Quilters sew patchwork of history in cloth

While local storytellers kept people in stitches with their humorous yarns at the Edisto Research and Education Center in Blackville, the stories were in the stitches at the nearby Learning Center.

"A Stitch in Time: Quilts and Stories about Quilting" was one of the other features at Barnwell County's Boil, the Barnwell County version of Salkehatchie Stew.

Salkehatchie Stew is a project to culturally and economically develop Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Hampton and Colleton counties through music, drama and storytelling.

Out, into the world now: Classes of 2009 exit county's public high schools

Like caterpillars that emerge as butterflies, hundreds of Barnwell County youth broke through the cocoon of their high school years with graduation.

However, their first nights after their high school years were wet ones as rain dampened all the ceremonies.

The three public high schools held their commencement services at the end of last week. Blackville-Hilda High held its graduation June 4 while Williston-Elko and Barnwell High Schools had theirs June 5.

Barnwell County feels sting of budget shortfalls

The Barnwell County Council unanimously approved to update its employee policy during a June 2 meeting after a lengthy executive session.

The policy provides guidance to Council in case a reduction in the county workforce is needed, said Councilman Keith Sloan.

"The last thing we want to do is send people home," said Councilman Travis Black.

Sloan said there has never been a policy covering job reductions in place before.

"We may not have a reduction in force - we're doing everything we can not to have one," said Sloan.

Barnwell City Council looking for more space for parking at Lemon Park complex

One of the main topics of discussion at the June 1 regular council meeting for the city of Barnwell was somewhat of a welcomed problem.
Parking continues to be an issue at the new Lemon Park sports complex.

City Administrator John Zawacki was asked last month to survey the parking needs at the park and Zawacki presented his findings June 1.

Excluding tournaments, weekday games of Barnwell teams brings between 325 to 430 cars to the complex, Zawacki said.

Currently the complex has one completed parking lot which contains 109 spaces.

Local doctor receives rural practitioner of the year award

A love of learning, a personal touch and seeing familiar faces has helped a Barnwell County physician reach a distinguished honor.

Dr. Richard Boyles was the recipient of the South Carolina Office of Rural Health's 2009 Outstanding Rural Practitioner of the year.

He was honored April 30 at an awards luncheon during the SCORH annual conference in Hilton Head.

Boyles is a general practitioner at Barnwell Family Medicine in Barnwell.

"I'm very honored and it was a total surprise," said Boyles.

Summer means snakes will be active

With people outside in the warm weather, they are bound to eventually run into some of Mother Nature's creatures. Usually more than just mosquitoes.

While cleaning up outside at the Allied Air plant in Blavkille James New encountered a rattlesnake more than five feet long, which he killed.

The snake had 13 rattles and it also had several pouches along its side. The pouches contained unborn young.

New is a maintenance mechanical electrician at Allied Air.

Barnwell boy finds himself in national competition - for a spell

Words became more than a string of letters to one Barnwell student as it allowed him a trip to the Capitol and an opportunity to compete on a national scale.

Bradford Geter, 12, a seventh grader at Guinyard-Butler Middle School, participated in the 2009 Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C. May 26-27. The national bee is sponsored by the Scripps newspaper chain.

Geter was among 293 middle school students nationwide who gathered to see who could spell the most accurately.

United Way scam hasn't surfaced in South Carolina

No evidence of a scam in Indiana that tries to link itelf with the United Way has surfaced in this area or in the state, said the Barnwell County head of United Way.

"I have heard nothing about it in the state of South Carolina. I have not heard from anyone from the state United Way - and the way we are connected in the state, I would have heard about it," said Fred Geier, the director of the Barnwell County United Way.

Heavy downpours cause flooding in Williston

Rain fell across Barnwell County June 5, but seemed to pour most of its efforts - and water - into Williston.

Williston experienced heavy downpours that caused the flooding of several streets in town late that afternoon and evening.

The section of S.C. 113 along the pond near the Williston Country Club and the backside of the Williston school district property near the American Legion flooded, said Timbo Williams, the county fire coordinator.

Williams said there was other flooded areas along Elko Street at the Dixie-Narco plant and near the Winfield Heights Methodist Church.

Barnwell County Hospital earns a top score

The Barnwell County Hospital is finding itself in an elite class with other top healers.

