The Breeze trolleys serving Hilton Head Island resumed services June 22. The route, service hours and stops are the same as last year, but the rides are free. To contain the spread of COVID19, The Breeze is implementing safety precautions, including frequent cleaning and disinfecting of the trolleys; passengers will board in front and exit through the back door; hand sanitizers will be provided; and passengers are encouraged to wear facial coverings. 

Palmetto Medical Group, a Bluffton primary care practice established in 2008, has joined Beaufort Memorial Hospital’s (BMH) growing network of health care providers serving patients south of the Broad. The board-certified providers, who include Internist Dr. Scott Cummings, family medicine physicians Drs. Lynn Goetze and Kamal Patel, physician assistants Stephanie Lovato and Erica Roper, and family nurse practitioner Jennifer Stokes, became members of Beaufort Memorial Physician Partners effective July 1. The practice, which has been renamed Beaufort Memorial Palmetto Medical Group, will remain at its current location at 4818 Bluffton Parkway.

LOCAL STUDENTS REFLECT ON THEIR TIME IN ISOLATION

Spreading sunshine by writing letters

BY BROOKE SIMONS

The saying goes, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” In this time of uncertainty and unknowns, I’ve tried my best to make lemonade.

ST. JOSEPH’S/CANDLER OPENS BLUFFTON CAMPUS

St. Joseph’s/Candler has opened a campus on Buckwalter Place in Bluffton. Phase I of the 40,000-square-foot complex has an emphasis on oncology and an expansion of medical and radiation oncology services. It features state-of-the-art medical equipment and a linear accelerator for advanced radiation treatments. Phase 2 will expand primary care, specialty care, imaging and other medical services.

Palmetto Electric plans to help residents in Hampton, Jasper and southern Beaufort counties through a voluntary initiative called Give 5. The effort will assist those faced with growing rent, mortgage, food and utility bills because of economic hardships caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Palmetto Electric asks members to pledge a voluntary tax-deductible donation of at least $5 to their electric bill for one month. 

The Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce has taken the lead to reopen the local economy with its Path Forward Readiness Plan, a comprehensive set of protocols designed to protect the health and safety of the public during the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 250 businesses have taken the pledge to adhere to the guidelines, providing a consistent, community-wide approach to reducing the risk of transmission of the coronavirus.

Express Employment Professionals will hold a grand opening and job fair 4-7 p.m. June 11. The event, in the parking lot behind the office at 29 Plantation Park Drive, Suite 504 in Bluffton, will adhere to social distancing guidelines. EEP supports local business owners who want to improve their recruiting and hiring strategies, and job seekers who seek better opportunities. 

 

South Carolina African American Heritage Commission (SCAAHC) is documenting the impact of the coronavirus through the African American perspective. The organization has opened a portal called Black Carolinians Speak: Portraits of a Pandemic and invites African American South Carolinians to chronicle the personal impact of the pandemic through stories, photography, video, art work, poetry, and other forms of expression. This an opportunity to provide future generations with knowledge as to how people persevered through a time that altered a sense of normalcy.

The Don Ryan Center for Innovation has been appointed by the town of Bluffton as the DRCI Small Business Concierge. The DRCI will help businesses through the economic challenges produced by the COVID-19 pandemic by offering a free annual DRCI membership and free rent at The HUB – the new home of the Don Ryan Center for Innovation that offers flex space and business-building services. Additionally, the DRCI and the Beaufort County Economic Development Corporation have created a comprehensive COVID-19 resource guide, which provides business owners a list of resources and explanations of federal and local programs. For more information, visit www.donryancenter.com.

 

The town of Hilton Head has relaxed enforcement of the temporary sign regulations. All businesses are allowed to install temporary signs on their properties to announce openings. A permit is not required but the following guidelines should be followed: - each business is permitted to have one sign per street frontage - each sign should be no larger than 18” x 24” - each sign must be located on the same site as the business The town of Hilton Head has also relaxed enforcement of its single-use plastic bags ordinance due to the possible contamination reusable bags could pose. 

 

bricksThe town of Bluffton partnered with the American Legion Post 205 to create the Veterans Memorial, which is in the Buckwalter Commerce Park. The park is closed because of the coronavirus, but memorial bricks at $100 for three lines of text, 14 characters per line, are being sold for the park. For more information, contact Kay Ranta at kayranta1135@gmail.com or 843-757-7918.

 

At Pinnacle Medical Group, Dr. Audrey Klenke, plastic surgeon and principal of Pinnacle Medical Group, and her staff have expanded their services to support local hospitals during the COVID-19 crisis. Pinnacle Medical Group reached out to Beaufort Memorial, Hilton Head and Coastal Carolina Hospital to offer to treat minor skin injuries including lacerations (cuts that may require stitches) and burns. 

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.