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News briefs for July 20th-26th

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Mosquito spraying may take place through July 21

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, July 21.

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.

Beaufort gets kudos for foodie scene

Beaufort has been lauded on another national list, this time for its food.

USA Today’s Go Escape magazine recently recognized Beaufort as one of the “Towns That Lives to Eat.”

“Often described as the most beautiful town in the South, Beaufort, S.C., is surrounded by water,” states the article. “This Lowcountry island village perches halfway between Charleston and Savannah, Ga., where marshes glow golden at sunrise and sunset. 

“While folks come for the history — Beaufort dates to before the American Revolution — the restaurants keep them satisfied. You’ll find shrimp and grits for breakfast, and a bounty of seafood at lunch and dinner. 

“Noteworthy spots include Wren, Breakwater and Saltus River Grill restaurants, all serving sea flavors with farm produce. On a drive out to tour St. Helena Island’s Penn Center, one of the first schools for freed slaves, stop by the Shrimp Shack for a shrimp burger.”

Herrmann named Southeast director

The March of Dimes announced that Erin Herrmann has been promoted to the position of executive director for the Southeast Market of the March of Dimes. 

Herrmann joined the March of Dimes in 2009 as a community director, responsible for the March for Babies and Signature Chefs Auction events in Charleston. 

Under her direction, both events consistently grew in revenue and the Signature Chefs Auction became one of the top culinary events in the community.  

“We are proud to have Erin in this important role in our organization. Her experience and passion for our mission will help us to achieve our goals, as well as to help give more babies a fighting chance at a healthy birth,” said Shannon Gilbert, Regional Vice President for the March of Dimes East Region.

The March of Dimes Southeast Market hosts March for Babies events in Beaufort, Charleston and Walterboro. 

For more than 75 years, moms and babies have benefited from March of Dimes research, education, vaccines and breakthroughs. Find out how you can help raise funds to prevent premature birth and birth defects by walking in March for Babies at marchforbabies.org. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.org. 

Military news briefs July 20th-26th

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recruits

Pictured are Pfc. Ambar N. Zaiek Parades, Dominican Republic; Pfc. Dulce F. Manriquez, Mexico; Pvt. Annalice M. Daley, Jamaica; Pvt. Julian R. Torres, Peru; Pfc. Serdjhy Leger, Haiti; Pfc. Dang H. Doung, Vietnam; Pfc. Daniel A. Guzman, Dominican Republic; Pvt. Kervin Stcyr, Haiti; Pvt. Jhonatan A. Velarde, Ecuador; Pvt. Jean Malhado, Brazil; Pvt. Yongchang Gao, China; Pvt. Khalid M. Ngwegwe, Tanzania; Pvt. Daniel Ramirez Rodriguez, Mexico; Pvt. Juan C. Rosales Guerin, Mexico; Pvt. Carlos L. Espana Palencia, Guatemala; Pvt. Waylon F. LaFrance, Canada; Pfc. Rodrigo M. Malpartida, Peru; Pvt. Zetian Ni, China; and Pfc. Ariel Castillo, Cuba. Photo by Lance Cpl. Maximiliano Bavastro.

New recruits earn U.S. citizenship

Earning the title Marine can also help non-U.S. citizens earn the rights and privileges of citizenship. Recently, 19 new Marines, at left, took the Oath of Allegiance and became naturalized U.S. citizens. 

“United States citizenship is the greatest honor we grant (at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services),” said Brenda Washington, of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. “For these Marines, today’s naturalization ceremony represents their final step in their journey to American citizenship.”

Parris Island Museum open to public

The public is invited to explore the Parris Island Museum, which showcases the legacy of the United States Marine Corps and the history of Port Royal.

The Parris Island Museum features thousands of artifacts, images and other materials that illustrate the history of Port Royal and Parris Island, from early Native American inhabitants of Port Royal to the modern Marines.

The 10,000-square-foot museum is located on Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island. 

