OrlandoMarc Orlando accepted a contract offer from Hilton Head Town Council to be its next town manager. He will begin his new role Feb. 22. The town had been in a search of a new leader after former town manager Steve Riley announced last June his plan to retire. Orlando had been Bluffton town manager since September 2014. Originally from Windsor, Ontario, Canada, he was named Bluffton’s deputy town manager in 2009.

According to a statement from Hilton Head mayor John McCann, town council determined that Orlando “embodies the characteristics necessary to effectively meet the Town’s needs and is therefore the ideal candidate for Town Manager.”

Beginning Jan. 13, any South Carolina resident age 70 or older, regardless of health status or preexisting conditions, was eligible to schedule an appointment to receive COVID-19 vaccine. The mortality rate from COVID-19 for those 70 and older in South Carolina is approximately 655 deaths per 100,000 people. For those under the age of 70, there are 37 COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 people, a news release said.

“This is a staggering comparison and illustrates why vaccinating this population next is critically important in our mission to save lives,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC Interim Director of Public Health.

Beaufort County’s decal program at all convenience centers began in early January. All vehicles are stopped entering the centers and attendants scan decals from residents that have received barcodes. One decal will be issued per property.

Each residential property owner will be allowed three visits per week to a convenience center.

Parker’s recently donated $20 million to support charitable initiatives. The Parker’s Community Fund will support a range of charitable causes across the region, a news release said.

“We have a strong commitment to the Palmetto State and are incredibly grateful for the support of our customers in Charleston, Moncks Corner, Goose Creek, Summerville, Walterboro, Hardeeville, Bluffton, Hilton Head, Beaufort and Port Royal,” Parker’s founder and CEO Greg Parker said.

The South Carolina Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for hemp farming permits for the 2021 growing season through Feb. 28. The state’s Hemp Farming Program has grown from 20 farmers in 2018 to 265 farmers in 2020, the SCDA said. Farmers must apply through SCDA’s online portal at agriculture.sc.gov/hemp.

The City of Savannah has canceled its annual St. Patrick’s Day parade for the second consecutive year because of coronavirus concerns. The event, which draws thousands of revelers, was first held in 1824. St. Patrick’s Day is March 17.

Bill HerbkersmanI'm the sponsor of the medical marijuana bill in the S.C. Statehouse in this new legislative session.

My support for medical marijuana came long before my brother Tom died of cancer. Tom had squamous cell carcinoma and I vividly watched as the cancer literally consumed a healthy, happy 45-year-old.

Medical marijuana was one of the treatments Tom utilized toward the end of his life and I saw two important and irrefutable ways in which it helped him. He was in tremendous pain and couldn't eat or hold food down.

COMMERCIAL CONSTRUCTION FIRM WINS FIVE STAR BUILDER AWARDS 

Dewitt Tilton Group won three Master Builder Awards, one Top 10 Award, and a 2019 Outstanding Builder Award from Star Building Systems of Oklahoma City for 2019 projects. Dewitt Tilton Group was one of two builders to receive Master Builder recognition for two separate projects. Star partners with local builders, providing metal building systems and products, estimating software, cutting-edge design tools and training. 

Sea Pines Country Club has approved a two-phase enhancement plan for its Arnold Palmer, Clyde Johnston golf course, according to a news release.

Work on Phase I, comprising the practice facility, short-game area and re-grassing, will start May 1, 2021 and is scheduled for completion by Oct. 31, 2021.

Stan StolarcykStan Stolarcyk, director of volunteers at Volunteers in Medicine Hilton Head Island, died after battling COVID-19, the nonprofit clinic said. Stolarcyk served at VIM for 13 years and was praised for his kindness and professionalism, according to a message from VIM director, Dr. Raymond Cox. 

A report from the nonprofit think tank Reason Foundation finds that South Carolina has the highest overall fatality rate in the United States. The report also ranks South Carolina 47th in rural fatality rates. 

Applications are available online for the 2021 Heritage Classic Foundation Scholar Awards for all high school seniors in Beaufort and Jasper counties. Each scholar will have an opportunity to receive a four-year grant totaling up to $16,000 or $20,000. 

Southwest Airlines has five new nonstop routes from Savannah/Hilton Head International starting March 11. The airline will offer two daily flights to Baltimore/Washington; one daily flight to Chicago (Midway); one daily flight to Nashville; one daily flight to Houston (Hobby); and one daily to Dallas (Love Field). 

scootSens. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Chris Coons, (D-Del.), and Reps. Jason Crow, (D-Colo.), and Troy Balderson, (R-Ohio), introduced the Next Generation Entrepreneur Corps Act, which aims to boost new businesses and job creation in underserved communities through a competition, a news release said. The act is a five-year $368 million investment that plans to directly support the creation of 320 new businesses each year.