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Bright times ahead for city

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By Sally Mahan

The city of Beaufort is spending millions of dollars now in an effort to save millions of dollars in the years to come.

Various offices in the city of Beaufort’s Municipal Complex on Boundary Street have been closed during the week of Sept. 4 in order to install energy saving updates.

“We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but the overarching benefit is a 37.5-percent annual savings for the city,” said Neal Pugliese, director of public projects and facilities for Beaufort. 

The updates are costing the city $3.1 million, but according to Pugliese, Beaufort will save more than $5 million over 15 years.

The improvements include new HVAC energy-efficient systems, a solar system and more. The city is also upgrading lights throughout the community to make them brighter and more energy-efficient.

Pugliese said the efforts are well worth it for taxpayers.

“You’re not going to get that kind of result by changing out a couple of light bulbs,” he said. 

There is also another bonus.

The city is working with Johnson Controls, a global company that works with communities and other organizations to identify areas where their clients can improve sustainability and energy-efficiency.

“Johnson Controls guarantees us an annual savings of 37.5 percent,” said Pugliese. “If we don’t save that money, then they make up the difference. This is where they put their name on the line to guarantee this program.

“It took the foresight of city leadership, the mayor, the city council and the city manager, Bill Prokop, who all understand the value of saving energy.”

The idea for the program came about during budget discussions in 2016.

“We asked, how do we save money and do upgrades and pay for the new equipment?” said Pugliese. 

One of the questions raised has been why wasn’t this work done when the Municipal Complex was built about 10 years ago?

According to Pugliese, that’s because technology has changed so dramatically in the years since it was built.

“Technology has evolved,” he said. “I would liken it to an iPhone 6 compared to an iPhone 8. Something made 10 years ago was probably state-of-the-art then. But look at phones. An iPhone has more computing power then they did on the Apollo spacecrafts. Much of the technology we’re seeing in this project didn’t even exist 10 years ago.”

Pugliese said he is particularly pleased that the project is ahead of schedule.

“We were supposed to be done in March of 2018 and we are about four months ahead of schedule and on budget,” he said, adding that it will be complete by October or November.

“I honestly believe this is one of those good news stories where local government is really doing right by its people to spend money wisely, saving money and thinking about the future. Funding is not a bottomless pit, and our city leadership has the right idea in thinking about what happens in the future.”

Meanwhile, at the Municipal Complex, the police department is working out of offices at 1205 Duke St. through Friday, Sept. 8.

The Municipal Court has been working out of City Hall and is set to reopen Thursday, Sept. 7, in its regular location at 1901 Boundary St.

The Planning, Permit and Codes Department will be closed through Friday, Sept. 8.

The Business License and Finance Department will be closed Thursday, Sept. 7, and Friday, Sept. 8.

The Human Resources and City Clerk Department will work out of the Municipal Court building at 1901 Boundary St. on Thursday, Sept. 7, and Friday, Sept. 8.

The city manager’s office will be closed Thursday, Sept. 7, and Friday, Sept. 8. The city manager can be reached at 843-525-7070 during this time.  

The Fire Department and Public Works Departments are operating as normal.

During this time, all phone lines/extensions for the departments being impacted will remain operable. For questions, call the city’s main line at 843-525-7070. 

All departments within the city’s Municipal Complex will resume to normal business and locations on Monday, Sept. 11.

News briefs for September 7th-13th

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Hunting Island beaches close due to flooding

As of Labor Day, the beaches at Hunting Island were closed due to recent rains and flooding.

The campground and lighthouse remained open.

Further information was unavailable at press time, but to find out if the beaches continue to be closed, visit southcarolinaparks.com/huntingisland/introduction.aspx.

SCDMV offers new ID cards online

The South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (SCDMV) is providing a new way for SC residents to confirm if the documents needed to order and buy a REAL ID driver’s license online are on file with the agency. 

Starting in January, airport officials will stop taking driver’s licenses under the Real ID Act from SC, Alaska, California, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico and Washington state. 

However, with the SCDMV’s newly designed mobile-first website, customers can log in and learn if they may be eligible for ordering a REAL ID license online when the cards become available in 2018. 

“This eliminates the need to call, wait on hold, and confirm that all of the needed documents are on file for you to get a REAL ID,” said Executive Director Kevin Shwedo. “Customers can now access this information throughout all hours of the day, not just during normal business hours.” 

Visit www.scdmvonline.com, search “REAL ID”, and begin the transaction from the REAL ID web page. 

You’ll enter your license number, Social Security number and date of birth to see if the required documents are on file. 

All of the following must be true for you to be eligible to buy a REAL ID license online next year:  

• Required documents are on file with the SCDMV;

• Driving privileges are in good standing;

• Have a regular (Class D, E, F, M, or any combination of the four) license.

If the required documents are not on file and you’re interested in changing your current SC license to a REAL ID, you must bring the following documents to an SCDMV branch now: 

• Proof of identity (birth certificate or valid US passport);

• Proof of Social Security number;

• Two proofs of current, physical SC address;

• Proof of all legal name changes.

