Learn about our areas of experties involving state crimes, and better understand your rights.
Learn about our areas of experties involving state crimes, and better understand your rights.
If you are accused of a crime, the only thing standing between your freedom and a verdict of "guilty" is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Talahi Island, GA.
Those who have been arrested before know that life in the legal system is no laughing matter. Aside from the imminent ramifications of fines and jail time, any goals you have of bettering yourself and advancing your life could be compromised. Without a trusted attorney by your side, you could face a lifetime of embarrassment and poor employment prospects due to a tarnished criminal record.
The good news? Dennis O'Brien and his team of experienced lawyers in Talahi Island are ready to clear your name. By retaining the help of a criminal defense attorney early in the legal process, you have a much better chance of securing your freedom and living a life as a productive member of society.
At O'Brien Law Firm PC, our practice was founded to fight for the rights of individuals accused of or charged with a crime. Our team of legal experts is well-equipped to take even the most difficult, contentious cases. From violent felonies to DUI, there is nothing we haven't seen and handled. As a former law enforcement officer, founding attorney Dennis O'Brien knows exactly how much a person can lose if convicted. That's why we work tirelessly to secure a verdict that is favorable for our clients.
Regardless of how serious or minor your case may be, know that we will fight fearlessly on your behalf. You deserve zealous representation - when you hire O'Brien Law Firm PC, you will receive nothing less.
Many of our clients are surprised to discover that founding lawyer Dennis O'Brien was a police officer prior to his criminal defense career. As a former Field Training Officer for the Memphis Police Department, he has over two decades of knowledge and experience in the criminal justice system. Dennis truly understands the nuance and complexities involved in a criminal defense case. This rare experience gives Dennis a clear edge in any criminal defense case and gives clients priceless peace of mind when they need it the most. Unlike some criminal defense attorneys in Talahi Island, Dennis O'Brien and his team believe that every client deserves effective, empathetic legal assistance. While some Talahi Island criminal defense firms will take weekends off or pass along cases to paralegals, Dennis personally reviews each of his cases. There is no case too small or big for O'Brien Law Firm PC. When you hire our firm, you can rest easy knowing that we will be by your side when the going gets tough.
When you are charged with a drug crime in Talahi Island, it can change your life forever. Georgia imposes very strict punishments for drug offenses. The truth is, it's hard to get your life back on track with a drug charge on your record. Your freedom and way of life could be in the hands of your criminal defense attorney. As such, you need a competent lawyer with years of experience handling drug cases. Leaving your fate in the hands of an incompetent attorney could have long-lasting effects on your family and may result in a conviction.
While the consequences for a drug crime in Georgia are serious, there's reason to be hopeful: O'Brien Law Firm PC is here to fight for you. Remember - being charged with a drug crime is NOT the same thing as being convicted.
Our stellar team has represented many clients facing numerous drug-related charges. While each situation varies, one constant remains the same for clients facing drug charges: a fear of what lies ahead. At O'Brien Law Firm PC our job is to help you overcome the fear of the unknown. We do so by ensuring you understand your charges, the possible outcomes associated with those charges, and the options you need to consider from a criminal defense standpoint.
No matter what charge you are facing, our team has the experience and resources to build a comprehensive defense strategy for your drug case in Talahi Island, GA. Without a criminal defense attorney acting as your advocate, you could be facing very harsh penalties. Here are a few punishments you could be facing for drug crimes in Talahi Island:
Having less than a gram (or one milliliter for liquids) of this type of drug results in a prison term of one to three years. Having four grams or milliliter carries a term of one to eight years.
Any substance on this list is punishable by a prison sentence of one to three years.
If you have less than two grams or milliliters of this substance, punishments can be between one year and three years. Having up to four grams or milliliters results in a prison sentence of one to eight years.
Those who are in possession of less than an ounce of marijuana are subject to a jail sentence of up to 12 months. Fines may be no more than $1,000. Possession of more than an ounce of marijuana can result in a prison term of one to 10 years.
To avoid these life-changing punishments, you must take action now. Contact O'Brien Law Firm today for a consultation about your case.Contact Me!
