Guests gathered in mid-May at Joni Vanderslice's home to celebrate 30 years of J. Banks Design. Hurricane Matthew delayed the merriment in October, but this celebration truly captured the appreciation, blessings and the essence of giving back that are part of the J. Banks Design’s culture.   

It was musical theatre The Cypress way last month as members and staff came together to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of The Cypress. Songs like Fifty, Nifty Bottles of Medicine, There’s No Silver in My Gold, The Boomers are Coming Tomorrow and Gonna Build The Cypress highlighted the zany presentation. Written by members Marilyn Lorenz, Miki Hughes and Jean Thompson, the The Cypress Follies made light of life in the "golden years” at the Hilton Head Island retirement community. 

Callawassie Island has achieved designation as a "Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary" through the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses. Billy Bagwell, Director of Agronomy, led the effort to obtain the sanctuary designation for Callawassie and is recognized by Environmental Stewardship by Audubon International.

sendaheroThe Beaufort County Sheriff’s Department is this year's recipient of Wexford Charitable Foundation's "Send a Hero" program. Through the generosity of Wexford members who raised $10,000 to sponsor the program and the owners of Aerial Adventure, Roger & Pam Freedman who very kindly donated passes, 100 members of the Sheriff’s Department and their guests will receive a complimentary visit and lunch at the Aerial Adventure in Hilton Head.

mayriverA long list of accomplishments, and only one year under their belt

One might think the hard part for May River High principal Todd Bornscheuer has ended, now that the Bluffton school has completed its first academic year. But there will be no coasting for the principal or staff of the new school, which is in one of the fastest growing areas in the county.

S.C. Youth Leadership Conference introduces yesterday’s executives to tomorrow’s potential leaders

Bill Moss was listening to the radio in 2014 when he heard about a program that he thought would be a perfect fit for the Hilton Head Island area.

The interview had nothing to do with retirees, golf or the beach. It was a discussion about a youth leadership program at the University of Southern Maine.

One morning, as I slowly began my day by doing minor chores and letting my mind glide over the televised news, a commercial for Target stopped me in my tracks.

In the commercial, I saw a black female plus-sized model wearing underwear. Although the image lasted for just a few seconds, in my mind, the commercial was delivering a powerful visual message that challenged some prevailing ideas about gender, American standards of beauty, and race.

When Bill Palmer shook hands with Jim McGlothlin after a Las Vegas golf outing dinner in February 1988, it set in motion an almost 30-year journey for Palmer — and soon may also set a new course for the future of the greater Bluffton and Hilton Head Island area.

That late-night handshake closed the deal to start Scratch Golf Company as a new subsidiary of McGlothlin's Virginia-based United Company. The immediate goal was to purchase a quality piece of land in Bluffton and build the first true public course in the area. Today, three decades later, that handshake may result in the re-shaping of southern Beaufort County as the first major development to emerge from the recently established Beaufort County Community Development Code.

The Beaufort County Board of Education recently revised the 2017-18 academic calendar, changing the first day of school from Monday, Aug. 21, to Thursday, Aug. 17. By state law, no South Carolina public school can begin classes prior to the third Monday in August, which this year is Aug. 21. But legislation recently approved by the General Assembly allows school districts to begin the 2017-18 year on Thursday, Aug. 17, because of the solar eclipse that will affect much of South Carolina on Aug. 21.

After four years on the market, the Beaufort mansion featured in the movies “The Big Chill” and “The Great Santini” has finally sold — and for much less than the original $4.5 million asking price. New York City developer Katie Cunningham, a Beaufort native, recently purchased Tidalholm Mansion for $1.76 million. The 7,400-square-foot waterfront property, located at 1 Laurens St. in Beaufort, includes 7 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms.

RepairsWork to repair the Rowing and Sailing Center at Squire Pope Road Community Park has begun. Nix Construction started the project on March 21 and expects to be complete it by June 20. Repair work includes work on the pier, pier handrails and the floating dock. The dock will be closed until repairs are complete.

romeo juliaRomeo Archangel Hernandez was born at 2:06 p.m. Sunday, March 19, at Coastal Carolina Hospital in Hardeeville. Juliet Evangeline Shifflett was born 18 hours and 8 minutes later the following morning at the same hospital. The children’s parents were in adjacent rooms but didn’t make the connection until newborn photographer Cassie Clayshulte noticed the babies’ names and coordinated a “Romeo and Juliet”-themed photo shoot. Those images went viral, drawing the attention of national media and morning TV shows such as “Today” and “Good Morning America.” 

solarenDominion, an energy company headquartered in Virginia, recently announced that it plans to construct, own and operate 81 megawatts of solar generating capacity in Jasper County. Two projects — a 71.4-megawatt facility that would be South Carolina's largest and a 10-megawatt array — are expected to enter service in 2017. Dominion's Solvay Solar Energy-Jasper County facility, located near Ridgeland, will occupy nearly 900 acres.

uberSea Pines Community Services Associates has reached a long-term service agreement with Uber, a ride-sharing service. The agreement provides full entry for Uber drivers to pick up and drop off property owners, guests and visitors within the Sea Pines community. The services had been suspended in Sea Pines earlier in the year after negotiations over gate fees failed. In addition to Sea Pines, Uber also operates in Hilton Head Plantation, Palmetto Dunes and Shipyard. Those communities automatically charge Uber drivers $2 per trip inside their gates. 

The Lowcountry is incredibly rich in heritage and culture and has had a unique role in American history. From Charleston to Savannah, there is no doubt that this area is the historic origin of black America’s beginning. Significantly, this area can lay claim to the origins of black America because it is where newly freed slaves first became self-sufficient legal citizens of the U.S. The Port of Charleston served as the entry point for more African slaves than any other port, and as a result, in pre-Civil War days South Carolina’s black population was far greater than the population of the whites who enslaved them. The economic impact of the slave trade made South Carolina a “slave society,” but the state also is the birthplace of Reconstruction — the gateway to a post-slavery future.