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May 16 2020

Message From The Mayor: May 2020

Dear Island Neighbors,

Sheesh, what a month!

And not just for us, but for all the Charleston area, the state, the nation and the world.

None of us will forget what this has been like: weird, frightening, painful, exhausting, wrenchingly sad, unsettling. Everyone will have their own set of personal reactions and memories of the last couple of months, and, realistically, the coming several months.

I try to keep in mind that hundreds of thousands of people are experiencing grave and pervasive losses, so I can try to keep whatever aggravations and inconveniences I encounter in perspective. I also try to remind myself that folks who experienced other lengthy global upheavals (the Great Depression, WW I, WW II and, yes, the 1918 influenza pandemic) likewise suffered losses and privation over several years.

Like those examples, this will always be one of those “where were you when…?” events, but not one of those “where were you when…?” moments. This is not a moment at all, (moon shot, presidential assassination, shuttle explosion, 9/11), but a protracted and Earth-changing inflection point in the arc of history. I am sure the teenagers of today will bore their great-grandchildren to tears with their recounts of these COVID days.


I would like to extend thanks to many, many of you for your kindness during the last several weeks. Town Administrator Andy Benke likewise sends a “… special note of appreciation to all those offering a word of kindness or meal to the town employees who work in direct risk of exposure to the COVID virus.”

Police Chief Griffin also wanted to thank the residents who have kindly and generously supported the officers at the checkpoint. I second that wholeheartedly. You would be amazed at how much a smile and a thumbs-up gesture can mean to a checkpoint worker who has recently endured different facial and digital messages from someone they had to turn around!

And please recall that all of our great Town staff have been laboring mightily to keep us up and running, safely, during this period. You might not think of them if you don’t see them, but this includes the water and sewer folks, our maintenance staff, and our Town Hall staff who have been taking your calls and emails from home all the while, with twice-a-day staff conference calls. And remember that many of these folks have also been shouldering their new roles as home school teachers!


Many of you are aware that the long-awaited, long-delayed revised FEMA flood maps may reduce elevation requirements in some island areas. Our building official and flood plain manager, Randy Robinson, wanted to pass on the disappointing news that the new FEMA maps have been delayed again, as FEMA has had to direct all resources to COVID. We will provide more info on the new adoption dates when available.


Is it just me, or is time passing more slowly during these times? On several occasions, I have caught myself thinking the current day was further along in the week than it was – for example, on Wednesday, thinking tomorrow was Friday. I’ve heard informally from several folks that they have had similar experiences.

Have you experienced this? Please let me know, yes or no. In my other role as a psychologist, I’m very interested.

See you around the Island!

Pat O’Neil




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