Violent crime offenses in Talahi Island typically involve some form of bodily harm to another individual, actions committed against an individual's will, or threatening someone with bodily harm. Aggravated violent offenses are more severe charges and often occur when a violent crime is made more serious due to circumstances like deadly weapons.
Much like serious drug cases, violent crimes create an added layer of negativity that follows the accused for the rest of their life. In these cases, even an accusation is enough to cause irreparable damage to a person's reputation. Those convicted of a violent crime face severe penalties that can include years in a correctional facility.
When you are accused of any of the above crimes, your freedom hangs in the balance. The outcome of your case will determine whether you leave the courtroom with your freedom intact or stripped away to serve time behind bars. Because the punishments for violent crimes are so extreme, you should be seeking legal counsel from a criminal defense attorney in Talahi Island, GA, as soon as possible. As a former police officer with a long record of positive verdicts in violent crime cases, Dennis O'Brien is well equipped to represent you in court.
|Having a criminal defense lawyer by your side is the best way to avoid the serious punishments associated with violent crimes. These punishments usually result in prison time if convicted and include:|
|Forced rape:||20 years|
|Armed robbery:||Up to 20 years|
|Simple assault:||Up to 12 months|
|Aggravated assault:||10 to 20 years|
|Aggravated battery:||Up to 20 years|
|Involuntary manslaughter:||One to 20 years|
|Vehicular homicide||Up to 15 years|
|Murder:||Life in prison or the death sentence|
As a former police officer, Dennis O'Brien has seen the toll it takes on a person when charged with a crime. His time in law enforcement allows him to empathize with his clients who desperately need competent representation. Despite being innocent until proven guilty, accusations are scary, and conviction could be a reality. That is why you must work with a trustworthy criminal defense lawyer in Talahi Island, GA who will work tirelessly to clear your name.
Clients choose O'Brien Law Firm because we believe in open communication, honesty, and hard work. It is not our job to act as judges for those who have been accused of crimes. Rather, our goal is to find the best defense that allows us to protect our clients' rights and freedoms.
Driving under the influence (DUI) is one of the most common crimes committed in Georgia. Punishments for such a crime can be severe, and for understandable reasons - when a person operates a vehicle while they are intoxicated, they're putting their life and the lives of others at risk.
While DUI is a serious crime that completely upend the accused's life, the earnest desire to end drunk driving can make police officers too eager to catch a person who they believe is under the influence.
The city of Talahi Island, Georgia, has implemented severe punishments for DUI, even for first-time offenders. Individuals charged with DUI in Talahi Island could face:
Fortunately, if you or someone you love has been charged with DUI, there is hope. This is particularly true when the accused is administered a breath or blood test for DUI. In fact, cases that involve a breath and/or blood test are beaten daily. When you hire O'Brien Law Firm PC, we will dive deep into your DUI case in Talahi Island and examine every angle possible for your case to be dismissed. Here are just a few questions our team will investigate:
There are numerous ways to beat a DUI case in Georgia, from unreliable field sobriety tests to inaccurate state-administered breath tests. As a veteran criminal defense lawyer in Talahi Island, GA, Dennis O'Brien has the knowledge and experience to expose the state's mistakes and fight for your rights. When you hire O'Brien Law Firm PC your chances of dismissal are greatly increased. When your case is dismissed, you can continue living life without the burden of a criminal record.
If you or someone you love is accused of a crime in Talahi Island, GA, don't leave fate up to the prosecution. Take the necessary steps to protect yourself and your family before it's too late.Contact us
email@example.comRepresentatives from the National Weather Service in Charleston were out on Wilmington and Whitemarsh islands on Sunday to assess the damage caused by a Saturday afternoon tornado.Warning Coordination Meteorologist Ron Morales said the tornado first touched down near Savannah Yacht Club around 5 p.m. Saturday on Whitemarsh Island as an EF-0. The tornado headed east, where it reached EF-1 speeds over Turner Rock.It dissipated near the Ace Hardware on Johnny Mercer Boulevard, causing ...
Representatives from the National Weather Service in Charleston were out on Wilmington and Whitemarsh islands on Sunday to assess the damage caused by a Saturday afternoon tornado.
