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Public invited to ER groundbreaking on Aug. 8

The Regional Medical Center (RMC) in Orangeburg will host a public groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the beginning of construction of a new freestanding emergency department for Bamberg and Barnwell counties.

The event will be Tuesday, August 8 at 10 a.m. at the construction site on Highway 70, just west of Denmark in Bamberg County.

The 20,000-square foot facility will include 24-hour emergency care with CT scan, X-Ray and ultrasound diagnostic imaging, lab and observation services, according to a press release by RMC.

Concert to fund new career vision for Massengale

Sarah Massengale has not let her lack of sight stop her from having a vision of what she wants to do with her life.

The Barnwell native, who has been blind since birth, has always been passionate about music, which led her to earn a degree in music in 2011 from Converse College. She was the first totally blind woman to earn this degree from the Spartanburg college. However, she’s found it difficult to find stable employment as a musician.

Tax free weekend is Aug. 4-6

Shoppers will get a holiday this coming weekend – a holiday from paying sales tax on a wide variety of items.

The annual Sales Tax Holiday will be August 4-6 in South Carolina, according to the S.C. Department of Revenue (DOR). The holiday is in effect from 12:01 a.m. on August 4 until midnight on August 6.

During the annual Sales Tax Holiday, a variety of approved school supply items are exempt from the 6 percent state sales tax and any applicable local taxes. In years past, shoppers have saved between $2 million and $3 million during the holiday weekend.

South Carolina Department of Education and Allendale County School District reach agreement

The South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) and the Allendale County School District announced Friday, July 28 that they have agreed to collaborate in the management of the educational programs and operations of Allendale schools and the district office, as well as collaboration in other areas of school and district governance that impact management of the academic program, financial risk, and accreditation. 

Baseball tournament to benefit MDA

Dylan Epps is hoping to hit a homerun in the fight against muscular dystrophy.

The 12-year-old was diagnosed in 2014 with the genetic, degenerative disease that primarily affects voluntary muscles. However, he did not let the diagnosis stop him from playing baseball, which he’s played the past nine years through the Barnwell Baseball Softball Association.

Family keeps faith after fire

Lightning could be to blame for a fire that destroyed a Blackville house, but fire officials say they are unsure of the exact cause.

Firefighters from the Blackville and Hilda fire departments were called to 4737 Legion Road in Blackville for a reported house fire on Monday, July 24 around 4:24 p.m.

“It was involved when the first truck arrived on scene. They (the firefighters) did a good job stopping it,” said Blackville Fire Chief James Haskins, who recently was promoted to the position.

Retiring jail employees honored

Two retiring county employees were honored during a recent meeting of the Barnwell County Council.

Barnwell County Detention Center Administrator Deloris Charlton and Sergeant Gloria Myers were each presented with resolutions of recognition and gifts upon their retirement.

Charlton has served the county for 20 years with the Barnwell County Detention Center while Myers has worked as an officer, shift supervisor and sergeant for over 28 years.

Yard sale, church robbers sought

The Barnwell County Sheriff’s Office is investigating several incidents that occurred over the July 15 weekend.

On Saturday, July 15, deputies responded to the Hilda Crossroads where highways 70 and 304 intersect after a husband and wife were robbed while holding a yard sale.

“They were approached and the subjects were armed and robbed them,” said Sheriff Ed Carroll.

16-acre solar project now operating in Barnwell

Cypress Creek Renewables, a company specializing in the ownership and development of long-term solar energy projects, recently constructed a 16-acre solar generating facility known as “Barnwell Solar” in Barnwell.

The Barnwell County solar facility, located off Patterson Street in Barnwell, will produce 5.44 megawatts of energy at full capacity, which will be utilized by SCANA Corporation as part of their renewable energy program.

Two Williston schools receive safety equipment

Several schools received safety gear to help directing students and traffic as they come to school in the morning and dismiss in the afternoon.

The supplies were presented to the schools by the Eat Smart Move More Barnwell County (ESMMBC) program, according to Hilary Hindman of Axis 1. She said the supplies were purchased through the Let’s Go Grant which is funded by Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina and Eat Smart Move More SC.

Event encourages people to make ‘good, positive’ choices

“I value myself and others.”

That was the message Dentis Shaw had for the children and adults gathered in the Barnwell Elementary School cafeteria for the July 14 Belated Father’s Day event sponsored by the S.C. Regional Housing Authority #3 and Beaufort Housing Authority.

“It’s all about making good, positive choice with their lives,” said Shaw, the founder of Honorband.

Bethany Baptist mission ‘trip’ helps those at home

Bethany Baptist Church members spent last week serving Barnwell County.

Approximately 40 members of all ages broke into different groups, including cleaning, home repair and yard crews. Several teenagers also provided free car washes to anyone in the community each day.

“Not only did they take the week off for vacation, but they paid to be here,” said Rev. Robert Altman of how his church believes in helping people. “Leadership is about doing.”

Career center hopeful for grant to pay for chiller

A new air-cooled chiller is being installed at the Barnwell County Career Center.

The 1988 model chiller, which cools the main building except for the office and auditorium, has had problems in recent years. The school has been spending an average of $10,000 to $12,000 a year on maintenance on the chiller, but it finally went out in May.

Two arrested, another sought in homicide

UPDATED (Wednesday, July 26)

Two people are in jail and another is being sought in connection to a Sunday evening homicide.

The body of George L. Grimes, 31, of Old Salem Road in Hilda was found at approximately 6:51 p.m. on Sunday, July 23 inside a vehicle outside 461 Fairway Lane in Barnwell, said Barnwell County Coroner Lloyd Ward in a press release. Grimes died as a result of a gunshot wound to his head.

“This death is being investigated at this time as a homicide,” said Ward.

Proposed city budget includes 2.4 mill increase

Taxpayers in the City of Barnwell will see a slightly higher bill along with improved services if the current proposed budget is approved.

Barnwell City Council approved the first reading of the fiscal year 2018 budget during its July 10 meeting, but previously discussed it during a June 27 budget workshop. The $5,987,640 budget is $797,895 more than the current year – or 15.37 percent. Included in that amount is the general fund budget of $3,589,540.

School consolidation resolution tabled

Barnwell County Council stepped back from a proposed resolution in support of school consolidation during their regular meeting on Tuesday, July 11.

The resolution stated that “the Barnwell County Council encourages the Barnwell County Public School districts to consider working with our Legislative Delegation to determine a plan of action to have the three districts to consolidate into one district.”

During the public comments period early in the meeting, Blackville-Hilda District 19 School Board Chairman Carroll Priester took the council to task on the issue.

Terri Smith hired as new Chamber director

Terri Smith of Barnwell has been named the new Executive Director of the Barnwell County Chamber of Commerce (BCOC).

The BCOC board made the decision last week to hire Smith who retired in 2010 after working as an agent with Clemson Extension for 20 years.

“We feel very fortunate to have someone of Terri’s expertise working at the Chamber,” said Chamber chair Carolyne Williams. “She is an asset to our Chamber. Please stop by or call and welcome Terri to our Chamber network.”

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