Arrest of WEHS principal is tragic for all involved

Rumors are easy to come by, especially in a small town. However, the facts aren’t always as accessible.

For a week now there were plenty of rumors going around as to why the principal of Williston-Elko High School resigned last week, just a week and a half before the school year ends. Superintendent Dr. Missoura Ashe said she could not discuss personnel issues, including whether any other employees are involved. All she would say is that Joel Mitchell left to pursue other job opportunities.

Pack the park

Monday, May 30 is Memorial Day, a time when many have the day off from work and plan to enjoy a day of traveling, shopping and grilling out.

While there is nothing wrong with those activities, let’s not forget the true meaning of the holiday.

It’s a time to remember the men and women who paid the ultimate price in serving their country. They paid with their lives.

As you enjoy the festivities of Memorial Day and the summertime weather, please take the time to pause and reflect on those who gave their lives for this country.

Appreciation given to law enforcement

“It takes a special kind of courage to be a peace officer.”

We could not agree more with those words from President Barack Obama’s presidential proclamation declaring May 15-21 as National Police Week.

The work of all men and women in uniform across this country has come under attack lately after the questionable acts of a few officers have been scrutinized. Some people view all officers in a negative way and want to make it a race issue.

However, that’s a far stretch from reality.

Local companies urged to use apprentices

Would you like to be an apprentice?

No, we are not talking about Donald Trump’s long-running reality television show where businesspeople compete for a job within the billionaire’s organization.

Instead, we are referring to a person who agrees to work for a certain period of time at low wages while learning a trade from a skilled employer. As Apprenticeship Carolina’s website describes, it is a “learn while you learn training model that combines structured on the job training, job related education, and a scalable wage progression.”

Get children 'hooked'

In addition to good jobs, our community needs positive outlets for our residents, especially youth.

One such opportunity is happening this weekend.

The annual Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs Fishing Rodeo is set for Saturday, May 14 from 8 a.m. to noon at the fish hatchery behind the Department of Natural Resources office on Dunbarton Boulevard in Barnwell. It is located beside Fuller Park.

Take a book, return a book

At first glance last week, the new Little Library at Fuller Park had been damaged and wiped out of books.

A resident informed us on April 26 that the door to the wooden box was damaged, the plexiglass was torn off and all books were “checked out” leaving the little library empty. The door and plexiglass have since been fixed and the library’s inventory has been replaced.

However, there may be more to the story.

The whole purpose of a library is for books to be “checked out” and a love of reading to be instilled. This goes for public, school and little libraries.

Step increases are step forward

A few months ago we encouraged the Barnwell District 45 School Board to restore missed step increases for teachers and other staff who had it withheld during tough economic years.

The board stated they would make this a priority as long as funds were available. To keep their word, the preliminary budget for the 2016-17 school year includes $197,507 to bring affected employees up to date on their step increases.

We believe this is a good move and money well spent. Spending money in the classroom where students are directly affected is important.

Uniting makes a difference in our lives

United we stand, divided we fall.

We’ve all heard this phrase which is attributed to John Dickinson, a founding father of America. However, it’s been used by many folks over the years, including after the 9-11 terrorist attacks that rocked our country.

While everyone certainly has their differences, that doesn’t mean we can’t work together to make Barnwell County the best place it can be.

Many folks, including some who no longer live here but care about their hometown, are working to make a difference.

Join the fun and fascination at STEM festival

This past weekend was a busy one as several special events took place around Barnwell County.

Relay for Life brought hundreds of residents together and raised nearly $22,000 for cancer research.

Volunteers at clean-up events in Barnwell and Williston collected bags and bags of trash in an effort to beautify the community.

At the Taste of Blackville festival, the aroma of food, sounds of choirs singing and many vendors filled the downtown area.

Food, fun, fellowship in abundance

Barnwell County has experienced some challenging times lately but there are several opportunities for our community to unite in the coming days to make a positive difference.

There’s nothing like a little family fun to help people forget their hardships and differences.