Warning Coordination Meteorologist Ron Morales said the tornado first touched down near Savannah Yacht Club around 5 p.m. Saturday on Whitemarsh Island as an EF-0. The tornado headed east, where it reached EF-1 speeds over Turner Rock.
It dissipated near the Ace Hardware on Johnny Mercer Boulevard, causing structural damage to the Goodwill in the shopping center and knocking down non-electrical lines in the parking lot.
A tornado's EF rating, or the Enhanced Fujita scale, is how NWS categorizes the intensity of tornadoes. EF-1 tornado wind speeds top out between 86 and 110 mph.
The most notable structural damage, Morales said, came at the Yacht Club and the shopping center.
At the yacht club, a boat was flipped upside down on a dock, and a boat hoist was flung from its structure.
He said many large trees were damaged in the Turners Rock community, some of which were uprooted.
The tornado was between 100-200 yards wide and traveled around two miles total “in a matter of minutes,” Morales said.
Chatham County’s outdoor tornado warning siren did not activate during the tornado.
Glasby said the siren relies on a stream from the National Weather Service, and that stream was undergoing maintenance at the time of the tornado.
CEMA released a statement on Twitter: "After initial investigation, it has been determined that the National Weather Service server that pushes information to the siren controller was offline for maintenance. Notice of this planned maintenance was not communicated to CEMA's vendor, WeatherWarn, or CEMA."
Glasby suggested downloading weather and local media apps and not relying solely on the siren. CEMA also has an online alert system.
“We ask that people don’t depend on one thing,” Glasby said.
Chatham Emergency Services CEO Chuck Kearns was out at the scene of the damage on Saturday.
“Right around 5 in the afternoon, the dispatch radio just came alive. It was ‘respond to the Yacht Club, respond to multiple addresses around Johnny Mercer,’ and it just started raining really hard. I said to my wife, ‘I gotta go, this sounds like a tornado.’”
Kearns said Fire and EMS responded to the Yacht Club, Cancun Restaurant on Wilmington Island and the Ace Hardware shopping center.
“Down at Cancun, we had an interesting challenge because there were wires down, and they were only about four feet off the ground, strung across the parking lot, and all the people on the other side of them, wanting to get out and go home,” Kearns said. “We had to say, ‘Please don’t.’”
CES had to hold the people inside until Georgia Power confirmed that the wires were not electrical.
The Chatham County Mosquito Control helicopter was deployed to a grassy area near the shopping center, where pilots picked up Chatham Fire Chief Wayne Noha.
They flew Noha back to the Yacht Club, where he began scouting for additional damage.
“They went out by the Yacht Club, and they just circled the area, the path. They were calling it in to fire trucks on the ground,” Kearns said. “There was a house that had a tree on it, so we dispatched a fire truck from the helicopter.”
“They worked their way back and gave damage assessments to us on the ground,” Kearns said.
After the storm
On Sunday, the Yacht Club was operating like any other Sunday. Folks wandered down to the docks to take photos of the flipped boat, precariously balanced upside down at a 45-degree angle.
Former Savannah Yacht Club Commodore Jim McCallar was there to make sure his boat wasn’t damaged, but his path to inspect it was blocked by the flipped craft.
“It was very select. It’s an extremely rare thing,” McCallar said. “That’s pretty scary when you look at something like that.”
The only person injured by the storm was hit with flying drywall at the Yacht Club. Kearns said the injuries were non-life-threatening, but the individual was taken to an area hospital to be treated.
Out on Wilmington Island, Jason Marshall, the chief operating officer for Goodwill of Southeast Georgia, helped staff accept donations despite the damage to the store.
Marshall and the Goodwill staff are waiting for a structural assessment, set to be conducted this week, to determine when the store will be open again.
“The awning blew up over the top and came down on the roof, so we’ve got some pretty big holes in the roof of the store, some water damage inside,” Marshall said. “That damaged some of the merchandise as well as some of the interior of the store.”
A large Goodwill truck sat outside the damaged building on Sunday, and workers took turns loading in donations.
Marshall said around a dozen people — both employees and shoppers — were inside at the time of the tornado, but no one was hurt.
“Our store manager here, Afra Barnett, was able to get everybody sheltered in place, safe back away from the windows. She got everybody moved back just as the front glass blew in and the awning blew up off the top. It was amazing that there were no injuries, but she did a fantastic job.”
