Hilton Head Island Magazine and News


Just a few months ago, the buzz among the employees at Downtown Deli was palpable. Some kind of big meeting was coming up. But no one knew what it involved, why the staff was being kept in the dark, and why they were going to the old Piggly Wiggly building, of all places.


The Fourth of July without fireworks is like Christmas without Santa Claus. And while nothing says summer fun like an evening of brightly colored sparklers, local officials say it’s best to leave the big pyrotechnics displays to the professionals. 

According to Town of Hilton Head Island staff attorney Brian Hulbert, it is legal to shoot off fireworks on the island — but you’ll need a permit from the town manager if you want to light up your display on the beach, which Hulbert said is defined as the shoreline between Fish Haul Creek Park on Hilton Head’s north end and Lands End in Sea Pines. 

Deputy Chief Joseph Manning has been promoted to police chief, according to Bluffton town manager Marc Orlando.

“Maj. Manning has demonstrated his ability to lead our police department,” Orlando said. “His unrelenting work during Hurricane Matthew, his day-to-day ability to foster and support our community policing program, along with his extensive law enforcement experience and education, make Maj. Manning a natural and obvious choice to move into the role as our next police chief.”

Yes, Hilton Head Island is known for its 12 miles of sandy, blissful beaches. But you’re missing out if that’s all your seeing this summer.

It’s been written on countless tacky T-shirts and risqué bumper stickers that “Life’s a Beach.” And that might be true for some folks. But not everyone.

Showing visitors the importance of area waterways

For the most part, the world paid no mind to Beaufort County during the first half of the 20th Century. The little bit of industry that was here arose from nature: logging, farming and fishing.

Then the German behemoth BASF came along in the 1960s and proposed a chemical plant on Victoria Bluff on the Colleton River. That changed everything. It rallied the residents, fishermen and a development in its infancy called Sea Pines Resort on Hilton Head Island. The coalition, called Friends of the Rivers, stopped the plant. Residents and businesses have remained vigilant ever since.

It is an act of faith to run into the ocean, not knowing what mysteries await in its depth. Walking the dog after sundown can quickly become an adventure if the right creature crosses your path in the dark. Even the benign-looking world of the salt marsh hides its secrets in billowing green cord grass; you have to get eye level to the marsh in a kayak to find the clues. In short, there is much we do not know, and much to discover.

A dolphin trainer, vet tech and diver moved from Pennsylvania to Hilton Head, wiggled into her 30-pound silicone tail and became a full time mermaid after the surprising success of her book, “Sammy the Sand Dollar” in 2016.  

“I wanted to teach kids how to identify dead or alive sand dollars and encourage them not to take the live ones home,” Leipold said. “And I wanted to write children’s books that educate kids about conserving marine life. I’ve always felt an affinity for the ocean.”

Jason Broene and Andy Harper have been promoted to associates at Court Atkins Group, an architectural firm with offices in Bluffton and Hilton Head Island. The two former project managers earned this distinction for their exemplary contributions to the firm’s expanding commercial line of business. Broene successfully launched the new Hilton Head studio in addition managing commercial projects including Darren Clarke’s Tavern, Palmetto Dunes Resort Administration Building, Sea Turtle Marketplace on Hilton Head Island, and Fat Patties Restaurant in Bluffton. Broene joined Court Atkins Group in 2014. Harper was a key leader in the planning of the company’s new island commercial studio. He also worked on Bluffton Township Fire Station #30, Lady’s Island – St. Helena Headquarters Station and the Bluffton United Methodist Church expansion. 

Russell Fredericks Makes Dramatic Career Transition

Russell Fredericks, a brand new Bluffton resident, has made a subtle, but dramatic career transition.

Two months ago the 49-year old New Jersey native was tending to historic fountain sculptures, dealing with cranky TV film crews, and making sure tons of debris were swept up daily. There was also the occasional dead body fished by his team from the Jackie Kennedy Onassis Reservoir in the heart of New York City's world-renowned Central Park.

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.

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.


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:

Marinades are like flavor elves, working behind the scenes at boosting flavors and tenderizing while the cook is off doing other things. Typically, a marinade consists of oil, vinegar, acidic ingredients such as lemon or lime, and herbs and/or spices. Another type of marinade consists of tropical fruits such as papaya and pineapple and which have enzymes to break down tissues and add flavor. Ceviche (also spelled ‘seviche’) “cooks” the seafood without any heat – only the acidity of the juices used does the trick. The best way to marinate is by using either a glass, plastic or enamel bowl, covering it tightly with plastic wrap, and storing it in the refrigerator. Our parents used to let things sit out at room temperature but we know better now – dangerous bacteria can thrive in a warm environment. Also, avoid using metal bowls which may have a chemical reaction with the marinade and affect the taste.

Going out for ice cream in the Lowcountry? You’re in for a treat. At last count, Beaufort County had more than 20 places where those who love ice cream, gelato, sorbet, soft-serve or fro-yo could get their fix of creamy goodness. While frozen yogurt sold by the ounce is the newest addition to Hilton Head Island and Bluffton, other options abound to satisfy cravings for something cold and sweet on a hot summer day.


Ever since the first primitive grillmaster rotisseried a wooly mammoth flank over an open flame, the concept of cooking outdoors has carried a certain mystique that you don’t find in, say, your average microwave.

“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.