David Purtell - Staff Writer

Lenten service begins in Barnwell

How do you comprehend the magnitude of sin, and also forgiveness of it?
That was the message during the first service of the Barnwell County Ministerial Association's Lenten Worship Series March 5 at Barnwell Presbyterian Church.
Rev. Keith Richardson, of Barnwell First Baptist Church, delivered a sermon about how it's difficult to understand the wrath, violence and gore of the Old Testament and then the kind, compassionate love of God in the New Testament.

County files lawsuit, targets former EDC

Update: County council did not have the third reading of an ordinance changing the makeup of the EDC board during its regular meeting Tuesday evening.

After a lengthy and heated discussion, council decided to give a copy of the ordinance to the three mayors and give them two weeks to decide whether to agree to it. If the mayors do not agree, then county council will go with a three-member EDC board -- one representative from each of the county's three school districts.

Retirees honored

Retired Barnwell Police Chief Todd Gantt and Detective Frank Sutton were honored during the city council meeting Monday at City Hall.
Council presented the men with plaques recognizing their long commitment to the community. Mayor Ed Lemon offered his thanks and praise.
"Thank you for all you've done for us; greatly appreciate it," Lemon told Sutton, who stepped down after 25 years with the Police Department.
Lemon told Gantt, "There's not enough time for me to say how much I appreciate the job you've done and what you've meant to our city as chief of police."

Attorney provides answers

In our Feb. 26 edition in a story titled "County looks to re-organize EDC board" we said language in a county council ordinance changing the makeup of the Barnwell County Economic Development Commission raised legal questions - but the county's attorney has since provided information that puts some questions to rest.

Barnwell hires new chief

An officer from within the Barnwell Police Department has been chosen to be the city's new police chief.
Reuben Black will take over for Todd Gantt, who has retired along with Detective Frank Sutton.
Black, who grew up in Barnwell, has been with the department for almost four years and before that was working for the Greenville County Sheriff's Office. He's been in law enforcement since 1982, he said.
Black said he believes in God and in people.

Ambulance provider set to begin April 1

If all goes smoothly, the new ambulance service for the county should slip into place without incident next month.
Williston Rescue Squad announced last week it will be closing its doors at midnight March 31. A new EMS provider, MedShore Ambulance Service, is set to takeover April 1 and will be contracted with Southern Palmetto Hospital.
MedShore originated in Anderson in the late 1970s and is operated by Greg Shore. The CEO told The People-Sentinel last week his company serves communities across the state and has 300 employees and 78 ambulances.

Blackville fixes leaky ordinance

Blackville Town Council had the final vote to fix a wording problem in the town's water-billing ordinance during the regular meeting Feb. 17.
Council approved the ordinance amendment, which replaces the word "reconnect" with "nonpayment fee."
The ordinance originally read: Bills not paid by the end of the business day on the 25th day of each month will be disconnected on the 26th day of the month. A reconnect fee of $25 will be added to each bill and the bill must be paid in full before services can be reconnected.

Williston approves money for gang task force

Williston Town Council voted Feb. 10 to join the intergovernmental agreement to fund a gang task force in the county. Williston's share of the cost is $31,000 - $10 per resident in the town. Each year, councils have to vote to re-approve funding for the task force.
The task force's budget totals $310,803 for the first year and includes the purchase of vehicles and equipment such as guns, ballistic vests, and radios. The salaries for the task force are listed at $30,000 each for four investigators.

‘Second Samuel’ offers comedy - and a secret

The Circle Theatre will present a play this weekend that many Barnwell County residents can relate to.
"Second Samuel," about how the death of a beloved old lady affects the people of a small Georgia town just after World War II, opens Friday night.
Lynn Cox, the play's producer, said she has wanted to bring the show to Barnwell for years.
It's a "great play for a small theater," she said, the audience will like it because it's funny and has great characters.

Field narrowed for new police chief

The city of Barnwell has narrowed its search for a new police chief to five candidates.
The remaining applicants were chosen after interviews with seven people were conducted Feb. 11 by city council.
Mayor Pro Tem Pickens Williams Sr. said the remaining candidates include officers from within the city's Police Department and chiefs from other towns.
The police chiefs from Estill and Springfield were interviewed along with five people from the Barnwell Police Department in the last round.

Long power outages have fostered sense of community

It's not the fact that the power went out, but how long it's out that matters.
That's what thousands of Barnwell County residents learned the hard way this past week after Winter Storm Pax knocked out electricity across the region, leaving utility workers a daunting task and families cold in the dark.
Homes began losing power shortly after the ice storm arrived Feb. 11. But it was during the early, freezing hours of Wednesday that a domino effect of outages swept across the county after frozen tree limbs, and sometimes whole trees, fell and damaged electrical lines.

Williston Rescue Squad’s fate uncertain

Williston Rescue Squad has been serving the Barnwell County community for years, but whether it will continue to be a reliable EMS service is unclear.
Officials from WRS met with county council members in closed session during council's regular meeting Feb. 11. The agenda for the meeting said the discussion was about a "proposed contractual matter related to the Williston Rescue Squad." The session lasted for more than an hour, and council took no action after the session ended.

Earthquake, aftershock rattles nerves as residents cope with winter storm

A small earthquake centered in South Carolina gave Barnwell County residents the shakes Friday night.
The United States Geological Survey reported a 4.1 magnitude earthquake happened at 10:23 p.m. and was centered about 7.5 miles west-northwest from the town of Edgefield -- about 50 miles northwest of Barnwell.
People took to social media, especially Facebook and Twitter, to ask about and confirm the earthquake. Houses in Barnwell shook gently for a few seconds.

Storm cleanup will take a while, officials say

Barnwell County residents heard an update Sunday from county officials about the ongoing cleanup process following the damage left by winter storm Pax.

As of Sunday afternoon, around 2,500 homes are still without power, Roger Riley, the county's Emergency Management Director, told a crowd of people at First Baptist Church in Barnwell.

County Administrator Pickens Williams Jr. said the damage caused by frozen tree limbs that fell is county wide.

Earthquake shakes Barnwell County

A small earthquake centered in South Carolina gave Barnwell County residents the shakes Friday night.

The United States Geological Survey reported a 4.1 magnitude earthquake happened at 10:23 p.m. and was centered about 7.5 miles west, northwest, from the town of Edgefield -- about 50 miles northwest of Barnwell. 

People took to social media, especially Facebook and Twitter, to ask about and confirm the earthquake. Houses in Barnwell shook gently for a few seconds. The quake was felt by people more than 100 miles away from its center.

Big 7 Association ready to help: Scholarship Banquet set for Feb. 22

"So far to go, so little time ..."
So reads the creed of the Big Seven Association, which for 25 years has been working to make the community a better, stronger place. The non-profit organization started in 1989 when a group of softball coaches and players decided they wanted to improve the lives of people in Barnwell County.
When the original members decided to start taking action, the first thing they did was build a softball field in the Red Oak community for the area's children. They also hosted activities, like cookouts and parties, for children.

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