History of sorts was made this past Sunday, as Macys in Oglethorpe Mall hosted its first-ever registration event in Savannah specifically for same-sex couples.
Intended to get the word out that gay and lesbians have a safe and friendly place they can register for gifts for same-sex commitment ceremonies, the event drew at least 30 attendees, according to a Macys spokesperson.
The department store chain has hosted similar events in other Southern cities, such as Atlanta and New Orleans, but few as small as Savannah.
Several local ministers were on hand to make themselves available for commitment ceremonies. Among them was the Rev. Kent Lederer of Unity of Savannah, a recent transplant from Chicago who said this event is hugely significant -- especially for Savannah.
The Rev. Marilyn Leigh, an interfaith minister, says the event is an affirmation of inclusiveness, a message to the local gay community that there is a safe place for them, that theyre OK too, that they matter.
Teri Joseph says she became a minister specifically to address what she saw as a scarcity of local mainline clergy who would perform commitment ceremonies.
They make it so stressful. Thats why I became ordained, to take some of that stress and cost away, explains Joseph saying in her experience some local clergy purposely price their services for commitment ceremonies unrealistically high in order to drive away the business.
Kevin Clark, local gay rights activist and co-owner of the Under the Rainbow bed and breakfast, called the event groundbreaking.
Frankly, those of us in the activist community thought that the first time around, even if only the vendors showed up it would be a success, Clark says. But to come here and see this many people at the first event of its kind here is really incredible.
I-95 CRASH KILLS FOUR
As we go to press, three people remained hospitalized from a weekend crash on I-95 crash near Pooler that killed four other people.
At 6:40 a.m. Sunday, an RV pulling a U-Haul trailer was traveling southbound on I-95 when it collided with a Chevrolet Malibu that officers later determined was parked in the right side emergency lane near mile marker 98.
The force of the impact carried all three vehicles off the road and into the tree line, police say.
Four occupants of the Chevrolet Malibu were killed. A fifth occupant was airlifted to Memorial Health University via LifeStar helicopter along with an adult female from the RV.
There were a total of five occupants in the RV, three adults and two children, all of which were transported to Memorial for treatment.
As of this past Monday, Joshua Feliciano, 12, from the Malibu was listed in critical condition in pediatric intensive care. From the RV, Nancy Briggs, age 54, was listed in critical condition and Stanley Dixon, age 66, was in fair condition. Three other RV passengers were treated and released.
The driver of the RV, Robert Briggs, has been charged with four counts of Vehicular Homicide and Failure to Maintain Lane. Additional charges could result from the continuing investigation.
The deceased from the Malibu are: Aurea Feliciano, age 33, Yahira Sanchez, age 25, Xavier Acevado, age 14, and House Sanchez, age 10.
GOOD BODY CANCELLED
Sadly, a unique theatre production profiled by Ashley Jensen in last weeks issue of Connect was cancelled by its producers after we had gone to press.
Due to legal issues beyond our control, The Drama Bums have been asked to cancel their upcoming production of Eve Enslers The Good Body, says spokesperson Jill Brumer.
Donations can still be made for the Rape Crisis Center at 233-3000.
RESIDENTS URGED TO PLAN
The Coastal Health District keeps a list of special needs citizens who may need help during a hurricane evacuation or other emergency.
The registry is truly a last resort," says Jim Phillips, Director of Bioterrorism and Emergency Preparedness for the Coastal Health District. But if a hurricane is threatening our area, its important we know where some of our most vulnerable residents are so that we can help them evacuate."
Residents must apply to be on the registry. People living in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and personal care homes arent eligible and must follow their facilitys emergency plan. For more information or to get an application call the Coastal Health District Office of Bioterrorism and Emergency Preparedness at 303-1917.