Community Profiles



Wendy Nilsen Pollitzer wrote Community Profiles about members of the community for The Island News from February, 2010 through July, 2011.

She wrote about the people, places, businesses and organizations that have helped define the small coastal community of Beaufort, SC.

Community Profiles below include: Blakely Williams | T.D. “Tim” Johnston | John Keith | John Trask III, Steve Tully and Allen Patterson of Midtown Square | Dr. A.G. “Skeet” Burris | Michelle Morgan | Gary Sinise, the Lt. Dan Band and The Independence Fund | Brays Island Croquet Tournament | USS Olympia | The Tooting Egret | Beaufort County Open Land Trust | Mitch Helms of Hunting Island State Park | Peggy Reynolds and Robin Leverton of the SC Arts Foundation | Charles Singleton | City Loft Hotel | Ash Milner | 2010 Beaufort High School Football Season | Ryan Christian | Dawn Frank | Jim and Jill Tucker | Tony Makar | Urbie West | Carolyn Leslie, Olive McMahon and Shannon Duffy of EC Montessori School | Mallory Baches | Monica Wiser | Alex Spencer | Dr. Mark Newberry | Kathy Kilgore, Mary Sanders, Trea Tucker and Rosemary Cuppia with  the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure | Lesley Holladay | Ken Glasson | Coach Rob D’Amato and the Whale Branch High School Varsity Football Team | Coach Mark Clifford and the Beaufort High School Varsity Football Team | Rachel Doerr, Tiffany Washington, Cathy Bridgers, Nell Hay, Lisa Van Horn and Lisa Ecklund represent the Riverview Charter School Wellness Team | Dr. Stuart Smalheiser | Dr. Aaron Sarathy | Deanna and Jered Kraszewski | The Apprehended | Katie Huebel and Beverly VanGysel of W.E.D. | Mary Simmons | Greyhound Flats | Beth Shaw, Donna and Gary Lang of Breakwater Restaurant and Bar | Carrie Freemen | Friends of Hunting Island Loggerhead Sea Turtle Program | Sheri Little | Shauw Chin Capps | Chef Jim Spratling | The John Joyner Smith-McLeod House | Janie Lackman | Dr. Clark Trask | Roland Gardner | Lloyd Griffin | Denice Davis, Katie Oliva and Jenny Kopke with the Wardle Family YMCA | Carson Bruce | Shelley Lowther | 2010 February Snow | Ann Bluntzer | Chip Dinkins | Susan Zara


Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce names new President

By Wendy Pollitzer

June 30, 2011



Blakely Williams








Blakely Williams, a four-year veteran of the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce and its interim president since April, became the full-time president and CEO of the local business organization following approval by the Board of Directors.

Williams, formerly director of member services for the chamber, assumes her new role immediately. She succeeds Carlotta Ungaro, who left the chamber in April to take a similar post in North Carolina.

“We are thrilled to have Blakely Williams continue her leadership role with the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce. She brings unmatched experience with our local business community, boundless energy and enthusiasm, and has a great feel for where we need to take this chamber in coming years,” said Jon Rembold, chairman of the search committee and incoming chairman of the Chamber Board of Directors.

Williams recently organized and led the annual meeting and Civitas Awards recognizing exceptional business and community leaders, and she and her team helped increase new memberships and boost retention rates of existing members.

“I am honored and humbled to be selected,” Williams said. “With the Joint Strike Fighters coming to the air station and the $70 million in base construction that is starting soon, plus the improving local economy, the chamber is poised to make great strides. It’s an exciting time and I am proud to step into this new leadership role.”

Williams and her team, with the board’s leadership, will work throughout 2011-12 to transition apart from the Visitor and Convention Bureau. The change will better allow the chamber to focus on its core functions, which center on building a better business climate and actively supporting member businesses.

“With her background in member services for our chamber, Blakely was the ideal candidate. She is the right person in the right place at the right time to lead us into the future,” said Jimmy Boozer, outgoing chairman of the chamber board who participated in the search committee.

Williams graduated from Presbyterian College and participates locally on the YMCA Board of Directors, the Junior Service League of Beaufort and the Rotary Club of the Lowcountry. In addition to her chamber experience, she also worked in human resources with the Waffle House company where she coordinated personnel matters for 12 restaurants and 240 employees.

The Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce supports more than 700 active members. Their offices are in the historic Carnegie Building at the corner of Carteret and Craven streets in downtown Beaufort.

There were 19 applicants for the position and the search committee interviewed three.

For more information, visit .


By Wendy Nilsen Pollitzer


Blakely Williams is the new President and CEO of the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce.  I asked Blakely a few questions about her new role.


WP: How long have you lived in Beaufort?

BW: 5 years.


WP: What about Beaufort do you enjoy the most?

BW: What’s not to love about Beaufort?  I love the beauty of this place, the people and the inclusion of the community.


WP: Tell me a little about your husband.

BW: Blair Williams is a good man!  We’ve been married for five years, this year.  He’s a hunter, fisherman, gardener and a great dad to our daughter, Quinn.  Blair, born and raised in Charleston, is the Wetlands Section Manager for the eight coastal counties of South Carolina for DHEC’s Ocean & Coastal Resource Management division.


WP: What are your hobbies?

BW: Most of my hobbies revolve around food and family. When I am not working,  I love farmers markets, cooking, dining out and being with my family.


WP: You are a member of several local nonprofits. Do you believe Beaufort to

be a giving town?

BW: I do. Presbyterian College’s motto is “Dum Vivimus Servimus,” meaning, while we live, we serve.  These words are so important to me.  I find Beaufort to be an unbelievably generous, supportive community.


WP: What strengths will you bring to the chamber?

BW: I work with a seasoned and tenured staff and engaged board of directors.  I’ll complement the work of the staff and the direction of the board with energy and enthusiasm.  I’m a bridge builder, relationship grower, constant communicator and servant leader.


WP: What are your short-term goals for the chamber?

BW: We’ve got lots of big plans for the chamber.  In the next few weeks, we’re launching a new website, updating logos and rolling out a new image for the chamber. The new “look” is tied to the Richard V. Woods swing bridge.  This iconic image represents the connection between the chamber and members, between the chamber and businesses, between the chamber and local governments, and between the chamber and the community.  Bridges are our Lowcountry link from past to future, and the chamber is a bridge to economic growth. Looking forward, this chamber will be a strong advocate for business.  We’ll be focusing our efforts to advocate for an improved business climate and provide programs to help businesses thrive.


WP: What other organizations are important to the chamber’s success?

BW: The chamber’s success is dependent on the solid and established relationships we have with our community partners.  Beaufort County School District, USCB and TCL are outstanding educational partners.  The city of Beaufort, Town of Port Royal and Beaufort County governments are supportive of the work of our chamber.  Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, Marine Corps Recruit Depot-Parris Island and the Naval Hospital are all engaged and instrumental in our programs of work.

WP: What is the current percentage of members based on number of businesses in Northern Beaufort County?

BW: Currently, we have over 700 members.  Approximately 72% of our members are located in Northern Beaufort County.

WP: Why should a business join the chamber, especially now, in this recession?

BW: The chamber is here to serve businesses with programs and services to assist in their success.  As the most influential and successful business organization in the Beaufort region, our members are informed about the local business environment through newsletters, bid notifications, new business opportunities.  Our members have opportunities to meet other professionals through our networking programs, as well as have access to elected officials through our candidates forums and legislative receptions. The chamber provides marketing opportunities for businesses to have additional exposure to a local market.  We’re an affordable support system, marketing arm, advocate for local businesses.


Short Story America, Bringing Back a Classic Form of Literature

By Wendy Pollitzer

June 23, 2011


T.D. Johnston








T.D. Johnston, better known in Beaufort as Tim Johnston, has brought a unique concept to the heart of the Lowcountry, yet one that is classic and is spreading far beyond the spartina grass and rising tides of coastal South Carolina.

