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Latest News in Folly Beach, SC

Army Corps of Engineers begin assessing Hurricane Ian erosion to beaches

FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCSC) - Recovery from Hurricane Ian continues across the Lowcountry, and at the beaches, the Army Corps of Engineers is working to assess any erosion damage.After any tropical storm or hurricane, the Army Corps of Engineers will come out to the affected beaches and map out the impact that the storm may have had and make a plan for how to fix it. Then, the corps compares the map to older models to see if a beach suffered erosion and needs more sand placed.Folly Beach Mayor Tim Goodwin says the city has a worki...

FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCSC) - Recovery from Hurricane Ian continues across the Lowcountry, and at the beaches, the Army Corps of Engineers is working to assess any erosion damage.

After any tropical storm or hurricane, the Army Corps of Engineers will come out to the affected beaches and map out the impact that the storm may have had and make a plan for how to fix it. Then, the corps compares the map to older models to see if a beach suffered erosion and needs more sand placed.

Folly Beach Mayor Tim Goodwin says the city has a working relationship with the corps year-round to keep track of the information, but they always touch base after a major event.

“We’ve been assessing the beach for the last 12 months, you know when is it going to be time for renourishment again,” Goodwin says. “This will probably push it up after they do the survey today and go back and look at all the information and see where we are at this point in time.”

Surveyors and geographers used a machine called the RAMbL Sunday afternoon to take measurements and assess Folly Beach. The RAMLDR uses a light detecting and ranging tool to map beaches.

Sonja Zindars is the Chief of Survey and a Geographer at the corps. She says the RAMbLr has been used for the past 10 years as an efficient way to gather data on the sand.

“It sends out a pulse of light continuously as it’s moving and it measures that light coming back and can tell us what the elevation of the full beach is,” Zindars explains.

Matther Bols is an engineering technician at the corps. He drives the four-wheeled vehicles with the devices across the sand.

“We’re interested in the dune area, the berm,” Bols says. “So we’ll start to travel up next to the dune then down along the water/shore interface. So it will be a complete model from where the water touches the beach up to the top of the dune.”

Corps members can compare the assessment to past models of the beaches, and if there is significant erosion, they can make a plan for replenishing the essential islands.

“Folly Beach is a barrier dune and it is our first line of defense,” Zindars says. “These beaches provide protection, and this primary dune, to all the infrastructure that is on the island, but also the infrastructure behind it.”

The corps is scheduled to assess Myrtle Beach and Pawleys Island later in the week. The corps also had a team survey the Charleston Harbor early Saturday morning before it re-opened, taking similar data measurements.

Copyright 2022 WCSC. All rights reserved.

Sunsets, sea turtles and hippies? Folly Beach in SC makes this national list. Here’s why

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Laid back, eclectic, edge of America, Folly Beach has been called any number of things.Now comes Travado with a new moniker — hippies hideout.Folly Beach was included on a list of 25 hippie locales in the U.S. Not surprisingly perhaps, the company said Asheville, North Carolina, was the No. 1 hippie spot.But Folly Beach? In staid South Carolina?Travado went so far as to say, “This place is so far out that you might not even realize you’re still in South Carolina!”...

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Laid back, eclectic, edge of America, Folly Beach has been called any number of things.

Now comes Travado with a new moniker — hippies hideout.

Folly Beach was included on a list of 25 hippie locales in the U.S. Not surprisingly perhaps, the company said Asheville, North Carolina, was the No. 1 hippie spot.

But Folly Beach? In staid South Carolina?

Travado went so far as to say, “This place is so far out that you might not even realize you’re still in South Carolina!”

Charleston is about 12 miles to the north.

While people lived on Folly Island since the late 1600s, it has officially been a township for almost 50 years. It’s celebrating its 50th birthday Sept. 22 to 30, 2023. They’re planning to close streets, shag into the night on the pier, show off classic cars and stage a prom-themed gala.

The island name is from the Old English word Folly, meaning a place wild with trees and undergrowth. It is a barrier island, between the Atlantic Ocean and the Folly River, some 18 square miles with 6 miles of coastline. It bills itself as one of the last true beach towns in America, home to about 2,400 permanent residents.

King William III gave the first land grant to William Rivers on Sept. 9, 1696, then the island passed to a series of owners, none of whom lived there. Members of the Bohicket tribe did.

