The recipe of how to ruin a great country starts with a political system that is broken and divided into two fractions that seem unable to produce any results for the people who elected them.

Unfortunately, that is happening in a time when decisive actions are crucial for the well-being of the U.S. and when the world needs our leadership to create a sustainable planet.

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More than 10,000 athletes from 206 countries gathered for the Summer Olympics in Rio to compete in 41 sports, and the world was watching. I’m using this global event as a mirror, curious about the image its sends back to us. Here is what I observed:

Rio got it done. If you believed any of the negative hype leading up to Rio 2016, you would have bet that the current state of affairs in Brazil would throw this event into complete chaos. But not so much.

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lori septOf all the great issues that we put out throughout the year, our annual City Guide is the one to keep on the coffee table or to send to a friend who might be considering a vacation in the Lowcountry. This is the issue that really highlights why we’ve decided to call this paradise our home.

Since last October, we’ve been celebrating our 30-year anniversary. All the research that has gone into our anniversary articles has been great inspiration to reflect in this City Guide on the Lowcountry then and now.

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We are ONE species inhabiting one planet.

Globalization made it true that everybody and everything is connected in some ways, and nothing is going to put this genie back in the bottle. Whether we like it or not, trade, the internet, multinational corporations, people and ideas moving across all borders are simply forces that cannot be contained with walls or increased security measures.

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For a brief window of time on the B train, clanging over the Manhattan Bridge from Brooklyn, you emerge from underground.

If you’re lucky, the sun is hanging mellow, setting slowly in high summer, casting distant transformers in a copper tone, its light bouncing off the skyscraper windows and following you. I climb the stairs of the Grand Street station onto Chinatown’s northern edge, its assortment of fermented market offerings greeting my nose straight on.

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lori aug2016Is it August already? It seems like summer just started, but here we are, printing the final installment of our three-part summer fun series. We started with the south end of Hilton Head Island in June, followed by mid-island in July. This month, we close with the north end, Bluffton and Daufuskie.

Inside you will find information on all of the must-see landmarks and hot spots in those areas. You will also find feature stories on the wonderful new pool at Hilton Head Plantation and the Coastal Discovery Museum, one of my favorite places on the planet.

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marcofrey1Since 1982, depending how you define them, there have been at least 81 public mass shootings across the country.1

What’s more, this style of shooting, perpetrated by an individual rather than a gang, political group, or criminal organization is largely American. From 1966 to 2012, a third of the world’s mass shootings took place here. What’s difficult to swallow is how random they seem, the motives blurry, and the shooter somewhat ordinary. That’s when you become jaded. But the deadliest mass shooting in the US at the Orlando gay nightclub on June 12 brought a sharp new pain to our hearts — and created a lot of incoherent noise.

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“Dad! I want to play on the trampoline!” yells one of his four kids. “No, not this second” replies Brandon Runyan, and then turns to me: “This is the chaos of my life.” A toddler’s shriek pierces through my computer speakers. We’re on video chat and Isla, age 7, reminds us, “You’ve been on this interview for minutes!” She wants dad to continue their bike-riding lessons. Runyan, still in his scrubs, calmly answers each question, even if delayed by constant, if cute, interruptions. Most mornings, he sneaks out at 5 a.m. for CrossFit. That’s before the kids wake up and must be shepherded through the morning’s tasks.

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LORI GOODRIDGE-CRIBBEach month when I sit down to write this page, I find myself reminiscing about island life over the past 29 years. As we focused on the magnificent mid-island for this July issue, one summer memory is particularly vivid.

When my daughters were young, we absolutely could not miss HarbourFest — the weeklong celebration that happens all summer long at Shelter Cove Harbour. We loved to go see what the vendors had to offer and visit with Cappy the Clown.

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marc jun216It is a reality that Hilton Head Island and Bluffton are socially and economically joined at the hip. To get a feel for just how much the two towns are connected, just stand at the bridge at any time day or night and watch the traffic rush by.

It is also a reality that healthy local economies depend on updated infrastructures, which includes the transportation system. Since there is no real viable public transportation in the Lowcountry, roadways remain the only way to get from place A to place B.

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Lori juneIt’s funny how large we can make this small community we live in. With the way we’ve split Hilton Head Island and Bluffton into sections, one could easily confuse the Lowcountry for a metropolis such as New York City or Chicago.

On Hilton Head, there are the north end, mid-island and the south end. Over the bridge is the mainland and its many areas (Old Town Bluffton, new Bluffton, Buckwalter, May River Road and Okatie).

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SAVANNAH – HARDEEVILLE - BLUFFTON/HILTON HEAD ISLAND - BEAUFORT

25 years ago, when I predicted that the Savannah, Beaufort and Hilton Head Island triangle would grow into a cohesive population and commerce center, most people looked at me with disbelief.

This was at a time when the Savannah airport was a one-story terminal with only a handful of flights arriving and most things were still done by hand. (SAV is currently offering direct flights to 13 different cities). Driving to the island was via a twolane winding road covered with a canopy of trees. Somewhere on the right there was Bluffton, which was a small, quaint little town that mostly went unnoticed.

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I always called him Tripp. I remember mornings at South Carolina Yacht Club’s summer sailing camp, putting together the boxy Optimists before launching them into the water. The effort of the work was worth it with the release of your boat into the water, yours alone, its one sail getting fat in the wind. Our shared childhood started at Hilton Head Preparatory Academy, trading Legos in the sandbox in a tight-knit trio: me, Prentice “Tripp” Brower and John DeZeeuw. But while my dad always had to pull me back to the water, it was hard to peel Tripp away, his skin growing ever tanner. When I migrated to public school, Tripp stayed at Prep, where he started its first sailing team.

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lori jan2016For me, the world’s greatest thoughts happen in the shower. Maybe it's the steam or shampoo suds or smell of my fancy Harris Teeter soap that triggers random bits of brilliance. Or maybe it's the only place where technology and other people can't distract me.

It’s rewarding when one of those “shower thoughts” transforms into something our readers enjoy. 

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