Monthly Archives

February 2008

(Savannah) Coastal Georgia Greenway Discussed Meeting of U.S. Green Building Council

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The Savannah chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council will host a presentation March 25 about the planned Coastal Georgia Greenway system of hiking, biking, equestrian and water trails.

Jo Claire Hickson’s talk, “The Status of the Coastal Georgia / East Coast Greenway,” will give attendees information about current trail projects in Chatham County, as well as Bryan, Liberty, McIntosh, Glynn and Camden counties. To date, over $3 million has been raised toward trail master planning, design and trail construction.

Hickson will describe existing and planned trail projects and how they can benefit Georgians by improving easy access for outdoor exercise, providing new destination tourism activities for coastal tourists, improving quality of life for coastal residents and drawing new sustainable businesses here.

“The Coastal Georgia Greenway will bring sustainable jobs and economic development (estimated at $15 million annually) to Georgia’s coast,” Hickson said. “The 150-mile through-corridor trail will link South Carolina to Florida through Georgia’s six coastal counties. The 450-mile trail system will include bicycle, pedestrian, equestrian and water trails, and three ferries, so that trail users can experience Georgia’s exceptional history and coastal beauty at a relaxed pace.”

“The Coastal Georgia Greenway is a project whose time has come and I am looking for grass roots support of an initiative to fully fund the East Coast Greenway though-corridor route construction by 2020!,” she said.

The meeting is free and open to the public. It will be held from 5:45-7 p.m. Tuesday, March 25 at Wild Wing Cafe in City Market (on the second floor). RSVP by March 21 to Tommy Linstroth at:

Hickson wrote “The Coastal Georgia Alternative: Developing Heritage and Eco-tourism on the Coast,” the master plan that defines a 150-mile continuous trail linking South Carolina to Florida through Georgia’s six coastal counties. The master plan, completed in 2003, also defined a $40 million project budget. This route, when constructed, will become Georgia’s section of the East Coast Greenway, a trail linking cities between Calais, Maine, and Key West, Florida.

Armstrong Atlantic State University Center for Regional Analysis completed a market study and projected economic impact of the Coastal Georgia Greenway. The experts found that the project, if completed by 2020, can have an economic impact of $15 million per year for Georgia’s six coastal counties and can generate up to 285 jobs and other tax, property value, health and quality of life benefits.

Hickson is a landscape architect who has worked since 1994 in developing the Coastal Georgia Greenway. Since her retirement last year, she has been working with Herb Hiller, East Coast Greenway Alliance Coordinator for Georgia and Florida, and volunteer Dr. Drew Wade to organize grass roots support for Georgia’s coastal trail system.

The Savannah Chapter of the United States Green Building Council is dedicated to promoting sustainable design and green building throughout the Creative Coast. The group meets monthly on the fourth Tuesday of the month. Monthly meetings are held at the Wild Wing Cafe in City Market (on the second floor) unless otherwise noted. The meetings are open to the public, and everyone is encouraged to attend. The USGBC-Savannah Chapter seeks to educate the public on the long-term benefits of green building and how sustainable design can be integrated or implemented into one’s life.

Find out more about the Coastal Georgia Greenway at


(Savannah) Community-based MinuteFix Offers Consumers a New Choice for Getting Computer Help

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San Jose, California, February 20, 2008 – Tech support is now backed by the power of the community with the launch of MinuteFix, a community-based tech support service. Consumers can now get live support for any computer-related question or problem on a flexible, per-minute rate of $0.99 per minute. As a guarantee for the quality of the service, if the question or problem is not resolved, the session is free. Powered by a fast-growing global community of certified computer experts, the service is based on a model similar to other successful community services such as Wikipedia and eBay.

"Now anyone can get instant help for any technology problem" says CEO and Founder Diego Orjuela. "No matter what the question or problem might be we have experts available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week ready to help." Consumers can quickly and easily reach a live technician over the Internet and even receive remote support if necessary. The first version of the service provides instant chat support, around the clock. The service offers customers support for all versions of Windows including Vista. Antivirus and security support are also popular among consumers.

