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Welcome to Our Club!


Fellowship and Service the Bluffton Way

We meet Wednesdays at 7:30 AM
Rotary Community Center/Oscar Frazier Park
Recreation Court
Bluffton, SC  29910
United States
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Eric Esquivel, President and Publisher of La Isla Magazine, spent some time talking to the Bluffton Rotary Club about his work as an intermediary between the Latino culture and the Lowcountry.  Originally born and educated on Hilton Head, Eric returned to the LowCountry in 1999 to partner with his brother and sister on La Isla. Esquivel discussed the growth factors of the Latino population in Beaufort County, South Carolina and the US, including projected growth through 2025 when Latinos are expected to represent about 55% of our population. He explained some nuances in culture, the importance of family, referrals and marketing in business and briefly touched on the immigration issues facing us all today.
The Bluffton Rotary board of directors for the 2017-2018 year was sworn in on July 12th. Pictured, from left are Daniella Squicquero (Membership), Pam Baker (Service Projects), David Hussey (Sergeant at Arms), Jean Heyduck (Secretary), Megan Mack (Club Administration), DeeDee Graham (Youth Services), Michael Putich (Past President), John Anderson (Treasurer), Dani Breidung (President Elect), John Kirkland (President) and master of ceremonies Nancy Riedel (Assistant District Governor)

The Honorable Lawrence McElynn, chief judge of the Summary Court in South Carolina in Beaufort County, gave the Bluffton Rotary Club a lesson in structure of workings of the Magistrate Court system in Beaufort County. Magistrates are appointed by the Governor of SC for a 4 year term, after being nominated by Senator Tom Davis. There is no requirement to be part of the legal system before becoming a judge, but one has to pass extensive training and testing before an appointment can be approved. The Beaufort County Magistrate’s Court handles about 30,000 cases a year, both civil and criminal.

There are approximately 319 magistrates in South Carolina, each serving the county for which he or she is appointed. They are appointed by the Governor upon the advice and consent of the Senate for four year terms and until their successors are appointed and qualified (Art. V, § 26, S.C. Const., and S.C. Code Ann. § 22-1-10). Anyone seeking an initial appointment as magistrate must pass an eligibility examination before they can be recommended to the Governor by the senatorial delegation. S.C. Code Ann. § 22-2.5. Magistrates must also attend an orientation program, pass a certification examination within one year of their appointment, and attend a specified number of trials prior to conducting a trial.

Magistrates have criminal trial jurisdiction over all offenses which are subject to the penalty of a fine not exceeding $500.00 or imprisonment exceeding 30 days, or both (S.C. Code Ann. § 22-3-550). In addition, S.C. Code Ann. § 22-3-545 provides that magistrates may hear cases transferred from general sessions, the penalty for which does not exceed one year imprisonment or a fine of $5,000, or both, upon petition by the solicitor and agreement by the defendant. Magistrates have civil jurisdiction when the amount of controversy does not exceed $7,500. (S.C. Code Ann. § 22-3-10) In addition, magistrates are responsible for setting bail, conducting preliminary hearings, and issuing arrest and search warrants. Unlike circuit courts and probate courts, magistrate courts are not courts of record. Proceedings in magistrate courts are summary (S.C. Code Ann. § 22-3-730).

Before his appointment as judge, McElynn served for 30 years as a Special Agent with the US DEA and has received numerous awards for his community service work in the Low Country, including recognition as “Community Hero” by the Governor of SC, the prestigious Palmetto Serves Award from the SC Department of Education and The order of the Silver Crescent , South Carolina’s highest civilian award for significant contributions to and leadership within a community.

Collins Doughtie, a long-time resident of Hilton Head Island shared some “growing up” stories with the Bluffton Rotary Club. When his family moved to the area in 1961, his home was the 8th in Sea Pines. As kids, they had fun riding the Marsh Tacky ponies on the beach…scooping up crabs from tidal pools…fishing…and occasionally getting into trouble. It was a different life back then … a wide open new world made just for adventuresome kids. The years growing up are probably why Collins is still all about adventure today, though a lot of it is adventure in the local waters fishing. Find more information HERE about Collins’ latest interest in saving the “old” way of life. For fishing help, contact Collins at
The Rotary Club of Bluffton recently donated $5000 to the Greater Bluffton Jasper Volunteers in Medicine. Pictured above: Executive Director of BJVIM, Pat Tomey and Rotarian President, Michael Putich.
Rotary Club of Bluffton presented pretigous Paul Harris Fellow Awards to several members of the club.  Pictured above:  President-Michael Putich, Pike Jones, Chierie Smith , David Hussey, John Anderson and Assistant District Govenor Nancy Reidel.
Action for Autism (AFA) is building a new AFA Academy of the Low Country, where children on the Autism Spectrum and with other neurodevelopmental
delays, ages 1 - 21, can learn, grow and  reach their fullest potential, all while feeling confident, safe and secure in a positive learning environment.
Dan Messmer, Assistant Executive Director for AFA, spoke to the Bluffton Rotary Club about his two children that are on the autism spectrum. With his
personal experience, Dan has made it his mission to provide help for families and special needs children in our area by providing an avenue to
make it better. They hope to open AFA Academy in late August. Messmer also covered some general facts of autism - how the rate of autism has increased
over the past 20 years, stats that boys are more likely than girls to be affected by autism, and autism affects 1 in every 68 children now. For more
information or to get involved, click HERE.
Ellen Comeau, Clemson University
Aug 16, 2017
Stormwater and Local Water Quality
At BeeTown Mead & Cider
Aug 30, 2017
Fifth Wednesday Celebration
Tony Solomon
Sep 06, 2017
Marine Corps League
Joel Taylor, CEO
Sep 13, 2017
Coastal Carolina Hospital
Mary O'Neill & Al Stokes
Sep 20, 2017
Arts & Seafood Festival Discussion
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