Skidaway Abigails  l  February 2023

Abby says...

To help celebrate the tenth anniversary of Skidaway Abigails, we’re offering monthly quotes and fun facts from the original Abigail. 

“If we mean to have heroes, statesmen and philosophers, we should have learned women.” 

Although Abigail Adams was not granted a formal education, her mother taught her to read and write and her father welcomed her into his library.  She could readily quote poetry form Milton, Pope, and Shakespeare.  Abigail's frustration over being excluded from school led her to argue for women's rights later in life.

Submitted by Patty Koch

President's Message

We began the first program of 2023 with a fascinating program offered by Susan Catron, Managing Editor of The Current. To an audience of over 70 Abigails, Hamiltons, and guests, she reported on the negative impact of expanding news deserts here in Georgia and nationwide (see below).

Thanks to those who responded to our survey on when to hold the Abigail’s monthly program meetings (See below)

Our February 9th program will be on Zoom at 7:00 p.m. We are very pleased that Mark Niesse, political reporter with the Atlanta Journal Constitution, will speak on the shifting political landscape in Georgia following the midterm elections in November 2022.

Closer to home the 10th anniversary committee is hard at work planning our April 26 celebration. We issued a call to our members to record a 30 second video on their cell phones explaining what the organization means to them. Please take the time to do this and forward the video to Sheila Grossman at 912-856-6416. We are also asking past presenters to record what the Abigails means to our larger community. Susan Catron gamely sat to record her message after her talk. 

We are also moving forward with exciting new Abigails Advocacy initiatives (see below). 

Save the date:

Potluck at member homes on February 5

New Member Meet and Greet on March 1

Thanks to all for your support of the Abigails,

Susan Terrio

President, Skidaway Abigails

 Upcoming Events

Georgia’s tipping point: Voting rights and elections at a crossroads in ‘23 

February 9, 2023, 7:00 p.m.

Zoom Meeting

Co-ordinated by Shanti Stone and Carol DeFrancesco

Mark Niesse

Political Reporter

Atlanta Journal Constitution

The Skidaway Abigails are pleased to host Mark Niesse via ZOOM on February 9th at 7:00 p.m.  Mark is the Georgia Government Reporter for the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, covering voting rights, elections and Georgia government.  Before joining the AJC's politics team in 2017, Mark reported on DeKalb County corruption investigations and the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal. He has been a reporter for the AJC since 2013.

Mark  previously worked for The Associated Press in Atlanta, Honolulu and Montgomery, Ala.  He also reported for The Daily Report and The Santiago Times in Chile. Mark grew up in the Atlanta area and graduated from the University of Georgia.   He will speak on the shifting political landscape in Georgia since 2018, the impact of Georgia's voting law on last year's election, and concerns about election security, voting machine hacking, and lack of confidence in election outcomes.  We expect an informative and lively program.    

Program Re-Cap

The Growth and Spread of Local "News Deserts"

January 12

Co-ordinated by Susan Terrio

Susan Catron

Managing Editor, The Current

On January 12th the Skidaway Abigails were pleased to present Susan Catron, the managing editor of The Current, a non-profit news site for in-depth journalism in Coastal Georgia at our first program of 2022. Susan spoke to us on the unfortunate spread of "local news deserts" in Georgia and across the country where true local news is sparsely reported or not covered at all. Susan explained that local news deserts prevent a timely flow of information to a community, allowing for a lack of transparency as well as depriving voters of necessary information about candidates and local government. A reduction in the number of journalists and a decrease in the frequency of issues can affect the accountability of local governments. Local papers have been closing at a rate of two per week since 2004, and many that remain are being bought out by national conglomerates, further reducing local coverage and community ties. She noted that split ticket voting decreases where newspapers disappear, and polarized voting increases. Susan suggested local news business models are changing to survive, including using a non-profit arm to cover some costs or a wholly non-profit model. She also mentioned collaboratives and niche publications as ways to combat the negative impacts of local news deserts.

If you were unable to attend this program or would like to rewatch the presentation, please click HERE to access the recording.

Help Us Celebrate Abigails 10th Anniversary

Don't miss the

Abigails 10th Anniversary Celebration

April 26, 2023 @ 6 PM

Palmetto Ballroom

Your emailed invitation will be coming soon!

Member Spotlight

Anne Hacklett

Anne Hackett and her husband, Rich, moved to The Landings full-time in 2009.

