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CAT to run on holiday schedule for Juneteenth

Chatham Area Transit Authority (CAT) will operate on a holiday schedule on Wednesday, June 19, for the Juneteenth holiday.

The holiday schedule will apply to all fixed-route buses and CAT Mobility will operate until 10 p.m. to mirror the fixed-route schedule. Please note that this will affect the frequency and timing of all service trips.

Paratransit riders can still make reservations from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on June 19.

The DOT will run from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and the Savannah Belles Ferry will operate on its current schedule from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. In addition, CAT Connect will run on its regularly scheduled hours.

The CAT SMART Microtransit pilot program is experiencing a temporary service interruption until further notice.

Holiday schedules for fixed-route service can be found online at Customer service can also be reached from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. by calling (912) 233-5767.

CAT’s administrative offices will be closed for business, but the ticket window, located at the Joe Murray Rivers, Jr. Intermodal Transit Center, will be open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. The transit center is located at 610 W. Oglethorpe Ave.

10th annual Chatham County Mental Health Symposium – “Connection to Community and Care”

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Courtesy of Gateway Community Service Board

Event sponsored by Coastal Georgia Indicators Coalition helps usher in June as Men’s Health Month

On average, men in the United States die nearly six years earlier than women and are at higher risk for many serious diseases, including heart disease, lung cancer, and HIV. In addition, men experience unique health problems that don’t affect women, like prostate cancer. Negative impacts of social determinants of health factors, like economic stability and educational access and quality, can increase their risk for poor health outcomes.

Additionally, only about a quarter of African Americans seek mental health treatment, compared to 40 percent of white Americans. Unequal access to health care is one major contributor to this disparity as nearly 10 percent of Black people in the U.S. do not have health insurance, compared to 5.2 percent of non-Hispanic white people.

The month of June is recognized each year as Men’s Health Month. It is a time to raise awareness of health issues that commonly affect men, and is also a chance to encourage men to take care of themselves by eating well, exercising, and getting regular checkups.

To help promote health awareness for minority men with an emphasis on mental health, the Chatham County Regional Community Collaborative and Gateway Community Service Board recently presented the 10th Annual Chatham County Mental Health Symposium with the theme, “Connection to Community and Care." The Coastal Georgia Indicators Coalition (CGIC) was pleased to help sponsor and organize the event at Georgia Southern University – Armstrong Campus.

“Raising awareness about men’s mental health is crucial, especially as we transition from May’s Mental Health Awareness Month into June, dedicated specifically to men’s mental health,” said Phylicia Anderson, LCSW, director of Outreach, Gateway Community Service Board. “It’s vital to recognize that men face unique challenges and stigmas that can prevent them from seeking the help they need. By fostering open conversations and providing accessible resources, we can support men in taking proactive steps toward their mental well-being to create healthier outcomes for themselves, their families, and their communities."

Event participants included law enforcement personnel, mental health providers and community leaders.

Keynote speaker Lorenzo Lewis shared his mission as a social entrepreneur who models his life around liberation. As the founder and former Chief Visionary Office of The Confess Project, a leading national grassroots movement that empowers barbers to become mental health advocates for men of color, Lewis understands that releasing trauma is the only way to move forward.

“One in five individuals is impacted with a mental illness here in America, and if you think about diverse communities, marginal communities, people of color, members of the LGBTQ, and people with disabilities, the numbers are skyrocketing,” said Lewis. “So the work that we do is truly to empower those communities, empower them to have a voice and give them a way to navigate, but really give them the tools and skills. We are focused on training everyday people to be mental health advocates for themselves, their loved ones and their neighbors,” says Lewis.

In the barbershop, Lewis witnessed the intersections of poverty and violence and learned that people need more support and pathways to careers, wealth, and liberation.

“Our collective mission in supporting this event was to help strengthen connections across the community,” said Lizann Roberts, CGIC’s executive director. “Barbers and other small-business owners have one-on-one relationships with members of the community and they are the key in this process. They already know how to listen, but with this training, they are learning they can also guide and support.”

National early language and literacy expert Emily Rubin completes 2024 training sessions for Savannah Chatham teachers

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Courtesy of Coastal Georgia Indicators Coalition

Two-thirds of Georgia’s third-graders are not reading on grade level. The result is long-term negative consequences for those children, their families, their communities, and our state. But, according to the Get Georgia Reading Campaign, this disparity has inspired hundreds of public and private leaders from across the state and sectors to come together to take on early language development and reading skills as an urgent priority for all who care about children’s health and well-being.

Coastal Georgia Indicators Coalition (CGIC), United Way of the Coastal Empire, Live Oak Public Libraries, Get Georgia Reading, Sandra Dunagan Deal Center for Early Language and Literacy and Savannah Chatham Public School System recently presented a workshop series for Savannah educators focused on developing early language skills in young learners.

