News briefs for December 29th-January 4th

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Federal, local offices close for New Year holiday

The following will be closed for the New Year holiday:

• All branches and departments of the Beaufort County Library System will be closed Monday, Jan. 2, and will reopen on Tuesday, Jan. 3.

• Beaufort County offices will be closed Monday, Jan. 2, and will reopen Tuesday, Jan. 3

• Beaufort County debris removal operations will resume Tuesday, Jan. 3.

• The Burton Wells and Buckwalter Recreation Centers will be closed Saturday, Dec. 31, and will reopen Tuesday, Jan. 3.

• Beaufort County Convenience Centers will close at 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31, and some centers will reopen on Monday, Jan. 2. Visit www.bcgov.net/recycle.

• All local, state and federal offices will be closed Monday, Jan. 2.

• Post offices will close at noon Saturday, Dec. 31 and will reopen Tuesday, Jan. 3

Hilton Head holding Grinding of the Greens

The town of Hilton Head Island will be conducting a Grinding of the Greens program this holiday season with grinding service provided by Jones Brothers Tree Service through Sunday, Jan. 15.

Undecorated Christmas trees can be taken to the Coligny Beach parking lot paved area on the South Forest Beach side or the Old Gullah Flea Market site at U.S. 278 and Chamberlain Drive.

Christmas trees are not considered storm debris and cannot be placed in any right-of-way for pick up.

Free mulch from the Christmas trees will be available for pickup at the two designated sites through Monday, Jan. 30.

Library receives grant for reconstruction project

The Beaufort County Library is the recipient of a $25,000 planning grant from the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation.

The funds will support the development of a creative curation project as part of the comprehensive plan to create a Beaufort County Interpretative Center on Reconstruction History.

Partners for the project include SCETV, the University of South Carolina Beaufort, the University of South Carolina’s College of Education, The Mitchelville Project, Historic Penn Center, the Lowcountry Digital Library, the city of Beaufort and its mayor, Billy Keyserling.

The creative curation project will work with artists, historians, designers and others to create public artwork in connection with the permanent exhibit being developed in Beaufort for a Lowcountry Reconstruction Center.

This work will engage artists across the Lowcountry to embed art in ways that would spark the public’s interest in Reconstruction History.

This process will also involve the inclusion of a Reconstruction History trail that consists of over 100 sites countywide and a mobile application designed to display and connect mobile users to the trail.

The interpretive arts will connect people to ideas and images that help tell the oft-untold story of Reconstruction history. The project envisions that art will be both embedded within the mobile app technology as well as be part of a public art component that will greatly enhance the educational and cultural features of the project.

The work will be directed by a team of local and national historians, artists, educators, and one of the nation’s leading app designers with interactive expertise in storytelling on mobile devices.

Gullah Geechee property tax payments are made

The nonprofit Pan-African Family Empowerment & Land Preservation Network Inc. (PAFEN) recently redeemed property sold at the 2015 Beaufort County Delinquent Tax Sale, and paid property taxes for five Gullah Geechee families.

The tax payments from the Help Save Gullah Geechee Land campaign will mark three firsts for the PAFEN, said founder and CEO Theresa White.

“It’ll be the first time that we’ve paid taxes for five families on the same day,” she said. “It’s the first time that a PAFEN donor has presented funds to a family, and the first time that we’ve paid taxes for a South Carolina Gullah Geechee property owner outside of Beaufort County. ”

The PAFEN has helped to save about $1.5-million worth of Gullah Geechee-owned property since May 2015, using financial, technical and referral assistance.

Walterboro resident Elizabth Lisbon, 75, was among those coming to the Beaufort County Treasurer’s Office to receive checks to pay property taxes.

Presenting the checks on behalf of PAFEN was “Sway of the Siren” author Laurie K. McCall, who donated more than $1,000 from her book proceeds to the campaign.

“We’re finding that several past clients who’re either disabled or on fixed incomes are struggling to pay their taxes for a second year,” said White. “So, we’re making a special effort to get them signed up for the Beaufort County installment payment program, which allows them to pay their taxes in six affordable payments.’’

Tax-deductible donations to the campaign can be made online at either gofundme.com/panafricanfamilyem or www.panafricanfamilyempowermentnetwork.org. Checks can be mailed to: PAFEN, P.O. Box 706, St. Helena Island, SC 29920.

For more information, call White at 843-592-6076.