Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Telfair Director Lisa Grove set to take Obama Foundation job

Posted By on Wed, May 16, 2018 at 2:56 PM

Telfair Museums announced today that Lisa Grove will be leaving her position as Director/CEO at the end of the month to join the Obama Foundation and its Obama Presidential Center to be built in Chicago.

“It has been a great privilege working alongside the Board and staff of Telfair Museums for the past six and a half years, and I am incredibly proud to have led the organization to record heights of financial stability and programmatic excellence,” said Grove.

“We will miss Lisa’s capable leadership talents, but we applaud her for her appointment to this important role,” said Ted Kleisner, Chairman of the Museum's Board of Trustees. “Lisa leaves the Telfair with an impressive legacy on which we will continue to build. She will be greatly missed... The Telfair Museums’ financial position has been significantly strengthened during Lisa’s tenure.”

Since joining Telfair Museums in January 2012, Grove has"raised record amounts of funding during her tenure, producing six consecutive years of operating surpluses while increasing the overall budget by 25%," says a Telfair spokesperson.

Since her arrival, Director’s Circle giving is up 60%, and museum attendance, admissions revenue, and memberships are each up 50%, the museum says.

“We’ve had an incredibly successful trajectory over the past several years, thanks to the dedication and hard work of our team,” said Grove.” I am confident that Telfair Museums will continue to reach new levels of success in the future.”

Kleisner announced that Telfair Museums has formed a search committee to begin the process of recruiting the next Director/CEO.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

City 'fine-tuning' property classifications for controversial Fire Fee

Posted By on Tue, May 15, 2018 at 3:50 PM

Partially in response to recent citizen confusion about the new measure, the City of Savannah says today it is "fine-tuning the fire fee database to ensure the fee is applied fairly across all property classifications prior to bills being sent out later this fall," a City spokesperson says.

Last week the City sent letters and postcards to all properties and included the estimated fire fee amount for each property, before any discounts are applied.

"The intent of this mailing was to give property owners an idea of what their fire fee will be, and to allow property owners the chance to alert the Revenue Department of any inaccuracies," the City reports.

The actual fire fee bill will not be mailed out until September, however, even though the deadline to apply for discounts is June 1.

As part of an ongoing process, the City is reclassifying some types of properties from Commercial to Single Family Residential, which will change the way the fee is calculated.

"By definition, a Single Family Residential property means developed property containing one residential structure with no more than two dwelling units in or attached thereto, situated upon a single lot of record. Residential properties with supplemental accessory structures, such as carriage houses, storage buildings or caretakers quarters, are also classified as Single Family Residential," the City says.

Condos are now also being classified as Single Family Residential. So are properties that have a commercial use within the residence, as long as the primary function of the property is residential and both uses contain a single Property Identification Number (PIN).

“It can be difficult, especially for properties with multiple structures on one parcel, to determine which properties do and do not meet this definition simply by relying on data presented in the Chatham County Board of Assessors Property Card,” said Revenue Director Ashley Simpson.

The City encourages residents to scrutinize their fire fee estimates, and notify the City of any issues such as property type or billable square footage through an online Request for Redetermination Form located at Forms can be submitted online or mailed to the Revenue Department.

"This process is particularly important in the downtown area, with mixed-use zoning districts that often contain unique parcel combinations or multiple property uses on each parcel," the spokesperson says.

The City uses Chatham County Board of Assessors records as the basis for the fire fee database.

“The City wants to make the fire fee as equitable as possible,” Simpson said. “We want the fire fee to be reflective of the amount of resources needed to fight a fire on each property.”

If anyone has questions about the fire fee they can contact the City at (912) 525-2810 or by e-mail at

Thursday, May 10, 2018

St. Vincent's teacher/coach arrested for illegally photographing students

Posted By on Thu, May 10, 2018 at 9:40 PM

SAVANNAH, GA (May 10, 2018) – Savannah Police’s Special Victims Unit has arrested a 38-year-old teacher for charges of illegally photographing students.

"Joey Morcock is accused of taking photos up the skirts of female students while he was employed as a track coach and teacher at St. Vincent’s Academy," police report.

"The incident was first reported to Savannah Police on April 23. Detectives with the Special Victims Unit launched an investigation into the allegations and was officially taken into custody today on two counts of surreptitious recording of intimate parts. Morcock was removed from his position at the school while the investigation was ongoing," police say.

Anyone who has information on this case can contact the SPD tip line at (912) 525-3124 or the Special Victims Unit at (912) 651-6742.

Matt's Moon River Cruise to mark sixth year with bike ride, music, activities

Posted By on Thu, May 10, 2018 at 12:46 PM

The late Matt Kohler enjoying a Sand Gnats game, one of his favorite pastimes.
  • The late Matt Kohler enjoying a Sand Gnats game, one of his favorite pastimes.

