Review Category : Beaufort News

Isiah Smalls retires from City of Beaufort’s Public Works Department

When Isiah Smalls started working for the City of Beaufort in June 1985, compact discs were just being introduced in America, a gallon of gas cost about $1.09, and a movie  ticket to see the new flick “Back to the Future” cost $2.75. For 30 years, Smalls came to work every day to serve the people of Beaufort, working a variety of positions leading up to Director of Public Works. This Monday, Smalls retired from the City of

Isiah Smalls

Isiah Smalls


“We have been truly fortunate to have Isiah Smalls work with and work for the City of Beaufort,” Mayor Billy Keyserling said. “This is his community, and I think he came to work not so much for the paycheck as for the chance to help make Beaufort a better place. As he retires, I can comfortably say our city is in much better shape due in large part to his dedication.”

With Smalls’ retirement, Assistant Public Works Director Lamar Taylor will serve as interim directorDavid Coleman, the city’s newly-hired Senior Project Manager, will work with Taylor to oversee the many ongoing and upcoming public works projects.

“We certainly wish Mr. Smalls all the best in retirement,” Beaufort Interim City Manager Bill Prokop said. “While I have only known him a short time since my arrival in Beaufort, it’s clear he has a deep understanding of what makes Beaufort special.”

Smalls joined the City in June 1985 as the Superintendent of Sanitation and Streets. Nine years later he became Acting Public Works Director and in October 1994 was named Operations Officer for Beaufort’s public works. In 1995 Smalls was promoted to Director of Public Works.

His duties have included maintaining and improving streets and drainage, sanitation, recycling, traffic control and the city’s extensive network of parks and playgrounds.

“When you enjoy the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park and notice how clean it is, or when your kids or grandkids enjoy playing at Pigeon Point Park, I’d like people to think of our Public Works Department and Isiah’s 30 years of work that helped make all that possible,” Keyserling said.

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City of Beaufort refreshes website with new look

As part of Beaufort’s continuing effort to share information, the city’s website sports a new look, new navigation and more content than ever, Interim City Manager Bill Prokop said.

The website,, is the centerpiece of the city’s digital communications efforts and is supplemented by Facebook (City Beaufort SC), with added information soon to be shared via Twitter and Instagram.

“Our new website makes it easier to find information about the City of Beaufort, and we’ll use the website as the primary tool in our communications toolbox,” Prokop said.

“For instance, we did a customer service survey last fall and we heard that it was difficult to find agendas for the different boards and commissions, because they were posted to the website based on which department assisted that particular group. Now, all the agendas are grouped into one section, then by organization and year. All of this is available on the homepage under ‘Agendas.’

“We’ll continue to add new content and make adjustments, and we welcome public input,” Prokop said. “As we prepare for construction of the new Ribaut Road fire station and the start of construction for the Boundary Street Redevelopment Corridor, we’ll be sharing a lot of updated information through our website  and Facebook.”

The website’s new look is cleaner, with a blue background to represent both Beaufort’s blue skies and the pristine waterways. The homepage includes current weather conditions in Beaufort, rotating images that include City Hall and the waterfront, and direct links to the City’s Facebook page.

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News Briefs

Mink Point Road lane closures and delays

Lane closures on Mink Point Road in Beaufort County, between the Parris Island Gateway and Beaufort Island Road, were scheduled to begin on February 16, 2015. Preferred Materials will be conducting paving operations and travelers can expect delays when traveling in these areas. Please be advised to use caution and possibly plan an alternate route.

February closings for PALS facilities

All three PALS indoor pools will close at 4:30 p.m., Friday, February 27, 2015, while Aquatics staff receive in-service training. The indoor pools will return to normal operating hours Saturday, February 28, 2015. “We value our customers and our commitment to provide outstanding and efficient services. This commitment often requires training for our staff. We appreciate greatly the public’s understanding,” said Parks and Leisure Services Director Scott Marshall. For more information about Beaufort County Parks and Leisure Services visit

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Beaufort Memorial Hospital lifts visitation restrictions

Flu cases are trending down as hospital focuses on respiratory etiquette

Beaufort Memorial Hospital (BMH) has announced it has lifted visitation restrictions put into place during the height of flu season.

