Looking back: 2008, the year in review

(2008 for Barnwell County played out in headlines and photos across the pages of The People-Sentinel. Here are the front page stories from the year.)

Jan. 2

  • A hit-and-run accident takes life of local man, Luciano Angelo Marin of Kline. Marin had exited his vehicle after he had rear-ended another vehicle. Marin was then struck while on the roadside. Marin was the 10th traffic fatality in Barnwell County in 2007.
  • Flynn Valentine received an unscheduled visit from former President Bill Clinton while she was at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.
  • William H. Cave takes over the the Kline mayor's office from Bob Rimes who had served in the capacity 26 years.

Jan. 9

  • Gov. Mark Sanford released his version of the state budget for 2008-2009 Jan. 7. One provision had the attention of Barnwell County leaders - the possibility of $4 million paid in the 2009 and 2010 fiscal years as a one-ttime replacement for Atlantic Compact funds for the Chem-Nuclear facility.
  • S.C. Highway Patrol unveiled C.I.T.E, the Crash Intervention and Traffic Enforcement team, aimed at lowering the number of traffic fatalities in the state, particularly in Barnwell County. The county had the highest percentage increase in traffic deaths for 2007 for the entire state.

Jan. 16

  • Barnwell County and the state geared up for the state primaries. The fluid 2008 presidential candidate race is turned into one of the most unpredictable races in recent history.
  • Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards stopped in Barnwell Jan. 12 with his "Main Street Express" tour. Edwards spoke to about 120 at the County Museum.
  • Several county officials announced they were running for re-election including two county councilmen, Sheriff Ed Carroll, the clerk of court George Fickling and coronerLloyd Ward said they would be on the campaign trail.

Jan. 23

  • Despite rain, voters turned out during the Republican primary in the county. Sen. John McCain prevailed as the GOP presidential candidate of choice in Barnwell County and the state.
  • Barnwell County will go from being paid $1,000 per acre to $1,641 per acre from the U.S. Department of Energy through payments-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILT) for land the Savannah River Site claimed from the county when SRS was first developed.
  • Barnwell County Hospital Board gets closer to returning a health care provider to Williston with the lease of office space on Main Street.


  • The Democratic presidential primary brings big names to Barnwell as former President Bill Clinton spoke to about 200 at the Barnwell Primary School to energize his wife Hillary Clinton's campaign.
  • Actor Danny Glover spoke at Voorhees College to about 200 students as he stumpted for Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards.
  • A 10-month investigation culminated in the arresting of 23 people, mainly on drug charges.

Feb. 6

  • Five candidates emerge for school board elections within the three school districts. In Barnwell 45, it was Valenda Black, Tim Schatzer and Catherine Geter. In Williston-Elko 29: Robert Cooper. Blackville-Hilda 19 had Evelyn Coker as a candidate.
  • Pioneer board memberDonald Kitt said he will not seek another term on the Barnwell 45 school board. Kitt was the first African-American to serve on the board.

Feb. 13

  • Williston school district proposed a $22 million bond referendum for infrastructure repairs for the district.
  • Influenza invades Barnwell schools. On the worst day Barnwell Primary had 111 students out with flu-like symptons. Teachers have been hit as well. Blackville nor Williston schools reported having excessive numbers out sick.
  • A brush fire burned about 50 acres off Ashleigh Road Feb. 10. It took several hours for firefighters from six departments to douse the blaze. Drought, low humidity and high winds throughout the state caused 91 fires statewide, according to the S.C. Forestry Commission.

Feb. 20

  • William Anthony "Billy" Williams, 42, died from injuries received in a wreck that occured Feb. 14 around 5:30 p.m. on Moonlight Road just south of Williston.
  • At a Barnwell County planning commission meeting Feb. 11, members voted 6-2 in favor of changing zoning ordinances in an area that covers much of District 6. The areas would go from RUD (rural undeveloped district) to RD (multi-use residential district).
  • Four candidates vie for two seats on Barnwell 45 school board - Catherine Geter, Valenda Black, Tim Schatzer and Pete Zionkowski. Voters will decide April 8.

