Festive events to help get you into the holiday spirit

If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas, the Lowcountry is not the place to be. But if you’re hoping for a season filled with fun holiday activities, you’re in the right spot.

Hilton Head Island, Bluffton, Beaufort and the surrounding areas have an excellent lineup of festivities planned for 2016. And in addition to all the light displays and holiday performances, dozens of churches and synagogues will be offering Christmas and Hanukkah services.        

In October, the onlything people wanted to talk about was Hurricane Matthew. In any formal or informal social setting, someone was likely to ask you about Matthew, and the questions were always the same: Did you evacuate? Where did you go? When did you come back? Did you have any damage? What kind? These questions always led to conversations about trees, roofs, predatory cleanup crews, insurance companies, and deductibles, deductibles, deductibles. The funny thing is that most of us willingly repeated these same stories, and usually to perfect strangers

Businessman Donald Trump became president-elect of the United States on Nov. 8, collecting 306 electoral votes to defeat Hillary Clinton, who earned 232. When Trump takes office Jan. 20, he will become the first United States president without any government or military experience, and the first without prior political experience since Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The coveted “Best of Show” and “People’s Choice” honors were awarded Nov. 6 at the 15th annual Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival & Concours d’Elegance, held at the Port Royal Golf Club on Hilton Head Island. “Best of Show” was awarded to a 1914 Stutz Bearcat owned by Brian and Trish White of Apex, North Carolina.

The Daufuskie Island Ferry, which provides public ferry service to Daufuskie from the Bluffton Oyster Factory Landing, is offering an expanded schedule in support of Daufuskie’s Appreciation Fridays, which run through Jan. 1. As part of Appreciation Fridays, visitors and residents who go to Daufuskie will enjoy a variety of bonuses and discounts offered by businesses including Bloody Point Golf Club, The Daufuskie Island Rum Company and Tour Daufuskie.

beach parking passes

The Town of Hilton Head Island is now selling 2017-18 beach parking passes to Hilton Head Island property owners. The cost is $30 per vehicle. Passes are valid until Dec. 31, 2018, and can be obtained at the town’s Facilities Management Division office, located at 12A Gateway Circle on Hilton Head Island.

feltonTwo new representatives were voted onto the Beaufort County School Board following the Nov. 8 election. In Okatie’s District 6, Patricia Felton-Montgomery collected 4,103 votes to defeat incumbent Paul Roth, who had 1,349 votes. Felton-Montgomery, 70, is a retired educator, serving 40 years as a teacher and district administrator in schools in Washington, D.C., New Jersey and New York.

grantIncumbents Marc Grant and David Ames are both keeping their seats on Hilton Head Island Town Council after posting big wins in the Nov. 8 election. In Ward 1, Grant defeated challenger Ibrahim Abdul Malik 1,092 to 273. Grant, 45, is a native islander who grew up on Hilton Head. He co-owns the family business Grant’s Mini-Mart, and is married with three children.

Sonja GriffinWhen Lowcountry artist Sonja Griffin Evans met Georgia Congressman John Lewis during a special celebration back in June, she presented the civil rights leader with two commemorative “Amazing Grace” ornaments she created. She requested that Lewis keep one for himself, and then hand-deliver the other for the National Christmas Tree Lighting on Dec. 1 at the White House.

Beaufort County voters shot down two school-related proposals on the Nov. 8 ballot. One would have allowed the Beaufort County School District to borrow $217 million to pay for new schools and make improvements to existing ones. It was defeated 38,650 votes to 32,409.

The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved over $14 million in low interest disaster loans for businesses and residents in SC affected by Hurricane Matthew from October 4-30, 2016. This is one of the programs available through the FEMA Disaster Assistance Center currently operating at Town Hall Thursdays through Saturdays.

There is a misconception that FEMA assistance is income-based. Anyone can apply for loans or direct assistance to help with the uncovered costs incurred by the storm. Low interest loans to cover insurance deductibles are a prime example of the assistance available. Assistance is available for owners, renters and businesses.The deadline to apply is December 13, 2016.

This Town's non-profit and faith communities remain committed to assist those who lack the means to get their properties cleaned up, their homes repaired, or their lives back in order. Whether you need assistance or have talents and treasures to share, call 843-524-HELP.

As a convenience to assist the public with the disaster recovery process, the Town has developed two lists of businesses that have obtained Town of Hilton Head Island Business Licenses. One list is for Building Contractors and the other list is for Landscapers/Debris or Tree Removal companies.

Highlights for the Town of Hilton Head Island

  • Late this week, FEMA approved clearing of debris off the streets in the following neighborhoods: Ashton Cove, Barony Woods, Beach City Center, Bermuda Pointe, Brighton Bay, Chinaberry Ridge, Crosswinds, Middleton Place, Oakview, Sea Grass Landing, Shelter Cove, Spanish Pointe, Timbercrest, Victoria Square, Wells East and Yacht Cove. The Town will begin clearing debris in these communities as soon as schedules can be adjusted.

The Town of Hilton Head Island will commence selling 2017-2018 Beach Parking Passes on Monday, November 14, 2016. Passes are available to Town of Hilton Head Island property owners. The cost for a pass is $30 per vehicle and they are valid until December 31, 2018.  The pass allows residents to park in designated spaces at Islanders Beach Park and Driessen Beach Park.

Highlights for the Town of Hilton Head Island

The FEMA Disaster Assistance Center opened in the Town Council Chambers at Town Hall, One Town Center Court, on Thursday November 3rd. Some 70 citizens were served on the first day. The Center will be open on Thursdays and Fridays from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm; and from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm on Saturdays until further notice.