If you have an identification card, commercial driver’s license, or are an international customer, REAL ID licenses and IDs will not be available for online ordering.

Visit www.scdmvonline.com or email questions to REALID@scdmv.net.

Attorney General monitoring gas prices

In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Texas, the SC Attorney General’s Office is monitoring its effect on gas prices in South Carolina. 

While it’s true people are paying more at the pump, the simple rise in the price of gasoline does not equal price gouging under state law, according to a release.

South Carolina does have a law against price gouging (SC Code § 39-5-145) that takes effect under very specific circumstances.  

Run-ups in price, even those that seem large, may be justified by market forces.

But if you believe you are the victim of price gouging, there are certain steps that you can take to help the Attorney General’s Office investigate:

• Note the time, place, address and name of the gas station

• Note the price you paid.

• Note any prices nearby and get the same information on those stations.

• Take pictures that identify the station, along with the price.

• Provide your name and contact information.

Email any examples or documentation to pricegouging@scag.gov or call 803-737-3953 and leave a message if you have witnessed a likely violation.

United Way accepting grant proposals

The United Way of the Lowcountry and the Clarece Walker Fund Advisory Committee are seeking proposals for the first round of grants from the Clarece Walker Endowment Fund.  

The Clarece Walker Legacy Endowment Fund was established by the United Way of the Lowcountry Inc. (UWL) in 2013 in honor of Clarece S. Walker, retired president and CEO of UWL.

The mission of the Clarece Walker Fund is to change the tide of family circumstances in Beaufort and Jasper counties by funding inspiring, cutting-edge, and innovative educational and other activities that inspire children and adults to lift themselves out of poverty.

Any organization that has a 501(c)(3) status or any collaborative that has a fiscal agent that has a 501(c)(3) status may apply.  The committee will give special consideration to those applicants that are submitting as a collaborative. 

Funding ranging from $10,000 to $20,000 will be considered.    

Letters of Intent are due Monday, Oct. 2, and applications of selected agencies will be due Tuesday, Nov. 3. Selected agencies will be notified by Sunday, Dec. 31.  

Letters of intent should be limited to no more than three pages and must be written in the following format:

• Summary Statement

• Statement of Need (the “why” of the program)

• Program Activity (the “what” and “how” of the program)

• Outcomes Expected

• Budget Overview (general description of funding needs)

• Closing Statement

Letters of Intent should be mailed to United Way of the Lowcountry, c/o Clarece Walker Fund, PO Box 202, Beaufort, SC  29901; or hand-delivered to 1277 Ribaut Road, Beaufort; or emailed to lknoll@uwlowcountry.org.

Registration for tax auction underway

Bidder registration for the Beaufort County Tax Auction is underway.

The auction will take place at 10 a.m. Monday, Oct. 2, at the Charles Lind Brown Activity Center at 1001 Hamar St. in Beaufort. 

Individuals wishing to bid on properties being auctioned at the Beaufort County Tax sale must register in advance of the auction. Registration will not be permitted the day of the sale. 

Bidders can register in advance online or at any of the three office locations by noon Friday, Sept. 29. For locations or to register online, visit www.BeaufortCountyTreasurer.com.

The registration fee is $30 and includes a list of all properties to be sold, distributed the morning of the auction. 

On the day of the sale, bidder sign-in will begin at 8 a.m. and end at 9:30 a.m. All bidders must be signed in no later than 9:30 a.m. 

All bid payments, deed preparation costs and recording fees must be paid in full before the close of business on the day of the tax sale with guaranteed funds. 

All real estate subject to auction can be found online at BeaufortCountyTreasurer.com. Properties are advertised and auctioned in alphabetical order according to the defaulting owner’s last name or company name as listed in Beaufort County’s tax system. 

If an owner has multiple properties being auctioned, the properties will be advertised and auctioned in numerical order by Property Identification Number (PIN). 

Bidders are encouraged to do their own research and have a full understanding of what they are purchasing. To assist in this endeavor, the Treasurer’s Office provides historical data pertaining to past tax sales and other useful resources. To view past data or to learn more about the tax sale, visit BeaufortCountyTreasurer.com.

Beaufort County offers free electronics recycling

The Beaufort County Public Works Department Solid Waste and Recycling Office will host two free electronics recycling events for county residents. 

The next events will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9, at  Beaufort County Public Works, 9 Benton Field Road, Bluffton; and Beaufort County Public Works, 140 Shanklin Road, Beaufort.

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

For more information, call the Solid Waste and Recycling Office at 843-255-2736 or visit www.bcgov.net/recycle.

Mosquito spraying may take place through Sept. 8

Beaufort County Mosquito Control may conduct aerial training, surveillance, and/or spray missions that may include the application of EPA-registered public health insecticides during daylight hours through Friday, Sept. 8.

It uses low-flying aircraft and its aerial spraying is dependent upon ideal weather.  

It does not treat the salt marsh habitats for adult mosquitoes during these aerial operations. 

