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The Savannah Tribune

Critz Auto Group Donates $10,000 to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

THE SAVANNAH TRIBUNE — Following its 2019 Mercedes-Benz Dealership Championships golf tournament, Critz Auto Group donated the tournament proceeds to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society on Monday, June 3 in a check presentation.

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Critz Auto Group (Photo by: savannahtribune.com)
By The Savannah Tribune  

Following its 2019 Mercedes-Benz Dealership Championships golf tournament, Critz Auto Group donated the tournament proceeds to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society on Monday, June 3 in a check presentation.

The funds donated at the check presentation were raised during Critz Auto Group’s 2019 Mercedes-Benz Dealership Championships golf tournament that was held on Friday, May 10 at The Club at Savannah Quarters. This year’s tournament hosted 82 players who made up 41 teams, and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society was chosen by Critz to receive all proceeds from player registration fees.

At the check presentation, Dale Critz, Jr., President and CEO of Critz Auto Group, presented the check totaling $10,000 to Jennie Brewster, Area Director of Savannah & Augusta of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. All funds donated at the check presentation will go towards The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s 2019 Man & Woman of the Year campaign, an annual competition where local community leaders raise funds for the nonprofit in honor of local blood cancer survivors.

This article originally appeared in The Savannah Tribune

Community

New Sylvan Terrace Park Is Cause To Celebrate!

THE SAVANNAH TRIBUNE — The City of Savannah held an official opening for Sylvan Terrace Park this morning with a ribbon cutting ceremony. More than 40 community members and city staff gathered to celebrate the opening of the park. Many attendees were using the track and exercise stations before the event began.

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Sylvan Terrace Park (Photo by: savannahtribune.com)

By The Savannah Tribune

The City of Savannah held an official opening for Sylvan Terrace Park this morning with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

More than 40 community members and city staff gathered to celebrate the opening of the park. Many attendees were using the track and exercise stations before the event began.

The approximately one acre park has a 1/6 mile rubberized exercise track, park benches, and five exercise stations.

“We celebrate the opening of the Sylvan Terrace Park, a park that promotes health and well-being for our citizens to come and enjoy the fabulous 5th district,” said District 5 Alderwoman Dr. Estella Shabazz. “These improvements were made possible by SPLOST funds.”

Other neighborhood improvements in the Sylvan Terrace neighborhood included a new brick neighborhood sign on the intersection of Bull Street and Monterey Avenue and twenty-five lighted bollards to line Montgomery Street at the intersection of Staley Avenue.

The opening of Sylvan Terrace Park aligns with the priority of Neighborhood Revitalization within the Savannah Forward strategic plan. The park was built using voter approved SPLOST funds.

The ceremony was also attended by Mayor Eddie DeLoach, Mayor Pro Tem Carol Bell, State Representative Craig Gordon, and Sylvan Terrace Neighborhood Association President Lynne Hill.

This article originally appeared in The Savannah Tribune

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Black History

“Colored Graveyard” Memorial Garden Dedication Held At SSU

THE SAVANNAH TRIBUNE — We often say in jest that we are going to the plantation when we really mean going to work. But a few years ago, construction workers of a new science and technology building at Savannah State University found signs of human remains. A new discussion began about the fact that this place was a plantation, the Placentia Plantation, located in between Thunderbolt and Skidaway Road in Savannah.

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Colored Graveyard (Photo by: savannahtribune.com)
By Tina A. Brown

We often say in jest that we are going to the plantation when we really mean going to work. But a few years ago, construction workers of a new science and technology building at Savannah State University found signs of human remains.

A new discussion began about the fact that this place was a plantation, the Placentia Plantation, located in between Thunderbolt and Skidaway Road in Savannah.

The construction workers studied the dirt, and officials decided that though the “Colored Cemetery” was located somewhere in approximately 2.5 acres of the 700 acres where hundreds of men, women and children of enslaved people were buried here. There weren’t visible cemeteries on campus.

Some of us prayed for a resting place.

On Thursday, June 13, 2019, President Cheryl Davenport Dozier called together the community’s elders, ministers, professors, staff and groundsmen and women to pay homage to the enslaved people who toiled in the rice fields for hundreds of years before they were freed. She created a memorial garden. The garden is situated on the academic quad between Asa H. Gordon Library and the Sciences and Technology Building.

As far as we know, she is the 13th permanent president at the university and she created this type of official memorial for the first time. The Georgia Assembly created the Georgia State Industrial College to Colored Youth in 1891.

