Review Category : Beaufort News

Animal Services relocates wild horses

Three wild horses living on St. Helena Island have been relocated as a result of a fourth horse being hit and killed by a vehicle last weekend.

Marsh ponies

Marsh ponies

More than a dozen of these wild horses live on Horse Island on St. Helena Island. Nearby property owners say the animals have been there for years living off the land. Over last weekend one was hit and killed at Seaside Road and Horse Island Road. Due to the safety concerns of these animals being so close to a high traffic area, Beaufort County Animal Services went to Horse Island last Tuesday to try and relocate the horses.

A local veterinarian said taking the horses to a new location would be the safest alternative for both the animals and motorists. He said the horses have developed a habit of traveling to the road and that habit would not be broken unless the horses were moved.

The two horses pictured at right were taken to Camelot Farms on St. Helena Island where they will remain until adopted.

These horses are known as Marsh Ponies. Experts say the horses are direct decedents of the Marsh Tacky but over the years have bred with Shetland Ponies creating the name Marsh Ponies.

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News Briefs

State accommodations tax applications available 

The Beaufort County Accommodations Tax Board is now accepting applications from tourism-related organizations wanting to receive grants from the two percent state accommodations tax fund.

State law allows for a 2% tax levy on the rental of all transient accommodations to help provide financial support to fund tourism-related projects and events. As a result, individuals staying overnight in hotels, motels, inns, and vacation rentals pay 2% above the cost of their lodging.

An application can also be found on the Accommodations Tax Board website at http://www.bcgov.net/departments/Administrative/beaufort-county-council/boards-and-commissions/council-appointed/board-list/accommodations-tax/index.php.

Applications are due Friday, November 21, 2014 before 5 p.m. and must be emailed to atax@bcgov.net.

For questions or more information, email Joy Nelson at jnelson@bcgov.net or call 843-255-2250.

Beaufort County keeps high bond ratings

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services and Moody’s Investors Services affirmed high ratings for Beaufort County’s general obligation bonds. Standard & Poor’s awarded Beaufort County an AA+ long-term rating while Moody’s Investors gave Beaufort County a rating of Aa1. Both the Aa1 and AA+ are next to the highest (AAA) credit rating that can be received from the rating agencies. The high credit rating allows the county to obtain more favorable interest rates on borrowing thereby saving the county substantial amounts of money over the course of the life of the bond.

Moody’s Investors Services rating gives the county a stable outlook. Its report stated, “the Aa1 rating reflects the county’s healthy reserve levels, a tourism-based economy that has driven rapid tax base expansion, a wealthy demographic profile and a manageable debt burden.”

“Despite a tough financial year in 2014, these credit ratings show how Beaufort County is fiscally responsible and despite challenges, we continue to make financial decisions that benefit the residents of Beaufort County,” said Beaufort County Administrator Gary Kubic.

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Meetings to inform about upcoming Boundary Street construction project

Boundary Street property owners, public invited to Beaufort briefings on upcoming road project

With road construction expected to start soon, Beaufort city leaders will hold open meetings later this month to share information and expectations with the affected property owners and public.

“Even though this is a relatively short stretch of roadway that we are improving, it’s a key gateway to Beaufort and is an important commercial corridor,” said Jon Verity, chairman of the Beaufort Redevelopment Commission.

“We want to share what we know about the project and keep our communication open with property owners and people who will be traveling the road on a regular basis during construction,” he said.

The hour-long session will cover the same content at each meeting, but for the convenience of business owners and the public the meetings will be held on different days and different times:

• Monday, Oct. 27, noon in City Council Chambers

• Tuesday, Oct. 28, 8 a.m. in City Council Chambers

• Wednesday, Oct. 29, 5:30 p.m. in City Council Chambers

• Thursday, Oct. 30, 7 p.m. in City Council Chambers.

“We certainly hope anyone with an interest can make it to one of these meetings,” Verity said. “We spread them out across the week and at different times because we know not everyone can make an early morning meeting or an evening meeting.”

While the sessions primarily are designed to inform property owners along the 1.5-mile section to be improved, the public is welcome to attend. The City Council Chambers are located in City Hall at 1911 Boundary Street.

The $30 million Boundary Street construction project is expected to go out for bids in November and Rob McFee, director of engineering and infrastructure for Beaufort County, said the county hopes to award contracts by early December. Dirt could start moving early next year, he said.

The meetings will include an overview of the Boundary Street Redevelopment District, the goals of the construction and how the City plans to keep the community informed during construction. Verity and McFee will lead the discussions.

Building a better Beaufort is the goal of a $30 million investment in Boundary Street to create a safer and more scenic entry to the city, provide better commercial and retail locations, and improve traffic conditions.

