Review Category : Beaufort News

At Penn Center, Civil Rights Symposium to be held

Penn Center on St. Helena Island is hosting a Civil Rights Symposium to recognize and commemorate the anniversary of the founding of Penn School and its important role in United States history. Since 1862, Penn School, now known as Penn Center, has been a historic site for education that prepared its students for responsible citizenship, and it has worked to advance the promise of freedom for all residents in the Sea Islands.

Penn Center is organizing a conference to facilitate greater state and regional understanding of this rich history and is developing a network to support that objective. A longer term goal is to utilize this opportunity to launch the Penn Center Civil Rights Institute, the first of several regional facilities to promote civil rights discourse, organization and planning. This program is sponsored in part by The Humanities Council SC, whose mission is to inspire, engage, and enrich South Carolinians with programs on literature, history, culture and heritage.

Penn Center is well-situated to lead this contemporary effort to secure a quality education and voting rights for all students. Penn Center is inviting key stakeholders in this movement to speak, including Dave Dennis, Bob Moses, Connie Curry, Cleve Sellers, Chuck McDew, Emory Campbell, Millicent Brown, Hayes Mizell, Dan Carter, Tom Gaither, Jim Campbell, Myrtle Glascoe and other key civil rights activists who were participants in the Civil Rights Movement as it relates to Penn Center.

Their perspective will be enhanced by the contributions of local experts on the topic such as Emory Campbell, Joseph McDomick, Thomas Barnwell, Victoria Smalls, and Maria Benac.

Invited scholars and activists such as Vernon Burton, Jack Bass and William Hine will address issues including the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the repeal of key components of federal protection of the right to vote, the re-segregation of public schools, the school to prison pipeline, the role (and peril) of historically black colleges and universities in today’s society, and the role of museums and programs of social justice in the contemporary civil rights movement.

As part of the conference, Penn Center will also facilitate the participation of young people in workshops and panels on police violence and strategies around achieving a quality public education. This includes working with Dave Dennis, civil rights organizer from the 1960s, and another significant leader from that era, Bob Moses, who founded the Algebra Project and Young People’s Project in 1990. This focus on issues facing our communities currently will gain purpose through a retrospective look at recent documentaries on Freedom Summer and Freedom Riders, integral components of the Civil Rights Movement, as well as a screening of “The Corridor of Shame,” which drew attention to the inadequacies of local education programs.

The conference and the launching of the Civil Rights Institute at Penn Center will inform local, state, and regional citizens and leaders of this very crucial history. This, as noted, will also contribute to the content of professional development for teachers, the growth of leadership potential of young people, and the increased vitality of education throughout South Carolina. Finally, these activities will lift up the role of Penn Center and Beaufort in the growing regional and national efforts and discussions about quality public education in the country.

For more information on the Penn Center Civil Rights Symposium, schedule of events, and ways to sponsor and support it, please contact Victoria A. Smalls, Director of History, Art & Culture at Penn Center 843-838-2432 or


When: Friday, November 21 at 9 a.m. to Saturday, November 22 at 8 p.m.

Where: Penn Center, 16 Penn Center Circle West, St. Helena Island, SC, 29920

What: There will be a series of free dicussions with guest speakers throughout the two days. For a schedule of events and to register for the symposium, contact 843-838-2432 or visit

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Beaufort crews begin hanging holiday lights downtown

Crews from Beaufort’s Public Works Department began hanging downtown holiday lights last Thursday with the goal of completing the project by late November.

Two crews will start on Bay Street, then move to Carteret Street and the interior streets of the downtown core commercial district, said Isiah Smalls, director of public works and facilities management.

“We always take pride in how Beaufort looks, and hanging the holiday lights puts a little extra sparkle in our town for November and December,” Smalls said.

Once Port Republic, Scotts and West streets are decorated, city crews will move down Carteret and Charles streets to Boundary Street.

“We don’t anticipate any impact on daily road traffic, but people will see minor interruptions to parking as we use a few parking spots for our trucks and crews to install the lights,” Smalls said. “We’ll use traffic cones to mark off the spaces and then move them along as we work.

“This is an annual event and a tradition for Beaufort as we welcome the holiday season, and we hope people will excuse the minor inconveniences as we install the holiday lights,” Smalls said.

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Accessing information on arrest activity in Beaufort County now under transition

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) is assisting the Beaufort County Detention Center (BCDC) during a period of transition while they undergo new computer system enhancements. During this process, the “Inmate Inquiry” service normally available on the Beaufort County website ( will not be operational.

