The Hilton Head MLK Committee for Justice plans to celebrate the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday on Jan. 17. The keynote speaker will be Sen. Mia McLeod. The celebration will include worship, speakers, music, a presentation of the MLK Community Service Award and a fellowship luncheon. For more, hiltonheadmlk.com. 

The Technical College of the Lowcountry recognized 11 associate degree nursing graduates during a pinning ceremony at the Beaufort Mather Campus. The graduates are Stacy Bajorek, Krystal Deitsch, Isabella Fallon, Sharonda Jenkins, Rashida Johnson, Kerri Jones, Kimberly Lunceford, Katy Sandoval, Brittany Shuman, Kayla Sikes, and Nikole Wright. TCL’s two-year ADN program prepares graduates to practice as registered nurses. Students experience on-campus learning using high-tech simulation equipment and receive intense additional hands-on practice at clinical sites located throughout Beaufort, Jasper, Hampton and Colleton counties. 

INTERSECTION REALIGNMENT PROJECT SITS IDLE

Like a car left at the side of the road, plans for realigning the Buckwalter and Bluffton parkways intersection sit idle, awaiting a jump start.

Plans and proposals for the roads have advanced in fits and starts for more than 15 years.

Hilton Head Island Town Council voted 7-0 to extend the contract of town manager Marc Orlando and give him a bonus of $15,000. Orlando began working for the town on Feb. 22, 2021. The terms of the contract were amended to coincide with the February start date and continue through February 21, 2025. After 2025, the contract will automatically extend for one-year periods unless terminated. “We are very pleased with Marc’s performance and with the accomplishments of Town staff during his time with the Town,” said Mayor John McCann. 

johnnIt is that time of year. The holidays are over, and we are ready to hit reset on our personal health initiatives. Whether you declare a New Year’s Resolution, commit to a dry January, or go out and renew that gym membership once again, let’s agree to one thing: Let’s do it together.

It is widely believed that we will be more successful in these health measures if we share our goals with friends, family and anyone who will help us achieve better health.

IMAGINATION LIBRARY

Lowcountry Community Church has partnered with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to bring free books to all children under the age of 5 in Beaufort County. Since it launched in 1995, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has gifted more than 160 million free books. Register at lowcountrycc.org/imaginationlibrary, call 843-836-1101 or email jbest@lowcountrycc.org. 

Hilton Head Island Town Council voted unanimously to adopt a strategic plan that guides the work of the Town’s Office of Cultural Affairs, including initiatives to promote art and culture organizations and enhance quality of life for the community. The plan includes goals, strategies and tactics for several initiatives such as public art, the annual Crescendo event, historic sites and cultural preservation. A copy of the plan will be available on the Town’s website at hiltonheadislandsc.gov, and the OCA’s website at culturehhi.org. The adoption of the plan will provide direction and support for the Office of Cultural Affairs during the next three years, according to Jenn McEwen, director of the Town’s Office of Cultural Affairs.

A Bluffton food truck owner was arrested on federal drug trafficking and conspiracy charges. According to an indictment, Isaac Jimenez Nava, 30, who owns Maiz Taqueria, is accused of working with another man, Sandy Clark to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine, 100 grams of heroin and 40 grams of fentanyl, beginning in at least 2019. Both men pleaded not guilty to the charges, according to The Post & Courier. 

The Beaufort County School District said threatening messages warning of school shootings were found in bathrooms at Bluffton H.E. McCracken Middle, Bluffton Middle, Beaufort Middle, and Beaufort High schools. Law enforcement investigated the threats and planned an increased presence on the campuses. The Bluffton Police Department said Dec. 10 it charged a juvenile for writing a threatening message in a bathroom at McCracken Middle School. The student was charged with making student threats and malicious injury to property, according to Police Chief Stephenie Price. Hilton Head Island High School was put on lockdown after law enforcement received a phone call about a possible threat to the school. The lockdown was lifted after two hours. 

The sales and use tax rate in Beaufort County changed Jan. 1, dropping the rate in Beaufort County to 6 percent. Those paying an Accommodations Tax in Beaufort County will pay 7 percent. The 1 percent Transportation Tax became effective May 1, 2019 after Beaufort County voters approved the tax in 2018. The stated goal was raising $120 million for improvements to Beaufort County roads and bridges. 

Alex Murdaugh, a former Lowcountry attorney involved in numerous criminal and civil cases, faced new charges as of early-December. S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson announced Dec. 9 that Murdaugh faces seven indictments with 21 new charges. The Associated Press said the indictments include seven more alleged schemes between 2016 and 2020 where the attorney told clients their settlements were smaller than expected or they had to pay extra fees for things like accident reconstruction, according to court records. Murdaugh faces 12 state grand jury indictments, with 48 separate charges. 

The Boys & Girls Club of Hilton Head Island held a dedication ceremony Dec. 12 for its new outdoor pavilion, which was completed this year. The pavilion was dedicated to Stan and Margie Smith as “Club Champions” in honor of their long-standing commitment to the Club’s mission to serve those in need, a news release said.

HILTON HEAD ISLAND WOMAN RECOUNTS ALLIGATOR ATTACK

What began as a typical morning at Hilton Head Plantation on Sept. 2 for 5-foot tall, 80 years young Ellie Kyle ended up in a fight for her life. 

Kyle was walking Lulu, her chihuahua-dachshund rescue dog, which she does each morning. 

“All of the sudden I look over, and an 8-foot alligator grabbed my legs and pulled me back in the water,” she said.

TCL’S CULINARY INSTITUTE OF THE SOUTH PREPS LOWCOUNTRY WORKFORCE

It’s not unusual to see the Lowcountry on the itinerary of cable channel celebrities searching for culinary culture spots. 

Don’t be surprised if one day some of the chefs featured are products of the Technical College of the Lowcountry’s Culinary Institute of the South, which opens in January at Buckwalter Place in Bluffton and was unveiled to the public in November. For the last two years, students have been training, a few miles away, in a teaching kitchen at the college’s Angus Cotton Academic Center. 

LOOKING BACK AT LOCAL AND NATIONAL HEADLINES

JANUARY
The year began in the shadow of the coronavirus with more than 100 million confirmed cases worldwide, but newly developed vaccines offered hope. Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines were proving to be effective, with initial doses administered to older adults. About four million doses were delivered per week in the United States to begin the year.

Locally, Marc Orlando resigned as Bluffton’s town manager and accepted the same position with the town of Hilton Head. He replaced Steve Riley, who retired last year.