Windfall: Some Atlantic Compact funds still available

School districts across Barnwell County are able to loosen their financial belts slightly with some unexpected Chem-Nuclear money.

The news was welcome at county school districts that are under fiscal strains with a four percent state cut to their operating budgets.

The Blackville-Hilda and Williston-Elko school districts both received around $214,000 and Barnwell got about $428,000.

"We were glad to see it," said Shirley Kitchings, the CFO for Barnwell school district.

Police lock up grants for its department

For families on a tight budget, receiving extra money is a bonus. When a public agency receives extra money, it can in turn help many families.

This time that help will go toward the Barnwell Police Department.

Todd Gantt, the police chief of the Barnwell Police department said he is not able to put on additional officers with the grants his department has received. However the department has been able to keep all its officers and replace several cars in the process.

Barnwell Police Department has received three grants totaling $231,714.

Hauling heavy: 'Superload' shipment makes its way slowly through region

After months of speculation as to when it would be coming through the area, the "superload" is now on the road.

A giant oversized tractor trailer shipment will roll through Barnwell County within the next several days.

Together the generator and the special heavy duty carrier it is being transported on is 23 feet tall; 28 feet wide and 300 feet long.

The generator has been slung between two heavy duty carrier rigs. Each rig has 18 axles each and the carrier total has more than 100 tires.

Surprise hive

Charlie Neal, top, removes the remains of a hornets nest from the inside wall above an exterior door.

Neal and his son Chris were called to the house, which is being renovated after workers noted the hornets around the residence.

Neal, a local exterminator, said it was unusual for hornets to build a nest inside a structure, since they typically build their papery hives outside in trees or overhanging eaves.

A small hive was attached to the outside eaves and somehow the insects had found a way inside, he said.

Blackville couple indicted

Columbia - U.S. Attorney W. Walter Wilkins said a federal grand jury indicted Stacy Duncan Delk, 32, and Kelly P. Delk, 31, both of Blackville, on charges of credit card fraud Sept. 17.

Stacy Delk was also charged with six counts of aggravated identity theft, according to a press release from Wilkins' office.

Barnwell council ushers in new city hall with slate of ordinances

The Sept. 14 Barnwell City Council meeting was the first held in the city's new city hall and council chambers. City council wasted no time in getting down to business.

In the regular council meeting, Council approved several ordinances that aimed at increasing revenue for the city. The city council:

• approved a second reading of ordinance 2009-5 to provide an increase in water rates for residential and commercial;

• approved a second reading of ordinance 2009-6 to provide an increase in sewer rates for residential and commercial customers;

Unemployment rates for county drop slightly

Unemployment rates - the economic yardstick to measure commerce locally and nationally - dipped slightly in recent months for Barnwell County.

Barnwell County posted a 19 percent unemployment rate in July, which was a slight decrease from the 19.5 percent it had been in June.

These figures are the latest issued by the S.C. Employment Security Commission.

211 hotline activates in state for swine flu information

Barnwell County residents trying to get a handle on information regarding HINI have a new resource at their fingertips.

The United Way-sponsored information hotline 211 is now available to all county residents, said Tim Ervolina, the S.C. United Way president.

The information line is free and open 24/7.

Previously, only cell phone users and callers in sections of Williston had accesses to 211, said Fred Geier, the Barnwell County United Way director.

Black tie event draws attention to 4-year-old kindergarten

To raise the awareness about the importance of 4-year-old kindergarten in the area and the state, it's going to take a black tie.

The New Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church of Barnwell and its daycare center on Marlboro Avenue will be hosting a "black tie soiree" to let the community know the benefits of 4K child programs for children in that it prepares them for first grade.

Public schools have rolled back its all day 4K programs to half days this year because of education budget cuts and some schools don't have the room for them, said Ormica Mixon, the facility's director.

Blackville blaze destroys house

Willie James Williams sat on the steps along the sidewalk at Hillcrest Street in Blackville in front of his house.

The yard in front of him was blackened and the sidewalk leading to the house was wet and crossed by hoses.

Sunday afternoon, Sept. 13, Williams house was the center of activity on the street after a fire broke out about 4 p.m.

Firefighters from Blackville and Hilda Fire Departments responded to the fire, which was fully involved by the time they arrived.

Election debate over its means, not its ends

Put both municipal elections together and there still would have been less than 2 percent of the eligible voters of both towns that participated in them.

Williston and Barnwell held their municipal council elections Sept. 8 - although both contests were pretty much foregone conclusions as all incumbents involved ran for re-election and none had opposition.

