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.

 

WHOSE ‘STORY’ IS IT, ANYWAY? 

Recently, I paid $99 to Ancestry.com for a DNA kit, provided the requested sample, and waited six weeks for a scientific analysis of the most fundamental elements of my identity. Like most of us, I wanted to unravel the mystery of my past; to find and make sense of those elusive pieces of the complex puzzle that is me. Probably, on a deeper level, this is motivated by a very Freudian search for personal wholeness (but that’s another article).

As a result of weather-related delays caused by Hurricane Matthew, the Town of Hilton Head Island has revised the schedule for the completion of the Beach Renourishment Project. 

As Hilton Head Island continues to pick up the pieces after Hurricane Matthew, our closest neighboring island begins its journey to return its community to normal.

Daufuskie Island is 8 square miles of private land that is only accessible by boat, so naturally many were concerned when Gov. Nikki Haley mentioned in her pre-hurricane press conference that storm surges would leave the island “under water.” For a community of small residences and businesses, staying behind to endure Hurricane Matthew was a gamble, but one that about a quarter of the residents decided to take. 

Good job, Bluffton. Your actions during the evacuation for Hurricane Matthew and after the storm had passed made us more proud to live in this beloved town. Bluffton is blessed that Mother Nature didn’t do the damage here that our Hilton Head Island neighbors experienced with this Category 2 storm. There were countless examples of when a tree fell, it chose to fall on the ground, not on a person or a house. And though not all were unscathed, speaking for the town as a whole, Hurricane Matthew could have been much worse.

PHOTO: Hilton Head Island mayor David Bennett and U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford survey saltwater damage to the 18th fairway of Harbour Town Golf Links.

Preparedness, teamwork, cooperation, kindness and thankfulness are five words that come quickly to mind when describing how our hometown Island got through last month's Hurricane Matthew impact and immediate aftermath in a positive fashion.