Lifestyle-ShortStoryAmerica JACKETREVISEJohnston is the editor of “Short Story America,” an anthology of 56 contemporary short stories. The inaugural first edition will be released at a launch party on Friday, June 24 from 6-8 p.m. at Lowcountry Winery on Bay Street. Guests will have the opportunity to meet Johnston, who wrote four of the book’s stories, as well as local author Gail Westerfield, New Jersey author Guy Tirondola, and North Carolina writer Dawn Allison. All will sign copies of the popular hardback book. Beaufort’s Warren Slesinger, who next year will have two stories in Volume II, also plans to be on hand at the event.

Tim Johnston created a worldwide publishing company that is located in Beaufort’s Town Center. He sensed an international demand to bring the short story back to life. So, that’s exactly what he did.

Two years ago, Johnston started, which publishes new and classic stories online. He began the search for contemporary short stories from famed and unknown authors. Each week, SSA publishes a new short story online, which then becomes printed material in the new anthology series. Last year, Short Story America received 5,000 story submissions from authors around the U.S and the world. Fifty-six were selected for Volume I.

The short story is a nearly-forgotten art form, but one that yields terrific recollections of childhood, high school, college and the introduction to fine literature.  The classics from Edgar Allan Poe, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Louisa May Alcott, Joseph Conrad, Jack London, Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Woolf and Washington Irving, to name just a few, were inscribed into my perpetual memory throughout my education.  As a student, I remember learning to appreciate the value of well-written prose. I enjoyed the intriguing short story, because, well, it was short and entertaining. I was a kid. I perceived twenty minutes as several hours.

A good short story introduces characters and theme and conflict very quickly. And a talented author can develop all three seamlessly, while captivating readers with descriptive writing and great dialogue.

I read one of Johnston’s stories just last night. “Friday Afternoon” is one of those stories that captures the curious mind while evaluating good and evil. It hooked me, line and sinker, and I loved it!  Even better, I finished the tale before my friend finished an episode of “The Bachelorette.”  Reading a great story start to finish in one sitting, and then finding oneself thinking about that story the next day, is a great experience, and that’s what I got from “Friday Afternoon.”

“Friday Afternoon” has gotten a lot of online response and praise from readers and reviewers, and has been called a masterpiece by many in the field. In fact, award-winning producer Mark L. Hunt has optioned Johnston’s story to either be used as a feature film or part of a non-episodic series, similar to the eclectic and popular Twilight Zone. Many readers have compared Johnston’s work to Rod Serling’s stories, and his well-received story “The Errand,” which is also in this book, has been compared to the work of the late Raymond Carver. That is why Hunt, the producer whose classic music documentary “Tom Dowd and the Language of Music” earned a Grammy nomination, is now working with Johnston on three different projects, all written by Johnston. The two are co-adapting “Friday Afternoon” via Skype to communicate ideas and co-write the screenplay using Final Draft software.

What is so ironic about the use of modern technology for the promotion of “Short Story America” is the fact that technology created the decline of the short story.  F. Scott Fitzgerald made a ton of money penning classic short stories. He was one of the best and most famed authors of his time. But television, internet, smart phones and video games have trumped the popularity of the timeless masterpieces of short fiction.

So Johnston brainstormed and realized, “Let’s bring the short story to the reader’s fingertips.”  On the website,, visitors enjoy stories from contemporary and classic libraries. In addition, each week readers are treated to yet another short story, handpicked by Johnston and co-editor Sarah Turocy from hundreds across the country and the world.

The first volume of short stories is presented in hardback with patriotic capitalism supporting its release, meaning, it is made in the USA. Johnston believes that American companies should not make products overseas that can be made in America by Americans who need their jobs. “Many companies talk the talk about patriotism and loyalty to fellow citizens, but then ship jobs overseas by making products outside of the U.S. that could be made here. We had the chance to have our books printed in China for less money, and we said an emphatic ‘no.’ We are Short Story America, and our short stories will be printed in this country for as long as we might be lucky enough to exist. That’s more important than making a few extra dollars, or even a lot of extra dollars.”

Even the book’s design and manufacturing was handled locally, by Hilton Head’s Lydia Inglett. Additionally, audio versions of the short stories are being developed by Jeff Evans and Mark Shaffer, right here in Beaufort. Members of the website will have the opportunity to purchase MP3’s of the short stories for $1.49. Another great way to experience short stories, much like we do music.

Johnston is also using a local vendor to ship the books (which are signed by Johnston as first editions), and local web designer, Steve Thompson of PC Web Services, maintains

Another local investment that Johnston and co-editor Sarah Turocy will bring to the area is the inaugural Short Story America Story Festival, coming to Beaufort June 21-24, 2012. The festival will attract acclaimed authors and fans, educators and students. Beaufort will be the destination of  this festival series, putting our beloved Lowcountry on the literary map with these celebrations of great short literature.

Johnston is fulfilling many pre-orders of the book. He is also in the process of sending copies toPublisher’s WeeklyThe New York TimesThe Chicago TribuneUSA Today and The LA Times as well as syndicates, like Thomas Fortenberry (who has already praised Short Story America) for literary reviews.Writer’s Digest has already rated as one of the Fifty Best Online Literary Magazines in the world.

T.D. (Tim) Johnston wants to bring short stories back into the hearts and souls of Americans. We, as Americans, are innately fascinated with pop culture, so that’s how he is delivering his passion for fine literature — through the use of modern technology.

“Short Story America” is exciting for Beaufort. Reviews and praise from world-renowned critics and submissions from talented authors are funneling through cyberspace to Suite 204 in Beaufort Town Center as we speak. We are in the midst of a rebirth of an art form, and it’s happening in our own backyard. Thank you, Tim Johnston, for revitalizing the short story.

If you cannot attend the launch and book signing, and want to order the book directly from Short Story America, signed by Tim Johnston, go to, or contact Short Story America at 843-524-7800. You can also get the book at Beaufort Bookstore, McIntosh Books, Berry Island Café, Lowcountry Winery, The Gallery on Bay Street, and other locations.



The mission of Short Story America is to bring the short story back into the mainstream of American culture, to bring the short story author back to prominence in literature and to enhance American students’ awareness and education in the art and value of the short story.

Advance Praise:

“Witness the renaissance within the pages of Short Story America. New life to literature! These stories are food for the famished souls of today’s readers.”

-Thomas Fortenberry, author, editor and former judge of The Georgia Author of the Year Awards and The Robert  Penn Warren Prize for Fiction

“Short Story America is like opening a window on a blooming spring garden following a long cold winter. I’ve been deeply impressed by the quality and diversity of the fictional voices found on this glorious site, as this first anthology so splendidly reveals. Here’s to a long life and much more to come from the current and future voices of Short Story America.”

-Jim Dodson, editor, Pinestraw and O. Henry magazines, and bestselling author of Final Rounds and Faithful Travelers


New Farmer’s Market at Historic Pick Pocket Plantation

By Wendy Pollitzer

June 16, 2011


John Keith








When John Keith bought Pick Pocket Plantation in 2005, the farmhouse was collapsing. There were actually five holes from ceiling to floor throughout the structure. And the property was overgrown, but Keith was determined to bring the plantation back to life.

The farmhouse and surrounding out buildings, like the mule and milking barns and the blacksmith house needed lots of work. So Keith diligently cleaned up the civil war era site and its buildings. He tore stucco off the main house to reveal wood siding.  He cleared the fields, having a near-death experience with a chainsaw in a tree. He even discovered foundations where structures once stood.

While cleaning the overgrowth with a track hoe, Keith noticed four posts in the ground and the remnants of a 2 ft. chimney. He asked former owner, Neil Trask (who grew up on the plantation) if he remembered what was once there. Trask revealed it was a warming house, traditionally meant for keeping the smells and heat of cooking away from the main house.  Keith tore the corncrib off the main barn, dug some footers and rebuilt the structure, based on Trask’s description. Trask claims that it looks exactly like the old warming house.