Thirteen other burial sites at churches, plantations and family memorials are located across Georgia are advertised. Last fall, some students at the University of Georgia wrote a resolution asking for officials to honor the enslaved people and to create a memorial there.

Perhaps, some of the descendants of Placentia’s plantation were present with alumni, friends and newcomers during the ceremony for the memorial. They lifted up a libation. They recognize that are able to study in a place that enslaved people could not. It was unlawful.

Other voices rang out: Elder Kwabena Bernard Jones, the Rev. Matthew Southall Brown Sr., Asiaunnya Bryant, Otis S. Johnson, Amir Jamal Toure, Peggy Blood, Ian Sainvil, Jessica Marsh, Andrew Okordudu, Clyde Newton, Nazil Compaore, Carolyn Vann Jordan and the Rev. Bernard Clarke. They shared inspirational words.

Dozier knew that some of us recognize the importance of history and the importance of speaking words for those of us who survived the Transatlantic African Slave Trade in the Middle Passage. Those of our ancestors were strong people, who built the pyramids and building this country. Some of us have been to the “No Return” at the shores of Ghana, Senegal, Nigeria and we’ve promised to return home to the Americas. The Sankofa, a Ghanian symbol, shows the importance of reaching back, gaining knowledge and giving it back.

I stood in gap holding a plaque of Sankofa, a picture of a bird looking backward, as our students Okordodu and Compaore shared how grateful they are that they are able to travel across the world to attend college on the site of a former plantation.

We heard the drums. Felt woven fabric. And, prayed again.

And, in unison, the group surrounded the palm trees and bushes around the mediation bench, and announced, “Aye,” a statement in Swahili in agreement.

On the Plaque: “This memorial garden is dedicated to the memory of enslaved African Americans labored and died on the 700-acre rice Placentia Plantation that was established in the eighteenth century, between the town of Thunderbolt and Skidaway Road in Savannah. The exact location of“colored graveyard” is not known, but it is believed to have been in this vicinity.This garden is in memorial to the enslaved families who were prohibited from learning to read and write but had hopes and dreams of freedom, equality, justice and education for future generations. It is fitting their final resting place is now an institute of higher education.

This article originally appeared in The Savannah Tribune

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Education

Lang Proposes Savannah State and Georgia Southern Armstrong Campus Voting Precincts

THE SAVANNAH TRIBUNE — Chatham County Board of Elections member Antwan T. Lang is trying to make voting easier for citizens, especially the younger generation. Lang says, “In an effort to increase voting among younger citizens and engage college students in the voting process in Chatham County, I will be proposing to the board to make Savannah State University and Georgia Southern Armstrong campus their own “voting precinct” with a poll on both campuses for students.” After researching both campuses Lang believes their may be some levels of disenfranchisement of young voters on campus.

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Antwan T. Lang (Photo by: savannahtribune.com)

By The Savannah Tribune

Chatham County Board of Elections member Antwan T. Lang is trying to make voting easier for citizens, especially the younger generation. Lang says, “In an effort to increase voting among younger citizens and engage college students in the voting process in Chatham County, I will be proposing to the board to make Savannah State University and Georgia Southern Armstrong campus their own “voting precinct” with a poll on both campuses for students.” After researching both campuses Lang believes their may be some levels of disenfranchisement of young voters on campus.

Savannah State University currently shares two addresses that students can use to register to vote in Chatham County. Approximately 1,500 to 2,000 students are registered using

(3219 College St), while approximately 155 to 200 students are registered to (147 Tompkins Rd) which is considered the University Commons (a section of college apartments purchased by the Universities Foundation). Currently students registered to the “College St” address are assigned to vote in the 3-10 precinct and their polling location is Bible Baptist church across from the school. However, students registered with the “Tompkins” address are assigned to vote at the Seventh Day Adventist Church down the street on La Roche Ave. Further research showed that the University Commons sits within the City of Savannah while the rest of the campus is in unincorporated Chatham County. Lang argues that students should be able to vote at one central location eliminating confusion as to where to vote. There is also a concern for students without a car who may want to vote but are discouraged because of a lack of transportation off campus to their assigned poll. His response, “This will ultimately allow students who choose to use the schools address as their home of record to be able to vote in local elections in without leaving campus.”

The Board of Elections of Chatham County functions as the superintendent of elections and conducts primaries and elections in accordance with State law. The Board of Elections of Chatham County holds its regular monthly meeting on the second Monday of every month at 3:30pm.

These meetings are open to the public.