Eric Pine, an early user from Seattle, Washington finds getting quick access to computer support, an easy way to alleviate computer-induced headaches. "In a minute or two, I can get any computer problem solved, and my computer headaches go away. And," he says, "for $0.99 per minute, it seems completely worth it to me."

The service is powered by a community of certified technicians who are screened and tested after registering with the service. Many are certified by Microsoft and the Help Desk Institute. Working from home, and based around the world, technicians can log on and help users with their problems earning a share of the $0.99, on a scale, based on customers’ feedback.

Many of the MinuteFix Certified Technicians have previously worked at support centers for companies like Dell, Microsoft and GeekSquad. "The fact that the technicians belong to a community of like-minded professionals and can grow to their own potential while being able to work from home makes it very compelling." says Drew Odom, Community Manager for MinuteFix. Hundreds have already registered for the service.

The company, based in San Jose, California, is offering a free tech support during its beta period to consumers who would like to try out the service. The company was launched in February of 2008.

About MinuteFix
MinuteFix is a service that provides fast, instant tech help, over the Internet, for $0.99 per minute. Customers can get help for any computer problem or question 24 hours a day. Powered by a global community of experts, MinuteFix offers support for Windows computers, with a guarantee that the question or problem is solved, or the session is free. The service can be found at

(SAVANNAH, GA) The Savannah Movie Tour Visitor Information

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(SAVANNAH, GA) In celebration of the 80th annual Academy Awards, patrons of the Savannah Movie Tour will receive a free scoop of ice cream from Leopold’s Ice Cream. The offer coincides with the beginning of Academy Award week, Monday, February 18, and continues through the end of the month.

“The Savannah Movie Tour celebrates the many movies that have been filmed in Savannah over the years, and the Academy Awards celebrates the best in cinema each year,” says Savannah Movie Tours founder and CEO Ron Higgins, who adds that movies filmed in Savannah have won 10 Academy Awards. “Bringing patrons of the Savannah Movie Tour to Leopold’s—which is coincidentally owned by Stratton Leopold, a world-famous movie producer—couldn’t be a more perfect or delicious way to pay tribute to the 2008 Oscars.”

Higgins, a filmmaker and Savannah native, established the Savannah Movie Tour in 2003. The tour has been featured in publications including The Hollywood Reporter, The Dallas Morning News, The Miami Herald and the Atlanta-Journal Constitution.

Tour goers get an up close and personal glimpse of sites that have been immortalized in films, including the bench from “Forrest Gump,” the infamous Mercer House from “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” and the Six Pence Pub, which was featured in “Something to Talk About.” The tour leaves daily at 4 p.m. from the Savannah Visitor Information Center, 301 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

“Hollywood” Ron Higgins is a filmmaker who has been involved in numerous movies including “Forrest Gump,” “Training Day,” “Remember The Titans” and “Pearl Harbor.” He founded Savannah Movie Tours, Inc. in 2003 to give tourists a glimpse into Savannah’s rich movie history. Since then, he has expanded the company’s offerings to include the Scary Ghost Tour and Foody Tour Savannah. All tours are conducted on a luxury, air-conditioned bus, which is equipped with state-of-the-art LCD screens. For more information or to schedule a tour, call 912-234-3440 or visit

(Savannah, GA) Solar Power Jack Starr

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Go Solar … Go Green

The main message of today’s program is that we all, individually and collectively, must do whatever we can to improve energy efficiency and reduce energy demand. These are necessary, even admirable, goals. But they don’t go far enough. We must also develop clean, non-polluting, carbon-free sources of alternate energy. Otherwise, in this section of the country, that energy must come, and certainly will come, from fossil fuel or nuclear power.

This clean energy comes from only four sources: solar, wind, geothermal and micro hydro.  An added bonus: the fuel is free.

