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.”

Chief Corley thanked for service to Blackville

Retiring Blackville Fire Chief Hariel Corley took center stage Monday night as he was honored by the Blackville Town Council and firefighters.

Corley, 73, recently retired after spending 47 years with the Blackville Fire Department.

He said, “Just being able to successfully lead a group of people” such as his fellow volunteer firefighters is his greatest achievement over the years.

During that time he lobbied council for equipment, training and funding. A new fire truck, brush truck and equipment stand testimony to that effort.

Circle Theatre transforms stage and teen campers

Circle Theatre was transformed into a tropical oasis as 27 teens brought “Once on this Island Jr.” to life.

The play is very different from the comedic plays typically chosen for Circle Theatre’s summer camp because it’s a drama with difficult Caribbean-flavored music as well as polytheism and dark undertones. However, when camp director Betty Bohmer asked the teens what type of play they wanted to do, “so many of them said they wanted a musical and something dramatic,” she said.

YMCA showcases effort to end child hunger

Making sure children don’t go hungry during the summer months is the focus of both state and local organizations. As part of that focus, Barnwell County’s Family YMCA is a site that was selected as part of a statewide tour by the South Carolina Department of Education and End Child Hunger South Carolina to showcase their efforts.

On Friday, July 14, five women were given a tour of the facility by Executive Director Matt Mullen. They were just in time for snacks with 10 children participating in the summer program at the Barnwell Y.

Ribbon cut on Barnwell Urgent Care Center

“This is a turning point.”

That was the opinion of Barnwell County Councilman Jerry Creech at the grand opening of Barnwell Urgent Care on Thursday, July 13 in Barnwell.

That turning point was made possible by Roger Phillips of Atlanta, Ga., who is CEO of Heritage Healthcare which owns the new non-profit Barnwell Urgent Care.

Phillips has family roots in the low country and served on Barnwell County Council’s Medical Advisory Committee after the closure of Southern Palmetto Hospital last year. He said he felt the need to do something to fill the gap.

D45 sees federal funding drop

Though final allocations are not in, Barnwell District 45 is expecting a drop in some federal funding.

Last year the district received just over $1 million in Title 1 funds, which was their largest allocation to date. However, preliminary numbers show they will only receive $963,407.20 next year, said Linda Zionkowski, the district’s director of federal programs, during the July 13 meeting. Despite the drop, she said, they are still better off than some districts that saw greater decreases.

Brian Johnson hired as police chief

There’s a new chief in town.

Barnwell City Council unanimously approved the police committee’s recommendation to hire Brian Johnson as the new chief of the Barnwell Police Department. Johnson, who was hired last year as a captain with the department, had been serving as interim chief since Reuben Black was removed from office earlier this year.

“We are fortunate to have a man of his character and ability,” said Councilman W.C. Black of Johnson during the July 10 council meeting. He along with Councilman Benjamin Duncan make up the police committee.

Event makes learning ‘possum’ble

The Williston Library has several books about animals, but children got an up-close lesson on reptiles, birds, amphibians and mammals last week.

Sean Poppy from the University of Georgia’s Savannah River Ecology Lab (SREL) visited the library on July 6 as part of the ABBE Regional Library System’s Summer Reading Program. He previously visited the Barnwell and Blackville libraries.

“They don’t want to bother us,” said Poppy of how most animals are afraid of humans and typically do not attack unless provoked or threatened.

Event aims to reconnect families, fathers on July 14

Father’s Day is over, but an upcoming event aims to reconnect families and fathers.

The S.C. Regional Housing Authority #3 and Beaufort Housing Authority are partnering to host a Belated Father’s Day Event on Friday, July 14 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Barnwell Elementary School (10524 Marlboro Ave., Barnwell). The theme is "Building Healthy Families”.


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