Thursday, July 18, 2019

City Council approves NewZO in major overhaul of City zoning

Posted By on Thu, Jul 18, 2019 at 4:30 PM

Savannah City Council officially voted to approve the comprehensive NewZO (New Zoning) Ordinance, the first major overhaul of City zoning since 1960.

"I think we all agree the City needs a master plan," said Alderman Van Johnson.

Alderman Bill Durrence thanked a long list of contributors to the overall effort, including the now-departed Charlotte Moore and Ellen Harris of the Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC), who played major roles in helping to craft the new overhaul.

Durrence cited the two people most deserving of praise for their "infinite patience" in the effort as City Urban Planning Director Bridget Lidy and MPC's Marcus Lotson, Development Services Director.

This vote was the penultimate step to full approval; the final step is officially rescinding the prior ordinance.

The new zoning ordinance will only apply to property within the City of Savannah, not Chatham County at large.

In other business, Council approved the controversial re-appointment of Joseph Bell to another term on the Downtown Savannah Authority. Bell is the husband of Alderwoman Carol Bell.

Alderman Tony Thomas pointed out that Bell's son has a lucrative contract with the new Savannah Arena.

A full liquor license was approved for a new business in the Starland area, Moodright's duckpin bowling, after a lengthy debate about the active or inactive status of a church across the street. 

Larry Branson named director of CrimeStoppers

Posted By on Thu, Jul 18, 2019 at 12:04 PM

Savannah-Chatham County CrimeStoppers announced this morning that 30-year law enforcement veteran Larry Branson will serve as the program’s new director.

The Savannah native spent his career with Savannah Police Department and retired in 2015 as the senior major responsible for the patrol division.

“We are fortunate to have Larry as our new director. Our mission to solve crime is one that is better served by a leader who understands the importance of tapping into neighborhoods and reaching those who may be too afraid to talk and have something to share with police,” said Andrew Davis, board chairman, Savannah-Chatham County CrimeStoppers.

"The purpose of Savannah-Chatham County CrimeStoppers is to prevent and reduce crime, by forming a partnership among the community, law enforcement and the media to offer anonymity and cash rewards to anyone providing information leading to an arrest," a spokesperson for the group says.

“Because offering a tip to CrimeStoppers is completely anonymous, everyday people can be amazing superheroes – and just like Batman or Superman, their identity remains completely anonymous. I believe that tipsters are nameless super heroes and tipsters are not snitches instead they reap the riches,” says Branson, director, Savannah-Chatham County CrimeStoppers.

In June 2019, the CrimeStoppers Board of Directors appointed Branson to manage day-to-day operations of the organization, to determine all reward payments, and be the face of CrimeStoppers.

“CrimeStoppers continues to serve as a clearinghouse for information sharing among regional law enforcement agencies. As crime and criminals know no jurisdictional boundaries, and as our technology advances, we will continue to avail every opportunity to share tips with our local, state and regional partners in a timely manner,” adds Branson. “I look forward to working with our area governments, civic groups, and law enforcement leaders in strengthening our partnerships and working together to create a safe and secure community.”

Branson holds a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice and a minor in political science from then-Armstrong State College. He earned a Master of Public Administration degree from Georgia Southern University. Branson also has 22 years of teaching experience at both institutions.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The Strumbellas set to headline Rock 'n' Roll Marathon

Posted By on Tue, Jul 16, 2019 at 10:41 AM

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The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series announces The Strumbellas as the headliner for the 2019 Rock ‘n’ Roll® Savannah Marathon & ½ Marathon.

On Saturday, Nov. 3, The Strumbellas will take to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Concert Stage outside the finish line festival at Forsyth Park.

The Strumbellas are an indie rock sextet that have previously performed at major festivals including, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits.

The Strumbellas won the iHeartRadio Music award for Best New Alternative Rock Artist of 2017 and the JUNO Award for Single of the Year.

“We are excited to bring The Strumbellas to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Concert Stage in the Hostess City” said Keats McGonigal, Senior Regional Director for Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series. “The Strumbellas’ sound is the perfect complement to Savannah’s southern charm. Their energy is sure offer a spectacular celebration for runners and spectators who come to the finish line at Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah this November.”

Race weekend kicks off with a Health & Fitness Expo on Thursday, Oct. 31 from 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. and Friday, Nov. 1 from 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at the Savannah International Trade & Convention Center, Halls A & B. The expo will showcase vendors featuring the latest in running technologies, fitness apparel, health and nutrition, and is free and open to the public.

To register or learn more information on the Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah Marathon & ½ Marathon visit, www.runrocknroll.com/Savannah. 

Monday, July 15, 2019

Georgia Southern researchers: Sea turtle season is a record-breaker

Posted By on Mon, Jul 15, 2019 at 9:41 AM

Sea turtle nesting season on St. Catherine’s Island is on track for a record-breaking season this year.

Jaynie Gaskin, MPH, executive director of the Georgia Southern University Sea Turtle Program at St. Catherine’s Island (STP@SCI), said researchers counted more than 100 nests after just one month into the nesting season, which runs from May to October.

