Bringing Our Community Together

Category archive

Local News

Citizens battle city hall (and win)

in Local News by
_RES1510

Photo above: Lauren Kelly goes over some of the finer details of the proposed development of the Whitehall property on Lady’s Island. Photo by Bob Sofaly.

By Sally Mahan

After months of citizen activism, plans for a huge new development were ditched after a 6-0 “no” vote by the Metropolitan Planning Commission at a highly anticipated, three-hour long meeting on Nov. 13.

The 19-acre parcel, called Whitehall, is at the foot of the Richard V. Woods Memorial Bridge and has been a source of contention as locals have expressed concerns about traffic, trees, the environment and the development in general.

“Tonight, the residents of Lady’s Island had a chance to speak, and they refused to settle for colorless development or false resolutions to problems such as traffic and development density,” said Chuck Newton, chairman of the Sea Island Coalition. “We’re pleased with the wisdom of the MPC, and hopeful both the city and the county get this message moving forward.”

More than 200 people turned out for the meeting of the MPC, a body that represents Beaufort County, the City of Beaufort and the Town of Port Royal. Every seat was taken and the crowd spilled out into the lobby.

The developers were asking for special zoning classification that would have increased the permitted density for the Whitehall property, according to the Sea Island Coalition. 

MidCity Real Estate Partners, of Atlanta, owns the property but has been working with Sam Levin of Beaufort and other partners as the Whitehall Development Group.

The Whitehall plan would have been for a mix of commercial/retail space along the Sea Island Parkway, with apartments and an independent living facility in the interior of the property.

Five stand-alone commercial buildings, ranging in size from approximately 2,000 square feet to 6,000 square feet, and seven residential apartment towers – each four stories high – were planned.

A smaller structure would serve as a space for offices, pool support and resident storage for bicycles, etc. 

Another structure would have been a 100-unit independent living facility built as part of the property.

Activists were pleased that the MPC voted the zoning change that was being requested by the developers.

“What this decision did was confirm a strict reading of the Civic Master Plan, and the importance of reading the Beaufort Code based on its spirit and intent rather than making it up as we go along, as this application attempted to do,” said Newton.

“But it also confirmed the importance of the community’s voice and the centrality of the ‘Five Principles for Future Growth On Lady’s Island’ that emerged from the Designing Lady’s Island meetings of last spring.”

Newton told the MPC that the Sea Island Corridor Coalition was not  trying to thwart the plan, but asking for smarter development.

“We fully expect to see Whitehall developed at some point,” he said. “And if the plan is smart and inspired and character-enhancing, the coalition could be fully supportive.

“But this particular proposal for Whitehall is, in our view, neither smart development, nor inspired development, nor character-enhancing development that will benefit Beaufort now or 20 years from now,” he said.

The proposal was also opposed by the Coastal Conservation League and the Lady’s Island Business & Professional Association.

The developers now have an option to appeal the MPC in court, return to the drawing board and resubmit a new application, or abandon its initiative entirely.

As for future development, Newton said he hopes people stay involved. 

“They showed up (for Whitehall),” he said. “I hope it’s not a flash in the pan. You have to stay at this if you want to have any impact.”

News briefs for November 16th-22nd

in Local News by
rotary

Photo above: Pictured from left are Suzi Oliver, president, Rotary Club of Beaufort; Staff Sgt. Jessica C. Navarro, USMC, representing the Marine Corps Recruit Depot; Staff Sgt. Juan C. Maravilla, USMC, representing Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort; and Petty Officer Second Class Adam Henneman, representing the Naval Hospital Beaufort. 

Rotary names service members of year

Unit commanders and their cadre from Beaufort’s three military installations recently nominated service men and women for recognition by the Rotary Club of Beaufort as their Service Members of the Year.  

A committee comprised of Rotarians who are military veterans selected the most outstanding candidate from each of the installations, and they were honored at a military recognition ceremony hosted by the Rotary Club of Beaufort at its Nov. 8 luncheon meeting.  

Criteria for selection emphasized outstanding military service and significant volunteer activities benefiting the local community. 

Each received a plaque and a check for $200.

 The recognition ceremony was preceded by a presentation of the U.S. flag and the flags of each of the military services conducted by a joint service color guard from area Jr. ROTC units – the Army from Bluffton High, the Marine Corps from Battery Creek and Whale Branch high schools; the Air Force by Beaufort High School; and the Navy by Hilton Head High School.

Program to help veterans, active duty and reserves

Attorney General Alan Wilson announced the formation of a new program to help veterans, active duty military and members of the reserves get free legal help. 

The program is called V.A.L.O.R., which stands for Veterans, Active/Reserve LegalOutReach.

“The legal profession has always recognized it has a moral obligation to support those who defend the freedoms we treasure,” said Wilson, who’s also a colonel in the SC National Guard and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. “This new program will better connect veterans and members of the military with the legal help they need and may not know where to get, or may not be able to afford.”

The program will consist of free legal clinics held around the state starting in January, and a referral line to connect veterans and members of the military with lawyers who will provide free or heavily-discounted legal help for problems too complex to be handled at the clinics. 

The first free clinic will be held in January in Rock Hill, with the second scheduled for February in Florence. Subsequent clinics around the state will be announced at a later date.

Local jurist named head of SC judge association

Kenneth Fulp
Kenneth Fulp

Beaufort County Probate Judge Kenneth Fulp was recently installed as president of the South Carolina Association of Probate Judges at the association’s fall conference in Greenwood.

