St. Marys Magazine Issue 27

Page 1




Forest Bathing Just What The Doctor Ordered


PAGE 16 Hollywood Finds St. Marys Film Worthy PAGE 24 The Dolphin Project Researching. Tracking. Protecting. PAGE 46 Sapelo Island Eccentric Millionaires & Eco-Treasures


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Letter Letter from from the the Mayor Mayor


ur small friendly city of St Marys has again proven its remarkable resilience. Although hurricane battered the last twobetter years, we have come better and stronger. Whether you are a resident St. Marys fared than most of back our coastal neighbors when Hurricane Mattheworswept St. Marys fared better than most of our coastal neighbors whenIsland Hurricane a visitor you seeOur repair, renovation upgrades to our city this season. We arewere wellMatthew knowninas swept a through lastwill fall. beautiful cityand and neighboring Cumberland back through last fall. Our beautiful city and neighboring Cumberland Island were back in boating and fishingimmediately community sofollowing we are delighted that we the repair, business almost the storm. If are youwell areunderway thinkingwith of visiting in these business almost immediately following thewarm storm. If inviting you are thinking visiting in enlargement andmonths, improvement of our downtown boat docks. If you visit, you encourage willofsee a work in these progress cooler winter our weather is still and so we you, your cooler winter months, our weather is still warm and inviting so we encourage you, your but that and simply attests totoour persistence and perseverance. friends relatives come on down! friends and relatives to come on down! Or For up, the many visit St. be Marys as the Gateway Cumberland Island, restFlorida assuredas access that as thewho case may as we have manytovisitors arriving from well.toThe Or up,Welcome asspecial the case may beExit as we have visitors arriving from ashas well. The magnificent place is available to all who want to visit. While the hurricanes destroyed the National Georgia Center at 1 just asmany you cross from Florida intoFlorida Georgia been Georgia Welcome Center at provided Exitto1welcome just you cross from Florida into Georgia has been Park Service docks, the city has the as Park Service and Lang’s Marine, the local business re-furbished and has re-opened all to our great state and offering dozens of ideas re-furbished and has re-opened to welcome all Gateway to our great andsure offering dozens providing ferrytime service the Island, use of our City’s docksstate to make everyone can of ideas for spending in to St. Marys. for spending time in St. Marys. continue enjoy the unmatched and experience of Cumberland Island while the docks are being rebuilt. While to our waterfront, riversbeauty and entryway to Cumberland Island remain ourPark mostService popular attractions, we enjoy While our waterfront, rivers entryway to Island remain our most popular attractions, enjoy Another innovation is in place onand ourlike waterfront. WeCumberland are creating more pedestrian friendly experience where people we canthe walk, enjoy year-round entertainment venues steam train rides andacommunity theatre presentations at Theatre by year-round entertainment venues like steam train rides and community theatre presentations at Theatre by the outdoor cafes andcontinues view our river from our popular park. work is also in progress, but be assured that Walk our restaurants and lodging Trax. Kayaking to grow in popularity asThat do bicycle touring and races. Our History is proving to be an Trax. Kayaking continues to growallthe invisitors. popularity as do bicycle touringvillage. and races. Historyfor Walk proving to be an facilities arehistorical still open and welcoming enjoyable stroll through long history of our waterfront We Our are known ourisfamily friendly historical through the long history of waterfront WeGras. areatknown for ourhotel, family friendly enjoyable Our most popular latestroll winter/early spring events are onour schedule including performances our community playhouse ‘Theatre parades and festivals with February featuring ourstill very own version ofvillage. the Mardi Our historic modern parades and festivals with February featuring our very own version of the Mardi Gras. Our historic hotel, modern by the Trax’, annual Mardi Gras,breakfasts and many popular Friday events and and Saturday truck spectaculars. Just check the motels, andour charming bed and provideFirst lodging fornight all tastes budgets food while restaurants in midtown, motels,Bureau andand charming bed and breakfasts provide lodging all tastes and budgets while restaurants in midtown, Visitors website for dates and times for ofoptions. events and activities. downtown the west side offer a variety of casual dining downtown and the west side offer a variety of casual dining options. Whether Just as ouryou city are is resilient so are our people. Whether they werewant bornto and raisedtime herein and claim native settled here here for an outdoor adventure or just enjoy a proudly peaceful, quiet, laidstatus backorand Whether you here for anisoutdoor adventure oragreat just want to enjoy a peaceful, quiet, laid back andlove after serving at theare Navy Submarine Base discovered our little community alonger. few in months orwill few fall years our citizens our friendly community, St. Marys the or place to spend week, weekend or time Many inago, love and move here friendly community, St. Marys is the placefound to spend a week, or longer. Many will fall inambiance love andand move here city andSt. we are confident you will too. We have our spot to call weekend home and enjoy sharing our small town natural to call Marys home. toWelcome! call St. Marys wetland resources others who appreciate respect nature neighbors with a smileon and a wave. Andwith ifhome. you have time, pleaseand stop by City Halland and say “hi”who or greet “hey”alldepending where you are from. Welcome! And if still yousmall havetown time,charm. please stopSt. byMarys. City Hall and say “hi” or “hey” depending on where you are from. Stronger, better but That’s

Sincerely, Sincerely,

John John

John Morrissey, Mayor Johnof Morrissey, Mayor City St. Marys City of St. Marys

Patricia Dunn Carter, D.D.S. Specialist in Pediatric Dentistry

With a child-friendly environment, Golden Isles Pediatric Dentistry’s mission is to make a child’s dental experience fun and stress-free. A good early dental experience for your children will result in the willingness and desire to continue good oral health care for the rest of their lives. • Preventative Dentistry • Traditional Restorative Dentistry • Restorative Dentistry with Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas)


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• Intravenous Sedation Dentistry Located in Mariner’s Village 2475 Village Drive, Suite 114 Kingsland, GA 31548

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Magnolia Manor of St. Simons 100 Heritage Drive St. Simons Island, GA 31522

FEATURES 8 Love Letter to St. Marys

52 Making a Difference Camden Behavioral Wellness

10 Just What the Doctor Ordered: Forest Bathing

56 Spaceport Camden Putting Georgia on the Galactic Map

14 Making a Joyful Noise

60 Your Community Theatre Bringing Us Together

16 Hollywood Finds St. Marys Film Worthy

70 Around the World in 80 Minutes

22 Anchors Aweigh for Wharf St. Marys

73 The Legacy of a Man in Full: Al Chapman

24 The Dolphin Project

74 Gregarious Goats: The Hair Farmpit Girls

28 St. Marys Express: A Date with Adventure

78 From Sicily with Love

36 St. Marys DMA Welcomes New Businesses

82 Calming the Storm Inside Heroes on the Water

44 Just Make Magic!

85 Old Stuff Gets a New Home

46 Sapelo Island Eccentric Millionaires and Eco-Treasures

87 Big Hearts to the Rescue

49 Long Live the Queen

89 Honor Flight: An Uplifting Experience

50 Spirits Soar with Penguin Project

91 Move Over Starbucks Cush Coffee Comes to Town

DEPARTMENTS 34 Media Darlings 55 Mailbag 84 LowCountry Events 93 Magazine Party 26

PHOTO: Satilla River

Your Hometown Team. When an orthopaedic condition or injury is keeping you from the activities you love, the Summit Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Surgery team is ready with the most advanced treatments to get you back to enjoying life. From consult to treatment to recovery, our orthopaedic experts offer comprehensive care close to home.

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Call 912-576-6355 to schedule an appointment today or visit to learn more. 2060 Dan Proctor Dr., Suite 1400, St. Marys, GA 31558

9/2018 Š2018 SGHS

Publisher’s Note Publisher Barbara Jackson Ryan Creative Director & Designer Jerry Lockamy Contributing Artists Steve Saley Editor Robin Cross Director of Public Relations Kristen Lockamy Contributing Writers Alex Kearns Gordon Jackson Pamela Keene Devan Lesley Contributing Photographers Roger Graw L. J.Williams Steve Royer Brandon Herron Jenny Weaver Glenda Barber Craig Miller Lifted Drone LLC Holly Yurchison Dave Webb Christine Spyker

Historic St. Marys Magazine is a LowCountry Publishing publication. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without the prior consent of official representatives of LowCountry Publishing. All contents Copyright 2019. All rights reserved.

Letters to the Editor or other Correspondence Email: St. Marys Magazine 803 Alexander Street St. Marys, GA 31558 For general information, advertising, or subscription service, call 912-729-1103 or visit

Fifteen years ago I had this idea. Having moved from Fort Lauderdale to St. Marys in 2004, after falling madly in love with this little Victorian village, I wanted the world to know what a special place we lived in. I could have achieved that through social media, perhaps. But with a background in publishing and marketing, I made the decision to launch a magazine. The magazine you now hold in your hands (or are reading online). And now as I put issue number 27 on press, it occurs to me that there is still much to tell the world about our treasured little corner of the universe. I’ve spent 15 years touting the joys of living in a small southern town. Fifteen years of writing stories about the history, the romance, and the adventure that awaits anyone who visits or chooses to move to St. Marys or the surrounding community. And yet, the inadequacies of my tellings haunt me. For how can anyone describe in words the brilliance of the golden sunsets that rival those of Key West fame? What words would be adequate to convey the sense of serenity that washes over you when you stroll the waterfront and marsh walk—the rhythm of the river synchronized with the mirthful clackety-clack of marsh hens and comforting song of church bells in the distance? Who could ever accurately describe the sweetness and warmth of the people you meet on the street, in the shops, at the park? Even the scents of this historic enclave are indescribable—the saltiness of a warm ocean breeze, the seductive hint of jasmine and honeysuckle, and the briny familiar odor of rechurning life-force in the shallows of our estuaries. In St. Marys Magazine, we have made a valiant effort to compensate for our lack of adequate words with photographs that we hope tell more of our story. But, alas, even pictures that are worth a thousand words do not do our little town justice when presented in one dimension. So, it is with an apologetic heart that I entreat those of you who are reading this from afar to come hither. Experience St. Marys in full. Up close. And yes, personal. Because it is only through the eyes of someone who stands on our waterfront, strolls down our picturesque streets, and actually inhales the freshness of our envied coastal living that one can comprehend why this issue begins with a “Love Story to St. Marys.” (See page 8.)

Barbara Jackson Ryan Publisher VOLUME

Email me anytime with your thoughts or ideas for the magazine:







On the cover St. Marys DowntownWaterfront as photographed by Lifted Drone LLC

Forest Bat hing Just Wha t The Doc tor Ordere d Hollywood


Finds St. PAGE 16 Marys Film Worthy

The Dolphin Project Researchin g. Trackin g. Sapelo Isla nd Eccentric

PAGE 24 Protecting.

PAGE 46 s & Eco-Tre asures



t’s easy to get to St. Marys no matter what mode of transportation you use. By land, St. Marys is located just 8 miles east of I-95 off Georgia Exit 1 or 3. By sea, an easy sailing up the Intracoastal, and into the St. Marys River just north of Florida, gets you right into St. Marys’ Downtown Historic District. And by air, the Jacksonville International Airport is just thirty minutes away.


Waterfront Dining in the Historic Riverview Hotel

Appetizers Soups & Salads Children’s Menu Baskets with fries Burgers & Sandwiches Seafood & Steak Entrees Chicken & Pasta Entrees Homemade Desserts & more

Proms Weddings Bachelor & Bachelorette Parties Airport Services Special Occasions

Office: (912) 882-7904

Tom Mitchell

Cell: (912) 674-9102



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By Barbara

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By Barbara



our blood pressure is a little high. Anxiety tugs at you more often than it should. The pressures of everyday life weigh heavily on your shoulders. You could do what millions do and take to a course of medication that becomes a lifetime regimen. Or you could go “Forest Bathing.” Against the backdrop of a beautiful crisp December day with contrails painting white streamers through robin’s egg blue skies, I joined a small group of adventurers in Crooked River State Park for a first ever “Forest Bathing” experience led by Certified Nature and Forest Therapy Guide Maureen Miller. Escaping the chains of computer face time, hectic holiday shopping, and myriad social obligations, we listened with high anticipation as Maureen continued ...