Pick Pocket Plantation was the first acreage owned by the Trask family, which began a truck farming empire of thousands of acres across Beaufort County. The historic plantation home and surrounding grounds now comprise more than 15 acres, located in the center of Burton between the intersections of US 21 and SC 170.

The farmhouse is noted for its distinctive architectural style, unusual exterior board siding, wrap-around porches and cupola or widow’s watch.

Neil Trask, who was born on the property, was friends with the caretaker’s son, Jim Adams, also born on the property. As boys, they would climb the widow’s watch and visually explore the surrounding land for miles. They could see clearly to Mink Point from the location and decided from up there where they would spend their afternoons.

The property now boasts nine historical buildings, including the beautifully restored plantation home. Period antiques bought in Ohio, Tennessee and Georgia from major dealers can be found throughout the home and property.

And now, Keith wants to share the plantation with the people of Beaufort and its visitors. He has partnered with Lara and Alex Lill, the occupants of the caretaker’s house on the property and Lara’s mom, Kathy Lambert, to bring a Framers Market to Pick Pocket Plantation every Tuesday from 2-7 p.m., now through September.

Each of them wants to bring life back to the property, where “It feels like you’ve traveled back in time,” explains Lara Lill.

And Keith agrees when discussing the working-class farm, “When you’re out here, you can feel the energy of the past … the hardships, the laughter, the sorrow, the joy.”

Lara Lill and her mom, Kathy Lambert

A Farmers Market is just what Keith envisioned for the property. And Beaufort will be awed at Keith’s labor of love while out for the afternoon enjoying the nostalgia of the property.

In addition to fresh vegetables, vendors at the Framers Market will also sell fresh breads and pastries, local specialty foods, local prepared foods and crafts from a variety of local artisans. John Keith will also sell his homemade apple butter and cane syrup, made on site.

“There are no rules at this Farmers Market,” Says Lambert, who had the idea to bring the weekly festival to Pick Pocket. “Customers are savvy. They want choices,” says Lambert who is familiar with all the regional markets from here to Charleston.

The market will also have activities for the kids, competitions  and raffles and live music. It’s sure to be fun for kids of all ages. There will also be tours of the plantation, and visitors interested in the property’s equestrian center can take a look at Plantation Stables of Beaufort.

Located at 93 Trask Farm Road, tucked away behind Advance Auto Body on Robert Smalls Parkway, you’ll find Historic Pick Pocket Plantation and Beaufort’s new Farmers Market.

If you are interested in becoming a vendor or if you’d like more information about the market, visit


Midtown Square to bring Vitality to Northwest Quadrant

By Wendy Pollitzer

June 9, 2011


John Trask III, Steve Tully and Allen Patterson






Steve Tully, Allen Patterson and John Trask III have hit the nail on the head. And, yes, that pun was intended. Developers Tully and Trask envisioned affordable homes with a focus on a walking community on land situated between Adventure and Bladen streets, 2 acres they purchased in 2006 in an area known as the Northwest Quadrant.  They met with third generation builder, Allen Patterson and initiated a plan to make efficient use of the dirt, located one block from the Beaufort River and a short distance to all the shops and restaurants downtown.

houseThe sustainable infill project, called Midtown Square, holds 22 lots, 16 residential properties and six flex properties, which can be used as residential or work space on pads facing Bladen Street. The property also features the 1912 offices of Coastal Contractors, and that structure likely will be rehabilitated, Trask said.

It’s what Generation X’ers and Baby Boomers have been looking for downtown, with amenities within walking distance, all public and free. It’s far from the suburban master planned communities with costly regimes and homeowner association-supported extras. And even better, not a tree was cut nor an ounce of asphalt poured to create Midtown Square.

Additionally, what is remarkable about this project is the swiftness of its launch.  Steve Tully did in six months what most need 18 months to complete.  He diligently and diplomatically collaborated with many parties to secure a base plan for his idea.  He met with city officials and board members, the Office of Civic Investment, BJWSA, SCDOT, SCE&G, Beaufort County Open Land Trust and the Lawrence Group to secure the initiative in a cost-effective and timely manner.

A $1.3 million streetscape plan for Duke, Prince, Bladen and Adventure streets has been approved. Utilities are supported, and the neighborhood is excited about the improvement.  What happened in this situation is unprecedented. In pre-hard economic times, this redevelopment project would go through a mountain of hoops and cost the developer thousands of dollars monthly as decisions rested on the tables of review boards. But that’s what Tully recognized from the get-go and wanted to avoid.  And everyone agreed: let’s work together to get a good idea off the ground, and let’s do it affordably in these times when we all need a boost. Simple enough. And, now we have a viable product that many are eager to see flourish.

Jon Verity, chairman of the Beaufort Redevelopment Commission, hailed the project as an example of public-private partnerships that are the goal of the Redevelopment Commission.

“The MidTown Square project will make a huge difference in the look, feel and texture of a big part of interior Beaufort,” Verity said.

“This type of infill is what we are seeking as we move Beaufort into its fourth century — encouraging the filling in of open and vacant spaces in the city to create new homes and new jobs. It’s happening because private investors are responding to the investment made by the city to improve Beaufort,” he said.

Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling also supports Midtown Square. “We have been talking about public-private partnerships, and we have been working to create a more walkable, liveable and financially sustainable Beaufort where residents can enjoy all that Beaufort offers. This project is exactly what we are talking about,” Mayor Keyserling said.

“In the past, the City has used funds to improve streetscapes, drainage and sidewalks and then adjacent property owners put signs on their properties asking higher prices because of the public investment.  This time, the public investment is being used by land owners as a way to improve their property rather than seeking a windfall.  It is a win-win for all and sets a precedent for the future,” Keyserling said.

It’s a concept the City of Charleston has pulled off beautifully.  They’ve allowed modern, 21st Century architecture to blend with 18th Century, ox-blood and tabby covered residential homes.  There are roof-top restaurants overlooking the well-known market area and historic Exchange Building.  They’ve somehow managed to incorporate new and maintain old and have done so respectfully.

Now, Beaufort is not Charleston. And Midtown Square is not some out-of-the-box, crazy concept. It’s simply the real deal, an urban neighborhood consisting of quality-built homes, priced affordably for the young professional, new family or retired couple moving to our beloved city.

Thanks to the efforts of Historic Beaufort Foundation, editors of “This Old House” magazine named Beaufort’s Northwest Quadrant one of the nation’s 51 Best Old House Neighborhoods in 2010.

The area, once a thriving black middle-class neighborhood just blocks off the Beaufort River, fell into disrepair in the 1970s. It became one of Beaufort’s blighted and neglected areas until renovations started in earnest in the mid-1990s.

“This is a great opportunity to live in one of the prettiest waterfront cities in the South,” the magazine wrote. “The quadrant’s downtown location puts it within walking distance of restaurants and shops.”

Tully agreed that the property’s location is key. “Even before we started our marketing, we had reservations for two homes and a contract for a custom home in MidTown Square,” he said. “There’s a great deal of interest in people who want to live in the heart of a small town, where there’s so much to do without getting in a car to drive somewhere.”

According to Edward Dukes, the broker-in-charge at Lowcountry Real Estate, the firm marketing the property, “Midtown Square enjoys an excellent location. The city tennis courts, the marina and boat landing, library and the waterfront park are all within walking distance. People want amenities, and the best part about Midtown Square is that they are already here. Our town is the amenity. We are very excited about the response we have received on the project from our clients and other Realtors.”

Homes sizes range from 900-square-foot expandable cottages, called “Evolution” homes, to 3,200-square-foot in-town residences with in-law suites over a two-car garage.  Midtown’s conceptuals feature modern designs with historic and classic details and are built to the newest storm codes. They are also built to Gold or Silver LEED energy certification standards.  Rear alley access combined with on-street parking is another plus. Small manageable garden yards promoting low water consumption and a neighborly feel, all in an established historic district, is a win-win for the consumer, the developer and the environment.

The project is the first approved under the city’s new Bladen Street Redevelopment District zoning code — a form-based code that emphasizes how a structure fits into a neighborhood rather than how it will be used. The form-based code work, led by the Redevelopment Commission and the City’s Office of Civic Investment, is being done in conjunction with Port Royal and Beaufort County.