With a recent quarterly score of 85 given by the Joint Commission, BCH finds itself inching closer to the top 25 percent of hospitals in the nation.

The Joint Commission - a health care accreditation agency - scores hospitals nationally from one to 500 on the quality of health care and safety.

The national average for hospitals is 146; the state average is 121; the top 25 percent national average for hospitals is 62, according to data the hospital supplied at a May 28 board meeting.

Barnwell 45 considers budget and bond

Regardless of the wrangling between Washington D.C. and Gov. Mark Sanford over federal stimulus stabilization funds for education, school districts around the state are having to prepare budgets for its next fiscal year.

It was no different for Barnwell 45 as its school board gave a third reading to its fiscal year 2009-10 budget during its regular meeting May 28.

The board heard the reading but has not given final approval of it.

The budget has not been finalized yet, said the district chief financial officer, Shirley Kitchings.

District to get stimulus funds: Money is not from $700 million Sanford snubs

The Barnwell 45 school district will be getting stimulus money - of a sort - after all.

The cash-strapped district will receive $384,391 through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), where much of the stimulus money from the federal government is coming.

However, the money is coming through Title I of the U.S. Department of Education. Title I is part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to help poor children with their education needs. Title I includes such programs as the free and reduce school lunches.

Santuary provides haven for feral felines

There's a new gated community in Barnwell County that includes two-story condominiums and an exercise area.

However, this subdivision isn't for people.

It's for cats.

Just off S.C. 3, the Animal Advocates have established a 30-by-70-foot fenced sanctuary for about a dozen cats.

The inaugural residents of this enclosure are cats that had been running loose around Lake Brown.

Vikki Scott, the president of Animal Advocates, has been trapping the felines and relocating them to the sanctuary.

"They have gone from poverty to a gated community," Scott said.

Weather creates promising forecast for harvest

Barnwell County is moving into the growing season with a bountiful harvest of good conditions.

The county has been out of drought status since April 15, said Mark Malsick, the severe weather liaison for the S.C. Climatology Office.

"Lake levels are normal across the state and river flows are mainly normal," he said.

The state drought response committee looks at a number of factors other than precipitation and collects information from various sources and agencies before determining drought status, said Malsick.

Writing love of learning early in young minds

Bertha Folk sees teachers more as lifesavers than instructors.

"Doctors save lives medically and I personally believe teachers save lives academically," said Folk, a first grade teacher at Macedonia Elementary School in Blackville.

There are 14 first grade students in Folk's class and half of them are reading on a third grade level and others on a second grade level.

"It's a joy to see them have a love of books," she said.

"The vast majority of my students met or exceeded their MAP targeted goal," said Folk.

Fight over school money near an end

COLUMBIA - Gov. Mark Sanford predicted his fight to block federal money for schools is coming to an end and says he won't appeal court decisions on the issue.

Sanford told reporters and the Associated Press June 1 that he wasn't optimistic the court would side with him in a months-long battle against $700 million intended to spare schools and colleges from deep budget cuts.

Summer feeding program: Appetites don't go on vacation

It's like summer school for the stomach.

Children who receive free or reduced cost lunches during the school year will still have the opportunity to receive meals through the summer feeding program.

This year's summer feeding program will run in Barnwell County from June 8 through July 31.

The program has 46 sites designated so far countywide where meals will be delivered.

Restaurant is an investment for one family

Austin's Restaurant is more than just a place to grab something to eat.

It's a building that is constructing a future for a young boy and providing family entertainment to the community.

The combination restaurant/game room/alcohol-free karaoke center - located on U.S. 278 - is owned and operated by Joe Gioiosa and his wife, Debra.

Gioisa's 9-year-old grandson, Austin May, helps cook, clean, make change and wait on customers.

"I wanted to get something going for my grandson," said Gioiosa.

Blackville councilman resigns

Blackville needs one town official now but also wants another in the future.

During the regular monthly meeting May 18, council member Dan Ligon, resigned his position from the council, "effective today," Ligon said.

Ligon cited his business as the reason for his resignation.
Ligon owns a construction company that has been pursuing jobs in Texas.

Ligon said he thought the job would be temporary, but it has turned into longer term jobs and he didn't think he could effectively serve the town.


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