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CHESTER ELLIS Chatham County’s new chairman talks local issues


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SETTING SAIL MARCH 17TH! Shamrock Soiree @ Convention Center 11am - 5pm Flotilla Passes Convention Center 1pm - 3pm


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SHAMROCKSHIPS.COM Rising Tide Experiences & the Savannah Irish Festival are proud to partner with the Savannah Convention Center & Outside Savannah as we celebrate safely on March 17th! Want To Join The Flotilla!?

Starting in Turner’s Creek, we’ll head through Thunderbolt en route to the Soiree at the Convention Center. Prizes awarded for Best Decoration, Ship Spirit, and a 50/50 Popular Vote raising funds for Greenbriar Children’s Center. Registration: $30 Individual / $250 Business

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A very limited number of lucky guests will enjoy 70,000 sf of outdoor space at the Savannah Convention Center. Family-friendly atmosphere, live music & performances, festive drinks, food trucks, and auction supporting the Undefeated Warrior Foundation. Early Bird Pricing: Adults $8-$15, Kids Free-$5. Parking $5

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The Love & Soul Experience

Join The Love & Soul Experience for dinner and date night. Enjoy great food, amazing vibes, and live performances. 7 p.m. Savannah Mall, 14045 Abercorn Street. theloveandsoulexperience.com

GreenDrinks Savannah

During GreenDrinks Savannah’s first in-person meeting, Paulita BennettMartin with OCEANA will explain her new single-use plastic-free initiative for the city of Savannah. 6 p.m. Foxy Loxy Print Gallery and Cafe, 1919 Bull Street.

Brought to you by the city of Savannah, credit experts from Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS) will provide unbiased tips on monitoring your credit. noon savannahga.gov

Park Place Partners: Painting night at Board & Brush Savannah

Park Place has teamed up with Board & Brush Savannah for a workshop with all-encompassing materials and step-by-step instructions on creating a beautiful wood piece for your home or for a gift. All proceeds will be donated to Park Place Outreach. 6-9 p.m. 54 West Montgomery Cross Road, Suite 101. $68

Trivia Night with Jess Shaw

Jess Shaw and Kevin Ryan will guide participants through an evening of trivia and self discovery at Service Brewing. Test your trivia knowledge while also competing in interactive challenge rounds to gain extra points. The first place team receives a $100 cash prize. 6:30 p.m. Service Brewing Company, 574 Indian Street. servicebrewing.com

Trivia Night at Grand Lake Club




The Joan & Murray Gefen Memorial Savannah Jewish Film Festival is happening virtually this year between Feb. 28 and March 11. Register online to enjoy the films and conversations with the filmmakers. Feb. 28-March 11 savj.org

THURSDAY 2.25 Bingo! at Elks Lodge

Join Elks Lodge for Bingo on Thursdays and Sundays. Enjoy great family fun, good food at the snack bar and many chances to win cash. 7:30-9:30 p.m. Elks Lodge, 183 Wilshire Blvd.

The Black History Fashion Experience

Creatively Crafted

Poets, singers, rappers, musicians, and all artists head out to show off their art, craft, and passion. 9:30 p.m. Stafford’s Public House, 306 W. Upper Factor’s Walk.

FRIDAY 2.26 Acoustic Friday - Roy & the Circuit Breakers

Head to Liquid Cafe for The Black History Fashion Experience. Enjoy an all-black-attire affair including music, purchasable art and more. 7 p.m. Liquid Cafe, 10201 Abercorn Street.

Join the fun as Tybee favorite Roy Swindelle will be playing. 8-10 p.m. Cockspur Grill, 725-B 1st Street.

Buy Local Savannah Luncheon

Join Service Brewing for Bluegrass by the Pint every Friday featuring live bluegrass from favorite local favorites, Swamptooth. 6 p.m. Service Brewing Company, 574 Indian Street.

Join Buy Local and guest speaker Clinton Edminster for their February Luncheon aboard the Savannah Riverboat. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. buylocalsavannah.com

Bluegrass By The Pint with Swamptooth

The Grand Lake Club hosts their 2nd Trivia Night of the year. Bring your team for a chance to win a bucket of beer. Study up on your Pop Culture, Dr. Seuss, and Savannah, GA if you want to win. 7 p.m. Grand Lake Club at Southbridge, 815 Southbridge Blvd.

WOW: A Really Good Comedy Show

Join Savannah Comedy at the Wormhole to watch some of the best comedians from all over the southeast put on a show to get you and your friends laughing. 8-10 p.m. The Wormhole Neighborhood Pub & Music Venue, 2307 Bull Street. $4.99- $8.99

SATURDAY 2.27 Beer & Cheese Pairing Class

Join Southbound Brewing for their Beer & Cheese Pairing class with Sarandipity Fare. Tickets include: 8, 5 oz Southbound beers and cheese pairings + small assorted box of crackers, meats, nuts and fruits + one souvenir cup. Register online 5:30 p.m. Southbound Brewing Company, 107 East Lathrop Ave. one ticket: $55, two for $100 sarandipityfare.com EVENTS CONTINUE ON PG. 6


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Chatham County Commission Chairman Chester Ellis in his office. Photo by Malcolm Tully CONNECT SAVANNAH



CHESTER ELLIS Chatham County’s new chairman talks local issues



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Fire & Wine

Enjoy half off bottles of wine and fire pits in Foxy Loxy’s courtyard. Purchase one of the s’mores kits (marshmallows included!) for the ultimate fall experience. 6-9 p.m. Foxy Loxy Print Gallery and Café, 1919 Bull Street.

Forsyth Farmers Market

Local and regional produce, honey, meat, dairy, pasta, baked goods and other delights. Rain or shine. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Forsyth Park, Drayton St. & East Park Ave. forsythfarmersmarket.com

Islands Farmers Market

Weekly farmers market on Talahi Island highlighting local growers and makers, healthy foods and a positive environment. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Islands Farmers’ Market, 401 Quarterman Dr. facebook.com/ islandsfarmersmarket

Yappy Hour at Sea Wolf Tybee

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At its core, Connect Savannah is focused on the happenings in our community, highlighting local news, arts, and entertainment. Our professional journalists write about community issues and the people who live here. The public has a right to know about issues affecting them, and Connect Savannah is dedicated to keeping readers informed and aware of all that goes on in the community. The pursuit of truth is a fundamental principle of journalism. But the truth is not always apparent or known immediately. A professional journalist’s role is to impartially report the news based on verifiable facts so readers can, based on their own knowledge and experience, determine the truth behind varied issues and developments. This is often an ongoing pursuit as journalists work to uncover stories and


SAVANNAH SAVANNAH 27 Bull Street | 912-234-6565 27 Bull Street | 912-234-6565 8201 White Bluff RoadBluff | 912-232-5884 8201 White Road | 912-232-5884 2225 East 2225 Victory Drive | 912-303-9667 East Victory Drive | 912-303-9667

Join the Humane Society for Yapp Hour at Sea Wolf Tybee. Enjoy drink specials, food specials and dogs. 3-6 p.m. 106 S. Campbell Ave., Tybee Island. facebook.com/seawolftybee

SUNDAY 2.28 Bingo! at Elks Lodge

Join Elks Lodge for Bingo on Thursdays and Sundays. Enjoy great family fun, good food at the snack bar and many chances to win cash. 7:30-9:30 p.m. Elks Lodge, 183 Wilshire Blvd.

Black Heritage Tour at Wormsloe

Join Wormsloe State Historic Site for Black Heritage Weekend. Reserve your tickets and join Ranger KeyShawn as he takes you on the inaugural Black Heritage Tour, highlighting Wormsloe’s history as a slave plantation and invoking

the memories of those enslaved Africans who lived, worked, and died there. Feb. 27-28, 10-11 a.m. Wormsloe Historic Site, 7601 Skidaway Rd. $6.50 per child, $12 per adult

Sunday Sunset Party

Wrap up the weekend with a Sunday Funday Sunset Party on the roof with Local DJ Doc Ock on the 1s and 2s, Long Drink specials, $3 rosé all day and an amazing view. 6-9 p.m. Top Deck, 125 W. River Street.

Yoga in J.F. Gregory Park

Join Carolann Rose for yoga under the trees, across from the playground at J.F. Gregory Park. 10-11 a.m. J.F. Gregory Park, 521 Cedar St. carolannroseyoga.com

MONDAY 3.1 Tybee Island Farmers Market

Weekly market featuring a variety of produce, baked goods, honey, eggs, BBQ, sauces and dressings, popsicles, dog treats and natural body products. Artisans are also featured each week. The market is non-smoking and pet friendly. Located at 30 Meddin Drive. We are right behind the Historic Tybee Lighthouse. Visit the website for more info. 4 p.m. 30 Meddin Drive, 30 Meddin Drive. tybeeislandfarmersmarket.com

TUESDAY 3.2 Toddler Tuesday at Oatland Island Wildlife Center

Explore the wonders of nature with all kinds of wild fun for your wee ones at beautiful Oatland Island. This week’s theme is “Animal Feet and Tracks Are Neat” Preregistration is required. 10 & 11 a.m. Oatland Island Wildlife Center, 711 Sandtown Rd. sccpss.com/schools/oatland




Downtown shuttle relaunch delayed due to ongoing pandemic concerns

A DOT stop by Savannah’s Johnson Square. PHOTO BY NICK ROBERTSON

for potential occupants.” According to Brandon’s statement, when the city decides to resume DOT service, there will most likely be initial limitations on the number of passengers allowed to ride each shuttle bus at one time to allow for social distancing. “The service in normal times would transport close to 50,000 people per month, and we want to make sure that it can be operated as safely as possible,” Brandon stated. “As we get into spring we’ll be looking at the appropriate time to restart service.” The DOT shuttle system is primarily

aimed toward providing Savannah visitors with free transportation on one looping line traveling from the historic downtown district to the southern end of Forsyth Park, and on a second line connecting the east and west sides of downtown. In other local public-transit news, CAT announced on Feb. 15 that its Airport Express shuttle service will be suspended beginning on March 8 due to low ridership, citing an average of about 170 passengers using the shuttle each month at a cost of approximately $80 per passenger. The Airport Express provides transportation from downtown Savannah to the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, charging $5 for one-way trips and $8 for round-trip tickets. According to the CAT statement, the service is expected to be suspended for up to a year while staff evaluates ways to improve the route, such as by using a smaller vehicle or altering the route and adding stops. “While we know change can be difficult for some, it is important that we continuously pursue ways to optimize our services to best meet the evolving needs of our customers,” stated CAT interim CEO Valerie Ragland. − Nick Robertson