Public safety briefs for September 7th-13th

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Former priest charged with sexual abuse

Wayland Brown
Wayland Brown

A Jasper County grand jury has indicted a former Catholic priest for the alleged sexual abuse of two children during the late ‘70s and early ‘80s while he served in a Savannah church.

The accused is 74-year-old Wayland Brown, a former parish priest at St. James Catholic School in Savannah.

The abuse is alleged to have taken place at several Jasper locations, Fourteenth Circuit Solicitor Duffie Stone and Chatham County District Attorney Meg Heap announced during a recent press conference.

Nine indictments were handed down by a Jasper County grand jury. They followed more than year of investigation by the Solicitor’s Office and the Chatham District Attorney’s Office.

Brown will be tried in Jasper County because South Carolina, unlike Georgia and federal courts, does not have a statute of limitations on child sexual assault cases.

Anyone with additional information about this case is encouraged to call the Chatham County District Attorney’s Office’s tip line at 912-652-8080. 

Video available on opioid overdoses

There have been more than 70 drug overdose cases reported in Beaufort County in 2017, 20 of which resulted in death and the vast majority involving opioids. 

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office invites residents to watch a new public service announcement video, created and produced by the County Channel, to better educate themselves on the opioid crisis and the local treatment resources available. 

The video can be found at youtu.be/-rVnGNNNIQI.

Firefighters respond to 3 accidents in 3 hours

The Burton Fire District responded to three motor vehicle accidents in less than three hours on Aug. 31 that resulted in injuries and traffic delays.

The first accident was reported just after 4:30 p.m. on Francis Morrall Circle. Burton firefighters arrived on the scene to a single-vehicle accident involving a passenger vehicle striking a tree. The driver, who was wearing a seat belt, was treated for what appeared to be non-life threatening injuries and transported to the hospital.

The second accident was reported just before 6 p.m. at the intersection of Parris Island Gateway and Robert Smalls Parkway. Burton fire crews arrived to a two-vehicle accident. This accident resulted in minor injuries and traffic delays. 

The third motor vehicle accident was reported just before 7 p.m. on Trask Parkway at the Whale Branch Bridge. Initial reports were that a vehicle had gone off the bridge and into the marsh. Burton firefighters arrived on the scene to find a pickup truck that had spun off the side of the road. The driver was uninjured. Traffic was delayed for approximately 30 minutes while emergency crews assisted the driver. 

Man wanted in burglary on St. Helena Island

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office is looking for a man suspected of a residential burglary on Aug. 28 on Ball Park Road on St. Helena Island.

According to a sheriff’s report, at approximately 11:30 a.m. a homeowner reported he received a telephone call from his teenage son that someone was attempting to break into the residence. 

The homeowner drove to his residence and saw a man on the side of his house carrying what appeared to be a long rifle. The homeowner shot at the subject once with a small caliber handgun and the man ran into a wooded area.

Sheriff’s office deputies responded and set up a perimeter once they arrived at the Ball Park Road residence. K-9 units were summoned and conducted a track to locate the subject, which proved unsuccessful. 

The suspect was described by the homeowner as an African-American male, 6 feet tall and about 150-160 pounds. He was wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt and white gym-style shorts. 

Although a broken window was found, it is unclear whether the man actually gained got into the home or if anything was stolen. There was no evidence found at the scene to indicate the man was wounded by the homeowner.

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Sgt. Andrew Rice at 843-255-3429 or CrimeStoppers at 1-888-CrimeSC to remain anonymous and for a possible reward.   

Shooting on St. Helena is under investigation

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of gunshots on Aug. 29 on Folly Road on St. Helena Island. 

When deputies arrived they interviewed witnesses and learned that immediately following the gunshots, a gold Ford Taurus with the rear windshield smashed out sped away from the scene. 

Sheriff’s office deputies and K-9 units searched the area for evidence and possible subjects involved in the incident. 

No one was found who was hurt, but small amounts of what appeared to be blood and multiple cartridge casings were on the ground and collected by investigators.

Just over an hour after the Folly Road shots fired incident was reported, two men went to two different area hospitals for treatment of what were described as minor gunshot wounds, one at Coastal Carolina Medical Center with a gunshot wound to the foot and the other at Beaufort Memorial Hospital with a gunshot wound to the thigh. 

Although both men have ties to Northern Beaufort County, it has not been established whether the two wounded men were involved in the Folly Road incident. They were interviewed by investigators. 

In addition, just after 1 p.m. on the same day, a gold Ford Taurus with a smashed rear windshield was found in the K-Mart Plaza in Beaufort. It is believed to be the vehicle that witnesses reported seeing speed away immediately following the gunshots on Folly Road. The Taurus is being processed by investigators for forensic evidence, as is a vehicle with multiple bullet holes found parked in a Folly Road yard near the incident location.  

Anyone with information is urged to call 911 or CrimeStoppers at 1-888-CrimeSC to remain anonymous and for possible reward. 

