marcogrIt’s times like these, with rain and snow blurring the shrill light of fire trucks lined five deep down the Brooklyn street outside a raucous jazz session at my neighborhood pizza bar, that I recall the South.

What I cherish most are the in-betweens — some clash between open space and strange timing. One time, driving home from Charleston for Christmas on Hilton Head Island, I remember dozens of eyes suddenly shining from the median of Interstate 95. The deer had taken the quiet for their own strange church revival. I knew I wasn’t supposed to be there.

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It’s 2009, and Vijay Viswanathan is fly-fishing on a remote river in Alaska’s Togiak National Wildlife Refuge.

This is grizzly country, where glacial peaks give way to an endless sea of green scrub valleys, through which weave streams where virgin trout that have never known the taste of a steel hook die of old age. Viswanathan embarked with a small team of professional athletes and biologists carrying all they needed to live and fish for a week. “Trips like that give me the same feeling I get when skiing through fresh powder,” he said. “These are memories that will stay with me forever.”

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Lori febr17“I love you.” I say those three words quite often. If you know me well, you know that I am a very passionate person. I’m passionate about my family, my friends and my work. I tell many people in my life that I love them, and those three words have meaning when I say or write them.

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After sailing through the night, the flash of a lighthouse signaled hope for a safe passage to the chartered destination. For centuries, lighthouses helped sailors reach safe harbor. 

In a world that at times can feel dark and uncertain, it is more important than ever that we know how to plot our own courses and navigate ourselves and our loved ones to safe ports. How do you overcome the daily stress imposed on you by an environment that is full of noise, chaos, hatred and anxiety?

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lori janhhmNew beginnings, fresh starts, reaffirmations of love and promises for a brighter future all come to mind as we ring in a new year. Country musician Brad Paisley may have said it best: “Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365-page book. Write a good one.”

Here at Monthly, we begin each new year with our “Intriguing People of the Lowcountry” special section. It’s something we’ve been doing since 1997.

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Where does your water come from? Not long ago, a vast freshwater aquifer stretching from South Carolina’s coast through Georgia and Florida supplied the wells that quenched the Lowcountry. But aquifers can be depleted by overuse, and many wells have become compromised as salt water has seeped in where fresh water used to be. Now much of the Lowcountry’s water is sourced from the Savannah River. Thankfully, Hilton Head Island boasts a budget large enough to afford supplemental water sources, and the means to purify them.

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When you decided to move here, you evaluated the weather, geographic distances to family or work, real estate pricing, taxes, schools, recreational amenities, health infrastructure, crime rates, job opportunities or things to keep you busy if you are retired.

But there was something else that drew you here and made you fall in love with the Lowcountry. It is the “local” feeling — the many intangibles that combined create a sense of place; the things that make us unique and give us a distinct flavor that makes living or visiting here a different experience than let’s say Melbourne, Florida.

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monthly team2

The Monthly team is (from left) Allyson Vernick, Cathy Flory, Charles Grace, Mary Ann Kent, Lance Hanlin, Lori Goodridge-Cribb, Marc Frey, Jeremy Swartz, Rebecca V. Kerns, Majka Yarbrough and Anuska Frey.

Dear Reader,

As we publish the last issue of 2016, it is once again time for us to reflect on the outgoing year and make plans for a new one.

Certainly this year has been unusual, overshadowed by a divisive presidential campaign that made it even more important for all of us to remember that we are one community. Closer to home, we had to deal with what will hopefully be the storm of the century and if you are like most, Hurricane Matthew has stolen two weeks out of our regular rhythm and left enough “mulch” for the next decade.

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Paul VecchioneI caught up with Paul Vecchione straight off an Ironman finish in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, a town whose name seems to say, “This isn’t Boise.”

Idaho may remind you of a giant potato, but this town, nestled upon an alpine lake near Spokane, is far from middle America. And as he tells me about the race in his downtown Manhattan apartment, Vecchione, whom I’ve known since high school — though not well — keeps impressing me.

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When your cousin Hermine came to visit, I was sitting on my porch and watched how she snapped large branches from our pine trees with her 40mph winds. I wondered to myself what twice the wind speed would do? Little did I know at the time that only a few weeks later much of the East Coast got a taste of that and then some. Your visit did not come unannounced and I kept my eye on you.

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When Hurricane Matthew hit the Lowcountry, Rose Hill resident Amy Harper kept in touch with her neighbors — both those who had stayed behind to weather the storm and those who were scattered across the country — by using an app on her iPhone called Nextdoor.

“At first, we communicated about which stores were open,” said Harper, who has lived in the Lowcountry for almost 30 years, 10 of them in Rose Hill. “Then the conversations turned to lost pets, water pressure issues, who had power and who did not. We’re now talking about roofing contractors and the best place to get hurricane shutters.”

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LORI GOODRIDGE-CRIBBI have lived here for nearly 30 years. My first hurricane evacuation was for Hugo in 1989, and as Matthew approached, I joined those who remembered its difficulties — 10-hour drives to Atlanta and worse.

We all knew this storm was going to scare us. But watching the forecasts that had it hugging so closely to the shore, we knew that it was going to be different than the storms that have come through in recent years.

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Ancient lore and modern research suggest early Polynesians migrated to North America following the seasonal flight patterns of the Golden Plover. One generation would row their boats as far as they could keep up with the birds. Then they noted their location and came home. The next year, they would row out to last year’s endpoint, waiting this time with a head start. Over hundreds of years and many generations, through birds and stars, the Polynesians found Hawaii.

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lori october16Here in the Lowcountry, October is a special time of year. Though we don’t have major tree changes many associate with autumn, you can still see the season changing in the colors of the marsh, in our slow transition to sweaters and boots, and in our sudden urge to clean out the fireplace.

October means it’s almost time for the annual Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival & Concours d’Elegance. This year’s Concours includes a special tribute to Hollywood. The event will have a display of vehicles made famous by movies or driven by Hollywood stars.

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