SAVANNAH POLICE OFFICER HONORED BY VFW, DONATES HER MONETARY AWARD TO 200 CLUB

SAVANNAH, GA – JULY 20, 2022 – Savannah Police Department Corporal Janessa Stalter recently received the prestigious 2022 Public Service Award presented by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 660.

Stalter graciously accepted the award, which included a generous check. Rather than keep the money, though, Stalter felt it within her heart to donate the funds to the 200 Club, which cares for the family members of fallen first responders. As a first responder herself, the cause is near and dear to Stalter.

Club President & CEO Mark Dana accepted the donation from Stalter, praising her generosity and willingness to help so many in the community which, he pointed out, certainly must have been a critical factor in her selection as the VFW’s most recent Service Award winner. 

“The many family members served by the 200 Club and the organization’s leadership are always amazed by these types of selfless acts that keep the club focused on raising the funds necessary to carry out our core mission,” Dana said. “We thank Corporal Stalter for her compassion and kindness, as do the families of her fallen brothers and sister.”

Stalter has enjoyed a long, successful law-enforcement career. Before that, she was an educator in the Savanah-Chatham County area public and private school systems. She graduated in 1994 from the P.O.S.T. Academy and, in 2000, earned her P.O.S.T. Instructor credentials. In 1994, she began her career with the City of Savannah Police Department and, within three years, she became a corporal. Over the course of her 28-year career, Stalter has spent time as a detective with the Criminal Investigation Bureau, the Tactical Response and Prevention (“TRAP”) Unit, and the Crime Suppression Unit. 

In 2014, along with Officer Meg Whitfield, she started the Tourism Oriented Policing Unit, where she currently works. The unit is assigned to the Northwest Precinct in the downtown historic area. The role of this unit is to maintain safety and address quality-of-life issues for residents, tourists, and businesses. It’s common to find Stalter walking, riding a bicycle or a Segway through the downtown streets, where she shares her knowledge and joy of the City of Savannah while speaking to and assisting those she meets.

In May 2021, Stalter was named the Savannah Police Department’s “Officer of The Month.” When nominated for the honor, it was noted that Stalter is a compassionate advocate for the homeless population. Most homeless individuals know her as “Matilda” and specifically ask for her because they know she will treat them with dignity and respect, as she sincerely listens to them, links them up to helpful resources, or pulls blankets or clothing out of her patrol car for them. Stalter has trained countless officers throughout her career and is always liked by those she instructs, as they appreciate her ethical values, patience, principles, and willingness to lead by example. 

Stalter is an original member of the Georgia VIII, Savannah Chapter, of the Blue Knights police motorcycle club, which she helped to establish. She also enjoys serving as an official for volleyball, basketball, and softball games.  

The 200 Club of the Coastal Empire is a 501(c) (3) organization who “cares for those who care for us” by providing significant financial assistance for surviving spouses and dependents of first responders who have lost their lives or sustained critical injuries in the line of duty. The organization serves a 20-county area within Georgia and South Carolina. All proceeds from this event will directly support the families of fallen heroes. The 200 Club provides significant financial assistance to the surviving family members and provides a fully paid college education – including tuition, room and board, textbooks, and a computer. To date, the organization has given over $3.8 million to families and have become a respected voice of the community’s appreciation for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. For more information, go to our200club.com, call 912-721-4418 or email info@our200Club.com.
 

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For media inquiries, please contact Lesley Francis at lesley@lesleyfrancispr.com or 912-429-3950, Allie Robinson at 912-547-3100 or allie@lesleyfrancispr.com, or the team at 912-417-LFPR (5377).

SAVANNAH VOICE FESTIVAL CELEBRATES TENTH ANNIVERSARY SEASON WITH FIVE SAVANNAH OPERA PRODUCTIONS

SAVANNAH, GA. – July 19, 2022 – The Savannah VOICE Festival (SVF) is swinging into its tenth anniversary season with five different operas produced by Savannah OPERA this August.  These out of this world productions range from a revue of Broadway’s Brigadoon to Goethe’s Faust, plus Menotti’s The Medium, and a special double bill of Alice Ryley, a Savannah Ghost Story alongside Anna Hunter, the Spirit of Savannah.  Jorge Parodi, Artistic Director of SVF comments; “One of the objectives of Savannah OPERA is to make opera accessible to all, with four of our 2022 productions performed in English and we provide English supertitles for Faust.  We hope people will enjoy the range of operatic productions offered this year.”

For two nights only, on Aug. 12-13, patrons can experience the back-to-back magic of Alice Ryley, a Savannah Ghost Story, and Anna Hunter, the Spirit of Savannah, both directed by Joe Winskye and conducted by Andrew Bisantz. These two Savannah-centric operas were written by Savannah OPERA’s Composer-in-Residence Michael Ching.  This is the first time they will be performed together in the city whose history inspired these ghostly operas.  The double bills start at 6:30 p.m. on both August 12 and 13 at the Charles H. Morris Center, 10 E. Broad St. in Savannah.

