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ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (WCIV) — As Hurricane Nicole makes its way to the Lowcountry, officials along the coast are concerned about possible beach erosion.In September, Hurricane Ian left its mark on the Isle of Palms.“Lot of debris, for sure. Beach erosion was not so bad with Ian, and we’ll keep our fingers crossed for Nicole coming up. But a lot of debris, trees down, flooding in our hotspots," says Philip Pounds, the mayor...
ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (WCIV) — As Hurricane Nicole makes its way to the Lowcountry, officials along the coast are concerned about possible beach erosion.
In September, Hurricane Ian left its mark on the Isle of Palms.
“Lot of debris, for sure. Beach erosion was not so bad with Ian, and we’ll keep our fingers crossed for Nicole coming up. But a lot of debris, trees down, flooding in our hotspots," says Philip Pounds, the mayor of Isle of Palms.
In preparation for Nicole, IOP's Public Safety team surveyed the beaches.
“Our public safety folks did some drone footage earlier this week just to kind of have a base line for a pre-storm view, and then they’ll do a post probably Saturday when the storm clears out just to see if we have any erosion," continued Mayor Pounds.
The direction of the storm is also causing some concern.
“Didn’t have any issues with Ian. This one, again, since we’re on the other side of the storm, there’s certainly heightened concerns. But hopefully by the time it gets here, we’re talking 30 to 40 mile per hour winds mostly and storm surge of a couple of feet. Hopefully that won’t do too much, but we’ll probably have some issues," said Mayor Pounds.
Nicole is expected to bring heavy winds, rain, and possible isolated tornadoes, which is why Mayor Pounds is assuring the public he's preparing for the worst.
"We’ve pulled off all the trash cans that sit out on the beach for beachgoers. We’ll have some public safety personnel this week," Mayor Pounds says.
His main message is to be cautious.
“As we saw with Ian, the past changes pretty regularly and a few miles makes a big difference. This one seems pretty certain as far as the cone as where it’s going so, but certainly for residents just stay plugged in wherever you get your news from," said Mayor Pounds.
We also checked in with Sullivan's Island town officials. They say they will continue to keep an eye on the beaches, but no emergency evacuation order has been issued.
ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (WCBD) – Isle of Palms City Council is weighing whether or not caps are needed on short-term rentals and if so, how to regulate them across the island. The discussion comes after the city hosted three community listening sessions in September.Results from the three listening sessions show a divide among residents on the issue. Some say a cap is needed to protect island and community life, while others say implementing a cap would be unfair.“If we stick with the status quo from a cap perspective, ...
ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (WCBD) – Isle of Palms City Council is weighing whether or not caps are needed on short-term rentals and if so, how to regulate them across the island. The discussion comes after the city hosted three community listening sessions in September.
Results from the three listening sessions show a divide among residents on the issue. Some say a cap is needed to protect island and community life, while others say implementing a cap would be unfair.
“If we stick with the status quo from a cap perspective, no cap, every other issue we deal with relative to rental impact will increase exponentially,” said one resident during Tuesday night’s City Council meeting.
Regulating short-term rentals could become of greater importance in the coming months. During the meeting, City Council says the number of rental units has grown by the hundreds this year alone, topping more than fifteen hundred units, leaving residents wanting action now.
“I think we’ve flipped,” says Councilman Scott Pierce, referring to the city becoming a rental community. “I think we were a residential community with rentals, and I think we may have already become a rental community with residents.”
The results of three community listening sessions provided council with mixed results. Some say a cap on rentals would mitigate the amount of trash, noise, and congestion that rental properties sometimes create while others say a cap would be unfair and hurt property values on the island.
“Something like this, the people who are the most motivated are the ones who think they have something to lose, not something to gain,” says Councilwoman Jan Anderson.
The three sessions drew more than a hundred residents, property owners, and investors. The overwhelming message gathered from the session results shows residents want city officials to enforce existing short-term rental rules. It’s something they say isn’t being done.
“I think that probably enforceability and seeing if we do need to limit short-term rentals, how we go about doing that,” says Councilman Rusty Streetman.
