Hilton Head Island Magazine and News

ISLAND REC CENTER IS GETTING A $13 MILLION FACELIFT

If you grew up on Hilton Head Island — or if your kids grew up here — it’s a good bet you have been one of the hundreds of thousands of residents who have benefitted from programs at the Island Recreation Center.

Forty years ago, as more people moved to the island and it began to be known as a resort destination, town leaders realized that developing a parks and recreation program was essential to building a vital and healthy community. And so the Hilton Head Island Recreation Association was born.

WHEN BLUFFTON CONTINUES TO GROW IN THE FUTURE — AND IT WILL — SPACE WON’T BE AN ISSUE. THERE ARE ACRES UPON ACRES OF UNDEVELOPED LAND. WHAT WAS A NO-DESTINATION VILLAGE JUST 10 YEARS AGO HAS EMERGED AS THE FASTEST-GROWING MUNICIPALITY IN SOUTH CAROLINA.

Private schools in the area, however, have been squeezed by space limitations and growing student enrolments. But they have taken steps to resolve their growing gains. Here’s a look at what’s going on at local private schools.

THE CHILDREN'S CENTER TURNS 50

For the past 50 years, the Children’s Center of Hilton Head Island has provided an invaluable service to the working parents of the Lowcountry. Thanks to reduced tuition for low-income residents, all members of the community can take advantage of the nonprofit group’s programs offering safe and creative environments for children that encourage learning, personal growth and development.

LOCAL RESCUE ORGANIZATIONS

Palmetto Animal League

This private, non-profit, no kill animal rescue organization believes every animal deserves a second chance at life. PAL’s Adoption Center, located in Okatie’s Riverwalk Business Park, serves as a temporary residence for about 200 cats and dogs while they wait to find a loving home. “Our comfortable, upbeat facility is also home to PAL’s Community Clinic, which offers spay/neuter, wellness exams, vaccines and other services to pet owners at affordable prices,” said PAL President Amy Campanini. In addition, Palmetto Animal League manages a network of loving foster families to house and care for abandoned animals that are either too young or too weak to adopt out. You can also support their work by shopping at the PAL Thrift Store in Sheridan Park where great buys save lives. (843) 645-1725, 56 Riverwalk Blvd, Okatie. www.palmettoanimalleague.org.

WE HAVE A WINNER!

The 2017 Cutest Pet of the Lowcountry is Sable, a six-month-old Doxipoo, a mix between a Dachshund and Poodle. Owned by Lora and Sunny Rogers of Bluffton.

HAIRCUT FUNDRAISER TO BENEFIT FERAL CATS

Toby CrosbyIt’s a win-win: you’ll have a new look, and cats on Hilton Head Island will benefit as well. The fifth annual cut-a-thon fundraiser at Tara of Hilton Head Salon will be Saturday, Sept. 9 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. One hundred percent of the money raised will be given to the Hilton Head Humane Association’s feral cat program.

In addition, Hilton Head Humane Association will showcase some adoptable cats and conduct raffles and a silent auction at the salon. Co-sponsor Hilton Head Ice Cream will host games and give away prizes. The ice cream shop also donates to the HHHA feral cat program all proceeds earned during event hours.

Caring for others, especially seniors, has always been a big part of Jennifer Spencer’s life. In fact, caring for others is her way of life. Her new business helps deal with the details when someone downsizes, moves to a senior facility or passes away.

The new Lowcountry resident recently opened the doors to Relics Estate Sales and Consignments on Persimmon Street in Bluffton, a business she started with her fiancé and business partner, Scott Tracy.

I’M A BUILDER AND A CRAFTSMAN,” ROBERT GRAVES JR. SAID IN A THICK SOUTHERN DRAWL. A PIONEER AND ONE OF THE FIRST DEVEL OPERS ON HILTON HEAD ISLAND, HE WORKED CLOSELY WITH CHARLES FRASER.

“Charles would give me his vision and talk to me while designing a home,” he said. “Without him, I wouldn’t have raised seven children and 22 grandchildren at last count.”

Graves, 79, founded his custom home construction business in 1959. It is still in operation today, though the island looks a lot different now than when he started.

Roots have a way of extending themselves over time and eventually rising to the surface.

Researching family genealogy and DNA testing have become very popular, and people are using a combination of DNA testing and online websites and apps to construct their family trees — and some have tracked down long-lost relatives in other countries and travelled to meet them. But the burning question is: Do I really want to know?

With all the talk and activity in Washington, D.C., these days around issues like tax reform, I thought it might be interesting to look into the subject of the mortgage interest deduction. What was its origin, how is it used, and what is its future?

Federal income tax in the United States was first implemented in 1894, and all forms of interest on loans were deductible. Interestingly, the U.S. Supreme Court quickly ruled income taxes unconstitutional and it wasn’t until 1913 that Congress enacted a new income tax, after the Constitution was amended, and as part of this new tax interest was again deductible. In the early years of the tax code, it was safe to presume that Congress wasn’t thinking about mortgage interest deductibility, as homes in those days were generally bought for cash. Presumably, lawmakers were more concerned with mortgages on farms and business loans.

