Free Tax Prep Program Seeks Local Volunteers

VITA (Volunteers Income Tax Assistance) is an IRS program that provides tax preparation help, free of charge, with a special focus on low to moderate income taxpayers 50 years old and older, to help them get the credits and deductions they’ve earned.

The key to providing this service is local volunteers who are trained and IRS certified. Tax counselors receive extensive free tax training and will become familiar with IRS/SC tax rules and regulations. Volunteers of all backgrounds and ages are welcome and needed to serve clients in the Charleston area, including Johns and James Islands. Familiarity with income tax returns and technology is helpful but not required.

Tax counselors are expected to be available for 4 hours one day per week February 1 to April 15, 2024. It’s a great way to learn new skills, assist in helping others, and become more involved in your community.

Please consider joining our local volunteer team! Contact the Charleston District Recruitment Coordinator, Fran Williams at (803) 443-1878, or email for more information. 

To learn about the VITA Program, click here.

Tidelines Editors

(Image Credit: IRS VITA Program)

The Great Southeast ShakeOut Earthquake Drill 2023

Many people do not realize that Charleston is in an earthquake zone. In 1886, an earthquake with a magnitude estimated between 6.9 and 7.3 caused 100 deaths and damage to about 7,000 buildings.

This is why older buildings in our area have earthquake bolts on the sides of these structures.  These bolts hold poles together that were used to repair and strengthen brick walls. They take many interesting shapes, such as stars and crosses. To read more about these iron bolts, click here.

Dr. Erin Beutel, College of Charleston Geology & Geosciences Department, provided Tidelines with the following map from the USGS that shows the areas with the highest and lowest earthquake vulnerability. As you can see, Charleston is in the risk zone.

This year’s International ShakeOut Day is October 19, 2023, when millions of people worldwide will participate in earthquake drills at work, school, or home.

At 10:19 am (local time) on 10/19/23, you can join more than a million people across the Southeast U.S. practicing earthquake safety.

It’s actually a good idea to practice earthquake safety in different situations each year, and ShakeOut organizers are here to support you. For more information, click here.

Tidelines Editors

(Image and information credit: FEMA)

Drop-In Community Meeting Oct 10

As reported in The Johns Island Advocate, the developers proposing a “medical village” on Betsy Kerrison Parkway are hosting a community meeting on Tuesday, October 10, from 1:00 to 3:00 pm. The meeting will be at Kiawah Town Hall, 4475 Betsy Kerrison Parkway.

For more information, see this clip from The Johns Island Advocate.

-Submitted by Dick Wildermann

(Image credit: The Johns Island Advocate)

Nationwide Emergency Alert Test Oct 4

Wednesday, October 4, 2023, beginning at 2:20 pm EST, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA).

The purpose of the national test is to ensure that the systems continue to be effective means of warning the public about emergencies.

Test messages will be sent to all tvs, radios, and cell phones.

The nationwide test consists of two parts which occur in conjunction with one another. The two parts will include testing EAS and WEA capabilities. The EAS portion of the test is scheduled to last approximately one minute and will be conducted with the participation of radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers and wireline video providers. For WEA testing, cell towers will broadcast the test for approximately 30 minutes. All wireless phones should receive the message only once.

In case of widespread inclement weather, backup testing date is scheduled for October 11, 2023.

Tidelines Editors

(Image credit:

Kiawah River Bridge Survey

The Town of Kiawah Island is beginning the implementation of recommendations from their Comprehensive Marsh Management Plan. One component of the plan is to improve the public access at the Kiawah River Bridge on Kiawah Island Parkway and the town is gathering feedback about the public’s use of this area.

Your input is vital as they work towards creating a healthy balance between providing public access and protecting and preserving the vital marsh ecosystem at the Kiawah Island Bridge. Please provide your input. To take the short survey, click here

-Submitted by Town of Kiawah Island

Take Caution on Johns Island

The Charleston County Sheriff’s office has reported that there were two shootings yesterday at Chisholm Road/Mary Ann Point Road on Johns Island. The suspect is still at-large. 

The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office is offering a $10,000 reward for the capture of 38-year-old Ernest Robert Burbage III. He has an active warrant for attempted murder. Below is an image reported from Channel 5 with his photo and description. 

Residents and visitors are urged to avoid the Main Road/Maybank Highway and Chisholm Road/Mary Ann Point Road areas and to report any suspicious behavior or information on Burbage’s whereabouts to the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office by calling their tip line at 843-529-3750.

Tidelines Editors

SIPOA News Sept 28

Get the Scoop

Monday, October 2, 2023
4:00 pm
Oyster Catcher Community Center

Mark your calendars. Get the Scoop returns on Monday, October 2 with a presentation about flooding. A perfect topic for this time of year.

Join your fellow property owners to hear Steve Hirsch, SIPOA Director of Engineering, talk about “High Tides, Storm Surge, and Rain: A Discussion About Flooding” at Oyster Catcher Community Center.

