Jonathan Vickery

D19 highlights recent improvements

The Nov. 13 Barnwell District 19 School Board meeting highlighted curriculum and facility improvements.

Curriculum Director Blue Huggins said they are starting the third round of benchmark tests, which they do every four-and-a-half weeks. These tests are done in certain subjects.

“We are getting a handle on where our kids are,” said Huggins.

The district is also providing professional development to teachers about high progress literacy.

D29 looks at options to select new leader

The Williston District 29 School Board has five options for selecting a new superintendent.

The district has been without a permanent superintendent since the resignation of Dr. Missoura Ashe in September. Interim Superintendent Dr. Everette Dean Jr. said the board can either promote a current District 29 employee, conduct its own search, employ a search firm, employ the S.C. School Boards Association, or employ a headhunter.

“In all of them the board makes the ultimate decision,” said Dean during the board’s Nov. 20 meeting.

Career center adds $55,723 to fund balance

An audit report took up most of the Barnwell County Career Center board’s Nov. 20 meeting.

Rod Dooley from Dooley & Company provided preliminary audit results for the school’s 2017 fiscal year, which ended June 30. The results are preliminary as the final paperwork hasn’t been signed, but numbers are not expected to change.

The career center added $55,723 to its general fund balance. As of June 30, the fund balance totaled $416,514. Ideally, Dooley said, he recommends the career center have approximately $1.5 million in its fund balance.

Barnwell Primary School student remembered

Barnwell Primary School is missing a piece of its puzzle after the death of Javian Hayward.

The 8-year-old died on Nov. 13 from injuries he sustained two days earlier from a wreck that occurred in Aiken County. His mother and older brother were also injured in the wreck.

“Our hearts go out to Javian’s family at this very difficult time. He will be dearly missed,” according to a statement on Barnwell District 45’s website.

Memories retained at Blackville Museum

The Blackville Museum took people on a walk down memory lane during its Nov. 12 open house.

There was a good turnout for the event, which was held as a way to showcase all the work that’s been done recently to preserve the town’s history. The museum opened in 2016 at 655 Main Street.

“I think it’s wonderful. They’ve done a good job,” said Blackville resident Arie Guess.

Teen shooting victim ‘uncooperative’ with police

Details are limited about a shooting that injured a Blackville teen.

A 14-year-old male was shot on Sunday, Nov. 12 around 7:02 p.m. in the area of 954 Oak Avenue in Blackville as he walked between his house and a neighbor’s residence.

“One shot was fired and he was struck in the elbow,” said Blackville Police Chief John Holston of the juvenile victim.

SC Arts Commission reps visit Blackville

Members of the S.C. Arts Commission recently visited Blackville to provide an update about a rural arts initiative.

“The Art of Community: Rural SC” was launched in 2016 by the S.C. Arts Commission as part of its mission to create a thriving arts and culture environment for the state. The pilot program helps advance the Commission’s commitment to rural communities, particularly the six counties of the South Carolina Promise Zone. It receives financial support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development.

Deloach appointed to D19 board

The Barnwell District 19 School Board will soon be full again.

During their Nov. 13 meeting, the board unanimously approved appointing Bill Deloach to the seat vacated three months prior by George Fickling, who resigned over issues he had with board members.

After two previous attempts to be elected to the board came up short, Deloach said he appreciates the board giving him a chance to help move the district forward.

"I want what's best for the kids," said Deloach, a married father of four. “I want to serve all students."

Lisa Ferguson named Teacher of Year for Orangeburg school

A Barnwell resident was recently named Teacher of the Year for an Orangeburg County school.

Lisa Ferguson is the 2017-2018 Teacher of the Year for the STAR (Students Taking Alternative Routes) Center for Learning in Cope. She is in her third year at the STAR Center for Learning where she teaches sixth through eighth grade math, but previously taught for 18 years at Barnwell District 45.

“It lets you know you’re doing a great job,” said Ferguson, who says she was “humbled” to receive the award.

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.


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