Residents fear short-term rentals could grow out of control if officials don’t match the steps taken by neighboring islands.
“We did not want to be the last municipality with no limitations, yet here we are,” says a resident.
Results from the city’s listening session and private survey can be found on the city’s website for residents to review.
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By Brian Sherman for The Island Eye NewsThe South Carolina Department of Transportation stopped working on a study that will provide options to restripe the Isle of Palms Connector in late October, apparently in response to a lawsuit filed by an organization founded by a former IOP mayor and a current Council member.According to IOP City Administrator Desiree Fragoso, she was informed by the SCDOT the evening of Oct. 31 “that they may be pausing the study.” Four days later, on Nov. 4, Fragoso got the word that SCDOT...
By Brian Sherman for The Island Eye News
The South Carolina Department of Transportation stopped working on a study that will provide options to restripe the Isle of Palms Connector in late October, apparently in response to a lawsuit filed by an organization founded by a former IOP mayor and a current Council member.
According to IOP City Administrator Desiree Fragoso, she was informed by the SCDOT the evening of Oct. 31 “that they may be pausing the study.” Four days later, on Nov. 4, Fragoso got the word that SCDOT was moving forward with plans to present its findings to the IOP Council, either on Nov. 15 or Dec. 6, Fragoso said.
“We paused our work in order to let the attorneys review the situation,” Secretary of Transportation Christy Hall said in a Nov. 7 email. “Following their review, we resumed work a few days later. The pause had no significant impact. We are still on track to meet with IOP city officials prior to the end of the calendar year.” Mayor Phillip Pounds said the city did not negotiate with the state agency during the week the study was paused but instead “leveraged our relationships SCDOT and State Sen. (Chip) Campsen to get this thing back on track.” Pounds said SCDOT probably would present eight to 10 options for the Connector bridge at the city Council’s Dec. 6 meeting. The next step is “still to be determined.” Pounds noted that the Council, the Public Safety Committee – headed by Jan Anderson – and the general public might all play a role in paring the options down to a workable number. Without any input from the city of Isle of Palms, SCDOT re-striped the bridge in March 2021, adding two bike lanes and two pedestrian lanes and shrinking the center emergency lane from 10 feet to 4 feet. A year later, former Mayor Jimmy Carroll and sitting Council Member Blair Hahn formed The Palm Republic, a privately funded organization that has questioned the constitutionality of S.40, a law passed in 2021 which grants SCDOT the authority to determine where visitors to IOP, Sullivan’s Island, Edisto and Folly Beach can park on state roads and how much, if anything, these municipalities can charge them. The Palm Republic recently filed a petition and complaint with the South Carolina Supreme Court in an effort to force SCDOT to treat these four communities as it treats the state’s other municipalities. The lawsuit also claims that SCDOT violated the Constitution by restriping the bridge without input from the city. Hahn was not happy with what appeared to be SCDOT’s reaction to The Palm Republic’s lawsuit. “Every citizen has a right to challenge the constitutionality of any statute,” Hahn said. “If a government entity threatens to withhold government services because a citizen is challenging the constitutionality of a statute, that government entity should be held accountable because that’s illegal.” “SCDOT didn’t do a single engineering study or engineering report when they re-striped the bridge. They did nothing except follow the direction of those on high,” Hahn added. Fragoso, meanwhile, said the city would work with SCDOT to find ways to make the configuration of the Connector bridge more palatable to the Council and the community.
“We continue to work collaboratively with DOT in solving issues in our community that need addressing, and we’re eager to see the final report on the IOP Connector, evaluate the options presented and discuss the best path for that project,” Fragoso said.
Slowly but surely, sea turtles are making strides in South Carolina.Nesting season wrapped up Oct. 31, and the state finished with 8,002 nests — its second-highest total on record.Nest counts have averaged about 5,600 the past two years, but the S.C. Department of Natural Resources said it is not usual for record-breaking years to follow low nesting years.For example, the 8,795 nests counted in 2019 were more than triple the 2,766 reported in 2018.As numbers across the Southeast trend upward, biologists are ...
