April 2015

A Word from Our Mayors

Author: Lisa Sulka & David Bennett | Photographer: M.Cat Photography

A Note from David Bennett
Task Force, Texas and “Tee” Time in Wonderland

What can we add to April on Hilton Head Island? Beautiful weather, nature in bloom, spectacular events and tourism all abound. The 47th annual RBC Heritage presented by Boeing begins to roaring cheers broadcasted worldwide.

Our RBC Heritage presented by Boeing is arguably one of the most enjoyed tournaments on the PGA tour, as evidenced by its enormous economic impact on our community, over $96 million in 2014 alone. With its iconic setting, the talented golf professionals, and the electric energy of the crowds, you would believe the event to be complete. What could possibly be added? And yet, each and every year, more volunteers and organizations, more spectators, and community gatherings combine to make this great occasion increasingly grand. Sea Pines Resort has premiered not only the Beach House and Plantation House, but on March 27, the curtain was raised on the new centerpiece, the Harbour Town Clubhouse. Congratulations!

The same is quite true of Hilton Head Island. Our unique and significant history has been veritably established. Now it’s time to cultivate and foster dynamic ways for islanders and visitors from near and far to enjoy and appreciate it. The heritage of our lovely island is deeply rooted in the richness of our historical and cultural identity. I’m working with Town Council to create a task force charged with the goal of establishing a vision for heritage tourism, highlighting such features as the early Indians, Captain William Hilton’s discovery, Mitchelville, the Gullah Geechee Corridor, the Underground Railroad, the Civil War battles and, in these contemporary times, the blueprint for modern planned resort communities together with all the representative art and culture.

Since we’re in Wonderland and it’s “tee” time, does that mean it’s also Texas tea time? I’ve heard there may be oil found off our shores, but does that mean we should extract it, just because it’s there? If we seek to make everything serve the same purpose, what unique purpose do we have? So, hot or iced, sweet or un’, a little cream, a slice of lemon, this or that to suit your taste, but do our islanders overwhelmingly agree…don’t add that Texas tea? Your Town Council is aware and active on this important issue.

Hilton Head Island contributes to the world our miles of magnificent beaches and waterways, our multitude of wildlife species and vegetation, and our historical culture augmented by the arts. Should we strive to be the premier resort, retirement and business community on the East Coast? As was recently suggested by a task force of our citizens, let’s be earnestly committed to preserving our splendid barrier island as a naturally endowed sanctuary for future generations to experience with delight. We’ve received our Heritage; now let’s leave our legacy! 

A Note from Lisa Sulka
Is Bluffton the Safest Community for Pets?

Dave Ropes doesn’t want anyone else to experience what Richmond Hill, Georgia. resident Kathy White did when her Maltese-Poodle mix, Ellie, went missing in Bluffton. Her story is among the reasons why he is re-launching mobiPET’s services so more people can access this “Amber-Alert” system for their pets.
White was visiting Bluffton when Ellie got loose and was lost in the woods near Palmetto Bluff for 13 days. More than 50 Bluffton residents searched for Ellie several times until a woman found her in the woods near Palmetto Bluff.

Ropes, who has owned mobiPET for two and a half years, is re-launching his services so people can sign up for free. A free, lifetime subscription with mobiPET will allow the user to receive all alerts, send one alert regarding a lost pet and use the database for his or her pet. MobiPET can make any pet search easier by alerting all animal shelters and veterinarians in a 30-mile radius.

Ropes, who is a business owner at the Don Ryan Center for Innovation, wants to make Bluffton his pilot market for his product/services as he also makes it the safest community for pets. Non-pet owners can become a part of the network for free by visiting the web site at mobipet.me and clicking on Become a Pet Finder.

According to David Nelems, executive director of the Don Ryan Center for Innovation, mobiPET is the only lost pet recovery company in the nation that offers a program allowing pet owners to instantaneously send out a photo “Amber Alert” of missing pets. “MobiPET is a company that will experience tremendous growth but will stay headquartered in Bluffton as it introduces the service nationwide,” he said.
If a registered pet goes missing, the owner sends an alert from his or her phone app (received after registration) or by simply texting the word “Lost” to mypet@agm.tw; almost instantaneously, it reaches the local network of people registered with mobiPET.

About the Don Ryan Center for Innovation:
Located in the CareCore National building in Buckwalter Place, the Don Ryan Center provides regional start-up companies with consulting, resources and office space to accelerate their business growth. Currently, the Center has nine innovators. Since opening in May 2012, the Center has incubated 19 local companies. The current and graduate companies that have been a part of the Center collectively employ 64 people with an annual payroll of $2,975,000. 

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