This article originally appeared in The Savannah Tribune.

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The Savannah Tribune

Tybee Island Under Observation By The U.S. Department of Justice To Create A Fair Process on Special Events

THE SAVANNAH TRIBUNE — Thousands of beachgoers descended onto Tybee Island last weekend and they were under a microscope. They were observed by a representative of the U.S. Department of Justice, city officials, law enforcement and members of the Concerned Citizens of Tybee, dancing, frolicking, drinking alcoholic beverages, noise, traffic patterns.

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Tybee Island

By Tina A. Brown

Thousands of beachgoers descended onto Tybee Island last weekend and they were under a microscope. They were observed by a representative of the U.S. Department of Justice, city officials, law enforcement and members of the Concerned Citizens of Tybee, dancing, frolicking, drinking alcoholic beverages, noise, traffic patterns.

Orange Crush participants at the predominately black college aged gathering have faced aggressive regulations over the past three years by the city of Tybee. It prohibited open alcoholic beverages – something regularly allowed – traffic slowed to one-way motorists, traffic stops and property searches; limited housing rentals, noise and the closure of popular restaurants and businesses.

The Concerned Citizens of Tybee, who is made up of senior citizens complained how the “children were being mistreated,” said Julia Pearce, the organizer. And, the city reversed the alcoholic beverage law.

Pearce, an African American resident of Tybee for 22 years, says those kinds of regulations created Jim Crow ordinances – reminiscing before the civil rights laws were enacted in the 1960s. Others, like minded neighbors and friends, who are Caucasians like Philip T. Rosen and Jan Elders said, “their actions were racist”. Those words rang out Saturday morning during a meeting with Dion Lyons, a mediator for the U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Service, who is working with the city and the Concerned Citizens of Tybee to create a fair process on how events are handled fairly from one event to another.

Lisa Lepofsky, Philip T. Rosen and Julia Pearce, members of the Concerned Citizens of Tybee, discussed the ramifications of cancelling Orange Crush

Lisa Lepofsky, Philip T. Rosen and Julia Pearce, members of the Concerned Citizens of Tybee, discussed the ramifications of cancelling Orange Crush

Lyons asked how laws have changed since an agreement in July. It was written to look at whether the city is managing “high volume” events like St. Patrick’s Day, July Fourth and Orange Crush. He reminded them that meditation can’t “change hearts and minds. But it does observe the law.”

Lyons came to observe noise, traffic and law enforcement arrests. If he finds inconsistencies between the events, Lyons told the group that he would recommend action to the U.S. Attorney and it could become a legal issue.

“If (the city) is following the mediation, it won’t become a legal issue,” Lyons told them.

The agreement says in part: “Points of Agreement”

The participants in the mediation have agreed to support the recommendation to the City Council that the city develop across the board objective criteria that will be applied equally for all holiday and/or tourism events, permitted or unpermitted. The city will continue to apply the permitting process as it now exists or as hereinafter amended.

The participants in the mediation have agreed to support the recommendation to the City Council that these criteria will define and establish the thresholds at which the city will initiate actions such as, but not limited to:

Police presence and other public safety resources, restrictions on open containers of alcohol, traffic control measures, sanitary facilities, litter control, and noise abatement.” www.cityoftybee.org

As the group encouraged Lyons to look at the jersey barriers blocking residential areas, traffic cones limiting travel to one lane and signs, Lisa Lepofsky, another concerned citizen, stopped to answer a call on her cellular phone.

“Orange Crush has been cancelled,” she read from the Tybee Island Police Department’s Facebook page, which was later taken down. “A promoter was arrested for operating a disorderly house”, she continued.

Later it was reported that George “Mikey” Ransom Turner, III was accused of damaging a house during an overcrowded party on Friday and using a fake name. Officials said Turner also sold tickets for the Orange Crush parties on Eventbrite website.

That didn’t stop the beach party.

As a key observer, Pearce, the founder of the Tybee MLK committee, spent the day Saturday afternoon until Sunday morning observing the city’s actions and that of the young people at Orange Crush. City Manager Shawn Gillen and Mayor Jason Buelterman also watched the crowd.

By midday, Pearce, Gillen and Buelterman bumped into each other on Butler Avenue, a popular bar and restaurant street.

“It’s pretty quiet,’’ the mayor said. “Everyone’s dancing and too much smoking of weed,’’ he said in jest.

