News

letterSunshine, salty air, crashing waves. The best part of living on or near an island is the beach, yet this natural wonder isn’t equally accessible for everyone and can be especially daunting for individuals with disabilities. These were the thoughts echoing in the head of then 16-year-old James Bartholomew, a local islander with a passion for surfing and a deep love for his older sister with special needs, Sally. 

James wanted Sally and her friends to have the same experience of the ocean he loved, so he rounded up some surfing buddies and invited her special needs class to the beach. It was a beautiful day, full of smiles, laughter and teenagers enjoying the beach alongside one another regardless of their ability.

DOG BRINGS COMFORT TO HILTON HEAD AIRPORT

Feeling stressed about air travel with the tight timelines and long security lines? Sometimes comfort walks in on four paws.

Now that people are flying more often as pandemic travel restrictions have lessened, passengers at the newly expanded Hilton Head Island Airport have had the pleasant surprise of being greeted by Zoara, a golden retriever who wears a vest that reads: "Please Pet Me."

CHATHAM CAPITAL GROUP CELEBRATES 25 YEARS

Chatham Capital Group, with offices in Savannah, Ga., and Hilton Head, is celebrating its 25th year in business. The company oversees more than $500 million in assets for individuals, families and related charitable entities.

Trees and power lines were knocked down the night of July 7 and early July 8 during Tropical Storm Elsa. Hilton Head Island Fire Rescue said it responded to more than 66 incidents, including 33 trees fallen in the road. Palmetto Electric reported approximately 19,800 outages on Hilton Head Island at the height of the storm, a HHI Fire Rescue news release said. Bluffton Township Fire District said it received six reports of trees falling on houses. 

MISSJulia Herrin of Bluffton was crowned Miss South Carolina on June 26. Herrin, 19, is an Auburn University student. She will participate in this year’s Miss America competition and will receive a $60,000 scholarship. She competed as Miss Clarendon. The Miss America competition is scheduled for December.

“I am honored and humbled to be Miss South Carolina 2021,” Herrin said in a Facebook post. “I can not say thank you enough to every person who has encouraged and loved on me not just over the last few days, but on my entire journey in the Miss America Organization over the last six years.”

The U.S. 278 Corridor Improvements documents are available to view, and the formal comment period has begun. View all materials online through Aug. 22, or schedule an appointment at the Island Rec Center (20 Wilborn Road) Aug. 18-21. The plan, in part, is for South Carolina Department of Transportation to widen U.S. 278 between Moss Creek Drive and Squire Pope Road from four to six lanes. It would replace the existing four bridges to the island with a single, six-lane bridge. Estimated cost is $289,902,745. For more information, visit scdot278corridor.com

Beaufort County Council approved a $132.6 million budget for the 2022 fiscal year. It includes a millage rate increase of 0.6 mills. The budget increased by $2 million because of an 8 percent increase in tax revenue because of population growth, the county said. A news release noted eliminating unfilled staff positions creates about $800,000 in savings. The budget includes a $1.97 million increase in emergency medical services and a $1.6 million increase in parks and recreation.

Residents of Beaufort County will decide in November whether to change the county’s form of government from the current form of council-administrator to council-manager. Council voted 6-5 on June 28 to include the question on the Nov. 2 ballot. If the referendum passes, council then will be able to, under a council-manager setup, make the county treasurer and auditor appointed positions. Those positions are currently elected. The other referendum for voters will be to decide whether to approve a 1% sales tax.

The Revenue Services Department for the Town of Hilton Head Island is hosting a public information session to update business owners about a proposed new business license ordinance. The session is Tuesday, Aug. 3 at 2 p.m. in Council Chambers at the Stephen G. Riley Municipal Complex (Town Hall), 1 Town Center Court. Attendees will learn about changes to the Town’s business license ordinance.

Beaufort County sued its auditor Jim Beckert for his “failure and refusal” to perform his duties, according to a lawsuit filed July 9. The suit alleges Beckert has a “contentious and adversarial” relationship with county employees and officials and he’s made “frequent threats or promises not to do things that state law plainly requires him to do.” The suit says the county seeks for Beckert, an elected official, to do “what he is statutorily required to do.”