National early language and literacy expert Emily Rubin led all three training sessions, wrapping up the series in May at the Southwest Branch of Live Oak Public Libraries in Savannah.

”The groundwork we are laying today helps teachers foster language skills in young learners which will result in their becoming proficient readers by the end of third grade," said CGIC executive director Lizann Roberts. "That will pave the way to improved outcomes throughout school and life.”

Co-developer of the Social Emotional Engagement - Knowledge & Skills (SEE-KS) approach, Rubin equips educators with tools that engage students in everyday settings and academic instruction. She also empowers teachers to sustain the work through peer to peer mentorship.

Rubin’s professional vision is to provide public schools with a framework for social and emotional engagement and learning that is: 1) ecologically valid to the demands of achieving academic standards, 2) sensitive to the unique needs of students with social learning differences, and 3) able to serve as a universal design for learning that benefits all of our students and young children in order to maximize return on professional learning.

“We know classroom engagement is at the heart of children’s learning, but fostering those skills in students is one of the biggest challenges for local educators,” said Roberts. “CGIC’s collaboration of resource agencies is committed to addressing overall health and well-being while leveraging resource initiatives such as this workshop series.”

Local educators attended each of the three training sessions. The first event in January focused on tools to improve early language skill development to foster more positive life skills. At the second session, in March, Rubin outlined ways to mentor and provide support for the development of community-viable models of staff training.

“This training was designed to equip teachers with proven approaches and toolkits that better equip them to interact with students and provide the mentoring tools they need to assist other teachers in early intervention techniques,” said Roberts. “We now have a solid roadmap that shows educators how to work together better to foster their students’ social, emotional and academic needs.”

Ossabaw Island’s historic Torrey West House to be rehabilitated

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Courtesy of The Ossabaw Island Foundation

State of Georgia to begin project in FY 2024-2025

The Ossabaw Island Foundation (TOIF) is pleased to announce the State of Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) 2024-2025 budget includes full funding for the rehabilitation of the Torrey West House, the Little Torrey House, and the Garage/Studio, located on the Torrey West Estate on Ossabaw Island in Chatham County, Georgia on the Atlantic coast.

“The Ossabaw Island Foundation is over the moon that the rehabilitation of the Torrey West House, the Little Torrey House and the Torrey Garage is funded in the next state budget,” said Elizabeth DuBose, Executive Director. “We’re grateful to Governor Kemp for his inclusion of this project in his proposed budget that was approved by the General Assembly during the 2024 session.”

The three buildings on the 23-acre Torrey West Estate, circa 1926 and 1950, were included in the sale of Ossabaw Island by the Torrey-West family to the State of Georgia in 1978. The Torrey West Estate was managed by Eleanor “Sandy” Torrey West in a life estate tenancy until her death in 2021, when management of the Torrey West Estate reverted to the State of Georgia and the Ossabaw Island Foundation. The iconic Spanish Revival 20,000 square foot Torrey West House and its two outbuildings are contributing structures in the Ossabaw Island Historic District listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The DNR Engineering and Construction Division will lead the project. On-island work will begin in late fall 2024 and is projected to take at least two years. TOIF’s Elizabeth DuBose is an advisor on this state “construction” project and has worked closely with DNR since last year in the planning of this hoped-for outcome.

TOIF will remove and store all of the furniture and household objects acquired over the years from the Torrey-West family. Furnishing the rehabilitated buildings will be TOIF’s responsibility, and will include the original Torrey-West family items. After the rehabilitation is complete, TOIF will manage the access and use of these buildings in accordance with the TOIF and State of Georgia Use Agreement that outlines TOIF’s roles and responsibilities on Ossabaw Island.

TOIF will use the rehabilitated buildings to provide expanded housing options, meeting space, and workspace for groups who travel to Ossabaw for natural, scientific, and cultural study, research, and education, and environmentally sound preservation, conservation, and management of the Island’s ecosystem. These required uses are specified in the Heritage Preserve designation for Ossabaw Island; they were implemented at the insistence of Eleanor “Sandy” Torrey West and her family as conditions of the sale of Ossabaw Island to the state in 1978.

Serendipitously, it was 100 years ago (in 1924) that the Torrey family purchased Ossabaw Island and began construction of the Torrey-West House.

“This is an exciting time for Ossabaw Island and for the foundation as we launch into this important partnership with the Department of Natural Resources,” said Leigh Goff, Chair of the Ossabaw Island Foundation Board of Trustees. “How fitting that this new chapter begins 100 years after the Torrey family purchased Ossabaw.”


Chantel Britton

Chantel Britton is a compelling storyteller with an ever-growing curiosity. She's built a rewarding writing career for herself in addition to serving five years as a Public Affairs Officer in the U.S. Army Reserve. She's an NPR nerd with a deep passion for all things travel, sustainable living and adventure. She...
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