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Hilton Head Island Magazine and News

Generosity is one of the best things about the Lowcountry. Has your business or organization given back to the community? Submit your photos to editor@hiltonheadmonthly.com for this section. Space is limited.

Hargray Communications has opened a new retail center and continues to expand service on Hilton Head Island. The newly remodeled space at 862-A William Hilton Parkway includes a sales and customer service area and a community room that local groups can use for meetings free of charge. The company continues to expand and upgrade its network to deliver faster Internet, making Hilton Head Island one of a small number of cities nationwide with near ubiquitous access to fiber to the premises (FTTP). Only 13% of homes and businesses in the U.S. have access to premium fiber services: on Hilton Head, more than two-thirds of residents and businesses do. 

Construction continues along Pope Avenue on Hilton Head Island’s south end Two major projects underway — the Lowcountry Celebration Park and the Marriott Courtyard hotel — will come together in the next year, their contractors say, changing the face of the town’s main drag. The intersection of Pope Avenue and Lagoon Road will soon have a traffic signal to direct traffic into the park.

 If you live in the Lowcountry year-round, chances are your friends who live elsewhere are jealous. This area’s beautiful beaches, worldclass resorts and wide selection of restaurants, shopping and activities make Hilton Head Island, Daufuskie Island and Bluffton top vacation destinations and a great place to call home. For those who decide to stay year-round, the Lowcountry’s many planned communities offer beautiful homes and unparalleled amenities.

PHOTOS SUBMITTED BY MEMBERS OF HILTON HEAD AUDUBON 

Birding is one of America’s favorite leisure pastimes. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, more than 45 million Americans watch birds, whether in our backyards or in a local park or far-flung destination.

The good news is that on Hilton Head Island, you don’t have to go far to enjoy great-looking birds. You just need to step outside. More than 220 bird species have been observed on Hilton Head, and fall migration is a great time to see them.

NEW SUPERINTENDENT SEES POTENTIAL FOR EXCELLENCE

Months before he was named superintendent of the Beaufort County School District — even before he applied for the job — Frank Rodriguez spent four days scoping out the Lowcountry.

He traveled throughout the county, frequenting all the places where ordinary folks might be found. Grocery stores, post offices, public spaces. He told people he was thinking about moving here, that he has two kids — boys ages 10 and 14 — and asked what they thought of the public schools.

SECOND HELPINGS HELPS CONNECT GROCERY SURPLUSES WITH THOSE IN NEED

Outfitted in white polos and tennis shoes — the signature look of Second Helpings volunteers — a group of volunteers gathered in a parking lot on the north end of Hilton Head Island. Aside from a few minutes of light chatting, little time was wasted as they all climbed into their assigned trucks and took off on a mission to provide food to those in need all around the Lowcountry.

Founded in 1992, Second Helpings is a nonprofit organization working to alleviate hunger in the Lowcountry by distributing food from donors like grocery stores and restaurants to local food banks and other organizations helping to feed the hungry.

LOCAL WOMAN MAKES HISTORY COME ALIVE IN CHARACTER 

Bluffton resident Margaret “Peggy” Pickett has done a little bit of everything over the years.

For a while, she was a trainer for IBM, teaching customers how to use their new equipment. She also taught pre-school, and was a language therapist working with at-risk students.

TIDEWATCH EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT NOW OPEN

Coastal Carolina Hospital will now include the Tidewatch Emergency Department. The 10,000 square foot facility has 12 treatment areas, 24/7 physician coverage and represents a $15 million investment in the community. The types of acute illnesses and injuries treated at a traditional ER can now be treated at Tidewatch Emergency Department. These include allergic reactions, bone fractures, chest pain, head injuries, seizures, stroke and other urgent medical conditions.

OUR CURRENT IMMIGRATION POLICIES’ IMPACT ON THE LOWCOUNTRY

At its heart, the U.S. is a country of immigrants. According to the last U.S. Census, just 3.08 million — or 1% — of the roughly 330 million Americans can claim Native American ancestry. No, almost all of our ancestors came from somewhere else — America truly is a great “melting pot.”

