Some folks would call what John Hunter does this time each year a major undertaking and a huge amount of stress.

LOOKING BACK AT LOCAL HEADLINES JANUARY: The Lowcountry was welcomed to the New Year with a powerful overnight storm on Jan. 3 that left thousands without power. Severe storms and a cold front brought heavy rain and heavy wind. Wind gusts reached 49 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service.

The West Course at Belfair recently reopened following a $5.8 million, five-month golf course renovation. The project included a new irrigation system, re-grassing of greens, bunker renovations, as well as other projects to improve the award-winning course’s playability and aesthetics. 


Hilton Head High School’s girls won the SCHSL Class AAAA girls state tennis championship. The Seahawks defeated Greenville to claim the school’s first tennis crown since 2019. Emily Ruckno won the individual Class 4A/5A championship.


Jasper County hosted the CJ Cup in Gillisonville, with Rory McIlroy earning the win. McIlroy closed with a 4-under 67 for a one-shot victory over Kurt Kitayama. He finished at 17-under 267, to win for the 23rd time on the PGA Tour.

Beaufort County Council approved sign-on and relocation bonuses for new hires in the detention center, emergency medical services department, and the sheriff’s office. The policy, effective for employees with a hiring date of Nov. 1 or later, will provide new employees with a sign-on bonus of $5,000, paid in two installments: $2,500 upon hiring and the other $2,500 after successfully completing a probationary period of employment.

The SC Department of Education and the SC Education Oversight Committee released the 2022 School Report Cards with ratings of Excellent, Good, Average, Below Average, and Unsatisfactory. District schools at the elementary level that received an Excellent rating are Beaufort, Coosa, Okatie, and Red Cedar. Schools rated Excellent at the middle school level were H.E. McCracken and River Ridge Academy.

Christina Gwozdz was elected new Beaufort County Board of Education chairperson after a special called meeting. The position was vacant when the former chair, David Striebinger, passed away. She previously served as chair from 2019-2021. Gwozdz has represented District 9 since January 2017. 


Hilton Head Town Council voted unanimously to adopt a Workforce Housing Framework, which includes allocating $1 million annually for workforce housing, beginning with the current fiscal year. The framework includes four pillars, with each having specific goals and strategies. The pillars include engagement and collaboration; planning; establishing a management program and policies; and providing a “consistent, sustainable, and multi-sourced revenue model for funding workforce housing initiatives and partnerships.” For more information, visit


Hilton Head Town Council OK’d the master plan for the proposed Mid-Island District. The Mid-Island District Plan, which includes a 103-acre property that will be a gathering place for residents and visitors, will serve as the basis for the implementation of redevelopment strategies. For more information, visit


Beaufort County voters approved a 1-percent Green Space sales tax to purchase land, conservation easements, and buy down density to slow and prevent development.  The tax will begin in May. Officials estimated a penny tax will raise $100 million, with at least 40 percent coming from visitors and tourists. Exempted from the tax would be purchases of gas, medicine and groceries.


Elizabeth Hey won the District 10 Beaufort County school board seat, defeating incumbent Mel Campbell and Peter Kristian. Hey earned 38.11 percent of vote, Campbell received 26.35 percent and Kristian earned 35.10 percent. Rachel Wisnefski (District 7) and Carlton Dallas (District 8) won unopposed school board seats.

After a runoff on Nov. 22, Alan Perry was elected mayor of Hilton Head Island. Perry defeated JoAnn Orsichak (55.95-44.05 percent). 


Hilton Head and Beaufort County leaders are determined to complete the picture for a building a new, much-debated bridge connecting U.S. 278 with the island. It’s a commitment that calls for cooperation, communication and a lot of cash.

Once completed — and the goal is 2028 or early 2029 — the six-lane bridge is expected to improve traffic flow, enable bicyclists and pedestrians, enhance safety and satisfy a laundry list of government specifications.


Sometimes it takes a crisis to bring a long-time issue to everyone’s attention. The need for affordable, attainable workforce housing on Hilton Head Island and the broader Lowcountry region isn’t new. But a recent crisis has certainly brought a whole new focus on the matter.


Growth, development and workforce housing are hot topics on Hilton Head Island, and possible projects are having an impact on the area.

The owners of a beloved business, Driftwood Stable, announced their plans to cease operations at their Jonesville Road location by the end of the year. Sisters Sondra and Marlene Makowski have operated the business, one of only two such operations on Hilton Head, for five years. They were notified by their landlord of his intention to sell the property.