News briefs for May 18th-24th

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Port Royal, Beaufort OK new fire station 

A new fire station on Robert Smalls Parkway has been approved by the the Beaufort City Council and Port Royal Town Council and the facility is expected to become operational in early 2018.  

The station is being built near Robert Smalls Parkway and Castle Rock Road. The municipalities will lease the property and the new fire station, which will be delivered as a turn-key project ready for fire trucks, equipment and firefighters, said Beaufort-Port Royal Fire Chief Reece Bertholf. 

“With our new ISO 1 fire rating, and with input from International City/County Managers Association’s Center for Public Safety Management, we are well-prepared and well-positioned to provide emergency services across Beaufort and Port Royal, and to our growing service areas,” Bertholf said. 

The councils approved a 30-year lease for the property and fire station, including all equipment that’s not vehicles or personnel equipment, Port Royal Town Manager Van Willis said. 

Democratic club holds monthly meeting today

The Northern Beaufort County Democratic Club will hold its monthly meeting on Thursday, May 18, at Grand Army Hall, 706 Newcastle St., Beaufort. 

The social gathering is at 6:30 p.m. and the meeting starts promptly at 7 p.m. 

Ther main speaker will be newly elected SC Rep. Michael Rives, District 121. He will discuss “What’s Going On In the Statehouse.”

All are welcome; light refreshments will be served and ticket details on the group’s May 20 party/picnic will be announced.

CERT classes are scheduled for June

Beaufort County residents interested in learning more about self-sufficiency during a disaster are invited to participate in the Community Response Team Program. 

The CERT program provides training for individuals to increase self-sufficiency in a disaster. Participants will learn to provide emergency assistance to their families and neighbors.

CERT classes are free of charge. 

The next series will start Tuesday, June 6. Classes will be held at the Technical College of the Lowcountry campus in Bluffton at 100 Community College Drive in room 125.

The course is taught in four class sessions that will be held from 6-9 p.m.; and one Saturday exercise class from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The schedule is as follows:

• Tuesday, June 6: Personal Preparedness and Hazard Mitigation

• Thursday, June 8: Disaster Medical I

• Tuesday, June13: Disaster Psychology/Terrorism Response

• Thursday, June 15: Disaster Medical II/CERT Organization

• Saturday, June 17: Fire Suppression /Disaster Search Techniques & Exercise

For more information or to register, send an email to cert@bcgov.net or contact Major David Zeoli, Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, at 843-812-8035 or Kris Legge at 843-263-2783.

Solid waste office gets grant funds

The Beaufort County Public Works Department Solid Waste and Recycling Office has received a grant totaling $83,420 from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Office of Solid Waste Reduction and Recycling.

The grant funds will not only support the collection of tires and used oil at the County’s Convenience Centers, but also help the county to implement a countywide initiative to eliminate plastic bags from the recycling containers for plastics at its four major Convenience Centers in Bluffton, Hilton Head, Shanklin and St. Helena.

According to Ashley Jenkins, the county’s recycling coordinator, this grant will educate, engage, and equip county residents with the tools and knowledge of how to recycle correctly. 

The grant also gives staff the opportunity to partner with conservation organizations to create a short animated educational series that will teach children about litter prevention, reasons to recycle, and benefits of keeping waterways clean.

Mosquito spraying is ongoing in county

Beaufort County Mosquito Control may conduct aerial training, surveillance, and/or spray missions that may include the application of EPA-registered public health insecticides during daylight hours through Friday, May 19.

Mosquito control uses low-flying aircraft and aerial spraying and is dependent upon ideal weather. It does not treat the salt marsh habitats for adult mosquitoes during these aerial operations.

Penn Center named as success story

To mark the 30th anniversary of the America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places list and how it has been a catalyst for the preservation of threatened historic sites around the country, the National Trust is issuing a retrospective list culled from the nearly 300 sites named to the program since its inception. 

The 2017 list highlights 11 once-endangered sites, including Penn Center (formerly Penn School), that are now thriving and contributing to their communities, while also focusing attention on the efforts undertaken to bring them back from the brink. Penn School appeared on the 11 Most Endangered list two years in a row in both 1990 and 1991.

“As the site of one of the first schools for freed slaves, Penn Center sheds light on the contributions and stories of African-American communities that have been overlooked within the traditional boundaries of historic preservation and education history,” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. 

“Beyond its historic significance, Penn Center’s current role as a catalyst for economic sustainability — through its service as a local, national and international resource center for community self-sufficiency, civil and human rights, and positive change — highlights the potential of adaptive reuse solutions in the South.”

Penn Center, founded in 1862 as Penn School, a central component of the Port Royal Experiment, was one of the first schools in the South for formerly enslaved West Africans.

For over a half-century, the center has recognized that African Americans on St. Helena and along the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor — established by Congress in 2006 — have managed to keep their special identity, language, religious customs and African cultural heritage more than any other group of black Americans. 

Republicans to present Young Patriot Award

The Greater Bluffton Republican Club’s next meeting will be held Monday, June 5, at the Roasting Room at 1297 May River Road in Bluffton.

The group will present its 2nd Annual Young Patriot Award.

The social hour begins at 5:30 p.m. and the meeting starts promptly at 6 p.m. 

The public is welcome.

County is ranked tops for retirees 

Beaufort County has been ranked as one of the top spots to retire based on income.

SmartAsset, a group that studies wealth and risk management decisions, released its third annual study, analyzing Social Security income, cost-of-living data and taxes across all counties to determine where people are getting the most mileage out of Social Security.

McCormick County ranked No. 1 in the study, while Beaufort County ranked fifth of the counties in the state where retirees will get the most bang for their buck.

The full study results, methodology, and interactive map can be found here: https://smartasset.com/retirement/social-security-calculator#southcarolina.