“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” —John Muir

began our exploration with an explanation of Forest Bathing. “Developed in Japan during the 1980s, Shinrin-yoku (translates to ‘taking in the forest atmosphere’ or ‘forest bathing’) has become a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine,” she explained. “Scientifically-proven benefits include reduced blood pressure, boosted immune system, increased energy level, and marked improvement in one’s ability to focus.” The idea of Forest Bathing is simple: If a person simply visits a natural area and walks in a relaxed way, there are calming, rejuvenating, and restorative benefits. The aim of Forest Bathing is to slow down and become immersed in the natural environment and become attuned to the smells, textures, tastes and sights of the forest, taking in the surroundings using all senses. As we began to “meander” among the woods, Maureen invites us to “close your eyes, just breathe, and when you open your eyes, imagine seeing the world around you for the first time.” I opened my eyes to a more vivid world than I remembered seconds ago—the green looked a lot greener, the blue of the water, much bluer. I began to see things I hadn’t noticed before: the Spanish moss dancing in the trees, nearby bird calls, the undeniably continued ... 4450 Highway 40 East St. Marys, GA 31558 From I-95 take Exit 3 (Hwy. 40 E.) and turn left. Brant Creek will be approximately 3 miles on the left.

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fresh scent of pine trees. Through a series of “invitations,” Maureen guides us into deeper and clearer awareness of the forest. We are invited to find a tree that calls to us and discover its story. Mine was the giving tree with roots embracing its base and wrapped in bark that was scored in rivulets like the furrows of a freshly-plowed field. One fellow explorer discovered a mourning tree, dripped in residue like tears bewailing its two sibling stumps that stood in its shadow. Another of the group became acquainted with “Grandpa,” an ancient felled pine whom she surmised reigned over the forest during the times of the Timcuaan Indians. We were invited to think of the space before us as different “rooms” laid out in the forest and identify their purpose. From a cozy nook to a grand ballroom, my fellow forest pioneers re-imagined their new found space. One invitation had each of us finding a pine cone and embellishing it with natural objects in our surrounds. Then we named our new works of art. I called mine “All dressed up and nowhere to go” with its sassy pine straw arms, acorn buttons, and finery made of golden leaves. Our sculptures were left like offerings by the wooden fence that protects visitors from dangerous cliffs, surely to inspire curiosity in subsequent meanderers. continued ...

Dr. Brent Ray

Board Certiied by the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery® 12

NS K ve s

My favorite “invitation” was the one that bid us “be a child and play.” (You didn’t have to invite me twice for this one.) I immediately spied the perfect branch to fashion into a divining rod and proceeded to hunt for buried treasure. Two of my companions devised a tic-tac-toe game of sticks and stones. As our meandering came to an end, our last invitation was to “tea” as Maureen set before us a beckoning spread of freshly brewed pine needle tea, natural cookies, and luscious blackberries. Our meandering had so effectively opened our senses, the petit forest feast awoke taste buds I never knew existed. Suddenly I realized how relaxed I was feeling, how at peace and at the same time, how invigorated. It occurred to me that Forest Bathing really should be “what the doctor ordered.” Most of us spend most of our days indoors, tethered to devices, and clearly we need a little nudge to go into the forest. To awaken our senses. To learn to connect with the world around us in new ways. As famed naturalist John Muir so aptly put it, “And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.” Editor’s Note: Forest Bathing is now being prescribed by doctors world wide—for a number of ailments—but particularly to reduce stress (which can be the underlying cause of 75% of diseases). Maureen Miller is a Master Trainer in Tai Chi and a Certified Nature and Forest Therapy Guide. To learn how you can participate in Forest Bathing, contact her at 912-467-2195 or visit

Scientifically-proven benefits of Forest Bathing • • • • • • • •

Boosted immune system functioning, with an increase in the count of the body’s Natural Killer (NK) cells. Reduced blood pressure Reduced stress Improved mood Increased ability to focus, even in children with ADHD Accelerated recovery from surgery or illness Increased energy level Improved sleep

Forest Bathing on a regular basis can result in

• • • • • •

Overall increase in sense of happiness Deeper and clearer intuition Increased flow of energy Increased capacity to communicate Increased flow of life force Deepening of friendships

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hen people think of handbells, the image that most often comes to mind first is the kind of bell used by a town crier. It did have its place in its time, but the effect was to get attention. In St. Marys, handbells mean music. So says Lee Bernasek—as far as we know, the person in St. Marys who knows the most about handbells. Since the 14th century, handbells have been used in certain rituals—mostly religious. Handbells were also originally used for tower bell ringers to practice ringing the changes on—rather than practicing constantly on the church bells which might well have disturbed their neighbors. Handbell ringing became part of the church service as a result, before expanding to become a community activity. Bernasek’s experience with handbells goes back a few decades. In the mid-90s, Bernasek was attending a Presbyterian Church in Cleveland, Ohio, when they found a set of handbells at the church. No one knew anything about handbell ringing so Bernasek agreed to start a handbell choir. He took classes and started playing. Later the Methodist Church down the road asked him to come in and perform solos there, so he ended up organizing and directing a handbell choir at the Methodist Church as well. He even got certified and joined the Handbells Musicians of America. When Bernasek left Cleveland, the Methodist Church honored him by giving him a 100-year-old set of handbells—the same handbells he uses today to perform solos and sometimes with a group. Bernasek has the ability to convert hymns and other songs into handbell music. (The notes are the same as those of piano keys.) In St. Marys, Bernasek has performed at the First


Presbyterian Church as well as at Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base where he was asked to design a choir and ended up with 13 players. He’s played at weddings and funerals and was honored to once play for the Bishop at King of Peace Episcopal Church. A retired engineer (as a flight controls and guidance systems specialist, he maintained ground-based missiles in the Air Force), 75-year-old Bernasek played trumpet and clarinet in high school, but that was about his limit with musical instruments experience before he became a handbell guru. When he plays solo, Bernasek handles 26 bells during a musical performance, spanning two full octaves. He says that the choreography is the hardest, since you must repeatedly dance to get from one end to the other of the handbell table. Handbelling is not just about picking up a bell and shaking it. There are specific techniques and motions that include: 1) Off-table—where you ring the bell as you lift it off the table. 2) Off-shoulder—where you hold the bell to your shoulder and ring it by moving it away from your shoulder. 3) Four in hand—when you hold two bells in each hand but at different angles, so that the clappers move at right angles to each other. Moving the hand in one direction makes one of the bells ring, and moving it in another direction makes the other ring. And there are other techniques as well. The logical precision required to play the handbells might be daunting to some, but Bernasek says you don’t need a vast history of musical experience to master the playing of handbells. He says he has taught people who have never played an instrument to play handbells. Whether playing or listening, the melodic sounds of ringing handbells really do make a joyful noise.

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Doug Vaught with railroad bull car converted to mobile camera station for “Dumbo.” 16


ozens of trucks lined the St. Marys Waterfront. Golf carts scurried to and fro carrying actors, extras, and supplies. Film crews hustled to get set up before the “good” light escaped. While this is not a typical morning in St. Marys, it is getting to be a more frequent one as film producers discover more and more the value of film production in Coastal Georgia. Sure, the State of Georgia’s “up to 30%” tax credit is a strong enticement for those seeking to maximize film production economics. But it is the way St. Marys rolls out the “red carpet” to film companies that has spread word of mouth around Hollywood, and some of the biggest names in the industry are starting to take note. “Not only our city leaders, but also our citizens put out the welcome mat when film crews come to town,” said Camden County Film Commissioner Doug Vaught. “It is this warm reception and great continued ...

Filming “Dumbo” at farm in Folkston.


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912-576-2677 •

2400 St. Marys Road, Suite A, St. Marys,GA 31558

attitude combined with our striking cinematic natural backdrops that make our community a desirable film destination.” Vaught has been at the helm of concentrated efforts to get major name films into town this past year perpetuating the mission of the Coastal Georgia Film Alliance to enhance the economic vibrancy of our community through film production. In July, Disney came to town. Remaking the much-loved 1941 classic, “Dumbo,” the filming began in secrecy with the code name “Big Ears.” Standing in for a circus town in Florida, St. Marys’ railroad tracks were the perfect background for circus train footage. Rural scenes were filmed around Folkston. Through the excellent cooperation of St. Marys Railroad, a railroad bull car was converted to a mobile camera station that actually ran on the tracks. When “Dumbo” is released in March 2019, some of the silver screen’s most recognized actors will be playing a role continued ...


wonderland of compelling locations, Coastal Georgia serves up verdant marshlands, wilderness islands, the Atlantic Ocean, the Intracoastal Waterway, three rivers, the Great Okefenokee Swamp, quaint waterfront villages, and majestic maritime forests—captivating vistas at every turn. Add in the mystique of historic cemeteries, a world-class Navy Submarine base, the charm of antebellum mansions, the friendliest people you’ll ever meet, plus film-friendly city leadership, and you’ll discover the makings of a great film. We call it “Cinemagical”!

912-729-1103 Visit to hear what other producers have to say about filming in Coastal Georgia. 18

Doug Vaught presents awards to filmmakers at the 2018 St. Marys Film Festival. (l-r) Doug Vaught, Brandon Herron, Steve Royer, Luis Sanchez, Carlos Williams. continued ...

including Michael Keaton, Alan Arkin, and Danny DeVito. Another big name in the movie industry—Warner Brothers—scouted St. Marys and determined that the waterfront would be perfect for a key scene in the upcoming sequel to “The Shining”—“Doctor Sleep.” Local extras were hired, golf carts were secured, and vintage vehicles dominated the streetscape as filming began. Starring Ewan McGregor, the film’s story is taken from Stephen King’s 2013 horror novel which ended up in the number one position on the “New York Times Best Seller List.” The young boy in “The Shining,” Danny Torrance, now in his 40s, lives in New Hampshire where he works as an orderly at a hospice and helps terminally ill patients die with the aid of his extraordinary powers. January 2020 is the scheduled release date for “Doctor Sleep.” In August, the filming of “Timez Up!” took place at several venues around continued ...

Olivia Lynch in the filming of “The Gambit.”

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town including the Riverview Hotel, the waterfront, and some people’s private homes. “Timez Up!” is a short psycho-thriller that will be shown at numerous film festivals around the U. S. in 2019. Brandon Herron, who is often behind the camera, stars in the film along with Erik Nesteruk, Bill Floyd, and Savannah Cochran (from Savannah). Tandem Media, a film company that has made several films in St. Marys, was onsite in the fall of 2018 to film “The Last Gambit.” A short fantasy film, the producers utilized numerous local extras during their lengthy shooting schedule which encompassed scenes around St. Marys including the old tabby ruins. Coastal Georgia Film Alliance sees 2019 as another banner year in film production for St. Marys and the surrounding area. They continue to work with four adjacent counties to make sure Coastal Georgia gets the due share of Georgia’s film production, luring more and more movies this way and putting our little corner of the world on the global map of filmmaking.