Alice Ryley, a Savannah Ghost Story, based on a true story, paints a tragic image of an immigrant’s life as she embarks on new experiences of love and loss in the newly formed Georgia colony in the 18th century. Watch Alice, played by Jessica Ann Best, navigate bearing a child and her prosecution in Savannah’s high-profile murder case.

Anna Hunter, the Spirit of Savannah, is an uplifting comedy depicting Hunter’s life, a newspaper reporter, painter and community leader, who worked to save Savannah’s historic squares and founded the Historic Savannah Foundation in the 1950s. Audiences will be enthralled by the spirit of Anna, played by Savannah VOICE Festival’s President and Co-Founder Maria Zouves, as she returns to haunt a present-day tour guide.

The Medium is a bone-chilling, one-act American opera. Executive Director Chad Sonka and conductor Andrew Bisantz team up to tell the tale of a medium falling victim to her own fraudulent voices. Enjoy this eerie story at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. on August 11 at the scenic Telfair Academy, located on 121 Barnard Street in downtown Savannah.

Return to Brigadoon is a special musical revue of a timeless fairytale created by Lerner and Loewe that will bring back old memories and captivate new hearts. Audience members will be transported by the parallel world portrayed. This production will be held at 6:30 p.m. on August 16 and 18 at the charming Charles H. Morris Center.

Charles Gounod’s Faust is a haunting, grand opera, portraying a man’s pact with the devil in exchange for youth and love Goethe’s tale of Marguerite and Faust be brought to life by SVF’s Artistic Director, Jorge Parodi and prolific stage director, Fabrizio Melano at 6:30 p.m. August 19 and 21 at the beautiful Asbury Memorial Church

For a full lineup of all Savannah VOICE Festival operas and other events, to become a VOICE Member, or to purchase tickets for one of these breathtaking operas, please visit www.savannahvoicefestival.org, call 855.766.7372, or email info@savannahvoicefestival.org.

Savannah VOICE Festival is a 501(c) 3 tax exempt nonprofit arts organization in the state of Georgia. The Festival brings classical vocal excellence to the Savannah area through a two-week celebration of concerts, events, and educational presentations during the month of August and throughout the year. Focusing on arts awareness and audience development in the performing arts, it offers music from opera, musical theatre, and popular song. The Savannah VOICE Festival is supported in part by the Georgia Council for the Arts through the appropriations from the Georgia General Assembly. GCA is a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. Donations are tax-deductible.

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For media inquiries, please contact Kristyn Fielding at 229-393-6457 or kristyn@lesleyfrancispr.com, Allie Robinson at 912-547-3100 or allie@lesleyfrancispr.com,  or Lesley Francis at 912-429-3950 or lesley@lesleyfrancispr.com.

ENJOY A ‘BITE-SIZED’ PORTION OF SHARK WEEK THIS JULY 24-31 WITH MEGATEETH DIVER BILL EBERLEIN

Savannah, GA – July 18, 2022 While many people commute to work, few can say they literally dive into their jobs. Every week is “Shark Week” for Bill Eberlein, the founder of MegaTeeth Fossils, who dives day-in and day-out in the waters of Coastal Georgia in search of megalodon and mako shark teeth.

“These fossils have laid sedentary for centuries, only moved by the tides of our oceans,” Eberlein said. “These pieces of our world’s history remained untouched by the human hand, and I get the honor of getting to find these unique fossils and share that history with the world.” 

The excitement generated each year by the Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week” – which takes place July 24-31 this year – prompts masses of people to learn more about the aquatic creatures and explore all things shark-related. Eberlein likes Shark Week because it makes him happy to know that others are interested in the elasmobranch fish he bases his livelihood on. It’s a passion he is eager to share with those who are curious.

Megaladons were enormous sea creatures, members of the now-extinct family of sharks, the megashark. The name megalodon translates in Greek to “big tooth,” which is no exaggeration. These ancient sharks measured up to 60 feet in length, which is the standard length of an entire bowling lane. A single tooth from this shark is generally three to seven inches long and weighs just under a pound. Those teeth may sound rather small, but the force of the teeth add up, given that megalodons had 276 teeth! The bite force of a megalodon adds up to about an impressive 40,000 pounds per square inch, which is greater than the bite force of a T-rex dinosaur. Today, only the fossils remain to carry on the daunting legacy of the megalodon, who roved the deepest parts of the oceans any time between 3 and 20 million years ago.

