Susan Delk - Staff Writer

Williston police probe concludes

The Williston Police Department concluded its internal investigation from a controversial wreck and presented its results to the Williston Town Council more than two months after the Jan. 2 occurred.

During its March 8 meeting, the Williston Town Council heard from Williston investigator Rodney Pruitt.

Pruitt told the council that the complaints of Stacy Johnson and Willie O'Neal were "unsubstantiated" and that no more action would be taken.

However, Willie O'Neal said the matter hasn't ended yet, although he did not state what his next step would be.

Barnwell puppies debut on Martha Stewart show

Local puppies are set to make their television debut and local animal organizations are hoping their appearance will shed some light on the growing problems of over population at the Barnwell County Animal Shelter.

Late last week Dawn Pennington of GROWL received a e-mail from the Martha Stewart Show requesting help with a puppy training segment. The segment will include training techniques shown by Victoria Stilwell of "It's Me or The Dog," which airs on the Animal Planet.

New Williston diner offers fresh flavors

The new Williston business harkens back to the nostalgia of past businesses.

The business retains some of its former flavor as an old country store.

"We did preserve a piece of history," said Dean Bennett.

Bennett is referring to his new business located in an old country store just outside Williston on U.S. 78.

Bennett and his wife Susan have been restoring the old building for several years and have now opened, White Pond Doughnuts and Ice Cream.

Williston fire nearly turns into fireworks

An evening fire in Williston caused a few sparks - or sparklers.

Williston Fire Department responded to a camper fire around 7:30 p.m. Feb. 28 on U.S. 78 which led to an adjacent storage building also catching fire.

The storage building contained fireworks, said Timbo Williams, the county fire coordinator.

Williams said the department first tried to contain the building fire because of the fireworks.

"The guys did a real good job," Williams said of the department's ability to control the fire.

City to get cameras to catch litterbugs

It's "Candid Camera" Barnwell-style.

However, this isn't for entertainment, but law enforcement and it won't be a laughing matter for those caught on camera.

Barnwell Police Chief Todd Gantt said his department recently received a $5,000 grant to purchase two surveillance cameras.

These cameras will be used in areas around the city where litter has become a problem, he said.

Gantt said there are two types of littering taking place in the city.

Williston investigation leads to suspension

Williston Town Council unanimously approved a motion to suspend an employee in the town police department Feb. 22.

Councilman Jerry Holmes made a motion to suspend "employee A" without pay for 30 calendar days beginning Feb. 23.

The motion was seconded by Milton Widener and was approved.

Holmes made the motion after council exited an executive session called for personnel issues.

New tax service arrives in time for IRS season

Just in time for tax season, Barnwell has a new tax office.

Kamini Bhargava is now offering her two decades of tax experience through Kimi's Tax Service from her home office, at 236 Hunt Club Rd. by appointment.

"I really enjoy doing taxes," Bhargava said.

Bhargava said people tend to make one major mistake when dealing with the Internal Revenue Service, which is not responding to inquiries.

"Responding is the best policy," she said, "You can make arrangements if you owe something."

Arrest made in Williston wreck controversy

Although an internal investigation of officers' actions during a Jan. 2 traffic accident is still ongoing, one arrest has been made.

Investigator Rodney Pruitt, with the Williston Police Department, said Joshua Givens has been arrested on charges of assault of a high and aggravated nature.

Givens, 25, of 570 Academy St., Williston, was arrested on three counts of assault of a high and aggravated nature Jan. 25.

Barnwell parks new park at lakeside

Barnwell continues to expand its recreational offerings in the city with a new park.

At this park, residents will not be able to watch a softball or baseball game but will be able to enjoy views of Lake Edgar Brown while being able to grill at their picnic table.

The land for the park on the corner of Wellington and Jackson Streets was purchased by the city in 1973 for constructing a park, Zawacki said.

Park construction is not costing the city anything extra for the labor involved.

Barnwell considers re-annexing Milliken plant property

Barnwell City Council voted on and/or discussed the following during the regular monthly meeting Feb. 1:
• Council voted to approve a planning commission request to have the city attorney, Tom Boulware, to research the possible re-annexation of the Milliken property back into the city limits. The property was annexed out of the city limits when Milliken first came to Barnwell as an incentive in the 1950s. Now that the plant is closed, the city wants to re-annex the property to give it more control over what might replace Milliken.

Williston looking into police controversy involving wreck

Several Williston police officers' actions are still under investigation after their handling of a Jan. 2 traffic accident.

Willie O'Neal and Stacy Johnson filed written complaints against the police department which involved Tomory O'Neal, Willie O'Neal's son.

