Jonathan Vickery

Community soup kitchen opening in December

Barnwell’s homeless and other financially-strapped residents will soon have a place to eat.

The community has been without a soup kitchen since Barnwell Presbyterian Church closed the Legion Center Ministry Soup Kitchen on April 28 due to financial reasons. However, First Baptist Church of Barnwell is organizing a new soup kitchen with the assistance of several other churches and organizations.

Election brings changes to Williston Town Council

Two new faces will soon join the Williston Town Council.

Eric Moody (244 votes) was the only incumbent to win re-election during the Nov. 7 Williston Town Council election. Dwayne Cagle did not receive enough votes while Kevin Wall did not file for re-election. Taking their places will be newcomers Annie Smalls Tyler (371 votes) and Kurt J. Odermatt (174).

Results for the other three candidates are: Dwayne Cagle (149 votes), Nigel E. Abner (139) and Tim Scott (114).

Nana’s Flowers & Gifts opens in Barnwell

A Barnwell couple is hoping their new business will blossom near downtown Barnwell.

Nana’s Flowers & Gifts opened at 39 Franklin Street on Oct. 30. It is owned by Lynnette Carroll who has worked in the floral industry for 14 years.

“We’ve always had a dream of working for ourselves. She can make anything,” said Todd Carroll of his wife.

They use real and silk flowers to create centerpieces and arrangements. She also creates wreaths out of flowers and ribbons. The shop also sells live plants and hanging baskets.

Restaurant serves taste of Caribbean & soul

A Barnwell native is serving up a mix of soul food and Caribbean inspired dishes at his restaurant.

Tim Sanders was riding around with his mom one day when he wanted soul food; however, he couldn’t find any in Barnwell County. This led him to open Taste of Caribbean & Soul (also known as Barnwell Caribbean) approximately two and a half years ago at 12879 Highway 278 in Barnwell.

“I’m trying to do something different,” he said.

Allendale bus drivers rehired after boycott

A boycott by some Allendale County school bus drivers has led to a few changes.

Rumors circulated on Friday, Oct. 27 that bus drivers were planning to boycott. Interim Superintendent Dr. Walter Tobin said he spoke with the bus driver supervisor on Sunday, Oct. 29 about the status of the boycott, but did not receive a “definitive response” from the drivers. However, eight drivers were unaccounted for on Monday, Oct. 30.

“Upon arrival at Allendale-Fairfax High School at 5:30 a.m. only five bus drivers were on duty. The others had abandoned the workplace,” said Tobin.

Fire destroys mobile home

A mobile home fire left one person in Blackville homeless last week.

Firefighters from the Blackville and Hilda fire departments were dispatched to a mobile home on Solomon Blatt Avenue on Wednesday, Nov. 8 around 11:30 p.m. for a structure fire.

“It was already fully engulfed and nearly gone by the time the first firefighters got there,” said Blackville Fire Chief James Haskins.

Firefighters extinguished the fire, which also burned some surrounding grass and trees.

Former superintendent still being paid by District 29

Williston District 29 is now paying the salaries and benefits for two superintendents.

Dr. Missoura Ashe resigned as superintendent on Sept. 20, three weeks after being placed on paid administrative leave. However, the settlement agreement she reached with the board states her voluntary resignation won’t take place until March 31, 2018.

Inaugural car show attracts variety of rides

The inaugural Cars, Bikes & Fellowship offered something for everyone.

Approximately 30 cars and 15 motorcycles of various ages and models filled the parking lot of Barnwell First Baptist Church on Saturday, Oct. 21.

“We really had the variety I was looking for,” said event organizer Eric Bell of the assortment, such as project cars to share and talk about, classic trucks and muscles cars that were already restored, new muscle and late model Mustangs and Corvettes, plus everything in between.

Sometimes it is good to see other places

As someone who writes and talks to people for a living, I’m rarely at a loss for words.

However, a recent vacation out west left me in awe – and honestly a little speechless – after witnessing the natural beauty, culture and history of a part of this great country I had not previously explored.

