Monday, November 30, 2020

Posted By on Mon, Nov 30, 2020 at 8:57 AM

Lake Mayer Park in Savannah will soon have new resources that promote better health and quality of life.

The first of two “Healthy Hub” sites will be unveiled at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, December 1 at the park, located on Montgomery Crossroads in Savannah. Community leaders, along with representatives from the Savannah College of Art and Design, the YMCA of Coastal Georgia and Healthy Savannah will be in attendance. Lake Mayer is managed by the Chatham County Parks and Recreation division.

Healthy Hub" is a place to go for resources that promote better health and quality of life for all. You can take or add items like books, pamphlets, canned food, and other health resources to share with the community,” said Nichele Hoskins, assistant director of Healthy Savannah. “It’s a little library with a healthy twist.”

The project that became Healthy Hub was the collective brainchild of nine SCAD students – Chaitanya Ahuja, Lara Isaacson, Hanjun Lin, Xichen Liu, Julia Moore, Shruti Narkar, Sarah Prifitera and Fen Zhu – who developed it during their 2020 Sustainable Practices in Design class. Their professor, Scott Boylston, continued working after the class ended to fine-tune the design.

“The SCAD design for sustainability program focuses on preparing students to pioneer organizational change, technological and material innovation, and citizen advocacy,” said Boylston. Collaborating with Healthy Savannah provided the students a real-world opportunity to put those skills to use. Our students are incredibly committed to understanding the health and wellness challenges that residents of Savannah are facing in their daily lives. Their creative efforts focused on designing a concrete way to amplify the self-sufficiency and self-determination of the community as a whole. SCAD ultimately created a whimsical and easily accessible portal for our partner Healthy Savannah to enhance their outreach and education efforts."

Healthy Savannah commissioned SCAD alum Sydnee Robertson, M.F.A., dramatic writing, 2020; B.F.A., visual effects, 2017; to provide artwork for the project.

“Like little libraries locally and around the country, the Healthy Hub will meet needs exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic,” said Hoskins. "I’m excited about featuring the work of artists with Savannah connections that should attract attention.” The artwork on each Healthy Hub will rotate seasonally to feature other local artists’ interpretation of what a healthy Savannah looks like.

“We’re putting the first Healthy Hub at Lake Mayer and are looking for a second location in another Savannah area park or along the Truman Linear Park Trail,” said Armand Turner, Physical Activity program manager. “We hope those who visit will take items they need or leave healthy items that others might need.”

The first three miles of the six-mile Truman Linear Trail was completed in November. It connects Lake Mayer Park with Daffin Park and is part of Tide to Town, a 30-mile network of protected walking and bicycling trails which will link all of Savannah from the heart of the city to its waterways and marshes, including 62 savannah neighborhoods, 30 public schools and all three major hospitals.

Tide to Town and the Healthy Hub project are both sponsored by Healthy Savannah, in partnership with the YMCA of Coastal Georgia, through a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called REACH. That’s Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health.

The objective of the local grant is to close the gaps in health disparities among priority populations in Savannah and Chatham County in the areas of nutrition, physical activity, and community–clinical linkages.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Posted By on Tue, Nov 24, 2020 at 5:13 PM

Deep Center of Savannah has released Savannah: A Tale of Two Cities. Two Stories, One (Educational) Outcome, an anthology centered on the school to prison pipeline.

The anthology is curated selection of new solicited writing and artwork from Savannah’s youth, and the best youth pieces from previous program years, and included a contest that awarded three places for the strongest writing. Three poems were chosen out of more than 50 pieces from young people all over Savannah.

First place goes to former Block by Block young author Ndey Niang for the poem “No Longer Astronauts.” Second place goes to current Block by Block young author Kimaura Williams for the poem “No Thanks.” Third place goes to former Block by Block young author Elisha Patterson-Murry for the poem “Be Real: Help Me. Help Us.”

“Savannah: A Tale of Two Cities, is a compilation of these stories put to paper, an anthology from the experts,” said Ariel Felton, teaching artist and publications manager. “In addition to a call for submission from any Savannah young person interested in Deep programming, we also culled through pieces written in previous program years. In this book, you’ll find poems about feeling excluded in class, and letters to SCPSS asking, “Am I a failure?” There are blackout poems crafted from a Chatham County Youth Bill of Demands, as well as takedowns of standardized testing and juvenile detention policies. Because we trust our young people, these are the stories that inspired Deep Center’s 2020 policy brief.”

