Jonathan Vickery

Two rescued from wrecked SUV

Two people were airlifted to a hospital after being extricated from their wrecked vehicle last week.

Armard Breeland, 16, of Beaufort, was driving a 2001 Ford SUV west on Highway 278 near the town of Kline when the vehicle ran off the left side of the roadway and struck several trees, said Lance Cpl. Judd Jones with the S.C. Highway Patrol. The wreck occurred on Friday, Feb. 9 around 7:58 a.m.

Catoes help couples for more than 25 years

“To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge myself to you.”

Rev. Ken Catoe and his wife Lynn have not only taken those vows seriously during their 46 years of marriage, but have also led other married couples to understand the keys to a successful marriage.

“Marriage is designed for a lifetime,” said Rev. Catoe, who has been pastor of Hagood Avenue Baptist Church in Barnwell since 1992.

4 Warhorses, 3 colleges, 2 sports, 1 day of signing

Four Barnwell High School senior athletes took part in the National Signing Day on Feb. 7.

Soccer players Adrienne Childs and Mariah Stone both signed to play soccer at USC Salkehatchie during a special event held in the media center of Barnwell High. Meanwhile, football players Pete Elmore and Mykal Lee also signed to continue their athletic careers, with Elmore headed to Newberry College and Lee going to Georgia Military College.

Keel reappointed as SLED chief

Barnwell native Mark Keel has been reappointed as the state’s top law enforcement chief.

S.C. Governor Henry McMaster announced on Jan. 31 his decision to reappoint South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) Chief Mark Keel. Having first been appointed to the position by Governor Nikki Haley in June 2011, Chief Keel’s distinguished law enforcement career spans over 40 years, according to a press release.

$1,000 raises proposed for county council

A $1,000 annual raise for Barnwell County Councilmen is one of two recommendations by the county Personnel Committee to be presented to the full council on Tuesday, Feb. 13.

The committee met on Wednesday, Jan. 24 to discuss the matter. The committee is comprised of County Council members Jerry Creech and Don Harper, County Administrator Pickens Williams Jr. and Business and HR Manager Debbie Fickling.

Barnwell Co. Career Center director retiring in June

The Barnwell County Career Center is searching for a new director.

BCCC Director Sam McKay is planning to retire at the end of the 2017-2018 school year. The school board unanimously accepted his resignation due to retirement during the Jan. 29 meeting. McKay’s last day is June 30.

“I’m going to miss the kids,” he said.

Vroom program steers parents as teachers

A new early learning initiative is looking to drive the growth and development of young brains.

Save the Children is partnering with Vroom, an initiative of the Bezos Family Foundation, in communities that have the Early Steps to School Success (ESSS) program. This includes Barnwell County where there are ESSS programs in all three public school districts.

“It teaches parents how simple interactions can build brain capacity,” said Lakisha Bowman, an Early Steps to School Success Program Specialist with Save the Children.

Jack Keel’s grandson continues legacy

Jack Keel lived up to State Farm’s motto: “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.” Now his grandson is hoping to continue that legacy.

Will Keel, the son of Mark and Jeri Keel, officially became the agent of the State Farm office located at 505 Reynolds Road, Barnwell, on Thursday, Feb. 1. The agency was started in October 1958 by his grandfather, who worked for State Farm for nearly 60 years until his death on Sept. 23, 2017.

Wil Alexander returns home to help people

A Barnwell native has returned home to open a personal injury law office and help his community.

Wil Alexander recently established the Law Office of William H. Alexander, LLC in downtown Barnwell after completing law school and a one-year stint as a law clerk in Chester.

Living in other places, including bigger cities, “made me realize what a special place Barnwell is. It’s special because of the people. I’m really happy to be back in the community,” said Wil, who is the son of Don and Garnette Alexander.

Williston Council discusses goals, master plans

Williston Town Council was presented with the results of two master plans as they discussed goals during a Feb. 2 retreat.

