David Purtell - Staff Writer

City council election date set

Three Barnwell City Council seats will be up for grabs Sept. 10, city clerk Kim Vargo announced at the regular council meeting June 3.
J.T. Atkinson of District 1, Benjamin Duncan of District 3 and Robert Patillo of District 5 are up for re-election this year. The filling period for potential candidates will be open June 24 through July 5. The filing fee is $25.
The election will include redrawn district lines. Council voted last year to have the districts redrawn because of changes in population. Residents affected by the redrawn districts will be notified by mail.

County jail needs upgrade

The Barnwell County Detention Center held its annual tour for local officials and administrators June 5.
The jail, which has an official capacity of just under 100 inmates but has held more than 120 at times, is really two jails. There is the old section, opened in 1950 and referred to as building #1, and the newer section that opened in 2004.

Group trying to get pending hospital sale, bankruptcy tossed out

A group opposed to the sale of the Barnwell County Hospital has requested an emergency motion to stop the impending sale of the hospital and dismiss the bankruptcy process.

According to bankruptcy court documents, the closing of the sale of the hospital is set for June 12.

The group, led by former hospital board chairman Don Alexander, filed the request Thursday.

One files for Kline council

One person signed up to be on the ballot for the special Kline Town Council election before Friday's noon deadline.
Milton W. Harden put his name down to fill the vacant seat left by Cleatrice Clark, who resigned April 12. If no ones files as a write-in candidate in the next two weeks then Harden will be awarded the seat without an election.
If there is a write-in candidate, then an election will be held July 9.
Anyone interested should contact the Barnwell County Voter Registration and Election office at (803) 541-1060.

Family business continues with new owner, name

Wesley Robinson is carrying on the family business started by his late stepfather, Phil Thompson Jr.
Thompson ran Thompson's Collision Center on Ellenton Street from 1974 until his death in 2011. In April, the business became Wesley's Paint and Body.
Robinson now owns and operates the center. He said he has over 10 years experience repairing damaged vehicles.
"Cars are my passion," he said, "I treat every customer's vehicle like it's my own."
Robinson works along with his employee, Chad Stanfield.

Blackville votes on budget, honors Kaiser

Blackville Town Council had the first reading of its 2013-14 fiscal year budget and said goodbye to outgoing Town Administrator Ian Kaiser during a regular meeting May 20.
There was no hard copy of the budget available, and council voted unanimously to approve a rough estimate of $972,000 in projected revenue for next year.
After the meeting, Mayor Mike Beasley said the budget was still being shaped.

SRS workers back on the job full time

Employees at the Savannah River Site returned to their normal work schedules this week, according to an email to workers from Savannah River Nuclear Solutions President Dwayne Wilson.
Over 2,000 employees at the nuclear site have been on 32-hour work schedules since April due to automatic cuts that took effect in March because of sequestration in the federal government. And hundreds were facing full furloughs beginning June 1 unless additional funds were found.

County Council asks for end to opposition

Members of Barnwell County Council are asking the opposition in a current civil case regarding the future of Barnwell County Hospital to "step aside."
In an Op-Ed letter signed by all but one member, they accuse the attorney and the people he represents of "attempting to undermine efforts to secure the future of healthcare for Barnwell County citizens."
The letter says legal costs for the county have already passed $300,000 since the saga began two years ago. The letter also says each month that passes without closing the sale of the hospital costs taxpayers nearly $100,000.

Savannah River Site employees will return to full time next week

Employees at the Savannah River Site will return to their normal work schedules beginning next week, according to an email to workers from Savannah River Nuclear Solutions President Dwayne Wilson.

Over 2,000 employees at the nuclear site have been on 32-hour work schedules since April due to automatic cuts that took effect in March because of sequestration in the federal government. And hundreds were facing full furloughs beginning June 1 unless additional funds were found.

Ring found 42 years later

Good things come in pairs.
That's what my mother used to tell me.
Last September, Christina Hammack and her fiancé, Louis Harmon, were metal detecting in Kline and found a 2005 Barnwell High School class ring that had been missing for four years.
They were able to find and return the $700 ring to its owner, Jerrell Myers, who is now living in Allendale.
Myers had worked his whole senior year to raise enough money to buy the ring.

