News briefs for July 13th-19th

7 mins read

Hot air balloon coming to Okatie

This digging season, safety is in the air. 

The Beaufort-Jasper Water & Sewer Authority (BJWSA) is reminding Lowcountry residents to always call 811 before breaking ground in a big way – a gigantic hot air balloon featuring the national call before you dig number – 811.

The 811 balloon will be tethered at the Chelsea Water Treatment Plant at 14 Snake Road (behind the Administrative Offices at 6 Snake Road) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, July 14. 

Members of the public can climb in the basket or take a brief tethered ride in the balloon. 

Parking will be provided in the lot behind the office building. Only children 14 years and older may ride, and only if they are accompanied by an adult. There must be one adult for each child who boards the balloon.

When calling 811, homeowners and contractors are connected to one call center, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of their intent to dig. 

Professional locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, paint or both. 

Every 6 minutes an underground utility line is damaged because someone decided to dig without first calling 811.

Striking a single line can cause injury, repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages. Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a call to 811. 

Installing a mailbox, building a deck and planting a tree or garden are all examples of digging projects that should only begin a few days after a call to 811.

The depth of utility lines can vary for a number of reasons, such as erosion, previous digging projects and uneven surfaces. Utility lines need to be properly marked because even when digging only a few inches, the risk of striking an underground utility line still exists.

BJWSA encourages area residents to visit or for more information about digging safely.

Beaufort Bank Build site is dedicated

LowCountry Habitat for Humanity held a dedication and groundbreaking for its Beaufort Bank Build Home on July 11 at 904 Greene St. in downtown Beaufort.

Eric Lowman, BB&T Lowlands Market president, worked closely with LowCountry Habitat for Humanity to chair the fund drive for this new collaborative project.   

The Beaufort Bank Build illustrates how the local banking industry is coming together to help give a hand-up to homeownership to Habitat Family partner, Natiema Fuller-Busby, a single mother with two children who is working on the construction of her home with Beaufort Bank Build supporters as well as other volunteers.

Bank partners in this home build project include Wells Fargo, CBC National Bank, BB&T, Bank of America/ Merrill Lynch, Ameris Bank and Palmetto State Bank.   

Other contributors to this project include the Coastal Community Foundation, The Beaufort Charities, Hargray Caring Coins, the Junior Service League of Beaufort and the United Way.

For more information about LowCountry Habitat for Humanity, call 843-522-3500.

Northern long-eared bats found in two new counties

Five Northern long-eared bats have been captured in two new counties on South Carolina’s coastal plain: Charleston and Berkeley counties. 

Historically, this federally threatened species was known in South Carolina to exist only in the Upstate, but were discovered in fall 2016 on the coastal plain in Beaufort County.

Dottie Brown, senior ecologist at the consulting firm Ecological Solutions Inc., reported to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) the capture of five Northern long-eared bats as part of a bat research project being conducted in Francis Marion National Forest: two juveniles (one female, one male) and three adults (one female, two males). They were captured mid-June through early July near a stream corridor. 

Brown and her team fitted the bats with radio transmitters, and tracked them to a daytime roost each day. Although the main maternity roosts have dispersed at this point in the season, multiple bats were documented leaving juvenile roosts during emergencey surveys. Northern long-eared bats used to be commonly found in mature forests and large tree cavities before their populations declined. However, opportunistic selection of roost-sites within a wide range of tree size and species has also been seen. 

Freedom Shrine is re-dedicated

The Exchange Club of Beaufort re-dedicated the Freedom Shrine at the Beaufort County Courthouse on July 7. 

“It was the very first one we gifted,” said charter member Grady Thames. 

Since then, The Exchange Club has donated one to almost every school North of the Broad and to City Hall and Penn Center. 

The Freedom Shrine is a collection of photographic reproductions of original documents from American history. The display includes the Bill of Rights, the Mayflower Compact, the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. 


Sanford staff to hold satellite office hours

The district staff of U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford, R-SC, will be conducting July satellite office hours at 2 p.m. Thursday, July 13, at the St. Helena Branch Library at 6355 Jonathan Francis Sr. Road.

Satellite office hours are conducted around the district by the representative’s staff in order to be as accessible as possible to constituents who require assistance with federal agencies, including Medicare, Veterans Affairs, Social Security, the Internal Revenue Service or even help processing a passport. 

Additionally, anyone wishing to express an opinion or ask a question is welcome to stop by.

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