British Airways will begin nonstop flights between London and Charleston International Airport beginning in April. The direct flights to London’s Heathrow Airport will leave from Charleston twice a week until October. Officials estimate the economic impact generated by the new flights could exceed $20 million annually in tourism. The flights will use the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner and offer free baggage allowances, complimentary meals and bar service, plus on-demand movies to 214 passengers per flight.

American Airlines will begin direct flights between Hilton Head Island Airport and Washington, D.C.’s Reagan National Airport in May. The announcement comes less than a month after United Airlines announced it would begin service between Washington, D.C., and Hilton Head in March. The United flights will operate in and out of Washington Dulles International Airport two times a day. In a Facebook post, the airport said the new American flights are “in part due to a runway extension that was completed in June” to accommodate larger jets.

After 11-year-old Charli Bobinchuck was hit by a car and killed in a crosswalk in June, concerns have been raised about safety on Hilton Head Island roads. Her father, Bryan Bobinchuck, has asked members of Hilton Head Island Town Council to make the area’s crosswalks safer by adding road signs that would flash at drivers when a pedestrian or bicyclist crosses the street. Residents have raised concerns in the past about adding any sort of light to the roads, as it could threaten wildlife. The Bobinchuck family is adamant that while protecting wildlife is important, the safety of island residents and visitors is equally important.

With the holiday season fast approaching, Community Foundation of the Lowcountry has launched the Season of Giving holiday resource on its Volunteers Connection website. Season of Giving is a listing of holiday needs, drives and volunteer activities in the Lowcountry. Whether you want to sponsor a family for the holidays, donate a toy or help serve a meal, you’ll find the opportunities listed on Season of Giving. For more information, go to www.cflowcountry.org/seasonofgiving.

The Town of Hilton Head Island is selling 2019-20 beach parking passes to Hilton Head Island property owners and residents. The parking pass is $30 per vehicle and is valid thru Dec. 31, 2020. The pass allows property owners and residents to park in designated spaces at Islanders Beach Park and Driessen Beach Park. Beach parking passes may be purchased 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays at the Town of Hilton Head Island’s Facilities Management Division office. For more information, call 843-342-4580 or go to www.hiltonheadislandsc.gov.

The name Spanish Wells conjures up images of galleons and wooden buckets — a romantic vision that seems far removed from the Hilton Head Island of today. But you wouldn’t be far off of the origin of the island community’s name — or the names of several other island landmarks.

SHORT-TERM SALES TAX INCREASE COULD HAVE LASTING IMPACT

Of all the choices Hilton Head Island and Bluffton voters face in this month’s election, deciding whether to approve a 1 percent sales tax increase may have the most impact on their quality of life over the long term.

The transportation sales tax referendum would fund a project designed to ease severe traffic congestion between the mainland and Hilton Head — but could cause uncertainty for property owners along U.S. 278 between Moss Creek Drive in Bluffton to Squire Pope Road on Hilton Head. Expanding U.S. 278 could encroach upon their land.

The Rotary Club of Hilton Head Island recently held its annual Teacher Appreciation Program to honor 14 educators at Hilton Head Island schools.

Teachers honored were:

The Boys & Girls Club of Hilton Head Island has received a $10,000 grant from the Palmetto Electric Trust to help fund the club’s Intervention Reading Program. The award, part of a highly competitive grant process, is part out of $513,000 in grant money awarded. The trust funds are collected through the Palmetto Electric Operation Round Up program. 

The Greater Bluffton-Jasper County Volunteers in Medicine celebrated the ribbon-cutting on its new location in September. The new clinic is located at 29 Plantation Business Park, Units 601-604. The new space will allow the organization to better serve clients as well as offer expanded services. The new clinic includes a pharmacy, offices and exam rooms.

The Outside Foundation of Hilton Head was the 2018 recipient of the ACA Green Paddle for Waterway Conservation Act. The award recognizes organizations who have illustrated exemplary leadership, service and dedication to various aspects of paddlesport.

The American Red Cross is seeking blood drive hosts this winter to help prevent blood shortages and potential delays in medical care. In South Carolina, about 115 more blood drive hosts are needed this winter. Blood drive partners who host a drive between Dec. 20 and Jan. 6 will receive long-sleeved Red Cross T-shirts for all who come to give. To learn more about hosting a blood drive or to sign up, go to www.redcrossblood.org/hostadrive.

In spring 2019, United Airlines will begin flying into Hilton Head Island Airport. The airline will run seasonal service to Washington, D.C.; Chicago and New York City. The Hilton Head airport recently finished a runway expansion project that made it possible for larger jets to land there. The partnership between United Airlines and Hilton Head Airport has been in the works for nearly 18 months. The new service hopes to serve as an important business opportunity for the region and help attract new tourists to the area.