge, Honorable James Bass," CNT says.

Mitchell is the owner of Flacos Tacos, which has multiple locations throughout Chatham County and Bryan County.

CNT says this is an ongoing investigation and additional charges and arrests are expected.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

City Council approves $45 million bond issue for Arena

Posted By on Thu, May 9, 2019 at 8:13 PM

Savannah City Council voted today to approve a $45 million bond issue to shore up funding for the over-budget Savannah Arena.

Though the idea appeared to have been formulated very recently, a strong plea from City Manager Rob Hernandez forced Council's hand.

"I don't know how anyone was led to believe that Savannah could afford two performing arts facilities [the new Arena and the old Civic Center]," Hernandez told Council.

"The reality is, and I'm sorry to break this news, we can't afford both... if this doesn't pass today, I have no choice but to advise the design team to put [the Arena] on hold."

The Arena has far exceeded its existing allotment from Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) funds, and it is not on the project list for the upcoming round of SPLOST, up for voter approval this November.

Alderman Van Johnson suggested that Council hadn't yet decided on the fate of the existing Civic Center, but its days appear numbered.

The bond issue effectively signs the death sentence for the existing Civic Center, as the funds to pay back the bonds will come from the same rental vehicle tax the City uses to maintain the Civic Center — which currently loses nearly $2 million a year.

Alderman Brian Foster said, "The impact of this in order to keep the arena project moving forward, funding for the Civic Center will go away... and [the Civic Center will] need to be sold."

The veiled threat to halt the project from Hernandez worked, and there were only two dissenting votes, Tony Thomas and Estella Shabazz.

Thomas said: "We need much more understanding of what is going to go on with the old Civic Center.. before we issue $45 million in bonds that will be repaid by the public."

Earlier in a Council workshop, Hernandez told Council that City staff
"will be coming back to you over and over again on arena-related issues."

Though the Arena was sold to voters as nearly a self-sustaining market entity, Hernandez said there will need to be ideas on how "create a long-term funding source" for the arena, including possibly making it a Community Improvement District (CID).

Also, Hernandez alluded to the fact that there has as yet been no real discussion of the design or cost of any of the several parking garages/facilities that will eventually be needed to accommodate Arena patrons.

The hasty bond issue comes as Council is set to break ground on the Arena soon before this year's election. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Savannah Police Respond to Allegations of Excessive Force

Posted By on Wed, May 8, 2019 at 12:42 PM

Savannah Police Department has reviewed claims of excessive force during the recent arrest of Zayd Jackson on May 2 and have determined the Savannah Police officers acted appropriately and professionally during the encounter.

Officers initially had contact with Jackson, 35, during a traffic stop at White Bluff Road and Television Circle around 2:40 a.m. April 3. The stop was initiated because of a defective tail light and the tag on his 1995 Chevrolet Trailblazer came back uninsured. Jackson fled the scene at a high rate of speed, striking two curbs and almost striking a Savannah Police patrol vehicle. Officers did not pursue Jackson at that time, but obtained warrants for obstruction, reckless driving, and fleeing and attempting to elude.

Around 9:40 p.m. May 2, an officer initiated a traffic stop on the same Chevrolet Trailblazer after he observed the driver driving aggressively in traffic and making lane changes without a signal in the area of Montgomery and 38th streets. Officers then learned that Jackson, who was driving the vehicle, had several outstanding warrants. Jackson appeared cooperative with officers and was placed in handcuffs behind his back. While the officer was waiting for the warrants to be confirmed, Jackson began running from the scene and soon after fell, striking his face on the ground.

Officers immediately called for EMS and then transported Jackson to Memorial Medical Center to be treated. After, Jackson was booked into the Chatham County Detention Center.

"I can say confidently that our officers treated Mr. Jackson professionally and courteously during the entire incident,” said Chief Roy Minter. "It is unfortunate that the professionalism of the Savannah Police Department was questioned so quickly from an allegation made on social media. The Savannah Police Department takes these claims seriously, and if it was determined that officers’ actions were inappropriate, it would have been dealt with swiftly.”

