Thomas Gardiner

Buchanans start ministry in Barnwell churches

Barnwell United Methodist Church and Siloam United Methodist Church recently began services under the guidance of a new pastor.

On June 24, Pastor Fred Buchanan took the helm of the congregations. Buchanan is a North Carolina native, having grown up in Sylva. He received his first United Methodist appointment in 1987 as a student pastor. Buchanan is also a graduate of Berry College in Rome, Ga. with a dual degree in psychology and religion and philosophy. He went on to earn a master’s degree at Emory University as a student of theology.

GU expands bus system into Aiken County

As of July 1, Generations Unlimited in Barnwell expanded its transportation systems into Aiken County.

The organization began management of the Best Friend Express after winning the contract in June. With only three weeks to prepare, the transition happened quickly.

“The Lower Savannah Council of Governments (COG) has been a great partner to work with,” said Lisa Firmender, Executive Director of Generations Unlimited.

YMCA takes over Head Start programs in county

Head Start in Barnwell County will now be run by the YMCA of Greater Augusta.

Funding for the program is provided through a competitive grant, which the Y won. They are one of 1,600 agencies who were awarded grants nationwide. The grants are made possible by the Administration of Children and Families of the Department of Health and Human Services. The former program manager was the Aiken Barnwell Community Action Agency, or ABCAA, who also applied for the grant.

New troopers to patrol Barnwell area

Two new graduates from the South Carolina Highway Patrol Basic class are patrolling the local highways. Trooper John Zorn and Trooper Sarith Mao graduated June 18 from SC Highway Patrol Basic Class 96.

Trooper Zorn is a Barnwell native and Trooper Mao is a native of Spartanburg. Both officers will be patrolling Allendale, Barmberg, Barnwell, and Hampton counties.

“I hope to help all the citizens in the counties that I have in my post. I hope to accomplish Target Zero with team SCDPS,” said Zorn.

One of area’s Greatest Generation veterans turns 90

Since the end of WWII, The Greatest Generation has been a national treasure. The very face of the world was changed during that war and one of the faces who was there turned 90 years old on July 21.

Harry Carter is a Barnwell resident and a U.S. Navy veteran from the Second World War. Born near Little Swamp, Carter is the last remaining of 10 children and the longest living member of his family.

Veterans clinics improve

The Veterans Affairs (VA) was in the middle of a scandal this time last year.

Several of the healthcare systems around the country had significant and intentional delays in care that caused anguish and even the death of a number of veteran patients around the nation. Complaints and issues are bound to happen from time to time and veterans’ organizations spoke out recently about services in the local area.

Career center board addresses personnel, budgeting concerns for coming year

On July 20, the Barnwell County Career Center (BCCC) held its monthly board meeting to address budgeting and personnel concerns.
A motion was heard to get the director’s recommendation for bid approval to install mandated fire protection equipment in the agricultural building. The equipment will lower insurance rates, protect the students and equipment and will get the facility into good standing with current building codes.

Caching hobby is a treasure trove for the City of Barnwell

The City of Barnwell is using Global Positioning System (GPS) technology to build more than just a dot on the map. The city has an interactive history tour that utilizes rules and methods from the popular hobby Geocaching.

Geocaching is a bit like a scavenger hunt. So-called caches are left in locations all over the world and their coordinates are listed online.

Organic Market: Home-grown produce at Elko Farmers Market

Food, home-grown produce and crafts were on display at the weekly farmers market in Elko on Saturday.

Jeanne Johnson, soap crafter and market manager, said, “We are all about getting the vegetables and local products out to the people.”

She was beside a handful of other vendors who were selling organic and local produce from cow-peas and cantaloupe to pork cracklings and grilled chicken. One vendor had a selection of hot peppers from his garden.

Circle Theatre rocks the house with drama camp

The halls are alive with the sound of music; the halls of the historic Circle Theatre, that is.

The Barnwell County Performing Arts Center is hosting their annual theatre camp and is gearing up for an all-out production.

The stage is set in the Old Presbyterian Church which was built in 1848. The building is one of few in Barnwell that survived the Civil War and even served as a courthouse during the early parts of Reconstruction.

Barnwell County Detention Center takes home awards

The Barnwell County Detention Center (BCDC) was recognized for achievement in the Adopt-a-Highway program in a ceremony by Palmetto Pride of the SC Department of Transportation.

BCDC won two awards during the evening, including the award for best clean-up crew in Barnwell County as well as the top award for District 7. That district covers a wide area including the City of Aiken as well as Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Calhoun, Clarendon, Hampton and Orangeburg counties.

New auditor software a prescription against tax headaches

No one enjoys paying taxes. Dealing with processing and application times on top of the expenses can turn a small headache into a full blown migraine. At the Barnwell County Auditor’s Office, the implementation of new software has been as helpful as an ibuprofen to help alleviate those tax pains.

“We are excited,” said Dana Williams, Barnwell County Deputy Auditor. “It makes the process faster and easier and means that our figures will be more accurate.”

Two towns receive funds to clean up blighted properties

Williston and Blackville residents will soon be seeing changes in their neighborhoods. Each community has been awarded funding by the South Carolina State Housing Finance and Development Authority to acquire and clear blighted structures.

Blighted properties are considered uninhabitable structures that are hazardous to the residents and to the neighboring property values. The updates are the focus of the Neighborhood Initiative Program.

Area children DIG summer educational program

In Williston, the DIG program is keeping youth off the streets and giving them an opportunity to exercise their minds while school is on break.

DIG is an acronym for the Dreams, Imagination, and Gift Development Program. School aged youth in rural areas haven’t had access to the same educational programs when compared to similar age groups in metropolitan areas, according to the program’s website, That led founder and president Steven Brown to create the program.

Can you hear me now?

On Saturday, June 27, members of the Salkehatchie Amateur Radio Society (S.A.R.S.) settled into Veterans Memorial Park in Barnwell for a 24-hour test and competition to measure their emergency communication skills.

S.A.R.S. is a club of amateur radio operators, but don’t let that fool you. The equipment and communications platforms were nothing short of professional and top-notch. Each operator had their own set-up including transceivers, antennas, and power sources.

Celebrate Independence Day July 2 & 4

Barnwell’s Independence Day celebration will be held on Thursday, July 2 at Veterans Memorial Park. The festivities will begin at 6 p.m. and will continue until the end of the fireworks display.

This year’s event will feature food vendors, games from the Recreation Department, children’s activities, and live music beginning at 8 p.m. The band will wrap up about 9 p.m. in preparation for the fireworks show which will be accompanied by live music from DJ Gary Brantley.

PaiDan Productions opens doors to DIY projects

Well known community faces have brought an updated business façade to the city of Barnwell.

Dana Mathias and Paige Black brought in a little artistic flair recently when they opened the doors to PaiDan Productions, pronounced ‘pay-duhn’ as in a combination of their names. Of course, the doors opening at 53 Allen St. did not mark the first day of business for the pair.

“We’ve been working for five years now,” said Dana Mathias, “and up until February we were working out of my house.”


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