The exhibits focus primarily on the traditions of the Marine Corps. 

Alongside Marine Corps history, there are exhibits devoted to the Charlesfort-Santa Elena National Historic Landmark, site of French and Spanish colonies on Parris Island between 1562 and 1587.

The museum is open daily to the public from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Family and Graduation Days. Holiday closures include New Year’s, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Admission is free.

For more information on the Parris Island Museum, visit parrisislandmuseum.com or call 843-228-2951.

Public safety briefs for July 20th-26th

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Ridgeland man jumps off Intracoastal bridge

Just after noon on June 12, a man jumped off of the eastbound Hilton Head Island Bridge into the Intracoastal Waterway and swam ashore to C.C. Haigh landing. 

A passing motorist called 911 and deputies responded. 

The man, identified as Kenneth Nusser, 47, of Ridgeland, was found by deputies walking out of a nearby wooded area. 

Nusser was treated by Emergency Medical Services for minor injuries and was released into the custody of deputies. 

He was arrested and charged with violating Beaufort County Ordinance “jumping or diving from bridges and piers.”

He was transported to the Beaufort County Detention Center.  

Vehicle found in marsh on St. Helena

At approximately 7:45 a.m. on July 15, the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office responded to a vehicle in the marsh near Bermuda Bluff in St. Helena.

A search of the vehicle and area was conducted and no one was located.

Efforts to recover the vehicle were being made and the investigation is ongoing.

Anyone with information in reference to this vehicle and the circumstances of this incident is asked to contact Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch at 843-524-2777.

Firefighters extinguish mobile home fire

The Burton Fire District responded to a report of a mobile home fire early July 13.

Burton firefighters from the Habersham fire station responded to a report of a house fire on Staffwood just after 1 a.m. Initial reports stated that there was a possible explosion at the home and an elderly disabled man was still inside.

They arrived to find a mobile home with fire underneath and spreading. All residents, including young teenagers, were able to get out of the home. A Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office officer had arrived prior to the firefighters and entered the smoky home to confirm there were no occupants still inside. 

Firefighters were able to extinguish the fire underneath the home before it spread inside. After using thermal imaging to confirm the fire was out and had not spread into the floor or walls, and after assisting in removing smoke from the home, the family was able to return.

No injuries were reported. The fire is under investigation.

One person injured in 4-car wreck on bridge

bridge

The Burton Fire District responded to a motor vehicle accident July 10 on the Broad River Bridge resulting in one injury and traffic delays, and also assisted another driver in a separate incident who was suffering a medical emergency. 

Burton firefighters responded to a reported motor vehicle accident on the Broad River Bridge just before 2 p.m. They arrived on the scene to a four-vehicle accident in the eastbound lane of the Broad River Bridge. 

Three of the vehicles suffered damages. Burton firefighters assisted one occupant who was transported to Beaufort Memorial Hospital with what appeared to be non-life threatening injuries. 

Traffic on the Broad River Bridge was delayed for approximately 30 minutes while emergency crews assisted the injured occupant and removed roadway hazards. 

During this accident Burton firefighters were also responding to a reported motor vehicle accident on Savannah Highway. Firefighters arrived and instead found a driver who had sustained a flat tire while pulling to the side of the road during a medical emergency. 

The driver was transported to Beaufort Memorial Hospital and firefighters remained on the scene and changed the tire so a friend could drive the vehicle home. 

The Burton Fire District has responded to over 170 motor vehicle accidents and over 1,081 medical emergencies so far in 2017. Four of those motor vehicle accidents occurred on the Broad River Bridge.

Vapor cigarette believed to be cause of vehicle fire

vapor

Burton firefighters extinguished a vehicle fire on Robert Smalls Parkway on July 9 which is believed to have been caused by a vapor cigarette. 