Fulp has served on the probate court bench in Beaufort County since 1999, first as associate probate judge and then as probate judge by gubernatorial appointment in 2012 and election in 2014. 

He received his law degree from the University of Virginia in 1977, and practiced law in Virginia and South Carolina prior to his judicial service.

Second Helpings teams with Weichert Realtors

Weichert, Realtors-Coastal Properties has teamed up with Second Helpings and will be collecting non-perishable food items to supplement its Fill the Need campaign, which kicked off at Palmetto Breeze’s hub station in Bluffton in October.

Non-perishable food items include but are not limited to canned vegetables, fruit, soup, meats and tuna; plastic containers of peanut butter, jelly, pasta sauce; boxed meals, packages of pasta, rice, beans and rolled oats.

Non-perishable food items can be dropped off at the Weichert office at 1613 North St. in Beaufort. Call 843-379-3010.

To learn more about Second Helpings and the Fill the Need program, visit www.secondhelpingslc.org.

Sisters of Charity award local grants

The Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina recently awarded Caritas grants for the fall 2017 grant cycle.  

Locally, the Lowcountry Food Bank received funding to support Cooking Matters at the Store tours, a free program that empowers families to stretch their food budgets, maximize benefits through public nutrition programs, use nutrition information to make healthier choices, and cook tasty, affordable meals at home. 

Additonally, the Sandalwood Community Food Pantry received funding to support its “Totes of Love for Seniors Project” providing seniors with a special tote bag that is filled each visit with healthy foods.

Caritas grants are awarded to organizations meeting fundamental needs of individuals and families living in poverty in South Carolina.  

BJWSA’s Kilgore completes Water Leadership Institute

Tricia H. Kilgore
Tricia H. Kilgore

Beaufort-Jasper Water & Sewer Authority Director of Treatment Operations Tricia H. Kilgore completed the Water Environment Federation’s Water Leadership Institute at WEFTEC in Chicago last month.

Kilgore has been with BJWSA since 2008, starting as a project engineer.  

A graduate of Virginia Tech and Loughborough University, she has also worked as a drinking water regulator at the state level and as an engineering consultant in the private sector.

The Water Leadership Institute program is aimed at educating, training and providing opportunities that enable developing and emerging leaders to build strong lasting relationships within the water industry.

Public safety briefs for November 16th-22nd

in Local News by

Man who brutalized elderly women gets life

Jerry Lee Manigault
Jerry Lee Manigault

A Hollywood, S.C., man accused of two murders and other crimes across the Lowcountry has been given four life sentences after pleading in Beaufort County General Sessions Court on Nov. 6. 

Jerry Lee Manigault was to face trial on charges of murder, criminal sexual conduct and first-degree burglary in the May 12, 2014, death of 70-year-old Bluffton resident Polly Ann Mitchell. He also was charged in Charleston County for the murder of Julia Mudgett, 77, who lived near Manigault in Hollywood and was killed about six days before Mitchell. 

Instead, Manigault entered a plea to accept four life-without-parole sentences for murder and burglary charges associated with the women’s deaths. He also received 30 years for sexually assaulting Mitchell and 15 years for the strong-armed robbery of Mudgett.

Manigault’s South Carolina criminal record dates to at least 1993 and includes convictions for kidnapping, crack possession, criminal domestic violence, grand larceny, assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, and burglaries.  

He was a person of interest in Mudgett’s disappearance and was being sought by the U.S. Marshals Service for failure to register as a sex offender when he was spotted and arrested in Bluffton. 

Hours later, a family member discovered Mitchell’s body in her Buck Island home. She had been sexually assaulted and strangled with a television power cord. 

When Manigault was arrested, he had a backpack belonging to Mitchell. His clothing and money he carried in his pocket were stained with Mitchell’s blood. Manigault was wearing Mitchell’s ring on one of his fingers, and his DNA was found on the power cord used to strangle her. Traces of Manigault’s flesh were removed from beneath Mitchell’s fingernails.  

One witness told authorities he saw Manigault near Mitchell’s house the night before her body was discovered. Others said Manigault, who grew up in Bluffton, had recently returned to the Buck Island Road area and had been trying to sell a maroon Hyundai Elantra. 

That car, which belonged to Mudgett, was recovered from Tuten Landing Road in Ridgeland on May 12, 2014. A witness told authorities he abandoned it there a few days after purchasing the vehicle from Manigault. 

After Mudgett’s body was discovered in a wooded area near her home, Manigault was charged with her murder, as well. 

Man is wanted for not registering as sex offender

Candido V. Salazar
Candido V. Salazar

Candido Villalobos Salazar is wanted by the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office for failing to register as a sex offender third offense. 

He is known to frequent the area of Tekoa Lane in Beaufort. 

Salizar is 37, and is 5 feet, 7 inches tall and weighs 250 pounds.

He has numerous tattoos that include the name “Salazar” on the right side of his neck; and tattoos on his arms and head. 

Anyone with information can call Sgt. David Wilkinson at 843-255-3420 or Beaufort County Dispatch at 843-524-2777. To remain anonymous and to collect a possible reward, call CrimeStoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC (274-6372).

Home invasion, gunshots are being investigated

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a home invasion and gunshots on Old Jericho Road in Burton.

At about 3 a.m. on Nov. 8, it was reported that several adults and an infant were located inside the residence when unknown subjects, some armed with handguns, forced their way into the home and began firing shots.

All of them had their faces covered and fled the scene prior to deputies arriving. No one was injured during the incident.  

Anyone with information regarding the identities of any subject involved is urged to call 911 or Cpl. Jennifer Snider at 843-255-3421. To remain anonymous and to collect a possible reward, call CrimeStoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC (274-6372).

