parkerBeaufort native Ron Parker announced his retirement from the NFL in January. The defensive back played for the Kansas City Chiefs for the past five years. He gave no indication for what’s next, including for the annual football camp he hosts each year in Beaufort. 

ruckerLong Cove Club, in partnership with Darius Rucker and the University of South Carolina, is hosting the ninth annual Darius Rucker Intercollegiate Golf Tournament presented by Kroger and PXG. The tournament will be held March 6-8. Top women’s teams from around the country will travel to the island to compete for the title. Spectators are welcome at no charge. For more information, go to www.longcoveclub.com.

TREY BLACKSHEAR 

BLACKSHEAR

Hilton Head Island lost a soccer standout two days before Christmas. Trey Blackshear, 18, was killed Dec. 23 in the Lord of Life Lutheran Church parking lot in Bluffton in what police say was an attempted robbery. Blackshear had just graduated from Hilton Head Island High School on Dec. 19 and was preparing to enroll in college in January to play soccer, according to his obituary. He also played club soccer for Tormenta FC Academy.

The docks at Palmetto Bay Marina have officially reopened after Hurricane Matthew destroyed the marina in 2016. Wet slip rentals will be available beginning at the end of this month. Palmetto Bay Marina, LLC, took ownership of the property in 2019. As the renovations continue, the marina will construct several new aluminum docks with space for about 144 boats. 

A mound of debris has finally been removed from Able Construction in Okatie after forcing 30 nearby residents to evacuate last year. The mound smoldered for months, creating fumes and releasing a foul odor in the area. More than 115,000 tons of debris were removed from the site. DHEC declared Able Construction’s fire a federal Superfund site and has since ordered a closure process for the facility. 

The Town of Hilton Head Island wants to extend a property tax assessment that would raise $65 million if approved by voters in May. The Town Council would use the funds to improve parks, recreation and arts organizations. The tax assessment would replace the special hurricane assessment that taxpayers approved in 2016 after Hurricane Matthew.

IT’S NOT EASY TO MAKE MATH FUN, BUT MICHELLE GORDON MAKES IT LOOK AS EASY AS PI

Do you know which side of the chicken has the most feathers?

If you do, you’re either really good at riddles, or you’re one of the lucky students in Michelle Gordon’s math class at Bluffton High School. The chicken riddle recently was her “joke of the day,” one of many ways she likes to lighten the mood when teaching a subject that many students dread.

BLUFFTON IS THRIVING, BUT GROWTH GETS MIXED REVIEWS

It’s no secret that the town of Bluffton is experiencing a growth spurt. In the late 1990s, it was a 1-mile hamlet with fewer than 800 residents. Today, it’s 54 square miles with a population estimated at more than 23,000.

Its growth is only going to continue. Bluffton is only 44% built out and, when all is said and done, its population might reach 75,000, according to town officials.

ALL SAINTS GARDEN TOUR NAMES GRANT RECIPIENTS

The 2019 All Saints Garden Tour grant recipients included Jasper Backpack Buddies (Antioch Educational Center), Backpack Buddies of Bluffton, Backpack Buddies of Hilton Head Island, St. Stephen’s UMC Outreach Food Bank, Hilton Head Safe Harbour and The Literacy Center. This fall, these charities each received their awards of $5,675 from the 2019 Garden Tour. 

The 33rd annual All Saints Episcopal Church Garden Tour is scheduled for May 16.

After Beaufort County voters approved a $344 million bond referendum in November, the Beaufort County Board of Education has set maximum prices for building additions at River Ridge Academy and May River High School. M.B. Kahn Construction of Columbia will build the bond referendum’s first two projects for a guaranteed maximum price of $20.9 million. Those projects include River Ridge Academy, which will add four classrooms on each of its two existing wings and add a new eight-classroom wing. May River High will add a new two-story wing containing 23 classrooms. 

FRAZIERThe town of Bluffton is mourning 5-year-old Ameer Frazier after a traffic accident following the Bluffton Christmas Parade on Dec. 7. Ameer was severely injured at the end of the parade as all the floats and vehicles were disbanding in the Red Cedar Elementary School parking lot. He was transported by EMS to Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah, where he died, officials said. No charges are pending in the accident. 

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.