The area around Savannah and the Low Country has the highest number of solar hours of any region on the East Coast (with the exception of southern Florida). We do not have sufficient sustained winds for land-based wind turbines, but wind power does exist offshore Tybee Island (and we should move aggressively to install a pilot program). Geothermal-based systems can significantly reduce energy demand, though they are more applicable to new structures than retrofitting existing ones.  Micro hydro could prove to be a valuable adjunct, but not a prime source of energy.

This region, however, is ripe for solar power development, with acres of rooftops, parking lots and marginal land. Unfortunately, neither local nor state government provide any incentive for solar installations, despite the fact that they create local jobs and are local wealth builders.

We must start taking action now because a new coal train has started to move out of the station.  Despite repeated efforts to halt the process, the Longleaf Plant continues to receive permits to build a  $2-billion, 1200 MW coal-fired plant in S.W. Georgia’s Early County. This impoverished rural area appears to be so desperate for 100 jobs that locals will tolerate 40+ years of air pollution. Multiple freight trains of coal, ripped from the face of Montana, will be hauled to the plant every day. The planet will receive a gift of 9 million tons of CO2 ,   240 pounds of mercury, 6,400 tons of sulfur dioxide, and 3,700 tons of nitrogen dioxide every year.

Just this one coal plant will negate all the good work to improve energy efficiency and reduce energy demand that will be done here for the next 40 years.

What can we do? Here’s a suggestion. Prove the viability of Solar Energy by buying a turnkey factory to build 25MW of photovoltaic modules annually. The capital cost is under $4-million. (An expansion to a 100MW completely automated plant adds another $15-16 million.)  Each year, the production of the initial factory alone could provide 3kW of photovoltaic modules (almost all electricity requirements) to all the new energy efficient homes that will be built in the area for the foreseeable future, with enough left over for an additional 6,500 homes. In less than a decade the Savannah area could become a Zero Energy Community, while producing hundreds of new jobs.

What do you think? Contact Jack Star        (912) 233-4288
All comments, suggestions welcome. See also, the Savannah
Green pages at and – turnkey suppliers.

(SAVANNAH, GA) Park Place Outreach Received Donation from Mary Allen Lindsey Branan Foundation

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(SAVANNAH, GA)  Park Place Outreach, formerly known as the Savannah Runaway Home, has received a gift of $19,000 from the Mary Allen Lindsey Branan Foundation administered by Wachovia Nonprofit & Philanthropic Services.  The money will be put toward the cost of Park Places’ new building, set for completion in mid-February. 
This trust was created under the will of Charles I. Branan, who died in 1929, “and is so named in memory of my beloved mother (born 1830-died 1915), who was left a widow with seven children.”  In Mr. Branan’s will, he makes no geographic restrictions on distributions. However, it has been the practice of the Trustee to make grants within the State of Georgia.

To date, Park Place has raised more than 85% of its $1.7 million goal, thanks to a number of different organizations.  Park Place Outreach has received funds from the City of Savannah, the Chatham County Commission and several important gifts came from philanthropic individuals in the community. In addition, many local companies have donated in-kind services and materials for the construction of the facility totaling more than $80,000.
The building is considered “green,” as it is certified by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.  LEED is a national standard for developing high performance sustainable buildings and is administered by the U.S. Green Building Council.  The certification means the new building will have met the standards set by the USGBC, which consist of sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy & atmosphere, materials & resources, and indoor environmental quality.
The new building has been a long time coming.  The current Park Place home is in a historic building 100+ years old.  Although aesthetically pleasing, it just isn’t big enough to accommodate the organization’s growing needs.  The new shelter will provide separate bedrooms and bathrooms for males and females. In addition there are common areas for study, recreation and meals. The counseling services of the programs will be conduc ted in private offices and a separate Outreach Center will be completed in the basement for drop-in visits by teens seeking a safe haven.
In an effort to meet Park Place’s $1.7 million goal for the building budget, the community is invited to participate in the success of the first capital campaign by making a tax-deductible gift to: Park Place Outreach. Your check may be mailed to Park Place Outreach 11 W. Park Place, Savannah, GA 34101, Please write capital campaign on the “memo” line. In addition, community members are invited to help finish the new shelter by participating in one of the House Warming Showers.
Park Place Outreach provides emergency shelter and street outreach for adolescents ages 11 through 17 and their families. It is the only agency located within Chatham County that serves youth at no charge who are accepted without a referral to receive help.  Park Place Outreach opened in 1984. There are approximately 15-30 youth residents served each month and about 200 each year.  For more information on Park Place, call (912) 234-4048.

