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The installation of 10 new fire hydrants and associated water main upgrades over the last two years has better protected some Hilton Head Island neighborhoods, according to the Town of Hilton Head. The Town partnered with the Hilton Head Public Service District. New fire hydrants have been placed primarily in Gullah neighborhoods on the north end of the island including Murray Avenue, Pinefield and Mackerel roads, Aiken Place, Cobia Court, Alice Perry and Horse Sugar roads, Christopher Drive, Sunday Ford Drive, Mustang Lane and Red Tip View, and Bligen Lane, according to a news release. Some of the homes were 1,000 feet away from the nearest fire hydrant. 

SCOTT LIGGETTScott Liggett, longtime director of public projects and facilities for the Town of Hilton Head Island, died after suffering a “significant medical emergency,” according to a news release. “Scott was a selfless colleague whose leadership and service to the Town and our community were invaluable,” the Town said. “His professionalism, intellect and wit will be missed by all who worked with him and interacted with him.” 

Liggett joined the town as an assistant engineer in January 1991, was promoted to town engineer in January 1994, and then to director of public projects and facilities/chief engineer in April 2008.

BLUFFTON OPENS WRIGHT FAMILY PARK, CALHOUN DOCK

After much anticipation, in December the town of Bluffton opened Wright Family Park, the town’s second public park offering access to the May River. The park opened after about three years of renovation and construction.

Wright Family Park, across the street from the historic Church of the Cross, offers a boardwalk, a large central lawn, walkways, parking, landscaping, site furnishing, lighting, fencing, public restrooms and views of the May River.

GFWC WOMAN’S LEAGUE HELPS CREATE ‘BOOK NOOK’

The Arts and Culture Community Service Program of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs Woman’s League of the Lowcountry and Piggly Wiggly Store has teamed up to create a Mr. Pig’s Book Nook inside the Ridgeland store. Members and friends of GFWC have donated more than 1,000 books for children between the grades of pre-K-8.

1. A Great Egret in full breeding plumage at the Rookery at Pinckney Island during mating season as photographed by Mary Alice Tartler.

2. A sunrise looking over Colleton River toward Spring Island from John Metzger’s home in Belfair.

3. The mating dance of Great Egrets at the Rookery at Pinckney Island as captured by Mary Alice Tartler.

HHM GullahTHE ISLAND’S HISTORIC GULLAH NEIGHBORHOODS GET DESERVED RECOGNITION

Over the last decade or so, native islanders have made huge strides in making their story a part of the narrative told about the history of Hilton Head Island. The century between the retreat of the plantation owners and the invasion of the golf course designers, we now know, represents a singularly unique era in the island’s history.

OrlandoMarc Orlando accepted a contract offer from Hilton Head Town Council to be its next town manager. He will begin his new role Feb. 22. The town had been in a search of a new leader after former town manager Steve Riley announced last June his plan to retire. Orlando had been Bluffton town manager since September 2014. Originally from Windsor, Ontario, Canada, he was named Bluffton’s deputy town manager in 2009.

According to a statement from Hilton Head mayor John McCann, town council determined that Orlando “embodies the characteristics necessary to effectively meet the Town’s needs and is therefore the ideal candidate for Town Manager.”

Beginning Jan. 13, any South Carolina resident age 70 or older, regardless of health status or preexisting conditions, was eligible to schedule an appointment to receive COVID-19 vaccine. The mortality rate from COVID-19 for those 70 and older in South Carolina is approximately 655 deaths per 100,000 people. For those under the age of 70, there are 37 COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 people, a news release said.

“This is a staggering comparison and illustrates why vaccinating this population next is critically important in our mission to save lives,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC Interim Director of Public Health.

Beaufort County’s decal program at all convenience centers began in early January. All vehicles are stopped entering the centers and attendants scan decals from residents that have received barcodes. One decal will be issued per property.

Each residential property owner will be allowed three visits per week to a convenience center.

Parker’s recently donated $20 million to support charitable initiatives. The Parker’s Community Fund will support a range of charitable causes across the region, a news release said.

“We have a strong commitment to the Palmetto State and are incredibly grateful for the support of our customers in Charleston, Moncks Corner, Goose Creek, Summerville, Walterboro, Hardeeville, Bluffton, Hilton Head, Beaufort and Port Royal,” Parker’s founder and CEO Greg Parker said.

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.