Beaufort’s Office of Civic Investment along with its Planning and Public Works departments came together to keep this project moving forward, Tully said. “The level of communication and cooperation, and the desire by the city to help make things happen in this area, really impressed us,” he said.

Community Development Corporation of Beaufort, LLC cut the ribbon and Allen Patterson Residential started framing the first home on May 12, which is currently two weeks ahead of schedule.  All homes will be built on a 90-120 day build cycle, which is pleasing to neighbors and homebuyers.

Lowcountry Real Estate brought the first four homebuyers and is actively working with more. Custom homes in Midtown Square will start around $260,000 and pre-designed homes will cost less, said builder Allen Patterson.

Midtown Square is the right product in the right place at the right time.  It will bring a vitality to a neglected part of town and will be a model for public/private partnerships, streetscape improvements and form-based codes coming to Beaufort.

To learn more about MidTown Square, visit or

Community Development Corporation of Beaufort, LLC cut the ribbon and Allen Patterson Residential started framing the first home on May 12th, which is currently two weeks ahead of the build cycle schedule.  All homes will be built on a 90-120 day build cycle, which is pleasing to neighbors and homebuyers.

Lowcountry Real Estate brought the first 4 homebuyers and is actively working with more. Custom homes in Midtown Square will start around $260,000 and pre-designed homes will cost less, said builder Allen Patterson.

Midtown Square is the right product in the right place at the right time.  It will bring a vitality to a neglected part of town and will be a model for public/private partnerships, streetscape improvements and form based codes coming to Beaufort.

To learn more about MidTown Square, visit or


Dr. A.G. “Skeet” Buris gives Winning Smiles

By Wendy Pollitzer

June 2, 2011


Dr. Burris’ staff of thirteen has a combined longevity of 106 years with his practice. There are three women who have worked at Winning Orthodontic Smiles for over 20 years.





When Dr. Skeet Burris was in his 40’s, he assumed he would retire at 55. He worked hard, made sound financial decisions and reached the age of vocation retreat when he realized he was nowhere near the age of giving up the daily operation of his practice, Winning Orthodontic Smiles. He continues more aggressively and enthusiastically today than ever before.

Dr. Burris earned his Doctor of Dental surgery degree and graduated as Valedictorian from University of Tennessee, Memphis. While in Dental School, Dr. Burris joined the United States Navy and after graduating, he spent two and a half years as a dental officer at Parris Island Marine Corps Recruit Depot; he returned to the University of Tennessee Memphis and completed his residency in orthodontics and served as a Navy Reserve dental Officer at the Navy Recruiting Center in Memphis.

He missed the Lowcountry terribly. While at Parris Island, Dr. Burris and his wife, Gail came to love the woods, water, wildlife and recreation of coastal South Carolina, ironically four words widely recognized across the country on the American Tree Farm System’s green and white diamond shaped signs that tell the story of sustainable forestry, which is also another passion of Dr. Burris.

It seems Dr. Burris has come full circle in his journey to live and work in the Lowcountry. Determined to come back here against the advisement of dental consultants, Dr. Burris fought the odds and began a referral practice in Beaufort County with only four dentists North of the Broad and one in Hilton Head.

That was in 1972.  Today there are 24 dentists, three oral surgeons, two endodontists, and one Pediatrics Dentist, just in Beaufort. And since Dr. Burris relies on referrals, he makes it priority to understand the goals of each patient and their dentist. And area dentists know their patients will be well taken care of and be given quality results with Dr. Burris.

“I believe I am part of a dental team community. I am blessed to have been able to grow with Beaufort,” explains Dr. Burris.


“ What separates us from the other Orthodontic practices is our stability and caring and compassionate staff. All of our assistants are certified in Orthodontics and Radiology. The way we treat folks matters. When you’re in our environment, we want you to feel comfortable.”

And that sentiment is echoed by Jan Goude, the Scheduling Coordinator with the practice for 24 years (in fact, she’s retired twice and come back).  She says, “When you walk in, you’re a visitor. When you leave, you’re part of our family.”

There is a definite sense of communal enthusiasm in the office.  Each and every employee I met thoroughly enjoyed their profession. They get caught up in the excitement of developing winning smiles and radiate their positive energy to their patients.

Gould explains, “We are building a person’s self esteem. There is nothing more rewarding than that.”

I can attest. When my braces came of at eighteen, I walked into the high school cafeteria and people took notice when I smiled. It was something I’d never felt before. Once embarrassed by crooked teeth and a noticeable overbite, I was now comfortable with my appearance.

And thousands of Dr. Burris’ patients are equally as grateful. Dr. Burris can take mismatched bones in the face and crooked eruption of teeth and turn them into works of art. The mouth is truly his canvas.

with a patient

And it’s necessary for patients to seek consultation sooner than later.  If children are still pre-pubescent, they have time to allow orthopedic braces to correct the problem. After puberty, oral surgery is required, which becomes more costly. Responsible parents should ask their dentists which orthodontist is best suited to treat the child’s condition. In most cases, it is Dr. Burris at Winning Orthodontic Smiles.

And gone are the days of payment in full. Dr. Burris’ practice has a multitude of payment plans suited for all types of families. Minimal down payments are necessary, and the result is life changing.

Dr. Burris is more than an Orthodontist. Fortunately his practice has given him the financial opportunity to practice and teach forest conservation. He is a steward of our Lowcountry and was given the Environmental Awareness Award in 2003 from Governor Mark Sanford. He is also a SC Forestry Commissioner.

His love of the land, humble approach to life and dedication to his profession has given Dr. Burris reason to persevere. His passion is contagious, whether it is about timber, religion or braces. When he speaks, you’ll listen and more importantly, learn.

He and his wife, Gail and their five sons have built a reputation of giving back.  The family’s generosity over the years has been recognized statewide and nationally.  But perhaps, there are no other people more thankful than Dr. Burrris’ patients. His infamous “Wall of Smiles” indicates the ultimate sign of appreciation…genuine smiles radiating through the picture frame, each thanking Dr. Burris and his staff.

Dr. Burris isn’t quitting any time soon. “My goal is to produce quality Orthodontic care to patients. When I am no longer blessed with the abilty to judge a dental scenario, I will retire.” For now, he will still produce winning smiles and continue to practice as part of Beaufort’s dental community team.


The Mommy Makeover Winner is Michelle Morgan

By Wendy Pollitzer

May 26, 2011


Michelle Morgan

Michelle Morgan








This year’s winner of the Mommy Makeover contest was Michelle Morgan, wife of Dan Morgan and mother of eight. Michelle was nominated by Dan’s co-worker at Beaufort County, Suzanne Larson, and was voted by readers as the winner of The Island News’ popular online contest.

I had the pleasure of accompanying Michelle and Dan on Friday, May 20, to get “made-up’” before their big date at Southern Graces that evening.

Michelle and Dan are both selfless parents who put their children first. Michelle, who deservingly won with hundreds of votes online, stays at home with her kids and is an active volunteer at each of their schools, Shanklin Elementary, Robert Smalls Middle and Battery Creek High Schools. Their oldest, Allyson, is a Senior at BCHS. She is Valedictorian of the 2011 Class and will be attending Brigham Young University in the fall, completely on academic scholarship. Their second oldest, Grayson, is currently top in his sophomore class as well. The other six are equally as exceptional. And that just doesn’t happen unless two parents are committed to education like Michelle and Dan.

Michelle admitted that she had never had a manicure, rarely goes out with her husband and can’t remember the last time she went shopping for herself. Well, that all changed Friday afternoon. And Michelle couldn’t have been more humbled and thankful. She is a true gem of a person.

