News briefs for January 5th-11th

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New technology improves service at county offices

Beaufort County’s Myrtle Park offices in Bluffton have launched new technology that has been called “pleasantly innovative” by residents who have visited within the past two weeks.

When residents step off of the elevator on the third floor of the Myrtle Park office building, they will encounter an interactive kiosk, followed by LED television screens, all part of the new ACF Technologies Q-Flow Software Solution, a lobby management system installed on Dec. 15.

According to the ACF Technologies website, the new lobby management software provides a quick and simple check-in process along with multi-media options.

“The launch of this innovative technology is one portion of our countywide plan to provide quality core services efficiently,” said county Administrator Gary Kubic. “We are excited to deliver a more satisfying experience to our residents.”

The system serves residents visiting the assessor, auditor, building codes, business license and treasurer offices.

Ornament can be on display year-round

Whether you take down your tree today or in a few weeks, there is one ornament that can remain on display all year long – the ABLE ornament.

“This ornament is special,” said Sue Ann Bolick, ABLE Foundation chair, “not only because it’s enameled in brass and features bright, bold colors of the sea, and not simply because it is an ornament that can be displayed throughout the entire year. It’s special because it changes lives.”

All proceeds from ornament sales go towards Camp Treasure Chest, a summer camp for special needs children in Beaufort County.

“Camp Treasure Chest is truly a life-changing experience for the campers,” said Erin Womack, Beaufort County Disabilities and Special Needs Family Support director. “Because of the specialized care needed, many of our campers would not be able to attend a summer camp in this area. This wouldn’t be possible without ABLE’s assistance, and without the funding from ornament sales.”

The boxed ornaments are being sold for $18 and are available for purchase by calling the ABLE Foundation at 843-592-1731; and at the Beaufort County Department of Disabilities and Special Needs at 100 Clearwater Way, Beaufort.

For more information on Camp Treasure Chest, the ABLE Foundation and ornaments, visit ablefoundationbc.org.

County: Christmas trees won’t be picked up

Beaufort County is advising its residents (excluding residents within Beaufort city limits) that Christmas trees are not considered storm debris and therefore are not allowed at the rights-of-way.

Trees placed at the right-of-way will not be removed by the county’s debris removal contractor.

Christmas trees can be disposed of at any County Convenience Center. All ornaments and lights must be removed prior to disposal.

All Class 1 waste (including real Christmas trees, small limbs, leaves and landscape trimmings) will be ground and recycled as boiler fuel.

The city of Beaufort collects Class 1 waste at the curb as part of its waste service. Citizens residing within the city can place real Christmas trees at the curb for collection.

Community foundation adds 2 board members

The Community Foundation of the Lowcountry has elected two new members to its board of directors.

Allen Ward, of Bluffton, is president and principal of Ward Edwards Inc., a civil/environmental engineering and allied services firm headquartered in Beaufort County and serving coastal South Carolina and Georgia. He was a founding director of Atlantic Community Bank, chartered in 2006, for which he served on the compensation, credit and building committees.

David Wetmore, of Hilton Head Island, currently serves as board chair for Grange Mutual Insurance Companies and Nationwide Mutual Funds Group. Early in his career he worked for KPMG, where he became a managing partner at age 35. He went on to become president and chair of several publicly-held software services companies, and later helped start an investment banking and venture capital fund serving the technology industry.

Since 1994, the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry has been connecting people, resources and needs by helping build stronger communities and assisting donors in making a difference through
charitable giving.

With more than 300 charitable funds, combined assets totaling $63 million and grant-making and scholarships reaching $58 million, the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry is the largest source of unrestricted philanthropic resources dedicated to Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper counties.

For more information, call 843-681-9100 or visit www.cf-lowcountry.org.

Sen. Tom Davis to speak at Republican club meeting

The Greater Bluffton Republican Club will hold its next meeting on Monday, Jan. 9, at Rose Hill Golf Club at 4 Clubhouse Drive in Bluffton.

Sen. Tom Davis, who was scheduled to speak at the December meeting, will give a legislative update and answer questions from the club members.

The social hour begins at 5 p.m. with the meeting to follow at 5:45 p.m. The public is welcome.

DirecTV, WJCL break off ties

Following protracted negotiations, the efforts of Hearst Television, parent of WJCL, to achieve a new carriage agreement with DirecTV, reached an impasse, and, as a result, WJCL is now no longer being carried by DirecTV.

The channel impacted is 22.

The current carriage agreement expired at midnight Dec. 31.

“Hearst has a long history of successfully concluding agreements with cable companies and other satellite distributors with no disruption of service to viewers,” noted WJCL president and general manager, Timothy J. Morrissey. “Unfortunately, the DirecTV negotiating team is seeking the right to carry our stations at below-market rates, which is neither fair nor reasonable given the significant investments we have made to deliver top-tier programming to our viewers.

“We regret the inconvenience DirecTV’s demands have imposed on its subscribers, and we will keep you fully informed of developments.

“We have not ‘blacked out’ our station,” Morrissey added. “You may continue to receive our station for free, over the air, and, where available, from your local cable or satellite operators.”

Viewers can determine the type of antenna needed to receive the signals of Hearst stations at www.antennaweb.org.

To contact DirecTV, call 800-531-5000.

County treasurer to speak at LIBPA meeting

Maria Walls, Beaufort County treasurer, will be the guest speaker at the Tuesday, Jan. 10, meeting of the Lady’s Island Business and Professional Association.

The meeting will be held at 8 a.m. in the Beaufort County Realtor’s Association Headquarters located in the Palmetto Business Park (behind the BB&T Bank on Lady’s Island Drive). The meeting is open to the public.

Walls will discuss the challenges faced upon taking office; the functional relationship between the auditor and treasurer; results of a review of vehicle tax accounts; the biggest future challenge; and an opinion on whether the treasurer should be an elected or hired position.

Beach renourishment project winds up

The town of Hilton Head has completed the 2016 island-wide Beach Renourishment Project. The town’s contractor, Weeks Marine Inc., completed sand placement activities in the overnight hours on Dec. 29.

Since the start of the project in June 2016, more than 2.5 million cubic yards of sand have been placed along approximately 7 miles of shoreline.

The work includes damage reparations to some portions of the beach damaged by Hurricane Matthew.

Weeks Marine plans to demobilize from the island within the next 30 days.