Vintage cars line the streets for filming of “Doctor Sleep.”



he Wharf—the name itself conjures up a picturesque scene of ships loading and unloading their wares. Wharf St. Marys is slated to go beyond the role of a place to dock vessels. When the 50-acre development is complete, it will be a signature destination for Coastal Georgia and a place to dine, shop, stop, play and stay whether by boat or by land. Slated for a 2020 opening, the Wharf recently got the green light from multiple agencies including the DNR, Army Corps of Engineers, U. S. Fish and Wildlife, NOAA, and the EPD, signifying a giant step forward. “Turning the old mill site parcel on the North River into a vibrant complex that will appeal to many many residents and visitors advanced significantly upon the approval by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to construct the project,” said Camden County Joint Development Authority (CCJDA) Executive Director James Coughlin. “All of the local and regional agencies we worked with have been wonderful through the process, realizing—as we do—that when Wharf St. Marys is complete, it will be something the entire community will be proud of.” The CCJDA has worked closely with the City of St. Marys to facilitate a plan that will maximize the “highest and best” use of the property. Particular attention has been paid to environmental factors with an eye to topmost sustainability, employing the expertise of the local and regional riverkeepers as well. Master Developer of the Wharf, Bruce Benton, is utilizing his vast experience in residential, commercial, retail, and marina construction to bring together all the components that will make Wharf St. Marys a preferred destination. “Safety is a top issue for our development team,” Benton said. “Whether it is an expert yachtsman docking his boat or a family with young children coming out for a


walk around the marina and to enjoy lunch on the water, we are accounting for features that ensure everyone can safely enjoy this project.” Anchoring the Wharf’s success is its enviable location near the Intracoastal Waterway, Cumberland Island National Seashore, and short stroll to St. Marys’ captivating waterfront. “Wharf St. Marys will actually provide a second ‘waterfront’ for our city,” Coughlin said. The marina part of the Wharf will include boat slips for vessels up to 150’, though Coughlin anticipates that the core marina business will be 40’-60’ boats. Boaters will find the marina exceptionally attractive because of how the marina basin will be carved out of interior property that will keep the boats sheltered from river traffic and the pull of the currents. The Wharf will offer haul-out service, dry-stack storage, short and long term slip rentals, a fueling center and marine store, and a recreational boat club. It is expected that there will be a good mix of visiting boaters as well as boaters who will choose to purchase one of the Wharf’s quayside residences as a first or second home. Benton expects to have floor plans for the residences soon plus floor plans for the retail space that will include restaurants. But you don’t have to be a boater to enjoy the unique pleasures that will come with an epicenter of living and entertainment such as the Wharf. Imagine awaking to the call of a great blue heron. Then a morning walk around the waterside promenade. A casual lunch or dinner with water vistas kindling your sense of relaxation. In the afternoon, an invigorating boat ride to nearby Amelia Island. And in the evening, a short stroll to a live theatre production mere steps way. This is a lifestyle that many of us can imagine. And, thankfully, with the emergence of Wharf St. Marys, the reality of such a life comes ever closer.

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heir popularity has soared with movies like “Dolphin Tale,” “Dolphin Tale 2,” and for the generation of the 1960s, “Flipper,” but despite the charm and connectivity with humans, dolphins are much happier in the wild. And, over the past 40 or so years, several environmental events have threatened these graceful mammals in their natural habitats. The Dolphin Project, an educational, research and conservation group based in Savannah, is working to set the record straight. Its mission: to protect the wild bottlenose dolphin and the environment these mammals share with humans. “These mammals are not Flipper,” says Peach Hubbard, president of The Dolphin Project, which was founded in 1988 to continued ...


PHOTO: The Dolphin Project LOC#19088

conduct photo-identification dolphin research in the estuaries of Georgia and lower South Carolina. “Dolphins are wild animals and need to be respected. Stop your boat, photograph them and enjoy them, but don’t call them over to your boat, feed them or try to get in the water with them. Just admire them from a distance.” In the late 1980s, thousands of coastal dolphins died off from a virus, by some estimations reducing the population by nearly 50 percent. The impetus for the formation of The Dolphin Project, a group of scientists created protocols, training programs and survey zones to help research dolphins. Today, the organization, with more than 200 active members, is the largest all-volunteer program in the country dedicated to research and education related to dolphins. Members range in age from elementary school children to people in continued ...

Discover Darien where history meets the sea GATEWAY TO SAPELO ISLAND!


ust one hour south of Savannah and one hour north of St. Mary’s, beautiful coastal Darien is a timeless place to discover. Visit Ft. King George Historic Site; take a day tour of Sapelo Island; enjoy some of the nation’s finest birding areas; take a relaxing kayak trip in our rivers; stroll our Historic Walking Tour or do some shopping. And, no visit to Darien would be complete, without sampling our world famous Wild Georgia Shrimp. Discover Darien - where history meets the sea.


PHOTO: The Dolphin Project LOC#19088



their 90s. Some are boat skippers who provide the transportation for volunteers to photograph and count dolphins. Others speak to school groups and civic organizations about the importance of The Dolphin Project and the mammal’s place in the environment. There are three sub-species of dolphins along the Eastern Seaboard: the Bottlenose that live in the estuaries, the offshore dolphins that migrate to warmer waters and mingle with the estuary dolphins to rest and feed, and the oceanic dolphins who live in the sea. The Dolphin Project focuses on the Bottlenose dolphins, their habits and protection. “Our education outreach program is vital to the public and the continued protection of dolphins,” says Hubbard. “Our members speak to groups and we host educational events all over Georgia, plus into South Carolina and North Florida. I’ve been doing this for 16 years, and I wouldn’t keep doing it if it weren’t fun and rewarding.

Historic District Waterfront Park Dining & Shopping Submarine Museum Kayaking, Fishing & Biking Cumberland Island Museum St. Marys Community Market: Downtown - Saturdays 9am-1pm

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lickety-clack down the track! The St. Marys Express is off and running toward another great adventure, and who knows what lurks around the curve? Is it Santa and Mrs. Claus handing out gifts to all the good little boys and girls on the train? Or is it Peter Cottontail leading the children on a magical Easter egg hunt! Is that a lion tamer showing the comical lion who’s boss? Whoa! Could that be a gunfight we’re hearing cause it sure looks like there’s a passel of real live cowboys up ahead? You never know who you’re going to meet aboard the St. Marys Express continued ...


when it runs as the Santa Express, Wild West Express, Peter Cottontail Express, Circus Train or the Halloween Express. But one thing’s for sure—you are bound to come face to face with adventure of the highest order. Smiles and laughter are a specialty on the excursion trains that run in St. Marys 36 times a year, and passengers are more than willing to share their sentiments about the rides.

Kudos from Passengers

“We rode today. Mr. and Mrs. Claus were wonderful. Thank you Santa for the Ho Ho Ho contest with our little one.” “Thank you to the wonderful staff and volunteers at the St. Marys Santa Express! Your positive holiday spirit, amazing work, and kind hearts made this day so special for our family! We will be back again, for sure! “It sure was a sweet, spirit-filled 5 star experience!” “I enjoyed this and will make it a yearly trip. Camden, Nassau, Glynn and Brantley counties you should take time to bring your continued ...


kids on this entertaining train ride!�

Great Volunteers!

The key ingredient that has anchored the success of St. Marys Express train rides over the past few years seems to be the emphasis the volunteers place on interactivity. You just can’t climb aboard and not participate in the fun. You may be called upon to help save Santa from inept kidnappers or aid the sheriff in apprehending a scandalous train robber. Your skills as a circus ringmaster may be tapped or you could be assigned the task of protecting the giant golden egg as the train rolls toward Peter Cottontail’s home in the woodlands. Children of all ages, from 2 to 92, enjoy the antics of onboard performers and the scenic ride over marshlands and through maritime woods. And many come back again and again for they know that each adventure will be different. One couple, Al and Ann Beach, have ridden every excursion since the trains began six years ago. Al, who is a Korean War veteran, says its great fun to be a kid again, but it is his continued ...



love of trains that keeps him coming back along with the generosity of spirit shown by the volunteers who comprise most of the train’s personnel. Rail car hosts entertain their guests while ensuring the safety of all those aboard. The stationmaster/narrator keeps the ride lively with commentary and the imparting of cool facts. The sound tech revs up the experience with inspiring music that has people dancing in their seats. The incorrigible hobos (who manage to get by the conductor every time because they are a “little bit quicker and a whole lot slicker”) charm their way into every passenger’s heart. At the midway point, entertainers take the stage with a mini drama that gets everyone aboard involved. There are few places you can visit that can boast of volunteers who give so much of their weekends and holidays just to make people smile and laugh. Whether one rides in the open air cars or in the locomotive with the engineer, or actually runs the locomotive in an “at the throttle” experience, all who participate in the St. Marys Express adventures always go home with a good story and lots of great memories. Only 6 percent of America’s population has ever ridden a real train. St. Marys Express is hoping to change all that—one passenger at a time. Many people ride the train for an adventure into yesteryear. Some just want to enjoy the great outdoors. And others have been train fans since childhood. No matter the reason one opts to climb aboard, one thing is for sure—on the St. Marys Express, there will always be lots of fun and much memorymaking. For more information, visit

“St. Marys Magazine” makes a great travel companion. We’d like to know where you’re taking us. To become one of our media darlings, simply have your photo taken in a distinguishable location, holding a copy of the magazine, and email the photo with names and location to

Mike and Kathy Rickenberg in Skagway, Alaska.

Bill and Candy Deloughy, Leslie, Bob and Rob Fronczak at Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska.

Ralph Talbott and Suzi Plaine with the HOODOOs at Drumweller, Alberta, Canada.

Scotty & Rose Langford with Rene Quintanilla at Kamakura Japan.

Rachel, Patti, and Rebecca Leavy in Cannon Beach, Oregon.


Bill and Lori in Florence, Italy.

Chuck Lanham and Joyce Bason in Alaska.

Bert, Michaela, and Jillian Guy in Skagway, Alaska.

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hen you bring together two individuals whose family legacies are based on hospitality, one can only expect the best. And one is not disappointed when you dine at Fulford’s Fish House near St. Marys’ Waterfront. Fulford Fish House proprietors Matt and Savannah Fulford didn’t have to twist the arm of Executive Chef Cole Langshaw, Matt’s close buddy, to join the talented and energetic team at the newly opened establishment. Cole’s experience in food service is impressive. As a Carnegie descendant he spent many of his summers chopping vegetables and performing other food preps at Greyfield Inn on Cumberland Island. He spent seven years at the famed White Oak continued on page 38



hat is more delicious than the aroma of freshly baked bread? The absolutely belly-warming experience of devouring it. Thankfully, a new downtown business has brought that experience back as residents and visitors have discovered the delectable offerings of Spouses Bakery. Italian tomato basil, jalapeno cheddar, and classic sour dough are just a few of the specialty breads that grace the shelves of Spouses Bakery on a daily basis. “Put it in your refrigerator, freezer, or your stomach,” the sign above the bread display says because there are no preservatives in Spouses’ products. It’s all made to eat just as you would have eaten your grandma’s cooking. And come to continued on page 40


veryone knows that a good quilt warms your body and comforts your soul, but Bruce Wilkerson has known that since he was a small child. He grew up in the mountains of North Carolina where perhaps some of the most beautiful quilts in the world originate. To keep them out of mischief, Bruce’s neighbor taught him and her grandchild how to piece together squares of fabric. Quilting faded in the background during his teenage years, but then his grandma inspired him to take it up again, and decades later he is deep into the craft and the hobby has become his vocation. Bruce and his wife, Rhonda, own the new Scrappy Rooster Quilt Shop on Osborne. (Don’t continued on page 42 37

St. MaryS D ownt own M e r c hantS I nv Ite yo u t o Fulford’s Fishhouse continued from page 36

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Conservation, preparing food for guests that include the likes of Mikhail Baryshnikov and Baseball Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax. Baryshnikov liked to go fishing and then bring his catch—like striped bass—back to Cole to prepare. When Koufax visited White Oak this year and didn’t see Cole there, he tracked him down at Fulford’s to get him to make the special dish Cole always made for him. Matt’s family legacy is anchored with the acclaimed Lang’s Marina Restaurant where Matt got his start in the food industry eventually managing it for his grandfather, family patriarch Calvin Lang.