The project includes:

• Realigning the intersection of SC 170 and Boundary Street

• Retrofitting, re-investing and redeveloping neglected areas of the corridor

• Creating commercial/retail nodes

• Providing alternate ways for people to reach commercial/retail including bike and walking paths.

The entire project, approximately 1.5 miles including side road improvements, is expected to be substantially complete by November 2016.

The Boundary Street Redevelopment Corridor project budget is funded through three sources: A Federal Highway Administration grant of $12.635 million, the Beaufort County one cent sales tax for road improvements of $7.819 million and the City of Beaufort’s TIF II estimated contribution of about $6.443 million.

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Political Notes

• County Council Write-In Candidate To Hold Meet & Greet: Beaufort County Council Write-In Candidate Brian MacDermant will hold a meet and greet on Sunday, October 26 at Beaulieu House, 1103 Paris Avenue, Port Royal at 5:30 pm. MacDermant is a write-in candidate for County Council District 4 which covers Beaufort and Port Royal. For more information please call 843-271-8838 or brianforcouncil@hotmail.com.

• Democrats to host barbecue meet and greet: The Beaufort County Democratic Party will host a barbeque and meet & greet this Sunday, October 26 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Sun City Pavilion. Special guests include State Sen. Vincent Sheheen, the Democratic nominee for Governor and Jaime Harrison, chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party. Sheheen, a lifelong South Carolinian, has been a member of the SC Senate since 2004, and was a member of the SC House of Representatives from 2000 to 2004. He will face Gov. Nikki Haley in the November election. Harrison is an Orangeburg native and former aide to Rep. James E. Clyburn. While working for Clyburn, he was the first African American to serve as Floor Director for a leader of the U.S. House of Representatives and the first to serve as Executive Director of the House Democratic Caucus. He is also the first black chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party. Passes will be provided for non-Sun City residents. Ask for the special event pass for the Democratic Bar-B-Que to gain access to Sun City. Price for the barbecue is $25 per person, payable at the door by cash, check, or credit card.  Reservations are required by calling the Hilton Head Democratic Campaign Office at 843-342-4888, the Beaufort Democratic Campaign Office at 843-522-2014, or Paul Russo, president of the Sun City Democratic Club at 843-705-2674.

• Shrimp Soup Celebration to benefit Laura Von Harten: Shrimp Soup Celebration with music by Bull Grapes will be held Monday, October 27, 5 to 9 p.m. at Old Bull Tavern, 205 West Street, Beaufort. Free admission; shrimp soup and drinks available for a charge. Soup made with local shrimp, music by the Bull Grapes, creative drinks and the unique gastro-pub atmosphere at the Old Bull Tavern — what a great way to spend a Monday evening! This special event is being held to benefit Laura Von Harten’s re-election campaign for County Council District 4. Admission is free; soup and libations will be for sale. Old Bull Tavern has a tradition of being unofficially open on Mondays for “Stone Soup Night” — a time when locals can get together, relax and enjoy whatever delicious soup that Chef John Marshall has been inspired to concoct for the evening. Stone Soup Night on Oct. 27 will feature soup made with local shrimp contributed by Sea Eagle Market. The event starts at 5 p.m. — and the soup often sells out quickly. So arrive early if you want to be sure to get some! The Bull Grapes, an eclectic and energetic band that play a wide range of foot-stomping songs, will perform from 7-8:30 p.m. Door prizes will be given away throughout the evening. For more information, contact Tracy Von Harten, Campaign Manager, at laura4council@gmail.com.

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Local teen wins national poster contest

Beaufort Housing Authority resident, Ericka Alston, 17, was named one of 13 national winners of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Official’s (NAHRO) annual “What Home Means to Me” poster contest.

Ericka Alston

Ericka Alston

Ericka and her fellow 12 national winners represent youth from across the country in grades kindergarten through 12 who currently live in affordable rental housing administered by a NAHRO member housing authority or community development agency.

“This year, more than 250 entries were submitted to NAHRO,” said Preston Prince, CME, president of the association. “The annual poster contest is an opportunity for youth to voice what having a safe, clean and supportive living environment means to them.”

Ericka’s artwork will be featured nationally in the association’s annual “What Home Means to Me” calendar and publications. She will also receive a $100 U.S. Savings Bonds.

A senior at Battery Creek High School, Ericka is a standout player for the Battery Creek Dolphins Varsity girls basketball team. She plans to attend the University of South Carolina upon graduation.

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Fire department checks gas leak at TCL

Beaufort firefighters cleaned up a battery leak that sent two Technical College of the Lowcountry employees to the emergency room for observation last Monday morning.

One or more batteries in the welding shop at TCL apparently released potentially dangerous hydrogen cyanide and carbon monoxide in a closet containing a bank of batteries used for the wind turbine, according to Beaufort Fire Chief Sammy Negron.

