News briefs for October 27th-November 2nd

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Top photo: Lowcountry Recognition winners honored by Sun City from left are former Hardeeville Mayor Bronco Bostick; JCNU board member Jerold Murray; Palmetto Electric President and CEO Berl Davis; Hilton Head Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Pat Wirth; Hilton Head Habitat for Humanity board member Jeff Cooper; JCNU board member Carol Cook, and JCNU founder and Executive Director Tedd Moyd.

Mayor talks to citizens about variety of issues

Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling recently spoke to residents of the city of Beaufort and Beaufort County, addressing their concerns about ongoing and future annexation plans for local areas.

The mayor spoke to and answered questions from the room of citizens for about two hours on Sept. 28 at Lady’s Island Airport.

He stressed the need for Beaufort city and Beaufort County Council members to collaborate more closely so that planning, zoning, development, environmental, and private- and government-owned property issues are all at the forefront of subsequent discussions.

The mayor said that this in turn, will hopefully result in positive growth and success for all communities, making them more accessible to retailers and pedestrian-friendly, while maintaining the area’s rich cultural and street-side beauty.

He also talked about jobs that will be created by the expansion of businesses to local areas.

Sun City Hilton Head honors local contributions

Sun City Hilton Head’s board of directors and its Government and Business Affairs Committee hosted the annual Lowcountry Recognition event Oct. 19 at Sun City Hilton Head’s Lakehouse to recognize outstanding individuals and groups whose members and leaders contribute to the betterment of Sun City and the Lowcountry.

The honorees are:

Former Hardeeville Mayor Bronco Bostick: A lifetime resident of Jasper County, Bostick has served the city of Hardeeville for about 20 years. He served three terms on the Hardeeville City Council from 1992 to 2004, including one term as mayor pro tem. He first ran for mayor of Hardeeville in 2008 and was re-elected to serve another term in 2012.

Hilton Head Regional Habitat for Humanity: Hilton Head Regional Habitat for Humanity has begun construction on its 100th house in the Hilton Head/Bluffton area. That house, along with 15 others, will be built in phase one at The Glen, Habitat’s first community in Hilton Head on 14 acres of land donated by the town of Hilton Head Island. Plans are currently underway for an additional 18 houses in phase two.

Palmetto Electric Cooperative: Since the formation of Palmetto Electric Cooperative in 1940, the company has been dedicated to improving the quality of life for people in South Carolina’s Lowcountry. The mission of the Palmetto Electric Trust is the accumulation and disbursement of funds for charitable purposes in Beaufort, Hampton and Jasper counties.

Jasper County Neighbors United: Since its founding in February 2000, Jasper County Neighbors United (JCNU) strives to enhance the quality of life by creating healthy communities. JCNU has served more than 1,500 residents in Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper counties in these major areas: affordable housing, work force development and education.

Town installing sidewalks on Buck Island Road

The town of Bluffton has begun construction on the next phase of the Buck Island-Simmonsville Community sidewalk project.

This project will install 1,200 linear feet of 5-foot wide sidewalks on Buck Island Road adjacent to the Toy Fields neighborhood across from the Wellstone development.

The town, in cooperation with Palmetto Electric, will also install overhead lighting along the new section of sidewalk, as well as additional lighting to the north of the Toy Fields neighborhood along the existing sidewalk.

JRC Specialty Inc. is the contractor for the project.

The project begins at the existing sidewalk at 2 Toy Fields Circle and runs south to 301 Buck Island Road.

Construction is anticipated to be completed in 30 days.

Bryan McIlwee, the town’s director of engineering, said, “Future phases of this project will extend from the existing sidewalks along Buck Island and Simmonsville roads south to May River Road. Once this sidewalk project and the May River Streetscape project are complete, a resident will be able to walk from Buck Island or Simmonsville Roads to the Bluffton Historic District.”

“This sidewalk project is one component of a multi-year plan to enable our residents to walk from their homes to shop, go to work or visit their neighbors,” Mayor Lisa Sulka said. “Town Council’s vision is to continue to provide walkability for as many residents as we can.”

For questions or more information, call Assistant Project Manager Jeff Wiggins with the town of Bluffton Engineering Department at 843-706-4536.

NOAA signs contractor to study coastal regions

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Office for Coastal Management (OCM) has signed Woolpert to a five-year, multimillion-dollar contract to collect data from U.S. coastal regions and the Great Lakes.  It is part of a $49 million total capacity contract shared among five prime contract awards.

The contracting vehicle enables the OCM to provide governmental entities — local, state and federal — the ability to apply the acquired and developed data and tools for coastal resource management applications.

“The data to be collected … will be used as a basis to address coastal inundation, sea level rise, coastal resilience, post-storm assessment and a host of other research,” said John Gerhard, Woolpert project director. “It will provide consistent and accessible geospatial data, while supporting analysis of the data on a national scale.”

Jeff Lovin, director of Government Solutions for Woolpert, lauded this collaborative contract and the benefits it will provide at multiple levels of government.

“I am pleased to see our long-standing relationship with NOAA OCM continue through this new contract vehicle,” Lovin said. “This contract vehicle is unique in that OCM encourages us to bring state and local partner projects to the contract. When you’re able to foster partnerships between local, state and federal entities, everyone wins.”

Youth alliance holding community forum

The Lowcountry Alliance for Healthy Youth (LCAHY) is hosting a Community Forum from 6-8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 14, at Bluffton High School.

There will be three guest speakers to address different aspects of youth in relation to alcohol and marijuana. The forum will also highlight some of the area’s local high school youth who will speak to how they feel the community can help them lead healthier lives.

The experts include Dr. Lindsay Squeglia, of MUSC, who will discuss the effects of alcohol and marijuana on teen brain development; Dr. Wendy Bell, of the SC Law Enforcement Division, who will discuss medical marijuana myths; and Michelle Nienhius, of the SC Department of Alcohol & Drug Abuse, who will provide an overview of the South Carolina student drug survey.

“The purpose of this forum is to engage the public, but more importantly increase awareness our youth face regarding use and substance abuse. We want the public to know what they can do to provide a healthier environment for our teens. The youth are our future so making sure they see a future, should be the primary focus of everyone living and working in this community,” said Wendy Cummings, president of the LCAHY executive board.

The LCAHY began in 2012 with the mission of engaging the Hilton Head and Bluffton communities in recognizing, preventing and reducing youth substance use/abuse and related risk behaviors by addressing the causes/conditions that put our youth at risk and identifying protective factors that will prevent our youth from engaging in behaviors that negatively impact them.

Visit www.lcahealthyyouth.com.