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On a lighter note
The spirit of St. Patrick's Day and the luck of the Irish changed the mood for City Council
Stratton Leopold gives out ice cream to city council

The celebratory mood of the Saint Patrick's Day season in Savannah was evident at last week's City Council meeting, which was notably lighter than the past several weeks.

Although it was expected that council would present a proposal to offer Acting City Manager Rochelle Small-Toney the permanent position, that action was delayed until council can convene for a special meeting to further discuss the contract.

Mayor Johnson also said that council would like a proposal from Small-Toney for what she thinks would be a reasonable offer to assume the position. Council would then use her proposal as a starting point for further negotiations.

A quorum of council was wearing green for the occasion, and members of several local Irish groups were in attendance.

The mayor presented a proclamation to Murray Silver of the Fenian Society, announcing the intention of the Greater Savannah International Alliance to develop a relationship with the town of Wexford, Ireland.

The council's initiative to further develop strong international ties with other cities was highlighted earlier in the meeting by a visit from a Swedish delegate who was visiting Savannah for the first time as part of a trip to several American cities. Several members of council visited an environmental conference in Sweden last year.

Following the presentation to Silver, the St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee made their annual request for the parade permit (which passed unanimously), and this year's Grand Marshall, Walter Crawford, shared some remarks, explaining that the theme for the year's event would be "Welcome Cousins," (he also pronounced it in Gaelic), which he explained was an extension of not only the community bonds within Savannah, but also an extended greeting to all who came to the city for the parade.

Also in attendance were members of the police department's Emerald Society - many of whom were in formal attire that included kilt, sash and blazer.

After members in attendance were recognized, business moved to the other side of the festival, which included a lengthier than usual list of alcohol license requests. Seven River Street restaurants were requesting hybrid licenses so that they could move out furniture, stay open later, and function more as a bar than a restaurant in order to accommodate festival goers along the river in search of libations.

Although the parade committee members departed following their presentation surrounding the parade permit, the luck of the Irish apparently remained with council.

During discussion on bids, contracts and agreements, council was interrupted by an appearance from film producer and ice cream maker Stratton Leopold, who presented members of council, the city manager and the city attorney with some ice cream.

Leopold had been in the session earlier to present two local students with certificates recognizing them as the winners of the Black History Month essay contest sponsored by Leopold's Ice Cream.

When the awards had been presented, Mayor Pro-Tem Edna Jackson submitted for the record that she had sampled some of Leopold's seasonally appropriate Guinness flavored ice cream, and that the rest of council should give it a try the next time they were in the shop.

The meeting ended with updates on several ongoing topics. The Mayor announced that several members would be departing later in the day for a meeting of the National League of Cities.

Alderman Jeff Felser thanked council for organizing the town hall meeting about LNG transport the previous Monday, and requested that a copy of the Environmental Impact Statement submitted to federal regulators by the LNG company be provided to council members.

Alderman Tony Thomas mentioned that Georgia's House of Representatives had passed a resolution in support of Savannah's cruise ship development project, and also brought up a recent story that had run in Charleston's Post & Courier discussing the various positive economic impacts reaped for the downtown by their cruise ship.