Community Profiles

A New Egret is Tooting in Town

By Wendy Pollitzer

April 28, 2011

Employees of Fiori and The Bistro at The Tooting Egret, Matthew Pieper, Alison Klinakis, General Manager Chapman Parker, Robert Smalls and Miles Dean

Three new businesses opened at the Old Firehouse on the corner of Craven and Scott Streets. At a soft opening on Friday, tourists and locals were eager to see the interior of the unique building, renovated and designed by Annie Ballance, proprietor of The Tooting Egret, The Bistro at The Tooting Egret and Fiori.

The building houses original artwork and a variety of spectacular retail items, an eatery that currently serves both breakfast and lunch and a full-service florist.

CJ Kirk and Tricia Snoke are the first to dine at The Bistro at The Tooting Egret

Annie Ballance, a local Interior Designer, has lived in Beaufort for 8 years. She, like many of us in town, has dreamed of the Old Firehouse reopening. It’s a structure like no other (well, with the exception of Michael Rainey Antiques); and it’s a delight that Ballance has integrated a trio of creative businesses to dwell in the historic building, which will all be supervised by General Manager, Chapman Parker. Additionally, Susan Nebelung is the Administrative Director.

The Tooting Egret will be selling an assortment of sought after decorative and apparel pieces. You’ll find candles, rugs, furniture, coffee table books, baby clothes, rain boots and accent items for every room in your home. Teresa Sanfield, Brittany Zip and Kendra Cline will be happy to help you as retail specialists for the store.

The Bistro at The Tooting Egret serves breakfast and lunch, but will eventually include dinner.  I ate there on Friday and was quite pleased with the service, food and overall experience.  Look for a special Lunch Bunch article to come soon, which will feature many of their eclectic menu items.  Executive Chef at The Bistro is Miles Dean, the former Sous Chef at Bateaux Restaurant.  Employees, Matthew Pieper and Robert Smalls will be sure to take care of your palate needs as well.

Alison Klinakis, Exclusive Floral Designer for Fiori

And Fiori (Italian for “Flowers”) is a full-service florist, which will provide unusual orchids, creative arrangements with cut flowers and easy-to maintain potted plants. Fiori will be delivering soon as well. Exclusive Floral Designer, Alison Klinakis, has years of experience in innovative creations and is ecstatic to bring her ingenuity to Downtown Beaufort.

Personally, I am very excited that a store, worthy of tourist traffic and local verve, opened within the Old Firehouse. We were all hoping for something just like The Tooting Egret, and I think we’ll all be thankful for the concept and its potential longevity at this location. The vibe at The Tooting Egret and Fiori is certainly contagious.


Beaufort County Open Land Trust Celebrates 40 Years

By Wendy Nilsen Pollitzer

April 21, 2011

Until the mid-1950’s Beaufort County could be described as an undiscovered, sea-island paradise, known mostly to its own residents and those lucky few who had learned about it through friends or by chance, as sometimes happened to lost motorists who wandered off Highway 17.  But this is no longer the case.  As Beaufort’s secret became more widely known, its scenic quality began to change.  The population growth of the 1960’s and 1970’s brought some degree of visual blight, enough so that there was a general community awareness that Beaufort’s scenic character was in danger of being lost.

Ann Bluntzer, Betty Waskiewicz, Dean Moss, John Trask, Jr. and Cindy Baysden

Three local citizens: Marguerite Broz, John M. Trask Jr. and Betty Waskiewicz decided that “something had to done.”  As Beaufort’s secret became more widely known, its scenic natural beauty began to change.  The result was the founding of the Beaufort County Open Land Trust, the first Land Trust in South Carolina.  Since that time numerous other land trust organizations have been started across our state and nation. With support from its members, the Open Land Traust partners with its community and local governments to protect your favorite places—properties that provide breathtaking open spaces, clean water resources, healthy wildlife habitat, and viable agriculture along with conserving resources for healthy, sustainable communities.

To date, in its 40th year, the Beaufort County Open Land Trust has helped preserve 14, 800 acres and 88 parcels.

On Tuesday, April 19th, Staff and Board Members of the Beaufort County Open Land Trust hosted a luncheon at Clarendon Plantation. Beekman Webb, the 2010/11 President welcomed guests, and Ann Bluntzer, Executive Director presented the Year in Review to over 300 members attending. She also thanked Webb, Evy Trask and Patty Kennedy for their service on the Board. Webb, Trask and Kennedy will be departing as Board members.

Beekman Webb, 2010 President and Executive Director Ann Bluntzer

New Board of Trustees Officers voted in at Tuesday’s luncheon were Dean Moss, President;
Patricia Ann Denkler, Vice President; Edward S. Dukes, Secretary
and Terry R. Murray, Treasurer.

Founding trustees, John Trask, Jr. and Betty Waskiewisz, along with Former Executive Director Cindy Baysden and 2011/12 President Dean Moss gave a synopsis of the last 40 years of land conservation in Beaufort County, from the Trust’s humble beginnings to now.

For more information about the Beaufort County Open Land Trust, please visit or call (843) 521-2175 Become a member today!

Katherine Royal, Director of Development, Debbie Quirin, Program Director, Garrett Budds, Director of Land Protection and Ann Bluntzer, Executive Director

Edward Dukes, Secretary with Board Members Evy Trask (left) and Patty Kennedy

Land Trust Achievements in 2009 and 2010


Henry Farm –  287 acres in Beaufort County (The Henry Family)

Cypress Bay –  138 Acres in Hampton County (Dr. Skeet and Gail Burris)

Broadmarsh –  53 acres in Beaufort County (Shelley Rule)

Clarendon – Phase III –  321 acres in Beaufort County (The Kennedy Family)

The Green–  1 acre in Beaufort County (John and Molly Gray)

Summerland Plantation – 47 acres in Beaufort County (Wilson Sanders)

Palmer –  27 acres in Beaufort County (Margaret Palmer)


Clarendon Plantation-Phase I & II – 583 acres along the marshes of Let Out Creek, located partially within the existing “AICUZ” surrounding MCAS Beaufort.

Linden Plantation – Einar and Carolyn Trosdal-54 acres along the May River in Bluffton.

South Forest Beach – 30 acres of beach front property on Hilton Head Island.

Woodlands Plantation – Albert Oliphant-1030 acres along the Edisto River in Bamburg County.

Woodlands Plantation II – Mary Bollin Oliphant-300 acres along the Edisto River in Bamburg County.

Woodlands Plantation III – Mary Simms Furman Oliphant-301 acres along the Edisto River in Bamburg County.

Woodlands Plantation IV – W.G. Simms Oliphant, Jr.-136 acres along the Edisto River, Bamburg County.

Woodlands Plantation – Briarpatch-Dr. Don and Nancy King, 689 acres along the Edisto River in Bamburg County.

The Sanctuary at Cypress – Bay Dr. Skeet and Gail Burris-135 acres associated with the Salkehatchie River Basin in Hampton County.

Crooked Creek at Cypress Bay – Dr. Skeet and Gail Burris-35 acres associated with the Salkehatchie River Basin in Hampton County.

White Oak at Cypress Bay – Dr. Skeet and Gail Burris-43 acres associated with the Salkehatchie River Basin in Hampton County.

2009 Fee Simple Donations

Cane Island Hummocks – Four islands located off of Upper Cane Island by the Estate of Flora Trask.

Lucy Creek: River Place Tract – 13 acres along the marshes of Lucy Creek donated by Wallace Newcomb.

How can you help the Open Land Trust?

  • Become a Member
  • Become a Volunteer
  • Donate your property
  • Place a conservation easement on your property
  • Include BCOLT in your estate planning

Hunting Island State Park, a Paradise in our Own Backyard

By Wendy Pollitzer

April 7, 2011

Interpretive Program Manager, Mitchell Helms

Some of you may know I used to be the former Interpretive Program Manager, more commonly known as the Naturalist, at Hunting Island State Park. Recently, I visited the park and the Nature Center and reminisced about all of the exciting activities for kids and adults. Mitchell Helms is the current Interpretive Program Manager, and he and his staff are enthusiastic about bringing a lot of exciting programs to the Nature Center this Spring and Summer. Additionally, he and his staff have recently renovated the Nature Center in an effort to attract locals and tourists alike. Jennifer Milbert, a Program Specialist at Hunting Island, just completed a Loggerhead Sea Turtle skeleton that hangs from the ceiling, definitely an attraction that intrigues the curious mind.

Many Beaufortonians don’t even know what an incredible Nature Center we have, located only a short distance away on Highway 21 at the southern tip of Hunting Island at the foot of the fishing pier.  It is filled with exhibits that highlight the four ecosystems that make up typical barrier islands: the Salt Marsh, the Maritime Forest, the Sand Dunes and the Beach. The Nature Center is also home to many live animals on display.

The month of April is full of exciting programs for people of all ages.  And, while the Nature Center is busy with consistent foot traffic, the staff is quite busy this time of year with school field trips.  Helms leads the Discover Carolina Program, which teaches South Carolina science standards to 3rd, 5th and 7th graders.

In May, Helms oversees the Loggerhead Sea Turtle Conservation Project, which is administered by The Friends of Hunting Island from May 15 (typically the beginning of hatching season) until October (usually when the last nest hatches).

Helms encourages people to call 838-7437 and ask for Amanda Wood, a Program Specialist at Hunting Island, to get on the Nature Center’s email list. She sends out monthly calendars highlighting extraordinary opportunities at the State Park. You may also visit for dates and times of programs.

An exciting event happening at the end of this month is the 2011 Earth Day Spring Beach Sweep on Saturday, April 30. Meet at the Lighthouse Picnic Area at 10am to register. For more information about Beach Sweep or the Loggerhead Project, please visit

There is so much to do at our State Park. Visitors can enjoy the beach, climb the Lighthouse, kayak in the lagoon, pitch tents in the beachfront campground, attend one of the many programs at the Nature Center, walk out on the marsh boardwalk for a Lowcountry sunset, fish off of the pier, hike the newly-improved trails or just relax in what I like to call…my maritime heaven.

Don’t forget about the Nature Center this summer! It is packed with fun, and it is definitely worth the short drive.


The customer always comes first at Beaufort’s Lime Lite Salon

Story by Lanier Laney

Photos by April Staska

March 31, 2011

Daniella Hernandez

Deedee Kieber

Being greeted when you walk in the front door by one of DeeDee’s or Daniella’s warm sunny smiles at the reception desk immediately sets a welcoming friendly tone to the salon experience at Lime Light that continues throughout one’s experience there.  “The vibe is great here” says Daniella “We have a great staff and everyone is made to feel very welcome.  When I first came here, the clients made me feel that way as well as the staff.  The stylists are very team oriented and help each other.  I love that about working here.”  Adds DeeDee “All of the stylists are very skilled in the salon. I feel comfortable going to any or all of them.  Plus the prices are very reasonable for the high skill level.”  And they both agreed that at Lime Lite  the focus is very much on the clients.

David Watson

“That was our main goal from day one” says salon co-founder and stylist David Watson “To focus our efforts on giving the customer exactly what they want.  That’s why we created the color bar in the center of the salon where we mix color right there in front of the client (instead of in a back room) and formulate each color specific for the individual.  The formula then goes into the computer so that any stylist can give you the exact same color.”

Dawn Faivre

Lime Lite co-founder and stylist Dawn Faivre adds “We know the trends from the runway in color and cut, but following the trend may not be right for everybody, so we customize it for each person.  We want what works for you and looks good on you first and foremost”.

“I get my hair colored in New York City for half the year and here at Lime Lite when I live here in the winter” says client Susan Murphy  “They are the only salon that carries the Davines (pronounced DAH-vee-nez) Color line from Italy that i love.  It’s simply the best and as a red-head, which is a tough color to get right, I’ve tried everything”.  (a sentiment about Davines’ products that stars like Jennifer Anniston, Halle Berry, and Justin Bieber agree on according to their raves about Davines’ in the press).  Susan also noted the high skill level at the Salon. “I go to whoever is available, they’ve all been great.”

Alyson Boggess

Although Lime Lite is know for it’s color, their cuts have garnered them clients from other cities too.  Says Beaufort native David, “For so many years you would hear here in Beaufort that people had to go to Savannah or Charleston to get their hair cut or colored–especially for blonde colors.  Now I’m happy to say that we have clients from Savannah, Hilton Head, and two which drive all the way here from Charleston to have their hair cut and colored.  It’s also been gratifying that many tourists who come to Fripp for example, visiting from big cities, have returned to the salon year after year to get their hair colored and cut here.  It makes me proud of what our staff is doing here Beaufort.”

Ashley Kofron

“Continuing education is a big part of what we do for our stylists at Lime Lite” says Dawn “Why next month alone we have two color experts  from Davines coming for staff trainings in the latest techniques and breakthroughs.  That’s how we all keep up to date.”  Dawn also likes how Davines, which is based in Parma Italy is green certified and sustainable.  And how all their products have top quality ingredients.  “It’s simply the shiniest and healthiest color I’ve ever used” says Dawn who has trained in Miami, D.C., and New York before moving to Beaufort with her husband, John who became a client of David’s.   In fact that’s how Dawn and David got to know each other when first working at different salons in Beaufort. “David had clients that also would sometimes come to me and I had clients that would also go to David, including my husband” laughed Dawn.  “We really met through our clients and that’s how we started thinking about our customers as ‘our’ clients versus ‘my’ clients and is why we decided to set up Lime Lite on that model.  We all share knowledge with each other in the salon to bring together what’s best for the client, so you will see us discussing color with each other at the color bar and discussing the best solution to particular hair problems.  I think we are unique in our approach to that and it makes it a happier place for everyone to work in, a feeling which I believe is then communicated to the clients.”

April Staska

Kelly McClune

Although their color line comes from Italy, there is a strong emphasis in the salon on hair problems specific to the Lowcountry.  That’s where the ‘H’ word comes in. H as in Humidity that is.  “Which is one of our biggest local hair challenges” says David.  And why the salon has focused so strongly on anti-humidity products and keratin straightening techniques like the famous Brazilian Blowout which they offer at the salon.  “That process literally seals the humidity out of the hair shaft” says Dawn “and our customers with naturally curly or frizz prone hair just love it in the summer”. Adding “the process looks great for three months if you also use their shampoo and conditioner which are excellent”.   Davines also offers several very good anti-humidlty products and David says the plan at the salon is to bundle several of the best ones together in a package that you can buy at the front desk.  You don’t have to be a client here to get the special anti-humidity products.  Just “drop by and DeeDee or Daniella at the front desk will be glad to show them to you.  You can get samples or buy travel sizes to try”   In fact the salon will soon offer for sale a special clear travel size package of products that is TSA approved in under two ounce containers of shampoo and conditioners and other products that you can carry on board with you when traveling this summer.  “Don’t let the free shampoo in the hotels fool you.  They are not always best for your hair especially if you color it.  Your hair is an investment and if you want it looking great in the long run, both during and after the trip, it’s best to take along your own quality products that you know work best for you.”

Jennifer Ray

I asked several stylists why they liked working at Lime Lite and they said, “Dawn and David are our equals, there’s no big egos going on here.  Their prices are the same as everybody.  And they set a tone where we all help each other”.  I asked them why their customers liked coming to the salon and they said that “they like the professional but homey comforting atmosphere of the salon, the skill level of the staff, the reasonable prices and the free drinks! Don’t forget the free drinks. Our customers just love that!” (They offer complementary wine, beer, & spirits at the color ‘bar’.)

Jennifer Dowling

Dawn, David and the entire staff should be complimented for bringing such a thriving new business to the up and coming Carteret St. corridor and thanked for making Beaufort an even more beautiful place to visit.

Lime Lite is located at 612 Carteret St (at the corner of Prince).  They have free parking next door. For appointments call 843-379-5463.  Or there is someone always available to take walk-ins.  For prices and services, check online at


Support the ARTS in South Carolina and Beaufort County

By Wendy Pollitzer

Peggy Reynolds

Robin Leverton

Robin Leverton and Peggy Reynolds, Board Members of the South Carolina Arts Foundation and Beaufort County residents, recently hosted a party to raise awareness of the South Carolina Arts Commission and all that it does for the State of South Carolina. Not insignificant is the fact that it is the largest financial supporter to Spoleto Festival, USA, which brings in more tourist dollars to SC than any other event in the State.

Harriet Green, Director of Visual Arts for the South Carolina Arts Commission spoke about the recent recommendation by The House Ways and Means Committee to cut to the Arts Commission’s state appropriations for the upcoming fiscal year by 6%. This comes on the heels of Governor Nikki Haley’s proposal to eliminate all state funding for the South Carolina Arts Commission, the state agency responsible for ensuring that all citizens have equal access to and benefit from the arts.

In response to inquiries and discussions about the Arts Commission’s role in the state of South Carolina, the following talking points are provided to help you answer your own questions and those of others. The information below briefly addresses the most common issues; for more detail about each item, please visit

Why are the arts important to South Carolina citizens?

  • Cultural industries generate 3% of the state’s economy: 78,000 jobs and over $9.2 billion annually, with potential for more.
  • Industries want to locate where there are educated, creative workers. Those workers gravitate toward communities with a thriving cultural life.
  • Becoming an educated, creative worker requires the skills developed by exposure to and participation in the arts.
  • An education that includes the arts produces higher achievement, especially among disadvantaged students.
  • Tourism is South Carolina’s largest industry, and people who come for the arts stay longer and spend more.
  • The arts revitalize communities, large and small.
  • People interested in the arts vote more, and do more for their communities.
  • A majority of South Carolinians are already frequent arts participants.
  • The state’s identity is tied to, represented by, and sustained through the arts.
  • Residents are worried about how the state looks to the rest of the world. The arts in South Carolina are a source of pride they want outsiders to know about.

Why do we need the Arts Commission?

  • Because it’s the only way many citizens have any access or exposure to the arts and the benefits they provide.
  • Because someone has to lead, organize, unite, and provide resources for the contributions the arts make to education, quality of life, and economic development across the state.
  • Because someone has to be a voice for South Carolina on the national and international stage.
  • Because grants from the Arts Commission result in thousands of jobs, over 100,000 students served, and over 6 million individual arts experiences across the state each year.
  • Because private sector funding stays local, and in many communities, there is none. And, because private sector funding has no mandate for equality or transparency.
  • Because the citizens of the state say we do: 92% say the arts should be state-funded, almost 40% want funding increased, and almost 80% want more spent on arts education in schools.

What do we get for our investment?

  • Return on investment: 38 to 1. Last year’s state allocation of just over $2.4 million generated over $91 million in local communities.
  • The knowledge and experience of arts professionals who are available to every citizen of the state for advisement and assistance, continuing over 43 years of service in spite of the recent 47% reduction in state funding and 35% reduction in staff.
  • Rigorous, equitable, public review of state-funded activities, administered with transparency and accountability.
  • Leverage for attracting additional investment from public, private, national, and local sources.
  • $900,000 in federal funding that will only be awarded to a state arts agency that meets strict criteria for governance, inclusion, vision, fairness, excellence, and accountability.

Can we afford it?

  • The Arts Commission’s current share of the state budget is four one-hundredths of one percent (0.04%).
  • Elimination of the Arts Commission from the state budget would reduce the expected $1 billion shortfall by two tenths of one percent (0.2%). Forfeiture of all the benefits provided by a state arts agency would have no significant impact on the budget crisis.
  • Every state currently has a publicly funded, officially designated arts agency. Without the Arts Commission, South Carolina would be the only state not providing access to the arts for its citizens.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How can we afford to support the arts in hard economic times?

It is when times are bad that every resource must be allocated carefully to get the best results with the smallest investment. The arts are a proven recovery asset that supports jobs, stimulates commerce, revitalizes communities, attracts tourists and provides other economic benefits.

  • The current allocation for the Arts Commission is 0.04% (four one- hundredths of one percent) of the state budget. Eliminating that small public investment in the arts will not save enough to provide significant relief. However, elimination will threaten the state’s capacity to provide sustained, strategic leadership on issues like education, quality of life and our economy, all of which impact citizens statewide. 
Read about some of what’s already been accomplished >>
  • The state’s small public investment helps stimulate South Carolina’s creative industries, which generate 3% of the state’s total economy and account for 78,000 jobs.
  • Last year, South Carolina’s investment in the arts of a little more than $2.4 million helped to generate more than $91 million in local matching funds. That’s a great return on investment—almost 38 to 1.

Why can’t the private sector take over funding of the arts?

Private donations already provide support for many local arts organizations and efforts. In fact, private giving is one way for Arts Commission grantees to leverage additional support from other sources. So why can’t that private support just be increased to make up for the loss of government funds?

  • Private support tends to stay local, and in many communities, there is no source of private support. This is especially true in many rural areas with little or no industry, as well as communities challenged by low incomes and high unemployment. In many parts of the state, publicly funded efforts are the only available resource for participation in the arts, and sometimes one of the few low- or no-cost options for family activities and community involvement.
  • Private support does not have the same mandate for equitabilty and accountability that is mandatory for government funding. The Arts Commission is charged with making sure that the benefits of the arts reach all areas of the state, and that the public funds that support that mission are spent responsibly.
  • A government agency working at the state level can accurately assess the state’s cultural needs and assets, then organize efforts to help the state achieve goals that are relevant to its priorities. There is no private equivalent to that kind of strategic planning and implementation.

Why do we need arts in education when so few kids will grow up to be professional artists?

The goals of arts education are not limited to training future artists any more than school sports programs exist solely to produce future professional athletes. In both cases, the benefits extend far beyond a possible career track.

  • Both sports and the arts encourage discipline, teamwork, endurance, critical thinking, and leadership. The arts also help develop communication and social skills, creativity, cultural awareness, and innovative thinking.
  • Both sports and the arts provide students with a chance to excel, which is especially valuable to a child who feels inept or out of place in other areas of study.
  • Research shows that students involved in arts education perform better, have better attendance records, and have parents who are more engaged in the education process.

Councils Supported by the South Carolina Arts Commission in Beaufort County:

Arts Center of Coastal Carolina

14 Shelter Cove Lane
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928-3543


President & CEO: Kathleen P. Bateson

Arts Council of Beaufort County

PO Box 482
Beaufort, SC 29901-0482


Executive Director: J. W.Rone



Through Hard Work and Motivation, Charles Singleton becomes a Champion

By Wendy Pollitzer

March 17, 2011

Charles Singleton

Charles Singleton was born and raised in Beaufort, SC. Still a prominent member of the community, Singleton is also a well-known celebrity in the wide world of Sports.

Speaking at the Order of the Palmetto Ceremony honoring Joe Frazier

Singleton was a professional boxer for eleven years. I met him last summer at the Order of the Palmetto Ceremony at Waterfront Park, when Governor Mark Sanford presented Smokin’ Joe Frazier with the prestigious South Carolina Award. Frazier, another local legend, trained Singleton at his gym in Philadelphia.

Charles Singleton and Evander Holyfield

Singleton also trained another household boxing name, Evander Holyfield. And because of Holyfield’s gratitude, Singleton was gifted Holyfield’s Three-Time Championship Ring as well as his 1997 Heavyweight Championship Ring, sized exclusively for Singleton.

Singleton made a name for himself long before he met Evander Holyfield. Singleton received his greatest title in 1978. He was the National Golden Gloves winner and member of an elite group on the All American Boxing Team, hand-picked by the Amateur Athletic Union.  And his list of championships is long.

One of five children, Singleton was the second-oldest child of Julius and Inez Singleton, a painter and schoolteacher in Beaufort. In the summer before 12th Grade at Beaufort High School, Singleton looked at his mom and said, “Mama, when I finish High School, I want to be a boxer.” She looked at Charlie and said he could do anything he wanted to.

So he took that advice and did just that, but not before four major life occurrences that got him interested in the Sport in the first place.

Charlie Singleton as a young man in Seabrook

Singleton’s father had three children prior to marrying Inez. Their names were Lyn (Lynard), Beverly and Myra. Singleton didn’t meet the girls until he was an adult; but he knew Lyn well.  On occasional weekends, Singleton and his brother would visit Lyn in Seabrook, who was raised by Singleton’s Uncle Jack and Aunt Mary.

One weekend, on a visit, he watched his cousin, Mary Alice screaming at a magazine. She was admiring a boxer named Cassius Clay, later to be known as Muhammad Ali.  Singleton remembers thinking, “I want to have whatever that person in that magazine has.” Singleton was only in the first or second grade; but, at that point, he developed an interest in boxing.

He told his dad when he got home, like he did his mother several years later. They both had the same reaction.  He said, “Son, you can be anything you want to be.” Singleton says, “My father and mother always had a way of making us feel special, and I always knew I was lucky to have them as parents.”

The second time Singleton became curious about the Sport was in the summer before 4th Grade at Robert Smalls Elementary. The following school year was the first that Beaufort County children would be integrated.  Singleton attended a summer program that helped students transition. He sat next to Joe Frazier, nephew of the famous boxer. At that point, Smokin’ Joe was an Olympics hero.

Singleton had always equated the Olympics with running, not the sport of boxing.  When he made that association, Singleton became intrigued with the spectator sport even more.

Another encounter that intensified Singleton’s dream to box came at Beaufort Junior High. Coach Jimmy Thompson put two pairs of boxing gloves in the middle of a mat during gym class and said, “I want two guys to get in the middle right now… no ropes, just the mat, and show me what you got.”

Berle Sumter from St. Helena picked up the first pair and said, “Look coach, no one wants to box me.” But Singleton, always sticking up for the weak and standing up to bullies, said, “I’ll box you Berle.”

Singleton moved around, stuck Sumter with a couple jabs and connected with a right cross and a left hook, moves he’d seen from Joe Frazier and Cassius Clay.

Coach Thompson said, “Son, who taught you how to box?” Well, Singleton had never had a single lesson. He only learned from what he’d seen on television. It was at that moment, when he heard affirmation from a teacher, that he truly considered boxing as a career.

The fourth and final experience came when Singleton was in the 11th Grade. His father had a friend he knew from Tuskegee Institute, Mr. Ferguson from Lafeyette, Indiana. He came to visit and developed enough of a relationship with young Charlie Singleton that he invited him to Lafeyette to work for the summer.

He worked for Ferguson’s construction company and developed a friendship with a co-worker and basketball player on the Purdue team. On weekdays, they hauled lumber from site to site. On weekends, they went to parties.

One night, at a party, a guy walked in with a t-shirt that said, “CCC Boxing Team.” Singleton explained to the kid that he’d always wanted to be a boxer. So the next day, the kid picked him up and took him to a gym in a basement.

A guy that lived upstairs saw Singleton box, and like Coach Thompson, said “Who taught you how to box? You could be on the Olympic team!”

At that moment, Singleton’s head blew up. When he came home from Lafeyette, he told his mom about his dream.

With her and his father’s encouragement, Singleton figured out a way to train. He took an old heavy bag that Beaufort High was throwing out, tied it to a tree and hit it for months with a pair of gloves he bought while working as a school bus driver. Friends on the football team were sparring partners.

Charles Singleton was extremely motivated.  While a senior at Beaufort High School, an announcement was made to students announcing an assembly for those interested in DeVry Technical School in Atlanta, GA.

Singleton remembered the big city of Atlanta while driving home from Lafeyette and said to himself, “If I can get to Atlanta, I can find a gym and start training.”

Charles Singleton in action

That’s what he did. Carter Morgan trained him at the Boys Club in Atlanta. That’s when he met young Evander Holyfield. Singleton went on to win a number of championships before moving to Philadelphia, where he trained with George Benton at Smokin’ Joe Frazier’s gym.

In addition to Carter Morgan and George Benton, and a number of mentors along the way, Singleton said he is also thankful for one Coach at Beaufort High School, Mr. Arnold Mitchell.

Singleton wanted to quit the basketball team. Coach Mitchell’s words of encouragement to stay on the team empowered Singleton for a lifetime.

“I will always remember his words.”

Coaches of today should take note. Your hours on the field or court and your dedication to youth sports is paying off, even if you don’t realize it. You are always sending a positive message, and your kids are listening…to every word.

Charles Singleton is more than a career boxer. He’s more than a celebrity in Beaufort. He is genuinely thankful for his accomplishments in life and extends that appreciation to all those who helped him along the way. He is a hero of the best kind…a gracious hero.


Modern Luxury Meets Southern Charm at City Loft Hotel

By Wendy Pollitzer

March 10, 2011

Question: What is it about Beaufort, SC that attracts you?

Answer: Its authenticity. The people and the place are authentic in nature.

That question was asked to a corporate traveler who was the President of  International Business for Coca-Cola  for many years. He’s also a friend and mentor to Matt McAlhaney, owner of City Loft Hotel, City Java & News and CityFIT on Carteret Street in Downtown Beaufort.

For a businessman who has seen the world, that’s a nice compliment to our beloved town and the smiling faces who call it home.  And McAlhaney and his strikingly beautiful wife, Laura have found a niche for global travelers who appreciate gracious hospitality coupled with a distinctive urban feel.  City Loft Hotel, located in the center of one of the most historic cities in the Southeast, is a stylish boutique hotel equipped with modern luxury accommodations.

As economic stewards to Beaufort, it’s time we let the world know what we have to offer.  Our Southern charm, sophisticated tastes and authentic “setting” are ingredients for a preferred destination among global travelers and regional tourists alike.

Stop by The City Loft Hotel Complex and witness these authentic ingredients at work…. you’ll see a number of folks “telecommuting” at City Java & News (working at home but not really), chatting, reading newspapers (The Island News is the preferred choice- of course!) drinking espresso and coffee, dining on ham and cheese biscuits, muffins, and scones…  It’s a scene, the urban vibe McAlhaney strived hard to create. City Java and News is home to such a variety of people every morning. Frequent visitors include writers, musical directors, clergy, judges, teachers, students, and local businessmen, even a 4-Star General.  The energy in City Java from the hours between 7am and 10am is contagious and encouraging.  The ritualism of a morning cup of Joe is partnered with a welcoming sense of community.  Many Beaufortonians start their day at City Java with optimism and camaraderie…. Tourists too.. You’re  likely to see the corporate traveler rushing out the door after a brisk workout at CityFIT ( great gym with ellipticals, freeweights, treadmills and steamshowers to die for) to meet that first client of the day. By the way, keep City Loft in mind the next time you have a vendor or business associate coming to Beaufort to do business, they have special rates and with a 24/7 gym, coffee shop that opens at 6:00 a.m., and two of Beaufort’s finest restaurants just across the street (Breakwater and Wren) they’ll be glad you booked them at this little gem.