The Barnwell Development Association and City of Barnwell Parks and Recreation Department are joining together to host the annual Spring Fling on Thursday, April 14 on the Circle in downtown Barnwell from 5 to 7 p.m.

Be courageous; be a part of the solution

Barnwell County is a great place to live, work and raise a family.

That’s not to say we are perfect. Like any community, we have our issues.

Crime, unemployment, drugs, gangs, and a lack of healthcare are a few issues plaguing our community. Several of these issues are tied together as unemployment and drugs can lead to criminal activity.

However, it does not have to be that way.

Do homework before elections

Students might be enjoying a week off from school as they are on spring break, but it is time for Barnwell County voters to do a little homework.

School board elections will be held Tuesday, April 12, in all three county public school districts – Barnwell District 45, Barnwell District 19 (Blackville-Hilda Public Schools) and Williston District 29. Two seats are up for grabs in each district.

While we do not typically endorse a specific candidate, we do endorse being informed so you can make an educated decision come election day.

Promise Zone already seeing promising results

It’s been nearly a year since our region was designated a federal Promise Zone.

Many meetings have been held where opinions and ideas were shared of how residents wanted to see the region transformed for the better – the whole intent of the Promise Zone.

However, it takes time to bring ideas to life. A combination of many things, such as planning, researching and securing funding, has to take place before dreams are realized.

Newspaper staff honored with awards

An award for assertive journalism along with four other prizes was presented to The People-Sentinel by the South Carolina Press Association last weekend.

Managing Editor Jonathan Vickery won first place amongst all South Carolina weekly newspapers for the Jay Bender Award for Assertive Journalism.

The award was for Vickery’s efforts to keep a Blackville-Hilda School Board meeting open to the public.

Bad situations can lead to good outcomes

Area emergency responders have stepped up since the closure of Southern Palmetto Hospital in January to see people are cared for in times of need.

That has been highlighted several times in recent weeks as various wrecks resulted in multiple victims needing medical attention at once. This could be a strain in an ordinary situation since there are only four ambulances on call at all times, but is especially so when there is no hospital in Barnwell County.

Let the 'sunshine' in

It’s National Sunshine Week!

No, this is not a week devoted to the physical sun.

Rather, “Sunshine Week is a national initiative to promote a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information,” according to Sunshine Week is sponsored by the American Society of News Editors and Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

But it’s not about the press. It’s about the public’s right to have access to public information and the actions of government.

Are you ready?

Are you ready?

The weather has been fairly nice lately, except for some strong wind a couple weeks ago, but that can change in an instant. We never know when we might find ourselves in an emergency.

Remember the ice storm caused by Winter Storm Pax just over two years ago? Transportation, communication and many modern luxuries were halted as people lost power for days and road conditions worsened.

Before the storm, we knew something was coming. However, many of us did not know just how bad it was going to be until the storm arrived.

Join the fight against cancer

Unlike certain natural disasters, you can’t readily prepare for health issues like cancer, although factors like diet and exercise can play a factor.

However, you can do your part to raise funds and awareness for those who are battling cancer. You will have a chance to do so on April 15 during the annual Relay for Life of Barnwell County, which will be at the Veterans Memorial Park on Highway 278.

Trust is a fragile commodity

Two educational groups are experiencing controversy right now.

Jefferson Davis Academy has lost both its heads of school plus seven other staff members.

When the story broke, a lot of individual discussion took to social media.

Some of it was great discussion and some of it was just name-calling.

From what we can determine, the heads of school, the board and a number of parents at the school are at odds over a disciplinary issue which morphed into something much more divisive.

STEM events ignite the dreams for future life

Have you ever wondered what the future will look like?

All of us have at one time or another been amazed at the new technology and gadgets that seem to be appearing almost daily.

Over the last century technology has changed rapidly to make our lives better (hopefully) through science and technology. We are able to drive safer, cook faster, share information quicker, and be healthier - all resulting from science and technology industries.

Some industries just create the tools for other industries to create their products.


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