As was the way, the Europeans arrived and the Bohickets were forced from their homes.

Shipwreck survivors in the early years and thousands of federal soldiers during the Civil War lived on the island. One of the stranger stories is that 14 bodies were unearthed during construction in May 1987, believed to be soldiers from the 55th Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment. Twelve of them were missing skulls and other body parts and showed no signs of war casualties. The mystery ensures.

It wasn’t until the 1940s, that the makings of an island resort showed through. Ocean Plaza was built with amusement rides, shops and a pier.

“The Folly Pier was a musical hub for the greater community with all the big bands playing the Folly Pier from Glenn Miller to Maurice Williams,” Gretchen Stringer Robinson wrote in her history of the island. “People from all over the country developed a love for the community that is, more than most, a people’s beach.”

Travado says, “Folly Beach is prime real estate for surfing, so the town attracts all sorts of laid-back, beach bum types — perfect for any hippie at heart!”

Folly is also known for spectacular sunsets and sea turtles who nest on the island from May 1 to Oct. 31. Downtown includes locally-owned stores, seafood restaurants and nightlife in what town officials call “one-of-a-kind bars.”

George Gershwin wrote “Porgy and Bess” while staying on the island.

Travado again: “After a day of surfing, you might even find that a drum circle has spontaneously coalesced on the shore. And don’t forget to give Bert’s 24-hour market when the munchies hit at strange times!”

Hurricane Ian damage assessments continue along SC coast: ‘You hate to see it’

Two days after Hurricane Ian left behind fallen trees, smashed piers and flooded homes along the parts of the South Carolina coast, crews are assessing the damage from the Category 1 storm.The Army Corps of Engineers sent all-terrain vehicles topped with specialized cameras to Folly Beach on Oct. 2 to assess beach erosion. Crews from the Georgetown County Emergency Management Department sent teams to assess damage in Garden City and Pawleys Island, two areas battered by the hurricane.The storm that made landfall Sept. 30 near G...

Two days after Hurricane Ian left behind fallen trees, smashed piers and flooded homes along the parts of the South Carolina coast, crews are assessing the damage from the Category 1 storm.

The Army Corps of Engineers sent all-terrain vehicles topped with specialized cameras to Folly Beach on Oct. 2 to assess beach erosion. Crews from the Georgetown County Emergency Management Department sent teams to assess damage in Garden City and Pawleys Island, two areas battered by the hurricane.

The storm that made landfall Sept. 30 near Georgetown with winds up to 85 mph sent waves crashing into piers dotted across the Myrtle Beach region, damaging at least five of them.

Crews in Georgetown County found streets in Garden City and Pawleys Island, two of the hardest hit areas, with as much as 3 feet of sand, county Emergency Services Director Bradon Ellis said. Roads into Pawleys Island could be cleared as early as Oct. 2 and roads around Garden City reopened Oct. 3 or 4.

Swimmers are asked to stay out of the ocean in Georgetown County with debris floating in the surf. County beach accesses were destroyed in the storm and debris from other parts of the Grand Strand, including from pieces of piers bashed by the waves, are making their way toward shore.

“It’s all moving through the current,” Ellis said.

While the storm damaged several hundred homes in Georgetown County, Hurricane Ian’s impact was limited to the coastline with storm surges estimated reaching up to 7 feet. Strong winds and rain did not do as much damage inland.

“It could have been much worse,” Ellis said.

‘It’s all underwater’

Garden City was a hive of dump trucks, tractors and other heavy equipment digging up and removing sand that once comprised ocean-front dunes. Now, it covered the road and people’s yards

Many homes suffered heavy damage on ground levels when the ocean barreled across the dunes, shoving sand through and beneath homes and across South Waccamaw Drive.

Courtney Cox saved her dogs and a beloved box of her grandmother’s letters as ocean water flowed into her ground-floor living space.

On Oct. 2, she and her boyfriend’s mother, who has owned the house since the 1980s, hauled stuff outside to rinse and dry. Shoes, an ottoman, a wicker nightstand, bar stools and rugs cluttered their front yard. A grey sweater dress hung from the porch, swaying in the warm day’s breeze like a ghost.

