Women in Philanthropy awarded $91,327 from the Women in Philanthropy Endowment Fund to four Beaufort County nonprofit organizations. An additional grant of $19,725 was awarded from the Dr. Julianne Bluitt Foster Memorial Fund, established from a bequest entrusted to support Women in Philanthropy. The $25,000 grants were awarded to Good Neighbor Free Medical Clinic; Low Country Legal Volunteers and The Children’s Center. Bluffton Self Help was awarded $16,325. The $19,725 grant from the Dr. Juliann Bluitt Foster Memorial Fund was awarded to Hopeful Horizons.



Hilton Head Town Council is getting closer to finalizing one of the island’s biggest initiatives.

Recently the town council received an overview of plans proposed for the town-owned Mid-Island Tract and overall Mid-Island Initiative Area. Mayor John McCann believes the plans will “transform” the island.



Sweeping election reforms —approved unanimously — by state lawmakers were part of this year’s state legislative session.

State Rep. Shannon Erickson, R-Beaufort County, said the efforts of Hilton Head resident Xiaodan Li and a group of Lowcountry citizen activists was instrumental in clearing the air — and clearing a path — for members of both parties to come together around election upgrades.

Incumbent P.J. Tanner defeated challenger JoJo Woodward in the Republican primary for Beaufort County Sheriff. Tanner received 62.4 percent of the vote to Woodward’s 37.6 percent.

For Beaufort County Council, in District 6 Tab Tabernik defeated Mike Covert (55.9 to 44.1 percent). In District 8, Paula Brown defeated John Zmarzly (55.4 to 44.6 percent). Incumbent Mark Lawson defeated Shellie West Hodges (67 to 33 percent) in District 9.

Bluffton and Hardeeville continue to grow. The U.S. Census Bureau released its 2021 population estimates by municipality which showed the state’s population grew 1.4 percent to 5.19 million residents in 2021 over 2020.

Bluffton ranks No. 1 and Hardeeville No. 8 among the fastest-growing cities based on population.

The town of Bluffton’s planning commission approved a preliminary development agreement for new townhomes. The proposed development, Indigo Cove Townhomes, which is at the northeast corner of Bluffton Parkway and Buck Island Road, is set for 23 acres. It will consist of 83 single-family units. Developers will next present an updated agreement to the development review committee.

Hilton Head Island Town Council approved the fiscal year 2023 consolidated budget on June 7. The $119.5 million budget will reduce property tax millage for town property owners from 28.10 mills to 23.10 mills — an 18% decrease, a news release said. The budget provides an investment of $45 million for the Town’s comprehensive Capital Improvement Program and funds the hiring of a Director of Public Safety.

The filing period for the Town of Hilton Head Island’s general election runs from 8 a.m. Aug. 1 through 12 p.m. Aug. 15. The Nov. 8 election is to elect Town Council members for Wards 2, 4 and 5 and mayor. Filing for candidacy is at Town Hall, One Town Center Court. The Statement of Candidacy, which is required of any citizen interested in seeking an office, can be found at hiltonheadislandsc.gov/election/ and at Town Hall.

John Carlson has been named chief judge for the for the 2022 Hilton Island Concours d’Elegance. He is a University of British Columbia graduate who has spent 30 years in secondary education specializing in fine art and antique automobile restoration. He is serving his 21st year as President and CEO of the National Association of Automobile Clubs of Canada Corporation.

The South Carolina Department of Revenue announced the sixth increase to the state motor fuel user fee. The increase, set to begin July 1, will increase prices $0.02 per gallon from $0.26 to $0.28 per gallon.


As the nation continues to reel from the Uvalde, Texas mass shooting which took 21 lives, communities are asking how to prevent these tragic and traumatic incidents. These incidents are leaving families, communities and our nation fractured.

As debates continue about solutions, what we know for sure is if our community’s children feel protected and advocated for, fewer young people will feel isolated which may reduce harmful actions. The Bluffton Police Department prioritizes reaching out to children and the community through these programs.


Kathia Salinas, Maria Medina, Gerardo Rivera and Zohra Tebbakh were recognized with the Joe Distelheim Award for Literacy, an annual award for deserving literacy students of Bluffton Self Help, which has merged with The Literacy Center. The students were presented with a $500 check and plaque.  More than 100 former colleagues and friends of Distelheim contributed to the award’s endowment fund, raising more than $40,000 ­— enough to fund awards in the future.


By Mark E. Lett

Call it “The Great Balancing Act of 2023.”

The town of Hilton Head is moving ahead with a sweeping plan — enforceable Jan. 1, 2023 — to guide the fast-expanding operations of short-term rentals.

Harbour Town Lighthouse at The Sea Pines Resort on Hilton Head Island has installed a Fresnel lens to further the power of the light from the top. The new lens is a replica of the original Fourth Order Fresnel lens as created and designed by Dan Spinella, a Florida-based artist and engineer who began his research and restoration work on the lenses 30 years ago.

Billy Keyserling, former City of Beaufort mayor, was hospitalized after a boating accident, according to media reports. Keyserling and his brother Paul were sailing when their boat capsized near the Beaufort Sandbar, the Island News said. Billy Keyserling was pulled from the water and required resuscitation before being taken to a hospital. Paul Keyserling was conscious and alert, according to the newspaper. Billy Keyserling was later reported to be breathing on his own. An update on his condition was not immediately available at press time. S.C. Department of Natural Resources responded to the boating accident around 1:30 p.m. May 21. Keyserling served three terms as mayor.