marc jun216It is a reality that Hilton Head Island and Bluffton are socially and economically joined at the hip. To get a feel for just how much the two towns are connected, just stand at the bridge at any time day or night and watch the traffic rush by.

It is also a reality that healthy local economies depend on updated infrastructures, which includes the transportation system. Since there is no real viable public transportation in the Lowcountry, roadways remain the only way to get from place A to place B.

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SAVANNAH – HARDEEVILLE - BLUFFTON/HILTON HEAD ISLAND - BEAUFORT

25 years ago, when I predicted that the Savannah, Beaufort and Hilton Head Island triangle would grow into a cohesive population and commerce center, most people looked at me with disbelief.

This was at a time when the Savannah airport was a one-story terminal with only a handful of flights arriving and most things were still done by hand. (SAV is currently offering direct flights to 13 different cities). Driving to the island was via a twolane winding road covered with a canopy of trees. Somewhere on the right there was Bluffton, which was a small, quaint little town that mostly went unnoticed.

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I always called him Tripp. I remember mornings at South Carolina Yacht Club’s summer sailing camp, putting together the boxy Optimists before launching them into the water. The effort of the work was worth it with the release of your boat into the water, yours alone, its one sail getting fat in the wind. Our shared childhood started at Hilton Head Preparatory Academy, trading Legos in the sandbox in a tight-knit trio: me, Prentice “Tripp” Brower and John DeZeeuw. But while my dad always had to pull me back to the water, it was hard to peel Tripp away, his skin growing ever tanner. When I migrated to public school, Tripp stayed at Prep, where he started its first sailing team.

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PROMISES, PROMISES, PROMISES… We heard them all: Affordable healthcare for all, free community college, a 1,900-mile-long wall on the southern border, $15 minimum wage, deporting 11 million hard-working Latinos, strengthening our nuclear and non-nuclear military capabilities, carpet bombing ISIS, etc.

It never fails to amaze me how many things are being promised by presidential hopefuls without telling us exactly how we are going to pay for all of it. If you believe “The Donald,” Mexico will at least pay for the wall (which of course is not going to happen), and if you are feeling “The Bern,” the 1 percent will pay for most of it — never mind that his proposed tax reforms will not pass unless Congress shifts to a Democratic majority.

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Jessie Peterson Tarazi’s studio is tucked into a basement in Manhattan’s Chinatown, down a set of pre-war iron steps, past two pet pigeons roosting in their cage. Not hers, she adds. We’ve arranged to meet in a brief window before she’s off sending Kiawah residents into Southern nostalgia. She’s agreed, gleefully, to their offer to be Artist-In-Residence and to give her first artist’s talk, that is—on her own work.

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marco freyA quick scroll through my Facebook feed reveals the inevitable Bernie Sanders ad, my friend posts, “Maybe Canada should be president of the U.S.,” and my Brooklyn neighbors sharing the latest addition to their family, a rescue dog they’re naming “Ladies and Gentleman.” Have no doubt, we’re talking about my very own artsy, liberal Facebook feed. If you’re like me, you’ve pruned yours of caustic friends, chatter boxes and broken records. Instead, you’ve groomed your feed to show posts you care about, that share your interests, or highlight news that confirms what you already believe. It’s your personal online gated community.

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As I enter Think Coffee, Chris Schembra is joking with the table to his left, a couple I assume he has brought along.

It turns out that in the short time he’s waited, Schembra has befriended a theater producer — by no small coincidence. I’ve done a bit of homework. Schembra is himself a producer of the five-time Emmy Award-winning one-man play “The Little Flower,” and he is an investor in two Broadway shows. I’ve scanned his LinkedIn profile and watched his segment on Bravo’s “The Singles Project” and, more importantly, his Times Square Light-a-Candle charity flash mob. 

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IF THE U.S. WANTS TO LEAD THE WORLD, WE FIRST NEED TO ELECT A VISIONARY TO LEAD OUR OWN COUNTRY.

Our current global system is in need of a major revision. The focus needs to be on building sustainable economic environments all around the world rather than relying on growth at all cost driven by shortterm greed. The global playing field is not only changing around us, it is changing at an accelerating rate.

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masksTHERE ARE ONLY TWO KINDS OF PEOPLE. GOOD PEOPLE AND BAD PEOPLE.

It’s not a question of gender, race, religion, geographic location or wealth. Regardless of any of the aforementioned attributes, there are good people and there are bad people — it is just a simple as that.

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The rebellious city on the Pacific Rim is offering a glimpse into the future.

San Francisco was 15 years old when the San Francisco Chronicle started to publish its first edition 150 years ago. Much has changed since the early days, and will continue to change. What has not changed is that the Bay Area remains a magnet and kaleidoscope of influences from around the world and all walks of life.

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There are hundreds of small business owners in the Lowcountry, solo entrepreneurs, family-run organizations, larger companies with management teams and even some that have boards.

Together, they drive the vast majority of our economy since we don’t have government branches, military bases and only a few institutions that provide employment in our region. Most cater to local needs but some do the inverse, meaning they are located here but their customer base is not local.

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marc lastcallAs Hilton Head Monthly celebrates its 30th anniversary, it seems appropriate to contemplate what the next three decades have in store.

It’s hard to believe that 30 years ago, the following things did not dominate our daily lives: cellphones, emails, portable personal computers that connect via Wi-Fi nearly everywhere, high-definition TV with hundreds of channels, and the Internet that ushered in the connectivity revolution.

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The flight that changed our destiny:

Swissair flight 204 ZRH – ATL August 10. 1987

In the summer of 1987 our workload did not allow us to make any vacation plans in advance. So when my wife and I found a 10-day window in our schedule we had to make up our mind quickly. Swissair just started a new daily flight from Zurich to Atlanta. Discovering a new part of the USA sounded interesting. The next day we boarded the plane and crossed the Atlantic. Upon arrival we picked up our rental car and drove down to the coast. A friend told us we should visit Hilton Head Island, where we had a reservation at a hotel on the beach. How are we going to find the hotel my wife asked? Don’t worry there will be a big red neo sign…

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Growing up in Zurich, Switzerland, I was fortunate to have public drinking fountains strategically placed on my walk to school, on my bike ride to the soccer field or when accompanying my mother to the farmers market. To be exact, there are 1,200 water fountains in operation still today.

So the idea of paying for drinking water is quite foreign to me and I stare with disbelief at consumers who schlepp cartons full of plastic containers filled with filtered tap water to the trunk of their cars.

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