The body camera footage of the incident will not be released at this time due to it being part of an active investigation.

Georgia Southern alumna and Read Woke creator recognized as 2019 Mover & Shaker, innovator in education

Posted By on Wed, May 8, 2019 at 12:32 PM

Named a Library Journal 2019 Mover & Shaker, Gwinnett County Public Schools’ 2019 Library Media Specialist of the Year and the 2019 Metro Georgia Library Media Specialist of the Year, Georgia Southern University alumna and Read Woke creator Cicely Lewis is making a name for herself as an innovator in the field of education.

With a talent for instructional technology and innovative reading curriculum, Lewis sought a school library media certificate from Georgia Southern's College of Education to make the transition from the classroom to media specialist.

Lewis says that the school library media certificate program required her to create social media accounts and participate in activities via the social channels. At first, she was hesitant.

Lewis’ social media presence helped create a platform for her now worldwide effort to get students to read. The program, Read Woke, began in September 2017 as a reading challenge for students to explore literature that challenged social norms. Lewis was inspired by current events and social injustices and wanted to do her part to make a difference.

As such, Lewis was honored with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Top Teacher of 2018 award and as a 2018 Dollar General Teen Read Week grant recipient.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Workshop on Free and Fair Elections, League of Women Voters, May 3

Posted By on Thu, May 2, 2019 at 3:57 PM

The League of Women Voters of Coastal Georgia with Chris Carson, president of the League of Women Voters of the United States , invite you to their workshop!

The League will hold a workshop open to the public, focused on redistricting and how to make elections free and fair for all. Carson led the League of Women Voters of California's effort to establish an independent citizens commission to set redistricting lines, taking the process out of the hands of elected officials. The event will be held Friday May 3, 2019, from 6-8 p.m at Trinity United Methodist Church, 225 W. President Street (Telfair Square)

Let's Go! Network Concepts Survey open through May 17

Posted By on Thu, May 2, 2019 at 3:54 PM

The second phase for Chatham Area Transit’s Let’s Go! Designing Better Transit Together is well-underway with activities encouraging residents to participate in the Network Concepts survey. Available through May 17, the survey includes questions seeking feedback on two network concepts that illustrate the trade-off between providing a high frequency or wide coverage transit network.

Information about the Network Concepts and the survey are available online at

Paper copies of the survey are available at the Joe Murray Rivers Intermodal Transit Center (ITC). Information is also on display at all Live Oak Public Libraries in CAT’s service area, including Bull Street, Carnegie, Forest City, Islands, Oglethorpe Mall, Port City, Southwest Chatham, W. W. Law, and West Broad.

The Let’s Go! Designing Better Transit Together system redesign project will rely heavily

Deep Speaks to Feature Savannah’s Most Talented Young Writers

Posted By on Thu, May 2, 2019 at 3:47 PM

Forty-five student authors from Savannah’s public middle schools will take the stage at 6:30 p.m. at the Historic Savannah Theatre, 222 Bull St., on Monday, May 13, for the Deep Speaks book launch and literary reading. Doors open at 6:00 p.m.

The 2019 spring semester of Deep Center’s Young Author Project served 163 middle school students. The young authors to be featured at Deep Speaks were selected from this group by their peers, Deep volunteer Writing Fellows, and staff members to read their original poems and short prose onstage. Works created by all participating youth will be published in four separate anthologies, which will be available to the public for a suggested donation of $12 each at the Deep Speaks event. The books will also be circulated within the Live Oak Public Library System. All book proceeds will directly support Deep’s nonprofit workshops for public school youth.

Deep has grown significantly in its first ten years, and its Young Author Project is now serving 15 public K-8 schools and middle schools. All 163 Deep young authors, selected by their teachers, participated throughout the spring 2019 semester in a rigorous series of after-school writing workshops that were taught by volunteers, who are themselves creative writers.

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