Feb. 27

  • Long Branch Fire Chief Horace Glenn "Buddy" Delk Jr. was arrested and charged with one count of embezzlement of public funds and five counts of forgery according to S.C. Law Enforcement Divison.
  • Pinewood Entertainment is not just a recording studio and record label, it's a state of mind. for the last six years, brothers Abe "Observe" and Terrance "T" Thompson been recording and composing tunes from their home studio.
  • McDonald's closes Feb. 29 for demolition. A new store was built on the same site within 100 days.

March 5

  • Savannah River Site could become a military training ground. Army units would conduct battlefield training and simulating combat scenarios.
  • The Barnwell 45 school board narrowed its choice for a new superintendent to three applicants. Each candidate met the board and public at a reception.

March 12

  • After three intense days of interviews, the Barnwell 45 school board chosen Roy Sapough, 56, as the new superintendent. Sapough was a school prinicipal in Cashiers, N.C. and has 30 years of education experience.
  • Proposed zoning in the county is dividing the land and people of District 6. The proposed zoning would change the southern portion of the county from a rural undevelopment district to a multiuse residential district or a single family residential district.
  • Williston Town Council passed a resolution stating its concern over the financial burden the proposed $22 million school bond referendum would place on the town.

March 19

  • Allendale County is digging itself out of heavy storm damage after a tornado cut across the county March 15. Damage was heavy along U.S. 278 just north of the city of Allendale in the Rambo Road neighborhood where two mobile homes were destroyed.
  • Williston School board voted in a special called meeting March 13 to postpone the vote on the school bond referendum originally scheduled for public vote April 8.
  • Districct 6 residents poured into the Barnwell County Courthouse asking questions on a proposed zoning change that is causing anger and division in that part of the county.

March 26

  • A forum for Barnwell 45 school board candidates had Valenda Black, Catherin Geter, Tim Schatzer and Pete Zionkowski stating their platforms.
  • Generations Unlimited has a new director. Frank Johnson began work on Feb. 26. Generations Unlimited had been without a regular director since Larry Chrissy left in June 2007.

April 2

  • A construction crew got extra work after a large oak fell and blocked Jackson Street. The crew was replacing existing curbing along the street March 28 when the tree toppled.
  • Voters will have a full slate of candidates to pick from as 17 candidates for various state and local elections filed.
  • Local agencies sponsored a program geared at keeping teens safe during the prom and spring break time. The S.C. Highway Patrol, the Barnwell County Coroner's Office, Tri-Developement and Blackville Hilda High school all combined to prevent last year's tragedy. Jasmine Hope was killed on the Augusta-Charleston highway shortly after the Blackville-Hilda High prom.

April 9

  • School board races wereheld in the county on April 8. Barnwell 45 voters elected Valenda Black and Catherine Geter to serve. In Williston 29 Ronnie Brown was declared the winner in a close race. In Blackville 19 Evelyn Coker ran upopposed.
  • Trevor Immelman, the South African pro golfer, was the winner of the 2008 Masters at the Augusta National Golf course. Immelman swung for 280 strokes during four rounds. Tiger Woods followed him with 283 strokes.

April 16

  • The numbers didn't change, but two recounts were done on two close school board races held April 8. In the Barnwell 45 school board race Catherine Geter emerged with 11 votes more than Tim Schatzer.

In the Williston-Elko 29 race, Ronnie Brown beat out Robert Cooper by seven votes.

State law requires that a recount be conducted if the vote totals are one percent or less.

  • Barnwell County Councilman Jim Kearse is running for re-election. But first, he must secure the Republican ballot during the primaries June 10. Travis Black, a Barnwell businessman, is vying for the GOP ballot too.

April 23

  • In state politics, Dan "D.I." Ross Jr. was one of the early forces that helped establish the modern Republican Party in the otherwise staunchly Democratic South Carolina of the time. Ross, of Blackville, died April 15 at age 84.
  • Joe Smith is hoping to bring some of the "everyman" to the Barnwell County Council. Smith, a retired county worker and now a locksmith, is running for the county council District 5 seat on the Democratic ticket during the June 10 primaries. His opponent is Flowe Trexler, a councilman who has served 12 years on the council.

April 30

  • A Bamberg County surgeon moved his operations to Barnwell County Hospital temporarily April 24. Due to complications from a safety review, Bamberg County Hospital had to shut down it operating room. Dr. John Ross, in cooperation with Barnwell County Hospital, operated on 13 patients here.Bamberg's facilities re-opened later.
  • Helping with the county-wide clean-up day were volunteers from all walks of life. Boy Scout Troop 392 collected roadside garbage along Litchfield Street. This was the first year the county and city joined to clean roadways.
  • With help from county and federal governments, the Barnwell Regional Airport will build another hangar for planes. Barnwell County Council agreed to loan up to $300,000 to the airport for the approximately 50-foot by 231-foot 10-unit "t-hangar." Hangar rentals and fuel sales are the only two sources of revenue for the airport.