Savannah Fire Department honors outstanding firefighters of 2020 THE SAVANNAH hard-working FIRE Department is and resourcerecognizing its best ful leader who is and brightest firerelied upon by fighters by honoring his supervisors three employees who for his critical made significant conthinking. tributions through Abrunzo their service and was selected as heroism during 2020, Rookie of the along with several Year because he unit commendations is a self-motifor life-saving acts vated and disciFROM LEFT: Honored firefighters Lucas Abrunzo, Gregory Jacobs, and Ben Spence. carried out by fireplined worker fighting teams in the PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE SAVANNAH FIRE DEPARTMENT who has helped past year. battle major According to a Savannah Fire press With 15 years of dedicated service to the fires since completing the training acadannouncement issued on Feb. 19, Capt. Savannah Fire Department, Jacobs earned emy in June of 2019, including the massive Gregory Jacobs, Engineer Ben Spence, and the Fire Officer of the Year commendaEastern Wharf construction-site blaze. Advanced Firefighter Lucas Abrunzo were tion due to his knowledge and experience These honorees and the firefighters recnamed Fire Officer of the Year, Firefighter enabling his team to handle a high volume ognized by unit commendations will be of the Year, and Rookie Firefighter of the of calls and hazmat incidents, according to presented with awards by Savannah Fire Year, respectively, for 2020. All recognized firefighters serving in his unit. Chief Derik Minard during a ceremony to individuals and units were nominated by Spence, an 18-year Savannah Fire be held on an as-yet-undetermined date. their peers to receive these honors. veteran, is considered by his peers as a − Nick Robertson


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RESUMPTION OF DOWNTOWN Savannah’s free DOT shuttle service is being postponed into springtime due to ongoing concerns about pandemic safety. Since March of 2020, Savannah’s DOT shuttle service has been suspended as a precaution against spreading COVID-19, according to Chatham Area Transit, which operates the DOT system on behalf of Savannah’s municipal government. However, in December signs were posted at DOT shuttle stops announcing that service was expected to resume in March of 2021. Since then, city officials have determined that it is still too early to resume DOT service until additional safety measures can be implemented to help prevent coronavirus transmission aboard the shuttles, according to Savannah Mobility and Parking Services Director Sean Brandon. “The DOT is funded to resume operation, but will only do so when we feel that it’s safe,” Brandon stated, adding that his department has worked closely with local health officials to develop comprehensive operational guidelines for providing shuttle service during the pandemic. “One of those guidelines is to operate the buses with open windows. We could only feasibly do that when the weather is a bit warmer




Winners named in first virtual ATC singing contest


AFTER ADAPTING to a virtual format for the first time as a pandemicsafety precaution, the 2021 American Traditions Vocal Competition wrapped up on Feb. 19, with New York-based jazz singer Nicole Zuraitis winning the gold medal, a $12,000 cash prize, and an opportunity to perform with the Savannah Philharmonic. The Savannah-based ATC contest is an annual opportunity for vocalists to perform American compositions before renowned judges, with this year’s panel featuring two-time Tony nominee Kate Baldwin and Grammy-winning jazzman Kurt Elling. Zuraitis is a Grammy-nominated musician who performs regularly at Manhattan’s venerable Birdland Jazz Club. Other ATC winners included silver medalist Andrea Christine Ross, bronze medalist Emily Nicholas, and Dee Roscioli, who earned the Richard Chambless People’s Choice Award and a $500 cash prize. This year’s Toian Bowser-Alexander award was presented to Assaf Gleizner. “We have been blown away with the level of talent demonstrated by our contestants this year, and are very thankful to celebrate with another year of song virtually,” said ATC Artistic Director Mikki Sodergren, who was the 2014 competition winner. “Congratulations to our fantastic gold medal winner, Nicole Zuraitis, and all 28 contestants who participated in our 2021 season.” The ATC was previously a part of the Savannah Music Festival before branching off in 2011 as an independent entity. “It’s been a great joy to work alongside this organization. This is one of the original singing competitions in the country, and definitely the only singing competition of its kind,” said Sodergren before the 2021 contest began. “Although we were unable to hold our competition live and in person, like so many events in this very strange year, we are committed to honoring and preserving American music.” − Nick Robertson


Phased opening begins for new Marine Science Center on Tybee WITH CONSTRUCTION of the the center for up to two years before new Tybee Island Marine Science being released into the ocean. Center almost complete, the beachThe center’s new gift shop feaside institution began welcoming tures numerous marine-related visitors at its freshly built location stuffed animals ranging from sharks on Feb. 18 with the official opening to flamingos to octopuses, as well of their gift shop, while its exhibias ocean-focused coloring books, tion spaces are expected to debut wildlife guides, puzzles, and other later this spring. intriguing curiosities – including an According to Cathy Sakas, presiinitial display of three box turtles dent of the Tybee Island Marine and a snake. Proceeds from gift-shop Science Center’s Board of Trustees, The new Tybee Island Marine Sciene Center, located sales benefit the ongoing developthe organization has been working ment of the remaining exhibit spaces, by North Beach. PHOTO BY NICK ROBERTSON toward building this new facility for Sakas said. the past 15 years, after operating out of the were donated to the center by Dave and The center’s West Gallery is expected to beach town’s former police station near Martha Makel and the Fleetwood Family, open on March 25, followed by East GalTybee’s pier since 1988. The new buildaccording to Sakas. With its modern archi- lery’s planned opening on May 1. Meaning is located on Meddin Drive by Tybee tecture, earth-toned exterior, and sweepwhile, visitors can already step up to the Island’s North Beach, and was purposeing oceanfront views, the new facility was loft level sponsored by the Georgia Ports built as a marine-science education center designed to blend in with its surroundings Authority to enjoy vistas over the nearby at a cost of $3.5 million. after consulting with area residents. shoreline, with two telescopes available for “This move has been a long time com“Fortunately, what the commupublic use. ing, but well worth the wait,” Sakas said, nity wanted to see was exactly what we “The view from up there is spectacular,” while expressing gratitude to Tybee’s city wanted,” Sakas said, adding that the facilSakas said. government for the use of their former ity is elevated to withstand storm surges. The gift shop is currently open from 10 location, even if by the time they closed it, The ground level will eventually become a.m. to 4 p.m. from Thursday through Sun“you could see daylight through some of an open-air classroom for visiting school day. Visit tybeemarinescience.org for more the walls.” groups, and the building also houses a details about the Tybee Island Marine SciThe new building is sited on two plots of 4,600-gallon water tank for loggerhead ence Center. beachfront property worth $2 million that sea turtles, which are occasionally kept by − Nick Robertson

New school-based food pantries aim to feed Chatham County children ANYONE IN NEED around Chatham County will have access to new food pantries based at more than 20 area schools, thanks to a partnership announced by the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System and the Second Harvest Food Bank. The initiative’s first food pantry opened and received its first shipment at Andrea B. Williams Elementary School on Feb. 16. “It’s a historic day for us,” said SCCPSS Superintendent Ann Levett. The pantries will be stocked with basic foods – staples and non-perishable items – to be replenished and maintained by Second Harvest Food Bank. “It makes my heart glad that we are able to announce a partnership like this today,” said Stacy Jennings, director of communications for SCCPSS. The food in the pantries will be available to school-aged children and their families, as well as community members unassociated with the schools to help meet their

Varied food items are contained in each giveaway box. PHOTO BY NOELLE WIEHE

daily nutritional needs. Giveaway boxes will contain three meals per family. “Because of this new partnership with Second Harvest, our 502 families will have access to this wonderful food pantry that is

such a needed resource and will be so valuable to our school community,” said Susan Ambrose, principal at Andrea B. Williams Elementary School. Levett said the pantry and partnership offers the school system an opportunity to address food-insecurity issues that are prevalent across the community, and especially as the pandemic continues to create economic uncertainty. “We would not be able to do all of the things that we are able to do with our students, for our families without strong partnerships,” Levett said, while recognizing Second Harvest and their executive director, Mary Jane Crouch. “We are really excited to make sure these 23 schools will have access to food for their children in their schools, with the hope that we’ll be able to add all the schools in Savannah-Chatham and make sure all children have access to food,” Crouch said. − Noelle Wiehe




Vote to rebuild Savannah pathway boosts Tide to Town network plans

City Council approves repairs to Police Memorial Trail after damage by Hurricane Matthew BY BRANDY SIMPKINS


A RECENT VOTE by Savannah’s City Council to rebuild the Police Memorial Trail will provide another segment to Chatham County’s Tide to Town trail-network system, which aims to connect diverse communities with a series of safe pathways for walking, skating, or biking. Located on the west side of the Truman Parkway, and stretching from near the intersection of Bee Road and E. 52nd Street to Dixie Avenue near Victory Drive and Daffin Park, the forested Police Memorial Trail has been closed for years due to its state of disrepair. City Council unanimously voted to revive the trail at a cost of $599,285 during their Feb. 11 meeting. Reconstruction of the Police Memorial Trail is slated to begin on March 15, and take six months to complete. When the pathway is reopened, this will become a new segment of the comprehensive Tide to Town network of paved trails and safe onstreet paths dedicated to walkers, joggers, cyclists, skaters, and other non-vehicular traffic, according to Caila Brown, the Executive Director of Bike Walk Savannah and a Tide to Town board member. The Police Memorial Trail is planned to be connected with the 3.1-mile Truman

