The Rotary Club of Hilton Head Island has launched a collaboration with the Hilton Head Island Bicycle Advisory Committee to provide bike safety kits to islanders who bike to work. Each kit contains a reflective vest, bike reflectors, reflecting strips and a card with safety tips. The project was spearheaded by Rotary member Jim Deas and the Rotary Club, which provided funding to purchase the safety vests, and Frank Babel and Mike Hills of the Hilton Head Island Bicycle Advisory Committee. Kits will be made available to local restaurants and hotels, as well as churches and organizations like The Deep Well Project and Volunteers in Medicine, whose clients might depend on their bikes for transportation.

The All Saints Episcopal Church Garden Tour has awarded grants to the Antioch Educational Center, Backpack Buddies of Bluffton, Backpack Buddies of Hilton Head, Hilton Head Safe Harbour and St. Stephens’s United Methodist Church Outreach Foodbank. Net proceeds from the annual All Saints Garden Tours are donated to charities that focus on hunger, homelessness, literacy or aging with budgets of less than $650,000 in Beaufort and Jasper counties. The 32nd annual garden tour is scheduled for May 18.

The Long Cove Club Charitable Advisory Committee is accepting applications starting January 15 for grants that to nonprofit organizations in Beaufort and Jasper Counties. To be considered, organizations should have plans for a project to improve health, housing, hunger or educational issues. The deadline for applications is March 31.For more information contact Jordan Potter at jpotter@longcoveclub.com, call 843- 686-1070 or go to www.longcoveclub.com.

USCB HOSPITALITY MANAGEMENT CAMPUS OPENS ON HILTON HEAD 

For years, Hilton Head Island has repeatedly been named as one of the best island destinations in the world, earning praise for its world-class resorts, amenities and service.

Before gated communities dominated the landscape of Hilton Head Island, close-knit communities of native islanders defined this paradise. 

Only the people who lived in them, mostly on family-owned land in the middle and northern parts of the island, knew the boundaries of their neighborhoods: Big Stoney, Little Stoney, Squire Pope, Jarvis, Jonesville, Spanish Wells, Gardner, Marshland, Chaplin, Grassland, Big Hill, Baygall and Mitchelville.

The Don Ryan Center for Innovation broke ground Nov. 14 on its new facility in Buckwalter Place Commerce Park. The center’s mission is to build a business-friendly community for entrepreneurs and attract core target industries. The facility will house the DRCI business incubator, offer high tech co-working and meeting space, and serve as the Town of Bluffton’s economic development headquarters. Buckwalter Place Commerce Park includes eviCore Healthcare, Southeastern Development, Regency Centers, St. Joseph Candler, and Technical College of the Lowcountry Culinary Arts. The Don Ryan Center building will be adjacent to the new Kroger Market Place, which is under construction now.

Bluffton finally has a place for dogs to run free, socialize and play in a safe, enclosed area.

After 12 long years, the town finally has its first dog park, holding a ribbon-cutting ceremony Nov. 7 at the park in Oscar Frazier Park — a ceremony attended by Bluffton Mayor Lisa Sulka, area residents and excited pups.

A Shipyard Plantation resident was napping at home when a fire started at the condominium complex. The resident’s pet pug woke up the owner to alert them of the fire and they escaped the building. The resident was admitted to the hospital for smoke inhalation. Three condominium units were damaged, but no one was injured.

British Airways will begin nonstop flights between London and Charleston International Airport beginning in April. The direct flights to London’s Heathrow Airport will leave from Charleston twice a week until October. Officials estimate the economic impact generated by the new flights could exceed $20 million annually in tourism. The flights will use the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner and offer free baggage allowances, complimentary meals and bar service, plus on-demand movies to 214 passengers per flight.

American Airlines will begin direct flights between Hilton Head Island Airport and Washington, D.C.’s Reagan National Airport in May. The announcement comes less than a month after United Airlines announced it would begin service between Washington, D.C., and Hilton Head in March. The United flights will operate in and out of Washington Dulles International Airport two times a day. In a Facebook post, the airport said the new American flights are “in part due to a runway extension that was completed in June” to accommodate larger jets.

After 11-year-old Charli Bobinchuck was hit by a car and killed in a crosswalk in June, concerns have been raised about safety on Hilton Head Island roads. Her father, Bryan Bobinchuck, has asked members of Hilton Head Island Town Council to make the area’s crosswalks safer by adding road signs that would flash at drivers when a pedestrian or bicyclist crosses the street. Residents have raised concerns in the past about adding any sort of light to the roads, as it could threaten wildlife. The Bobinchuck family is adamant that while protecting wildlife is important, the safety of island residents and visitors is equally important.

An agreement between the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office and the Bluffton Police Department was approved by Bluffton Town Council in November, which allows Bluffton police to make arrests or give out tickets on the May River. The Marine Patrol Memorandum of Understanding gives Bluffton officers all powers and authority of law enforcement in waters adjacent to the town, which were previously considered out of their jurisdiction. Those waters include the May River, New River, Cauley’s Creek and parts of the Cooper River.

With the holiday season fast approaching, Community Foundation of the Lowcountry has launched the Season of Giving holiday resource on its Volunteers Connection website. Season of Giving is a listing of holiday needs, drives and volunteer activities in the Lowcountry. Whether you want to sponsor a family for the holidays, donate a toy or help serve a meal, you’ll find the opportunities listed on Season of Giving. For more information, go to www.cflowcountry.org/seasonofgiving.

The Town of Hilton Head Island is selling 2019-20 beach parking passes to Hilton Head Island property owners and residents. The parking pass is $30 per vehicle and is valid thru Dec. 31, 2020. The pass allows property owners and residents to park in designated spaces at Islanders Beach Park and Driessen Beach Park. Beach parking passes may be purchased 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays at the Town of Hilton Head Island’s Facilities Management Division office. For more information, call 843-342-4580 or go to www.hiltonheadislandsc.gov.

Society of Bluffton Artists and the Lowcountry Autism Foundation will offer free art therapy classes to Beaufort County children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. The free classes will be held in the Center for Creative Arts building next to the SOBA Gallery in Old Town Bluffton. Art therapy pairs the creativity of making art with counseling to improve and to enhance physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Art therapy services are free for Lowcountry Autism Foundation members. For more information, go to www.lafinc.org.

Shaded by live oaks and nestled beside Campbell Chapel A.M.E. Church, Bluffton Boundary celebrates the culture of Old Town Bluffton — the art and history that give the town its identity.

That culture is on clear display at the new center: A colorful mural stretches from the building almost to the street, painted at a paint-by-numbers party over the summer by local residents, and picnic tables dot the sandy yard for monthly gatherings that celebrate the region’s Gullah heritage.