Man sentenced for pointing gun at deputy

Charles Claston Brown
Charles Claston Brown

A Beaufort man who pointed a loaded gun at a Beaufort County Sheriff’s deputy in 2016 has been sentenced to prison. 

Charles Claston Brown, 40, was found guilty of pointing and presenting a firearm following a brief trial at the Beaufort County Courthouse.

Brown received the maximum sentence of five years. 

On July 9, 2016, Beaufort County sheriff’s deputies went to Brown’s house on Windsor Road after a neighbor heard and saw Brown firing his gun and reported it to authorities. 

When deputies arrived, they heard shots from within the home. Brown wanted them to leave and pointed his gun at law enforcement officers. One of the deputies fired his weapon and shot Brown in the hand. 

“The defendant was found with 129 unfired cartridges and he had a gun full of bullets. He was ready to load and reload,” Assistant Solicitor Leigh Staggs said. 

Brown has a criminal record that includes convictions for domestic violence, armed robbery, resisting arrest and assault and battery. 

Fire alarm saves Battery Point home

A monitored fire alarm system in a private residence saved a Battery Point home by alerting firefighters in time to advert a disaster.

Just after 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 2, Burton firefighters received notification from Beaufort County dispatchers that a fire alarm was activating at a private residence in the Battery Point subdivision in the city of Beaufort.  

Burton fire crews arrived at the residence minutes later and saw smoke inside the home. Firefighters forced their way in the door and located a pot smoldering on the stove only minutes from igniting. Firefighters removed the pot before any fire damages could result, and assisted the homeowner by removing smoke from the residence. 

The Beaufort Fire Department also responded to the scene. 

Burton fire officials strongly encourage the use of monitored fire alarms systems in homes. 

Officials recount several occasions such as these where they were notified by such alarm systems of a growing fire in a home after the residents had left, and were able to quickly respond and extinguish the fire before any damages occurred. 

On March 11, Burton and Beaufort firefighters battled a devastating fire in the Battery Point neighborhood on Bostick Circle which had started after the homeowners had left.

County considers banning plastic bags

in Local News by
_RES8909

Photo above: Rikki Parker of the Coastal Conservation League addresses about 65 members and guests of the League of Women Voters of Beaufort regarding plastic pollution in Beaufort County during the league’s meeting recently at the University of South Carolina Beaufort. Photo by Bob Sofaly.

By Amy Rigard

Should plastic bags be banned in unincorporated Beaufort County?

That’s a question members of the public discussed at the Beaufort County Natural Resources Committee meeting on Aug. 22.

An ordinance banning single-use plastic bags for retail checkout in unincorporated areas of Beaufort County would take effect Jan. 1, 2018, if it is passed by the Beaufort County Council. 

The Natural Resources Committee sent the draft ordinance to the county council, which will hold a first reading at its meeting at 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 28, at the Hilton Head Island Branch Library at 11 Beach City Road.

The county listed a plastic bag ban ordinance as one of the five highest policy-making priorities in its 2017 strategic plan, and the issue has received increased attention recently.  

In June, the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce surveyed approximately 700 people and found that 71 percent of respondents would support a plastic bag ban on Hilton Head. 

Single-use plastic bags are one of the main contributors of plastic litter, and they often end up in the ocean and other waterways, according to the Coastal Conservation League.

Rikki Parker, South Coast Project manager for the Coastal Conservation League, noted several ways plastic bag pollution is negatively impacting the Lowcountry. 

“First and foremost, plastic bags are very harmful to our local wildlife,” said Parker. 

Sea turtles often mistake plastic bags for jellyfish – one of their food sources – and can die due to subsequent digestive issues. Sea and shore birds can also be affected if they were to become entangled in plastic bags and unable to fly, she said.

Plastic bags break down into microplastics, which never fully decompose, and can act as sponges for toxic materials in the environment. 

These microplastics can be ingested by shrimp, oysters, mussels and small fish, and microplastics are then consumed by those eating the affected shellfish, said Parker.

In addition to the negative effects on area wildlife, time and resources are necessary to clean up the litter to prevent bags from clogging storm water drains and getting into the ocean, rivers and marshes.

In 2015, Isle of Palms became the first city in the state to pass an ordinance banning businesses from offering single-use plastic bags to customers. Folly Beach enacted a similar ban in 2016 and added Styrofoam containers to its ban.

Not everyone favors a bag ban or fee for violators. A statewide preemption bill was proposed during the last session to prevent local municipalities from enacting bag bans or fees. While that bill was tabled in March, it will likely resurface again in January 2018 when the second year of the legislative session begins. 

The American Progressive Bag Alliance and NOVOLEX (www.bagtheban.com) have been vocal opponents of bag bans in South Carolina. 

NOVOLEX, whose corporate headquarters is in Hartsville, is a manufacturer of recycled content high-density polyethylene (HDPE) bags, paper bags, films and related products. 

They argue that bag bans and fees on violators threaten manufacturing jobs and cause local businesses to lose customers and money. They also argue that plastic bags are 100-percent recyclable and are reused by 90 percent of consumers.