McAlhaney said he would be remiss not mention Stephanie Fairbanks, manager of City Loft Hotel, who plays a pivotal role in maintaining relationships with guests and locals,- he says, in short, it’s her job to keep the vibe alive.  He says she truly does anticipate people’s needs rather than reacts to requests or demands.  She and her staff will arrange dining reservations, workout sessions, historic tours or simply coffee delivered to your room.  She understands the City Loft visitor before arrival and assists with the uninterrupted flow of their experience.

Whether he’s sweeping the floor at City Java & News, carrying a guest’s bags or even cutting the hedges at City Loft, McAlhaney maintains it’s all about trends and vibes; a vibe supported by excellent service and real value. Speaking of trends… Fairbanks and McAlhaney are seeing a pretty cool trend developing lately more of City Loft’s visitors traveling by way of the Intracoastal Waterway.  Groups of boaters -day-trippers from Savannah or Charleston plan a trip to Beaufort in their watercraft, dock at the Downtown marina  and stay at City Loft  overnight.  City Loft Hotel will cater to the boating crowd by assisting with luggage and arranging transportation if needed.

McAlhaney and his wife, Laura, created City Loft Hotel with the idea in mind to bring urban design to a historic community.  There are pockets in a number of cities where this model of “transitional” design works well.   Fusing modern and traditional elements in a renovated structure is not only “green,” but innovative and artistic as well.

Creating a space that appeals to visitors and locals is tricky. But, the McAlhaney’s have found a way to form the ideal union of sophisticated travel and hometown warmth.  Its authenticity is quite attractive. For information regarding hotel rates, City Java & News and CityFIT memeberships please contact the staff or Stephanie Fairbanks at 843-379-5638 or visit them on the web at


Mix Master Milner: Mixing Chemicals by Day and Music by Night

By Wendy Pollitzer

March 10, 2011

Ash Milner has found his niche. If ever there was a hobby that could turn into a career, it the art of being a disc jockey. And Milner loves his title as DJ Ash or Mix Master Milner.

About this time last year, Lantz Price, owner of Plum’s Inc., and a bunch of guys stood around the fire at a friend’s fish camp. Knowing Milner’s adoration for music, Price suggested that Ash deejay at Plum’s to see if he liked it.

It just so happened that Milner was offered DJ equipment only three days prior to this conversation. Ash was spraying Buddy Brownlee’s house as a technician for Collin’s Pest Control (his day job), and he noticed a lot of equipment that Brownlee was ready to get rid of.

So the conversation around the campfire came at the perfect time. Milner called Brownlee, accepted the equipment and quickly became known as DJ Ash, the hottest name in entertainment on Bay Street.

Milner has always loved music. His ipod has over 5000 songs on it. “Music soothes the soul. It gives me an escape. When I’m driving around in the Collin’s Pest Control truck, my music relaxes me,” explains Milner. “I like hard rock. Rush is a favorite band of mine. But, when I moved to Beaufort, a friend turned me on to the Allman Brothers, Grateful Dead and Widespread Panic. “

Besides listening to music, Milner also enjoys watching the crowd dance to his selections. “They go nuts over the popular songs by bands like the Black Eyed Peas and Usher. But sometimes, I like to slip in a song by unknown artists like Groove Armada and Fat Boy Slim. They love those songs too. People just like to dance,” says Milner.

“I’m very thankful that Lantz (Price) and Chip (Dinkins) gave me this opportunity.  Plum’s is a great place to DJ; it’s tight, and the intimacy makes it even better.”

“I’m also very thankful to a few people who have helped me achieve success in my side career. Merritt Yeager helps me with signs and graphics for advertising purposes, and Tim Lovett helps me set up. And, how can I forget my wife, Cher? She publicizes all of my events on Facebook.”

DJ Ash has a special performance coming up on St. Patrick’s Day at Plum’s.  Beginning at 10pm, Plum’s will transform into an Irish Ash Celebration. Milner will play tunes, provide beads and koozies and sell t-shirts to all those doning green.

Originally from Aiken, Milner and his wife, Cher, now call Beaufort home.  And Plum’s is kind of like their “Cheers.” Everyone knows your name. “Plum’s will always be a special place to me, because it’s where I got started.”

And if you’re a musician and see DJ Ash one night, don’t be afraid to ask and join him. He encourages musicians to play during one of his gigs. He wants to promote local talent and believes we could all benefit from each other. Promotion is all about word of mouth and encouragement.

And thanks to Lantz Price and Buddy Brownlee’s words of encouragement, Ash Milner now makes a living doing exactly what he loves to do, playing music.


Beaufort High School Eagles Celebrate the 2010 Season

Seniors give Juniors leadership responsibility in a commemorative rite of passage

By Wendy Pollitzer

February 24, 2011

Beaufort High School Varsity Eagles Class of 2011 and Coach Mark Clifford. Photo by Carolina Sports.

On Thursday, February 10th, I had the pleasure of attending one of the most memorable events in town, the Beaufort High School Football Banquet, honoring the Region VIII AAAA Champions, the BHS Eagles at the Dataw Island Clubhouse. Coach Mark Clifford invited me to sit at the head table. Honored to represent The Island News as Beaufort’s spirited cheerleader in print, I watched players, parents and coaches cheer for each other, thank each other and shed tears in memory of an awesome season. I also witnessed a humbling rite of passage, as the seniors charged the juniors with the responsibility of the 2011 team.

What a community event!  Gentlemen from the Dataw Island Men’s Club organized this tribute.  Jonathon Peck, in particular, a passionate Eagle Football fan, arranged the evening. He and fellow members asked Dataw Island residents to sponsor a player to attend this very special affair.  They enthusiastically participated, and both the Varsity and Junior Varsity teams and their families were able to attend.  Dave Britton, a member at Dataw, explained, “We were able to raise more than last year, and this enables the Booster Club to keep their funds at Beaufort High.”

Mr. Peck was unfortunately unable to attend the ceremony due to the death of his daughter. All of the players passed a giant card around to sign and thank Mr. Peck for his generosity and offer their condolences for the loss of his loved one.   Mr. Peck, your family is in the prayers of all those who attended that evening in addition to the entire Beaufort High School family.

Codrian Smalls and Shunequa Smalls

The card read, “One Team, One Family,” which has been the motto of the Beaufort High School Eagles since Coach Clifford came on board as Head Coach. And this motto fits no better team than the 2010 Eagles. To give you an idea of the character of the Varsity team, Coach Clifford reminded the packed clubhouse that not a single player rushed for more than 1000 yds.  Talk about a team effort! Everyone pitched in to make this years’ Eagles Region VIII AAAA Champions.

Coach Clifford giving Opening Remarks at Dataw Island

Coach Clifford gave opening remarks and addressed the crowd enthusiastically about all the people who helped make this team so great. He thanked the Cheerleaders, Josh Ferguson with Carolina Sportscare, the BHS Film Crew and the eager, young ball boys. He also gave special recognition to Chris Wegmann, “The Voice of Eagles” and Ray Lentz, the clock operator; Mike Eggers, owner of McDonalds who supported and fed the team; The Chain Crew-Jack Cunningham, Jack Little, Frank Plair and Mike Sewell; Eric Lowman from BB&T who sponsored the Player of the Week Awards and Dr. Dan Durbin and the BHS faculty and staff for their support.

Dymonte Gwathney

Appreciation was also given to Chief Bruce Kline, Will Vaigneur and Danny Williams and the Lady’s Island Fire Department for delivering a character-building program before each game. And the seniors on this years’ team, especially, had uncompromising character and a strong will to win. A special thanks was given to Chief Kline, Vaigneur and Williams for their support of the Beaufort High School Eagles.

Coach Clifford’s altruistic love for football and coaching could not go unnoticed. He exclaimed time and again how extraordinary a group this team was. “Something special happens on a Friday night. There is a great atmosphere at Beaufort High School, and this group does a tremendous job, on and off the field.”

Bill Evans, District Seven’s Representative on Beaufort County School Board spoke and thanked all the moms and dads in the audience. He said, “Parents, you’ve given us a great group of young men.”

Kevin Gess

Leticia Washington, DVonta Cohen and Jason Washington

Invocation by Senior Kevin Gess and dinner followed. Then the Cheerleaders and the Sports Medicine Staff were recognized.  The main attraction of the evening was the presentation of awards. Strength Training, Defensive, Offensive and Special Team coaches gave awards out to deserving players as well as first, second, third and fourth year letters. Josh McPherson received the team’s only fourth year letter, while Dalvin Broussard, Beau Brown, Detrell Gantt, Dymonte’ Gwathney, Demeo Holmes and Alex Simmons received third year letters.

Thyrik Legree, Ms. Kirkland and Calvin Atkins

Agustin Martinez is the Inspirational speaker who eloquently delivers encouraging words to the team after each Thursday night meal, a tradition before all Friday games.  He begins, “The war begins tomorrow night Eagles. Are you ready to hit?” A boisterous team yells back, “Yes Sir!” Martinez gave the Dawson Chestnut Award, which recognizes a selfless player who consistently puts team first, self second. Dawson Chestnut was a 2004 Beaufort High Football player, who, for religious purposes, could not play Friday night games. But, he practiced every day for the betterment of the team. This year, Senior Kevin Gess received the award.

Dr. Dan Durbin delivered the Academic Leadership Award, and couldn’t stress enough how incredibly close this was. There were several players with GPA’s neck and neck. “Our athletes are excelling in the classroom like never before. I think what’s happening in the classroom is a direct correlation as to what’s happening on the football field,” explained Durbin. This years’ award went to Kevin Gess as well. Gess, also this year’s Homecoming King, will be attending The Citadel in the Fall.

Photo by Carolina Sports

After the four Team Captains, Kevin Gess, Jalin Mack, Beau Brown and Alex Simmons were acknowledged, the 2010 Beaufort High School Varsity Football Seniors participated in their final act as teammates. They lined up by number, retired their jerseys to the table and signed a banner representing each Senior Class from years’ prior. Beau Brown gave a tearful and memorable charge to the Juniors, explaining how it is now their duty to lead the Eagles, with character, pride and sportsmanship. Maliek Maldonado accepted this charge for the Juniors and promised respectful delivery of leadership for the 2011 season. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

Now, it is our turn Beaufort… to offer enthusiasm for our beloved Eagles on par with this team, the coaching staff, the hardworking Booster Club and the spirited student body. We need to do our part to congratulate such an accomplished group and root for their weekly performances, on and off the field.  It’s not too soon to start thinking about football again. Let’s come up with some creative ways to show the 2011 Beaufort High School Eagles that we love them, appreciate their dedication and admire their unwavering respect for the coaching staff who encourage them every day, for they are the true heroes of the team. Thank you for a great season.

Photo by Carolina Sports

Thank you to the following Coaching Staff:

Coach Ray Jones

Strength Coach; “Voice of the Eagles”

Coach Rast

Junior Varsity Head Coach, Defensive Backs, Varsity

Coach Vaigneur

Junior Varsity

Coach Thomas

Junior Varsity

Coach Mahoney

Defensive Line, Varsity

Coach Hatcher

Linebackers, Varsity

Coach White

Defensive Backs, Varsity

Coach Walker

Special Teams, Punters/Kickers, Varsity

Coach Sterling

Linebackers and Discipline, Varsity

Coach Fess

Offensive Line, Varsity

Coach Merrick

Receivers, Varsity

Coach Mark Clifford

Head Coach, Varsity

Awards given at the 2010 BHS Football Banquet:

#4  Jalin Mack, Sr.-MVP-Defensive Back; Captain

#9  Beau Brown, Sr.-MVP-Offense; All Region Team; Iron Eagle Award for Weightlifting-Offense; Captain

#11 Dymonte’ Gwathney, Sr.-MVP-Receivers; All Region Team; BB&T Player of the Week-Offense (Easley)

#20 Alex Simmons, Sr.-MVP-Running Back; Captain

#22 Josh McPherson, Sr.-MVP-Running Back

#23-Jaclay Mixon, So.-MVP-Linebacker

#25 Calvin Atkins, Sr.-McDonalds Hit of the Year

#41 Kevin Gess, Sr.-Dawson Chestnut Award; Academic Leadership Award; Captain

#45 Dalvin Broussard, Sr.-BB&T Player of the Week-Defense (Easley)

#51 Maliek Maldonado, Jr.-MVP-Defense; All Region Team; BB&T Hit of the Week (Easley)

#56 Michael Bedwell, Jr.-Iron Eagle Award for Weightlifting-Defense

#62 Derrick Washington, Sr.-Eagle Pride Award for Defense

#66 DeEndre Jefferson-Fields, Jr.-MVP-Defensive Line; All Region Team

#74 Cody Beals, Sr.-MVP-Offensive Line; All Region Team

#78 Detrell Gantt, Sr.-All Region Team

#82 Tyler Cieplowski, Sr.-Eagle Pride Award for Offense

#87 Kyle Clark, Jr.-Special Teams Award; All Region Team; BB&T Player of the Week-Special Teams (Easley)

Junior Varsity Awards:

Caleb Gee-Eagle Pride  Award for Offense

Tanner Powell-MVP-Offense

Mitchell Stewart-Special Teams Award

David Tilton-MVP-Defense

Clint Wright-Eagle Pride Award for Defense

High School Sports Report Names Top Prospects

On Monday, February 21st, seven Beaufort High School Varsity football players received awards from the High School Sports Report. Alex Simmons, Beau Brown and Josh McPherson, all seniors at BHS, were recognized as top 100 prospects in the state of South Carolina. D’Vonta Cohen, a junior, and Jaclay Mixon, a sophomore, were awarded All Rookie Team honors. Detrell Gantt, a senior was named to the AAAA All Defense Team and Rob Dennis, a junior, was named to the AAAA All Offense Team.

The High School Sports Report is an esteemed publication that acknowledges the achievements of young athletes across the state, covering high school sports since 1987.

Photo by Carolina Sports


Local tax firm helps clients relieve anxieties

By Lanier Laney

February 10, 2010

William Trask, CPA

Phillip Lynn CPA, MBA

Trask & Lynn, CPA, P.A is a local Beaufort tax and accounting firm that brings over 70 years experience to the table.  Phillip Lynn, CPA, MBA says “We offer, as one of our services, tax planning and guidance.” Then he explains further–“In other words, we aren’t just a ‘sign here please’ tax and accounting firm.  We want to educate the client and give them knowledge and peace of mind.  We like to sit down with them and say, ‘here is your stream of income, these are your expenditures, and here’s how you can minimize your federal and state income taxes now (with the ever-changing federal and state income tax laws) and in the future with proper tax planning and guidance”.  And as his partner, William Trask, CPA likes to say “We are anxiety relievers”.

Lynn, who hails from Hartsville S.C. joined with 30 yr. industry veteran and Beaufort native, William Trask 6 years ago as partner in the firm. There they have created a ‘team approach’ for clients along with Staff Accountants, Pat Gratsch and Renee Rudisill, where they take pride in in taking care of their clients and build strong relationships with them.

As you enter the firm, you are greeted with a warm smile from Erica Perez who handles all of the administrative and front office details. The newest member to join the team for the tax season is Casey Parker who will be assisting with front office details.      Their firm covers tax preparation and planning for Individuals, Partnerships, Corporate, Not-for-Profits, and Estates & Trusts. In addition to tax services Trask & Lynn CPA, P.A, offers Business Guidance, Payroll services (from cutting the check to all reporting and compliance.), to Book keeping and Financial Statement preparation. The degree of financial reporting includes compiled, reviewed and audited financial statements.    “We have lots of clients who are unfamiliar with or new to the most complex tax code in the world and we take time to explain any questions and address any concerns” says Lynn “There’s lots of hand holding that may arise.”  And the same goes for small business owners as well.  “We sit down with the business owner and identify problem areas then offer a solution, that’s where our value lies” adds Lynn.   They like to examine the small business’s current tax structure, and help them put together a plan to run more efficiently and more profitably in the future by minimizing their tax position and giving them a sound financial basis to make decisions on, currently and in the future.

“It’s all about putting together a well thought out tax plan for the whole upcoming year.” says Lynn  “Taxes are a moving target, they are always changing, and you need to have an ongoing actively monitored plan with the clients.”

Phillip is married to Wendi Lynn (formerly Wendi Potter of Mt. Pleasant S.C.) and they have two younger children Tency and Sellers.   Phillip and partner William are involved in a host of local charities in the Beaufort area. William is married to Priscilla Aimar Trask and has two children Sarah Trask Burrus (who is married to local surgeon Dr. Perry Burrus) and William Trask Jr. who is in his second year at the Charleston Law School. William also has three grandchildren, Ward, Patrick and Amelia Burrus.  William Trask,  is a lifelong member of St. Helena’s Episcopal Church and the Lynn family attends the Baptist Church of Beaufort. Both are graduates of the University of South Carolina – Columbia

In talking with several clients of Trask & Lynn,  the word ‘reassuring’ came up over and over in conversations along with the word ‘savings’ said with a smile.  “They have calmness in getting it done” said one. With another adding “I have a lot of anxiety around taxes and I’m new to this State.  They took me through the whole process, explaining South Carolina laws and I felt totally reassured, they were just great”.

The Trask & Lynn, CPA, PA tax and accounting firm is located at 46 Sams Point Road, Beaufort (on Ladys Island) SC. The telephone number is 843-521-2550.


Love in any Language

Ryan Christian takes charge of the 2011 Valentine Ball Silent Auction

By Wendy Pollitzer

February 3, 2011

When I ran into Ryan Christian several years ago at Belk Department Store, I was shocked to see my sorority sister in then small town Beaufort.

“Ryan Walker, what are you doing in Beaufort?” I asked.

“Remember, my boyfriend I met at Sea Island when we were at Clemson,” she said. “Well, I married him, and he just joined a practice (Beaufort ENT and Allergy) in Beaufort.”

I was ecstatic! Many moons ago, it seemed our beloved small town was vacant with young professionals.  In just a few short years, Beaufort has grown to include hundreds of smart, young couples, each dedicated to making Beaufort an even better place to live.

Ryan and DJ Christian are an example of one such couple, volunteering their time for Riverview Charter School, St. Helena’s Episcopal Church and, of course, Beaufort Memorial Hospital.

Ryan is the chair of the silent auction committee for the hospital’s upcoming Valentine Ball, Love in any Language.  As you may have seen in previous issues, the silent auction is packed with exciting items that Ryan and her committee sought and confirmed for this year’s fundraiser.

All proceeds from the auction and the entire evening will benefit the expansion of the George N. Pratt and Sarah Meyer Pratt Emergency Center. This much needed renovation will enable Beaufort Memorial Hospital to better serve the entire community.

Ryan’s silent auction committee includes Dawn Brown, Mary Lou Cullen, Liz Murdaugh, Katie Phifer, Lisa Presnell, Jennie Wood and Courtney Worrell. Each of these women worked diligently to seek donated items ranging from fabulous trips, near and far, sporting events, unusual packages of foods and services, art from well-known artists and quite a bit of fashion.

And don’t fret if you can’t go to the ball. Open bidding is extended to the general public prior to the ball, which will be held Saturday, February 12. The highest bid received in this manner for an item will be recorded by the auction committee and will represent the current high bid for that item at the commencement of the Valentine Ball at 9 p.m. Rules (including good faith deposits) and guidelines for bidding prior to the ball are available from the BMH Foundation. You may call (843) 522-5774 for more information.

As most sorority and fraternity alumni know, philanthropy is nurtured in college. Though our parents may have planted the seed much earlier, it is in those formative, collegiate years when we learn that giving back is our reward, not our duty.

Gone are the days of organizing mixers and socials. But, these are the days when all that practice begins to pay off, for the betterment of a community.  It’s people like Ryan Christian who continue to put long hours toward fun and memorable events that will yield compassionate giving. In this case, the end product will be an Emergency Room that is needed by each and every one of us in Beaufort.

So, thank you Ryan. And thank you Tri Delta. Philanthropy is alive and well, as it should always be.

A complete list of silent auction items can be viewed on the Beaufort Memorial Hospital Foundation’s website, Thank you to all of the donors who contributed items in this year’s Valentine Ball Silent Auction.

Some Silent Auction Items

Fashion Extravaganza in New York City: The winning bidder will receive two VIP tickets to Carmen Marc Valvo’s fall fashion show in New York City. The following day, the winning bidder will also have an appointment to visit the designer’s showrooms, where he will help the winners select a gown or cocktail dress of their choice and will sign a copy of his book “Dressed to Perfection” to be released by Rizzoli Publishers this September. Minimum Bid: $1,000.

Quail Hunt at Chelsea Plantation: This traditional quail hunt at exclusive Chelsea Plantation is a once in a lifetime adventure. A morning hunt on mule-drawn wagons is for a party of eight. Following the hunt, the winning bidder will be served a three-course outdoor meal overlooking Hazzard Creek surrounded by famous camellia gardens. Minimum Bid: $1,200.


Farming is in Urbie West’s Blood

By Wendy Pollitzer

December 2, 2010

Ashby and Urbie West

It’s not often you meet a fifth generation Beaufortonian, much less a fifth generation Beaufortonian farmer like Urbie West.  West is the founder and manager of Rest Park Produce Farm and sells his vegetables at a newly constructed stand built by his cousin, Chip McLeod in the Beaufort Plaza Shopping Center.

West’s Great-Great Grandfather started W.H. McLeod & Son in Seabrook with his son, Claude E. McLeod. West’s Grandfather, William H. McLeod and his brother, Claude E. McLeod, continued the farming operation in Seabrook until 1984, when the last vegetable crop was planted.

Today, West operates a 370-acre farm in Earhardt, SC initially intended to serve recreational needs like hunting and fishing.  But when West’s Stepfather, Doug Cappelmann passed away, he told his mom, Hope McLeod Cappelmann, “Momma, I’m ready to get back into the dirt. I want to start farming.”

And that’s what he’s done. With the help from his sons, Ashby and Drew and with the blessing from his wife, Andrea, West has successfully planted and harvested numerous vegetable crops. He’s got turnips, collards, mustard greens and kale in addition to Bibb lettuce, Bok Choy, carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, tomatoes, acorn and spaghetti squash and cabbage.

West uses no herbicides and very few pesticides and fungicides. He and his sons pull weeds manually; and, within three years, West will have a certified organic farm.  And West only sells what he grows at his stand; so he knows it’s good!

All of West’s crops sold at the stand are picked fresh daily. They are open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 1pm until dusk. West also participates in the Port Royal Farmer’s Market on Saturdays.

Rest Park Produce Farm also supports and enrolls members in CSA, Community Supported Agriculture.

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer, like West. Rest Park Produce Farm offers a certain number of “shares” to the public. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a “membership” or a “subscription”) and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.

This arrangement creates several rewards for both the farmer and the consumer.  Farmers get to spend time marketing the food early in the year, before their 16-hour days in the field begin. They also receive payment early in the season, which helps with the farm’s cash flow. And, farmers like West have an opportunity to get to know the people who eat the food they grow.

Consumers get to eat ultra-fresh food, with all the flavor and vitamin benefits and are exposed to new vegetables and new ways of cooking.  They usually get to visit the farm at least once a season, which allows them to develop a relationship with the farmer who grows their food and learn more about how food is grown.

CSA’s are definitely a win-win for the farmer and consumer. For more information  about the CSA at Rest Park Produce Farm, contact Urbie at  (843) 592-3535 or email him at

For Urbie West, farming is in his blood. West’s mother, Hope McLeod Cappelmann, grew up on the farm in Seabrook during the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. And Urbie spent many hours after school helping his grandfather, Hardee McLeod and his brother, Claude picking, packing and loading vegetables to be shipped to markets up North.

And West’s mother still helps out the business, accompanying Urbie many days at the stand. It’s definitely a family affair. West was quite proud of his roots as well as his branches as he graciously spoke of his mother, Hope, his sons, Ashby and Drew, and his lovely wife, Andrea.

Urbie West hopes to continue his family’s legacy in the farming business. Do yourself a favor and visit Urbie at Beaufort Plaza, where the Shoney’s used to be. You’ll enjoy meeting him, and you’ll definitely love his produce!


Thank You to EC Montessori’s Family of Teachers

A Surprise Profile of Carolyn Leslie, Olive McMahon and Shannon Duffy

By Wendy Pollitzer

November 18, 2010

I’ve been profiling community members for almost 11 months now. A typical profile involves an interview, a few photo opportunities and an email conversation to make sure everything is correct.

I haven’t done a surprise profile…until now.

This profile is a gesture of thanks to the three teachers who have guided my daughters, Abbie (7) and Julia (6), through their academic life at E.C. Montessori School.  Carolyn Leslie, Olive McMahon and Shannon Duffy have taken my children to a level of learning I never anticipated, and I want to take this opportunity to thank each of you (and your wonderful assistants, Brooke Gadley, Sherill Francis, Stacy Gartner and Laura Lopresto) for instilling everyday values, teaching life skills and creating a love of learning my daughters will keep for eternity.

Carolyn Leslie

Each of the girls had Carolyn Leslie from the ages of 18 months through 3 years. A soft-spoken woman, Carolyn gets on the toddlers’ level and addresses each range of human development-intellectual, social, physical and spiritual-in the most calming manner you’ve ever witnessed. She does so in a way that allows the children to capitalize on their innate love of learning, and she helps them develop the initial confidence necessary to continually discover the joy of learning.

In Carolyn’s class, Abbie and Julia learned language development, practical living and social development skills. In addition they enjoyed creative movement, music, art and enrichment. She taught each of my girls how to appreciate individual learning and the importance of community. They were now prepared for Primary.

Olive McMahon

Olive McMahon taught Abbie and Julia from 3 years to 6 years, when their learning stage is based on sensory, concrete and experiential development. Julia is still in Olive’s class, taking on the current demands of Kindergarten.  And she loves it! It amazes me how Kindergarten improves a child’s confidence. One week, they’re sounding out letters, and the next week, they’re reading chapter books. Literally, in 11 weeks, Julia has surprised the family with her love of reading. And we owe it all to Olive, who works with each child in that Primary classroom at their level and encourages, never discourages their daily performance. Olive is gifted at teaching the children how to respect themselves and each other, because her genuine respect for the children is remarkably evident.

Shannon Duffy

Abbie is currently in Shannon Duffy’s Lower Elementary class for 6 to 9 year olds. All I can say is… thank goodness for Carolyn and Olive who prepared Abbie for such a challenge. Shannon’s class is extraordinary. They are learning everything from Botany to Greek Mythology. Abbie’s favorite thing to do in Shannon’s class is creative writing, and she’s good! Shannon encourages the students’ to develop their strengths and at the same time, pays careful attention to their weaknesses. In Abbie’s case, it’s math. Shannon spoke to me about how we can improve Abbie’s desire to learn math; and sure enough, Abbie has come home every day asking me to quiz her on multiplication and division. Shannon is a phenomenal instructor who takes the time to individualize lessons based on each child’s development stage; and she does it so effortlessly.

So far in my young daughters’ lives, I’ve been blessed with three of the most amazing teachers in Beaufort.  I can’t even imagine what the future holds for them, thanks to your patience, your instruction and your guidance. And I’m ever so thankful knowing that my children go to school everyday knowing a little bit more than they did the day before and eager to learn the unknown.

You three are unsung heroes, as are all of our teachers in Beaufort. This Thanksgiving, we should all say a little extra thanks around the table for those who take our children under their wings 180 days of the year. You are true champions, and we appreciate you…all of you.


Facilities Chair for Riverview Charter School, Mallory Baches

By Wendy Pollitzer

November 11, 2010

Mallory Baches co-founded and is a Partner of DPZ Pacific, a planning and design firm that provides services for a wide variety of projects in Asia. Baches has been a member of the Congress for New Urbanism since 1999. An architect and urban designer by training, Baches is responsible for project design/architecture and code development using the innovative planning techniques of Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company. Prior to co-founding DPZ Pacific, Baches was one of four Project Managers at Duany Plater-Zyberk in Miami, Florida and the youngest ever promoted to the position. In her five years with the firm she managed a variety of projects ranging from community revitalization to resort development throughout North America. Her design skills in both urban form and building architecture were first developed at the University of Notre Dame’s School of Architecture five-year program, the only fully accredited Classical School of Architecture and Urban Design in the United States. Baches and her husband, Demitri came to Beaufort by chance. As many Beaufortonians have done, the Baches decided to stay. Their jobs allow them to live anywhere in the world; and fortunately for Riverview Charter School, they found a home in Habersham. They have one daughter, Iris.

Riverview Charter School opened its doors at its temporary location on Burroughs Avenue on August 17, 2009, just one month after getting final approval from the Beaufort County School Board.

Now, a little over one year later, students, faculty and parent volunteers are very rapidly bursting out of every crevice at the temporary location, which used to house the Humanities School and Beaufort Elementary School.

Now, Riverview Charter School’s Board of Directors is set on a precise path to finding a permanent solution with a purpose of defining those elements central to the vision of the school’s charter.

Mallory Baches, Facilities Chair on the Riverview Board, is determined to start the  design process in a public format to best meet the goals and objectives of Riverview’s philosophy as well as the school’s programming and curriculum needs. And there are many stakeholders in the growth plan.

Baches and other Board members think it’s important to have a public workshop to get feedback from parents, faculty, charter committee members, governmental jurisdictions, landowners and the public at large. The entire team can balance all of the key elements necessary to collectively deliver a permanent facility based on the philosophy of Riverview Charter School.

It is the purpose of the Board to share dialogue and conversation regarding growth with the public. Baches especially emphasizes the conscious effort made by the Board for the larger good of the school’s population.