Eberlein has accumulated more than 25 years of diving experience, honing those skills and combining them with his background in accounting to successfully build MegaTeeth. With most of his time spent on leisure dives at shipwreck sites, Eberlein wasn’t introduced to fossil diving until the late 1990s, when he moved to Savannah. He went out in a charter boat off the coast of Hilton Head Island and truly knew he was hooked on fossil diving. 

“I never imagined how prolific my collection would become and certainly never imagined I would have created a business for myself doing what I love every day,” Eberlein said.

As the fossil collection grew, he decided it was time to part ways with some of his precious pieces and in 2000 he started MegaTeeth fossils.  Eight years later he decided to “take the plunge” to dive and sell his fossils full-time, leaving his day job.  What was once a dream had come to fruition before his very eyes – a business built around passion.

Families from all over the map can enjoy a piece of “Shark Week” in their own home with a Megalodon tooth fossil. Eberlein’s Megalodon teeth and other fossils, exhibited on his on his website at https://megateeth.com/, are available for purchase. Each item is from Eberlein’s personal collection. Unless stated otherwise, each shark tooth purchase will include an acrylic display stand, certificate of authenticity and fossil identification information or an article about Eberlein’s hunt for shark teeth.

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Editor’s Note

For information about Shark Week visit www.discovery.com

For media inquiries, please call Lesley Francis at 912-429-3950 or lesley@lesleyfrancispr.com.contact Kristyn Fielding at 229-393-6457 or kristyn@lesleyfrancispr.com or the team at 912-417-LFPR (5377). 

GEORGIA TECH-SAVANNAH TO CELEBRATE SAFE + SOUND WEEK WITH FREE HYBRID OSHA TRAINING COURSES (AUG. 15-21)

SAVANNAH, GA – JULY 12, 2022 – In recognition of Safe + Sound Week, Georgia Tech-Savannah will host a series of free OSHA training seminars related to business and healthcare.  Safe + Sound Week runs from Aug. 15-21 and is a nationwide event that recognizes the successes of workplace health and safety programs and offers information and ideas on how to keep America’s workers safe.  These free courses are hybrid so they are available to people to attend either virtually or in-person at the Georgia Tech-Savannah campus, 210 Technology Circle Savannah, GA.

These free seminars are especially topical in light of the recent challenges to health and safety due to the pandemic.  Each seminar will be instructed by professionals from Georgia Tech’s OSHA Consultation Program, who are well-experienced in assisting small and new businesses with their safety and health needs and concerns. Ample time will be provided for discussion with instructors, as well as networking with other attendees to on share experiences and challenges.

The week will kick off Monday, Aug. 15 with an “Introduction to OSHA for Small Business” course from 12:30 – 4:30 p.m. This seminar is designed to teach small businesses how to work with OSHA to reduce and prevent injuries and illnesses. The free course will help participants understand the OSHA inspection process, how it operates, and most importantly, how to create a safety and health program for companies.

The next course, “Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure Control for Healthcare Facilities,” will be offered from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 16. This free course, designed for those in all areas of the healthcare industry, will cover the development and implementation of robust Exposure Control Plans (ECP) as required by the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogen Standard. The session is intended to provide a review of potential exposure and control methods for facilities and activities, and how to develop an ECP that manages vaccinations, exposure incidents, training, and record keeping.

On Wednesday, Aug. 17, a free course on “Infectious Disease Training for Funeral Home Workers” will be offered from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Participants will learn to manage, guide and lead workforces through pandemics and infectious disease hazards. Other topics will include application OSHA standards relating to infectious disease (COVID-19), the COVID-19 National Emphasis Program Emergency Temporary Standard, managing grief, stress, and bereavement, and where to find additional resources. 

Georgia Tech-Savannah will continue its week-long celebration of Safe + Sound Week on Thursday, Aug. 18 with a free course addressing “Public Warehousing and Storage” from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Potential hazards in this rapidly growing and fast-paced industry are numerous and unfortunately, injuries to warehouse employees are on the rise. This free course will address public warehousing and storage operations, including encounters with powered industrial trucks, material handling, lifting and ergonomic challenges, chemical hazards, slips, trips and falls, and life safety requirements including fire protection and evacuation.

The week will conclude on Friday, Aug. 19 with an “Infectious Disease Training for Long Term Care Healthcare Workers” course, slated for 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. This course for long term healthcare workers will provide the opportunity for participants to learn to manage, guide and lead their workforces through pandemics and infectious disease hazards.

Continuing Education Units (CEUs) may be obtained for a fee of $25. For questions regarding this or any of the seminars fill out the form https://pe.gatech.edu/contact-us/savannah.

You can register for one or more of these seminars at https://linkmix.co/10507226. This link can also be found on all of Georgia Tech Savannah’s social media sites.

