Laura McKenzie

Weather delay announced for Barnwell public schools and JDA


All three public school districts in Barnwell County will be on a 2-hour delay and Jefferson Davis Academy will be on a 1-hour dealy on Thursday, Jan. 18, according to Emergency Management Director Roger Riley.

"While whatever snow we got will be gone, the potential for black ice, particularly on roads and bridges, will rise greatly starting tonight. All the school leadership felt it would be safer to delay the opening of schools in the morning," he said.


Winter weather moves across South Carolina, some light snow possible locally

The following is an update on winter weather in South Carolina as of 10:30 a.m.

SC Emergency Management: Columbia, S.C. (Wednesday, January 17, 2018) – Residents should continue to monitor winter weather conditions and take safety precautions as winter weather affects much of the state. Forecasters with the National Weather Service predict snow and freezing rain in the Upstate and portions of the Midlands throughout today and into this evening. Residents should avoid driving on snow-covered roads.

Rain and cold expected in area on Wednesday, chances of snow diminishing

 4 p.m., Tuesday, January 16, 2018 –

Schools are to open as normal according to Emergency Management Director Roger Riley. 

Riley and school officials met at 3 p.m. and received an update from the National Weather Service.

The newest forecast for Barnwell County shows less of a chance of snow but residents can expect rain and cold temperatures in the area.

Denmark man arrested by SLED for assaults on teens

A Denmark man has been charged by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) with six counts of illegal sexual activity involving multiple minor victims in Barnwell.

According to a SLED press release, David Lee James III, 41, of 340 Fredrick St., Denmark, was arrested Thursday, Jan. 4 and charged with first degree assault and battery, two counts of second degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor, two counts of third degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of third degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor.

Allendale teen killed in wreck

An Allendale teen died last night in a single-vehicle accident, according to Barnwell County Coroner Lloyd Ward.

“Allisa Freeman, 18, of Sincere Lane, Allendale, was pronounced about 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 19 following an automobile versus tree collision on U.S. Highway 278 East near Mt. Olive Circle,” said Ward in a press release. “Ms. Freeman was traveling east on Highway 278 when it appears she lost control of the automobile and collided with a tree. Ms. Freeman was not wearing a restraint. “

Toxicology is pending, according to the coroner. 

Local ghost hunters search for the paranormal

A Barnwell County ghost hunter and his team are going to be featured Monday, Oct. 30 by WJBF Channel 6.

Ryan Love, 31, and Brandon Spell, 28, are the primary hunters of paranormal activity and have formed a company, Paranormal 64.

“We visit mostly residential areas searching for paranormal activity,” said Love who has been ghost hunting for nearly two years. “I was always into this but several years ago I got hurt at work. While I was recovering, I really got involved.”

Barnwell County residents urged to plan and prepare in advance of Hurricane Irma's potential impact

Governor Henry McMaster today issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency and, along with the S.C. Emergency Management Division, has urged South Carolinians to prepare for the possibility of Hurricane Irma impacting the state.

Evacuations ordered for South Carolina coast; local schools and government offices to close Wednesday

An evacuation of South Carolina’s coastal counties has been ordered by South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley in preparation of the impacts of Hurricane Matthew.

“Our advice is to get 100 miles inland,” she said in a 3 p.m. news conference Oct. 4.

She said she expects “over a million-plus people” will be evacuating.

ELECTION 2016 - Filing ends, competition begins in Barnwell County political races

Filing has closed for state and local races to be on the November 8 ballot and there is some competition for several races.

For Barnwell County sheriff, incumbent Ed Carroll (Republican) is being challenged by Willie Walker (Democrat).

Rhonda McElveen (D) is unopposed for re-election as Barnwell County clerk of court.

Lloyd B. Ward (R) is also unopposed to return as Barnwell County coroner.

In the Barnwell County Council races, the competition is mixed.

 Freddie L. Houston Sr. (D – District 1) and Jerry R. Creech (R – District 7) are unopposed.

Horsehead Corporation files for Chapter 11 in bankruptcy court; Barnwell County plant not impacted

Horsehead Corporation is filing for Chapter 11 reorganization in bankruptcy court but the action should have little to no impact on the plant in Barnwell County, according to company officials.

Horsehead recycles zinc oxide dust at its facility in Snelling and employs approximately 50-60 people. The local plant has the capacity to process up to 180,000 tons per year, according to the company’s website.

Woman missing from Fairfax

The Fairfax Police Department needs the public's help in finding a missing person, Kathleen Myrick.

