A stretch of three miles on U.S. 278 in Okatie will be studied for possible upgrades. The section, beginning at the intersection of Argent Boulevard and ending at Okatie Highway (S.C. 170), sees an average of 31,000 vehicles per day and has experienced significant growth, which has led to increased congestion and safety concerns, according to Beaufort County government. A study was initiated in March and is anticipated to conclude by the fall. For more information, visit wikimapping.com/us278camp.html
The town of Bluffton received a $25,895 grant from the state Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism as part of its Undiscovered South Carolina grant program. The funds are to add permanent exhibits to the Garvin-Garvey House Museum. The house was built by Cyrus Garvey. His family lived on the property until 1961. The project will cost $51,970.
Beaufort County Council voted to stop the collection of school impact fees and will provide refunds for people who have paid them. David Striebinger, school board chair, and superintendent Frank Rodriguez released a letter May 3 arguing against the decision. During a discussion of the fees on April 25, council members and county administrator Eric Greenway noted that members of the school board weren’t at the meeting. The letter argued that board members not attending the meeting didn’t represent lack of support for impact fees. Refunds for the fees will be distributed to property owners in the order they were collected, Greenway said.
Beaufort County Council voted to give employees a 5% cost-of-living raise, according to a news release. Council members passed an ordinance in April to amend the fiscal year 2021- 22 budget to include the raises and funding for several projects after staff identified a surplus of about $9 million. The county said $895,000 will be used to pay for the cost-of-living raises for employees in emergency services, the sheriff’s office, detention center and county staff.
The Beaufort County Board of Education approved the authorization to pay a 3% cost of living increase to full-time active employees as of May 27. The payment will be retroactive to the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year. A news release said the retroactive funds will be provided June 10, and the increase “will be reflected in employees’ paychecks when the 2023 school year commences.” The district said the raises are about $5.5 million and will come from the current general fund operating budget.
Beaufort County will undertake a $1 million independent “end-to-end analysis” of traffic simulations on U.S. 278 between Moss Creek Drive in Bluffton and the Gumtree Road intersection on Hilton Head Island before moving into the design phase for the $290 million project, a news release said. Using the latest traffic simulations and the simulations from prior studies will ensure the designers have the most accurate picture of traffic flow, the release said.
Town Council added one town-owned and one privately owned building to its list of historic “contributing resources,” officially documenting the significance of these structures, its architectural qualities, and the roles they played in Bluffton’s history, a news release said. The Jennie Kitty Municipal Building and the Bluffton Post Office were added to the list during the May 10 Council meeting. These are first additions to the list since 2008.
The Breeze Trolley has teamed up with “Coastal with Kathryn,” a new travel and education show in the Lowcountry, to provide culture-rich stories to its trolley passengers throughout the 2022 summer season. “Coastal with Kathryn” launched June 1, 2021 and highlights the people, history, art, music, culinary trends, marine life and cultural events.
By Steve Caywood
Over the past two years the term “stressed out” has taken on a new meaning for many of us across our country as we have learned to adapt to the challenges COVID-19 has introduced to our lives.
During the same time the national office of Mental Health America saw an increase of 500% over 2019, with over 5.4 million people accessing its online mental-health screening service.
NEW HIRES, NEXT YEAR’S CALENDAR AND SOME STELLAR STUDENTS STAND OUT IN OUR EDUCATION BRIEFS
Hilton Head Christian wins Academic WorldQuest competition
After 10 rounds of competition and two tie-breaking rounds, the 2022 Academic WorldQuest trophy was awarded to Hilton Head Christian Academy. May River High School finished second. Academic WorldQuest, a student outreach program of the World Affairs Council of Hilton Head, challenged eight teams from seven area high schools who answered 100 questions on topics related to world affairs. The event was held at Bluffton High School, the 2020 Academic WorldQuest Competition winner.