RUSSELLJohn Morris Russell, music director and conductor of the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, has been nominated for a Grammy Award. Russell’s nomination in the “Best Classical Compendium” category is for the recording “American Originals: 1918,” with the famed Cincinnati Pops. It was released under the Pops Fanfare Cincinnati label owned by the Cincinnati Symphony. The 61st annual Grammy Awards Premiere Ceremony will be held on Jan. 26 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

BEACH SHOVELSShovels longer than 30 inches and holes deeper than 1 foot are now illegal on Hilton Head Island beaches. The Town of Hilton Head Island unanimously approved the ban in November, arguing that holes are dangerous for sea turtles because they can trap turtle hatchlings on their way from the dunes to the sea. All holes on the beach must now be filled in with sand no later than 30 minutes prior to sunset. 

Beloved Blufftonian Jeffrey Robinowich, longtime proprietor of Morris Garage and Towing, has been selected to be part of the Bluffton Wall of Honor at Town Hall. His photograph and a short biography will hang on the wall so that visitors can learn what makes Bluffton “a state of mind” — and Robinowich should know, since he moved to the town in 1962. 

A new traffic signal is now operational at the intersection of Pope Avenue and Lagoon Road. This new traffic signal, which also includes pedestrian signals to help people with crossing all four approaching streets, is part of the Town of Hilton Head Island’s transportation improvements in the Coligny area. It also will serve traffic going to the new Lowcountry Celebration Park, which is currently under construction. 

To meet Hilton Head Island’s goal of providing housing for workers, a housing consultant said the island needs to build 200 homes and apartment units each year for 10 years and make sure about 30% of those units are affordable. The consultant recommended three sites because they are close to employment centers on the island: Squire Pope area on the northwest side of the island; the Palmetto Bay corridor at the southern base of the Cross Island Parkway; and the Main Street opportunity zone in the north central part of the island. Town staff is researching the possibilities in those neighborhoods and what, if any, zoning or ownership changes the council would have to occur to encourage workforce housing developments. 

evansWilliam M. “Bill” Evans, former Beaufort County school board chairman and former principal of Hilton Head Island High School, died Dec. 11 at his home on Lady’s Island. He was 72. Evans resigned as school board chairman in October 2015. He held a master’s degree from Penn State University and an undergraduate degree from Rutgers University, where he played on the golf team. Evans was a volunteer with the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing golf tournament from 1987 until 2018; president of the Rotary Club of the Lowcountry; a Eucharist minister at St. Frances Catholic Church; and a volunteer at the Beaufort Water Festival. He also volunteered with Neighborhood Outreach Connection, AMIkids Beaufort, and First Tee of the Lowcountry, in addition to work with Port Royal Sound Foundation and numerous other nonprofit groups over the years. 

The nonprofit organization 50 Red Swings recently donated two adaptive playground swings at Oscar Frazier Park and DuBois Park. The red swings are part of Bluffton’s commitment to install inclusive playground equipment for children with disabilities. The swings are full-body swings with safety harnesses for children up to 125 pounds. 


Long before golf courses, tennis courts, sprawling resorts, and rows of beach umbrellas turned Hilton Head Island into a premier vacation destination, something perhaps even more special was woven into the island’s fabric: rich history and a unique culture that still endures.

Hilton Head’s cultural past has not only survived but has become a valuable asset for an island whose economic lifeblood is tourism. And like other places blessed with colorful history, Hilton Head increasingly looks to “cultural tourism” as a resource important to the island’s prosperity.


When Hurricane Dorian ravaged The Bahamas in early September, a pair of Lowcountry residents reacted swiftly and decisively. 

The two — Hilton Head Island resident Jane Janiak and state Rep. Bill Herbkersman of Bluffton — had watched uneasily as the devastating storm raked the islands. After seeing what was left behind, they resolved to help the recovery.

SeaWorld Orlando and Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute helped rescue a distressed manatee in Palmetto Dunes Resort on Hilton Head Island in November. The 856-pound manatee had minor skin abrasions and was underweight. She was taken to SeaWorld Orlando for treatment and rehabilitation before being evaluated for return to the wild.