haleyWeeks of speculation became fact Thursday as the Royal Bank of Canada was introduced as the new title sponsor for The Heritage — now The RBC Heritage. The announcement ended more than 18 months of searching to replace Verizon, which announced in late 2009 that it would end its 20-year relationship with Hilton Head’s signature PGA Tour event.

hurricaneOn a spring day 22 years ago, Max Mayfield of the National Hurricane Center was asked to run a computer program that demonstrated the chance of a major hurricane making landfall in Charleston. Any coastal area is vulnerable to the ravages of hurricane season, of course, so the news Mayfield delivered to Charleston that day was fairly positive:

A Category 4 storm wasn’t expected to come within 86 miles more than once in a century.

Hilton Head mayor Drew Laughlin's six-month checkupDrew Laughlin was sworn in as Hilton Head Island’s new mayor on Dec. 7 — “Pearl Harbor Day,” he says with a wry smile — and he’s hardly had a minute to idle his engine since.

Though he’s the first to admit that his style isn’t exactly laid-back, the Main Street lawyer says he’s learned enough in office to relax, stay positive and keep his priorities straight about the island’s future.

“It’s all that I expected, though I’m not sure I fully appreciated how much of a demand on my time (the job is),” Laughlin said shortly before heading to a Town Council budget workshop in mid-May. “There’s a lot of ceremonial stuff. There are hundreds of organizations and clubs, and every one has a monthly meeting. They need speakers, and they’re all looking for fresh meat.”


Stormwater, conservation, nonpoint source pollution, impervious surfaces — these aren’t sexy terms, and most of us find them irrelevant to our dayto-day-lives. Yet each can seriously impact a resource we need and love: water. Though it’s easy to assume that water supports itself naturally through the processes of precipitation, transpiration, evaporation and the natural filtration provided by our ecosystems, that’s not the case with people in the picture.

Evacuation Checklist

  • Make sure to have plenty of gas: Gas up early to avoid empty pumps and long lines. If possible, bring gas with you in a gas-safe container meant for this purpose.
  • Bring water and non-perishable foods. Get them early and be ready to put your plastic kit in the car and go.
  • Bring copies of prescription medications and any medical supplies you might need.
  • Bring copies of vital documents: wills, deeds, homeowners insurance, proofs of residence, birth certificates, etc. Pack them in a watertight plastic bag.

‘The facility desperately needs upgrading,’ says the center’s executive director. Here’s how it hopes to move forward.

The Island Rec Center plans an ambitious expansionWhen the Island Recreation Center opened its doors in 1988, it was a state-of-the-art facility that met the needs of Hilton Head’s approximately 17,000 permanent residents. It had (and still has) an eight-lane pool, a gym, outdoor tennis and basketball courts, a playground and a couple of meeting rooms.

But while the 14,000-squarefoot recreation center hasn’t changed much over the last 23 years, Hilton Head’s population certainly has: It’s more than doubled to 35,000.

Hilton Head Island High School is stepping up to promote the value of its international baccalaureate program.

Hilton Head Island High SchoolTwo years ago Lauren Stuligross’ children switched from private school to public school for one main reason: Hilton Head Island High School’s International Baccalaureate program.

“It’s one of those ‘sky’s-thelimit’ kinds of curriculum,” said Stuligross, “where a kid who really wants to do a lot can.” Stuligross’ daughter, Haley, has thrived in the challenging IB Diploma Program and will graduate next month. Her son, Brian, is a freshman at the high school who hopes to follow the same rigorous course load as a junior — if it’s still an option.

Winners of the 2011 Hilton Head International Young Artist Piano Competition, held March 7-12.

  • First Prize: Zhu Wang, China
  • Second Prize: Drew Petersen, USA
  • Third Prize: Jin-Hong Li, China
  • Fourth Prize: Ruixue Zhang, China
  • Fifth Prize: Micah McLaurin, USA
  • Sixth Prize: Kate Liu, Singapore

The six finalists vied for the top prize in March night before a sold-out audience. First prize was $5,000 plus an Aspen Summer Scholarship, valued at $4,500, and a Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra performance. Second Prize is $3,000, Third Prize is $2,000 and Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Prizes are $500.

