Review Category : Beaufort News

Heads up! New phone scam occuring in Beaufort County

Beaufort-Jasper Water and Sewer Authority (BJWSA) is alerting its customers to what is an apparent scam involving phone calls from someone posing as a representative of a local water company. BJWSA has been informed of three different cases recently that targeted its commercial customers where the person stated they were calling from either “BJWSA,” “your local water department,” or “city utility.” In these three cases the person stated the customer’s water would be turned off unless a payment is made.

BJWSA makes courtesy calls through their automated system. If you have concerns about the legitimacy of a call, please contact them at 843-987-9200.

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Operating schedule change for Woods Memorial Bridge

Starting now until August 2nd Woods Memorial Bridge bridge will be closed to boat traffic between 6:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and again between 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The bridge will open at the top of the hour between 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The bridge will open “on demand” at all other times. During this test period, any boat that can safely transit under the bridge while closed may continue to do so.

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Beaufort names Prokop as new City Manager

After an exhaustive search, Bill Prokop, the interim City Manager has been named to the permanent position following a vote by the City Council last week.

Bill Prokop

Bill Prokop

“Bill has a unique ability to communicate with the public and with City Council, and he has a clear desire to share information and to involve people in our work at City Hall,” Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling said.

“His background as a successful businessman, plus his public sector experience, makes him invaluable and the ideal person to move us ahead,” Keyserling said. Prokop had served as interim City Manager since January when former city manager Scott Dadson left. Prokop came to City Hall as Director of Human Resources in early 2014.

“I am humbled and very happy to accept these new challenges as Beaufort City Manager,” Prokop said.

The City Manager leads the administration of the City of Beaufort and is responsible for all departments, including finance, planning, police and courts, fire, human resources and public works. The City’s 2015 fiscal year budget is approximately $16.8 million.

In addition to daily responsibilities, the City Manager will take the lead on the $30 million Boundary Street redevelopment project, building a new fire station on Ribaut Road, and finding ways to continue a high level of public services [we enjoy] in the face of budget challenges.  Prokop came to Beaufort from Keene, New Hampshire, where he worked as the Assistant City Manager and HR director from 2008-2014. From 2002-2008, he served as Town Administrator in Antrim, NH.

His private sector experience includes working as President of Graphic & Office Products Inc. (Dahle USA) in Petersborough, NH, from 1984-2002; and various positions leading up to Vice President and General Manager at Berol Corporation (Eagle Pencil Company) from 1967-1984.

Prokop holds a bachelor’s degree in business from Bryant University and also studied labor relations at the University of Bridgeport and international finance at the London School of Business.

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Get local weather warnings on your cell phone now!

This would be good to have given the local penchant for severe thunderstorms and tornado warnings. If you have a Twitter account just sign up for notifications from BCSO by following us @BCSOTraffic.

However, if you are not social media savvy and do not want a Twitter account, there is an alternative method to sign up for only Weather Warnings through Nixle on your cell phone. Just text the “BCNWS” to 888777.

You will receive a text response asking for your zip code in order to target which weather Warning alerts you will receive. It’s just that easy!

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Beaufort names finalists for City Manager

After a two-month long search, Beaufort City Council has narrowed the list of finalists for City Manager and will invite three candidates to participate in another round of interviews followed by a public “meet and greet.”

The finalists are David McCuen, City Manager of Abbeville, SC; Bill Prokop, Interim City Manager of Beaufort, SC; and Dianna Turner, Administrator in Travelers Rest, SC.

Final interviews are scheduled for March 31 from 1-5 p.m., with a public reception to meet the candidates  will be immediately following at City Hall.

“We were very pleased that more than 80 competent candidates applied for the job and  we are grateful that the Municipal Association of South Carolina helped vet them with a team of former South Carolina city managers,” Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling reported. “That speaks to the desirability of working in Beaufort, and these three finalists bring a lot to the table.”

The City Manager leads the administration of the City of Beaufort and is responsible for all departments, including finance, planning, police and courts, fire, human resources and public works. The City’s 2015 fiscal year budget is approximately $17.5 million.

In addition to daily responsibilities, the new city manager will be expected to take the lead on the $30 million Boundary Street redevelopment project, building a new fire station on Ribaut Road, and finding ways to continue a high level of public services in the face of budget challenges.

Meet the finalists:

David McCuen has served as Abbeville, SC City Manager since 2013, and prior to that was Assistant City Manager from 2010-2013. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business from Presbyterian College and a Master’s degree in public  administration from Clemson. He also worked as a firefighter and EMT in Greer, SC.