The Burton Fire District was dispatched to a report of a vehicle fire in Port Royal on Robert Smalls Parkway between Castle Rock Road and Broad River Boulevard. They were on the scene in less than 4 minutes and found smoke and flames coming from a passenger vehicle on the side of the road. Firefighters extinguished the fire in 6 minutes. 

While the fire remains under investigation, the male driver stated his vapor cigarette became hot and fell under the seat, causing the fire. 

This area of Port Royal is protected by the Burton Fire District through a contract with the town of Port Royal. 

No injuries were reported and two lanes of Robert Smalls heading west were blocked for approximately 15 minutes and further delayed for over 30 minutes while firefighters extinguished the fire and removed roadway hazards. 

$11,000 spend on fraudulent credit card

credit1 credit2

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office is trying to locate the pictured individuals who they say used a cloned credit card at multiple locations in Beaufort County between April 11 and June 5. 

The victim was still in possession of his card at the time the transactions occurred, which total more than $11,000.

Anyone with information can contact Cpl. A. Calore at 843-255-3411 or Beaufort County Dispatch at 843-524-2777. 

New commander welcomed at MCAS

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_RES7760

Photo above: Col. Timothy P. Miller, center, returned the Battle Colors to Command Sgt. Maj. Derrick Mays during the Change of Command ceremony July 7 at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort. Miller assumed command from Col. Peter “Bambi” Buck, left, who retired. Photo by Bob Sofaly.

By Bob Sofaly

Despite a blistering heat index of 114 degrees, Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort held its official Change of Command ceremony on July 7, albeit in the air-conditioned environs of the base’s gym.

In time-honored tradition, Col. Peter D. Buck formally retired from the Marine Corps and relinquished command to Col. Timothy P. Miller.

Buck had been the commanding officer of MCAS Beaufort since February 2014. He and his family will be returning to Wisconsin. Buck served more than 30 years as a U.S. Marine

Miller graduated from Bucknell University with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1994 through the Platoon Leaders Course. 

He was designated a naval aviator on Aug. 8, 1997, and reported to Marine Corps Air Station New River for training.

In January 1998, Miller served in a number of billets, including weapons and tactics instructor and operations officer. During this period he participated in two deployments with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Miller was deployed to Iraqi Freedom, and then as an executive officer to Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

He also recently attended the Israel National Defense College where he earned a Master’s Degree in Social Science. Miller then became the U.S. Pacific Command Warfighting Exercise’s Branch chief.

His personal decorations include Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with gold star, Air Medal with Strike/Flight Numeral 9, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with gold star and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with gold star.

DHEC confirms first case of West Nile in Beaufort County

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The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is reporting that it has confirmed the first human case of the West Nile virus on Hilton Head Island in Beaufort County.

In response, Beaufort County Mosquito Control and DHEC have intensified their surveillance for this mosquito-borne disease. Mosquito Control has also increased the frequency of area treatments to control the adult mosquitoes. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms of West Nile virus disease include the following:

• No symptoms in most people. Most people (70-80 percent) who become infected with West Nile virus do not develop any symptoms.

• Febrile illness in some people. About one in five people who are infected will develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. Most people with this type of West Nile virus disease recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months.

• Severe symptoms in a few people. Less than 1 percent of people who are infected will develop a serious neurologic illness such as encephalitis or meningitis (inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues). The symptoms of neurologic illness can include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, seizures, or paralysis.

Following are prevention tips:

• Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535 according to label instructions. 

• Wear clothing that reduces the risk of skin exposure.

• Exposure to mosquitoes is most common at night and during the early morning. Some species bite during the day, especially in wooded or other shaded areas. Avoid exposure during these times and in these areas.

• Make sure that your doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep out mosquitoes.

• Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property, including flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, bird baths, old car tires, rain gutters and pet bowls.

Dead birds can help DHEC and its local partners to track the West Nile virus, and residents can report the finding of dead birds to DHEC. Visit www.scdhec.gov/HomeAndEnvironment/Insects/Mosquitoes for more information.