To learn more about Georgia Tech-Savannah’s OSHA training solutions, please visit www.pe.gatech.edu/savannah/courses/occupational-safety-health.

 

ABOUT GEORGIA TECH SAVANNAH:

Georgia Tech-Savannah provides educational experiences for learners of all ages. Our multitude of learning platforms are tailored to meet the needs of a diverse population, from working professionals pursuing career development and those seeking specific certifications to children eager to explore and discover. Georgia Tech-Savannah’s professional education, training and military programs encourages participants to challenge themselves and meet goals by sharpening existing skills and picking up valuable new ones. We’re proud to bring cutting-edge technology, applied research capabilities and innovation to the Coastal Empire, where our campus also serves as a home for various Georgia Tech affiliates, institutes, and centers. To learn more, visit us at pe.gatech.edu/savannah.

 

 

TICKET SALES CONTINUE FOR GRAINGER HONDA/ NISSAN CAR GIVEAWAY BENEFITTING 200 CLUB

SAVANNAH, GA – JULY 7, 2022 – In April, the 200 Club of the Coastal Empire and car dealership owner Bill Grainger and the Grainger Companies announced a car raffle to raise money for the club. Two months later, ticket sales are going strong, and the date of the raffle is drawing closer.

Tickets cost $100 each and may be purchased at our200club.com. Only 1,000 tickets are being sold total, and many have already been claimed. The raffle will be held on Labor Day weekend, Saturday, Sept. 3, during a cookout for the community hosted at the Grainger Honda/Nissan dealerships on Chatham Parkway. The winner, who does not need to be present to win, will get to choose between a 2022 Nissan Rogue or a 2022 Honda CR-V donated by Bill Grainger and the Grainger Companies. Grainger will also fully pay the sales taxes on the vehicle. All the proceeds will benefit the 200 Club, which  provides significant financial support for the surviving spouses and dependents of first responders who have lost their lives or sustain critical injuries in the line of duty. 

The nonprofit organization serves 20 counties within Georgia and South Carolina. Families of fallen first responders suffer tremendous devastation and pay the price for the community’s safety; they may even be left without a reliable source of income. To ease the grieving process and ensure surviving spouses and children have a bit less stress in their lives, the 200 Club recognizes the families’ sacrifices through immediate benefits and financial assistance, often starting only days after a loss occurs. 

The Sept. 3 cookout is free and open to the whole community. Food will be provided by the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office, and attendees will enjoy musical entertainment and other activities.

200 Club President/CEO Mark Dana expressed his gratitude for both Bill Grainger and Sheriff John Wilcher for their support with this endeavor.

“Please buy a ticket today to support the families we serve – they won’t last long! Bill Grainger deserves a huge thank you for his willingness to support the club through the incredibly generous donation of a new car. Also, paying the sales taxes on it so the winner doesn’t have to is almost unheard of in charitable giveaways like this. This is a true act of kindness and compassion for the 200 Club’s families,” Dana said. “The sheriff’s office has supported us with their resources, helping us spread the word about the raffle, donating food for the cookout, assisting with facilitating everything. We couldn’t do this without our partners.”

To purchase a raffle ticket, please visit our200club.com. Only 1,000 tickets are being sold, greatly increasing each ticketholder’s opportunity to win. The winner need not be present at the drawing. 100% of proceeds benefits the many family members we honorably serve with significant financial assistance, as well as a fully paid college education.

The 200 Club of the Coastal Empire is a 501(c) (3) organization who “cares for those who care for us” by providing significant financial assistance for surviving spouses and dependents of first responders who have lost their lives or sustained critical injuries in the line of duty. The organization serves a 20-county area within Georgia and South Carolina. All proceeds from this event will directly support the families of fallen heroes. The 200 Club provides significant financial assistance to the surviving family members and provides a fully paid college education – including tuition, room and board, textbooks, and a computer. To date, the organization has given over $3.8 million to families and have become a respected voice of the community’s appreciation for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. For more information, go to our200club.com, call 912-721-4418 or email info@our200Club.com.
 

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For media inquiries, please contact Lesley Francis at lesley@lesleyfrancispr.com or 912-429-3950, Allie Robinson at 912-547-3100 or allie@lesleyfrancispr.com, or the team at 912-417-LFPR (5377).

GRILLING OUT AS A NATIONAL PASTIME

I hope you had a fabulous July 4th weekend.  Like many Americans, we spent the holiday with family, eating a variety of foods which could be cooked outside.  My husband loves to stand by our blazing charcoal grill, drink in hand, cooking the meat for our meal – although he does a pretty good sockeye salmon on cedar wood planks as well.  It must be something primeval about meat and fire that appeals to the male of our species.  Although he usually claims full credit for cooking the meal, it falls to me to prepare the sides, salads and table setting.

