David Purtell - Staff Writer

Terry’s Hardware now open in Blackville

A new business opened over the weekend in Blackville.
Terry's Hardware and Auto Supply, located next to Shelton's gas station on Hwy. 3, had its grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony Saturday morning, July 20.
Over 30 community members came out to show their support for the new store, owned by Allendale resident Terry Williams.
State Rep. Lonnie Hosey was on hand and told Williams the town appreciates his efforts.

Blackville wins state public service award

An award and guest speakers were the focus of the Blackville Town Council's regular meeting July 15.
Mayor Mike Beasley said he would be going to Greenville with other council members over the weekend to accept the town's public service award from the Municipal Association of South Carolina.
The award is recognition of the town's Community Action Team, which formed in response to a string of violence in the community in 2011.

CEO reveals plans for future of hospital

Some light was shed on the future of Barnwell County's hospital during the Blackville Town Council meeting July 15.
Mary Valliant, CEO of the newly named Southern Palmetto Hospital, spoke to council members and the public about plans for the hospital. The former county-owned facility was recently sold to Resurgence Management Company and is in the middle of a bankruptcy process.

Williston council talks trash, gangs

Gangs and garbage headlined the agenda during Williston Town Council's regular meeting July 8.
Council members discussed a plan proposed by the Barnwell County Sheriff's Office to start a drug and gang task force in the county. At a June 18 meeting of officials from around the county Sheriff Ed Carroll asked the local governments to help fund a county-wide gang task force. Carroll made the point that gang violence and drug activity are escalating in Barnwell County.

Water, water, and watermelon

Recent heavy rains haven't dampened the spirits of South Carolina's watermelon producers as over 200 growers attended the annual Watermelon Field Day July 11 at the Clemson University Edisto Research Center.
Dr. Gilbert Miller, a horticulturalist who led the event, said the facility, located west of Blackville off Hwy. 78, has had 22 inches of rainfall since April 1 - twice the historical average for the same time period. He said the intense rainfall has led to plenty of disease in this year's watermelon crop. He said some crop yields have been cut in half.

Manhunt nets suspect

An hours-long manhunt in Barnwell ended with the capture of a burglary suspect July 10.
The suspect, 17-year-old Houston Bryant, faces one charge of first degree burglary, one charge of second degree burglary, two charges of grand larceny and two charges of malicious injury to property, according to Tenille Smith with the Barnwell County Detention Center, where Bryant is being held.

Manhunt ends with arrest of burglary suspect

An hours-long manhunt in Barnwell ended with the capture of a burglary suspect Wednesday night.

The suspect, 17-year-old Houston Bryant, faces one charge of first degree burglary, one charge of second degree burglary, two charges of grand larceny and two charges of malicious injury to property, according to Tenille Smith with the Barnwell County Detention Center, where Bryant is being held.

Multiple law enforcement agencies searched a field and woods off Ellenton Street (Hwy. 278) late into the evening using search dogs and a helicopter.

Williston finalizes budget

Williston Town Council adopted the fiscal year 2013-14 budget during a special called meeting July 1.
The general fund budget is $1.92 million, and projected expenses for next year are $22,000 less than last year.
There is no millage increase, but council approved a 10 percent increase in the base rates for water and sewer services. Interim Town Administrator Roger LeDuc has said the town's rates are, on average, about 20 percent lower than other towns of similar size.
Williston has not increased water and sewer rates in more than five years.

Barnwell silences noise ordinance

Barnwell City Council decided not to adopt a noise ordinance recently passed by County Council during its regular meeting July 1.
The ordinance, which is very detailed, would require officers to use decibel-measuring equipment when responding to noise complaints. Officers would have to be certified to use the equipment, which the police department would have to buy.
County council requested the municipalities adopt the ordinance.

Senator Scott supports SRS funding

Republican Senator Tim Scott was the speaker during a business roundtable held July 3 at the SouthernCarolina Alliance Center in Barnwell.
During the 45-minute meeting, Scott spoke on the importance of quality education as the foundation of a strong economy. He also touched on other topics including immigration and the Savannah River Site.
He said immigration reform is needed, but the bill recently passed by the Senate - he voted against it - is flawed.
"The devil is in the details," Scott, said about solving the immigration problem.

