Laura J. McKenzie

Tax free weekend is Aug. 4-6

Shoppers will get a holiday this coming weekend – a holiday from paying sales tax on a wide variety of items.

The annual Sales Tax Holiday will be August 4-6 in South Carolina, according to the S.C. Department of Revenue (DOR). The holiday is in effect from 12:01 a.m. on August 4 until midnight on August 6.

During the annual Sales Tax Holiday, a variety of approved school supply items are exempt from the 6 percent state sales tax and any applicable local taxes. In years past, shoppers have saved between $2 million and $3 million during the holiday weekend.

South Carolina Department of Education and Allendale County School District reach agreement

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. 

Retiring jail employees honored

Two retiring county employees were honored during a recent meeting of the Barnwell County Council.

Barnwell County Detention Center Administrator Deloris Charlton and Sergeant Gloria Myers were each presented with resolutions of recognition and gifts upon their retirement.

Charlton has served the county for 20 years with the Barnwell County Detention Center while Myers has worked as an officer, shift supervisor and sergeant for over 28 years.

Two Williston schools receive safety equipment

Several schools received safety gear to help directing students and traffic as they come to school in the morning and dismiss in the afternoon.

The supplies were presented to the schools by the Eat Smart Move More Barnwell County (ESMMBC) program, according to Hilary Hindman of Axis 1. She said the supplies were purchased through the Let’s Go Grant which is funded by Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina and Eat Smart Move More SC.

School consolidation resolution tabled

Barnwell County Council stepped back from a proposed resolution in support of school consolidation during their regular meeting on Tuesday, July 11.

The resolution stated that “the Barnwell County Council encourages the Barnwell County Public School districts to consider working with our Legislative Delegation to determine a plan of action to have the three districts to consolidate into one district.”

During the public comments period early in the meeting, Blackville-Hilda District 19 School Board Chairman Carroll Priester took the council to task on the issue.

Terri Smith hired as new Chamber director

Terri Smith of Barnwell has been named the new Executive Director of the Barnwell County Chamber of Commerce (BCOC).

The BCOC board made the decision last week to hire Smith who retired in 2010 after working as an agent with Clemson Extension for 20 years.

“We feel very fortunate to have someone of Terri’s expertise working at the Chamber,” said Chamber chair Carolyne Williams. “She is an asset to our Chamber. Please stop by or call and welcome Terri to our Chamber network.”

Chief Corley thanked for service to Blackville

Retiring Blackville Fire Chief Hariel Corley took center stage Monday night as he was honored by the Blackville Town Council and firefighters.

Corley, 73, recently retired after spending 47 years with the Blackville Fire Department.

He said, “Just being able to successfully lead a group of people” such as his fellow volunteer firefighters is his greatest achievement over the years.

During that time he lobbied council for equipment, training and funding. A new fire truck, brush truck and equipment stand testimony to that effort.

YMCA showcases effort to end child hunger

Making sure children don’t go hungry during the summer months is the focus of both state and local organizations. As part of that focus, Barnwell County’s Family YMCA is a site that was selected as part of a statewide tour by the South Carolina Department of Education and End Child Hunger South Carolina to showcase their efforts.

On Friday, July 14, five women were given a tour of the facility by Executive Director Matt Mullen. They were just in time for snacks with 10 children participating in the summer program at the Barnwell Y.

Ribbon cut on Barnwell Urgent Care Center

“This is a turning point.”

That was the opinion of Barnwell County Councilman Jerry Creech at the grand opening of Barnwell Urgent Care on Thursday, July 13 in Barnwell.

That turning point was made possible by Roger Phillips of Atlanta, Ga., who is CEO of Heritage Healthcare which owns the new non-profit Barnwell Urgent Care.

Phillips has family roots in the low country and served on Barnwell County Council’s Medical Advisory Committee after the closure of Southern Palmetto Hospital last year. He said he felt the need to do something to fill the gap.

Williston to contract for code inspection services

The Williston Town Council approved an agreement Monday night with SAFEbuilt Inspection Services to perform code enforcement property inspections.

According to Williston Town Administrator Kenny Cook, one of the council’s goals has been the cleanup, repair or removal of derelict properties. Williston ordinances allow the town to contact property owners to improve the properties. They also give the community’s building official power to require owners to make those improvements.