Myrick, 82, was last seen on Wednesday, Nov. 4 at approximately 9 a.m. at her residence in Fairfax, S.C..

When last seen Ms. Myrick was wearing dark pajama pants and a white t-shirt. She left home driving a 2002 Gray Honda Accord 4-door bearing South Carolina license plate 172-4HK. 

Precision Metal Fabricators expanding Barnwell County operations

Precision Metal Fabricators, Inc., a firm that specializes in the manufacturing of metal and fabricated metal products, is expanding its existing Barnwell County operations, announced the South Carolina Department of Commerce. The company is investing $500,000 to relocate to a larger facility, creating 19 new jobs in Williston over the next five years.

New arts festival flows in Allendale this week

A week-long arts festival and show began flowing Friday, Oct. 16 on the campus of USC-Salkehatchie in Allendale.

“ArtFlow” is part of the University of South Carolina-Salkehatchie 50th anniversary celebration in partnership with the Allendale County Arts Council and Salkehatchie Arts. The event is named “in honor of our beautiful Salkehatchie River and the five South Carolina counties it flows through – Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Colleton and Hampton,” stated information in a brochure about the event.

Football schedules change again

Football game schedules for several local high schools have changed, again, as a ripple effect from communities impacted by recent floods in South Carolina.

Williston-Elko High School’s (WEHS) current schedule is:

Oct. 16 - WEHS v Blackville-Hilda High, away (PINK)

Oct. 23 - WEHS v Wagener-Salley, home (Homecoming)

Oct. 30 - WEHS v Calhoun County, away

Nov. 6 - WEHS v North, home

Barnwell High School’s (BHS) schedule is:

Oct. 16 – BHS v Woodland, away

Oct. 23 – BHS v Jasper County, away

Plans change for WEHS homecoming

Although Williston-Elko High's homecoming football game is postponed until Oct. 23, many other festivities will continue as scheduled this weekend.

North High School, the scheduled opponent in the Blue Devils Oct. 9 homecoming game, had to postpone until Monday, Oct. 19 at 6 p.m. due to Orangeburg District 5 not being in school this week because of the road conditions caused by flooding. Therefore, they were not allowed to participate in extracurricular activities, said WEHS head football coach Derek Youngblood.

South Carolina Moves to OpCon4, Monitors Tropical Storm Erika

Local emergency management officials and partners are keeping a watchful eye of Tropical Storm Erika but are hoping the storm will be downgraded over the coming days.

Barnwell County’s Emergency Management Director Roger Riley said, “I think this is a precaution. We will probably get a rain event.”

He said his office will continue to monitor. “It’s watch-and-see. We will definitely know more on Sunday.”

Current tracking by the National Hurricane Center has Ericka moving up the middle of Florida and downgrading as the storm moves northward.

Plans for new county jail trimmed due to cost

County officials poured over blueprints July 28 and tried to figure out how to afford what they were looking at.

The blueprints they were reviewing were for a new county detention center. The problem they are facing is the price tag for the proposed building is over $9 million and they only have financing for $6.5 million.

There is a wing of the old building built about ten years ago that will be retained, according to the plans.

Fifth local coach inducted into SCACA Hall of Fame

Five coaches from Barnwell County share the same distinction - all have been inducted into the South Carolina Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Last weekend the late Barnwell coach Clifford Allen “Chip” Atkins became the fifth coach from the county to receive the honor.

Coaches who have previously been inducted include James Hewitt (2002), Farrell Zissette (2004), Robert McGowan “Mac” Wier (2009) and David Berry (2014).

The ceremony took place place at the TD Convention Center in Greenville at 7 p.m. on Sunday, July 26.

Employment figures tell two stories

There is bad news and good news when looking at Barnwell County’s employment figures.
The bad news is that Barnwell County’s unemployment rate inched up between May and June.
The good news is – the number people who actually have jobs increased. There were 8,330 people employed in June compared to 8,210 in May. 
In fact, the number of people in Barnwell County actually employed is the highest it has been in the last 18 months, according to figures recently released by the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce (SC DEW).

Do your child a favor - get them vaccinated

It’s time to go to the doctor.

No, I’m not talking about me.

I’m talking about all the children in Barnwell County.

Summer is the time to get children their up-to-date vaccinations as well as sports physicals.

Some sports programs schedule group physicals for teams but you will need to check with your school to see if that is offered.

A shot may be a hurtful sting for a little while, but I personally believe the benefits hugely outweigh the “ouch” factor.


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