Skidaway Abigails  l  December 2021

In This Issue

President's Message

Upcoming Events

Program Recaps

Member Spotlight



Board of Directors

Mission Statement

Elected Officials

n This Issue

President's Message

Upcoming Events

Member Spotlight

Communications Update


Announcements: The Glorias

A Message from your Board of Directors


Mission Statement

Contact Information


President's Message

Holiday Greetings to One and All,

No matter what your traditions, I hope everyone is ready for wonderful holiday celebrations this year, as the world is feeling a little bit safer as vaccinations increase, and incidents of COVID-19 infections decrease, at least here on Skidaway Island and in the greater Savannah area.

As you can see, we are finally going to get to meet in person in December and have a “COVID-19—aware” version of our traditional December social. For those of you who are not yet feeling ready to meet in person, our very hard-working IT team, in conjunction with their Hamilton counterparts, have put together a Zoom option, so all Abigails and their guests can access our program that is about what’s going on right here in our front and back yards on Skidaway Island.

For all current, once, and future Abigails, who are receiving this newsletter, I just want to say how important I feel the existence of the Abigails is. The voice of non-partisan, progressive, liberal women, and the areas of interest that we feel passionate about, educate ourselves on, and advocate for, are vital at this time of dissension, everywhere and about everything. It is wonderful, for me, to know there is a place where I can join with women to engage in open, civil conversation to explore topics that we are passionate about. While we definitely do not agree about everything, we have a safe and friendly place to learn from each other and expand our knowledge base.

I wish you all health and happiness as we welcome a New Year, and I am so grateful for each and every one of you.

Betsy Beekman

 Upcoming Events

Deer & Digs: A Look Behind the Scenes at Community Sustainability Certification

December 9

3:30 PM 

Hybrid meeting: 

Messiah Lutheran Church and by Zoom

We welcome all vaccinated members and guests to the in-person meeting.  

Steering Committee Members: 

Mal Welch, Diane Thompson, Blake Caldwell

Dylan Till, Public Works Environmental Manager of The Landings Association

Coordinated by Shanti Stone and Susan Terrio

On December 9 at 3:30 PM we are pleased to announce our first in-person program since the pandemic forced us to meet via Zoom in 2020. We will return to the Fellowship Hall at the Messiah Lutheran Church for a program entitled DEER & DIGS:  A Look Behind the Scenes at Community Sustainability Certification. Members of the steering committee for Sustainable Skidaway, Mal Welch, Blake Caldwell, and Diane Thompson, will be joined by Public Works Environmental Manager Dylan Till from the TLA.

Dylan Till will talk about the TLA deer management program and how it contributes to all three aspects of sustainability -- environmental, economic and social.

We will learn why Skidaway residents sought certification as a sustainable community and how both the deer management program and the archaeological digs currently underway contribute to all three aspects of sustainability -- environmental, economic and social.

Mal Welch has been involved with Skidaway Audubon since moving to The Landings in 2008. She was instrumental in putting together a series of community-wide panels to address the importance of water conservation on the island. She initiated the installation of the Landings bird cam. Out of a first-ever roundtable gathering of every environmental stewardship group on the island in 2014, came a decision to seek certification of The Landings as an Audubon International Sustainable Community.  Certification was achieved five years later, and recertification occurred this year. She co-chairs that initiative with Diane Thompson. 

Since moving to The Landings in 2011, Diane Thompson has served on numerous committees including leadership positions as Treasurer of The Landings Association Board of Directors, President of New Neighbors and President of Landings Landlovers.  She joined the Sustainable Skidaway Steering Committee in 2014 during the initial stages of obtaining certification for The Landings as an Audubon International Sustainable Community.  She most recently has served as Co-Chair of the Steering Committee.

Blake Caldwell moved to the Landings in 2002 and has been very active in The Landings and Savannah communities.  She served many years on the Landings Public Works Committee, chaired the Dog Park Committee, and most recently was on the Board of Directors.  She developed and initially ran Skidaway Farms.  She is currently Vice President of Healthy Savannah, served as chair of the Savannah/Chatham Food Policy Council and chaired the Agriculture and Archaeology Committees for Sustainable Skidaway.  She received the Skidaway Audubon “Environmental Stewardship Award” in 2011.  