Shots fired at St. Helena convenience store

A shooting occurred at about 7:30 p.m. Nov. 7 in the parking lot of the Tiger Express convenience store on Sea Island Parkway on St. Helena Island. 

After the shooting, an adult male victim was transported to Beaufort Memorial Hospital and later flown to the Medical University of South Carolina for treatment of gunshot wounds. 

Further information was unavailable. The sheriff’s office is asking that anyone with information contact Sgt. Adam Draisen at 843-255-3409 or CrimeStoppers at 1-888-CrimeSC to remain anonymous and for a possible reward.  

Sketch of sex assault suspect is released

sketch

The victim in an attempted sexual assault near the Bluestone Apartments in Bluffton recently met with a forensic artist from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division at the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office. 

The forensic artist then created a composite sketch of the suspect.   

The suspect was described as an African-American male between 5 feet, 3 inches tall and 5 feet, 6 inches tall with a slender build, possibly in his 30s. 

He has a crooked nose (maybe from a prior broken nose). The man was described as missing an upper front tooth and smelled of alcohol and cigarettes. 

He was wearing a black or dark hooded sweatshirt and latex medical/food services style gloves (color unknown). And of particular significance, the subject was described by the victim as having a speech impediment — possibly a lisp — as the victim noticed the subject had problems pronouncing words that contained the letter “s”.

Anyone with information can contact Sgt. Seth Reynells at 843-255-3709 or CrimeStoppers at 1-888-CrimeSC to remain anonymous and for a possible reward. 

Police seek clues in 2007 murder

On Nov. 10, 2007, Lee Anderson, 36, was found shot to death in his home on Peanut Lane in St. Helena.  

Anderson had talked to his girlfriend and others late morning but was unable to be reached by the early afternoon. He was found later that evening when friends checked on him at his residence. 

Through the investigation, it was learned that Anderson dealt marijuana and other illegal narcotics. Items in his home supported this finding. At the time of his death, it was believed Anderson may have had a large amount of drugs and cash, making robbery a likely motive.

Persons of interest were identified and interviewed, although no physical evidence linking them to the crime was uncovered.  

As with the vast majority of drug-related homicides, this investigation revealed questionable witnesses and various rumors, leading investigators in many different directions. Physical evidence collected during this investigation is still being evaluated in the hopes that improvements in forensic technologies will establish a link between suspects and the crime scene.

A reward of up to $2,500 is offered for information leading to an arrest in any Beaufort County cold case.

Anyone with information can contact Capt. Bob Bromage at 843-255-3402, 843-816-8013 or at robertb@bcgov.net. To remain anonymous and to collect a possible reward, call CrimeStoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC (274-6372).

Controversial development to be topic at meeting

in Local News by
whitehall

Photo above: The Whitehall property is at the foot of the Woods Memorial Bridge. Photo provided.

Staff reports

Whitehall, a new development that could include apartments, commercial buildings and an independent living facility on Lady’s Island, will be discussed at a highly-anticipated meeting.

The Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC), representing Beaufort County, the City of Beaufort and the Town of Port Royal, will discuss plans for Whitehall at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 13, at Council Chambers in City Hall at 1911 Boundary St. in Beaufort. The meeting is open to the public.

More than 150 people showed up for the earlier-scheduled meeting on Whitehall which was postponed due to lack of a quorum.

The 19-acre highly visible parcel at the foot of the Woods Memorial Bridge has been a source of contention as locals have expressed concerns about traffic, trees, the environment and the development in general.

An “illustrative master plan” has been presented to officials, and briefings on the plan have been provided to the Sea Island Coalition and Coastal Conservation League, two organizations that have been highly active in monitoring the development.

The developers will review the plan before the MPC Monday and are asking for special zoning classification that would increase the permitted density for the Whitehall property, according to the Sea Island Coalition. 

The plan provides for a mix of commercial/retail space along the Sea Island Parkway, with apartments and an independent living facility in the interior of the property.

MidCity Real Estate Partners, of Atlanta, owns the property but will develop it with Sam Levin of Beaufort and partners in a new Whitehall Development Group.

Operating like a partnership, MidCity will take responsibility for development of the commercial portion, and Levin’s firm for the residential and independent living component. 

The same architectural and engineering firms are being used to ensure a unified look and feel to the properties; the “look” is expected to be a “mix of southern and contemporary,” according to the plan provided to the Sea Island Coalition. 

Developers have reached an agreement to give 1 acre of the parcel to the city for a park and will provide an easement that provides public access along the riverfront. 

Five stand-alone commercial buildings ranging in size from approximately 2,000 square feet to 6,000 square feet would be built. Kirk Demetrops, of MidCity Partners, said he expects two-thirds of the commercial space to be occupied by restaurants, and the remaining third by various service businesses catering in large part to adjacent apartment residents, according to the plans provided to the Sea Island Coalition.

Seven residential apartment towers – each four stories high – would be made up of 240 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. 

A smaller structure would serve as a space for offices, pool support and resident storage for bicycles, etc. 

Another structure would be a 100-unit independent living facility built as part of the property but managed by an outside firm.

One of the most significant aspects of the Whitehall site is its tree cover. The development group says it has not only done the required tree surveys, but has done a health assessment of each tree on the parcel in an effort to save as many trees as possible. 

Traffic on Lady’s Island east of the Woods Memorial Bridge is also an issue.

According to a newly-completed  Whitehall Traffic Study, an estimated 2,266 daily new external vehicle trips will be generated by Whitehall-related traffic. 