Call Beaufort County Mosquito Control at 843-255-5800.

News briefs for July 13th-19th

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Hot air balloon coming to Okatie

This digging season, safety is in the air. 

The Beaufort-Jasper Water & Sewer Authority (BJWSA) is reminding Lowcountry residents to always call 811 before breaking ground in a big way – a gigantic hot air balloon featuring the national call before you dig number – 811.

The 811 balloon will be tethered at the Chelsea Water Treatment Plant at 14 Snake Road (behind the Administrative Offices at 6 Snake Road) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, July 14. 

Members of the public can climb in the basket or take a brief tethered ride in the balloon. 

Parking will be provided in the lot behind the office building. Only children 14 years and older may ride, and only if they are accompanied by an adult. There must be one adult for each child who boards the balloon.

When calling 811, homeowners and contractors are connected to one call center, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of their intent to dig. 

Professional locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, paint or both. 

Every 6 minutes an underground utility line is damaged because someone decided to dig without first calling 811.

Striking a single line can cause injury, repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages. Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a call to 811. 

Installing a mailbox, building a deck and planting a tree or garden are all examples of digging projects that should only begin a few days after a call to 811.

The depth of utility lines can vary for a number of reasons, such as erosion, previous digging projects and uneven surfaces. Utility lines need to be properly marked because even when digging only a few inches, the risk of striking an underground utility line still exists.

BJWSA encourages area residents to visit www.bjwsa.org/business or www.call811.com for more information about digging safely.

Beaufort Bank Build site is dedicated

LowCountry Habitat for Humanity held a dedication and groundbreaking for its Beaufort Bank Build Home on July 11 at 904 Greene St. in downtown Beaufort.

Eric Lowman, BB&T Lowlands Market president, worked closely with LowCountry Habitat for Humanity to chair the fund drive for this new collaborative project.   

The Beaufort Bank Build illustrates how the local banking industry is coming together to help give a hand-up to homeownership to Habitat Family partner, Natiema Fuller-Busby, a single mother with two children who is working on the construction of her home with Beaufort Bank Build supporters as well as other volunteers.

Bank partners in this home build project include Wells Fargo, CBC National Bank, BB&T, Bank of America/ Merrill Lynch, Ameris Bank and Palmetto State Bank.   

Other contributors to this project include the Coastal Community Foundation, The Beaufort Charities, Hargray Caring Coins, the Junior Service League of Beaufort and the United Way.

For more information about LowCountry Habitat for Humanity, call 843-522-3500.

Northern long-eared bats found in two new counties

Five Northern long-eared bats have been captured in two new counties on South Carolina’s coastal plain: Charleston and Berkeley counties. 

Historically, this federally threatened species was known in South Carolina to exist only in the Upstate, but were discovered in fall 2016 on the coastal plain in Beaufort County.

Dottie Brown, senior ecologist at the consulting firm Ecological Solutions Inc., reported to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) the capture of five Northern long-eared bats as part of a bat research project being conducted in Francis Marion National Forest: two juveniles (one female, one male) and three adults (one female, two males). They were captured mid-June through early July near a stream corridor. 

Brown and her team fitted the bats with radio transmitters, and tracked them to a daytime roost each day. Although the main maternity roosts have dispersed at this point in the season, multiple bats were documented leaving juvenile roosts during emergencey surveys. Northern long-eared bats used to be commonly found in mature forests and large tree cavities before their populations declined. However, opportunistic selection of roost-sites within a wide range of tree size and species has also been seen. 

Freedom Shrine is re-dedicated

The Exchange Club of Beaufort re-dedicated the Freedom Shrine at the Beaufort County Courthouse on July 7. 

“It was the very first one we gifted,” said charter member Grady Thames. 

Since then, The Exchange Club has donated one to almost every school North of the Broad and to City Hall and Penn Center. 