San Marcos, Texas – February 17, 2007 Olympic Whitewater Slalom Team Trials Qualifier

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Whitewater Slalom Results and Video

For Immediate Release
San Marcos, Texas – February 17, 2007
Olympic Whitewater Slalom Team Trials Qualifier

Heather Corey Captures Whitewater Gold at San Marcos

It was a busy day at the new Rio Vista Whitewater Park
at San Marcos, Texas… in the shadow of the Texas
Hill Country.

Forty-five athletes traveled from all over the country
to compete in the first Olympic Whitewater Slalom Team
Trials Qualifying Events of the 2008 season. Twelve
earned the right to move to the next round of
competition for selection to the United States Olympic
Team, which will be held April 25-27 in Charlotte,
North Carolina. The event was also a qualifier for the
Junior Olympics, which will be held in Wisconsin in

Heather Corey flew in from Manchester, England to put
a dazzling show of technique for the 300+ spectators.
She blazed down the challenging fast-flowing course
with a total score of 175.2 seconds. Heather has dual
citizenship for the USA and UK, learning to race
slalom in America as a junior, and then going on to
win six world championship medals for Great Britain.
She is now competing for a slot on the United States
Olympic Team, and is a strong contender for a medal at
the Olympics this summer in Beijing.

Austin Kiefer from Ashville, North Carolina turned in
a powerful performance in Men’s Kayak… the fastest
score of the day at 149.0 seconds.

Local Texas Favorites Ben Kvanli and Mark Poindexter
move on to Charlotte… winning the Men’s Canoe
Doubles event, while Tyler Hinton  from Lafayette,
Colorado took home gold in the Canoe Singles.

This highly successful even could make San Marcos,
Texas a magnet for winter-time whitewater slalom.

"With this event we’ve successfully announced to
the canoeing world that we have this beautiful warm
water whitewater park, and that it’s really worth it
for people to come here for winter training and
competitions." Michelle Kvanli of Power Olympic

Results for the Olympic Team Trials Qualifier Event:
(winners, their hometown, and their combined score for
two runs (times
plus penalties)

Womens Kayak
        Heather Corey  (Manchester, England  /  175.2)
        Jessica Subido  (Granite Bay, California  / 185.4)
        Kristen Bierle  (Boise, Idaho  /  240.1)

Men’s Kayak
        Austin Kiefer   (Ashville, North Carolina  / 149.0)
        Pablo McCandless  (Charlotte, North Carolina /  153.7)
        Ben Kvanli  (San Marcos, Texas  /  158.8)

Canoe (Single)
        Tyler Hinton  (Lafayette, Colorado  /  188.2)
        Matt Fritz  (Dallas, Texas  /  244.2)
        Laura Egerdal   (Saint Louis, Missouri  / 304.0)

Canoe (Doubles)
        Ben Kvanli and Mark Poindexter  (San Marcos and Austin, Texas /  193.7)
        Tyler Hinton and Will Grubb  (Lafayette, Colorado  /  305.0)

Complete race results are posted at:

Jim Stuart
Competition Chairman
Austin, TX

(Savannah) Savannah’s Community Health Mission Will Receive a $10,000 Grant

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Savannah’s Community Health Mission will receive a $10,000 grant Feb. 19 from the Susan Komen Foundation’s Savannah Affiliate organization to help fund their breast cancer screening and education program “One Woman at a time.”

