The silver semi-trailer on cement blocks on the site of Hilton Head Island’s Gullah Museum is a curiosity to passers-by on Gumtree Road.

“They wonder about its significance,” said Louise Cohen, founder and executive director of the Gullah Museum.


Resilience and the ability to repurpose items are skills many hope to develop as the country faces the COVID-19 crisis. The silver trailer on the island’s north end is a testament to strength and ingenuity of Native Islanders who lived here more than a half century ago.

Hilton Head Island nonprofit dealing with unprecedented needs

The Deep Well Project has been helping islanders in need for 47 years, but now many of the nonprofit’s former donors are seeking assistance. As Lowcountry businesses remain shuttered and job losses mount due to COVID-19, Deep Well’s ability to help with food and rent is more important than ever, said executive director Sandy Gillis. In addition to the nonprofit’s regular clients, Hilton Head Island residents from all walks of life are submitting requests for help.

U.S. COAST GUARD CREATING A ‘SUPERBASE’ IN CHARLESTON

Nearly a quarter-century after it was abandoned by the U.S. Navy, the 2,801-acre Charleston Naval Shipyard on the Cooper River is being resurrected to become a “superbase” for the U.S. Coast Guard, thanks to a dredging project that will make the Port of Charleston the deepest harbor on the East Coast by 2021.

“Here we will homeport the most capable surface assets in our fleet, including five national security cutters and a complement of yet to be built offshore patrol cutters,” said Adm. Karl Schultz, commandant of the Coast Guard, in his 2020 State of the Coast Guard address Feb. 20 in Charleston. 

FOUNDATION LAUNCHES CORONAVIRUS FUND

To help Lowcountry residents with hardships and consequences caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Community Foundation of the Lowcountry has created the Lowcountry Community COVID-19 Response Fund. The fund will rapidly deploy resources to community-based, frontline nonprofit organizations addressing the pandemic in Beaufort, Jasper, Hampton and Colleton counties, helping to ease the burden on employees of small businesses, the food and beverage industry, and others impacted by job losses and reduced wages due to the virus. 

The foundation will match up to $100,000 given to the fund, which will be doled out in phases. The first phase will support health and human services nonprofit groups working with residents who lack access to health care or who are food or housing insecure. 

To donate or for more information, go to cf-lowcountry.org or call 843-681-9100.

At Red Cedar Elementary School one recent morning, families who came to pick up free breakfasts and lunches being offered by Beaufort County School District got more than just food.

The students who received the meals were the focus of loving attention and a reminder about the importance of academics from teachers and staff who volunteered their time. Wearing gloves and smiles, the volunteers asked each parent how many children were in the car.

Beaufort-Jasper Water & Sewer Authority reminds residents that only toilet paper should be flushed; wipes — including those labeled flushable — and other products will clog the sewers. 

And though local utilities will not disconnect service during the Covid-19 quarantine, officials say meters will be checked and bills still will be sent out. Residents are asked to pay what they can to prevent a large overdue bill or disconnection once this emergency has passed.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has extended the state’s tax deadline to match the federal deadline, which has been moved to July 15. However, other state taxes are still due June 1.

The Voices of El Shaddai, a Hilton Head Island-based choir, was named one of five recipients of the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award for 2020. The award is presented by the S.C. General Assembly to recognize those who practice traditional art forms and are committed to keeping those traditions alive. Led by founder and director Gail Ragland, the group’s music includes traditional spirituals and contemporary gospel influenced by Gullah-Geechee culture.

SBA’s Disaster Declaration Makes Loans Available Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

We are in this together. As a courtesy to our business partners we are providing you with this step by step SBA loan application guide. All of South Carolina business are eligible to apply for  Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help cover working capital needs. The maximum interest rate is 3.75% for the duration of the loan.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

WAHHI AWARDS 8 COMMUNITY GRANTS

The Women’s Association of Hilton Head Island recently announced community grants to eight nonprofit organizations. The 2020 grant recipients are the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, Heritage Library Foundation, Coastal Discovery Museum, Hilton Head Island Sea Turtle Protection Project, The Outside Foundation, Gullah Museum of Hilton Head Island, Hilton Head Island Audubon Society and The Children’s Center. 

BOYS & GIRLS CLUB NAMED OUTSTANDING ORGANIZATION

The Boys & Girls Club of Hilton Head Island is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, so it’s only right the group recently was recognized for its longstanding community impact. 

In February, the club was honored as Organization of the Year, the top honor given by the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce at the chamber’s annual ball. 

LOWCOUNTRY EXAMINES REDUCING SINGLE-USE PLASTICS

Plastic is everywhere. Many people aren’t even aware of how much of it they use in a day: A straw for their drink at lunch, a bottle from the vending machine, disposable utensils in a bag of takeout food. 

REFERENDUM’S DELAY MAY AFFECT PACE AT HISTORIC MITCHELVILLE FREEDOM PARK

The plans were finalized, the meetings had been held, the committees had all approved everything. The only step left was final approval from the Town of Hilton Head Island before Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park’s executive director, Ahmad Ward, and its board could begin the arduous task of fundraising. 

Road improvements to re-route the flow of traffic in the Shelter Cove corridor are underway. The work was triggered by public safety concerns after an increase in traffic accidents at one of the island’s most popular shopping and dining centers. The $1.45 million project will add turning lanes and traffic signals at three intersections on U.S. 278 and eliminate two acceleration lanes that were criticized as too short to match the speed of oncoming traffic. More than 100 crashes have been documented in the Shelter Cove corridor since 2015, including three that were fatal. The most recent fatal wreck occurred in January. 

BILLY FINKBilly Fink, owner of Bicycle Billy’s Bike Rentals, died Dec. 23 and was honored by the Lowcountry community in a memorial service Feb. 28. He is survived by his wife, Nikki, and their 5-year-old daughter, Emma. Fink was an avid outdoorsman, adventurer and athlete who enjoyed skiing and sailing. Laid-back and helpful, he was known and loved by many; his friends described him as great fun. His shop near Coligny Plaza on Hilton Head Island was a gathering place where those who stopped in always knew they would be welcomed. 

BARRY LOWESBarry Lowes, Hilton Head’s best-known birder for about 30 years, died Feb. 8 at the age of 93. Lowes led the Audubon Christmas Bird Count for more than a quarter-century and acted as an environmental conscience for the Lowcountry, warning that development needed to leave habitat for birds and other animals. Hilton Head Audubon Society’s annual Christmas Bird Count, which includes the Bluffton area, has the third-highest number of participants in North America, local organizers report. Lowes travelled the world watching birds and was a photographer, author and owner of a children’s summer camp in his native Canada.