Review Category : Beaufort News

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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Developers have plans for Whitehall Property

Steven J. Tully, of Tully LLC, and Richard H. Stewart, of 303 Associates LLC, two of the leading local real estate developers known for high-quality urban infill and redevelopment, announced the formation of Whitehall Park, LLC. Uniting top-tier local development talent, Whitehall Park, LLC aims to redevelop the 19-acre Whitehall property into a traditional, single family, residential waterfront neighborhood.

The Whitehall Property, located on Lady’s Island just over the Richard V. Woods Memorial Bridge from downtown Beaufort, has seen a number of ownership changes and at least one high density, mixed-use plan over the years. Hotels and restaurants have also been considered for this site over the years. The property has been sitting basically abandoned and in blighted condition since the real estate market crash in 2008.

Whitehall Park plans to redevelop this infill property in a manner that compliments the character of historic Downtown Beaufort and create a new walkable neighborhood within the city.

For more information, contact Steven Tully at 843-521-0000.

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News Briefs

LIBPA welcomes speaker Rob McFee

Rob McFee, the County Director of Engineering and Infrastructure, will be the guest speaker at the Tuesday, November 11 meeting of the Lady’s Island Business and Professional Association which will be held at 8 a.m. in the Beaufort Realtor’s Association headquarters, located behind BB&T on Lady’s Island Drive.  The meeting is open to the public.

McFee was raised in Beaufort, graduated from Beaufort High School and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of South Carolina. Following graduation from college he joined the South Carolina Department of Highways where he held various positions including Bridge Project Manager, Resident Maintenance Engineer and Resident Construction Engineer. In 2008 he accepted the position of Director of The Beaufort County Engineering and Infrastructure Division which is responsible for engineering, traffic and transportation, disaster recovery, public works, solid waste, building facilities and storm water utility.  Of special note is the fact that his division has overseen the planning and execution of the transportation projects which the voters of Beaufort County approved with the collection of $152 million through the use of the a 1% sales tax. He has been requested to include in his discussion the following items:

• Are Beaufort County roads and bridges ready for the next growth surge?

• Strength and weaknesses in the basic infrastructure of Beaufort County.

• Does Beaufort County need another 1% Sales Tax Referendum for infrastructure and if so for what infrastructure?

• Is the Stormwater utility able to accomplish the objectives for which it was formed?

• Steps necessary to cope with the increasing cost of solid waste collection and disposal.


Closings for county convenience centers

Operating hours for county convenience centers may vary in November.

• Tuesday, November 11, Veterans Day: All Convenience Centers closed.

• All convenience centers closed Wednesday, November 12, per regular schedule.

• All convenience centers will reopen Thursday, November 13.

• Thursday, November 27, Thanksgiving Day, all convenience centers closed.

• Also closed Friday, November 28, Heritage Day.

All convenience centers will be operating according to each center’s regular schedule.

For questions about the change in operating hours, please call the Solid Waste and Recycling office for more information at 843-255-2736 or visit the website at

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Group to assist with affordable healthcare open enrollment

The Beaufort County Black Chamber of Commerce is a grantee working with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to educate and enroll consumers for the Affordable Healthcare beginning November 15. The professional staff of Certified Navigators will be available for Open Enrollment at the Beaufort County Black Chamber of Commerce office, located at 801 Bladen Street, Beaufort, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. A certified Spanish-language Navigator will also be available to enrollees. If you purchased healthcare through the Marketplace in 2014, you need to review your options for 2015. Enrolling consumers can call the office Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 843-476-4226 or 843-986-1102.

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Student recognized for reporting fire

The Beaufort County School Board and the Burton Fire District recognized Tyrik Kelly at the school board meeting on Thursday, Oct. 23 for reporting a possible house fire while on his way to school on October 7 and enabling the Burton Fire District to catch a small but growing kitchen fire before any significant damage could occur, not only saving the home but keeping the responding firefighters safe.

The Burton Fire District presented Tyrik with a plaque and the fire department wives support team also gave him a gift card.

Pictured at right, from left: Superintendent Jeffrey Moss, Burton Engineer/Paramedic Daniel Byrne, Battery Creek High School student Tyrik Kelly, and School Board Chairman Bill Evans.

Pictured at right, from left: Superintendent Jeffrey Moss, Burton Engineer/Paramedic Daniel Byrne, Battery Creek High School student Tyrik Kelly, and School Board Chairman Bill Evans.