Linear Park Trail, which was completed by Chatham County officials in November as the first finished phase of the Tide to Town initiative. “The combination of the Police Memorial Trail and the Truman Linear Park Trail is really what sparked the idea behind Tide to Town,” Brown said. “We had these two different pieces of trails that would eventually connect, and we looked at what other pieces would come to light in the next few years.” When discussing the Police Memorial Trail reconstruction, Savannah Alderman Nick Palumbo said that Chatham County’s work on the trail network set the bar high for continuing the project. “They set a very high standard for us to aspire to as our city trail,” Palumbo said. “We have the Police Memorial Trail that has been in disrepair since Hurricane Matthew. I am really proud to bring this forward, to bring these two trails together.” Although the council unanimously voted to approve funding for the Police Memorial Trail project, Alderwomen Bernetta Lanier and Estella Shabazz expressed concerns about what benefits the Tide to Town trail infrastructure will provide for their individual districts. Lanier said that she sees this project as a luxury. “When I consider the issues in the 1st

District, if we had to make a list of critical life-impacting projects that we needed to spend citizen dollars on, a trail wouldn’t make the list of 25, maybe not even the first 50,” Lanier said. “But, do we understand the merits of a trail regarding health, wealth, and connectivity? Yes, we do.” Shabazz stated concerns about the equality of the trail project’s overall benefit in proportion to what she considers minimal connections within the 5th District. “When you look at the layout for the Tide to Town trail, it only comes to a small edge of the 5th District, and the 5th District – especially the west side of the district – has been left out for years and years and years,” Shabazz said. According to Mayor Van Johnson, several community groups support the Police Memorial Trail renovation project, including the Ardsley Park/Chatham Crescent Neighborhood Association representing the area by the pathway. Palumbo noted that the Tide to Town project aims to boost equity by providing locals without a car with a safe pathway for traveling to work or school, while also providing healthy recreation areas. “I look to one day having a comprehensive trail where people can get around and they do not have a car,” Palumbo said. “We take it one piece at a time, and I’m really glad to see the plan coming forward.” cs


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Savannah’s dilapidated Police Memorial Trail has been officially closed to the public for years. PHOTO BY NICK ROBERTSON

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Funds sought to restore decaying Kiah House Museum building Campaign aims to save Savannah structure that housed Black history BY NOELLE WIEHE



A SAVANNAH building on W. 36th Street was once recognized as one of the Treasures of America, but now, while the roof caves in and creatures make their way in and out of the structure, it has made less prestigious lists and is losing its charm. Now the community is raising money through a GoFundMe campaign to preserve the Kiah House Museum building as an important site of Savannah’s Black history. “Since its establishment in 1959, it was unique in its design for its historical purpose, yet for 20 years it has been allowed to deteriorate to the point of shame instead of raising pride in this historic community,” said Deborah Johnson-Simon, the founder and CEO of the African Diaspora Museology Institute, and the GoFundMe campaign organizer. The Kiah House Museum building was built in 1910. It served as a home to Calvin Kiah and Virginia Kiah in 1951, who lived on the second floor. The Kiah Museum was 10 opened in 1959 on the first floor, and was

one of the first Black-founded museums in Savannah. Notable past visitors to the museum include Rosa Parks and Margaret Burroughs. The site has risen from the bottom of Savannah’s “100 Worst Properties List” to close to the top, Johnson-Simon said. “We just want to see it loved,” said Laura Seifert, founder and director of the Savannah Archaeological Alliance. The museum housed artworks, historicpreservation pieces, a fountain from the Bijou Theatre in the backyard, and natural-history specimens. The objects and artifacts that comprised the collection can be attributed to Virginia Kiah and her mother. The Lillie Carroll Jackson Civil Rights Museum was dedicated in honor of Virginia’s mother, opening in 1978 in Baltimore, Maryland. “Her mother promised Virginia, after they were turned away from entrance into a museum in Baltimore, that one day she would not only be able to be an artist, she would also have a museum,” JohnsonSimon said. “She promised her daughter both of these things, and she made good on her promise.”

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Savannah’s Kiah House Museum building on W. 36th Street; painted rocks placed by locals on the Kiah House lawn to support its restoration; Laura Siefert, founder and director of the Savannah Archaeological Alliance, points out what restoration work needs to be done. PHOTOS BY NOELLE WIEHE

Johnson-Simon said that in the case of the Kiah House, not only has the building been neglected, but also the legacy, the significance of the museum, and its founders. Calvin Kiah came to Savannah State College and championed the Education Department, later integrating Georgia State University as the first person of color to hold the position of Vice President of Research and Academic Affairs. He is credited with being instrumental in increasing opportunities for minorities within the university. Virginia Kiah was a civil-rights leader and artist who specialized in portraiture, as well as a local schoolteacher. Calvin Kiah passed away in 1994, and the building has been in probate ever since Virginia Kiah’s death in 2001. The Kiah House Museum building has been placed on a list of blighted properties in Savannah, and is now being assessed on blight tax. Taxes have been paid, but nothing has been done to bring the building up to code, Johnson-Simon said, leaving the building threatened with demolition.

“This led the African Diaspora Museology Institute and the Friends of Kiah to become proactive in its advocacy for the Kiah, and raise the necessary funds to prevent the demolition of the building and secure historic-landmark status enabling a dedicated buyer to purchase and restore the site,” Johnson-Simon said. The campaign money raised will be used to perform emergency property maintenance to avoid demolition, and to complete key research to obtain historical-landmark status. “The other homes in this block are absolutely beautiful and well-loved, and we’d like to see this to be equally so,” Seifert said. The GoFundMe has a goal of raising $80,000, and as of press time, over $5,000 had been donated through the campaign by about 60 donors. cs The Kiah House Museum building is located at 505 W. 36th Street, between W. Broad and Burroughs. Visit gofundme.com/f/historickiah-house-restoration-campaign for information on the campaign or to donate.



ROAD TO RESILIENCE An interview with Savannah native Teia Acker, founder of Resilient Magazine

Savannah entrepreneur Teia Acker.


THE CELEBRATION OF Black history is not just a February observance − it is the celebration of Black lives from the past, future, and present. Savannah native Teia Acker is a speaker, radio and podcast host, and businesswoman who owns Ebony & Ivory Professional Services, Resilient Magazine, and the Moore Books digital bookstore with her husband, James Moore. Acker started Ebony & Ivory in 2013 during a trying time in her life. In June of 2020, Acker published a spinoff medium of Ebony & Ivory, Resilient Magazine, to highlight the resilience of women, their work, their worth, and their ability to overcome barriers. Amidst 2020’s social and political disparities during the COVID-19 pandemic, the magazine climbed to over 8,000 digital subscribers and over 200 print subscribers within eight months. CS: Can you give us an overview of who you are and what you do? TA: I am a native of Savannah. I am married and I have a 12-year-old son and a 10-year-old daughter. I attended Robert W. Groves High School. I got a dual bachelor’s in kinesiology and health science/ community health from Georgia Southern University, as well as my MBA from the University of Phoenix. I am a multi-business owner, and I am also an employee. I own Ebony & Ivory Professional Service, LLC. It has been around for seven years

as of July 25, and the goal of that company is to be the launch pad for smaller businesses. We help them get noticed by doing things that will pivot businesses to stand out. I also do development training for people that do not want to be entrepreneurs, but instead want to climb some corporate ladder. I also own Resilient Magazine, which is a spin-off of Ebony & Ivory. CS: Why did you launch Resilient Magazine? TA: Anything that the average woman and the educated Black woman could experience, I have been through. I can relate to anything outside of a terminal disease. Though COVID-19 in 2020 had been the true test-dummy of resilience for all, I had my personal pandemic back in 2013. I experienced getting divorced, being a single mom, dating to find a good father for my son and daughter, being laid off, and going from security to poverty in less than 90 days. I have experienced losing a parent. When my father died my world turned upside down. I was a daddy’s girl. I started Resilient Magazine because I know I’m not the only one, and I aim to be a real model, not just a role model. There is somebody who is looking for an outlet but they don’t have one, or there is a woman who makes everything possible happen for her family but no one knows because she’s not in the mainstream. I decided to start the magazine so that everyday women just like myself feel appreciated for what they

do. I also wanted it to look like O Magazine, Essence, and Ebony, because it does not matter your occupation or background, excellence is just that. CS: How do you stay inspired? TA: It’s a lot of prayer, and I am very intentional. I get my inspiration from the Bible, T.D. Jakes, Sarah Jakes Roberts, Oprah, and knowing why I’m here. Knowing that next month’s issue is going to talk about another woman and it will have 80 pages of pure content about Black excellence − that motivates me. Or when I see that someone has signed up for a two-year subscription of my magazine. Or when I meet someone and they’re like, ‘I just don’t know what else to do with my kids, or my parent passed,’ and I say ‘Oh, I lost a parent too, or I’ve been divorced, also.’ They just want to hear that someone else has been through what they’re going through to motivate them, so that motivates me to keep telling my truth, being transparent and owning every error and mistake. I’m fueled by the fact that it’s not about me. CS: How many people subscribe to Resilient Magazine? TA: It’s a steady climb, but when February’s issue dropped, we had 8,002 digital subscribers and we have about 200-plus subscribers for the hard copies. I never expected it to take off like this. I anticipated it, but I don’t set expectations because I don’t like my feelings being hurt, but it was unreal.

CS: You’re climbing this mountain. What does the other side look like? TA: On the other side of that mountain looks like a place of rest, and what I mean by that is, I’m building all of this for others. I build small businesses so that small businesses can build small businesses. I’m building Resilient Magazine so that the resilient women can build other resilient women. I’m not doing this for the 50-year plaque, or the street named after me, or any of those things. I want to see the longevity in everything that I do, but I do not intend to work so hard at it like this forever. I’m working now so I can rest later, and later is not necessarily old age. Later is when I get to that point where Oprah is holding my magazine. Yes, the magazine will continue on after, but that would have been the upper echelon of my career. For example, I wrote a small article in January’s magazine about Vice President Kamala Harris being Vice President. I had no idea that someone would put me in a position where I could make sure that she got that copy when she came out to Savannah for the campaign rally. When I say that I am being intentional, it is so that I can always be in position, so when you’re talking about the mountain, I’m climbing it to be in position to pass my magazine on to the next person. I am a launch pad. cs Visit teiaacker.com to find out more about Acker and Resilient Magazine.