4th Annual Flu Shot Clinic

Wednesday, October 4, 2023
9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Lake House Osprey Rooms

Our residents’ health and safety are important. As part of our Back2Business association with MUSC Health, SIPOA is hosting the 4th Annual Flu Shot Clinic at the Lake House on Wednesday, October 4 from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm. All residents and staff are welcome to attend.

Please sign up for a time slot here so MUSC has a better idea of how many people will take advantage of this great opportunity and have enough vaccines for everyone! 

Walk-ins are welcome, but we strongly encourage you to sign-up for a timeslot. Be sure to bring your insurance card!

Adopt a Highway

Saturday, October 7, 2023
8:45 am

Come make the entrance to Seabrook Island beautiful. The next Adopt-a-Highway opportunity will be on Saturday, October 7 at 8:45 am. Meet at the Lake House parking lot, and bring your gloves, bug spray, and water. Pick-up sticks, bags, and vests will be provided.

We will sweep Betsy Kerrison Parkway from Habitat Blvd to the River Road intersection, which usually takes two hours.

New SIPOA Compost Program

We are excited to announce a new compost program on Seabrook Island. Seabrook Island Property Owners Association (SIPOA) has established a compost collection site at the existing trash and recycling center.

The address of the trash and recycling center is 2902 Seabrook Island Road near the Maintenance Shed and the Community Garden.

Compostable items can be brought there and deposited in one of the two collection containers. The containers will be emptied every Tuesday and Friday, and the materials will be hauled to the Charleston County compost facility to be processed as compost.

This is a new sustainability initiative we hope residents will elect to participate in. Details on what is and is not compostable can be found  here and on the SIPOA website.

-Submitted by SIPOA

(Image credit: Smart Recycling)

Kiawah Conservancy Acquires Rosebank Farms Property

In its efforts to preserve more land from development and protect wildlife habitat, the Kiawah Conservancy recently announced that it has acquired its first property on Johns Island. 

The three-acre parcel, at 4368 Betsy Kerrison Parkway, is where Rosebank Farms has been selling fresh produce for years. The farmstand’s owners, Sidi Limehouse and Louise Bennett, are planning to move their business by the end of the year to the entrance of the new Kiawah River community, at 3883 Betsy Kerrison Parkway, about two miles from their current location, according to Collie Farah, land preservation specialist for the Conservancy. 

In a press release, Louise Bennett said, “Sidi and I are extremely happy to see this property preserved by the Kiawah Conservancy. We know that the Conservancy will ensure the property remains as it should, a true and natural part of Johns Island.”

The Kiawah Conservancy, like the Seabrook Island Green Space Conservancy, works to acquire open spaces to protect wildlife and preserve the natural beauty that makes the area so special and enhances the quality of life. Both conservancies depend on the support and generosity of Kiawah and Seabrook residents.

-Submitted by Stan Macdonald, Board Member, Seabrook Island Green Space Conservancy

Happy Autumn!

The first day of autumn is Saturday, September 23 arriving at 2:50 am EDT in the Northern Hemisphere.  The date varies slightly from year to year but it is usually September 22 or 23. This means cooler weather and longer nights are coming.

According to the Farmers’ Almanac “this is the moment when the Sun crosses the Equator, and those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere will begin to see more darkness than daylight. Regardless of whether it has been chilly for weeks or there are still balmy summer-like temperatures, this is the start of astronomical fall. At this point, the Earth’s tilt is moving away from its maximum lean toward the Sun; its rays are aiming directly at the equator.”

We may not like the longer nights, but it will be nice to have cooler days and less humidity! FYI – Daylight Savings Time doesn’t end until November 5, 2023.

Tidelines Editors

(Image credit: iStock and Farmers’ Almanac)

Weather and Rip Current Alert

A low-pressure system off the coast of Florida will bring some local impacts to our state over the coming days. There is a chance of thunderstorms, wind gusts as high as 25 mph, as well as a moderate risk for rip currents today, September 21. 

Starting Friday, September 22, there is a chance of showers, an enhanced risk of rip currents at the beaches into the weekend, higher tide levels into Friday, and high surf this week. 

Over the coming days, you are encouraged to be cautious and consider avoiding going into the water if conditions have worsened. Stay tuned to local weather forecasts before heading to the beach.

If you get caught in a rip current, stay calm. It won’t pull you under, but it will pull you away from the shore. Instead:

  • Float or if you are a strong swimmer, swim parallel to the shore. 
  • Yell for help to those on the shore.
  • If you see someone in distress in the water, call or text Beach Patrol at (843) 718-6083.
  • If you have something that floats, you can push this towards the person, but don’t attempt to rescue them yourself.

To learn more about rip currents, click here

Tidelines Editors

Kiawah Island Podcast with Andell Inn Owner

Periodically, the Town of Kiawah Island hosts a podcast with people or issues that are of interest to the residents in the area.

In this episode, Town of Kiawah Island Council Member Michael Heidingsfelder speaks with Andell Inn Owner Don Semmler about Don’s background, the history and future of the inn, and his insights on how the island has changed over time. 

Click here to listen.

Click here to watch.

Tidelines Editors