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L-R Matt & Savannah Fulford, Cole Langshaw. “Papa (Grandfather Calvin) made it possible for me to bring the dream of my own restaurant to life,” Matt said. “I can’t say enough about how much I appreciate that and I hope he would be proud of what we’ve built here.” Though it was the hard work of the entire team that got the restaurant built and opened, Matt and Savannah give much credit to Cole who not only helped build it but also brings to the table his extraordinary skills as a master chef. Matt calls their food “fast casual,” though not to be confused with the traditional image of fast food. As one is about to enter the side doors on Stable Alley, an attitude adjustment begins with the music pumped outdoors that gets one in the mood to celebrate. And dining at Fulford’s Fish House can truly be called a celebration. The freshest local seafood is the basis for most dishes and Matt and Cole are continued ...

keen to use local purveyors, saying it’s a good feeling to help other family businesses. For vegetables, they favor The Tomato House just down the road. People might be surprised at the sophisticated presentation of the dishes to come out of Fulford’s kitchen, but then one should be reminded of Cole’s experience at White Oak. As visually desirable as the dishes are, Cole says it’s really all about the “flavor.” The menu is dominated by homemade originals. They even make their own pickles and smoke the cheddar cheese that tops the fish and chicken tacos. And they make their own chicken stock as well which is used in many dishes for which some restaurants might use water instead. Speaking of tacos, Fulford diners won’t stop bragging about the tacos that Cole creates. But then they also brag about the crab bisque, the shrimp and grits, the collards, salsas, slaw, crab cakes, and smoked Mahi dip. And with so many creative tasty specials, there is much to brag about. “We’ve designed the menu so that the heavy lifting is done upfront with lots of time spent infusing the flavors so that when customers sit down to eat, they don’t have to wait that long to get their meals set before them,” Cole said. Flavor infusion begins with the best

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We provide financing for both Purchases and Refinances. VA, FHA, USDA and Conventional loans. ingredients, of course. From braising to seal the flavors to searing spices to blossom the flavors, Cole’s original recipes are designed to “make people happy through their stomachs.” Yes, it’s all about the food at Fulford’s Fish House, but one can’t discount the attractive atmosphere and the efficient continued ...

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style of operation. Matt’s beautiful wife, Savannah, can be credited with the look that is uniquely Fulford’s. She designed the counter to mimic fish scales and she designed the whimsical logo as well. A pleasing combination of metal and wood pay tribute to the Fulfords’ appreciation of reclaimed materials. Terry Stover made the tables out of heart pine taken from an old home in Folkston and made the cool barn door that graces the entrance hall. Adding to the interesting atmosphere is the display of old-fashioned looking Coke and soda bottles that hold the colas made from sugar cane (not syrup) and bottled in Mexico. An impressive array of craft beers lines the shelves, and Matt says a full service bar is in the planning. Downtown residents enjoy the added benefit of food delivery by golf cart. Some Fulford Fish House customers dine there two and three times a week. Jay Lassiter—someone who really appreciates great seafood—comes to Fulford’s Fish House pretty much every day to enjoy what’s on the menu for the day. Both Matt and Cole speak with passion when they talk of their plans for the future and how it’s so important to them to make customers happy. If you haven’t yet dined at Fulford’s Fish House, you really need to get on in there. St. Marys is fortunate to have such a winning eating place birthed right downtown and you will be fortunate to partake in their flavor bursting dishes made from recipes you won’t find anywhere else. Editor’s Note: Fulford’s Fish House is located just one block from St. Marys’ waterfront at 101 East Stable Alley. Call 912-439-3351 for more information or visit them on Facebook.

Spouses Bakery continued from page 37 think of it, eating inside at Spouses Bakery is a lot like eating in your grandma’s kitchen. Customer service is always warm and friendly and you get your orders filled quickly, but it really is the “taste” of homemade that keeps customers coming continued ... 40

back again and again and again. Mallory and Vanessa Logan have created a winner here in St. Marys while they still provide baked goods at eight different farmers markets as well as to coffee shops and other venues. All creations are spun out by Mallory who began baking at an early age then continued through his career in the Navy. And don’t ask for a recipe, because Mallory does it the old-fashioned way—no measuring. A little of this, a pinch of that, etc.—just like Grandma did it.

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124-A Andrews Way, St. Marys, GA 31558 As do many good things, Mallory and Vanessa’s venture into baking began by cooking for their church. Their expansion has been impressive and they are looking to open new locations in the future. But right now, we can enjoy much of their attention at the little shop on Dilworth where mouth-watering goodies are churned out daily and include more than just baking. People love the quick and delicious lunch items such as their signature chicken pot pie. On one given day, they might make ten dozen chicken pot pies and still sell out. Their beef brisket pies are also a favorite as are their variety of homemade soups. Mallory’s much-in-demand chili is a result of slow cooking all through the night—the perfect antidote to a cold wintry day. One customer raved about their “awesome” scones, while another called their sweet potato muffins a “5-star experience.” Croissants of the highest order grace the shelves of the cozy bakery but not for long as customers love them all—smoked spinach, bacon, ham and cheese, and even chocolate. Speaking of chocolate—what’s a bakery without cakes? Spouses Bakery does them all—red velvet, coconut, death by chocolate, and more—and any continued ...


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special orders you can conjure up. Mallory has no fear when it comes to stepping “out of the box” either. A testament to that is his creative use of duck—duck confit inside bread, duck pot pies—yum! Though Mallory claims the role as “Chief Baker,” Vanessa is taking over some of the cooking as well. Son Malik is also part of the business, though he doesn’t cook—“he just eats,” Mallory

says laughingly but with pride as he talks about Malik’s studies to be a respiratory therapist. Mallory is constantly devising new ways to delight the Spouses Bakery customers with new concoctions bursting with flavor. He says his main ingredient though is “love.” “Gotta put the love in it,” he says, finishing off a batch of bourbon bread pudding. And as one imbibes in a crisp, flaky, moist, palate-pleasing croissant, one can actually taste the “love” that holds all the ingredients together. Find your belly full of love at Spouses Bakery, 901 Dilworth Street, and like them on Facebook. But fair warning—a morning trip to the bakery in St. Marys can be very addictive.

Scrappy Rooster Quilts continued from page 37 you just love the name?) He says he is “head over heels in love” with quilting, and listening to him talk about it, you feel his pure passion for a tradition that was born out of need. “Economics drove the original quilters,” Bruce said. “But today’s quilters are totally enamored with the process and the outcome and are turning out beautiful pieces that are sometimes displayed as art rather than warming a bed.” 42

The Scrappy Rooster Quilt Shop offers everything you could possibly want or need to quilt including fabrics, supplies, classes, retreats and even “long-arm” services. (In case you didn’t know, long-arm quilting is the process by which a long-arm sewing machine is used to sew together a quilt top, quilt batting, and quilt backing into a finished quilt.) Scrappy Rooster’s long-arm machine is 14’ long to accommodate the largest of quilts, giving his clients the opportunity to have the most daunting task of quilting done by Bruce. A tour of the Scrappy Rooster studio is a feast for the senses— gorgeous quilts hanging like the tapestries of love that they are. With pattern names as colorful as their fabric—Churn Dash, Yellow Brick Road, Twisted Log Cabin, Wild Goose Chase, Hole in the Barn Door, it’s easy to romanticize the process of quilt-making. But quilts go beyond works of art and serving as a blanket, they can also serve as keepsakes, especially to commemorate a beloved

member of the family. “People often bring me the clothes of a loved one to make into a quilt,” Bruce said. “One retired sailor wanted a quilt made out of his Navy uniforms.” So, one could say that quilts are “keepers of memories.” “One person made five quilts out of her clothes so she could give one to each of her children,” he said. Just imagine the sweetness of having that kind of memento when a loved one

has passed. Bruce and Rhonda Wilkerson are both educators by trade—Rhonda still serves as an elementary teacher for the Camden School System. Bruce is a retired school principal. But now their days and many, many nights are filled with perpetuating the tradition of quilting and promoting its many benefits. “Quilting can be a lone sport or for many, it’s all about community,” he said. Hosting “sit-and-sews” is one of his many pleasures where quilters gather to quilt and commune. “Quilting helps you bond with others,” he said. Research shows that quilting has many health benefits as well. “Anyone who has thrilled to the sight and touch of a room full of fabric or enjoyed the meditative concentration that comes from hand stitching knows that endorphins and relaxation don’t just come from running or yoga,” said Bruce. “For me, it’s really cheap therapy.” Classes and retreats are part of the Scrappy Rooster Quilts’ strategy to educate and bring quilters together. Retreats are weekend events beginning on Friday afternoon staged at a local hotel or bed & breakfast and ending on Sunday. In 2019, Bruce and Rhonda plan two quilting “universities” which entail instruction from basic to finishing a quilt. “It is my desire to promote the love of all aspects of quilting. My quilting dreams continue to grow and I would be honored to quilt for you,” is Bruce’s message to our readers. Most days, you can find Bruce Wilkerson at Scrappy Rooster Quilts, 2201 Osborne Road in St. Marys. Rhonda (who has the ‘eye’ for color and texture—a true artist) focuses on quilting most nights and weekends. Whether you’re looking for artistic expression, easy therapy, or just want your bed covered with love, a visit to Scrappy Rooster Quilts may be just what the doctor ordered. For more information, visit

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ust make magic” is Dorothy Stokes‘ philosophy when it comes to making beautiful clothes. It was sagely advice from a mentor who inspired her to make a career out of dressing clients who appreciate classic styling and timeless fashion. Dottie calls it “investment dressing.” She cites Katherine Hepburn as a good example of someone who avoided fads and always looked “chic.” “With the right design, the right fabric and the right fit, an outfit can easily transcend the years,” Dottie said. “Some people think it’s expensive to have clothing customized, but when you figure out the life of the outfit, you realize what a good return on investment you’ve made.” At the edge of Osprey Cove, Dottie’s salon— “Dorothy by Design”—houses sumptuous fabrics that she acquires during her twice-a-year buying trips to New York. “The fabric speaks to me,” Dottie said. “It tells me what it wants to be.” Cottons, silks, wools, and linens hold a special place in Dottie’s tailoring heart because “they were once alive.” She says that natural fabrics are more malleable and will bend to suit your will. Dottie’s love affair with sewing started when she was only 5. Her mother and grandmother were great seamstresses and Dottie was a quick learner. Her mom would give her scraps of fabric which she would use to make her doll clothes. Needing a broader outlet for her sewing skills, she wrote puppet shows and made the costumes for the puppets. Through the years, Dottie has been a tremendous asset to the theatre world having designed and constructed costumes for organizations like Jacksonville Theatre, Players by the Sea, Amelia Community Theatre, and University of North Florida among others. Currently she is assisting St. Marys Little Theatre with their productions. Dottie feels that community theatre is very important and enjoys giving back to the community in a way she can use her special talents. When asked about some of her most memorable costumes, she laughs as she tells about the two-man cow suit she made. Laughter becomes her. You can see that twinkle in her eye and feel the warmth that she must shower on her clients as she dresses them to be and feel like the person they want to be. When taking on a new project, Dottie will ask her client who they want to be, and how do they want to feel when they wear the clothing that she is about to create. “An outfit should tell a story,” Dottie said. Looking around Dottie’s salon, you can imagine the stories that Dottie is helping her clients create. From casual to formal, from whimsical to dramatic—Dorothy Stokes is a wizard at “making the clothes that make the woman.” Catch her making her magic in her recently opened shop at the entrance to Osprey Cove or give her a call at 912-576-2939.