The Freedom Shrine is a collection of photographic reproductions of original documents from American history. The display includes the Bill of Rights, the Mayflower Compact, the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. 

Visit exchangeclubofbeaufort.com.

Sanford staff to hold satellite office hours

The district staff of U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford, R-SC, will be conducting July satellite office hours at 2 p.m. Thursday, July 13, at the St. Helena Branch Library at 6355 Jonathan Francis Sr. Road.

Satellite office hours are conducted around the district by the representative’s staff in order to be as accessible as possible to constituents who require assistance with federal agencies, including Medicare, Veterans Affairs, Social Security, the Internal Revenue Service or even help processing a passport. 

Additionally, anyone wishing to express an opinion or ask a question is welcome to stop by.

Military news briefs for July 13th-19th

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Recruit Training Regiment gets new commander

Col. John Barnett
Col. John Barnett

Col. John Barnett took command on July 6 of the Recruit Training Regiment on Parris Island.

Barnett comes to the depot from the 2d Marine Division where he served as the division chief of staff.

After graduating in 1992 from Central Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Barnett was commissioned in the Marine Corps and trained as a surface-to-air weapons officer. He later laterally moved into the intelligence occupational field and was deployed multiple times to Iraq and Afghanistan. 

In 2010, he assumed command of 3rd Recruit Training Battalion at Parris Island, where he served for over two years.

Beaufort wounded warrior competes in DOD games

Kristen Esget
Kristen Esget

U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Kristen Esget, a Beaufort native, joined more than 250 seriously wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans at the Department of Defense Warrior Games held from June 30–July 8 in Chicago. 

Esget competed against athletes from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force and Special Operations Command. 

During the nine days, she competed in shooting, swimming and track and field.

“Our Navy athletes who are participating in this year’s Department of Defense Warrior Games are an inspiration for us all,” said Vice Admiral Mary Jackson, commander, Navy Installations Command. “Their involvement in the games brings home the importance of the Navy’s adaptive sports program, which has a significant impact on a wounded warrior’s recovery efforts. I’m looking forward to supporting Team Navy in Chicago this summer.” 

“I want to encourage fellow wounded warriors that just because something is wrong with you does not mean you have to stop doing what you love,” said Esget. 

Beaufort native serves aboard Navy warship 

Erica Greene
Erica Greene

Petty Officer 2nd Class Erica Greene, of Beaufort, is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the guided missile destroyer, USS Michael Murphy.

Greene works as a gunner’s mate aboard the guided missile destroyer operating out of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

A Navy gunner’s mate is responsible for assisting in training sailors with the weapons systems and guns aboard the ship.

“I like helping people out, no matter what it is,” said Greene. “I want to be able to make people better at whatever is they want to do.”

With the ability to conduct anti-air warfare, anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare, destroyers are capable of sustained maritime operations supporting forward naval presence, maritime security, sea control, deterrence of aggressive actions on U.S. partners around the globe, as well as humanitarian assistance.  

Fast, maneuverable and technically advanced, destroyers provide credible combat power, at and from the sea.

“Service at sea onboard a Navy destroyer is an incredible experience,” said Robert A. Heely Jr., commanding officer of the USS Michael Murphy. “The extraordinary performance of Michael Murphy is made possible by the sailors that man her on a daily basis. Team Murphy is comprised of 350 talented sailors from across our country. They are all resilient and dedicated professionals, who strive each and every day to uphold the strong legacy of our namesake, Lt. Michael P. Murphy. I’m proud of their teamwork and commitment to the mission.”

Public safety briefs for July 13th-19th

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Vehicle accident at convenience center

convenience center

The Burton Fire District responded to a report of a motor vehicle accident on July 8 at the Beaufort County Solid Waste Convenience Center on Castle Rock Road

Initial reports stated a vehicle had driven off the elevated platform. 

Burton firefighters arrived on the scene to find an SUV had driven through a fence and off the elevated platform leading to trash bins. The occupants had left the scene. 