Savannah: A Tale of Two Cities. Two Stories, One (Educational) Outcome is also the partner publication to Deep Center’s 2020 Policy brief, Building a Restorative Community: Recommendations for City, County, State, School Board, Law Enforcement, and Beyond, ten recommendations for a more just and equitable community.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Posted By on Mon, Nov 23, 2020 at 10:36 AM

To ease Thanksgiving traffic congestion statewide, Georgia Department of Transportation (Georgia DOT) announced today the suspension of construction-related lane closures on heavily traveled interstate highways and state routes from 6 a.m. Wed., Nov. 25 to 5 a.m. Monday, Nov. 30. The statewide lane restrictions help to reduce traffic congestion during the Thanksgiving holiday. Similar restrictions will be in place for Christmas and New Year’s.

“In order to provide a safer and less congested roadway, we are limiting construction-related lane closures,” said Georgia DOT State Construction Engineer John D. Hancock. “Although traffic volumes were down earlier this year due to COVID-19, unfortunately, fatalities on our roadways have been up. I urge drivers to watch your speed, put down your cell phones, be alert and make sure you and your passengers buckle-up. Let’s make this a happy Thanksgiving for all.”

A Safe Driving Media Toolkit is available that includes interview opportunities with GDOT experts and Georgia State Patrol officers, broll, pre-recorded clips of spokespeople addressing safe driving and what motorists can do to protect themselves and others, and materials and resources for use in coverage on safe driving during the holiday season.

While the road closures will be suspended, the department reminds travelers to exercise caution as crews may still work near highways, and safety concerns may require some long-term lane closures to remain in place. In addition, incident management or emergency, maintenance-related lane closures could become necessary at any time on any route.

For up-to-date information about travel conditions on Georgia’s interstates and state routes, call 511 or visit www.511ga.org before heading out. 511 is a free service that provides real-time statewide information on Georgia’s interstates and state routes, including traffic conditions, incidents, lane closures, and delays due to inclement weather 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Callers can also transfer to operators to request HERO assistance in metro Atlanta or CHAMP service on highways in other regions of the state.

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Friday, November 20, 2020

Posted By on Fri, Nov 20, 2020 at 3:57 PM

In an effort to meet unprecedented levels of need in our community this holiday season, Walmart, Belk, and The Salvation Army of Savannah (TSA) are working together to make it easier for people to help others this Christmas.

The organizations will work to offer greater assistance to area families through the expansion of programs like Angel Tree and Red Kettles, which will be out earlier, and, for the first time ever, invite people to round-up donations to The Salvation Army in-store and online.

“Our community has been greatly impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and this need is sure to increase further during the holiday season,” said The Salvation Army of Savannah’s Major Paul Egan. “We are beyond grateful for the support of Walmart and Belk for answering the call to Rescue Christmas and help provide for the most vulnerable people in our community.” Walmart and TSA are making it easier for customers to give to those in need this Christmas.

In most Walmart stores across Savannah, the expanded partnership includes:

• Starting November 21, Walmart will offer customers the option to round up their purchases to the nearest dollar and donate the difference to The Salvation Army. Customers can do this in stores at manned cash registers or online through December 31.

• The Salvation Army’s Red Kettles and iconic bell ringers will be at participating Walmart stores earlier than usual this year, starting on Saturday, November 21. The Salvation Army is adopting nationally mandated safety protocols for physical kettles to help ensure the safety of bell ringers, donors and partners. Bell ringers will also be at select Sam’s Clubs across Savannah.

• Salvation Army Angel Trees will appear in participating Walmart stores, giving local shoppers the opportunity to select a child or children from the tree and to purchase or drop off gifts onsite.

• The Salvation Army is also partnering with Walmart for an Angel Tree Registry. Those who prefer to do their shopping online can visit www.bit.ly/TSAWalmartRegistry. A gift through this registry will bring joy to a local child and help TSA Rescue Christmas. Toys purchased through this site are given to those angels who have not been adopted.

Belk has also been a partner of The Salvation Army of Savannah for over 10 years. Belk will be hosting Red Kettle bell ringers in front of their Oglethorpe Mall location starting November 19 for shoppers to participate in Rescuing Christmas. Shoppers can donate to the red kettles through Apple and Google Pay using their phone for a secure and easy payment option.

