Wednesday, October 17, 2012

From the House

Bluffton Today

We got a good number of calls and emails on last week’s column, particularly with regard to the essential role that volunteers play in our community. Without the volunteers manning the various boards and commissions, the workings of government at all levels would grind to a halt. Without volunteers, the animal rescue shelters wouldn’t be able to do a tenth of the good work they do. The many service groups from Rotary and Lions to the United Way all depend on the generosity of community spirited folks to give of that which we value most, our time.

One of those public-spirited folks who has, over the years, volunteered much time and been extremely effective in protecting and preserving our waterways is my good friend and neighbor, Wes Jones. In fact, Wes and I were at the latest meeting of the Blue Ribbon Committee on Shoreline Change in Charleston recently. Our committee, chaired by Wes Jones, is very close to issuing a report that will help guide the state’s efforts to effectively and fairly manage the shorelines of South Carolina.

From a historical perspective, you can draw a straight line from our task today on the Blue Ribbon Committee to the work of the SC Coastal Council (now SCDHEC-SCOCRM) which was, incidentally, chaired by our own Wes Jones, some twenty years ago. The charge then, as now, is to use the best science, harnessed to the best engineering practices, to protect the waters and the adjacent lands that are so critical to the quality of life and economic viability of our state.
You might have heard that DHEC has recently reopened a significant portion of the May River that had been closed to oyster harvesting. It comes as no surprise that the chairman of the Town of Bluffton committee that labored several years to identify and implement ways to return the status of the river to the shellfish standard was, of course, Wes Jones.

On a different but related topic, the Historic Bluffton Arts and Seafood Festival is nearing the halfway point. We had a great kickoff Sunday with the Friends of Bluffton Artists Showcase, featuring my buddy Kelly Graham, followed by the Blessing of the Fleet and finishing with the first official oyster roast of the season at Larry and Tina Toomer’s Bluffton Oyster Company. The weather was perfect and there were a ton of folks for each event. Once again, volunteers get it done.

Friday night from 6 to 9 p.m. is Family Night at the Promenade and it’s going to be the coolest thing yet. Miss Judy and Miss Paula at Booksalicious are going to be reading Under Sea books and telling great stories for kids of all ages. Parrott Cove Ice Cream Café has specials, but they had me at “ice cream”. There will be art and nature projects, sidewalk chalk drawing, and if that wasn’t almost too much, there will be a family movie shown in the park. So bring some folding chairs or blankets, get some ice cream and sprinkles from Parrot Cove, and have a large portion of fun. As a side note, I heard that there may be some pirates in the area, so watch out and be prepared to protect your ice cream.

Next week: my take on Beaufort County’s land preservation program and why it’s one of the best in the country.