Former Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. Honored with the James F. Barker Ethics in Action 2018 Award

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By Mark A. Leon

A leader is not defined by his/her contributions, but the influence in creating a better life for future generations.? Fifty years ago, Joseph P. Riley, Jr. walked into the realm of public office, just two years out of law school, as a devoted ambassador to the fine people of South Carolina.? In that turbulent year of 1968, the country was torn by racial tensions highlighted by the Orangeburg massacre, Resurrection City in Washington, D.C., under the leadership of the Reverend Ralph Abernathy and the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr, and Presidential hopeful, Robert F. Kennedy.

Joseph P. Riley, Jr. never waived from his commitment to bring social justice to South Carolina.? Nearly 50 years later, in June 2015, on the steps of Mother Emanuel, the world witnessed a man of vision, nobility and strength lead a city and a country out of the trenches of evil to once again overcome, as he uttered the words, “Our hearts are broken”.

On Saturday evening, February 10, 2018, the Rutland Institute for Ethics at Clemson University, honored Former Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. with the 2018 James F. Barker Ethics in Action Award.? In the four years this honor has been bestowed, this is the first year the recipient came from the Lowcountry and what a deserving individual.

As The Post and Courier columnist and author of The Mayor Brian Hicks noted in his introduction, one of the challenges he faced writing the biography on Former Mayor Riley, was conducting research on the history of a politician who has always been so ethical.? That brought a laugh from the audience and set the tone for an evening of emotionally driven shared stories and reflection.

The forward for the biography, The Mayor was written by the beloved and late author Pat Conroy, who described Charleston as “One of the most magical places on Earth” and credited Mayor Riley for the city it has become.

One of the most emotional speeches was provided with articulation and transparent warmth by law partner and best friend to the Former Mayor for fifty years, Capers G. Barr III.? His anecdotal look at the public life of Former Mayor Riley through his own eyes was a poignant tribute, outlining the courage and unwavering dedication Mr. Riley has given to the city of Charleston and its people.

As Former Mayor Riley took the stage, the entire room stood up and applauded for nearly a full minute expressing their gratitude for the lifetime of service of a man who has left a legacy that will continue for centuries to come.? In his humbled manner, Mr. Riley accepted the award with grace and spoke with eloquence and warmth as he did so many times before.? His presence, with passion and energy, was felt throughout the room.

As he reflected on his childhood, he shared to the audience that his parents never taught him about ethics, it was just the way they lived every day.

In his soft humble Southern voice, Mr. Riley spoke on the evolution of Charleston, its lessons in architecture, the nature warmth and the Southern pride that is the cornerstone of the Lowcountry.? In his words describing the expressionism of Charleston, the Mayor said, “the city teaches you lessons in architecture and design you might not ever know.”

(L-R) John Wareham, Assistant Director, Rutland Institute for Ethics; Robert Rutland, Founding Benefactor of the Institute; The Honorable Joseph P. Riley Jr., Scott Dishman, 2015 Recipient of the Ethics in Action Award; Clemson University Provost Robert H. Jones.

As a true educator, the most important reminder came at the end of his speech when Former Mayor Riley declared, that in all his years of leadership and education, it was all of us that were in that room and living in this community that represent what Charleston has become.

I found myself thinking during the evening, how does one transform a city that was saturated in decay and waste, where going North of Calhoun was dangerous to a city thriving in culture and one of the top vacation destinations in the world?? My answer came in the words of the individuals that spoke praise and Mayor Riley himself.? It takes risk, vision and a partnership with the people.

His bold partnership with the African American community and tactics of diplomacy helped bridge the gap of racial tension in the South and set the stage for a new generation of socially accepting citizens.

It is fair to say that not many cities have witnessed such a transformation as Charleston in the last forty and even notably the last ten years.? Today, Charleston is thriving with Spoleto, SEWE, a newly renovated airport that hosts 4.2 million visitors annually, Boeing, Volvo, Benefitfocus, a flourishing tech community and an economic renaissance that is exploding.? All this from the leadership of a man, short in stature, but larger than life.