Register for Abigails December 9 Program

Program Recap

The Census: Gerrymandering and Redistricting in Georgia 

November 18

Zoom meeting

Coordinated by Shanti Stone and Susan Terrio

Chadrick Mance, President  Savannah Chapter of the NAACP

On November 18, Chadrick Mance, President of the Savannah Chapter of the NAACP, spoke to the Abigails about the redistricting process. He reminded us that redrawing electoral maps after a census is intended to be a non-partisan process that should fairly represent population shifts. In reality, in Georgia, as elsewhere, the majority party in power is in a position to reconfigure districts to favor their candidates. Following the Supreme Court decision ending federal oversight of the redistricting process (Shelby v. Holder), voters must stay informed about changes in local voting districts and let their elected representatives know that they are watching. The lesson is vigilance since true democratic representation is a project that evolves over centuries, not years.

The Housing Savannah Action Plan

November 9

Zoom meeting

Coordinated by Shanti Stone and Susan Terrio

Martin Fretty, Director 

Housing and Neighborhood Services, City of Savannah

On November 9, Martin Fretty, Director of the Savannah Housing and Neighborhood Services Department, spoke about the affordable housing crisis in the city. He reported that the costs of renting or owning a home have doubled in recent years making it impossible to afford housing with an annual income of less than $50,000. Currently 21,000 out of the 53,600 households in the city cannot afford quality housing, or pay more than 30% of their income on rent or a mortgage. Martin Fretty presented the ten-year plan developed by Mayor Johnson’s Housing Task Force to address the crisis by adding more low and middle income rental units, improving degraded or abandoned properties, and providing monetary assistance for homebuyers and renters. We heard the testimonials of those who benefited from these programs: a homeless mother, a senior renter, and a first-time homebuyer. The city’s goal is to move 1,500 families into quality housing a year. Because there are not enough federal dollars to support these goals, the city relies on private donors and volunteers.  Responding to a question about potentially involving the Abigails, Anita Smith-Dixon, Executive Director of the non-profit that administers the affordable housing fund, invited our members to tour the new housing units in Savannah. 

Member Spotlight

Betsey Andersen

Betsey Andersen grew up in New York and graduated from Boston University. With degrees in psychology and music, she moved to New York City and started working as a paralegal at Davis, Polk and Wardwell.  Two years later, she began her financial career at EF Hutton, working as an equity and options trader, and a portfolio manager for a large pension plan.

Betsey and her husband, Einar, left Manhattan and moved to Maine with two small daughters and spent the next 28 years there.  Betsey volunteered for non-profits, pursued a Masters in Public Policy, and enjoyed Ice Dancing.  She learned about a program called, Safe Passage, that helped children and families living in the Guatemala City garbage dump.  Betsey and her two teenage daughters traveled to Guatemala to volunteer with Safe Passage creating an 18-year relationship, which continues today.  She has served as a board member, volunteer, frequent visitor, and Development Director.

After retiring in 2015, Betsey and her husband embarked on an adventure, inspired by the book, Wild.  With little back country experience, they headed to California to hike 1000 miles from Lake Tahoe to the Columbia River on the Pacific Crest Trail.  Then it was off in the opposite direction to Spain, where they walked the 500 mile Camino de Santiago trail.

In 2017, they visited The Landings, bought a house, and have never looked back. The Abigails was one of the first organizations Betsey joined and she has served on the Board for the past two years as Co-Chair of Programs with Pat Wallace, and this year as Treasurer.

Thank you, Betsey, for your commitment to Skidaway Abigails, and your service to humanity.

Sheila Stallings grew up in North and South Carolina.   She graduated from  UNC-Chapel Hill with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and later a Masters of Science in Nursing as a Family Nurse Practitioner and Women's Health Care Nurse Practitioner.  For the last 16 years of her career she was on the faculty of UNC-Chapel Hill School of Nursing in an administrative role. She has three daughters, three sons-in-love, and 7 grandarlings (all girls!).  She has recently become engaged to a wonderful man with 4 grandsons (finally some little boys!).