She comments, “It’s satisfying to know that this group will implement the best fit for the community.  The Board would not be able to succeed if they were motivated by personal effort.  The Board is thinking about the legacy of Riverview, not just for today. And it’s all based on environmental stewardship. From a facilities standpoint, and in keeping with our philosophy, we want this new building to last for 100 years or longer.”

The students are used to hearing the words, “Stewardship” and “Cooperation” on a day-to-day basis. In fact, it’s not uncommon to hear them say these words to each other in everyday context.

“We have core values that the staff reinforces everyday,” explains Baches. “That’s why we want to create a permanent facility that will reflect a day in the life of a student or teacher at Riverview. We want to use the space as efficiently as possible and allow for more hands-on, tangible space and more flexible opportunities to reflect what the kids are learning, both outdoors and indoors.”

Baches and the Riverview Charter School Board of Directors invite the public to a Visioning and Programming Kick-Off Workshop December 6-8 at Beaufort City Hall.

Facilities Component of the Riverview Charter

Riverview Charter School will provide a permanent facility that serves those who use it by being: sustainable, safe, efficient, economical, “green,” accessible, flexible, and appropriate.  Riverview will meet these objectives in identifiable and measurable ways.  The site will be selected for its location within an area of population, where the community and the school can collaborate in a supportive way.  The campus will be designed to create a secure environment, where visitors as well as children and staff are accounted for as they arrive and depart.  The facilities will adhere to a carefully studied budget that maximizes benefits and minimizes drawbacks of the choices it requires.  The facilities will be designed to achieve a LEED certification level of energy and environmental achievement.  The buildings will be in keeping with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements, so that they are accessible to all who seek to enter.  The floor plans will be considered so as to allow for ultimate flexibility of programmatic use, and the facades will be created to be in keeping with the vernacular of the area.


Monica Wiser Wants You to Hear the Beauty that Surrounds You

By Wendy Pollitzer

November 4, 2010

Monica Wiser, a local audiologist, can relate to the challenges of hearing loss. She is hearing impaired herself.

Diagnosed at 6-years-old, she shares the disability with an older brother and sister. Three of the five siblings are blonde, blue-eyed and hearing impaired.

But that has never stopped Monica Wiser from pursuing her dreams and communicating her knowledge and wisdom with the world, even the silent world.

In 1994, Monica obtained her Bachelor of Arts Degree from California State University, Northridge in Communication Sciences and Disorders.  She graduated at the top of her class and was named Student of the Year by the National Center on Deafness.  In 1996, she obtained her Master’s Degree in Audiology at San Diego State University. Graduating with a 4.0 GPA, she was designated as the Outstanding Graduate for the Department of Communicative Disorders.

She completed her Clinical Fellowship Year at the V.A. Medical Center in Long Beach and received her Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech Language Hearing Association in 1997. Monica has worked as a clinical audiologist for a private ENT practice, as the Staff Audiologist for a medical center, and as the Clinical Supervisor in a dispensing practice.

Wiser now owns Beaufort Audiology and Hearing Care, located at 38 Professional Village Circle on Lady’s Island (behind Sonic). Her slogan? “Hear the Beauty that surrounds you.”

“Everyone thinks of beauty in visual terms. But think about music, children’s laughter and the sounds of nature. I am often inspired by a prayer, written by Msgr. Donald Horak, from which my office was blessed,” explains Wiser as she points to the framed prayer on her wall in the waiting room (please see below).

So what does Wiser have to offer that most audiologists don’t? Well, imagine buying a car. Let’s say the person selling you the car also has to teach you how to drive the car. Now imagine that person as someone who has never driven. Why would you buy something and learn how to use it from someone who doesn’t understand it himself?

Well, there are actually more makes and models of hearing aids than cars out there, believe it or not. Wiser is efficient with not only her service and expertise, but also her compassion and time.  She counsels every patient on the most effective communication strategy for their particular hearing loss as well as their family members and teachers.

Wiser can determine the degree of hearing loss with a diagnostic hearing test, which must be administered by a professional, licensed Audiologist.

It is important to get a hearing test, so that an audiologist can either refer a patient for medical treatment or establish an assessment of non-medical treatment. Unfortunately in the State of South Carolina, there is no law that requires a license for the sale of hearing aids.

And there is no age stipulation to hearing loss. In fact, teenagers now are losing their hearing at a much faster rate. The prevalence of hearing loss in teenagers rose by nearly one-third in recent years compared with the rate in the 1980s and 1990s, a new study shows. In the August 18 Journal of the American Medical Association, the scientists report that the portion of U.S. adolescents aged 12 to 19 with any hearing loss rose from 14.9 percent during the 1988 to 1995 period to 19.5 percent in 2005 and 2006.

If you suspect hearing loss of a family member, there is no reason you shouldn’t get it checked out. Medicare covers a diagnostic hearing test and most insurance companies cover the evaluation as well.

“As an Audiologist for 13 years and as a person who has had a hearing loss all of my life, the care and treatment of people with hearing disorders is of great personal importance to me. Every person suffering from a hearing disorder deserves thorough, professional, compassionate treatment. My goal is to provide the highest standard of care to every patient,” explains Wiser.

Thank you Monica for meeting with me and sharing your personal struggle with hearing loss. I am confident that your patients are thankful for your professional and compassionate service as well.

Blessed are You, Lord Our God, for the Gift of Hearing

In the fullness of our persons, we praise You, Lord our God,

Because You are a God of ten thousand gifts.

We are grateful, in this prayer,

For the marvel of hearing

By which we can know the songs of creation,

Your unending melody of beauty,

Expressed in words, wind, and whispers.

With open ears,

We take in the joy of music,

The delight of poetry

And the simple songs of daily life.

For all of these blessings, we are filled with gratitude.

We rejoice that You have given us a third ear,

The ear of the heart, the ear of the soul,

With which we may listen to silent sound,

To the silent music of Your Divine Heart.

Help us, Lord,

By quiet prayer and times of silence,

To open the third ear

And to heal the other two of all noise.

We are also thankful

For those persons who teach us how to listen:

For poets, musicians,

Parents, prophets, care providers and teachers.

Grateful are we, for that long line of holy people

From the East and the West,

Who teach us to listen

For the echo of Your divine voice

In all words of truth.

For your powerful yet gentle Word, Jesus,

Whose Good News cleanses our ears,

We are especially thankful.

With listening hearts and grateful prayers

We adore You, Divine Master.

Blessed are You, Lord our God

For the gift of hearing.



Alex Spencer and his Reflections of Coosaw Point

By Wendy Pollitzer

October 28, 2010

Alex Spencer with his wife, Linda

A few weeks ago Anne Gallant introduced me to a friend of hers via Facebook. She described him as inspirational and naturally talented.  She asked if I would meet him to possibly write a profile about him. So I did, and I can’t thank Anne enough for initiating my new friendship with this gem of a person, Alex Spencer.

Alex Spencer is an artist living in Coosaw Point. His photography of the natural landscape is breathtaking and thought provoking. He has the rare ability to capture the essence of life in a still photo.

And, fortunately, for Beaufort, Alex has compiled many of his photographs into a coffee table book titled Reflections of Coosaw Point, a place where Spencer insists that, “the grounds spoke to me here in a way that I can’t describe.”

The land, marsh and water surrounding Coosaw Point on Lady’s Island is the inspiration behind Spencer’s work; but it’s also his healing ground.

Spencer suffers from a rare long-term side effect of Radiation treatment for Colorectal Cancer.  Essentially, most of the nerves in Spencer’s pelvic area are damaged, which may slowly result in permanent organ failure. And the pain is tremendous.

He treats the pain medicinally, but the narcotics make him very sleepy and nauseated.  It gets worse as the day grows longer.

But he continues to live each day alongside his amazing wife, Linda and among the Spanish Moss covered Oaks, the ever changing green Spartina and the ebb and flow of the Coosaw River.

“There is strong mojo here, kind of like the Red Rocks in Utah,” explains Spencer. “I’m a true tree hugger too. I actually hug trees. There is energy in plant life that yields peacefulness and serenity.”

Spencer’s physical and mental therapy for pain is his photography.  And when you look at his work, you begin to understand not only his pain, but his joy as well.

One of his photos, Primordial Beginnings pictured below, represents Alpha and Omega, everything that is new and old coming full circle.

And most of his photos of the horizon are that of sunrises, not sunsets. Most of us amateur psychologists would agree that his choice of beauty speaks volumes about his appreciation for life. The beginning of a new day is a rebirth in the eyes of Alex Spencer. And when you look at his photography, you’ll see what he sees.

And that’s all Spencer desires to share. “I want to share my feelings of nature. I want people to feel what I see and see what I feel.”

Spencer is as mellow as they come. The energy he connects with in nature transcends the mainstream appreciation for the Lowcountry. He honestly speaks and listens to nature for spiritual healing, as all of us should.

“Nature in its own way is an invisible population. We should never tire of it. When I used to travel the McTeer Bridge daily, I would look at the marsh and water for a new discovery.”

After I spoke with Spencer, I called a friend immediately to share my emotions, to somehow duplicate the positive energy I had just received. It’s nearly impossible to explain through dialogue the spatial energy you’ve just shared with another human or thing. It’s definitely difficult to transcribe it now.

But what I can describe about Alex Spencer is his yen for living. He maintains an order in his life through an understanding of every living thing around him. He expands his consciousness daily by exploring and wanting to gain knowledge. He gets thoroughly involved in each situation he’s apart of.  He lives every day like it may be his last.

Robert and Anne Gallant

Recently Anne and Robert Gallant hosted a reception to showcase Spencer’s photography. It was a successful event, and Alex sold nearly two-thirds of all his framed work in addition to many pieces being sold several times via reprints.

You may still purchase his work by emailing him at or calling him at 522-3948. And, if you get a chance to meet Alex, you’ll be reflecting upon your conversation for days, in a very good way.

I know. It was three weeks ago when I met Alex, and I’m still feeling his positive energy.  So thank you Alex for giving me inspiration. We all need it at different times in our lives; and you gave it to me when I needed it most.  God Bless You.

Primordial Beginnings

Lands End



Dr. Mark Newberry, an Oncologist with a Desire to Help

By Wendy Pollitzer

During the month of October, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, The Island News has profiled two survivors, Lesley Holladay and Rosemary Cuppia, as well as Kathy Kilgore, Trea Tucker and Mary Sanders, who are walking the Susan G. Komen Atlanta 3 Day for the Cure™ this weekend.

This week, our focus has shifted to treatment options and a local Oncologist who outlines decisive plans for patients like Holladay and Cuppia, who developed cancer and beat it.

Dr. Mark Newberry, an Oncologist with Lowcountry Medical Group, is the quarterback, if you will, of the cancer treatment community. Once a patient learns he or she has cancer, they come to Dr. Newberry for advice on treatment options which can include chemotherapy, radiation, biologic therapy, surgery, or even just observation.  Dr. Newberry develops the plan and the patient follows through with a collective strategy that is ultimately intended to make the patient live longer and feel better.

“The choice is ultimately up to the patient.  I can advise on what works best for the type of cancer, the age of the patient, genetics, etc. As a physician, I am an educator. I give choices and outline a plan and then help administer it,” explains Dr. Newberry.

Of course, to catch cancer early, one must be familiar with his or her own body. It is important to recognize changes and share them with your doctor.  In addition, patients should stay up to date with the appropriate cancer screening tests such as mammograms, colonoscopies, PAP smears, prostate exams, etc.

Once a patient has been diagnosed with cancer then he or she will be referred to Dr. Newberry for further evaluation and treatment. “I will typically review their pathology reports and complete a staging work-up to try to determine the extent of their cancer and subsequently the best way to treat and hopefully cure their cancer.”

“Patients tend to fear the reputation of chemotherapy, but most find they have fewer side effects than they expected. It helps to have a great staff.  My nurses, Kim Harrison and Beth D’Amato are quite professional and have a terrific bedside manner. They make a hard job look easy and the patients really appreciate it. The bond that we form with our patients is truly special” says Dr. Newberry.

After graduating from the University of Virginia, Dr. Newberry attended MUSC and became an Internist in Beaufort. After practicing for six years in Beaufort, he decided to go back for additional training to become a Medical Oncologist. Since September of 2004, Dr. Newberry has been practicing Oncology in the Beaufort area and has helped numerous patients in their fight against cancer through a variety of treatments.

Dr. Newberry clearly enjoys practicing here in Beaufort and is quick to point out all of the services available at Lowcountry Medical Group, which include an on-site infusion area where patients receive their chemotherapy, a comprehensive imaging center as well as full-service laboratory.  “In addition to the diagnostic tools we have here at Lowcountry Medical Group, we have also been able to work with MUSC in establishing outreach clinics here for nationally renowned Dr. Carolyn Reed in Thoracic Surgical Oncology, Dr. Jennifer Young and Dr. Paul Underwood in Gynecologic Oncology.   I am fortunate to have such a wonderful place to take care of patients and so lucky to have access to so many great physicians right here in Beaufort.”

I couldn’t help but ask Dr. Newberry to gauge how things are going in the fight with cancer.  “Today, there are many new pharmaceutical products and targeted therapies that hone in on particular cancers. Treatments are rapidly improving for cancer care, which is very encouraging,” says Dr. Newberry.  “We are also learning that the right diet can make a difference in the recurrence rates.  Based on several trials, I tend to recommend an Eastern diet, which avoids red meats and emphasizes fish, chicken, fruits and vegetables.  This has been shown to reduce recurrence rates by as much as 40% in patients that have had surgery for colon or breast cancer.  I assume that it will help other cancers but, lifestyle changes could never hurt.”

Dr. Newberry cares for cancer patients in the Lowcountry through professional direction and guidance, a cooperative plan, and the heart and soul to carry it out. Beaufort thanks him for that. An Oncologist to someone with cancer is a Savior. To many in the Beaufort community, Dr. Newberry is a personal hero. “There is no better gratification in the medical world than saving a person’s life” says Dr. Newberry.

Dr. Newberry has two sons, Marcus and Sam, ages 14 and 12. In his spare time Dr. Newberry enjoys tennis, fishing, boating and cooking. Originally from Mt. Pleasant, he is a Lowcountry Boy, through and through.

Thank you Dr. Newberry for a poignant interview about your profession and your desire to help.  I certainly admire your ambition and the integrity of your practice. In honoring Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we salute your effort to help our loved ones celebrate more birthdays and our hearts go out to all of those living with cancer.


True Girlfriends Walking for a Cure

By Wendy Pollitzer

October 14, 2010

Kathy Kilgore, Mary Sanders, Trea Tucker and Rosemary Cuppia

Sixty miles, three days, thousands of steps and months of preparation to make a persoanl difference in finding a cure for breast cancer…that’s on the minds of  Rosemary Cuppia, Trea Tucker, Kathy Kilgore and Mary Sanders. The four local women and longtime friends are joining thousands of breast cancer supporters in preparing for the 2010 Susan G. Komen Atlanta 3-Day for the Cure™, presented by Energizer on October 22-24. After months of training and fundraising, participants will walk 60  miles during three days to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research and community-based breast health and education programs.

I recently me with these dynamic women, who call themselves the WOW Girls! They explained with sincere and absolute resolve that they are walking to make a personal impact on the global effort to find a cure for breast cancer. And they are doing it for their friend, Rosemary who has been a breast cancer survivor for 14 ½  years.

Rosemary Cuppia was diagnosed with late Stage III Invasive Breast Cancer when she was 37 years-old, with three children.  She had seventeen lymph nodes removed, endured chemotherpay, radiation, and numerous procedures and believes wholeheartedly her survival was indebted to “family, community, the good Lord and strong faith.”

Cuppia explains, “It was a very humbling experience and definitely built character. I look at life in a whole new light. And my friends…they went above and beyond the call of duty.”

Her friends insist, “She fought so hard, but it seemed she was more worried about us than herself.”

Tucker, a friend of Cuppia’s for fiften years says, “If she was scared, she sure didn’t show it.”

Though Cuppia’s fight with breast cancer is the motication behind the foursome’s crusade to raise awareness, they are adamant that they are walking for their daughters, their mothers, their nieces, their aunts…for all their loved ones.

Kilgore, who met Cuppia in the Ninth Grade at Beaufort Academy explains, “Rosemary inspired us. “ And Tucker adds, “We’re walking for her and for all the girls!”

“You know, we’ve all known someone with this horrible disease,”  says Sanders, who was a roommate of Cuppia’s at USC. “Through our quest to get donations, people say all the time that their mother had it or their friend has it. It effects so many people.”

The consistent message that the four friends want to share is that of early detection.

Cuppia emphasizes the importance of regular mammograms by saying, “You have to catch it early.”

As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the four are definitley doing their part to increase a broader understanding of the disease.

The WOW Girls each had to raise  a minimum of $2300, which will further educate tens of thousands of people about breast health. Funds raised at the 3-Day for the Cure™ impact breast cancer research, which is essential in finding a cure.

The 2010 Komen 3-Day for the Cure™ includes events in Boston, Clevland, Chicago, Michigan, the Twin Cities, Denver, Seattle, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Dallas/Fort Worth, Arizona and San Diego.  It is estimated that each of these walks raise a little over $6 Million. And, thanks to events lke these, the Susan G. Komen Foundation has invested nearly $1.5 BILLION to fullfill its promise of becoming the largest source of nonprofit funds to the fight against breast cancer in the world.

The WOW Girls are still accepting donations. If you would like to help with the global fight against breast cancer, please make a small donation to these four friends. To help, visit and type in any of these names from Beaufort…Cuppia, Kilgore, Tucker or Sanders.  Your donation will support the WOW Girls team, representing Beaufort!

Tucker, the team captain wants Beaufort to know, “Through our particpation in this event, I know we are making a personal impact on the breast cancer movement. The Komen 3-Day for the Cure™ is challenging, but the opportuntiy to have an impact is enormous.

The Susan G. Komen Atlanta 3-Day for the Cure starts Friday, October 22 at Lake Lanier and ends with a closing ceremony on Sunday afternoon, October 24 at Turner Field.

Good Luck WOW Girls. Beaufort is rooting for you! Your friendship is inspiring.


Lesley Holladay Fights Like a Girl

By Wendy Pollitzer

Breast cancer survivor Leslie Holladay and her son, Thomas.

Lesley Holladay is a fighter.  In August of 2006, Lesley was diagnosed with Stage III Invasive Breast Cancer. She was only 33 years old when her biopsy revealed the lump she’d found six months prior was, in fact, cancerous.

After almost 2 years of chemotherapy at MUSC and radiation treatments at the Keyserling Cancer Center, Lesley fought the battle and now wants to give hope to young mothers who have been diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, a disease that now affects 1 in 8 women at some point in her life.

The good news? There are approximately 2 ½ million breast cancer survivors in the United States. Breast cancer death rates have been going down. This is probably the result of finding the cancer earlier and better treatment.

Lesley had the right outlook and the proper plan to fight her battle.  She explains, “The difference between winning and losing is your attitude. When you’re physically defeated, the only way to survive is to push forward. You can’t look back; you’ve got to have faith that you’ll beat it.”

“Luckily, I had my mom here to help me with Thomas, my precious son. My main objective was keeping Thomas’ life as normal as possible. Knowing I had to survive for him got me through my day-to-day. Thomas helped me stay focused,” she said.

“Thomas says his prayers every night, and in them, he thanks God for healing his mom’s body of cancer.”

In addition to her faith in God, Lesley also mapped out a strategic plan to research the disease and prepare for her crusade while managing a household with a 5-year-old.

A friend accompanied Lesley on her trips to the doctor. She took careful notes while Lesley listened to the prognosis. She explains, “you’re so overwhelmed when you first find out you have cancer. You’re not sure what to ask, what to listen for, etc. Because my friend came with me, I was able to research her notes later and come back with detailed questions in order to develop a plan I was comfortable with.”

And the advice Lesley would give to a newly diagnosed woman with breast cancer? “Time is of the essence at the beginning of your diagnosis. Make sure you ask the right questions. Also, nobody knows your body better than yourself. If you find a lump, push forward with questions and be proactive with your prognosis.”

Lesley Holladay is the Director of Operations for the United Way of the Lowcountry. She’s a 1996 graduate of the University of South Carolina. She never expected she would get breast cancer at such a young age.

When she received chemotherapy treatments at MUSC, Lesley met a girl her age with two children, also diagnosed with Stage III Invasive Breast Cancer. They became each other’s support network. Whatever they read, learned through the Internet or friends, they would share with each other each time they’d see each other at the hospital.

“It’s important to have someone as your support, someone to explain to you what to expect,” said Lesley.

“One of the most memorable things I experienced while receiving chemotherapy at MUSC was a laptop and iPod from the Share Our Suzy Foundation out of Charleston. Those two items certainly kept my spirits up while I struggled with the terrible effects of chemo.”

Share Our Suzy (SOS) is a foundation named for Susie McGrane, a young woman in her young twenties diagnosed with breast cancer. Originally called Save Our Suzy, the annual wine tasting event raised money to help with the financial expenses associated with Suzy’s treatments.

When Suzy lost her battle to breast cancer, the foundation, known as Share Our Suzy (SOS) was formed. The goal of SOS is to allow patients to focus solely on recovery and not the financial stress brought on during this very difficult battle.  Funds raised are used for assistance with every day needs such as wigs, prosthetics, childcare, gas cards, utility bill assistance, medication assistance and more. SOS takes care of the critical areas that insurance companies do not.

“I know Suzy would have wanted this for me,” explained a thankful Holladay.

Lesley Holladay will be walking in the 17th Annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure® in Charleston Saturday, October 16th. She’s also an active committee member for Lowcountry Pink for the Cure, which brings awareness to the fight against breast cancer by challenging area businesses to decorate their storefronts and windows in a pink theme.

Locally, the Susan G. Komen Foundation gives money to Beaufort Jasper Comprehensive Health Services and Beaufort Memorial Hospital. “Awareness is really starting to make a difference,” explains Lesley. “Research and Awareness is key to fighting this horrible disease.”

I agree. My mother is a breast cancer survivor as well. My grandmother was not. She died at the young age of 56. We have come so far, so fast. But we still have a long way to go.

If you want to do anything to help with the global fight against breast cancer, do it this month. Get involved. Donate. Wear pink. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Let’s all do our part to help young women like Lesley hurt less. It’s possible if we have her attitude. It is, in fact, the difference between winning and losing.

To my dear friend Lesley and my courageous Mom, Shirley: Keep fighting like Girls! To my loving grandmother, Elsie: We’re fighting in your memory. I love and miss you.


Marine For Life Supports Those Who Have Served

By Wendy Pollitzer

September 30, 2010

Parris Island and Beaufort Liaison for Marines For Life, Ken Glasson. Periodically Ken will be sending Success Stories of Marines For Life, and The Island News will profile these individuals who have chosen to stay in Beaufort to work.

There is no such thing as an ex-marine. Once a marine, always a marine.

And in that same spirit of honor and respect for those that have served, a system has been put into place to direct Marines after their tour of duty and take care of their every need.

Marines for Life was established in 2002, and it is designed to establish and develop a network of Marine friendly individuals and organizations to provide Marines, Marine veterans and sailors who served with the Marine Corps, assistance in finding employment, educational opportunities and realizing life goals.

According to Ken Glasson, an active duty Marine in charge of increasing the presence of the Marine for Life Program in the southeast, there are hundreds of thousands that have served that can be directed to employment opportunities across the country. Marine For Life’s headquarters is in Quantico, Va. About 100 Marine For Life representatives such as Glasson, who are Marine Corps reservists, work in cities and towns throughout the United States.

Glasson is the Southeast Area Officer in charge of the program.  His job is to create a larger presence for the program, and he has begun working in Beaufort.

He said that there are 27,000 marines who come off of active duty who are either discharged or retire; and, 88 percent of those are E-5 (a Sgt.) and below.

The country is broken down into six districts, which will be re-aligned into four in the coming months.

There are hometown links in each major community, which provides an existing network of national companies that are trying to expand. In fact there is an initiative in Beaufort to retain military personnel and give them jobs in the local market.

“Marine For Life’s vision is to contribute to the well-being of Marines by linking them to a network that is responsive to their lifelong needs,” Glasson said.

“Individuals and organizations both with and without Marine Corps experience are vital to the ongoing success of the Marine For Life network. Businesses, educational institutions and mentoring organizations each have an important role to play.”

Glasson explained that Marine veterans bring the core values of the Marine Corps, which is honor, courage and commitment with them when they make their transitions to civilian life.

Marines continue their dedication to service in their communities as they build their homes, their families and their careers, Glasson explained.

“Companies know that these Marines are drug free and will show up to work on time and do their part. All of these Marines have gone through four solid years of rigorous training,” said Glasson.

“They’ve been recruited through the recruiting command and trained through the training command. A Marine is one from cradle to grave.”

For more information, visit or call 866-645-8762. Companies or organizations interested in joining the network can call Glasson at 803-705-9931.


Whale Branch High School Varsity Football Team a Class Act

By Wendy Pollitzer

September 23, 2010

2010 Whale Branch High School Varsity Football Team. Photo courtesy of Bob Sofaly

The inaugural year for the Whale Branch High School Warriors has proven to be a good one so far. Coached by Rob D’Amato, the Warriors are 3-1, with a loss to Hardeeville last Friday.

I had the privilege of joining the team for practice Monday afternoon. And no, practice didn’t start on the field. It started in the classroom. I listened as the Offense and Defense Coordinators as well as Coach D’Amato reviewed last Friday’s game on video and pointed out the team’s mistakes as well as their strengths.

Coach Rob DAmato

“You know, when we review a game on Monday after a win, you lose the kids in a video review. But when you lose, they really listen when you point out the good and the bad of the game,” explains Coach D’Amato.

And the resounding message on this particular Monday after Friday’s loss was, “tackling.” After Coach D’Amato asked the young men what the worst part of Friday’s defense was, the classroom agreed, “Tackling!” So guess what the team worked on once they arrived on the field? You guessed it…tackling.

Coach D’Amato, a 2003 graduate of Presbyterian College, received his Master’s Degree from the University of South Carolina. While at school, D’Amato coached at Brookland-Cayce High School in Columbia and then moved on as Assistant Coach at Goose Creek High School. He’s now loving his role as Head Coach at Whale Branch.

“So far, I’ve been very impressed with the kids and the community’s enthusiasm.  The atmosphere is tremendous,” exclaims D’Amato. When asked about the team, D’Amato explains, “We’ve got significant progress to make and a long way to go, but we’ll get there. I’ve got a strong football background, and the kids appreciate that.  Coaching is a tremendous vehicle for helping people, so I hope I can help these kids.”

And so far, he is.  Quarterback Steadman James describes Coach, “We understand him and he understands us. He knows each guy’s athletic ability and puts him in the right role.”

Andrew Byam, a Junior Linebacker agrees. “He’s pretty smart and very organized.”

The young men like Coach D’Amato’s style, though they are learning his new schemes. Byam explains, “We’re used to throwing the ball, but we’re learning how to run with it.”

You see, most of these guys played for Battery Creek last year. This is their first year at the new High School. And get this…there are NO SENIORS on the team. Every one of these guys will be coming back next year.

I asked Josh Fields, a Junior Running Back, about the team. “We’re getting better every day. It’s a team sport, so we all get to know how to work together. The best part is that everyone is coming back next year!”

Coach D’Amato is a strong supporter of academics as well as athletics.   He insists on Study Hall twice a week, and if the students average 75 or lower, they must attend Study Hall every day. The coaches also conduct ACT and SAT prep courses. It helps that three coaches on the team are Science, Social Studies and English teachers.

D’Amato is also big on consistency, not only on the field, but in the classroom as well. “We want to be consistent in everything we do…in the dress code, in the way we play, in our academics.”  So D’Amato rewards his players for doing just that.

D’Amato created a “Black Jersey” program that has become the highest honor a player can receive in a season, besides being named permanent Captain. A player has to earn the Black Jersey and can wear it on the practice field. He’s got to play and practice hard, demonstrate exceptional character on and off the field and be positive.

Sophomore Linebacker Trey Nelson

So far this year, only one player has received a Black Jersey, and it was on Monday. Trey Nelson, a sophomore Linebacker donned the Black Jersey during the entire practice.  “He deserves it. Trey is an outstanding young man. He’s a standout kid. His lowest grade is a 92,” says D’Amato. “And I’m confident all of my players will wear a Black Jersey. That’s the plan, anyway.”

Modest Trey responded softly when I asked him if he was excited to receive the Black Jersey. “I like it; I wasn’t expecting it. I’m very grateful for it, and you better believe I’m going to wear it!”

Trey, Steadman, Andrew and Josh are exceptional young men. They’ve all played together in the past and look forward to an exciting and hopeful winning season. It was a real pleasure to sit and chat with them and Coach D’Amato as well.

So what’s in store for the game Friday night against Allendale? You better believe these kids will be tackling!  Coach D’Amato explained to the players as they left to get dressed out for practice, “Nick Saban of Alabama does it the best. His team is always mentally prepared. You’ve got to be mentally prepared Friday night.  Your mentality on defense will determine what happens on that next drive. Bend and Don’t Break!”

Thanks Coach D’Amato for inviting me to practice. Your team is exception and I wish you all the luck this season. Go Warriors!