A number of counties, cities and other municipalities throughout the country have enacted plastic bag bans or fees. San Jose, Calif., banned plastic bags in 2011 and has since reported a reduction in bag litter of nearly 90 percent in its storm drain system. California became the first state to ban single-use plastic bags statewide.

Any plastic bag ban passed by Beaufort County Council would only affect unincorporated parts of the county. Local municipalities such as Beaufort, Bluffton or Port Royal, would have to enact their own bans or fees. However, officials like Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling, have indicated they would consider a plastic bag ban if the county passes its ordinance.

New briefs for August 31st-September 6th

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Various offices closed for holiday

Following are government offices and other facilities that will be closed Monday, Sept. 4, for Labor Day:

• All local, state and federal government offices (there will also be no postal delivery).

• The South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (The DMV also reminds customers that the days before and after a holiday are often extremely busy at DMV. Customers may want to choose another time to visit their local DMV office or process their transactions online at the agency website atwww.scdmvonline.com.).

• All branches and departments of the Beaufort County Library System.

Registration for tax auction to get underway

Bidder registration for the Beaufort County Tax Auction will begin Tuesday, Sept. 5.

The auction will take place at 10 a.m. Monday, Oct. 2, at the Charles Lind Brown Activity Center at 1001 Hamar St. in Beaufort. 

Individuals wishing to bid on properties being auctioned at the Beaufort County Tax sale must register in advance of the auction. Registration will not be permitted the day of the sale. 

Bidders can register in advance online or at any of the Beaufort County Treasurer’s three office locations by noon Friday, Sept. 29. For locations or to register online, visit www.BeaufortCountyTreasurer.com

The registration fee is $30 and includes a list of all properties to be sold, distributed the morning of the auction. 

On the day of the sale, bidder sign-in will begin at 8 a.m. and end at 9:30 a.m. All bidders must be signed in no later than 9:30 a.m. 

All bid payments, deed preparation costs and recording fees must be paid in full before the close of business on the day of the tax sale with guaranteed funds. 

All real estate subject to auction can be found online at BeaufortCountyTreasurer.com. Properties are advertised and auctioned in alphabetical order according to the defaulting owner’s last name or company name as listed in Beaufort County’s tax system. 

If an owner has multiple properties being auctioned, the properties will be advertised and auctioned in numerical order by Property Identification Number (PIN). 

Bidders are encouraged to do their own research and have a full understanding of what they are purchasing. To assist in this endeavor, the Treasurer’s Office provides historical data pertaining to past tax sales and other useful resources. To view past data or to learn more about the tax sale, visit BeaufortCountyTreasurer.com.

Robert’s rules to be topic at workshop

Better, shorter, and/or more productive meetings – need a refresher?

A monthly workshop is being conducted to study and correctly apply Robert’s Rules of Order. 

The study group will meet at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 6, at the Beaufort Branch Library (entrance on Scott Street).

Beginners and/or intermediates will learn about agendas, preparation of minutes, proper use of motions, bylaws and more at this free event.

It will be facilitated by Janet Jacobs of the National Association of Parliamentarians.  

Call or text her at 386-871-8855 or email parliamentarystudy@gmail.com for more information.

Mosquito spraying may take place through Sept. 1

Beaufort County Mosquito Control may conduct aerial training, surveillance, and/or spray missions that may include the application of EPA-registered public health insecticides during daylight hours through Friday, Sept. 1.

It uses low-flying aircraft and its aerial spraying is dependent upon ideal weather.  

It does not treat the salt marsh habitats for adult mosquitoes during these aerial operations. 

For additional information, call 843-255-5800.

Tiny House Show coming to Lowcountry

New South Living LLC will present a two-day Tiny House Show at the Shelter Cove Community Park, 39 Shelter Cove Lane on Hilton Head Island. 

Gates will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9; and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 10. 

New South Living LLC, Driftwood Homes USA, along with several other builders, will showcase their unique tiny homes as a part of the Tiny House Movement – one of the hottest trends in the housing market today. 

The tiny homes include all necessary features of a home to live a sustainable life including full bathrooms, appliances, queen size beds, living rooms and many other custom features. 

Tickets are $20 for one day, $35 for both days, and children under 12 are free. A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales will go to DragonBoat of Beaufort County, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping cancer patients and survivors living in the area. 

“We are thrilled we can host this event and bring to light unique and attainable housing solutions,” said Ben Kennedy of New South Living. “We are excited to promote the event and bring awareness of alternative housing options to our area. As the need for attainable housing grows, New South Living wants to use this event to educate the public about innovative ways to help our housing industry. We are planning to bring a Tiny Home Community to this area to show our community that living tiny is no small idea.” 

For tickets, visit www.LiveTinyLC.com. 

Beaufort County offers free electronics recycling

The Beaufort County Public Works Department Solid Waste and Recycling Office will host two free electronics recycling events for county residents. 