This all got me thinking about the passion Americans have for grilling out.  Obviously, it all started in a rudimentary form around 500,000 years ago after mankind figured out how to create fire to cook food during the Stone Age.  Many centuries passed before the human race got their first taste of ‘barbecue.’ It probably derived from the Arawak people of the Caribbean, who centuries ago used a wooden structure called ‘barbako’ where meat got smoked and cooked.

I need to confess to great confusion when I first arrived in America as in the UK the term “barbecue” means grilling out – that is cooking meat, fish or vegetables outdoors over open flames.  Of course, in this part of the USA, true barbecuing is cooking and smoking meat slowly over indirect heat, inside a barbecuing pit.  This type of barbecue began in 18th-century colonial America, specifically in the settlements along the Southeastern seaboard where pigs were abundant.   Whole hogs spent up to 14 hours over coals resulting in delicious pulled pork.

Turning back to the backyard rituals enjoyed over the Independence Day weekend; did you know that until the mid- 20th century grilling food outside mainly happened at campsites and picnics?  Outdoor cooking anywhere else was often seen as a sign of poverty.  However, after the Second World War when people began to flock to the suburbs, backyard grilling became extremely popular.

Around this time in Chicago, George Stephens, who owned a metal working factory, had grown frustrated with the flat, open brazier-style grills common at the time.  He began experimenting and invented a round grill that held in heat.  Stephen made this new grill by severing a metal buoy in half and fashioning a dome-shaped base with a rounded cover, which he began selling in 1955.  He called it “George’s Barbeque Kettle” and had a big winner on his hands.  Later, he bought out his manufacturing partners the Weber Brothers, and renamed the company the Weber-Stephens Products Company, and re-named his creation the Weber Grill.  The business was family-owned for 117 years until 2010, and became a public company just last year, worth $2 billion today.

America’s most famous 4th of July food tradition is grilling hot dogs and hamburgers. The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council has declared July as National Hot Dog Month.   We know that hot dogs evolved from the German frankfurter sausage which was brought to America by immigrants.  However, the reason for hot dogs rise in popularity in the 20th century is less clear.  Some say it became associated with American culture and baseball parks in 1893 thanks to St. Louis bar owner and German immigrant, Chris Von der Ahe, who owned the St. Louis Browns major league baseball team.  Others say that in 1901 when the New York Polo grounds ran out of wax paper for sausages, they started using spare French rolls.  Others place the beginning of hot dogs to the Coney Island Amusement Park in the late 1800s, and some trace hot dogs back to the 1904 World’s Fair in St Louis.  No matter their history, I have to confess that despite my American citizenship, I just don’t love hot dogs!

Now hamburgers are a different story – I love them and was delighted to find out that the earliest mention of the hamburger is in a 1763 English cookbook by Hannah Glasse, The Art of Cookery, Made Plain and Easy.  In 1802 the Oxford English Dictionary includes a ‘Hamburg steak’ – a slab of salted, minced beef that is slightly smoked and mixed with onions and breadcrumbs. Salted and smoked food were ideal for long sea voyages and in the 18th century the ‘Hamburg steak’ made its way across the Atlantic. Ships of the Hamburg-America line brought thousands of immigrants to the New World and soon Hamburg-style beef patties were being served from street stands.  They were also at the 1904 World’s Fair, and in 1916 Walter Anderson, a fry cook from Kansas, invented a bun specially for hamburgers. Five years later he co-founded White Castle and the world’s first burger chain was born.  For more information see www.history.com.

I say goodbye this week with a quote from Microsoft founder Bill Gates.  “Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping – they called it opportunity.”

God Bless America!

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Lesley grew up in London, England and made Georgia her home in 2009.  She can be contacted at lesley@lesleyfrancispr.com  or via her PR and marketing agency at www.lesleyfrancispr.com

BLOG – JUNE 2022 – SUMMER NEWS

BLOG – JUNE 2022 – SUMMER NEWS

Here is summer, which – other than the worry about hurricanes – is one of my favorite times of the year, with long evenings and the chance to go the beach or enjoy the pool at weekends. It was great fun hosting our annual LFPR pool party last weekend for our dedicated employees and family members as we celebrate our 11th year in business.

Joy and celebrations are important at LFPR because we all work hard, and the mutual support and teamwork I see every day at our company is something I really value. Team LFPR loved attending the wonderful wedding of our recently promoted account director, Kristyn Fielding, as she became Kristyn Beasley. Talking of promotions, Allie Robinson, a two-year LFPR veteran and former senior account executive, is now an account manager. We formally welcomed Emily Vonck, who served as the agency’s spring 2022 intern, to the team as our new full-time marketing assistant. We are also enjoying having Caroline Boykin working with us as our summer intern. We wish Crystal Vogel and Hollie Barnidge all the best and thank them for their hard work over the years as they leave LFPR.

