Laura J. McKenzie

Rotary Club seeks Secret Santas for local children

Donors and volunteers are sought again this year in support of Secret Santa, a project of the Rotary Club of Barnwell County.

“The Rotary Club of Barnwell County sponsors the Secret Santa Program each year as one of our service projects,” said Rotary Club President Michael Beasley. “This is our 21st year of sponsoring this wonderful program which could not be successful without the help of our community. Secret Santa serves many needy families who would otherwise not be able to provide Christmas gifts for their children.”

Donate Love Lights for elderly

Donations are now being accepted for the annual Love Lights Program in Barnwell.

Love Lights is a fundraiser in support of the elderly in Barnwell County. Sponsored by The Barnwell Downtown Association and The People-Sentinel, proceeds go toward the Barnwell County Nursing Home Residents’ Fund, home delivered meals by Generations Unlimited of Barnwell County, and the Barnwell Rotary Club’s Coins of Alzheimer’s Research Trust (CART) Fund.

Pastor honored; water issues discussed in Blackville

The Blackville Town Council recognized a local pastor for his work in the community.

Bishop George Burckhalter, president of the Barnwell County Ministerial Association, was honored by the council on Oct. 16 during a regular council meeting.

Burckhalter was presented a plaque for his community service and Mayor Michael Beasley noted that the bishop with the Ministerial Association has most recently spearheaded a project to purchase and place new playground equipment at Macedonia Elementary School.

Hospital property up for auction

The former Southern Palmetto Hospital building and property is set to go on the auction block.

The sale will take place beginning at 11 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 6 at the Barnwell County Courthouse.

According to a notice of sale published in this edition of The People-Sentinel, the property at 811 Reynolds Road includes 6.95 acres “with improvements” (buildings, etc.).

‘Love’ is main ingredient at Lee’s Soul Food & Catering

Sometimes food is all about the love.

It’s the love of family, friends and a passion for cooking.

All that can be found at Lee’s Soul Food & Catering, a family owned and operated restaurant that has been open for just over two months in Barnwell.

A sign on the wall states “Love is the best ingredient” and is the motto behind the Lee/Young family’s efforts.

Not only does the menu offer traditional “soul” food of fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, collard greens and field peas (just to name a few), the Lee family also seeks to offer “food for the soul”.

Fall Fest coming Oct. 19

The Barnwell Development Association and the City of Barnwell Parks and Recreation will host the annual Fall Fest on The Circle on Thursday, Oct. 19 from 5 to 7 p.m.

“There will be lots of fun for everyone,” said City of Barnwell Community Development Director Lynn McEwen. “Gary Brantley will DJ favorite songs, there will be a costume contest for children ages 12 and under, mini-pumpkin painting, games for the kids and more.”

She said Boy Scout Troop 392 will be offering hot dogs for sale as fundraiser. Other organizations will also have booths.

County Council updated on SRNS, roads, ED site

Updates on the Savannah River Site, road improvements and the regional emergency department highlighted the Barnwell County Council meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 9.

Stuart MacVean, president and CEO of Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, said SRNS currently has 5,500 employees. “We make up about half of the total site population,” said MacVean.

The Savannah River Site includes nearly 57 percent of the landmass of Barnwell County.

MacVean said the economic impact for SRNS on Barnwell County is $48.4 million.

D19 board approves two makeup days

Two school make-up days have been designated by the District 19 School Board at their Oct. 9 regular meeting.

Board members Ethel Faust, Sharon McClary, and Karen Jowers voted to designate November 1 and March 23 as make-up dates for days missed due to recent hurricanes.

District Superintendent Dr. Shawn Johnson proposed the two dates which were unanimously approved by the three attending board members. Chairman Carroll Priester was absent due to the death of her husband.

Some garbage fees to rise temporarily

Garbage disposal fees from local providers may go up temporarily as a result of the repair of Barnwell County’s transfer station and transportation issues while it is being repaired.

Barnwell County’s solid waste transfer station was scheduled for major repairs earlier this year before it was finally destroyed by a tornado in January, according to County Administrator Pickens Williams Jr. He said the station is expected to be closed from Oct. 23 through Dec. 24 while it is being rebuilt.

