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Williston hopes plant expansion will help water issues too

The Dixie-Narco plant expansion will not only mean a boost to the Williston's economic base, but may provide solutions to the town's ongoing problems with its water system.

If the town can relate improvements of its water system to job creation, it may mean grants will fund these improvements, said Scott Neely, the town administrator.

The town has already ordered a preliminary engineering report on its water system. The report will be completed in about a month, he said.

Filling stomachs before minds

For the past four years, the Brown Chapel Missionary Church has been taking its message of compassion and fellowship from behind the walls of the church to the front door of the community.

The church celebrated its fourth Back To School Giveaway and Health Fair Aug. 15 at the Barnwell Elementary School.
About 20 church members handed out notebooks, pens, paper and other school supplies to prepare children for the new academic year.

Board fires Denmark Technical College president

A month after suspending Dr. John Waddell from the presidency of Denmark Technical College, the college's board voted to fire him.

During a two and a half hour meeting Aug. 17, the Denmark Technical College Area Commission voted unanimously to terminate Waddell.

Waddell was fired due to "irregularities in finance and procurement, personnel and perhaps some other areas of operations with the college," said James D. Hayes, the chairman of the DTC Area Commission. "We have found that some of these irregularities sufficient for his termination."

Barnwell water rates to rise

Barnwell city residents can expect to see their water and sewer rates increase in the near future.

During the Aug. 3 City Council meeting, the council gave first reading on ordinances that would enact increases in the water and sewer rates for its residential and commercial customers.

Ordinances must undergo two readings before becoming permanent. A public hearing will be held before the second reading is done during the Sept. 14 City Council meeting.

Barnwell County Council makes resolution for "rainy day" reserve fund

Although the Chem-Nuclear money has been greately reduced, there is still a possibilty the county might benefit from it.

Council approved a resolution for Chem-Nuclear funds - other than license fees - to be put in a reserve fund instead of the general fund during an August 4 meeting.

"It's an effort to try and get some reserve funds so we don't have to borrow money," said County Councilman Keith Sloan.

Currently, Council has borrowed a $2.5 million tax anticipation note to cover costs and shortfalls.

Williston town council prepares for Dixie-Narco expansion

Williston is getting down to the fine print as it prepares for the expansion of the Dixie-Narco plant.

The Williston Town Council gave first reading to an ordinance that accepts the tax incentive agreements that both the town and Barnwell County are entering into with the vending machine manufacturer that will double its operations in town.

The ordinance was discussed during the Aug. 10 regular meeting of Williston Town Council.

Double duty: Waller steps into two prinicipalships

Leo Waller likes to think he is the newest family member in a family of educators.

The Orangeburg native is the new principal for the Blackville-Hilda Junior High and Blackville-Hilda High School.

"I want the schools to be schools of passion where failure is not an option and all the students achieve at high levels," said Waller.

Prosperity for students is Waller's goal and what he loves best about education.

"My biggest enjoyment is watching individual students grow academically and meet with success," he said.

Wooing a job: "Speed-date" idea applied to job search

Job hunting and dating are similar: Someone is trying to start a relationship with someone else for mutual benefit.

The One-Stop job placement agency in Barnwell County borrowed from the dating scene the "speed-dating" concept to help area job-seekers and veterans land employment prospects.

"It's called ‘An Interview and a Quick Step.' It's going to be set up like a speed date," said Torienia Tucker, the One-Stop director. One-Stop is part of the S.C. Employment Security Commission.

County pledges cooperation with 2010 census

Barnwell County is getting ready for the 2010 census and taking steps to get a better head count.

During an Aug. 4 County Council meeting, Paul Shepherd - a partnership specialist for Census 2010 - spoke to council members on the importance of forming a complete count committee.

A complete count committee targets areas where people would most likely not return census forms, said Shepherd.

"It (complete count committee) is a group of people who know the community well and assist people in returning their census forms," he said. "It's an easy way to get an accurate count."

No more lazy days: Summer down to less week for area youth

It's August and the heat of summer is still around.

However, another season is heating up and coming around as well - school.

For youth in Barnwell County, the days of care-free liberty are melting away to a precious few like ice cream on the sidewalk.

The first day of school is Aug. 17 for the three public districts.