A proposed exit from the property on Meridian Road is likely to absorb some traffic moving across Meridian Road toward Lady’s Island Drive.

News briefs for November 9th-16th

in Local News by

Government offices closed on Veterans Day

While Veterans Day is officially on Saturday, Nov. 11, local, state and the federal government will observe it on Friday, Nov. 10.

Following are government offices and other facilities that will be closed Nov. 10 and Nov. 11:

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

• All libraries

• The South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles 

Democrats to meet on Nov. 16

The Northern Beaufort County Democratic Club’s monthly meeting will be held Thursday, Nov. 16, at The Grand Army Hall, 706 Newcastle St.

Social time will be at 6:30 p.m. and the meeting starts promptly at 7 p.m.

The guest speaker will be Paul Summerville, chairman of the Beaufort County Council and representative of District 2.

Topics of discussion will include the proposed travel tax, reorganization in county government, redistricting plans and environmental proposals.

All are welcome. Light refreshments will be served.

Coastal Conservation League has new executive director

The board of the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League has announced that Laura Cantral will join the league as executive director in January. 

Founder Dana Beach will step down as the organization’s executive director and assume a new role as founder and director emeritus, providing strategic guidance.

“The Coastal Conservation League has transformed conservation in South Carolina, and serves as a model across the region for pragmatic conservation advocacy,” Cantral said. “I am humbled to lead the organization, and I am excited to continue building on a legacy of conservation victories to protect coastal South Carolina’s natural resources and quality of life.”

Cantral comes to the Conservation League from Meridian Institute in Washington, D.C., a nonprofit organization focused on leading diverse and collaborative stakeholder efforts. Cantral oversees projects and major initiatives focused on U.S. ocean policy. 

Cantral has also worked on the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy in Washington, the Biscayne Bay Partnership Initiative in Miami and on the Florida Governor’s Ocean Committee. 

A native of Mississippi, Cantral is a graduate of the University of Mississippi and the University of Mississippi School of Law.

“Laura Cantral will continue Dana Beach’s legacy of effective advocacy for a better Lowcountry,” Conservation League board chair Margot Rose said. “We welcome Laura and we look forward to her leadership of the strong team that Dana has built since 1989.”

Charley Tarver, vice chair of the Conservation League board, said, “Among other challenges, growth in coastal South Carolina threatens the quality of life that draws so many here. We’re fortunate to have a strong organization in place to tackle these challenges head-on and encourage innovation. The Lowcountry deserves the best.” 

The Coastal Conservation League is a nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated to protecting the coastal resources of South Carolina. Its mission is to protect the natural landscapes, abundant wildlife, clean water and traditional communities by working with citizens, local governments and the state legislature.

Meeting to be held on Shell Point sewer service

An informational meeting for Shell Point area residents about potential sewer service will be held from 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9, in the County Administration Building, County Council Chambers, 100 Ribaut Road, Beaufort.

The event will be hosted by Beaufort County Council Member Alice Howard and Beaufort Jasper Water & Sewer Authority.

For more information, contact Howard at ahoward@bcgov.net.

Auditors offices sets up Twitter, Facebook accounts

The Beaufort County Auditor has set up a Twitter page @BeaufortAuditor and a Facebook page Facebook.com/BeaufortCountyAuditor.

These pages were created in order for taxpayers to get up-to-date information about this office, policies affecting the office and greater transparency of the tax process and procedures in accordance with state law.

Habitat for Humanity announces fund drive chair

Stephen Murray
Stephen Murray

LowCountry Habitat for Humanity has announced that Stephen Murray will chair its 2017 Annual Fund Drive.  

The Annual Fund Drive is a mailing that is sent in early November that supports the nuts and bolts of LowCountry Habitat’s Beaufort operations.  

The majority of the funds donated to LowCountry Habitat are for specific home builds or projects whereas these funds support the organization’s operations and provide flexibility to help the community with repair projects. 

Murray currently serves on the Beaufort City Council. As a third generation Beaufortonian, he attended both Beaufort High School and the University of South Carolina Beaufort. He and his wife, Melissa have twin girls. 

Murray is also a local business owner and operator, and currently owns two Beaufort-based small businesses, Kazoobie Kazoos and New South Shirts. Kazoobie is a two-time Top 75 Small Business in the United States awarded by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. 

“LowCountry Habitat has a clear mission that includes partnerships with the community as well as the families they serve. The program includes an investment from family partners in the form of sweat equity and with this comes the pride of ownership. Supporting Habitat provides a hand-up for these families and our community,” said Murray.

For over 27 years, LowCountry Habitat has been changing lives in Northern Beaufort County by helping to provide the much needed hand up to home ownership to qualified family partners.  

To donate to LowCountry Habitat for Humanity, visit www.lowcountry habitat.org or call 843-522-3500.  

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 noon Monday, Nov. 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.

Public safety briefs for November 9th-15th

in Local News by

Bluffton woman reports sex assault

At approximately midnight on Nov. 4, Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to Bluestone Apartments at 4921 Bluffton Parkway in Bluffton to a report of a disturbance. When deputies arrived they found a woman in an apartment screaming for help. 

She told them she was walking her dog when she was approached by an African-American man who began punching her in the face. He pushed her to the ground and began to rip off her clothes, while stating his intention to sexually assault her. 

At that point, the woman’s dog became aggressive toward the man and he ran off in an unknown direction. The woman was emotionally distraught and sustained physical injuries during the assault.

She was transported by Emergency Medical Services to a local hospital for treatment. The woman has since been released from the hospital. 