Williston council to change in fall

Williston Town Council is going to look a lot different in the fall.
Mayor Tommy Rivers along with two council members did not file for re-election before Friday's noon deadline. Also, Councilman Jason Stapleton filed to run for mayor.
Mayor Pro Tem Wanda Matthews and Councilman Jerry Holmes did not file for re-election.
Dwayne Cagle, Chris Rivers and Shawn Eric Moody filed to run for the three at-large council seats.
The election is set for Sept. 10.

Local nursery offers plenty

A local grower is encouraging people to plant blackberries in their yard.
F.C. Noles, owner of Noles Nursery near Hilda, planted a row of blackberries in December 2011 and said they are great and easy to grow. He started picking them about a month ago and the berries are pretty big.
Noles said the plants grow easily in the sandy "Hilda dirt." He said anyone can grow them in their backyard, but not many people in the area do.
He said you use a little fertilizer when you plant them and then you don't have to do anything until the berries are ready to be picked.

Diver searches for gun from shooting

A DNR diver searched for a gun June 26 in the Salkehatchie River by Hwy. 3 south of Barnwell.
Police were acting on a tip in reference to a June 17 shooting. The weapon was not found, Police Chief Todd Gantt later said.
Police have made one arrest in the case, but are still looking for 17-year-old Dustin Williamson, who has a warrant out for attempted murder. He has not been caught as of Monday.

Deadline nears for councils, mayor filing

The deadline to file for the Williston and Barnwell council elections is approaching.
This Friday, July 5, at noon is the closing date for residents to get their paper work to the county's Voter Registration and Election Office in Barnwell.
Three council seats are up for grabs in each town. The mayor's office in Williston is also on the ballot this year.
In Barnwell, districts 1, 3 and 5 will be on the ballot, and are currently held by J.T. Atkinson, Benjamin Duncan, and Robert Pattillo, respectively.

New stylist joins Barnwell salon

A Barnwell native has moved back home and is ready to make clients look fabulous.
Lindsey Birt Campbell, a stylist, is now working at All Teased Up on Main Street. She attended Jefferson Davis Academy and earned her cosmetology degree at the Aiken School of Cosmetology.
She worked in Augusta since last year but recently moved back home to be closer to her family, she said.
Her first day at the salon, owned by Katelyn M. Delk, was June 25.

County approves $14 million budget

Tax increase includes 3% pay raise

Barnwell County Council finalized its 2013-14 fiscal year operating budget during a special-called meeting June 20.
The nearly $14 million dollar budget includes a six-mill increase in the annual millage used to calculate property taxes, which will bring in an additional $231,000. Council members plan to use some of the extra money, $126,000, to restore county employees' salaries to the levels they were at four years ago before council imposed a 3 percent reduction in pay.

He heard his father’s voice...

Two Williston natives, along with their son, have gained national attention after a video of their son hearing his father's voice for the first time went viral.
In April, Nicole's and Len Clamp's son, Grayson, became the first U.S. child to have a hearing implant put directly into his brainstem. Since then, the family has received national media attention.

Williston budget includes rate change and new officer

Williston Town Council had the first reading of its 2013-14 fiscal year budget during the regular meeting June 10.
The total general fund budget is $1.92 million, and projected expenses for next year are $22,000 less than the current year.
The budget does not include a millage increase but does have a 10 percent rise in the base rates for water and sewer services. Williston has not increased water and sewer rates in more than five years. Interim Town Administrator Roger LeDuc has said the town's rates are, on average, about 20 percent lower than other towns of similar size.

Say Cheese: Photo ID card event set June 22

The Barnwell County Voter Registration and Elections office will conduct a Voter Education and Outreach event at Williston Town Hall Saturday, June 22, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
County residents can have their picture taken for a voter registration photo ID card. There is no charge for the card.
Residents can also have their picture taken for the card Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Barnwell County Voter Registration and Elections office at 34 Pechman St. in Barnwell.

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