Atticus EnfingeAtticus Enfinger, a first-grader from Bluffton Elementary School, was the national grade-level champion in the 2019 Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest. That means his print entry was the best among all first-grade entries from across the country. He was honored at a Beaufort County School District Board of Education meeting in May. 

Beaufort County Council has approved the construction of a new fire station and an emergency operations center for the Bluffton Township Fire District for a projected cost of nearly $3.5 million, according to the fire district. The buildings will be along Hampton Lake Road near the intersection of Bluffton and Hampton parkways on a three-acre property adjacent to River Ridge Academy, according to county documents. The fire station portion will be known as Station 38. 

Intense rains in Beaufort County in June brought relief to a drought that had gripped the Lowcountry for weeks — but the storms did leave behind some chaos. Residents in Bluffton’s Belfair gated community dealt with a sinkhole the size of a school bus on Belfair Oaks Boulevard, and Hilton Head Plantation had to close its Cypress Gate entrance to take down two large oak trees uprooted by the rain and dangling precariously over Seabrook Drive. Bluffton’s 8.64 inches of rain in the 24-hour period from June 11-12 was the highest in the country.

BLUFFTON TO HOST AREA’S FIRST PRIDE FESTIVAL

Ashley Mendez was 12 when she came out as gay to her closest friends and 16 when she broke the news to her family.

She figured being open about who she was would mean leaving her hometown of Bluffton as soon as possible, shoving off from conservative South Carolina in search of a more accepting community.

Campbell chapel2

BLUFFTON’S CAMPBELL CHAPEL AME CHURCH EARNS SPOT ON NATIONAL REGISTER

Historic preservationist Carolyn Coppola had to search high and low to find one of the most significant physical clues to support the oral history of the old Campbell Chapel AME Church building in downtown Bluffton.

“I had an intern go up into the old belfry,” said Coppola, who led the effort to document the historic church’s past in a successful push for placement on the National Register of Historic Places. “He took pictures in the attic on his phone — on a hot summer day. We were all looking for clues. We found the yoke inscription and traced it to a company using that name for a short period of time.”

The Boys &l Girls Club of Bluffton opened its new Literacy Center of Excellence, a 2,700-square-foot expansion made possible with a $75,000 grant from Community Foundation of the Lowcountry. Including this grant and other donations, the club raised more than $650,000 in less than a year. The expansion will double the number of children served in the reading intervention program. The club will also renovate its parking lot, expand its STEM program and add about100 additional members to the club to serve Bluffton’s growing population

May River High School in Bluffton might be a new school, but the Sharks proved their mettle in the Class 3A boys’ soccer playoffs and state track meet.

May River won 6-2 against Indian Land on May 11 at Itmo’s W.C. Hawkins Stadium. The school’s boys track and field team was victorious on the same day at Spring Valley High School. These are the first state titles in the short three-year history of the school.

A plan for a micro-hospital in Bluffton received initial approval by Bluffton Town Council in March. South of the Broad Healthcare is a joint venture between Beaufort Memorial Hospital and the Medical University of South Carolina and the first of its kind in the state. If approved, the facility will be 65,000 square feet on about 12.5 acres near the intersection of Bluffton Parkway, Innovation Drive and Buckwalter Parkway, according to the plan submitted to the town’s department of growth management.

Town Council members inducted Mayor Lisa Sulka into the town of Bluffton’s Wall of Honor in February.  Sulka, the town’s first female mayor, was nominated because she epitomizes the town’s slogan, “Heart of the Lowcountry.” She led the town’s economic development charge as she partnered with Clemson University in 2012 to create the Don Ryan Center for Innovation, the first business incubation center in a non-metropolitan area of South Carolina. Sulka is also a strong advocate for Bluffton’s youth. She says she hopes her actions, whether it is writing recommendations to colleges for students or helping them with their applications or just reminding them that Bluffton’s adults are rooting for them, have made an impact on their lives. The Wall of Honor is located adjacent to the Charles E. Ulmer Auditorium in Town Hall. 

One of Bluffton’s original grocery stores, The Rate at 45 Bridge St., will undergo restoration to its former condition. New owner Debbie Wunder bought the property last year and plans to restore the now-dilapidated building to honor the town’s history, architecture and preservation efforts. Bluffton’s Developmental Review Committee is currently reviewing her plans.