Slowly but surely, sea turtles are making strides in South Carolina.
Nesting season wrapped up Oct. 31, and the state finished with 8,002 nests — its second-highest total on record.
Nest counts have averaged about 5,600 the past two years, but the S.C. Department of Natural Resources said it is not usual for record-breaking years to follow low nesting years.
For example, the 8,795 nests counted in 2019 were more than triple the 2,766 reported in 2018.
As numbers across the Southeast trend upward, biologists are optimistic the reptiles are beginning to recover.
“Increased nest counts since the mid- to late-2000s show promise for the loggerhead,” said Michelle Pate, nesting program leader for DNR. “We’re seeing the continued benefits of conservation measured enacted decades ago as well as those management techniques still used today.”
Among the most interesting finds this season was the oddity of a leucistic sea turtle on Folly Beach. While most loggerhead turtles are dark, leucistic animals are white, pale or patchy in color because of their reduced pigmentation.
Dave Miller, the permit holder for the Folly Beach Turtle Team, found the special turtle in September.
“I saw these two turtles coming out of the nest and they were covered with sand,” Miller said. “And then the wave washed them over and one of them was white. I didn’t realize it when it was covered in sand.”
Leucism increases animals’ chances of being taken by predators. And in areas like Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island, coyotes are among the top predators for sea turtles.
Turtle patrol volunteers work to find sea turtle nests on beaches before coyotes do.
“What the Wild Dunes coyotes have learned to do is ambush the turtle as she comes out of the water in the middle of the night and begins to lay her eggs,” said Mary Pringle, a project leader for the Island Turtle Team in Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island.
The coyotes will often eat the turtle’s eggs before volunteers can get to them in the morning and place plastic screens over the nests. The animals can’t destroy the nests once that happens. But volunteers can’t predict when and where a turtle will choose to nest.
“When I started (volunteering), we didn’t have any coyotes,” Pringle said. “We had raccoons and ghost crabs as predators, but not coyotes. And it’s just something that’s happening all over the coast.”
Foxes and the emergence of armadillos on beaches have also become a reason for nest losses in the state.
Pate said other concerns include artificial lighting on heavily populated beaches, and people intercepting nesting females at night.
Even with predators like coyotes, sea turtle species in the state have found a way to prevail. Many new turtles nested here for the first time this season.
“And they (scientists) are cautiously optimistic that it will continue because of nest protection efforts — saving nests, making sure they hatch like we did and all the other people who do the same thing that we do for DNR,” Pringle said.
Pringle’s Island Turtle Team is one of about 30 groups along the coast that patrol beaches from May 1 to Oct. 31 to count, monitor and protect the nests. DNR said there are more than 1,500 volunteers coastwide.
Fifty-seven total nests were spotted this year on the Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island. And 4,602 turtles hatched on those islands.
Most of the nests there were in the Wild Dunes area.
Thirty-four nests were were counted on Myrtle Beach; 99 on Folly Beach; 483 on Kiawah Island; 351 at Edisto Beach State Park; and 423 on Hilton Head Island, according to data.
Loggerheads nest on the state’s shores more often than any other species, but greens, Kemp’s ridleys and leatherbacks also have a presence here.
Each species is classified as endangered or threatened and receive protections under the Endangered Species Acts. Extra state protections are also in place.
This year, 7,974 nests were counted in the state, 21 green turtle nests and one Kemp’s ridley nest.
“I think in the history of Folly Beach Turtle Team, we’ve had maybe two leatherbacks,” Miller said. “And everything else has been loggerheads.”
Other species will pop up on the beach, maybe for food, but choose to nest in other locations.
DNR said beachgoers can help the state’s sea turtles by keeping beaches clean, giving the animals and their nests space and turning beachfront lights out to avoid disorienting them during nesting season.
MUSC veterans and supporters attended an online Veterans Day ceremony to honor their service, courage, sacrifices and their many contributions to protecting the nation, on Nov. 11. The event was held virtually to allow all employees and students to be part of the Veterans Day holiday.The ceremony started with the MUSC Public Safety Color Guard presenting the flags of the armed forces, which accompanied the national anthem. MUSC student 2nd Lt. Nadia Robinson shared the history and purpose of Veterans Day.Lt. Col. Joseph Bernard...