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Duke Street improvements begin

The second phase of improvements to downtown Beaufort’s Duke Street began this week as part of the city’s continuing efforts to improve and beautify the historic Northwest Quadrant.

The work includes the removal of existing road pavement, sidewalks, utilities and drainage, then constructing a new paved road with sidewalks, drainage, landscaping, tree planting, underground utilities, brick-paver parking and new streetlights.

During the work, there may be some disruptions to vehicle and pedestrian traffic along Duke Street, said project manager Lamar Taylor of Beaufort’s public works department. The Duke Street streetscape improvements will start at Harrington Street, proceeding east toward Charles Street.

Starting this week, there should be minimal disruptions to include:

• Crews will begin creating a construction material and equipment storage yard between Church and Newcastle streets

• Workers will use special saws to begin cutting up the existing pavement

• Traffic control signage will be installed to warn pedestrians of construction activity

• Surveys will start for storm drainage improvements

• Sidewalks will be torn up and removed between Harrington and Church streets.

“Step by step, we are making some major investments and improvements to key areas such as the Northwest Quadrant,” said Jon Verity, chairman of the Beaufort Redevelopment Commission. “Our goal is to improve the quality of life for those residents, but also to make the city as a whole more appealing for both residents and businesses.”

This is the second phase of streetscape improvements along Duke Street in the Northwest Quadrant, which in 2010 was named one of the nation’s 51 “Best Old House Neighborhoods” by This Old House magazine.

The area, once a thriving black middle-class neighborhood just blocks off the Beaufort River, fell into disrepair in the 1970s. It became one of Beaufort’s blighted and neglected areas until renovations started in earnest in the mid-1990s. Starting in 2009, City leaders joined hands with involved area homeowners to remove huge amounts of accumulated debris as well as help them remove overgrowth and clean up the blight.

Since then, there’s been a fairly steady improvement to sections of the Northwest Quadrant, notably along Bladen Street and Duke Street. From 1995 to present, the City of Beaufort has invested more than $5 million to improve the Northwest Quadrant.

“This is Phase Two of the Duke Street improvements, and we’ll certainly do our best to keep the disruptions and delays to a minimum,” Beaufort City Manager Scott Dadson said.

Earlier this week, Dadson and Bill Harvey, the city’s attorney, signed off on an executed contract between the city and JoCo Construction, LLC, a Beaufort-based company.

The project contract calls for completion of work within 150 days. Area residents with questions or concerns should contact Lamar Taylor at or 525-7054.

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News Briefs

Burton Wells Rec Center adjusts hours

Beginning this week, the Burton Wells Recreation Center will be changing the hours it is open to the public. The facility will now be open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. until 6 p.m., and Saturdays 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. The recreation center is closed on Sundays.

On Tuesday, November 4, the Burton Wells and Buckwalter Recreation Centers will be closed to the public for recreational activities since both locations will be used as polling locations in the general election.

Seabrook man sentenced for trafficking cocaine

A 37-year-old Seabrook man was sentenced to 25 years in prison on Thursday, October 23, for trafficking cocaine.

At the conclusion of a two-day trial, jurors convicted Dwayne Chisolm of trafficking between 100 and 200 grams of cocaine, possession with intent to distribute crack-cocaine, possession of a weapon during commission of a violent crime and possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number.

In 2010, the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office developed information that Chisolm was dealing drugs. Officers conducted controlled buys and obtained a search warrant for his Garrett Small Road home. A search of the home in May 2010 yielded significant quantities of cocaine as well as a gun.

Chisolm had two previous convictions for possession with intent to distribute cocaine and had recently been released from prison at the time of the investigation.

“Mr. Chisolm is a dangerous man who went right back to a life of crime after being released from prison,” said assistant solicitor Mary Concannon, who prosecuted the case. “I asked the jury to shut down his illegal business and they did.”

Judge Carmen Mullen handed down the sentence. By law, Chisolm must serve at least 85 percent of it before being eligible for any sort of early release mechanism.

Rescued Marsh Pony undergoes surgery

One of the Marsh Ponies, Patrick, relocated from Horse Island by Beaufort County Animal Services had surgery.

Dr. Emily Mitchum performed cryptorchidectomy surgery on his rear legs due to a “locking stifle.” The horse was unable to flex his hind legs, which caused them to stick out and drag behind the horse in an abnormal manner.

After the operation, Patrick will be adopted by his foster mom, Bobbie Thomas, and her granddaughter Rentz Thomas.

Patrick was born on Horse Island 10 years ago on St. Patrick’s Day.

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