News briefs for September 29th-October 5th

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Adopt-A-Highway group leaders are Bill Carpenter, Melanie Gentile and Neville Patterson. They are shown here with Beaufort County Councilman Bill McBride.
Adopt-A-Highway group leaders are Bill Carpenter, Melanie Gentile and Neville Patterson. They are shown here with Beaufort County Councilman Bill McBride.

Dataw group honored for anti-litter program

The Dataw Island Adopt-A-Highway group received the 2015 Adopt-A-Highway County Group of the Year Award, presented in partnership with Palmetto Pride and the South Carolina Department of Transportation. The event took place at the Beaufort County Public Works Department annual Adopt-A-Highway meetings and award ceremony on Sept. 13.

Dataw Island Adopt-A-Highway group leaders Bill Carpenter, Melanie Gentile and Neville Patterson accepted the award.  Beaufort County Councilman Bill McBride, who represents District 3, thanked the group and its members for a job well done.

Dataw Island Adopt-A-Highway group covers a 6-mile stretch of S.C. 21 on St. Helena Island. It has 11 group leaders and 40 volunteers that pick up litter monthly.

In 2015, the group picked up 510 bags of litter, which is equivalent to 7,650 pounds of trash.

Anyone interested in adopting a 2-mile section of road in Beaufort County and forming a new Adopt-A-Highway volunteer group should contact Caroline Jordan by phone at 843-255-2734 or by email at cjordan@bcgov.net.

Bluffton begins Phase 4 of local sewer project

Construction is underway for Phase 4 of the Buck Island-Simmonsville Community Sewer Project. This phase, also known as the Possum Point Sewer extension, will bring more than 30 homes sewer service and remove those homes from septic tanks.

At the completion of this phase, this project will have provided sewer service to more than 700 residents in the Buck Island-Simmonsville community.

This multi-year, multi-phase project began in 2010.

The Phase 4 sewer project begins at the intersection of Simmonsville Road and Douglas Lane and ends at Sugaree Drive. It includes homes between those points along Simmonsville Road as well as homes on Little Possum Lane and Possum Point Lane.

Jordan Construction is the contractor for this phase, which is scheduled to be complete in early spring 2017.

More than a third of this project is funded through a Community Development Block Grant, which is awarded and administered by the South Carolina Department of Commerce.

For more information, call Project Manager John Hutchinson at 843-706-4535.

Marine Corps completes Parris Island investigation

The Marine Corps has completed three command-level investigations into allegations of abuse and maltreatment at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island regarding the circumstances surrounding the March 18 death of Recruit Raheel Siddiqui.

Findings from the Siddiqui investigation conclude that Siddiqui’s death was the result of suicide.

Additionally, the investigations revealed departures from the policies and procedures established for Marine Corps recruit training, specifically within three platoons within Third Recruit Training Battalion.

Commanders and senior enlisted advisors at the series, company, battalion and regimental level were relieved in the wake of Siddiqui’s death and a number of drill instructors have been suspended.

Currently, 20 recruit training regiment personnel have been identified for possible military justice or administrative action.

The findings of the investigations include allegations of:

• Recurrent physical and verbal abuse of recruits by drill instructors, with a noted insufficiency of oversight and supervision at various command levels;
• Improper assignment of a drill instructor for duty while under investigation for previous allegations of assault and hazing;
• Maltreatment of new drill instructors by more experienced drill instructors;
• Gaps in awareness by commanders regarding their roles within the command investigation process; and,
• Anomalies and inconsistencies in the policies and procedures responding to suicidal ideations or statements.

Training and Education Command officials have initiated immediate actions at recruit training depots to prevent the recurrence of issues identified in the investigations, to include:

• Mandatory suspension of personnel who are being investigated for recruit abuse, hazing or maltreatment;
• Additional visibility and reviews of investigations above the regimental level;
• Modification of the assignment process for drill instructors and officers;
• The cessation of any practice that is based on differentiating between drill instructors of differing experience levels (with the exception of the senior drill instructor billet);
• Establish and enforce a zero-tolerance policy for “hat-hazing” (or hazing among drill instructors);
• Increased officer presence and supervision of training;
• And review and revise mental health processes, procedures and suicide prevention protocols.

“I fully support and endorse these initial actions,” said Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert Neller.

“When America’s men and women commit to becoming Marines, we make a promise to them. We pledge to train them with firmness, fairness, dignity and compassion.”

Fripp Island earns  national award

The National Wildlife Federation has recertified Fripp Island as a Community Wildlife Habitat. This is the third year it has been nationally certified.

“This recognition is the result of hard work by the Naturally Fripp Community Wildlife Habitat Team, a diverse group of volunteers including Fripp Audubon, the Fripp Island Property Owners Association and Fripp Island Resort, partnering with government, commercial and nonprofit organizations,” according to a release. “The team is dedicated to building our barrier island’s widening reputation as a nature lover’s paradise.”

The Naturally Fripp team sought certification in 2013, submitting exhaustive documentation of Fripp’s extensive wildlife projects and programs. Fripp Island is one of just four certified South Carolina communities and one of only 90 nationwide.

Public is invited to roadway meeting

Citizens are invited to attend a public information meeting on Thursday, Sept. 29, at Lady’s Island Middle School on a corridor plan being developed for Lady’s Island. The roadway corridors being studied include U.S. 21 (Sea Island Parkway), S.C. 802 (Sam’s Point Road) and U.S. 21 (Lady’s Island Drive).

The purpose of this meeting is to introduce the study’s goals and objectives and to allow citizens the opportunity to share their input on how these roadway corridors can be improved. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. with a brief, formal presentation about the study. The presentation will be followed by informal group discussions about options for improvements. Persons with disabilities who may require special accommodations should contact the Department of Planning and Development Services at 843-525-7011.

Bluffton Republican Club to hear from candidates

The Greater Bluffton Republican will hold a forum for the candidates running for the Beaufort County School District board, District 6, on Monday, Oct. 3. There will be moderated questions for each candidate and questions from the audience.

The meeting will be held at Rose Hill Golf Club at 4 Clubhouse Drive in Bluffton. The social hour begins at 5 p.m. and the forum will start promptly at 5:45 p.m. The public is welcome.

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