The Lowcountry was welcomed to the New Year with a powerful overnight storm on Jan. 3 that left thousands without power. Severe storms and a cold front brought heavy rains and heavy wind. Palmet to Electric Cooperative said as of late morning Jan. 3 there were 25 line outages that impacted nearly 1,500 member locations. Dominion Energy reported more than 400 outages in Beaufort County. Wind gusts reached 49 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service.


The start of a new year is always a time for reflection, both on the achievements made in the past year and the exciting opportunities a new year brings. Looking back on 2021, the words “resilience,” “ reimagine , ” a n d “resourceful” come to mind as Beaufort County Library worked diligently to provide library services and programs to a grateful community.



Ahmad Ward is a man of vision and planning. As the executive director of Hilton Head’s Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park, Ward received the prestigious Southeast Museum Conference 2021 Museum Leadership Award. That recognition comes, in no small part, from his ability to envision the enormous potential of Mitchelville and develop a plan to realize that potential.


In 1982, a woman named Pat Rose posted handwritten notices titled “Chamber Music Anyone?” around Hilton Head Island, inviting local musicians to a meeting to discuss forming a chamber orchestra.

About 20 people attended that meeting in February 1982, and the group performed its first concert just two months later at Christ Lutheran Church on Hilton Head. The Hilton Head Community Orchestra was incorporated as a nonprofit arts organization the following year.

In its first competitive grant cycle of the 2022 fiscal year, Community Foundation of the Lowcountry awarded $345,401 in grants to seven nonprofit organizations. The funds were awarded to Hilton Head Island Deep Well Project ($122,300); Hilton Head Regional Habitat for Humanity ($85,000); Mental Health America of Beaufort/Jasper ($18,351); Programs for Exceptional People ($18,000); Second Founding of America (formerly Reconstruction Beaufort) ($30,150); Second Helpings ($12,000); and Volunteers in Medicine ($59,600).

The Hilton Head MLK Committee for Justice plans to celebrate the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday on Jan. 17. The keynote speaker will be Sen. Mia McLeod. The celebration will include worship, speakers, music, a presentation of the MLK Community Service Award and a fellowship luncheon. For more, 

The Technical College of the Lowcountry recognized 11 associate degree nursing graduates during a pinning ceremony at the Beaufort Mather Campus. The graduates are Stacy Bajorek, Krystal Deitsch, Isabella Fallon, Sharonda Jenkins, Rashida Johnson, Kerri Jones, Kimberly Lunceford, Katy Sandoval, Brittany Shuman, Kayla Sikes, and Nikole Wright. TCL’s two-year ADN program prepares graduates to practice as registered nurses. Students experience on-campus learning using high-tech simulation equipment and receive intense additional hands-on practice at clinical sites located throughout Beaufort, Jasper, Hampton and Colleton counties. 


Like a car left at the side of the road, plans for realigning the Buckwalter and Bluffton parkways intersection sit idle, awaiting a jump start.

Plans and proposals for the roads have advanced in fits and starts for more than 15 years.

Hilton Head Island Town Council voted 7-0 to extend the contract of town manager Marc Orlando and give him a bonus of $15,000. Orlando began working for the town on Feb. 22, 2021. The terms of the contract were amended to coincide with the February start date and continue through February 21, 2025. After 2025, the contract will automatically extend for one-year periods unless terminated. “We are very pleased with Marc’s performance and with the accomplishments of Town staff during his time with the Town,” said Mayor John McCann. 

johnnIt is that time of year. The holidays are over, and we are ready to hit reset on our personal health initiatives. Whether you declare a New Year’s Resolution, commit to a dry January, or go out and renew that gym membership once again, let’s agree to one thing: Let’s do it together.

It is widely believed that we will be more successful in these health measures if we share our goals with friends, family and anyone who will help us achieve better health.


Lowcountry Community Church has partnered with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to bring free books to all children under the age of 5 in Beaufort County. Since it launched in 1995, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has gifted more than 160 million free books. Register at, call 843-836-1101 or email 

Hilton Head Island Town Council voted unanimously to adopt a strategic plan that guides the work of the Town’s Office of Cultural Affairs, including initiatives to promote art and culture organizations and enhance quality of life for the community. The plan includes goals, strategies and tactics for several initiatives such as public art, the annual Crescendo event, historic sites and cultural preservation. A copy of the plan will be available on the Town’s website at, and the OCA’s website at The adoption of the plan will provide direction and support for the Office of Cultural Affairs during the next three years, according to Jenn McEwen, director of the Town’s Office of Cultural Affairs.

A Bluffton food truck owner was arrested on federal drug trafficking and conspiracy charges. According to an indictment, Isaac Jimenez Nava, 30, who owns Maiz Taqueria, is accused of working with another man, Sandy Clark to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine, 100 grams of heroin and 40 grams of fentanyl, beginning in at least 2019. Both men pleaded not guilty to the charges, according to The Post & Courier. 

The Beaufort County School District said threatening messages warning of school shootings were found in bathrooms at Bluffton H.E. McCracken Middle, Bluffton Middle, Beaufort Middle, and Beaufort High schools. Law enforcement investigated the threats and planned an increased presence on the campuses. The Bluffton Police Department said Dec. 10 it charged a juvenile for writing a threatening message in a bathroom at McCracken Middle School. The student was charged with making student threats and malicious injury to property, according to Police Chief Stephenie Price. Hilton Head Island High School was put on lockdown after law enforcement received a phone call about a possible threat to the school. The lockdown was lifted after two hours. 

The sales and use tax rate in Beaufort County changed Jan. 1, dropping the rate in Beaufort County to 6 percent. Those paying an Accommodations Tax in Beaufort County will pay 7 percent. The 1 percent Transportation Tax became effective May 1, 2019 after Beaufort County voters approved the tax in 2018. The stated goal was raising $120 million for improvements to Beaufort County roads and bridges. 

Alex Murdaugh, a former Lowcountry attorney involved in numerous criminal and civil cases, faced new charges as of early-December. S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson announced Dec. 9 that Murdaugh faces seven indictments with 21 new charges. The Associated Press said the indictments include seven more alleged schemes between 2016 and 2020 where the attorney told clients their settlements were smaller than expected or they had to pay extra fees for things like accident reconstruction, according to court records. Murdaugh faces 12 state grand jury indictments, with 48 separate charges.