Island Vibes May 2024

13 COMMUNITY Hurricane Expo to provide tools, tips for preparedness By Colin McCandless Backing the Blue IOP LENS Banquet to support officers in need, public safety programs By Colin McCandless J une marks the start of hurricane season and Isle of Palms wants to help equip citizens with the resources and knowledge to be ready in the event of a storm with its 2024 Hurricane Expo slated for May 21 at the IOP Recreation Center. Hosted by the city, the Hurricane Expo offers an opportunity for IOP residents and visitors from surrounding communities to learn more about hurricane preparation. IOP city officials and various community partners will be available to educate individuals and families and provide resources for hurricane preparedness. Along with planning tips, Hurricane Expo attendees will receive guidance on what to do during and after a storm, ways to protect their home, local evacuation information and more. “The Hurricane Preparedness Expo is an educational event but there is some fun added in,” said IOP Fire Chief Craig Oliverius. “We hope island residents and visitors will ask questions and take home resources that can help them prepare for the upcoming hurricane season. Our goal is to keep the public well-informed on what steps to take before, during and after a storm. Attendees are encouraged to bring the whole family, friends and interact with other members of the community. City officials and community partners look forward to engaging with everyone who stops by.” Weather forecasters are predicting an above average year in 2024 for named storms along the Atlantic coast. Colorado State University’s hurricane forecasting team has predicted that there will be 23 named storms. To put that into perspective, an average hurricane season sees about 14. “As we enter hurricane season, especially one that is forecasted to be very active, it is important residents and visitors are prepared, have knowledge of what to do, understand precautions they can take now and know the resources available to them in the event of a storm,” advised IOP Mayor Phillip Pounds. While the Expo’s subject matter is serious and concerns matters of public safety, as Oliverius noted, entertainment will also be provided. Guests are encouraged to bring their families, as there will be fun activities and food available on site. IOP Recreation Center Director Karrie Farrell said that there will be free face painting and balloon art for the children and the RiverDogs Food Truck will be serving up tasty fare. This is a free public event. For more information and updates, visit he IOP LENS Fundraising Banquet slated for the evening of May 15 at The Citadel Beach Club will honor the Isle of Palms Police Department and celebrate local culinary talent. Presented by the IOP Law Enforcement Neighborhood Support (LENS) program, this year’s theme is “Taste of the Island,” and will feature a competition among island restaurants in recognition of the hospitality industry. The festivities will also include live music and an online auction that launched May 1. Now entering its third year, 20 community businesses are sponsoring the 2024 fundraising banquet, which is coordinated and staffed exclusively by volunteers. This year’s event will be a more casual affair than 2023’s formal gathering held at Wild Dunes’ Sweetgrass Inn. Ted Kinghorn, who administers the IOP LENS program, said that as a nonprofit, the charity dinner function helps finance its various programs and initiatives. Proceeds will fund IOP LENS’ hardship awards, educational scholarships and morale boosting initiatives that benefit IOP police officers and their families. The morale boosting programs are highlighted by the annual awards banquet in December and the National Night Out. Additionally, the monies will be used to provide community policing programs such as the Bike Safety Rodeo, the U.S. Coast Guard boating certification courses and the Children’s Water Safety event. “Without support and resources we wouldn’t be able to do these things,” said Kinghorn. The “Taste of the Island” competition will include 10 participating local businesses that will each set up cooking stations. LENS is expecting between 250-300 banquet attendees who will cast their votes for whichever dishes they enjoy the most. The restaurant that garners the most firstthird place votes will be crowned the champion, explained Kinghorn. IOP LENS also presents leadership awards at the banquet. Chaplain Paula Mullens will receive the George Reeth Leadership Award and LENS will acknowledge Dennis McLendon as its 2023 Volunteer of the Year. They will recognize 104-year-old Kathryn Marley Magruder with the Lifetime Achievement Award and Mayor Phillip Pounds and his wife Laurie will be honored with the Founders Recognition Award. The entertainment this year will be a small, lighthearted opera. “We try to mix it up,” said Kinghorn. If you are unable to attend the banquet but would still like to support local law enforcement, you can bid for auction items online. Kinghorn emphasized that LENS can only do what it does for the IOPPD and the community because of the generosity of businesses and individuals on the island. “There’s been a lot of goodwill and I know the police department appreciates it,” he stated. To check ticket availability or bid on online auction items, visit lens-banquet. Photo by Mic Smith Photography, LLC. T