An updated online search function is being created to work with the new public safety software launched earlier this week throughout the county. This function will allow the public to once again search for and review arrest and inmate information for BCDC.

Until that search feature becomes available, the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office will be posting an Arrest Summary Report of all persons arrested by all agencies throughout the county. This list will be compiled daily and published each day for all the previous day’s arrests.

The Arrest Summary Reports can be found on the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office website ( by clicking on the “Beaufort County Detention Center” icon located on the Home page.

Inmate mugshots will not be published with the Arrest Summary Reports during this interim time period.

General information about BCDC and inmates may continue to be found on the county website (

Any additional information regarding any inmate at BCDC should be made directly to BCDC through Lt. Vortisch at 843-255- 5180.

Thank you for your patience and understanding with these endeavors to provide improved services to Beaufort County.

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News briefs

County to hold event to recycle electronics

The Beaufort County Public Works Department of Solid Waste and Recycling will hold its next electronics recycling event on Saturday, December 6, 2014 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Beaufort County Public Works Site, 9 Benton Field Road, Bluffton, and Beaufort County Public Works, 120 Shanklin Road, Beaufort.

Any personal computers, laptops, CRT monitors, LCD monitors, CRT televisions, non-CRT televisions, printers, hard drives and miscellaneous electronics such as microwaves, lamps, cell phones, radios, fax machines, typewriters, etc. will be accepted.

Fore questions concerning the electronics recycling events, call the Solid Waste and Recycling Division for more information at 843-255-2736 or visit

Armed robbery remains under investigation

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office is investigating an armed robbery that occurred Tuesday, Nov. 11 outside a home on Martin Lane in Seabrook.

Deputies responded to 80 Martin Lane, Lot # 9, just after 11:30 p.m. in reference to a reported armed robbery that had occurred approximately 20 minutes earlier. Upon arrival, they met with a 28-year-old female and her 31-year-old boyfriend who advised they had been robbed by two unknown black males.

The victims stated that they had just pulled into their driveway when they were approached by two men. The suspects ordered the victims out of the vehicle and stole cash, a cell phone, and a backpack containing miscellaneous personal items. One of the suspects then struck the male victim in the head with a pistol before both suspects fled the area on foot in an unknown direction.

The suspects were described only as black males dressed in all-black clothing.

Anyone with information is asked to contact either Investigator Cpl J. Snider at 843-255-3421 or Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC (274-6372) or text the word TIPSC with a message to CRIMES (274637).

Be vigilant of domestic violence during holidays

The holiday season is upon us which will bring many families together to celebrate. But while joyous for some, this time of year can also prove to be uniquely challenging to families suffering from domestic violence issues.

The heightened emotional and economic tensions that many experience this time of year can be a catalyst to an already unstable domestic relationship. And with the pressure to “keep the peace” during the holidays, victims may be even less likely to report incidents of abuse, further perpetuating the cycle of violence.

As we approach a new year, the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office hopes to encourage our community to join us in the goal of reducing domestic violence not only during the holidays, but also in the year to come.

To improve the likelihood of actually reducing both initial and repeat offenses of domestic violence, a more comprehensive approach is necessary; one that includes the support and collaboration of ALL responsible government agencies and community nonprofit organizations.

Unifying all available resources and exploring new approaches to domestic violence is a mission worthy to the health of our community, our state, and our country.

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Downtown Beaufort presents holiday fun

Main Street Beaufort, USA, proudly presents the 29th Annual A Night on the Town. This opening of the holiday shopping season takes place on Friday evening, Dec. 5, 2014, beginning at 6 p.m., and ending at approximately 9 p.m. A long standing tradition in the community, A Night on the Town is a mix of traditional and the contemporary.

An evening with a surprise around every corner and a number of things that will entertain, delight and get you in the holiday spirit. Shops will stay open late to welcome regular and new customers with special treats and a preview of their large and unique selection of items for the holidays to help get a head start of the holiday season.

The evening also includes the City of Beaufort’s Tree Lighting Ceremony, entertainment by the Parris Island Marine Corps Band, choral performances and a rumored visit from Santa.

New to this year’s event is a Living Window Display contest. Vote for your favorite businesses’ living window display at the event.

