Susan Delk - Staff Writer

Blackville Town Council still wrestling with nightclub issue

An issue plaguing Blackville Council for four months finally has some direction.

After hearing a request from Bridget Brown, the owner of Brown's Lounge, to operate and sell alcohol at her establishment, Mayor Jackie Holman said he would refer the issue to town attorney Miles Loadholt for review.

Brown's private club, which is also a nonprofit organization, was granted a town business license in the April 19 regular meeting of council.

At that time, Brown presented council with a business plan which included security.

Williston town administrator takes new job with SCANA

Williston's town administrator, Scott Neely, tendered his resignation to Mayor Tommy Rivers and the Williston Town Council.

Neely will start his new job around Aug. 9 working for SCANA as an economic developer and local government representative for the corporation, he said.

Neely's last day with the town of Williston will be Aug. 6.

"Williston has become like home and the mayor, council and staff have been like family," Neely said.

In his new job, Neely will be working with municipal governments in several counties, including Barnwell County, he said.

Pawn shop opening near school raises questions

The Barnwell City Council members heard from Lawrence Blackwood, the owner of a newly opened pawn shop in Barnwell during the public comments portion of the July regular council meeting.

Blackwood has already been issued a city business license and has obtained his state pawn brokers license, he said.

Mayor Edward Lemon said he had received several phone calls including one from a school board member with concern over the proximity of the pawn shop to the school.

Sliver Dollar Pawn is located on Marlboro Avenue across the street from the Barnwell Primary School.

Blackville Garden Club's roots run 70 years deep

For more than 70 years, the Blackville Garden Club has been helping to beautify the community.

The founding members are no longer active and only a few of their children remain in the club - Elsie Pettebone is one of those members.

The club recently held a luncheon to honor Pettebone's club involvement and to say their farewells as Pettebone prepares to move away from the area.

In the spring of 1938, Marie Collum conceived the idea of organizing a club among friends in Blackville.

Nonprofit club wants to sell Sunday spirits

Blackville Town Council may have preempted Brown's Lounge from selling alcohol from midnight Saturdays until Monday but Blackville's own town codes indicate that state law preempts town law.

As a result of filing a Freedom of Information request with the town of Blackville, The People-Sentinel obtained copies of the town's codes pertaining to alcohol sales as well as other documents.

The business license for Brown's Lounge was also obtained.

S.C. watermelon queen peels through Barnwell

Royalty made is way through Barnwell June 18. Although not the blueblood variety, this queen makes her own impact in the United States.

Blair Boozer, the 2010 South Carolina Watermelon Queen and her chaperone, Jule Murdock, herself a former queen, stopped by F.H. Dicks, a local wholesaler, to lend her support for a harvesting season just starting in Barnwell for the Dicks family.

The state watermelon title is not just a pretty face, explained Linda Dicks.

Boozer had to win her title by not only displaying her beauty but also her knowledge about what else, watermelons.

For love of gardens and neighbors

For Jerry Walsh, gardening has not been a lifelong love but the lessons learned have lasted a lifetime.

"He (my dad) had to make me get out in the garden," Walsh recalls of his childhood gardening days.

Although he suffers from macular degeneration, Walsh plants, tends and gathers from his garden each year, then mostly gives the bounty to others, he said.

"I always like to give it to someone," he said.

Walsh said he most loves to share his crops with those who can no longer garden themselves.

Blackville holds closed meeting on private club

The purpose of the June 21 hearing was to allow the public to hear Blackville's town budget for the coming fiscal year and ask questions - a legality that municipalities endure each year.

However, other questions entered later that evening into Blackville's regular council meeting.

Bridgette Brown spoke to council and presented them with copies of her state alcohol license and other documents regarding the opening of Brown's business, Brown's Lounge, in Blackville.

Second of Third tops first

The second Third was better than the first.

The Third Thursday event, held on the Circle in downtown Barnwell June 17, persuaded residents to the Circle area to shop, hear a local saxophone player and see other entertainment despite the early rain.

The event is sponsored by the Barnwell Development Association, a nonprofit organization helping the city of Barnwell in its efforts to promote local businesses.

The focus of the event is to draw residents downtown to shop and enjoy local entertainment while supporting the local businesses, said Lynn Cox, the director.

Williston town council finds issues in the zone

Williston Town Council voted on and/or discussed the following during its June 14 regular meeting.

The council held a first reading of an ordinance that would rezone property owned by Outdoor Rental.

The rezoning would take the property which is currently zoned single family (R-12) to single and two family residential (R-7).

