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City Notebook
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The same day the local daily paper ran a debutante photo from the cotillion Jennifer Ross attended hours before she was shot, a report also appeared that one of her companions that night may have been involved with someone in possession of drugs.

One of Ross’ fellow Savannah Country Day graduates, Tony Brian Aliotta, 19, was arrested Friday, Jan. 13 at his Perry Lane home by Savannah Police.

Aliotta was charged with two felonies: possession of a controlled substance (which the police report says was cocaine and prescription pills) and possession of marijuana. He was also charged with “possession of a drug-related object for use” (a misdemeanor).

Sheriff’s Department records so far indicate Aliotta has not been charged with intent to distribute, though a Savannah police spokesman has said additional charges have not been ruled out in the ongoing investigation.

Reports went on to say that Aliotta’s roommate is Brannen Miles, who police say was with Jennifer Ross during the incident which resulted in her death on New Year’s Day.

In another Ross development, Savannah police spoke with a person of interest over the weekend in connection with the shooting and say they’ve entered “the next phase of the investigation” to determine who shot Ross.

A tip brought police to a stolen car off Wheaton Street that may be the same grey Ford Taurus witnesses described as the getaway car. Several drug arrests were made at the same time, but police so far say they currently know of no direct connection of those arrests with the Ross incident.


A report last week that new schools superintendent Thomas Lockamy might push for district-wide mandatory uniforms prompted an unusual clarification last week from the district.

“So where are we right now on uniforms and the dress code?” began Savannah/Chatham Public Schools spokesman Bucky Burnsed (formerly of the Savannah Police public information office) in an e-mail to media.

“Upon Dr. Lockamy’s arrival, he almost immediately began talking about school safety and its association with what children wear to school,” Burnsed said. “Big, baggy clothes could hide a multitude of sins, conceivably weapons. So this is the obvious next step.”

Saying he expects a formal proposal from Lockamy to go to the board in the spring, Burnsed went on:

“But you can count on it, it’s coming and when it is formally addressed it will be an agenda item.”

However, as of right now “there has been no change in policy and there is no order in place to adopt uniforms,” he said.

The current district uniform policy is somewhat confusing. Only at Smith and Hodge elementary schools are uniforms absolutely mandatory.

But uniforms at Gadsden are “strongly suggested” if not mandatory.

And the list of schools with loose uniform policies -- and which don’t send students home or reprimand them for breaking those policies -- is a long one: Bartow, Butler, East Broad, Garrison, Gould, Haven, Heart, Hesse, Howard, Isle of Hope, Low, Port Wentworth, Pulaski, Thunderbolt and Windsor.


Armstrong Atlantic State University is soliciting donations for Valentine’s Day boxes for girls and boys up to age 18 to be delivered to Hurricane Katrina victims.

Donations can be dropped off in AASU’s Solms Hall, room 201, through February 1.

Items needed include small toys and games, books, school supplies, personal hygiene items, hair accessories, Valentine’s Day gifts, gift wrap, and funds for shipping costs. No candy!

The drive is part of AASU’s Give for the Gulf, a yearlong, comprehensive initiative to provide assistance to those affected by Hurricane Katrina. For more info calle Nichelle Belair at 368-8020 or go to


Lolisa Boleman, a 7th grade teacher at Southwest Middle School, is the Savannah/Chatham Public School District Teacher of the Year.

The 1988 graduate of Savannah State University received her Masters from Armstrong Atlantic State University.

“Being some child’s best hope is an enormous responsibility to me because I never want to disappoint a child,” Boleman wrote in an essay for the competition. “As an adult entrusted with children, I make the choice to show them love and respect, let them have fun while learning, and let them see me as a real person.”

Boleman was joined by semi-finalists Steve Schetski of the Savannah Arts Academy and Marilee Laufenberg of Windsor Forest Elementary.