By Devan



Stuart Lesley

ust a half-hour’s drive north plus a 20-minute ferry whose maternal great grandfather led the Highland clan of ride away from St. Marys lies a sprawling barrier island Scots that first settled Georgia’s colonial town of Darien in that holds secrets and stories as varied as its wildlife and 1736 and whose father was among the earliest planters to estuary ecosystem. They are the secrets and stories of experiment with growing Sea Island cotton on nearby St. three eccentric millionaires; a Gullah Geechee culture on Simons. Spalding purchased much of the Island in 1802 the verge of vanishing; and followed in his father’s and a host of biologists footsteps, becoming a and ecologists whose prominent experimental work informs scientific farmer known for growing research programs cotton, Sapelo peas, sugar nationwide. cane and rice. South Georgia’s His is the first name Sapelo Island, a you’ll hear after your ferry state-protected barrier ride from the Sapelo Island island located in Visitor’s Center in Darien McIntosh County, is on one of the half-day or accessible only by seasonal full-day public aircraft or boat. And tours on the island, while tourism is typically conducted by welcomed, it’s also longtime resident and limited. But it’s well ranger Yvonne Grovner. worth both the quick “This is what we call Reynolds Mansion glimpse afforded casual ‘Sapelo rush hour,’” she day-trippers and the extra effort it’ll take for an tells tourists as her solitary tour van ambles past a row of extended visit. some two dozen dust-covered vehicles parked alongside Sapelo Rush Hour the narrow, one-lane road. They belong to property owners Sapelo Island’s most celebrated history begins with who visit the island only while vacationing or checking on Thomas Spalding, a wealthy young planter and politician their rental homes. In fact, you’re more likely to encounter continued ...

whitetail deer, wild turkey, the rare Guatemalan Chacalaca (an imported gamebird) or, on occasion, descendants of late land owner R.J. Reynolds’s feral cattle in the roadway than you are an oncoming driver. No one is quite sure when or why Reynolds released his dairy cattle and bulls into the wild, but their brood still roam the island. Grovner’s van will make stops at various points of interest, including second Sapelo landowner Howard Coffin’s airplane hangar, landing strip and the three identical homes built for his three ever-quarreling sisters; an 1820 Winslow Lewis lighthouse overlooking Doboy Sound; and the historic African American Behavior Cemetery where many older headstones are decorated with clocks, vases, kitchen utensils and other personal items and all face east toward Africa. Those interred are among the some 400 slaves who Reynolds brought to the island from West Africa and the West Indies, despite his misgivings about the institution of slavery. His liberal treatment, which included free time for personal pursuits, and his practice of assigning black managers to oversee workers helped to establish a mutual respect. That’s why, after the close of the Civil War, free slaves remained on Sapelo, establishing a settlement on 434 acres deeded to them by the Spalding

family. Dubbed the community “Hogg Hammock” after Sampson Hogg, who served as caretaker for Spalding’s hogs. Once numbering in the hundreds, residents of Hogg Hammock now number fewer than 50. For more than two decades, the Sapelo Cultural & Revitalization Society has hosted an annual festival, inviting visitors into Hogg Hammock for an immersive Gullah-Geechee cultural experience. Hampered by post-hurricane cleanup and repairs, they’ve nixed the affair the past two years, but plans are underway to relaunch in 2020.

Crown Jewel

Sapelo Island’s undisputed crown jewel is the stately mansion, which originated as a one-room tabby structure that served as Spalding’s plantation manor from 1810 until its near-destruction in a Union attack during the Civil War. For decades after, the manor lay in ruins until 1911 when Coffin, then a brash young carmaker, raced—quite literally—into nearby Savannah, showing off his latest automotive design in a contest. He caught word that 20,000 acres of Sapelo Island land and marsh were up for bid and $150,000 later, the prize was his. Coffin, also an aviation engineer who served on the nation’s unofficial war cabinet and helped to develop the U.S. Army Air Service, forerunner to the U.S. Air Force, continued ...


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quickly set about making his own mark on the island, laying miles of shell-covered roads, bridging creeks and cultivating oil fields. Most notably, he rebuilt Spalding’s abandoned antebellum mansion, adding the second and third floors, as well as the swimming pool and a selection of sculptures carved of Carrara marble imported from Italy. Recognizing Coastal Georgia as a potential tourism boon, Coffin also purchased tracks of land on St. Simons and Sea Island, where he built the exclusive Cloister Hotel in 1928. But his business prowess proved no match for the Great Depression. Unable to sustain his properties, Coffin sold his Sapelo Island holdings to tobacco magnate Reynolds in 1934. Reynolds modernized the mansion, updating its electrical and plumbing systems and adding air conditioning—an extravagant rarity for the time. Then, there’s the infamous turkey fountain, a massive, four-pointed stone attraction topped with multiple carvings of the large bird located just behind the mansion and near a dairy barn. “While he was away on business, one of Reynolds’ four wives had the turkey fountain built for him as a gift,” Edmond says. “He did not like it. So, he tried to blow it up. When the smoke cleared, he found that instead, all the windows had been blown out of the dairy barn, but the turkey fountain still stood.” It stands today and is a favorite visitor photo op. For more information, visit Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research at and


fter 22 years of bodacious, uncurbed, unrelenting behind-the-bar sass, Cindy Deen Chubb, is saying farewell to work (which she still calls a four-letter word). As renowned bartender for Seagle’s Saloon and Speakeasy, Cindy has been written up in travel books and featured in movies. For more than two decades she drew customers from all over to bear the brunt of her “tender lovin’ trash talk.” Some of her patrons are nearly as colorful as herself. Twenty-two years of memories are encased in the huge heart of Queen Cindy Deen. She loved what she did. She loved the Riverview Hotel, Seagle’s Saloon, and her Speakeasy. And she loved her customers—many of whom have become close friends.

So what does a bartending queen do when she retires? One thing guaranteed is that she will be throwing a heapin’ bunch of love on her and husband Bob’s two rescue dogs Tank and Taz, and their three rescue cats, Mewwy, Baby, and Alley (named after one of Cindy’s favorite long-time customers, Al Chapman). One other thing guaranteed is that she will not be hanging up her crown. (Once a queen, always a queen!) And she will not be walking away from bartending. She plans to continue elsewhere including private parties. And if you get a strong craving for some real southern sass, see if you can catch The Queen running around town in her torch red Corvette! Long live the Queen! 49


n 2017, Golden Isles Arts & Humanities, the coordinating arts council for Brunswick and Glynn County, launched a new program, The Golden Isles Penguin Project, a musical theatre production that casts children and young adults with disabilities in all roles. The Artists are individuals age 10 to 25 with developmental and/or physical disabilities, including cognitive, learning, motor, hearing, and visual impairments, genetic disorders, and neurological disorders. There are no restrictions based on the level of cognitive ability, restriction of mobility, or lack of

communication skills. Utilizing a “peer mentor� system, each young Artist is linked with an age level peer who does not have a disability. The Mentors work side by side with their partners assisting them throughout the entire rehearsal process and on stage. They participate in group production numbers but are trained to remain in the background and provide assistance to their partner only as needed. This program is the brainchild of Dr. Andrew Morgan, a Professor of Clinical Pediatrics and the former Head of the Division of Child Development at the continued ...


University College of Medicine at Peoria. With his love of theater and his chosen career he realized that this could be a perfect opportunity for kids with special needs to have an opportunity to grow. By creating unrestricted access to the performing arts, The Penguin Project® demonstrates that the special challenges of a disability need not handicap a child’s ability to participate in life’s experiences. In his words “Our penguins may not be able to fly, but that does not prevent their spirits from soaring.” For over 15 years, Dr. Andy has been offering these children the opportunity to take part in a creative process with The Penguin Project and because of its enormous success; the program is now being replicated in communities around the country. The program was brought to the attention of Golden Isles Arts & Humanities by the parent of a special needs young adult, Allyson Jackson. She did not have to twist Heather Heath’s (GIAHA’s executive director) arm too hard though. “After hearing about the program, there was no question that we had to make this happen here,” said Heather. “I knew that this was something that could make a real difference in the lives of all the participants and volunteers.” The Golden Isles Penguin Project’s first production, Annie, Jr., included 21 Artists and 22 Mentors who performed to sold-out audiences. In June 2018, a total of 60 new and returning Artists and Mentors performed Disney’s Peter Pan JR, again to sell out crowds. They will soon begin rehearsals for the 2019 production of Shrek, The Musical, JR. The goal of the program is to demonstrate that individuals with special needs are fully capable of participating in community activities with the same dedication and enthusiasm as others, if given opportunity and support. And the participants and the audiences of the Golden Isles Penguin Project know that the sky is the limit in what these young people can do. For more information about the Golden Isles Penguin Project, contact Golden Isles Arts & Humanities at 912.262.6934 or email or

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ntil recently, the Camden County community was dramatically underserved in regards to psychiatric resources. This had led to the vast majority of residents having to travel up to 50 miles one way to see a psychiatrist. Camden County was at a crossroads of what could have been a mental health crisis. And though there is still much to do to make sure our community’s mental health resources are where they should be, thanks to an organization called Camden Behavioral Wellness (CBW), Camden has come a long way toward ensuring that our residents receive the services they need to be healthy, mentally stable, and safe in our community. Molly McCue, founder of Camden Behavioral Wellness, saw the need, rallied the troops, and after three years of intense efforts by Molly, her staff and her board of directors, Camden County, Georgia has their own full-time psychiatrist—an important step toward providing the optimal level of mental health assistance in the community. Most people don’t realize what it is like for individuals with mental illness—the challenge continued ...

Dr. Hadas Maimon


to be properly diagnosed and assessed and then to find the services needed to cope and manage their illness. The State of Georgia is classified by the federal government as an underserved area and this is magnified by rural areas like Camden County. “I have worked with many women who have small children who are diagnosed with a mental illness but could not find a Psychiatrist for treatment,” McCue said. “One of my client’s mother said to me that she spent six hours on the phone calling psychiatrists to find out if they would accept her child’s Medicaid and the closest doctor she could find was in Savannah, 90 miles north and her child would still have to wait two months.” McCue said she had sat with children who had to wait days in the ER before they were assessed or hospitalized and had worked with children who were hospitalized and separated from their families due to lack of Psychiatric care. “All of these things motivated me to work together with other mental health professionals to create the concept of CBW, an organization that would identify and provide the services crucially needed here,” she said. “After three years, finally, our community now has a full time psychiatrist.” Dr. Hadas Maimon, a native Floridian, is now a part of Camden Behavioral Wellness, a 501c3 nonprofit organization. Dr. Maimon said she wanted to come to a place where she could do “the most good.” Dr. Maimon’s parents strongly influenced her desire to volunteer and do her civic duty to help others. Her many volunteer activities before joining CBW involved women and children. But she still asked the question: “What can I do to make a difference?” “I hope to make a difference by giving people the treatment they need before a crisis arises,” Dr. Maimon said. Mental health problems are often hidden by different behavioral patterns sometimes characterized in the community as “poor behavior.” There are no observable physical defects or deformities that would bring attention to an individual needing mental health care which is often why those in need continued ...

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go untreated, especially if there is not adequate mental health resources in the community. “Poor mental health adversely affects a family’s emotional stability and can affect the quality of a person’s workplace as well,” McCue said. “Getting a full time psychiatrist in our community is just the beginning. By enriching our mental health resources, our community can grow stronger, lives can be saved, and families can be saved.” Dr. Hadas Maimon and Molly McCue along with their entire team which includes Psychiatrist Dr. Douglas Cooper, are making a difference. As Margaret Meade so aptly put it: “Never doubt that a group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has!” Editor’s Note: Camden Behavioral Wellness is located at 605 Osborne Street in Downtown St. Marys. For more information, visit

My husband and I just moved to Kingsland to be closer to family and have met some of the nicest people in this area. I was given the “Historic St. Marys Magazine” at the Kingsland Visitor Center. Thank you for putting smiles on my face and in my heart by encouraging us to “Do Great Things!” Each of your suggestions made me smile and reminded me why I do those things. You are absolutely correct, Barbara—it’s a wonderful feeling to make someone smile and remind them that they are important and that they matter. Thank you for spreading smiles to all of us. I’m sure you have brightened and will brighten hundreds, if not thousands, of people’s days. I look forward to your next Publisher’s Note. Kenna DiBuono

Picked up my copy of the magazine at the Library on Friday and just finished reading it. Another wonderful edition which I read cover to cover in one sitting and with only one cup of coffee—a rarity for me! Thanks for all you and your team do for our community. KUDOS!!!! Allene Groote

Barbara, My husband and I have been reading your magazine since it began. We have a little place in downtown St. Marys. Something different and much better about this latest...great history, stories and layout. Just wanted to tell you. I edited a museum mag at Fernbank in Atlanta for a while and know it is a tough job. Looking good! Judy Cutchins

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n April 2018, the European Space Agency unveiled a new, highly detailed sky map of the Milky Way Galaxy (our home) that showcases the brightness and positions of nearly 1.7 billion stars. It’s hard to comprehend the vastness of space, but there are those who are eagerly stepping into the future to capitalize on uncharted space opportunities for our planet. Here on the Georgia coast, Spaceport Camden is moving full steam ahead to take its place in the business of space travel and exploration—most markedly into the Global Small Launch Vehicle Market. As “America’s Commercial Gateway to Space,” Spaceport Camden hopes to amplify space business for Georgia by building a space launch facility just a few miles from St. Marys. Nearing completion of the process to address all comments received as part of the public input on the Draft EIS, Camden Spaceport’s final application to the FAA is expected to be in place in early 2019. At that time, the FAA will have 180 days to review the application and make a final decision on the license. Other notable advancements in making Camden a space hub is the signing of a lease between the Camden County Joint Development Authority and ABL Space Systems to utilize the St. Marys Airport property for some of their operations. Expected to begin operations in Camden County in early 2019, ABL will use the airport property for vehicle assembly, ground system commission, and low energy test operations. The Global Small Launch Vehicle Market is continued ...