Tomory O'Neal was driving Johnson's car.

O'Neal wanted to press charges against Josh Givens, the second driver involved in the accident, because O'Neal said Givens hit his son three times in the face after busting the driver's window of Johnson's car.

Blackville town council hears of nuisance dog issue

Blackville Town Council heard complaints from a resident on nuisance dogs in the town at its regular meeting Jan. 19.

Mary Lucas gave Mayor Jackie Holman and town council a list of dogs, which were of concern to her.

Lucas said she had been chased and even had to climb a tree, to evade one particular dog on Hampton Avenue.

Lucas wanted Holman and council to be aware of the ongoing problems but also wanted the town to construct a holding area for strays or nuisance dogs picked up by the animal control.

Local aid heads toward Haiti

Local churches joined forces this past weekend to gather nonperishable goods to send to Haiti following its devastating earthquake.

From national reports, over 200,000 have been killed and more have been left homeless.

Tabernacle Baptist, Four Mile Baptist, Rosemary Baptist, First Baptist of Barnwell and Jordan Baptist Churches joined together to send needed items to Haiti.

They took donations on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 22 and 23, at the old Reid's parking lot in Barnwell.

Barnwell recreation scores hole-in-one with golf equipment grant

Local children will soon get a chance to golf through the Barnwell Recreation Department.

The department recently received a grant from the 2010 Sticks for Kids program.

The National Recreation and Park Association, in partnership with Golf Course Builders Association of America (GCBAA), spearhead this national initiative. The program centers around the philosophy that children, regarless or socioeconomic status, should have the opportunity to learn golf, said Emily Randell, the parks and recreation director for Barnwell.

Shelter needs help to continue mission

It's a question the staff at the animal shelter gets asked many times.

"Why do some pets have to be put to sleep?"

The reasons are varied that the shelter has to euthanize or put to sleep animals, said veterinarian technician Tammay Bolen, who works for the Barnwell County animal shelter.

The shelter has limited room for animals and a lack of sufficient people willing to adopt. The shelter tries its best to find owners of lost pets with the help of name tags, rabies, or microchip information, she said.

Williston town council actions

Williston Town Council voted on and/or discussed the following during the Jan. 11 council meeting:

• Heard a presentation from Dr. Paul Sheperd concerning the 2010 Census. Council approved forming a complete count committee for the census. Mayor Tommy Rivers asked council members to notifiy him of their choice of members to serve on this committee.

• Council adopted a resolution 2010-01-11 to support the repaving of U.S. 78;

• Held and approved a second and final reading of ordinance 2009-07 sewer use ordinance;

Williston wreck raises questions about police

Two residents filed formal complaints against the Williston Police Department accusing officers of improper police procedures and discrepancies in a traffic accident report among other complaints.

The accusations stem from the police department's handling of a Jan. 2 traffic accident.

Willie O'Neal and Stacey Johnson filed the written complaints after O'Neal made verbal complaints during the Jan. 11 Williston Town Council meeting.

The traffic accident occurred between O'Neal's son, Tomory O'Neal and Joshua Givens.

Barnwell works on city sewer problems

Barnwell City Administrator John Zawacki reported the city water and sewer department had two sewer leaks in December.

The first occurred Dec. 16 near the Heathwood on the Lake subdivision.

A spill of approximately 3,000 gallons of sewage ran into a ditch and into the lake, Zawacki said.

City crews made a blockade in the ditch and re-routed the sewage back into the wet well, he said.

City workers, including Zawacki made door-to-door notifications of the spill to all residents potentially affected by the spill.

Barnwell wrestles with downtown parking issue more, postpones it

Although the busy holiday shopping season is over, the city of Barnwell is still wrangling with what to do with the parking issues in downtown Barnwell.

Before the first regular council meeting of the year Jan. 4, council held a public hearing to discuss the proposed two-hour parking limits around the Circle and other parking areas downtown.

During past discussions referencing the parking issue, several residents and business owners have came to express their views.

However, during this public hearing only three people were present.

New Year Eve wreck claims woman's life

In the early evening hours of New Year's Eve, a Barnwell County woman was killed in a two-vehicle wreck on Lyndhurst Road, five miles south of Barnwell.

The South Carolina Highway Patrol reports a 2005 Chevrolet Impala driven by an undisclosed female driver was traveling north on Lyndhurst Road when she veered left of the center line striking a truck head-on around 5:35 p.m.

The driver of the Impala died on the scene as a result of injuries received in the wreck according to the SCHP.

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