Starting out with Chester Ellis In an exclusive interview, Chatham County’s new chairman talks local issues and personal motivations

Chatham County Chairman Chester Ellis. PHOTO BY MALCOLM TULLY


BY NICK ROBERTSON nick@connectsavannah.com

Chatham County Chairman Chester Ellis being sworn in alongside his wife, Wilmotine. PHOTO COURTESY OF CHATHAM COUNTY

adding that sometimes the individual leaders’ own goals must be shelved for the greater good of their constituents. “It is our responsibility to take care of assets that have been entrusted to us. It may not be what I would like to do personally, but decisions we make should be the best for the county as a whole. They should not put anybody in a hole.” With an overarching goal of keeping the tax burden on Chatham residents in check, Ellis is tackling the various problems before him with a collaborative approach of bringing together as many local leaders and citizens as possible to address every issue. He hopes that this will lead to consensus-building that helps the entire county achieve a more prosperous future developed with carefully planned growth. “It comes from the way I was brought up: you use what you have, you don’t worry about what you don’t have,” Ellis said, emphasizing that he always takes a longterm approach to county governance. “I look at who’s behind me, and how do I pave a way for them to go on the road to success. So the job I do now is actually for those who are coming, those who were born

yesterday.” But will Ellis’ plans to address each issue with painstaking deliberation sufficiently satisfy his fully grown peers and voters who are eager for fast action in county leadership? Ellis sees balancing such immediate needs with long-term planning as an essential challenge of his role. “I try to look at where Chatham County is in 2021, but I also want to know where we are in 2024. That’s the tenure of my time, even though I’m going to be seeking to carry to 2028, but I gotta take care of ’21, ’24 first before I can talk about anything else. If I’m not up to date here, then I can’t prepare for then,” Ellis explains.

Overseeing the county’s COVID-19 response

No issue is more immediate for Chatham County and the rest of the planet than the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Ever since the coronavirus outbreak first impacted coastal Georgia, Ellis has taken it very seriously, wearing a face mask and rubber gloves at County Commission meetings and public events throughout most of the past year. Even though he’s

now received both shots of the COVID-19 vaccine, Ellis still carries on these pandemic precautions, going so far as to now wear two masks in accordance with the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We have to follow the science and the medical professionals,” Ellis said, insisting that the pandemic will subside sooner if everyone follows coronavirus-safety measures. “The longer it takes us to do the things that we are supposed to do, the longer it’s going to take us to come out of this.” Ellis’ very first act as Commission Chairman was to extend Chatham’s emergency order requiring everyone in the county to wear face masks, which he sees as a way for locals to take care of each other while the rollout of new coronavirus-vaccine supplies remains spotty and limited. “I wish that we had vaccines for everyone. But we don’t have that. And so in the meantime the scientists are telling us these three things you must do: you must distance yourself, you must wear your mask, and you must wash your hands frequently,” Ellis said, noting that between 13 New Year’s Day 2021 and mid-February,


CHESTER ELLIS IS accustomed to starting out under tough circumstances. Growing up poor in Chatham County as the seventh sibling in a family of 10 children, whose parents were forced to continually move them between a series of rented homes in impoverished neighborhoods, Ellis learned to make the most of what little he had. “My father didn’t go no further than 3rd grade, my mother didn’t go no further than 8th grade, but they made sure the rest of us, all their children, got the best education they could, and they made sure we were using it like it should be used,” Ellis said, asserting that this upbringing turned him into a lifelong learner. “Every day is a learning curve for me, because I learn something new.” Now Ellis is facing the ultimate test of his life’s education as the new Chatham County Commission Chairman, after being sworn in on Jan. 4 following a single term as commissioner for Chatham’s District 8. While Ellis has long served in varied leadership capacities – as a coach, a teacher, a pastor, and a community activist – he has never taken on a role like this, assuming direct accountability for the safety and economic wellbeing of some 300,000 county residents. “It’s an awesome responsibility, one that I have stepped into,” said Ellis of his new position, which he won in the Nov. 5 general election against former Tybee Island Mayor Jason Buelterman, despite his campaign having a relatively meager budget. “My favorite quote to myself if that if you pray for the rain, you’ve gotta deal with the mud that it brings. I wanted to be in this position, I’ve strived to be in this position.” It does not seem like a position that many people would be eager to fill right now. While Ellis praises his immediate predecessor Al Scott for leaving the chairman’s office with Chatham County’s finances on solid footing, he also inherited a number of local problems bigger than any one leader can solve. Ellis is facing the ongoing communitylevel impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the sudden and controversial removal of Chatham’s public-transportation chief, a fire-service agency with a $3 million operating deficit, a growing movement to merge the county’s Board of Elections and Board of Registrars, and innumerable other local issues that mean the world to constituents immediately impacted by each of them. “We’re in the service business, and our service is to the people we serve,” Ellis said of Chatham’s Board of Commissioners,

INTERVIEW approximately 100 Chatham residents were reported to have died from COVID19, according to Coastal Health District statistics. “Those are our loved ones.” Beyond encouraging Chatham residents to adhere to face-mask mandates and other coronavirus-safety measures, Ellis is planning to plot a course for local economic recovery from the pandemic by gathering business leaders from the Chamber of Commerce, the Savannah Economic Development Authority, and other impacted organizations to “strategize on how we can help one another” while moving forward. “We are in the middle of recovery, and we can honestly say that Chatham County has not fared bad,” Ellis said. “We have been hurt in some areas – take for instance the tourism industry, they have been hurt the most – but there is a plan for recovery.” Ellis added that he expects more federal pandemic aid to arrive in the near future. “There is some more relief coming for Chatham County and for all the municipalities, and I’m just hoping that when we get these kinds of packages we put it where it’s needed and give it to those who need it the most,” Ellis said.

Controversy at Chatham Area Transit


Within the first few weeks of Ellis’ term, the Chatham Area Transit Board of DirecChatham County Chairman Chester Ellis in his office. PHOTO BY MALCOLM TULLY tors abruptly voted 6-3 to terminate the contract of agency CEO Bacarra Mauldin during their Jan. 26 meeting. Mauldin, who was hired to run CAT in June of 2020, has since filed a lawsuit against the publictransit agency for unlawful termination. While Ellis declined to comment on the Mauldin case, citing legal counsel barring him from discussing litigation and personnel matters, he acknowledges that numerous long-term problems are preventing CAT from providing optimal service to Chatham residents. “This didn’t start with Ms. Mauldin. Even when I was on the CAT board, there were areas of corrections I thought that needed to be made,” Ellis said, citing poorly planned population growth across Chatham as a complicating factor in achieving efficient public-transportation service. “The county has grown and spread how to catch up, and then how to project rail service for commuters heading into out, and so we are behind because we forward,” Ellis said. “We can have a qualChatham from neighboring counties. “If didn’t do any future planning. Now we’re ity transportation system here in Chatham we could formulate a plan to catch up and in the present, where the plans should’ve County, and so it is our responsibility to provide these services that are needed, been made 20-30 years ago for what’s work to that end.” then we can plan for the future.” coming.” If Chatham’s public transit is not Ellis is confident that a qualified new improved, Ellis believes this will be detriThe dilemma of Chatham CAT CEO can reshape the county’s transit mental to the entire county’s future ecoEmergency Services network in a way that will better serve con- nomic growth. During a Nov. 5 County Commission stituents in the not-too-distant future. “Public transportation is a need and workshop, representatives of Chatham “We’ve gotta have a leader over at Chanot a want, so it becomes our job to make Emergency Services – the nonprofit tham Area Transit who is a visionary, sure we get the best,” Ellis said, noting that firefighting agency tasked with extin14 because first of all you have to understand long-term transit planning could include guishing blazes in most of the county’s

“We’re in the service business, and our service is to the people we serve. ... It is our responsibility to take care of assets that have been entrusted to us. It may not be what I would like to do personally, but decisions we make should be the best for the county as a whole.”

unincorporated areas – announced that the organization has a $3 million operating deficit, which they blamed on a large number of county residents not paying subscription fees for fire service. CES Chief Operating Officer Phil Koster said that if the cash crunch continues, the agency’s firefighting units would soon be faced with the difficult position of having to consider declining to put out blazes at homes of non-subscribers. Since becoming chairman, Ellis has commenced a series of virtual town-hall meetings to gather public input on this issue from residents of each of the county’s seven districts served by CES. His goal is to solicit opinions from the largest number of constituents potentially affected by the options currently under consideration to address the CES cash crunch, which range from launching an entirely new county fire department to mandating CES subscriptions to doing nothing at all. “That will help us to understand what is it that we’re looking for,” Ellis said of the solution to the CES budget shortfall, which he says will impact Chatham residents no matter what outcome is determined. “You’re talking about something that will affect their taxes and their homeowner’s insurance, so they need to know.” One complaint that Ellis is hearing repeatedly is that CES subscribers feel taken advantage of when the resources from their fees are used to extinguish fires for non-subscribers. “Some folks want to make sure that the 70% who are paying their subscriptions cannot be penalized for the 30% that’s not paying their subscriptions. You’ve gotta take all that in, and the only way you can do that is to have the citizens get involved,” Ellis said. However, for now Ellis is not providing a time frame for when the County Commission may move forward with a plan to address the CES budget crisis, noting that after the district town-hall meetings conclude, he plans to launch another series of countywide forums to gather more public input before whittling down the options available for action.