A fun and education fundraiser for an important local organization, the Sixth Annual Matt’s Moon River Cruise will be held on Saturday, May 12 at Historic Grayson Stadium.

The event, benefiting the Savannah Bicycle Campaign, is named in memory of Matt Kohler.

Kohler, 22, was hit from behind and killed by a driver on July 26, 2012 while riding his bike on U.S. Highway 80 in Bloomingdale.

Matt's mother Debbie has become an outspoken advocate for increased bicycle safety measures in the wake of her son's tragic death.

"The most common response is 'I'm sorry for your loss,' which is truly expected," she says.

"Yet others come to me and express true gratitude that I will tell Matthew's story in hopes of getting the word out that bicyclists have a right to ride on the right side of the road, and that a car must yield to the bicyclist and give him or her three feet in order to ensure safety for all involved."

A casual bike ride will leave the stadium at 4 p.m. and return for a party featuring live music by Tall Tall Trees, a favorite Savannah Stopover alum.

A "mini beer festival" coordinated by Moon River Brewing Company will happen, along with a silent auction and games organized by Savannah Sport and Social Incorporated.

"The goal is to educate the public on how to safely share the road with people who bike and promote efforts to make our streets safer for all road users," says a spokesperson for the Savannah Bicycle Campaign, whose education programs are benefited by the proceeds.

Helmets are required for the ride.

Matt's Moon River Cruise is presented by Joe J. Steffen Bike Law.

National Park Service holds local public forums about Landmark District study

Posted By on Thu, May 10, 2018 at 11:24 AM

The National Park Service (NPS) will hold public forums Thursday and Friday as part of the agency’s "most comprehensive effort to assess the Savannah National Historic Landmark District," an NPS spokesperson says.

"The public has a chance to review an independent report prepared about the district’s condition and offer additional input prior to NPS making a final determination about where the area stands with regard to its preservation status," the NPS says.

Public forums will be held on May 10 from 1 to 3 p.m. and May 11 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Metropolitan Planning Commission, Mendosa Hearing Room, 112 E State St.

On hand will be:

Turkiya Lowe, National Park Service Chief Historian; Cynthia Walton, National Historic Landmarks regional program manager; and New South Associates, Inc. officials, authors of the Savannah National Historic Landmark District Integrity & Assessment report

The public can learn more about the current review of the Savannah National Historic Landmark district by visiting where the New South Associates report is posted and public commenting is open through June 30.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Gas leak prompts Starland evacuations

Posted By on Wed, May 9, 2018 at 3:43 PM

  • Photo by Carolyn M. Dimmick
The Starland district in the area of 37th and Bull Streets was closed for a couple of hours this afternoon due to a gas leak, the Chatham Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) said.

All buildings north to 36th Street and south to 38th Street were evacuated. Chatham Area Transit buses aided in evacuation efforts.

"Savannah Fire says a construction crew excavating the parking lot at 37th and Bull Streets struck a gas line, which prompted the evacuations," a CEMA spokesperson says.

  • Photo by Carolyn M. Dimmick

Savannah River Landing rebranded as 'Eastern Wharf'

Posted By on Wed, May 9, 2018 at 11:05 AM

The joint venture that purchased the site known to most as Savannah River Landing unveiled a new name and brand for the revitalized project this week.

In what the developers say is a nod to Savannah history, the site is being rebranded as Eastern Wharf.

“We reached out to community leaders and various stake holders to understand the sentiment and emotion around the name, Savannah River Landing," says Reid Freeman, president of Regent Partners.

"We felt that it was important to give this site an identity that matches our team’s vision for the future."

“It was important to our team that we were respectful of Savannah’s history. When we started to learn about the site and the significant role it played in the early commerce of Savannah, we knew what direction we wanted to go,” added Trent Germano, a principal with Mariner Group.

ELV Associates, Mariner Group and Regent Partners closed on the deal in September 2017.

The project includes a publicly funded component, most notably a taxpayer-underwritten parking garage and greenspace.

The developers say the "history of the Savannah Eastern Wharves dates back to the early 1800’s as Savannah was on the rise as one of the major ports on the east coast. In 1836 a group of businessmen formed The Eastern Wharf Company and purchased 75 acres of land just east of downtown."

The area was home to businesses such as A.N. Miller’s Foundry, Hydraulic Cotton Press Company and the Bullock and Winton Steam Saw Mill.

“With this new name, we want to pay homage to the site’s past, and also give a nod to its future as we bring it back to prominence as a hub for not only commerce but community as well,” says Scott Jenkins, president of ELV Associates, Inc.

"The plan outlines nearly 7 acres of public open space including squares and a substantial park along the Savannah River. Current plans devote a majority of the total build-out square footage to residential uses, increasing the mix of available housing inventory adjacent to the highly sought after Landmark Historic District," says a spokesperson.