The next events will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9 at  Beaufort County Public Works, 9 Benton Field Road, Bluffton; and Beaufort County Public Works, 140 Shanklin Road, Beaufort.

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

For more information, call the Solid Waste and Recycling Office at 843-255-2736 or visit www.bcgov.net/recycle.

Military new briefs for August 31st-September 6th

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cook

U.S. Navy Aviation Structural Mechanic 1st Class Michael Cook, from Beaufort, performs maintenance on cotter keys on an F/A-18E Super Hornet, from the “Blue Diamonds” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 146, aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68), Aug. 21 in the Arabian Gulf. Nimitz is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. While in this region, the ship and strike group are conducting maritime security operations to reassure allies and partners, preserve freedom of navigation, and maintain the free flow of commerce. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Emily Johnston.

Public safety briefs for August 31st-September 6th

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Seabrook man arrested, charged in shooting death

A 25-year-old man has been arrested in connection with a fatal shooting on Aug. 22 in Sheldon.

Deputies with the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office responded to a shooting incident at about 5:30 p.m. on Frog Lane.

Upon their arrival, deputies secured the scene and summoned Emergency Medical Services. Lamont Manigo, 40, of Yemassee, had been shot and was confirmed dead at the scene.

Witnesses reported the suspect left the area on a bicycle. They described him as an African-American male in his mid-20s, wearing a white T-shirt. 

A short time later, sheriff’s office deputies received information on the whereabouts of a suspect in the shooting. They found the suspect, Dontarious Wright, 25, of Seabrook, hiding in a shed on Gray Road in Big Estates.

He is being held at the Beaufort County Detention Center on a charge of murder. 

Anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to contact Emergency Dispatch at 911 or CrimeStoppers 1-888-CrimeSC. 

Sheriff’s office looking for robbery suspect

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office is investigating an armed robbery that occurred at the Citgo Express Mart at 32 Savannah Highway.

The clerk told investigators that a white male entered the store wearing blue jeans, black and white high-top sneakers and a brown hoodie. 

He pulled out a gun and demanded the money out of the register. The suspect then ran out the front door towards the rear of the building with the cash. 

The subject is described as being approximately 5 feet, 4 inches tall and weighing 130 pounds.

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Sheriff’s Office Dispatch Center at 843-524-2777.

Electrical fire caught at Enmark Gas Station

Just before 5 p.m. on Aug. 26, Burton Fire District firefighters responded to a reported building fire at the Enmark gas station located at 3076 Trask Parkway.

Firefighters entered the building and found light smoke coming from a rear office.

Upon investigation, Burton firefighters found a small electrical fire above the drop ceiling in the office. Firefighters were able to extinguish the fire by turning off the power to that area of the office in lieu of discharging chemicals which would have contaminated food and equipment. 

Damages were limited to a small area of ceiling and the business remained open. 

Vehicle accident injures two people

patterson

The Burton Fire District responded to a reported motor vehicle accident Aug. 25 on Patterson Road which injured two occupants and blocked the roadway.

Just past 7 p.m., the Burton firefighters responded to the accident.

They arrived on the scene to a single-vehicle accident involving a passenger vehicle in the ditch. 

The driver and the occupant, who was a minor, were able to get out of the vehicle. 

The driver and occupant were wearing seatbelts and suffered non-life threatening injuries. Both were transported to the hospital. The vehicle was equipped with both front and curtain airbags, all of which activated. 

Patterson Road was blocked for approximately 45 minutes while emergency crews assisted the injured and removed roadway hazards. 

Hampton County man faces child porn charges

John Edward Benson, 52, of Varnville, has been arrested on 10 charges connected to the sexual exploitation of a minor.  

The state Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force investigators with the Attorney General’s Office made the arrest. Investigators with the Hampton County Sheriff’s Office and Homeland Security Investigations, also part of the state’s ICAC Task Force, assisted with the arrest.

Investigators received a CyberTipline report from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) which led them to Benson.  Investigators state Benson possessed multiple images of child pornography.   

Benson was arrested on Aug. 23 and was charged with 10 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, third degree, a felony offense punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment on each count.

The case will be prosecuted by the SC Attorney General’s Office.

Burton Fire District promotes new officers

From left are Brian Wagner, Ethan Webb, John Perry, John Ireland, Chris Lewis, Daniel Byrne and Justin Blankenship.
From left are Brian Wagner, Ethan Webb, John Perry, John Ireland, Chris Lewis, Daniel Byrne and Justin Blankenship.

The Burton Fire District recently held a promotional ceremony promoting seven new officers to the supervisory ranks. 

Five of the promotions were to fill vacant positions, and two promotions were newly created positions to assist the fire district in managing its growing call volume and changing operational requirements. 

Four engineers were promoted to lieutenant: paramedics Brian Wagner and Daniel Byrne, Emergency Medical Technician Ethan Webb and Emergency Medical Technician/Fire Investigator John Perry. 

The new lieutenants will not only provide management of emergency scenes but each will also supervise two out of the five fire stations in the district. 