The Beaufort High School Eagles: One Team, One Family

By Wendy Pollitzer

September 16, 2010

Photo Courtesy of Carolina Sports Inc. 1 Donovan Massey Sr. WR 6-1 180 2 Tre Austin Sr. WR 6-1 165 3 Davonte Green Jr. DB 5-10 165 4 Jalin Mack Sr. DB 5-9 155 5 Akeem Smalls Jr. DB 5-11 165 6 Jeremy Robinson Sr. DB 5-10 140 7 Luke Smith Jr. WR 5-10 155 8 James Middleton Jr. DB 5-10-155 9 Beau Brown Sr. QB 6-2 195 10 Jordan Broussard Jr. WR 6-2 175 11 Dymonte Gwathney Sr. WR 6-2 170 12 Alex Gregory Jr. QB 6-4 175 14 Seth Andrews Jr. DB 5-8 125 17 Keith Carpenter Jr. WR 5-9 145 18 Zach Brown Soph. QB 5-10 165 20 Alex Simmons Sr. RB 5-10 185 21 Demeo Holmes RB Sr. 5-10 150 22 Josh McPherson Sr. RB 6-0 195 23 JaClay Mixon Soph. LB 5-9 175 24 Kenan Jackson Sr. LB 5-11 185 25 Calvin Atkins Sr. DB 5-10 165 27 Ryan Allen Jr. RB 5-11 175 32 Ruben Francis Sr. DL 5-11 175 33 Thyrik Legree Jr. LB 6-0 185 34 DVonta Cohen Jr. RB 5-8 170 40 Travis Steinacher Sr. LB 6-0 185 41 Kevin Gess Sr. LB 5-11 160 45 Dalvin Broussard Sr. DL 5-11 255 50 Malcom Dantzler Jr. LB 5-11 165 51 Maliek Maldonado Jr. LB 5-11 195 55 David Tilton Soph. LB 5-10 205 56 Michael Bedwell Jr. DL 6-1 225 57 Alex Weller Jr. OL 6-0 205 58 Logan Alford Sr. OL 5-10 235 59 Rob Dennis Jr. OL 5-11 210 60 Seth Long Jr. OL 6-0 205 61 Edward Johnson Sr. LB 5-11 145 62 Derrick Washington Sr. LB 5-10 165 65 James Ginn Soph. DL 6-2 255 66 DeEndre Jefferson-Fields Jr. DL 5-10 205 68 Jabari Washington Sr. OL 6-1 225 71 Andrew Bennett Sr. OL 5-10 235 72 Darrae Alston Jr. DL 6-3 280 74 Cody Beals Sr. OL 6-2 210 75 Cody Weyandt Sr. OL 5-9 220 76 Tyler Walker Sr. OL 6-4 310 78 Detrell Gantt Sr. DL 6-2 235 79 Benji Calderon Sr. OL 6-2 240 80 Jake Holland Sr. WR 6-0 175 81 Mitchell Stewart Jr. P/K 5-9 155 82 Tyler Cieplowski Sr. TE 6-0 175 83 Henry Jenkins Jr. TE 6-1 165 85 Peter Curtis Jr. DL 6-0 185 87 Kyle Clark Jr. P/K 6-4 160 89 Matthew Hanes Jr. DL 6-1 195

Last week, I had the pleasure of spending a Thursday afternoon with the Beaufort High School Eagles Varsity Football Team, coached by Mark Clifford.  What is notable about this team is their commitment to respect each other, their coaches and their community. I was beyond impressed with the players’ overall character and the team’s camaraderie.

Take a step back in time for a bit. Remember your High School days? Remember those Friday nights when the whole town showed up at dusk to cheer on your alma mater? Remember the excitement?  Well Beaufort, you can relive the glory days in your own back yard tomorrow night, when Beaufort High plays Stratford at home.

And what a team to watch this year! Beaufort High has a record number of returning Seniors, eager to make 2010 their winning season.   Quarterback Beau Brown has a huddle of weapon running backs lined up behind him, including D’Vonta Cohen, Alex Simmons, Ryan Allen, Josh McPherson and Demeo Holmes. And talk about big hits! Watch this year’s Defensive Line, and you’ll be aching when you go home.

These young men are from all walks of life, backgrounds and experiences. When I saw them together, as a team, their pasts were erased. They were devoted to one thing: their family. Not their maternal or paternal families… their football family.

From 3:30 to 5pm, the offensive and defensive lines practiced on opposite sides of the field, shouting enthusiastic cheers when an individual made a good play.  Their applause for their teammates was steady and sincere.

An assistant coach yelled, “You gotta bring you’re A-game tomorrow Baby! We got to be sharp!” And the sideline cheered and roared every time he would make an encouraging comment. The emotion was spirited and uplifting.

Mark Clifford, in his seventh year as Head Coach at Beaufort High has an overall record of 58-18.

I then followed Coach Clifford into the school and chatted with him for a bit about

his 2010 team.  “This team is tight and close. There is no envy, no jealousy. They have a good time together,” says Clifford.

“This year, we have to pace ourselves. We’re not a flashy team (except our uniforms-they’re flashy)! Ray Jones (the Strength Coach) makes us strong,  our assistant coaches are dedicated to their teams, and we try to win by using proper techniques and being smart.”

Coach Clifford escorted me into the cafeteria, where Tre’ Hall, a native Beaufortonian and businessman, had prepared a mountain of spaghetti for all the players and coaches. It’s a Thursday ritual. A community member fixes supper for the team, and they share fellowship on the eve of a big game.

Before the young men sprinted to the food table, Coach Clifford gave out a few awards for the best Defensive and Offensive Players and Hit of the Week. He does it every Thursday to reward and recognize individuals for going the extra mile during the previous game. The team then gave thanks before their meal. Coach Clifford reminded the young men, “Be thankful for your friends and the people who have led you the right way.”

And, without hesitation, 70+ young men darted to the spaghetti like bulls running the streets of Spain.  Those boys were hungry!

I had the opportunity to sit down with a few players and talk to them about their team, their coaches and their love of football. Their manners were notable, and their enthusiasm was contagious. If I asked a question to the group, they all responded, “Yes Ma’am.” I was impressed with their politeness and equally awed by their respectful disposition. These were charming young men.

The first group with whom I talked called themselves, the “Fantastic Four.” Cody Beals, Tyler Cieplowski, Benji Calderon and Kevin Gess are buddies on and off the field. “We’re always together. In the summer, we’re out on the river everyday, kneeboarding and waterskiing. We’ve become a family,” explained Calderon.

When asked why they appreciated this Thursday night fellowship ritual, Gess stated, ”It gives us a good look at who we’re playing with. No uniforms or helmets. We see the real person off the field. So, we celebrate us being different, but being a team as well.”

And, when asked what the community can do to help the Eagles this season, they all replied together, “Come to the games!”

That was a consistent answer among the players. Quarterback Beau Brown said, “We feed off the crowd. The more people we have rooting for us, the better we play as a team.”

There are, in fact, a number of ways the community can support the Eagles this season.  The first, and most important act, is to come out to the Home games and cheer for the team.  Another way is to join the Beaufort High Booster Club.  There are 70 members now, and member Scott Dennis thinks that number needs to grow significantly.

“There are probably 12 of us that come out on a regular basis and support the team. We need more people to help,” says Dennis. “We need volunteers to help do things like spruce up the field, paint the walkway and help with the overall appearance of the facilities.”

These kids deserve it. They are practicing and playing their hearts out. They need the support of the community.  Another way to help is by purchasing a banner that travels to the baseball field once the football season is over. Business owners can buy a 6×20, 6×10 or 3×5 banner that promotes their company or sends a good luck message to a Beaufort High athlete. Spectrum Graphics prints the banners, and they hang all season long in plain view for thousands to see.

Also, on November 13, the Beaufort High Booster Club will host an Oyster Roast at the Port Royal Community Oyster Shed from 4pm-Until. Cost is $25 per person and $40 per couple. For tickets or more information about the Booster Club, you may call Scott Dennis at 321-0944 or Booster Club President, Jono Lyn Ferreri, at 986-4093.

Booster Club member, Jessica Brown (mother of QB, Beau Brown and Sophomore QB, Zack Brown) summed up the character of the team by saying, “After hosting a pre-season pool party at our house, I would gladly have each and every one of these boys back at my home for a visit any time they wanted to come over. They were all so grateful, polite and respectful. They are good kids.”

It’s a sentiment shared by many. Since Coach Cifford took over as Head Coach seven years ago, he has actively maintained a character-building program that yields intelligent, reverent and hard-working young men.

Lynn Dennis, who met many of these young men at Lady’s Island Middle School, explained to me, “Coach Clifford can transform these kids. He teaches them how to win and lose gracefully. “

And Assistant Coach Terry Thomas agrees. “We started a tutoring program three years ago. If a player has an average of 84% or below, he is assigned a tutor from The National Honor Society, the Language Society or a hand-picked, above-average student.  So far, over 100 athletic and academic scholarships have been awarded to our players.”

Coach Thomas also explains, “There is only one reason this program is successful…Coach Clifford. He supports it 100%. He believes in academics first.”

I can attest to the overall character of this esteemed team.  They are a Class Act! Each of these young men deserves Beaufort’s support and encouragement.  I promise, attending a Home game will inspire you. The 2010 Eagles are the glue. Let us be the strength and force that keeps them bonded!

Agustin Martinez is the Inspirational Speaker that eloquently delivers encouraging words to the team after each Thursday night meal.  He begins, “The war begins tomorrow night Eagles. Are you ready to hit?”

A boisterous team yells back, “Yes Sir!”

After a few positive remarks about the team, he ends with the words, “Beaufort High School Eagles…”

And the proud Varsity Team roars back, “One Team, One Family.”

They are our family too, Beaufort. See you at the Game.


Riverview’s Wellness Team Dedicated to the Whole Child

By Wendy Pollitzer

September 9, 2010

From left, The Riverview Wellness Team: Rachel Doerr, Tiffany Washington, Cathy Bridgers, Nell Hay, Lisa Van Horn and Lisa Ecklund

The Wellness Team at Riverview Charter School is dedicated to educating the whole child, remaining true to Riverview’s mission: to create a small, diverse learning community that actively engages students in meaningful and innovative learning experiences. Emphasizing “learning by doing,” family and community involvement, and engaged 
citizenship, Riverview is committed to nurturing the whole child and 
preparing each student for a global society.

Wellness is difficult to define, but it can easily be used to describe three distinct dimensions of self: the emotional, physical and social aspects of one’s well-being.

There are 5 members of the Wellness Team at Riverview Charter School who are committed to teaching students how to properly and safely take care of their bodies. Members include Executive Chef, Lisa Ecklund; Soux Chef, Rachel Doerr; Guidance Counselor, Nell Hay; Physical Education Teacher, Lisa Van Horn; and Nurses, Cathy Bridgers and Tiffany Washington.

Each member of the team brings the subject matter with which they are most knowledgeable to the classroom and “gives the students the information needed to make responsible choices and maintain a good sense of well-being throughout their life,” explains Van Horn.

The team teaches Wellness classes for grades Kindergarten through 6th Grade in addition to their daily duties. And, they cover each dimension of self-improvement.

The trend is common among innovative schools. In recent years, the media has raised concern over high-calorie, low nutrition lunches served to schoolchildren throughout the country. And now, school officials want to change that. Riverview has jumped on board.

Students enjoy Riverview’s Eco-Cuisine

Chefs Ecklund and Doerr want to excite kids about healthy foods.  They’ve developed a program, called Eco-Cuisine, which provides healthy, earth-friendly foods and education to students. It’s a movement backed by Michelle and President Obama, in fact.

They go into the classroom and educate the children about what makes a food healthier, what it does to our skin, our bones and our bodies. They elevate the importance of food and also encourage the “Farm to Table” movement. They teach the kids that fresh, local ingredients not only help the regional economy, but also taste better.

A typical school lunch travels 1500 miles before it reaches the table. Ecklund makes sure that her lunches include local items. For example, watermelons are perfect for picking right now in the Lowcountry. She personally goes to Barefoot Farms on St. Helena Island, picks the Watermelon and acknowledges on the chalkboard in the cafeteria that it only traveled 7 miles. “The children get a kick out of it and appreciate the proximity of the food,” explains Ecklund.

To also strengthen the school’s mission, Ecklund prepares dishes from around the world to encourage a global appreciation of food. She’s made Moroccan, Japanese and Italian meals to give the kids at Riverview a better understanding of cultural differences.

Riverview students also maintain an edible garden at the school. They’ve started an “Empty Bowl” mission that raises money for and awareness of world hunger.  They go to the Greene Street Soup Kitchen on the first Friday of each month and serve those less fortunate from food grown in Riverview’s garden.

The nurses are also encouraging healthy habits.  Eat Smart, Move More is a nationwide initiative to fight childhood obesity. Each class at Riverview walks 5 minutes per day and will do so for 12 weeks. At this time, teachers will track their mileage and pinpoint where they’ll be on a U.S. map. Their goal is to make it to Disneyland, California!

“It’s a lot of fun to see the kids get excited about making their bodies healthier. And, we hope to educate parents as well. Several illnesses, such as diabetes and asthma, can be better controlled by diet.  We’ll address our mission at our first curriculum night,” says Bridgers.

Of course, the school’s Guidance Department cares for the child’s emotional and social well-being. It’s evident that the entire Wellness Team has the ambition to create an environment that cares for the total child, mind and body.  And sometimes, the two go hand in hand.

For example, Riverview promotes “sweet free” celebrations and rewards. It’s been proven that removal of sweets from a child’s daily intake improves test scores and decreases bad behavior.  The initiative is also intended to move away from food conditioning that creates obesity and perpetuates many of our society’s health conditions.

Last year, Lisa Van Horn started a Cross Country team at Riverview, a sport that encourages frequent conditioning that kids (and adults) can do with no prior knowledge or skill ability and at low or no cost for equipment purchase. She had 17 students participate in 2009, and now has 27 fifth and sixth graders signed up.

This is yet another way Riverview dedicates itself to nurturing the whole child. Van Horn summed up the Wellness movement at Riverview for the entire team by saying, “I’m so thrilled that the kids are so interested and inquisitive about the program. We’ve only been executing the classes for three weeks, and already you can sense the excitement.”

Good job teachers! Your enthusiasm will spread. Your knowledge will permeate. Your commitment will encourage.  Thank you Lisa E., Rachel, Cathy, Tiffany, Nell and Lisa V. for radiating your passion during our interview. It was a pleasure to talk to each of you.


The Smalheiser’s, Newlyweds and Fresh Faces in Beaufort

By Wendy Pollitzer

August 26, 2010

Dr. and Mrs. Stuart Smalheiser

I had the pleasure of having coffee with Dr. Stuart Smalheiser and his lovely wife, Veronica at City Java over the weekend. The two, brand new to Beaufort, are happy to be in the Lowcountry and eager to begin careers in their respective fields.

Veronica started August 9th at Beaufort Memorial Hospital as a Registered Nurse in the Emergency Department.  Dr. Smalheiser started August 1st at Lowcountry Medical Group and is on staff at BMH as Cardiologist. He also performs interventional cardiology procedures at MUSC Hospital in Charleston, where he is on faculty as an Assistant Professor.

The couple met in Jacksonville, FL where Dr. Smalheiser received his Cardiology training from the University of Florida. Veronica was employed as an ICU nurse in the Coronary Care Unit. They were married June 27th, honeymooned in Antigua and quickly moved to Beaufort to start work.

So far, they adore Beaufort. They moved to Habersham, and quickly became familiar with the creeks surrounding the Broad River. Since Stuart is originally from Miami, and Veronica from Jacksonville, they both love the water!  They enjoy kayaking and try to launch their boats as often as they can to navigate the waters behind Habersham and learn about the natural wonders of the Lowcountry.

The couple also shares a passion for cooking. Veronica is an excellent baker. In fact, most of the registry items for their wedding were baking utensils and cookware.  Dr. Smalheiser insists, “She’s the best baker I know!”

And Dr. Smalheiser is no stranger to the culinary arts. He makes his own dry rub for BBQ that includes secret ingredients even his own wife doesn’t know. “But, she’ll figure it out one day. She’s such a good cook,” he explains.

After Dr. Smalheiser proposed to Veronica, they prepared their first Thanksgiving together for both our their families. Veronica baked all the desserts from scratch, of course. And Dr. Smalheiser cooked a traditional turkey. “It’s the first time I’ve ever enjoyed turkey,” Says Veronica.

The Smalheiser’s are really down to earth.   They are professional, yet determined to make Beaufort their home for a long time.

“What I like so far about Beaufort is the fact that I can interact with patients in familiar settings, at Saltus or Wren, or even Wal-Mart,” explains Dr. Smalheiser. “There is a good sense of community here, and everyone is so nice!”

And, as Beaufort continues to grow, the medical community is becoming more and more equipped to address the needs of the expanding population.

Dr. Stuart Smalheiser received his undergraduate degree in 1998 from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. He received his Doctorate of Medicine from the University of Miami School of Medicine in 2002. He completed an Internship and Residency at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2005. He further completed a Nuclear Cardiology Fellowship there in 2006. Most recently, Dr. Smalheiser completed an Interventional Cardiology Fellowship after completing his training in General Cardiology at the University of Florida in Jacksonville, Florida. He is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Cardiovascular Diseases and Nuclear Cardiology; he is also Board Eligible in Interventional Cardiology.

Dr. Smalheiser, in addition to other cardiologists in the community, have a 1-year goal to bring a STEMI program to Beaufort Memorial Hospital. STEMI is an acronym for ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction.  “When a patient presents to the Emergency Department with a completely closed artery supplying blood to the heart muscle, the goal is to have the artery opened within 90 minutes.”

Currently, Beaufort Memorial does not have the ability to offer interventional cardiology services, so doctors like Dr. Smalheiser do interventional work at tertiary hospitals in Charleston or Savannah. With the ability to treat patients presenting with STEMI, Beaufort Memorial will be able to improve the care of heart attack patients and administer therapies in a timely and safe manner.

The Smalheiser’s live with their dogs, Lucky (an Australian Sheppard) and Hercules (a 3-lb. Pomeranian). When asked about kids, Dr. Smalhieser jokes, “Hey, we just got married!” Good answer!

I’d like to offer a warm welcome to the Smalheiser’s as your neighbor and friend from The Island News. We are very happy to have you here, and wish you the best of luck as newlyweds and the newest professionals in the Beaufort medical community.


Beaufort Dixie Junior Boy All-Stars a Team of Destiny

By Manager Jim Pike

August 19, 2010

Beaufort Dixie Junior Boys 13-year-old All-Stars won the district tournament in Beaufort, beating Hilton Head twice and Mount Pleasant once.  This gave them the opportunity to play in the state tournament in Sumter, SC.

They won their first 3 games beating Harleyville, North Augusta and Dentsville.  They then lost to Surfside and came back strong to beat the host team, Sumter in the semi-final game.  Beaufort then had to beat Surfside twice in the finals to be able to advance to the World Series.

The team had a shaky start in the field allowing 3 unearned runs in the first inning.  That is all the previous World Series winners needed, as Surfside continued to pitch well and play stellar defense, only allowing Beaufort one run in the contest.  The final score was 6-1.

There were several notable standouts for Beaufort, which included Carson Gregory hitting 7 triples with a 0.612 batting average and scoring 19 runs.  Mattison Pike batted 0.571 with 16 RBI’s.  Louis Brown batted 0.500.  Keaton Butler scored 13 runs.

Bradley and Louis Brown both did tremendous jobs on the mound and behind the plate.  Bradley Brown did the lion’s share of the pitching, along with Mattison Pike and Louis Brown.  Keaton Butler played a tremendous shortstop, and also was the winning pitcher against Dentsville.

Joe Johnson held down the first base spot with steady defense throughout the tournament.  Alex Tokar held down the hot corner with a sure glove and arm.  Carson Gregory, who made several running catches, handled center field.  Shuler Black and Andrew Jezewski played the corner outfield spots with great hustle and solid defensive performances.

Connor Lundgaard was the DH and had many big hits for the team.  Coming off the bench for base running and playing several different positions was John Heys.  A utility player such as John is very important to the teams’ success.  Jordan Bates came off the bench playing in the outfield and also doing some relief pitching.  He had a huge hit against Hilton Head in the district tournament to allow the team to advance to state.  Grady Colburn also came off the bench, able to play any position on the field and play it well.

It should be noted that Surfside has gone on and did win the World Series again. So the only team that Beaufort lost to was the eventual World Series winners.  The Team had to overcome a lot.  It was the first time a lot of the boys had played together; half of them were from the Beaufort-Burton District, and the other half were from the Lady’s Island-St. Helena District.  They came together quickly and became fast and close friends after playing against each other for the past 4 years.

Our practices were extremely hot, if not pouring with rain. The boys never waivered from their objective, which was to win state.  Another thing the team had to overcome was finding a place to stay.  They had to stay in Columbia, since there was also a tennis tournament going on in Sumer; so, there were no motel rooms available close by.

Unfortunately while in Columbia, one of the team parent’s car was stolen, and one of the coach’s car was broken into. The thief stole money, credit cards and the team medical bag that had $300 worth of medical supplies in it.

Also, during the first game of the tournament, I moved to get away from a foul ball and fell from the top step of the dugout to the bottom, severely spraining his left wrist and ankle.  But, like I tells my players, “tape it up and go on!” So that is what I did.  I wasn’t able to throw batting practice and hit infield practice anymore; so, I gave permission for my son, Weber to take over those duties.

Coaches Gregory and Tokar took on added pressures by running the daily practices to get the boys ready to play.  We also played around some injuries, as Carson Gregory could not throw per doctor’s orders.  Therefore, the corner outfielders would sprint towards him if he were making a play on the ball in order to throw it in for him.  This worked better than expected, as both Andrew and Shuler made sure they were there to help their teammate out.

This was truly a team of destiny.  The players showed great heart and determination.  The biggest compliment we got was when the Surfside parents were heard saying, “Beaufort really thinks they can beat us.” It should be noted that per the luck of the draw, Surfside had a bye in the tournament giving them much more pitching depth than what they would have had without the bye.

Carson Gregory couldn’t even throw, and Josh Fickes did not play on the team due to shoulder problems. We hope to have these arms back for the World Series next year, which will be at Burton Wells. We hope Surfside can win State, as we would love to meet them again in the World Series.  Because, yes, we do think we can beat them.


Dr. Aaron Sarathy, DMD Joins Port Royal Oral Surgery after Serving 12 Years in the US Navy

By Wendy Pollitzer

August 12, 2010

Dr. Aaron Sarathy, has recently joined Port Royal Oral & Facial Surgery with Dr. Simons Hane Jr., DMD, and he’s excited and resolute to continue his service to the Lowcountry in private practice after 12 years in the US Navy.

Dr. Sarathy is as easy going as you could imagine.  He admits, “It’s a requirement to live in the Lowcountry.” After chatting with him at his office at 14-B Marshellen Drive, I quickly realized how down to earth he is.  He’s quick witted, yet humble and laid-back, but serious about his practice and the care his patients receive.

“My goal here, as an Oral & Maxillofacial surgeon is to provide our community with the best oral and facial surgical care possible.   Our practice constantly strives to make sure Beaufortonians don’t have to drive to Charleston or Hilton Head for quality care,” explains Sarathy. “And I love the fact that I run into patients everywhere I go; Beaufort still has that small town feel, and I love that!”

Dr. Sarathy grew up in Charleston. Salt water runs through his blood. He couldn’t imagine working or raising a family anywhere else but the Lowcountry.  He, his wife, Dr. Jennifer Wallace and his kids, Brayden (8) and Taylor (4) enjoy fishing, diving and just getting out on the river for a day of cruising along with the family dog, Ellie.

But admittedly, he was a little nervous about moving to Beaufort, a much smaller community than our neighbor to the North, the Holy City.  “We originally had plans to move home to Charleston.  The US Navy, however, had other plans for me. You have to admit Beaufort, SC was going to be a dramatic change from Washington DC, where I did my surgical residency! I remember driving into Beaufort and seeing the sunset over the water, and knew this could work.  Besides, Best Buy had just opened!  One year later, Jennifer and I couldn’t live anywhere else!  We’ve been here 5 years now and have never looked back.”

If he wasn’t sure if small town life was ideal, he has no doubt now and absolutely loves it! “Beaufort has a rural charm, but is just urbanite enough; I love the water and everything about it, and Beaufort has plenty of it!” laughs Sarathy.

Dr. Sarathy completed his undergraduate education at USC, finishing with a B.A. in Philosophy. He then went on to MUSC and graduated from the Dental School in 1998.  While attending MUSC, he received a US Navy scholarship.  Following graduation, he entered active duty in the US Navy and served till the summer of 2010.

Dr. Sarathy completed a General Practice Residency at the Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth, VA.  He served overseas in Naples, Italy as a general practitioner for two years.  He completed his Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery residency in 2006 at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD.

“My residency was the most taxing and rewarding professional experience of my life.  From a training standpoint, I was fortunate to gain exposure to some the cutting edge techniques in head and neck trauma surgery.”  While at the National Naval Medical Center and Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Dr. Sarathy underwent additional training at Washington Hospital Center, University of Maryland Medical Center Shock Trauma Unit, and University of Miami/ Jackson Memorial Medical Center.   In addition, Dr. Sarathy received extensive training in corrective jaw surgery, facial cosmetic surgery, and surgical pathology.

He has definitely had some unique experiences.   “I was on call the night Robert Woodruff returned to Bethesda Naval Hospital, just a few days after his incident.”

Bob Woodruff is the ABC television journalist who was critically wounded in a roadside bomb attack in Taji, Iraq in January, 2006.  “I was chief resident and we were on call for head and neck trauma that evening. I was involved in his initial treatment which required removing shrapnel and repairing severe lacerations to his face.” recalls Sarathy.  “He suffered a severe traumatic brain injury that was managed by our team at Navy and Army.”

By February of 2007, Woodruff resumed his contributions to ABC World News with Charles Gibson with the first in a series of follow up reports focusing on the problems that wounded American soldiers are encountering in their treatment and recovery, particularly at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

The most important thing for Sarathy in treating our sailors, marines, soldiers, and airmen is the fact that,  “…after all the surgery is done, what you’re left with are the patients and their families; and, you get to see first-hand the sacrifices our troops and their families make on a daily basis to defend our country.  These guys are the true heroes.   It made serving in the US Navy as an Oral & Maxillofacial surgeon an honor and a real source of pride.”

On a fun note, Dr. Sarathy has also had the pleasure of shaking the hands of George W. Bush and famous wrestler, Hulk Hogan, who made repeated visits to Navy and Walter Reed to lift spirits of wounded troops. “I could’ve taken him, I think,” jokes Sarathy.

Since 2006, Dr. Sarathy has been treating Navy personnel, US Marines and recruits at both the Naval Hospital and Parris Island. Two and one half years ago, he began to talking to Dr. Hane about joining his practice when Dr. Sarathy’s tour of duty was over. And just recently, that’s exactly what he did.

Dr. Hane’s motto at Port Royal Oral & Facial Surgery has always been, “Treat people the right way, how you or your family would like to be treated, and everything will work itself out.”  Drs. Sarathy and Hane live by that motto. And it’s evident throughout the office, from the modern facilities to the extra-bubbly and friendly staff.

“Our staff is the best!  They are 100% dedicated to the practice and more importantly, to our patients,” says Sarathy.

Tina Ashmore (Office Manager), Carla Anderson (Insurance and Financial Assistant), Dawn Walz (Surgical Assistant) and Leslie McNaughton (Surgical Assistant) are instrumental in providing the best surgical care possible.  By the end of the interview; and by the time I left, I felt like they were all close buddies. You can tell Dr. Sarathy and Dr. Hane keep it fun in the office without sacrificing quality care.

Port Royal Oral & Facial Surgery specializes in all aspects of oral and maxillofacial surgery to include dental-alveolar surgery (surgical removal of impacted/non-impacted teeth and pre-prosthetic surgery), dental implants, soft-tissue augmentation and bone grafting of the jaws for reconstruction, corrective jaw surgery (orthognathic surgery), surgery of the jaws for OSA, facial cosmetic surgery (Botox, fillers, eye and brow surgery, etc.) facial trauma (lacerations, jaw fractures, etc.), management of pathology (cysts and tumors in the jaws, and biopsies/treatment of oral lesions).

“I love the uniqueness of our specialty and what we can do for people with it, from routine oral surgical procedures to life-changing jaw surgery and facial cosmetic procedures.” says Sarathy.

Thanks to the entire staff at Port Royal Oral & Facial Surgery for a pleasant and accommodating visit. Your practice is a class act! And, congratulations Dr. Sarathy for serving our country honorably and beginning this next chapter in your life.


The Insider’s Outing at Yoga Chandra with Kim Cech

By Josefina Blanc

August 5, 2010

Kim Cech

We know there are instructors, then there are teachers, and then there are masters. I once stumbled upon a master almost by complete accident in New York City, while trying to do some yoga for the first time. I didn’t know anything about it, and I mean nothing. In New York City you often have no idea whether you are looking at a dumpster or a masterpiece. Well, I was unknowingly looking at a masterpiece when I found Dharma Mittra Yoga Center through a couple of friends, but it did look more like a dumpster at first: a totally unassuming, wall-to-wall ugly carpeting yoga studio on 3rd Avenue.

That first day, I had no idea I had just been instructed by one of a handful, literally, of master yogis in the United States. I found it hard to believe that a master, as my friends described had such a crappy, humble little place. But I was hooked.

Dharma Mittra had a way of teaching that was unlike anything I had experienced. He didn’t explain anything, he didn’t talk much –although he is religious and does talk about God and steamed vegetables a bunch- he just did things that you followed until you made them your own. He always begun class with wildly original –to me- breathing exercises. In his purification class, breathing and chanting was a long routine, and my body never failed to do things it had never done before, with ease I cannot explain.

What I learned from him went well beyond yoga. I remembered what it’s like to learn ANYTHING from a truly inspired human being who has committed his life to a craft or a path, and who also happens to have extraordinary talent in that particular thing they do. It enriched and reinforced the way I act to this day. Life is too short, so you have to strive to find the best, from groceries to carpenters, from schools to company, for a better chance at changing yourself and the world around you.

I have been thinking about all of this because I stumbled upon a different kind of yoga teacher here in Beaufort. She is an unassuming person who has lived an almost completely underground existence in the Lowcountry, with the exception of her business, a yoga studio at the Lady’s Island Marina, for some 15 years now. Almost every Thai masseuse, healer, artist, shaman, belly dancer and yoga instructor in Beaufort has gone through her studio.

Kim Cech is not your average southerner, but she is a true South Carolinian. She has the strange quality of being made of a steely yet gentle character, and that kind of magic that can only be found in these locals who are committed to their truth, their identity and the evolution of the spirit and the earth, in spite of everything around them telling them about progress and the markets being the only way into the future.