I was part of a tour group through the Holiday Vacations company on a trip hosted by WRDW in Augusta, Ga. We started in Salt Lake City, Utah embarking to the Grand Canyon, several national parks in Utah and many other fascinating places.

Towns join lawsuit over withheld funding

Two Barnwell County towns have joined Southeastern Housing & Community Development as plaintiffs in a lawsuit over withheld funding to demolish dilapidated homes.

Southeastern Housing & Community Development (formerly Southeastern Housing Foundation) filed a lawsuit August 18 against S.C. State Housing Finance and Development Authority (the Authority) and S.C. Housing Corporation (SCHC). The lawsuit alleges the Authority withheld $2,310,000 in federal funding through the Neighborhood Initiative Program (NIP) from the Barnwell-based Southeastern Housing.

Excavation site coming to career center

A temporary excavation site will soon be installed at the Barnwell County Career Center.

Jessica Phillips, the outreach coordinator for Savannah River Archaeological Research Program, requested use of the school’s property for a hands-on excavation program for local elementary school students.

“This activity allows students to experience the field work aspect of archaeology as well as encourages them to use their critical thinking skills,” said Phillips in her letter to the board.

WEMS principal on paid leave

Williston-Elko Middle School’s principal has been placed on paid administrative leave by District 29 Interim Superintendent Dr. Everette Dean. The People-Sentinel was contacted by a parent who received an alert message from the school stating WEMS Principal Greg Sweet was away from the building “for the time being”. After unsuccessfully trying to contact Williston District 29 School Board chairwoman Ferlecia Cuthbertson, the newspaper then contacted District 29 Interim Superintendent Dr. Everette Dean Jr. “There is an investigation going on regarding a matter.

Masons, Eastern Star honors 4 pioneers

As they celebrated their 73rd anniversary, Brickyard Lodge #55 and Pilgrim Chapter #7 remembered four members who paved the way for the organizations.

Brickyard Lodge #55 of Blackville honored fellow Masons Curtis Stephens of Williston, Charlie Minus of Blackville and Emmitt Odom Sr. of Blackville. Gattie Thomas of Blackville was recognized by Pilgrim Chapter #7 (Order of the Eastern Star) of Blackville. All four died in the past year and were pioneer members of the lodge/chapter.

McAlhaney part of Everest rescue

A Williston native was among eight U.S. airmen who helped rescue an Australian man from Mount Everest.

Frank Fiorillo, 60, and his wife Nonie, 56, were nine days into a trek in Nepal when they were descending from the Mount Everest Base Center on Oct. 11. They were having a nice trip, although it was very cold and snowy, conditions the couple doesn’t experience back home in Australia.

However, Frank soon stopped and very quickly became delirious and collapsed. His eyes rolled back in his head and he was unresponsive.

Polling place changing for Barnwell residents

Voters in the City of Barnwell will have a new polling place to report to next year.

The National Guard Armory on Marlboro Avenue in Barnwell has been the site voters in Barnwell Precincts 1-4 have voted at for decades. However, voters for those precincts will now go to the Barnwell Health Department/DHEC facility (11015 Ellenton Street/Hwy. 278) in the Airport Industrial Park.

Teen keeps her faith through cancer battle

A cancer diagnosis has not dampened a 14-year-old’s faith or smile.

Jenna Bodiford, a freshman at Barnwell High School, was diagnosed on September 18 with stage 4 rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancer made up of cells that normally develop into skeletal muscles.

Jenna and her family originally thought she had pulled a hamstring because she was having leg pain after exercising one day. Multiple doctors’ appointments left the family with no answers; however, a trip to an orthopedic doctor led to the cancer diagnosis, said her father, Brett Bodiford.

Community is key to solving opioid issue

With opioid use on the rise across the country, a group of community members is looking at how to address the problem in Barnwell County.

Pam Rush, director of prevention at the Axis 1 Center of Barnwell, was approached earlier this year by several community members who wanted to assist in efforts regarding the opioid abuse/overdose issue. In response, Axis 1 has formed a community workgroup called the Opioid Action Team to assess and identify strategies to address the issue and its impact on Barnwell County.

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