Two lieutenants, Justin Blankenship and Christopher Lewis, were promoted to newly created captain positions. These new positions were created to assist the fire district in keeping pace with the increasing emergency responses and operational requirements. 

In addition, the new captains will manage the district’s training program, ensuring all five stations are meeting national standards; as well as managing fire scenes and fire station activity. 

Lt. John Ireland was promoted to captain to fill the vacant medical training officer position. He will oversee the district’s emergency medical program to ensure the district meets SC DEHC standards, as well as manage the training and operational requirements for emergency medical services delivery. Ireland recently oversaw the inclusion of Narcan into department’s medication delivery capability. 

In 2016 the Burton Fire District responded to 1,744 emergency medical calls. 

Opioid epidemic hits Beaufort County

in Local News by

By Amy Rigard

The number of opioid-involved overdoses and deaths continues to increase throughout much of the country, and Beaufort County is no exception. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of overdose deaths involving opioids – including prescription opioids and heroin – has quadrupled since 1999. 

Ninety-one Americans die every day from an opioid overdose, according to the CDC. 

According to Capt. Bob Bromage, the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office has seen a surge in opioid-related overdoses in the community since the fall of 2016. 

Bromage noted that of the 85 known overdose cases since December 2016, more than 90 percent of the cases where the substance was identified were caused by opioids. 

While the number of reported overdoses continues to increase, Bromage said it’s important to understand that these are only the reported cases, and there are many more that go unreported.

Hilton Head Island reported the most opioid-related overdoses, with 42 overdoses and 11 deaths, followed by Bluffton with 28 overdoses and seven deaths, and lastly Northern Beaufort County with 15 overdoses and three deaths. 

There are many misconceptions about who is affected by drug addiction and overdoses. According to the Centers for Disease Control, as many as one in four people who are prescribed opioids long-term (for non-cancer-related pain) in primary care settings, are now struggling with addiction.

Fentanyl, a synthetic opiate painkiller that is 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine and much stronger than heroin, is a drug commonly found in fatal overdoses. 

A growing number of individuals unknowingly receive heroin, OxyContin or other opioids with Fentanyl mixed in because it’s cheaper and stronger – and that can have devastating effects. 

“We’re taking a very proactive approach to addressing this issue, and our efforts span several months,” said Bromage. As part of that proactive approach, The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, Coastal Empire Community Mental Health Center, Beaufort County Alcohol and Drug Abuse Department, and the Jasper County Coroner Office formed an action committee in March to address the area’s growing opioid crisis. 

Earlier this year, law enforcement officers received training on how to use Naloxone (often referred to by one of its brand names, Narcan), which has proven effective in reversing the effects of opioids and reviving unconscious patients when administered. 

Over the course of the two-day training provided by Law Enforcement Officers Naloxone Training Program (Project LEON), more than 230 officers representing 11 area law enforcement agencies learned how to use Naloxone. 

Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office deputies have used Narcan twice since the training, according to Bromage. 

Naloxone can also be used to treat law enforcement officers and other first responders who may experience accidental exposure to opioids. 

The Burton Fire District’s paramedics have always been equipped with Narcan, and recently, emergency medical technicians (EMTs) in the state were also cleared to use the emergency medication. 

While the Burton Fire District has administered Narcan since a training program was completed in March, Burton firefighter Dan Byrne noted that Burton hasn’t seen an uptick in opioid-related overdoses the way other parts of the county has. 

But the state as whole has seen a big uptick:

• In 2016, South Carolina was ninth in the nation in opioid prescribing rates.

• Since 2011, more than 3,000 South Carolinians have died from prescription opioid overdoses.

• Combined heroin and prescription opioid deaths in South Carolina exceeded the number of homicides in the state in 2015.

• The number of infants born in South Carolina hospitals addicted to opioids has quadrupled between 2000 and 2013.

 “Opioid addiction is a public health menace to South Carolina. We cannot let history record that we stood by while this epidemic rages,” said SC Attorney General Alan Wilson said. 

Opioid Awareness Day

Drug overdoses are now killing Americans at a faster rate than car crashes, making this year’s International Overdose Awareness Day a particularly relevant and important event for Beaufort County, which is among the communities across the country that have seen a marked increase in opioid overdoses and deaths in 2017.

Through coast-to-coast rallies on Thursday, Aug. 31, International Overdose Awareness Day hopes to reduce the number of opioid-related overdoses and end the stigma associated with drug-related deaths. 

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office and the Beaufort County Alcohol & Drug Abuse Department will hold an awareness event from 6:30-8 p.m. Aug. 31 at the Buckwalter Recreation Center (PALS), 905 Buckwalter Parkway in Bluffton.

The event will close with a candlelight vigil to remember “the everyday people we’ve lost everywhere.” 

There will also be a Take Back the Meds drop-off site at this event where you can safely discard any unused and/or expired medications. 

Opioid maker is being sued

in Local News by

Staff reports

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson filed a lawsuit recently against Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin and other opioid drugs.