May 7

  • This year's Festival on the Round created a whirling dervish of activities for residents. The festival included concets, fireworks, contests and theLower State Fireman's Challenge, a regional firefighters' competition.
  • William J. Trier II, 57, of Williston and a former Dixie-Narco employee, pleaded guilty in federal court April 30 to embezzling $5.2 million from his former employer. Trier was previously the director of logistics in the shipping department.
  • May 4 was the 55th reunion for former residents or their descendants of Dunbarton. About 140 people attended. Dunbarton was one of the towns displaced in the early 1950s when Savannah River Site took over a 312-square-mile tract of land.

May 14

  • Blackville-Hilda High School seniors held their annual Living Literature Museum may 9. The event has the seniors dress and pose - statue-like - as a literary, historic or fictional character.
  • The family-owned Williams Farm and Garden is no longer in the family. Grayson Sanders purchased the store which has been in the Williams family for more than 30 years.
  • Williston 29 school board is still considering its options for a bond referendum, including what it will pay for and how much to ask for. These are still some of the basic questions the Williston 29 school board is considering before presenting a school bond referendum for a vote again. The district also held another public forum on the bond May 12.

May 21

  • Barnwell County will be represented in the National Democratic Convention. Tim Moore - a local attorney and a S.C. Democratic Party executive committee member- is the first person from the county since the 1960s to be elected as a national delegate. Moore will be one of 54 national delegates representing the state at the convention in Denver, Colo. Aug. 25-28.
  • Allen Hawkes, of Aiken, is the new president of the local chapter for the Vietnam Veterans of America group, Salkehatchie Chapter 828.
  • Zach Kuster is one of two South Carolina high school students travelling to the Desert Lights National tournament June 14 in Las Vegas to compete in a national speech and debate tournament.

May 28

  • Two wrecks in two counties within a week's time claim the lives of two Barnwell County men. Douglas A. Wilder of Barnwell County was driving on U.S. 25 in Edgefield County when the fatal wreck occurred May 20. Allen C. Burnett Jr., 61, of Robertson Circle, Hilda, was killed in a wreck near Hilda around 5:30 p.m. May 26.
  • An afternoon rain storm and threatening evening clouds drove the 2008 Relay for Life event indoors May 23. About 75 people, with eight Relay teams represented, crowded into the gym. Overall, Barnwell County raised about $25,000.
  • Jefferson Davis Academy held its 38th graduation ceremony with 20 students graduating this year.

June 4

  • Being a foster parent doesn't just require an open home - it needs an open heart. Burch grew up in a family of 10 children and often found herself as the caregiver to her brothers and sisters. It was good training for her to become a foster parent to Barnwell County children.
  • Budgets, needs and wants were topics of discussion during a recent Barnwell 45 school board meeting. The board discussed the capital projects for fiscal year 2009 which the district maintenance department will be work on during summer vacation while the buildings are vacant. The list of repairs districtwide included 72 different projects, ranging from minor to major.

June 11

  • As the Barnwell County Council works on the preliminary budget for fiscal year 2008-09, cracks of contention are appearing in the wall of fiscal management. Complicating matters is money originally set aside in the state budget to help Barnwell County adjust to the loss of Chem-Nuclear funds in future fiscal years will not be received.
  • Dr. Mir Obaid Ulla "M.O." Khan has been such a part of Barnwell County Hospital that it was only fitting that a part of it should become his - in name. On June 8, the hospital dedicated the "Dr. M.O. Khan Surgical Suite." Khan has been the chief of surgery since 1971.
  • Measuring tapes, hammers, pencils, hard hats - most of all water bottles and wet towels. Carpenters for Christ - a group with the Autauga Baptist Association in Alabama - built as much of the fellowship hall for Seven Pines Baptist Church of Snelling seven days as they could.