The man was possibly in his 30s with a crooked nose (maybe from a prior broken nose), missing an upper front tooth and smelled of alcohol and cigarettes. 

Other identifying physical features, such as height, approximate weight and whether he had any facial hair are not known at this time. He was wearing a black or dark hooded sweatshirt and latex medical/food services style gloves (color unknown).

Of particular significance, the suspect was described by the victim as having a speech impediment— possibly a lisp—as she noticed he had problems pronouncing words that contained the letter “s.”

Sheriff’s Office investigators are currently obtaining details and are asking for information from the public. Anyone that may have seen something in the area of Bluestone Apartments or the suspect is urged to call Sheriff’s Office Emergency Dispatch at 911 or Sgt. Seth Reynells at 843-255-3709; or CrimeStoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC (274-6372) to remain anonymous and collect a possible reward.

Pedestrian, dog struck in Trask Parkway accident

Just before 7 p.m. on Nov. 2, the Burton Fire District was dispatched to a motor vehicle accident on Trask Parkway by Detour Road. Burton firefighters arrived on scene to find a female pedestrian and a dog lying on Trask Parkway after being struck by a motor vehicle. 

The pedestrian suffered what appeared to be serious injuries and was transported to the hospital. The dog was also transported to a local emergency veterinarian service with unknown injuries. 

Two lanes of Trask Parkway were blocked for approximately 45 minutes while emergency crews assisted the injured pedestrian and dog. The driver of the motor vehicle was uninjured. 

Parris Island Gateway crash injures two

Just past 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 2, the Burton Fire District responded to a motor vehicle accident in the area of 368 Parris Island Gateway. Firefighters arrived on the scene to a two-vehicle accident involving a pickup truck and a moped. 

The moped operator, who was not wearing a helmet, suffered what appeared to be critical injuries and was transported to the hospital. 

The driver of the pickup truck had minor injuries and was not transported. 

Three lanes of Parris Island Gateway were blocked for approximately 30 minutes while emergency crews assisted the injured drivers. 

Cold case is still being investigated

Margit Schuller, 34, was found shot to death in the laundry room shortly after 8 p.m. on Nov. 1, 1987, at Palmetto Apartments on Harding Street in Beaufort.   

The investigators developed several suspects, but forensic science of the time could not establish any firm link. Robbery and sexual assault were two of the possible motives, but neither took place.

Blood evidence was found and collected along the same route believed taken by the suspect to flee the laundry room.  

It was apparent during the struggle with Schuller that the suspect’s handgun discharged, traveling through her upper body and wounding the shooter on ricochet.  

At the time, blood typing was the industry standard and could only exclude or include a suspect in a criminal case, it would not serve as standalone as conclusive involvement of a crime.

Months later, a handgun was recovered by workers clearing a lot on U.S. 21, over a few miles from the scene. The handgun was identified as the one used to shoot and kill Schuller through forensic examination. The owner of the handgun was never identified, as it was a foreign brand and may have been brought to the United States unrecorded. 

In 1999, the blood evidence from the scene was resubmitted to the forensic laboratory for DNA analysis. A profile was developed by the laboratory and submitted to the FBI DNA database, which to this day has yet to return a match.

A reward of up to $2,500 is offered for information leading to an arrest in any Beaufort County cold case.

During some criminal investigations, investigators might exhaust all credible leads in a case. When this happens, the case can become stagnant or what is typically known as “cold.”

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office is making these files accessible to the public in hopes that someone might come forward with information that may not have yet been uncovered.

Anyone with any information can contact Capt. Bob Bromage at 843-255-3402, 843-816-8013 or robertb@bcgov.net; or CrimeStoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC (274-6372) to remain anonymous and collect a possible reward.

CERT training is being offered

Beaufort County residents interested in learning more about self-sufficiency during a disaster are invited to participate in the Community Response Team Program. 

The CERT program provides training for individuals to increase self-sufficiency in a disaster. 

Participants will learn to provide emergency assistance to their families and neighbors. 

CERT classes are free of charge. 

The next series will start Tuesday, Dec. 5. Classes will be held at the Technical College of the Lowcountry campus in Bluffton at 100 Community College Drive in room 125.

The course is taught in four class sessions from 6-9 p.m. and one Saturday class from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The classes include:

• Tuesday, Dec. 5: Personal Preparedness and Hazard Mitigation

• Thursday, Dec. 7: Disaster Medical I

• Tuesday, Dec. 12: Disaster Psychology/Terrorism Response

• Thursday, Dec. 14: Disaster Medical II/CERT Organization

• Saturday, Dec. 16: Fire Suppression/Disaster Search Techniques & Exercise

For more information or to register, send an email to cert@bcgov.net or contact Major David Zeoli, Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, at 843-812-8035 or Kris Legge at 843-263-2783.

Drivers must get new ID in 2018

in Local News by

By Sally Mahan

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has granted South Carolina’s request for an extension to become REAL ID compliant, meaning drivers will now have until Oct. 18, 2018, to get their new identification cards.

Under the federal REAL ID act, all driver’s licenses must be equipped with machine-readable technology, which typically comes in the form of a chip. The IDs being issued now by South Carolina are considered non-compliant.

Previous to the extension, South Carolinians without a REAL ID would not have been able to fly or get onto military bases or into secured federal buildings as of Jan. 1, 2018. Residents would have had to fly on another form of ID, such as a U.S. military identification, a passport or a permanent resident card. 

This extension means South Carolina’s current, unexpired driver’s licenses and identification cards will continue to be accepted to board domestic flights, enter secure federal buildings and visit military installations through Oct. 10, 2018. After that time they must have a REAL ID.