With the number of flu cases steadily trending down, infection prevention and respiratory etiquette have become the focus of staff and visitors, according to Infection Prevention Coordinator Vicki Allen, RN.

“The flu is still in the community but we have seen a steady decrease in the number of cases in Beaufort County and at BMH,” she said. “At this time we have lifted restrictions for visitors and are encouraging everyone to observe respiratory etiquette, including covering your cough, wearing a mask if you have a cold, frequently washing your hands with soap and water and/or frequently using hand sanitizer.”

Hygiene stations placed at key access points throughout the hospital will remain in place throughout the flu season, and the focus on respiratory etiquette will be ongoing, Allen said.

For additional information about the hospital’s visitation policies please visit and click on Patients & Visitors then Visitor Resources.

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Living in flip flops on Fripp Island, SC

By Karen Natoli

One early morning many years ago, Debbie Slayzk and her friend Julie, came up to me on the beach at Fripp Island, while I was looking for sea turtle tracks. Since I was involved in the program, and Debbie had an interest in the sea turtles, we engaged in conversation. Debbie and her daughter Sarah, have always loved the nature aspect that Fripp has to offer, and they hoped they would someday own a beach home, and also knew

Karen Natoli

Karen Natoli

it would have to be on Fripp Island. Everything is timing, and the time was now right for Debbie, a single mom, to move from Charlotte, NC, and come to her pursue her dream. She accepted a position in Beaufort SC, as part of the health care program of the Beaufort Memorial Hospital. Now it was it time to complete the mission, for a working family, to own a beach house.

Debbie rented a home on Fripp for a time, where Sarah spent her summers, while on college break. Then when the time was right for Debbie to consider purchasing a home, the next step was to call her old Fripp Island, turtle friend, and realtor, at Fripp Island Real Estate, Karen Natoli. I showed Debbie and Sarah many properties on Fripp over the weeks and months to follow, this is a big decision, so it is a process, and one I am very familiar with. While they wanted a house on the beach, it just wasn’t in there budget.

Fripp Island has many facets, such as the salt marsh, which produces numerous amounts of food for all of it’s inhabitants, including Egrets, Herons, Clapper Rails, song birds, Wood Storks, Osprey, Eagles and more and of course for all of us Shrimp loving folks, we know that this is, as one of my friends once said, it is “A wondrous place” and Debbie and Sarah knew that too.

Back in late winter/early spring of 2014, HGTV contacted Wayne Zerler at Fripp Island Real Estate. When we grasped the reality of what Zerler was saying, we at Fripp Island Real Estate, were psyched. When they came to film in June last year, our 4 day journey began, with getting to the task of filming the story that finds Debbie and Sarah a beach house on Fripp Island, that fits their budget. No secrets revealed here, stay tuned for more, as you see the whole story unfold!

Debbie and I will see the show for the first time, by ourselves, so that we can laugh and have fun with it. Sarah is away at school, so hopefully she will have time to watch the show in NC. We plan to have her on the phone during the show, so that we can all be together and share the experience that was probably the GREATEST experience to date, certainly of my lifetime, next to marrying my husband. On behalf of Debbie, Sarah and myself, to all the folks at HGTV, thanks for coming to Fripp, for being such a delight to work with, for keeping us fueled with food and drinks, and encouragement. I know Fripp Island Real Estate is as thrilled as is Fripp Island Resort is to have had the good fortune of HGTV coming to our special place, we call home. To everyone on Fripp Island, we thank you! To the crew we worked with, the camera people, sound folks, and organizers of our time, a BIG thank you! Lastly to our super producer, “JC”, who always made us look good, and kept us focused, I will always remember, as the next scene was ready to be recorded, his magic words, in Brooklynese,  “IN 3, 2, 1 Shoot”!