She works with elemental and human nature. She carries out her yoga practice as a lifestyle, not as an isolated event or a midlife crisis remedy (like I do sometimes); she offers it to people and to hidden spots in Hunting Island’s sandy beaches, to help nature heal from this awful oil spill.

She is not afraid of what she understands, and she is a relentless activist of light, no matter how deep her encounters with darkness may be. Needless to say, I am impressed. Impressed like I was with Dharma Mittra a decade ago.  And I am delighted to get to taste a piece of this pie, where the most unusual and the most typical of Beaufortonians gather for a stretch, a breath, and a little or a lot of self-made healing.

Today, Dharma Mittra is a true yoga celebrity, but he remains unchanged. Over the years, I have seen his disciples build his business for him. First came the asana book with 600+ poses, then the DVD classes, the new website, Vogue. He never had much of a business instinct –as his choice of carpeting showed!

So, sometimes it is up to us, the students, to give our teachers credit. There are still businesses in South Carolina that have been built upon this special kind of foundation over years; Yoga Chandra Center is one of them. This jewel by the bay is a stroll away, with open doors, open hearts and absolutely no judgments, just for us. And that is one more thing to love about Beaufort.

For more information about Yoga Chandra and Kim Cech, please visit


Jered and Deanna Kraszewski: Devoted to Health and Wellness in Beaufort

By Wendy Pollitzer

July 29, 2010

Jered and Deanna Kraszewski are committed to the health of Beaufort youth. The couple share a building at 37 Sams Point Road on Lady’s Island and operate two businesses, Get Fit and Lowcountry School of Performing Arts at the facility.

Jered and Deanna, originally from Connecticut, were stationed in Beaufort with USMC from 2001-2004. After a medical retirement from the Corps, Jered convinced Deanna to retire right here in Beaufort.

Jered soon opened Low Country Health and Fitness, which changed to Get FIT this year with a new and improved indoor and outdoor training area.  He wanted to stay true to his martial arts roots, and developed a boot camp style of training. He only hires Health Specialists who are already certified, and within 4 months, teaches them TJA, also known as ‘The Jered Approach.’ This training approach has proven to produce great results time and time again.

Deanna decided to follow her dream and opened the Low Country School of Performing Arts. She began with 20 students and, by the end of the second season, she had 150 dancers on the stage for “The Wizard of Oz”. The non-competitive technical school teaches the usual tap, jazz and ballet, but also offers hip hop, creative movement and lyrical classes, which gives students the opportunity to study dance, music and theater in a positive environment thus building confidence and self esteem.

Like Deanna, Jered saw an opportunity to teach children. He developed a program called Kid Fit since childhood obesity is one of the biggest problems with today’s youth.

On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, kids ages 10-17 learn fitness, discipline, nutrition, sports training and self-defense training.  Children can sign up at the beginning of any week all year and participate in the 8-week program.  Jered developed the SAS, (Shirt Advancement System) in which the kids test for different levels for a total of 7 shirt colors.

Children with higher-level shirt colors become squad leaders for upcoming classes. They encourage their peers to do better. At first, some kids are a little intimidated, but by the end, they’re all cheering each other on.

And besides being married to one another, the Kraszewski’s also have another strong connection…their teaching style.  Both agree that kids will do whatever you ask of them. They are able to accomplish so much more if pushed a tad.

“I have 5-year-olds who are learning what typical 10 year old dancers would be learning. I educate the kids with proper vocabulary, technique, and the history of dance. Students need to be mentally and physically challenged in order to develop the skills needed to excel in the arts,” explains Deanna.

And Jered agrees, “We emphasize nutrition and teach proper eating habits so that a child will practice what he or she has learned at home. There is a certain camaraderie at Kid Fit as is at LSOPA.  We create a family environment where all of the kids want to applaud each other for finishing a challenge.”

Deanna and Jered have done well with their respective businesses. But more importantly, they are educating the people of Beaufort about health and our bodies. They can’t do it for us, but they can certainly teach us the proper way. They’ve created a gym and a dance studio that can benefit the whole family, from teaching youth what to buy at the grocery store to educating parents about needed lifestyle changes to teaching moms of four current hip hop trends. Hey, all of us moms could use a little dance therapy once in a while!

I know Jered and Deanna well and respect their style.   If interested in personal training, GetFit classes, Kid Fit or LSOPA, call the gym at 524-2348 or visit Lowcountry School of Performing Arts’ website at to register for a variety of classes.

Essentially, if you want to change your lifestyle for the better, it’s time to Get Fit! Thanks Jered and Deanna for always pushing me and my kiddos. It’s going to be another fun year!


The Apprehended Will Play in Vans® Warped Tour

By Wendy Pollitzer

The Apprehended. Photo by Logan Pierce

Beaufort’s own, The Apprehended aren’t just a garage band anymore. They’re famous, and they’ve just hit the big time!

The Apprehended, a Streetcore band that mixes screeching punk, melodic hard rock and thrashing metalcore was just selected to play in Van’s® Warped Tour at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Charlotte, NC as part of a recent Battle of the Bands contest sponsored by Ernie Ball®.  The local band consists of 5 members, Michael Pitt (Lead Singer), Matt Snow (Guitar and Back-Up Vocals), Preston Shackelfurd (Guitar, Back-Up Vocals and Screams), Kevin Gornichec (Bass) and Josh Dooley (Drums).

The Ernie Ball® Battle Of The Bands competition started in February and Shackelfurd, the band’s guitar player and back-up vocals, quickly signed The Apprehended up for the competition.

Matt Snow, also on guitar and back-up vocals explained,  “We started off kind of weak, and we saw it as a long shot for us to actually be able to win the competition; but we decided, ‘If you don’t try, you fail.’ The first part of the competition was getting enough votes to be in the Top 100 of all the bands competing for Charlotte’s slots. We quickly amassed votes and were shooting up towards the stratosphere of the bands in number of votes.”

The band spent two weeks in the #1 position, but was overthrown by another band, The Fear of Falling. But, they kept promoting the site throughout all of the band’s shows.

In May, they went to Kinston, North Carolina to record their EP with John Harrell of The Sound Barn, who had recorded Sent By Ravens’ EP titled ‘The Effects Of Fashion And Prayer.’

The band waited for Harrell to send back the fist mixes of their EP, and they were floored by the quality! The Apprehended uploaded the songs to the Battle Of The Bands site, and the plays just kept coming.

To date, the band has 685 total plays and 1610 votes, which helped the band get into the Top 100.  After that feat, a panel judged their music based on originality, musicality and draw.

On Wednesday, July 14th, the band found out they had been chosen. “We were all ecstatic and shaking,” says Snow.

The Apprehended will be playing on July 22nd in Charlotte with Death to the Mixtape, Joe Grizzley, Telic and the Fear of Falling as part of the Vans® Warped Tour. These bands will play alongside stage headliners, Mayday Parade, Emarosa, Eyes Set To Kill, VersaEmerge, Closure In Moscow, The Swellers, and Automatic Loveletter.

One band on the Tour is eligible to win the Grand Prize, which is a $15,000 Guitar Center shopping spree, an all expenses paid trip to Hollywood to play live at the Vans® Warped Tour After Party, a 2-week slot on the 2011 Vans® Warped Tour and the opportunity to record a 3 song EP with Multi-Platinum producer, Matt Squire.

Let’s hope the Grand Prize goes to The Apprehended, Beaufort’s own Streetcore Band! If you want to listen to The Apprehended’s music, please go to My favorite was A Defeated Heart: Hope in Desolation. A close second was Cold Coffee and the Impatience of Youth!

Congratulations guys and Good luck in Charlotte!


Katie Huebel and Beverly VanGysel

A Mother and Daughter Pair Who Know How to Entertain

By Wendy Pollitzer

July 15, 2010

The relationship between a Mother and Daughter is special. The bond the two share is immeasurable, and the connection is priceless. And this Mother/Daughter pair not only lives, laughs and loves together, but they also work together.

Katie Huebel and Beverly (Bev) VanGysel invited me to Bev’s Pleasant Point home recently and chatted about their relationship, the advantages of collaborating together and the success of their two independent, yet similar businesses.

Beverly started her business, HB Stem 16 years ago. The wife of a Marine Corps Colonel, VanGysel was used to entertaining and arranging for events like the Marine Corps birthday and various balls. Her friends convinced her to move her talent from hobby to career. While in Japan, she studied formally and when she got back to the U.S. designed florals at her first wedding.

She loved it! From that moment, she knew she wanted to do this for a living.  She had a knack for choosing unique containers and arranging with style and class. Her mother was a flower show judge; and her aunt collected vases and grew gorgeous antique roses that Bev always admired.

Well, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Katie picked up her mother’s talents very easily.  Katie was used to her mother setting the dinner table every night. And her home was always beautifully appointed. She saw her mother entertain with such ease and verve. It only came naturally for Katie. In fact, Katie was in charge of all of her Sorority’s parties in college. Her peers knew then that Katie had a passion for planning elegant affairs.

So she started her business, cleverly dubbed WED or Wedding.Event.Design. WED has been in business now for 12 years, not only designing for the Charleston, Bluffton, Beaufort, Savannah and Southeastern markets, but also throughout the US and worldwide. Katie’s business has a storefront location on Spring Street in Downtown Charleston and will enthusiastically travel anywhere a client chooses as their destination.

WED is a full service event designing firm, involved in the planning processas much as the client prefers. WED ensures that every detail is covered, from the ceremony and reception music to the florals to the bridesmaids’ and groomsmens’ gift. If interested in using WED to help with your event, please take a look at their website,

Katie and Bev collaborate on most events together. Their favorite venues in Beaufort? Huebel says, “We do a lot of work at the Rhett House Inn and the Anchorage. We also frequent Dataw and Palmetto Bluff quite a bit. And in the Lowcountry, we tend to see many weddings at private plantations. All of these are wonderful venues.”

Katie continues, “We want every event to be different. But all of our events have one central theme. They’re all classically elegant. Whether it’s a super fancy or traditional affair, it will be elegant. We’ve done New York Meets Beaufort, the Garden of Eden and numerous weddings at The Rhett House. They’ve all been completely different.”

And Bev agrees. “I’d like to have creative freedom at each and every event. I don’t like doing the same things twice. Every bride is different. Her wedding should reflect her personality, her taste.”

And Katie and Bev can do just that. In their spare time, they love to go antiquing. They travel to the Atlanta Market together and are always on the lookout for a container or decorative accent. They get ideas from magazines and storefronts, always searching for and appreciating a new color palette.

When they do an event together, Katie admits, “It’s not always kumbaya!  But we have a healthy respect for each other and our individual professions.  The main reason it is so great is because of an unspoken connection. We have a natural ability to communicate.”

Bev adds, “I know Katie is very professional. Her events are super because she thinks of every detail. And because I know this about Katie, we never disrespect each other at events. We’ve always been so close. It’s been just the three of us. When we were in Korea, Gary (Bev’s husband) was often out of the country. Katie and I did a lot together and got to understand each other.”

And I can attest to their loving bond.  Katie bragged about her Mom’s décor and gave me a tour through the house while her mom equally sang Katie’s praises about being such a great mother. Katie has two children, Amelia and Jared and a loving husband, Scott. They live in the Coosaw Point subdivision on Lady’s Island.

I could feel the bond between Katie and Beverly. Their positive energy, gracious manner and candid conversation impressed me, as I’m sure it’s impressed hundreds of clients. And their hospitality was sincere.

Thank you Mrs. Huebel and Mrs. VanGysel for a pleasant visit and fun talk. You are both very talented at what you do. I think it’s because of two things: you love what you do, and you continue to learn from the very best…each other.

I think I’ll call my Mom now.


Mary Simmons will Open Your Eyes to the Truth

July 8, 2010

Mary Simmons retired from Nursing in 1997, and she’s busier now than she ever was while working.

Simmons, an author and playwright, also takes time to manage an organic garden on St. Helena Island and works as a volunteer in home health. And, she’s an ordained evangelist/apostle and founder of Women of Faith and Power Ministries, Inc. But her passion is writing.

When Simmons was 12, her Baptist pastor sent her to the Baptist Convention as a reporter and later encouraged her to pursue journalism. But she followed a nursing career instead, always wishing she’d listened to her pastor.

But that makes sense. Mary is a natural helper. She wants to make people feel better. And she knows that can’t happen until they help themselves. She’s just a catalyst.

“My only goal in life is to please the Lord by serving His people. God has given me a vision for His people. I do not desire to work alone. We all must join hands and accomplish this awesome mission together,” says Simmons. This goal is based on Proverbs 29:18, ‘Where there is no vision, the people perish.’

She moved to Beaufort in the late nineties to be closer to her mother, Susie Mae Simmons. She was sick of the cold weather in Pennsylvania and loved Beaufort, a neighboring coastal town of her birthplace, Tillman, SC.  “I love everything about the Lowcountry, except the bugs. There is nothing prettier than driving down Bay Street and seeing all the boats in the river. It’s magical!”

Though no longer in the nursing profession, she’s still helping people through her writing. Angel’s Story, her latest book, allows readers to get a better understanding of themselves and the mates they choose to have.

“Sometimes, we get involved with people for the wrong reasons. We need to choose mates based on what’s inside of us, not them,” says Simmons.

PublishAmerica is proud to present Angel’s Story by Beaufort, South Carolina author Mary F. Simmons. In this masterfully written novel, Sarah was a great woman of faith and hope. She conquered every challenge that was presented before her with love and compassion. Her life truly was a miracle in itself. PublishAmerica is the home of 40,000 talented authors. PublishAmerica is a traditional publishing company whose primary goal is to encourage and promote the works of new, previously undiscovered writers. Like more mainstream publishers, PublishAmerica pays its authors advances and royalties and makes its books available through all bookstores. PublishAmerica offers a distinctly personal, supportive alternative to vanity presses and less accessible publishers.

Angel’s Story is a book about building lasting relationships between yourself and lovers, friends, co-workers…everyone.  Angel is a woman who conquered many challenges with love and compassion. Her life truly was a miracle in itself.

Most of Simmons’ books are about finding inner peace. Why the Swan Sings, Why the Swan Echoes/I’m Just Saying, Divine Healing + Divine Health = a Divine Life and The Old Woman in the River all relay messages of faith and hope.

Simmons also wrote a play, to be put on DVD soon. Aloe Juice is a comedy and musical that features a large cast and is full of dancing, singing and acting. Simmons wrote the musical at Penn Center. It took Mary four months to write it, and now she is determined to produce it nationally and possibly worldwide.

And she’ll do it! Mary doesn’t like to leave anything unfinished. She’s also working on a series of childrens’ books that will encompass Angel’s Story in each of the editions.

Mary has one son, Philip Quince and a host of spiritual children. Evangelist Simmons has a vision to expand Women of Faith and Power Ministries to all cities and states with an open mind to travel overseas.  Her outreach will provide educational opportunities, enlightenment and encouragement.

If interested in worshiping with Mary, you may call her at (843) 683-2026 or email her at She’d love to meet you and share her journey.

It was a pleasure to sit and talk with you Mary. My eyes were opened to many truths during our visit. You’re a gentle soul who has the power to lift others in their times of need and the wisdom to celebrate in times of joy. My life is better now that I’ve met you.


Greyhound Flats No Longer a Bus Station, but a Super-Chic Bungalow

By Wendy Pollitzer

July 1, 2010

Greyhound Flats is the new “It” place in Beaufort. Owned by Rosemary and Kevin Cuppia, this 2-unit vacation rental is anything but drab. It’s vibrant colors and smart interior is all to the thanks of the creative women at M Home Interiors, Lisa Mykleby, Laura Baker and Muffin Tullous.

Greyhound Flats is located on West Street. Most Beaufortonians remember the building as the old Greyhound bus station. It was a stop on the Miami to New York route, frequented mostly by Marines. Also noteworthy was the fact that it was the last building in SC to have segregated bathrooms and water fountains. Imagine how many thousands of young Marines walked in and out of this station to begin their duty at Parris Island. “If only these walls could talk.”

Now, the Cuppias have converted the building into two individual units that can each sleep up to six people. The girls at M cleverly used the space to create a bedroom, living area, office and storage in the average sized room. And they did so which such class, bold colors and unique fabric selection. It is super cool!

When I lived out at Coffin Point on St. Helena, I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to come downtown and enjoy Beaufort as a tourist. I’d rent a room, go shopping and eat at one of the great establishments. And, I wouldn’t have to worry about driving home. Well, if you live far away, or on Lady’s Island even, you can enjoy Greyhound Flats at the reasonable rate of $139 per night.

And most of us in Beaufort love entertaining guests from out of town. If you’re like me, though, space is limited for numerous visitors.  All you need to do is visit VRBO  (Vacation Rental By Owner) online, choose Greyhound Flats, and your guests will be in heaven.

That’s what Elizabeth Harding did recently. While her tile was laid in her bathroom, she stayed at The Flats and invited a few over for a glass of wine. Lanier Laney, Terry Sweeney, Kim Gallant, Caroline Hogan and I took pleasure in a nice bottle of vino, good company and brilliant décor.

Elizabeth especially liked the remote control to the thermostat. She also bragged about the breakfast delivery from Blackstones Café.  Kevin also told me that Palm and Moon will deliver too.

Rosemary Cuppia grew up in Beaufort. Her parents owned Modern Jewelers on Bay Street, which she and Kevin now own and operate. For her, watching this renovation was a bit surreal. She’ll always remember the building as the Greyhound bus station.  But she and her husband have now successfully reinvented an old structure and named it so that guests and locals will likely discuss its history. That’s the beauty of Beaufort. We have so many wonderful stories like this.

Beaufort Construction, and Matt Phifer (the Cuppia’s son-in-law and foreman on the project), in particular deserves praise for a job well done on a superior renovation. I particularly like the fact that they recycled an old building and made it into a super chic urban get-away, all while keeping its historic charm.

Again, if you’re interested in staying at Greyhound Flats, or know someone who may be, go to and take advantage of their Grand Opening rate.  You won’t be sorry. And you’ll enjoy all of the amenities of being downtown while having a large space all to yourself.


Meet the Trio from Breakwater

By Wendy Pollitzer

June 24, 2010

For those of you who haven’t eaten at Breakwater Restaurant, you’re missing out.  The ultra hip spot for the locals caters to a diverse clientele. But all of its patrons seem to have one characteristic in common: they all love good food.

Donna and Gary Lang and Beth Shaw, partners at Breakwater sat down with me recently and talked about how they got to the beloved Carteret Street location.  The trio have been on a roller coaster ride for almost a decade, but are now quite content with their product and their location.

Donna and Gary met 11 years ago in Atlanta. Gary was visiting from Memphis and stayed at his friend, Randy’s house. Donna and Randy lived in the same neighborhood. Gary suggested going out to dinner one night, and the love affair began.

They maintained a long distance relationship (before the cell phone age) at the tune of $300/month in phone calls. Six months passed, and Gary decided to move to Atlanta in May; by June they were married.

When Gary flew in to Hartsfield, Donna said, “We’re going to make a quick stop, okay?” She knew the Art Institute of Atlanta was having an Open House that day, and Gary had always had aspirations of becoming a cook.  But, Gary was in Commercial Real Estate Appraisal at the time (back in the day), and life was good.

Somehow, though, Donna convinced Gary to attend culinary school at The Institute. And let me tell you, Beaufort is a better place because of it!

After school, the couple knew they wanted to buy or open a restaurant of their own. Donna’s daughter was about to go away to college, so moving was a legitimate option. And, they always wanted to live on the coast.

They found a restaurant for sale in Beaufort and fell in love with the town. They purchased Bistro DeJoung, changed the name to Bistro 205 and dove into the tricky, ever-changing world of the restaurant biz.

Gary was getting a haircut one day by local stylist, Amy Smith. She said to Gary, “You know, I have a client whose daughter just graduated from Johnson and Wales Culinary Institute in Charleston. She’s moving to Beaufort. Do you think you could use her?”

Gary didn’t hesitate to talk to Beth Shaw. Admittedly shy, Shaw didn’t spark the interview with lots of talk. She just presented her product, and Gary was more than satisfied. Within a few days, Beth was hired as 2nd Sous Chef.

Well, within a few weeks, the head Sous Chef left, and Beth took the reins as leader in the kitchen. In fact, the other Sous chef left on the eve of Bistro’s first-ever wine dinner.  Beth had her hands full on Day 1.

As some slow years passed, Donna and Gary knew they needed to make some changes. They decided to renovate the interior and change the menu from fine dining to more casual. And, they brought Beth on as partner. In 2004, the three opened Breakwater Restaurant.

They operated on Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays only, and in 2 and ½ years were doing better while open three nights a week as opposed to six.  They liked this format a lot, and it seemed to work very well for a long time. As business increased, they started a phenomenon that took off like mad: Recession Tuesdays. The affordable night did so well, the trio decided to add Recession Wednesdays. And it worked too!

So when the lease came up at the restaurant’s former location on West Street, Donna, Gary and Beth were about to throw in the towel. They were tired and ready to move on to something different.

They opened a kitchen store in the old Firehouse and started a cooking school. They had pre-priced, 4-course wine dinners, called Chef’s Tables that were very popular. And, Gary and Beth got to be creative. It sparked a new interest in cooking and ignited the old flame of operating a restaurant.

They dabbled at some possibilities in Bluffton, but soon realized Beaufort was their home. They liked the clientele here and the clientele loved them!

Billy Keyserling helped them find the building; and, with a lot of help from local interior designer, Carol Waters and renowned architect, Joel Newman, Gary, Donna and Beth opened at their new location on Carteret Street within a few short months.

The urban-chic bar and restaurant is trendy, but casual; fashionable yet comfortable; and locale for the Who’s Who in Beaufort as well as the average boy next door looking to find that special girl.  And, like I said at the beginning, it’s the place where everyone goes to get GOOD FOOD!

My favorite aspect of Breakwater is the infamous wine room, originally tapped to be a cooking school. After fighting codes, codes and more codes (Beaufort is famous for them), Gary, Donna and Beth put their heads together with Newman and Terry Sweeney to find an alternate solution for the space.  The result? An intimate room for a party of 10 glassed in for the rest of the patrons to see, but closed so that conversations are kept private. And all in front of hundreds of bottles of wine showcased as they’d be at a winery.  It’s just cool and classy!

Gary and Beth are about to bring their popular Chef’s Tables back. The dinners will be reasonably priced, and Gary will talk a little about the food and wine between each course.

Also coming soon is a special Wine Dinner with Maysara Wines, which are certified biodynamic wines. The event will be on July 13th, and reservations will open next week. Space is limited to 20, so make sure you get in on this unique dinner.

Breakwater prides itself in choosing locally grown vegetables and fresh caught shrimp from native waters. In fact, they take a lot of pride in the local scene. Gary is a member of Main Street Beaufort, U.S.A and works with a committee to keep downtown businesses afloat in these slow economic times.

From May through September, the folks from Callawassie, Spring, Brays and Dataw Islands are visiting up North, and the guys from Secession are not thinking golf! So, many of the downtown restaurants are slow. And, it can get tough at times.

The trio relies on steady local business. So when you’re thinking about dining out next, remember Breakwater. And when you have friends in town, think Breakwater. Looking for a nice date spot…Breakwater! Want to watch some World Cup action, you guessed it, Breakwater.

Thanks Donna, Gary and Beth for a fun interview. You guys are always so easy to talk to.  And oh, how I love your staff! A special shout out goes to Alison, Terry, Taylor and Drea. You guys are the bomb!


Peggy Sanders and Evelyn Mitchell Give 55 Years of Service to the Beaufort Garden Club

By Carol Boone

June 17, 2010

Honored members of The Beaufort Garden Club: Evelyn Mitchell (93), seated and Peggy Sanders (80), standing.

An organization is only as strong and effective as its membership … and its leadership. Let me introduce Peggy Sanders, 80, and Evelyn “Evie” Mitchell, 93 … two of The Beaufort Garden Club’s strong and exemplary leaders who have guided and represented our garden club for the past 55 years!

Their service as Presidents and Chairwomen of many committees and events since 1955 has been invaluable in setting a positive course of civic action and achievement for the club.  Beaufortonians have been, and continues to be, the benefactors of their tireless efforts and hard work for over half a century!  To serve as a member of any organization for 55 years is nothing short of amazing!

These outstanding women were both installed as members of The Beaufort Garden Club at the same time in June of 1955. This was just the beginning of a long and cherished friendship. Together they have been actively engaged in the civic work of this club for the past 55 years, and continue to do so.  Both women have distinguished records of dedication and civic service.  Peggy and Evie have always been strong believers in “giving back to their community” … decades before that phrase became fashionable in our current popular culture. From the get-go, they put their “words” into “action!”

Peggy Sanders is the only club member who has twice served as President of The Beaufort Garden Club, 1963-1964 and, again, 1984-1986.  For years she held many Officer designations and Chairwoman positions.  Peggy’s passion is flower arranging.  She entered almost every flower show that Beaufort and the County had to offer, bringing home many prized ribbons over the years! Not only did Peggy create beautiful floral displays, she also helped to run many of these events.  For years she was the Chairwoman of the Artistic Division of many Camellia Shows that The Beaufort Garden Club annually sponsored.  In 2003, Peggy wrote a treatise, “The Beaufort Garden Club: A Brief History 1934-2003,” which was published in the Beaufort Gazette.  Today, all new in-coming members receive a copy of this abridged, concise, and most informative Beaufort Garden Club history.

Besides serving as President of The Beaufort Garden Club, 1972-1974, Evelyn Mitchell has also served as Chairwoman of many committees throughout the years.  In 1974, she chaired the 28th Annual Camellia Show, one of the club’s most successful, with 1,400 blooms exhibited!  Exhibitors throughout South Carolina and bordering states flocked to these much anticipated shows every year. At the time, these were huge events for the Town of Beaufort! Chairing Garden-a-Day was another one of Evie’s favorite garden club endeavors.  She thought it was wonderful that these lovely Beaufort gardens could be enjoyed by so many people for free!  And of course, if there were a local or county flower show in the area … you could always count on Evie to be arranging, exhibiting, and bringing home ribbons for her artistic talent and exquisite floral creations!

It should also be noted that both of these honored women have the distinction of being Life Members of the Garden Club of South Carolina.  To garden club women throughout the state, this designation is no small accomplishment!

These brief “bios” not only give us a glimpse into who Peggy Sanders and Evie Mitchell are …they also mirror a reflection that enables us to see and understand what The Beaufort Garden Club is, and why.  Each of these accomplished members in her own unique way, has contributed a “part of themselves”… serving 55 years of the 75 year legacy of The Beaufort Garden Club.  A legacy that continues to beautify Beaufort, elevates civic pride, and fosters community spirit!

To Peggy and Evie … for your endless labors of love to The Beaufort Garden Club and our historic Beaufort community … we thank you, we appreciate you, we honor you, and most of all … we love you!


Carrie Freeman, Founder of The Wellness School Advocates Holistic Health

By Wendy Pollitzer

June 10, 2010

Carrie Freeman is a woman committed to her family, her community and herself. She’s also determined to share the message of wellness locally and globally.

Freeman and her husband, Allen started a project called The Wellness School. Inspired from her diagnosis of Stage 3 Breast Cancer in 2007, she came to realize that there is a lot more to healing and wellness than simply taking medication. While conventional medicine certainly has its place, and is often necessary, complimenting traditional medicine with holistic practice is the best way to serve the body and create wellness.

The Wellness School will focus on the well being of an individual. The vision begins with starting “where you are.” “Regardless of age, weight or current health, what you can do today will make a difference,” explains Freeman. And she should know.

Freeman was misdiagnosed for 18 months when she learned she had a 10 cm tumor. In addition to three older children, Freeman also had a 3-month old.

While this career oriented mother once lived a life of fast food drive-thrus and quick fixes to get through her everyday, she’s now empowered to do something to give herself the best chance at surviving.

And while conventional medicine saved her life, she now takes responsibility for the cancer and her situation. “People have the ability to change the environment of their bodies.  Taking care of the whole body might put you in a much better position should you ever develop a serious illness,” says Freeman.

While The Wellness School may very well help you overcome a medical issue, stop a habit, or prevent disease, the focus is always on your well-being. The Wellness School believes that your mind and body connect, in fact are one, and the school approaches everything from that basis.

The Wellness School will feature ten very diverse, educated and extraordinary practitioners. These individuals have dedicated much of their lives to educating people on the different areas of holistic wellness. And there are many, many areas. You can expect to find everything from guided imagery and meditation, reiki, pet therapy, whole foods cooking demonstrations, energy healing, medical hypnosis, life coaching, stress and anxiety reduction, the list goes on and on and on. The Wellness School will also have a special area of services that deal specifically with children.

If you live in or travel to SC, you will be able to schedule private sessions with any of the practitioners and attend local workshops and seminars. Many of the practitioners also do phone consultations or sessions. The Wellness School is also online and offers certification programs for personal or professional growth, a wellness store, free podcasts and other resources, and an opportunity to join our membership site.

Through the membership site you will be able to access Webinars from the practitioners as well as podcasts, group sessions, special events, live events, and so much more. Practitioners will be providing new and updated current information on a variety of topics monthly. There will be many, many resources available at the click of a finger.

The “launch” date is July 1st 2010. You can go to today and sign up for a pre-launch notification. This will simply give you a reminder to check them out on July 1st; it is not the membership. You will be able to join the membership site on July 1st for $20 per month.

Be sure to click the audio to the left of the screen to hear Freeman telling you a little about the school.

Upcoming events at The Wellness School include a Back to School theme in August. “There’s more to it than paper and pencils…” In addition there will be a live event in October for cancer patients featuring seminars on nutrition, relaxation, positive thinking, Reiki sessions and much more. The event will be free, but space is limited, so please contact or call 843-986-4620 to reserve your place.

Also beginning in October 2010, you will be able to take online courses in an array of subjects for personal and professional development.

The Wellness School will also feature Lil’ Chef by the Sea, a program Freeman created when she was a Montessori teacher in 2001 and has taught in several cities, including summer camps in Beaufort.

