Laura J. McKenzie

Locals gather items to send to victims of floods in Texas, Louisiana

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.”

“Donations of items are great but they really need to go through the proper channels,” he said.

Items being gathered for Hurricane Harvey disaster relief

Scotty Sandifer of Blackville and some of his family members went out to supper Monday night and were complaining about the rain. They then were humbled by the stories coming out of Texas of the flooding there.
They decided right then and there to do something.
“We have the means and the time right now,” said Sandifer whose family owns Phil Sandifer & Sons Farms in Blackville.
“Back during the Katrina disaster, we sent four tractor truckloads of items but realized we didn’t have a destination for them. This time we have a plan in place.”

Senator meets with Barnwell officials

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham met for about an hour with Barnwell officials on Friday, Aug. 11 in Barnwell.

Graham met with Barnwell municipal and county officials at the Barnwell City Hall and covered topics including North Korea, immigration and health care. He also asked what local leadership considered to be needs he could help with.

“I’m trying to go around to the more rural counties during this August break and tell you a little bit about what we’re doing and listen to what you are doing,” said Sen. Graham.

County Council approves raises for 4 employees

Barnwell County Council voted unanimously Aug. 8 to approve pay grades and associated raises for four county employees. This is on top of the 3 percent raise approved in June for almost all county employees.

The vote came after a closed session at the end of the council’s regular meeting “to discuss personnel matters related to the Building and Grounds, Sheriff’s Department and Magistrate’s Office.

Councilman Jerry Creech moved to approve the pay grades. His motion was seconded by Harold Buckmon.

Eclipse: The sun, the moon and Barnwell County

On Monday, August 21, millions of people will be lifting their eyes to the skies to watch as the moon passes in front of the sun creating a solar eclipse.

South Carolina, including Barnwell County, is in the pathway of totality of the celestial event. Millions of people are expected to travel to the state this weekend through the event on Monday to watch the once-in-a-lifetime event.

Students will return to school and experience a myriad of ‘firsts’

All the news about the upcoming eclipse has just about “eclipsed” the other big event happening this week - the return of students to the classrooms.

For many, Thursday will be a day of “firsts” for them - first day of kindergarten, first day of first grade, first day of middle school, first day of high school, first day of their senior year.

It may be the first time a youngster has ever ridden a school bus or found their way through a lunch line.

The first day of school is the one day when most students show up with new clothes and bookbags.

Cpt. Rasar bringing enthusiasm, training to BCDC

Michael Rasar is excited about his new job.

He’s excited to be in a new building with a new staff and new opportunities. He is bringing with him enthusiasm to a job that a lot of people consider tough.

Captain Rasar, 32, is the new administrator of the newly renovated Barnwell County Detention Center, hired by Sheriff Ed Carroll. He took over the position upon the retirement of Deloris Charlton in July.

Few facing opposition in Nov. 7 election

Filing closed at noon Tuesday, Aug. 15 for candidates seeking election or re-election to seats on seven town councils in Barnwell County. Two mayors have also filed for re-election.

All the races are non-partisan which means there is no party affiliation.

Each of the races are for four-year terms. The elections will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

Incumbent mayors seeking another term in office are Jason Stapleton in Williston and Paul Moore in Snelling. They are unopposed in their respective races.

EDC approves resolution to ratify all previous decisions

The Barnwell County Economic Development Commission approved a resolution Monday evening which ratifies all decisions of the commission and the corporation’s board of directors, which have been identical, from its inception until present day with the exception of December 2013.

The resolution was passed in a split 3-2 vote during a 10-minute special called meeting held at EDC offices in Barnwell.

Voting in favor were Chairman Steve Jowers along with Commissioners Keith Sloan and Joe Smith. Voting against were Commissioners Toby Singletary and Will Kearse.

Help ‘Stuff the Bus’ over next two weekends

Local Clemson and Carolina fans will get a chance to see whose fans are the most generous over the next two weekends.

The Barnwell County United Way will be holding its annual “Stuff the Bus” school supply drive in front of Walmart in Barnwell on August 11-12 and 18-19 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Shoppers are encouraged to purchase school supplies to donate to the United Way.

