TWO YOUNG ACTIVISTS ORGANIZE PROTESTS IN BLUFFTON
Desiree Bailey and Walter Wheeler have been side-by-side for most of their lives, growing up together in Bluffton and emerging as leaders of the Class of 2018 at Bluffton High School.
Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina, Skull Creek and Harbour Town canceled their 4th of July fireworks shows because of the coronavirus pandemic. Shelter Cove has also cancelled their weekly fireworks shows scheduled for July and August.
“We know many locals and visitors will be disappointed, but at this time current crowd size limitations prohibit us from doing the event,” said Palmetto Dunes Chief Operating Officer Brad Marra. “There was just no way to maintain social distancing at such popular events. We felt that this was the most responsible direction to take when it comes to protecting our community and our guests.”
Hilton Head Island Town Manager Steve Riley announced his retirement, effective at the end of the year. Riley, 60, has been town manager since 1994. Prior to his appointment as head administrator of the town, he served as the community development director for three years. Riley told The Island Packet that he was proud of the town’s robust land acquisition program, parks system expansion and the island’s recovery from Hurricane Matthew in 2016. “We’re about to update a parks plan, and it’s time for a new group to bring that plan forward,” he said. Riley’s assistant town manager, Josh Gruber, is expected to be in the running for the job.
The Historic Campbell Chapel of Bluffton has received a $140,000 A-tax grant from the Beaufort County Council. The grant will cover the cost of the first phase of a $2-million restoration project, which is projected to be completed in two years. When finished, the Historic Campbell Chapel will be a state-of-the-art museum and cultural art center.
The town of Hilton Head ended its contract with Critter Management after investigating an incident where the company removed an alligator from the Legendary Golf property in May Critter Management will not lose its business license because the town did not find proof that the company broke the law. In a statement, the town said alligators found on private property in the island will not be removed by using town-issued tags. “The Town has previously, and continues to, vehemently condemn the treatment of this alligator after it had been secured by Critter Management,” the statement said. Critter Management owner Joe Maffo and his staff can still wrangle gators, as long as his clients secure a tag from the S.C. Department of Natural Resources themselves.
Hurricane season is here and with it comes risk of flooding. Ray Farmer, the Director of the South Carolina Department of Insurance, urges consumers to consider buying flood insurance, even if it is not mandatory where they live. He said 20 percent of the National Flood Insurance Program’s flood claims come from consumers who live in areas that are not considered high-risk flood areas. In the last 10 years, flooding cost the U.S. $40.3 billion in damages according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. Flood insurance is available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) and through some private insurance companies.
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.
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.