The suit was filed in the Richland County Court of Common Pleas and alleges that Purdue unfairly and deceptively marketed opioids, which helped create and fuel South Carolina’s opioid epidemic.

Opioids are prescription narcotics possessing properties similar to opium and heroin. While opioids can dampen pain, they also “can create an addictive euphoric high,” the complaint alleges.

The lawsuit says Purdue violated South Carolina’s Unfair Trade Practices Act, failed to comply with the terms of a 2007 consent judgment with the state for similar conduct, and created a public nuisance.

The lawsuit specifically alleges that, from 2007 onward, Purdue significantly downplayed how addictive its opioids are and also overstated the benefits of opioids compared to other forms of pain management in order to increase its market share and profits. According to the complaint, since the 2007 consent judgment, Purdue “rather than reforming its opioid marketing to comply with the law … continued to mislead and obfuscate.”

For example, Purdue continued to tell doctors that:

• Patients receiving opioid prescriptions for pain generally would not become addicted, and that doctors could use screening tools to exclude patients who might;

• Patients who did appear addicted were not; they were instead “pseudoaddicted” and needed more opioids;

• Opioids relieved pain when used long-term, without any studies to support this claim (the longest controlled study lasted 16 weeks) and without disclosing the other risks from long-term use of opioids;

• Opioids could be taken in higher and higher doses without disclosing the ensuing risk to the patient (which included addiction, constipation, and greater sensitivity to pain); and

• OxyContin provided 12 hours of relief when Purdue knew that, for many patients, it did not.

In addition, the complaint alleges that Purdue misrepresented the ability of its newer, abuse-deterrent opioids to reduce abuse even though Purdue knew that the abuse-deterrent formulation could be defeated with relative ease, that the formulation did not prevent oral abuse, and Purdue falsely claimed its abuse-deterrent opioids were safer than other opioids. 

“Given my duty to the residents of South Carolina, my office is obligated to take action as South Carolinians continue to fall victim to Purdue’s deceptive marketing of its highly addictive opioid products without care for the lives and families it is jeopardizing,” said South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson. “South Carolina is not immune to the headlines we see daily about the toll of opioids on individual patients, families, and communities.  It has created a public health epidemic and imposed a significant burden on law enforcement and social services in our state.”

Miles of cables being moved

in Local News by

Photo above: About 35 miles of power and communications cabling are being buried in conduits along a 1-mile stretch of Boundary Street. Photo provided.

Staff reports

Although Beaufort’s Boundary Street Corridor Improvement project is just over 1-mile long, some 35 miles of power and communications cabling are being moved from aboveground poles to underground conduits. 

The duct bank work – relocating the overhead lines below ground – is a major element of the $33 million construction project scheduled for completion in 2018. The change will create a safer driving environment as well as reduce the urban clutter, officials say.

“The duct bank is a huge part of this entire project, and it’s going to make a tremendous difference,” Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling said. “Not only is it going to improve the view as you drive into our historic city, but it’s going to be safer for drivers and, we hope, help reduce power outages from downed lines.” 

Of the 35 miles of cabling, approximately 5.5 miles belong to Hargray, 5.5 miles belong to CenturyLink, and 24 miles belong to SCE&G.  

“The utility companies have been outstanding partners with us in this project,” said Neal Pugliese, director of public projects and facilities for the City of Beaufort. “It sounds simple to just move the lines off the poles and put them underground, but there’s so much more to it than that.” 

Different types of cable serving different functions must be routed through separate conduits buried alongside Boundary Street. Those conduits typically are 4 to 8 feet below the surface.  

Throughout the excavation on both sides of the road, crews have worked closely with all the utilities including Beaufort-Jasper Water & Sewer Authority to avoid accidentally hitting or digging up active lines. This has been especially critical with fiber optic lines and those serving the 911 emergency dispatch system, Pugliese said. 

“We have been sure to be very, very careful with the excavation for the duct bank,” he said. “Businesses and residents depend on their electricity and telecommunications and we have had to take it slow and steady to avoid any mishaps.” 

Weather permitting, digging the duct bank along the northern side of Boundary Street should be complete in September, ending at Neil Road. At the same time, crews will be pulling cables into the underground conduits and then removing the overhead lines. 

Even as construction continues on the duct bank, crews are beginning preparations to install a raised and landscaped center median. Other work still remaining includes finalizing the intersection by Chick-fil-A and activating a new traffic signal and turn lane at Carolina Cove. 

“At this advanced point in the project, we are on budget and we are on schedule,” Pugliese said.  

The Boundary Street Project is a $33 million initiative stretching from Neil Road to Sycamore Street at City Hall. A major element of the project is removing overhead power and communications lines into an underground duct bank, reducing urban clutter while creating a safer environment for travel.   

The project also includes realigning the Boundary Street intersection with Robert Smalls Parkway, which was largely completed last summer. Work will continue in that area for several months prior to final landscaping, paving and striping.  

For more information about the project, visit www.boundarystreetupdate.com.  

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