DSCN9309We started at Grace and Glory, where owner Cindy Turnbull helped Michelle select an outfit for her dinner date. Michelle chose a beautiful black shirt and white cardigan from Nomadic Traders, an original necklace made by jewelry designer, Carol Kent, classic and adorable flip-flops made by OKA and a charming summer handbag from Straw Studios. The girls at Grace and Glory were so helpful, and Michelle was beside herself with excitement.


e and MAfter lunch, we headed to Salon 10 at Habersham Marketplace where Elizabeth Parker and Lynn Groff discussed cut and color and proceeded to transform Michelle’s locks into a masterpiece of maintenance-free style.





mellydFinally we went to Aqua Med Spa in Port Royal where Melanie Singleton gave Michelle an amazing French Manicure, Michelle’s first ever! After getting her nails pampered, Michelle was introduced to Lydia Ballesteros, Beaufort’s premier makeup artist. Ballesteros touched up eyes and lips while creating a flawless look to an already beautiful face.


In addition to all of the pampering Friday, Michelle also received a Loyalty Card to all businesses in Habersham Marketplace, a gift card for membership to EarthFIT, teeth whitening from Palmetto Smiles Dentistry and a Swedish massage from Beaufort Day Spa.

m and dMichelle and Dan were now ready for their date at Southern Graces Bistro at The Beaufort Inn. They dined by themselves and enjoyed a memorable meal. It was evident these two were still in love. They adored each other, and I was awed by their commitment to one another. These two really made me believe in love, and they surely made me appreciate family.

I congratulate you both for raising a fine group of children and staying in love after so many years. The Island News thanks you for being such an inspiring person and a great mom, Michelle.


Support our Wounded Troops

By Wendy Pollitzer

May 19, 2011


Gary Sinise








Though we’re only in May, the community (that means you and me) needs to start thinking about the 2nd Annual Lt. Dan Weekend to be held September 14-18, and we need to start donating our time and money…now.

Remember last year’s concert? Remember the camaraderie of the town when we welcomed and honored our wounded veterans? I was humbled and proud. It was a memorable weekend, and we have the opportunity now to make this year’s event better than ever.

There are a variety of ways to help. The Independence Fund needs $75,000 to bring the veterans and their families to Beaufort. That money won’t present itself on its own. The number one way to help right now is to donate.

Your tax deductible donation will be used to cover the expenses for the 100 severely injured veterans and caregivers attending LDW2 ( and to provide specialized recumbent tricycles for deserving heroes. Silver Star contributors who donate $100 or more will receive two free tickets to the Gary Sinise and Lt. Dan Band Benefit Concert taking place at Waterfront Park at 8:30pm, Friday, September 16th.

You can further help our severely wounded troops by setting up a personal fundraising page. It’s simple, takes ten minutes tops, and is a very effective way to help the troops. Simply visit this and click on the BECOME A FUNDRAISER button at the top of the page and follow the steps. Whatever is raised via your personal page is tracked and will be credited to you. Top Fundraisers of $1000 or more will receive complimentary passes to the Lt. Dan Art opening and the number one fundraiser will have the opportunity to meet Gary Sinise backstage at the concert.

Another opportunity to help is fast approaching. Lowcountry Captain Nick Russell has designated the Independence Fund and the Lt. Dan weekend as beneficiary of all proceeds raised from the inaugural “American Wounded Veteran’s King Mackerel Fishing Tournament” scheduled to take place on 8-9 July.

Coinciding with the Beaufort Water Festival, the tournament offers the perfect opportunity for both local sport fisherman, and those visiting from out of town to participate in this event specifically designed to support some of the most severely injured veterans from the current wars.

“They fought for us, let’s fish for them,” said Russell, himself a Marine veteran and exuberant supporter of the troops.

Russell came up with the idea for a fishing tournament last year after serving as a volunteer during the Lt Dan Weekend (LDW) where he served as a “go to” point of contact for many of the veterans and their families.

A full brochure on the tournament can be downloaded from the event website, For more information, please call Captain Nick Russell at 843-814-9697.

Other events taking place during the Lt. Dan Weekend are the 4th Annual Wounded Warrior Run, presented by AMVETS, the Lt. Dan 5-K, and the 2nd Annual Golf Tournament at Parris Island. Please for more information regarding these events.

This year, the concert is not free. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at Cravings By the Bay, Chik-Fil-A, Berry Island Ice Cream, Fordham’s Market, NFCU (military) at Parris Island and Cat Island Pro Shop. They may also be purchased online at From now until July 15, they are $15. From July 16-September 1, tickets will be $20 and after September 1, they will be available for full price at $25. If you are in the Military, admission is $5 off each of these prices.

Again this year, wristbands will be sold for $5 to show your support for our wounded veterans. It is the quickest way to donate to the cause and visibly show your pride for those who have sacrificed their bodies for the protection and freedom of our great nation. You may purchase them online at

LDW2 is sure to be a super fun time again! The energy is positive. The buzz around town is contagious, and we will soon look these men and women in the face to say thank you and give them a great concert to boot!. May the Star and Stripes wave in your honor forever.

Entertainer Gary Sinise to return for the 2nd Annual Lt. Dan Weekend in Beaufort, SC

A sizable group of severely injured veterans and their caregivers from across the country will descend upon Beaufort for four days this September to participate in the 2nd Annual, Lt. Dan Weekend. Coordinated by the Independence Fund, the event is designed to bring the community together in a show of support for some of the veterans who most often are the ones who “fall through the cracks.”

Mr. Sinise, widely known for his Oscar nominated performance as “Lt. Dan” in the 1996 film Forrest Gump has become the de facto face for the war wounded of Iraq and Afghanistan. Since 2003 his thirteen piece “Lt. Dan Band” has been entertaining the troops worldwide.

“The LTDB does more than forty concerts across the globe every year, and I am thrilled to be able to return to Beaufort to perform on September 16th, 2011,” said Sinise. “The reception that the Band received last year in Beaufort was overwhelming and the compassion and dignity with which the community treated our injured veterans truly left such a favorable impression. I look forward to both the concert and parade this year.”

The concert is scheduled for 8:30pm, Friday, Sept 16th in historic Waterfront Park. In addition, Mr. Sinise has also agreed to Grand Marshal Beaufort’s 300th Birthday parade the following morning. The parade will kick-off immediately following the Lt. Dan 5K in downtown Beaufort.

According to the Independence Fund’s founder, “The event will provide the opportunity for a myriad of organizations, caregivers, donors and concerned citizens to interact with these heroes in a personal manner that we believe will result in many other positive things. Having someone like Gary Sinise donate his time like this is probably the highest endorsement we could possibly receive.”

The Independence Fund is a 501(c)3 organization. Donations to the group are tax-deductible and help provide injured troops with the tools, therapies and guidance that they might not otherwise be receiving. Amongst other accomplishments, the Indy Fund has purchased 20 robotic wheel chairs for injured veterans as part of its mission. The $25,000 iBOT® chairs were not covered by military insurance policies.

Veterans injured post 9/11 with a disability rating of 30% or higher may apply for the all expense covered event by visiting and registering on the “ABOUT” page.



Brays Island to Host 20th Annual Croquet Tournament to Benefit AMIkids

By Wendy Nilsen Pollitzer

May 12, 2011


The 20th Annual Croquet Tournament to benefit AMIkids (formerly Beaufort Marine Institute) will take place on the beautiful, lush greens at Brays Island Plantation on Saturday, May 21st from 11am until 2pm.





Board Members coordinate this successful and memorable event that raises money for an organization that provides a second chance for young men who would otherwise be sent to jail for their non-violent offenses.

AMIkids Beaufort was started in 1985 by seven locals who saw the need for a facility to redirect kids who have been referred by the juvenile justice system or have failed in traditional school settings. Since then, AMIkids has shown hundreds of young South Carolina men, ages 14-17, a way to change their lives.

The agency operates 56 programs in eight states, including the Beaufort program in South Carolina, one its most successful programs. At AMIkids, they care about the kids society has given up on. By giving young men the tools they need to succeed in life…structure, discipline, love, and positive role models… and teaching them the core values by which to lead productive live, they are able to help risk youth separate a troubled past for a bright future.

