The widening of Interstate 95 from Yemassee to Georgia will include six additional driving lanes to alleviate road congestion. State transportation officials approved the project, which will cost more than $1 billion, with work expected to begin in 2023 at the earliest. Additionally, more than $25 million in funds will be allocated to fixing 30 roads in Beaufort and Jasper counties. The 10-year SCDOT plan will be funded by a 2017 statewide gas tax increase.
Hilton Head Island Town Council recently named 13 local residents to serve on the new Hilton Head Island U.S. 278 Gateway Corridor Committee. The committee will work with the South Carolina Department of Transportation as it plans improvements along U.S. 278 from the intersection of Moss Creek Drive to the intersection of Spanish Wells Road.
ANNUAL FESTIVAL PAYS TRIBUTE TO NATIVE ISLANDERS’ HERITAGE
Summer months are for the beach, and fall is festival season, but February is dedicated to all things Gullah. The monthlong Gullah Celebration showcases the food, art and music of the Gullah culture with events across Hilton Head Island. This year marks the 23rd annual event organized by the Native Island Business and Community Affairs Association.
ISLAND CAT TAKES AN INCREDIBLE ROUTE BACK HOME
Ben Hughey has always been an animal lover.
Beyond his love of music — he’s the lead singer and guitarist of Naytiv — it’s the thing the Hilton Head Island teenager is perhaps best known for. On his Facebook page, he even posted a photo showing the image of a cat’s face over his heart. So when a friend noticed a stray cat wandering around the NAMI parking lot on the island’s north end, Hughey was the first person to come to mind to help.
OFFSHORE OIL AND GAS PERMITS INSPIRE POLITICAL COLLABORATION
Last year, the Trump administration issued permits to five private companies to use seismic testing to map out oil and gas deposits along the Atlantic coast, creating some unexpected political bedfellows in South Carolina.
U.S. Rep. Joe Cunningham, the first Democrat to flip a South Carolina congressional seat in three decades, announced Jan. 8 that he will revive a measure to ban offshore drilling for 10 years first introduced by Mark Sanford, his Republican predecessor. The bill languished in committee under GOP House leadership.
The Public Art Fund of Community Foundation of the Lowcountry has announced the winners of the 2018 Public Art Exhibition’s People’s Choice and Purchase Prize awards.
More than 1,000 votes were cast for the People’s Choice Award. Artists for the top three vote-getting pieces receive a cash award. First place went to Sarah Edwards’ “Botanical Fainting Couch,” a cast bronze “couch” made of alphabet letters imprinted with plants. Second place went to “Hilton Head to the Moon” by William Bennett, and third place went to “Beach Umbrella” by Casey Schachner.
For Lavon Stevens, preserving Hilton Head Island’s Gullah heritage comes down to one simple truth: If people lose their land, they lose their culture.
“People have been losing their land here, thereby losing the culture, for many reasons,” said Stevens, chairman of the Gullah-Geechee Land & Cultural Preservation Task Force.
The corridor between Queens Folly Road and King Neptune Way on William Hilton Parkway will soon undergo construction to improve traffic conditions near Shelter Cove. The consultation, design and construction process of the Shelter Cove Revitalization Project will cost $1.25 million and work should be completed by summer 2020. The project aims to improve conditions for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists who frequent the Shelter Cove area. Since 2015, there have been nearly 100 recorded collisions in the Shelter Cove corridor.
Not all the action will be on the football field on Super Bowl Sunday. Pups from Palmetto Animal League will be featured during the 15th annual Puppy Bowl, airing at 3 p.m. Feb. 3 on Animal Planet. The network sent a crew to Peacock Subaru in Hardeeville and PAL’s adoption center in December to film a segment about the nonprofit animal rescue organization and its volunteers for the broadcast.
Ronald Titus, a beloved Hilton Head Island resident, was struck and killed by a car on Dec. 29 while walking across U.S. 278 near Jarvis Creek Park. He and his wife, Donna, had just celebrated their 63rd anniversary the night before. The 22-year-old driver of the car was not charged and witnesses said there was no way she could have avoided the accident.
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Joe Patton, an 81-year-old resident of Hilton Head Island, was rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard after he became stuck in pluff mud in Skull Creek while riding his personal watercraft. Sea Tow of Hilton Head Island could not perform the rescue, so the U.S. Coast Guard arrived by helicopter to lift Patton to safety. Patton, who regularly rides near Skull Creek Marina by Hudson’s Seafood House On the Docks, returned home with no injuries.
Each year, the All Saints Episcopal Church Garden Tour sponsors a poster contest for local artists. The work of the winning artist will appear on the 2019 poster, which will be displayed in businesses throughout Beaufort and Jasper counties and on the cover of the ticket booklet. Up to 70 artworks in various media will be on display at Hilton Head Hospital from Feb. 1 to March 3. The contest winner will be announced during a reception for the artists in the hospital lobby on March 3. For more information, go to www.allsaintsgardentour.com.