Branden GraceSouth African star golfer Branden Grace returns to defend his title

On the eve of last year’s RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing, Hall of Fame golfer Ernie Els told fellow South African Branden Grace he had a good feeling about his pal’s prospects at Harbour Town Golf Links.

“We went to his house for coffee, and he told me this is one event that I’m going to win a couple of times in my career,” Grace recalled after notching his first PGA Tour victory at Harbour Town last April. “It was nice to hear from a legend like that.”

A mere six months after Hilton Head Island was hit by a hurricane, Harbour Town Golf Links is again playing host to one of the most celebrated PGA Tour events for an impressive 49th consecutive year.

As it has every year for nearly five decades, the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing has attracted many of the top PGA Tour stars, including marquee International players and popular American stars. Back to defend his first Heritage victory is one of those international standouts: Brendan Grace. The South African is joined by European stalwarts such as Martin Kaymer and Luke Donald, who has five top 5 finishes at Harbour Town, but no title to show for it.

At first glance, it may be difficult to see the logic of linking the concepts of diversity, change and fear, and yet it is easy to connect them. The connection between change and fear is obvious; we all know that change can be scary. We also know that because change is often scary, we are sometimes motivated to resist it directly, even in bombastic ways, or indirectly through subtle forms of passive resistance.

For more than three decades, the cheerful Windmill Harbour sign has greeted those crossing the bridge to Hilton Head Island from the mainland. Few, however, have experienced the exclusive waterfront lifestyle enjoyed by the residents who live behind the gates of that community.

Sometimes we forget to pay attention to the everyday things that surround us; the things that create a familiar backdrop for our lives. We don’t often ask ourselves about the design of our community, or who planted that tree or why those statues are honoring people with names that we’ve never heard of. We also tend to ignore all of the “cultural stuff,” even though we know that someone decided long ago that it was important.

Hargray Communications Group and The Pritzker Organization recently announced that Tom Pritzker Family Business Interests has agreed to acquire Hargray in an all-cash transaction. Hargray is the main broadband communications and entertainment provider to the Lowcountry and is growing throughout Georgia. Over the past 10 years, the company has invested over $250 million to create a communications network that includes 2,000 route miles of fiber and serves over 65,000 customers. The transaction is expected to close in the third calendar quarter.

American Red CrossThe American Red Cross has a severe winter blood shortage and is issuing an emergency call for blood donors to make donation appointments now and help save lives. Hectic holiday schedules for many regular blood donors contributed to about 37,000 fewer donations in November and December than what was needed.

Spot To RetireHilton Head Island is the No. 4 spot in South Carolina to retire, according to a list compiled by the financial technology company SmartAsset. The island got an index score of 36.52 to finish behind Seneca, Myrtle Beach and Murrells Inlet. The study rated cities by their tax friendliness, recreational and social opportunities for seniors, and availability of medical care. Other cities in the top 10 include Camden, Greenville, West Columbia, Spartanburg, Georgetown and Anderson. 

Students at Bluffton High School can soon begin earning college credits at the University of South Carolina Beaufort through a new partnership between the two schools. A memorandum of agreement between the Beaufort County School District and the university will allow Bluffton High students to take courses from USCB professors beginning with the 2017-18 academic year. There will be no cost to students.

A group of local residents want to send people from the Gullah community on a special trip Oct. 9-13 to the National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. “Gullah Goes to Washington” is a five-day trip for people within the Gullah community who have contributed to the preservation of Gullah culture but might not be able to afford a trip to see the historic museum.

Souths Best AwardsHilton Head Island was named the fourth-best island in the South in Southern Living magazine’s first ever “South’s Best Awards.” According to the magazine: “Incorporated in 1983, Hilton Head is an upscale, planned vacation and residential community that’s great for family vacations. It has 24 championship golf courses and a whopping 324 tennis courts.” Hilton Head was ranked No. 4 behind the Outer Banks, North Carolina; St. Simons Island, Georgia; and the Florida Keys. Other islands on the list include Chincoteague, Virginia; Kiawah; Jekyll Island, Georgia; Sanibel Island, Florida; Galveston, Texas; and Tybee Island. 

historic propertyIn a unanimous vote at its March 14 meeting, Bluffton Town Council authorized the town manager to execute a purchase and an operating agreement for the historic property located at 111 Calhoun St. The vote followed another unanimous vote by Beaufort County Council on March 13 to assist the town in funding the purchase through its Rural and Critical Lands Preservation Program.

This weekend March 24-26, will be the last three days that citizens may drop off residential disaster debris at the South Forest Beach Coligny beach parking site and the Chamberlin Drive (old Gullah Flea Market) site. Effective Monday, March 27th the residential disaster debris drop-off sites at 1 South Forest Beach Dr. (Coligny Beach Parking) and 120 William Hilton Parkway (Former Gullah Flea Market Site) will be closed. Only the drop-off center located at 111 Leg O' Mutton Road will remain open. Hours of operation at this site will be 8:00am to 5:30pm three (3) days per week (Friday, Saturday and Sunday).

Often, when I write about race, I frame the word in quotation marks or italicize it to highlight it for the reader. I want the reader to pause over the word, and reflect on its complex meanings rather than gloss over it, or pass it by as though it were inconsequential. I want to engage the reader in meaning-making. I want the reader to know that I am saying something that requires reading between the lines, and looking for the unspoken, or implied meanings that this powerful word connotes.

The surest sign of spring on Hilton Head Island comes in mid-March, when the island gathers on Pope Avenue for the Hilton Head Island St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

This year’s 34th annual edition of the parade is set for 3 p.m. Sunday, March 12, and offers a chance for residents to forget about the struggles of Hurricane Matthew recovery for a while and celebrate the sense of camaraderie that makes Hilton Head so special — all while having a fantastic time.

A new chapter in the history of the University of South Carolina Beaufort began Feb. 10 with the official groundbreaking for the new Hilton Head Island campus on Office Park Road. When completed, the facility will house the USCB hospitality management program including undergraduate education, a center for the hospitality industry and executive education, a teaching and learning facility for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and a civic gathering place and resource for the community. The facility is expected to open in the fall of 2018.