Take your pick of holiday parades by land or sea in Beaufort. Join Main Street Beaufort, USA, and the Beaufort Sail and Power Squadron on Saturday, Dec. 6, at 5:30 p.m. for the Light Up the Night boat parade on the Beaufort River. Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park provides the best view of the parade. The first boats will start arriving at the seawall at the park by 5:30 p.m. Boats will make passes by the seawall. Hot chocolate will be available courtesy of The Greenery.

The traditional Beaufort Christmas Parade will be Dec. 7, at 3 p.m., through the streets of downtown Beaufort. Floats, bands, groups of walkers and personal cars and trucks are expected to participate. Deadline for entries is Nov. 21. Participation fees vary from free for military and government groups, $10 for non-profit organizations and $20 for others.

Application forms for Light Up The Night Boat parade and Beaufort Christmas Parade are available at For more information, contact Main Street Beaufort, USA at 843-525-6644 or email

Holiday Weekend is hosted by Main Street Beaufort, USA, and presented by Subaru of Hilton Head, Hargray, I Heart Media, SCE&G, Regions Bank, Beaufort Memorial Hospital, Best Western Sea Island Inn, SCE&G, Gilbert Law Firm, The Beaufort Inn, and photographed by Captured Moments Photography.

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Lafayette Street redevelopment takes root

The first of six Lafayette Street homes being built in a public-private partnership in downtown Beaufort is expected to be ready by late spring, the developer said.

The project is located at the corner of Lafayette Street and Rodgers Avenue in the Pigeon Point neighborhood and is part of a larger effort by Beaufort leaders to create affordable workforce housing.

The developers are Brad Bowden and Lance Gooding of Gooding Contractors, Inc. and architect Eric Brown of Brown Design Studio.

“We are pleased to announce the construction of six Lowcountry-style cottages in the City of Beaufort,” Brown said.  “These cottages and civic investments will be a wonderful addition to the popular Pigeon Point neighborhood.”

The cottages will range from two to three bedrooms in the 1,000-1,250 square foot range and are designed in a traditional Lowcountry architecture.  All units will have an outdoor space and/or porch and are to be served via a new alley.

City leaders, through the Beaufort Redevelopment Commission, in 2012 sought proposals from developers to create affordable and appropriate housing on the then city-owned vacant land. Beaufort’s Civic Master Plan identified this area as having good potential for this type of development.

In return, the developers agreed to improve Lafayette Street through planned on-street parking, street lights and a sidewalk while preserving the younger live oak trees along the street. The focal point of the project is the small park on the corner.

“It’s exciting that our many months of hard work and deliberations about this project are coming to fruition,” said Jon Verity, chairman of the Beaufort Redevelopment Commission. “Not only are we partnering to create more affordable housing and to redevelop one of our older neighborhoods, but we are also putting formerly vacant city-owned land back on the tax rolls.”

The new cottages likely will be served by a rear alley to keep cars and trash cans off the street for a better overall appearance. A natural landscape buffer is also maintained in the rear behind the alley for privacy, stormwater management and to save many old growth trees, Brown said.

Completion of the first cottages is expected to be completed in late spring 2015 and units are available for both reservations and customization.  For more information, visit

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Lady’s Island Notes

New Planning Commission Member: Beaufort County Council recently appointed George Johnston as the Lady’s Island representative on the Beaufort County Planning Commission.  Mr. Johnston, a resident of the Lowcountry for 17 years, has served as a member of the Beaufort County Rural and Critical Land Preservation Board for three years and as a board member for the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League for six years. In addition, he has been involved in a number of projects established to protect the environment and serves as the monitor for a group of environmentally concerned citizens who participate in an ongoing exchange of ideas and information. He will serve as an active member of the Lady’s Island Community Preservation Committee.

A New Lady’s Island McDonald’s: Plans have been submitted to the Beaufort County Planning Department for construction of a new McDonald’s Restaurant on the site of the present Lady’s Island McDonalds. Following demolition of the present building, the new facility will be one story and larger in size. The plans submitted at this point are conceptual.

Traffic signals and new businesses on Lady’s Island: As popular as the new Publix on Lady’s Island is, the effect that the new store will have on traffic is a subject of fair concern.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation has repaved Ferry Drive and dividers have been installed on Sea Island Parkway and Lady’s Island Drive to deter dangerous cross traffic turns. The original plans included the installation of a traffic signal on Sea Island Parkway at the exit of the Food Lion Parking lot and the intersection with Ferry Road. However, the South Carolina Department of Transportation denied the request for the traffic signal on the basis that the present traffic did not support installation of a signal at that location at this time.

