Bluffton Mayor Lisa Sulka won a defamation lawsuit against local government critic Skip Hoagland. She was awarded $50 million in damages. A jury ruled that Sulka would receive $40 million in actual damages and $10 million in punitive damages from Hoagland. Sulka’s libel lawsuit filed in 2017 noted emails that Sulka said Hoagland accused her of being unfit for office, according to Bluffton Today.

BY CHELSEA PEARSON

Organized and wellstructured youth sports bring many benefits to the children and families of our community.

Playing youth sports helps children meet new people and develop friendships. Team sports give the youth (and their families) an opportunity to socialize with others and become a bigger part of the community. There is an opportunity to recognize how coaches and parents have given back as volunteers, and quite possibly they can become volunteers for life.

The U.S. 278 Corridor Improvements project will hold a public information meeting on March 3 at the Island Rec Center (20 Wilborn Road, HHI) from 4-7 p.m. The meeting will offer a project update and ask for feedback.

Hayden Gregory was recently hired as Bluffton High School’s new varsity football coach. Gregory served as offensive line coach-run game coordinator for Collins Hill High School in Atlanta for five seasons.

Cross Schools opened its High School Auxiliary Building in January. Cross said the three-story building features more than 13,500 square feet of finished space that includes a weight room/ training facility and expanded locker facilities. “A large art studio and music suite add to the school’s growing Fine Arts department,” Cross Schools said. Six additional classrooms, administrative offices and a faculty lounge/work area also are housed in the High School Auxiliary Building.

The long-awaited public debut of Enmarket Arena in Savannah became reality in February. The city held a community day for the 9,500-seat arena that will host concerts and events such as Disney on Ice and be home to the Savannah Ghost Pirates hockey team. For a list of events, visit enmarketarena.com/events.

13 NONPROFITS RECEIVE $338,825 IN FUNDING

Thirteen local nonprofit organizations have been awarded $338,825 to help them continue addressing challenges created by COVID-19. The funding is part of a $5 million American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 grant the Town of Hilton Head Island received.

HILTON HEAD SEAFOOD FESTIVAL CELEBRATING ITS 15TH ANNIVERSARY

BY TIM WOOD | PHOTOS SUPPLIED

Andrew Carmines has never looked so forward to the signature event that honors the life of his brother, David. COVID sidelined the Hilton Head Island Seafood Festival for a year, but that just means a bigger and better event this year.

ANNUAL GULLAH CELEBRATION HONORS NATIVE ISLANDERS’ HISTORY

BY HILTON HEAD MONTHLY | PHOTOS SUPPLIED

The Hilton Head Island Gullah Celebration will present the 26th Annual Celebration on Hilton Head Island throughout the month.

The Feb. 1-27 event, which includes art and food, crafts and music and history, invites attendees to “Experience the Culture and Cherish the Legacy” of the Gullah Community on Hilton Head Island.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR MARCUS TANNER LEADS NONPROFIT INTO ITS 30TH YEARITS YEAR

STORY BY AMY COYNE BREDESON | PHOTO BY MADISON ELROD

Second Helpings is a nonprofit organization that works to eliminate hunger and reduce food waste in the Lowcountry by partnering with food donors and agencies that distribute food to people in need.

BILLIONS IN INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDS COULD BENEFIT LOWCOUNTRY

BY MARK E. LETT

Tom Davis has a top priority for state lawmakers preparing to divvy up billions of dollars in federal infrastructure money: Put Lowcountry concerns high on the To-Do List.

The Beaufort-based senator who represents District 46 is sharing his shopping list with fellow lawmakers, who are in the midst of the give-and-take to determine spending on projects for land, sea and air.

Savannah Mayor Van Johnson said as of mid-January the city plans to hold its St. Patrick’s Day parade in March. The parade had been canceled the last two years. He said the parade might have some modifications such as less participation or a different route.

The event, which draws thousands of revelers, was first held in 1824.

St. Patrick’s Day is March 17.

COVID-19 continues to affect the area and the country. New coronavirus cases as of mid-January in South Carolina rose 43.8% as of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Beaufort County reported 3,325 cases (more than 33,900 total cases during the pandemic). The Beaufort County School District said starting Jan. 18 it was accepting home rapid tests to allow students to return to school.

RX Industries, a precision, high-quality computer numerical control machine shop, announced plans to expand operations in Beaufort County, a news release said. The company’s $9.08 million investment will create 13 new jobs. RX Industries is purchasing a facility located at 16 Finch Street on Hilton Head Island. The new facility will increase the company’s machining capacity to accommodate increased customer demand.

Because of the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, the Boys & Girls Club of Bluffton has postponed the 2022 Bluffton Built Gala originally scheduled for Feb. 4 at the Montage Palmetto Bluff. “While we are disappointed to postpone this event, we are an organization committed to safety for our community. We look forward to rescheduling in early 2023,” event chair Nancy Aiken-DeLano, board member and club parent said. For more information, contact Kristen McGuire at 843-757-2831.

North Point Development announced the purchase of an 880-acre economic development site in Hardeeville that will accommodate up to 6 million square feet of warehouse and industrial space, a news release said. The project plans to bring more than 550 jobs at full buildout. The South Atlantic Logistics Terminal site is located along I-95 and I-17. The news release said North Point is finalizing plans for the site and expects to break ground on the first phase of development in the spring of 2022.