TCL gas release 10-13-14“Dispatch received a call at 7:01 a.m. of an odor coming from a building at TCL that could be a possible gas leak. Their security could smell the gases from outside the building,” Negron said.

Squad 1 from the Beaufort Fire Department responded within minutes and, after meeting with TCL security and maintenance workers, found no evidence of explosive gases. “However, our air monitoring equipment did detect hydrogen cyanide and carbon monoxide in a closet of the welding shop,” Negron said. “Our firefighters isolated the batteries and removed them. We ventilated the affected building until all readings were back to normal. Once the ventilation was complete and the hazard removed, the building was released to be re-occupied.”

Negron said ER doctors kept the two TCL employees under observation for a few hours but they were released.

He applauded the quick reaction of TCL employees in alerting the fire department of the possible gas leak. “Early detection and calling the fire department helped keep this a minor incident,” Negron said. “These are potentially dangerous gases in high levels. We encourage people to always err on the side of caution and call us if they think there’s a gas leak or other potential danger.”

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Library recognized for architecture

Two years after being built, the St. Helena Branch Library is again being recognized for its architecture and design.

Last week, the St. Helena Branch Library was featured as a 2014 Building of the Week in the American-Architects online newsletter. Since the beginning of the year, American-Architects has taken a state-by-state look for the feature. This week, American-Architects chose the St. Helena Branch Library as the building to highlight in South Carolina.

American-Architects describes the design of incorporating attributes of the Gullah-Geechee Sea Island culture and its modern look and feel as the reasoning for the library being chosen as this week’s winner.

To see the other buildings in the U.S. chosen for this recognition, go to http://www.american-architects.com/en/pages/50×50.

In 2013, the St. Helena Branch Library won two awards during the American Institute of Architects South Carolina Conference for Best Architecture Honor Award and Committee on the Environment Honor Award.

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News Briefs

Suspect wanted in assault of cab driver

A suspect has been identified in the September 28 assault of a cab driver on Old Bailey Road.

Shykeim Raykwan Wright, 18, of Grays Hill is wanted on one count of assault and battery high and aggravated for the attack that left a 63-year-old cab driver hospitalized with severe facial injuries.

The victim, a driver for Maude’s Cab service, reported that he’d picked up a young black male from Ben Allen Road in Grays Hill that Sunday morning and drove him to Old Bailey’s Road as requested. The two men talked as he drove, with no indication of anything amiss.

However, as they approached the area of Blueberry Lane on Old Bailey’s Road, Wright suddenly attacked the driver without provocation, striking him in the head with a hammer. Wright got out of the vehicle and the victim tried to drive away, but Wright continued to assault him, smashing the windows of the vehicle with a rock and beating the victim about the head and face.

The victim was eventually able to disengage and drove a short distance, pulling into a private driveway and honking the horn to summon help as Wright fled the area on foot.

The motive for the attack remains unknown, and nothing was reportedly stolen. Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Shykeim Raykwan Wright is asked to call either Investigator Sgt. B. Cooler at 843-255-3423 or Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC. Wright is a black male, approximately 5’06”, 175 lbs with a 2-3” afro hairstyle. His last known address is 14 Ben Allen Road.

Wright is also wanted on two unrelated counts of Pointing and Presenting a Firearm for an incident in July 2014, during which he allegedly brandished a weapon and threatened to kill two victims at 19 Walter Drive in Burton. Due to the violent nature of Wright’s offenses, he should be considered as potentially armed and dangerous.

 

Shooting in Seabrook still under investigation

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office is continuing the investigation into a shooting incident in Seabrook that left one man injured on Sunday, Oct. 12.

Just after 7 p.m., deputies responded to the area of the Whale Branch bridge in reference to a reported gunshot victim. Deputies located a white Chevy Malibu occupied by three subjects nearby on Fieldfare Way. The backseat passenger was a 28-year-old black male suffering from a gunshot wound to the back.

The driver and front seat passenger of the vehicle advised that they had been at a house party on Delaney Circle and decided to leave. As they were leaving, they heard several subjects arguing. An unknown male then jumped into the back seat of the car and yelled to get him out of there.

As the three men drove away, unknown suspect(s) began shooting at the vehicle. They drove to Hwy 21 then turned onto Fieldfare Way, pursued by the suspects in an unknown vehicle, who continued to shoot at them. Multiple shots were fired, one of which entered the vehicle and struck the back seat passenger.

The driver pulled over and called for help, rendering aid to the victim until deputies arrived. The victim was transported to Beaufort Memorial Hospital where he remains in stable condition.

At this time, no suspect(s) have been identified. Anyone with information is asked to contact Investigator Cpl J. Malphrus at 843-255-3426 or Crimestoppers. To report crime, citizens can call Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC (274-6372) or text the word TIPSC with a message to CRIMES (274637).