June 18

  • Barnwell County had 29.57 percent of its 11,956 registered voters come to the polls June 10 during the Republican and Democratic primary elections, passing the statewide voter participation level which had only a 20.33 percent voter turnout. Numerically, this equated to 475,929 of the state's 2,340,733 registered voters exercising their right to political pickings.
  • The four H's of 4-H stand for Head, Heart, Hands and Health. During the week of June 16, some 4-H youth learned with their hands - by getting them wet from another "H" - H2O. The students participated in a hands-on outdoor classroom - the 4-H2O Pontoon Classroom - a statewide program that teaches children about local watersheds, aquatic life and local water resources.
  • Eleven children weren't just out to beat summer's heat at the pool but learn basic swimming skills through the FINS program. During the weeks of June 16 and 23, the FINS program, now in its sixth year, taught water safety through free classes in the hopes of preventing drownings. The program was conducted through the Axis 1 Center of Barnwell and sponsored by the Rotary Club of Barnwell County.

June 25

  • Two Barnwell County lives were cut short after a two car head-on collision June 18 five miles north of Barnwell on S.C. 3. One of the drivers, Dorothy Glover, 53, of Barnwell, was airlifted to MCG in Augusta, Ga. where she later died, said Denise Cato, the Barnwell County deputy coroner. Robert Glee, Jr., 34, was a passenger in the second car and was taken by ambulance to MCG where he later died.
  • A man armed with a rifle robbed a Barnwell convenience store the night of June 19 and is being sought by police. The Shell gas station was robbed around 9:50 p.m., said Todd Gantt, the Barnwell city police chief. A surveillance camera recorded a masked man pointing a rifle at the store clerk who was not harmed during the robbery.
  • The Blackville Farmer's Market rolled back into town. The market's opening June 28 on Main Street was in conjunction with the celebration of the 175th anniversary of Blackville. Clemson University Extension and the Blackville Downtown Development teamed up to bring the market back to Blackville.

July 2

  • Mark Keel remembers as a small child sitting in a police car and cruising Barnwell streets with his uncle, a city police officer. Keel was born and reared in Barnwell and served on the Barnwell Police Department in the late 1970s. Now 50, Keel was named the new chief of the S.C. Department of Public Safety.
  • It was a tale of two budgets. The Barnwell County Council passed its 2008-09 fiscal year budget to a packed room June 26. Two budgets were presented - the third reading of the proposed fiscal year budget and an alternate budget recommended by County Council Chairman Lowell Jowers and Councilman Keith Sloan.
  • The Williston 29 school board is hoping a scaled down, lesser number will be more agreeable to the voters in the school district as they reintroduce the school bond referendum issue. The board voted June 17 to propose a $13.5 million bond referendum for Williston school district voters to decide upon, a figure less than the original $22 million bond proposed in February.

July 9

  • The 434th Army Signal Corps Band from Fort Gordon, Ga., helped Barnwell kick off its Fourth of July weekend with musical flair as the 27-member group performed July 2 at Collins Park.
  • The Barnwell County Animal Shelter is adding on an additional space for new kennels at their current location. The new kennels will be used to house dogs when they are first brought to the shelter as a quarantine measure.
  • It was a Valentine that was sent Feb. 14, but it wasn't delivered until July 2. The town of Williston was evaluated by the ISO agency Feb. 14 for its fire protection abilities. On July 2, the town learned its fire rating improved from an ISO 5 to ISO 4, which could mean a savings in homeowner insurance premiums.

July 16

  • A Williston man was sentenced 35 years to a S.C. Department of Corrections facility for a fatal shooting that occurred in 2007. Alton Clay Brown, 40, pleaded guilty July 7 to the murder of Clarence Weathersbee, 48, of Williston.
  • The Blackville branch of the Enterprise bank was robbed at midday July 15. The suspect wore a "Jason"-type face mask during the robbery.
  • Gangs - once a problem of the inner city - are creeping into the suburbs and rural areas and are now increasingly aligning themselves nationally and recruiting members. That was part of the message Dr. A.V. Strong delivered to approximately 200 concerned residents at Voorhees College, July 8, during a gang workshop in Denmark.

July 23

  • A fast moving storm doused Barnwell County with at least an inch of water and caused damage in Williston. A weather official surmised Williston experienced a "downburst" blast of air during the storm that caused the damage in town July 21.
  • Political signs and the county's sign ordinance were the subject of a Barnwell County planning commission meeting. Political candidate signs still dot Barnwell County and planning commission members want them removed. According to a zoning ordinance, political signs are to be placed 60 days before an announced election and removed two weeks after the election, said planning commission member Lori Smith.
  • Members of the Barnwell Soccer Club returned to Barnwell July 19 among fanfare after an 11-day soccer tour in which they were unbeaten by their European football - soccer - opponents.