MUSC veterans and supporters attended an online Veterans Day ceremony to honor their service, courage, sacrifices and their many contributions to protecting the nation, on Nov. 11. The event was held virtually to allow all employees and students to be part of the Veterans Day holiday.
The ceremony started with the MUSC Public Safety Color Guard presenting the flags of the armed forces, which accompanied the national anthem. MUSC student 2nd Lt. Nadia Robinson shared the history and purpose of Veterans Day.
Lt. Col. Joseph Bernard, a retired United States Marine Corps officer who now serves as COO of MUSC Health-Midlands Division, was the keynote speaker for the virtual event, offered via Microsoft Teams.
Bernard pointed out the similarities between military service and working in the medical field.
“The past two plus years, under the dark cloud of the COVID pandemic, it has shown that resiliency is essential for us to be effective as individuals and as a team and organization,” said Bernard. “But military veterans bring a sense of humility and respect to the table, and they always bring a high energy and a willingness to hustle and get the job done. That bias for action allows us to accomplish the important mission of providing the highest quality of care across the state of South Carolina.”
Cathy Durham, DNP, showed the kind of veteran resilience Bernard referenced. In 2020, Durham worked on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City, the epicenter of the virus in those early days. Durham, the assistant dean for graduate practice programs and an associate professor in the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program at MUSC’s College of Nursing, is a proud veteran, having joined the United States Navy in 1995. Since 2007, she has served in the Navy Reserve, where she holds the rank of captain. Her service in the Navy Nurse Corps led her to New York City to help during a very demanding time.
Durham said Veterans Day is special for her, since her family has a long history of military service. She chooses to spend the day with her spouse, who is also a veteran, and her family.
As chaplain and manager of Pastoral Care Services for MUSC Health-Charleston Division, Frank Harris draws on his own experience to support patients as well as the standards and values at MUSC. Harris served 10 years active duty in the United States Air Force, stationed in Oklahoma, Florida and Charleston. Additionally, he was deployed twice during both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. He said he observes the day reflecting on the experiences, the values he’s gained and the colleagues he served with.
Bernard also brought up teamwork and stated that awareness and care for those around is a shared value of both the military and MUSC. “Once you're in the military, it becomes readily apparent that you're not there for yourself,” Bernard said. “You're there to support those military members that are on your left, that are on your right. It's a team effort, that kind of collaboration and alignment is required to be successful in the US military.”
Rob Chisholm is the licensing and credentialing coordinator in the Graduate Medical Education Office in the College of Medicine. Chisholm spent five years active in the Air Force, where he was stationed in Michigan but also volunteered for special duty assignment at Rhein-Main Air Base in Germany. He said he chooses to be in community on Veterans Day. He said he contacts his brother, USAF retired, and his father, who also spent five years in the Air Force. He also attends a local Veterans Day parade in Charleston and visits the VFW Post on the Isle of Palms.
During his keynote address, Bernard shared his belief that the values of MUSC and those of the military intersect. “At MUSC, we have standards of professional behavior,” he said. “Those are compassion, collaboration, integrity, respect and innovation. If you think about each one of those behaviors and think about your time in the military, I think you can draw a very easy connection between your military service and what you do today at MUSC.”
Bernard also raised the subject of teamwork and stated that awareness and care for those around is a shared value of both the military and MUSC. “Once you're in the military, it becomes readily apparent that you're not there for yourself,” he explained. “You're there to support those military members that are on your left, that are on your right. It's a team effort; that kind of collaboration and alignment is required to be successful in the U.S. military.”
The afternoon concluded with Bernard conducting a Q&A session. Many veterans in attendance asked questions about his experience on Marine One, the helicopter that Bernard piloted during the Clinton administration. He finished his remarks with a quote from President Barack Obama: “When the world makes you cynical, whenever you seek true humility and true selflessness, look to a veteran.”