It is anticipated that this is the last extension request the state will have to submit. 

“While this agency fully anticipated this extension and saw no barrier to receiving it, we’re pleased that DHS did the right thing for the people of the state,” said South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (SCDMV) Executive Director Kevin Shwedo. “South Carolinians can rest assured knowing their state-issued licenses and IDs are still accepted for federal activities that will eventually require a REAL ID.” 

Meanwhile, the SCDMV is providing a 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. 

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 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.

News briefs for November 2nd-8th

in Local News by

Northern Beaufort County voters will sit out election

Voters in Northern Beaufort County will be sitting out this year’s elections on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

The only items on the ballot will be elections for Bluffton Town Council seats and only voters in Bluffton districts will be casting their ballots.

The other items that would have been on the ballot were for three Port Royal Town Council seats.

However, the Town of Port Royal, in conjunction with the Board of Voter Registration and Elections of Beaufort County, has announced that the town will not be conducting its general elections for two town council seats nor an unexpired town council seat. 

Incumbents Mary Beth Gray Heyward and Darryl Owens were the only candidates to file for their open seats. Robert Landrum filed for the two-year term that became open when Tom Klein resigned.

The Town of Port Royal Municipal Election Commission will meet at 10 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 9, in the Board of Elections and Voter Registration of Beaufort County conference room, located at 15 John Galt Road, Beaufort, to certify the candidates as the official winners.

New poll manager training offered

The Board of Voter Registration and Elections of Beaufort County will be conducting new poll manager training. Anyone interested in working the polls for the first time can enroll in one of these sessions.

All training sessions will be conducted at the Board of Voter Registration and Elections of Beaufort County Office at 15 John Galt Road, Beaufort.

Training will take place from 2-6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7.

The sessions will last approximately four hours. It is recommended that attendees bring a snack to eat/drink during short breaks.

To register for the training, call 843-255-6900 or send an email and include your name, mailing address, the preferred date of the training you wish to attend and a phone number where you can be reached during the day to voter@bcgov.net.

Indivisible Beaufort SC to hold education forum

Indivisible Beaufort SC will hold its November meeting at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 4, at the large meeting room of St. Helena Branch Library at 6355 Jonathan Francis Sr. Road.

The program will be “Public Education in South Carolina — What’s Next?”  

Special speakers will be Bruce Marlowe, Ph.D., professor of education and chair of the Department of Education at the University of South Carolina Beaufort; and Bernadette Hampton, president of the South Carolina Education Association and formerly a longtime math teacher at Battery Creek High School.  

The speakers will explore the current state of public education in general, and the upcoming plans and programs in the South Carolina legislature and on the federal level. Attendees will be polled for their ideas on improving public education in our state.  

The public is welcome.    

Mosquito spraying may take place through Nov. 3

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, Nov. 3.

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.

Tree Advisory Committee has two open seats

The City of Beaufort’s Park and Tree Advisory Commission (PTAC) has two openings: one for a general citizen and one for a design professional (landscape designer, landscape architect, engineer, architect, etc.). 

PTAC provides the Beaufort City Council with recommendations on the city’s parks and open spaces. In addition, PTAC provides guidance on issues related to urban forestry. PTAC hosts the City’s annual Arbor Day Celebration.

PTAC meets monthly at 3 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of the month. 

Brian Franklin, the city’s landscape architect, provides staff support.

Applications must be submitted by Friday, Nov. 10.

Email landerson@cityofbeaufort.org or call 843-525-7012

Foster homes are needed in county

With a shortage of loving, supportive foster homes in the area, and throughout the state, the Child Abuse Prevention Association (CAPA) is seeking to bridge that service gap. 

CAPA is now a licensed Child Placing Agency to recruit, train and support resource (foster) families thanks to funding from United Way of the Lowcountry and a recently awarded Victims of Crime Grant (VOCA).  

Through this private public partnership between DSS and CAPA, the agency will recruit families in Beaufort County. DSS currently needs over 1,000 more licensed homes.  

Today, CAPA can serve 15 children each night at their Children’s Home. However, with the recruitment of just five resource families they can more than double that number. CAPA intends to expand services to the entire 14th Judicial Circuit in the coming years. 

“The Beaufort Community has supported CAPA’s Open Arms Children’s Home for over three decades as we have offered a safe, loving home to over 2,300 children,” said Christina Wilson, executive director of CAPA, who is also a foster and adoptive mother. “We are now expanding our services to serve even more. 

“As a foster mother myself, I know firsthand how much support foster families truly need. The CAPA board believes that our organization is in a unique position to recruit, train and support loving caregivers to take care of abused or neglected kids just as we have for the past 30 years through our shelter program. It is a natural progression and one we are so very excited to make.”

Anyone interested in serving as a CAPA Resource Family can call Erin Walker at 843-524-4350 or email foster@capabeaufort.org.

Run better meetings focus of 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. Monday, Nov. 6, at the Beaufort Branch Library at 311 Scott St.

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

This event is free to the public and will be facilitated by Janet Jacobs of the National Association of Parliamentarians.  

Call or text 386-871-8855 or email Janet Jacobs at parliamentarystudy@gmail.com for more information. While not necessary, an RSVP is appreciated.

Marines foundation accepting nominations 

The Marine Corps Heritage Foundation has begun accepting nominations for its 2018 Annual Awards Program.

Each year the foundation presents a series of awards for creative works preserving or advancing Marine Corps history, traditions, culture or service. Marines and civilians are eligible to submit their own artistic entries or the distinguished work of others.