July 30

  • A stretch of U.S. 278 became dangerous over several days as two wrecks involving three cars sent several people to area hospitals. Two cars collided head-on July 24 on U.S. 278 south of Barnwell near the S.C. 300 and S.C. 3 intersection. Another wreck occurred on U.S. 278 north of Kline July 27 when a car ran off the road and traveled through residential lawns and shubbery before stopping in a residential yard.
  • Just weeks after Barnwell Police Chief Todd Gantt stated his department would be more vigilant against parents leaving children unattended in hot cars, they arrested one individual in relation to such an incident. Toni Phillips 19, of 1104 Lebanon Rd., Barnwell was arrested July 28 and charged with unlawful conduct towards a child after she was seen leaving her infant child in a car unattended while she shopped July 26.
  • The Williston school district moved ahead on its school bond referendum for school repairs. However, some residents are asking district leaders to reconsider building a new school with the money if the bond passes. Since the school district began working on a bond referendum proposal to help the district with its school buildings, the focus of how the $13.5 million would be used has changed. The bond was voted on during the Nov. 4 elections.
  • If karma goes around then everyone involved with Animal Advocates and its store - the Pick of the Litter Shoppe - should be well-rewarded for their selfless efforts. Animal Advocates, a 60-plus member nonprofit group, was formed three years ago as a response to the growing number of stray cats and homeless dogs roaming Barnwell County.

Aug. 6

  • Barnwell and Bamberg counties may seem like rural locations, but they are becoming destinations for some of the world's best police and military groups. County and state law enforcement officials, politicians and other dignitaries from the state and Barnwell and Bamberg counties welcomed the arrival of GTI to the area. GTI or Government Training Institute, is a training contractor that relocated its headquarters and training facilities in Barnwell and Bamberg counties. GTI officially began its operations here July 31.
  • Full stomachs equal smiles for children. Barnwell County children have been smiling all summer long thanks to the summer feeding program, which began in June and culminated last week. County wide, the school systems ran 70 sites for the lunch program.
  • Sitting down in a four-star restaurant and biting into a tender marbled steak is an occasion many people's tastebuds can appreciate. But there is an art - little known and under appreciated - into the journey the steak makes from the pasture to the dinner table. What it takes to make a steak so succulent and juicy is an art that Michael and Becky Worrell have perfected at MiBek Farms.

Aug 13

  • On Aug. 11, the Williston Town Council held a public hearing before its regular council meeting concerning a proposed ordinance to regulate the business hours for clubs in town that have licenses for on-site alcohol consumption. Over several months the issue of an official, enforceable closing time for area clubs has surfaced in Williston.
  • The first day of public school for the 2008-09 school year is Aug. 18. Already preparations have been underway since the start of August with student registrations, teacher in-service days and school open houses.
  • In the late summer heat, crews worked to bring - not people - but houses together. The Blackville Community Development Corporation bought four modular homes to enrich South Boundary Street in Blackville.

Aug. 20

  • Schools were beehives of activity leading up to Aug. 18 - the first day back in school for the county's youth - as teachers prepared classrooms. It was also a time of collection as various charitable groups, businesses and individuals gathered school supplies for less fortunate students within the three school districts.
  • Zumba - it's Colombian slang word for "fast." It also described the pace for participants in Zumba,a new trend in exercise. Certified Zumba instructor Karen Uldrick has been leading the "dancercise" program. Zumba is a synthesis of Latin and international music that features aerobics.
  • Wait and see - that's what emergency response officials in Barnwell County and the region and statewide have been doing as Tropical Storm Fay churned in an uncertain path around the Gulf of Mexico and the Eastern Seaboard. Fay ended up not causing any problems for this area.

Aug. 27

  • Downpours met motorcyclists participating in the El BAB bike rally Aug. 23. The bike rally's poker run, which ran through points in Allendale, Bamberg and Barnwell counties, raised money for the Shriner children's hospitals.
  • The city of Barnwell broke ground at Lemon Park for its new sports complex Aug. 21.
  • The convention hall at the Edisto Research and Education Center in Blackville was filled with state Republican dignitaries and local GOP supporters Aug. 25. However, the two Barnwell County Republicans most honored that night were done so posthumously. Barnwell County Republicans used its annual meeting to remember state GOP pioneers Dan "D.I." Ross and William Green Jenkins.