The Rutland Institute chose a worthy advocate for their 2018 James F. Barker Ethics in Action Award recipient in Joseph P. Riley Jr..? He is a man that has solidified his legacy and there are no signs of slowing down.

Photo Credit:? Matt Crump

Mom’s Choice Awards Names Local Charleston Book Among the Best in Family-Friendly Products

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CHARLESTON, S.C. – Mom’s Choice Awards has named “While Mommy Is Out” among the best in family-friendly media, products and services. West Ashley mom Teri Errico Griffis wrote “While Mommy Is Out” earlier this year as way to help children prepare for being left with a sitter or child care provider. The book is illustrated by Tami Boyce, a local graphic designer.

The Mom’s Choice Awards evaluation process uses a proprietary methodology in which entries are scored on a number of elements, including production quality, design, educational value, entertainment value, originality, appeal and cost.

“We are thrilled to earn the Mom’s Choice Awards Honoring Excellence Seal of Approval,” Errico Griffis said. “We know all the great things the MCA does to connect consumers, educators, and caregivers with the best products and services available for families.”

To be considered for an award, each entrant submits five samples to reviewed by evaluators in the Mom’s Choice Awards database. Evaluators are bound by a strict code of ethics not only to ensure objectivity, but also to ensure that the evaluation is free from manufacturer influence. The five evaluations are submitted to the Mom’s Choice Awards executive committee for final review and approval.

“Our aim to introduce families and educators to best-in-class products and services,” said Dawn Matheson, executive director of the Mom’s Choice Awards. “We have a passion to help families grow emotionally, physically and spiritually. Parents and educators know that products and services bearing our seal of approval are high-quality and also a great value.”

Inspired by true events from Griffis’ days as a nanny, the book follows Little One’s day as Mommy announces she will be heading out and leaving Little One with a babysitter for the first time. Little One faces his biggest fear – making a new friend – while discovering Mommy does indeed return home ready for hugs. “While Mommy is Out” is a narrative for children needing an introduction to the concept of a babysitter and why it’s not a scary situation, as well as reassurance mommy will always come back home to her little one in the end.

“While Mommy Is Out” is available for $12 at Join Errico Griffis for a book reading event 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 13 at Maxtrix Kids Rooms, 816 Johnnie Dodds Blvd. in Mount Pleasant

About the author

Teri Errico Griffis began her career in the early 2000s when she first interned with the writing staff of ABC soap opera “All My Children” in New York City. From there, she reported for local newspapers and magazines before being recruited by the global company, WWE, to help launch their first children’s magazine. She also won a New England Press Association Award. She moved to Charleston in 2012 and spent years volunteering to improve children’s education through nonprofit work. Today she resides in West Ashley with her family where she writes and edits several successful publications.

About the illustrator

Tami Boyce is a Charleston-based illustrator and graphic designer. Her work can be found at various establishments around Charleston, including Theatre 99, Early Bird Diner, Frothy Beard Brewery and ReForm Studios, as well as ZaPow! Gallery in Asheville, N.C. Boyce pulls inspiration from her humor and heart. Some of her illustrations are observations on life, memories, or just wishful thinking as to how animals might actually behave in the wild.


While Mommy Is Out



Seven Of Naman Hotels’ South Carolina Properties Earn Tripadvisor’s 2017 Certificate Of Excellence (2 in Lowcountry)

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Charleston, SC – September 20, 2017 – Naman Hotels Group announced that seven of the company’s South Carolina properties received the 2017 TripAdvisor? Certificate of Excellence. Now in its seventh year, the achievement celebrates hospitality businesses that have consistently achieved great traveler reviews on TripAdvisor over the past year. Certificate of Excellence recipients include accommodations, restaurants and attractions located all over the world that have continually delivered a quality customer experience.

The properties that have received the 2017 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence are:
Hyatt Place Charleston Airport and Convention Center, Staybridge Suites North Charleston, Hampton Inn & Suites Orangeburg, Hampton Inn Columbia / Lexington, Holiday Inn Express Aiken, Holiday Inn Express Walterboro, Staybridge Suites Columbia.