The donation truck will be operating the same hours as the store, and a donation box at the Whitemarsh Island Plaza will also be accepting donations.
“We desperately need those donations, so keep 'em pouring in,” Marshall said.
Morales said this is the time of year most tornadoes happen in the Southeast, and after a few tornadoes in the islands area in recent years, they’re starting to take notice of the trend.
He suggested residents have a plan of action in place, so in the event of a tornado, they know what to do.
Morales said have a safe area in a basement, safe room, or an interior room away from windows. If a tornado appears while driving, the best course of action is to drive to the closest shelter. If you are unable to make it to a safe shelter, either get down in your car and cover your head.
“We’re lucky. It could’ve been a lot worse,” Kearns said.
The boat at the Yacht Club was not on the hoist at the time of the tornado. A previous version of this story incorrectly identified the sequence of events.
Savannah's small size doesn’t mean it lacks distinct neighborhoods, each with their own character and reasons to visit.From the picturesque Downtown to the artsy Starlands, each neighborhood has its own distinct charm. It's the perfect city to explore on foot as there's so much to discover and the green spaces and parks are among the best you'll find in an urban setting. Here’s everything you need to know about the top neighbo...
Savannah's small size doesn’t mean it lacks distinct neighborhoods, each with their own character and reasons to visit.
From the picturesque Downtown to the artsy Starlands, each neighborhood has its own distinct charm. It's the perfect city to explore on foot as there's so much to discover and the green spaces and parks are among the best you'll find in an urban setting. Here’s everything you need to know about the top neighborhoods in Savannah.
Best for history buffs
Best for being in the heart of the hustle and bustle, Downtown Savannah is full of charm and Southern hospitality but its also one of the nation's most notable historic districts. The neighborhood is composed of Savannah's historic squares, museums, homes, restaurants and other structures dating back hundreds of years.
The 22 historic squares, each located within the downtown historic district, provide common areas for public use and recreation, which include benches and shaded areas for picnics. They are mostly 200 x 200 ft.
The neighborhood boasts some of the best museums in the country like the Telfair Academy – the oldest public art museum in the South, dating back to 1886. There are over 6300 works of art ranging from American Impressionism to European sculpture.
The Savannah History Museum contains more than 10,000 artifacts dating back to 1733 when Savannah was incorporated. The Railroad Museum is a National Historic Landmark and is located in the former Central of Georgia Railway.
For a killer brunch, visit The Collins Quarter (don’t miss their Lavender Mocha either); for dinner head to a.Lure for low-country gourmet or B. Matthew’s Eatery for some southern fusion fare. A few perennial Savannah favorites include The Olde Pink House or Mrs Wilkes Dining Room. Local favorite Zunzi’s serves South African sandwiches of all types. People line up around the block at peak times for these sandwiches, especially the Godfather. Top places to stay in the neighborhood include the Alida or the Tryp by Wyndham.
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Best for art lovers
About a mile south of Forsyth Park is the Starlands District. Though the streets are lined with art galleries and other creative establishments, it’s the beautiful homes and even office buildings that draw visitors in. Filled with character, there aren’t your average ho-hum residences.
When not marveling at the architecture, visitors also love taking pictures of the many murals found throughout the neighborhood. For the best tiki oasis (yes, a tiki bar in Savannah) you could ever hope to find, head to the Water Witch Tiki, named after a famed (and possibly haunted) Union ship that was burned off the coast of Savannah in 1864. Try the Banana Spliff made with dark rum, bourbon, banana liquor, Mezcal, bitters and smoked or the Witch's Stash made with gin, chartreuse tincture, pear liquor, agave syrup, citrus and grapefruit bitters.
Save time for a pitstop at Back in the Day Bakery to try one of the Biscones, a cross between a biscuit and a scone. Starland is also fantastic for shoppers, especially those with a penchant for vintage items. Check out The Cottage Shop and Graveface Records & Curiosities.
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Best for romantic getaways
The dreamy Victorian-style homes are abundant in this neighborhood, just south of the Historic District. Check out Ardsley Park, the oldest subdivision in Savannah, where you can catch a glimpse of classic Victorian architecture. For those who prefer a B&B over a huge hotel, there are plenty of delightful options to be found here. This is an especially nice area for couples on a romantic trip.
