Audits reveal financial health of public bodies

This time of year most government entities are getting their annual audit reports for the previous fiscal year.

While this may seem like a dull and lifeless document, it is actually an extremely important barometer of the financial health of a public governmental body, such as school districts, city and county governments, and economic development commissions. After all, it’s important to know how the money entrusted to these entities by the public is being spent.

Is every penny properly accounted for?

D29 board members finally get their wish

Well, members of the Williston District 29 School Board have finally gotten their wish.

After two years of finagling around the issue, a replacement for the vacant seat on the board will be filled once the April election results are final.

On June 26, 2016, Billy Williams walked out of a school board meeting and announced on his way out that he was resigning. We imagine that he and most folks figured that a replacement would be selected relatively quickly and life would move on.

Shutdowns and divisions hurt everyone

We’ve talked about it before, but a lack of unity in government still seems to be an issue on both the local and national level.

The ongoing saga over the Barnwell County Economic Development Commission/Corporation continues to cause division among many locally. While progress has been made, it’s an issue that continues to divide residents and the parties that are currently involved in a lawsuit.

Impaired driving is heartbreaking for everyone involved

We see the message on billboards, on television and in print. We hear it on the radio. We teach it to our kids through the DARE program. We talk about it as a general topic and most agree it’s preventable.

“It” is impaired driving and the simple steps to preventing it.

While the message of “Don’t Drink and Drive” is a year-long effort, over the holidays there is an uptick in media messages to the public to keep party-goers safe. But, like many New Year’s resolutions, keeping that in mind seems to fade as the confetti falls.

Being part of solution is a good resolution

A visit to any of Barnwell County’s governmental meetings will find that the public is welcomed and encouraged to particpate.

Yes, there are rules regarding length of time to speak. There are also rules that mean the public can speak but the councils generally do not respond or act on those comments immediately.

But what all those elected government officials really want are solutions.

Christmas angels mindful of meaning of season

What do you want for Christmas?

It’s a common question this time of year.

Many want the latest gadgets, toys and clothes. You can turn to pages 1-2B of this edition to find out what local youngsters want in our annual Letters to Santa feature. From salamanders and puppies to perfume and the new iPhone X, the list of material presents was long.

However, a couple letters really stuck out to us.

Look behind closed doors to help victims

Many people seem to enjoy a wonderful family life that is safe and secure.

Unfortunately, what goes on “behind closed doors” can be very different.

The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey data reports, “On average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in the US. Over the course of a year, that equals more than 12 million women and men.”

Disasters bring out the best in our country

The worst of times can really bring out the best in people.

We’ve seen it time and time again throughout history. While it’s true across the world, Americans are especially giving and step up when needed. Barnwell Countians are no exception as we’ve seen you respond locally and abroad when people are in need.

As the late boxing legend Muhammad Ali once put it: “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” That’s a pretty good philosophy to live by.

‘Strongest hurricane’ bears close watch

The outpouring of kindness has been wonderful following Hurricane Harvey and the floods that came with it.

People in Texas helped each other in the midst of the crisis. People in surrounding areas came - and are still coming - to their aid with boats, water, food, clothing, personal items and clean-up kids.

The Sandifer family should be particularly commended as well as all those who have contributed to their efforts of sending supplies to Texas.

Donate responsibly to disaster relief

News is continuing to pour out of the Gulf Coast where Hurricane Harvey made landfall Saturday night as a Category 4 storm and has since flooded that area of our nation with record-breaking rain totals.

South Carolinians have not-too-dim memories of hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and ice storms which have impacted our community. Those memories also include how other communities sent people and supplies to help us recover.

Now it is our time to help them.

Parents can be educators’ support staff

Inside this edition is a section previewing the goals and expectations of Barnwell County’s educational leadership. They all express high hopes of achieving many goals.

Education today is much more challenging than when many of us were students. There are local, state and federal mandates. There are changing needs for resources - such as Chromebooks. And there are very high expectations by parents.

Teaching is a tough job.

Barnwell County is blessed to have many wonderful educators who, along with support staff, are up to the challenges of educating our youth.

Prepare now for enjoying solar eclipse

Ready or not, the solar eclipse is coming!

This is a pretty big deal as it is the “first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in nearly 100 years. It will also be the first total eclipse exclusive to the U.S. since before the nation’s founding in 1776. That’s why it’s being called the NATIONAL ECLIPSE,” according to

We encourage residents to make preparations now and become educated on what to expect on Monday, August 21 so you aren’t left, quite literally, in the dark.

Collaboration results in better communities

“Many hands make light work.” – John Heywood, 16th Century English writer known for his plays, poems, and collection of proverbs

“If everyone does a little, no one will have to do a lot.” – Ferlecia Cuthbertson, President of the W-E CommUNITY Coalition in Williston

“We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.” – quote from J.K. Rowling’s book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

“All for one and one for all, united we stand divided we fall.” – quote from Alexandre Dumas’ book, The Three Musketeers

Shop local first during tax free holiday

Preparing to go back to school can be expensive as you make sure your children have the necessary supplies.

However, this weekend offers a slight reprieve since South Carolina’s annual Sales Tax Holiday will be observed August 4-6. This is the one time a year when school supplies such as paper and pencils, as well as computers, book bags, clothes, shoes and other approved items can be purchased tax free.

Axis 1 partnerships benefit county

There are many things that can be accomplished by a single person.

But there is so much more that can be accomplished by people who work together towards a common goal.

To do that, relationships and partnerships need to be formed.

An organization that seems to have perfected the art of forming relationships is Axis 1.

Most people think of Axis 1 as the “alcohol and drug abuse” agency but this agency is actually so much more.

They partner with all three school districts for personal health education, teen pregnancy prevention and alcohol/drug services.

Have children read to avoid summer ‘slide’

With summer flying by we encourage students along with their parents or guardians to make the most of the next five weeks or so that are left before school bells ring.

Many children often experience what education experts have termed the “summer slide”. This is the tendency for students, especially those from low-income families, to lose some of the achievement gains they made during the previous year.


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