Laura J. McKenzie

Williston approves fees for parks master plan

The parks master plan, a grant to purchase police body cameras, disaster preparedness and the schedule for Halloween Trick or Treating were among the topics reviewed by the Williston Town Council on Tuesday, Sept. 19.

The council approved the Halloween schedule for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 31.

Also approved was the fee schedule for the Parks Master Plan.

In August the council approved the firm of Johnson, Laschober and Associates to create a master plan.

Megan Croft sworn in as county treasurer

Megan E. Croft was sworn in Friday evening, Sept. 15, as Barnwell County’s new treasurer.

Croft succeeds Wendall “Wendy” Gibson who retired at the end of August after 17 years in the office. She was appointed by Governor Henry McMaster to fill Gibson’s remaining term which ends in 2018.

Croft, 29, is a life-long resident of Barnwell and is the daughter of Doug and Jodi Croft. She is the mother of a daughter, Lizzie, age 8.

Energy Solutions collecting hurricane relief items

Energy Solutions in Snelling is collecting Hurricane Irma relief items to be sent to victims in Florida.

A tractor trailer has been set up in the parking lot of the Osborne Road facility in Snelling.

“The public is invited to contribute,” said Curtis Charlton, Security Supervisor.

“We ask that you call us at (803) 541-5004 to let us know you are coming or stop by the front door and we will assist in unloading the items,” said Charlton. “We ask that you don’t load items into the van on your own but allow us to assist.”

County administrator announces retirement plans

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.”

Tropical Storm Irma moves through county

Barnwell County caught a glancing punch from Tropical Storm Irma on Monday, Sept. 11, experiencing some downed trees and power outages but no significant damage, according to Barnwell County Emergency Management Director Roger Riley.

The storm was initially a Category 5 hurricane as it approached the Florida Keys and then turned north along the western coast of that state. Last week forecasters thought South Carolina would be hit full force by the storm as it trekked northward but Irma had other plans. The storm lost intensity and edged westward into Georgia.

Williston church opens doors to evacuees

Calvary Chapel Fellowship in downtown Williston opened its doors over the weekend to evacuees of Hurricane Irma.

While the church is not designated as an official American Red Cross shelter, Pastor Tehron Harless said he and his parishioners “felt a need” to open the church over the weekend.

“We noticed last year that there is nowhere in Williston for local people to go to,” said Harless. “We want to serve a need.”

The sanctuary is situated in the middle of a brick building on Church Street which once housed Rivers Pharmacy.

Energy Solutions collecting Hurricane Irma relief items

Energy Solutions in Snelling is collecting Hurricane Irma relief items to be sent to victims in Florida.

A tractor trailer has been set up in the parking lot of the Osborne Road facility in Snelling.

“The public is invited to contribute,” said Curtis Charlton, Security Supervisor.

“We ask that you call us at (803) 541-5004 to let us know you are coming or stop by the front door and we will assist in unloading the items,” said Charlton. “We ask that you don’t load items into the van on your own but allow us to assist.”

Local family finds education solution in online public school

The Frye family goes to festivals. A lot of festivals.

“We probably go to 15 to 20 festivals a year,” said Karen Frye.

Karen and her husband Bill Frye III own and operate “Frye Baby” traveling concession stand.

Being on the road so much also presents a challenge to educating their son Matthew, 13, and Bill Frye IV.

For Matthew, the Fryes decided to enroll him in South Carolina Connections Academy, a tuition-free, virtual public school.

He has been a student at SCCA since 5-year-old kindergarten and is now in 8th grade.

Woman dies in house fire

Authorities are investigating the death of a Snelling woman on Saturday night, Sept. 2.

According to Barnwell County Coroner Lloyd Ward, “A body was discovered after a mobile home fire was extinguished at Lot 16, 13626 Highway 64, Barnwell on Sept. 2 around 8:20 p.m.

Ward said, “The initial call was reported to be a fire with entrapment at the above address. Snelling Fire Department along with Barnwell County Rural and Red Oak fire departments responded.”

“After the body was located, the Coroner’s Office along with SLED Arson was contacted.”

‘No bond’

“Why no bond?” asked Ricky Lamont Williams of Judge Sport Holland on Wednesday, Aug. 30.