Komen Coastal Georgia Affiliate announced the grant giving ceremony, scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 19 at the First City Club in Savannah. Festivities will begin at 5:30 p.m.   where the Coastal Georgia Affiliate plans to hand out several checks totally $70,000 to local organizations. This will mark the first time the Affiliate group has had the opportunity to fund local projects and the all-volunteer group is excited to help the community.
“Our goal is to get the money out to where it needs to go to further breast cancer screenings and education,” said Sue Adler, chairwoman of the local grant committee.
The Mission’s program, One Woman at the Time, was developed in conjunction with the Mission’s four gynecologists and the National Black Leadership Initiative for Cancer- Savannah (NBLIC-III).
“One Woman at the Time will help uninsured working women to obtained breast screening services as well as breast health education, specially among African American an Hispanic women,” said Dr. Miriam Urizar Rittmeyer, the Executive Director of Community Health Mission.
The free health care facility, located at 310 Eisenhower Drive, offers free primary healthcare to 6,000 uninsured residents of Savannah. The majority of the their patients are working women, who have to choose between feeding their kids or paying insurance premiums. People living in Savannah who are between the ages of 18 and 64, have no health insurance and are not eligible for Medicare or Medicaid might be eligible for free clinic services and should call the Mission’s office to see if they meet all necessary guidelines.
Community Health Mission, formerly know as Community HealthCare Center/Savannah Health Mission, is a private, non-profit 501(3) tax-exempt organization.
To learn more about Savannah’s Community Health Mission, log on to or call 912-692-1451.

(SAVANNAH) Celia Dunn Sotheby’s International Realty Sheree Binder

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Sheree Binder has joined the Bluffton office of Celia Dunn Sotheby’s International Realty after working in another Bluffton real estate company, where she had 21 real estate closings in the past two years.
Binder assisted both buyers and sellers with all aspects of real estate transactions.  She performed marketing functions including producing print publications, maintaining websites, direct mailings, advertising, client retention strategies, and promotions for the real estate team. She also has experience as a Property Manager in Virginia, performing all aspects of property management and leasing duties for 33 properties.
 “My job consists of much more than selling homes – it is an opportunity to serve my clients and assist them with making the best decision based on their wants, needs, goals and lifestyles,” Binder said. “Real estate is not just about buying a home today but about being able to sell the property tomorrow.”
“My extensive knowledge of Bluffton neighborhoods and proposed residential and commercial construction is a tremendous advantage for my clients,” Binder said. “I serve my clients best by keeping them informed so that they can make the decision that is right for them today and in the future.”
When buying a property, Binder explains, it is important to consider not only price but also all factors that may affect resale value, such as zoning restrictions, neighboring properties, potential developments and residential competition that may cause your property to appreciate or depreciate.  By not utilizing a professional, experienced Realtor, buyers can overlook many factors.
“My focus is to be a full service Realtor,” Binder said.
Binder has also worked as Communications Coordinator for Planet Hollywood Corporate Headquarters and as Accounts Manager for a 1,002 luxury apartment community in Virginia, where she handled financial responsibilities such as billings and accounting reports, and organized special events functions for client retention and property promotion.
She graduated from Emory and Henry College in Emory, Virginia with a Bachelor of Arts Degree, majoring in Economics and Business/Mass Communications
Known for its tradition of integrity, Celia Dunn Sotheby’s International Realty specializes in residential and commercial properties in Savannah and the Low Country of Georgia and South Carolina. Founded in 1981, Celia Dunn Sotheby’s International Realty is noted for outstanding service to its clients, thorough knowledge of Savannah and the South Carolina Low Country, and excellent staff, in addition to having one of the region’s top property management departments. The owners are natives of Savannah who have more than 60 years’ combined experience in real estate. The offices are locate d at 9, 13, and 17 West Charlton Street on Madison Square in Savannah and 6 Bruin Street in Bluffton, S.C.
For more information, call Celia Dunn Sotheby’s International Realty at (912) 234-3323 or visit To contact the Bluffton office, call (843) 836-3900.

