Two years ago, the Rev. Dr. Nannette Pierson founded the Sandalwood Community Food Pantry out of her own pocket. Today, her efforts are helping to feed more than 400 local families.

Dr. Nannette PiersonThe Rev. Dr. Nannette Pierson spent more than a dozen years in school and seminary training to become a minister, but when the moment came to be ordained, she balked.

“There were certain tenets that you must profess, and I didn’t agree with them. I didn’t feel they were centered on love,” says Pierson, who says she especially disagreed with the church’s stance on homosexuals.

The decision meant she could preach but not be the head pastor at a church. Yet for a woman who had dreamed of being a priest since she was a little girl, the choice came with no regrets. “It was the best decision I ever made, because it freed me to believe we are church. Wherever we stand,” Pierson says.

A vision for the futureLast month, Monthly asked the seven mayoral candidates to respond to an e-mail Q&A about 10 diverse issues facing our island. This month, we sent a second round of questions, but grounded them in the findings of the Mayor’s Vision Task Force.

The candidates’ responses are excerpted below, but as before, their full answers and opinions are available online at hiltonheadmonthly.com/news/mayor-race, and we encourage you to go online.

A BLUEPRINT FOR THE FUTUREIn December, Mayor Tom Peeples drafted some of the island’s most influential leaders to serve on a new task force charged with two things: re-evaluating the town’s core values and offering guidance to a town coping with a shifting identity. The group, dubbed the Mayor’s Task Force for the Island’s Future, set out with no less of a goal than identifying the key values, characteristics and desires that define Hilton Head Island.

“I want to build upon the great work done over the past two years by our Planning Commission and town staff in developing our new Comprehensive Plan,” Peeples said at the time.

feb10_taskforce_newsWhat are the things that make Hilton Head Island unique?

Certainly you’d have to include its natural beauty, the beaches, the national branding, the climate, the spirit of volunteerism and events like the Verizon Heritage.

But what about the island’s weaknesses?

One of Hilton Head’s largest historical groups wants to build a park to highlight a piece of land that once served as a cultural center of activity in the island’s antebellum era.

The Heritage Library Foundation is proposing turning the 4.8 acres it owns at the corner of Mathews Drive and William Hilton Parkway into a park to honor the history of the site it says was once home to a masonic lodge, prairie house, Gullah church and other structures. The land, known as the Zion Chapel of Ease and Cemetery site, currently holds the 1846 Baynard Mausoleum — the oldest intact structure on Hilton Head — and a cemetery where several Revolutionary War soldiers are buried. The chapel the site was named for was erected in 1786 under the direction of Capt. John Stoney and Isaac Fripp.

John and Elizabeth Calvert

A court order declaring John and Elizabeth Calvert dead hasn't dampened the mystery surrounding their disappearance.

Almost two years have passed since the owners of one of the island’s landmarks met an abrupt end, but time hasn’t nudged the facts forward very far. The narrative of the case says they were murdered, a crime committed by former business associate Dennis Gerwing, most likely over issues of money and embezzlement.

But with scarce new facts in between those assumptions, the vanishing of the couple accustomed to traveling in a well-heeled circle remains as wrought with speculation as it did when Gerwing crudely killed himself a few days after their disappearance. It remains a violent ink blot on an island best known for its quiet, uneventful solace.

Hilton Head Island’s Lifeguards: Security and Information with a Smile

Hilton Head Island’s Lifeguards: Security and Information with a SmileA bronzed bunch of highachieving, competitive athletes not only guard Hilton Head Island’s beaches, they also find lost children, treat injuries ranging from jellyfish stings to stingray wounds, answer questions and help those in trouble in the water.

But despite the image perpetuated by TV’s “Baywatch” with a near-continuous stream of potential drownings, in real life much of a lifeguards’s time is spent on preventing dangerous situations.

“Most people see lifeguards as waiting to react to an emergency. We train to be proactive, seeking to prevent an emergency in the first place,” said Ralph Wagner, president of Shore Beach Services, which has contracted with the Town of Hilton Head to protect its beaches since 1974.

Things are best when they’re made in the U.S.A.Stop by Pretty Papers & Gifts to enjoy Lynn’s notecards,

Pretty Papers & Gifts
Lynn Parrott is one of the local artists whose notecards are featured at Pretty Papers & Gifts. Lynn expresses her passion for life through her artwork. This is apparent in her use of color and abstract drawing. Her art comes alive! Stop by Pretty Papers & Gifts to enjoy Lynn’s notecards, along with a number of other wonderful local artists. 843-341-5116 or email prettypapersinc@aol.com.

In honor of Father’s Day, Hilton Head Monthly highlights a few local fathers who share unforgettable times with their children.

Mark Staff is one devoted dad who enjoys taking his two sons on — shall we say — memorable getawaysAfter putting in a hard day at work, most fathers struggle to not only find quality time but the energy their children need. A few local dads have come up with some creative ways to maximize that bonding time.

And it doesn’t involve staying at home.

Whether it’s off-roading in the Arizona desert, trailing the winding paths of the Grand Canyon in inclement weather, swimming with dolphins in Cabo San Lucas or telling ghost stories around a campfire, these dad-only adventures have created memories that last a lifetime.

 

Officials attempt to rescue the May RiverOfficials attempt to rescue the May River

Supporters of the May River are singing the blues with the most recent declassification of the river’s headwaters to Rose Dhu from “approved” to “conditionally approved” for the oyster-harvesting season.

And so should we, say several county officials. The May River has long been a cultural fixture in Bluffton as a place to go boating, fishing and swimming, but it’s also a vital natural resource that contributes to Beaufort County’s economy. Local officials, environmentalists and long-time residents are concerned that if action isn’t taken soon, the next generation may not have the chance to partake in the May River’s legacy.

The Town of Port Royal was named one of Budget Travel magazine’s “Coolest Small Towns in America.” The magazine highlighted up-and-coming cities with populations of less than 10,000 or “Main Street, U.S.A., places where you find real people, excited to be part of their communities,” according to CBS. Port Royal was chosen for its Southern charm that locals embrace.

Last month, the Town of Port Royal made significant strides at jump-starting the Port Royal Area Heritage Trail, a comprehensive guide of historical markers and locations throughout Port Royal, Beaufort and St. Helena. Officials are hoping that by September, maps showing walking and driving routes to historic buildings, homes and sites will be available at visitors centers, government facilities and businesses throughout the community.

The Daufuskie Island Resort & Breathe Spa is taking out a $1 million loan to help it pay debts and bills, as well as re-open some of its assets. The trustee overseeing the resort’s bankruptcy has said the loan will make it a more attractive commodity to potentia buyers.

Most of the loan money will be used to pay off debts, but a portion will be used to re-open some facilities, such as the Melrose Golf Course. The course, which is being managed by CGL of Savannah, was opened May 11 for the course’s homeowners, members and guests, and other Daufuskie Island residents. CGL, which is an affiliate of The Club Group Ltd. of Hilton Head Island, is hoping to bring public play to the course as soon as possible.

Beachcombers may have to pay parking fees, which the Town of Hilton Head is consideringThe Town of Hilton Head is thinking about reinstating the parking fee at the parking lot at Coligny Beach.

Parking fees were eliminated at Coligny Beach in 2006. It is estimated that parking fees brought in about $117,000.

Mayor Tom Peeples has proposed using any revenues to expand recycling efforts around beach access points, among other things. The town is trying to figure out how much revenue a parking fee would generate and the cost of adding recycling bins. Changing the policy would require a vote by the Town Council.