The foundation honors individuals who have demonstrated leadership in their profession by presenting the John A. Lejeune for Exemplary Leadership Award and recognizes those who have provided unique and significant service to the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation with the Heritage Award. 

Last year’s Lejeune Award winners were President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush, while the former chairman of the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, General Walter E. Boomer, USMC, Ret., was honored with the Heritage Award. 

Submitting a nomination is free. For additional information on the Annual Awards Program, visit www.marineheritage.org; or to schedule an interview about the program with a foundation representative, contact Paulo Sibaja at psibaja@susandavis.com or 202-414-0798.

County offers shredding event in Bluffton 

The Beaufort County Public Works Department Solid Waste and Recycling Section will hold a secure document shredding event for county residents from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 4. 

The event will be held at the Public Works South site at 9 Benton Field Road in Bluffton. 

Individuals will be limited to disposing of no more than four boxes or bags.

Any types or colors of paper, file folders or envelopes are acceptable. Staples or paper clips do not need to be removed. Materials can be brought in any container or bag and will be emptied into roll carts for immediate shredding. 

Only residential quantities will be accepted. No materials from commercial businesses will be accepted. No electronics will be collected at this event.

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

County councilman to hold public forum

Beaufort County Councilman Gerald Dawson, District 1, will hold a public meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14, in the cafeteria at James J. Davis Elementary School at 364 Keans Neck Road, Seabrook. 

The purpose of the meeting is to discuss solid waste collection and the Dale Recycling Drop-Off Convenience Center.

Residents do not need to register in advance for the meeting. For more information, contact Dawson at  gdawson @bcgov.net or by calling 843-255-9536.

Public safety briefs for November 2nd-8th

in Local News by

Men sentenced to 50 years for murder

Casey Kason Jones Jr.
Casey Kason Jones Jr.
Jarod Bostick
Jarod Bostick

Two Hampton County men have been convicted of forcing their way into the home of a 32-year-old Ridgeland man and shooting him to death while four juveniles were in the house.

Casey Kason Jones Jr., 31, and Jarod Bostick, 28, were found guilty recently of the 2015 murder of Jeremiah Wilson, 32. They also were convicted of first-degree burglary and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime after a three-day trial in Jasper County General Sessions Court. 

Both defendants received 50-year sentences – 30 years for murder, 15 for burglary and five for the weapon charge, to be served consecutively.

“Not only did they kill a man in his home, (Wilson’s) 11-year-old son was standing there when he answered the door, so these defendants laid eyes on him and knew he was there before they killed his father,” Assistant Solicitor Mary Concannon Jones of the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office said. “They knew what they were doing and had zero regard for the children who were there.

“These kids have been forever changed.”

Mary Jones, who tried the case, is a member of the Solicitor’s Office Career Criminal Unit. That team prosecutes the circuit’s most serious and habitual offenders. It has earned convictions against 39 of 42 defendants in 2017.

Casey Jones’ previous convictions include second-degree burglary and strong-armed robbery from 2009, which resulted in a 10-year sentence that was suspended to six years imprisonment and five years of probation. Bostick has previous convictions for shoplifting (2012) and forgery (2013).

Jasper County Sheriff’s Office deputies were sent to a home on Clover Circle in Ridgeland on June 3, 2015, after receiving a report of a gunshot victim there. They arrived to find Wilson lying dead just inside his open front door. 

Deputies also found video surveillance cameras throughout the home and a television in the living room displaying feeds from the cameras. Recordings showed two men greeted by Wilson on the porch of his home. A few moments later, they forced their way inside at gunpoint, followed by a third man, who ran from the car into the house. Cameras also captured the three men exiting the home quickly several minutes later and driving away. All three suspects appeared to possess handguns. The video did not show the shooting.

Four juveniles were present when Wilson was shot. Two hid in a closet, and the other two were ordered to the ground by the assailants. Each reported hearing about four gunshots, then seeing the victim lying on the floor. 

Wilson suffered six gunshot wounds – one each on his head and hand, and four in his torso.

A third defendant — Casey Jones’ father, Casey Kason Jones Sr. — was tried on the same three charges but found not guilty of each.

Circuit Court Judge Carmen T. Mullen handed down the sentences. 

Vehicle crashed into home, driver suffers injuries

jennings

The Burton Fire District responded to a motor vehicle accident on Oct. 29 involving a vehicle striking a home and injuring the driver. 

Just past 5 a.m., the Burton Fire District was dispatched to a reported motor vehicle accident at the intersection of Broad River Boulevard and Jennings Road. 

Burton firefighters arrived to find a vehicle partially embedded inside a home. 

The female driver of the vehicle was able to get herself out and was outside the vehicle when firefighters arrived. She was treated for what appeared to be non-life threatening injuries and transported to the hospital. The home appeared to be unoccupied at the time. 

Burton fire crews remained on scene for over two hours maintaining scene safety until the vehicle was removed. The damage to the home appeared to be superficial and no structural elements appeared to be damaged. 

The Burton Fire District has responded to over 270 motor vehicle accidents in 2017. 

Firefighters extinguish blaze on Coleman Lane 

coleman

Firefighters were called to 1106 Coleman Lane in the city of Beaufort at 11:57 a.m. on Oct. 24.

Arriving fire crews found a fire in the front living room of the single-story home. The fire had breached the front windows and smoke and flames could be seen from the street. 

Acting Battalion Chief Lt. Gary Guldner directed arriving engine companies to attack the fire with a hose line and had Ladder Company 1 force entry into the structure.  