The two women recalled how, in a matter of 20 minutes, water flooded the house. Strangely, it wasn’t particularly windy or rainy outside as it did. They quickly hurried to the second floor, grabbing items to save as they didn’t

The home’s owner, Karen Hemingway, said residents were expecting little more than a king tide as Hurricane Ian appeared headed for Charleston.

“We were not prepared for the tide. Not at all,” she said.

Instead, where a grass-covered, 8-foot dune once rose in her backyard, only a flat expanse of sand remains leading to the ocean’s waves.

“It’s overwhelming,” Cox said. “You work hard for everything and it’s all underwater.“

Then, surveying their belongings outside under the sun, she added, “But it’s just stuff.”

The Cherry Grove Pier in North Myrtle Beach, one of the area’s most popular that can attract up to 1,000 fishing enthusiasts and tourists a day, will still have visitors even though it was split into two.

The public can walk onto the pier up until its broken middle section, Pier Manager Edgar Stephens said.

“We’ve still got people coming and fishing, and we’ve still got the souvenir shop,” he said. “The pier will be rebuilt, and it will be bigger and better next year.”

Repairs to the 985-foot pier are expected to begin in January and last for about five to seven months, Stephens said.

Several fishing enthusiasts and tourists have come out to visit the damaged pier Oct. 2.

“You hate to see it,” said Travis Pauley, of Virginia, who has visited the pier with his wife every year for nearly 15 years. “But I’m glad it was nothing like Florida. This is a mess, but it’s nothing like what they (the people in Florida) are going through.”

The storm also damaged another pier in Cherry Grove, Apache Pier just north of Myrtle Beach, 2nd Avenue Pier in Myrtle Beach and the Pawleys Island Pier.

Damage reports

The Charleston area’s highest winds during Ian were recorded over waters in the harbor and immediately along the coast, according to the National Weather Service’s Charleston office.

Unofficial reports from the service showed winds over land ranged from 60 to 70 mph on Sept. 30. Winds over the water were stronger and got up to about 92 mph in some areas.

Rain in the Lowcountry also varied.

Ian dropped about 4 to 8 inches of rainfall in the metro area, including Charleston, Mount Pleasant and Summerville, according to NWS meteorologist Douglas Berry. The highest counts — about 9.82 inches — were recorded near the Santee coast and McClellanville.

“The further south you were, the less (rain) that you saw,” Berry said.

Like many agencies, the NWS is accepting damage reports to better evaluate Ian’s impact on the Palmetto State.

Most reports received by the service so far were of downed trees. Berry said he only knows of two instances where a tree fell on a home, but with no confirmed injuries or deaths. The NWS has received no reports of substantial structural damage.

Meteorologists expect to release an official weather report from Ian on Oct. 4, Berry said.

The American Red Cross had crews traveling through parts of the Lowcountry and Grand Strand on Oct. 2 to assess damage from Hurricane Ian.

Todd Musselman, a disaster program specialist with the Red Cross, said at least one apartment complex on Dorchester Road in North Charleston is dealing with flood damage.

“I got a team working pretty hard over there,” Todd said on Oct. 2.

He was unable to provide a count for how many people at that complex are displaced.

Todd said the organization is doing all it can to provide the needed assistance along the coast.

“If that’s trying to (determine) what areas are being the most impacted, then that’s what we’re doing,” Todd said. “Otherwise, we’re trying to get folks that are working with this event broke free so they can go to Florida to assist down there.”

Disaster areas

While there were no reports of injuries in South Carolina, at least 68 people have been confirmed dead from the storm in Florida, North Carolina and Cuba, according to The Associated Press.

The weakened storm had drifted north on Oct. 2 and was expected to dump rain on parts of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and southern Pennsylvania, according to the National Hurricane Center, which has warned of the potential for flash flooding.

With the storm, President Joe Biden declared a state of emergency in South Carolina authorizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster relief efforts and provide assistance with 75 percent paid by the federal government.

The Army Corps of Engineers’ Charleston district arrived Oct. 2 at Folly Beach to determine how much sand Ian pulled from its shoreline.

Storms — particularly ones like a powerful Category 1 hurricane — increase wind speeds and the waves’ velocity, knocking sand loose, said Chief of Survey Sonja Zindars. This disruptive process causes large amounts of erosion and chips away at an island’s protective barriers, she said. Without a beachfront or dunes, Folly’s homes, hotels, restaurants and natural ecosystem are at risk of being inundated by the heavy winds and waters.