Merging the county’s balloting boards

With 2020’s drawn-out election cycle now in the rearview mirror, local Democratic and Republican leaders are clamoring for reform to Chatham’s voting systems, as a movement to merge the county’s Board of Elections and Board of Registrars is quickly gaining steam. The Chatham delegation of state-level elected officials, which has the authority to reconfigure the county’s voting-governance structure, is currently assessing how such a merger could be carried out before 2022’s


Chatham County Commission Chairman Chester Ellis, at center, during his first meeting after winning the post in November’s general election. PHOTO BY NICK ROBERTSON

enacting it. “Change takes time, and we need to give ourselves that time to make sure the changes we are going to make are the changes that we want. When you do things on the spur of the moment, there are consequences for it,” Ellis said. “You need to make sure that those consequences aren’t going to be negative consequences toward any voter in Chatham County. We want everyone to vote, we want every vote to be counted.”

The long view

With all of these pressing issues weighing on Ellis every day in his short tenure so far − in addition to experiencing the usual hiccups encountered when starting any new job − it seems probable that finding time to plan for long-term projects would be difficult or impossible. However, Ellis considers one element of advance planning to be eminently crucial for the county’s immediate future: the development of a new Emergency Operations Center at the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport. “One of the top priorities that’s on the list is for us to be ready for disaster,” Ellis

said, describing the county’s current preparedness status as faltering. “We’re lagging behind in technology for disasters, whether we’re talking about a hurricane, whether we’re talking about a tornado, whether we’re talking about COVID.” Ellis said that the new Emergency Operations Center will improve the county’s disaster-response abilities by consolidating representatives from Chatham’s municipalities and appropriate publicsafety agencies within one reinforced command center. “In that command building, we’re going to have where all of the instructions will come out of one central area,” Ellis said. “Everybody will be under one roof. The building is being designed now to stand up to a category 5 [hurricane]. It’s also being designed to handle the storm surge and the flooding.” On the topic of flooding, Ellis also plans to comprehensively address rising sea levels in Chatham during his first term, citing climate change as an existential problem for all county residents. He intends to bring together local business leaders with environmental-agency representatives and officials from area municipalities to

develop plans that will keep Chatham from being inundated during upcoming decades. “It floods everyplace in Savannah. There is no place in Chatham County that is immune from flooding. So how do we handle that before it gets out of hand? Don’t wait until it gets out of hand, and let’s try to make up a plan,” Ellis said. Above all, Ellis stresses that his primary motivation is to assist his fellow Chatham residents in building a fruitful future for the generations to come. “I think this is my calling, and my calling is to help people. Personally, there’s no major benefit for me, because I could’ve sat at home, because I’m retired and have a good retirement,” Ellis said, recalling a cherished memory with a recently deceased baseball great as a major influence on his decision to continue working as a public servant. “I look at what Hank Aaron said to me in 1974: every day you get up, try to help somebody else. Then you look in the mirror at night and be proud of the fact that you have helped someone,” Ellis said. “That stuck with me since he told me that in ’74, and so every day I try to get up to 15 help somebody.” cs


midterm elections. However, Ellis believes that the statelevel powers-that-be should avoid enacting any “knee-jerk solution” based on problems with 2020’s election cycle, which he says was bound to be plagued by difficulties amid the onset of COVID-19 and issues inherent to the process of adjusting to Georgia’s new voting machines. “The call to merge the two is based upon the primaries of this past year, and I think that to be reactive to that and make drastic changes is a mistake,” Ellis said. “Is it best to merge them together, or is it best to streamline their duties and responsibilities? It might just be a matter of changing some procedures that they’re using to streamline things.” Although Chatham is one of very few Georgia counties with separate departments for elections and registrars, Ellis believes that this structure may be a blessing instead of a curse. “That didn’t just fall out of the sky,” Ellis said of the past decision to establish Chatham’s two balloting boards as separate entities, while encouraging the delegation to carefully examine any newly proposed structure before moving ahead with



ABOVE: Spc. Jaquavious K. Williams, a culinary specialist assigned to the 3rd Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division on Fort Stewart. PHOTO BY SPC. DANIEL THOMPSON

ABOVE: Pfc. Precious Harris is a fire control specialist with the fire control element of 3rd Infantry Division Artillery, on Fort Stewart. PHOTO BY PFC. SUMMERMADELEINE KEISER BELOW: Sgt. Sean Larson is a UH-60 helicopter repairer with the 2nd Battalion, 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, on Hunter Army Airfield. PHOTO BY PFC. SAVANNAH ROY


ABOVE: Spc. Orfeo R. Joseph is a chemical biological, radiological, nuclear specialist assigned to 92nd Chemical Company, 83rd CBRN Battalion, on Fort Stewart. PHOTO BY SPC. DANIEL THOMPSON


U.S. Army honors Savannah-area soldiers for Black History Month


Meet some of the African-American soldiers of Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield BY NOELLE WIEHE


BLACK HISTORY MONTH presents an opportunity to honor African Americans who have distinguished themselves by serving their community, and in Savannah, that community includes the soldiers of Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield. Today, African Americans make up about 19% of the total Army, and serve at every level of military leadership. Many of them come from a long legacy of Army service. The strength of the Army’s formations is built not only on being the world’s most lethal force, but on their diversity of talent – knowledge, skills, behaviors, and preferences – drawn from all corners of our country and its vibrant multicultural population.

As the Army continues to review and reaffirm its commitment to “People First” by being a more inclusive and representative American institution, it demonstrates this through policy changes. Signs of change are visible at the highest levels, as the Department of Defense appointed its first African-American secretary of defense since the position’s inception in 1947: retired four-star Army Gen. Lloyd Austin. The United States could not set out to fight and win our nation’s wars without each and every soldier willing to adorn the uniform and serve in various positions every day. Among the Army’s African-American troops are soldiers serving in varied military occupations, from helicopter mechanic to garrison commanders, and ranks ranging from lower enlisted to top ranking officers. Here at Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield, the following soldiers are furthering their careers and contributing to their community through their military service and dedication to what they believe. Capt. Nicole Nelms is a brigade medical supply officer in the 703rd Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team on Fort Stewart. She was commissioned into the Army in May of 2016 as a Medical Service Corps second lieutenant after graduating from South Carolina State as a distinguished military graduate. “Serving in the military as an African-American female allows me to honor and continue the legacy of the strong, determined women from my family,” Nelms said. “In the Army, I am able to interact with people from all over the world and learn new skills that I do not think I would have discovered working a normal job.” Spc. Orfeo Joseph, a chemical biological radiological nuclear specialist assigned to 92nd Chemical Company, 83rd CBRN Battalion, on Fort Stewart, is from Paramaribo, Suriname. He earned his American citizenship on Feb. 2. Joseph holds a Master of Business Administration degree in entrepreneurship from the FHR Institute for Social Studies. “Your quality is your quality… just try to focus on being the best you are regardless the color of your skin,” Joseph said. Sgt. Sean Larson, a UH-60 helicopter repairer with the 2nd Battalion, 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, on Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia, was fascinated with helicopters as a child, which ultimately led him to join the

ABOVE: Staff Sgt. Nicole Allen is an information technology specialist assigned to the 63rd Expeditionary Signal Battalion at Fort Stewart. PHOTO BY SPC. DANIEL


ABOVE: Pfc. Wood-Terry Zomme, a human resource specialist assigned to 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, on Hunter Army Airfield. PHOTO BY SPC. SAVANNAH ROY

Army. Spc. Devron Bost, assigned to the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, on Fort Stewart, was raised in Jacksonville, Florida, and joined the military as a quartermaster and chemical equipment repairer. Bost was recognized for his photography skills while serving in his additional duty as a unit public affairs representative. He received honorable mention in the Maj. Gen. Keith L. Ware Communications Competition at the U.S. Forces Command level. “As I look back to where I came from, I hope to inspire the younger generation to take what life has given them, and make it the best that it can be,” Bost said. Pfc. Precious Harris, a fire control specialist with the fire control element of 3rd Infantry Division Artillery, on Fort Stewart, joined the Army after completing bachelor’s degrees in both criminal justice and sociology from The College at Brockport, State University of New York. “Don’t give up and don’t be afraid to take opportunities — you just have to push through,” Harris said. “If you’re given an opportunity, take it and run.” Capt. Peter Nwokoye, a chaplain with the 1st Battalion, 9th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team on Fort Stewart holds religious services for


ABOVE: Staff Sgt. Kiyomi Thursby is a chemical biological radiological nuclear specialist assigned to 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, on Hunter Army Airfield.


