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Getting crowded?

VisitSavannah, the marketing arm of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, released a new study on local tourism last week that shows Savannah’s tourism industry is thriving.

Eleven million people visited Savannah in 2010 according to the study, part of which was carried out by Longwoods International, a firm that does market research for destination cities.

If the number of visitors is accurate, that would mean that Savannah drew nearly three times as many visitors as Charleston last year. Chuck Town drew 4.2 million visitors in 2010, according to a study conducted by the College of Charleston.

The issue of how visitor numbers are calculated has been under scrutiny lately after New York City and Orlando were in a battle for the country’s “Most Visited City.”

In the most recent volley, Orlando reported a total of 51 million visitors, making it the first city in the country to top 50 million visitors per year (compared to New York’s 48.7 million).

In a June blog post about the lack of standardization in how visitor data is tabulated, Longwoods’ Director of Research told the Wall Street Journal that determining where people actually visit “gets murky unless you show people maps or follow people around.”

The company uses online surveys asking people where they’ve visited recently and then extrapolates the results. They survey about 2 million people per year, according to their website.

Radio Days

A little history was made (or re–made) last week when crews restoring two World War II era B–17 bombers communicated via the planes’ radio systems for the first time ever.

The City of Savannah, the B–17 being restored at the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum in Pooler, transmitted messages to a crew aboard the Miss Liberty, a bomber being restored at the Barksdale Air Force Base near Shreveport, Louisiana.

Last Wednesday, speakers were set up outside of the City of Savannah so that a crowd of guests and museum visitors could listen in on the conversation. It was the first time two restoration crews have communicated via original WWII–era radio equipment.

Members from the Coastal Amateur Radio Society of Savannah have been working on the restoration of the radio compartment for the last year and a half. A dozen radio operators have actively spent hundreds of hours acquiring, restoring and installing original radio equipment in the vintage aircraft.

What a meth

Following two meth lab busts last week, the Chatham County Counter Narcotics Team (CNT) issued a statement asking that citizens be aware that if anyone asks you to buy pseudoephedrine for them, you shouldn’t, even if he or she offers to pay you.

Purchasing the drug for someone else could lead to a charge of Conspiracy to Manufacture Meth, a felony in Georgia, if the purchase is linked to meth lab activity.

Pseudoephedrine, commonly found in over–the–counter nasal decongestant, is a key ingredient in methamphetamine, but laws restricting its purchase have forced criminals to recruit shoppers to act on their behalf.

Recent laws require pharmacies to record information about people purchasing products containing pseudoephedrine, which has lead meth cooks to pay strangers to buy boxes of pills for them.

Meth has what might be the longest and most bizarre list of slang names of any narcotic. According to the website, names include: Crank, Crystal, Glass, Albino poo, Biker dope, Billy, Boo–yah, Crysnax, Debbie, Tina, Fizz Wizz, Gab, Gackle–a Fackle–a, Gak, High Speed Chicken Feed, Hillbilly crack, Jet fuel, Linda, Methatrim, Ned, Ratchet Jaw, Sparkle, Spook, Sprack, Tweak, Ugly dust, Yammer bammer and Zoom, to name just a few.