Mike Ingram is the Board President of AMIkids Beaufort.  Ingram is a leader and connects with the organization altruistically and from the bottom of his heart. He cares about these young men and believes in the program, as does his entire Board.

“When you combine the labor of the hard working staff we have at the institute, a dedicated board of trustees, the many volunteers and the hundreds of financial patrons, you get results that matter,” explains Ingram.

“At the end of the day, these collective efforts are changing young men’s lives and making them educated and productive citizens in tomorrow’s society, and that’s a good thing!”

A recent success story is that of Leon Mays, a graduate of AMIkids Beaufort and once on a path of destruction. But this year, Mays was accepted to and will be attending The Citadel in the Fall.

Education is the key to success at AMIkids. Academics come first, then hands-on programs such as scuba and seamanship, which build self-esteem and the ability to master new skills. Boys’ goals are to return to school at the proper grade level or to get a GED. But Mays took it a step further and applied to one of the best military colleges in the country. And he owes it all to AMIkids

Unlike other states that AMIkids calls home, South Carolina has not cut funding for this extraordinary organization this year.  Governor Nikki Haley supports AMIkids and will continue to fight for the agency when budget cuts loom.

The statewide board recently organized a tremendously effective legislative breakfast.  Board, staff and kids from all of South Carolina’s programs participated.  More than 150 legislators and legislative staff joined AMIkids and had breakfast with the students.

And legislators know that it costs $300/day to keep a juvenile contained at the Department of Juvenile Justice. At AMIkids, it costs $100/day. And besides the financial benefit, AMIkids provides a GED and vocational skills and produces young men who will eventually become tax-paying citizens.

This year, Representative Shannon Erickson, also a proponent and vocal supporter for AMIkids will be the Grand Marshall of the Croquet Tournament to be held at Brays Island, which has sponsored this tournament for all of its 20 years.

Ingram is first to thank Brays Island and says, “Their support and generosity has allowed this event to raise over $700K!”

The tournament is successful because of its organizers, who are committed to the youth who pledge to redirect their lives for the betterment of society.

And, the tournament is simply fun. Everyone dresses in white. Awards are given for Best Dressed Man and Lady and Best Picnic Spread. Also, the Silent Auction offers unique items that are sure to impress.  And, this year, organizers are raffling off a chance to win a 1949 MG TC in mint condition with tan leather, wire wheels and right steering.  Only 55 tickets will be sold at $500 each.

If you have a team interested in participating in the 20th Annual AMIkids Beaufort Croquet Tournament, please call 843-846-2128. Cost is $400 for a team of eight. Space is limited. It is sure to be a great time.

And if you’d like to donate to this incredible organization, you may call the number above as well.  It’s a worthy cause and the program provides win-win solutions not only these brave youth, but for the entire state of South Carolina.


Group wants to make Parris Island home to the USS Olympia

What is involved with bringing the only surviving naval ship of the Spanish-American War to Beaufort?

By Wendy Pollitzer

May 5, 2011


USS Olympia







The Ship’s History

The 1890’s was a decade of tremendous change in America with a view towards developing international markets and becoming a player in the global realm. This required a new Navy with coal burning battleships and very sophisticated weapons systems. These new ships began to come on line in 1890. The U.S. Naval Station in Port Royal was to become front and center and play a strategically important role in support of the Atlantic fleet during the Spanish American War.

From 1891-1895 a new dry-dock facility was built at the U.S. Naval Station Port Royal, the only one south of Norfolk, Va. Twenty-two naval ships visited the Naval Station, including the battleships USS Maine, USS Massachusetts, USS Texas and the USS Indiana. The USS Maine made one of its last stops for provisions in Port Royal before leaving for its final voyage to Havana, Cuba, and the start of the Spanish American War.

When the war with Spain loomed, Fort Fremont was built on Lands End on St. Helena Island with a mission to protect the U.S. Naval Station in Port Royal with its strategic dry-dock and coal facilities. Because of the significant historical importance of the area, there are three nationally registered historic sites listed from this Spanish American War era: the dry-dock at the U.S. Naval Station Port Royal (now Parris Island), Fort Fremont, and the Hospital at Fort Fremont.

The Spanish American war was waged on two fronts with the Atlantic military and naval forces focused on Cuba and the Pacific Fleet focused in Manila. USS Olympia served as Admiral Dewey’s flagship at the Battle of Manila Bay. On May 1, 1898, Olympia devastated a Spanish fleet at Manila Bay in the Philippines, beginning the Spanish-American War. Olympia helped catapult the United States into the role of superpower and won fame for her most famous officer, Commodore George Dewey.

It was from Olympia’s bridge that Dewey delivered his famous order, “You may fire when you are ready, Gridley.”

Olympia also served her country during World War I. The USS Olympia is the world’s oldest floating steel warship and the sole surviving naval ship of the Spanish-American War.

Olympia’s Situation

In 1966, the Independent Seaport Museum in Philadelphia took control of the Olympia and has been responsible for more than $5 million in maintenance, repair, preservation and restoration since taking position from the Cruiser Olympia Association.

In February 2010, the museum announced that the aging Spanish-American War Cruiser Olympia was in need of substantial and costly hull repairs to prevent her from sinking. Annual inspections by the Navy have highlighted several times over the past 12 years the ship’s deteriorating hull condition and the need for dry docking. The ship has not been dry docked in more than 65 years. According to inspections, the ship will sink in place within three years if no actions are taken. The museum has attempted to seek another nonprofit organization willing and able to assume ownership of the vessel and fulfill contractual obligations for the indefinite maintenance and preservation of the vessel. To date, the museum has been unable to identify a qualified organization to which to transfer the Olympia. The Navy has said that they are willing to authorize the museum to responsibly dispose of the Olympia.

A Possible Role for Beaufort

Right now there is a tremendous effort in Philadelphia by citizens, partner groups and historic organizations to raise the needed funds to sustain the museum program. The critical issue is that if they are not successful, the chances are likely that the USS Olympia will be disposed of at sea.

There might be a unique opportunity for Beaufort to play a role in developing a long-term strategy that could provide an alternative that could save the Olympia and insure that its place in history will be shared for generations to come. The concept would be that the original dry-dock at Parris Island be restored and a base be built to hold the Olympia in a permanent dry-dock status. This would require that the Olympia be towed from Philadelphia to Beaufort. What makes this approach truly unique is that the Olympia would be at home with the Spanish American War history that is such an important part of Beaufort’s history.

To be successful in developing this concept of a move to Beaufort for the Olympia, it will take a national commitment involving leadership from Beaufort, Philadelphia, as well as the Navy and Marine Corps. As with all things of this nature, the devil is in the details, but what an exciting challenge it will be.


Why is the Cruiser Olympia’s historic role so important to America’s heritage?

The Cruiser OLYMPIA is one of the United States’ greatest historical artifacts. The sole surviving warship of the Spanish American War, she is the world’s oldest floating steel warship. Olympia is the third oldest major U.S. naval vessel in existence, after the Constitution and the Constellation.

The Olympia’s importance in American history is virtually unparalleled. Serving as Admiral George Dewey’s flagship at the Battle of Manila Bay, she remains as the sole surviving witness to the birth of the United States as a world power, and the beginning of what has been called “the American Century.” Olympia’s last official naval mission was to carry the body of the Unknown Soldier from France to the United States in 1921. In addition to being a National Historic Landmark, Olympia is also a National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark, on the National Register of Historic Places, and part of the Save America’s Treasures program.


The U.S. Naval Station Port Royal (presently the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island) played a major role in the Spanish American War; could there be an opportunity for Parris Island to play a role in the future of the Cruiser Olympia?

We believe there could be a major and historical role for the future of the Olympia.

The original dry-dock Facility at Parris Island could play an important role for providing a long term solution and a home for the Cruiser Olympia and ensure that its place in history will be shared for generations to come.