“Naman Hotels is honoured that so many of our hotels have earned the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence. There is no greater seal of approval than being recognized by our customers. With the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence based on customer reviews, the achievement is a remarkable vote of confidence to our continued business success and commitment to service excellence,” said Nick Patel, Chief Financial Officer.

“TripAdvisor is excited to announce the recipients of the 2017 Certificate of Excellence, which celebrates hospitality businesses that have consistently received strong praise and ratings from travelers,” said Heather Leisman, Vice President of Industry Marketing, TripAdvisor. “This recognition allows us to publicly honor businesses that are actively engaging with customers and using feedback to help travelers identify and confidently book the perfect trip.”

The Certificate of Excellence takes into account the quality, quantity and recency of reviews submitted by travelers on TripAdvisor over a 12-month period. To qualify, a business must maintain an overall TripAdvisor bubble rating of at least four out of five, have a minimum number of reviews and must have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months.

About Naman Hotels
Naman Hotels is a leading hotel management and development company. Established over forty years ago, the company owns, operates and develops hotels in the southeastern United States. Based in Florence, South Carolina, Naman’s portfolio consists of 13 hotels comprising over 1,100 guest rooms throughout the Carolinas. Naman’s wide range of experience includes full service, upscale, extended stay, and select service lodging establishments. Naman’s portfolio includes many award-winning franchises of premier hospitality brands.

About TripAdvisor
TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site*, enables travelers to unleash the full potential of every trip. With more than 500 million reviews and opinions covering the world’s largest selection of travel listings worldwide — over 7 million accommodations, airlines, attractions, and restaurants — TripAdvisor provides travelers with the wisdom of the crowds to help them decide where to stay, how to fly, what to do and where to eat. TripAdvisor also compares prices from more than 200 hotel booking sites so travelers can find the lowest price on the hotel that’s right for them. TripAdvisor-branded sites are available in 49 markets, and are home to the world’s largest travel community of 390 million average unique monthly visitors,** all looking to get the most out of every trip. TripAdvisor. Know better. Book better. Go better.

TripAdvisor, Inc. (NASDAQ:TRIP), through its subsidiaries, manages and operates websites under 22 other travel media brands:,,,,,, (including,, and,,,,,,,,,,,,,, and

*Source: comScore Media Metrix for TripAdvisor Sites, worldwide, December 2016
**Source: TripAdvisor log files, Q1 2017

Garden & Gun’s Eighth Annual Made in the South Awards Call For The Best Of Southern-Made Products

Press Release:? SOURCE Garden & Gun

Awards Celebrate Southern Craftsmanship in Style, Crafts, Drink, Food, Home, and Outdoors

CHARLESTON, S.C., May 17, 2017 /PRNewswire/ —?Garden & Gun?announced today the kick-off of its eighth annual Made in the South Awards?with the official call for product entries in six categories: Style, Crafts, Drink, Food, Home, and Outdoors. The overall winner will receive a $10,000 cash prize, and, along with all category winners and runners-up, will be prominently featured in the magazine’s December 2017/January 2018 issue.

Garden & Gun created the Made in the South Awards in 2010 to celebrate and encourage Southern craftsmanship, and to recognize the best available Southern-made products.

“One of our favorite times of year is when the Made in the South Awards entries arrive. It’s always an honor to shine a spotlight on the talent and creativity of the South’s artisans, craftsman, chefs, designers, and tastemakers,” said David DiBenedetto, senior vice president and editor in chief of Garden & Gun. “It has been amazing to watch previous winners go on to great success over the last seven years, adding a new level of excitement as we enter the award’s eighth call for entries.”