Hilton Head Island entrepreneur Kelly Stroud Spinella has fond memories of her childhood in Chesterfield, Va. Some of her favorite moments were fishing with her father on Lake Chesdin, something they would do together just about every evening at dusk.

“It was our time together,” Spinella said. 

Attorney finds working for dad elevates her game

Catherine Scarminach grew up on Hilton Head Island and wanted to explore new lands after high school.

She went to Atlanta for college, Knoxville to teach and Nashville to practice law.

But then her father, Chuck Scarminach, managing partner of Novit and Scarminach, called in 2011 with an offer that gave her pause.

H2 Builders helps NY couple build Lowcountry house of their dreams

Gary and Gail Neumen are “100 percent” certain they’ll be moving into their new home in Bluffton in January, leaving behind their main residence, careers and life on Long Island, New York.

They will be trading Long Island’s south shore for other bodies of water — the 28-acre lake at Hampton Hall, plus the kidney-shaped swimming pool in the backyard of their new home. After buying and selling one lot in the community in 2015, the couple is finally ready to settling into the home they’ve built on the .45-acre lakeside lot hugging the 10th hole fairway of Pete Dye’s signature course that they bought in 2009.

LOWCOUNTRY REAL ESTATE DELEGATION VISITS D.C.
Led by Daniel Moskowitz, president of Hilton Head Area Association of Realtors, a delegation representing the local real estate industry met with lawmakers in Washington the week of May 15. Moskowitz, four other Hilton Head Area Realtors, and Hilton Head Area Association of Realtors officials Jocelyn Staigar and Jean Beck met with Senator Tim Scott, Senator Lindsey Graham and Congressman Mark Sanford to discuss issues affecting homebuyers and consumers of commercial real estate.

The group stressed the need for a multi-year reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program, which expires Sept. 30. Additionally, the Realtors advocated for tax reform, responsible reform of the secondary mortgage market, prohibiting the use of guarantee fees for any purposes other than creditrisk management, and improving consumer protections for energyefficiency improvement loans. The real estate industry maintains that federal tax reform should not include elimination of the mortgage interest deduction.

THINK OF YOUR HOME AS A PRODUCT TO BE MARKETED AND SOLD

Everyone selling a home wants a quick sale at a good price. It’s not luck that makes this happen. Advance planning and knowing how to professionally prep your home can lead to a higher sale price and fewer days on the market. Here are some ways sellers can increase their odds:

Michael and Lauren Cirafesi are the owners of OMBRA Cucina Rustica in The Village at Wexford. They are pictured here in their restaurant with their sons (from left to right): Paul, Kurdt, Tim, David, Laer and Salvatore.

VIVA LA FAMIGLIA!

For Lauren and Michael Cirafesi, running their award-winning restaurant OMBRA is all about family. And for them, family includes not only their six sons, but also their staff and guests.

An interview with host and chief executive foodie Jesse Blanco

QUESTION. What’s your take on the food scene on Hilton Head Island and in Bluffton?
ANSWER. The food scene in Hilton Head Island has always been a few steps ahead of anything else in this area. It is a large part of what made the island so popular. It's nice to have a big beautiful house on the beach or a place to play golf, but unless there are great restaurants, then it’s just not the same. What is going on in Bluffton, meanwhile, is nothing short of amazing. So much good food popping up there. No surprise really with the number of people moving there. I'm even hearing about restaurants in Savannah expanding to Bluffton. That will tell you how they feel about the area.

Beating the summer heat requires nothing more than a blender, ice, and fruit — and, if you’re looking to kick things up, a little bit of alcohol. And good frozen drinks start with good ingredients, so here are a few suggestions to help make sure what goes into your blender is the best it can be:

“By land or by sea, nobody’s faster than me.”

The winner of this summer’s first Atlantic Community Bank Beach Bum Triathlon, Jose Fuentes, could have said this if he’d wanted to, and it would have been true that brilliant Saturday morning when he crossed the finish line first. But Fuentes, a Hilton Head attorney and long-time triathlete, isn’t a braggart, and besides—the Beach Bum triathlons sponsored by Go Tri Sports are just for fun.  The carved and painted coconut monkeys in rows on a table near the finish line prove it. They’re the trophies.

The world’s best amateur golfers come from every corner of the globe to converge on Bluffton’s Berkeley Hall Club each July for the Players Amateur, but a pair of home-grown players have high hopes of earning spots in next year’s RBC Heritage.

Bluffton’s Bryson Nimmer and Hilton Head Island’s Will Miles will be among the talent-laden field for the third consecutive year, and after strong performances the past two summers, both are daring to dream about winning the prestigious event and earning an invitation to tee it up with the pros at Harbour Town Golf Links next April.

More than 150 people participated June 1 in “Fun in the Sun for Everyone,” a program that gives special needs children and adults and their families the opportunity to enjoy the beach in a safe and inclusive setting. The non-profit Pockets Full of Sunshine organization hosted this event in front of Marriott’s Surf Watch on Hilton Head Island. Activities included paddle boarding, boogie boarding, surfing, beach games, sand castle building and face painting. Volunteers instructors taught participants how to surf and paddleboard. More than 40 volunteers helped at the event. Outside Hilton Head and GoSurf Hilton Head provided paddleboards, surfboards and staff to help during the event.