APRIL 2023 Around Town

April 3, 2023

Hilton Head Updating Traffic System
The Town of Hilton Head said it is updating its traffic technology. A new adaptive traffic signal management system will use advanced technology to improve travel times and the flow of traffic along William Hilton Parkway, Town officials said.

“The Town is making a significant investment to upgrade our coordinated signal system technology to ensure we are providing our residents, commuters, and guests with the most efficient signal operations made possible by recent technological improvements,” Town Manager Marc Orlando said.

The ATSM system offer an ability to adapt operations in real time. ATSM uses technology to change and adapt the timing of traffic signals based on actual traffic demand and variations in demand, the Town said.

The upgraded signal system will:
•  Monitor the location of pedestrians and bicyclists within the immediate vicinity of traffic signals to minimize delays for motorists when the bicyclists and pedestrians have finished crossing the street.
•  Adapt signal changes as warranted to allow pedestrians or bicyclists that are still in the crosswalk to complete their crossing before motorists are given the green traffic signal to drive through the crosswalk.
•  Feature video cameras to provide enhanced detection. These cameras will not record any footage nor be used for any law enforcement purpose, the Town said.  The video camera technology will make it possible to locate and monitor the movement of all pedestrians and bicyclists in the vicinity of the traffic signal.

The Town expects to have the system operational by June.  

Pedestrian signals at strategic locations will be motion-activated and provide audible spoken-word messages to better serve pedestrians with disabilities.
Installation of the adaptive traffic signal management system is an initial step towards advancing work on a regional integrated system, a news release said.
The public can follow the progress of the adaptive traffic signal management system installation on the Town’s website at hiltonheadislandsc.gov.

Bluffton Township Firefighters save home

Firefighters from Bluffton Township Fire District extinguished a fire in a detached garage on James O Court in Bluffton before flames could cause serious damage to a nearby residence, a news release said. The fire broke out just before 1 a.m. March 6 and required the response of Battalion Chiefs, fire engines, a rescue truck, and a water tanker truck, from BTFD Station 31 (May River), Station 34 (Sun City), Station 35 (Headquarters), Station 37 (Palmetto Bluff), and Station 38 (Hampton Parkway). Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, Beaufort County EMS, and Dominion Energy also responded to the incident to provide support. No injuries were reported.

Caesar H Wright Jr. Post Office Building

Fairfield Post Office Renamed

Caesar H. Wright Jr., a Hilton Head Island native who spent decades working in postal service on the island, was honored by the U.S. Congress by having the island’s north end post office renamed after him.

A bill renamed the Fairfield Post Office, the original name of the building, as the Caesar H. Wright Jr. Post Office Building. Wright, who died in 2019, served as the first black postman on the island and inspired other local African Americans to pursue careers with the U.S. Postal Service, a town news release said.  He joined the postal service in 1968, serving one of two existing routes on the Island during that time. He delivered mail for 29 years before retiring.

“Wright’s career goes back to a day when mail carriers knew everyone on the Island, their comings and goings, their heartaches, and their habits. His customers adored him and would frequently call on him at home,” said U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace in announcing the passing of the bill to rename the post office. “The naming of this post office represents the Gullah roots of the community, the history in the community, and Caesar Wright’s lifelong service to his Nation and to his community.”

Palmetto Breeze Transit Earns Industry Awards  

Two transportation industry associations recognized Palmetto Breeze Transit for excellence. The team earned the First Place Transit Fleet Maintenance Award at the Transportation Association of South Carolina (TASC)/South Carolina Department of Transportation annual conference and Bus Roadeo. Palmetto Breeze was recognized by the American Public Transportation Association for its “Breeze Trolley ROCKS!” ridership campaign, with a first-place marketing and communications award. The award is one of the most prestigious honors that transit agencies and their industry partners across North America can receive for excellence in marketing and communications.

Beach Parking Passes Extended through May

The Town of Hilton Head Island has extended validity of 2022 Resident Beach Parking Passes through May 31 as it transitions to its new parking management vendor, PCI Municipal Services. The town expects the 2023 passes will be available by the end of May.

Volunteers Needed for Gateway Corridor Independent Review Committee

Volunteers are sought by the Town of Hilton Head to serve on its William Hilton Parkway Corridor Independent Review Advisory Committee. The committee, which will be appointed by Town Council, will include a Town Council member, a current or former licensed professional engineer, one citizen member and an alternate from the Stoney Community, and two at-large citizen members from the community. Citizens may apply at hiltonheadislandsc.gov.

High school Improvement Council Is State Finalist

Hilton Head High’s South Carolina School Improvement Councils was named a statewide 2023 award finalist for its accomplishment in parent and civic engagement. The Riley Award for SIC Excellence is named in honor of former S.C. Governor and U.S. Education Secretary Richard Riley and his late wife, Tunky. The winner will be announced during an awards luncheon later this spring.

‘Mr. Tomato’  Honored

Richard “Bubba” Crosby, who farmed much of his life and grew and sold vegetables and daffodils at his farm, recently died at 96 years old. He was famous for sharing his tomatoes with everyone.

Crosby, known as “Mr. Tomato,” was honored by the Town of Bluffton when it proclaimed March 4, 2023, as Bubba Crosby Day. Crosby served in World War II.  The Town noted that the Crosby family is an “institution,” and the day is one to remember “how important local farmers are to our area.”
He lived his life in Beaufort and Jasper counties where he farmed until he was in his 60s, according to an obituary.  He then started a sand-blasting company and worked until his late 80s. Crosby had a passion for the outdoors, playing ball, hunting and fishing.  He played softball until age 79, the obituary said. He loved planting a garden and was well known for his delicious “Bubba” tomatoes.  

Airport sees record number of passengers

The Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport saw 3,533,294 passengers travel through its airport in 2022. The mark set a record for the most annual passengers in the airport’s history and is 27 percent higher than in 2021.  The airport has 11 airlines with more than 50 daily nonstop departures to more than 30 destinations.

Sun City death ruled a murder-suicide, Sheriff’s Office says

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office said a death investigation in Sun City has been ruled a murder-suicide. Deputies responded to Sundance Lane in Sun City at 7:30 p.m. March 2 where Robert Caravello, 71, and Marcella Caravello, 69, were found dead inside their home. Police found a firearm near the bodies, according to the sheriff’s office. Autopsies showed Marcella’s death by gunshot wound was murder, and Robert’s gunshot wound was a suicide, the sheriff’s office said.  

Alex Murdaugh found guilty

Former South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh was convicted of murder in the shooting deaths of his wife and son. A jury found Murdaugh  guilty of two counts of murder.   Murdaugh, 54, was sentenced to life in prison by Circuit Court Judge Clifton Newman.

Scholarship Opportunity

The Carolina Heritage Insurance Scholarship is a $5,000 scholarship awarded to a county student. Submit applications no later than April 15. Carolinaheritage.net/scholarship.