At a surprise assembly recently, a Bluffton High School history and social studies teacher received one of the most prestigious awards in education and a $25,000 check. Erin Reichert, 39, is the only Milken Educator Award winner from South Carolina for 2017-18, and among 44 winners nationally.

After a contentious two years, the Beaufort County Board of Education has hired an outside independent consultant to help with its issues. Wayne Worner was hired with a majority 7-4 vote at a cost not to exceed $8,000. He has worked with 50 to 60 school boards in the past, at least half of which were focused on issues internally or with their superintendent. The current board plans to go on a retreat with Worner ahead of an April 21 referendum and the November elections, in which seven current board members are up for re-election. 

The University of South Carolina Beaufort’s planned Hilton Head Island campus is months from opening on the south end of the island — but improvements to Office Park and New Orleans roads must be completed first, according to an agreement between the Town of Hilton Head and USCB. The work will add additional lanes to both roads, and construction is expected to take 120 days. Much of the work will be done at night, but lane closures should expected during construction. 

Bluffton resident Chris Hervochon, a certified public accountant and political activist, has announced his candidacy for the Republican Party nomination in the Beaufort County Council race for District 8. The seat currently is held by County Councilman Rick Caporale, who has decided not to run for another term. This is Hervochon’s first run for public office; he currently serves as the treasurer of the Greater Bluffton Republican Club. District 8 encompasses Hilton Head Plantation and Windmill Harbour on Hilton Head Island, plus Moss Creek, Colleton River and Belfair plantations in Bluffton. 

For the ninth year, WHHI-TV will broadcast Lowcountry area high school basketball games. The Covert Aire High School Basketball Series returns Wednesday nights at 7:30 p.m. New to this season, WHHI-TV will also broadcast the girls varsity basketball games in addition to the boys. The boys varsity games will air at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays, 1 p.m. Saturdays and 6 p.m. Sundays. Girls varsity games will air at 6 p.m. Saturdays and 10 p.m. Sundays. Spectrum subscribers can tune to channel 3 and Hargray users can tune to channel 8. For more information, go to www.whhitv.com.

The Coastal Discovery Museum is offering training for those interested in leading education programs. Interested volunteers should be able to work well with children and adults, have good public speaking and people skills, and be interested in learning and teaching historical and environmental subjects. The Coastal Discovery Museum team inspires thousands of visitors and residents through engaging, educational and enjoyable walks, talks, tours and programs. Training events will take place February through April. For more information, call the museum at 843-689-6767, ext. 228

The Literacy Center is partnering with the Boys & Girls Club of Hilton Head Island to offer a family literacy program, focusing on bringing children ages 5-10 closer to their parents so they can develop reading and other skills together. A new children’s book is provided to each family every week during the six-week program to start a home library. The families are also partnered with volunteer tutors. For more information, call The Literacy Center at 843-815-6616. 

Visitors to Sea Pines will soon be limited to the number of cars they can parked at their rental property. Effective March 1, parking at short-term rentals will be limited to the number of vehicles that can reasonably park in each driveway. Overflow parking will be available in the trolley lot, as needed. The new policy will be modeled after the same parking procedures implemented by Palmetto Dunes Plantation. 

redcrossThe American Red Cross, the Heritage Classic Foundation and the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing invite the community to help those in need. Blood drives will be held in February and March in Bluffton and on Hilton Head Island. Participants will receive an RBC Heritage gift, while supplies last, and will be entered to win a grand prize package worth more than $900 that includes Doc’s BBQ and tickets for the RBC Heritage, to tee off April 9-15. For more information or to make an appointment to donate blood, go to www.redcrossblood.org

The Town Council of Hilton Head Island unanimously approved the redevelopment of 1.4 acres by Cordillo Courts on the island’s south end. In addition to improving the tennis courts, the town also plans to add a community building, pickleball courts and more parking. Neighborhood Outreach Connection, a nonprofit group fighting poverty, operates out of the condominium complex right by the site and promotes the space as a safe play area for children. Cleaning up and repairing the area may require additional funding approval in the next fiscal year.

A new subdivision on Hilton Head Island is planned for the Mitchellville Road area. The 1.5-acre Mitchellville Heights will include nine 2,000- to 3,800-square-foot homes. Moshe Dekel, a holistic medicine doctor, is planning the new development with the help of HRT Design Construction Concepts and the neighborhood will feature decorative fencing, Lowcountry landscaping and a property owners association.

Hilton Head Island Town Council voted unanimously to pass a new ordinance banning plastic bags on the island. The ordinance prohibits all businesses from providing customers with single-use plastic bags. Violating the ordinance will result in a fine between $100 and $500 per violation, but the ban won’t take effect for eight months. Proponents of the ordinance hope the ban on single-use plastic bags will have a positive impact on the environment and community.

HOW HILTON HEAD AND BLUFFTON BECAME COYOTE COUNTRY

Vicki Wood didn’t know that there were coyotes living on Hilton Head Island until last May. Her Norfolk terrier, Fletch, had a habit of escaping the electric fence that surrounded her backyard, so she’d had the fence moved so she could watch him better from the house. Then, at around 6:30 p.m. May 25, her son said he couldn’t see Fletch in the backyard.

BEAUFORT COUNTY IS LOOKING FOR FOSTER PARENTS TO CARE FOR CHILDREN IN NEED.

When Christina Wilson heard that her cousin’s children had been put in foster care in 2003, she and her husband, Jason, knew they had to do something.

The Beaufort couple became licensed foster parents and took in the 5-month-old and 17-month-old girls. Two years later, the Wilsons adopted the children.

HARGRAY CUSTOMERS’ SPARE CHANGE ADDS UP FOR AREA NONPROFIT GROUPS

As the Rev. Dr. Nannette Pierson made her way to the front of the room, she gave a warning to those who awaited her arrival.

“You know I’m a hugger,” she said before embracing four members of the Caring Coins Foundation board. She also collected an $8,000 check on behalf of the Sandalwood Community Food Pantry, one of the more than 100 area organizations that have benefited from Hargray’s Caring Coins program.

A train-themed play structure planned in Bluffton is one step closer to reality thanks to a $10,000 donation from HVAC company Covert Aire. Called the Imagination Train, the project is part of a larger Field of Dreams and playground rejuvenation project in Oscar Frazier Park coordinated by leadership from the Rotary Club of Bluffton and the Town of Bluffton. The Imagination Train is directly sponsored by The Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce Leadership Class of 2018. The group is selling commemorative pavers and sponsorships. For more information, contact Melanie Thomas at 843-707-6219.