A bridge on S.C. 46 between Bluffton and Savannah has been named for Melanie Lowther, a Pritchardville woman killed five years ago by a drifter who met Lowther and her husband when they stopped to buy him groceries and then continued to help him and his girlfriend. The man has since been sentenced to life in prison without parole. The bridge will serve to honor Lowther’s kind spirit and memory in the Lowcountry.

NEW BOUTIQUE HOTEL SET TO OPEN IN BLUFFTON

For decades, Larry Leary kept a mental scrapbook of every inspiring design style, every Old World detail that intrigued or amazed, and held onto them. A renowned restorer of historic homes, he plied his trade in some of the most lavish homes in the Northeast, with a client list of CEOs and business elites. With every classic home he restored, he made notes on the architectural details that defined its elegance.

The Bluffton Police Department is now accepting applications for the 2018 Citizens Police Academy. The 12-week course will focus on the four divisions of the Bluffton Police Department, traffic enforcement, radar operation, evidence collection, fingerprint recovery, defensive tactics, firearms and more. The course will be held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays from Aug. 7 to Oct. 23. Apply in-person at the Bluffton Police Station or go to www.townofbluffton.sc.gov/police-department/home.

An anonymous donor wired $511,386.99 to the Campbell Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Bluffton in May, covering the remainder of the mortgage for the chapel. Pastor Dr. Jon R. Black is calling the donor the church’s “guardian angel.” Now that the debt for the church building has been taken care of, the congregation will focus its efforts on investing money into the local community. 

In collaboration with i2recycle and Waste Management, the town of Bluffton held its annual May River Cleanup on April 28. This year, roughly 340 volunteers — including residents and local civic organization — collected 2,893 pounds, or 1.44 tons, of trash from the river and its surroundings. Approximately 17 percent of that waste was recycled and diverted from area landfills.

Scratch Golf, LLC announced plans to turn one-third of Hilton Head National Golf Course into a luxury RV resort. The 300-acre parcel would have an entrance on Malphrus Road in Bluffton. Scratch Golf sued Beaufort County last fall, claiming it was treated unfairly when it requested to change the zoning designation to allow more retail and commercial development on the land. It is not clear when construction will begin, but the park should be open by end of 2019 or early 2020.

ANNUAL FESTIVAL CELEBRATES THE BEST OF BLUFFON

Art, food, music, people: Mayfest brings together everything the Lowcountry loves about Bluffton. The annual event will mark its 40th year from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 12 along Calhoun Street in Old Town Bluffton.

CAREFUL RENOVATIONS HELP PRESERVE HEYWARD HOUSE'S PLACE IN HISTORY

Bluffton’s Heyward House is a veritable time machine: Cross its threshold and you step back to 1841. The timber-framed home — an example of West Indies-inspired architecture — looks much as it did when built in the 1840s by plantation owner John J. Cole.

Over the years, however, time took its toll.

Covert Aire is joining forces with Bluffton Self Help, Lowcountry Radio Group and Mingledorff’s Inc. for the second annual Operation Cool Down. This summer program assists families or individuals in need with free repairs or replacement of their air conditioning systems. Last summer, Covert Aire and its partners helped provide over $10,000 in HVAC repairs and equipment during the inaugural Operation Cool Down. To be considered for Operation Cool Down, submit your story or the story of someone you know at covertaire.com.