News

Four teens arrested for break-ins at old uranium processing plant

Four teens have been arrested and charged in connection with a series of burglaries and thefts from the old Starmet CMI facility.

Richard Mason Smoak, 17, of 1200 Harris Road, Barnwell and Chandler Michael Hutson, also 17, of 44 Bethany Drive, Blackville, are each charged with three counts of burglary and three counts of grand larceny. Two juveniles are charged with several counts of burglary and grand larceny as well as malicious injury to property, according to a press release from the Barnwell County Sheriff’s Office.

Residents, post office help Stamp Out Hunger

Postal workers hauled important cargo Saturday, May 13 as they picked up bags of donated food to help the hungry.

It was part of the annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive, a national campaign supported by postal workers across the country. Food collected in Barnwell County counts toward the Golden Harvest Food Bank, which helps more than 30 counties; however, they allow donations given in Barnwell to stay locally. Food collected by the Barnwell Post Office has been given to the Axis 1 Food Bank in Barnwell.

Music & Art Festival coming to Blackville

Music and art will fill downtown Blackville this weekend.

The 6th Annual Blackville Music & Art Festival will be Friday, May 19 and Saturday, May 20 in downtown Blackville. A variety of musical performances are planned and several artists will have their artwork on display.

“We hope people take home a great experience and enjoy great art, music and food,” said Terrance Washington, president of the festival’s board.

Negotiations underway for urgent care center loan

Negotiations are underway between Heritage Healthcare and Barnwell County for a loan of $125,000 to get the urgent care facility started.

Discussions at a recent county council meeting indicated that Roger Phillips of Heritage Healthcare had requested the money but Phillips said this week that he never asked for the loan, rather that the county council had offered the money as an incentive to provide coverage seven days a week.

“I have not – would not – ask for any funds from the county,” said Phillips. “They (the county council) came to us.”

Council approves $125,000 loan to urgent care center

A loan of $125,000 to assist a company to provide urgent care services has been approved “in theory” by the Barnwell County Council.

The council approved the loan to Heritage Healthcare but details of the agreement are to be finalized by the council’s Medical Committee which includes Councilmen Jerry Creech (chairman) and David Kenner.

Discussion of the loan was had at the council’s May 9 meeting.

Council passes EDC ordinance but lawsuit has it in limbo

The Barnwell County Council gave third and final reading to an ordinance to “clarify” a similar ordinance given final approval in March. The ordinance dissolves the Economic Development Corporation and takes away all powers from the Economic Development Commission except advisory.

Until passage of the ordinance, the commission oversaw the EDC.

The vote at the May 9 meeting was split 5-2 as it had been in the first two readings.

Simple faith, simple food, simply good: Country Cupboard celebrates 10 years in business

For ten years Barnwell County residents and travelers have been stocking their cupboards and tummies with delectable items from a local deli store and restaurant.

Country Cupboard is celebrating a decade in business the week of May 15-20.

The deli is the source of sandwiches, a salad bar, soups, bread and sweets as well as specialty meats, cheese, and specialty groceries such as gluten-free flours, honey and jars of pickles and relishes. The store also sells remedies, a few books and specialty items.

JROTC cadets receive awards at banquet

Awards and honors were the focus of the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) banquet held at Barnwell High School the evening of Friday, May 5.

Cadets in uniform along with family members attended the event held in the BHS cafeteria.

The 2016-17 award recipients included:

Dept. of Army Superior Cadet Awards – C/SGT. Angel Melendez, C/CPT Christopher Morris and C/CPT William Meyer.

AUSA JROTC Awards – C/CPT Christopher Morris and C/CPT Felicity Patterson.

Military Officers Association of America – C/1LT Jessica William.

Memories of Dunbarton live on at reunion

The 310-square miles of landmass that is today the Savannah River Site once was home to more than 5,000 people.

In the early 1950s, entire towns and communities were dissolved as residents moved out so the nuclear plant could be built. Dunbarton was one of those communities.

“It’s important to keep the memories and history alive,” said Barnwell resident Trey Anderson during the 64th Annual Dunbarton Reunion held on May 7 at the Barnwell State Park’s community building.

Five sites eyed for new public safety building

Five locations are being considered for the City of Barnwell’s new public safety building.

The new building is the top project on the city’s list of projects to be funded by the new penny sales tax that was passed by voters in November 2016. It will replace the current police and fire stations which are old, outdated and have many issues.

Gibson releases second book in ‘Duncullen Saga’

A Barnwell County resident is holding a book signing next week after the release of the second installment in The Duncullen Saga.

