BELLE GLADE — The president of the Belle Glade Chamber of Commerce has written an impassioned letter, dated Nov. 5, to Dr. Ava Parker, president of Palm Beach State College, over the furlough of Leigh Woodham, pleading that PBSC reconsider the move.
Woodham is, or was, the theater director for the Dolly Hand Cultural Arts Center on the PBSC Belle Glade campus.
Terri A. Calsetta, president of the chamber board, wrote:
“Dear Ms. Parker,
“I am writing this letter to express my distress and great concern upon hearing that Leigh Woodham is being furloughed from the Dolly Hand Cultural Arts Center here in Belle Glade.
“Myself, and all the members of the Belle Glade Chamber of Commerce, have been adversely affected by the (COVID-19) pandemic personally, professionally and financially. Difficult decisions have had to be made by all of us, taking everything into consideration. I am asking that you take into account some things that you may not know about Leigh and her value to this community, the Belle Glade campus, and the Dolly Hand Cultural Arts Center.”
‘Insight, understanding, love’
“Leigh has been a member and president of the Belle Glade Chamber Board several times. Her insight, understanding and love of this community as a longtime resident is invaluable when decisions need to be made by the board. Her relationships with chamber members, businesses and organizations have been instrumental in obtaining sponsorships, financial contributions, goods and services that have contributed to the success of many events. She is an important member of the Black Gold Committee that puts on the annual end-of-season Black Gold Festival. It’s Leigh’s relationships with musical artists that enables her to obtain first-class talent that draws the crowds to the festival. She works backstage with them to ensure a wonderful experience for them and the audience.
“Leigh is a member of the Leadership Glades Board and is the facilitator of Education Day, which always includes PBSC and the Dolly Hand. This opportunity brings 25 leaders to the college and the Dolly Hand and introduces them to a new audience.
“She attends every chamber breakfast and promotes both the college and the up-and-coming performances at the Dolly Hand. It’s her personality and charm that encourages every attendee to help promote the college and attend the performance.
“A few years ago, Leigh was named Citizen of the Year and was honored at the annual chamber banquet. Out of the thousands of people in this community, it is a phenomenal honor to be named Citizen of the Year — speaking once again to the love and value she brings to this community.
“Leigh is so much more than the theater director. She is a beloved member of this community who has been dedicated to PBSC and the Dolly Hand for more years than I can count. Losing her will adversely affect all of us. Therefore, on behalf of the chamber board and the undersigned, I ask you to see her value to all of us and reconsider her furlough. ...
“Should you wish to speak with me personally, please don’t hesitate to call (561-996-6571, ext. 348444).
“Terri A. Calsetta, president
“Belle Glade Chamber of Commerce”
Meanwhile, on Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 10, the seven-member Lake Okeechobee Regional Economic (LORE) Alliance of Palm Beach County’s executive committee was set to have its monthly meeting from 3 to 4:30 p.m. The Dolly Hand center is a big economic draw for the Glades region, and LORE Administrative Consultant Chris Radentz said Tuesday afternoon that she was certain there would be reaction from LORE Past President Donia Roberts; Ashley Tripp, managing member of Riccochet LLC; the Rev. Robert Rease, current president of the executive committee (of the Glades Ministerial Association) or LORE’s incoming president Eric Royal (current LORE vice president).
LORE’s meetings are taking place via the Zoom Meeting platform presently, using these links:
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 889 9311 3722