Lil’ Chef is a cooking program for kids that focuses on making healthy choices in your diet and creating your own snacks and meals. You can expect to see new monthly recipes for kids and videos of the cooking demonstrations along with lessons in why certain foods are better choices than others. Lil’ Chef even plans to visit Ms. Tracie, our canine wellness expert, and get some tips on healthy snacks for anyone who has a pet dog or love for dogs.

Freeman, the mother of Keela (19), Macey (17), Abigail (9) and Carter (3) gave up her career as founder of a Montessori School in Atlanta to take care of herself. Now she wants to take care of her community. As a certified life coach and Reiki instructor, Freeman equates the Montessori philosophy of developing the whole child to the philosophy of The Wellness School, which is developing the whole body.

She is determined to see The Wellness School succeed, and I believe it will. Thank you Carrie for meeting with me and teaching me about your holistic approach to life. Your drive and excitement is contagious.


Marion Leach: The Inspiration Behind Garden-A-Day

By Carol Boone

June 3, 2010

For the past fifteen years, the Beaufort Garden Club has been welcoming visitors to explore   some of Beaufort’s most pristine “secret gardens” during our annual Garden-a-Day tours. In that time frame, more than seventy-five privately owned picturesque landscapes have been opened to the public for all to enjoy!

At the heart of this labor of love is “sheer inspiration” … and her name is Marion Leach!  Marion and her late husband, Ret. Col. James “Jimmie” Leach, are no strangers to Beaufortonians. This beloved couple has been “moving and shaking” our Beaufort community into civic action and higher purpose for over twenty years!  For them, there was always a need to be filled; a community concern to be addressed; an underprivileged child to be tutored; a veterans’ program to be instituted.  Their lives embody the essence of civic service, civic pride, and the best of the indomitable human spirit. And “spirit” is something that Marion has plenty of … and then some!

In 1994, Marion Leach was installed as The Beaufort Garden Club’s thirty-sixth President, serving for two years, 1994-1996.  These were active years.  It was during this time period that Marion conceived the idea of garden-a–day. The first annual Garden-a-Day, held in June of 1995, was just the beginning of something wonderful for everyone in our Beaufort community!

Marion led the garden club membership in promoting a week-long event that would offer a garden-a-day for touring. It was decided by the club women that the membership would sponsor this monumental civic undertaking. The goal was to “open the garden gates” of five privately owned gardens, over five consecutive days, and share these stunningly landscaped environments with the people of Beaufort for their enlightenment and enjoyment.  And best of all … it was to be FREE to the public! This agenda was to also coincide with the club’s celebration of National Garden Week ~ a perfect pairing. In short, the entire endeavor was to become The Beaufort Garden Club’s annual “gift” to the Beaufort community!

But how does one go about securing five privately owned gardens?

Transitioning from idea to reality usually requires an incredible amount of ingenuity before true progress can be made.  It was Marion’s determination, drive, and engaging personality that convinced five homeowners on “The Point” to open their picture-perfect gardens to the public. They were pleased to oblige the garden club in this “first step” effort, knowing that by offering-up their amazing properties for viewing, they, too, were contributing to a special community service.

Each lush sanctuary reflected the individual gardener’s personality, hard work, and passion for plants and surrounding beauty. It was hoped that visitors would return home and emulate a special aspect or two of what they saw in the display gardens, transferring those ideas to their own backyards. “Beautifying Beaufort!” has been a clarion call of The Beaufort Garden Club since its founding in 1934 … and this was a means to that end.

That was fifteen years ago … and Marion’s “brain child” has been thriving and growing by leaps and bounds ever since.  Garden-a-Day week now averages between 800-1,000 guests and counting! We Beaufortonians thank you, Marion, for being the tour d’ force behind Garden-a-Day … and we also extend our deepest appreciation to all the hard-working and devoted club women who gave impetus to this phenomenal event.  These annual “walks down garden paths” have given so much pleasure to so many gardening enthusiasts throughout the years!

Garden-a-Day will run Monday, June 7 through Friday, June 11, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm, daily. Certified Master Gardeners and knowledgeable club members will be on hand to assist guests and answer questions. Come join us … and behold Mother Nature’s “surprises” that await you beyond the garden gates!

These tours are FREE to the public!


JUNE 7 – 11         9:30 AM – 12:30 PM, DAILY


Diane and Conway Ivy

501 King Street

“The Point,” Beaufort


Nancy Pratt

310 Federal Street

“The Point,” Beaufort


Charlotte and Lawrence Kay

25 Mices  Road

“Newpoint,” Lady’s Island


Lyn and Robert Lantz

12 Prescient  Avenue

“Newpoint,” Lady’s Island


Barbara and Donald Donahue

2  Tidewater Way

“Newpoint,” Lady’s Island


Arlene and Richard Porter

14  Waterside Drive

“Newpoint,” Lady’s Island


Nancy and Carroll Crowther

18 Old Ferry Cove

Lady’s Islan (Off “Brickyard”)


Friends of Hunting Island and the Loggerhead Sea Turtle

By Wendy Pollitzer

May 27, 2010

It’s that time of year again, time for the Loggerhead Sea Turtle to come ashore and nest in the Lowcountry.  And the Loggerhead couldn’t be more thankful than to the Friends of Hunting Island for helping her babies get back out to sea.

This season, a committee of dedicated volunteers who have helped with the conservation project for many years leads the Friends of Hunting Island Turtle Patrol.  The co-directors are Karen Whitehead, Buddy Lawrence, Denise Parsick, Gretchen Blickle, Mary Ann Waldrop, Dean Hewitt, Carolyn Westman, Cyndi Follrich and Laurel Rhoten.

The committee has met since November planning for the 2010 season. Each morning from May 15 until August 15, volunteers patrol the beach at Hunting Island in search of Loggerhead Sea Turtle tracks. Once found, the group determines if the nest was laid in a safe location. If the nest was buried below the spring high tide line, or if it’s in an area with frequent predators, the volunteers move the nest to a safer location.

The FOHI Turtle Patrol is made up of 122 families this year. This group is divided into 7 smaller groups classified by day.  And, on each day, smaller groups are broken up in order to patrol the beach that is separated into 6 zones. So, every morning at 6am for three solid months, the FOHI Turtle Patrol investigates nearly 6 miles of beach.

A particular problem this year is raccoon predation.  At the time this article was written, 5 nests were laid, and raccoons had attacked three of those. The volunteers do their very best to keep the pests out by putting extra screen on top of the nests and moving them to better locations; but the raccoons are smarter than we think. It’s a constant struggle to protect the nests from these natural predators.

In partnership with the staff at Hunting Island State Park, the FOHI Turtle Patrol share the permit issued by the SC Department of Natural Resources.  And all three organizations are participating in something brand new this year.

In coordination with Georgia, North Carolina and Florida, SCDNR and volunteer groups along the coast are conducting a new study this year that takes DNA samples from the eggshells. This research will allow DNR to determine how many times each mother came ashore in one season and where.

You see, a female Loggerhead can lay nests several times during a season. One mother who lays on Hunting might also travel to Fripp or Edisto to lay more. And each nest has and average of 100 eggs. So if one Loggerhead is nesting 4 or 5 times in a season, you can imagine how exhausted she is by August!

Nests usually hatch around the 60th day of incubation. After a boil (the term used when the majority of hatchlings emerge at once), volunteers then inventory the nest and determine the hatch and emergence success rates.

Last year, Hunting Island had a 81.2% nest success rate with 80 total nests and a hatch success rate of 57.4% That’s pretty good considering an estimated 8980 eggs were laid!

If you are interested in watching an inventory, please contact the Nature Center at Hunting Island at (843) 838-7437. Please keep in mind that inventories won’t begin until July or so, and it’s always a guess as to when a nest will hatch.

We are indebted to this dedicated group who, year after year, come out in the early morning hours, some from as far away as Sun City, to help our beloved Loggerhead Sea Turtle. Thank you Friends of Hunting Island for all of your hard work.


Sheri Little is the Beaufort Water Festival’s 55th Commodore

By Wendy Pollitzer

May 20, 2010

Water Festival is around the corner, and Sheri Little is excited! Little, the festival’s 55th Commodore and her well-organized group of 23 Directors and 9 Coordinators have been planning this year’s event since August.  With 2 meetings a month, sometimes lasting up to 5 hours, the committee might be a little tired, but eager nonetheless.

This year’s Water Festival is July 16-25, 2010. But Little and her committee will start to set up 3 days before the event. Volunteers construct the stage, power electricity throughout the park, hang lighting, build concession booths, erect Headquarters and set up the craft market well before thousands of people invade Henry Chambers Waterfront Park for 10 days of fun in the sun!

By Wednesday of the festival, her committee has already been working a solid week.  “It’s a bittersweet feeling,” says Little. “We’re tired, but we all know it’s almost over. We get a little crazy around Wednesday, start playing lots of pranks on each other and stuff. We’re building camaraderie. We have to keep a great sense of humor with everything that goes on.”

And you never know what will happen during the week. Thankfully, Little has several past commodores from whom she can ask advice.  Sheri explains, “Water Festival is a machine. And we are blanketed with resources. Most of the volunteers have connections in the community. And we have an array of past commodores who are extremely helpful. Should something go wrong during the festival, the problem tends to get resolved relatively quickly without the public even being aware.”

If a problem does arise, Sheri Little is the woman to tackle it. She’s been with the festival for 10 years now. So she knows a thing or two about planning. In 2000, she was the Antique Show Chair. After that she became the Director of Community Relations and subsequently the Director for Public Relations. For the past 6 years, Sheri was a Coordinator and became commodore at the ball last year.

When she was called to the Board Room (the Water Festival Board consists of past commodores), on the last Saturday of the festival in 2009, Little thought her heart was going to jump out of her chest. “It was overwhelming,” she says. “ To be entrusted with that much confidence and keep such a wonderful tradition alive is humbling. I came here as a young marine’s wife, and now I’m Commodore of the oldest, longest running, all volunteer-run festival in the state. Wow.”

Little was born and raised in San Diego, California, which is where she met her future husband, Russ Little. Their first tour here in Beaufort was 1989. Little was in a bit of culture shock when she arrived. But, by the time she and Russ left three years later, she’d grown to love Beaufort. Russ got orders to come back in 1995. When he retired in 1998, they made the decision to stay here in Beaufort, thankfully!

“I always say you can be as involved or uninvolved in a community as you choose to be. I chose to get involved,” says Little. She dove into volunteering for Water Festival and has never looked back.

“The volunteers operate as a big family. This group of 400 people donates so much of their time, and during the hottest days of the year! Those who are directly involved take a week and a half vacation time just to volunteer.  This is why the festival remains so community oriented,” explains Little.

Sponsorships are key to an event of this magnitude as well. “We are very excited to have Hargray back as our Admiral of the Fleet Sponsor and Lee Distributors as our Flagship Admiral Sponsor. This year we’ll have two craft beers featured each night revolving around the theme of the evening.” Little explains.

Also new this year is a Corn Hole Tournament on the last Saturday of the festival. In addition, working dog demonstrations from the military and sheriff’s departments will take place in the park.

“We really want people to get excited about the parade of boats this year at the Blessing of the Fleet on the last Sunday of the festival,” says Little. “ We’ll offer three different $100 prizes for best commercial and recreational boat and a judges pick award.”

There is a little something for everyone in Beaufort, but too many to name in this limited space. If you are interested in the entertainment line-up and list of events, please go for complete details.

And Little encourages everyone to get involved. New volunteers and ideas are always appreciated.  “What better way to get involved with the community than participate in Beaufort’s signature festival. It’s so much fun!”

Sheri Little is probably the most excited person in Beaufort about the 55th Annual Water Festival, and it shows. She glows when she talks about it.  It is definitely her time to shine!


Lt. Benjamin Wilkins Honored at Commemoration Ceremony

May 13, 2010

Re-enactors firing a musket salute.

Priscilla Perkins (left) and her daughter Anita Henson at the dedication of the marker.

Two members of the Thomas Heyward, Jr. Chapter of the DAR recently hosted a commemoration of the life and service of their ancestor Benjamin Wilkins, Lieutenant, Charleston Artillery, SC Militia who was killed at the Battle of Gray’s Hill near Beaufort SC on February 4, 1779.

Research by the two members, Priscilla Perkins and her daughter Anita Henson, found that he died a day after being wounded and was buried in the churchyard of the Parish Church of St. Helena.  In his honor they commissioned a marker to be placed in that churchyard at a ceremony held on Saturday, April 17, 2010.

Present at the dedication was Jo Ann Boone (SC DAR State Commemorative Events Chairman), several members of the DAR Chapter and the SAR, the Rev. Andrew Pearson who gave the Invocation and the Benediction, a Color Guard, three re-enactors who fired a musket salute to the fallen soldier, and many family members and descendants of Lieut. Wilkins.


Hope Haven Director wants Intrinsic Peace for All

By Wendy Pollitzer

May 6, 2010

Shauw Chin Capps is an extraordinary woman, with goals set high and met beyond expectations.  Capps is the Executive Director of Hope Haven of the Lowcountry, Beaufort’s Children’s Advocacy and Rape Crisis Center.

Hope Haven provides comprehensive services, which help promote healing for adult and child victims of rape, sexual assault and incest. Its mission is to increase the community’s awareness of these issues through education and outreach.

For Capps, directing Hope Haven is the exemplary career. Her experience as Case Manager for a Rape Crisis Center and Program Director for a Child Abuse Prevention Agency, both in Louisville, KT gives Capps the opportunity to share her knowledge with the citizens of Beaufort County.

I met with Capps last Thursday at her office, and immediately commented on the lighting in her office. It was a hectic day, and I was starting to get a midday headache; but as I walked into Hope Haven’s headquarters, my mood was pacified. I was not only soothed with the calm atmosphere, but also the relaxed staff. It takes very special people to fulfill the obligations of this dedicated group. And Capps leads her staff of nine with grace, dignity and lots of knowledge.

The issue of justice has always been near and dear to Shauw Chin’s heart. She takes an interest for those with no voice and those shunned by society. And she truly believes that each and every victim deserves professional quality service, and when this service is no longer needed, then she’ll be the first to celebrate.

Capps was born in Jakarta, Indonesia. The youngest of four girls, Shauw Chin and her family moved to Singapore when she was 5.  Her parents, who made great sacrifices to insure their girls would have quality educational opportunities, knew that Singapore would offer a competitive, academic culture.

And again, when the girls entered college, Capps’ parents knew that the U.S would be the best place for their children to attend college. In this predominantly English-speaking world, the U.S. would offer the best opportunities for Capps and her sisters.

Capps began her undergrad at Indiana University, but transferred and received her degree from Baylor University with a B.A. in Social Work. She later earned her Master’s Degree from the Carver School of Church Social Work at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary School in Louisville.

Her first internship was with a juvenile detention center. She worked with teenaged boys incarcerated, and, at some point in their lives, abused. This job opened her eyes to the inequities of abused children. She began to understand the intrinsic value of each person. As she spoke to most of these boys, she began to see their vulnerability and comprehend the circumstances surrounding each case. She was deeply moved by this first experience.

Her second internship was with a Planned Parenthood Center that provided free medical care and preventative education that certain demographics would otherwise not be able to afford. And, unlike the public’s perception of this particular center, it was not a facility that offered abortions. Yet, threats still came.

This experience made Capps very aware of different worldviews. It also made her realize that our world was not just black and white.  This internship became a turning point in Capps’ life, and she began to develop her personal faith.

Subsequently, she became less judgmental and truly saw more good in this world than evil. She began to see the world as gray. And she knew that each person comes with a story and individual struggles unlike anyone else on the planet.  Simply stated by Capps, “Every person has value.”

She knew then what she wanted to do in life: help those who couldn’t help themselves. Even as a little girl, Capps said she questioned why some people had more than others and some had so much less. She moved from a third world country to a very developed nation, so she saw first hand extreme socioeconomic differences. She was very disturbed by the Haves and the Have-Nots.

So Capps started her career. Her first job at a Rape Crisis Center challenged her established belief system. She was faced with so much evil as a case manager, meeting men and women daily with horrific stories, yet giving them no easy answers. But, she walked beside them, listened to their stories and helped them cope with their struggles. Capps provided the needed hope and comfort these victims needed. And, in the process, learned quite a bit about justice, and sometimes, lack thereof.

Five years later, Capps moved to another non-profit at a Child Abuse Prevention Center. She worked as a Program Director for at-risk mothers. She went into people’s houses and, regardless of circumstances, listened to the common hopes and dreams of these children.  She witnessed honest resiliency in children when they were given pure nurturing love from caregivers.  She was humbled by the surviving nature of children when given the support of caring parents after incidents of abuse.

In 1995, Shauw Chin married Paul Capps. They’d known each other since childhood. Paul was the son of missionaries from the Baptist Church of Beaufort, Janice and Roger Capps, who lived in Singapore. The two met when they were teenagers at a Youth Group, but didn’t date until college back in the States.

They vacationed in Beaufort with their first child, Phoebe (10) and loved it!  When Paul’s parents retired to Beaufort, and Shauw Chin and Paul got pregnant with her second child, Lydia (6), they decided to also move to Beaufort for familial support.

Shauw Chin sent out 1 resume to the United Way. Sharon Stewart, then Board Chairwoman of Hope Cottage was impressed with Capps’ resume and immediately called for an interview.  In August of 2003, Paul and Shauw Chin moved to Beaufort. They unpacked on a Saturday and Capps started work on a Monday.

She started with three staff members in the infancy of the merger of the Rape Crisis Center and the Children’s Advocacy Center, which became Hope Haven.  She made significant changes, recruited a new Board, more than doubled her budget in 3 years and met criteria to become nationally accredited. Now that’s impressive.

Hope Haven provides a one-stop shop for the victim and facilitates the process for all agencies involved in a case. State-of-the-art forensic interviewing allows investigative, prosecutorial and treatment teams timely and coordinated response to all reported cases, all under one roof. And for the victim, this is essential.

Hope Haven provides 24/7 crisis intervention. A Victim’s Advocate will provide hospital and court accompaniment and assistance as needed.  Counseling and Support Groups are also available.

So Shauw Chin Capps is responsible for an indispensable component of our community. She sees the tough circumstances daily, yet continues to make progress for Beaufort County residents unfortunately referred to Hope Haven.

Last year, Hope Haven saw 512 cases of direct victims and 547 cases of secondary victims (loved ones, children), which was an astonishing 25% more than 2008. The numbers are not slowing down either.

Hope Haven is grant-funded. All of their services are provided at no cost, with disregard of the victim’s wealth or background. And, as the numbers go up, so does the budget.

Each year, Hope Haven presents Lilies on the River. It is a unique event that remembers and honors the women in your life who have made a positive impact through mentoring, nurturing or caring.  Lilies can be purchased for a tax deductable $10 and released at a ceremony on the water at Berkeley Hall in Bluffton on Mother’s Day, May 8th.  A luncheon and champagne toast will follow. Of course, all proceeds benefit Hope Haven of the Lowcountry. For more information about Lilies on  the River or to order a Lily online, visit

Shauw Chin Capps is doing work that needs to be done. And she honestly believes, with all her heart that that every child can lead a productive life after treatment of abuse. Even though they can’t forget, Hope Haven empowers each victim to cope. Shauw Chin has the hope that people will recover.

And that’s why I believe Shauw Chin Capps is an angel on Earth.  She guides those in need to a place from within that is safe and comfortable.  She is motivated to instill intrinsic peace for all. That is truly heroic.

It was an honor to meet you Shauw Chin. Thank you for protecting our children in Beaufort County. You are the right person for this demanding position, and I certainly feel safe with you there.


Executive Chef, Jim Spratling Cooks with Passion

By Wendy Pollitzer

Apr. 29, 2010

Jim Spratling is passionate about food.  As the Executive Chef for Plum’s, Inc., Spratling knows a thing or two about the restaurant business, and it shows!

A graduate of The Culinary Institute of Charleston, Spratling not only learned how to cook, but also how to manage the kitchen. And, since he moved to the Lowcountry thirteen years ago, he’s been wooing Beaufortonians with his tastefully prepared dishes.

Spratling does a heck of a job creating a fun and eclectic menu. He pairs ingredients with confidence and delivers the product with stylish presentation.  And he does so for three very different restaurants, Plum’s, Saltus and Patois, all part of Plum’s, Incorporated.  He serves as executive chef for all three establishments.  He oversees three chefs de cuisine:  Brian Waters at Saltus, Will McClenagan at Plum’s and Penn Tenyck at Patois.

He’s also consulted on some projects in Costa Rica and Peru. He helped open the Rip Jack Inn in Playa Grande, Costa Rica, and a barbeque joint in Mancora, Peru.  An avid surfer, Spratling was quite satisfied traveling to these destinations for weeks at a time. When he wasn’t preparing menus and training staff, Jim enjoyed the waves. Now that’s the life!

“The language barrier was tough, but I love the rush of opening a new restaurant,” exclaims Spratling. “I mean, I spent six or so hours a day in the kitchen and surfed the rest of the time. I could definitely do that again!” And he may. For Plum’s, Inc., his duties include menu making, costing, staffing and general ordering tasks, all of which can be done from afar.

He also said he’d like to open a few more restaurants here. He and Lantz Price, owner of Plum’s Inc., have a mental menu and design for a restaurant at the marina on Lemon Island, which is owned by Dick Stewart and destined to become the location of a boater-friendly dining establishment. The project, however was temporarily postponed when Shipman’s Gallery closed, and Price jumped at the opportunity to expand Plum’s to front Bay Street.  We are enjoying the spacious new accommodations at Plum’s, and we also look forward to the fulfillment of the Lemon Island project.

Spratling is also excited about his new purchase for Saltus. He’s been experimenting with molecular gastronomy, and just bought two emersion circulators for the restaurant.  An emersion circulator keeps the temperature of a fluid uniformly constant, unlike heating a vat on a hot surface. The food is packaged in a water-tight bag, immersed in the liquid and slow-cooked at precise temperatures. The final product will have better flavor, color, texture and aroma with minimal loss of juices. I don’t know about you, but that excites me! If you read my Lunch Bunch column, you know I’m really into good food.

It is very evident that Spratling loves what he does. “I like teaching younger chefs and nurturing them in the trade. The camaraderie in the kitchen is similar to an athletic team. We have to work individually and together, and we all do it with big smiles,” says Spratling.

Both of Spratling’s boys are showing an interest in cooking too. Jackson (10) and Miles (6) like to help daddy in the kitchen, and they also like to surf. “Whenever we can, we’re doing something on the water, whether it be surfing, fishing, boating, whatever.”  There is no better place than Beaufort to teach your kids to love the ocean and to appreciate the seafood that comes from it.

Clearly Spratling enjoys Beaufort, and he expresses his gratitude to this area by trying to purchase all of his seafood and vegetables locally.  Thus he helps the Beaufort economy and ensures the freshness of his food. Spratling is proud that Plum’s, Inc. is a member of Certified SC Grown and Fresh on the Menu because ”Nothing’s Fresher and Nothing’s Finer” than locally grown in Carolina!

Jim Spratling has worked in restaurants from Portland, Maine, to Key West, Florida, since he was 15 years old. He has a knack for delivering fine food to his patrons. Once you taste his creations, you’ll be hooked. I know I am.

Thanks, Jim, for a delightful interview.  Keep doing what you’re doing. It’s working.


Ownership, Stewardship and Love at 400 Wilmington Street

By Wendy Pollitzer

Apr. 22, 2010

If the walls of a house could talk, then those of the John Joyner Smith-McLeod House would speak of Ownership, Stewardship and Love by the McLeod family.

The house, situated on the corner of Bay and Wilmington Streets and overlooking the Bluff above Beaufort River, has been occupied by four generations of the McLeod family.  On April 18, 1910 Claude Eugene McLeod purchased the home from the Reverend C.C. Brown from Sumter. The elegant home has remained in the family for 100 years now.

The home’s current owner, Marjorie Fordham Trask, affectionately known by her grandchildren as “Marj,” hosted a family reception over the weekend to toast the Anniversary. Many McLeod cousins, as well as several local Fordham cousins were present for the celebration with great food, family fun and toasts to the occasion.

Mrs. Trask’s grandparents, Claude and Hope McLeod wanted a house in town (they lived on the farm at Seabrook). Two were for sale in the Town of Beaufort. One was this home on the Bluff and the other was Tidalholm. They were torn between the beauty of the high bluff and the impressive yard at Tidalholm.  But, ultimately, they chose the home on Bay Street, built around 1811 by John Joyner Smith.

Smith, who owned a plantation at Old Fort (where the Naval Hospital now stands), wanted a home in town. He built the structure high off the ground with a southern exposure so the sea breeze would flow generously through the house. The breeze not only cooled the home, but also helped defend homeowners from those pesky spring and summer gnats.  The McLeod’s were certainly thankful for his design!

Mrs. Trask showed me a copy of the check from The Peoples Bank, signed by her grandfather, for the purchase of the home in 1910. It’s selling price? $6,750. Wow! The town of Beaufort has been blessed ever since. The McLeod family has been an asset to the community, and in particular, to the Carteret Street Methodist Church.  A stained-glass window hangs in the church sanctuary in memory of Claude McLeod, Sr., who devoted his life to the Methodist faith. And also, the Hope McLeod Foster Circle is well-attended today by women members at the Carteret Street Church, including Marjorie Trask, Brenda McLeod, Hope Cappleman and Sally Fordham, all relatives of Hope McLeod.

The McLeod’s have hosted countless weddings, funerals, birthday parties, graduation parties, etc. in the home on Bay Street.  And many more will potentially follow. There are 6 surviving grandchildren of Claude and Hope McLeod, 19 great-grandchildren, and get this, 38 great-great grands! And most of them are still in Beaufort.

The house is simply beautiful and tastefully decorated with Southern antiques. It has been well cared for through the years, and as Mrs. Trask describes, “well loved,” even when it was occupied by Union Troops and used as Federal Headquarters during the Civil War. Gen. Isaac Stevens, who was a wonderful steward of history and Beaufort architecture, took great pride in the home and maintained its character throughout the aggressive Northern occupation.

One particular detail of the house has confused many throughout the years. The front porch facing the Bluff has no stairs, nor does the fence have a gate opening to Bay Street. Why, you ask? The front door is not real. It’s designed to look like the entrance, when in fact, it’s just a replica. The windows on either side function as doors, and were designed to allow the breeze to come in the main rooms of the second floor. The entrance is actually on Wilmington Street. Mrs. Trask laughs when FedEx or UPS hires a new driver. They are quite baffled!

Mrs. Trask’s parents, Marjorie McLeod and Angus Fordham moved into the home in the 1940’s.  Mr. Fordham, as most of you know, owned Fordham Hardware on Bay Street. He was also Superintendent of Schools and Mayor of Beaufort for 17 years. A well-liked gentleman in town, Mr. Fordham took great pride in his community, his family and his home.

Marjorie Trask and her husband Paul moved into the home in 1986 after the death of Mr. Fordham. Mrs. Fordham lived in the cottage behind the home and ate meals with the family. She’d tell stories about her wonderful parents, who were avid travelers. They’d take their automobile, called “the Northern” to destinations and camp for days at a time. In fact, Mr. McLeod was the first to take an automobile trip from Beaufort to Savannah in “the Northern.” And, Mrs. Trask has many old photos of family outings-often for weeks at a time on Pritchard’s, Fripp and Bay Point Islands when her mother and her brothers were growing up.

How special is the fact that Marjorie Trask and her brother, Duncan Fordham, who grew up in this home, can tell their grandchildren stories of their grandparents and parents living in the same home.  It is a testament of a loyal, affectionate family committed to traditional values.

The McLeod family, who have been such integral members of the community, continue to call this home, and that certainly deserves a toast!


Janie Lackman is a Dedicated Friend

By Wendy Pollitzer

Apr. 15, 2010

Janie Lackman is a true friend. But, while most of us use this term to describe a relationship between two people bonded by camaraderie, I use the term to illustrate Janie’s commitment to an organization dedicated to providing hope and encouragement.

Lackman, Development Director for the Friends of Caroline Hospice in charge of Marketing and Fundraising became interested in the concept of hospice following the deaths of her great aunt and her father’s parents.  When she moved to Beaufort, she knew she wanted to work in some capacity with a similar organization that helped her family.

She volunteered in pet therapy with Friends of Caroline, a United Way organization 11 years ago when her Bassett Hound, Elvis was just a pup.  When asked the motivation behind pet therapy, Janie responded, “It brings smiles to people’s faces and creates a diversion from the day-to-day. I know if I were in the hospital, I’d miss my dog terribly. For anyone who has a connection with dogs, this helps them a lot!”

The program reaches patients at Beaufort Memorial, Coastal Carolina Hospital, Alzheimer’s Family Services, assisted living centers and other care groups. Lackman still volunteers with pet therapy in addition to her role Development Director.

And what a job she has! Friends of Caroline Hospice is the only hospice in Beaufort that is 100% non-profit. Every dollar they raise goes directly to funding patient care, supplies, medication and equipment as well as operating costs. The organization is also 100% dependant on donations, meaning Friends does not accept money from patients, their families, insurance companies or Medicaid/Medicare.

So Janie must work very hard to raise significant funds. She is in charge of four major fundraisers per year: the popular Festival of Trees; Cheeseburgers in Paradise (inspired by a former patient who was a Parrothead); Bands, Brews and Barbeques (a South Carolina BBQ Sanctioned competition to be held on Labor Day weekend) and the upcoming Spring Fling Fashion Show. Descriptions of each of these events can be found at

The Spring Fling Fashion Show will be held on April 21st from 11:30-1:30 in the Tabby Garden at the Beaufort Inn.  The elegant luncheon will be catered by Southern Graces, and the show will feature fashions from local merchants.  Designs from local designer, Caroline Hincher Baker will also be showcased. In addition, the event will include a creative narration by Natalie Daise (with a surprise twist).

Events like these are crucial to the success of the organization. “We are fortunate to have so much help from the community,” says Lackman.  Friends of Caroline Hospice has over 800 volunteers, but they always need more.  Volunteers are needed for many tasks, from patient care to office support to event assistance.

