I grew up visiting my grandparents in Nebraska every summer. My grandpa would practically set his clock by the time the newspaper boy would drop the daily paper off in the mailbox every Sunday. I distinctly remember the fresh smell of ink rolling off the paper as he fanned open the edition and handed me the “funnies page.”

Years passed, and one day the delivery man dropped off my grandparents’ computer. It was the first time I realized that I could have all my many questions answered almost instantly, just at the touch of a button. This computer brought more than answers—it would completely morph the way I would soon completely my high school and college career, how I would communicate with family, friends, and my partner, and how I would do my job working as a journalist.

In the ideal, you could look at a town’s newspapers from 20, 40, 100 years earlier and get a clear picture of what life was like in that time and place. How people lived and played and ate. Their work and their faith. Their government and their schools. Their entertainment, their rites and rituals. How they treated each other.  What they argued about.

That’s what local newspapers do. They turn a mirror to our community, and, like every good-quality mirror, they reflect our best parts and our flaws. What’s that blemish? Has it always been there?  Is there a way to get rid of it?

BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY NAMES EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT OF OPERATIONS

Jackie Estes has been hired as Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ executive vice president of operations. Estes has been in real estate since 1983, with extensive experience in real estate owned/corporate properties. 

GOVERNOR’S SCHOOLS INSPIRE TALENTED BEAUFORT COUNTY STUDENTS

For some Beaufort County teenagers, reaching their full potential means leaving home at an early age to study at one of two specialized public high schools located several hours away.

Wylder Voegele, who attended May River High School for ninth and 10th grades, graduated this year from the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities. They (Voegele uses the gender-neutral pronoun) can’t say enough about how this residential, master- to-apprentice learning opportunity changed their life and put Voegele on a trajectory for success. Voegele will be a freshman at Maryland Institute College of Art this year, where they will continue their studies in animation.

HILTON HEAD ISLAND EXECUTIVE EARNS MASTER’S DEGREE

The youngest of 11 children from a working class family in Northern Virginia, Shannon Stratton started putting herself through community college at age 18. She was among the first in her family to pursue higher education. “I was working as an administrative assistant and going to school at night,” she said.

Despite her best efforts, life got in the way and she dropped out. Stratton went on to become a highly successful business owner, but she always wished she had earned her degree.

PRINCIPAL GRETCHEN KEEFNER RETIRES AFTER 44 YEARS OF FINDING JOY IN STUDENTS

A long line of cars wound its way toward Hilton Head Island Elementary School for the Creative Arts, but this wasn’t the average end-of-day carpool line.

Each vehicle bore colorful signs reading “Gretchen we love you!,” “You are an inspiration to all of us!,” and “Thank you for everything!”

WOMEN IN PHILANTHROPY HELPS HAMPTON COUNTY

This spring, when tornadoes ripped through Hampton County and locals lost their jobs due to the novel coronavirus, nonprofit giving circle Women in Philanthropy sprang into action. The group that usually serves only Beaufort County needs issued special appeals to its members, who responded generously to both fundraising drives.

HABITAT FOR HUMANITY FULL SPEED AHEAD AT THE GLEN

Carolina Ramirez usually has a smile on her face, and she giggled when she said, “We’re calling this ‘the waiting house.’”

Her home at Hilton Head Regional Habitat for Humanity’s The Glen neighborhood is months behind schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but she and her three kids never lost hope that they’d soon be living under their own roof. Now their dream of homeownership is becoming reality: The family will move in this month.

SWEETGRASS INN COMING TO HILTON HEAD HEALTH 

Weight loss resort Hilton Head Health expects to open the Sweetgrass Inn by January 2021. The 18,000- square-foot property will have 30 guest rooms, a game room and theater room. It will also include a rocking chair porch that overlooks Hilton Head Health’s heated pool. 

COURT ATKINS GROUP RELOCATES TO FORMER RED FISH BUILDING 

Court Atkins Group has renovated and relocated to the former Red Fish Restaurant building in Bluffton. James Atkins said the main goal was to get the firm’s entire team at one location.