Jonathan Vickery

Parents upset over child unclogging school toilet

The parents of a Williston kindergartner are upset after a teacher’s aide made their child unclog a toilet with his bare hands. 
Tiffany Williams said her five-year-old son, who attends Kelly Edwards Elementary School, was told by his teacher’s aide to unclog a toilet with his hands from his classroom’s bathroom. This happened after the aide told him to clean urine off the seat with paper towels, which he then put in the toilet and flushed. This clogged the toilet.

Angel Brabham returns as BPS guidance counselor

When Angel Brabham quit her job in 2010 as Barnwell Primary’s guidance counselor to care for her sick daughter she never thought she’d have the opportunity to come back. 
“When people get this job, they don’t leave,” said Brabham of how her predecessors, such as Emily Guess, spent many years there until retiring. “I knew I’d never get it back.”

Blackville school rallies before test

Macedonia Elementary School in Blackville held a pep rally April 27 to motivate students for the ACT Aspire test the next day. 
Each grade performed a song or dance to rally the whole school. 
“Motivating students to do their best on ACT Aspire is very important and I applaud the staff at Macedonia for taking the time to place emphasis on students being at the top of their game and ready to show evidence of all that they have learned,” said District 19 Superintendent Dr. Teresa Pope. 

Mother killed, son injured in wreck

A Blackville mother was killed early Saturday morning in a wreck that also left her young son hospitalized.
The wreck occurred around 3:15 a.m. May 2 in Blackville as Latasha Staley, 35, of Pebble Lane, Blackville, was traveling south on Legion Road near Pine Forest Street. That’s when her Chevrolet HHR ran off the right side of the roadway, overcorrected, and went off the left side of the roadway where it struck a tree, according to Lance Corporal Hannah Wimberly with the S.C. Highway Patrol. 

One shot at Hilda crossroads

One person is hospitalized after being shot last night in Hilda while putting out yard sale signs.

The shooting occurred at the Hilda crossroads around 8:45 p.m. April 30 as three people, whose names are not being released, were in a car putting out the signs. “They were approached by three black males. A pistol was presented and they were told to get out of the vehicle,” said Barnwell County Sheriff Ed Carroll.

Ministers seek donations to redo Blackville playground

The Barnwell County Ministerial Association is seeking donations from the public to help redo Macedonia Elementary School’s playgrounds. 
Pastors of various denominations from churches across the county toured the aging playgrounds April 13 along with school officials. 
Pam Rush with the Axis 1 Center of Barnwell and Eat Smart Move More of Barnwell County said the playgrounds are in desperate need of upgrades. Swings are broken, slides are rusted, and the metal equipment gets hot in the sun and can hurt students. 

Chad Martin returns home to play benefit concert

Blackville native Chad Martin is bringing the sounds of spring home this weekend to help awaken an iconic landmark. 
“Sounds of Spring: A Musical Awakening” will take place Sunday, May 3 at 3 p.m. at Barnwell First Baptist Church. It will feature a variety of musical favorites from Tchaikovsky to Broadway, including classical hymns and musical selections from Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, and Porgy and Bess.  

Career center board cuts own expenses to help deficit

To help reduce a projected budget deficit next year, the Barnwell County Career Center board cut out their pay as well as costs for meals and travel.
“If we’re asking everyone else to take a hit, we may as well, too,” said board member Michael Hutto, who is Williston District 29’s representative on the board. 
Hutto recommended cutting the stipend the board receives to attend meetings to zero. This would save $5,000 a year. A motion to eliminate the stipend was unanimously approved. 

BCCC board encourages districts to work out calendar issue

The Barnwell County Career Center is caught in the middle of a disagreement over next year’s school calendar. 
The career center’s board was scheduled to vote on the 2015-16 school year calendar during their April 20 meeting, however, they tabled the matter until their May 18 meeting. The postponement comes as the board had two calendars to consider, one approved by Barnwell District 19 (Blackville-Hilda Public Schools) and one approved by Barnwell District 45 and Williston District 29. 

D29 swears in new member, hears strategic plan update

“Our district seems to be on the wings of change.”
That was how Tracie Sweet, the Title 1 facilitator at Kelly Edwards Elementary, described the district during a presentation on their strategic plan update. She was referring to the children’s book, “Wings of Change”, about a caterpillar that didn’t want to change into a butterfly. 
“Thinking like a caterpillar does not work if you’re a butterfly,” she said, adding how that method of thinking applies to the district as well. 

Making time for family still important in busy life

Imogene Vickery, my beloved 84-year-old grandmother, dedicated her life to caring for others. Even in death, I believe she is still looking out for my family. 
Meme, as my cousins and I called her, died Thursday, April 16. While my family was in mourning, we take comfort in knowing she died peacefully in her sleep and is now with God where there is no more suffering. Her body is now healed of all ailments.

Voter registration office moving

With the school board election behind them, the Barnwell County Voter Registration and Elections Office can now move to their new office.
The office, which has been housed since 2007 in the agricultural building beside the courthouse, will move Monday, April 20 to 367 Fuldner Road off of Joey Zorn Boulevard. This building formerly housed the county's chamber of commerce and economic development offices, both of which have moved to the SouthernCarolina Alliance building.

Another bomb threat on Williston schools investigated

A $500 reward is being offered following a second bomb threat against Williston-Elko schools in a month.
A bomb threat was called into Bamberg County's 911 center Tuesday morning, April 14, against a specific Williston-Elko school, unlike the March 13 bomb threat that didn't specify which school, according to Barnwell County Sheriff Ed Carroll. Bamberg County then notified Barnwell County.

Murder charge tops bond hearngs at general sessions

Amid pleas and bond hearings, a Blackville murder suspect appeared in General Sessions court this week seeking a reduced bond.
Arbre Bernard Robinson, 29, of Williston, appeared before Judge Jack Early Monday, Feb. 25. Robinson is one of two men accused in the Aug. 27, 2012, murder of Leon Brown in Blackville.
Investigator Kenneth Bamberg with the solicitor's office said Robinson has already violated his probation, which he received for a 2010 resisting arrest charge. The murder charge gives "probable cause" of further violation, he said.

Two more arrests made in fatal hit-and-run

The South Carolina Highway Patrol has arrested two more individuals in the fatal Aug. 5 hit-and-run which took the life of a Williston teen.

Felicia Hickman, 27, and Katrina Dunn, 27, have been charged with Accessory after the Fact of a Felony, said Lance Cpl. Judd Jones of the SCHP.

The most recent arrests come less than a week after Fatima Stewart, 26, of North Augusta, was arrested and charged with leaving the scene involving a death.

For the full story, see our August 24 print edition.


Neighbors SERVing - hundreds volunteer

Lean on me, when you're not strong.
And I'll be your friend; I'll help you carry on.
For it won't be long ‘til I'm gonna need somebody to lean on.

-Portion of lyrics to "Lean on Me"

That's what more than 275 volunteers of different ages, races, faiths and backgrounds did March 26 by coming together to lean on each other and serve their community into a better tomorrow as part of CitySERVE.

Students learn through giving...a cow

During the month of January, the fourth grade students at Kelly Edwards Elementary School (KEES) in Williston raised money to buy a cow for a family halfway around the world.
Three years ago, the school started an initiative requiring each grade to plan and perform a community service project. "It's something our school commits to," said Nancy Wood, a fourth grade teacher at KEES.
This year the fourth graders partnered with Heifer International to raise money to help a family they don't know somewhere else in the world, she said.


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