It is the most wonderful time of the year at LCOG! As 2020 comes to a close, we would like to thank the Board of Directors, officials from all 25 municipalities, and our staff for helping LCOG fulfill it's mission to serve as a resource to our region and provide creative regional solutions. This year presented many new challenges, yet, we overcame. We are committed to finishing the year strong.

In the December 2020 edition of our newsletter, you will meet our newest team member, learn more about the innovative program from the Department of Defense, and discover a resource for seniors who need legal assistance. We have also featured some important reminders about COVID-19, Medicare Open Enrollment, and the Lowcountry Natural Hazard Mitigation Survey.

Please enjoy!
Welcome Vickie Sigman to the Lowcountry Council of Governments!

Vickie Sigman, originally from West Virginia, moved to the Lowcountry nearly three years ago. She attended Marshall University for her undergraduate education and studied Radiologic Technology at St. Mary’s School of Radiologic Technology. She is a registered Radiologic Technologist with a specialization in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (ARRTMR). As a healthcare professional, she holds a BLS Instructor Certification and CPR/BLS certification. She comes to us from the Colleton Medical Center.

Vickie lives by Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." She decided to join the COG, as an Assessor, for the opportunity to make a positive impact in someone’s life. Vickie wants to make a difference in the community and believes it is her calling to help others. She loves everyone.

Vickie's work style is to think outside the box with an open mind and take a positive approach. In three words, she describes herself as punctual, respectful, and loyal. When she is not working to improve the life of citizens in the Lowcountry, she is caring for her dogs, singing and playing the piano, or boating. Vickie holds a South Carolina Teacher Certification - Master's Level.

Please help us welcome our newest team member, Vickie Sigman.
Trailblazing: Military Installation Resilience Review for Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort and Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island 

The Department of Defense has awarded a planning grant to LCOG, who will work in partnership with Beaufort County, the City of Beaufort, and the Town of Port Royal. The new planning grant is the first and only of its kind in the region. The purpose of a Military Installation Resilience Review is to analyze and implement actions necessary to foster, protect, and enhance military installation sustainability. The program's objective is to examine Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort (MCAS), the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island (MCRD), and the surrounding communities to develop strategies and implement a plan to preserve resources necessary to maintain the bases. This project is following-up the Sea-Level Rise Study, which was a product of the same team five years ago. In 2015, LCOG and Geoscience Consultants, LLC, administered two Joint Land Use Studies (JLUS) focusing on maintaining and strengthening the military missions of MCAS Beaufort and MCRD Parris Island while minimizing land-use conflicts with the surrounding communities. 

The project will take 18 months to be completed and a lot of cooperation from all parties involved. It will determine how to practically implement improvements to the area's infrastructure. Despite rumors, this study is far removed from the closing of any military bases. The grant program will help MCAS Beaufort and MCRD Parris Island continue their operations successfully.

If you have any questions, contact Stephanie Rossi, Planning Director at 843-473-3958 or srossi@lowcountrycog.org.
Legal Assistance Available

The Legal Assistance Program assists individuals 60 years old and older in obtaining legal services from a lawyer regarding their legal issues. Lawyers participating in the program will provide, at minimum, an initial consultation at no cost to the senior. The program is funded under the Older Americans Act for seniors with the greatest social and economic need. Assistance is available for legal issues such as those related to:

  • Income
  • Healthcare
  • Long-term care
  • Nutrition
  • Housing
  • Utilities
  • Protective Services
  • Defense of Guardianship
  • Abuse
  • Neglect
  • Age Discrimination

If you are 60 or older and in need of legal assistance, please contact Latoya Grier at 843-473-3961 to see if you qualify for services covered under the Legal Assistance Program.
Don't Get Casual About COVID-19!

As cases continue to increase across the United States, the healthiest and safest way to celebrate the holidays is to celebrate at home with the people you live with. Gathering with family and friends who do not live with you can increase the likelihood of getting and spreading COVID-19. Travel can make you more susceptible to getting and spreading the virus. The Center for Disease Control suggests that postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others this year. If you must go out or travel, please wear a mask.

As of November 27, 2020, the Lowcountry had a total of 10,254 cases reported, resulting in 193 deaths. Beaufort County ranked first in number of reported cases with 6,993 followed by Colleton, Jasper, and Hampton Counties at 1,392, 1,049, and 820. However, when comparing by case rate, Hampton County had the highest case rate at 4,266 cases per 100,000 population. A total of 147,418 people in the Lowcountry region have been tested for COVID-19, and of that number, 12.8% have tested positive. Colleton County has the highest test rate at 598 tests per 1,000 population. Beaufort County has the lowest positivity rate at 12%.

Please check our website weekly to stay informed of the local COVID-19 statistics. If you have any questions regarding the weekly Lowcountry COVID-19 Report, contact Maleena Parkey, PhD at 843-473-3990.
Don't Miss Out on Open Enrollment!

There is only 1 more day of Medicare Open Enrollment. It is important to review any changes in your current plan to ensure that your healthcare needs will still be met and all of your prescription drugs will still be covered for 2021. The DEADLINE to make adjustments to your current plan is DECEMBER 7th.

If you need any assistance, please contact your local State Health Insurance Assistance Program Coordinator (SHIP), Dieesha Hicks, at 843-473-3991 or dhicks@lowcountrycog.org.
ACT NOW: Complete the 2020 Lowcountry Natural Hazard Mitigation Survey

In partnership with all counties of the region (Beaufort, Jasper, Colleton, and Hampton counties), the Lowcountry Council of Governments Planning Department is conducting a survey as part of the Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan update. The top 3 hazards of greatest concern in the Lowcountry were hurricanes, tornadoes, and lightning. These hazards were frequently cited to cause damage to property for Lowcountry residents. The goal of the 2020 Lowcountry Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan is to save lives and prevent major property damage and other losses caused by natural disasters in the region.

You may complete the survey here to tell us about your experience with natural hazards. We greatly appreciate your feedback!
If you have questions concerning any of the information contained in the newsletter, please feel free to contact Kira Fuller at 843.473.3956 or by email at rfuller@lowcountrycog.org.