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.

Bluffton Town Council recently voted to change its code and allow food trucks to operate in town limits. Food truck operators must obtain a business license, pay an annual fee of $400 to the town and must operate at least 200 feet away from an established restaurant without permission from the owner. The trucks will be allowed to operate between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m.

The newest attraction at Palmetto Bluff is the Artists in Residence Cottage at Moreland Village. The cottage is a collaboration by Palmetto Bluff, Garden & Gun magazine, Court Atkins Group and Shoreline Construction. Featured artists include Jonathan Green, Betty Anglin Smith, Mandy Johnson, Addison Palmer and Mark Stewart. Much of the art in the cottage was curated through the Red Piano Gallery. 

locomotionAre you ready to do the LoCo Motion again? Then get ready for some big changes in the 2017 edition. This year, the venerable fitness challenge, which brings thousands of pink-clad runners and walkers to Hilton Head Island, Callawassie Island and Haig Point from all over the globe, makes its triumphant return with one huge difference. Rather than simply “Doing the LoCo Motion,” the small army that descends on the Lowcountry will be “Pledging the Pink.” The name change from LoCo Motion to Pledge The Pink came about as the inevitable result of the community’s homegrown race gaining massive global appeal and reach.

Bluffton High School is one of only a few South Carolina schools approved to implement an innovative program that helps students develop skills valued by colleges and employers. The new AP Capstone program, scheduled to begin in the 2017-18 academic year, will become a new school choice in addition to Bluffton High’s current offerings of Project Lead the Way and Acceleration Academy.

The Beaufort County Board of Education recently approved the academic calendar for the 2017-18 school year. The first day for students will be Aug. 21, and the final day of classes will be May 31. The 2017-18 calendar includes a longer winter break, a preference indicated by parents and district employees in online surveys. Schools will be closed for holidays on Sept. 4, Labor Day; Nov. 22-24, Thanksgiving; Dec. 21-Jan. 8, winter break; Jan. 15, Martin Luther King Jr. Day; and March 30, Good Friday.

In 2016, Travel + Leisure magazine readers voted Hilton Head Island as the best island in the continental United States. Hilton Head could earn the honor again in 2017 as it has been listed among 23 islands that readers are voting on at travelandleisure.com. Last year, Travel + Leisure wrote, “Even as the secret about Hilton Head gets out, repeat visitors say it hasn’t lost any charm.