Pearce nodded and she took photos with them. She also tried to document and photograph all types of events from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. She noted twerking competitions with women wearing thongs, and men gambling on the bridge surprised her. She spent a lot of time observing before she moved on. Later police officers surrounded the gamblers who were playing the red top game on a miniature carpet and flashed $100 bills.

The entire Tybee police force, Chatham County Police, Chatham County Sheriff, Georgia State troopers and undercover detectives – amounted to about 100 law enforcement officers who patrolled traffic and foot patrols for Orange Crush. It’s about four times more police than a regular weekend. There were approximately dozen people arrested on various misdemeanor charges over the weekend.

The city is also installing new vehicle license software to determine if the vehicle was legally on the roadway and whether the motorists have warrants. Gillen said by the end of the year, the scanners will be placed at the entrance of the bridge so that anyone traveling to Tybee Island will be checked.

“The mediation is working,” Gillen nodded as he walked the streets watching the visitors.

He said the council did not mention the alcoholic ordinance this year. It focused upon crowd control and traffic.

Lyons said he’d be back in July to observe the Independence Day festivities to compare how those beachgoers are treated.

This article originally appeared in The Savannah Tribune

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Politics

Bernetta Lanier Announces For 1st Aldermanic District Seat

THE SAVANNAH TRIBUNE — Bernetta Lanier announced her bid to run for the 1st District Seat on Savannah’s City Council on Tuesday, April 30, 2019 outside of the Hudson Hill Community Center. This is her 2nd bid for the seat. Four years ago she challenged the then 12-year incumbent. Mrs. Lanier is a 4th generation resident of her neighborhood. She is President of Hudson Hill Community Organization, a Community Advocate for Greater West Savannah and she is Founder of Ivory Bay Community Development Corporation.

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Photo by: savannahtribune.com

By The Savannah Tribune

Bernetta Lanier announced her bid to run for the 1st District Seat on Savannah’s City Council on Tuesday, April 30, 2019 outside of the Hudson Hill Community Center. This is her 2nd bid for the seat. Four years ago she challenged the then 12-year incumbent. Mrs. Lanier is a 4th generation resident of her neighborhood. She is President of Hudson Hill Community Organization, a Community Advocate for Greater West Savannah and she is Founder of Ivory Bay Community Development Corporation.

From the last election until this time, she has continued to work for the people by using her unique skill-set for community building and organizing. Her focus areas are “Smart Growth and Development” and “Building Wealth in Low-Wealth Communities”. Now with the 1st District Seat being vacated, Bernetta Lanier plans to elevate her work to the next level and close what she has dubbed “the Citizens Gap”.

Bernetta’s campaign slogan is…“It’s the People’s Time!”

This article originally appeared in The Savannah Tribune.

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Business

Carver Shareholders Elect Two New Directors

THE SAVANNAH TRIBUNE — During their annual meeting held April 16, 2019, the shareholders of Carver Financial Corporation elected Cathy P. Hill and Reverend Da’Henri Thurmond to the corporation’s Board of Directors. Carver Financial Corporation is the bank holding company that owns Carver State Bank.

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Carver Board of Directors L-R:: William E. Stiles, Edward G. Miller, Cathy Hill, Robert E. James, Robert E. James, II, Da’Henri Thurmond and E. Bruce Adams
By The Savannah Tribune

During their annual meeting held April 16, 2019, the shareholders of Carver Financial Corporation elected Cathy P. Hill and Reverend Da’Henri Thurmond to the corporation’s Board of Directors. Carver Financial Corporation is the bank holding company that owns Carver State Bank.

Reverend Thurmond is currently the Senior Pastor of St. Paul C. M. E. Church in Savannah, Georgia. In July 2008, Rev. Thurmond was appointed Pastor in Charge at St. Paul where, at that time, Rev. Dr. Henry R. Delaney was the Senior Pastor. In July 2009, Rev. Thurmond was became the Senior Pastor at St. Paul.

Prior to becoming accepting the call to become a preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ, Reverend Thurmond was employed as a Respiratory Therapy Supervisor and a Senior Clinical Oncology Specialist in pharmaceutical and biologic sales For four years, he served under Rev. Dr. Donald Jordan, pastor of the Trinity C. M. E. Church in Augusta, Georgia. In 2005, he was appointed pastor of the Rock of Ages C. M. E. Church of Augusta.

