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Best of Savannah 2009: Politics & Public Affairs
Lisa Scarbrough with Coastal Pet Rescue

Best Charitable Organization: Coastal Pet Rescue

Andy the terrier mix is one lucky dog.  On May 1, the twelve pound, five month old puppy was adopted by Patricia and Curt Knight of Georgetown.  “He has learned to fetch a ball, his bathroom habits are improving daily,” says Patricia Knight. “He’s got a lot of brains.  He’s outfoxed Curt and I several times.”

Knight found Andy through Coastal Pet Rescue (CPR), the all-volunteer dog and cat rescue group. CPR’s goal is to lower the euthanasia rates at local animal control facilities.  Since its founding in 2003, CPR has saved over 600 pets in Savannah and neighboring counties.

“Andy’s mom was dumped at Effingham Animal Control when she was pregnant,” says Lisa Scarbrough, CPR’s founder and president. “She gave birth to seven puppies, four didn't survive. I spent two weeks dropper feeding them meds and helping to put them on mom for feeding.”

Over 80 percent of CPR’s pets are rescued from animal controls.  CPR places rescued animals in foster homes, provides veterinary care, and spays or neuters all their animals prior to adopting them out.  They also offer low cost pet microchip services, and have spun off another nonprofit, The Milton Project, a feral cat trap-and-release program.

As of last week, CPR had 47 dogs or cats in foster care, and about 20 volunteers helping with feeding, placement, and pet transport. 

The ripple effect of the economic downturn has hit Savannah’s dog and cat population.  At a time when more people are abandoning their animals due to the cost of their care, donations to CPR have dropped.

“Sadly, pets are still considered property by most,” says Scarborough. “And property can be easily discarded when it becomes inconvenient.    The serious lack of donations and community funding the last few months has made it very difficult.  We’ve cut back on our intakes considerably.”

“The adoption was very professionally handled,” says Knight.  “Scarbrough shows up with a folder about what vet he’s seen, all of his papers, and a DVD of how to take care of a dog.  He was beautifully crate trained by them.”

“Everybody in our neighborhood has met Andy.  He likes dogs and people. He is fearless.” -- RWG


Runner-up: Hospice Savannah 


Best Local Scandal: Loco's and Wild Wing under fire



First Loco’s was popped for serving to minors soon after running afoul of city council for its activity as a hybrid restaurant/bar. Then Wild Wing Cafe was popped for serving to minors and given a ten-day liquor license suspension. Meanwhile, other clubs in town host shootings and drug deals but can’t seem to draw council’s ire. Sigh.



Runner-up: City-funded China trip


 Best Green/Sustainable Company: Melaver, Inc.


Founder/CEO Martin Melaver has just released a book, Above the Store, about the humble local roots of his nationally-renowned company.

Runner-up: Greenline


Best Local Activist: Tom Kohler

The head of Chatham/Savannah Citizen Advocacy sets the example for the hard-working, dedicated, capable nonprofit leader.

Runner-up: Joe Driggers



Best Local Legislator, Best Conservative: Jack Kingston

This longtime Republican congressman remains popular despite now being in the minority in Congress. He recently shot down rumors that he would make a bid for Georgia governor, and will likely remain the First District's congressman for some time to come.

Runner-up, both categories: Eric Johnson


Best City Council Member: Tony Thomas

Accessibility and an unerring devotion to the needs of his district make Tony a perennial favorite.

Runner-up: Edna Branch Jackson


Best County Commissioner: Pete Liakakis

The chairman commands respect from friends and foes alike.

Runner-up: Pat Farrell


Best School Board Member: Joe Buck

The school board president stays true to his principles while working for consensus-much easier said than done.

Runner-up: Lori Brady


Best Liberal: Joe Steffen

This stalwart local liberal is an assertive spokesman for the Chatham County Democratic Party.

Runner-up: Gunner Hall


Best CAT Driver: Tom Parrish

A friendly face-and an indelible local presence-greets you on Tom's routes.

Runner-up: James Brown


Best Lawyer: Kathleen Aderhold

A local divorce/family law attorney. There's an ironic comment or two in there somewhere.

Runner-up: Chris Ray


Best Judge: Tammy Stokes

This Recorder's Court judge was also a Homecoming Queen at Beach High.

Runner-up: Louisa Abbott


Best Firefighter: Anthony Hillis

Working at Station 12 (Ogeechee Road), he's on Truck 15, "C" shift.

Runner-up: Chris Hanks


Best Cop: Tracy Walden

The LGBT liaison won this category two years ago and is back in the winner's circle.

Runner-up: Geri Long