CLUB COOKS UP A RECORD-BREAKING MEATBALL

Hilton Head Island has earned a mouth-watering new superlative—it’s home to the world’s largest meatball and holds a record to prove it.

Italian cuisine is filled with mouth-watering dishes, but few are as comforting or as classic as spaghetti and meatballs. Or meatball. Just one, weighing 1,700 pounds.

Fort Mitchel on Hilton Head Island has joined 1,400 other sites in South Carolina included on the National Register of Historic Places. The national program coordinates and supports public and private efforts to identify, evaluate and protect America’s history and archeological resources. Fort Mitchel was constructed during the Civil War after Union troops captured Hilton Head in 1861, and it served as a defense against Confederate raids until 1868. The remains of the fort were discovered in 1972 during the construction of Old Fort Pub, and the land was deeded to the Hilton Head Island Historical Society.

Seniors who successfully complete the “Smart Driving” course by AARP will receive a discount on their auto insurance. The course is the first and largest refresher course designed specifically for drivers ages 50 and older. Instructor Paul Jones will teach research-based safety strategies that can reduce the likelihood of a crash. The four-hour course is being offered from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 6 at 18 John Galt Road in Beaufort. For reservations, call 843-470-5109. 

People for Parks is holding an open house for the community to preview the Island Rec Center’s new community center at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 6. Guests will hear about construction and fundraising updates and will be able to tour the new building, which is currently under construction. The project includes renovation of the existing Island Rec Center and construction of a new facility with a second gym, elevated indoor walking track, teen room, fitness equipment, offices and rooms for classes. The renovated Island Rec Center is expected to open in winter 2018, with the new community center slated to open in summer 2018. The open house will be held at the existing Island Rec Center campus at 20 Wilburn Road on Hilton Head Island.

oscarfrparkThe Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce’s 2018 Leadership Class is hosting “Party in the Park” from 1 to 4 p.m. Dec. 3 at Oscar Frazier Park in Bluffton. Proceeds from the fundraiser will go toward a new train play set for the park. The event will include food from Melly Mel’s, Gullah Fried Sweet, and GMA on Ice, as well as music by Shane Marstiller, face-painting and more. Make a donation to the project or buy a commemorative paver to be installed at the park. For more information, contact Melanie Thomas at 843-707-6219.

The Town of Hilton Head Island is selling beach parking passes for the 2018-19 season. Passes are available to Hilton Head residents and cost $30 a vehicle. The pass will allow residents to park in designated spots at Islanders Beach Park and Driessen Beach Park and can be purchased at Town Hall or the town’s facilities management division at 12A Gateway Circle on Hilton Head. Passes are valid through Dec. 31, 2019.

Pressana GrantThe “songbird of Bluffton” has flown. Pressana Grant, who became well-known for singing at local events, died Nov. 1 at the age of 61 in a single-vehicle crash on Bluffton Parkway near Burnt Church Road. A community gathering was held in her memory on Nov. 9 at the Rotary Community Center at Oscar Frazier Park in Bluffton, following funeral services at Campbell Chapel AME Church. Mourners crowded the church’s sanctuary and an overflow room.

WALTER GRAVERWALTER GRAVER LEFT A LEGACY OF SUPPORT FOR THE ARTS

For more than three decades, Walter Graver put everything he had into making Hilton Head Island a better place for residents and visitors alike.

“I’ve sat in the shadow of the trees that other people have planted here on Hilton Head,” Graver told Hilton Head Monthly in 2014, “and I don’t mind if the next generation finds some shade in the trees I’ve helped to plant.”

LOWCOUNTRY GROUPS RESPOND TO CRISIS IN PUERTO RICO AND THE CARIBBEAN

Lowcountry residents Omar Nieves and Andrew Salvat-Vega met because of a hurricane, although the storm took place thousands of miles away.

Both men are Puerto Rican, but they met for the first time in Bluffton at a recent meeting of new nonprofit organization LowCountry Area Hurricane Relief for Puerto Rico and Caribbean. The get-together took place in the community room of May River Village apartments, where people of many races and nationalities gathered to discuss how they could help the devastated region. Like Nieves and Salvat-Vega, who found out about the meeting on Facebook, everybody there wanted to make a difference.

HIGH COST OF TUITION AND FEES WORRIES MANY S.C. STUDENTS AND THEIR FAMILIES

These days, the price of sending a child to college is enough to make a parent weep. But colleges and universities aren’t totally responsible for the sticker shock. Many factors play into the high cost of tuition and fees.

Nationally, the average annual cost for undergraduate tuition, fees, and room and board for the 2014-15 school year was $16,188 at four-year public institutions, $41,970 at private nonprofit colleges and $23,372 at private for-profit institutions, according to the most recent data available from the National Center for Education Statistics.

Chancellor Ai M. Panu is proud of the friendly, family-like atmosphere at the University of South Carolina Beaufort. Staff and faculty greet students by name and with smiles; the bulletin boards outside the admissions office are filled with flyers for special events and book club meetings, job opportunities, academic workshops and a volunteer trip to Puerto Rico.

It’s an atmosphere he’s worked hard to cultivate, even as the school’s size has skyrocketed. USCB recently was ranked the fifth-fastest growing university in the nation by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

firepowerBLUFFTON POLICE DEPARTMENT OFFERS ADVICE AFTER LAS VEGAS SHOOTING

In his 14 years in law enforcement, in Charleston and now as a member of the Bluffton Police Department, officer Doug Armstead has worked his share of gun accidents.

That’s why safety around firearms — no matter if the person is a seasoned gun owner or a novice — is one of his mantras.

ackerBLUFFTON TEEN JOINS THE BIG WORLD OF POLITICS

John Acker tried the sports thing, but it didn’t stick. He could never “find that angst.” Instead of watching ESPN, he was drawn to C-SPAN; in lieu of memorizing football stats, he brushed up on voting records.

So it’s no surprise that John is making his name in the political realm, except for one small fact: He’s only 17.