(Savannah) Tommy Linstroth of Melaver, Inc. to discuss ‘A New Look at Green Building’

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Savannah-based sustainable development company Melaver, Inc. was responsiblefor first all-retail LEED shopping center in the nation, Abercorn Common

Tommy Linstroth of Melaver, Inc. will discuss “A New Look at Green Building” March 11 at the Association of Construction Distributors International Annual Shareholders’ Meeting to be held in Savannah.

The Association of Construction Distributors International members will also tour Abercorn Common, the first all-retail LEED shopping center in the nation. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council is the internationally-recognized standard for high performance, low water and energy use buildings awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Abercorn Common’s building design, white roof and high efficiency heating and cooling systems make it 30 percent more energy efficient than a typical shopping center. The water-efficient features reduced usage by 30 percent compared to most shopping centers. All irrigation uses rainwater that has been harvested off the roofs of the buildings and stored in a large cistern behind the center, saving 5 million gallons of water a year. Porous pavement in the parking lots, which allows water to naturally percolate into the ground, reduces stormwater runoff volumes by over 30 percent.
The more recent phase, Shops Six Hundred at Abercorn Common, includes a solar water heater and a vegetated “green” roof that provides insulation and storm water management.

Associated Construction Distributors International is a co-operative association of independently owned and locally operated distributors of specialty construction products and equipment.

Linstroth is the Head of Sustainable Initiatives for Melaver, Inc., a vertically integrated, sustainable real estate firm based in Savannah. He is the founder and president of the Savannah Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, and is on the Board of Trustees of the Live Oak Public Libraries and the Georgia Conservation Voters.  He is a regular speaker on sustainable development throughout the country and for Farmers Almanac TV. He is the co-author of “Local Action: A New Paradigm in Climate Change Policy.”
Melaver, Inc. is a third-generation, family-owned business based in Savannah, Georgia. The sustainable real estate developer currently has eight LEED certified projects in their portfolio and developed one of the first LEED certified buildings in the U.S. which is also on the National Register of Historic Places. Melaver Inc. also developed the first all-retail LEED shopping center in the country, Abercorn Common, including the first LEED McDonald’s worldwide.
Contact: (912) 236-0781
For more information about Associated Construction Distributors International visit

(SAVANNAH) Vesta Hospitality LLC Opens The Promenade Savannah

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(SAVANNAH, GA)  As the multi-million dollar renovation of the former Best Western Hotel nears an end, Vesta Hospitality LLC has renamed the downtown Savannah hotel to The Promenade Savannah, reflecting the hotel’s new upscale amenities and decor.
“The renovation has transformed this hotel into a property that reflects the culture and taste level of Savannah,” Promenade Savannah’s General Manager Jeff Fouste said.  “The Promenade Savannah is truly unlike any other hotel in the region.”
The Promenade Savannah is ideally situated in downtown Savannah, located along Bay and River Streets in Savannah’s downtown Historic District, Guests are walking distance from the Savannah College of Art and Design, City Market, River Street and Paula Deen’s The Lady & Sons restaurant.
The renovation has made the hotel more attractive to leisure and business travelers accustomed to luxurious amenities.  From more spacious rooms to granite countertops and contemporary decor, The Promenade Savannah is now positioned for the more upscale guest.
Vesta Hospitality has transformed properties in this manner before, most recently with its extensive renovation of Hotel Zoso in Palm Springs, California.
“The Savannah community deserves a property of this quality,” said Vesta President and CEO Rick Takach.  “The community has been looking forward to the renovation of this hotel and with its upcoming debut, they will find that The Promenade Savannah was well worth the wait.”
To learn more about The Promenade Savannah, log on to or call 912-233-1011.