I believe that space travel will one day become as common as airline travel is today. I’m convinced, however, that the true future of space travel does not lie with government agencies—NASA is still obsessed with the idea that the primary purpose of the space program is science—but real progress will come from private companies competing to provide the ultimate adventure ride, and NASA will receive the trickle-down benefits. BUZZ ALDRIN, Magnificent Desolation

anticipated to reach $6.9 billion by 2028, and if Camden County can get just a sliver of that, it would mean a significant impact on the area’s economy. North America is expected to witness the highest growth of small launch vehicle launches during the 2019-2028 period. As Astronaut Buzz Aldrin put it (paraphrased), “the future progress of space travel will come from private companies.” And that is just where Spaceport Camden is aiming to make its mark with a focus on launching small satellites for commercial end users. The Trump Administration continues to push for policies that benefit Spaceport Camden. In 2018, the President signed Space Policy Directive 2 which is intended to streamline commercial launches. In addition, President Trump has revived the United States Space Command as a precursor to the future United States Space Force. With the promise of accelerated business for commercial launches, continued ...




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Spaceport Camden is in an enviable position to be a key player in the space industry. The proposed site for Spaceport Camden offers trajectories over the Atlantic Ocean, and the site’s relatively low latitude and Atlantic Ocean range will allow orbital launches to take advantage of Earth’s rotational velocity—an attribute not offered by other spaceport locations that are also courting the commercial space industry. Combine Georgia’s favorable business climate and Camden’s high tech military workforce and it’s clear to see that Spaceport Camden will be at the top of the list for space companies seeking launch facilities. Spaceport Camden is slated to be the only non-federal space range on the East Coast and a major component of the National Space Strategy. As Spaceport Camden leaders move forward, excitement continues to build around making Camden County a star on the Galactic Map.

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The “Folkston Funnel” is a double track which serves as the main artery for railroad traffic into and out of Florida. From the viewing platform in Folkston, visitors can see trains passing on their way to and from Jacksonville, Florida in the south, and a split north of town where trains go west to Waycross, Georgia, and north to Savannah.

Robert West

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In 2017, Heaven gained another theatre angel. Randy Horn loved nothing more than making people laugh. And he was the master of laughter. From his Vaudeville days to his appearances in St. Marys Little Theatre productions, Randy was embraced by audiences of all ages who were graced by his light. Randy never hesitated to practice buffoonery, slapstick, and satire or whatever it took to evoke laughter. He was simply “good medicine� for everyone. Randy Horn was a light in our darkest hour. A warm hug on the coldest day. And a man who wrote his name upon our hearts over and over and over again.



id you know that community theatres involve more participants, present more performances of more productions, and play to more people than any other performing art in the country? Community theatre is essential to the cultural health of our community—enriching the lives of those who take an active part in it, as well as those in the community who benefit from live theatre productions. On either side of the footlights, those involved represent a diversity of age, culture, life experience, and a strong appreciation of the importance of arts. When St. Marys Little Theatre (SMLT) was founded eight years ago, few people predicted the important role it would play in the advancement of cultural arts for St. Marys and the surrounding area. But with dozens of productions behind them and thousands of audience members with fond memories, SMLT looks forward to making a difference in many lives for years to come. “Community theatre offers a gateway to new worlds of experience, emotion, and knowledge,� continued ...


said Barbara Ryan, founder and chair of SMLT who also directs many of its shows. “I am awestruck by the power of our endeavor to transform lives.” Ryan said that all who participate in community theatre, from the backstage crew to the chorus, to the ticket taker and the leading performers, come away from the experience with fond memories that will last a lifetime. “SMLT is all about inclusivity,” Ryan said. “We know there is a positive impact on our youth, seniors, area businesses, and our community’s identity. Being a part of it all is a humbling but energizing experience.” By promoting unity, creating an accepting environment for self-expression and interactivity, community theatre is the centerpiece to the fabric of our society—an unmatched component to the very health of our neighborhoods, towns, and cities. L. J. Williams, Vice Chair of SMLT said, “Community theatre has the special power to bring us together, to help our towns become communities.” For SMLT’S most recent season, two very different productions were presented. “An Evening with the Stars” showcased the talents of dozens of local performers channeling some of the world’s most famous celebrities including John Lennon, Aretha Franklin, Louis Armstrong, Cher, Elvis Presley and many more. A very impressed and appreciative audience gave resounding applause and standing ovations to act after act as the performers proved what big talent comes from a little town. This year’s holiday special, “The Littlest Angel,” brought with it new stars and new opportunities for children and adults to showcase their continued ...


skills in a way that inspired audiences and instilled in them a jubilant case of unleashed Christmas spirit. As with many of SMLT’s shows, “The Littlest Angel” brought home a message, causing us to pay more attention to how we treat our fellow man—how we act and think. For those who participate in community theatre, many lifelong friendships and relationships are formed. “There is a strong bond with all who band together to put on a play,” said Williams, who has appeared onstage in several of SMLT’s productions along with his five-year-old daughter, Natalyah. “We become friends because we work as one to tell a story,” he said. Ryan and Williams encourage anyone who would like to participate in community theatre at any level to visit and make contact. The journey into community theatre can be a continuing gift of knowledge, creativity, growth, affirmation, friendship, and love. And who couldn’t use a little more of each of those?

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e sat down at her kitchen table in her home at Osprey Cove and Diane Carroll began my round-the-world tour. Photobooks from dozens of her favorite trips cover the table. Where should we begin? Cuba? The Netherlands? Russia? Venice? Diane has visited 60 countries and anticipates visiting 60 more before she retires her passport. As an associate of an award-winning travel agency—Cruise Planners, Diane has had the opportunity to globe-trot often, usually making 3 to 4 big trips each year with her husband, John. Her affiliation with Cruise Planners also enables her to arrange hassle-free, value-based travel packages for her clients by land, sea, and river. She has kissed the Blarney Stone, cruised 600 miles up the Amazon, and had customized sandals continued ...


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Blarney Castle where Diane kissed the Blarney stone. made by the same people who made Jackie O’s and the Beatles’. She learned how to collect olives and adopted an olive tree, felt the mystical vibrations at Stonehenge, and explored the castle where Downton Abbey was filmed. To many, hers is a fairy tale life, and she admits she feels fortunate to be able to combine her love for travel and her desire to help others discover the joys of travel at the same time. “Live, love, and explore—that’s my motto,” she says. Diane’s favorite way to explore the world is through cruising. “On cruises, you can visit many places and unpack only once,” she said. “And you can see more things more economically.” That’s a clincher for her many clients who enjoy the savings that the nation’s largest home-based travel agent franchise network can offer. Diane is an associate of Michael Consoli, a franchise owner of Cruise Planners who was at one time her travel agent and encouraged her to get into the business when he saw how much she enjoyed travel. When asked to choose her favorite travel experience, she hesitates. Venice is definitely near the top. Australia, New Zealand, and both coasts of Russia were amazing. Italy, Greece, and Cuba were definitely in the running. Brazil—yes. Budapest—sure. Prague—of course, it is her ancestral home. But her favorite favorite favorite trip of all time? “The next one,” she replies emphatically. Diane Carroll has crossed the equator and the international dateline numerous times. She’s upgraded her status from “Polywog” to “Shellback” for crossing the Equator by ship. She loves the small towns and immersing herself in local culture. And she would love to help others in her community to have the same joyful experiences—the joy of living, loving and exploring. Editor’s Note: For more information, call Diane at 912-527-6353.

By Barbara



l Chapman was my friend. But then he was everybody’s, wasn’t he? He never met a stranger, for within moments of meeting you, you would feel as if you had known him forever. He made you comfortable like that—like an old shoe. His rugged exterior belied the softness and warmth he held within. And if you were fortunate to be in his orbit, you were blessed with the light that followed him everywhere he went. Kindness was his ballast. If help was needed, he was always the first to respond. No greater love was that than the love Al had for his family. He was the pillar. And they were his joy. Where Al Chapman walked, love bloomed. We on Earth have lost a friend, a father, a grandfather, and a beloved citizen. But Heaven has gained an Angel. One of Al’s favorite songs was “The Great Speckled Bird,” and I found myself looking up the lyrics after he passed to see what they meant to him. The last verse goes: “When he cometh descending from heaven On the cloud that He writes in His word I’ll be joyfully carried to meet Him On the wings of that great speckled bird.” Now I know. He found comfort in those words. And though while I write this meager tribute to a great man whose legacy will live on forever, tears flow down my face, yet I smile. For I know he now sings his songs with the angels. And their chorus is more beautiful than ever before. I am soothed by the notion that Al Chapman is looking down upon us all and I will cling to the notion that he is saying: “In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars will be laughing when you look at the sky at night. You, only you, will have stars that can laugh! And when your sorrow is comforted, you will be content that you have known me.”* We love you, Al Chapman. You will be in our hearts evermore. *Passage from “The Little Prince”


By Alex


The Hairy Farmpit Girls Swan Rubins and Jennifer Evitts.


o there I sat: my arms and lap full of baby miniature goat, a small donkey leaning against me and snoring softly in my ear, a rooster swaggering about a few yards away, chickens gossiping in their worried chicken voices, and a very large pig awaiting me in the house. I gazed about. Spanish moss captured the afternoon light and the slow-moving blackwater Satilla River winked from between the trees along its banks. The long drive to this rural idyll had been convoluted and, at times, bewildering, leading me to wonder if I’d finally discovered the official “Middle of Nowhere.” In fact, I’d located the Hairy Farmpit Girls and their queendom—just a piece up the road from St. Marys in White Oak, Georgia. Let’s backtrack a bit. Jennifer Evitts and Swan Rubins met in St. Augustine in 2004 while both were employed in the criminal justice field, with Swan being a senior child abuse investigator. Eight years later (after much discussion and endless daydreams), they decided to profoundly alter their lives by leaving their continued ...


Alex Kearns with an armload of goat love.

Hairy Farmpit Soaps

high-pressure jobs, relocating to “the country,” and maintaining a small flock of chickens for their own (the “Girls” not the “birds”) amusement, delectation, and kitchen. Thus began a strange, delightful, and challenging journey born of “why the heck not” love, intense respect for the earth and all living things, and massive dollops of humor. In 2013, they launched “The Hairy Farmpit Girls” blog, chatting in their inimitably hilarious way about chickens, jam-making, animal husbandry, and other small-farm-life quirks, victories, spectacular failures, and wonderfully comical drama. The blog’s audience grew and their followers clamored for more. The Girls moved to Camden County, Georgia, in 2015––their primary goal being the acquisition of goats. One led to two which led to ten which led to the present “herd size” of fourteen. They scrambled up the learning curve and taught themselves how to craft superb butter, yogurt, ice cream and cheese but they still found that they had an alarming surplus of goat’s milk. The answer: soap-making. And so a company was born. As Swan stated, “Before the soap business, we would often be recognized as ‘those girls’ because of the blog. We knew there was the potential to build on our own fan base but we didn’t know exactly where to focus our energy. It wasn’t until soap making went from a hobby continued ...

