David Purtell - Staff Writer

Tea Party Patriots ask for protection of property rights

Barnwell City Council had a lengthy night at its regular meeting Nov. 5.
Council heard a speech from Dale Brady, with the Barnwell County Tea Party Patriots, asking council and planning commission members to protect the private-property rights of citizens when making decisions about land use. About a dozen members of the Tea Party Patriots were in the audience.

Firefighters welcomed in N.J.

Williston Fire Chief Milton Widener updated the town council on the fire department's response numbers this year during their Nov. 12 meeting.
He said the department had responded to 111 calls as of Nov. 5. Seventy-four of those calls were in-town, 34 were in the county and three were for mutual aid.
Widener also updated council about the group of local firefighters who went to New Jersey to assist people affected by Hurricane Sandy.

When is a pet a nuisance?

Barnwell City Council discussed recommendations for updates to the city's animal ordinance at its Nov. 5 regular meeting.
There have been complaints about dogs barking at night and disturbing citizens, according to a letter to council from Drayton Gantt, the city's animal control officer. The problem is the current ordinance does not specifically state at what point an animal becomes a nuisance.

City considers redistricting plan

Barnwell City Council heard a presentation about redrawing the city's council districts at its regular meeting Nov. 5.
Population shifts within the city have caused the current districts to become imbalanced.
Bobby Bowers, director of the state's Office of Research and Statistics, laid out a proposed plan using figures from the 2010 census.
The goal of redistricting is to make the city's six districts have relatively equal populations without disrupting the minority makeup of each district, Bowers said.

New business hopes to build success

Mahuron's Building Supply in Williston had its ribbon-cutting ceremony Oct. 26.
Owner Robert Mahuron, who has lived in Barnwell for 24 years and was formerly a contractor, said he was excited to have the store open. He said they've been getting the final touches ready for three months. It's a family-run business, and Mahuron's son Matt and nephew Brandon are employees.

Committee paves way for project

Blackville is moving forward with plans to pave its town hall parking lot.
The Barnwell County Transportation Committee approved funding for the project at an Oct. 23 regular meeting. The project is estimated to cost between $110,000 and $120,000.
At the meeting, Blackville Mayor Michael Beasley said it is very important for Blackville to have the paved lot.
"We're trying to do everything we can to make our town look better," he said.

Blackville residents learn about gangs, Internet safety

Residents received straight talk and facts during an information session on gangs and online predators at Blackville-Hilda High School Oct. 24.
Over 50 people, children and adults, attended the event organized by the HOPE program. Sgt. Donald Danner with the Barnwell County Sheriff's Office spoke about online safety, and Sgt. Chris Long with the South Carolina Department of Corrections spoke about gangs.

Hundreds of thousands sign up for protection after hacker steals millions of Social Secuirty numbers

South Carolina victims of the data hacking at the state Department of Revenue will get free lifetime credit fraud resolution, Gov. Nikki Haley announced Oct. 30.
In all, the Social Security numbers of 3.6 million people were compromised along with 387,000 credit card numbers. All but 16,000 of the credit card numbers were encrypted, meaning someone would need a code to access them. The 16,000 that weren't encrypted were old numbers, according to officials. The Social Security numbers were not encrypted.

Voter registration increasing in Barnwell

Voter registration has been increasing in Barnwell County since 2008, according to the latest South Carolina State Election Commission data.
There are 13,725 registered voters for the Nov. 6 election. In 2010, there were 13,395 residents registered, and the number was 12,819 in 2008. That is a 7.1 percent increase from '08 to '12.
Voter registration decreased slightly from 2006 to 2008. And the county's population has been declining, from 23,478 in 2000 to an estimated 22,358 in 2011, according to U.S. Census data.

Blackville council approves policy changes

Blackville Town Council voted to approve an updated code enforcement ordinance at its Oct. 15 regular meeting.
The ordinance, which passed unanimously, will begin Nov. 1 and will include a police officer, Chuck Stanley, working four days a month to enforce the codes. But any officer can write a warning for a code violation. Violations will be written for dilapidated buildings, abandoned vehicles, un-kept yards and other issues. Residents can stop by town hall to pick up a copy of the ordinance.

New art studio aims to spark creativity for all ages

Everyone can be an artist, according to Anne Marie Hebbard.
Hebbard is the owner of The Art Studio, which opened this month in the plaza on Hugh Street. She thinks anybody can be an artist if they give it a shot. She said her studio is a fun way for people to get introduced to art.
Hebbard has been practicing art as long as she remembers, and said she "couldn't live without it." She wants to "pull the artist out of people" and have fun doing it.

Williston holds short but productive meeting

Williston Town Council had a quick session at its regular meeting Oct. 8.
Council adopted an order declaring the building at 116 Keith Circle to be unfit and in need of repairs. Town Administrator Chris Carter presented photo evidence of the structure at the Sept. 10 council meeting showing the building is dilapidated.
The owner, David Seay, will have six months to make repairs or demolish the building, according to the order. Seay had previously requested time to make improvements to the building.

Gov. Haley hires new chief of staff

Gov. Nikki Haley has a new chief of staff and may be getting her re-election campaign started.
Bryan Stirling, who was a state deputy attorney general, was named chief of staff Oct. 2 and started Oct. 15. Haley's former chief of staff, Tim Pearson, is leaving to run Haley's political operation, although Haley has not announced that she will run for re-election.

Hosey, Hutto honored for service

A dinner was held for local state representatives at the Elko Fire Department Oct. 9.
Elko Mayor Marty Schumpert said the dinner was to show appreciation for state Rep. Lonnie Hosey and state Sen. C. Brad Hutto. He said he wanted to thank the two for all their years of community service.
People chatted before lining up to get barbecue, beans and more.
During dinner, Hutto and Hosey each made a few remarks to the 40 people in attendance.

Halloween comes to town

Barnwell's October Third Thursday at the Circle will have a Halloween theme and plenty of fun.
The event, which is Thursday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., will feature music performed by The Relics (Ed Corley and Steen Pender), free hay rides, a quarter carnival, mini-pumpkin painting and a Halloween costume contest for kids and pets.
The children's contest will begin at 6.

Voter law upheld, to start in 2013

A federal panel of judges ruled in favor of South Carolina's voter ID law Oct. 10 in Washington, D.C., but the judges said the law could not be implemented until 2013.
The law, which says voters must show a government issued photo ID at the polls before voting, will not affect this year's Nov. 6 election. The judges said their ruling did not leave enough time for the state to prepare before the General Election.

Federal court upholds voter ID Law, will take effect in 2013

A federal panel of judges ruled in favor of South Carolina's voter ID law Wednesday in Washington, D.C., but the judges said the law could not be implemented until 2013.

The law, which requires voters to show a government issued photo ID at the polls before voting, will not affect this year's Nov. 6 elections. The judges said the timing of their ruling did not leave enough time for the state to prepare before the General Election.

Blackville council considers new website

Blackville Town Council heard a presentation regarding a new website for the town at an Oct. 2 workshop.
The website would be provided by a company called GovOffice and allow town employees to easily update the site without much training. Council listened via speakerphone as a sales representative for GovOffice went through a presentation about the company.

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