Laura J. McKenzie

Blackville Town Council receives clean audit report

The Town of Blackville received a clean audit, according to documents provided by the accounting firm of Webster Rogers LLP.

The Blackville Town Council received a copy of the audit during a special called meeting on April 6 at Blackville Town Hall. Attending were Mayor Michael Beasley and council members Kelvin Isaac, Ann Pernell, Allen Harrison and Vivian Alston.

Mayor Michael Beasley presented a copy of the results as the accountant notified him Monday afternoon that they would be unable to attend.

Williston D29 approves 2017-18 school year calendar

The 2017-18 School Calendar was adopted March 21 by the District 29 School Board.

Each year the three districts in Barnwell County coordinate their schedules with the “lead” district rotating each year. This year was Williston’s year to create the schedule.

“The three superintendents worked very well and very closely,” said D29 Supertindent Missoura Ashe. Included in the planning is the Barnwell County Career Center which serves all three districts.

Thompson awarded Silver Beaver Award for scouting

A Barnwell man has been presented a high honor by the Boy Scouts of America for his outstanding leadership and dedication to his council.

Bill Thompson was presented the “Silver Beaver Award” by the Georgia-Carolina Council of the BSA, an award to “recognize registered Scouters of exceptional character who have provided distinguished service within a council,” according to the Boy Scouts of America.

He received the honor at the Eagle Scout and Volunteer Recognition Banquet on March 21 at Trinity on the Hill United Methodist Church in Augusta, Ga.

Lenten message: ‘Do what we can when we can’

“Do what you can and do it for Jesus,” was the message given by Robert Altman of Bethany Baptist Church in the fifth community Lenten service held March 30.

The message was taken from Mark 14:3-9 when Jesus was in Bethany meeting with his disciples.

“He was at the house of Simon the Leper,” noted Altman. “Jesus doesn’t turn anyone down. He died for all people.”

Jesus also revealed the value of women who, in that time, had no rights, “not even being able to bear witness in a trial,” said Altman.

Unemployment rate rises then dips during first two months

Barnwell County’s unemployment rate rose in January and then dipped down in February.

According to statistics recently released by the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW), Barnwell County experienced a rise from 5.4 percent unemployment in December 2016 to 6.6 percent in January 2017, then dropped to 6.2 percent in February. Allendale County rose from 7.3 to 8.4 percent, then down to 8.1 percent during the same time period.

Statewide, the rate remained at 4.4 both in January and Februry.

Council meets with attorney over lawsuit

Barnwell County Council spent an hour behind closed doors with their attorney last week to discuss a lawsuit filed by three local municipalities.

County Attorney J.D. Mosteller met with the full council to discuss a lawsuit filed against the county and Economic Development Corporation by the City of Barnwell and Towns of Blackville and Williston.

No action was taken after they returned to open session and the council immediately adjourned.

EDC extends contract, gets project updates

A contract extension and project updates were the focus of the four Economic Development Commission members attending their April 3 meeting.

The commissioners approved extending a grounds maintenance contract for two years with Wall’s Landscaping.

The contract had been approved last year with a 2-year extension clause. Executive Director Tommy Boyleston said work at two properties in Williston is being replaced with a single, larger property in Blackville for the same price.

Severe weather predicted for Wednesday - EMD warns to make precautions

Severe weather is expected Wednesday, April 5 to hit the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA) and Barnwell County is included, said Barnwell County Emergency Management Director Roger Riley.
“This is going to be worse than what we had on Monday,” he warned. The storms are expected to be widespread and intense.
The National Weather Service is predicting wind gusts to 70 mph, ping pong ball-sized hail and a few tornadoes. Some minor flooding is also possible in low lying areas.

Towns file lawsuit against county

Three local municipalities filed suit Thursday, March 23 against the County of Barnwell and the Barnwell County Economic Development Corporation.

The City of Barnwell, Town of Williston and Town of Blackville filed the civil suit in the Court of Common Pleas claiming the ordinance approved March 14 by the Barnwell County Council “was adopted illegally” and “violates and breaches the agreements between the Municipalities and the County”.

Three express interest in vacant D29 seat

Three people have submitted letters of interest to serve on the Williston School District 29 board of trustees.

While The People-Sentinel has requested the names, district officials have not yet released that information.

On Tuesday, March 22, D29 Superintendent Dr. Missoura Ashe gave out sealed packets to the school board members containing the candidates’ letters for review. They were asked to rank the candidates and return their rankings to the superintendent by Friday, March 24.