For Jefferson Davis Academy, students return for a half-day of class Aug. 21 and begin its first full day Aug. 24, said headmaster Bryan England.

One course, twice the credit

"Double time" in marching means soldiers have to pick up the pace to twice their normal step.

However, "double time" around the Barnwell County Career Center has a different meaning.

This school year, there are six courses that students could take to give them dual credit both in high school and college.

Basically, the high school student could take the course at BCCC and it would satisfy a high school graduation credit requirement as well as transfer to their college or technical school record in their post-high school academic career, said Sam McKay, the BCCC director.

Man dreams of field with his name on it

For Ed Beasley, it's a matter of appreciation.

Long before Lemon Park became a sports complex with multiple ballfields, Beasley was a volunteer for the city, preparing the park's one ballfield at the time for games.

Now Beasley just wants a little recognition for his efforts from decades ago.

Beasley appeared before the Barnwell City Council during its Aug. 3 meeting to plead his case that one of the new ballfields to the recently renovated and expanded Lemon Park sports complex should bear his name.

Beasley spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting.

Watch for flying saucers at Fuller Park as it gets disc golf

Soon Barnwell will have another golf course available for its residents.

However, Sweetwater Country Club, the county-owned golf course on the outskirts of Barnwell city limits, doesn't need to worry about the competition.

This golf course is for flying discs, not little white balls.

The city of Barnwell anticipates opening its disc golf course at Fuller Park by the second week of August.

Blackville school district readies itself for new school year

The Blackville-Hilda school district is getting ready to swing open its doors and it has some good news for students.

Facility improvements, a $200,000 grant and a new high school principal were on the agenda at a special called board meeting July 27.

District Superintendent Teresa Pope told the board that infrastructure improvements at the Macedonia Elementary School and Blackville-Hilda High School are nearly complete.

She noted the elementary school has a new roof and the high school has undergone roof repairs.

Hospital seeks USDA rural health loan to cover debts

Barnwell County Hospital is working toward better financial stability.

During a July 30 hospital board meeting, the board gave its collective approval to Chief Financial Officer Al Altman to send out three letters for loan appropriations.

One letter is requesting Barnwell County Council's approval for an approximate $1.5 million USDA-backed loan through the South Carolina Office of Rural Health, said Mary Wisner Valliant, the chief executive officer of the hospital.

Downtown Blackville Farmers Market still a growing project

Just in time for National Farmers Market Week, the Downtown Blackville Farmers Market has gone from being an afternoon entity to a morning person.

Starting July 31, the county farmers market switched from its Friday afternoon hours to Friday mornings.

Blame the very sun that causes the plants to grow for causing the switch.

"It was getting too hot," said Jeanne Johnson, the farmers market manager. "Some (vendors) had dropped out because of the heat but I hope they will be back."

The market will now be open Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

In the driver's seat

"Touch-a-Truck," was an event sponsored by the Barnwell Recreation Department that exposed children to careers through the vehicles professionals drive.

Children could climb inside the vehicles and ask questions of the different professionals or adults at the event.

The event was held July 29 at Veterans Memorial Park.

Other vehicles on hand included a Local Motion commuter van, the Sheriff's Emergency Response Team truck and a bulldozer, tractor and dump truck from the city of Barnwell.

Cash registers ring before school bell does

To get students off on the right foot for the 2009-10 school year, volunteers are hoping to first get the community on the bus.

United Way of Barnwell County is launching its third annual "Stuff the Bus," school supplies drive this weekend. The campaign is to collect donated school items for needy children in Barnwell County that can be distributed during the school year.

The event will be Aug. 7 from 2 to 8 p.m. and Aug. 8 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. United Way volunteers will be in front of Wal-Mart asking for donations.

Wet end to summer feeding program in Barnwell County

The summer feeding program ended in Kline with full bellies and drenching blasts from a firehose in the steamy afternoon heat.

Children who participated in the Kline site summer feeding program got wet, played games and were treated to authentic Mexican delicacies July 31.

Since the first week of June, around 3,000 meals have been served in Kline to about 15 to 30 children a day, said Mary Still, the Kline site coordinator.

"The program is to ensure that children will have a nutritious lunch every day," said Still.

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