Folly saw the Charleston’s highest reported wind speed from Ian, 73 mph, around 10 a.m. Sept. 30 — hours before the storm made landfall. White-tipped, flailing waves broke onto the beach and a few streets flooded, shuttering bars and restaurants as the storm bore down.

The Corps uses special technology strapped onto an ATV to create a 3D map of the beach and capture its volume of sand, Zindars said. The assessment tells engineers how much sand needs to be replaced.

Folly Beach Mayor Tim Goodwin said he wasn’t sure how much sand his community lost to Ian. Damage “comes and goes” down the shoreline, he offered.

Erosion may be apparent to the naked eye, but that doesn’t mean it can be easily quantified, Zindars said. It’s important to have a clear idea of how much sand needs to be replaced on the beach. Otherwise, Corps engineers run the risk of dumping too much, which can cause increased erosion, she said.

The ATV — outfitted with various poles, boxes and a ladder — showed up behind the Tides Folly Beach hotel, just after 4:30 p.m. Engineering Technician Matthew Boles would pilot the machine for the next several hours as he drove down the line of dunes and then back up the shore, gathering a complete picture of the beach.

Engineers would then take the data, build it into the map and compare it to an assessment taken prior to the Sept. 30 storm to determine whether additional sand needs to be brought in, Boles said. The process generally takes a week to complete, and the results would be distributed online.

Members of the Corps’ Charleston district will travel to Myrtle Beach and Pawley’s Island next to conduct the same survey, Zindars said.

John Ramsey and Shamira McCray contributed from Charleston, Jocelyn Grzeszczak from Folly Beach, Jennifer Berry Hawes from Garden City and Nicole Ziege from North Myrtle Beach.

Seminary graduate accuses Folly Beach priest of sexual assault in new lawsuit

A man is accusing his former mentor in the Catholic Church of sexual assault, according to a new lawsuit filed in Charleston County.Father Bryan Babick, along with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston and the bishop of Charleston, were named in the suit filed in state court earlier this week after a judge in federal court dismissed an identical suit saying it did not have jurisdiction over the claims.“We have received a copy of the lawsuit and are currently reviewing it. We will respond to the pleading in due time,&rd...

A man is accusing his former mentor in the Catholic Church of sexual assault, according to a new lawsuit filed in Charleston County.

Father Bryan Babick, along with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston and the bishop of Charleston, were named in the suit filed in state court earlier this week after a judge in federal court dismissed an identical suit saying it did not have jurisdiction over the claims.

“We have received a copy of the lawsuit and are currently reviewing it. We will respond to the pleading in due time,” Maria Aselage, director of media relations for the diocese, said in an email. “Father Babick has voluntarily stepped aside from regular ministerial responsibilities for a period of time.”

The anonymous plaintiff, identified as John Doe 197, was a graduate of St. Joseph’s Seminary College in Louisiana and former student at Bishop England High School. It was at the Daniel Island school that he met Babick, the school’s former chaplain who encouraged him become a priest.

After graduating seminary in May 2019, the man met Babick at Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church on Folly Beach, where the priest was parish administrator at the time, according to suit.

They “gathered at the rectory for what was supposed to be a celebration,” the court filing read. Instead, the man said he lost consciousness, awoke naked and was sexually assaulted.

“I know you won’t tell anyone because they won’t believe you,” the suit said Babick told the man after the assault.

Less than two weeks later, the man reported the alleged abuse to a priest at another seminary program he’d been accepted into and asked for mental health counseling. That priest blamed the man, saying the sex act was consensual, then directed him to see a psychologist who is fertility specialist rather than one who specializes in trauma from sexual abuse, the suit asserted.

The man’s attorney called the treatment “unhelpful.” In March 2020, his client sought trauma counseling at the Medical University of South Carolina at his own expense.

Following the man’s report, Babick was removed as chaplain at Bishop England High School, according to court documents.

The suit further alleges the diocese knew of the alleged assault, failed to report it to the proper authorities and concealed it in a “conspiracy of silence,” according to Lawrence Richter Jr., who filed the suit on behalf of the John Doe.

Ian cleanup efforts continue in Charleston area. Here’s what you should know.