“Harps Upon the Willows” was recently released as a sequel to “Aroon”, both of which were written by retired Barnwell school teacher Mary Beth Gibson, who writes under the name M.B. Gibson. The public is invited to a book signing on Tuesday, May 23 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Barnwell County Museum with a reading of a selection of the book at 7:15 p.m.

Four teens charged in Starmet CMI break-ins

Four teens have been arrested and charged in connection with a series of burglaries and thefts from the old Starmet CMI facility.

Richard Smoak and Chandler Hutson, both 17, are charged with three counts of burglary and grand larceny. Two juveniles are charged with several counts of burglary and grand larceny as well as malicious injury to property, according to a press release from the Barnwell County Sheriff’s Office.

Williston considers raising water/sewer rates

Recognition of Clemson University football player and Williston resident Taylor Hearn led off the Williston Town Council on Monday, May 8.

Hearn graduated from Williston-Elko High School before going to Clemson University in 2014. He was the starting left guard for Clemson’s 2016 National Championship team.

Hearn has had 29 career games and 15 starts at Clemson.

“Taylor has made us proud,” said Mayor Jason Stapleton.

Hearn, accompanied by his parents, was presented with a hand-made plaque and the appreciation of council.

Relay for Life set for May 12

The American Cancer Society is looking to tackle cancer this Friday, May 12.

Relay for Life of Allendale and Barnwell Counties will take place that evening from 6 p.m. to midnight on the Allendale-Fairfax High School football field. Participants are encouraged to dress in their favorite team’s gear because the theme is “Teaming Up Against Cancer”.

“We encourage everyone from both counties to come join us,” said Tiffany Anselmo, community manager for the two counties.

Fishing events set for Saturday, May 13

Anglers young and old need to get their fishing poles and rods ready for two fishing events, both on Saturday, May 13 in Barnwell.

There will be a free fishing rodeo for youth and a fishing derby for both adults and youth, but these are separate events hosted by different groups.

$10,000 Fishing Derby

The City of Barnwell and S.C. Department of Natural Resources are hosting its first-ever $10,000 Fishing Derby in Barnwell from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Lake Edgar Brown for all ages. Weigh-in will be at 2 p.m.

Survey: Downtown businesses fed up with behavior of teens

A new survey of downtown businesses reveals mixed opinions regarding the afterschool behavior of some teenagers on the Circle.

The Barnwell Police Department sent a survey to downtown businesses regarding ongoing complaints about children in the downtown area during the afternoons. All but two of the businesses returned their completed surveys.

“The survey shows overwhelmingly negative about the children,” said Mayor Edward Lemon during city council’s May 1 meeting where the issue was discussed.

The Issue

Blaze leaves Barnwell man homeless

Earl Williams is homeless after a fire destroyed his home last week.

Firefighters from the Barnwell Rural, Hilda and Long Branch departments responded to the single-wide mobile home on Sapling Road, which is off Highway 278, around 10 a.m. on May 1. They found the home engulfed in flames and smoke.

“Everyone did an awesome job,” said Barnwell County Fire Coordinator Timbo Williams.

Resources available to help those in need of food

The closure of Barnwell’s soup kitchen has left some wondering where their next meal will come from.

The Legion Center Ministry Soup Kitchen closed April 28 due to finances and other reasons, according to officials with Barnwell Presbyterian Church which has operated the facility the past seven years. However, Barnwell First Baptist Church is forming a task force to consider possibly operating a soup kitchen.

In the meantime, there are other resources throughout Barnwell County for those in need of food.

Dutch national stops in Barnwell on American trip

He was a long way from home, but one Dutch national felt welcomed during a brief stay in Barnwell last week.

Hans Bakker, who is from Holland, flew into the Barnwell Regional Airport on Sunday, April 30, just hours after starting a two-week trip in America. Flying across the United States has been an annual tradition since 2014 for the semi-retired tax administrator.

“Traveling in the United States is so easy. I like to find interesting places,” he said.

This was Bakker’s first time in Barnwell, but he enjoyed the small town atmosphere and friendly people.

D45 board to conduct own search for superintendent

The Barnwell District 45 School Board is starting its search for a new superintendent.

During a special-called May 2 meeting, the board considered several options on how to select the next superintendent during closed session. Upon returning to open session, the board did not vote on anything, but Chairman Rhett Richardson read a prepared statement.

“While members considered employing a search consultant, we believe the board is fully capable of securing the employment of an outstanding administrator, who can continue the district’s progress,” said Richardson.

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