The State Infrastructure Bank granted Beaufort County $120 million to help pay for the replacement of Hilton Head Island’s bridges.

The U.S. 278 corridor project proposes improving or replacing the Karl Bowers Bridge and J. Wilton Graves Bridge connecting Hilton Head Island to the mainland and adjoining roadwork from Moss Creek Drive to Spanish Wells Road.

A 10-foot alligator attacked a woman during Independence Day weekend, according to S.C. Department of Natural Resources spokesman David Lucas.

Lucas said the 75-year-old Callawassie Island resident was trimming plants near an edge of the gated community’s pond when the gator grabbed her leg and pulled her into the water. A man jumped into the pond and pulled her out of the water. Lucas said the woman had fractures and had undergone surgery. 

The filing period for the Town of Hilton Head Island’s general election runs from July 31 through 12 p.m. Aug. 17. The Nov. 3 election is to elect Town Council members for Wards 1, 3 and 6.

Filing for candidacy is at Town Hall, One Town Center Court. A filing form will be available. Candidates should bring a photo ID and be prepared to submit a $35 filing fee, which may be paid by cash, credit card, or check made payable to the Town of Hilton Head Island.

KNOW LOCAL LAWS TO HAVE A HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY

With public fireworks displays cancelled this summer, locals and visitors may be tempted to shoot off their own to celebrate Independence Day. And while nothing says summer fun like an evening of brightly colored pyrotechnics, it’s important to know and respect local laws.

Laws vary according to where you are in the Lowcountry. The Town of Bluffton prohibits the possession, sale and discharge of fireworks within town limits, according to Bluffton Police Department community relations manager Joy Nelson. Anyone caught breaking this law can receive a maximum fine of $500 and 30 days in jail, Bluffton Police Department’s Capt. Joseph Babkiewicz said. 

The 2020 Hilton Head Concours d’Elegance Motoring Festival has been canceled because of the coronavirus. The event brings classic cars, planes and thousands of visitors to Hilton Head Island. It was scheduled for Oct. 23-Nov. 1, but is now set for Oct. 29-Nov. 7, 2021. “While all of us will sorely miss seeing you in 2020, we are immediately shifting our focus to organizing an especially amazing event for the fall of 2021,” a statement on the event’s website said. 

PETITION TO DROP THE WORD “PLANTATION” FROM LOCAL COMMUNITY NAMES STARTED 

At least 4,300 people have signed a petition on change.org saying the county’s resorts and gated communities should not be called plantations due to the association with slavery. “There is no place for the term “plantation,” a word that conveys generations of racial violence in modern Hilton Head, outside museums telling the absolute truth about the horrors of slavery on plantations,” the petition states. The issue dredges up a painful past for some and disdain of political correctness for others. Managers of some communities balk at how expensive or intricate removing the word would be. Others say it’s nearly impossible to correct 50 years of legal documents.

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. 

REWORKSShelter 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.”

RileyHilton 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.

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.