Urgent Care Center to hold grand opening on July 13

Barnwell Urgent Care Center is holding its grand opening on Thursday, July 13 from 7:30 until 9 p.m.

The public is invited to attend the ribbon cutting and tour of the facility at 914 Reynolds Road in Barnwell (across the street from the former Southern Palmetto Hospital).

The new facility is managed by Heritage Health Care, a non-profit organization whose CEO is Roger Phillips.

We are now open for business,” said Missy Nolind, office manager for BUCC.

County council approves budget - employees get raise

The Barnwell County Council approved a 3 percent raise for county employees and an allocation to purchase memberships in Air Methods Advantage for all Barnwell County citizens in a special meeting held Thursday, June 29.

There were no members of public present at the public hearing held just prior to the meeting so the council moved quickly to the special meeting agenda.

Third and final reading of the 2017-18 budget was approved unanimously by the council whose members expressed satisfaction at being able to provide the employee pay raise.

Blackville council approves budget, new fire chief

Blackville Town Council approved second and final reading of the town’s 2017-18 budget on Tuesday, June 27.

The $1,015,719 balanced budget was unanimously approved by the mayor and five council members present.

Budget documents comparing the current year with the proposed budget shows a drop in revenue from property taxes by $1,424 plus the elimination of $94,474.74 from a grant.

Join in on the Red, White & Boom

This weekend will have a lot of sparkle to it with the Independence Day Celebration on Saturday, July 1.

The celebration, sponsored by the City of Barnwell, will be held at Veterans Memorial Park in Barnwell from 5 until 9:30 p.m., according to Lynn McEwen, Barnwell’s Downtown Development Director.

“This is a free, family-friendly event,” said McEwen. “People should bring chairs, blankets or anything they want to sit on. There will be food available from vendors, but folks are welcome to bring their own picnics.”

County budgeting for air medical transport insurance

A raise for county employees and an allocation to purchase memberships in Air Methods Advantage for all Barnwell County citizens are two major line items in the 2017-18 proposed county budget.

Barnwell County Council will hold a public hearing on the budget at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 29. It will be followed immediately by a special meeting whose primary purpose is to pass third and final reading of the budget.

The agenda also includes second reading of a proposal to rent office space at the county health department to Barnwell First Steps.

Towns file amended complaint against county, EDC

Lawyers for the three municipalities suing Barnwell County and the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) filed an amended complaint Tuesday, June 20 in the Court of Common Pleas.

The City of Barnwell along with the Towns of Blackville and Williston are suing the county and the EDC after the Barnwell County Council passed an ordinance to dissolve the corporation, moving all its assets under the Barnwell County treasurer. The ordinance also directs that the 7-person commission which has overseen the corporation has no power other than advisory.

Blackville Town Council receives departmental updates

Departmental updates and approval of committee members were the focus of the Blackville Town Council meeting held June 19.

The council voted 5-0 to appoint Ms. Frenchie Smalls and Rev. Terry Smalls as new members of the town’s Recreation Committee. Councilman Fred Orr and Mayor Michael Beasley were unable to attend the meeting which was led by Mayor Pro-Tem Vivian Alston.

Police Lt. Washington reported to the council that the department was “fully staffed” with six full-time officers, several part-time and one reserve officer.

Public invited to Amateur Radio Field Day on Saturday and Sunday

The Salkehatchie Amateur Radio Society (SARS) will be participating in the nationwide annual Amateur Radio Field Day the weekend of June 24.

Amateur radio operations will occur starting at noon on Saturday, June 24 at the Barnwell County Emergency Operations Center at the Barnwell County Courthouse and will run continuously until noon on Sunday, June 25, said Emergency Management Director Roger Riley.

The call sign of the SARS is KK4BQ.

County Council hears positive healthcare updates

Healthcare was the primary topic of discussion last week for the Barnwell County Council.

During their June 13 meeting, the council learned details of a regional emergency department and got updates on a local urgent care and an air ambulance service.

S.C. Senator Brad Hutto told the council that Regional Medical Center of Orangeburg is opening a free-standing emergency department on 10 acres of property just west of Denmark in Bamberg County. The facility will serve the region but Bamberg and Barnwell counties in particular.

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