FOOD & DRINK A new Savannah speakeasy carries on traditions of clandestine sipping Mint To Be Bubbly Bar offers creative champagne concoctions




SAVANNAH IS ANYTHING but a dry town. History-laden and moss-covered squares are what put the Hostess City on the map, along with being known as one of few destinations in the United States allowing the open carrying of alcohol. It is not hard to imagine that Savannah’s open-container policy is an incidental effect of our prohibition past. In case you didn’t know, Savannah is the location of America’s very first ban on alcohol − dating back to 1735. Downtown Savannah’s Prohibition Museum in City Market has a plaque commemorating the original decree banning booze here, issued by King George II.  Later the temperance movement brought gangsters, bootleggers, and speakeasies, and even after the nationwide Prohibition ended in 1933, many relics of the dry period stuck around. Modern times may have washed away the real feeling of a speakeasy, since there is a lack of illegality, but in homage to our history you can still find recreations of ‘blind pigs’ all across the world.  The Hibiscus Champagne Cocktail with Billy Goat Chips. PHOTO BY LINDY MOODY



Savannah’s Oldest



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FEBRUARY 24 The speakeasy’s cannoli and chocolate strawberry. PHOTO BY LINDY MOODY

One of my favorite cities that imitates the secret-bar experience flawlessly is Miami. In a semi-recent trip down south, I spent many nights staggering through the town’s most noteworthy hidden drinking holes. At Little Havana’s Los Altos, you walk through a candy shop and ask the clerk for a drink. The next thing you know, a back room opens up, and Spanish dancers appear to welcome you into a tequilafocused nightclub. While at Bodega Taqueria on South Beach, you can order tacos at the front or walk through the bathroom to find a bar tucked away in the back.  I was transported back to my Miami trip when I walked through the doors of Mint To Be Bubbly Bar. The brand-new speakeasy, located in the heart of Savannah’s Historic District, sits in the back of Mint To Be Mojito Bar. You may feel as though you have gone too far if you hit the bathroom doors, but persistence and a little searching will find you transported to another time and place.  The champagne-focused bar is the brainchild of owner Alton Brecker. He handpicked and designed every detail down to the imported Italian floor tile. The space was once the home of a Segway tour company, and is now an institution for freely flowing champagne. Transforming the shop was no small feat; the bookcase doorway had to be custom made, the bright blue bar hand-built, the leaves painted by an artist, and neon signs sourced from vintage purveyors.  It all began when Brecker teamed up with Mary Githens of Latin Chicks to open Mint To Be Mojito Bar. Once the backroom

became available, he stepped in to create the bar of his dreams. “I had to redo the whole thing. I just kind of imagined the stuff in my brain,” Brecker explained as he poured me a glass of bubbly. His brain included things like the hand-painted palm fronds, a nod to Brecker’s time living in Hawaii. The atmosphere is that of an eclectic lounge with a friendly soul. According to Becker, “I said from the very beginning, I don’t want this to be a pretentious place at all. I am not a pretentious person.” Even the drinks are relaxed. Although it is a champagne bar, anything available will suit any palate that passes through the Instagram-famous bookshelf.  For a straightforward glass to tickle the nose, patrons can pick from the Bubbly Bar’s versatile list of sparkling wines and champagnes. With the help of his distributor, Brecker put together an all-encompassing inventory of bubbly.   “I love the way that they split it up heading-wise. There is delicious and sweet, the fresh and fruity, the exotic,” he explained. Fresh Brioche, which is one of the headings, represents the wine’s sweet and buttery notes, similar to brioche bread. There are also note designations like Amazingly Yeasty and Deliciously Sweet.  Recently Brecker extended the champagne list to include more Proseccos and his handpicked Lambrusco. The sparkling red hits close to home with Brecker. “When I was little, in Boston, you would go to the Italian restaurant, and they would have Lambrusco, which is kind of like the two-dollar deal,” Brecker recalls. The menu includes champagne cocktails




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The Mint To Be speakeasy’s secret entrance, now made famous thanks to its many appearances on Instagram. PHOTO BY LINDY MOODY


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For more information or purchase tickets, contact Erica Baskin at erica@connectsavannah.com or at 912.721.4378 or 912-231-0250

loosely based on classic champagne mixed drinks. Mimosas, Bellinis, and a French 75 are available, but there are a few additional creative cocktails as well. The Sav Gal Special is modeled after a French 75, but with a touch of blueberry. It is named after a local blogger who came into the Bubbly Bar and ordered her go-to version of the classic drink. Similarly, Jen’s Jolly Rodger and Abigail’s Melon Fusion are named to honor girls that work at Mint To Be Mojito.  For me, the standout of all of the speakeasy’s champagne concoctions is the Hibiscus Champagne Cocktail. It is created by first pouring a base of hibiscus syrup, including the flower, followed by adding the house champagne. I suggest you eat the flower at the end of the flute. It is like the Luxardo cherry at the finish of an excellent Old Fashioned − a candy-sweet sticky surprise.  In recent years the Aperol Spritz has once again gained acclaim. It is created by mixing Aperol, Prosecco, and sparkling soda water. Spritzers hail from Italy, and were aptly named because of the spritz of sparkle added at the end. Mint To Be Bubbly Bar has an entire menu section dedicated to this Italian libation.  Because of the thick local summertime heat, a spritzer is a go-to midday drink for bachelorettes, brunch, or sightseeing. My personal favorite on the Bubbly Bar list is the Limoncello Spritz. The fresh lemon and Italian Limoncello brighten up the base of sweet champagne.  Both the Double Espresso Spritz and Dutch Chocolate Spritz pair nicely with any of the house sweets for an after-dinner nightcap. Both drinks are well-balanced due to bitter notes from the chocolate or

espresso. Brecker throws in a chocolate swizzle stick for a playful twist to both cocktails. After downing too many bubbles, there are light snacks available to freshen up the palate. The Billy Goat Chips were sought out by Becker because the chip’s unique seasoning is hard to pinpoint. The potatoes are something between a kettle chip and a classic cut chip, and I detected flavors of garlic and smoky paprika.  For the sweets, the cannolis and chocolate-covered strawberries are made by a local cook Sara Lopez Smith from the eatery All Things Chocolate And More. “She is called the queen of cannoli because she does this. It’s ricotta. It’s the real McCoy,” says Becker of Smith. The genuineness of the cannoli can be equated to its preparation. Too often, a cannoli is a limp, soggy mess resulting from improperly frying the shell. All Things Chocolate’s version is light, crisp, and filled to the brim with whipped ricotta. Be forewarned: the chocolate-covered strawberries are the size of a baby elephant, and take a few good tries to eat the entire decadent treat.  During the coming days, Mint To Be Bubbly Bar and Mint To Be Mojito Bar will celebrate their official grand opening, delayed by the pandemic. Savannah City Council members are expected to join the celebration on Thursday, Feb. 25, to participate in the venue’s ribbon-cutting celebration. And, according to Brecker, “I am going to give away champagne!” cs Mint To Be Bubbly Bar: 12 W. State St., Savannah. See minttobemojitobar.com for more details, and visit epicuropedia.com to read more by Lindy Moody.


MATT ECKSTINE @ CASMIR’S LOUNGE With an easygoing spirit and an uplifting sound that flows like the Lowcountry tide, Savannah-based singer-songwriter Matt Eckstine plays acoustic guitar while belting out his original tunes influenced by the laid-back likes of Jack Johnson and James Taylor. The former Accomplices frontman will share a variety of old and new favorites to get the weekend started early. THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 25 | 7 P.M.



Singer-songwriter Mary Kenyon is an indie-folk artiste who enchants audiences with her original music and covers of songs by disparate stars – including Elton John, Gregory Alan Isakov, and Caamp – performed with a unique style rich with ethereal and haunting undertones. Enjoy Kenyon’s mellow-yet-mellifluous sound during this special Saturday-afternoon show amid Savannah’s most famous park. SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 27 | 1 P.M.

AT SUNDOWN @ CHURCHILL’S Keep your eardrums guessing while enjoying the diverse repertoire of Coastal Georgia’s own At Sundown band, featuring five souls with varied musical backgrounds who come together to play rock, funk, blues, alternative, and reggae songs from several decades. Before At Sundown takes Churchill’s stage, singer and bassist Rachael Shaner will hit the high notes and low notes, sometimes simultaneously. SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 27 | 9:30 P.M.


Hailing from Decatur, Georgia, MCs Ali (Lakeem Mattox), Quez (Donquez Woods), and Strap (Harold Duncan) joined forces to form Travis Porter in 2008 with the humble goal of “taking over the rap world from the underground up.” On Friday this irreverent trio will bring their Comeback Tour to the Hostess City and get local party people dancing when they appear live for one show only at Elan Savannah. FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 26 | 9 P.M.




The members of Tell Scarlet are keeping it in the family. PHOTO COURTESY OF TELL SCARLET


Tell Scarlet shifts gears with newly released ‘Accelerate’ EP

The Savannah-based band keeps family business in harmony for nearly a decade BY NICK ROBERTSON


The title track of Accelerate – the new EP of three original songs released by Savannah-based pop group Tell Scarlet in late November – seems born of these wearying times, yet captures the yearning that so many now feel to build momentum toward greater things to come. Beginning with a spare piano solo and the lyrics, “Let it go, waking up from a dream state,” the song gathers speed with a rising tempo and modern reverb effects that reveal Tell Scarlet’s growing studio-production savvy. “Accelerate” goes on to encourage listeners to pursue their goals 22 with a genre-bending rap segment stating “you were made

for more, a higher dream, a higher name, a higher score.” Similar upbeat messages of persevering through hard times to discover personal potential also permeate the other two tracks on Accelerate, “I Know She’s Out There (I.K.S.O.T.)” and “Something Good.” But according to the members of Tell Scarlet – who also happen to be family members – their new EP’s spirit of overcoming melancholy to seize the future was merely a continuation of providential events that has allowed the group to flourish for almost a decade now, after starting out with humble intentions as a cover band in 2012. “The songwriting really kind of happened along the way,” says Tell Scarlet vocalist and guitarist Mary Davis, the wife of bassist Jeff Davis; their kids Julia and Will take