Belk will be hosting several volunteer groups at their bell ringing location – the U.S. Marine Corps League, 13th Colony Sound, Savannah Scottish Rite and Angels of Mercy, a volunteer group with St. Joseph’s Candler.

TSA needs volunteers to ring the kettles at partner locations during the holiday season. A volunteer bell ringer raises more donations on average, but less than 10% of bell ringers are volunteers. One hour of bell ringing can provide a meal for a family of four, and an entire day of ringing (8 hours) can provide lodging for a family of four for one month. Flexible volunteer opportunities are available for scheduling at www.registertoring.com.

Donations to Rescue Christmas are also welcomed via the online donation platform at www.RedKettleSAV.givesmart.com or by texting “RedKettleSAV” to 76278. Every donation provides help and hope to the most vulnerable, and all gifts stay within the greater Savannah community.

The Salvation Army has served greater Savannah for the past 120 years supporting the most vulnerable.

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Thursday, November 19, 2020

Posted By on Thu, Nov 19, 2020 at 7:46 AM

The Savannah City Council will hold the 2021 budget retreat on Thursday, Nov. 19, and Friday, Nov. 20, in the Johnny Mercer Theatre at the Savannah Civic Center. The meetings will start at 9 a.m. on both days and are open to the public.

Socially distant space will be available for anyone wanting to attend the budget retreat in person, and the city will live stream the meetings on Facebook for those who want to participate virtually.

A digital version of the proposed 2021 budget is available at savannahga.gov/budget. For more information, please contact the clerk of council at (912) 651-6441 or email clerkofcouncil@savannahga.gov.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Posted By on Wed, Nov 18, 2020 at 5:50 PM

The Tate Law Group is inviting families in need to the 1st Annual Great Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway.

On Tuesday, November 24th starting at 12:00 noon, 200 frozen whole turkeys will be distributed to the first 200 families who drive thru the Great Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway at Memorial Stadium at 101 John J. Scott Drive.

In addition to the turkey giveaway, Healthy Savannah and the YMCA of Coastal Georgia’s Savannah/Chatham H.O.P.E. Project will be providing fresh produce to all recipients.

This as a result of funding from the Center of Disease Control’s REACH (Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health) Grant, where they work to eliminate barriers and lack of access to healthy food options through culturally appropriate policies and programs.

"Tate Law Group knows the importance of family -- especially during these uncertain times," says Mark Tate of Tate Law Group. "The COVID-19 pandemic has kept many of us in our homes and something as simple as shopping for a healthy Thanksgiving dinner isn't possible right now. Many families can’t afford to purchase a turkey or fresh vegetables. This is a way for Tate Law Group to help bring Thanksgiving cheer and a healthy meal to 200 families who need it most."

Safety precautions will be taken, and recipients will not need need to leave their vehicles.

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Posted By on Wed, Nov 18, 2020 at 10:20 AM

Chatham Area Transit plans to resume the collection of fares for fixed-route buses and CAT Mobility services in December, following the installation of tempered glass barriers to protect bus operators from exposure during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The resumption of fares comes after CAT suspended fare collection in March to allow for rear-door boarding and minimize the potential spread of the coronavirus. Now that the barriers are installed and other safely measures are in place, it was determined that front-door boarding and fare collection can be reinstated.

Customers will be able to once again purchase a $1.50 one-trip pass or $3 all-day pass on fixed-route buses using exact change. The fare for CAT Mobility paratransit’s service remains $2 per one-way trip.

Early next year, CAT plans to implement mobile ticketing services so customers can purchase bus passes with their smart phones. While initially conceived as a way to make public transit more user-friendly, mobile ticketing will also help keep users safe by allowing customers to simply show operators their phone to board and minimize cash handling and contact with the fare box.

More information about fares and discounts can be found at https://www.catchacat.org/fares-passes/.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Posted By on Tue, Nov 17, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Today, Mayor Van R. Johnson, II, announced and accepted a $5,000 donation from T-Mobile for the Savannah Youth Council (SYC).

SYC plans to use this money to create a program to teach students the importance of building ethical social media skills and web-based campaign tactics.

"These are vital skills for our youth to learn as it becomes increasingly important to engage with customers, businesses and government virtually and online," said Mayor Johnson.

The Savannah Youth Council provides eighth-grade students opportunities to learn about local government, gain a sense of civic responsibility and develop leadership skills.

"Working with the Savannah Youth Council and their kids is a yet another great opportunity for T-Mobile to make a positive impact in this community," said Irene Kieweg, T-Mobile vice president.

