The United States Department of Agriculture is investing $63.3 million in rural South Carolina communities through job training, business expansion and technical assistance. The Beaufort County Black Chamber of Commerce received an $86,217 Microentrepreneur Assistance Program grant which will allow it to provide technical assistance to rural micro-entrepreneurs or microenterprises. The funds will be used to offset costs of workshops, meetings and will help potential clients with feasibility studies, business and marketing plans.

The Town of Hilton Head Island has launched its new MyHHI mobile app, designed to give users a tool to report non-emergency issues from their smartphone, tablet and computers. Users can access information about parks, beaches, cultural events and other topics. The free app is available from Google Play and the Apple Store. For more information about MyHHI, visit hiltonheadislandsc.gov/myhhi.

The Sea Pines Resort has added SwingFitAI Club Fitting to its Golf Learning Center. Developed on Hilton Head Island, SwingFitAI is the first artificial-intelligencepowered swing-fitting system in golf, Sea Pines said. It uses eight cameras that record 360 frames a second (collecting more than 30,000 data points per swing). SwingFitAI is calibrated to work with major brands of clubs and shafts and is updated to the newest models.

The Heritage Classic Foundation will increase matching gifts to 15% for its two charitable giving programs (Birdies for Charity and The Heritage Champions Fore Charity) ahead of the 2022 RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing. The RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing’s registered charities also can be honored by the PGA Tour each year. The Mitchelville Preservation Project was recently named a 2021 Charity of the Year finalist. The award comes with a $5,000 grant from the PGA Tour. The 54th annual RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing is April 11-17.

Hilton Head Island Airport saw more than 388,816 passengers in 2021. Compared to year-end passenger traffic for 2020, that is a 145% increase in passengers arriving and departing from Hilton Head Island, the Beaufort County Government said. Compared to prepandemic passenger levels in 2019, 66% more passengers utilized Hilton Head Island.

BY CHELSEA PEARSON

Organized and wellstructured youth sports bring many benefits to the children and families of our community.

Playing youth sports helps children meet new people and develop friendships. Team sports give the youth (and their families) an opportunity to socialize with others and become a bigger part of the community. There is an opportunity to recognize how coaches and parents have given back as volunteers, and quite possibly they can become volunteers for life.

The U.S. 278 Corridor Improvements project will hold a public information meeting on March 3 at the Island Rec Center (20 Wilborn Road, HHI) from 4-7 p.m. The meeting will offer a project update and ask for feedback.

Cross Schools opened its High School Auxiliary Building in January. Cross said the three-story building features more than 13,500 square feet of finished space that includes a weight room/ training facility and expanded locker facilities. “A large art studio and music suite add to the school’s growing Fine Arts department,” Cross Schools said. Six additional classrooms, administrative offices and a faculty lounge/work area also are housed in the High School Auxiliary Building.

The long-awaited public debut of Enmarket Arena in Savannah became reality in February. The city held a community day for the 9,500-seat arena that will host concerts and events such as Disney on Ice and be home to the Savannah Ghost Pirates hockey team. For a list of events, visit enmarketarena.com/events.

13 NONPROFITS RECEIVE $338,825 IN FUNDING

Thirteen local nonprofit organizations have been awarded $338,825 to help them continue addressing challenges created by COVID-19. The funding is part of a $5 million American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 grant the Town of Hilton Head Island received.

HILTON HEAD SEAFOOD FESTIVAL CELEBRATING ITS 15TH ANNIVERSARY

BY TIM WOOD | PHOTOS SUPPLIED

Andrew Carmines has never looked so forward to the signature event that honors the life of his brother, David. COVID sidelined the Hilton Head Island Seafood Festival for a year, but that just means a bigger and better event this year.

ANNUAL GULLAH CELEBRATION HONORS NATIVE ISLANDERS’ HISTORY

BY HILTON HEAD MONTHLY | PHOTOS SUPPLIED

The Hilton Head Island Gullah Celebration will present the 26th Annual Celebration on Hilton Head Island throughout the month.

The Feb. 1-27 event, which includes art and food, crafts and music and history, invites attendees to “Experience the Culture and Cherish the Legacy” of the Gullah Community on Hilton Head Island.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR MARCUS TANNER LEADS NONPROFIT INTO ITS 30TH YEARITS YEAR

STORY BY AMY COYNE BREDESON | PHOTO BY MADISON ELROD

Second Helpings is a nonprofit organization that works to eliminate hunger and reduce food waste in the Lowcountry by partnering with food donors and agencies that distribute food to people in need.

BILLIONS IN INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDS COULD BENEFIT LOWCOUNTRY

BY MARK E. LETT

Tom Davis has a top priority for state lawmakers preparing to divvy up billions of dollars in federal infrastructure money: Put Lowcountry concerns high on the To-Do List.

The Beaufort-based senator who represents District 46 is sharing his shopping list with fellow lawmakers, who are in the midst of the give-and-take to determine spending on projects for land, sea and air.

Savannah Mayor Van Johnson said as of mid-January the city plans to hold its St. Patrick’s Day parade in March. The parade had been canceled the last two years. He said the parade might have some modifications such as less participation or a different route.

The event, which draws thousands of revelers, was first held in 1824.

St. Patrick’s Day is March 17.

COVID-19 continues to affect the area and the country. New coronavirus cases as of mid-January in South Carolina rose 43.8% as of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Beaufort County reported 3,325 cases (more than 33,900 total cases during the pandemic). The Beaufort County School District said starting Jan. 18 it was accepting home rapid tests to allow students to return to school.