In Williston, 1.3 percent of the town's 3,011 eligible voters participated in Tuesday's election - a total of 43 ballots cast.

Rex makes Blackville first stop after joining governor's race

The same day he announced his bid for governor, S.C. Secretary of Education Jim Rex stopped in the Blackville-Hilda 19 school district to tour its golf learning facility.

Rex spoke to a room full of Blackville teachers, students, school board members and community figures at the Blackville Country Club Sept. 15. Rex spoke on the importance of public education and workforce development.

Rex said the golf learning facility is a "wonderful project."

Televised feed draws psychiatric care near

It's the next best thing to getting a house call from the doctor.

Barnwell County Hospital is one of eight facilities in South Carolina to have a new telepsychiatry consultation service.

"If you can't get to a psychiatrist - then he or she can come to you," said Susan Eichman, the BCH emergency department nurse manager.

Because of statewide cutbacks to mental health, a $3 million Duke Endowment grant is being shared with hospitals across the state for closed circuit television psychiatrist consultations for patients on an encoded dedicated T-1 line.

Local fire department remembers 9-11 brethren

To honor those fire fighters who lost their lives in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City, Barnwell City Fire Department set up its ladder truck on the Circle Sept. 11, 2009. The raised ladder was adorned with a large American flag. The truck's basket was also draped with a black cloth, further signifying the loss. A sign on the fire truck proclaimed 343 - the number of firefighters who lost their lives on that day in New York alone. Smaller flags dotted other areas around town as people in their own ways acknowledged the anniversary of this tragedy.

Rural fire razes old house

An afternoon fire reduced an abandoned country house to ashes in Barnwell County.

Firefighters from Hilda, Barnwell Rural and Friendship Fire Departments responded to the blaze at about 4:45 p.m., Sept. 5.

The fire was first noted and called into 911 by S.C. Department of Natural Resource personnel who spotted it from a DNR aircraft.

The fire occurred off of Starling Road east of Barnwell in the county.

Firefighters had some difficulty getting to the house, which had brush and trees grown up near it, said Lt. Burnette Black with the Hilda Fire Department.

Jets buzz Barnwell airport as part of maneuver

Two low-flying military aircraft raised heads and eyebrows recently when they appeared over Barnwell County.

Two C-17 Globemaster military cargo planes made two low, slow passes over the Barnwell Regional Airport Aug. 29, leading some people to inquire to The People-Sentinel whether the planes were in trouble themselves or responding to trouble.

"There were no planes in trouble," said Cal Hoffman, a Barnwell airport commissioner. Hoffman also volunteers at the airport.

DTC and Kronotex collaborate for apprenticeship program

Kronotex, the laminate flooring manufacturer, is teaming up with Denmark Technical College to offer apprenticeships in one of its skilled positions.

Kronotex is offering 12 apprenticeships as electromechanical technicians to its existing employees through Apprenticeship Carolina, a program that has been registered and approved by the U.S. Department of Labor. The company and SouthernCarolina Alliance, the regional economical development group, announced the Kronotex plans Sept 3.

Red Oak subdivision plans put on hold

Residents in Red Oak gathered to air their concerns about a new development being planned on Red Oak Road.

More than 20 residents appeared for the meeting, including County Councilman Thomas Williams and Council chairman Joe Smith.
Williams represents the Red Oak community on the council.

Joe Gaines, resident of the Red Oak area, started the meeting by handing out a flyer, which stated why the meeting had been called, which was over the "development of large number of trailers to be put on land located on Red Oak Road," as stated on the flyer.

Barnwell County Council looks at tri-county health alliance

Similar to the national scale, Barnwell County Council is looking for ways to improve health care in the region.

During a Sept. 1 County Council meeting, Council gave a collective nod to enter into an inter-governmental agreement with Allendale and Bamberg counties and a health care consulting firm, Stroudwater Associates.

Stroudwater will give advice to all three counties on how to improve its health care systems, said Council Chairman Joe Smith.

Barnwell recreation unveils full slate of autumn activities

Over 500 individuals enjoyed 44 different summer programs with the City of Barnwell.

Emily Randell, the parks and recreation director for the city, has seen many classes through to their completion for the summer.

She is now looking forward to the fall.

The parks and recreation fall 2009-program guide is now available for residents and non-residents to peruse and find classes to improve their knowledge, learn a new skill or just have fun.

The guide contains information on recreational activities for people of all ages from September through December, she said.


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