"Kudos to SYC for the important work they do to provide students with the skills and government experience they need to become Savannah's future leaders. We're proud to support your efforts!"

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Thursday, November 12, 2020

Posted By on Thu, Nov 12, 2020 at 10:54 AM

The Chatham County Health Department is transitioning to an appointment only process for COVID-19 testing beginning Monday, November 16, 2020.

The testing criteria has not changed, and anyone can be tested for free by utilizing an online self-scheduling portal or through a COVID-19 testing hotline.

The change is expected to help the department maximize internal resources during this long-term emergency response.

“We need to position ourselves to sustain testing operations for many more months,” said Chris Rustin, Ph.D., Administrator of the Chatham County Health Department. “With appointments, we can reduce the number of staff members onsite for traffic flow and patient registration while still meeting the needs of our community.”

There will be more than 1,600 available appointments each week in Chatham County, which exceeds the current weekly average of 1,350 tests.

The testing schedule has not changed.

Appointments can be made online at covid19.dph.ga.gov or by calling the Coastal Health District COVID19 Testing Call Center at 912-230-9744.

The Call Center is operational Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. For a list of all the free COVID-19 testing options through the Coastal Health District, visit covid19.gachd.org.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Waters Foundation Fund Awards $50,000 Grant to Phase 2

Posted By on Wed, Nov 11, 2020 at 8:20 AM

The Chatham Savannah Authority for the Homeless (CSAH) has announced that it has received a major gift of $50,000 from Don and Cindy Waters. The gift was given as a grant from the Waters Foundation Fund at the Savannah Community Foundation. The funds will go directly towards construction costs of Phase 2 of the Tiny House Project.

CSAH broke ground on Phase 2 of the community, called the Cove at Dundee, on October 16, and infrastructure installation is currently underway. The second phase will provide 24 more fully furnished homes for homeless veterans, as well as another clubhouse. The new residents will have access to the same wide range of supportive services available to the residents of Phase 1. CSAH anticipates that Phase 2 will be completed in 2021.

In response to the gift, Cindy Kelley, CSAH Executive Director said “Don and Cindy Waters’ commitment to the strategic advancement of our community cannot be overstated, and we are truly fortunate that the Tiny House Project fits within their vision for a better Savannah. Their generous gift will help to improve the lives of veterans for years to come.”

Don and Cindy Waters are local philanthropists, having endowed the Waters College of Health Professions at Armstrong State University, now part of Georgia Southern University. In 2013 they helped start the Savannah Classical Academy, a public charter school serving an inner-city neighborhood, and in 2016 they established the Don and Cindy Waters Fund at the Georgia Historical Society, ensuring that their shared commitment to education will continue. "We are pleased to support this program for our country's veterans and the positive effect it has on their lives, as well as on the surrounding community," said Don Waters. "We look forward to the successful completion of Phase 2 and hope others will help make this a reality."

When first announced by the Chatham Savannah Authority for the Homeless (CSAH) in 2017, the $2.6 million endeavor was unprecedented in the state of Georgia. Of the total needed to fund the entire project, nearly $1.9 million has been raised, including pledges, cash donations, and in-kind support from more than 500 individuals, businesses, and charitable foundations. Phase 1 was completed in the fall of 2019 and currently houses 23 formerly homeless United States military veterans.

Of the approximately 675 chronically homeless individuals in Chatham County, over 200 of them are United States military veterans. The Tiny House Project is the state of Georgia’s first effort dedicated to reducing veteran homelessness by providing a community of permanent, affordable tiny homes. The community currently includes 23 tiny homes, a clubhouse for laundry and community meetings, walking paths, and a tiny medical clinic staffed by J.C. Lewis Primary Health Care. Residents of the Cove at Dundee have access to supportive services through CSAH staff and community partners. This additional support allows them to improve their quality of life by applying for benefits, securing employment, and accessing education, workforce development, healthcare, and social services, all with an emphasis on building self-sufficiency. All residents pay rent and are expected to meet their daily needs with their income.

CSAH is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to lead the effort to build and sustain community practices to eliminate homelessness. CSAH works in partnership with nonprofit service providers, government officials, business leaders, and the faith community. Annually in Chatham County, CSAH and the Chatham County Continuum of Care partners assist over 4,000 individuals, youth, and families.

To donate or for more information, visit homelessauthority.org or call 912-644-7945.

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