Charleston area officials said it could take weeks before all Ian-related damage assessments are complete.And although crews are traveling through neighborhoods, knocking on doors and searching for badly hit areas, they are counting on residents to take the initiative and report damage to their respective municipalities.Some municipalities, including the city of Charleston, have turned its attention to debris pickup. It will halt bulk trash pickup for two weeks. This includes household appliances, construction debris and simila...

Charleston area officials said it could take weeks before all Ian-related damage assessments are complete.

And although crews are traveling through neighborhoods, knocking on doors and searching for badly hit areas, they are counting on residents to take the initiative and report damage to their respective municipalities.

Some municipalities, including the city of Charleston, have turned its attention to debris pickup. It will halt bulk trash pickup for two weeks. This includes household appliances, construction debris and similar items.

Hurricane Ian left behind a lot of vegetative debris in some areas, so city crews will focus on collecting those items, in addition to residential garbage, which will be picked up beginning Oct. 3.

By the morning of Oct. 2, municipalities had cleaned up much of the leftover debris, reopened pump stations and resumed normal operations.

All roads that closed in Charleston because of storm-related issued had reopened and traffic signals restored.

Charleston officials said street sweeping efforts will continue daily until all residual mud is removed from roadways and sidewalks that flooded. Crews there and in neighboring North Charleston continue to provide windshield surveys and are turning to residents for additional damage reports.

In Folly Beach, only minor damage to structures and a few downed trees have been reported. The primary impact from Ian was flooding on street and private property, said Eric Lutz, the city’s director of building, facilities and public works.

“We will continue evaluating sand loss and damage reports, but overall, mostly ground water, flooding and beach erosion were out big issues,” Lutz said.

Following is a list of guidelines for garbage pickup and reporting damage to municipalities that responded this weekend:

Berkeley County

Storm damage can be reported on the county’s website (berkeleycountysc.gov). Those without internet access can leave a message on the call line at 843-719-4800. It will remain open through the morning of Oct. 3 for non-emergency calls only.

The landfill and convenience centers in Berkeley County reopened Oct. 1.

Charleston County

The county is continuing to assess damage. Residents can call 800-451-1954 to report damage to homes or property.

Although most roads are clear, people should still be mindful while driving. Limbs and trees could still be down in some areas.

City of Charleston

Residents should report damage online at www.charleston-sc.gov/report-damage or call 843-724-7311. Hundreds of reports have been submitted online.

Residential garbage pickups will resume Oct. 3 on a normal schedule, but bulk trash collection will be suspended until Oct. 17. Any garbage that was not picked up on Johns Island on Sept. 30 will be collected Oct. 3.

Debris should be sorted based on the C.A.T. categories when placed on the curb for pickup:

A disaster recovery checklist for businesses can be found on the city’s website, along with other resources.

Dorchester County

Major roads in Dorchester County that had been blocked by flood waters or downed trees have reopened. Taking stock of damage, the county asked residents whose homes experienced damage to report it at dorchestercountysc.gov, said public information officer Michelle Mills.

Most county convenience sites reopened Oct. 1.

Residents should contact their trash service for vegetative pickup or take it to the county’s convenience sites.

Damage reports

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control wants coastal residents to report damage to beachfront structures, including seawalls, revetments and dune walkovers through MyCoast: South Carolina, an online portal the agency uses to collect and analyze pictures and data about coastal events.

Submitted reports can help DHEC efficiently analyze post-storm beach conditions and expedite recovery activities, including permitting and other regulatory decisions.

Structural damage not near the coast can be reported on the S.C. Emergency Management Division’s mobile app, SC Emergency Manager.

Folly Beach

Trash and debris collection is running on its normal schedule . Tree limbs that are 4 feet or less can be stacked adjacent to the property that produced them.

North Charleston

Garbage pickups will restart Oct. 3.

City employees are conducting windshield surveys and evaluating damage across the area. But since it is tough to see everything, North Charleston officials want residents to go to northcharleston.org/damage to complete an online self-assessment.

Town of Kiawah Island

Residents can expect yard debris to be picked up on Oct. 6. Go to kiawahisland.org/services/garbage-collection/ for information about the town’s solid waste calendar.

Property damage should be reported to Bruce Spicher, Kiawah Island’s building official, at bspicher@kiawahisland.org.

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