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to a full time obsession that we realized what needed to be done: to create an artisan bath and body product company while still maintaining our humorous edge.” The Hairy Farmpit is run solely by Jen, Swan, and their hypercritical CEO—a 100 lb. mini pig named Tammy Swinette. They (the Girls, not Tammy Swinette) create over 3000 bars of 100% goat milk soap every month and sell their wares at local festivals, farmers markets, and shops throughout the southeast. Of course, only ethically sourced and sustainable oils and micas are used and every drop of goat’s milk comes from the deeply-loved, totally spoiled and content Farmpit goats. In ongoing efforts to minimize their “footprint,” the Girls also strive to use the absolute bare minimum of packaging. Those who have ever treated themselves to a bar of 100% goat milk soap are familiar with its luxurious texture and rich moisturizing properties. Swan is the Soap-Master and has become a true artist and leader in the field, creating bath and body products with mesmerizing scents, visual beauty, and unsurpassed quality. The company is soaring beyond even their wildest imaginings. The buzz about The Hairy Farmpit Girls soon caught the attention of the media and they’ve been profiled on the televised news, in magazine articles, continued ...

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and other people’s blogs and vlogs. Plus there’s the matter of that viral video of a baby peacock that’s been seen by over 100 million viewers! The Girls’ line of products has expanded along with the Farm’s population of “critters” and now includes goat milk soap and lotion, artisan beard oil, and bathroom sprays (with names like “Call of Doodie” and “Pooperman”). While they do keep a constant line of ten must-have soaps, they also love to focus on small batches and experimenting with new designs and scents. As a result, their ever-expanding portfolio now includes more than 300 types of soaps and each week new products are released at markets and festivals so there’s always something to intrigue and entice the shopper. The Girls will also provide custom orders for entire blocks of soap as well as offering an array of baby shower and wedding favors. (In St. Marys, their products can be purchased at Cottle & Gunn.) Of course, no story about the Hairy Farmpit Girls would be complete without introducing the stars of the show, and each deserves acknowledgement so here we go: The Dogs, Sarah Jessica Barker and Lionel Itchy; the Cats, Catsy Cline and Purrscilla Presley; the Pig, Tammy Swinette; the Donkeys (for protection and comic relief), David Asselhoff, Mama Ass, Jacqueline O’Asses, Butch Assidy; the Goats, Vincent van Goat, Blurt Russell, Goatie Hawn, Whoopi Goatberg, Nae West, Lady Baaah Baaah, Cudz Mackenzie, Halloumi Campbell, Felicity Hoofman, Feta James, Michelle O, Halle Dairy, and Basil; the Chickens, too many to list here. So there I sat; my arms full of tiny Blurt Russell, Butch Assidy asleep against my shoulder, and my heart full to overflowing with sheer, happy, animal love. As it turns out, The Middle of Nowhere is actually the Center of the Known Universe. And it’s an absolutely wonderful place. For more information visit

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erendipity has figured large in Mary Rose Cannistraro’s life. Most recently, happenstance found her sitting in an airplane bound for Italy next to Jay Dunn who works for one of the largest Italian wine distributors in the world. A quick chat revealed to them both that it was a connection to be taken to heart. Fast forward to a few months later and because of that serendipitous meeting, The Green Room, a Cannistraro business located at the entrance to Osprey Cove, has added to its attraction the status of “Specialty Wine Boutique.” Lover of all things Sicilian (her ancestral homeland), Mary Rose set out to see how her new connection could enhance the brisk business she and son, Mike (who runs The Green Room) have grown into a local landmark. If you’ve ever eaten at The Green Room, you know how authentic their Sicilian gourmet offerings are. You’re clued in when you see Mike in his t-shirt that reads “Recipe? What recipe? I’m Sicilian!” That pretty much tells the story of how the Cannistraros have gone continued ...

Winery in Sicily 78

L-R: Susan Favret, Jim Favret, Mary Rose Cannistraro and Jay Dunn from Prestige Wine Imports.

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about creating a love affair between their customers and their authentic Sicilian cuisine. Remembering the sumptuous meals prepared by “Nana,” Mary Rose’s grandmother, Mike and his staff concoct daily the culinary stuff that dreams are made on. And now, The Green Room’s expanded wine selections represent an even greater enticement to visit the cozy eatery and wine shop. When Mary Rose toured the Sicilian winery that sources much of her distributor’s wines, she knew their product would be a perfect fit. For years, she has proselytized the importance of “all-natural” products and “sustainability.” Her next door business, On the Green Salon and Day Spa, is known for its environmentally-friendly services. In Sicily, she discovered the winery was driven by windmills. All her Sicilian wines are farmed organically, a feature that makes Mary Rose especially proud to offer. At a recent wine tasting, The Green Room’s regular customers and new fans gathered to sample the new line of wines. Lots of smiles and laughter pervaded the upstairs space that overlooks one of Osprey Cove’s most beautiful fairways. Many guests ordered cases of the new wines, and Mary Rose anticipates many more wine tastings to be held in the future. She’s looking at creating a Wine Club as well to give customers an continued ...


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opportunity to learn more about the origin and taste notes of each wine. Significant discounts are offered for case orders. The Green Room is especially proud to be offering the Andrea Bocelli family line of wines. People might not know that long before Bocelli became famous for his music, the family had been known for their wines. They’ve been making wines for more than 130 years. The superstar Italian tenor and his brother, Alberto, personally select wines from their winery in Tuscany, to include in their “Bocelli Family Wines” collections. “Wine that expresses the unique pleasure and character of Italy,” they say, “are the wines we enjoy at our own table.” In keeping with Mary Rose’s commitment to “all natural,” every grape in Bocelli wines is hand-harvested. The yields are miniscule producing only one bottle per

Mary Rose and Mike Cannistraro

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plant. And yet, Mary Rose says the Bocelli wines are very affordable. “Drinking good wine isn’t about spending more money,” she said. “It’s about understanding which wines give you the greatest value and the most enjoyment.” Mary Rose Cannistraro has come a long way from the days of her childhood where she rolled meatballs in her grandmother’s kitchen in Sicily to present day as owner of a swanky beauty salon and day spa and now a thriving wine retailer. As they say in Italy, “Una cena senza vino e come un giorno senza sole”—A meal without wine is a day without sunshine. Mary Rose and the Cannistraro family invite you to come to their table at The Green Room and enjoy some authentic Italian cuisine and imbibe in some beautiful Italian wines from the home country. La vita è bella!

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Heroes on the Water helps warriors relax, rehabilitate, and reintegrate through kayak fishing and the outdoors.

hen the symptoms of post-traumatic stress hit, Hilary Williams went from being a successful Marine officer to a homebound individual, fearful of the world. Five unconscious concussions sidelined her with traumatic brain injury and took a toll. While her concussions were not all combat related, the outcome was still life altering. Hilary made a point to avoid as many people as possible, going to stores when they first opened to avoid crowds and minimize contact with the outside world. Hilary’s is not an uncommon story for many who have served in our military, then found it difficult to adjust to civilian life. One local group, the Cumberland Sound Chapter of “Heroes on the Water,” is helping people like Hilary become part of a community that cares. James and Maria Pittman, owners of Buccaneer’s Bait & Tackle in St. Marys, met many veterans who came to get supplies for fishing. Aware of the national organization, Heroes on the Water, they felt a local chapter would serve


well with all the veterans in the area. So they founded the chapter, aptly named “Cumberland Sound Heroes on the Water.” “We wanted to find a way to give back to the brave men and women who contribute large portions of their lives to keeping us free,” Maria said. “Many vets miss the camaraderie they had in the service and having a local chapter of Heroes on the Water helps give them that camaraderie as well as providing some great on-the-water therapy.” The primary proven therapy utilized by Heroes on the Water is kayak fishing. Volunteer-led chapters such as the Cumberland Sound chapter hold events that are free for our nation’s heroes including first responders. Recently, the 2nd Annual Cumberland Sound Warriors Inshore Tournament was held in St. Marys and drew participants from hundreds of miles away—veterans, first responders, and their families. continued ...

Bryce Wainwright takes first place in Redfish division and Brady Carver claims number one in Trout division. “It’s the fundraising event that raises most of the money to get us through our year of activities,” Maria said. For the tournament Maria cooked the food while participants spent a morning of fishing. Lunch was served to all and then tournament prizes were awarded for catches of redfish, trout, and sheepshead. The person who caught the redfish with the most spots was awarded $300. With 18 kayaks, plenty of rod and reels, tackle and bait provided, all a participant needs to do is show up whether it’s for a fishing tournament or for one of the monthly outings the Pittmans plan for the coming year. “We need volunteers,” Maria said. “We provide a one-on-one experience with a guide for every individual, and that means a lot of volunteer hours.” Heroes on the Water activities give heroes and their families a lifelong social network with like-minded people. Kayak fishing is adaptive to those with disabilities as well so no one is excluded.

Craig Van Brocklin took the prize for overall biggest fish and first place for Sheepshead. “Just being out on the water is therapeutic,” Maria said. “Each experience has the potential to reduce the impact of post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury and can be a great bonding time for families.” Heroes on the Water is a 501c3 veterans charity that serves veterans, active-duty military personnel, and first responders and their families. Buccaneer Bait & Tackle is proud to be the founding sponsor, but they need help. Anyone who would like to volunteer as a guide or in any other capacity should call 912-882-6277 or 912-552-4988, or just drop by Buccaneer Bait & Tackle at 290 East Meeting Street in St. Marys.

Serving Camden Since 1943 Devon Odom won jackpot for most spots (15). Though only a couple of years old, the local chapter has already experienced much success in helping to improve the lives of those who have served. They are enhancing the family dynamic and impacting our community in a meaningful way that is making a difference.

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All Events in St. Marys unless otherwise noted.

Every First Friday, art, entertainment, special dining opportunities in Downtown St. Marys

February 15-17 ................... Midnight Train to Georgia at Theatre by the Trax

September 14 ..................... Music in the Park

March 2 ............................. Mardi Gras Parade and Festival

September 13 & 14 & 20-22 Evening with the Stars at Theatre by the Trax

March 2 & 9 ...................... Wild West Express Train Rides

October 5 ............................ Rock Shrimp Festival & Parade

March 30 ........................... Rustapalooza Vintage Market

October 19 & 26 ................. Halloween Express Train Rides

April 6 & 7 ........................ Peter Cottontail Express Train Rides

October 25 ......................... Haunted History Tour

April 13 & 20 ..................... Annual Railwatch Weekend/Folkston

November 16 ..................... Kingsland Catfish Festival

April 26 & 27 ..................... Crawfish Festival/Woodbine

November 30 ..................... Santa Express Train Rides

May 3-5 & 10-12 ................. Sound of Music at Theatre by the Trax

December 3 ........................ White Lighting Parade & Ceremony

May 18 & 25 ...................... Circus Train (Train Rides)

December 7 ........................ Christmas in the Park

June 7 & 8 ......................... Historic St. Marys Fishing Classic

December 7, 14, 21 ............. Santa Express Train Rides

June 8 ............................... Music in the Park

December 10 ...................... Live Nativity at Orange Hall

July 4 ................................ Independence Day Festival & Parade

December 13-15 .................. Christmas Spectacular at Theatre by the Trax

July 27 ............................... Music in the Park

December 14 ...................... Christmas Tour of Homes

August 10 ........................... Music in the Park Every Saturday ............................ St. Marys Community Market on Osborne & Royal District Market in Kingsland Every Friday & Saturday Evening ... Woodbine Opry

For additional information about other area events, visit these websites (St. Marys) (Kingsland) (Woodbine) (Folkston) (Brunswick and The Golden Isles) (Darien) (Savannah) (Amelia Island) (Jacksonville & surrounding area) (St. Augustine & Ponte Vedra)

Train Ride information at



eborah Cottle knows a thing or two about old stuff. And she’s really good at “pickin.” Pickin’ means taking an empty pick-up truck and a trailer and heading to parts unknown, then returning with a heap load of treasures—well, some of them are “treasures in waiting,” Cottle tells us. Cottle and her pickin’ partner, Maria Riebe, might cover a thousand miles before they make their way home—home that now comprises double her former space. In that thousand miles, they would have searched out old barns, garages, attics and junkyards seeking their next major “score.” The “new” Cottle and Gunn is now located in that cool building on the corner of Osborne and Hall Streets. The store that bears her name, “Cottle and Gunn,” continued ...


started out in the old Sterling’s Grocery Store just five years ago. Success breeds growth and grow she did, to the point of needing much more space than originally planned for. The store is now double the size it was before. When you enter Cottle and Gunn today, anticipation fills your heart as you wonder what hidden gem you’re going to discover. Something that could become a focal point in your home. As she makes her way around rural Georgia and other states, meeting quirky characters, hearing their stories, and relieving them of some grimy junk that might end up as masterpieces in an estate home or in a quaint downtown cottage, Cottle considers her clients and what will “ring their bell.” She encourages her clients to give her lists of what they fancy, and it is highly unusual that she doesn’t fill an order.