“Those donations will be distributed evenly between Barnwell County’s three public school districts,” said Barnwell United Way Chief Professional Officer John Haskell.

Haskell named CPO of Barnwell Co. United Way

The United Way of Barnwell County has hired John C. Haskell as its new chief professional officer.

Haskell, 63, of Barnwell, replaces Jess Wilbanks who moved to Atlanta, Ga.

The Barnwell United Way is a volunteer service organization which raises funds and distributes that money to other non-profit organizations in Barnwell and Allendale counties.

Barnwell County’s United Way also sponsors projects such as the upcoming “Stuff the Bus” school supply drive and “Project Care” in the spring which benefits individuals, communities and schools, said Haskell.

Filing open for seats on 7 town councils

Filing has begun for seats on seven local town councils, according to the Barnwell County Election Commission.

Filing opened Aug. 1 and will remain open until Aug. 15 at noon. Candidates have to file at the Barnwell County Voter Registration and Elections Office located at 367 Fuldner Rd., Barnwell.

The General Election for citizens residing inside the municipal boundaries of Barnwell, Blackville, Elko, Kline, Hilda, Snelling and Williston will be held on Tuesday, November 7.

A runoff election, if necessary, will be held two weeks later on Thursday, November 21.

Jobless rate goes up even as hiring trend improves

Barnwell and Allendale County’s unemployment rates went up in June but that statistic alone doesn’t tell the whole story.

Recently released figures from the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) show that more people were employed in June than in May in both Barnwell and Allendale counties. At the same time, more people joined the workforce, so the statistics show a more negative picture if only the unemployment rate is considered.

Ground broken for freestanding emergency dept.

Local, state and federal officials were on hand Tuesday morning for the groundbreaking of the Bamberg/Barnwell Emergency Medical Center (EMC).

The Regional Medical Center (RMC) in Orangeburg, which owns the EMC, broke ground Tuesday morning on the construction of the new freestanding emergency department for Bamberg and Barnwell counties.

Revival for educators includes speaker and surprise guest

“You have to teach the child first, then you can teach the subject matter.”

That was the advice of Mary Endres Thomas to educators attending a “Teachers Revival” at Long Branch Baptist Church in Barnwell. The event was held on Thursday, Aug. 3 with approximately 20 educators attending.

“When kids feel like you are special in their eyes, then you can reach them,” said Thomas.

Thomas, of Aiken, is a high school math teacher and author of “Kids These Days: A Teacher's Inspirational Journey That Will Change The Way You Think About Today's Youth”.

Events set to prepare for and observe solar eclipse

Barnwell County will be just on the edge of the total eclipse viewing area on Monday, August 21.

A solar eclipse is when the moon passes between the sun and earth, creating total darkness.

In Barnwell County, the partial phase of the eclipse will start at approximately 1:13 p.m. on Monday, August 21. The total darkness phase will begin at approximately 2:43 p.m. and will last 32 seconds. Then it will return to the partial phase. The end of the eclipse will be at 4:07 p.m.

100 backpacks distributed in Kline

One hundred backpacks full of school supplies were distributed to children in Kline Saturday, August 5.

This is the fifth year that the Town of Kline has held the school supply distribution at the Kline Fire Department.

Children who are soon returning to school were able to choose a free backpack which was pre-stuffed with a notebook, pencils, pens, paper and easers. Primary school-aged children found crayons and a glue stick in their backpacks.

The mayor and town council annually solicit donations and purchase the school supplies.

Allendale County Schools drop lawsuit

The South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) and the Allendale County School District announced Friday, July 28 that they have agreed to collaborate in the management of the educational programs and operations of Allendale schools and the district office, as well as collaboration in other areas of school and district governance that impact management of the academic program, financial risk, and accreditation.

Public invited to ER groundbreaking on Aug. 8

The Regional Medical Center (RMC) in Orangeburg will host a public groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the beginning of construction of a new freestanding emergency department for Bamberg and Barnwell counties.

The event will be Tuesday, August 8 at 10 a.m. at the construction site on Highway 70, just west of Denmark in Bamberg County.

The 20,000-square foot facility will include 24-hour emergency care with CT scan, X-Ray and ultrasound diagnostic imaging, lab and observation services, according to a press release by RMC.


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