The 2017 Made in the South Awards judges are:

  • Reese Witherspoon (Nashville, TN), actress, producer, entrepreneur, and founder of Draper James-a lifestyle brand that emphasize her southern roots and personal style (Style)
  • Andrea Hyde (New York, NY), a tenured retail executive and current CEO of Draper James (Style)
  • Paula Wallace (Savannah, GA), president and co-founder of the Savannah College of Art and Design-a private, nonprofit, accredited university for creative careers (Crafts)
  • Derek Brown (Washington, DC), entrepreneur, restauranteur, writer and award-winning mixologist (Drink)
  • Mashama Bailey (Savannah, GA), entrepreneur, chef and co-founder of The Grey-a familiar yet elevated restaurant experience occupying a 1938 art deco Greyhound bus terminal in Historic Downtown Savannah (Food)
  • Bunny Williams (New York, NY), tastemaker, entertainer, celebrated interior designer and founder and CEO of Bunny Williams Home-a collection consisting of reproductions of Bunny’s own treasures as well as original designs (Home)
  • T. Edward Nickens (Raleigh, NC), award-winning author, journalist, on-camera host, scriptwriter and outdoorsman (Outdoors)

All Southern artisans or businesses with a product in one of the six categories (Style, Crafts, Drink, Food, Home, and Outdoors) that will be available for sale through January 2018 may apply. For entry forms, category descriptions, and rules, visit The entry fee for submissions is $75 and entries will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. ET on July 1, 2017. Winners will be publicly announced in the December 2017/January 2018 issue of Garden & Gun, which will hit newsstands in November 2017.

To follow the Made in the South Awards conversation and judging process, use #madeinthesouthawards on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, or visit us at

About Garden & Gun
Garden & Gun is an award-winning national lifestyle magazine that covers the best of the South, including the sporting culture, the food, the music, the art, the literature, the people and their ideas.? Reaching a national audience of more than 1.5 million passionate and engaged readers, the magazine has won numerous awards for its journalism, design, and overall excellence. Visit

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:–guns-eighth-annual-made-in-the-south-awards-call-for-the-best-of-southern-made-products-300458859.html

?2017 PR Newswire. All Rights Reserved

Charleston Artistic Icon Jonathan Green, Lifelong Theatre Supports Sam and Nancy Stafford To Be Honored with Aston Honors

CHARLESTON, S.C. – Renowned Charleston artist Jonathan Green and
lifelong supporters of The Footlight Players Sam and Nancy Stafford will
be honored on Thursday, May 11 at the second annual Anthony Aston Honors

The Footlight Players handed out the first Anthony Aston Honors award
last year to former Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley and Charleston
theater veterans Patricia and Emmett Robinson (posthumously). In 2015,
The Footlight Players’ board of directors established the Anthony
Aston Honors to annual recognize individuals or organizations that have
made significant contributions to the arts or the cultural life of

The award is named for Anthony Aston, a British actor, playwright and
poet, who landed in Charles Towne in 1702 after being shipwrecked on the
Carolina coast near Port Royal. In 1703, Aston wrote and performed
“The Country,” thought to be the first play ever produced in

Jane Broadwater, executive director, said she commends the Footlight
Players board of directors for its hard work putting together such an
arts-driven event for Charleston. “Gretta Cape, event chair, works
tirelessly all year to make this evening special for all who attend. We
look forward to gathering on May 11 to honor those who serve now and
those that have served the arts in the past.”

This year’s honorees will be recognized at a black-tie optional gala
and dinner at 7 p.m. May 11 at Hibernian Hall, 105 Meeting St. in

Tickets are on sale for The Aston Honors Gala at or by calling the box office at
843-722-7521 . Individual tickets are $150 each.

Individual benefactor tickets are $275 each and include a pre-event VIP
reception with sponsors, honorees and other distinguished guests.

The mistress of ceremonies for the gala is Charleston native Lauren
Hutton. Considered the first supermodel, Hutton has graced 10 covers of
European _Vogue_ magazines and 27 covers of American _Vogue_. In film,
she has starred alongside Robert Redford, Richard Gere, Gerard Depardieu
and Jim Carrey. As a role model for her generation, she has shown how to
successfully age and navigate transitions, maintain a healthy lifestyle
and engage in environmental and women’s health issues.

Proceeds from the event will benefit The Footlight Players in its
preservation, education and operations endeavors, which include
maintaining a historic theater and producing multiple shows annually.

Now in its 85th season, The Footlight Players was founded in March 1931
by leaders of the Charleston Renaissance, including Alfred Hutty, DuBose
Heyward, Selma Tharin Furtwangler Dotterer and Eola Willis. In 1934, the
community theater group acquired an old warehouse at 20 Queen St. and
converted it to a theater that opened in 1941.