Morris Russell

John Morris Russell, one of North America’s most celebrated symphony orchestra conductors, has agreed to serve as principal guest conductor for the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra for the 2011-2012 season, which begins in October.

“We are thrilled for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have a major international talent like Maestro Russell come to our community,” said Edward Parrish, chairman of the board for the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra. “When we learned of his interest in leading our orchestra, we realized it would mark a major step forward for us.”

Seven days, thousands of volunteers, one movable bus: How the Lowcountry’s fastest build brought together a community

It’s 0900 on Day 1 of the operation, and already troops are swarming the target zone. The chain of command has been put in place, materials are being transported in every hour and the surroundings are being transformed into a massive staging area. But this isn’t a military operation in some far-off locale, and these troops aren’t the fighting kind: This was just the first of seven days in the life of a quiet Beaufort neighborhood last month when ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” came to town.




Two years ago, the Rev. Dr. Nannette Pierson founded the Sandalwood Community Food Pantry out of her own pocket. Today, her efforts are helping to feed more than 400 local families.

Dr. Nannette PiersonThe Rev. Dr. Nannette Pierson spent more than a dozen years in school and seminary training to become a minister, but when the moment came to be ordained, she balked.

“There were certain tenets that you must profess, and I didn’t agree with them. I didn’t feel they were centered on love,” says Pierson, who says she especially disagreed with the church’s stance on homosexuals.

The decision meant she could preach but not be the head pastor at a church. Yet for a woman who had dreamed of being a priest since she was a little girl, the choice came with no regrets. “It was the best decision I ever made, because it freed me to believe we are church. Wherever we stand,” Pierson says.

A vision for the futureLast month, Monthly asked the seven mayoral candidates to respond to an e-mail Q&A about 10 diverse issues facing our island. This month, we sent a second round of questions, but grounded them in the findings of the Mayor’s Vision Task Force.

The candidates’ responses are excerpted below, but as before, their full answers and opinions are available online at hiltonheadmonthly.com/news/mayor-race, and we encourage you to go online.

A BLUEPRINT FOR THE FUTUREIn December, Mayor Tom Peeples drafted some of the island’s most influential leaders to serve on a new task force charged with two things: re-evaluating the town’s core values and offering guidance to a town coping with a shifting identity. The group, dubbed the Mayor’s Task Force for the Island’s Future, set out with no less of a goal than identifying the key values, characteristics and desires that define Hilton Head Island.

“I want to build upon the great work done over the past two years by our Planning Commission and town staff in developing our new Comprehensive Plan,” Peeples said at the time.

feb10_taskforce_newsWhat are the things that make Hilton Head Island unique?

Certainly you’d have to include its natural beauty, the beaches, the national branding, the climate, the spirit of volunteerism and events like the Verizon Heritage.

But what about the island’s weaknesses?

One of Hilton Head’s largest historical groups wants to build a park to highlight a piece of land that once served as a cultural center of activity in the island’s antebellum era.

The Heritage Library Foundation is proposing turning the 4.8 acres it owns at the corner of Mathews Drive and William Hilton Parkway into a park to honor the history of the site it says was once home to a masonic lodge, prairie house, Gullah church and other structures. The land, known as the Zion Chapel of Ease and Cemetery site, currently holds the 1846 Baynard Mausoleum — the oldest intact structure on Hilton Head — and a cemetery where several Revolutionary War soldiers are buried. The chapel the site was named for was erected in 1786 under the direction of Capt. John Stoney and Isaac Fripp.

John and Elizabeth Calvert

A court order declaring John and Elizabeth Calvert dead hasn't dampened the mystery surrounding their disappearance.

Almost two years have passed since the owners of one of the island’s landmarks met an abrupt end, but time hasn’t nudged the facts forward very far. The narrative of the case says they were murdered, a crime committed by former business associate Dennis Gerwing, most likely over issues of money and embezzlement.

But with scarce new facts in between those assumptions, the vanishing of the couple accustomed to traveling in a well-heeled circle remains as wrought with speculation as it did when Gerwing crudely killed himself a few days after their disappearance. It remains a violent ink blot on an island best known for its quiet, uneventful solace.