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.

The coronavirus continues to surge throughout the country. In South Carolina, cases rose after Thanksgiving.

“Now is not the time to let up. Now is the time to redouble our efforts,” state Gov. Henry McMaster said during a news conference in December.

Locally, Hilton Head Town Council voted to extend its emergency ordinance requiring people to wear face coverings in certain circumstances and locations in the municipal limits of the town, effective through Jan. 31, 2021. Town Council cited following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control among reasons for continuing to extend the ordinance. 

Beaufort County’s airport has a new name: Beaufort Executive Airport. The change was made official in the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Facility Directory and associated aviation publications. 

2020 IN REVIEW

JANUARY: The year began with the death of Lowcountry legend Pete Dye. The visionary golf course architect, who designed Harbour Town Golf Links with his wife, Alice, and World Golf Hall of Famer Jack Nicklaus, was 94 years old. Dye built the Long Cove Club on Hilton Head Island and an 18-hole course in Colleton River Plantation. He also designed the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, among many others. 

Nicklaus paid tribute to Dye, tweeting: “I think Pete Dye was the most creative, imaginative and unconventional golf course designer I have ever been around.” 

PEACOCK SUBARU MAKES PLEDGE IN SUPPORT OF PALMETTO ANIMAL LEAGUE

Peacock Subaru Hilton Head supported Palmetto Animal League’s first virtual adoption event in October. The event led to the adoption of 34 pets in a week. Peacock Subaru pledged to donate $100 to PAL for every pet adopted, leading to a donation of $3,100.

For more information, visit PalmettoAnimalLeague.org.