The Beaufort County School District named five finalists for the 2021-22 teacher of the year award. The finalists are Oana Bejan, special education teacher at Hilton Head Island High School; Ann Buckley, special education teacher at Hilton Head Island Middle School; Christopher Crabb, dance teacher at Mossy Oaks Elementary School; Lynne Sunday, media specialist at H.E. McCracken Middle School; and Aimee Whitesell, biology teacher at Battery Creek High School. The District Teacher of the Year will be announced this fall. Megan DeWeese is the current teacher of the year.

The Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra announced its 2021-2022 40th Anniversary Season, which will include nine Orchestra Series programs, two outdoor Pops concerts to launch the season, two Symphony Under The Stars concerts, and the 25th Hilton Head International Piano Competition. The season represents the 10th anniversary of John Morris Russell as music director.

New public pickleball courts are ready for play. The Sea Islands Pickleball Club hosted an event to mark the opening of the county’s newest public pickleball courts at Southside Park and Port Royal’s Shell Point. Beaufort County has added six outdoor pickleball courts in Beaufort, Bluffton, and Port Royal’s Shell Point. Beaufort County Parks and Recreation spent $75,000 to repair the courts, with each location now having one tennis court and two pickleball courts, a news release said. 

A Hilton Head Island woman was bitten by an eight-foot alligator in Hilton Head Plantation, according to the Town of Hilton Head. The woman was transported to Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah. A news release said the woman was walking her dog around the lagoon near Rookery Way when the incident occurred.

Hilton Head Island Fire Rescue responded to a structure fire at a seven-unit residential building on Caesar Place in Allenwood. An occupant was home at the time of the fire and was able to evacuate, along with their pets. There were no injuries reported. Four engine companies, the truck company, one medic unit, the Battalion Chief and additional Staff Officers responded to the fire.

USCB was selected for the French Embassy of the United States’ 2021 Transatlantic Mobility Program, which aims to double the number of students from France and the United States studying abroad in each country by 2025. The program awarded a $10,000 grant to support USCB students in French educational experiences.

wisdomTerry Wisdom, a teacher at Bluffton Middle School, died from COVID-19 complications, according to the school. The school said Wisdom, a CATE instructor, “was supportive, dependable, always willing to give of himself to others.” Wisdom was an advocate for his Project Lead the Way content, the Robotics team, and the football and track programs, the school said. 

A Hardeeville man was charged with attempted murder in connection with a shooting at a gas station, according to the Hardeeville Police Department. The suspect, Marcus Gordon, 36, was arrested Sept. 8. The shooting left a man injured with gunshot wounds. He was taken to a hospital and treated for his injuries. 

KRISTIN DUBROWSKINearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. In a year’s time, that is more than 10 million women and men.

South Carolina ranks 11th in the nation in the rate of women murdered by men, according to the Violence Policy Center (VPC) study, When Men Murder Women, published in 2020. This was the first time in the 23-year history of the study that South Carolina has not been included among the 10 states with the highest rates of women killed by men. 

DEEP WELL PROJECT AWARDS SCHOLARSHIPS

Isabella Gonzalez, Zien Cordray, Renee Mitchell, Astrid Bautista and Daniella Azar were named Deep Well Project scholarship recipients. Each has earned help with tuition and books at the Technical College of the Lowcountry. Deep Well will also help with childcare, gas cards and laptops or printers if needed. For information about Deep Well’s scholarship program, visit deepwellproject.org or call 843-785-2849.

TOM PEEPLES RETIRES AFTER 43 YEARS SERVING THE LOWCOUNTRY

After 43 years of building homes on Hilton Head Island, the town’s former longtime mayor, Tom Peeples, has retired. 

Born and raised in Ridgeland, Peeples spent a lot of time on Hilton Head as a young boy. His parents bought property on the island in the early 1950s, before there was a bridge to the mainland.

CATCHING UP ON INITIATIVES FOR HILTON HEAD AND BLUFFTON

The Lowcountry is thriving with ever-evolving projects. Here is a look at three initiatives that are underway:

STGREGORY THE GREAT

Bluffton Town Council unanimously approved a final reading to annex St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church and School into the town of Bluffton. Council approved a master plan for the property that includes potential expansions of the church and school and commercial and multi-family residential development. 

BLUFFTON MINORSThe 10-and-under all-stars from Bluffton and the 12-and-under squad from Hilton Head Island represented South Carolina in the Dixie Youth Baseball World Series played Aug. 7-12 in Laurel, Mississippi. The Bluffton Minors All-Stars finished their postseason campaign 12-3, including a South Carolina state title. The team went 2-2 at the Dixie World Series. The team opened with a 13-3 win over runner-up Georgia. The Hilton Head O-Zone All-Stars won a state crown before losing twice at the World Series. Hilton Head’s postseason run ended with an 8-3 record. The Dixie World Series includes the state champions from 11 states and a host team. 

Chris Protz, CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Lowcountry, plans to retire Dec. 10. Protz has worked with the Boys & Girls Clubs for 46 years, including the past nine years as CEO. “It has been a great privilege to work with some incredible, dedicated staff and board volunteers who are so committed to helping young people, particularly those who need our services the most,” Protz said.

Hilton Head Town Council voted to expand its Land Management Ordinance which will primarily benefit properties in the historic Gullah Geechee neighborhoods. The ordinance will define and include uses for family compounds and family subdivisions, a news release said. The family compound amendment allows multiple homes to be built on a single parcel of land with decreased setbacks, buffers, and access widths.