Bill Prokop came to Beaufort as the Director of Human Resources in March 2014, then was tapped to serve as Interim City Manager in January. Prokop came to Beaufort from Keene, New Hampshire, where he worked as the Assistant City Manager and HR director from 2008-2014. From 2002-2008, he served as Town Administrator in Antrim, NH, and previously worked in the private sector. Prokop holds a bachelor’s degree in business from Bryant University and also studied labor relations at the University of Bridgeport and international finance at the London School of Business.

Dianna Turner, of Traveler’s Rest near Greenville, SC has served as that town’s City Administrator since 2005. Prior to that she was the city administrator in Landrum, SC, and previously served as project manager for the Appalachian Council of Governments in Greenville from 1992-2002. Turner has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Winthrop University and a Master’s in public administration from Clemson.

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Powdered alcohol + schools = big problems

The South Carolina Senate recently passed a ban on powdered alcohol, agreeing that the substance is just too dangerous even after the federal government approved selling it.  A brand of powdered alcohol called Palcohol was approved for sale by the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau last week.  On its website, Palcohol said it hopes to start selling its product in the summer. About half the states in the U.S. are currently considering similar bans.NEWS - POWERED ALCOHOL

The bill faces one more procedural vote before it is sent to the House.

Opponents of the bill said it made no sense for South Carolina to sell alcohol in liquid form, but not in powdered form.

Bill sponsor Larry Martin said the powdered alcohol is more dangerous because it has no taste or odor, can be put in anything from other drinks to food and would be easier to hide than a bottle or flask of booze. He warned people could even snort it if they wanted to.

If the ban had failed, powered alcohol would be “the hottest stuff on high school campuses,” said Martin, R-Pickens. “I predict it would be the hottest stuff on a middle school campus.”

Senators seemed to be swayed by Martin’s argument that if powdered alcohol doesn’t cause problems in states where it was legal, then lawmakers can always change
their minds.

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Volunteers clean up Port Royal

On March 8th, The Outside Foundation hosted a Clean Up of the Broad Creek. Seventy-four volunteers participated in the event and collected over 400 pounds of trash, 98 percent of which was recycled. Most volunteers went out in kayaks, others chose to pick up trash by land or by power boat.

The event was made possible by a grant from Beaufort County Public Works’ “Keep America Beautiful” initiative. Atlantic Community Bank sponsored the event by providing clean up supplies and door prizes for volunteers. Publix Grocery Store provided snacks for volunteers. Local watersports company Outside Hilton Head provided free kayak rentals for volunteers.

Among the volunteers were 9 Marines, several members of the Whole Foods Market, Atlantic Community Bank and Outside Hilton Head teams, as well as volunteers from local non-profit Watercookies. The trash pulled out of the Broad Creek included a downed telephone pole, abandoned dingy, a pogo stick, assorted plastic tubing, part of a wheelbarrow and lots of fishing line.

The clean-up was the first of 2 planned for 2015 by The Outside Foundation. In 2014 the events collected over 500 pounds of trash and engaged over 200 volunteers.

“Thanks to all who volunteered at the Broad Creek clean-up. Each person has contributed to improving the health of our Creek. We look forward to hauling more trash out of the Creek this Fall “ said Jean Fruh, The Outside Foundation Executive Director.

The Outside Foundation is a local non-profit with a mission to get kids outside and to protect and preserve our local environment. The Foundation is dedicated to creating awareness, expanding knowledge, and developing a responsible understanding of nature and the environment. Ongoing projects of the Foundation include trash clean-ups by kayak, donation programs and the Kids in Kayaks program, which aims to get every 7th grader in Beaufort County out kayaking.

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Beaufort County leases historic courthouse

Beaufort County Council voted unanimously to lease its historic federal courthouse building to the Santa Elena Foundation, whose mission is the discovery, preservation, and promotion of Santa Elena, the 16th century settlement established on present-day Parris Island.Located on Bay Street in downtown Beaufort, the historic building will serve as the setting for a unique cultural interpretive center destined to become an important attraction for local, national, and international visitors. In addition, the building will include a planned archeological laboratory and serve as the first headquarters for the foundation.

“The strategic purpose of the Santa Elena Foundation is to accurately position Santa Elena in the historical record by promoting the role of the early Port Royal Sound colonial communities in the settling of America,” said Dr. Andy Beall, Santa Elena Foundation Executive Director. “We are most grateful to Beaufort County Council for allowing us the use of this historical building and providing the foundation with an excellent location to share with the public this important story.”Foundation and County leaders hope that some of the interest, energy, and capital directed to the early settlements of Jamestown, Virginia and Saint Augustine, Florida will now be shared with Beaufort County.

