News

Allendale Co. superintendent on paid leave

Allendale County’s superintendent has been placed on paid administrative leave.

The Allendale County School Board voted on March 29 during a special meeting to place Superintendent Leila Williams on leave with full pay and benefits as they review the district’s “current condition and direction,” according to a press release from the board.

Barnwell Lenten services continue journey to Easter

The journey to Easter continues as four Lenten services remain.

Bishop George Burckhalter of Faith on High Church in Aiken brought the message to the March 15 service, which was held at Holy Apostles Church. The Blackville resident described “The Triumphal Entry” of Jesus into Jerusalem on a simple donkey, not a fancy horse or chariot.

“He may not be who you expect him to be,” said Burckhalter of how many in that time were expecting an earthly king and did not understand the reality of why Jesus came.

Ordinance drains EDC of power

An ordinance with wording changes was approved Tuesday night, March 14, impacting the future of the Barnwell County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and the commission which, until now, oversaw its assets.

In a 5-2 vote, the Barnwell County Council approved third and final reading of the controversial ordinance.

The new wording enforces a 1989 county ordinance which states the EDC’s board can only be made up of county council members or county administration.

Three towns filing suit over EDC issue

The City of Barnwell and the Towns of Blackville and Williston have put Barnwell County on notice of their intentions to file legal action regarding the Barnwell County Economic Development Corporation.

A lis pendens was filed in the Court of Common Pleas, Second Judicial Circuit on Wednesday, March 13 by attorneys representing the three municipalities. The document names the County of Barnwell and the Barnwell County Economic Development Corporation as defendants.

Third Blackville bank robbery suspect arrested

The third suspect has been charged in the March 8 armed robbery of Enterprise Bank in Blackville.

Mikell Todd Nelson II, 32, of 111 Springview Lane, Apt. 714, Summerville, has been charged with kidnapping, according to South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) spokesman Thom Berry.

Nelson was booked at the Charleston County Detention Center. If convicted, Nelson faces a penalty of up to 30 years in prison.

A copy of the warrant shows Nelson was charged Thursday, March 16 for holding bank employees at gunpoint and restraining their hands during the robbery.

Low Country Health returns $142,300 to county

Barnwell County Council and Low Country Health Care System have jointly agreed to terminate services between the county and the medical facility, effective March 14.

LCHCS also has returned $142,300 to the county for an X-ray machine.

County Council voted unanimously to accept the termination agreement on March 14 following a closed session to “receive advice related to potential litigation”.

EDC requests reimbursement for property repairs, upgrades

The Barnwell County Economic Development Commission agreed to request $96,357 from the State Economic Development Fund to reimburse the corporation for expenses.

The request was agreed upon March 8 during the EDC commission’s regular monthly meeting.

The commissioners unanimously agreed to submit the request to the Barnwell County Council. If approved by the county council, the request will be forwarded to the state. (That request was approved by the Barnwell County Council at their March 14 meeting.)

Newspaper wins seven S.C. Press Association awards

The People-Sentinel has been recognized for journalistic excellence by the South Carolina Press Association.

Publisher Laura J. McKenzie and Managing Editor Jonathan Vickery accepted seven awards during the SCPA’s annual convention in Columbia on March 18.

The People-Sentinel’s staff was awarded second place in General Excellence for its division.

McKenzie and Vickery won first place for Breaking News for coverage of Hurricane Matthew last fall.

McKenzie earned third place in Reporting In-depth for her article on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

Barnwell City Council considers several requests

Barnwell City Council considered several requests this month, including a street naming, having one county-wide Christmas parade and donating money to help victims of abuse.

Mayor Edward Lemon told council during the March 6 meeting that he recently received a letter from Barnwell native Edd J. Hayes who thought a street in the city should be named after James Brown since the “Godfather of Soul” was born in Barnwell. Hayes now lives in Virginia and is committee chairman of Citizens for James Brown Street Designation.

N.Y. college students volunteer in Blackville

Eleven students from Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York spent their spring break in Blackville lending a helping hand.

Through a partnership with the Blackville Community Development Corporation and Volunteers for Communities, a program of Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project, Inc., the group performed a variety of community service projects during their trip March 12-17. They also visited local sites to learn about the community.

Anti-Bullying Spirit Week being held at two Barnwell schools

Why do people bully?

That’s a question school resource officer Rodney Brown hopes to answer next week as he sponsors Anti-Bullying Spirit Week at Barnwell Elementary and Guinyard-Butler Middle schools. Various activities will be held each day to show students that bullying has no place in District 45’s schools.

“We want bully-free schools,” he said.

Rafael Bush speaking at Teen Summit March 25

An NFL player and Williston native is coming home to motivate youth this weekend.

Axis 1 Center of Barnwell along with the Community Uplift Program, Young Men of God, Boyz2Men, Young Enchanting Sisters and the Dreams, Imagination and Gift Development Program are sponsoring the inaugural Barnwell County Teen Summit for youth between the ages of 12 to 18. It will be held Saturday, March 25 from 8 a.m. to noon in the Williston School District auditorium.

Three municipalities file suit against Barnwell County over EDC issues

Three local municipalities filed suit March 23 against the County of Barnwell and the Barnwell Economic Development Corporation.

The City of Barnwell, Town of Williston and Town of Blackville filed the civil suit in the Court of Common Pleas claiming the ordinance approved March 14 by the Barnwell County Council “was adopted illegally” and “violates and breaches the agreements between the Municipalities and the County”.

Program offers help to hurricane victims

A temporary federal program is offering help to victims of Hurricane Matthew.

Carolina United is an informational resource established with funding from the Federal Emergency Management Administration after Hurricane Matthew, which impacted many people in South Carolina in October 2016. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is providing monitoring and support of the program.

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