The concept is that the original historic dry-dock at Parris Island be restored and a base and cradle be built to hold the Olympia in a permanent dry-dock status. This would provide a long term solution to water- based hull damage, a reduction in short term and long term maintenance costs, and will allow a focus on ship restoration and preservation. What makes this approach truly unique is that The Olympia would be at home with the Spanish American War history that is such an important part of Beaufort’s history.


Would there be additional historical significance to the Beaufort area if the Olympia project is successful?

Because of its important role during the Spanish American War, the Beaufort area has three designated National Historic sites, all of which are recognized for their role during that period. The Paris Island dry-dock, Fort Fremont, and the Hospital at Fort Fremont are designated Historical sites and the Olympia would add a fourth National Historic site designation. We believe that having this number of historical sites would be of great national interest and would bring focus on Beaufort’s role during this important part of American history.

How would the Olympia Project be developed?

The primary considerations to ensuring the future of the Cruiser Olympia is a plan that would allow a permanent dry-dock home for the Olympia at Parris Island. The initial phase, with the approval of the Marine Corps, would be to develop a feasibility study with the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island and the S.C.O.C. The feasibility study would analyze and define critical issues and would develop a business and financial plan that would ensure the long term success of the Olympia program. The second stage would be to seek and obtain necessary approvals. A third stage would be plan implementation.

The time frame for the Parris Island plan has immediacy to it since the museum in Philadelphia is proceeding with its alternative strategies for the Olympia. To be successful in developing this concept of a move to Beaufort for the Olympia it will take a national commitment involving leadership from Beaufort, Philadelphia and its supporters and partners as well as the Navy and Marine Corps.


What is the role of the South Carolina Olympia Committee?

With the approval of the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, the committee would be responsible for the development of the project and the initial application process. It would take ownership of the Olympia with a mission to insure a long-term, financially sound program for this historic national treasure.

What is the role of the Navy in the Olympia Program?

The Cruiser Olympia is part of The Navy Inactive (PMS 333) Ships Program Office Ship Donation Program which is the Secretary of the Navy’s agent for donations. The program is administered by the Naval Sea Systems Command. PMS 333 manages the Ship Donation Inspection Program to monitor the overall material condition and appearance of ship museums through annual inspection by Naval Reserve units across the country. All naval ship museums are required by law to be maintained in a condition satisfactory to the Secretary of the Navy.

What is the current status of the Olympia Relocation Efforts?

The Independent Seaport Museum in Philadelphia recently held an Olympia Summit to assist interested groups in understanding the process and requirements necessary to submit an application for the Olympia’s relocation. It is extensive process and there are a number of cities that have expressed an interest.

The South Carolina Olympia Committee had two representatives at the conference and felt that there was considerable interest in the vision and approach for our plan for the Olympia’s future.

South Carolina Olympia Committee

• PeteRichards

• JimBradin,Col(ret.)

• JohnEhrmann,Cmdr(ret)

• BrantleyHarvey,Esq

• MarianRollings,PhD,PE

• RayRollings,PhD,PE

How can you help?

The South Carolina Olympia Committee (SCOC) must raise funds for the immediate Feasibility studies required as part the Navy’s application process. Long-term efforts will require the repair of the Parris Island dry-dock to house the Olympia and the costs of repairs for the Olympia to allow for transportation.

Please help bring this historic ship to Beaufort, a city that played a critical role during the Spanish American War with it’s historic dry-dock and coaling station.

You may send your contributions big or small to:

South Carolina Olympia Committee

PO Box 1097

St. Helena Island, SC 29920

Or visit


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 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.


Support the ARTS in South Carolina and Beaufort County

By Wendy Pollitzer

March 24, 2011

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

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 Cliffordinvited 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 Cliffordcame 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 Cliffordreminded 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 SewellEric 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 toChief 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, SeniorKevin Gess received the award.

Dr. Dan Durbindelivered 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


Ryan Christian takes charge of the 2011 Valentine Ball Silent Auction

By Wendy Pollitzer

February 3, 2011


Ryan Christian






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.


Local Beekeeper is Quite the Busy Bee Herself

By Wendy Pollitzer

January 27, 2011


Dawn Frank






You might have noticed her place on St. Helena on your way to the Sea Islands. Her home/office is a cute, cedar-shake sided, two-story cottage on the right as you come off the Cowan Creek Bridge. CPA by day, musician by night, soon-to-be pilot on the weekends and full-time beekeeper, Dawn Frank is a woman of many talents.

When I went to visit Dawn, I thought to myself, “how cool is this girl?” She was on the phone with her flying instructor from Anderson Aviation at Frogmore International, discussing the wind and the probability of flying. For someone so ambitious, Dawn’s disposition was quite calming. Her motto?  “We cannot direct the winds, but we can adjust our sails.”

She offered my coffee, and we chatted a bit about how she looked familiar. She said, “Well, you might have seen me play acoustic at Nippy’s.”

“Yes,” I said. “That’s it.

I remember seeing her play during the summer. She plays a mix of every decade, from the 40’s and 50’s to today. Bruno Mars is her current favorite cover.

See what I mean. Cool, huh? And we hadn’t even started talking bees yet.

Dawn suffered from unbearable allergies a few years ago. She’d heard that local honey helps with the dreadful symptoms. And, her brother-in-law was a beekeeper, so she thought she’d start a beehive.

It became an obsession. She has one hive in her back yard, with eleven more coming in the Spring. She also has five on her farm in Hampton County.

Dawn started her own label, Frogmore Farmaceuticals, in October. The label has become a local favorite. There are three varieties: Wildflower, Sweet Melon and Tupelo Honey. Each takes on the flavor of the item that the bees pollinate. The Wildflower and Sweet Melon (Watermelon and Cantaloupe) varieties come from local hives, while the Tupelo Honey comes from trees along the Edisto River.

As soon as she gets the okay from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, she’ll expand her label to include hand and lip balms too.

Currently, Lulu Burgess on Bay Street, Mangoes on Fripp Island, Therapeutic Solutions on Lady’s Island and Higher Ground in Beaufort Town Center sells Frogmore Farmaceuticals.

She’s so intrigued with beekeeping, she wants to start a local Beekeeping Club in an effort to share equipment and information and simply help fellow beekeepers. The closest club is the Lowcountry Beekeeper’s Association in Cottageville.  Dawn believes there are enough local beekeepers here to start a similar club. If you’re interested, shoot Dawn an email at

Dawn shared some interesting facts with me and loaned me her copy of “Beekeeping for Dummies,” her bible.

Fact 1: The bees are delivered through the U.S. Postal Service in a 3 lb. package in May. By mid-summer, a hive will multiply to 60,000 bees.

Fact 2: A healthy hive will produce 100lbs. of honey per year. To give you an idea of size, one gallon equals eleven lbs.

Fact 3: During the busy season, worker bees (females) will live 6 weeks. But, in the winter, worker bees can live 4-8 months.

Fact 4: Male bees are called drones. Their only purpose is to mate with the queen. By the Fall, all drones have been kicked out of the hive.

Thanks so much for meeting with me Dawn.  You’re quite a determined soul and one that makes others smile. You’re my kind of gal!


Cat Island Couple Showcases Renovated Home in Coastal Living Magazine

By Wendy Pollitzer

January 13, 2011

Jim and Jill Tucker

Jim and Jill Tucker






Jill and Jim Tucker know a thing or two about home renovation. In fact, it’s what Jim does for a living. As owner of Tucker Building Corporation, Jim specializes in commercial building, multi-family and custom residential projects.

Profile-New Exterior

In June, 2010, the Tucker’s house at 100 Dolphin Point Drive on Cat Island was featured in Coastal Living Magazine.  And now, it is receiving national accolades as one of the country’s best renovation projects as described on


Coastal Living writer Elizabeth Roehrig, photographer, Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn and stylist, Stephanie Davis complied facts, photos and creative ideas to assist in showcasing the former 80’s cookie cutter home as a chic, beach-style cottage with lots of added space and character.

National attention in magazines such as Coastal Living only helps Beaufort and the South Carolina Lowcountry recruit new residents to the place we all love to live, work and raise families. It’s also a place where many enjoy retirement.