turns on lead vocals, while Julia’s husband Cory Shuman plays drums and produces to round out an accomplished group of musicians whose talent truly runs in the family. “We really consider ourselves more of an artist now.” Along with their growing creative sophistication, Tell Scarlet is enjoying increasingly prominent exposure with regular gigs at high-profile venues. This weekend they play two Savannah-area shows on consecutive nights, headlining the Plant Riverside District’s Riverside Pavilion Tent on Friday, Feb. 26, followed by a show at Pooler’s Wild Wing Cafe on Saturday, Feb. 27. Both concerts will feature performances of their Accelerate songs, as well as some tracks from their previous EP, Clean Slate, and a few of their favorite covers. Accelerate definitely feels more introspective than the more rock-tinged Clean Slate, but its hopeful messages came through with a shared desire for “welcoming the future and being open to anything,” according to Julia Shuman. Work on Accelerate started in earnest in 2018, and while it took some time to get the EP up to speed, it was an organic process of blending influences. “Everyone in the band was so good at saying, ‘You know what, this is going to come out when it’s supposed to come out,” Julia said. During the songwriting process, “the world went nuts,” Mary said – yet this seemed to only intensify their willingness to share intimate thoughts of inspiration with their fans. In “Something Good,” Mary performs lead vocals to share her past dreams of sailing around the world, while addressing the fallout from her time as a “party girl,” something many moms wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing with their kids at home, let alone singing about with them onstage. However, this openness yields refreshingly honest music that resonates with listeners because of the relatable emotions expressed. “We do work really well together, and we enjoy playing together,” Mary says. “We feel very grateful that we get to do what we do, and we don’t take it for granted.” Of course, the tensions inherent to being bandmates and family members can sometimes spill over, but with a sense of unity, the members of Tell Scarlet always come around to support each other. “It’s interesting having the dynamic of a family in the band,” Will says. “It is harder, sometimes, because we all want what’s best for Tell Scarlet.” From Julia’s perspective, the music of Tell Scarlet and the family’s close relationships are inextricable. “We’re family first, and the music, it comes naturally,” Julia said. “The pieces fell into place.” As for the future, while Will is considering branching out with some solo efforts someday, Tell Scarlet is happy to continue performing together as opportunities to play festivals and larger events are expected to materialize in the upcoming months. For Mary, the chance to be living out a modern-day version of The Partridge Family – a series she loved in her youth – is already a dream come true, minus one element that would really get their show on the road. “I would love to have a psychedelic bus,” Mary says with a laugh. cs Tell Scarlet plays the Plant Riverside District (400 W. River St., Savannah) at 7 p.m. on Feb. 26 and Wild Wing Cafe (417 Pooler Pkwy., Pooler) at 9 p.m. on Feb. 27. Visit tellscarlet. com to hear tracks from Accelerate and for more information on the band.








Driftaway Cafe Chuck Courtenay, 6 p.m. Nickie’s 1971 Ray Tomasino, 7 p.m. Oak 36 Bar + Kitchen Ben Miller, 7 p.m. The Wormhole Open Jam, 9 p.m.


El-Rocko Lounge Trivia with Jules and Chris Grimmett, 9 p.m. Service Brewing Company Trivia Night with Jess Shaw, 6:30 p.m.


Club One Karaoke, 10 p.m. every night Wet Willie’s Karaoke, 9 p.m.


Totally Awesome Bar Savannah Comedy Underground, 9 p.m.



Cohen’s Retreat Munchies & Music, 5-9 p.m. Oak 36 Bar + Kitchen Jason Bible, 7 p.m. The Perch at Local 11 ten Levi Moore, 5:30 p.m.


Bar Food Trivia Night, 8 p.m. McDonough’s Family Feud, 7 p.m.


McDonough’s Karaoke, 9 p.m. Nickie’s 1971 Karaoke, 8 p.m. The Wormhole Karaoke, 9 p.m.


Flashback Comedy, 7:30 p.m. Totally Awesome Bar Open Mic Comedy, 8:30 p.m.


Club 51 Degrees DJ B-Rad, 9 p.m. Top Deck Sunset Deck Party, 6 p.m.


Club One Star Search, 11 p.m. House of Mata Hari Burlesque Cabaret, 11-11:59 p.m.




Barrelhouse South The Tuten Brothers, 9 p.m. Churchill’s Pub Ray Tomasino, At Sundown, 6 & 9:30 p.m. Fia Rua Irish Pub Josh Johansson, 7:30 p.m. Jazz’d Tapas Bar Levi Moore, 8:30 p.m. Rancho Alegre Cuban Restaurant JodyJazz Trio, 6:30 p.m. Service Brewing Company Bluegrass By The Pint with Swamptooth, 6 p.m. Sting Ray’s Robert Willis, 6 p.m. Wild Wing Cafe Jason Bible, 7 p.m.


PS Tavern Beer Pong, 10 p.m.


Bay Street Blues Karaoke, 8 p.m. Blueberry Hill Karaoke, 9 p.m. McDonough’s Karaoke, 9 p.m. Nickie’s 1971 Karaoke, 9 p.m. Totally Awesome Bar Karaoke, 10 p.m.


Club 51 Degrees DJ Fer, DJ Emalo, DJ Lil G, DJ BRad, 9 p.m. Elan Travis Porter, 9 p.m. VICE Lounge + Mojito Bar DJ Primal, 9 p.m.


Club One Drag Show, 10:30 p.m. & 12:30 a.m. House of Mata Hari Burlesque Cabaret, 11-11:59 p.m.


The 5 Spot Eric Daubert, 7 p.m. Barrelhouse South Honey Hounds, 9 p.m. Churchill’s Pub Rachael Shaner, Kyle Yardley Blues Band, 6 & 9:30 p.m. Jazz’d Tapas Bar FreeSpirits, 8:30 p.m. Molly McGuire’s The Island Boys, 7 p.m. Oak 36 Bar + Kitchen Sarah Poole, 7 p.m. The Perch at Local 11 ten Mary Kenyon, 5:30 p.m.

Rancho Alegre Cuban Restaurant JodyJazz Trio, 6:30-9:30 p.m. Sting Ray’s Robert Willis, 6 p.m. Wild Wing Cafe Basik Lee, 1 p.m., Bill Hodgson, 1 p.m.


Bay Street Blues Karaoke, 8 p.m. Fia Rua Irish Pub Karaoke, 8 p.m. McDonough’s Karaoke, 9 p.m. Totally Awesome Bar Karaoke, 10 p.m.


Club One Drag Show, 10:30 p.m. & 12:30 a.m. House of Mata Hari Burlesque Cabaret, 9:30 & 11 p.m.


7 p.m. Oak 36 Bar + Kitchen Philip Wise, noon Starland Yard Something Happened, 6 p.m. Sting Ray’s Robert Willis, 6 p.m. Tubby’s (Thunderbolt) Bucky & Barry, 1 p.m. Wild Wing Cafe Ray Tomasino, 1 p.m.


Moon River Brewing Trivia, 6 p.m.


Nickie’s 1971 Ray Tomasino, 7 p.m.


Club One Super Gay Bingo, 5:30 p.m.



Collins Quarter at Forsyth Ember City, 2 p.m. Congress Street Social Club Voodoo Soup, 10 p.m. Nickie’s 1971 Roy Swindell,

Fia Rua Irish Pub Family Movie Night, 8 p.m.


Nickie’s 1971 Roy Swindell, 7 p.m.







Savannah’s Front Porch Improv debuts production of ‘Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons’



YOU SPEAK AN estimated 5,000 to 20,000 words per day. Imagine if you were restricted to a mere 140 words. For Bernadette and Oliver, the only two characters in Sam Steiner’s Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons, governmental regulations limiting speech to 140 words each day might be too much for their love to survive. Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons, a poignant dramedy about love, powerlessness, democracy, and free speech, opens on Thursday, Feb. 25 for a limited run at the Front Porch Improv Theatre, as the first play staged at their new location on Victory Drive. The Front Porch Improv always planned to expand beyond improv to host black-box theater. The arrival of COVID-19 upended everything, and operating a performer-run theater during a pandemic is no easy task. “It’s been the toughest year of my life. And this has been the worst time to do live theater in the last 100 years. It’s a balancing act for the actors to make this run, but we want to keep this alive. It is more important than ever,” said Front Porch Improv Co-Artistic Director John Brennan. After its 2015 premiere at the Warwick Arts Centre in Coventry, England, Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons went on to sell out at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. It is a play about being forced to consider Hannah Chiclana and Sean Harber star in the new production. PHOTO COURTESY OF FRONT PORCH IMPROV



FRI., MAR. 5

SAT., MAR. 6


TWO SHOWS MAR., 13, @7PM MAR., 14, @4PM

Hannah Chiclana and Sean Harber navigate life with words at a premium in ‘Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons.’ PHOTO COURTESY OF FRONT PORCH IMPROV

like I know nothing.” Transitioning from improv to acting has been challenging for Harber. “It’s nerve-racking. Unlike improv, there are things you have to remember. There are expectations for what you say and how you move,” Harber said. Watching Harber grow into the complexity of the role, Chiclana believes her instincts were spot-on. “He brings out the best and worst of Oliver – and that’s the job of an actor,” Chiclana said. When Chiclana read the script two years ago, Bernadette’s character resonated. “Her faults and beautiful quirks really hit home,” Chiclana recalls, adding that learning about the character caused her to begin reflecting on her own contribution, just like Bernadette. “I found myself asking am I doing enough? Am I giving the

things that matter to me enough time and focus? Am I contributing in a way that is meaningful?” As we slowly emerge from the pandemic and contemplate how to reengage with what’s important to us, the Front Porch Improv is providing a meaningful way to do just that. cs Front Porch Improv Theatre presents ‘Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons’ by Sam Steiner. Thursday, Feb. 25, 8 p.m.; Sunday, Feb. 28, 6 p.m.; Thursday, March 4, 8 p.m.; Sunday, March 7, 6 p.m. In-person and Zoom tickets must be purchased in advance. For inperson audiences, the theater is operating at 30% capacity and following CDC guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19: masks are required and guests are seated with social distancing. Visit frontporchimprov.com for more details and tickets.