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CODA commemorates Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Citizens Opposed to Domestic Abuse (CODA) is supporting a number of events this October for National Domestic Violence Awareness Month to encourage the community to get involved and to learn more about the impact of domestic violence by attending these events. Some of these events are open to the public:

• The Clothesline Project, a display featuring T-shirts designed by domestic violence survivors, at the Beaufort, Hampton and Jasper county libraries during all of October.

• Wedding Gown Project, a display featuring wedding dresses bearing witness to the fact that while many walk into marriage full of hope, the reality of domestic violence shatters their innocence. The dresses are adorned with the names of those who have died at the hands of their partners in South Carolina from 2011-2013. These will be displayed in Hampton, Colleton and Jasper county courthouses during all of October.

• Farmer’s Market awareness tent (Port Royal, October 25, 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Walterboro, October 18, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Bluffton, October 23, from noon to 6 p.m.).

• A Light in the Window: Businesses and community members in Hampton County have agreed to display a purple candle in their front windows throughout the month of October to draw awareness to domestic violence in their community.

• Stand in the Sand: Zonta is hosting this event, and will have speakers, a walk, and candlelight vigil. Coligny Beach, Hilton Head Island, October 11 at 6 p.m.

• Candlelight Vigil and Awareness Event: Beaufort High School football game (October 17 at 7:30 p.m.).

• Candlelight Vigil and Awareness Event: Ridgeland/Hardeeville High School football game hosted by the Jasper County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council (October 31 at 7:30 p.m.).

• Trinity Health and Fitness Pilates Fundraiser: Trinity Fitness Moss Creek Village, October 18 and 25, Bluffton at 9 a.m. (all proceeds to CODA).

• St. Mark’s Paper Drive for CODA, (diapers, paper towels, toilet paper, Kleenex), St. Mark’s Church, Beaufort, all month.

Whether we realize it or not, we all know someone who has experienced domestic violence. By attending these events, the community will show support for survivors, mourn those who have lost their lives and send a message that we must work together to stop domestic violence in the Lowcountry.

CODA has been providing an array of services to victims of intimate partner abuse and their children in Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper counties for more than 28 years. In 2013, CODA provided 146 survivors and their children with emergency shelter for a total of 4,832 nights. The nonprofit also answered 3,353 calls on the 24-hour hotline and provided outreach services such as counseling, case management, legal assistance and transitional housing to 261 survivors. Please visit www.codalowcountry.org to learn more about domestic violence and CODA’s services.

SC DOMESTIC VIOLENCE STATS

 Victims of domestic violence come from all walks of life — all cultures, all income groups, all ages, and all religions. They share feelings of helplessness, isolation, guilt, fear and shame and often these incidents go unreported to law enforcement. Domestic violence affects women, men and children of all ages without prejudice.

According to the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault website, an annual report based on information obtained from the most recent Supplementary Homicide Report data submitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) shows the numbers for 2011, which  are the most recent statistics available, and the ranking is calculated according to the homicide rate per 100,000 people in the state.

• 61 females were murdered by males in South Carolina in 2011, a total of 2.54 per 100,000. This is more than twice the national per capita rate of 1.17 per 100,000.

• Four of the female homicide victims were 18 years of age or younger, and the average homicide victim age was 38 years old.

• Of these victims, 22 were black, and 39 were white.

• For those homicides in which the victim to offender relationship could be identified, 93% of reported homicides (52 out of 56 identified) were murdered by someone they knew.

• Of the homicide victims who knew their offenders, 63% (33 victims) were murdered by a male that was their husband, common-law-husband, ex-husband, boyfriend, or ex-boyfriend.

• South Carolina has been in the top 10 of women killed by men for the past 15 years, and this is the third time at the top spot in the nation.

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LIBPA to host school board candidates’ forum

On Tuesday, October 14 at 8 a.m. in the Beaufort Realtor’s Association Headquarters (located to the rear of BB&T on Lady’s Island Drive) Lady’s Island Business and Professional Association will conduct a forum for the two candidates seeking to represent District 2 on the Beaufort County School Board. The meeting is open to the public.

Mr. Bill Evans, a petition candidate, is the present incumbent and Mr. Terry Thomas is a write-in candidate. As with all LIBPA candidate forums, the order of speaking will be alphabetical, each candidate will be allowed 10 minutes to speak on any subject they choose to address, the remaining time will be devoted to questions and answers. Following the question and answer period, each candidate will be provided three minutes for a final summary.

The following subjects may be of interest to forum attendees during the question and answer period:

• Should the school district become a taxing authority?

• What is the proper role of the school board in regard to the school district?

• Opinion of Common Corps Standards and the new South Carolina standards presently being developed.

• How to best cope with the effect of poverty on education.

• Action needed to improve Beaufort County schools.

• Opinion of charter schools.

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