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News Brief

Mobile app possibly coming to Beaufort Co.

Beaufort County launched a mobile applications (app) survey today, as part of its efforts to enhance accessibility, responsiveness, and efficiency in its programs and services. A mobile app can simplify the Beaufort County experience for the public and better connect them to essential information and services from anywhere, anytime on their mobile device. The survey will be available until Sunday, March 8, 2015, from the slider at the County’s website homepage: .

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Beaufort City Council settles lawsuit

After five days of testimony, thousands of documents and two failed attempts at mediation, the City of Beaufort agreed to settle a six-year-old lawsuit with Brantley Construction Company related to renovations made a decade ago to the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park.At its Tuesday night meeting, the Beaufort City Council voted to settle the lawsuit by payment of $200,000. This case involved seven contested change order claims totaling $1.1 million arising from the Waterfront Park renovations in 2005-2006.

“All along, the City wanted to resolve these change orders and close out this project completely,” Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling said. “We made offers earlier that were in good faith and in keeping with what we thought was fair for the work done. We are pleased with this settlement.”

In 2009, shortly before this lawsuit was filed, the City offered to Brantley to resolve the various issues by paying the company $278,568. They rejected that offer and the lawsuit followed. After multiple depositions, the parties engaged in two mediations, in 2012 and most recently in December 2014, both of which were unsuccessful, said Bill Harvey, the city attorney.

The lawsuit against the city was in its fifth day Tuesday when both sides agreed to the settlement before Judge Marvin Dukes. “This is a complex case, involving thousands of documents, civil and geotechnical engineers, and construction decisions involving issues of subsurface soil, groundwater and tidal influence. This is a very good settlement for the City,” Harvey said.

Although the change order requests amounted to $1.1 million, the City recognized that it has received the benefit of materials alone which exceed the settlement amount of $200,000. The settlement will be paid from the City of Beaufort’s current resources and committed fund balance, City Manager Scott Dadson said.

The construction change orders contested in the lawsuit were:

(1) Extra stone and related expenses for bedding the storm drain pipe arising out of the subsurface soil conditions;

(2) Repair of multiple large gaps in the sea wall discovered by the diving subcontractor in relation to the installation of the 48-inch storm water outfall at the west end of the seawall;

(3) Conflicts between the architect and engineering drawings in connection with the location of certain storm drain pipes;

(4) Unknown utility conflicts in the area behind the Common Ground coffee shop that were discovered upon excavation of the soil;

(5) Replacement of multiple large trees that died unexpectedly during construction, and which were replaced by the Contractor — the claim being that the issues with the drain pipe installation made the preservation of these trees impossible;

(6) Ambiguity on the bottom grade elevation of the sitting wall surrounding the pavilion as shown on the architect’s plans, which required the wall to have to be rebuilt;

(7) Ambiguity on the ramp dimensions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ramp next to the Yacht Club, which required the ramp to be rebuilt.

Additionally, Brantley Construction Company was claiming attorneys’ fees and other legal expenses.

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News Brief

Corridor Beautification Board Meeting cancelled

The Southern Beaufort County Corridor Beautification Board Meeting that was scheduled for Thursday, February 5, 2015 has been CANCELLED. The next meeting will be held on Thursday, March 5, 2015 at the Hilton Head Library small conference room at 2:00 p.m.  If you have any questions, please let me know.

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Contract approved to build new fire station

After months of review and negotiation, the Beaufort City Council this week agreed to move forward with construction of a new Beaufort Fire Station at 1120 Ribaut Road.

The City Council approved a contract with the lowest responsible bidder, Frasier Construction, to build the new fire station. The total cost of the project, including land, furnishings and technology, is $3,299,837.