Mayor Jason Stapleton along with council members Eric Moody, Adadra Neville, Kurt Odermatt, Annie Tyler, Scott Valentine and Brett Williams met at Meeting on Main for a morning full of updates, ideas and setting goals for the town’s future. Administrator Kenny Cook and Utilities Director Marty Martin were also present.

“We’ve made a lot of progress these last few years,” said Stapleton.

Fire victims grateful for community support

Victims of a recent house fire are grateful to the community for their prayers and support.

Susan Grubbs along with her boyfriend David Smith and friend CJ Knowles were left homeless on Jan. 28 following a fire at 933 Old Whiskey Road. No one was injured, but they lost everything, including four pets. However, a number of people have stepped up to help.

“We thank them for all of their love and support. Please continue to pray for us,” said Grubbs.

Local radio personalities attend Grammy’s

Three local radio station employees represented Barnwell County at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards.

LaKonda Bing Raysor and Alicia Gaines from the L & A Entertainment Duo on the WIZ 97.9 FM along with their assistant Margaret Sparrow traveled to New York City, N.Y. the last week of January to attend the awards show and interview some of the Grammy-nominated artists, such as the Hamiltones and Steve Ray (Youngsta). Raysor and Gaines are graduates of Barnwell High while Sparrow graduated from Allendale-Fairfax High.

School board candidates file

There won’t be a lot of competition on the April 10 ballot for local school boards.

As of the Jan. 26 filing deadline, only the incumbents in Barnwell District 45 and District 19 filed. Abraham Sexton is the lone candidate for one seat in District 45 while Karen B. Jowers and Sharon E. McClary are the only candidates for two seats on the District 19 board. Williston District 29 has the most people running as incumbent Russell J. Overton and newcomers Ronald J. Brown and Annette W. Burnette are running for two open seats.

All seats are for three-year terms.

Chili meal raises funds to buy 15 pet oxygen masks

Pet oxygen masks will soon be on their way to local fire departments after a successful chili fundraiser.

GROWL, a local animal rescue organization, sponsored a Chili Extravaganza on Jan. 25 at the Williston Fire Department. Through donations and plates sold during lunch and supper, the event raised enough money to purchase 15 masks, which will be given to all 11 Barnwell County fire departments, as well as the fire coordinator’s vehicle and a few fire chief vehicles.

Driver charged with DUI

An Olar man is charged with DUI after wrecking his truck last week.

Willie Sanders, 61, of Olar was traveling north on Ashleigh Road near Bethany Drive when his 1996 GMC pickup truck ran off the left side of the roadway and struck a tree, said Lance Cpl. Judd Jones with the S.C. Highway Patrol. The wreck occurred around 7:15 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 25.

Sanders was airlifted to the hospital with "serious injuries." He has been charged with DUI, said Jones.

Barnwell Presbyterian welcomes pastor, organist

Barnwell Presbyterian Church recently welcomed a new pastor and organist.

Dr. J. Dudley Weaver Jr. began duties as pastor of Barnwell Presbyterian on Jan. 1 while Rita Rostron became the church’s organist last fall. Both said they are excited to be in Barnwell.

“It’s a wonderful group. I’m blessed to be here,” said Rostron, who moved to Aiken from Florida a year ago to be close to one of her five sons.

Mark Keel reappointed as SLED chief

Barnwell native Mark Keel has been reappointed as the state’s top law enforcement chief.

S.C. Governor Henry McMaster announced on Jan. 31 his decision to reappoint South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) Chief Mark Keel. Having first been appointed to the position by Governor Nikki Haley in June 2011, Chief Keel’s distinguished law enforcement career spans over 40 years, according to a press release.

Fire leaves 3 adults homeless

Three adults are homeless after a fire destroyed their home Sunday evening.

Firefighters from the Barnwell Rural, Red Oak and Snelling fire departments responded around 6 p.m. on Jan. 28 to 933 Old Whiskey Road where they found an active structure fire. Approximately 30 firefighters responded and were on scene for close to three hours, said Barnwell Rural Fire Chief Jessie Elmore.

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