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Donations sent to Florida victims

Energy Solutions in Snelling has sent Hurricane Irma relief items to storm victims in Florida.

Curtis Charlton of the company said the tractor trailer was about half full when it left Monday morning. It was first headed to Orangeburg to pick up additional supplies and then is destined for a Red Cross facility in Florida.

The company sponsored the relief effort shortly after Hurricane Irma stormed up the Florida peninsula and left many areas flooded or impacted by the winds. Energy Solutions reached out to the community to help fill the container with supplies.

Remembering Barnwell’s Lamplighter, ‘Miss Martha’

The year was 1999 when I received a phone call from Reverend Posey Belcher; he asked a favor of me. It seems as if Posey was spearheading the celebration of Barnwell’s bicentennial in 2000, and he needed someone to furnish this newspaper with one article per month for that particular year.

Try as I may, I couldn’t help but accommodate my friend. You see, Posey was a Baptist minister, and he had buried most of the members of our Holland family; we were all Methodist. So, Posey had made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.

D19 states new vision

Barnwell District 19 has revised its mission statement, vision statement and core beliefs.

The updates were done with the help of community feedback as the district prepares for reaccreditation through AdvancED next spring. The changes were unanimously approved, although board member Ethel Faust was not in attendance.

Since AdvancED is a “continuous improvement model”, D19 Superintendent Dr. Shawn Johnson said they made changes “based off our needs and where we are headed.”

Miller receives Congressional Bronze Medal

A Barnwell teen has been awarded the Congressional Bronze Medal Award.

Harrison Miller, an eleventh grader at Barnwell High School, received the award on August 8 from U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson during a presentation in front of the Barnwell County Courthouse.

“I am so grateful to see Harrison’s passion for community service and teamwork. He serves as an excellent example for his peers, and I know he will only continue to achieve amazing accomplishments in his future,” said Wilson, whose District 2 includes Barnwell County.

Gaines named Clarendon District 2 Teacher of Year

A Barnwell native has been named the Clarendon School District 2 Teacher of the Year.

Jeffrey Gaines received the honor during the school board’s August 15 meeting. He was previously named Teacher of the Year for Manning High School in March.

“This entire process has been very humbling and I am grateful that I have the opportunity each day to make a difference in the lives of our children,” said Gaines.

Jobless rates rise slightly locally

Both Barnwell and Allendale County experienced slight increases in unemployment rates according to statistics recently released by the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce.

Barnwell County’s rate rose from 5.9 percent in July to 6.1 percent in August. Allendale County rose from 7 to 7.2 percent over the same time period.

Statewide the jobless rate rose from 3.9 to 4 percent. Nationally, the unemployment rate increased from 4.3 percent in July to 4.4 percent in August.

Allendale's town hall back open for business

Allendale Town Hall has reopened for business as of Thursday morning.

The municipal building in Allendale was shut down and searched by state and federal law enforcement agents on Tuesday, Oct. 5 who reportedly took documents from the facility.

Town Administrator DeWayne Ennis said, “I can’t comment on the investigation” but confirmed that the town hall is back open for municipal business.

Ennis said no one to his knowledge has been arrested in connection with the investigation.

FBI confiscates documents from Allendale Town Hall

Allendale Town Hall has reopened for business as of Thursday morning.

The municipal building in Allendale was shut down and searched by state and federal law enforcement agents on Tuesday, Oct. 5 who reportedly took documents from the facility.

Town Administrator DeWayne Ennis said, “I can’t comment on the investigation” but confirmed that the town hall is back open for municipal business.

Ennis said no one to his knowledge has been arrested in connection with the investigation.

Two schools receive bomb threats

Investigations are underway after bomb threats were made against two area high schools on Thursday, Sept. 21.

Barnwell High School received a bomb threat at 12:25 p.m. While Barnwell County Sheriff Ed Carroll would not say exactly where the call was received, he said it was not called into the school or the 911 dispatch center. Around the same time, a bomb threat was called into the Allendale-Fairfax High office, according to Allendale County Sheriff Tom Carter.

Dr. Ashe quits as Williston superintendent

Williston District 29’s superintendent has resigned, just three weeks after she was placed on leave following the discovery of a tape recorder.

The school board unanimously accepted the immediate resignation of Dr. Missoura Ashe after meeting in closed session with their lawyers during the Sept. 20 meeting.

“The board and Dr. Ashe believe this decision is in our mutual best interest, the best interest of students and the best interest of the Williston-Elko communities,” according to a public statement provided by the board after the meeting.

Payne sentenced to 35 years in jail for murder

A jury did not believe a Barnwell man’s claim of self-defense in a 2015 shooting case.

Demontay Markeith Payne, 28, of 25 Wingo Estates Road, Barnwell, was found guilty of the May 23, 2015 murder of DeVante Quintell Odom. The jury rendered the verdict on Tuesday, Sept. 19 after approximately three hours of deliberation following a two-day trial at the Barnwell County Courthouse.

While Payne didn’t deny shooting Odom, he claimed the shooting was in self-defense after Odom allegedly shot at him first.

Economic marketing moves to SCA after vote

A new contract was approved by Barnwell County Council on Tuesday, Sept. 19 which effectively moves marketing of the county’s economic development property as well as the Economic Development Commission’s executive director position under SouthernCarolina Alliance (SCA). The contract also quadruples the county’s payment to SCA from $15,000 annually to $60,000 annually.

The contract was approved unanimously with the exception of David Kenner who was absent from the meeting.

Williams retiring next year as county administrator

Barnwell County Administrator Pickens Williams Jr. has announced his plan to retire next year.

Williams, 59, shared his intentions to retire within the next five to six months with the Barnwell County Council on Tuesday, Sept. 19 during a closed session of the council’s regular meeting. Williams then met with county department heads the next day.

“I don’t plan to move. I’m not upset or anything like that,” said Williams. “It’s something I have been talking with my wife about for nearly a year. I have no reason other than I think it’s time for me to do something different.”

Police, fire could remain downtown

Barnwell City Council now hopes to keep the police and fire departments downtown.

While the city originally planned to purchase property off Marlboro Avenue to build a new public safety building that would jointly house the fire and police departments, one property is held up in probate court. A number of councilmen also want to see the departments maintain their presence downtown, said City Administrator John Zawacki.

“They want it to stay in the city center,” said Zawacki.

DNR officers assist in evacuation, recovery

Barnwell County’s four S.C. Department of Natural Resources officers recently assisted in hurricane evacuation and recovery efforts.

Sgt. Rocky Salter, Lt. John Bedingfield, PFC Matthew Smith and LCPL Steve Terry were assigned to different coastal communities in advance of Hurricane Irma’s arrival to the Palmetto State. They joined other DNR officers from across the state in the evacuation and recovery efforts.

“Our first concern is safety,” said Salter.

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