Sept. 3

  • Standing six-feet, five-inches tall and weighing 360 pounds, James Wooden was both a defensive and offensive lineman for the Barnwell High School football team and a gentle giant well-loved by his peers. Wooden died Aug. 31 at Richland Memorial Children's Hospital in Columbia. Wooden's official cause of death was listed as heatstroke, which he suffered after football practice.
  • A comprehensive, but critical, report from an outside educational consulting group released its findings on how the Barnwell 45 school district functions. The study by H. Dale Holden and Associates, a Columbia-based educational consulting group, recommended restructuring how the district is organized.
  • Although Hurricane Gustav bypassed the Carolina coastline, South Carolina cannot breathe a sigh of relief yet. On the heels of Gustav comes Hanna. Hanna threatened for a time to make landfall in South Carolina in a zone north of Savannah, Ga. and south of Charleston.

Sept. 10

  • The large sanctuary and balcony were filled, as was the church chapel at First Baptist Church, Barnwell as family and friends said their goodbyes to James Douglas "Big James" Wooden Jr., 16, the Barnwell High football player who died Aug. 31.
  • A proposed ordinance did not live beyond the Sept. 8 Williston Town Council meeting, after a lively discussion abruptly ended with the call for the end of questions and a split vote concerning regulating the hours of Williston nightclubs.
  • Several special called meetings were held and attended by members of Barnwell County Council and the Barnwell County Hospital board to take the pulse on the institution's financial health.

Sept. 17

  • As Hurricane Ike was hitting the Texas coast last week, its effects were blowing through Barnwell County in the form of higher gas prices which jumped from $3.39 Sept. 11 to $4.59 by the afternoon of Sept. 12. The increased prices caused some local panic purchase sprees and some area gas stations to run out.
  • The celebration of state industries during Industry Appreciation Week in Columbia had a familiar local face as John Boyd, the president of Augusta Fiberglass, a Blackville manufacturer, was named an economic ambassador for Barnwell County by Gov. Mark Sanford in a ceremony Sept. 15.
  • MOX is on course in its progress, according to David Stinson, the president of Shaw/Areva MOX Services, which is building the facility to convert weapons grade plutonium into usable nuclear material for power plants. Stinson gave a progress report Sept. 9 on the $4.8 billion facility, which promises hundreds of jobs for the region.

Sept. 24

  • Horsehead Corporation, a Monaca, Penn.-based smelting and metal refining company, announced Sept. 22 that it is building a facility in Snelling.The business announcement represents an approximately $87 million investment in the county and will create about 65 jobs.
  • A report by Palmetto Agribusiness Council showed agribusiness is still a large feature in the state's economic landscape. Agribusiness, which includes farming and forestry, is the state's leading economic engine, accounting for a $33.9 billion impact on South Carolina's economy, surpassing even manufacturing and tourism, according to the report.
  • South Carolinians have just a few more days to register to be eligible to vote in the general election on Nov. 4. The final deadline is Oct. 4, 30 days before the election.
  • The Barnwell County Sheriff's Office will use a $37,208 grant to fund a full-time law enforcement officer who will be dedicated to fighting drug and gang-related crime in the county. D.A.R.E. instructor Brenda O'Berry will be the county's new anti-gang deputy.

Oct. 1

• "Exercise your right to vote - Election Day, Nov. 4!" chanted Macedonia Elementary School Junior Beta Club members, community volunteers and other elementary school students as part of a four-hour effort Sept. 27 to register new voters for the upcoming Nov. 4 presidential election.

  • Having the pole position in a NASCAR race isn't a bad thing for a driver. A pole position wasn't a bad thing either for Christians Sept. 23. That's the day many young Christians met out at the flagpoles of their schools around Barnwell County for the "See You at the Pole" event to pray before the school day began.
  • The People-Sentinel increased its single copy price from 50 cents to 75 cents. This is the first increase of the newspaper's single copy price in over 16 years.

