Wednesday, August 22, 2012

From the House

Bluffton Today

Once again, Al Stokes and his crew at the Waddell Mariculture Center are in the news. Unfortunately, it was sad news in that a pair of dead dolphins were found in the May River. The ever-vigilant Jimmy McIntire observed the dolphins while out fishing. One of the beautiful creatures was located and taken to the research station at the end of Sawmill Creek Rd.

One of the many things Al Stokes and his scientists do is perform necropsies on sea mammal corpses that turn up in area waters or on our beaches. Information gleaned from this important work helps to give an early warning if diseases or parasites are impacting local fish or marine mammal populations. This is in addition to the great work they do with the various restocking programs they maintain.

As many of you know, the Waddell Center has done superior work for years in supporting the billion-dollar sportfishing industry in our state. It is one of this legislator’s proudest achievements to have finally gotten a fairly predictable appropriation schedule to allow this outstanding facility to continue to do what it does. For years, Al and crew made do with what grants, appropriations, and single-year provisos we were able to send their way. This year, I was able to secure additional dollars for this high-performing asset. If you and I got a return on our investments like South Carolina gets on our contributions to the Waddell Center, we would be playing bridge with Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.

We continue to get a big number of calls and emails concerning my request for your comments on the unsafe boating issue. To your credit, most of what we are hearing now is not simply complaints, but suggestions about how we can effectively address the issue without diminishing the pleasure we all get from an afternoon on the river. A great example of how things should work in Bluffton comes from my good friend Carolyn Smith and her All Joy Beach Committee. They have been vocal in their disapproval of the general deterioration of courtesy and good practice on the waterway. They also have volunteered to help structure any changes to the applicable law that we might be considering. Friends, this is how it’s supposed to work.

I want to give you a heads-up on some cool events. Newly elected Old Town Merchants Society President Rodney Vaughn announced that “Beer and Brats” will be held Saturday, 22 Sept. at the Promenade. Rodney is also featured in the hilarious May River Theater production of “The Producers” which runs through this Sunday, 26 August. As always, Jody and Ed DuPuis put on a great show.

Coming up on Sat., 15 Sept. is the annual Beach Sweep/River Sweep, put on by the Sea Grant Consortium and South Carolina Dept. of Natural Resources. Be at Oyster Factory Park at 9 a.m. prepared to do some good for the river. If you have boats or kayaks, bring them. For details, call Kim Jones of the Town of Bluffton at 706-4593 or email Please join me, and presumptive House Seat 120 Representative Weston Newton, along with other delegation members, for this important workday.

Finally, most of you know that Bluffton is now actively promoted by three Chambers of Commerce: the Hilton Head/Bluffton Chamber, the Greater Bluffton Chamber, as well as the Beaufort Regional Chamber. Three chambers, three approaches, with one mission: grow and refine local business.