JONATHAN GREEN, born and raised in the Lowcountry, is an international
professional artist who graduated from The School of the Art Institute
of Chicago in 1982. Green is considered by many art critics and
reviewers as one of the nation’s most outstanding African-American
artists and highly recognized visual master for capturing Southern
culture and traditions. His high level of social interest and cultural
commitments, and exhibitions have brought him international recognition.

Green has received honorary doctor of art degrees from the University of
South Carolina and the Coastal Carolina University in Conway, S.C., for
his capturing and recording Southern culture and history. He also has
been awarded The Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Award for Lifetime
Achievement; Key of Life Award – NAACP Image Awards; Century of
Achievement in Art Award, The Museum of Americas, Arlington, Va.; Order
of the Palmetto Civilian Award; and The History Makers Award in Fine
Arts, The History Makers National Archives, Chicago.

Green’s art has been incorporated into productions of ballet, music,
theatre, literature, film, and video documentaries.

Born in St. Augustine, Fla., in 1946, SAM STAFFORD III moved to South
Carolina as a child and attended the College of Charleston, where he met
his wife of 47 years, Nancy Webb. Nancy invited him to volunteer with
her at The Footlight Players under the tutelage of Emmett Robinson,
Footlight’s first managing director. Sam says he treasures those
Saturdays with Nancy and remains appreciative of the lessons Emmett
taught them about love, life, commitment and theatre.

After graduating from The College and receiving an medical degree from
the Medical University of South Carolina in 1971, Sam embarked on a
20-year naval career, completing residencies in pediatrics and
dermatology. He and Nancy returned to Charleston in 1982 where he began
a part-time private practice in dermatology. After retiring from the
Navy in 1992, Sam joined Mt. Pleasant Dermatology where he has been a
partner since 1994.

Sam acted with The Footlight Players from 1967 through 1971 and later
served as a member of The Footlight Players board of directors as well
as board president. During his tenure, he led the movement to replace
the theater seats and donated the red stage curtain as an anniversary
present to Nancy in honor of their early memories at the theatre.

NANCY WEBB STAFFORD, a native Charlestonian, has had theatre in her
blood since childhood. Her mother served on The Footlight Players board
of directors and her parents were long-time friends of Pat and Emmett
Robinson, who were synonymous with Charleston theatre for nearly 30
years. Nancy began volunteering at the theatre at the age of 13 and over
the next 11 years worked every aspect of technical theater (carpentry,
plumbing, electrical work, running spots, costume construction and set
dressing) learning from Footlight’s talented staff of Emmett Robinson,
Norman Webber and Bill Easterby. During those years, The Footlight
Players was responsible for the maintenance of the Dock Street Theater
and presented its main season on that stage.

Emmett encouraged Nancy to pursue her interests outside of Charleston,
and she spent two summers in summer stock in Hyannis and Boston during
college breaks.

She met Sam while a student at the College of Charleston, and three
years later, they were married. The couple left Charleston for 12 years
of Sam’s training and adventure in the U.S. Navy.

While living in San Francisco, Nancy attended cooking school, and
subsequently taught cooking classes and operated a catering business for
19 years. Later, she developed an interest in landscape design, so she
attended many classes and symposiums, and eventually friends turned into
clients. Nancy now consults and enjoys working in her yards in
Charleston and the North Carolina mountains.

Sam and Nancy have two artistically gifted daughters: Adele, a weaver
and writer, and Ann Ladson, a metal smith and jeweler. The couple love to
travel and keep up with the local theatre scene through four local
theatre groups and occasional trips to New York City.

About The Footlight Players
The Footlight Players launched in 1931 with a series of one-act plays
directed by Lt. Commander Charles Russell Price at the Charleston Navy
yard. The series was such a success and drew such a following that The
Footlight Players formally organized and incorporated in the fall of
1932. To this day, The Footlight Players continues to provide
professional quality, affordable community theater for the Lowcountry at
the historic Footlight Players Theatre, 20 Queen St. in Charleston. For
more information, visit or call 843-722-4487