In NC Sheila enjoyed several volunteer activities.  She was a member of the North Carolina Public Health Reserve Corps and was a volunteer nurse working in the Red Cross Shelters after floods.  She was a nurse with Project Homeless Connect and worked as a volunteer nurse with the county health department to administer H1N1 flu vaccines in mass clinics and in the community.  She was a Certified Special Olympics Equestrian Coach and was so proud that her athlete and Sheila's horse won first place two years in a row.  She trained two of her dogs to be Therapy dogs and worked with children with reading difficulties and paraplegia with her dogs.  An animal and people lover, she served on the Board of Directors for a service dog organization that trains and places service dogs to assist individuals with mobility impairments and to alert to medical emergency conditions, such as diabetic hypoglycemia.

After moving to Savannah in 2015, Sheila enjoyed volunteering with New Neighbors activities, Wine for Wheels, Special Pops Tennis, and Landlovers. She enjoys bocce and has been the capo for an all women bocce team for 6 years.  For the past two years Sheila has been a part of the Diamondback Terrapin Rescue Project and the Bluebird Trail.  When Village Walk Pharmacy and Coastal Care Partners combined efforts to start a COVID-19 vaccine clinic, Sheila volunteered to help give injections and organized medical professional volunteers to staff the clinic.  Now that the clinic has opened up again she is doing the same again.


I don’t know about you, but I am looking forward to our December 9 in-person event. While ZOOM has been a great tool the past few months, I am thrilled we are finally going to be able to meet in person. 

If you have fallen behind on your renewal, make sure you get it done soon so you can attend our upcoming events. It only takes a couple minutes by logging onto our website at and viewing your profile. However, if you encounter difficulties, please don't hesitate to contact me.

If you know of anyone interested in joining, please refer them to our website or have them contact me to learn more.  

Elizabeth Cowell

Membership Chair

Click to Join or Renew


Abigails Video Chat

November 30, December 7, 21, 28

3 PM  Zoom Meetings

Coordinated by Sheila Grossman

Those who have participated in the Video Chats over the last 18 months or so consider it a vital lifeline that keeps the Abigails progressive women sane in these tumultuous and crazy days. Our conversations tend to be free-wheeling and profound and we learn from each other about what is going on in our community, locally and nationally. Are you missing being able to connect with other like-minded women? Please consider joining us for our next Abigails Video Chat. It's great to be able to talk openly about what we are learning and how we are feeling. 

The America We Need Discussion Group

Friday, December 17

9:30 am Zoom Meeting

Led by Annette Carnow

During the past year our Discussion Group has spent a lot of time reading non-fiction books and articles about systemic racism in all its many guises. While it has been highly informative, we have not dealt with the poignancy and insight that a good novel can provide. This month, we will continue reading and discussing The Love Songs of W.E.B. DuBois. Set in Georgia, poet and novelist, Honoree Fanonne Jeffers, takes us on epic journey from the founding of our colony to the present day following the lives of a big mixed race family. 

The many stories and vignettes will keep you immersed and turning the pages. Please read the second half (Chapter 7 through the end) of the book for our next meeting on December 17, at 9:30 on Zoom. 

Register for America We Need

Reel Time

January 26 at 4:00PM via Zoom

This Changes Everything

Coordinated by Annette Carnow

Mark your 2022 calendar for January 26th at 4 pm , when Reel Time will hold its first discussion of the year. This Changes Everything, is a piercing expose by actress/ producer/activist Gena Davis. In this documentary she looks at the gender disparity in the Hollywood film industry and how women today are trying to challenge and change historic norms. This important documentary is available for viewing on Netflix or for a small fee on Amazon Prime or Apple TV. Hope you will  Zoom in to discuss how this influential industry treats women in front of and behind the camera.


