South Carolina African American Heritage Commission (SCAAHC) is documenting the impact of the coronavirus through the African American perspective. The organization has opened a portal called Black Carolinians Speak: Portraits of a Pandemic and invites African American South Carolinians to chronicle the personal impact of the pandemic through stories, photography, video, art work, poetry, and other forms of expression. This an opportunity to provide future generations with knowledge as to how people persevered through a time that altered a sense of normalcy.

The Don Ryan Center for Innovation has been appointed by the town of Bluffton as the DRCI Small Business Concierge. The DRCI will help businesses through the economic challenges produced by the COVID-19 pandemic by offering a free annual DRCI membership and free rent at The HUB – the new home of the Don Ryan Center for Innovation that offers flex space and business-building services. Additionally, the DRCI and the Beaufort County Economic Development Corporation have created a comprehensive COVID-19 resource guide, which provides business owners a list of resources and explanations of federal and local programs. For more information, visit www.donryancenter.com.

 

The town of Hilton Head has relaxed enforcement of the temporary sign regulations. All businesses are allowed to install temporary signs on their properties to announce openings. A permit is not required but the following guidelines should be followed: - each business is permitted to have one sign per street frontage - each sign should be no larger than 18” x 24” - each sign must be located on the same site as the business The town of Hilton Head has also relaxed enforcement of its single-use plastic bags ordinance due to the possible contamination reusable bags could pose. 

 

bricksThe town of Bluffton partnered with the American Legion Post 205 to create the Veterans Memorial, which is in the Buckwalter Commerce Park. The park is closed because of the coronavirus, but memorial bricks at $100 for three lines of text, 14 characters per line, are being sold for the park. For more information, contact Kay Ranta at kayranta1135@gmail.com or 843-757-7918.

 

At Pinnacle Medical Group, Dr. Audrey Klenke, plastic surgeon and principal of Pinnacle Medical Group, and her staff have expanded their services to support local hospitals during the COVID-19 crisis. Pinnacle Medical Group reached out to Beaufort Memorial, Hilton Head and Coastal Carolina Hospital to offer to treat minor skin injuries including lacerations (cuts that may require stitches) and burns. 

DJ throws dance parties for Bluffton

DJ Gary Lucca of JLK Events and All American Mobile Entertainment gave Bluffton neighborhoods Hidden Lakes, Woodbridge, Westbury Park Palmetto Pointe and Rose Hill free outdoor dance parties during the stay at home orders. Families got their groove on at the end of their driveways or socially distanced in community open spaces.

Gov. Henry McMaster announced May 11 that close contact service providers including salons and barber shops, fitness and exercise centers, and public pools throughout South Carolina will be able to open in a limited capacity on Monday, May 18. He also lifted restrictions on recreational facilities and activities.

The pomp and circumstance will be far less this year, but seniors in Beaufort County high schools will have their chance to walk across the stage. With South Carolina schools shut down for the remainder of the academic year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, district high schools are planning a creative approach to graduation ceremonies that include commemorative videos as well as drive-through celebrations for students and their families.

T-shirts printed with the hopeful message “Lowco Strong” were part of a creative campaign that raised $6,000 this month for Lowcountry nonprofit organizations.

Bluffton resident Justin Jarrett, founder of Lowcosports.com, partnered with 19 local charities to raise much-needed funding in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The shirts sold for $20 with $10 from each shirt sold going to the buyer’s favorite charity.

The silver semi-trailer on cement blocks on the site of Hilton Head Island’s Gullah Museum is a curiosity to passers-by on Gumtree Road.

“They wonder about its significance,” said Louise Cohen, founder and executive director of the Gullah Museum.


Resilience and the ability to repurpose items are skills many hope to develop as the country faces the COVID-19 crisis. The silver trailer on the island’s north end is a testament to strength and ingenuity of Native Islanders who lived here more than a half century ago.

Hilton Head Island nonprofit dealing with unprecedented needs

The Deep Well Project has been helping islanders in need for 47 years, but now many of the nonprofit’s former donors are seeking assistance. As Lowcountry businesses remain shuttered and job losses mount due to COVID-19, Deep Well’s ability to help with food and rent is more important than ever, said executive director Sandy Gillis. In addition to the nonprofit’s regular clients, Hilton Head Island residents from all walks of life are submitting requests for help.

Teachers and staff at Bluffton High School dusted off their stealth skills on April 9 and pulled a senior prank. But in this role reversal, the surprise was for their students.
Over the course of a day, the adults put up signs in the front yards of the school’s 233 seniors in a mostly covert operation.

When Paula Traver returned recently from yet another trip to Walmart, the Hilton Head Island resident wasn’t ready to rest. There was so much to be done.

Since last weekend, Traver has spent about 12 hours each day sewing masks to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Using fabric depicting Batman and the solar system, Traver’s designs originally were just for family, friends and her real estate clients. But late last week her husband Jack went to Grayco wearing one of the masks she made. The mask was a hit at the hardware store and management asked Jack if Paula could make some for its employees. Sure, she said —16 masks shouldn’t be a problem.