Burton firefighters checked for safety and environmental hazards and found none. The scene was turned over to Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office. 

Sheriff’s office searches for missing person

Jazkayla Riley
Jazkayla Riley

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office is currently searching for 24-year-old Jazkayla Riley.  

She was last seen at her home on Walter Road in the Stanley Farms area of Burton. Riley was wearing a red, white and blue sundress and was not wearing shoes.  

She is an an African-American female who is 5 feet, 8 inches tall and weighs approximately 110 pounds. She has long hair with red tips.  

Anyone with information can call the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office dispatch at 843-524-2777.

Neighbor, fire extinguisher save Seabrook home

A Seabrook home was saved on July 4 after a homeowner alerted a neighbor who then responded with a fire extinguisher and quelled flames inside an oven before they could do any damage.

The Burton Fire District responded to a report of a house fire on Delany Circle in Seabrook just before 5 p.m. Firefighters arrived on the scene to find light smoke inside the residence but no flames thanks to a neighbor’s use of a fire extinguisher. 

The fire started in the oven while the oven was self cleaning. 

Burton firefighters utilized a thermal imaging camera to ensure that the heat from the fire did not start a fire in the walls, and also assisted the family by removing smoke from the home. 

The family, including children, evacuated the home. The home had working smoke detectors.

Burton fire officials stress the importance of every home having a properly working fire extinguisher less than five years old that is mounted in an easily accessible place in their home – preferably by an exit. Officials caution placing fire extinguishers under kitchen sinks, often right next to the stove/oven where most home fires occur, or in closets where they are not seen and readably accessible. 

The Burton Fire District provides free fire extinguisher training for residents and encourages training for teenagers. 

Shots fired on Hilton Head Island 

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office responded at about 11:30 p.m. July 7 to Port Royal Plaza on Hilton Head Island to a report of shots being fired from a vehicle in the parking lot. 

Patrons at Street Meet restaurant contacted 911 after hearing two shots being fired from a vehicle in the parking lot. No one was injured and no damage to property was reported. 

Multiple customers who heard and saw the shooting were able to provide deputies with suspect and vehicle descriptions.   

A short time later, deputies observed a vehicle matching the description at The Pantry on Mathews Drive. As deputies approached, the two suspects ran away.   

Christopher Mullen, 30, of Bluffton, and Darren Mahaffey, 27, of Hilton Head Island, were caught by deputies after a short foot chase.

They were charged with fleeing to evade arrest.   

According to the sheriff’s office, Mullen was armed with a handgun at the time of his arrest and was subsequently charged with unlawful carrying of a firearm, discharging a firearm within the town limits of Hilton Head and public disorderly conduct. Mahaffey had an outstanding warrant for assault and battery from a prior incident.  

Both were taken to the Beaufort County Detention Center.

Sheriff’s office looking for forgery suspect

forgery

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office is searching for the pictured suspect, who they say has made several fraudulent charges with a cloned credit card at several gas stations in Beaufort County.

Anyone with any information should contact Investigator Draisen at 843-255-3409 or Beaufort County Dispatch at 843-524-2777. To remain anonymous and collect a possible reward, call CrimeStoppers at 888-CRIME-SC (888-274-6372).

City gains more marsh vista on Boundary Street

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gasstation

Photo above: The city of Beaufort has purchased an old gas station and the former United Way building to make way for an open vista. Photo provided.

Staff reports

Views of the Battery Creek marsh from Beaufort’s Boundary Street just got better with the announced purchase of a former gas station by the city of Beaufort and Beaufort County.

The gas station property is adjacent to three lots that were cleared the week of June 20, including the former Huddle House, Sea Eagle seafood market and the old fire station shed. 

The area will be seeded with grass and converted to passive open space looking out over the marsh.

It’s also adjacent the former United Way building, which will be demolished for open space once Beaufort County relocates offices out of the structure, estimated to be two years.