She grew up in Fairfield County, CT where her parents were very involved in local politics. Her father was a Town Selectman for 22 years.  After graduating from college in Chicago, Anne held a position with Chase Manhattan Bank on Wall Street.  Later, a transfer to upstate New York led to an opportunity in procurement with General Electric International Gas Turbine for the Aramco Pipeline.

Kansas City, the “Heart of America,” was next on the horizon.  Anne and Rich loved the area and their two children blossomed there.  Kansas City also led to Anne’s 20+ year career with Johnson & Johnson, working in sales and serving on marketing and advisory boards.

One last corporate move brought the family to Hudson, OH, a suburb of Cleveland, where she continued working for J & J.  Afterwards, retirement in The Landings called.

In Savannah, Anne has served on the boards of New Neighbors, Landlovers, and Telfair Museums’ TAG.  Being a docent at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist allows her to meet Savannah tourists from other states and countries.

Anne feels membership in the Abigails provides a broad, fuller, progressive view of the issues confronting our society.  Poet John Donne penned, “No Man Is an Island” and participation in the Abigails allows members to bond with women of diverse backgrounds, but with a similar, progressive mindset.  Anne has been a member of WAG and is now part of the Abigails Advocacy effort where the current commitment is to serve as a Focus Group for HOUSING SAVANNAH, INC.

Travel, golf, and gardening fill the rest of Anne’s retirement.

Thank you, Anne, for your commitment to Abigails and to our community.



Please join us in giving a very warm welcome to Molly Ergenbright, Pamela Gerardi, Molly Leamon, Karen Rhodes, and Lisa Tocci as the most recent new members of our Abigails community. They’re looking forward to getting involved and meeting other members at our upcoming events.

We know you are asking “How do I get one of the new Abigails logoed name badges?”  The metal name badges are $10.00 each (including tax and shipping) and you can get details and order online by clicking HERE.  

If you know other progressive, liberal women who might be interested in joining Abigails, please refer them to our website for information or have them contact us directly to learn more.  We welcome anyone from the Savannah area with like-minded interests.  You can also introduce your friends to Abigails by bringing them as a guest to one of our monthly events for only $10. 

Elizabeth Cowell and Sue Stephenson, Membership Co-Chairs

Results from the Membership Survey

Our thanks to all our members who participated in the recent 3-question survey to help the Board identify how we can make Abigails a more engaging place for our members. The results were:


The Abigails monthly meeting is usually held on a Thursday at 3:30 p.m. and we wanted to check if this timing generally meets the availability of our membership.

  • 66% of members responded that the current day and time works for them
  • 20% would prefer the timing to alternate between afternoon and evening meetings
  • 14% would prefer another option including another day of the week or only evening or morning options.

As a result of the feedback, we are maintaining the current monthly meeting schedule on a Thursday at 3:30 p.m. — while also introducing occasional 7 PM options (including for our upcoming meeting in February) and exploring broader social meeting options (see #3).


We invited members to share their skills for a few hours a month to help with specific Abigails projects and are very grateful to the 19 members who stepped forward.  We are in the process of reaching out to those members to see how we can best leverage their skills and expertise in areas that are of interest to them.


The survey highlighted a strong interest in the launch of Abigails informal social groups, particularly for lunch and/or cocktails, at venues at the Landings and around Savannah.  Diane Hartley, our Board Secretary, is currently exploring a number of exciting options and we will share updates with you.

Abigails Fun!

Abigail’s Rhodes 19 racing team on "Susan B."

Mary Kovats, Sandi Parshall, and Hannah Burtnick


Abigails Advocacy

Chair Sandi Parshall

The new Abigails Advocacy Committee has been very active on a number of fronts.  First, after the successful trolley tour of different residential neighborhoods last fall, the advocacy committee asked Anita Smith-Dixon, Executive Director, Community Housing Services Agency (CHSA) in what ways the Abigails could support their efforts to provide more affordable housing for Savannah families.  In January, a group of Abigails sat down with the city staff to brainstorm on ways to market and fund their new non-profit Housing Savannah.  This team from Abigails is working with a group of committed staff members to develop a new mission statement and a logo (see picture below).

Second, members of the advocacy committee are working with the founders of Migrant Equity Southeast to address the numerous challenges facing immigrant families in Savannah: enrolling their children and interacting with staff in public schools, finding funding for more Spanish-speaking staff and teachers, developing language relevant resources for teachers, and educating immigrant parents on their rights. 

Third, new Abigail member Joan Salvati, has volunteered to monitor all the bills in the current legislative session. She will flag legislation that is relevant to the Abigails.

Thanks to all the members of the Abigail's Advocacy Committee.