The City of Beaufort and Publix have a Memorandum of Agreement that states that Publix will conduct another traffic study 18 months after the store opens. If the study indicates a signal is warranted and DOT approves it, Publix will install the signal. If the study indicates the light is still not needed and DOT does not approve the signal, the city will withdraw its requirement for installation of a signal at Ferry Drive and Sea Island Parkway. Although a traffic signal at this location would allow vehicles from St. Helena, Dataw, Harbor and Fripp islands to enter the new Publix from the rear, it would have routed traffic through a residential neighborhood.

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ROCKING THE VOTE: Two new City Council members elected

According to unofficial election results from the Beaufort County Board of Elections, Stephen Murray and Phil Cromer won two open seats for Beaufort City Council, securing positions over incumbent Donnie Ann Beer and former Beaufort mayor Bill Rauch.

In other local races, Alice Howard received more votes than Laura Von Harten for the County Council District 4 seat.

Statewide, Republican Governor Nikki Haley was re-elected over her Democratic opponent Vincent Sheheen. For a full list of election results, visit

The canvass hearing to certify the results of the Statewide General, City of Beaufort General, and Town of Hilton Head General Elections will be held on Friday, November 7, at 10 a.m. in the Board of Elections and Registration Conference Room located at 15 John Galt Road, Beaufort.

For more information, please contact the Office of the Board of Elections and Registration at 843-255-6900.

After a four-person race for two positions on the Beaufort City Council, Stephen Murray, right, celebrates Tuesday, Nov. 4, with his wife Melissa and a crowd of supporters after winning a seat. The second seat was filled by Phil Cromer. Photo by Eric Smith.

After a four-person race for two positions on the Beaufort City Council, Stephen Murray, right, celebrates Tuesday, Nov. 4, with his wife Melissa and a crowd of supporters after winning a seat. The second seat was filled by Phil Cromer. Photo by Eric Smith.

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Honoring Veterans

The annual Veterans Day Parade will step off Tuesday, November 11, at 9:30 a.m. This year’s Grand Marshal is Ret. General George Crist, USMC. The parade will be followed by a Veterans Day Ceremony in the Beaufort National Cemetery at 11 a.m. The keynote speaker will be Retired Lieutenant General John L. Ballantyne. The Parris Island Marine Band and the Beaufort Naval Hospital Choir will perform.

Two local veterans smile during last year's Veterans Day Parade in Beaufort. Photo by Bob Sofaly.

Two local veterans smile during last year’s Veterans Day Parade in Beaufort. Photo by Bob Sofaly.

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Kitchen fire sparks blaze at apartment

A kitchen fire quickly grew out of control in a Port Royal apartment Monday, Oct. 27, causing major damage and injuring the resident, fire officials said.

The fire started when the resident at Stuart Town Apartments was frying food and the oil caught fire. Open doors fanned the flames, which quickly spread to the living areas. When firefighters arrived moments after the 6:37 p.m. alarm, flames already were climbing out of the apartment windows and the front door, Beaufort Fire Chief Sammy Negron said.

An exterior view of the Stuart Town Apartment fire in Port Royal.

An exterior view of the Stuart Town Apartment fire in Port Royal.

The resident suffered burns to his hand, forearm and foot when he tried to carry the hot pan and oil outside of the apartment, Negron said.

“This was a very dangerous situation that could have been even more tragic in this apartment complex,” Negron said. “Residents quickly reported the fire and we had firefighters on the scene within minutes, working hard to extinguish the flames.”

Beaufort County EMS treated the resident for minor burns. Firefighters remained on the scene until about 10 p.m. and contained fire and smoke damage to just the one apartment. An adjacent unit suffered minor water damage.

To combat the fire, 23 firefighters including a crew from Burton fire district worked at the apartment complex near Ribaut Road. That included four fire engines and three squads with support from the Burton Fire District.

“The best way to avoid injury is to leave! Get everyone out of the house and call 911,” Negron said. After calling 911, and if the fire seems very small, some techniques for extinguishing a kitchen fire include turning off the heat, smothering the flames with a lid, or using a fire extinguisher or agent such as baking soda. Never use water on a grease fire, he said.

Another contributing factor to the fire was open doors. The resident apparently left both front and rear doors open as he escaped the house. The flow of oxygen pumped up the fire and helped it grow into the attic spaces via the eaves.

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