One of the biggest growth areas for LFPR’s marketing services is in our online work, and to recognize her contributions to it, Shelby McKee has been promoted to digital design director. She manages the design of responsive, user-friendly websites, as well as branding, digital and print materials, while tracking and analyzing website performance metrics and user engagement to make effective and data-driven design decisions. Zack Adams also joins us as our part-time website developer, and we are thrilled to have his technical expertise on our team. Every staff member is dedicated to this company, its success, and the clients we serve, as is evidenced by the quality work they produce and their wonderful attitudes. I am proud to offer these well-deserved promotions and excited to watch their careers continue to grow.  

 Check out some recent new websites we have built for our clients:

One of the things that I really value at LFPR is the long working relationships we enjoy with our clients. As the 10th annual Savannah VOICE Festival (SVF) is approaching this August, I look back at how LFPR worked closely with SVF over the years to build the profile of this amazing celebration of the voice! Looking back at some other wonderful client events and initiatives earlier this year, we were thrilled to be the media partners for Historic Savannah Foundation’s Preservation Month in May, Savannah African Art Museum’s Juneteenth celebration and the 200 Club of the Coastal Empire’s Pooler Run for Heroes.  LFPR also partnered with the Savannah Challenger, a premiere professional tennis event presented by St. Joseph’s/Candler and hosted by the Landings Club at the Franklin Creek Tennis Center on Skidaway Island, which returned for its 12th annual year after a break due to the pandemic.  Turning to education, we wrapped up another school year supporting Savannah’s only K-12 charter school, Savannah Classical Academy, with event and marketing services.  Looking to the business world, Georgia Tech-Savannah’s first breakfast Learners and Leaders seminar was well-attended in person and online, and the panel and discussions about the hot topic of supply chain and logistics were of the highest caliber.

Until next time, take care and enjoy your summer!

LONGTIME FAMILY PROMISE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR KATRINA BOSTICK FEATURED IN ESSENCE MAGAZINE

SAVANNAH, GA – JUNE 30, 2022 – Family Promise of the Coastal Empire Executive Director Katrina Bostick was featured in the current issue of Essence Magazine.

The piece is titled, “‘It Could Happen to Any of Us’: This CEO Shares How Her Social Work Career Led Her to Fight the Homelessness Epidemic,” and was written by Jasmine Browley. It focuses on the path that led Bostick to her vocation of assisting housing-insecure families while highlighting her achievements with Family Promise since she came on board seven years ago.

Essence isn’t the first prominent organization to take note of Bostick’s commitment for helping the homeless and the passion she exudes in furthering her organization’s mission. When Family Promise’s national headquarters merged three local affiliate branches in Chatham, Bryan and Effingham counties in 2020, the choice to appoint Bostick as executive director of the newly formed Family Promise of the Coastal Empire was a natural one. She rose to the task without hesitation and hasn’t looked back, taking the nonprofit to new heights while helping record numbers of homeless families during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. 

As Bostick told the Essence article reporter, her ultimate goal is not only breaking the cycle of homelessness among the families her organization helps, but lifting an entire population out of poverty for good. She does that by ensuring Family Promise provides top-notch programs, training workshops and initiatives that individuals can work through to improve their circumstances for good – giving them a hand up and not just a hand-out.

Before beginning her journey with Family Promise, Bostick was employed at a childcare center for 13 years, where she worked frequently with nearly impoverished families. While studying for her Bachelor of Social Work degree from Savannah State University in 2013, she began working at Family Promise, then known as the Interfaith Hospitality Network. This experience changed her understanding of homelessness to something that put children and families on the forefront. She was appointed executive director of Family Promise in 2015, shortly after graduating with her Master of Social Work degree from Valdosta State University. In 2020, she became the director of the newly formed Family Promise of the Coastal Empire. She has three children, Alexis, Donovan and Lauren, and lives in Pooler with her dog, Charlie.

Essence Magazine is a monthly lifestyle magazine for Black women, covering culture, fashion, beauty and entertainment. They utilize a multi-platform presence through publishing, online media, videos and social media channels to reach their target audience. The article on Bostick can be read here: www.essence.com/news/money-career/katrina-bostick-aiming-to-end-homelessness-with-her-work/ Browley, the Essence reporter, contacted Family Promise’s national headquarters with the idea to feature Bostick in the magazine after she researched the work Family Promise of the Coastal Empire has been doing since the 2020 merger, as well as Bostick’s service on the Family Promise National Affiliate Council and her other community initiatives over the years.

“We’re so proud of the work Katrina has done to advance Family Promise’s mission throughout the region. Her work speaks for itself, so it comes as no surprise to the board that a notable publication like Essence would highlight her achievements within their pages,” Family Promise of the Coastal Empire Board Chairman Jason Crosby said. “We congratulate Katrina and thank her for all that she’s done and will continue to do.” 

