The Town of Bluffton Municipal General Election is set for Nov. 2. Two council seats are up for election: Mayor Pro Tempore/ Councilmember, held by Fred Hamilton, and the council seat held by Larry Toomer. The filing period for candidates began Aug. 3 and ends 12 p.m. Sept. 3. For more i nformation, email kchapman@townofbluffton.com or call 843-706-4505. 

University of South Carolina Beaufort senior Bethany McDonald launched Finnegan’s Sharing Shack July 31 at Driessen Beach Park. The initiative is designed to reduce waste and promote sustainability by recycling beach gear for free for visitors and locals, a Town of Hilton Head news release said. McDonald and Haven Banks, also a USCB student, encourage beachgoers to take what they need from an array of toys, tents, towels, chaise lounges and more. The inventory at Finnegan’s Sharing Shack is salvaged from the beach and collected from local resorts, sanitized and offered to new owners.

May River High School has been authorized to offer the Cambridge International Secondary Program for students ages 11 to 19. Cambridge International provides students with a world-class curriculum, high-quality support for teachers, and integrated assessment. May River High School will initially participate in the Cambridge Upper Secondary stage and transition to Cambridge Advanced. 

Hilton Head Island Mayor John McCann signed a local state of emergency in response to increasing COVID-19 cases and transmission. The emergency order went into effect Aug. 16. McCann encourages residents to wear masks in enclosed areas with other individuals; get an approved COVID-19 vaccine; practicing good hand hygiene; and practicing social distancing to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, a news release said.

Palmetto Dunes Tennis & Pickleball Center will host the Association of Pickleball Professionals Hilton Head Open, scheduled for Oct. 13-17. The APP Hilton Head Open at Palmetto Dunes is a “golden ticket qualifier” for amateurs and professionals for Nationals held at Indian Wells in California this December. 

gomezBluffton resident Gustavo Gomez Jr., a 14-year-old at May River High School, competed recently at the Baseball Factory National World Series. The July event in Bradenton, Fla., featured top players from the country. He played second base, right field and first base. Gomez Jr. was also picked to compete next January at the Baseball Factory Pre-Season All American Rookie Tournament. 

letterSunshine, salty air, crashing waves. The best part of living on or near an island is the beach, yet this natural wonder isn’t equally accessible for everyone and can be especially daunting for individuals with disabilities. These were the thoughts echoing in the head of then 16-year-old James Bartholomew, a local islander with a passion for surfing and a deep love for his older sister with special needs, Sally. 

James wanted Sally and her friends to have the same experience of the ocean he loved, so he rounded up some surfing buddies and invited her special needs class to the beach. It was a beautiful day, full of smiles, laughter and teenagers enjoying the beach alongside one another regardless of their ability.

DOG BRINGS COMFORT TO HILTON HEAD AIRPORT

Feeling stressed about air travel with the tight timelines and long security lines? Sometimes comfort walks in on four paws.

Now that people are flying more often as pandemic travel restrictions have lessened, passengers at the newly expanded Hilton Head Island Airport have had the pleasant surprise of being greeted by Zoara, a golden retriever who wears a vest that reads: "Please Pet Me."

CHATHAM CAPITAL GROUP CELEBRATES 25 YEARS

Chatham Capital Group, with offices in Savannah, Ga., and Hilton Head, is celebrating its 25th year in business. The company oversees more than $500 million in assets for individuals, families and related charitable entities.

Trees and power lines were knocked down the night of July 7 and early July 8 during Tropical Storm Elsa. Hilton Head Island Fire Rescue said it responded to more than 66 incidents, including 33 trees fallen in the road. Palmetto Electric reported approximately 19,800 outages on Hilton Head Island at the height of the storm, a HHI Fire Rescue news release said. Bluffton Township Fire District said it received six reports of trees falling on houses. 

MISSJulia Herrin of Bluffton was crowned Miss South Carolina on June 26. Herrin, 19, is an Auburn University student. She will participate in this year’s Miss America competition and will receive a $60,000 scholarship. She competed as Miss Clarendon. The Miss America competition is scheduled for December.

“I am honored and humbled to be Miss South Carolina 2021,” Herrin said in a Facebook post. “I can not say thank you enough to every person who has encouraged and loved on me not just over the last few days, but on my entire journey in the Miss America Organization over the last six years.”

The U.S. 278 Corridor Improvements documents are available to view, and the formal comment period has begun. View all materials online through Aug. 22, or schedule an appointment at the Island Rec Center (20 Wilborn Road) Aug. 18-21. The plan, in part, is for South Carolina Department of Transportation to widen U.S. 278 between Moss Creek Drive and Squire Pope Road from four to six lanes. It would replace the existing four bridges to the island with a single, six-lane bridge. Estimated cost is $289,902,745. For more information, visit scdot278corridor.com

Beaufort County Council approved a $132.6 million budget for the 2022 fiscal year. It includes a millage rate increase of 0.6 mills. The budget increased by $2 million because of an 8 percent increase in tax revenue because of population growth, the county said. A news release noted eliminating unfilled staff positions creates about $800,000 in savings. The budget includes a $1.97 million increase in emergency medical services and a $1.6 million increase in parks and recreation.

Residents of Beaufort County will decide in November whether to change the county’s form of government from the current form of council-administrator to council-manager. Council voted 6-5 on June 28 to include the question on the Nov. 2 ballot. If the referendum passes, council then will be able to, under a council-manager setup, make the county treasurer and auditor appointed positions. Those positions are currently elected. The other referendum for voters will be to decide whether to approve a 1% sales tax.