Barnwell Baseball to remember Maybell Mitchell at season-opener

In the 1930s a young newlywed couple in Luray (Hampton County), Olive Faust and Howard Gordon Dickinson, were about to start their lives together. But the young bride didn’t know a lot about cooking and cleaning for her new husband.

Her mother’s cook suggested they should take her 15-year-old daughter, Maybell Mitchell, to live with them as she had experience in those domestic areas.

Maybell moved to Barnwell in 1932 with the Dickinson family as cook, housekeeper and, in time, nurse to their children.

Coach Dee brings passion and skills home

The sound of intermittent whistles is the signal to youth to start moving.

Mostly middle-school age boys dressed in white T-shirts and black gym shorts listen for the next burst of sound, their minds and bodies running to the next station marked by an orange cone on the wooden basketball court. Between and at each station they are challenged to master their skill of running, bouncing a basketball, passing, maneuvering and shooting.

Also dressed in black is Darene Thomas who eyes each young athlete critically. She’s the one with the whistle. She’s also the one in charge.

Williston schools approved for telehealth

Healthcare for Williston School District 29 students got a big boost March 21 as the school board gave its blessing to telemedicine, dental and EPI-Pen programs.

The school-based telehealth program is a partnership between the school district, Palmetto Care Connections, the Medical University of South Carolina and Low County Health Care System.

“Approximately 40 schools statewide are participating in telehealth but we are the first in the state to be a pilot to partner with local providers,” said Dr. Tasha Louis-Nance, Director of Student and Special Services for D29.

Blackville Council updated on spring events

One action item and several updates were the focus of the Blackville Town Council on Monday, March 20.

Just prior to the meeting was a public hearing on a proposed Rural Development Project that includes the purchase of two new police vehicles, a dump truck, a pickup for the public works department and rescue/extrication equipment for the fire department.

Mayor Beasley reported no one had comments on the proposal.

April brings Easter fun to community

April is bringing Easter fun for children in Barnwell County.

The “Bunny Brunch” will be held Saturday, April 1 at the Barnwell County Library in Barnwell. Sponsored by the City of Barnwell Recreation and Parks Department, the event will be held from 10 until 11 a.m.

R&P Director Pamela Davis said the Bunny Brunch is for children primarily ages birth to 12. Space is limited so reservations are required by calling City Hall at (803) 259-3266. The cost is $6 per person.

Davis said there will be photos with the Easter Bunny, food and crafts.

JDA Raiders register wins over Northside, Williston-Elko

Jefferson Davis Academy’s baseball team used a 5-run effort in the seventh inning to beat Williston-Elko High, 9-8 on Monday, March 20 in Blackville

Dalton Beasley got the start for JDA. He pitched six innings and only gave up one earned run.

Adam Gee came in to pitch a third of a inning to get the win.

Offensively, the Raiders were led by Blake Renew who went 2-4 with two RBI’s.

Also shining were Kyle Renew, who went 2-4 with two RBI’s, and Colton Pritchard, who was 2-4 with 2 RBI’s one being the winning run.

Ordinance drains EDC of power

An ordinance with wording changes was approved Tuesday night, March 14, impacting the future of the Barnwell County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and the commission which, until now, oversaw its assets.

In a 5-2 vote, the Barnwell County Council approved third and final reading of the controversial ordinance.

The new wording enforces a 1989 county ordinance which states the EDC’s board can only be made up of county council members or county administration.

Three towns filing suit over EDC issue

The City of Barnwell and the Towns of Blackville and Williston have put Barnwell County on notice of their intentions to file legal action regarding the Barnwell County Economic Development Corporation.

A lis pendens was filed in the Court of Common Pleas, Second Judicial Circuit on Wednesday, March 13 by attorneys representing the three municipalities. The document names the County of Barnwell and the Barnwell County Economic Development Corporation as defendants.

Third Blackville bank robbery suspect arrested

The third suspect has been charged in the March 8 armed robbery of Enterprise Bank in Blackville.

Mikell Todd Nelson II, 32, of 111 Springview Lane, Apt. 714, Summerville, has been charged with kidnapping, according to South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) spokesman Thom Berry.

Nelson was booked at the Charleston County Detention Center. If convicted, Nelson faces a penalty of up to 30 years in prison.

A copy of the warrant shows Nelson was charged Thursday, March 16 for holding bank employees at gunpoint and restraining their hands during the robbery.

Low Country Health returns $142,300 to county

Barnwell County Council and Low Country Health Care System have jointly agreed to terminate services between the county and the medical facility, effective March 14.

LCHCS also has returned $142,300 to the county for an X-ray machine.

County Council voted unanimously to accept the termination agreement on March 14 following a closed session to “receive advice related to potential litigation”.

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