BLUFFTON OPENS WRIGHT FAMILY PARK, CALHOUN DOCK

After much anticipation, in December the town of Bluffton opened Wright Family Park, the town’s second public park offering access to the May River. The park opened after about three years of renovation and construction.

Wright Family Park, across the street from the historic Church of the Cross, offers a boardwalk, a large central lawn, walkways, parking, landscaping, site furnishing, lighting, fencing, public restrooms and views of the May River.

GFWC WOMAN’S LEAGUE HELPS CREATE ‘BOOK NOOK’

The Arts and Culture Community Service Program of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs Woman’s League of the Lowcountry and Piggly Wiggly Store has teamed up to create a Mr. Pig’s Book Nook inside the Ridgeland store. Members and friends of GFWC have donated more than 1,000 books for children between the grades of pre-K-8.

1. A Great Egret in full breeding plumage at the Rookery at Pinckney Island during mating season as photographed by Mary Alice Tartler.

2. A sunrise looking over Colleton River toward Spring Island from John Metzger’s home in Belfair.

3. The mating dance of Great Egrets at the Rookery at Pinckney Island as captured by Mary Alice Tartler.

HHM GullahTHE ISLAND’S HISTORIC GULLAH NEIGHBORHOODS GET DESERVED RECOGNITION

Over the last decade or so, native islanders have made huge strides in making their story a part of the narrative told about the history of Hilton Head Island. The century between the retreat of the plantation owners and the invasion of the golf course designers, we now know, represents a singularly unique era in the island’s history.

The rehabilitation of the Garvin-Garvey House in Bluffton was recognized with a statewide award.

The South Carolina chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIASC) awarded Charleston historic preservation firm Meadors Inc. a Citation Award for Adaptive Reuse and Preservation for the project, the Town of Bluffton said.

The Town contracted Meadors Inc. and its architects and historic preservationists for research and the blueprint for the Garvin-Garvey House’s preservation and rehabilitation.

OrlandoMarc Orlando accepted a contract offer from Hilton Head Town Council to be its next town manager. He will begin his new role Feb. 22. The town had been in a search of a new leader after former town manager Steve Riley announced last June his plan to retire. Orlando had been Bluffton town manager since September 2014. Originally from Windsor, Ontario, Canada, he was named Bluffton’s deputy town manager in 2009.

According to a statement from Hilton Head mayor John McCann, town council determined that Orlando “embodies the characteristics necessary to effectively meet the Town’s needs and is therefore the ideal candidate for Town Manager.”

Beginning Jan. 13, any South Carolina resident age 70 or older, regardless of health status or preexisting conditions, was eligible to schedule an appointment to receive COVID-19 vaccine. The mortality rate from COVID-19 for those 70 and older in South Carolina is approximately 655 deaths per 100,000 people. For those under the age of 70, there are 37 COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 people, a news release said.

“This is a staggering comparison and illustrates why vaccinating this population next is critically important in our mission to save lives,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC Interim Director of Public Health.

Scott MarshallScott Marshall was named the Town of Bluffton’s interim manager. Marshall, who has been deputy town manager since 2015, was appointed after Marc Orlando resigned from the position Jan. 4. According to the town’s website, Marshall began working for Beaufort County in 2009. He was executive director of the Board of Elections and Registration until June 2013 when he was hired as Parks and Leisure Services director.

Bluffton has been cited as the safest place to live in South Carolina according to safety.com. Ranked No. 1 on the list that was revealed in December, Bluffton is recognized for “exceptional” public safety statistics.

Safety.com used comprehensive ranking factors that included public safety and financial security metrics to determine a complete view of community safety, it said.

Beaufort County’s decal program at all convenience centers began in early January. All vehicles are stopped entering the centers and attendants scan decals from residents that have received barcodes. One decal will be issued per property.

Each residential property owner will be allowed three visits per week to a convenience center.

Parker’s recently donated $20 million to support charitable initiatives. The Parker’s Community Fund will support a range of charitable causes across the region, a news release said.

“We have a strong commitment to the Palmetto State and are incredibly grateful for the support of our customers in Charleston, Moncks Corner, Goose Creek, Summerville, Walterboro, Hardeeville, Bluffton, Hilton Head, Beaufort and Port Royal,” Parker’s founder and CEO Greg Parker said.

The South Carolina Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for hemp farming permits for the 2021 growing season through Feb. 28. The state’s Hemp Farming Program has grown from 20 farmers in 2018 to 265 farmers in 2020, the SCDA said. Farmers must apply through SCDA’s online portal at agriculture.sc.gov/hemp.

The City of Savannah has canceled its annual St. Patrick’s Day parade for the second consecutive year because of coronavirus concerns. The event, which draws thousands of revelers, was first held in 1824. St. Patrick’s Day is March 17.

Bill HerbkersmanI'm the sponsor of the medical marijuana bill in the S.C. Statehouse in this new legislative session.

My support for medical marijuana came long before my brother Tom died of cancer. Tom had squamous cell carcinoma and I vividly watched as the cancer literally consumed a healthy, happy 45-year-old.

Medical marijuana was one of the treatments Tom utilized toward the end of his life and I saw two important and irrefutable ways in which it helped him. He was in tremendous pain and couldn't eat or hold food down.