Man attacked after release

A man facing two warrants turned himself in to Barnwell police May 10, posted bond May 11 and was attacked and robbed early May 12, according to police reports.
Barnwell Police Chief Todd Gantt said Clement Antonio Fenty, 23, of 271 Glass Lane (and formerly Ramblewood Trailer Park), Barnwell, turned himself in to police May 10. Fenty faces charges of criminal sexual conduct with a minor, second degree, with a victim between 11 and 14 years-of-age. The incident happened between May 1 and Aug. 1 of 2012 in an apartment at the Litchfield Apartment complex, according to police.

Inmate labor in Williston?

The town of Williston's proposed budget for fiscal year 2013-14 includes water rate increases, the use of inmate labor, an additional police officer and privatizing garbage collection.
The budget projects $1.92 million in general fund revenue and expenditures. Projected expenses for next year are $22,000 less than the current year.
The budget gives all full-time town employees an extra $600 and all part-time employees an extra $300. Whether they get the extra money in a salary increase or bonuses is still to be decided.

Filing deadline is Friday for Kline Town Council vacancy

The deadline to file for the vacant Kline Town Council seat is this Friday, May 24, at noon.
Cleatrice Clark resigned from the council April 12.
If two or more people file for the seat, a special election will be held July 9.
If only one person files, there will not be an election unless a write-in candidate gets on the ballot.
After the filing deadline, there will be a two-week period for write-in candidates to have their name put on the ballot.
There is no filing fee.

Hundreds avoid SRS furloughs

Hundreds of Savannah River Site employees will stay on the job now that Congress has approved additional funding for SRS.
On May 15, committees in both the House of Representatives and Senate approved a $79 million reprogramming request from the Department of Energy. The DOE can now take money from another project and immediately use it for SRS.
There was a May 22 deadline for funds to be made available in order to avoid furloughs for up to 900 employees at the nuclear site starting June 1.

SRS avoids furloughs after Congress approves funding

Hundreds of Savannah River Site employees will stay on the job now that Congress has approved additional funding for SRS.
Wednesday, committees in both the House of Representatives and Senate approved a $79 million reprogramming request from the Department of Energy. The DOE can now take money from another project and immediately use it for SRS.
There was a May 22 deadline for funds to be made available in order to avoid furloughs for up to 900 employees at the nuclear site starting June 1.

Music and arts coming to town

The Blackville Music and Arts Festival returns for its second year this weekend.
The event will be held Friday and Saturday, May 17 and 18, in downtown Blackville.
There will be live music, artwork for sale, a barbeque cook off, car show and plenty of children's activities. There will also be a parade Saturday at 11 a.m.
The event is free to attend. The festival begins at 4 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday.
On Friday, there will be drum lines, musical performances, chalk art, karaoke and a block party lasting until 10:30 p.m.

Elko Farmers Market reopens Saturday

New and old will come together when the Elko Farmers Market kicks off its 2013 season Saturday, May 11.
The market will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be 26 vendors offering produce, plants, crafts and plenty of baked goods. Live music, free hayrides and a bouncy house for children will provide entertainment throughout the day.
After Saturday, the market's regular hours will be 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Saturday.

Barnwell ‘on track’ with mid-year financials

Barnwell City Council heard an encouraging report on its mid-year finances during the regular council meeting Monday night.
The city has spent 49 percent of its nearly $3 million general fund budget passed by council last September, City Treasurer Kim Vargo said.
The city is on a slightly better pace than last year, she said, because of the $7 monthly public works fee enacted last fall to increase revenue.
"The public works fee is what has saved us," Vargo said.

Barnwell ‘on track’ with mid-year financials

Barnwell City Council heard an encouraging report on its mid-year finances during the regular council meeting Monday night.
The city has spent 49 percent of its nearly $3 million general fund budget passed by council last September, City Treasurer Kim Vargo said.
The city is on a slightly better pace than last year, she said, because of the $7 monthly public works fee enacted last fall to increase revenue.
"The public works fee is what has saved us," Vargo said.

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