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Bee boxes, garden gates, chicken hutches—every piece tells a story. “We are all about re-purposing and buying in America,” Cottle said. She admits that “junkin’” is an addiction. She caught the bug at an early age. Cottle and Gunn was instrumental in bringing the ultra-popular “Rustapalooza” to St. Marys several years ago and continues to play a leading role in the mega event which was—once again—super successful this past November. When Cottle isn’t pickin’ she’s enjoying her comfy new home that sits just above her store. “You might say I’m a throwback,” she said, referring to the days of old when shopkeepers lived above their home. Throwback or not, one thing is for sure—Deborah Cottle is a vintage soul in a modern world. You can find her vintage soul in her modern digs, just a few blocks from the St. Marys’ waterfront at 708 Osborne Street, or visit


adbury is a red nosed pit bull with good house manners and in search of a forever home. He was shot and left to die in Folkston. Folkston has no animal shelter, so Rascal Rescue to the rescue. Little Tinker was found walking in circles on a street on a cold rainy night in February—17 years old, cold and starving and scared to death. Rascal Rescue to the rescue. Hazel was a stray hound-lab mix who had just given birth to eight pups. The pups all got adopted but Hazel, who is very playful, is still looking for her forever home. Rascal Rescue to the rescue. Geraldine is an 18-year-old basset hound mix left behind after Hurricane Irma. Rascal Rescue to the rescue. These four fur babies along with others are making their temporary home with Rascal Rescue until suitable foster or forever parents can be found. Deborah Carmel, founder of Rascal Rescue, has always been an animal lover and has been rescuing animals all her life. She was raised on an Angus and horse farm. Her partner in Rascal Rescue, Dale Aycock, was a city guy. But their mutual love and compassion for homeless animals has given them inspiration to bring lots of happy endings for pets and families that adopt them. Rascal Rescue, Inc., a private nonprofit organization, started out by helping feral cats in downtown St. Marys. They still trap, neuter, and release feral cats that cannot be domesticated. If there is any note of being friendly at all, Rascal Rescue rehabilitates and works hard to find a good foster or forever home for those that they feel can be rehabilitated. Through feeding stations throughout Camden County, Deborah figures they are now taking care of about 35 feral cats. Deborah knows that the solution to the sometimes overwhelming homeless animal problem is education. “Our urgent message is ‘spay and neuter’ your pets,” she says. “And if you are not willing to commit a lifetime of caring for a pet, please don’t acquire one.” Rascal Rescue has rescued everything from a 5’ iguana to ducks, pigs, and birds, as well as cats and dogs. The biggest heartbreak of all is to see people surrendering their older pets who have just become an inconvenience or financial burden, Deborah said. “To give up your own family member after a lifetime is just heartbreaking,” Deborah said. continued ...

Hazel still looking for her forever home.


Rescuing animals is surely oftentimes “heartbreaking” work, but Deborah says it’s worth it because there are many happy stories too. Like the wonderful family that adopted two St. Bernards. “They were the perfect family—the father a firefighter and the mom a nurse,” Deborah said. “They fell in love with each other, and this is the kind of story that keeps us fueled with hope.” Rescuing homeless animals is a daunting task, but Deborah and Dale do have some great help including her employer, Mugu’s Pet Resort, where Deborah works as a bather. Mugu’s owner, Andrea Fahringer, and her family and staff are a tremendous help for Rascal Rescue. “Mugu’s is like one big family,” Deborah said. “Andrea, her family and her staff are great volunteers and often serve as fosters.” Mugu’s also raises funds for homeless pets through their twice yearly “Dock Diving” event which draws animal lovers from miles around. The public is invited to view this very entertaining event. Rascal Rescue also counts on organizations like “First Coast No More Homeless Pets” who help a great deal with food and medicine. Tractor Supply also hosts an adoption event every first and third Sunday. Local kids will sometimes have birthday parties and ask for pet food for Rascal Rescue instead of birthday gifts. And Rascal Rescue is also thankful for private donors who help including those who patronize their events like their yard sales. “We chip all our animals,” Deborah said. That expense alone is significant. Deborah’s biggest challenge is finding volunteers. Rascal Rescue participates in the mega-adoptions in Jacksonville and when that happens, she needs volunteers to bathe all the animals and help get them looking their very best. At one recent mega-adoption, Rascal Rescue took 5 dogs and 32 cats and only came home with 4 cats. Volunteers and staff from kill shelters will often call Deborah and tell her about an animal that has limited time left. Rascal Rescue to the rescue. Deborah says that love comes in all sizes, and there’s a lot of loves just waiting for their forever home. Most animals end up homeless or in shelters through no fault of their own. Deborah’s hope is that someone reading this article will open their heart to an animal in need. She invites readers to visit the Rascal Rescue Facebook page and watch some of the videos. And remember that “saving an animal won’t change the world, but for that animal the world changes forever.”


St. Bernards found their forever home with this wonderful family.

Tinker before and after.


By Gordon

ur men and women in uniform are willing to serve in remote locations, in harsh environments and be prepared to brave the rigors of combat without hesitation. They miss too many birthdays, holidays, graduations, weddings, funerals and other significant events when duty calls. In 2005, a group of organizers in Springfield, Ohio decided to try to repay local veterans for their service. They loaded a group of older veterans into four Piper Cub airplanes and flew to Washington, D.C. to tour the war memorials. That flight attracted national attention and spawned the national Honor Flight program. In 2015, a local chapter of the Honor Flight program was founded in Brunswick to serve Southeast Georgia. Mark Beaudry was among the veterans invited to go on an early Honor Flight. The experience was so inspiring that Beaudry volunteered to help with the program and is now vice president of the Coastal Georgia Honor Flight. “The impact it has is beyond description,” he said. More than 75 veterans from World War II, Korea and Vietnam go on the annual flight from the Brunswick Airport to Washington to see the war memorials. Each veteran is accompanied by a guardian who is responsible for his or her well-being the entire day. Guardians pay $500 for the privilege of accompanying a veteran for the day, starting around 5 a.m. and ending around 9 p.m. Veterans pay nothing for the flight, their meals, bus rides or anything else. Fundraisers are also held throughout the year to pay the costs of the annual trip. Guardians are encouraged to research the different monuments they will see during the day prior to leaving on the trip. Some veterans are wheelchair bound and need to be paired with guardians physically capable of pushing a wheelchair several miles throughout the day. Sharon Bolin, a guardian who has volunteered the past three flights, said she was paired with a wheelchair-bound veteran her first year. Her motivation to volunteer the first time was to pay tribute to her father, a sergeant major in the Marine Corps who served in Korea and Vietnam. “My first veteran was absolutely thrilled to be doing this,” she said. “He was moved. It touched him emotionally.” continued ...


Bus Captain and repeat guardian Keith Post, Exec. Dir. of the St. Marys Submarine Museum helping return a WWII veteran to his very happy wife.

American Legion Post 9 in Brunswick giving a send-off salute on the tarmac of Brunswick-Golden Isles Airport. 89

It also wore her out physically because of the walking involved. “My first veteran was in a wheelchair,” she said. “We walked about 3 1/2 miles that day. It wore me out.” Despite the physical rigors, Bolin continues to volunteer because of the inspirational experience she had on her first flight. Bolin, 81, now leaves pushing wheelchairs to the younger guardians. She still serves as a guardian with Honor Flight recipients capable of walking throughout the day. Guardians are encouraged to talk to their veteran about his or her military experience during the day and get them to open up about their service. Beaudry said he recently accompanied a 93-year-old World War II veteran on what turned out to be a personally gratifying day. “When you hear rewards like, ‘This is the best day of my life in my 93 years,’ that’s my paycheck,” he said. “One of the most important things is to talk about their military service.” Retired Navy Senior Chief Keith Post who has volunteered to be a guardian the past two years said the experience is so positive he plans to serve again this spring. It will also be Post’s second year as the Honor Flight’s bus captain. “As a veteran myself, I know how important it is,” he said. The World War II veterans are especially moved when they see their memorial. Former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole, a WWII veteran, has greeted veterans from the Coastal Georgia Honor Flight at the memorial several times. “It’s also special to see Vietnam veterans at the Vietnam Memorial,” Post said. On the return flight, a mail call is held. Each veteran receives letters of thanks from elected federal, state and local officials, as well as a flag that has flown over the nation’s capital. They arrive home after a long day greeted by a band playing patriotic music and a heroes’ welcome. “It’s just a really moving day,” Post said. “It’s an amazing experience.”



omething’s always brewing with Marine Corp Vet Johnny G. Milton, Jr. Seventh generation farmer turned coffee aficionado, Milton is the founder of Cush Coffee, the home of custom crafted artisan coffee. Milton (friends call him Nashi) has been roasting his own beans since 2003. Having gotten spoiled as a barista at Starbucks, he was always on the quest for a better brew. Searching the globe for the perfect bean, Milton narrowed his bean sources to Uganda, Guatemala, Indonesia, and Ethiopia—all countries that are ranked at the top for quality of coffee bean production. Milton favors the boutique farmers of Ethiopia which is considered the birthplace of coffee. Ancient Ethiopian history claims that an continued ...

Cush Coffee founder Johnny Milton


Mardja, proprietor of The Goodbread House, enjoys her Cush cup of joe.


Ethiopian goat herder, Kaldi, first discovered coffee and its magical benefits around 850 AD. Legend has it that he observed his goats eating the coffee fruit off the trees then dancing wildly. Today Milton likes to think the coffee he delivers to his clients inspires celebration as he says, “We roast to make your palate feel alive!” From the crop to the cup, Milton infuses his fresh roasted coffee with all the ingredients that contribute to a perfect brew—quality beans, quality water, correct dosing, proper grinding, proper brewing, and a lot of love. “If you don’t have good water, you just can’t make a great cup o’ joe,” Milton said. But Milton’s vested interest in brewing the perfect cup starts long before water enters the picture. Well before the finished brew touches his customer’s lips, his concentrated efforts to have the best sourcing, the best roasting, and the best grinding have contributed toward his success of having loyal, long-term clients who often order online at his website And recently, downtown St. Marys has been blessed with the introduction of Milton’s excellent coffees in the Coffee Bar in the Historic Riverview Hotel. According to Milton, roasting coffee is both an art and a science. It seems the science of coffee roasting is the path, then the art is the ability to wander around a bit and still arrive at the desired destination. This is where the roaster is afforded ample room to explore what each

coffee bean has to offer. The art can play a defining roll in what pours into your cup. The complexity involved in mastering the art is due to the nature of the coffee bean. “The bean itself is not a product that enjoys being hurried,” Milton said. “Just as the consumption of a great cup of coffee should not be hurried.” The roasting process itself is the most important step in great coffee making because it transforms the properties of a green coffee bean into drinkable coffee, bringing out the natural flavor and aroma locked inside the green beans. And that is where Milton truly excels. “Cush Coffee strives for better than our best,” he said. “There are infinite possibilities for great coffee, but the majority of consumers are accustomed to mediocre coffee. We want to educate coffee drinkers so they don’t settle.” Milton’s plans for expanding his coffee business are wrapped around Earth-friendly goals. He chooses organic farms and favors boutique farmers. He is on a mission to educate individuals about coffee, the industry, the farms, the cups—“everything coffee from crop to cup,” he said. Milton’s goal is to own a coffee farm where disabled vets can work. Clearly, Johnny G. Milton, Jr. aspires to higher grounds. He invites coffee lovers to come sit a spell at the Coffee Bar in the Historic Riverview Hotel. “Sip some brew. Savor the flavor. And even enjoy a fine cigar.” Call it therapy, he says.



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