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.

An agreement between the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office and the Bluffton Police Department was approved by Bluffton Town Council in November, which allows Bluffton police to make arrests or give out tickets on the May River. The Marine Patrol Memorandum of Understanding gives Bluffton officers all powers and authority of law enforcement in waters adjacent to the town, which were previously considered out of their jurisdiction. Those waters include the May River, New River, Cauley’s Creek and parts of the Cooper River.

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.

Society of Bluffton Artists and the Lowcountry Autism Foundation will offer free art therapy classes to Beaufort County children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. The free classes will be held in the Center for Creative Arts building next to the SOBA Gallery in Old Town Bluffton. Art therapy pairs the creativity of making art with counseling to improve and to enhance physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Art therapy services are free for Lowcountry Autism Foundation members. For more information, go to www.lafinc.org.

Shaded by live oaks and nestled beside Campbell Chapel A.M.E. Church, Bluffton Boundary celebrates the culture of Old Town Bluffton — the art and history that give the town its identity.

That culture is on clear display at the new center: A colorful mural stretches from the building almost to the street, painted at a paint-by-numbers party over the summer by local residents, and picnic tables dot the sandy yard for monthly gatherings that celebrate the region’s Gullah heritage.

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 Bluffton Police Department is actively recruiting motivated and ambitious men and women to become police officers. Individuals interested in applying, or who have additional questions about the hiring process and what the job entails, are invited to an open house from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Dec. 3 at the Bluffton Police Department. For more information: 843-706-4550

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.