MEET JOHN TOLLY, THE MAN BEHIND SUNNY DAZE CUSTOM SURFBOARDS

Like many small business owners, John Tolly started Sunny Daze Surfboards with a mix of knack, necessity and passion.

“Buying surfboards can be very expensive, so I forced myself to make my own equipment,” Tolly says. He made his first board in 1997, and opened Sunny Daze Surfboards in 2000. “It began as a hobby and a passion, and it is still my passion today.”

Every so often, it is important that we reflect on where we have come from in order to find a path forward.

In this time of planning the future of our island home, we must preserve what is best and set a course for our future. So with this anniversary issue of Hilton Head Monthly, I thought I would examine some of the facts about how Hilton Head Island has changed during the life of this magazine.

HARGRAY COMMUNICATIONS RECENTLY CELEBRATED THE ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF ITS LOWCOUNTRY BROADBAND PLAN AT AN EVENT AT ITS HEADQUARTERS ON HILTON HEAD ISLAND.

Government and community leaders from Hilton Head, Bluffton and Beaufort were among those in attendance to acknowledge the growth of Hargray’s fiber-fueled network over the past year.

Lowcountry learning, from the beginning

THE HISTORY OF HILTON HEAD ISLAND AND BLUFFTON SCHOOLS

Schools are not just places where children go to learn. They play a tremendous role in the quality of a community and the quality of its population. They are also a reflection of the community itself, its growth, its values and its future.

Kathy Chiarella was thrilled when her son Michael graduated college last year, but the excitement began to wane when January rolled around and he was still struggling to find a job.

Fearing he had lost confidence and needed some help, she called CompleteCandidate, a career service for recent college grads co-owned by Bluffton resident Nancy Thomas.

After eight often challenging years, Hilton Head Island real estate appears to be making a comeback.

Despite the headwinds caused by property taxes on second homes and investment real estate, as well as the growing cost of flood insurance, the prices and volume of real estate sales are increasing.

One remaining challenge to a "normal" real estate market is access to mortgage credit. Access to credit, or market liquidity, is the key ingredient for orderly markets. After the 2008 financial crisis, many private sources of mortgage capital dried up. The market for private residential mortgage-backed securities, the source of most "non-conforming" mortgage loans, evaporated. Investors fled to "conforming" real estate-backed securities issued by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae, government-sponsored enterprises that were viewed as being guaranteed by the U.S. government.

Melissa Christian’s biscuit business started from a somewhat selfish place: She wanted better treats for her dogs.

“We were shopping at Christmastime for our dogs’ Christmas stockings, and every package we looked at had more chemical-sounding ingredients than actual food ingredients,” she says. “We were pretty shocked. I kept saying, ‘This is gourmet?’”

Robotic science

Robotics kids: Back row (left to right); Breonia Wallace, Da-Zarriah Bush, Brandon Brantley, Janiah Orr, Brianna Smith, Alannah Bryant, Ayana

Grant, Middle row; Jayden Nunez, Kenneth Johnson, Hazella Jeffcoat, Axel Zepeda. Front row; Angel Gant, Nichelle Patrick, Jaela Gant.

Jackie O’Bannon can’t help but overflow with joy when she thinks about her 14 “babies.”