News briefs for March 2nd-8th

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Financial report to be delayed

The issuance of Beaufort County’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016, has been delayed due to the financial impact to the county of costs associated with debris removal efforts stemming from the effects of Hurricane Matthew.

The county’s external financial auditors have requested that the county determine and include information pertaining to these projected costs within the CAFR.

Once the CAFR is completed, a notice will be issued to the public and the report will be posted online at the county’s website.

New guidelines for county waste centers

According to Beaufort County, waste delivered in trailers, regardless of size, is prohibited at the following convenience centers: Big Estate, Coffin Point, Cuffy, Gate (Castle Rock and Grober Hill Road), Lobeco, Pritchardville and Sheldon.

Trailer use at these facilities will not be allowed due to the safety hazard they create on the small ramp space combined with the increased traffic at all of the centers. 

“These particular centers are older and smaller than the rest, so we want to be proactive in offering a safe experience to our residents by updating our guidelines for these centers,” said Beaufort County Solid Waste Director Jim Minor.

Trailers with small loads will be allowed at the larger modern centers that can accommodate them, which are on Hilton Head, Simmonsville Road, Shanklin and St. Helena Island.

Residents are reminded that truck loads and a trailer load are not accepted at one time. 

The centers do not have capacity for large loads. 

Leaves and small limbs should be disposed of in the same way yard waste is normally disposed. 

Waste types are classified in the following categories:

• Class 1 waste: Small limbs, leaves and landscape trimmings.

• Class 2 waste: Building materials, drywall, lumber, carpet, furniture, mattresses and plumbing.

The city of Beaufort collects Class 1 waste at the curb as part of its waste service for residents who live within Beaufort city limits.

Additionally, Beaufort County advises residents to immediately stop placing storm-generated debrisat rights-of-way. 

The county’s debris monitoring firm has inventoried all remaining debris for pickup by contractors. 

Any storm-generated debris that was not placed at the right-of-way prior to inventory must be properly removed and disposed of by the property owner.

All Beaufort County residents are encouraged to visit the Beaufort County Disaster Recovery website for more information related to the county’s Hurricane Matthew recovery efforts.

County councilman wants to hear from residents

Beaufort County Councilman York Glover, District 3, will hold his first public meeting to hear concerns and comments from area residents.

The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 2, at the Jehovah Church of Jesus Christ, 18 John Fripp Circle, St. Helena Island.

Residents will have the opportunity to discuss any topic or concern they have related to the community.

The agenda will also include a discussion on stormwater management led by Beaufort County Environmental Engineering and Land Management Director Eric Larson.

For more information, contact Glover at yglover@bcgov.net or by calling 843-838-3647.

Be on the lookout for painted buntings 

Photo by Mark Eden.
Photo by Mark Eden.

Bird watchers in South Carolina are being asked to help scientists learn where the eastern populations of painted buntings spend the winter. 

Splashed with red, blue, green and yellow, the male painted bunting is one of the most colorful songbirds in North America.

Anyone who sees these birds is asked to report their observations through the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Project FeederWatch, a winter-long survey of bird species. The Cornell Lab and the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center have joined forces to gather much-needed wintering information. 

“Using observations of painted buntings that FeederWatch participants have submitted since 2011, we have been able to get a sense of where southeastern populations are likely to winter in the United States,” says FeederWatch leader Emma Greig. “We don’t know the relative importance of these sites because of large gaps in information. FeederWatch participants can contribute significantly to the conservation of this beautiful bird.”

Loss of habitat from development, along with climate change, sea level rise and the illegal bird trade have combined to cause the eastern population of the birds to plummet.

“Recent results from the North American Breeding Bird Survey have shown that populations of eastern painted buntings that breed farther south have declined much faster than northern populations,” said Cornell Lab researcher Viviana Ruiz who is co-leading the effort to collect information about the species. “Knowing where painted buntings spend the winter is critical if we are to develop effective strategies to help conserve this iconic species year round.”

To learn more about joining Project FeederWatch and to sign up online, visit FeederWatch.org. To register by phone, call the Cornell Lab at 866-989-2473. In return for the $18 fee ($15 for Cornell Lab members), participants receive the FeederWatch Handbook and instructions with tips on how to successfully attract birds to feeders, an identification poster of the most common feeder birds and a calendar. 

Parris Island hosts naturalization ceremony 

Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island hosted a naturalization ceremony recently during which 18 new Marines became naturalized U.S. citizens. 

Those same 18 new Marines were among the 456 new Marines of Lima Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, and Oscar Company, 4th Recruit Training Battalion.

These new Marines will enjoy 10 days of leave before reporting to the next step in entry-level training at the School of Infantry at Camp Geiger, N.C.

There, they will go to either Infantry Training Battalion (only infantry occupational fields) or Marine combat training followed by occupational training.

Gullah Geechee Commission welcomes new members 

The Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission recently welcomed seven new commissioners from each of the four states that make up the region.

Executive Director J. Herman Blake said the new members were nominated by the State Historic Preservation Officers in the states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida and appointed by the Secretary of the Interior. They serve three-year terms.

The new South Carolina commissioners include Victoria Smalls of St. Helena Island, director of history, art and culture at Penn Center.

She also serves on the S.C. African American Heritage Commission and is an advisory board member of the Gullah Geechee Consortium of Beaufort County.  

She is a former educator and a self-taught artist.

At its recent meeting in St. Augustine, Fla., the commission also elected new officers and welcomed returning officeholders. Emory Campbell, of Hilton Head Island, was elected chair for a one-year term.

The Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission was created by Congress in 2006 to recognize the important contributions made to American culture and history by African Americans known as the Gullah or Geechee who settled in the coastal counties of South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina and Florida.

Paving underway on Broad River Road

Asphalt paving will take place through Saturday, March 4, on Broad River Road from Parris Island Gateway to Robert Smalls Road.

This work could be intermittent if there are unfavorable weather conditions and unforeseen mechanical failures.  

There will be lane closures, but traffic will be maintained through the use of traffic control devices. Motorists are asked to use caution when driving through the work zone.  

Volunteers needed to record precipitation

The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) is in need of volunteers to take precipitation measurements throughout South Carolina.   

CoCoRaHS is a nonprofit organization made up of volunteers of all ages who work together to measure and map precipitation for natural resource, education and research applications.  

Volunteers use low-cost measurement tools and an interactive website to report data that will be used by the SCDNR State Climatology office, National Weather Service, USDA, emergency managers and multiple other entities and individuals. 

Visit www.cocorahs.org.

County to survey roads for repairs

Beaufort County will conduct a pavement condition survey to collect data related to county roadway maintenance and repair projects. The survey is expected to continue through the end of March.

Beaufort County has contracted with F&ME Consultants to assist with the survey. Data Transfer Solutions, a subcontractor of F&ME, will drive all paved county-maintained roads in their Mobile Asset Collection van to collect video and GPS data of the roadways.

Weather conditions could require that the van drive along a road several times in order to accurately collect the required data.

Anyone with questions or concerns should contact the Beaufort County Engineering Department at 843-255-2700.