Oct. 8

  • As part of a partnership with Barnwell County, the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor - with help from the Charleston-based Living History Group - filmed a documentary on the history of Healing Springs in Blackville.
  • An Augusta man's luck ran out in a string of armed robberies that stretched through the Central Savannah Region area, including two in Blackville. Tracy Barnes III, 40, was arrested and charged with eight counts of armed bank robbery among other charges.
  • Atlantic Broadband, the cable and communications company, is helping area families stay in touch with loved ones deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Operation Mail Call - kicked off in Barnwell, Allendale and Bamberg counties - to provide free high-speed Internet service to people with immediate family members serving in the two combat zones.

Oct. 15

  • Macedonia Elementary in Blackville made strides Oct. 8 to ensure children knew the rules of safety for walking to school. The International Walk to School day was celebrated Oct. 8 around the country and in Blackville.
  • The S.C. state law book is filled with antiquated, obsolete and sometimes perplexing statutes that at one time served a purpose. Voters Nov. 4 will get a chance to vote for a referendum that amends a section of the state constitution which contradicts state statutes. The S.C. Constitution states in Article III, Section 33, the age of consent for an unmarried woman must be 14 years or older in order to consent to sexual intercourse. But state statutory law, under section 16-15-140 sets the age at 16.
  • Jeanne Johnson - the new Blackville Farmers' Market manager - has always enjoyed the feel of small town life and the charm it offers. Johnson was hired as the market manager in September.

Oct. 22

  • Despite his autism, Tres Long is a member of the Williston-Elko High track team. The team in turn is helping their fellow runner with a 5K race to raise awareness on the disorder Long has.
  • The last several days have been ones of hectic preparations, but Williston is looking forward to its own 150th birthday party - Oct. 25, its Founder's Day celebration.
  • Jo Ann McNamara was a community of one. Business person, mother, church leader, civic worker and concerned animal lover, were all roles that McNamara played in her life while active in Barnwell. McNamara, 72, died Oct. 16 after a battle with cancer.

Oct. 29

  • After five years as the chief executive officer of the Barnwell County Hospital, Bob Waters announced he will not renew his contract in March, 2009.
  • Ground was officially broken Oct. 28 for the zinc refining facility in Barnwell that Horsehead Corporation is building. Horsehead corporate officers, officials from state and regional economic development agencies and local dignitaries joined in the ceremony. Horsehead announced Sept. 22 that it would locate two kilns at the site to reclaim zinc from steel mill dust.
  • Naomi DeFrenn, the director of the Barnwell County Office of Voter Registration and Elections, has had little time for herself with only days until the 2008 presidential election. A record number of absentee ballots have been cast in the county already.

Nov. 5

  • Record crowds filled polling places in Barnwell County - a common occurrence Nov. 4 nationwide - as Americans made their choice for president, Barack Obama. Election 2008 set new voting records in the state, the nation and Barnwell County as it unfolded.
  • One encouragement from the forum held Nov. 3 in Barnwell was the county is not alone in its public education challenges. Don Gordon with the Riley Institute at Furman University, Greenville, presented findings from its study - and how it relates to Barnwell County - to a crowd of 64 county community leaders, educators and parents.
  • Jack Johnson - the District 19 chef - is heading an effort that partners the district with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a partnership between the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation to fight the spread of childhood obesity. South Carolina is one of the leading states in childhood obesity.

Nov. 12

  • Chem-Nuclear officials and community leaders gathered Nov. 6 to hear an update on groundwater monitoring at the site and its surrounding area - most notably Mary's Branch Creek. S. C. Department of Health and Environmental Control officials gave the update at the S.C. Advanced Technology Park in Snelling.
  • A crowd of about 50 people came to dream - realistically - for a better tomorrow for today's children. The crowd was a cross section of community, school and civic leaders continuing what was begun the week before with a Nov. 3 presentation and forum by the Riley Institute of Furman University. The presentation outlined a study of the conditions of education in Barnwell County.

Nov. 19

  • Faster than it takes some people to read Tolstoy's "War and Peace" or Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" - The Barnwell County Library paid off its $3.5 million mortgage. The Barnwell County Public Library held a transfer ceremony Nov. 11 which climaxed with its mortgage burning.
  • A suspect in the armed robbery of a Williston grocery store now sits in a Richmond County (Ga.) jail awaiting extradition back to Barnwell County to face charges here. A day after the Nov. 12 robbery, the suspect, John Carlton Rhodes, 40, of Barnwell, was involved in a single-car wreck in Aiken County. Injuries from the wreck put Rhodes in the hospital at MCG in Augusta.
  • Native Americans gathered at the Discovery Center in Blackville Nov. 15 to celebrate their culture and educate others about it as November was Native American Month.