Prior to the regular meeting, a public hearing was held where John Williams, a property owner in the vicinity of the proposed rezoning site stated his concerns.

He said he was concerned with the neighborhood "closing in" around him.

Barnwell considers raising building permit fees

The city of Barnwell is considering raising its building permit fees to handle the cost of contracting out its building inspections.

The city had a provisional commercial building inspector for several years in Tony Dicks, who did the task in addition to his duties as the city fire chief.

However, Dicks did not want to continue the annual recertifications necessary for him to remain the city's building inspector, said John Zawacki, the Barnwell city administrator.

Dicks has been doing two jobs for the price of one, Zawacki said.

County animals find place to rest their paws

Owning a home is part of the American dream and for some animals in Barnwell County the dream of a safe home is a little closer to a reality.

The Animal Advocates, a local nonprofit group dedicated to helping the animals of Barnwell County, announced plans to build a foster/adoption facility to house animals taken from the Barnwell County Animal Shelter.

Vikki Scott, the president of the group, said this has been a long-range vision for the group.

A different graduation

Because it takes two to tango, this time the mental dance was with the men.

Preventing teen pregnancy took a different route recently. In the past, teen pregnancy prevention has been aimed at teen and pre-teen girls. This time, area teen boys were the focus.

Lavett Foust with Axis 1 said "Wise Guys" was a program created through a grant received from South Carolina campaign to prevent teen pregnancy.

The program targeted young men, discussing with them the choices they make and the consequences of them, Foust said.

Everything's relative with grandfathered zoning

A question of what is allowed now and what was allowed in years pat in terms of zoning came before the Blackville Town Council recently.

Blackville Mayor Jackie Holman and Town Council heard a complaint from resident Stanley Ross.

Ross has been denied a second business license from town hall.

Ross currently has a business license for a produce stand on Solomon Blatt Avenue.

Volunteer gets state honor for elder care help

When the elderly in Barnwell County can no longer prepare lunch or dine out, Generations Unlimited volunteers are there.

One of those volunteers; Norman Duncan, was recently recognized by Lt. Gov. Andre' Bauer at the 2010 Aging Awards.

Duncan was the Region 5 (Lower Savannah) winner.

Sheila Brooks, the senior services manager at Generations Unlimited said, "He is very instrumental in making sure all of the Williston meals are delivered. What he does is priceless for our agency."

Horseshoes bring business, and luck, to farrier

In his job, Justin Ray mounts and balances tires - of a living kind.

Ray recently graduated from farrier school, Casey and Son Horseshoeing School of Georgia and has moved back to Barnwell County to start his business.

A farrier is a specialist in equine hoof care who can correctly trim and balance a horse's hoof and properly shoe them.

"I enjoy horses. A happy horse makes a happy owner," Ray said.

Ray said his schooling was 12 weeks long and he was always doing farrier or forge work.

Siren of service: late rescue squad chief leaves paramedic legacy

Out of all the words used to describe Gene Williams, the one used most often was "friend."

Robert Bowers, the acting director, Clay Fulmer, the acting assistant director, Candi Brown and Tommy Trantham, Williston Rescue Squad board members joined together May 17, to remember one of their own.

Gene Williams, the director of the Williston Rescue Squad for eight years and member for more than 26 years, died May 10.

City explains Lemon Park's tax and fee combination

Most families run on a budget. Like some families, some budgets are larger than others. Just like those local families, municipalities have to live within their budgets.

To stay withing its budget, the city of Barnwell has to both charge a hospitality tax and user fees to fund its recreational resources. These fees have been a source of questions and complaints by some.

For the city of Barnwell, one of the line items for its budget includes the Parks and Recreation Department and the Lemon Park sports complex.

The day to pray in the U.S.A.

Visions of people praying all over the nation and for it were a reality locally as Barnwell County communities came together May 6 for the National Day of Prayer.

Services were held around the county including one at the Williston First Baptist Church.

The Rev. Dan Fogle, of Rosemary Baptist Church in Williston led the services, but ministers from around the area assisted as each prayed for a specific issue.

The National Day of Prayer was established by Congress in 1952 as an annual event on the first Thursday of May.

New business aims to sweat pounds off

Barnwell residents can sweat a little more.

The Tone Zone, an aerobics studio on Allen Street, now offers over 12 classes per week to get residents into shape.

Amber Richard, an AFAA certified instructor said she has been exercising for a long time but wanted to open her own studio, especially for the women in the area.

"I thought Barnwell needed a place for women, where they could bring their children, exercise and have a good time," Richard said. "I love working out. It is my passion."

She also has childcare available to the afternoon classes, she said.

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