In addition to caring for terminally-ill patients, their families and caregivers, Friends of Caroline Hospice also offers, free of charge, many support programs. They include Lunch, Laughter and Tears (bereavement support for adults), a Child Bereavement Program, Bereavement of an Adult Child, Grieving the Loss of a Child, Stepping Ahead, Caregiver Support and Cancer Support Groups.

So again, it’s ultimately up to Lackman and the generous donations from the community to fund these important programs as well as the Friends’ comprehensive approach to caring.

The Island News is pleased to announce that Janie Lackman will be writing a column on a monthly basis about issues pertaining to elder care, end of life, coping as a caregiver and bereavement care options.  Her first column will appear on April 29th.

For anyone who has met Janie, you know she is dedicated to three things: her work, her dogs (Elvis and Harvey) and the Turtles!

Janie is the Project Leader for the Fripp Island Turtle Program. Though her team consists of close to 40 Loggerhead Sea Turtle volunteers, Lackman is on the beach most every day looking for nests from May through August and conducting inventories until October.

Since Loggerheads are also a passion of mine, I’ll be sure to include information about area programs, nest counts, etc. in the coming months. So I’m happy to say I’ll be working with Janie again!

Janie Lackman obviously cares about life, and she is proactively fulfilling her purpose. Via her career or personal hobbies, Janie makes every attempt to educate people about the things for which she cares deeply.

If you’re at all interested in volunteering with Friends of Caroline Hospice in any capacity, you may call 525-6257 or email:

Tickets are still on sale for the Spring Fling Fashion Show to benefit Friends of Caroline. Cost is $50 per person. To reserve yours, call 525-6257 today!

Thank you Janie for everything you do for our community! It’s folks like you, behind the scenes, who really make a difference in Beaufort. And, on a personal note, I’m glad to call you my new friend.


Dr. Clark Trask in Practice for the Good of Beaufort

By Wendy Pollitzer

Apr. 8, 2010

After Dr. Clark Trask finished his residency in Ashville, Dr. John Gray asked if he’d be interested in moving home to Beaufort to join his practice. He jumped at the chance to come home. Why? Because he loves Beaufort!  He loves being able to treat the people he once knew in town and on St. Helena Island, where he was raised.

Dr. Clark Trask is not your average M.D. For starters, he’s practiced medicine all over the world…Nepal, France, and New Zealand and within the U.S., the states of North Carolina and Alaska. He’s seen patients from most nationalities and learned from doctors with all types of education and experience.

I sat with Dr. Trask and his wife, Evy last week, and we discussed Health Care, obesity and common sense parenting tips with regards to active lifestyles and nutritional eating. We had a great conversation, and most in town would agree that Dr. Trask is a natural with his profession.

Why? Perhaps his easy-going personality allows his patients to feel safe, comfortable and non-competitively challenged. You see, pharmaceutical companies that can prescribe a pill for anything and everything don’t always convince Dr. Trask that their products are the best for his patients.  His patients must take steps to improve their health first.

Dr. Trask believes in the person. He trusts that the person can adjust his or her lifestyle enough to once again become healthy. He believes, as many physicians now do, that chronic disease like Diabetes and high blood pressure can be treated by changing the patient’s unhealthy habits more so than prescribing a pill.

His mantra? “To know and not to do is not to know,” exclaims Dr. Trask. By giving his patients sound nutritional advice and connecting what they eat, how they feel and what they do during the day allows Dr. Trask to measure their bodies objectively.

His practice, Coastal Care on Ribaut Road, specializes in bariatrics, but still very mush so administers family medicine! In fact, when I met with Clark and Evy, it was on a Monday. Evy explained to me that’s it’s always their busiest day. Everyone comes off the weekend sick, and all the doctor’s offices are closed. Come Monday morning, the schedule for the day is full!

One of the great things about Coastal Care is that they take walk-ins. Let’s say your doctor can’t meet with you for three days.  Dr. Trask and his staff will see you the same day to treat your ailment.

And another thing that’s great? They have an in-house pharmacy! No need to drive anywhere to fill that prescription!

When the Trasks started Coastal Care, they wanted to incorporate three things into their business. One is accessibility. In addition to accepting walk-ins, they are open 8am-6pm Monday through Thursday, 8am-5pm on Friday and 9am-11am on Saturday. They are also never closed during lunch hours!

The second important feature Coastal Care offers is great quality care.  Whether you’re in the office to get treated for an infection or there to see Dr. Trask about losing weight, your time is worth his! He takes careful notes on his laptop while you’re in the room and always asks the most appropriate questions. He makes every attempt to practice evidence-based medicine to insure his patients are getting the right diagnosis.

The third incorporated aspect of their practice (and I say they, because Evy is just as much a part of the business as Clark) is affordability.  They don’t have to charge the highest amounts and won’t add unnecessary charges. The model of their practice is based on fair prices for convenient service.

In addition to accessibility, quality care and affordability, the office is plain and simply cool!  They offer free coffee (the good stuff too), free Internet surfing while you wait and Reggae Fridays! Pandora Radio plays in the background everyday, and a live person always answers the telephone!

Dr. Trask’s dream is to one day go overseas and practice medicine again, if only for a short while. For now, he’s very content with life in Beaufort. His smile widened, as he made sure I knew, “I’m proud to be a Beaufortonian. Coming home to practice medicine is a privilege.”

When Dr. Trask isn’t in the office, he loves to garden. He’s planted pole beans, lettuce, spinach, cucumbers and squash.  He’s grown a healthy herb garden as well.

And he’s a woodworker too! Evy asked him to build a playhouse/swing set for their children, Grace and Sam. Instead, he built a Pirate Ship!  What a Dad!

Dr. Trask and his wife, Evy are great assets to Beaufort.  And they certainly practice what they preach! Always active (Clark kayaking and Evy running), the duo makes a point to eat well, live well and teach their children well.

If you’re interested in visiting Dr. Trask for a well checkup, same-day visit or weight loss consultation, you may call the office at (843) 524-3344.  You’ll be glad you did!

Thank you Clark and Evy for a pleasant visit! You’re hospitality is always graciously received!


Roland Gardner Lives with Purpose

By Wendy Pollitzer

Apr. 1, 2010

A St. Helena Island native, born and bred, Roland Gardner exemplifies living life with purpose and a good perspective.

“I always knew I wanted to do something rewarding; I wanted to help people,” says Gardner, CEO of Beaufort-Jasper-Hampton Comprehensive Health Services.

Since April of 1980, Gardner has been the Executive Director, which consists of the overall operation of the health care provider serving the tri-county area including patient care, financial management, personnel management, facilities, long range planning and public relations.

Comprehensive Health Services is federally funded under Public Health Services Section 330. Since its inception in 1970, the philosophy of the organization has been, “Health is a right, not a privilege.” In following this philosophy, BJHCHS operates a culturally sensitive, sound clinical care system to residents of the socially and economically deprived areas of Beaufort, Jasper and Hampton Counties.

Under Gardner’s leadership, BJHCHS has grown to service over 17, 000 patients.  And he’s basically been there since the beginning.

While getting his Masters at Howard University, Tom Arnold approached Gardner about writing a proposal to initiate a Psychiatric and Psychology plan at BJHCHS. While in Washington D.C., Gardner wrote the proposal and went before Congress to argue its validity for the Lowcountry.

During Graduate School, the program was funded and Gardner was offered a job as Director of the program for which he’d written the proposal. From 1972-1978, Roland Gardner was the Director of Mental Health and Social Services.

He then left for three years to direct Beaufort County’s Department of Social Services. His mom, Janie Henderson Gardner was the first African-American to work at the Department of Social Services in 1968.  Originally designed as a USDA initiative to help farmers, the food stamp program in Beaufort County was the first of its kind in the country.

In 1980 Gardner came back to BJHCHS as Executive Director of the organization that now administers laboratory and radiology services, clinical and home health nursing, nutrition services, pharmacy and dental care.

One of the most exciting things happening at Beaufort-Jasper-Hampton Comprehensive Health Services is its partnership with A.T. Still University in Mesa, Arizona.

A.T. Still provides degrees in Osteopathic medicine, which embraces a holistic philosophy, considering the person as a unit of interrelated systems of mind, body, and spirit that must work together to ensure good health. Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.s) are physicians who are fully trained and licensed to prescribe medication, perform surgery, deliver babies, etc. Osteopathic physicians (D.O.s) and allopathic physicians (M.D.s) are the only two types of physicians licensed in all 50 states.

Currently, there are 16 medical students at BJHCHS, one of 10 Comp Health Centers in the country hosting these medical students. By 2011, there will be 24-30 students in the area training with BJHCHS.

And most of these doctors will stay in the area after they finish residency. The demand for primary care is up, and many of these students will opt to stay in the Lowcountry to serve as family care, OB, pediatrics or internal medicine physicians.

Out of the 97 students participating in the program, 5 of the top students are right here in Beaufort.

Needless to say, Roland Gardner has seen BJHCHS grow to exceed his expectations.  Two of the programs for which he is most proud are the Ryan White Early Intervention Services project and the school-based health programs offered at 8 public schools in Beaufort and Jasper Counties.

So Gardner has stayed true to his aspiration of helping people. That’s his job, quite frankly. But sit down with Roland Gardner, and you’ll understand his fascination with people.

A recreational historian, Gardner knows things about this area that most don’t. His knowledge of “life on the island” is extensive, especially about the African-American community.  He grew up listening to stories from older family members about bootleggers during Prohibition and such. At some point, one of those family members passed the torch to Roland to be the designated story-teller. And, boy can he can tell a good story!

And he also knows how everyone is connected. That’s one of his many talents. If he knows how so-and-so is related to so-and-so, he can ease into conversation that’s real and substantial from the get-go.

Maybe that’s how he turned on the charm to his wife of 36 years, Constance Smith Gardner. He was the Student Body President at St. Helena High while she the Student Body President at Robert Smalls High School. They met at a Lionel Hampton concert in 1963, dated a bit, parted ways, then met up again and got married in 1974. And what a duo!

Roland Gardner works hard. But, in the evening, he’ll relax with a glass of wine, watch a game on the tube at Breakwater and chat with other Beaufortonians about everyday matters.  He appreciates life, and passes that energy on to those who meet him. He is the American Dream.


The Man Behind the Music

Mar. 25, 2010

Sweet, beautiful sounds can be heard through the halls of Beaufort High School. The balanced tone and blended harmony are the product of years of hard work, and that is just how “Voices” director Victor Varner has led the evolution of the 70-member Honors Chorus Class at Beaufort High. This renowned ensemble not only delights local audiences but also those in New York, Washington DC, Durham, Rock Hill, Savannah, and more.

Varner, with a lifetime of musical experience, seems to have a way of transforming an up-and-coming club into an amazing chorus of dedicated, passionate students, who, despite the name “Voices,” unite as one voice from the moment a performance begins. Having taught vocal music and guitar in public high schools for twenty-eight years, Varner’s experience enables him to lead students through a learning process that includes everything from how to read and hit a music note to learning about hard work, discipline, and life itself.

“There is no denying that the students, who rehearse together upwards of five to eight times per week, are like a family,” said Varner. “And their hard work is evident each time they take the stage.”

The chorus has two major performances each year, a Winter Concert and the upcoming Spring Show, which is scheduled for April 13-14th at Beaufort High School’s new Arts Center.

However, for the past four years, local audiences have enjoyed an extra-special treat when Voices joins the Duke Symphony Orchestra on stage for an exciting musical showcase. The annual concert, which benefits Beaufort Memorial Hospital’s Keyserling Cancer Center and Healing Arts Program, will be held this Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Arts Center.

“It is unusual to have the opportunity to combine a singing group like ours with the very special accompaniment of a symphony orchestra,” said Varner.  “Performing with the Duke Symphony has become a highlight of our year. “

Through these performances, the students are able to showcase the wide variety of music that Varner has exposed them to.

“In the fall semester, we typically study a more classical repertoire,” said Varner. “This past year, we performed Franz Bieble’s Ava Maria and the Medieval mass Sanctus and Benedictus in our Winter Concert. During the spring semester, more popular genres are explored, with a growing emphasis on vocal jazz.”

Voices also has a new dynamic “InnerVoices,” a smaller group formed to focus on vocal jazz techniques.  Varner recently accompanied the 18-member ensemble on a trip to Lincoln Center where they participated in the New York Jazz Festival, spending three days of singing and instruction with top vocal jazz clinicians. The group was adjudicated during their individual performance, receiving very positive feedback for their talent and discipline, the complexity of the arrangements they performed and the uniqueness of their style, which relied solely on acoustic accompaniment. Varner received kudos himself from the judges for his guitar accompaniment.

“The New York experience was great,” said Varner. “I was honored that we were specifically invited by the artistic director for the Lincoln Center jazz festival, who saw the entire Voices ensemble perform last year at the Disney Jazz. Our group did more than hold their own in New York – they performed beautifully and generated great rapport with the audience.”

One of the pieces performed as part of the festival was jazz artist Steve Zegree’s arrangement of the Lennon and McCartney tune In My Life, which the entire Voices ensemble will perform this weekend with the Duke Symphony. In three weeks, the Voices Spring Show will feature this and several other familiar songs, adding their complex jazz harmonies, as well as a staged medley of songs from The Wizard of Oz.

Varner’s abilities as an arranger have allowed him to adapt all genres of music to the strengths of the group he is working with, whether a jazz ensemble, chamber music group or the entire high school chorus.

It’s obvious that Victor Varner loves music, teaching music and Beaufort – and his Master’s level training and years of experience have provided the foundation for wonderful local talent to flourish and for our community to benefit.

“I just love vocal harmony,” he said. “Seeing the faces of these teenagers when they first recognize the potential of a song they are learning, or when they nail it for the first time on a complex chord— or when I hear from former students who are still singing, or even teaching music—those are the moments that make it all worthwhile.”

Tickets for the Voices performance with the Duke Symphony Orchestra this Saturday, March 27 are $35 ($40 at the door) and can be purchased or call 522-5774. Patron tickets, which include the post-concert Conductor’s Reception at Tidalholm, are $75 (or $80 at the door). Group rates are also available.

For tickets or information on the Voices April 13-14th Spring Show email Both performances are at the new Arts Center at Beaufort High School.


Lloyd Griffin will Move you with a Smile

by Wendy Pollitzer

Mar. 18, 2010

Have you ever walked into an office and immediately felt right at home? Home? It’s an office, not a house.

Well, as I walked in the doors of Chavis Moving and Storage near Laurel Bay, I knew I’d stepped into a friendly small business; and, I was sold with their services simply because of their charm and honest professionalism.  And no, Beaufort, I am not moving! But if any friends need to pack boxes in the near future, I know who to recommend!

Lloyd Griffin, owner of the company and agent for United Van Lines welcomed me with a big smile and true southern hospitality.  And his employees, Stephanie Radford and Nancy Hill echoed his warmth with friendly conversation.

Griffin purchased the business in 2002 from the Chavis Family. Originally from Rome, Georgia, Lloyd has over 20 years in the Moving and Storage business as well as tenure in banking and a lengthy stretch as owner of a beer distributorship near Atlanta.

He’s a man of good business sense with a commitment to personal interaction with all of his customers. In fact, if you’re looking for a moving company, he wants you to call his personal cell with questions, any time! He and his staff will make every decision-no matter how large or small-with you in mind!

The goal of Chavis Moving and Storage is to exceed expectations. Their commitment to provide “peace of mind” starts with the initial phone call and ends when the customer is completely satisfied.

Rick Cunningham, who moved from Sea Pines to Greenville with his wife Debbie said this about Chavis, “We have moved over a dozen times and this was the best team we have ever had assisting us. My wife and I have never written any other moving company to praise their employees, but your crew deserves a special letter of recognition. All your employees were simply sensational.”

Another couple, John and Peggy Hamby, who moved from Beaufort to Fort Mill praised Chavis by saying, “I’ve never seen more professional, courteous and hardworking folks. It was a pleasure having your company move us.”

What’s unique about Chavis is the fact that they’re an agent with United Van Lines, the largest in the world. So customers can relax knowing they’re in the hands of experienced professionals; and they’re also comforted knowing that Chavis brings a small town, personal touch to the moving experience.

If you’re looking to relocate to or from the Lowcountry, Chavis offers local, statewide, national and worldwide moving.

Griffin says, “The typical move here in the Lowcountry is that of a couple who enjoyed early retirement, who have lived here 10-15 years, and now want to move home to be closer to the grandchildren.”

A resident of New Point on Lady’s Island, Griffin and his wife, Donna enjoy the recreational spirit of the Lowcountry. They knew they wanted to live on the coast of South or North Carolina and fell in love with Beaufort.

And we’re glad they did.  Small business owners are the glue that keeps Beaufort economically stable, even in these times. We need to make sure we keep shopping locally and procure services from our neighbors, not big boxes!

If you need any help with moving, please call (843) 846-2627 or visit The staff at Chavis will take care of you for sure!

Thank you Mr. Griffin, Stephanie and Nancy for bringing a professional service with a smile to Beaufort!


Local Women finish Half Marathon

by Wendy Pollitzer

Mar. 11, 2010

Three local trainers recently finished the Columbia Half Marathon, the first in a series of USRA half marathons for small to mid-size markets.

Jenny Kopke, Katie Oliva and Denice Davis, all trainers at the Wardle Family YMCA ran 13.1 miles through our Capital City. ‘Team Dockside’ started at Finlay Park in downtown Columbia, ran through the campus of USC, crossed over the Saluda to West Columbia, raced through Cayce, battled the hill over the Gervais Street Bridge, jogged up to the Vista and finished at Finlay Park.

All mothers over 35, the three trained a little over a month.  On Mondays the trio would start at the Y and circle around Bay Street, over the Woods Bridge then to Meridian Road, and over the McTeer Bridge, which was approximately 9 miles. On Wednesdays, they would sprint up and down the McTeer Bridge.

The training paid off. In Denice’s 1st half marathon ever, she placed 3rd in her age division running the race in 1 hour and 46 minutes. Jenny wasn’t too far behind at 1 hour and 51 minutes, and Katie finishing at 2 hours and 10 minutes.

When asked if they’d ever consider a whole marathon, the three agreed, “Never say never!” What’s interesting is that these women all choose to run in these types of races for different reasons.

Jenny prefers to run events to give herself a sense of accomplishment, and likes to improve on “personal best” times. She runs the annual Twilight Run, the Cooper River Bridge Run, the Shrimp Festival 5-K, etc. to beat her previous times.

Katie likes to run her own race, completely motivated by an internal, personal challenge. She’s not competitive. She wants to finish, and be proud she did.

And Denice is competitive with herself. She has fitness goals and wants to keep expanding those goals. When she finishes a half marathon, she’s looking for the next thing…you guessed it. She’ll be running that whole marathon soon!

Almost 800 runners competed, with an additional thousand running in the 5-K. The girls joined the others after their routine, pre-race morning that began at 5am.  They started with coffee and tea first thing, then swallowed some B12 vitamins. They followed up with oatmeal, powerade, water and advil.

After the race, they refreshed with bagels, fruit, water and powerade and listened to live music during the awards ceremony, where Denice admittedly cried (happy tears, of course).

The three concurred that this was a, “great girl bonding experience!” And yes, they will definitely do it again!

As trainers certified with AFAA (Aerobics Fitness Association of America), they now have better knowledge of training for long races. If you’re interested in training for a 5-K, give them a call at the Y.

And the women also give kudos to Kevin Green from Carolina SportsCare.  He gave them many tidbits from hip alignment to shoes to cadence. He’ll offer a free analysis to anyone interested running a race. Jenny, Katie and Denice were certainly appreciative.

It was a pleasure talking with these women. As always, it’s so nice to converse and share stories with people excited about life. I saw a quote over the weekend that reminded me of these women. “Live life with exclamation, not an explanation.”

This trio lives that way, as we all should. It’s encouraging to read about people who make goals, follow through and smile about their accomplishments afterwards. It’s people like Jenny, Katie and Denice who are true American Idols!


Carson Bruce leads the Junior Service League of Beaufort with Class

Mar. 4, 2010

If you want to meet a girl who has it all…brains, beauty and charm, introduce yourself to Ms. Carson Bruce. Did I fail to mention selfless goals, energizing conversation and an honest spirit?

Bruce, originally from Camden, SC has lived in Beaufort now for 13 years. And yes, she is a personal friend of mine. But who couldn’t be a friend with Carson? Sit down with her at the upcoming Pig Pickin’ by the Pluff Mud, and she’ll ignite a thought in your head you’ll be pondering for the rest of the evening. All while mesmerizing you with her genuine smile.

Carson’s warmth is contagious. You’ll want to be a better person after you meet her. She has an amazing ability to insert serious, thought-provoking comments in an otherwise light and funny conversation. And she always pairs an unfortunate situation with a Good outcome. An optimist, Carson is; but also someone who doesn’t shy away from reality when the going gets tough.

Bruce, a founding member of the Junior Service League of Beaufort, is now the organization’s President. In its fifth year, JSLB has raised thousands of dollars for area non-profits to benefit the lives of women, children and families in Beaufort County.

Five years ago, she and about 12 other women decided to start a civic organization that would allow a membership of diverse young women opportunity to volunteer with area non-profits. Together they would have a greater impact than they would individually, as explained in JSLB’s mission statement.

And this year is no exception. The Junior Service League volunteers and fundraises for AMIkids, the Boys and Girls Club, CAPA, Friends of Caroline Hospice, United Way, Little Red Dog Foundation, St. Vincent de Paul Society of St. Peter’s Catholic Church and Thumbs Up Meals.

“We have a talented bunch of women within this organization with strong community ties. And, we’ve become a family of helping others. The relationships built within JSLB will last a lifetime, and it’s all based on a desire to give back to our community,” explains Carson.

“I’d love to see the Junior Service League around when our daughters and granddaughters are looking to volunteer around Beaufort.”

And Carson is the perfect person to lead this organization into its 5th Anniversary. Now, with a well-respected reputation in Beaufort, JSLB carries a lot of weight in the donating community.  JSLB organizes profitable events, and non-profits know it. But next year will be different.

The Junior Service League will be transforming as a fundraising organization to a complete service organization.  The large group of women will be donating more than their dollars. They will be donating their time to those less fortunate, and reward for these deeds will be immediate.

When asked what her favorite memory of JSLB was, Carson quickly responded, “After our annual 5-K run for the Little Red Dog Foundation, I got to see the organization present the bikes to the kids. The smiles on their faces will never be erased from my memory.”  The Little Red Dog Foundation provides specially equipped therapeutic three-wheel cycles for people who are mobility challenged. These special trykes help people with disabilities improve circulation, increase body strength, expand range of motion and improve endurance.

This Saturday, JSLB will host its Pig Pickin’ by the Pluff Mud to benefit the Boys and Girls Club of the Lowcountry. This annual event has raised over $100,000 for the local charity.

The event will be held at Kate Gleason Park, behind Beaufort Memorial Hospital at 6:30pm, rain or shine. Tickets are $75/couple and $45/single ticket. Patrons will enjoy BBQ from Dukes (don’t you miss it!) and music by Common Ground.

Again, if you haven’t met Carson, put out your hand to shake hers. By the time you end your conversation, she’ll ignore the handshake and go straight for the hug! That’s just the kind of gal she is.


Editor’s Note: This week, I was fortunate to be part of the Beaufort Rotary, Sea Island Rotary and Rotary Club of the Lowcountry’s Career Day in cooperation with Battery Creek High, Beaufort High, Beaufort Academy and The Academy for Career Excellence. Breanna Rittman, a Junior at Beaufort High and interested in the journalism field followed me Tuesday morning as I performed my daily work duties. Breanna helped co-write my Profile this week.

Shelley Lowther opens Dancing Dogs Yoga

by Wendy Pollitzer and Breanna Rittman

Feb. 25, 2010

Shelley Lowther is a new neighbor we should all try and get to know. She and her husband Joshua moved to Beaufort in 2007. In fact, you’ve probably been in her house. 10,000 others have!

They bought the Holiday House in Old Shell Point, which was featured in Coastal Living and Cottage Living. The couple and their 4 dogs moved here from Savannah. Joshua, a Federal Criminal Defense Attorney and Shelley, a successful businesswoman liked what they saw in Beaufort and decided to make it their home.

On March 1st, Shelley will open her doors to a new business venture in Beaufort Town Center. Dancing Dogs Yoga will open every weekday with morning, midday and evening classes and on Saturday with a morning class.

Dancing Dogs Yoga is a bit different though. Lowther is offering Community Style Yoga. Well, what in the world is that, you ask?

Community Yoga allows the participant to pay what he or she can afford to pay. Lowther explains, “When you give to the community, the community will give back to you.” And the yoga community is a naturally giving community anyhow. “This allows the Yoga community to be larger; this class will bring yoga and its principles to a segment of the population that might not normally benefit from it.”

Lowther is about as selfless as they come. Her vibe is pure and innocent, yet happy-go lucky. She seems like she loves to have a good time, but only if everyone else is having a good time too. Maybe that’s why she was also a successful bar owner in Savannah.

She and her husband owned Finnegan’s Wake. They sold the lease space to Paula Dean, and the couple then opened another pub in the City Market area. Originally it was to be called Bantry Bay, but they began to experience all sorts of problems associated with old buildings. So, they decided to call it Murphy’s Law. Determined to open before St. Patrick’s Day festivities in Savannah, they welcomed their first customers on March 16th  of 2006.

The Irish Pub was a quick hit, and remains successful. So now, Lowther wants to concentrate on her Yoga studio in Beaufort.

She’s practiced yoga for 10 years. But, about three years ago, Shelley was stressed about being overweight. She got serious about yoga and lost 65 pounds. Now, she wants to share her enthusiasm with Beaufort. “I want to introduce yoga to all aspects of the community, people with different-shaped bodies, people from various socio-economic backgrounds, all people!”

Maya Angelou once said, “People don’t remember what you said or what you did. They remember how you made them feel.” That’s what Lowther wants to concentrate on. She’ll create the environment and emphasize the experience when her customers walk through the door.

“I’m fortunate to be able to give something back that costs nothing. Again, yoga is all about community. My classes are meant to bring people together.”

In addition to Community Yoga, offered Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 7-8am, Lowther will also provide Mommy and Me classes, pregnancy classes, and even a Yoga 101 class that will teach the international language of yoga.

Also, Dancing Dogs Yoga is hosting an Open House to benefit the victims of the Haitian earthquake. The event will be held from 8-11am on Saturday, February 27. There will be live music by musician and yogini Lauren LaPointe.

The Open House will not only benefit Haiti, but also its donors. If you buy a new mat and donate your old one, you’ll receive a 10% discount. Those who buy a class package of 10 or more will also receive a free class.

The suggested donation is $10. Dancing Dogs Yoga will donate 10% of its retail sales to Hatha for Haiti.

Make it a priority to visit Shelley at Dancing Dogs Yoga. She’s located at 1600 Burnside Street, Suite 106 behind the Hilton Garden Inn. Shelley will welcome you with open arms.

We all have a friend in Frosty

by Wendy Pollitzer

Feb. 18, 2010

Isabelle Lieblein and Ashley & Cole Taylor

Chloe and Harley Gartner

Zack Harrelson and Ben Lubkin

Caroline Ferguson

As snow covered the Palmetto State Friday, children of all ages were excited to build their version of Frosty who, of course, is a unique vision in each of our own minds. There is no one Frosty.

If you grew up in the Lowcountry, or in any coastal town south of Myrtle Beach to Miami, you’ve seldom had the pleasure of constructing your very own Frosty. But I guarantee you’ve dreamed of what he’d look like! Many winters passed without the opportunity to build your snowman, and as each disappeared into the Spring, you’d tell yourself, maybe next year.

Well, we got the chance this year, didn’t we Beaufort? And, whether you’re three or sixty-three, you were out there playing in the winter wonderland, weren’t you?

Just as paint on canvas has the opportunity to reflect each of our artistic personalities, snow is the winter’s asset for the creative friend of Frosty. Frosty can be short or tall, fat or skinny, donned with refrigerator finds or natural debris. Frosty can be aged, or youthful. Frosty can look perfect, just as we dreamed or just fine, given the amount of snow we had to work with.

Although Frosty is different in my mind than in yours, Frosty is definitely one thing to us all. Frosty is our friend, and will always be a friend to youth. He is magical, and he allows us to be free with laughter, imagination and energy.

If each of us were as happy and content as we were Friday evening and Saturday morning, we’d be living in Frosty’s wonderland everyday. Though, we as adults know that’s a difficult task, we can look to our children everyday and reassure ourselves that dreams of Frosty are, indeed attainable.  Sometimes, we just have to wait a few years to be reminded of this assured tranquility.

Thanks Frosty for adding so many smiles to so many deserving Beaufort faces!

Small town Texan girl finds niche in Beaufort

By Wendy Pollitzer

Feb. 11, 2010

If anyone has ever met Ann Bluntzer, they know well that she’s an ambitious, confident woman that has the rare gift of being assertive while gracing others with polite, southern charm.

It’s a hard task to pull off; but Ann does it with little or no difficulty. Her smile radiates as she delivers her message to potential donors around Beaufort and beyond. With no speech prepared, she’s poised and approachable, two assets the Beaufort County Open Land Trust wants in an Executive Director.

When Ann moved to Beaufort six years ago, the first office she walked in was that of the Trust. She knew from the start she’d like to volunteer or work with the organization, founded in 1971 by a group of concerned citizens. It began with the purchase of one parcel of property, but has grown to include over thirty important parcels of land – providing key vistas and natural green buffers that will remain in Beaufort for generations to come.

“This organization was fortunate enough to have a visionary group of founders who understood that development would occur in this community and knew that a proactive approach was essential to maintaining its beauty,” explains Bluntzer. “Beaufort County Open Land Trust has accomplished a lot in its 40-year history. Can you imagine a building or house situated on one of these open view sheds of the river or marsh?”

When Cindy Baysden retired, after 16 years of working for the Beaufort County Open Land Trust as its Director, Ann was hired to take over.  Besides already volunteering for the Trust, Ann also had an impressive resume.

