Community Foundation of the Lowcountry completed its second of three annual competitive grant cycles in July, awarding $498,023 to six local organizations. Beaufort County Animal Shelter Support Fund received a grant for a radiology lab; Bluffton Community Center Foundation received funding for the construction of a shade/picnic pavilion with restrooms; Bluffton-Jasper County Volunteers in Medicine received grants to support capacity building for staff and technology; Heritage Library Foundation received funding to support its first-ever paid executive director position; and the Hilton Head Recreation Association received $100,000 as a “matching grant” challenge to pay for a state-of-the-art inclusive playground.

ART IS EVERYTHING

“When I first moved here, people thought I was a Jamaican dog walker,” said Amiri Farris.

It’s true that he can often be spotted walking his dogs, Brownie and Bud, around Old Town Bluffton. But he’s also an artist known for his use of a variety of mediums and a professor of foundation studies at the Savannah College of Art and Design. 

cycle sculptureA new cycle sculpture will be dedicated to the Hilton Head Island cycling community on the anniversary of Jeff Garske’s death. Garske was an avid cyclist and founding member of Hilton Head Cycling before he was struck and killed by a drunk driver on the Cross Island Parkway last August. A memorial fund established by Garske’s cycling team raised enough money to commission and dedicate a sculpture that will become part of the Town of Hilton Head Island’s public art collection. The sculpture, called “Cycle,” was created by Hilton Head artist Kevin Lawless and is located at the southwest corner of Pope Avenue and South Forest Beach Drive.

Christopher ChapmondBluffton town manager Marc Orlando has selected Christopher Chapmond as Bluffton’s next chief of police. Chapmond, who is currently the assistant police chief for Hot Springs, Arkansas, was expected to begin work in Blufftton by Sept. 1. Orlander said the town received more than 60 applicants from 24 states and two countries. Chapmond has been employed by the Hot Springs Police Department since 1996, during which he has held the positions of field operations captain, patrol lieutenant, coordinator of the 18th East Drug Task Force, co-commander of the Hot Springs SWAT and commander of critical incidents.

Forty-five-year-old Cassandra Cline died Aug. 20 after an alligator pulled her and her dog into a lagoon in Sea Pines. Cline lived in Sea Pines and was killed while trying to save her dog, state officials said. The 9-foot alligator believed to be responsible for the attack was caught and euthanized. Law enforcement responded to Wood Duck Road after witnesses saw an alligator attacking the woman in a lagoon. A Sea Pines grounds official and neighbor witnessed the attack. The dog was unharmed. The Sea Pines Community Services Association has asked the community to “respect the needs of the investigators and privacy of the victim’s family and neighbors.” This is only the second alligator-related death in South Carolina since the state began keeping records in 1976. 

Plans for a new 200-home community have been proposed for a 30-acre tract of land near Spanish Wells. The proposal was presented to the Town of Hilton Head Island and is tentatively being called Old House Creek. The community will include single- and multi-family homes, but price points and other details have not been decided. Owner and developer Read Brennan does not anticipate having the final plans in place for another five to six months.

The Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce and the South Carolina Lowcountry SCORE chapter will host the second annual THRIVE Lowcountry Women’s Conference. It begin with a welcome reception from 5:30-8 p.m. Sept. 5 at the Sonesta Resort. The conference will be Sept. 6 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The presenting sponsor is BlueCross Blue Shield of South Carolina, and the event will be emceed by WSAV’s Tina Tyus-Shaw. Register at: www.hiltonheadchamber.org.

Developer K. Hovnanian Homes proposed a new development to be built adjacent to S.C. 46 and S.C. 170. The proposal includes 515 single-family homes with room for 11 acres of commercial space. K. Hovnanian’s next step is to redraw and present a final plan to Bluffton’s Development Review Committee to address traffic issues and accessibility concerns. The new development will be called Four Seasons of Bluffton — with no relation to the luxury hotel chain.

Bluffton made the national and international news last month, but not in a good way. British tabloid newspaper The Daily Mail, in addition to The Washington Post, ABC News, and other media outlets picked up the story of local resident Lauren Cutshaw, who was arrested for speeding through a stop sign and told officers from the Bluffton Police Department they shouldn't arrest her because she's a "very clean, thoroughbred, white girl," police said.

The All Saints Garden Tour, scheduled for May 18, 2019, invites non-profit organizations that serve Bluffton and Hilton Head area to apply for grants funded by the tour. The nonprofits should focus on hunger, homelessness, literacy or aging and have an annual budget of less than $650,000. Grant application forms are due Oct. 15.

An anonymous benefactor donated $500,000 to the Bluffton Campbell Chapel AME Church in May. The congregation celebrated its “guardian angel” with a banquet and mortgage-burning ceremony; the donation effectively paid off the church’s mortgage and leaves administrators free to focus on other missions, like refurbishing the historic chapel that was built in 1853 and sold to freed slaves in the 1870s. 

IMMERSE YOURSELF IN THE BLISSFUL SERENITY OF AIR CONDITIONING.

Ah, the great outdoors: the brightly shining sun, wide sandy beaches, and gently rolling waves of Hilton Head Island.

WHAT COULD BE BETTER?

While the Lowcountry’s many marketing professionals do a great job of making our home seem like paradise, the truth is, sometimes it rains here. In July, “sometimes” can mean most afternoons. And all that brightly shining sun can lead to a lot of sunburns.

FRESH TOMATOES MAKE THE BEST BLOODY MARYS

For six generations at the Sanders family farm on St. Helena Island, the reddest, ripest, juiciest tomatoes were discarded as waste. Workers at commercial tomato farms pick the fruit and pack it when it’s green, and the family couldn’t consume all the ripe tomatoes their 400 acres produced.

U.S. 278 widening project coming soon

Entering and leaving Windmill Harbour will become significantly safer soon. The improvement to that stretch of U.S. 278 is just one of many for the area’s main thoroughfare.

Denise SpencerDenise Spencer, president and CEO of Community Foundation of the Lowcountry, has announced that she will retire in June 2019. Under her 12-year tenue, the Community Foundation has more than doubled its combined assets to over $72 million. The number of component funds served by the Community Foundation has grown to 350 and grants/scholarships made since inception in 1994 now total $71 million.