The neighborhood is also home to the 30-acre Forsyth Park, with the prominent white fountain, that’s the focal point of many visitors’ photographs. The luxurious Mansion on Forsyth is the perfect choice for an indulgent stay, while the Printmaker’s Inn is more subtle, though no less beautiful in its own discreet way, option for those who prefer a more homely feel.
For upscale dishes visit 700 Drayton – connected to the Mansion on Forsyth – and for a local favorite that’s more casual check out Betty Bomber’s for terrific burgers and sandwiches.
Best for nature lovers
Moon River District is just 20 minutes south of downtown. Here’s where you’ll find Skidaway Island State Park where you can walk the six miles of trails and later on visit the Wormsloe Historic Site also in the neighborhood.
This beautiful natural landscape is located between the village of Isle of Hope, which is bordered by Skidaway River, and the Wassaw National Wildlife Refuge – one of the largest islands in the Savannah region. For eats, there are wonderful seafood restaurants like Pearl’s Saltwater Grill, Wyld and Castaways, which is dog-friendly.
Best for shopping
You'll find incredible restaurants, and a number of locally owned shops, just about three miles from downtown. The 12 Oaks shopping center, Habersham Village and Abercorn Walk are all fun options for shopping. Locals love the nearby Bella's Italian Cafe, Hirano's, and Bar Food in Habersham Village. For southern food, visit Sweet Potatoes Kitchen. The corn pudding and the homemade biscuits are always a good decision. Oh and please don’t forget the fried chicken.
In terms of lodging, you won’t find any boutique hotels in this neighborhood but the Hampton Inn and Fairfield Inn are solid options.
Best for families
Savannahians love Tybee Island. Located just a half hour's drive from Downtown Savannah, the five-mile beach town remains family-friendly, but in recent years has become a tourist hotspot. From the restaurants and bars to the shops and hotels, everything is casual on Tybee, whether you're looking for relaxation or a good time. Many hotels, like the historic DeSoto Beach Hotel or the full-service Hotel Tybee, provide direct access to the beach.
The Tybee Marine Science Center and the Tybee Island Light Station are great for a change of pace from the beach. The center also offers an eclectic selection of art galleries and stores.
Tybee boasts a variety of casual restaurants that will satisfy even the pickiest eaters, from the Caribbean-inspired North Beach Bar & Grill to the superb lunch and dinner spot Sundae Cafe. The Crab Shack serves some of the best steamed seafood in town. A half-pound snow crab and half-pound shrimp make up the “Half & Half”, a heaping platter of food that will satisfy even the biggest appetite.
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Best for getting away from it all
Some of Savannah's most desirable residential neighborhoods are located on its islands, which offer lovely marsh views and a retreat from the thriving city center. Wilmington and Whitemarsh are larger islands with thousands of residents, whereas Talahi Island is smaller and more rural.
About six miles outside of downtown Savannah, Whitemarsh Island (pronounced “witmarsh”) is made up of a series of islands south of the Savannah River. Nearby Whitemarsh Preserve provides hiking and biking trails.
Approximately 15,000 permanent residents live on Wilmington Island, roughly 11 miles northeast of downtown Savannah. Visitors to Wilmington Island can go on boat tours, fishing charters and Daufuskie Island day trips from Bull River Marina. If you prefer to stay on dry land, check out golf and other recreational amenities at Savannah Country Club.
A second island between Savannah and the sea, Talahi Island lies along US 80 (the Islands Expressway) near Wilmington Island and is about eight miles from the center of Savannah. There are fewer than 2000 permanent residents on the island, which is predominantly residential.
It’s a heavily wooded area and quite rural – perfect for those looking to get away from it all in nature. During the warmer months (March through June and September through December), the Islands Farmers Market operates every Saturday.
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - A Wilmington Island family’s home has caught the eyes of hundreds over the last month - especially at night.About 12 years ago the light display started with just a few white lights. Over the years the tradition has become a part of the Edge family. Now they have about 750,000 lights in their front yard that shine bright every night.A string of lights on the front porch was once the Edge family’s Christmas decor.“Now, it’s all of this,” homeowner, Carole Edge.Ov...
SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - A Wilmington Island family’s home has caught the eyes of hundreds over the last month - especially at night.
About 12 years ago the light display started with just a few white lights. Over the years the tradition has become a part of the Edge family. Now they have about 750,000 lights in their front yard that shine bright every night.
A string of lights on the front porch was once the Edge family’s Christmas decor.
“Now, it’s all of this,” homeowner, Carole Edge.
Over the years, their front yard became a Christmas light spectacle and a home to thousands and thousands of light bulbs.
“I can’t even begin to know how many lights he’s bought and how many lights we have,” said Edge.
Carole Edge said her husband considers the light display his pride and joy. Edge said every year his creation grows.
“Five or six new pieces some years. Some years it’s a lot of pieces,” said Edge.
In about a month and a half, the Edge family and crew put out the lights. The hardest part they say is figuring out where to plug everything in and get everything to run smoothly.
“We’ve got a great electrician. We’ve got more power than most people would have in their house. There are three-panel boxes now,” said Edge.
Edge said they almost didn’t put the lights up this year, but quickly realized they needed to.
“This year, above all others, people need to forget what’s going on with the politics and the COVID and we did it. I think just for a few minutes everybody gets their mind off of everything and all they see is this happiness and joy.”
Edge said there were some things they couldn’t do this year, but they made sure that they did what they could to give back.
“People have really been giving, so it was nice to be able to hand him that check.”
Edge said with the monetary donations people who came to see the lights gave, they were able to help a man with some of his medical bills and put away some for the upkeep of their lights.
“I’m so glad that we can do something to give back to the community. With all of the drama that’s going on in the world now, it does somebody’s heart good. Some of these kids they’ve been coming since they were little and now they’re grown up,” said Edge.
The family said they are beginning to run out of room, so they may have to do some readjusting next year. If you’re eager to see the lights, they will be out until the new year.
You can find the lights on N. Sheftall Circle on Wilmington Island.
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WILMINGTON ISLAND, GA (WTOC) - Some residents on Wilmington Island are seeing water bills from the City of Savannah as high as $400 or even above that.Those residents want answers on why they are having to pay so much for water and sewer services.A social media post involving over 50 people who live in the islands area is getting a conversation going all about this, and how much it is costing them.But social media isn't the only place to compare bills. Tuesday, this group of neighbors on Deerwood Road met up in a state o...
WILMINGTON ISLAND, GA (WTOC) - Some residents on Wilmington Island are seeing water bills from the City of Savannah as high as $400 or even above that.
Those residents want answers on why they are having to pay so much for water and sewer services.
A social media post involving over 50 people who live in the islands area is getting a conversation going all about this, and how much it is costing them.
But social media isn't the only place to compare bills. Tuesday, this group of neighbors on Deerwood Road met up in a state of disbelief. I spoke to the woman who took to the Wilmington Island Facebook page.
"Our bill has gone up from $145 to $265," said Stephanie Hiatt, a Wilmington Island resident.
Hiatt showed me her bill and others on her Facebook post showed what they are dealing with. You can see the difference in usage. We heard of one mother's reaction when her daughter received an over $300 bill.
"She went into sticker shock because her bill has doubled and she has been gone for three weeks out of the billing cycle," said Teresa Mickey, whose daughter lives on Wilmington Island. "Her father has been checking for leaks since he has been here once she got the bill yesterday, and can't find any leaks. There's not any reason why it should be up. Even checked the mean and there was no leakage there and nothing to indicate why it would go up so much."
People are not being shy when it comes to their feelings on the subject. Lorin Titus said hers went from $115 to $300.
Sheila Hawkins says $450 with quadrupled usage on Islandwood. Eric Smith says his last bill was $250 and now it's $470.
"We have called repeatedly. We were told we have leaks," Hiatt said.
Hiatt says they have checked for leaks and is convinced everything is fine. And just like this woman, Heather Hurst, they say nothing has changed in my house.
The cost of sewer services is also an issue of question for many residents, knowing for many people it costs more than water usage. Here is the breakdown on Wilmington Island, the base charge is $13.20, it costs $5.05 for 15 units or under and $5.62 for over 15 units of water used.
