Friday, June 28, 2013

From the House

Bluffton Today

Many thanks to fellow columnist, Babbie Guscio, for her nice piece on the efforts of my wife, Mary, in creating a visually interesting interior to our new Moon Mi Pizza. I don’t know if it was the painted pie pans, but something certainly kicked off the fantastic initial response to our latest Promenade offering. We are grateful also to the good folks who came by and shared summer work stories with us, as well as enjoyed a well made and cheerfully served pie. Locals serving locals a quality product is always a good deal.

The budget conference, as far as we are concerned, is a mixed bag. We did well on the parity funding for our local college, USCB. There is some room for further improvement but your delegation worked with Chancellor Jane Upshaw and Vice Chancellor Lynn McGee and brought our per student funding up to parity with most other branches. Dr. Upshaw and Dr. McGee were pleased with the progress, but are ready to carry on when we reconvene in January. I have committed to the Chancellor and to our students that full parity is the goal, and we will not rest until all our students are valued as highly as those in Union or Columbia.

Waddell is also a work in progress. We passed the line-item for operations, but only a portion of the renovation dollars. The reasons had to do with the scope of the work as well as the distribution of the total budget. Rep. Newton and I have promised our friend, Al Stokes, Waddell manager, that we would put on the full court press for the remainder of the renovation funding when we reconvene in January.

The Blue Ribbon Committee on Shoreline Management, chaired by my friend Wes Jones, finished the first draft of our report in January. We had a 30-day comment period and presented to the DHEC board in April. You can read the final report at: It is a pretty good read and speaks to many of the issues we are confronted with as we try to balance the rights of property owners and the common good, in this time of rising sea levels and more damaging storms.

While DHEC/OCRM and DNR are working to preserve and enhance our water quality and protect our fishing industry, there is a local business on Burnt Church Road that is helping us fishermen and boaters get the best out of our time on the water. Bluffton Marine Sports and Supply is owned and operated by my friend Aaron Dowell and aided in the summers by his wife, Jan, who is an AP Calculus teacher at Hilton Head Prep. Aaron is the go-to guy for bait and tackle, as well as rigging advice when you are serious about your fishing. These young entrepreneurs work hard and deserve their success. Stop by Bluffton Marine Sports and Supply on the way to the river. You will be impressed.

The 4th of July is coming up, and for my family, that always means barbeque. Since my buddy Ted Huffman, of Bluffton Barbeque, makes better barbeque than I could ever dream of making, he is always a part of our holiday. He, and wife Donna (publisher of Bluffton Breeze) are our business neighbors, on the same street as Captain Woody’s and Margie Fox’s Garden Gate. Interestingly, we are all located on State of Mind Street. It says just about everything you need to know about business in Old Town Bluffton.

Next week, I’ll have a few comments about Beaufort County’s recent acquisition of Pinckney Point.