“Luckily, the lone occupant of the home was safe with neighbors when I got here” said Guldner. “The neighbor did an excellent job reporting to me that everyone was safely outside the home, allowing me to focus on extinguishment efforts.” 

“The first information crews receive upon arrival is critical” said Chief Bertholf, “Life safety is our first order of business and when we can couple that with property conservation due to accurate information, we can adjust our risk matrix for the firefighters. In this case it allowed us to extinguish the bulk of the fire prior to entering the house and create a safer environment for the firefighters to search the home for any unknown occupants.” 

Fire damage to the home was confined to the front living room.  However, the home was inundated with smoke and had smoke damage throughout.  

Within minutes of arrival of the first fire engine the bulk of the fire was knocked down and was completely extinguished within 10 minutes. 

“The first crews on scene from Engine Company 3 did an excellent job limiting fire spread and extinguishing the fire” said Guldner. “This could have gone much worse, but as it is, it appears that the home is salvageable.”  

The cause of the fire is under investigation and there were no injuries.  

 The City of Beaufort/Town of Port Royal Fire Department was assisted in response by the Burton Fire District, Beaufort County EMS and the City of Beaufort Police Department. 

Sheriff’s office: Reduce chances of being victim

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office is reminding residents and guests of simple strategies to help reduce their risks of becoming victims of opportunistic crime.

In recent weeks there have been numerous reports of vehicle break-ins throughout Northern and Southern Beaufort County. Although referred to as “break-ins,” the vast majority involved unlocked vehicles that were not forcibly entered. 

Perpetrators generally travel by bicycle or on foot through parking lots or driveways and pull on door handles in search of unlocked vehicles. When one is found, they rummage through it in hopes of stealing items that are easily concealable: handguns, electronic devices, cash, coins and other valuables.

These simple precautions can reduce the risk of becoming a victim of this type of opportunistic crime: 

• Remove your keys, lock your vehicle and set your alarm. Opportunistic thieves will often forgo the challenge of a locked vehicle in favor of one that is not.

• Avoid leaving anything of value inside your vehicle. At the very least, ensure nothing of value is viewable from the outside.

• Under no circumstance should you leave a firearm in your vehicle. Invariably, stolen firearms are used in violent and potentially deadly crimes.

• Report suspicious activity immediately.

Sheriff’s office looking for stolen vehicle

car

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office is seeking assistance in locating a 2009 black Ford Explorer with the license plate number LRM862.

The vehicle was stolen on Oct. 20 from Whites Lane in Beaufort.

Anyone with information is asked to call Sgt. Adam Draisen at 843-255-3409 or BCSO Dispatch at 843-524-2777; or CrimeStoppers at 1-888-274-6372 to remain anonymous and for a possible reward.

Clear cutting paves way for development

in Local News by
_RES1730

Photo above: This is a clear-cut lot in Port Royal off Paris Avenue. There is nothing left but a few bulldozer tracks. Photo by Bob Sofaly.

By Amy Rigard

As development throughout Northern Beaufort County continues to increase, the number of large, mature trees decreases. 

The city and local municipalities have tree ordinances in place to help preserve the natural landscape, but developers sometimes choose to clear cut trees and incur fines in the near-term for the sake of longer-term potential profit. 

Some residents, including Gordon Fritz, argue that county leadership isn’t doing enough to protect the natural environment. 

That is why the Lady’s Island resident, together with other citizens, formed the Sea Island Corridor Coalition about a year ago to provide those who live and work along the Sea Island Parkway a voice in its future, especially for community planning and land use issues. 

“If something is not done to curtail the uncontrolled and environmentally blind actions of those developers coming to our area to exploit and profit from the destruction of our environments, we will lose the very values that have attracted thousands of our fellow residents to our communities,” said Fritz.

Fritz’s latest concern is over the clear cutting of trees in the town of Port Royal. 

“There are now three areas where the land has been stripped of 95 percent of the green cover to make room for apartment complexes,” according to Fritz. 

He said he finds it appalling that “developers are not held to any good development practices by the Port Royal authorities, but are allowed to clear cut.”  

One specific example Fritz noted was the clear cutting of an area where the 48-unit Marsh Point apartment complex will be built. 

The contractor for this development was within the law since a tree audit was completed, and a tree mitigation fee of $4,000 was paid. 

According to the tree mitigation section of the Port Royal code, “The clear cutting of trees by any developer for the sole purpose of clearing land or offering land for sale shall be prohibited.” 

The code also states, “No developer shall cut, destroy, cause to be destroyed, move or remove any disease-free trunk with a diameter of 8 inches or more (25-inch circumference), measured three feet up from the base, in conjunction with or preparation for any development activity until such removal has been approved in accordance with the provisions of this article.” 

The code also includes a condition that requires suitable replacement trees to be planted elsewhere on development sites. If the development site cannot accommodate the replacement of trees, the developer pays a fee of $1 per caliper inch, capped at $4,000 per site.

According to Fritz, that “paltry” fee should be of great concern to Port Royal residents when it comes time to develop the South Carolina Ports Authority property, which is an area covered by a large maritime forest containing many live oaks and other trees. 

Fritz, a biologist and environmentalist, is also a real estate broker who has developed a 550-acre residential community on Lady’s Island. 

He said is not anti-development and has an appreciation for both sides of the issue. He does, however believe that “good development practices can co-exist with our environmental values, and it is time for the public, especially the town of Port Royal, to organize and demand good development practices before that special place they call home disappears.”

1 2 3 24
Go to Top