Firefighting equipment will be moved from the current station on Mossy Oaks Road to the new site when it is completed, Beaufort Fire Chief Sammy Negron said. Beaufort City Manager Scott Dadson and his staff, working with architects from Hussey Gay Bell & DeYoung and Frasier Construction, met in November and December to review construction costs. Those value-engineering sessions trimmed the overall construction costs by $243,130, according to Kathy Todd, finance director for the City of Beaufort. The revised construction bid by Frasier is $2.545 million.

Additional costs to the project included buying a small adjacent parcel and soil inspections and site improvements. Also, the initial construction bids exceeded the budget. All told, the project is about $554,159 more than anticipated two years ago. Tuesday, Council authorized use of capital fund balance reserves to cover the added costs.

At the time the project concept originally was approved, land hadn’t been acquired and the effects of the geotechnical report about soil conditions and drainage wasn’t complete. Once both of those became known, staff advised City Council that there would be additional site costs.

Further, it was determined that land adjacent to the main property would need to be purchased to gain access to the alley behind the fire station, which would improve both safety and efficiency and was part of the City’s long-range plan. The new fire house site is ideally situated for fire protection, Fire Chief Negron said. The site is geographically positioned between Port Royal’s main station and Beaufort’s current Fire Headquarters near the intersection of Ribaut and Boundary Street.

The new facility will replace the outdated one beside Beaufort Middle School and across from Mossy Oaks Elementary on residential Mossy Oaks Road. City Council hasn’t decided what to do with that property after the new facility opens. With City Council’s approval of the contract, the new fire station is expected to be completed by Fall 2015. Since the city bought the original property 1120 Ribaut Road property in September 2013, it also acquired a smaller parcel adjacent the Love House Ministries’ bowling alley. The additional land addresses access, stormwater management and other site conditions. The fire station will be accessible from Bowling Alley Lane, a street to the rear of the property.

Negron said the Ribaut Road location offers:
•  Direct access to the main artery between Beaufort and Port Royal
•  Easy and efficient travel times to the entire coverage area for this fire station
•  Excellent geographical positioning to reinforce and enhance the ISO 2 rating that helps reduce commercial fire insurance premiums
•  Limited impact on neighborhoods
•  Greater distance from large schools than the current Mossy Oaks station
•  Smooth traffic flow for fire vehicles, including direct access to the rear of the facility (eliminating fire trucks having to back into the bays).

“We are very excited to have this project ready to move forward,” Negron said. “The attention to detail will help make this a safe and efficient fire station for many years to come.”

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Beaufort History Museum announces Annual Meeting

Community-Beaufort History Museum

Museum members and the public are invited to attend the Annual Meeting of the Beaufort History Museum (BHM). The meeting is scheduled for Monday, February 9, 2015 at 6:00 p.m. in the museum’s main hall, on the second floor of The Arsenal, located at 713 Craven St.

Current museum members will vote on a slate of new Board of Directors candidates. Individuals proposed by the Board of Directors are Donnie Ann Beer, Lorrie Burleyknowles, Carol Lauvray and Carla Marsh. BHM Members will also be able to suggest additional nominees.

Following the meeting, a dinner will be held at 7:00 p.m. at Southern Graces Bistro in the Beaufort Inn, 809 Port Republic St. The dinner will cost $25.00 per person. (Wine is not provided but guests may bring their own.) Reservations can be made by contacting BHM Board Member, Libby Holloway via email:, or by phone at: 843-379-0130.

The first 50 dinner reservations submitted will be accommodated. The deadline for making reservations for the dinner is Tuesday, February 3.

The Beaufort History Museum, which was founded in 1939, has evolved to focus specifically on the deep and rich history of the Beaufort District. It strives to manage and display artifacts and documents held by the City of Beaufort, telling the compelling stories of this area from the early 16th Century until modern times. The Beaufort History Museum maintains a website at

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