Gaskin said nests on St. Catherine’s Island were some of the first in the state to produce hatchlings.

“This year, we have officially broken our all-time record number of nests, which was 322 and set in 2016,” said Gaskin. “As of July 12, we recorded 327 nests. We knew the 2019 season was going to blow the 2016 season out of the water when we recorded 99 nests on June 1. That was up from 46 nests recorded on the same day in 2016.”

She attributes the increase in nests on St. Catherine’s specifically to conservation efforts in the late 1980s.

“These ‘new’ turtles are probably hatchings from the early years of the program that have just now reached nesting age,” she said. “Both the 2017 and 2018 sea turtle nesting seasons saw more than 80 individual sea turtles and all together they laid a total of over 200 nests. Since the turtles nest in cycles every two to three years, we are expecting that 2019 will see the return of the massive group of over 160 female turtles who laid 322 nests on SCI in 2016, plus new turtles who might have just reached nesting age.”

Friday, July 12, 2019

Contest launched for Picnic in the Park theme

Posted By on Fri, Jul 12, 2019 at 12:11 PM

Last year's Picnic in the Park - GEOFF L. JOHNSON
  • Geoff L. Johnson
  • Last year's Picnic in the Park

Savannah’s largest single-day outdoor music event, Picnic in the Park, happens Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019 in  Forsyth Park, with a headlining musical program from the Savannah Philharmonic.

This year the Philharmonic invites the public to help develop a celebratory slogan for the annual celebration.

This year’s Picnic in the Park slogan will be inspired by the word ‘kaleidoscope,' describing the event's multi-faceted nature.

This contest has been launched on Savannah Philharmonic’s Facebook page (facebook.com/SavannahPhilharmonic/), so anyone can enter the competition by submitting their ideas for a suitable theme.

The contest winner will be treated to VIP seating at Picnic in the Park, and will receive six tickets to the Holiday Spectacular Family Matinee concert on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, a $100 Enmarket gas card, and will be invited to join the judging panel for the best picnic site on the day of the event.

The winner will also be recognized on social media and from the stage during Picnic in the Park. Entries may be submitted on the Savannah Philharmonic’s Facebook page through July 31 for a chance to win. The single winner will be announced on August 2.

In the spirit of the event, attendees are encouraged to bring a picnic, as well as participate in the themed picnic venue contest.

Since its inception over 30 years ago, Picnic in the Park has served as one of Savannah’s most popular and well-attended community events. Over 18,000 people are expected to enjoy this year’s festivities, which are free and open to the public.

The Army’s 3rd Infantry Division Color Guard will take part and the 3rd ID will again provide their salute cannons as part of the program.

Savannah Philharmonic will begin its program at 7 p.m., following an afternoon of lively performances by area school bands and choruses as well as local musicians.

The 2019 Picnic in the Park event will be presented by these sponsors: Enmarket, the City of Savannah, Georgia Power, HunterMaclean, Stage Front, Gulfstream, Wet Willie’s, Cordasco & Company P.C., The Eichholz Law Firm, Corona, Service Brewing Co., and Leopold’s Ice Cream.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Georgia Southern to host 'Summer Celebration' on each campus

Posted By on Thu, Jul 11, 2019 at 10:55 AM

Georgia Southern University President Kyle Marrero and First Lady Jane Marrero will host A Summer Celebration with fresh fruit and Leopold's Ice Cream in separate events on each of the university’s three campuses.

Students, faculty, staff and community friends and partners are invited to attend.

"The celebrations will expand on the university’s long-standing tradition, begun by Georgia Southern President Zach Henderson in 1948, to provide a cool treat to the students, faculty and staff who are still on campus during the hot summer months," a University spokesperson says.

The events happen as follows:

Monday, July 15 at 10 a.m.
Armstrong Campus, 11935 Abercorn Street, Savannah
The Quad

Tuesday, July 16 at 10 a.m.
Liberty Campus, 175 West Memorial Drive, Hinesville
Outside of Student Commons

Wednesday, July 17 at 10 a.m.
Statesboro Campus, 1332 Southern Drive, Statesboro
On the Pedestrium near the Carruth Building

Savannah Philharmonic announces Larsen Musician Spotlight series

Posted By on Thu, Jul 11, 2019 at 10:52 AM

Sinisa Ciric, concertmaster
  • Sinisa Ciric, concertmaster

Savannah Philharmonic will launch its second season of the Larsen Musician Spotlight Series on Sunday, Sept. 15.

The series features "collaborative initiatives between Philharmonic musicians and premier institutions and artists from Savannah and beyond," the Phil says in a statement.

The Larsen Musician Spotlight series is curated by Savannah Philharmonic Concertmaster Dr. Sinisa Ciric, who has performed in Carnegie Hall and was a featured soloist on ARCO’s most recent recording of Vivaldi’s concertos for two, three and four violins.

Ciric has also served as director of Savannah Classical Academy’s Strings Conservatory Program since January 2016 and was named Artistic Director for the Musician Spotlight Series in early July 2019.

"Each concert in the series presents a different perspective of the Savannah Philharmonic’s involvement in the community and its mission to provide residents, as well as visitors, with the opportunity to attend chamber concerts of the highest artistic order," says a spokesperson.