Family Promise works with host congregations to reduce the number of families who are separated when they fall on difficult times and find themselves homeless. However, the organization expands its mission beyond just providing meals and shelter for families. They also offer mentoring, homelessness-prevention programs and services, and initiatives to address the underlying causes of homelessness. Family Promise has a strong track record in keeping families together, while offering support and resources towards long-term independence.

For more information about Family Promise, please visit www.familypromisece.org, email info@familypromisece.org or call 912-790-9446.

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For media inquiries, please contact Lesley Francis at lesley@lesleyfrancispr.com at 912-429-3950, Allie Robinson at 912-547-3100 or allie@lesleyfrancispr.com, or the team at 912-417-LFPR (5377).

HSF CREATES YOUTH GUIDE ENSLAVED JOURNEY PROGRAM FOR DAVENPORT HOUSE MUSEUM

SAVANNAH, GA – June 27, 2022 – Historic Savannah Foundation’s Davenport House Museum (DHM) has added a new program to its slate of offerings, which include in-person and virtual tours, historical re-enactments, educational special events and local collaborations. The most recently added feature, a Youth Guide program, is a youth-engagement activity that allows visitors to complete a “journey” as one of the home’s enslaved residents.

The intention of the DHM’s Youth Guide program is to provide younger online guests and the virtual community with a more accurate depiction of the Davenport family household, as well as the lives of enslaved people in a 19th century Southern port city. The legacy of the enslaved people – not only in the Davenport House, but also throughout Savannah – is critically important to the history of the city. It is because of enslaved people that much of the city exists as it does, from buildings and trades to traditions and experiences.

Thirteen documented enslaved people lived and toiled in the Davenport House in the early 19th century, playing an essential role in the family’s existence. That is why it is important that the story of the enslaved household members be included in the story of the Davenports. While the museum’s docents and tours do verbally acknowledge these household members, the ability to tell the full story of this part of history previously had been limited. However, thanks to extensive research by Kelly Westfield, a former Davenport House graduate student intern, those limitations have been significantly reduced. Westfield, who earned a master’s degree in 2018, used the Davenport House enslaved people as the basis for her thesis.

“Kelly is a very gifted researcher. Her work has a legacy much longer than just the credit she received from her university. She has continued to do work on the biographies and narratives of the individuals who were enslaved here long after her academic work was completed,” Davenport House Museum Director Jamie Credle said. “Even today, she continues to do research on the house. She is seeking a doctorate degree using this information as a basis for her dissertation. That was a gift to us. Kelly has been very generous with her time. Her work has made everything possible – her research is the basis for all this expansion – the Youth Guides, the upcoming Urban Enslaved Exhibit, our docent-led tours interspersed with new information, and interpretations. It has been extremely important.”

Using a $5,000 matching grant from National Trust for Historic Preservation, the DHM hired the Nobis Project to create the Youth Guide program. The Nobis Project is a local non-profit educational organization, founded in 2008, whose mission is to inspire purpose, pivot mindset, and activate agency. It supports and collaborates with educators in developing community-engagement experiences that prepare student leaders to create a more just, sustainable, and equitable world.

The Youth Guide activity was developed with children ages 8-15 in mind, and it has a full interactive component that allows visitors to experience it online. Credle said the museum might eventually add an in-person aspect as well. While the program is always useful and relevant, its availability will be especially meaningful when the Urban Enslaved Exhibit, currently under construction, is complete and can be included in an enslaved person’s Journey.

Development of the program began in mid-2020 when the demand for digital resources was soaring.

“At the time, everything was virtual, so it seemed like a good time to do it. We didn’t know what the world would be like, post-COVID, and everyone was looking toward the virtual experience. Along with the Nobis Project’s efforts, we did the creative work of finding actors and getting a designer to design it on the website using virtual tour footage,” Credle said. “The actors, people of color, created some content for the Journeys. They liked being creative and adding that component to the whole project.”

The project, which is free to all, is located on the Davenport House Museum’s website, davenporthousemuseum.org, under the “Visit” tab on the drop-down menu. Credle said, “It’s easy to find and is very user-friendly, with each Journey lasting about 30 minutes, depending on how long users study the information.” She hopes the Youth Guide program will be used as an educational tool.

“I hope teachers or educators looking for resources on this particular aspect of 19th century history will be able to use it as something that fits with or accents their curriculum. It’s a learning tool that is content-rich and specific. It offers something concrete that someone can learn as opposed to learning a concept or piecing together a story you’re just guessing at,” Credle said.