912.352.2933 • COACHS.NET



how, what, and when we chose to communicate with those we love the most – perhaps the most consequential interactions each of us has every day. The entire cast and crew number just four: the play is directed by Brenden Davis with technical direction by Danger Mendrala, and stars Hannah Chiclana as Bernadette and Sean Harber as Oliver. The four created a quarantine bubble to allow for in-person rehearsals. “It’s a romantic play, so Sean and I have to be really comfortable with each other to make the relationship translate on the stage,” Chiclana said. This production marks the first play staged by Savannah’s young improv company. “Comedy is our thing, but we are a place for art and theater. We would like plays to be a regular offering,” Brennan said. For Brenden, the show’s director, Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons is his straight-show directorial debut. “I’ve directed many comedy shows, but this is my first play and it’s my type of story. It’s intimate, compelling, and funny. I’m very thankful Hannah asked me to do it,” Brenden said. It is also Harber’s theatrical acting debut. He and Chiclana met at the end of 2019 as company members appearing in The Happy Hendersons, a 1950s-inspired improv sketch that frequently opened shows for the Front Porch. When Chiclana pitched Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons, she knew Harber was perfect for the role of Oliver; he accepted without even reading the script. “I trusted Hannah,” Harber said. As rehearsals began, Harber told Chiclana and Brenden, “It’s my first play. Treat me





VARIEGATED COMMUNITY A showcase of diverse works by 13 local artists draws to a close at Savannah’s Cedar House Gallery



THE CEDAR HOUSE Gallery’s most diverse annual show of artwork collections, the Local Artist Showcase, features ceramics, glass art, jewelry, paintings and more by 13 Savannah-area artists. As the event draws to a close, gallery director and curator Sam Williams said the February showcase has attracted a considerable number of art fans, especially considering that the Local Artist Showcase is usually held in January. “It was a huge success with it being done in February,” Williams said. “The gallery showcases quite a few really outstanding artists.” Interested viewers can visit the Local Artist Showcase through Feb. 26, when the show’s closing reception during 6-9 p.m. will include some previously unseen works. “We had our opening reception, and in high demand, people were asking for a closing session – which we haven’t done in the past,” Williams said. “The people asked and we gave them it.” Artist Sharonna “Ronnie” Ray sold her entire Local Artist Showcase collection, but created a continuation of her “Chocolate” series to replace the pieces already bought. Williams said that collection will be seen for the first time at the closing reception. In addition to filling the main gallery exhibit spaces, the showcase includes the upstairs studio spaces of artists including photographers and furniture designers. The artists in the showcase paid an entry fee to be featured, and were allowed to display up to 10 pieces. The showcase was juried by Cedar House Gallery members on the grounds. Williams said a couple of artists judged the work, while she curated it. The showcase was held a month later than usual due to post-holiday-season COVID-19 concerns. However, Williams said that when it could finally open on Feb. 5, the showcase brought in the most first-night sales the gallery has seen. Williams noted that this is the first show where the gallery has featured high school students, with two entrants having just graduated before entering their work this year. The pieces in the showcase are all available for purchase, with prices ranging from $15 to $1,750. “This is the last night the show will be up, so if you’re still thinking about that piece you saw at the opening, come on by and grab it before it’s gone, or if you missed the 26 opening show come swing by for the first time and show

TOP: A painting by local artist Tom Curran. ABOVE: Alan Kindler works on a painting in progress on Feb. 18 in his studio on the upper level of the Cedar House Gallery. PHOTOS BY NOELLE WIEHE

your support,” Williams said. After the Local Artist Showcase closes, the Cedar House Gallery has scheduled a series of weekly exhibitions beginning March 5. “After that, we are pretty much booked out with shows coming up weekly,” Williams said, noting she had some openings in April. “It’s fun to have these rotating shows.” The Cedar House opened in May 2019 and provides

private art studio spaces for artists, as well as public gallery spaces filled with a diverse variety of media. During gallery events, the studio spaces are for viewing. The Cedar House Gallery at 122 E. 36th St., Savannah is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 5 p.m., with viewing appointments available between 9 a.m. and noon. Visit cedarhousegallerysav.com for details.


Georgia Southern University invites applicants for the following vacancies on the Armstrong campus:

Equipment Mechanic - Armstrong Grounds Operations - JOB ID 223370 Accreditation Coordinator - JOB ID 223913 Assistant Manager - Armstrong-Galley - JOB ID 224065 Please visit the Georgia Southern University employment website and complete the application process at http://apptrkr.com/2154600


The application process must be completed by the deadline to be considered. Georgia is an open records state. Individuals in need of reasonable accommodations under the ADA to participate in the search process should notify Human Resources: (912) 478-6947. Georgia Southern University is an EEO/AA/ADA/Veteran employer.


ABOVE: Capt. Nicole P. Nelms. PHOTO BY


meal. Williams said he joined the Army because he wanted to be a part of something bigger than himself. Pfc. Wood-Terry Zomme, a human resource specialist assigned to 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, on Hunter Army Airfield, was born in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti and migrated to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Staff Sgt. Nicole Allen, an information technology specialist assigned to the 63rd Expeditionary Signal Battalion at Fort Stewart, is from Miami, Florida, where she graduated from Miami Jackson Senior High School. “Serving in the military as an African American means we have succeeded through all adversities,” Allen said. “We highlight the sacrifices made and suffering endured for the sake of racial equality.” cs This article was compiled with information by the 3rd Infantry Division Public Affairs.


soldiers conducting training missions. A priest of 21 years, Nwokoye recalls seeing a viral social-media video of soldiers with weapons knelt in prayer, and said he was inspired to join the service. “I could see the faith, and I could see as well that they did not believe that their weapon is where their power lies,” Nwokoye said. “Providing religious support to the Army − I see this as a ministry, as a vocation, as a calling.” Staff Sgt. Kiyomi Thursby, a chemical biological radiological nuclear specialist assigned to 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, on Hunter Army Airfield, joined the Army to travel the world, protect and defend her country, and further her education. Thursby has earned two college degrees: a bachelor’s degree in business management from Colorado Tech University and an associate’s degree in business administration from Central Texas College. She also has obtained three national medical certifications. “I wanted to honor and show pride to my family members who had served before me and who are still serving,” Thursby said. “I also wanted to show them that they are appreciated and valued for leading the way for our family and for setting the example of great leadership, and the unselfish act of protecting and serving from the frontlines.” Spc. Jaquavious Williams, a culinary specialist assigned to the 3rd Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division on Fort Stewart, is from Atlanta, where he graduated from Daniel McLaughlin Therrell High School in 2017. Williams has been interested in art since he was 10 years old. His recent artwork − honoring Prisoner of War, Missing in Action soldiers and families − was a popular centerpiece at a 3rd ID Thanksgiving






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1 Heat source? 6 “Isn’t that ___ much?” 10 Clinton preceder or follower 14 “Quaking” tree 15 City NNE of Lake Tahoe 16 Capri or Elba 17 Copper-colored coin last minted in 1958 19 Karmann ___ (classic VW model) 20 Part of S&L 21 Knight’s transport 22 My reaction to this ice storm I’m stuck in right now 25 Alfred E. Neuman line 29 Scan in 31 Show announcer 32 Overabundance 35 “March Madness” sponsor, for short 36 Relaxing sound 39 Sport featured in the 2005 documentary “Murderball” 42 Heart-wrenching 43 Actor Bailey of “Band of Brothers” and “Almost Famous” 44 E flat’s alias 45 Skim, like with homemade chicken stock 46 Follow closely, these days 47 “Never in a million years!” 53 Dashboard Confes-

sional genre 54 Tiniest bits 55 Roswell crafts 57 ‘80s-’90s German chancellor Helmut 58 Discover (or how to determine what the four circled answers have in common) 64 Swedish store to get lost in 65 “My Life as ___” (1985 Swedish film) 66 Add to the pot 67 Macedonian’s neighbor 68 “Ermahgerd Gersberms!”, for one 69 Time on a job


1 It may be gaping 2 “Black-___” (ABC sitcom) 3 Magilla Gorilla, really 4 Brunch, e.g. 5 Being dragged along 6 Hockey site, maybe 7 Actor Whishaw 8 “Newhart” establishment 9 Stocking stuffer 10 It may get stubbed 11 “The Fall of the House of ___” 12 Comparatively cunning 13 Intoxicating, as liquor 18 Oom-___ bands (Oktoberfest entertainment) 21 Contributes to the jar? 22 Makes some tea

23 Singer Bebe 24 Competed at Daytona 26 Renters 27 80 years into the future, in movie credits (will we even have movies?) 28 Animated alternative to mailing a greeting 30 “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” vocalist Kiki 33 Catches some Z’s 34 “Futurama” genre 36 Colorful quartz 37 Former U.S. President James ___ Garfield 38 Prefix with therapy 40 “Ashes to Ashes” novelist Tami 41 Conversation lapses 45 Crime investigation facility 47 Collaborative websites 48 Robert who introduced the term “cell” to biology 49 Air beyond the clouds 50 Chocolate candy cut into cubes 51 “Summer Girls” boy band 52 Succinct letter signoff 56 Fantasy football figure 58 Kinfolk, for short 59 Ending with fluor60 ___ de plume 61 Nintendo Switch predecessor 62 Channel for buying stuff from your couch 63 By this point

Photos by Bunny Ware

PHOTOS FROM LOCAL EVENTS View more photos online at connectsavannah.com/connected



American Legion Post 135 hosts the second-annual Mardi Gras Masquerade Ball on Feb. 13 in their Bull Street ballroom. The venue was decorated in New Orleans-themed décor, and attendees wore festive masks as they danced, enjoyed hors d’oeuvres, and participated in raffles to benefit the post.


Photos by Bunny Ware

PHOTOS FROM LOCAL EVENTS View more photos online at connectsavannah.com/connected



Guests gather for a ceili session hosted by the Savannah Irish Festival on Feb. 13 at Billy’s Place at McDonough’s. The session kicked off their first event of a yearlong celebration to honor Irish heritage. This Irish ceili featured music, singing, and storytelling, with proceeds benefiting the Savannah Irish Festival.


tree-fifty tuesdays tree-fifty all beers, jameson, tito's, VRB's: $3.50

all beers, jameson, tito's, VRB's: $3.50

Friday, Friday,Saturday Saturdayand andSunday Sunday

$3 $3Gla GlaesesofofRosé Rosé still stillororsparkling. sparkling.

wednesday Half off Bo les of Wine Half off Boles of Wine

thursdays & Sunday Live dj | 6-9 pm Drink thursdays & specials Sunday

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125 West Riverwww.topdeckbar.com Street On top of the cotton sail hotel *CLOSING HOURS SUBJECT TO NOON CHANGE TO 10 PM* SUNDAY THRU THURSDAY FRIDAY AND SATURDAY NOON TO MIDNIGHT*

Profile for Connect Savannah

Connect Savannah, February 24, 2021  

Connect Savannah, February 24, 2021