Beaufort benefits from new homebuyers. Fresh faces bring new businesses, innovative ideas, and a significant boost to the local economy.

As we continue to impress readers in popular culture, we can only hope that Beaufort’s financial recovery will gain momentum from the esteemed publications’ profiles sooner than later.

Highlighting Beaufort’s attributes and beauty in articles like the one in Coastal Living markets our taste for seaside simplicity. And that’s exactly what this renovation project illustrates.

A Lowcountry clapboard cottage on the outside with a classic blue and white palette on the inside, the Tucker home also boasts a subtle French influence, thanks to interior designer, Wanda Mills.

Architect Paul Cole helped the Tuckers reconfigure attic space by adding a dormer, which became a bedroom and playroom for their two boys, Patrick and Jack. An addition was adjoined to the side of the house, which made room for a formal dining room and mudroom-two things Jill really wanted. They also relocated the kitchen and enclosed a screen porch, which became a breakfast nook.

The entire renovation project took 4 months to covert a 25-year-old home into a contemporary and stylish, yet kid-friendly home. The open layout yields lots of space for friends and family to enjoy expansive views of the Intracoastal Waterway.

Thank you Jim and Jill for opening your home to loyal readers of Coastal Living and enticing potential buyers to our special Lowcountry haven. Congratulations on your success with the project, and good luck to you and all of our fine area builders in securing future renovations and new construction in the area.



Tony Makar knows Gourmet Food

By Wendy Pollitzer

December 9, 2010


Tony Makar






Tony Makar knows the restaurant business. If you’re from the Lowcountry and have dined in Charleston, you’re probably familiar with Shem Creek Bar and Grill and Café 99. And, if you’re from Columbia, you’re definitely familiar with Harper’s Restaurant in Five Points. Tony has worked at them all. He’s been a Manager, Chef, Server…you name it, he’s done it. But it’s in his blood. His family owned a restaurant called Makar’s Tavern. Tony remembers flipping burgers at age 12. That experience led him to his tenure in the Food and Beverage business.

As anyone in Food and Beverage knows, the restaurant business is half-food and half-people management.  When Tony tired of F&B, he realized he had a knack for managing people. So, he decided to go back to school to study healthcare at MUSC, which eventually led him to a career as a Nursing Home Administrator.  Tony worked in this capacity for several years when he realized he missed cooking.

Tony wanted to combine his chef experience with his knowledge of managing an aging population. Initially, he wanted to create a business that would cater to retirees. He wanted to cook good, healthy meals and deliver his product to his customers for a hassle-free, no-fuss experience.

So that’s how his business started. Tony Makar now owns Gourmet on Wheels, a meal delivery service that creates large entrees with low/no sea salt, sugar substitutes and fresh herbs for a healthy lifestyle. You can go online, place your order on Fridays, and 5 meals will be delivered to your door on Tuesdays for a low price and super easy convenience.

Makar’s business has grown to include many more people than the retired population.  People of all ages and walks of life benefit from Tony’s cooking, including me! I order from Tony once a week, and my amazing meals come prepared to reheat. I pick the kids up from school, let them play while I work and throw the meals in the microwave for 3-5 minutes for an absolutely delicious gourmet meal. And the best part…no clean up!

This just isn’t great for single moms; it’s also terrific for bachelors! Are you looking for something to do for that friend who just had a baby? Or would you like to console someone who’s just lost someone close to them? Or do you want to help a loved one who’s been ill and unable to cook for him or herself?  This is the best gift idea!  It’s inexpensive and very thoughtful.

It’s also a great gift for the Holiday Season. And, it’s always nice to give gifts that keep on giving, like food!  Do you have a large group coming for Christmas? I would imagine your top concern is Christmas Eve or Christmas Day dinner, correct?  Well, what about the other 3-5 days your company is visiting? Again, Gourmet on Wheels is the perfect solution!

Each meal feeds 2 people easily. My two girls and I eat each meal, no problem.    And Tony makes just about everything you can think of.  From Shrimp Enchiladas to Mom’s Meatloaf to Baked Ziti to Smoked Gouda Stone Ground Grits and Tasso Ham Gravy, he’ll make a darn good meal!

Tony and his mom cook at Lady’s Island Country Club on Mondays for Tuesday deliveries.   At present, Tony is preparing healthy meals for Beaufort Academy and is also providing meals at the Festival of Trees. In addition, Tony travels to the local Farmer’s Markets for fresh ingredients.

If you know Tony Makar at all, you’re familiar with his outgoing, friendly demeanor. He’s the kind of guy that doesn’t have to try; everyone just likes him. And his wife, Anna, is just the same. This is a family that is committed to each other first, career second and everything else third.  What is spectacular is the fact that they’ve established a business that uses all the family’s good assets to deliver a great product for the community.  And, they love doing it! Tony even has a nephew in Charleston that helps with catering when needed.

Tony and Anna have three children, Tradd (12), Cameron (10) and Lucie (8). When Tony was at MUSC, the couple were Innkeepers at the Swordgate Inn (on Tradd St.), thus the basis for their first-born’s name.

As an aside, “Tradd” was the first baby born in Charleston when it was a fortress guarded with Swordgates. The other set now guards The Citadel. I digress.

Tony Makar and his family have established a solid foundation for a business ready to grow exponentially.  I can attest, Gourmet on Wheels is the next best thing to sliced bread!  But, don’t take my word for it. Try it yourself.  Go to and take a look at all of Tony’s meals. Once you start, I promise…you’ll be hooked!


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

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 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.


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

By Wendy Pollitzer

Dr. Mark Newberry

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

Ken Glasson

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.

Coach Mark Clifford

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.


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 and a member of his staff

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.



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

By Wendy Pollitzer

July 29, 2010

Jered and Deanna Kraszewski

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

July 22, 2010

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 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

Katie Huebel and Beverly (Bev) VanGysel

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

By Wendy Pollitzer

July 8, 2010

Mary Simmons

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 Lifeand 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






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.”


Kevin and Rosemary Cuppia






Now, the Cuppias have converted the building into two individual units that can each sleep up to six people. The girls at 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.

DSCN3337That’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

Beth Shaw and Donna and Gary Lang

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!


Carrie Freeman, Founder of The Wellness School Advocates Holistic Health

By Wendy Pollitzer

June 10, 2010

Carrie Freeman

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.



Friends of Hunting Island and the Loggerhead Sea Turtle

By Wendy Pollitzer

May 27, 2010

50531581d9777-Friends of Hunting Island

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

Sheri Little

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!


Hope Haven Director wants Intrinsic Peace for All

By Wendy Pollitzer

May 6, 2010

Shauw Chin Capps

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

Chef Jim Spratling

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

John Joyner Smith-McLeod House

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

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 CarolineHospice 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 ofCaroline 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 ofCaroline. 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

Dr. Clark Trask

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

Roland Gardner

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.


Lloyd Griffin will Move you with a Smile

by Wendy Pollitzer

Mar. 18, 2010

Lloyd Griffin and Grandchildren

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 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

Denice Davis, Katie Oliva and Jenny Kopke

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

By Wendy Pollitzer

Mar. 4, 2010


Carson Bruce








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.


Shelley Lowther opens Dancing Dogs Yoga

by Wendy Pollitzer 

Feb. 25, 2010

Shelley Lowther

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


Warren and Jefferson Gibson








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.

Chloe and Harley Gartner

Zack Harrelson and Ben Lubkin

Caroline Ferguson


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

Ann Bluntzer

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


Chip Dinkins








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








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!


About Wendy

Wendy Pollitzer is a versatile writer living in the Lowcountry of South Carolina.

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"I love Wendy Pollitzer’s writing. Her instincts are remarkable, her nose for truth infallible. I can’t pick up a journal or magazine that she’s written for without going straight to the table of contents in search of her piece. What I think is so interesting about her work is that she really believes in what she’s doing, in getting it right. She’s very, very good. "— Pat Conroy (Prince of Tides, South of Broad) 1945-2016