Three Beaufort County residents have been selected for National Merit Scholarships: Rasikh N. Hamid of Beaufort, Jacob S. Palchak of Hilton Head Island and Matthew V. Porter of Bluffton. Hamid plans to study medicine, while Palchak wants to go into sports medicine and Porter will study computer programming. Hamid and Palchak graduated from the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics and Porter is a graduate of at May River High School.

The Bluffton Police Department is now accepting applications for the 2018 Citizens Police Academy. The 12-week course will focus on the four divisions of the Bluffton Police Department, traffic enforcement, radar operation, evidence collection, fingerprint recovery, defensive tactics, firearms and more. The course will be held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays from Aug. 7 to Oct. 23. Apply in-person at the Bluffton Police Station or go to www.townofbluffton.sc.gov/police-department/home.

The Town of Hilton Head Island’s Office of Cultural Affairs announces the launch of The Artist's Gallery at Town Hall, an initiative to celebrate Hilton Head Island's art community. The gallery is slated to open at the end of September and local artists are invited to submit their work to be considered for the gallery. An online application is available at www.hiltonheadartsdaily.org.

An anonymous donor wired $511,386.99 to the Campbell Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Bluffton in May, covering the remainder of the mortgage for the chapel. Pastor Dr. Jon R. Black is calling the donor the church’s “guardian angel.” Now that the debt for the church building has been taken care of, the congregation will focus its efforts on investing money into the local community. 

COMPLETION OF LONGER RUNWAY TO DRAW MORE REGIONAL JETS

Air travel to the Lowcountry is changing: Larger, sleeker, commercial airliners soon will start landing on the newly expanded runway at Hilton Head Island Airport.

Now that the project is completed, regional jetliners will start arriving July 5. The larger Embraer 175 jet will replace the familiar sight of the American Airlines Dash 8 Turboprop descending from the island’s blue skies in approach to the airport. The more modern Embraer 175 has 76 seats and is configured for first class and coach. Depending on the model, the Dash 8 carries up to 48 passengers.

OFFICIALS EXAMINE LOCAL RECYCLING PROGRAMS

It’s a good idea to think twice about tossing that plastic bottle in the trash —the landfill that serves Hilton Head Island, Bluffton and the rest of Beaufort County is filling up fast. But if you care and take the time to seek out a recycling bin, you may find yourself wondering: Before I recycle this, do I need to remove the cap?

BEAUFORT COUNTY AND S.C. VOTERS HEAD TO THE POLLS

South Carolina will hold primary elections on June 12, with runoff elections, if any, to be held June 26. Registered Beaufort County voters can cast their ballots in either the Republican or Democratic primary — but not both. For more information on the primary or to find out where to vote, go to bcgov.net/vote.

Women in Philanthropy held its annual grant awards and business luncheon on May 16 at Colleton River Plantation. The local philanthropic organization’s 2018 theme is “Addressing Women’s Health, Wellness, and Justice,” and grantees this year are: YMCA of Beaufort, $2,000; Neighborhood Outreach Connection, $2,000; Bluffton/Jasper County VIM, $3,500; Women of Faith and Power Ministries $5,000; Good Neighbor Free Medical Clinic, $6,000; Osprey Village $8,000; Hopeful Horizons $10,000; Pregnancy Center and Clinic of the Lowcountry, $15,500; Hilton Head Volunteers in Medicine $10,000. 

The SunTrust Foundation awarded a $2,000 grant to Hilton Head Regional Habitat for Humanity. The money will be added to proceeds from Habitat’s annual golf tournament to fund the group’s next home construction project. SunTrust has supported the annual golf tournament and Habitat for Humanity for years; the 21st annual tournament and auction will be held Sept. 24 at the Oldfield clubhouse.

In collaboration with i2recycle and Waste Management, the town of Bluffton held its annual May River Cleanup on April 28. This year, roughly 340 volunteers — including residents and local civic organization — collected 2,893 pounds, or 1.44 tons, of trash from the river and its surroundings. Approximately 17 percent of that waste was recycled and diverted from area landfills.

The Reconstruction Era National Monument on St. Helena Island could become a national park if a bill filed in April is approved. The bill would formerly expand the monument’s footprint to include the city of Beaufort and St. Helena Island, including four other historic attractions. This will make it easier for sites in those two cities to be added to the park, if relevant to Reconstruction. The bill is co-sponsored by U.S. Reps. Jim Clyburn and Mark Sanford.

Scratch Golf, LLC announced plans to turn one-third of Hilton Head National Golf Course into a luxury RV resort. The 300-acre parcel would have an entrance on Malphrus Road in Bluffton. Scratch Golf sued Beaufort County last fall, claiming it was treated unfairly when it requested to change the zoning designation to allow more retail and commercial development on the land. It is not clear when construction will begin, but the park should be open by end of 2019 or early 2020.

The 2017 Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival & Concours d’Elegance was without a car auction, but a change to South Carolina law could bring it back for this year’s event. A bill allowing car auctions at the festival was approved in May and is waiting for the governor’s signature. In the past, ambiguity in the law led the festival to avoid an auction, but the new bill clears up any confusion.

Beaufort County Schools Superintendent Jeff Moss has submitted his resignation to the  Beaufort County Board of Education, effective July 31. Upon departure, Moss will be paid his 2017-18 salary of $220,000, plus $44,000 in earned annuity and payments for benefits and unused leave days. Moss has served as superintendent four five years.

Hilton Head Island may see a mobile home subdivision on a 2.34-acre lot off of Gumtree Road. The goal is to offer residents of Hilton Head an affordable housing plan, with lots starting at $89,000. Owners will provide their own mobile homes. If the project receives approval from the Town of Hilton Head Island, the subdivision will begin development.