Nov. 26

  • Williston-Elko High School wins the Upper State finals in Orangeburg over Ware Shoals by a score of 40-32, allowing the Blue Devils to proceed to the 1A division state championship game against Scott's Branch High of Summerton.
  • Workers discovered during the renovation of the new city hall for Barnwell that the building was occupied by bees. The city got a beekeeper to remove the wild hive from the building before continuing with its work.
  • Cutbacks in funding forced the Axis 1 Center of Barnwell to lay off seven employees. Also the drug and alcohol treatment agency will be closed three days at the end of the year as part of six days of unpaid furlough.

Dec. 3

  • At about 10:56 a.m., Nov. 25, a man robbed the Barnwell branch of Regions Bank at gunpoint. After getting an undisclosed amount of money from two tellers, the man left the bank on foot, crossed Dunbarton Boulevard and disappeared into the woods behind Fuller Park. No customers were in the bank at the time of the robbery and no one was injured.
  • What was becoming a liability for one organization in Barnwell will soon be an asset to another group. The American Legion Richardson-Walsh Post 46 in Barnwell donated its hut, a roughly 2,750-square-foot building on Reynolds Road in Barnwell to the Barnwell Presbyterian Church for it to use a missions center.
  • Williston-Elko lost its bid for a state championship title to Scott's Branch High School of Summerton.

Dec. 10

  • William Allen Owens, 32, of 1650 Halford St., Williston, was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for the July 6, 2007 murder of the Rev. Phillip McCreary Sr., a Springfield pastor. Owens was charged with McCreary's murder July 16. Closing arguments in the trial had the prosecution and defense debate the timeline of the crime.
  • The view along Allen Street in Barnwell will be a little clearer as the cluster of small, gray, wooden, single-family houses that were near Guinyard Funeral Home and Wright Street were demolished.
  • Barnwell County got in the holiday mood as Christmas parades meandered through the streets of Barnwell and Williston Dec. 6. Barnwell also held its Christmas by Candlelight event Dec. 4 and Kline held its tree-lighting ceremony Dec. 7.

Dec. 17

  • Area law enforcement were kept busy during the night Dec.15 as Barnwell city police responded to an armed robbery and shooting while county sheriff's deputies were called to a separate armed robbery.
  • Media representatives were invited Dec. 15 to the Savannah River Site to see the progress on the $4.8 billion 600,000-square-foot mixed oxide fuel fabrication facility and hear about its impact on local communities. The MOX facility broke ground August 2007 and is scheduled to open in 2016.
  • Nearly seven weeks after the Nov. 4 general election Ben Kinlaw was casting a ballot again in the presidential election. Kinlaw, the chairman of the Barnwell County Republican Party, was fullfilling his duty as one of South Carolina's eight presidential electors for the S.C. Electoral College. The eight electors, from different parts of the state, met in Columbia Dec. 15 to unanimously vote for John McCain for president.

Dec. 24

  • Milliken, the textile corporation, announced Dec. 17 that it will close its Barnwell plant is closing after more than 50 years of operation. The move will put 125 people out of work and make county and city lawmakers ponder ways to solve future budget shortfalls because of the closing. Milliken & Company stated it will start cutting operations in January and close the plant by mid-2009.
  • The Secret Santa program worked its holiday magic again in 2008 to bring wishes true to 496 children in the county who might not otherwise have a Christmas. The program is administered through the Rotary Club with help from the Department of Social Services and the contributions of private individuals and businesses.
  • After 16 years, the ledger book is closing for George Fickling. Fickling, the clerk of court for Barnwell County, retired at the end of the year from public office. Rhonda McElveen was elected Nov. 4 as his successor.

Dec. 31

  • Because of state budget cuts, the children's daycare center in Allendale, run by the Allendale and Barnwell Counties Disabilites and Special Needs Board, will not re-open after the holidays.
  • Calvary Baptist Church in Barnwell had a close call with disaster after a minor fire broke out in the sanctuary of the church. Barnwell City Fire Department put out the fire before major damage occurred to the house of worship.