News briefs for December 21st-27th

9 mins read

Gullah property redemption is ‘unexpected blessing’

A Gullah descendent, Tracy Mitchell, “never thought it could happen to us” before her  family lost a .77-acre tract of land that had belonged to her great-grandfather Elijah Jones. 

Still, when the Jones/Mitchell family failed to come up with $8,159.61 needed to redeem the property, which had been sold at the 2016 Beaufort County Delinquent Tax Sale, ownership of the piece of land on Hilton Head Island assessed at $85,000 passed out of her family’s hands forever.

But the story of another piece of property owned by the Jones/Mitchell family will have a happier ending. That 1.18-acre property assessed at $118,000, which was recently sold at the 2017 Beaufort County Delinquent Tax Sale, will be redeemed and kept in their family thanks to $11,200 in donations to the Beaufort-based Pan-African Family Empowerment & Land Preservation Network from members of the 100+ Women Who Care Hilton Head Island.

The collective $11,200 donation to PAFEN from the 100+WWCHHI is the largest single donation ever received by the PAFEN, according to Theresa White, founder & CEO of the nonprofit group that runs an ongoing Help Save Gullah-Geechee Land campaign. PAFEN has helped to save $3 million worth of Gullah-Geechee-owned property in Beaufort, Colleton, Georgetown and Horry counties since 2015.

“This is an unexpected blessing for us,” said Mitchell. 

Her mother Annette Mitchell’s mobile home and the family land it sits on will be saved when PAFEN was expected to redeem the property on Dec. 19. Also being redeemed, will be a .81-acre tract of land and a house assessed at $179,900 that’s owned by the Rosalee Driessen Trust. Driessen, 91, is a nursing home patient. Her daughter, Marilyn Blake, will attend the family’s property redemption.

PAFEN will spent a combined total of $11,001.92 to redeem the Jones/Mitchell and Driessen properties; pay their 2017 tax bills; and qualify them to apply to participate in Beaufort County’s Installment Program for property tax payments, which allows property owners to pay their bills in six affordable payments spread over a 12-month period.

Visit Donations can be mailed to PAFEN,  P.O. Box 706, St. Helena Island, SC 29920. 

History Museum to hold annual meeting

Museum members and the public are invited to attend the annual meeting of the Beaufort History Museum at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 25, in the museum’s main hall on the second floor of The Arsenal, located at 713 Craven St.

At the meeting, milestones of the past year will be celebrated and plans for 2018 will be revealed, including a preview of the renovation of the museum’s main exhibit hall, which is scheduled to open to the public in spring 2018. 

Current museum members also will vote on a slate of board of directors nominees (all of whom are existing board members). The slate will be presented to BHM members in advance of the annual meeting via email.

Nominees for a second three-year term on the board are:

• Lorrie Burleyknoles, a member of the museum’s board of directors since January 2015, has been instrumental in the development of BHM’s Docent Program and chairs BHM’s Volunteers Committee. 

• Carol Lauvray joined the museum as a docent in 2013 and was elected to BHM’s board of directors in January 2015. She has served as president of the board since December 2015 and is also a member of the museum’s Marketing and Communications Committee. 

• Carla Marsh, a member of the museum’s board of directors since January 2015 and co-chair of BHM’s Marketing and Communications Committee, recently retired from a career in public relations and marketing with an office in Boca Raton, Fla. 

Following the annual meeting, a reception featuring hors d’ oeuvres and wines will be held at 7 p.m. at the museum. 

Those who wish to renew their museum memberships or to become new members can do so at the meeting or at the museum’s website at

Toys for Tots needs community’s help

United Way of the Lowcountry is partnering with Toys for Tots, The Salvation Army, Love House Ministries, Bluffton Self Help and the Deep Well Project this year to provide Christmas assistance to those in need through Operation Holiday Heroes. 

Operation Holiday Heroes is a countywide collaboration to ensure that every child and family in need throughout Beaufort and Jasper counties has toys and food for Christmas.

Last year, Operation Holiday Heroes provided Christmas gifts and meals to 1,816 families throughout Beaufort and Jasper counties, including 3,936 children.  

Donate toys by dropping them off at any of the United Way of the Lowcountry offices (Beaufort, Bluffton, Ridgeland) or at one of the many Toys for Tots boxes throughout Beaufort and Jasper counties. 

For a full list of toy donation drop-off locations, visit

To make a monetary donation to Operation Holiday Heroes, visit  or send a check payable to “Operation Holiday Heroes” to United Way of the Lowcountry, P.O. Box 202, Beaufort, SC 29901; or drop off at United Way of the Lowcountry (Beaufort office), located at 1277 Ribaut Road. 

Other ways to help include hosting a holiday or dinner party and collecting gifts for Operation Holiday Heroes; making a donation in memory of a loved one or in honor of them; or for businesses to become a Toys for Tots drop-off location by requesting a box on the Toys for Tots website at

Those needing Christmas assistance this holiday season, should register by calling the Salvation Army at 843-524-3727; or calling or visiting Love House Ministries at 843-525-1043, 423C Parris Island Gateway, Beaufort. Love House Ministries will be conducting itd registration process from 12:30-5 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday through Dec. 22. Children are not allowed at sign-up or toy distribution.

Free parking offered at downtown marina

The Beaufort City Council has approved the Parking Advisory Committee’s recommendation that there be free parking in downtown Beaufort this holiday season. 

However, it will be offered in a different way than it has been in years past to allow shoppers more time to explore what all of the merchants have to offer as well as to provide time to enjoy lunch or dinner without having to worry about a parking time limit.

Free parking will be offered now through New Year’s Day at the Downtown Marina parking lot on the waterfront and accessed from Bay Street at the intersection of Charles or Newcastle streets

There are 167 parking spaces available and there will be no time limit on parking.

All other metered parking spaces/areas downtown will be paid parking, including Bay Street, and their respective time limits will be enforced. Paid parking is enforced from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Saturday.


A list of businesses that donated door prizes to the recent Island Girls Night Out at Modern Jewelers inadvertently omitted Mama’s Furniture from the list of donors.

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