News

Jefferson Davis Academy opens year with prayer

Jefferson Davis Academy started the school year with prayer around the flag pole on August 17 before students headed to their first class.

Pastor Chris Campbell from Restoration Community Church in Barnwell led the prayer as students, staff and parents joined hands outside the private school, which is located in Blackville.

The theme for the year is “Empowering Young Minds”. JDA has a few more young minds to empower this year as Head of School Dr. Walter Banks said student enrollment has increased.

Back-to-School: D29 principals share goals

Kelly Edwards Elementary School

Kelly Edwards Elementary School wants to be a school where students are loved. That’s why their theme is: “Kelly Edwards, Where We Love First”.

“There is no better way to start off letting our kids know that before we teach them, we have to love them and get to know them,” said KEES Principal Nakeisha Baxley.

Senator meets with Barnwell officials

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham met for about an hour with Barnwell officials on Friday, Aug. 11 in Barnwell.

Graham met with Barnwell municipal and county officials at the Barnwell City Hall and covered topics including North Korea, immigration and health care. He also asked what local leadership considered to be needs he could help with.

“I’m trying to go around to the more rural counties during this August break and tell you a little bit about what we’re doing and listen to what you are doing,” said Sen. Graham.

D45 considers adding Scholastic Clay Target Sports

Some parents and students are hoping Barnwell District 45 will add Scholastic Clay Target Sports.

Scott Stephens, the Scholastic Clay Target Sports (SCTS) coordinator from the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, spoke to the school board during the August 10 meeting about how SCTS is a growing sport in South Carolina. There are teams across the state, including at 14 public schools, 27 private schools and 30 clubs with several new teams being formed.

County Council approves raises for 4 employees

Barnwell County Council voted unanimously Aug. 8 to approve pay grades and associated raises for four county employees. This is on top of the 3 percent raise approved in June for almost all county employees.

The vote came after a closed session at the end of the council’s regular meeting “to discuss personnel matters related to the Building and Grounds, Sheriff’s Department and Magistrate’s Office.

Councilman Jerry Creech moved to approve the pay grades. His motion was seconded by Harold Buckmon.

Location of new safety building stalls project

An agreement on the location for the new public safety building is stalling the project.

Barnwell City Council was scheduled to vote on approval of a location for the new home of the police and fire departments so the city could negotiate a price with the landowner. They were also supposed to review a draft AIA (American Institute of Architects agreement with the public safety building architect. However, council tabled action on both items at the Aug. 7 meeting.

“Council could not get a consensus on the location,” said City Administrator John Zawacki.

Eclipse: The sun, the moon and Barnwell County

On Monday, August 21, millions of people will be lifting their eyes to the skies to watch as the moon passes in front of the sun creating a solar eclipse.

South Carolina, including Barnwell County, is in the pathway of totality of the celestial event. Millions of people are expected to travel to the state this weekend through the event on Monday to watch the once-in-a-lifetime event.

Reedy Branch Baptist teens travel to Louisville, Ky.

Reedy Branch Baptist Church recently sent two youth and an adult to Louisville, Ky. for its first youth mission trip.

Teenagers Kenneth Dobson and Lauren Nobles, led by Darlene Sanders, were in Louisville July 22-28 through a partnership with YouthWorks at Epiphany UMC in Louisville to complete different missions throughout the community.

“It was a great experience to grow as friends and as Christians,” said Dobson.

Murder suspect, girlfriend apprehended in Tenn.

A murder suspect and his girlfriend were arrested in Tennessee nearly a month after the shooting death of George Lee Grimes.
Ricky Antwan Williams and his girlfriend, Teresa K. Luna, were arrested on Wednesday, August 16 in Knox County, Tennessee, according to Barnwell County Sheriff Ed Carroll.
The sheriff said his office was notified by the State Law Enforcement Division this afternoon about the arrests.

GateHouse Media to purchase newspaper

As part of a strategic restructuring to focus its business on lifestyle publications, property development and new business, Morris Communications Co. announced August 9 that it has signed an agreement to sell the assets of Morris Publishing Group, including The People-Sentinel and The Augusta Chronicle to GateHouse Media.

The sale also includes 10 other daily newspapers, numerous non-daily publications and associated websites and digital assets. The transaction is expected to close on October 2, 2017. GateHouse is purchasing the 79 publications for $120 million.