The first concert, “Le Resistance,” is set for 5 p.m. Sept. 15 at the Lutheran Church of the Ascension. Pianist and soprano Laura Ball joins musicians of the Savannah Philharmonic for an elegant concert of newly commissioned works of James Naigus and Karen Walwyn, Spanish songs of Manuel de Falla, and Ernő Dohnányi’s dynamic Sextet in C major.

At 5 p.m. October 13, “From UGA with Love” will be presented at the Yamacraw Performing Arts Center, featuring a debut performance by the ARCO Chamber Orchestra and  soloist and UGA violin professor Levon Ambartsumia. Presenting pieces by Tchaikovsky and Podgaits, Ciric will join his mentor in the Concerto for 2 violins in D minor by J.S. Bach.

Featuring mezzo-soprano Mikki Sodergren, Gold Medalist and Artistic Director of the American Traditions Vocal Competition Mikki Sodergren, “The Death of Romance” will be performed at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 3, at the Lutheran Church of the Ascension.

At 5 p.m. Jan. 26,  students from the Savannah Arts Academy will share the stage with members of the Savannah Philharmonic in a collaborative chamber music project, “Strings United,” at First Presbyterian Church.

Featuring chamber works by film composers, “Cinephile du Joure” will be performed by The Blue Heron Chamber Ensemble at 5 p.m. Feb. 23, at the Lutheran Church of the Ascension.

The Larsen Musician Spotlight Series will present its final performance at 5 p.m. March 8 when members of the Savannah Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus join together for “Sympátheia,” a new work by Argentinian composer Martin Gendelman.

All six Larsen Musician Spotlight Series concerts can be purchased at a 20% discount – that is all six concerts for $125. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 912-232-6002, visit savannahphilharmonic.org or email info@savannahphilharmonic.org.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Police search for missing man

Posted By on Tue, Jul 2, 2019 at 12:38 PM

UPDATE: Mr. Sloan has been found and is safe.

The Chatham County Police Department is looking for a missing man that was last seen at 11:30 AM on July 1, 2019.

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Police are searching for 66-year-old, James Ervin Sloan. Sloan has medical issues, and police are concerned for his well-being.

Sloan was supposed to meet with his brother at 4:00 PM on July 1, 2019, but did not show up. James Ervin Sloan, lives on the 1000 block Juanita Street, Savannah, GA 31401.​

Sloan is pictured at left. Please note that he now has a beard.

He drives a black Toyota Tundra SR5 with tag number ACP7196

Anyone with information on Sloan’s whereabouts is asked to call 9-1-1 immediately.

 

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Blackberry Smoke announce Johnny Mercer Theatre performance

Posted By on Wed, Jun 26, 2019 at 11:38 AM

BELOVED ATLANTA rockers Blackberry Smoke are set for a fall headlining tour, after spending a year supporting the likes of Tedeschi Trucks Band in support of last year's Find A Light. The run is being billed as the Till The Wheels Fall Off tour.

Blues rockers The Record Company will support Blackberry Smoke on their headlining jaunt, which takes them throughout the Southeast and Midwest before wrapping up here in Savannah at the Johnny Mercer Theatre on October 5.

Doors will open 6:30 p.m., with the show set to start at 7:30.

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Tickets go on sale Fri., June 28 at 10 a.m., with presale running from Wed., June 28 at 11 a.m. until Thurs., June 27 at 11 p.m. using the password SMOKEFAN. Prices and info available at savannahcivic.com

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Georgia Southern's Q1 2019 economic monitor shows growth sustained by tourism, manufacturing

Posted By on Wed, Jun 26, 2019 at 10:08 AM

Georgia Southern University’s latest Economic Monitor, which analyzes Q1 2019 data and identifies trends affecting the regional economy, reports that Savannah's metro economy opened 2019 with notably slower growth compared to previous quarters.

Tourism activity lifted the index while electricity sales and port activity slowed during the quarter, which in turn, constrained economic expansion in the region.

“Despite mixed signals among leading economic indicators, the overall direction of the economy is favorable, albeit at a moderately slower pace of growth through the remainder of 2019,” said Michael Toma, Ph.D., Fuller E. Callaway professor of economics and director of the Center for Business Analytics and Economic Research (CBAER).

During the first quarter, the Savannah metro economy expanded at a rate of 0.4%, or 1.8% annualized, which is about half the pace of expansion in the previous quarter. Tourism was key in lifting the index, offsetting a modest decline in electricity sales to residential, commercial and industrial users. In addition to tourism, consumer spending and overall employment growth raised the index, while port activity remained stable amid growing tension over trade policy with several major U.S. trade partners.

Overall, the Savannah metro economy appears to have weakened during the first quarter of 2019. While most of the eight key indicators of economic activity in the Savannah metro region improved, gains were modest. Slowing employment growth, primarily in business and profession services employment, along with the second consecutive uptick in the unemployment rate warrant continued close monitoring of the regional economy. Although economic expansion is expected to continue, a modest reduction in the growth rate is likely on tap for the remainder of 2019.

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