A native of Augusta, Reverend Thurmond, Sr. is the third of four children born to the late Mr. Earl H. Thurmond, Sr. and the late Maxine Thurmond. He received his early education in the Richmond County, Georgia school system and is a graduate of Westside Comprehensive High School. He graduated from Georgia Southern University where he was inducted into the Gamma Beta Phi Honor Society. He is a magna cum laude graduate of the Medical College of Georgia where he was inducted into the IMHOTEP society as well as Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities with a Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy. He is a 2015 magna cum laude graduate of the Interdenominational Theological Center, Phillips School of Theology with a Masters in Divinity, where he received the Bishop Thomas L. Hoyt Scholarship and the Isaac B. Clark Preaching Award. He is currently pursuing the Doctor of Ministry designation from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.

Rev. Thurmond currently serves as the Chairman for the Joint Board of Finance for the Central Georgia Region and a member of the General Connectional Board of the C. M. E. Church. He was a delegate to the 2010, 2014 and 2018 C. M. E. General Conferences and the World Methodist Conference in Durban, South Africa. He serves on the Board of Directors of Step Up Savannah and is a member of the the African American Ministers Leadership Coalition, the Savannah Alliance of Pastors and a mentor at Otis Brock Elementary. He is a proud life member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.

Rev. Thurmond and his wife, Antionette Johnson Thurmond, are the parents of a son, D. Ramsey, Jr., and a daughter, Barbara Maxine.

Cathy Hill is Founder and President of The Plummer – Hill Group, LLC providing professional services that include business development and strategic planning. She is also a Managing Director with Golden Seeds, Inc., a discerning network of investors, seeking and funding high-potential, women-led businesses. Hill retired from Georgia Power after 33 years having held management positions in real estate, transportation fleet operations, engineering, power delivery, customer service, external affairs and assistant to the president & CEO.

As Georgia Power’s Land vice president, Hill led efforts to acquire, protect and manage the company’s real estate assets that included 85,000 acres of land, 60,000 acres of water, 4,000 leased lake front properties and six full-service campgrounds. She oversaw the company’s largest real estate sale, acquisition of properties for critical service lines, timber harvesting, reforestation and wildlife enhancement efforts, as well as land engineering, record services, and Georgia Power archives.

Hill also served as vice president of Coastal Region from 2008 to 2016. In Coastal Region, which includes Savannah, she provided overall leadership for engineering, construction, sales, customer service, economic development, governmental relations and community development. Under her leadership, more than $450 million in capital investments were made to upgrade UD network, distribution and transmission systems in coastal Georgia.

Hill received a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Georgia Tech and a Master of Business Administration degree from Georgia State University. She completed the executive management program at Harvard University. As a 2010 fellow of the International Women’s Forum, she studied at the prestigious Judge School of Business at Cambridge University. Hill is a graduate of Leadership Georgia, the Regional Leadership Institute and Leadership Atlanta.

Hill is currently a member of the Savannah State University Foundation. She is a past-chairman of the Board of Directors of Armstrong State University, Armstrong State University

Educational Properties Foundation, Creative Coast, and United Way of the Coastal Empire. In addition to serving on the board of directors for 8 years, she served as vice-chairman of the Savannah Economic Development Authority. Hill also served on the board of directors for the Georgia Natural Resources Foundation, Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce, Savannah Technical College, Georgia Tech – Savannah, Ossabaw Island Foundation, Step Up Savannah, Memorial Medical Health Foundation, MDC, Inc. and SunTrust Bank – Savannah. She currently serves on the Board of the Georgia Tech Alumni Association and Georgia’s WIN List.

Governor Nathan Deal issued a resolution in 2017 and the state of Georgia’s House and Senate issued 2009 resolutions commending Hill for her professional and civic work. She was honored as 2017 Woman of the Year by the United Way of the Coastal Empire’s Women’s Legacy Council. In 2015, the King Tisdale Cottage Foundation presented Hill with the Reverend James M. Simms Public Service Award. She was awarded the “2014 Community Star” by Georgia Ports Authority, 2014 “Woman of Distinction” by Girl Scouts of the Coastal Empire and 2014 “Hero” by the American Red Cross for lifetime professional and community achievements.

Hill and her husband, Mitchell, reside in McDonough, Georgia with their two children Mitchell, Jr. and Candace.

Chartered on February 23, 1927, Carver is the oldest bank headquartered in Savannah. Only 21 of the almost 5000 banks in the United States are owned by African Americans and Carver is one of the older of these institutions. Most of the other banks that are owned by African Americans are located in much larger metropolitan areas.

The other Carver Directors who were reelected are Robert E. James, E. Bruce Adams, E. G. Miller, William E. Stiles, Sr. and Robert E. James, II.

This article originally appeared in The Savannah Tribune

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