Fickling resigning from Blackville School Board after feeling ‘shut out’

A Barnwell District 19 board member has stated his intentions to resign after voicing concerns he has with other board members.

Board member George Fickling announced during the August 14 meeting that he was resigning “effective immediately”. He handed in his district-issued iPad, but sat through the rest of the meeting.

“I cannot be effective if I’m always going to be shut out,” said Fickling, who was elected in April 2016. “This board is just not willing to listen to any suggestions about changes or improvements.”

Cpt. Rasar bringing enthusiasm, training to BCDC

Michael Rasar is excited about his new job.

He’s excited to be in a new building with a new staff and new opportunities. He is bringing with him enthusiasm to a job that a lot of people consider tough.

Captain Rasar, 32, is the new administrator of the newly renovated Barnwell County Detention Center, hired by Sheriff Ed Carroll. He took over the position upon the retirement of Deloris Charlton in July.

Few facing opposition in Nov. 7 election

Filing closed at noon Tuesday, Aug. 15 for candidates seeking election or re-election to seats on seven town councils in Barnwell County. Two mayors have also filed for re-election.

All the races are non-partisan which means there is no party affiliation.

Each of the races are for four-year terms. The elections will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

Incumbent mayors seeking another term in office are Jason Stapleton in Williston and Paul Moore in Snelling. They are unopposed in their respective races.

EDC approves resolution to ratify all previous decisions

The Barnwell County Economic Development Commission approved a resolution Monday evening which ratifies all decisions of the commission and the corporation’s board of directors, which have been identical, from its inception until present day with the exception of December 2013.

The resolution was passed in a split 3-2 vote during a 10-minute special called meeting held at EDC offices in Barnwell.

Voting in favor were Chairman Steve Jowers along with Commissioners Keith Sloan and Joe Smith. Voting against were Commissioners Toby Singletary and Will Kearse.

Murder suspect's girlfriend sought for accessory

Warrants have been issued for the girlfriend of a murder suspect.

The Barnwell County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) has issued a warrant for accessory after the fact to murder for 24-year-old Teresa K. Luna, also known as T.K. According to the sheriff’s office, Luna is dating Ricky Lamont Williams, 39, who is wanted for the July 23 murder of Hilda resident George Lee Grimes, 31, that occurred on Fairway Lane in Barnwell.

Housing Authority gives James ‘purpose and passion’

Destiny James has a passion, purpose and plan.

Growing up, James was raised by a single mother in the Carolyn Court apartments in the small town of Denmark, but she had big dreams. She turns 20 this week and is about to start her junior year in college.

“She said, ‘Don’t tell me the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon,’” said Denmark-Olar High School (DOHS) Principal Mickey Pringle of his former student.

Help ‘Stuff the Bus’ over next two weekends

Local Clemson and Carolina fans will get a chance to see whose fans are the most generous over the next two weekends.

The Barnwell County United Way will be holding its annual “Stuff the Bus” school supply drive in front of Walmart in Barnwell on August 11-12 and 18-19 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Shoppers are encouraged to purchase school supplies to donate to the United Way.

“Those donations will be distributed evenly between Barnwell County’s three public school districts,” said Barnwell United Way Chief Professional Officer John Haskell.

Haskell named CPO of Barnwell Co. United Way

The United Way of Barnwell County has hired John C. Haskell as its new chief professional officer.

Haskell, 63, of Barnwell, replaces Jess Wilbanks who moved to Atlanta, Ga.

The Barnwell United Way is a volunteer service organization which raises funds and distributes that money to other non-profit organizations in Barnwell and Allendale counties.

Barnwell County’s United Way also sponsors projects such as the upcoming “Stuff the Bus” school supply drive and “Project Care” in the spring which benefits individuals, communities and schools, said Haskell.

Filing open for seats on 7 town councils

Filing has begun for seats on seven local town councils, according to the Barnwell County Election Commission.

Filing opened Aug. 1 and will remain open until Aug. 15 at noon. Candidates have to file at the Barnwell County Voter Registration and Elections Office located at 367 Fuldner Rd., Barnwell.

The General Election for citizens residing inside the municipal boundaries of Barnwell, Blackville, Elko, Kline, Hilda, Snelling and Williston will be held on Tuesday, November 7.

A runoff election, if necessary, will be held two weeks later on Thursday, November 21.

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