“We are very pleased to lease the federal courthouse to the Santa Elena Foundation,” said Beaufort County Council Chairman Paul Sommerville. “The proposed cultural interpretive center will serve as a major attraction for Beaufort County and as an introduction to this very important, little known American story.”

The foundation plans to move into the building July 1, 2015. An initial opening of the cultural interpretative center is planned for early 2016, followed by a grand opening later that year, 450 years after the founding of Santa Elena.  For more information about the Santa Elena Foundation, visit www.santa-elena.org.

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Burton firefighters offer safety tips

With the recent rash of serious fires in Beaufort County resulting in one critical injury and several close calls, the Burton Fire District would like to offer some simple safety tips to keep your home and family safe.

“People today are worried about natural disasters and terrorism, but give no thought to the one tragedy that can strike their family tonight, and they have full control of, and that is fire,” states Burton Firefighter Dan Byrne. Byrne stresses the one common denominator to the recent fires is smoke detectors. “Homes that had them had much better results than those that did not,” stated Byrne.

Burton firefighters offer these tips:

• A watched pot never burns. Never leave cooking unattended. A spark reaches explosive temperatures in less than 5 minutes; about the same time it takes for you to leave the stove to use the bathroom or check the mail.

• Have smoke detectors with a battery inside and outside all bedrooms and all living levels of your home in the vicinity of the stairway.

• Mount an ABC fire extinguisher by an exit were it can be quickly seen, accessed, and used. Do not hide them in closets and under sinks where they cannot be grabbed.

• Do not overload outlets and power strips. Ensure your power strips are UL or FM approved, are not overloaded, inspected for damage, and cleaned regularly.

• Extension cords are not permanent wiring and should be unplugged when you’re done.

• If it has heat, then 3 feet: Anything that generates heat, from stoves to heaters, should be 3 feet from combustibles such as drapes, bed linens, and furniture.

• If you live in a two story home ensure bedrooms on the upper floors have home rescue ladders. These can be purchased at most department stores.

• Close doors at night and when leaving for the day. Doors will protect young lungs, allow time for escape, and confine fires until the fire department can arrive and limit damage.

“Above all, take a second to do a safety check of your home before you go to bed or leave for the day.  Check for these and other hazards and please utilize your fire department before you have an emergency. It is our job to protect you and we can best do that by preventing the emergency in the first place,” states Byrne.

The Burton Fire District is available to its residents to install smoke detectors, perform safety inspections, discuss any hazard prevention, or any safety issue that concerns you. Please call 843-521-5550 for any questions.

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F-35B squadron commander to be LIPBA speaker

Lieutenant Colonel Joseph “Ty” Bachmann, Commanding Officer of VMFAT-501 which is located at MCAS Beaufort and assigned the mission of conducting training in the F-35B, will be the guest speaker at the Tuesday, March 10 meeting of the Lady’s Island Business and Professional Association.

The meeting will be held at 8 AM in the Beaufort Realtor’s Association Headquarters located in the Palmetto Business Park on Lady’s Island Drive (behind BB&T Bank). The meeting is open to the public.

Lt. Colonel Bachmann is a graduate of United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, NY where he was an academic All-American and football Team Captain while earning a degree in Systems Engineering.

Following his being commissioned as a Marine Corps Second Lieutenant in June of 1996, he began flight training and upon receiving his Naval Aviator Wings began training in the AV-8B Harrier at Cherry Point North Carolina. His career has included participation in Operation Iraqi Freedom, serving as a Forward Air Controller with an infantry battalion, service with a Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force to Joint Task Force Haiti and deployment with VMA-542 to Al Asad, Iraq. He is a graduate of the Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course (WTI) and US Naval Test Pilot School.

Following graduation from Test Pilot School he was assigned to the fixed-wing experimental test squadron, VX-23. There he conducted flight tests in all models of the F/A-18. As a member of the Joint Strike Fighter Development he was the first Marine to fly the F-35. In 2010 he was assigned to the 33d Fighter Wing at Eglin AFB and tasked with accepting and delivering the F-35A/F-35B aircraft for the USAF/USMC. He was then assigned as the Maintenance Officer at VMFAT-501 while instructing in the F-35B. In July 2012 he was selected for Command of VMFAT-501.

Lt. Colonel Bachmann has been requested to include in his discussion with LIBPA members the following topics: Which present Marine Corps aircraft will the F-35B eventually replace? When is the F-35B training program anticipated to be capable of operating at full capacity? What is the difference in the perceived sound of the F-18 and the F-35B? What steps can this community  take to ensure F-35B students and their families are supported and made to feel welcome? What training programs will be used for the F-35B pilots at MCAS Beaufort?

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