Applications for the 2022 Heritage Classic Foundation Scholar Awards are available online for all Beaufort and Jasper County high school seniors. The Heritage Classic Foundation will name new scholars from the 2022 graduating class. 

The town of Bluffton received a $500,000 grant to go toward the New Riverside Barn Park project. The grant, from the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, is for the creation and development of New Riverside Barn Park. The first phase of the project will have large open space, perimeter trails, parking, restrooms, and infrastructure to support the park, such as fencing and sewer, water and storm drainage.

RODRIGUEZSuperintendent Frank Rodriguez was given a “highly effective” rating (3.72/4) from the Beaufort County School District. The school board said Rodriguez’s evaluation improved from last year. “Hard work, effective leadership, flexibility and innovation” from Rodriguez during the 2020-21 school year guided the district, board chairman Christina Gwozdz said in a statement. Rodriguez has been superintendent since 2019. 

BILL MILESThis year, Travel + Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler magazine released the results of their World’s Best awards and their readers once again voted Hilton Head Island the No. 1 island in the U.S. It’s a coveted award, voted upon by savvy travelers who know a good thing when they see it. Bluffton has also received its fair share of accolades and “best of” honors as people discover its unique charm and way of life. 

I often wish residents could see the Lowcountry through the eyes of our guests. We talk to hundreds of visitors every year at the chamber and they are captivated by the extraordinary beauty of the place we call home. We often become immune to that beauty as residents. 

BLUFFTON VETERAN GUSTAVO GOMEZ FINDS SOLACE ON THE BASEBALL FIELD

The baseball field is his sanctuary. The crack of the bat. The thwack of the ball hitting a glove. The smell of fresh grass.

Playing catch with his son or coaching the Bluffton community’s kids is what Gustavo Gomez savors. He enjoys analyzing projected lineups and teaching the basics of fielding and hitting.

Jennie Kitty spent her life caring for people. A home health aide and midwife, she raised nine children, including a few she and her husband, Deacon Renty Kitty, Sr., took in as their own.

POCKETS FULL OF SUNSHINE HOSTS COMMUNITY EVENT

More than 230 people participated in the Pockets Full of Sunshine “Fun in the Sun for Everyone” day on Sept. 11, held in front of Marriott’s Surf Watch on Hilton Head Island. The event gave special needs children and adults and their families the opportunity to enjoy the beach in a safe and inclusive setting. The event was helped by 60 “ community connection ” volunteers who taught participants how to surf, paddleboard and encouraged those who attended to play beach games and build sandcastles.

LOWCOUNTRY TEEMING WITH PROJECTS AIMED TO DRIVE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT 

Turn on the news and before long you’ll hear politicians talking about infrastructure.

Take a turn off I-95 in the South Carolina Lowcountry and you’ll see a growing infrastructure corridor, occupied by warehouses, roads and fresh construction for a range of retailers and manufacturers.

Tickets are on sale for the 54th RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing. The PGA Tour event is set to be held at full capacity April 11-17, 2022 at the Harbour Town Golf Links. Tickets will be all digital. Upon purchase tickets will be delivered by email. Digital tickets will be scanned at a tournament entrance and patrons will be given a commemorative ticket. For more information, visit rbcheritage.com.

ORDER OF THE PALMETTOMartin Sauls III received the Order of The Palmetto Award from Gov. Henry McMaster. Sauls, a Ridgeland resident and owner of Sauls Funeral Home in Bluffton and Ridgeland, served as Jasper County coroner for 40 years. Sauls was appointed by the governor in 1980 as coroner. He was elected to the position in 1981 and served the county until 2020. 

United Airlines expanded its seasonal nonstop service between the Hilton Head Island Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport to daily, year-round service. United will continue to provide seasonal flight options between HHH and other United cities. 

Hilton Head, Bluffton and May River high schools swam well at the SCHSL Class AAAA boys state championships. Blaise Minckler had two runner-up finishes to help Hilton Head High place fourth. Bluffton took seventh. May River was 12th. Minckler finished second in the 500 freestyle and 100 breaststroke. Hilton Head was third in the 400 free relay and fourth in the 200 free relay. Bluffton was fourth in the 200 medley relay and fifth in the 200 free relay. Dominic Edl of Bluffton was fourth in the 100 breaststroke and Carter Hawkes was fifth in the 500 free and the 100 fly. May River’s Jacob Lally was fourth in the 50 free and the 100 free. 

The Town of Hilton Head Island launched its Historic Neighborhoods Permitting and Design Studio, which is designed to assist property and business owners with property development permits; family compounds and family subdivisions; conceptual site designs; addressing; property access; business licenses and other resources. Historic neighborhoods include Squire Pope, Little Stoney, Big Stoney, Jarvis, Jonesville, Old House Creek, Spanish Wells, Gardner, Chaplin, Marshland, Grassland, Big Hill, Mitchelville and Baygall. For more information, contact Sheryse DuBose, PhD, at 843-341-4683 or at SheryseD@hiltonheadislandsc.gov 

Prominent former Lowcountry attorney Alex Murdaugh was charged with two felony counts of obtaining property by false pretenses, related to the insurance funds in the death of a former family housekeeper, according to S.C. Law Enforcement Division. He was taken into custody after being released from a drug rehabilitation facility in Orlando, Fla., according to SLED. The case will be prosecuted by the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office. Murdaugh was denied bond. In September, Murdaugh resigned from the Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth and Detrick PA law firm after being accused of misappropriating funds.

The Town of Hilton Head Island dedicated the lake at Jarvis Creek Park, now named Lake Liggett, in honor of Scott Liggett, its former director of public projects and facilities. He died in February. Town staff, along with Liggett’s former coworkers, family and friends, gathered on the bank of Lake Liggett to unveil a sculpture, “Swell of the Sea,” in recognition of his contributions to the island. Liggett served the town for 30 years. He began his career with the town as an assistant engineer, was promoted to town engineer and then became its Director of Public Projects and Facilities. 

Aimee Whitesell, who teaches biology at Battery Creek High School, was named as the Beaufort County School District’s 2021-2022 District Teacher of the Year. Whitesell holds a master’s degree in educational leadership from the American College of Education and a bachelor’s degree in natural science and biology education from Missouri Western State University.