Bluntzer worked for the United States Department of Agriculture, the Coastal Bend Land Trust and the National YMCA Organization. Locally, Ann worked as a Realtor at Lowcountry Real Estate.

Ann has a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree form Texas A&M as well as a Ph.D in Education Administration from the University of South Carolina. Her education and experience combined with her captivating personality are attributes the Board of Directors realized when they hired her.

And she’s doing a wonderful job! On February 27, 2010 the Beaufort County Open Land Trust will host Pat Conroy at a Lecture and Cocktail Reception on “The Green” on the Old Point. Bestselling author, Pat Conroy joins the Trust in an effort to preserve the Lowcountry landscape that has inspired his beloved works. Those attending will receive an original essay by Mr. Conroy about the Lowcountry.

Protecting “The Green” from development was an important task for the Trust. Those who have lived on the Old Point at all in their lives knows this small block of beautiful live oaks, magnolias and most significant, its green grass is an essential recreational haven for its residents. Many a kickball game, picnic, or afternoon stroll has occurred on “The Green,” and the Beaufort County Open Land Trust wants to assure that it stays that way.

The Trust’s next project is valuable to the residents of Lady’s Island. Project Vista II will concentrate on protecting the land adjacent to the Fillin’ Station as cars approach the Woods Memorial Bridge. An open vista there would guarantee residents a beautiful, scenic view of Factory Creek and the Beaufort River. It will give all of this Sea Island’s motorists an opportunity to enjoy one more piece of Beaufort’s natural scenery. Project Vista I protected the view at Bellamy Curve which preserved a parcel that could have been developed.

Bluntzer states, “We continue to identify and protect parcels that will create open vistas for passersby, but we’re also interested in lager tracts, land people wouldn’t normally see. The Beaufort County Open Land Trust wants to also protect air and drinking water quality as well as the overall quality of life in Beaufort.”

“The Trust wants to see Beaufort grow, but we also want to play a hand at balancing development and protecting our fragile environment,” she explains.

When asked how she felt about her career, Ann quickly stated, “I love my job. I love what I do everyday. I feel like I’m helping those that live in Beaufort as well as those who visit. Additionally, working with a membership of 500 has been an honor and a privilege.”

If anyone is interested in joining the Beaufort County Open Land Trust, they may simply visit

Ann lives in Beaufort with her husband, Sam, a USMC F-18 pilot and their 16-month-old son, Thomas. When she’s not working, she’s enjoying time with them or visiting relatives in her home state of Texas.

Teaching fundamentals is key to coaching for Chip Dinkins

by Wendy Pollitzer

Feb. 4, 2010

Some coaches knew from an early age they’d be teaching the sport they love to play at some point in their lives.

Chip Dinkins certainly did. As a 7-year-old playing church league at St. Helena’s Episcopal, Dinkins envisioned himself coaching the exhausting and competitive game of basketball.

In addition to playing for the church, Chip also played at Beaufort Academy and Lady’s Island Junior High. As a forward at Forsyth Country Day in Lewisville, NC, Dinkins remembers, “I understood plays well, and knew I’d be coaching one day,” Dinkins says.

After returning from Tulane University, Chip wanted to get involved with Beaufort Academy again. He approached Tom Horton about coaching, and Tom invited him to be the Junior Varsity coach in 1999.

Today, Chip Dinkins is the Head Coach for the Varsity Boys at his alma mater, Beaufort Academy.  His coaching philosophy? “It is important to keep the team fundamentally sound. They should be good defensive players who play strong and with intensity,” Dinkins exclaims.

“I encourage each member of my team to play hard, with all their heart,” stresses Dinkins.  This, combined with good offensive talent makes for a winning team.

The Varsity Boys are working very hard this season. The team, packed with only sophomores and juniors, began practicing this summer. Their off-season commitment indicates a team willing to work hard.

Dinkins brought summer practices back after a 2-year hiatus. Why? “I like building teams, building towards next year and years to come,” reasons Dinkins.

Andy Burris and Joe Matheny, coach for the Junior Varsity boys at BA are Chip’s assistant coaches. Chris Butler is the coach for the Middle School Boys and also helps Chip out with the older boys.

Matheny, also the Golf Pro at the Sanctuary Golf Club, expresses his respect for Coach Dinkins, “I’ve learned a lot from Chip-how to handle a team.”

Burris, another Beaufort Academy alumni, agrees, “Coach Dinkins is very knowledgeable about teaching fundamentals and works well with the kids. He’s a good role model.”

All of these coaches have full-time jobs, but still take the time to come teach these kids in their free time.  It’s a commitment like few others. They love the sport and have a desire to pass the baton to another generation.

Chip Dinkins is the Director of Operations for Plums, Inc., which manages Plums, Saltus and Patois. Amidst a large renovation project for Plums, Chip still finds the time to lend his coaching talents to these young men. “I definitely couldn’t do this without Lantz’s (Price) blessing.” Lantz is the owner of Plums, Inc.

Family is also missing Chip, from the early days of November through the end of February. His wife, Bradi Dinkins (A BA alumni as well) and his daughters, Emma Grace (Class of ’22) and Olivia (Class of ’24) cheer for papa during most of the games.

Chip has a number of accomplishments under his belt, including the State Championship Title he and his team earned in 2006. Also a rewarding feat is the number of young men playing at the next level who were coached by Dinkins. Thor Rhodin, Matt Butler, Brady Trogden, Chris Ernistine and Chris Conavan are all playing college ball.

When asked who Chip’s inspiration was, it took a half second to respond, “Jim Tobias, my coach here at BA when I was here in 1986.”

Who knows? Maybe, just maybe, one of Coach Dinkins’ players now will follow in his footsteps, and become an Eagles Head Coach. As they run suicides, practice free throws, repeat drills and play their hearts out, one may be thinking that he’d like to blow the whistle one day. And Coach Dinkins could be their inspiration.

Susan Zara, baking sweets for 37 years.

by Wendy Pollitzer

Jan. 28, 2010

Susan Zara, owner of SuZara’s Kitchen, has always had a passion for baking.

She started baking as a child. “My mom was a fantastic chef, always in the kitchen, cooking with Julia Childs’ cookbooks,” she says. “I guess I developed a love of baking then. I liked to bake cookies.”

After graduating high school, a friend gave her a bread-baking cookbook, her first cookbook ever. She made breads for years and gained experience in the kitchen. And, she was a natural. She baked for all her friends and family.

While in college at Lyndon State College in Vermont, she worked at the Town and Country Inn, which is where she first discovered her fervor for both baking and the food and beverage industry. She realized then that this could become a career.

She finished college at Ithaca College in New York and continued to succeed in restaurants, where she either worked the line or baked desserts.

In her early twenties Zara moved to Sarasota, Florida with a friend. She stayed in Florida for 20 years. Her first job there was working at a gourmet take-out company, Harry’s Continental Kitchen in Longboat Key. They served salads, sandwiches and desserts.

She kept getting such great feedback over her desserts, so she decided to bake independently. She had 15 restaurant accounts all over town within 3 months. She remembers, “I had three ovens and three refrigerators in my house.”

One of her restaurant accounts in Florida moved to Connecticut, where many stars have second homes.  Her desserts were served to the likes of Meryl Streep, Sam Waterston, Tom Hanks, Conan O’Brien, Oliver Platt and Campbell Scott.

Conan O’Brien described Zara’s coconut cake as “the best thing I’ve ever had in my life!”  In fact, he would call before dinner to make sure the coconut cake would be served that evening.

Zara eventually opened her own bakery in 1993. It was called Just Desserts. The bakery and retail establishment was open for 5 years.  There, she remembers putting in 12 to 14 hours per day. But, it paid off.  Sarasota Magazine dubbed Zara, “Pie Queen,” and featured her in an issue.

When she was ready to leave Florida, she sold the bakery and moved to Boston. For three years she worked for Rosie’s Bakery, a well-known establishment in B-town. She also worked for a caterer and managed the bakery for Whole Foods.

A few years ago, Zara decided to be closer to her parents who retired to Lady’s Island about 20 years ago. It was already a second home. Dozens of couples moved here from the North Shore of Long Island from her parents’ generation. So she already knew quite a few folks when she moved here. One would be her future husband.

Mike Zara’s best friend growing up in Huntington and Susan’s best friend were brother and sister.  When she moved to Beaufort, Mike’s mother suggested to Susan’s mother that they reconnect.  And they did. Now, two years later, they are married.

Susan worked at the Firehouse for a year. After the café closed, Susan brought her baked goods around town to sell to local restaurants. People remembered her sweets, and asked for more.

Today, her desserts can be found at Wren, Plums, Saltus, Patois and City Java. The favorites? “Everyone seems to love the coconut cake, the apple cheese tart and my lemon bars,” she exclaims.

“I think people like my sweets because everything is made from scratch. I use pure ingredients, good butter and imported chocolates,” Zara explains. Her favorite is her bittersweet chocolate mousse.  “It’s not as sweet as grocery store desserts.”

SuZara’ s Kitchen opened prior to Christmas at 1103 Boundary Street in Newcastle Square. The pink cottage is an efficient, small space for the ultra-organized Zara.

She is at home with her new business, her new husband and her new life here in Beaufort. When she isn’t baking, she and her husband, Mike spend time at their second home on Huspah Creek in Sheldon. “It’s paradise,” she says with a comfortable smile!

Regarding her new endeavor, “I love what I do. I love to see the response on people’s faces. And it’s very easy for me. It just comes natural,” says the 37-year, self-taught veteran.

SuZara’s Kitchen is open Tuesday through Friday, 10am until 5pm and Saturdays, 9am until 2pm.   Her desserts are perfect for the occasional bridge game, a formal dinner party or as gifts. You’ll be glad you stopped by, guaranteed!


Ray Delgado brings chiropractic practice ‘back home’

by John C. Williams

Jan 14, 2010

For Dr. Ray Delgado, coming home was always the dream – it just took a few turns in corporate America to find his way home.

Delgado recently opened a Lady’s Island location of Carolina Chiropractic and Holistic Center, focusing on sports and family healthcare, at Martha O’Regan’s Therapeutic Solutions at 1 Oakwood Drive off Sams Point Road. He also has a chiropractic practice in Bluffton and previously had one on Hilton Head Island as well.

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Delgado back in Beaufort sharing his gifts as we continue our mission of educating and empowering others into taking their health and well being back into their own hands. We are looking forward to helping people feel better while teaching them simple ways to achieve balance in all areas of their lives,” O’Regan said.

Delgado graduated from Battery Creek High School, and then attended Clemson University. After graduation, he entered big business, working for a succession of Fortune 500 companies with increasing responsibilities.

“I spent 10 plus years in Corporate America and then was at a crossroad,” he said. “While attending a high school reunion back in Beaufort, I learned that one of my friends had become a chiropractor back in ’84. We started talking, and two weeks later I was in Life University in Atlanta, one of the best chiropractic schools in the country.”

The six-year program led to his Doctor of Chiropractic degree, which he parlayed into his first Carolina Chiropractic & Holistic Center (CCHC) at Hilton Head Island, which opened in July, 2001. In 2003 he expanded to Bluffton, where he and his associate doctor, Dr. Patti Bonhag, practice and now to the Beaufort where he’ll see patients two to three times weekly.

“The spine is your foundation,” he said. “Alignment and balance are paramount to optimal health. As chiropractor, we are enhancing the quality of life for that person by making spinal adjustments so that the nerve pathways that serve the heart, the lungs, and other organs all function better. The central nervous system controls the coordination of all organs and organ systems which is paramount to optimal health.”

Dr. Delgado is also CCEP certified (Certificate Chiropractic Extremity Practitioner) and takes a global approach to the spine, in that he strives to address the feet, knees, shoulders, elbows and wrist and then link the extremities with the nerves of the spine.

“I feel like it’s going full circle to me, coming back to Beaufort,” he said. “Our primary focus is on the health and well-being of the individual. It all comes back to balance – physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, balance in all measures. Staying in balance, staying in alignment, helps extend good health and good living.”

Other services that we’ll provide is the use of Bio-Allergenix’, Allergy Testing and Treatment, an FDA cleared and patented system to identify and eliminate the cause of allergic conditions, such as food, environment and pet allergies.

Also coming from Delgado’s Bluffton office is Judi Hernandez, a massage therapist specializing in deep tissue, relaxation, and trigger point therapy. She is also certified to instruct Laughter Yoga, Q Gong and Tai Chi in the chair. Her journey into holistic healing began due to an injury and failed back surgery. Through chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture, massage therapy and proper nutrition, she learned how to control and to manage her pain. Through her experiences she maintains a passion for helping others improve and balance their everyday quality of life.

Carolina Chiropractic & Holistic Center and Therapeutic Solutions are a mutual fit, Delgado said. Incorporating the Creating Wellness System with chiropractic utilizes cutting-edge technology to objectively access a person’s wellness on all three levels of the journey to optimal health.

For more information about Delgado, Hernandez or Therapeutic Solutions, call 843/524-2554 or visit, or


Hunting Island Biathlon lures veteran and newcomer / new mom

By John C. Williams     Jan 7, 2010

In preparation for the March 6 Adventure Biathlon at Hunting Island led by the Sea Island Rotary, two local athletes are documenting their training for The Island News. One is a veteran of different races, the other is a relative newcomer – and a new mom.

Robert “Chip” Landrum

I’m a 44-year old professor of history at USCB, specializing in 17th century Scotland. I grew up in Colorado where my folks had me out on skis as soon as I could walk.  I live in the flat, permanent summer of coastal South Carolina now, but I still snowshoe, climb, and hike as much as I can.

I found my way to triathlon as an undergraduate, and competed in my first multi-sport race in 1987. In the run leg of that event I sworetagod that I would never, ever do one of these things again.

The next year I went back and won my age group.

I went to graduate school in Wisconsin, where I fell into the company of a multi-sport club and a few sweat enthusiasts from the Human Performance department. I was able to train and compete at a fairly high level for several years, all on a strictly civilian, age-group basis. Summers I worked as an adventure-travel guide, cycling and hiking in the mountain west.

I came to Beaufort in 1999, and for a time was able to win many of the local 5Ks and other running races.  I completed marathons in Chicago, Boston and Athens (yes, Athens Greece, on the course that Phidippides pioneered).

All those miles, however, came at a price.  I had a small knee procedure in 2002, another in 2003, then had a shoulder fixed in 2007. I’ve slowed down quite a bit, I no longer win races, and my latest (and final) marathon, this year’s New York, was 48 minutes slower than my best — even so, I was pleased with the result and my performance.  I still enjoy a good run, an epic road ride, or a steeply-sloping carpet of toothy moguls cascading below a gnarly cornice, but I’m not what I once was.

For 2010 I’m looking forward to the Peidmont Winter Challenge in late February, the Rotary Club Hunting Island Biathlon in early March, a weeklong Everglades kayak trip and the Parris Island triathlon. It may also be possible for me to get to Kenya, where I can fulfill a lifelong goal of summiting Mount Kilimanjaro.

My training is based on these, but the races are the product of a lifestyle, rather than the culmination of a program–the process is indeed more important than the goal.  It begins with a running base, usually three outings a week with one longer (10K or better) run on weekends.  I also enjoy riding the bike to work when possible, and sneaking in a few extra miles on the way home.

I swim and lift every week, though not as much as I ought.  I have a few training partners, but the most dependable is my yellow Labrador dog, who boasts several sub-20 5Ks herself, and absolutely owns the local dog-jog race circuit.

I’m in Colorado now, reconnecting with my track-skiing and snowshoeing past, but I will be crafting a few New Year’s resolutions for upcoming events.  I’ll turn in a couple of progress reports as they evolve,

Lauren Pearson

My name is Lauren Pearson, Financial Advisor with Merrill Lynch. I’m 29 with a nine-month-old daughter. My husband, Andrew Pearson, is a minister at the Parish Church of St. Helena’s, and I have lived in Beaufort for a little over three years.

I’ve never competed in the biathlon before. The extent of my race history is completing the Charlottesville (Va.) half marathon and a few 5k’s here and there. As a new mother and a working mother I have invested very little time in working out over the last nine months.

My hope is that this biathlon will help me get back into the routine of physical health and fitness.

I’m worried about the kayak portion of the race. I don’t own a kayak and so preparing for this portion of the biathlon will be my greatest challenge. I currently work out at CityFit and I’m hoping the trainers there may be able to give me some good tips to condition and strengthen the muscles I’ll need to use during the kayak portion of the race.

Over the last few weeks the concentration of my workouts has been running, running, running. Beginning January 1 I’m following the Novice training schedule by Hal Higdon for a 10K race. I want to feel comfortable with more mileage than I will need because of the kayaking portion of the race.

It involves an eight-week build-up of increasing mileage combined with stretching and cross-training. Equally important, it provides rest days for the body to recover from the rigors of training.

If you’re interested in learning more about his training programs for 5ks, 10ks, half-marathons and marathons, visit his site at .


Dec 30, 2009

Brigadier Gen. James “Jimmie” Leach died Dec. 17, 2009, ending a remarkable life of public service. In his memory, we reprint his profile that appeared in our Independence Day issue of 2008. Rest in peace, and thank you, Gen. Leach….

Brig. Gen. James Leach fights for Beaufort National Cemetery

Surrounded by a brick wall to keep mourning in and progress out, the Beaufort National Cemetery and its graceful live oaks is home to about 17,000 graves dating back to the Civil War.

Overlooked and under-appreciated as a local field trip, the cemetery was among the first chartered by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. The Beaufort site was selected in part because Union forces had controlled the area almost since the fighting began.

Without the efforts of Brig. General James Leach, a Lady’s Island resident and World War II veteran, Beaufort National Cemetery likely would have closed last year to new burials.

For the past decade, Leach has led efforts by a local veterans group to expand the cemetery, to keep it a living testament to the contributions and sacrifices made for America by those in its armed services.

The original 29-acre cemetery that conducts about 400 burials a year had 293 grave sites remaining at the end of 2005. The first expansion added nine more acres; the second phase, started in Spring 2007, added 15 more acres of adjacent property. All told, the additional acreage increased the cemetery’s capacity by about 3,000 graves and 700 cremated remains – effectively extending its life by dozens of years.

Leach’s contributions to the United States, though, started many years before he helped create the Veteran Cemetery Committee of Beaufort. His career, and his continued fight, in fact, brought a production crew from the History Channel to his home last weekend. It’s a great story to tell:

Leach’s military career spans World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Among the well-known battles he fought in were the Allied landing at Utah Beach and the Battle of the Bulge in the Ardennes Forest. He received five Purple Heart awards, but proudly claims the only time he went to the hospital was for dysentery …

Leach was born in 1922 in Houston, and grew up during the Great Depression – and the bad economy helped convince him to join the National Guard in Texas at the age of 16. Immediately, he was fascinated with tanks – one reason being their armor was much thicker than the wool coats worn by the infantry, he said with a laugh.

In September 1940 his division was mobilized and the train ride gave him and three others time to learn how to take apart and reassemble a battle tank. “Most of us learned as we went back then, there wasn’t much formal training,” he said.

Looking back, Leach said his worst memory is his shortcomings as a leader. He feels that, as a leader and a commander, he under-decorated many men.  He wishes he could go back and give these deserving men the medals they deserved.

“I don’t know why I didn’t think of it then, but I can’t go back now because it’s too late and so many have died. I’ll take that to the grave with me,” Leach said. One soldier in particular came to mind during the interview: Walter Capplen, a supply sergeant with Leach during the Battle of the Bulge. Capplen volunteered to step up and fill a position and then, the next died, was killed by a sniper’s bullet.

He retired from the Army as a colonel, but his service in the National Guard promoted him to brigadier general.

The latest efforts to continue the cemetery expansion died in March when U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson put a one-year halt to all earmark requests to his office. Among the projects affected was the allocation of $3.2 million to go to the Department of Veterans Affairs and be used to purchase the five-acre Lafayette Square apartments just north of Beaufort National Cemetery.

“My decision was not a reflection of the value of the many important requests I have received, but rather a response to a wasteful system that does not reward merit and which puts well-deserving projects at a disadvantage,” Wilson said in a statement.

“I plan to continue working with Gen. Leach, the Department of Veterans Affairs and others to find out what assistance we can provide outside the earmark process until that process has a uniform standard that applies to everyone.”

Leach says he’ll continue to fight for Beaufort National Cemetery, in part because it’s a national cemetery for all veterans, not just those from the Lowcountry. Buried within the cemetery are 117 Confederate soldiers, members of a black Union regiment referenced in the movie Glory, a German U-boat sailor, and hundreds of unknown soldiers from early wars.

His new goal: raise the $3.2 million denied by the feds to buy another the Lafayette Square property. The land was valued at $3.6 million before the real estate downturn. The land is ideal for townhouses or other residential redevelopment, but it’s also ideal for the Beaufort National Cemetery, Leach said. Adding those acres could extend the cemetery’s life another eight years, he said.

If it hadn’t been for Leach’s determination, the last burial at Beaufort National Cemetery would have been last fall.

Part of Leach’s success is building coalitions toward a joint purpose. That served him well during his military career and it continues to serve him well in retirement. A key part of expanding the cemetery was obtaining the property where the National Guard Armory formerly stood, behind the cemetery.

The federal government built a new armory on U.S. 21 near the Marine Corps Air Station with $4 million spearheaded by the late U.S. Rep. Floyd Spence and the late Sen. Strom Thurmond. The facility is named after Leach, and the armory’s drill hall is named after Alex Moore, a World War II veteran whose widow donated money to finish the project, Leach said.

Call him Colonel, call him General, call him Jimmie. We prefer to call him hero, for all the right reasons.


Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus…

Eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York’s Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. The work of newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history’s most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps. Today, 112 years later, in a world once again filled with skepticism, The Island News is proud to reprint this American classic.

Dear Editor:

I am eight years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, ‘If you see it in THE SUN it’s so.’  Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia O’Hanlon

115 West Ninety Fifth Street

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.


Beauty on the outside, strong self-image on the inside

Dr. Vega

are specialties of Dr. Luis Vega and Aqua Med Spa – Dec 17, 2009

by John C. Williams

Although his main focus is on making people look younger on the outside, Dr. Luis Vega is confident that one of his greatest traits is that when he is done with them, they leave the spa feeling better on the inside.

“I love what I do,” said Dr. Vega, owner and medical director of Aqua  Medspa and Salon.

Vega is a board-certified physician who first specialized in family practice. Today his specialty is aesthetic medicine – he trained under Dr. Mark Bailey, a renowned Botox instructor who is a member of the Allergan (maker of Botox) Advisory Board.

“I became very interested in aesthetic medicine. I took a year to do research and training, and I realized it was something that would be good to bring to Beaufort,” Vega said. He attended classes in Atlanta and New York City in various applications of laser technology, then studied under Dr. Bailey in Canada.

“The Lowcountry lends itself to a lot of sun damage, and we certainly can help change a person’s complexion. We can help erase a few lines, fill in some wrinkles, and make someone look and feel 10 or 15 years younger.”

He and his staff specialize in non-surgical approaches to aesthetic medicine.

Vega earned his undergraduate degree at Texas A&M, then went to Boston University School of Medicine where he graduated. He interned at Brown University and did his residency – as chief resident – at the University of Florida in Jacksonville, with an emphasis on family practice.

It was while he was in school that he met his future wife, Dr. Rosita M. Vega. She was a pediatrician in the U.S. Navy, and later was stationed in Beaufort. When she got out of the military, the Vegas decided to stay in the Lowcountry. They have three kids ages four, six and 11. Today she is a pediatrician in Hampton, S.C.

Aqua Med Spa Salon is a full-service, one-stop shop for looking and feeling better. Services for men and women include:

•Hair cutting, styling and coloring

•Massage therapy


•Laser hair reduction

•Laser skin rejuvenation

• Laser vein removal

•Facials and chemical peels

•Body wraps


•Fillers such as Juvederm, Restylane and Radiesse

“We have a very comprehensive approach to wellness,” Vega said. “Massage can make someone feel good on the inside and outside. Botox can make some of the years go away on the outside, and that makes a person feel better on the inside.”

In the hair styling area, “our stylists are amazing artists. Their line of work is very artistic. I practice medicine but with an eye toward art, toward making a  person look better and feel better. So much of what we do is connected to self-image,” he said.

Although the recession has curtailed some cosmetic work, Vega said his practice has grown. “A lot of our patients have realized that they don’t have to travel to Charleston or Savannah or Atlanta for these aesthetic services,” he said. “When they walk in our door they’re also impressed with our spa and how we look, more of a contemporary spa setting than I guess they expect.”

Indeed, stepping into Aqua Med Spa Salon is like Dorothy walking through her Technicolor front door after leaving Kansas. The location, off Mossy Oaks Drive in Beaufort, isn’t where you’d expect to find a place like Aqua Med Spa Salon. The interior is cool, refreshing and soothing. Privacy is expected and protected, with different wings leading to different types of services.

“We check you out in your room, so no one has to know what you’ve been to see us for,” Vega said. “It could be for hair styling or hair removal or Botox – no one sees you checking out and paying at the front desk.”

Because he specializes in non-surgical procedures, patient downtime is almost eliminated. “All of our procedures are designed so that you can go right back to work or out to dinner afterward. There’s not a three or five-day recovery period,” he said.

Popular procedures include injecting the new filler Radiesse, which Vega said is ideal for restoring a youthful appearance especially in facial lines – and it lasts a year or longer. Botox also remains popular, he said, as a way to smooth out facial lines including Crows’ feet around the eyes. Drooping corners of the mouth, which can give a person a sad or tired look, usually can be improved with fillers, he said.

“My medical training helps me to see the whole person, the whole patient, and not just the line on the forehead,” he said.

Although his Aqua Med Spa Salon feels more like a slice of South Beach than South Beaufort, Vega said he’s very happy living in the Lowcountry.

“This is a quiet place for a family and Beaufortonians have a warm nature,” he said. “We are just really happy here.”

For more information about Aqua Med Spa Salon, visit  HYPERLINK “” \t “_blank” or call 522-9179.


Eleanore Bednarsh, Riverview principal, brings – and gets – a different point of view

by John C. Williams

Eleanore Bednarsh, director at Riverview Charter School, learned from her parents the value in listening, learning and love for language.

“One of my favorite memories is of my mother reading to me from a wondrous book of fairytales. I was about five years old, and I would snuggle next to her on the couch and get completely lost in the cadence of her voice and the images on the pages.

“I’m certain that’s where I developed my love of language and books and my desire to share that with as many children as possible,” Bednarsh said. “My mother is an artist and while I didn’t inherit her gift to create art, I did inherit her determination in the face of impossible odds. I believe because I knew she would love me even if I did give up when life was at its hardest, I never have. As a teacher, believing in my students has always defined me.

Bednarsh earned her Bachelor’s degree in cinema from Hunter College, City University of New York, and her Master’s degree in teaching and curriculum from Teachers College at Columbia University. Before taking the job at Beaufort County’s first – and only – charter school last summer, Bednarsh had been a lifelong New Yorker.

She followed her father’s footsteps into the world of cinema and theater. “I started out in film production .. and eventually discovered my passion for teaching while working at the Writing Center at City College, City University of New York. It’s been an amazing ride ever since, 27 years working at superb NYC independent schools and now having the privilege to be the first director of Riverview. It doesn’t get any better.

“When I read the mission and description of Riverview on the website, I knew I wanted to be a part of it,” she said. “I’ve always believed that all children should have an opportunity to receive the same level of education that my independent school students received, and here was a way to make that possible in a public school.

“Riverview’s charter is an ambitious document that sets the course for what we will accomplish in all areas this year and in years to come,” Bednarsh said. “In this first year, at every grade level, our students come from many different schools with a widely varying range of approaches and expectations.

“Our first priority was to establish a learning community based on our core values of integrity, cooperation, perseverance, stewardship, mindfulness, gratitude, empathy. Based on the evidence I’m seeing each day, we are well on our way to meeting that goal.”

Bednarsh is married and she and husband Gary have a 17-year-old son, Gregory. “Both have given me their unconditional support and agreed to leave New York City so I could be at Riverview. I’m a very fortunate woman,” she said.

A charter school in South Carolina is an independent school with its own governance and board of directors that operates with greater freedom than traditional public schools. Charter schools are paid for with public money and must still meet most state and federal regulations, such as the federal desegregation agreement that covers all public schools in Beaufort County.

Last summer, Riverview organizers scrambled with the federal Office for Civil Rights said the Riverview enrollment basically was too white. Riverview leaders recruited more black families and also pledged to expand and improve efforts to enroll more minorities.

Bednarsh said Riverview’s approach to teaching and learning mirrors her past experiences in private schools.

“The philosophy and instructional approach—whole learner, academic rigor is a given, experiential, meaningful assessment—have characterized my previous schools and are cornerstones at Riverview. I’ve also had amazing good fortune with regard to students, parents and colleagues at other schools. The level of community and volunteers at Riverview is exceptional, and the consistent willingness of the staff to do whatever is needed to succeed is a gift,” she said.

A defining moment in her life, Bednarsh said, came with becoming a parent. Knowing the challenges of parenthood gave her a new perspective on the challenges of teaching. “I think the enormity of parenthood is hugely underrated. To be able to relate to that reality as a teacher has had a profound impact on me. I haven’t looked at a child or another parent the same way since my son, Gregory, came into our lives.”

Another facet of family also helped shape her approach to learning and to life.

“I was certainly influenced by family dinner table conversations. My father may have made his living as a film and television director, but he has never been far from his roots as a philosophy major. Besting him in a ‘discussion’ was a challenge of mythic proportions, but that hasn’t stopped my siblings and me from trying to this day. I’m sure that’s why I’ve always encouraged my students to think outside the box, develop their voices, and assert their views with confidence. Just in case they should be having dinner with my dad…”

To Bednarsh, the world looks entirely different from Beaufort – which may not be surprising considering she was a lifelong New Yorker before joining the Lowcountry.

“I’m completely mesmerized by the beauty of the sky here,” she said. “The clouds, the sunrises and sunsets, the stars and moon — I feel like I’ve not seen them quite this way before.”

One Response

  1. love it! good job.

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