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Beaufort loves its parades

BEAUFORT – Whether it’s Martin Luther King’s birthday or Water Festival or Veterans Day or Christmas, you’ve got to admit this community loves a parade. 

The annual Beaufort community Christmas parade was back this year, compliments of the local Lions Club, and the crowd that lined the streets Sunday on a close-to-perfect December day was a testament to the popularity of parades. 

More than 70 units representing churches, rescue squads, and even the Pritchard Island sea turtle protectors were there, a reminder to the observers that it’s cool to live in a community this size. 

There was a parade for the Beaufort High Eagles last week as the team headed to Columbia to compete in the state championship. Unfortunately, there was not a victory to celebrate but the community let them know they were proud of what the young athletes had accomplished. 

As of this writing, there are no reports of taunting or shootings. No one tried to run over the participants. 

We have a lot to be thankful for. 

It’s not pretty but it’s got to be done 

BEAUFORT – For those who might have missed it, earlier this fall, “comprehensive plans” were a topic of this column’s rants. But now, just in time for Christmas … the new “elephant in the room” … gerrymandering. 

Admittedly, the nice word is “redistricting” for what our elected leaders, with the help of statisticians and number-crunchers, are doing to our elected districts, from county council/school board to state House and Senate to U.S. House. 

But politics being politics – look out for yourself under the mantra of “protecting” your constituents – the redistricting effort is laced with gerrymandering activities with the overall goal of, yes, making sure every district has about the same number of people, but making sure the elected individual gets to stay in office. 

Even though we’re talking about numbers, it’s a messy process; excuse the old cliché – it’s like sausage. You don’t want to see it getting made. 

But it’s a process that’s going to be in place for the next 10 years and determine whether we here in northern Beaufort County are going to be represented in the S.C. Senate by someone in Charleston or someone in Walterboro, for example.

It’s pretty clear we’re going to lose Tom Davis as our state senator and he’s gonna have to move south of the Broad River if he wants to stay in office and push his medical marijuana legislation. (Of course, some folks of Lady’s Island and St. Helena haven’t been represented by Davis since 2010 redistricting.)

And Brian Flewelling is no longer living in his County Council District 5 and instead, lives in the same district as Alice Howard, which means the two Republicans would have to face each other next year.

There’s the argument raised by a few during last week’s public hearings on the County Council’s proposed redistricting plan – the census numbers used to draw these districts are uncounted. That’s a fact that’s acknowledged pretty much nationwide and one that elected officials warned about earlier this year when the census count was going on.

We just have to deal with the cards we’re given, so to speak. And when voters say they have no idea whom their local elected official is, when they want to complain about a pothole or taxes … good luck.

Update on that Dunkin Donuts

LADY’S ISLAND – Surprise! Things may not look so grim for that rumored Dunkin Donut shop on Sea Island Parkway after all.

Developer Graham Trask didn’t get what he wanted last month from the county Zoning Boards of Appeals, in terms of variance requests to build a drive-through business at 131 Sea Island Parkway.

The planning staff had some concerns about the proposed project and after a round-and-round discussion, the citizens board sent it back to staff for more tweaking. Well, wouldn’t you know, Trask presented a modified proposal that satisfied the staff and clearing for the project began this past weekend.

He still has to go to the ZBOA later this month for approval of a special use in that zone and the issue of traffic impact on that very busy road is bound to come up.

Stay tuned for updates.

Dominion Energy tree-cutters took one more swipe at city trees this month, focusing their chain saws on parts of the Pigeon Point neighborhood. City Special Projects Coordinator Neal Pugliese told City Council last week the Pigeon Point cutting would be the last for Dominion’s tree work this year and that none is scheduled for 2022. Photo by Lolita Huckaby.

Lolita Huckaby Watson is a community volunteer and former reporter/editorial assistant/columnist with The Beaufort Gazette, The Savannah Morning News, Bluffton Today, Beaufort Today and The Robesonian (Lumberton, N.C.). She can be reached at bftbay@gmail.com.

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