School receives playground equipment

Playground equipment is under construction at Macedonia Elementary School in Blackville thanks to efforts by local organizations.

Bishop George Burckhalter said the Barnwell County Ministerial Association started the effort two years ago when then-MES principal Dr. Carolyn Anderson made known the need.

“The playground equipment that was there was awful,” said Burckhalter. “It was rusty and falling apart. It was dangerous.”

Airport fire still under investigation

The cause of a Sept. 19 fire at the Barnwell Regional Airport is still being determined.

Pete Beck, chairman of the airport commission, said it may be weeks before a report is expected from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.

The fire started in the east end of one of three “T” hangers which can house 10 aircraft. Beck said there were 8 planes in the affected hanger and five were destroyed by the fire.

County Council approves 2018 millage rates

The Barnwell County Council approved the 2018 tax millage during their Sept.19 meeting. Councilman Freddie Houston, representing the finance committee, proposed acceptance of the millage resolution.

The millage will be:

Barnwell County Operations and Debt Service – 147 mills and Barnwell County Career Center – 24 mills.

Those in the rural areas will have also Rural Fire Protection – 11 mills and Public Safety – 4.

Those living in School District 19 have 236.77 mills; in District 29 – 220.84 mills and District 45 – 224 mills.

Balloon release memorializes Infant Mortality Month

Black balloons were launched into a bright blue sky on Wednesday, Sept. 27, memorializing and honoring babies who could not be there.

The event, sponsored by Family Solutions of the Lowcountry, was to remember infants who were born but did not survive to their first birthday. Infant Mortality Month is observed each September but is a year-long effort. According to 2015 data accrued by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), there were 402 babies born in South Carolina who died before their first birthday.

Donations sent to Florida victims

Energy Solutions in Snelling has sent Hurricane Irma relief items to storm victims in Florida.

Curtis Charlton of the company said the tractor trailer was about half full when it left Monday morning. It was first headed to Orangeburg to pick up additional supplies and then is destined for a Red Cross facility in Florida.

The company sponsored the relief effort shortly after Hurricane Irma stormed up the Florida peninsula and left many areas flooded or impacted by the winds. Energy Solutions reached out to the community to help fill the container with supplies.

Jobless rates rise slightly locally

Both Barnwell and Allendale County experienced slight increases in unemployment rates according to statistics recently released by the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce.

Barnwell County’s rate rose from 5.9 percent in July to 6.1 percent in August. Allendale County rose from 7 to 7.2 percent over the same time period.

Statewide the jobless rate rose from 3.9 to 4 percent. Nationally, the unemployment rate increased from 4.3 percent in July to 4.4 percent in August.

Economic marketing moves to SCA after vote

A new contract was approved by Barnwell County Council on Tuesday, Sept. 19 which effectively moves marketing of the county’s economic development property as well as the Economic Development Commission’s executive director position under SouthernCarolina Alliance (SCA). The contract also quadruples the county’s payment to SCA from $15,000 annually to $60,000 annually.

The contract was approved unanimously with the exception of David Kenner who was absent from the meeting.

Williams retiring next year as county administrator

Barnwell County Administrator Pickens Williams Jr. has announced his plan to retire next year.

Williams, 59, shared his intentions to retire within the next five to six months with the Barnwell County Council on Tuesday, Sept. 19 during a closed session of the council’s regular meeting. Williams then met with county department heads the next day.

“I don’t plan to move. I’m not upset or anything like that,” said Williams. “It’s something I have been talking with my wife about for nearly a year. I have no reason other than I think it’s time for me to do something different.”

Gibson, Air Methods contract highlight meeting

Two ceremonies were high points of the meeting of the Barnwell County Council Tuesday, Sept. 19 in Barnwell.

The council honored former County Treasurer Wendall P. “Wendy” Gibson Jr. and held a ceremonial signing of a contract with Air Methods.

Council Chairman Lowell Jowers presented Gibson with a plaque and a gift from the council. He also read a resolution which noted he has worked for the county from July 17, 1989 until August 31, 2017 “in various capacities and positions.”

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