To let us better understand today’s immigration policy, it might be instructive to review how our nation has viewed immigration over the years. For much of our nation’s history, we have encouraged free and open immigration. It wasn’t until the General Immigration Act of 1882 that the United States first blocked or excluded the entry of “idiots, lunatics, convicts and persons likely to become a public charge.” Between 1900 and 1920, we admitted approximately 14.5 million immigrants to help fill the jobs created during the Industrial Revolution. It was during this wave of mass immigration that additional provisions were added, including the requirement that immigrants be able to read and write in their native languages and pass medical examinations. Fast-forward to the post-World War II years and the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 — and its amendments in 1965 — which removed racial barriers and promoted reuniting immigrant families, now known as “chain migration.”

Our area is one of the fastest growing areas in the state, with new residents moving in every day. To kick off our annual City Guide issue, Monthly asked the mayors of Hilton Head Island, Bluffton and Hardeeville to share thoughts with them: 

SOUTH CAROLINA YACHT CLUB CELEBRATES ITS ANNIVERSARY IN STYLE

Thirty years ago, a big celebration marked the start an organization that has helped define Hilton Head Island’s way of life.

“What began as a dream with bricks and mortar has taken on a living presence as the crown jewel of Windmill Harbour,” said South Carolina Yacht Club founder J.R. Richardson. “Leslie and I feel as though South Carolina Yacht Club is our child. We were married April 1, 1989, and three months later on July 1,1989 we opened.”

WHETHER YOUR RENTAL PROPERTY IS A VACATION VILLA BY THE OCEAN OR A HOME FOR A FAMILY, PROFESSIONAL MANAGEMENT COMPANIES CAN PROVIDE PEACE OF MIND

TRANSITIONAL STYLE MEETS LOWCOUNTRY COMFORT IN BERKELEY HALL IN BLUFFTON

When Glenn and Jane Moyer first saw the undeveloped lot straddling the Okatie River in Berkeley Hall Plantation, they knew they wanted it — to build a home there, to live there, to retire there.

That was in 2003. In the intervening years, those dreams have all come true for the Pennsylvania natives.

COLLINS GROUP REALTY ADDS TWO

Kristen Parson has joined the team at Collins Group Realty as a real estate specialist working with clients in Bluffton and Beaufort. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Louisville and a master’s degree from the American College of Education.

FRIENDSHIP FOLLOWED BY MARRIAGE IS A RECIPE FOR SUCCESS 

There is something to be said for marrying your best friend. Combining romance with companionship brings out the best qualities in both types of relationships. It seems couples that have this connection have it figured out — couples like Jennifer and Vinny Matalavage.

Jennifer and Vinny met in college at Penn State Hazleton, sitting next to each other in class and working together on group projects. They really connected as friends and when Vinny began looking for a roommate in 2014, he was excited to learn that Jenny had a job in the same area: “We cleared it with our parents first and then became roommates.”

OUT OF TRAGEDY COMES A SECOND CHANCE AT LOVE

The Lowcountry is a small community where lives intersect in wonderful and terrible ways. For example, take Bluffton resident Daniel Harms, who was battling cancer in the summer of 2017 when he and his wife, Holly, heard about a three-car accident on Buck Island Road that took the lives of local teacher Jesse Floyd and her unborn son, Eli.

Daniel was overcome with emotion after hearing of the tragedy. He didn’t know Floyd’s husband, Ryan, but he told Holly that he could feel his pain.

BRIDE AND GROOM PLANNED A WEEKEND OF CELEBRATION

When a wedding invitation includes an entire weekend full of events including a beach day, you know it’s going to be a good time. And that was the goal for Bluffton residents Ashley Smith and Douglas Lindblad when they were planning their wedding after getting engaged in 2018.

Like many modern-day couples, the pair first met through a dating app. But Hurricane Matthew delayed their first date when Ashley and her children evacuated to North Carolina, and Doug, who was doing tree work at the time, stayed on Hilton Head Island to help in the aftermath of the storm. Doug was also a member of the National Guard and was waiting to hear if he was going to get called up.