"We don't know what to do, they said they will help but you call them and they can't do anything, so please help us," said Debbie Craig, a Wilmington Island resident.
I sent eight different addresses where people say they are having problems to the Revenue Director on Tuesday. City of Savannah's spokesperson tells me the usage is historically high this time of year for those homes but they are investigating those who called.
You are urged to call 311 to report an issue.
Jack Kronowitz is trudging through a muddy river bank, trying not to trip as he scans the ground for artifacts. Finally, he finds one — sort of.“There's a whole CD player in there,” Kronowitz says. “Like, circa 2005.”A bygone era, to be sure, but not quite the historical period that Kronowitz and his Georgia Southern University classmates are hoping to document at Young's Marina on Wilmington Island, just east of Savannah.As one of the oldest Black-owned marinas in Georgia, it's part of a ne...
Jack Kronowitz is trudging through a muddy river bank, trying not to trip as he scans the ground for artifacts. Finally, he finds one — sort of.
“There's a whole CD player in there,” Kronowitz says. “Like, circa 2005.”
A bygone era, to be sure, but not quite the historical period that Kronowitz and his Georgia Southern University classmates are hoping to document at Young's Marina on Wilmington Island, just east of Savannah.
As one of the oldest Black-owned marinas in Georgia, it's part of a new research project at GSU that seeks to fill in the gaps surrounding maritime history as it pertains to the experiences of African Americans.
“One of the things I've noticed about Savannah is that it's untapped in terms of this kind of history,” said GSU history professor Kurt Knoerl, whose maritime history students have gathered on a Saturday morning to map what appears, at first blush, to be abandoned railroad tracks.
In fact, they're old boat rails. Marina owner Sarah Suggs is excited to learn more about them, as they're what her grandfather Willie Young would use to lower his hand-built boats into Turner Creek off of the Wilmington River in the early 1900s, back when his business was called Young's Fishing Camp.
Maritime history students at Georgia Southern University measure old boat rails at Young's Marina.
Credit: Benjamin Payne / GPB News
Referring to the written report that the students are preparing for her, Suggs said, “It gives me an opportunity to be cautiously proud.”
Proud of the history behind the property — which Young bought with his brother-in-law William Soloman — but cautious about the obstacles that she and other Black business owners still face more than 100 years later.
“If you own a black business, it takes a lot longer to do anything,” Suggs said. “I've had projects that I'm responsible for — they've taken three-plus years. I've had people that don't know I'm Black, and once I come out that back door, I've seen people just get in their cars and leave. I've had a lot of my neighbors — they will bring their children to go down and look at the sailboats. [But] they would never do business with us.”
Still, Suggs says that things are better now than during her childhood, when her father Isaac Young owned the business.
Aside from Young's Marina, the research project has been studying a number of maritime sites where African American history runs deep, such as Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge along Blackbeard Creek between Savannah and Brunswick. Originally the home of a Gullah Geechee community, residents were displaced by the federal government during World War II to build an airfield.
Georgia Southern University history professor Kurt Knoerl gives instructions to his maritime history students on the dock of Young's Marina.
Credit: Benjamin Payne / GPB News
Looking ahead, Knoerl says that the overall project — supported by a grant from the Georgia Sea Grant College Program — has raised even more questions for future exploration.
“For instance, there are oyster processing places throughout the area that really haven't been explored or mapped out, other than Pinpoint Heritage Museum, which is wonderful, and they do a great job of that,” Knoerl said. “But that's one of many in the area. There is the boat-building tradition in Savannah that could use more study. So, deciding what to do next — it's a fun problem to have.”
The boat hoist at Young's Marina, one of the oldest African American-owned marinas in Georgia
Credit: Benjamin Payne / GPB News
Aside from archeology, other students are collecting oral histories, including childhood memories from Sarah Suggs.
“I knew how to put a boat in the hoist, and I don't think my daddy knew what I knew,” Suggs recounted. “So, one day I put a boat in the water, had the boat up in the air, about to go in the water. My daddy comes and he says, ‘Girls don't do that,’ and literally bumped me out of the way. So, the fact that I now keep the train on the track, I know my father is in heaven looking down — ‘That girl did it anyway.’”