Holland had just declined bond for Williams who is accused of murder and possession of a weapon in the commission of a crime in the July 23 shooting death of George Lee Grimes.

Grimes reportedly paid Williams for drugs with counterfeit money on July 22 and the shooting the next day on Fairway Lane was in retaliation.

District 29 superintendent goes on leave

Mystery surrounds the status of Williston District 29 Superintendent Dr. Missoura Ashe.

A letter was sent to employees last week from Board Chairman Ferlecia Cuthbertson stating that “the Superintendent is presently on leave.”

It directed that, “While Dr. Ashe is away, any calls or matters typically addressed by her be forwarded to Mrs. (Stephanie) Alford at the District Office.” Alford is the district’s human resource coordinator.

As of Tuesday, the board had not issued a statement to the public nor indicated the length of Ashe’s expected absence.

Hurricane relief supplies head to Texas

As the flooding in Texas and Louisiana caused by Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey continues to wreak devastation, people in Barnwell County are trying to determine what they can do to best help the victims.

“The best way is to coordinate with the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Golden Harvest or any of the sanctioned charities,” said Barnwell County Emergency Management Director Roger Riley. “That’s where my money is going to.”

To donate, go online to www.redcross.org. Other agencies can be located on the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s website at www.fema.gov.

Local business is stop on Wilson bus tour

A local business was one of the stops last week in Congressman Joe Wilson’s district bus tour.

Wilson, his wife and staff stopped at Anovotek in Barnwell on Thursday, Aug. 31 to meet with company owner Don Alexander along with his family and staff. Also attending were representatives from the Barnwell County Chamber of Commerce, SouthernCarolina Alliance, Barnwell County Economic Development, City of Barnwell and Barnwell County.

Demolition begins in downtown Blackville

Blackville Town Councilman Steve Jowers sat on a bench along the town’s Main Street, watching in satisfaction as Liz Ann Bonnett operated a trackhoe to tear down a building.

Bonnett works for Owens Construction, the company tasked with demolishing several dilapidated buildings owned by the town.

“I am glad to see this,” said Jowers, occasionally snapping a picture with his Canon. “It has been way past due.”

Storm Information links - Helpful websites and apps to get you through to storm

Social media and websites are a great way to get information during a storm of any sort. As you make your plans in advance of the storm, consider the following links and apps. Some of the apps require setups so that is something you may want to do now.

The People-Sentinel:

                Website: www.thepeoplesentinel.com

                Facebook: www.facebook.com/thepeoplesentinel.

Blackville moves ahead with code enforcement

Code enforcement and the demolition of buildings encompassed most of the discussion by the Blackville Town Council during its regular meeting Monday, Aug. 21.

Mayor Michael Beasley briefed the council on the demolition of several buildings located on Main Street. “We own the buildings but the railroad owns the property,” said Beasley.

He said the town has been maintaining the property for years and is now getting information to acquire the property from the CSX.

USC fans ‘win’ fund rivalry

The rivalry between local Clemson and University of South Carolina fans has benefitted schools in Barnwell County.

The Barnwell County United Way held its annual “Stuff the Bus” campaign on Aug. 11-12 and Aug. 18-19 in front of Wal-Mart in Barnwell. United Way volunteers asked shoppers to donate school supplies or money to benefit Barnwell County’s three school districts.

Billboard issues warning to drivers

A new billboard going up this week gives a warning – don’t drive impaired.

The billboard can be seen on S.C. Highway 3 (near Barnwell Pediatrics) by Friday, Sept. 1, said Axis 1 Director of Prevention Services Pam Rush.

“The billboard is to increase awareness of the risk of getting caught if you are out drinking and driving,” said Rush.

For all of 2016 there were 50 DUI arrests in Barnwell County and already there have been 51 this year, said Rush.

Employment numbers improve

Employment numbers in both Barnwell and Allendale counties continued to improve according to information recently released by the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW).

The number of people employed rose to the highest level since December 2015 in both counties, according to DEW statistics.

In July there were 8,055 people employed in Barnwell County which is an increase of 92 people from June. There were 7,886 people with jobs in July 2016 – a difference of 169 jobs filled.

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