July 12, 2016

Meet the wizard behind the No Ash At All website

                  Leslie Riggins’ roots are five generations deep in California.  She’s not “from around here,” but we are glad she got here as fast as she could.  We can thank her husband, Ward P. (Skipper) Riggins III, for that.
                  How the couple met is testimony to the drive behind the creative genius of the NoAshAtAll.org  website.  In 1982, Leslie was videoing museums when she had the idea that brides and grooms might like videos of their weddings, too. Perhaps, she thought, a wedding photographer would like to add that feature to his or her package.
                  With a hefty Orange County telephone book, she started—in the Yellow Pages—alphabetically calling the 800 professional photographers listed.  No, no, no was all she heard until Skipper, a stranger, said yes.  Business led to friendship, eventual courtship and marriage in 1996.  Four years ago, Leslie moved with Skipper to his hometown, and she fell in love with Southeast Georgia.

In 2012, Leslie Riggins moved to Wayne County with 
her husband, Ward P. (Skipper) Riggins III.  Since the 
March 16 coal-ash public meeting, the former 
environmental land-use planner has donated more than 
300 hours to the anti-coal-ash-dumping campaign by 
creating its website:  NoAshAtAll.org. In addition, she 
designed the group’s logo and brochure.  The California 
native has adopted Wayne County.  She loves it so 
much that she encouraged her mother, Franceen 
Webb, a retired second-grade teacher from Palm Springs, 
to move here.  Leslie beams, “And Mom loves it, too!” 
                  And that’s when Wayne County got lucky—twice.  A talented Jesup native came home, and he brought his gifted wife with him.  Skipper is working on a graduate degree in special education. Leslie, a Microsoft-certified web designer and online-technical writer, is working nearly nonstop in our community’s fight to keep Republic Services from dumping toxic coal ash in its Broadhurst Environmental Landfill.
                  “We really lucked up getting Leslie involved in our cause,” says Peggy Riggins, a leader in the volunteer No Ash At All group.  “I had no idea how extremely talented she is.  Her designs are phenomenal!  I cannot imagine what this quality of work would cost us, and she provides it all for free.  She is another example of the hundreds of people who love Wayne County enough to give their time and talents to protect it.”

                  After Skipper and Leslie attended the March 16 public meeting on coal ash, the couple was ready to go to work.  “Skipper’s not just my husband,” Leslie says. “He’s my best friend.”  Her best friend has also been her cheerleader as Leslie has poured more than 300 hours into the website design.  And that doesn’t count her work designing the campaign’s logo or its brochure.
                  Peggy is right.  Leslie has been a godsend.  From zero to wide-open, she has taken a concept and given us a comprehensive communications tool, drawing accolades from across America.  A day rarely passes without someone’s e-mailing me a “wow” compliment.  I’m quick to pass the kudos to Leslie.  She blushes and shrugs off praise by saying, “There have been no constraints on budget.  It’s been an act of love.  It’s been a wonderful thing to do … with the freedom to invent the page.  I enjoy watching it come together.”
                  Leslie doesn’t consider herself an activist, but she was a group leader to get GMOs (genetically modified organisms) in food on the ballot in California.  “When you see something that is wrong, you just have to fight,” she says.  “Putting toxic and carcinogenic materials over a watershed is just wrong.  I had to get involved.”
Thank you, Leslie. 
We are glad you got to Wayne County as fast as you could.