Abigails Video Chat

January 31, February 7, 14, 28

3 PM  Zoom Meetings

Coordinated by Sheila Grossman

As the winter progresses, it is a good time to check in with other Abigails! Please consider joining our Video Chat members as we discuss everything that is going on in our crazy world. This fun and interesting group of women connects via Zoom on an almost weekly basis.

The America We Need

February 24  at 9:30 AM

16 Robert Reid Court

Coordinated by Annette Carnow

For our discussion in February, we will read Imani Perri’s latest book, South to America: a journey below the Mason-Dixon Line to understand the Soul of a Nation, which won the 2022 National Book Award for non-fiction.  Her prose is poetic and her essays are illuminating. 

I know you will enjoy reading her perspective.

Reel Time

February 27, at 3:30

16 Robert Reid Court

Coordinated by Annette Carnow

Our next film is an improbable but true story about a United States Marine who came home from deployment in Afghanistan and decided to blow up a Mosque in his own home town.  A Stranger at the Gate is a short documentary which will raise lots of questions about our military machine, our Constitution, and who is truly an American.  The film will be shown at the home of Annette Carnow, 16 Robert Reid Court on February 27, at 3:30.

Winter Potluck Dinner

February 5, 2023

Happy New Year, Abigails!

Coordinated by Pat Wallace

The first round of Potluck Dinners of 2023 is set for Sunday, February 5. These are fun, small group gatherings (fully vaccinated only, please!) in which we get to enjoy delicious dinners and convivial conversations with fellow Abigails.  We will have a host and 6 or 7 diners in each home.  (No big crowds!)  The host will prepare the entree, and the other Abigails will bring an appetizer, salad, or dessert, as requested by the host.  These are events to which, “Plus Ones” are encouraged - but not required!  (Last October, 46 compatible people enjoyed food and fellowship in 5 homes - 27 Abigails, plus 19 husbands.) 

If this sounds like fun to you (it is!), please register by Friday, January 27, to let us know that you will be coming to the February 5 Potluck Dinner, if you are willing to host, and if you are bringing a “Plus One.”  When we get the names of willing hosts, the chair will match the Abigails and their “Plus Ones” to each home.  The host will then contact them with inquiries about food allergies, as well as information about the start time, menu contribution requests, and the host’s address. As we say in the South, “Ya’ll come!”

New Activity

Abigails Cocktail Hour

Coordinated by Diane Hartley

Join us February 23 5-7pm for some beach vibes!

Water Witch Tiki Bar, 2220 Bull St.

Limited to the first 25 Abigails to sign up. Please register below.

Questions? Contact Diane at


Dining Out!

How would you like to join a few other Abigails for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner - without shopping, cooking, or cleaning?  There are rumors afloat that a good many Abigails are interested in this kind of small group, stress free, social event.  Now we just need someone to organize a group to go out to eat! 

If you are willing to coordinate an Abigails Dining Out activity, please email:

Pat Wallace

Activities Chair

New Monday Canasta Group

    Our Friday Abigails Canasta group continues to be active and is coordinated by Sue  Kantor.

    We have a new Monday Abigails Canasta group.  We play the 1st and 3rd Monday of each month from 2-4pm. If you are interested in playing please contact Diane Hartley. ( 

    Book Clubs

    The AM Book Group meets at 10 AM on the third Wednesday of each month. It currently is full but I would be happy to hear from anyone who would like to join the wait list.  Please contact Sheila Jannino at

    The PM Book Group 

    In February, we will be reading BURNT POT ISLAND by Karen Dove Barr. The setting for the book is Pin Point, GA, in 1904. That meeting will be Wednesday, February 22nd at Kathy Dole's home at 3 Sedgewater Retreat. Her email is and her phone number is 910-352-4517.  

    If you would like to join this group, please contact Phyllis Aaron at 610-203-4393 or  

    Message From Your Board of Directors

    Your 2022-2023 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!


    Susan Terrio


    Susan Kurtain


    Diane Hartley


    Betsey Andersen

    Programming Co-Chairs

    Shanti Stone

    Carolyn DeFrancesco

    Social Co-Chairs

    Nikki Berdy

    Sue Kantor

    Membership Co-Chairs

    Elizabeth Cowell

    Sue Stephenson

    Activities Chair

    Pat Wallace

    Communications Co-Chairs

    Shari Panitch

    Sheila Stallings

    IT Co-Chairs

    Sheila Grossman

    Susan Kurtain

    Advocacy Chair

    Sandi Parshall


    Betsy Beekman

    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

    If you no longer wish to receive Skidaway Abigails emails please click here.