Coordinated by Sue Kantor

We are happy that Abigails Canasta is thriving. Our group has become quite large and is now closed.  However, if there is enough interest, we can start a second, separate group. This new group is welcome to set themselves up to suit their players. Playing whatever day and time works for them, as long as it does not conflict with other ongoing Abigails activities.

Please remember, all members of Abigails Canasta groups must be members in good standing.

If you would like to play or help organize this group please email

Book Clubs

The AM Book Group currently has 9 members and is looking to add one more.  The group meets on the third Wednesday of each month at 10 am. Each month one member chooses a book they have read and would like to share with the group.  The recommending member then facilitates the discussion of the book.  The book choice rotates among all the members and is usually announced 2-3 months in advance to give everyone time to read the book. If you would like to join this group please contact Sheila Jannino at

The PM Book Group will not be meeting in December but will resume in January and has one opening.  This group is meeting on the third Wednesday of each month at 4 pm in the afternoon. If you would like to join us please email

Message From Your Board of Directors

Your 2021-2022 Board of Directors, like you, are proud Abigails members.  We are committed to serving the mission, and the members, of Skidaway Abigails.  We look forward to a great year with our Abigail friends and sisters in action!


Betsy Beekman


Susan Terrio


Susan Kurtain


Betsey Andersen


Programming Co-Chairs

Shanti Stone

Susan Terrio

Social Co-Chairs

Nikki Berdy

Sue Kantor



Elizabeth Cowell

Activities Chair

Pat Wallace

Communications Co-Chairs

Anne Boynton

Sheila Stallings

IT Co-Chairs

Sheila Grossman

Susan Kurtain

Advocacy Chair

Sandi Parshall


Sheila Grossman

Mission Statement

The Skidaway Abigails is a nonpartisan organization of progressive, liberal women whose purpose is to provide engagement opportunities for social, educational and advocacy activities to its members. We welcome women who support our values to join us, regardless of residence, race, ethnicity, age, religion or gender identification.

What We Value

A strong commitment to women's health and safety including family planning; health education, screening and research; and protection from domestic abuse and the full range of offenses against women, from harassment in the workplace to sex trafficking.

A society that provides services for its poor and its children including basic shelter, food, physical and mental healthcare, quality fact-based education, childcare, pre-K development and college opportunity.

Fair and equitable treatment for the working class including a livable minimum wage; pay equity for women; reducing the gap between the average employee's compensation and corporate executives'; affordable health care; a future in our country for working immigrants; and equitable treatment under the criminal justice system.

Fair and equitable treatment for our Lesbian/Gay/Bi-sexual/ Transgender population in all aspects of our society. We support their right to marry and create a family,

Regulation that respects individual freedom while protecting the community including the licensing and control of firearms; and eliminating unwarranted surveillance, personal data collection and criminal profiling.

Protecting our planet from mankind's impact on earth's climate and precious natural resources ranging from fresh water to the honey bee. We want to better understand opportunities to enhance sustainability.

Being informed and represented on political issues related to our values including voter registration and the right of citizens to vote; the stated positions of local, state and federal candidates; and access to articles and subject-matter-experts on value-related issues.

Current Elected Officials Contact Information

Governor Brian Kemp
206 Washington St, 111 State Capitol. Atlanta, GA 30334

(404) 656-1776

US Rep. (Dist. 1) Earl "Buddy" Carter

6602 Abercorn St, Ste 105B, Savannah, GA 31405

(202) 225-5831

US Senator Jon Ossoff

Hart Senate Office Building, Suite 825 B&C

Washington, DC 20510

202-224-3521 (DC)

US Senator Raphael Warnock

Dirksen Senate Office Building, Suite B40D

Washington, DC 20510

(202) 224-3643 (DC)

State Senator Ben Watson

320-B Coverdell Legislative Office Bldg, Atlanta, GA 30334

(404) 656-7880

State Senator Lester Jackson

110-B State Capitol, Atlanta, GA 30334

(404) 463-5261

State Representative Jesse Petrea

408-B Coverdell Legislative Office Bldg, Atlanta, GA 30334

(404) 657-1803

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