Historic Savannah Foundation, a leading nonprofit preservation and cultural institution, saves buildings, places, and stories that define Savannah’s past, present, and future. Following its formation in 1955, the organization started a Revolving Fund to save endangered historic properties, now totaling 410 buildings throughout several of Savannah’s historic districts. HSF continues to build capacity within its operations, secure new financial resources, improve its image and visibility, and increase public policy efforts to protect Savannah’s historic districts.

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For media inquiries, please contact Kristyn Fielding at 229-393-6457 or email kristyn@lesleyfrancispr.com or Lesley Francis at lesley@lesleyfrancispr.com or 912-429-3950 or the team at 912-417-LFPR (5377).

100 YEARS OF CHECKER CABS

The cost of travel is going up dramatically right now, and nowhere is this more evident than the price of gas.  It could be worse for us here in Coastal Georgia, of course, we could be paying California prices or be in the UK, where people are paying the equivalent of almost $9 a gallon at the moment.  While this is impacting everyone, I really feel for those people who earn their living by driving other people – taxi and Uber drivers.  It got me thinking about taxis on both sides of the Atlantic.

Did you know that this year the Checker Motor Corporation, the company which made the big, square, clunky-looking iconic American yellow taxi-cab, is 100 years old?  Founded in 1922 in Kalamazoo, Michigan the company was formed through a merger of two existing automobile companies. From 1922 until 1959 Checker’s production vehicles were built almost exclusively for the commercial livery (taxi) business, although the company would build individual vehicles for personal use if requested. Checker cabs were highly valued for durability in heavy usage and special features which included wide rear doors, large rear seats and trunks, and jump seats for 2 extra passengers. The company had trouble competing with fleet discounts offered by the larger, high-volume manufacturers, and also did not have the economies of scale needed to obtain components at a cost effective price. By 1982, lacking the funds to develop a more modern vehicle, Checker Motors produced its final car. The company then invested heavily to pivot to third party manufacturing and become a significant supplier to GM and Chrysler.  I will never forget my first (not very comfortable) journey in one of these big, iconic, yellow monsters when the American man who later became my husband took me to New York for the first time in the 1990s.  We became engaged on that trip – although not in the back of a big yellow taxi I am pleased to report!

New York City first had a taxi service from 1897 called The Electric Carriage and Wagon Company, which had 12 electric hansom cabs available to hire.  A devastating fire ended that company in 1907, and in the same year the city’s first gasoline-powered taxis were imported from France.  These were painted bright canary yellow in order to be visible from a distance. Checker Cab dominated this business until the 1980s when the Ford Crown Vic took over as the most popular yellow taxi model (as well as the preferred choice for police cruisers).  Why?  Some say cost, others say nostalgia.  However, the most logical answer is that the Crown Vic was the last body-on-frame, rear-drive V8 American sedan in high-volume production, and its body-on-frame construction made it structurally more like a pick-up truck.  It can take very heavy damage to the body without bending the frame, which is important for the long and hard-wearing life of a yellow cab or a police cruiser.

Nowadays, NYC has more yellow cabs than regular cars. There are pre-defined rules and regulations for taxi drivers in big US cities, in which drivers have to attend classes, adhere to dress codes and decorum, and learn the geography.  Admittedly sometimes while riding in a NYC taxi it appears that all these lessons have been forgotten by the driver!

Back in England, the land of my birth, taxi cabs were available in London from 1903 but the big, iconic black cabs were introduced in 1947, and is now one of England’s internationally recognized symbols. All black cabs were initially designed to be tall enough to accommodate men wearing bowler hats which, in the years after World War Two, were essential outdoor dress for men in London.  The English licensed cab trade is the oldest regulated public transport system in the world.

All black cab drivers in London must pass ‘The Knowledge’ – a rigorous test that involves memorizing 320 routes, 25,000 streets and 20,000 landmarks within a six mile radius around Charing Cross in Westminster (which is always considered the central point for measuring distances from London).  While this seems a little antiquated in these days of Uber and GPS (what the British call SatNav), London cab drivers universally take pride in never, ever appearing lost or needing directions or assistance of any kind. Now that I think about it, this applies to most men I know, especially my husband.

There is a lot more about the taxi business on both sides of the Atlantic at  www.taximobility.com and www.londonblackcabs.net,

I will leave you with an amusing quote by British fiction writer, Alexandra Potter, who combines some thoughts on both taxis and men: “If only men were like New York taxi-cabs and had a light that they can switch on when they’re interested and off when they’re not available. Then you’d know exactly where you were and you wouldn’t have to worry about getting it wrong and being horribly embarrassed”.

God Bless America!

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Lesley grew up in London, England and made Georgia her home in 2009.  She can be contacted at lesley@lesleyfrancispr.com  or via her PR and marketing agency at www.lesleyfrancispr.com