The group plans to break ground early this summer on the first phase of the project, which will include:

· More than 300 apartments

· An 1100 space parking garage including a 700 space city garage

· 40,000 SF of food, beverage, entertainment and service oriented retail uses

· Approximately 80,000 SF of Class A office space

· A 200 key life-style boutique hotel

· A linear park and a 2 acre riverfront park

Representing approximately a $225 million investment, the team estimates that Phase I will be complete in the spring of 2020.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Downtown Neighborhood Association announces $40,000 in grants to local organizations

Posted By on Tue, May 8, 2018 at 3:59 PM

The Downtown Neighborhood Association (DNA) has announced the recipients of a total of $40,000 in grants to support a wide variety of local community organizations through its Neighborhood Initiatives and Community Partner Program.

The recipients of this year’s grants are:

Chatham Savannah Authority for the Homeless, $5,000

The Creative Coast, $2,000

Deep Center $1,000

Emergent Savannah, $1,000

Forsyth Farmer’s Market, $1,200

Frank Callen Boys & Girls Clubs $5,000

Friends of Massie $500

Heads-Up Guidance Services, Inc. $1,200

Loop It Up Savannah, Inc. $1,000

King-Tisdell Cottage Foundation, $500

Park Place Outreach, Inc. $1,500

Savannah Bicycle Campaign $1,000

Savannah Children’s Choir $2,500

Savannah Tree Foundation $2,000

Thomas Park Food Pantry, $1,000

United Ministries of Savannah: $1,000

Urban Hope, Inc. $5,000

WRUU Community Radio, $500

Each recipient goes through an application process and before the DNA Board of Directors for selection.

“Our mission is to enhance the quality of life in the Historic Landmark District, protect Savannah’s unique downtown environment, and advocate public policies which support these objectives,” said Melinda Allen, president of the DNA.

“With that in mind, our grant programs are geared to protecting the Landmark District’s architectural heritage and encouraging restoration & beautification. We also support local organizations that enhance the community through aid to Savannah’s citizens, education, safety, music, and youth development."

The funds for the grants are raised each year through the DNA’s Holiday Tour of Homes and Inns. The DNA says it sold 865 tickets at last December’s event and raised more than $48,000 which will now go back to the community through the Neighborhood Initiatives and Community Partner Program.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Fallen Air Guardsmen honored in Puerto Rico following deadly crash in Savannah

Posted By on Sun, May 6, 2018 at 10:43 AM

2nd Lt David 'Lani' Albandoz
  • 2nd Lt David 'Lani' Albandoz
The Puerto Rico Air National Guard unit who lost nine airmen in last week's crash of a C-130 on Highway 21 have released a short video from the private memorial ceremony honoring the fallen crew.

The ceremony was attended by family and Airmen from the 156th Airlift Wing at Muñiz Air National Guard Base, Puerto Rico, on May 4.

"In the video, as the names of the Airmen are called, you will hear their family  members and the Airmen of the PRANG respond with 'Presente y Vive!,' 
Maj Carlos 'Dulzura' Perez-Serra
  • Maj Carlos 'Dulzura' Perez-Serra
which translates in English to 'Present and Lives,' as their souls, characters, memories and sacrifices will always remain Present and Living with their families, the PRANG and the island of Puerto Rico," says Sgt. Angel Oquendo, public information officer with the 156th.

"These are our fallen heroes who served our island and our nation . Thank you for telling their story," Oquendo says.  

Maj. Jose "JR" Roman
  • Maj. Jose "JR" Roman

MSgt Jean M. 'Audi' Audiffred Rivera
  • MSgt Jean M. 'Audi' Audiffred Rivera
MSgt Mario 'Sully' Braña
  • MSgt Mario 'Sully' Braña

MSgt. Eric 'Quillo' Circuns
  • MSgt. Eric 'Quillo' Circuns

MSgt. Victor 'Vitin' Colon
  • MSgt. Victor 'Vitin' Colon

SMSgt Jan A. Paravisini-Ruiz
  • SMSgt Jan A. Paravisini-Ruiz
SrA Roberto Espada
  • SrA Roberto Espada

Friday, May 4, 2018

Suspect sought in domestic strangulation

Posted By on Fri, May 4, 2018 at 11:07 AM

  • Dunbar
Savannah Police’s Violent Crimes Unit is requesting assistance locating a man wanted in connection to a domestic strangulation that occurred May 2.

"Sharkim Dunbar, 21, is wanted on charges of aggravated assault by strangulation and theft by taking," police report.

"Just prior to midnight May 2, officers responded to a residence on Shawnee Drive for a reported strangulation. The female victim said Dunbar choked her unconscious and then left in her vehicle. The vehicle has since been recovered," police say.

Anyone with information on Dunbar’s whereabouts is asked to contact the Savannah Police tip line at (912)525-3124. Tips can also be forwarded to CrimeStoppers at (912) 234-2020. Tipsters remain anonymous and may qualify for a cash reward.

Connect Today 05.21.2018

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