“Our mission is to help preserve open vistas across the county, and this certainly is an important location considering it is a few hundred feet from the Civil War Battery Saxton site,” said Dean Moss, a board member with the Beaufort County Open Land Trust who led negotiations for all the parcels.

“It’s going to be pretty and peaceful, and will be a significant improvement over the buildings that were there. This is part of a long-term partnership among the Open Land Trust, the city of Beaufort and Beaufort County, and the end result is going to be something that will make a difference for generations to come,” Moss said.

The city, county and nonprofit Open Land Trust pledged a total of $3 million to acquire the scenic vista properties along the Boundary Street/Battery Creek marsh. A wooden boardwalk will link sidewalks along the area, and the future could bring walking paths and park benches to the area, Moss said.

Acquiring the Sonoco gas station property is part of the overall master plan for beautifying the area, Moss said. As part of the purchase deal, the gas station owner will be allowed to remove items such as gas pumps and anything inside the facility before it’s demolished, which is likely to occur in the next few months.

Work to open up the marsh vista is part of the beautification effort related to the $32 million joint Boundary Street Improvement Corridor started in early 2016. The road construction is on schedule for completion in early 2018 and is on budget, despite slowdowns from Hurricane Matthew and an earlier tropical storm.

“We have been working closely with our partners, the Open Land Trust and Beaufort County, for many, many months on acquiring these properties,” said Beaufort City Manager Bill Prokop. “They are an important piece of our overall beautification of this key entrance to our historic city.”

After the city bought the Sea Eagle Market property in 2016, the  owners relocated across Boundary Street and expanded to include a restaurant. Beaufort County bought the former Huddle House and the Beaufort County Open Land Trust bought the United Way building. Demolition of that structure has been delayed while the county uses it for office space.

Once it and the gas station property are cleared, there will be an uninterrupted view of the scenic marsh from near Hogarth Street to Wendy’s, located beside Battery Saxton.

For more information, visit www.boundarystreetupdate.com.

New taxes, fees to be felt at pump, DMV

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By Sally Mahan

As of July 1, a new South Carolina gas tax took effect, and you’re going to notice at the pump, DMV and when buying a new car, boat or semi-trailer.

Gas jumped about 2 cents a gallon under the new law, commonly referred to as the Roads Bill. That is in addition to the biannual vehicle registration fee, which will change from $24 to $40 for in-state residents on Jan. 1.

Additionally, if you live out of state and are registering a new vehicle in South Carolina, you will pay a new $250 fee.

For example, if you move to SC from Georgia with a vehicle that was previously registered in Georgia, when you register that vehicle with the SCDMV, you will owe the $250 fee and applicable title and registration fees to the SCDMV. Vehicle owners must bring their original paid property tax receipt when registering the item. 

“If you fall into the above category, it’s best to prepare early for your visit to the SCDMV,” said Director of Vehicle Services Larry Murray. “Remember, everyone has 45 days to transfer their title and registration to South Carolina.” 

If you purchase a vehicle, trailer, semi-trailer, or other item in South Carolina that will be registered in another state, you will not owe the $250 fee. You will, however, pay a sales tax when purchasing the item.  

Under the changes in legislation, the sales tax on new vehicles will remain at 5 percent of the purchase price of the item. 

However, the maximum tax due will increase from $300 to $500. For instance, if you purchase an item that is $9,999 or less, your sales tax will be 5 percent of the sales price. If it is $10,000 or more, you will owe $500.  

The goal is to raise money to fix roads throughout the state. According to the DOT, around $800 million in additional revenue will be raised by the increase in the state’s gas tax by 2024. 

“Customers can rest assured that the SCDMV will guide them through this transition,” said Executive Director Kevin Shwedo. “We’ve been working with South Carolina dealers, their association and the Department of Revenue to facilitate a smooth shift with minimal to no impact for businesses and customers.” 

For more information, visit www.scdmvonline.com. 

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