Countywide tour shows local treasures in our midst

It was a day of discovery - finding new things in old places, old things in new places, and making friendships in the process.

Southern charm, gracious hosts and seeds of information were found in a garden of discovery as "ambassadors" were treated to a unique tour of Barnwell County.

On June 24 a busload of 55 "ambassadors" were shuttled around Barnwell County and introduced to its sights, sounds and smells that were meant to be savored and - later - shared.

Finding shelter from heat's swelter

Hot enough for you? - It's been a common enough question to ask in the past few days around the county.

While there has not been extreme heat, the heat index has hovered near the century mark over the past few days.

The forecast for the next week calls for high temperatures to hover between 93 and 98 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

But these temperatures are not extreme.

The average June temperature is around 88 degrees and July's average is around 91 degrees.

Columbia killer flees to Williston where he ends his life

A man who murdered his wife in Columbia fled to Barnwell County where he took his own life.

Omar Kenyatta Gordon, 32, of Columbia, was wanted by city of Columbia police on charges of murder and assault and battery with intent to kill stemming from an incident that occurred in Columbia.

On June 25 at about 11 p.m., Gordon appeared in the front yard at 2928 English Ave., Columbia, where his wife was living, according to a press release from the Columbia city police department.

In the heat of the chase

An armed robbery in rural Barnwell County resulted in the manhunt of one suspect that authorities are still seeking.

At about 12:27 p.m., June 28, Barnwell County sheriff's deputies were called to 4818 Popular Road about a robbery that just occurred.

A car with four people inside had driven up to the residence. One person went inside the house while another confronted a resident of the house in the front yard. The other two people remained in the car, said Barnwell County Sheriff Ed Carroll.

Staying cool: Senior citizens center opens cooling station

When the hot temperatures of summer, coupled by the humidity, settle over the land like a wet, wool blanket, people can be in danger of heat exhaustion or heat stroke, particularly the very young or very old.

To provide some heat relief, the Gail Reyes Senior Center in Barnwell has started a cooling station for residents.

Inside, people can find air-conditioning, iced water and board games to pass the time, said Sheila Brooks, the senior services manager for Generations Unlimited, the agency that runs the senior center.

Blackville budget doesn't show item for previously discussed town administrator

Blackville Town Council voted June 15 at the regular town council meeting to approve a budget for the upcoming year without a line item for a new town administrator.

Councilman Rubert Reed asked Mayor Jackie Holman about the omission.

Former councilman Dan Ligon and current councilmen Reed and Harry Felder agreed during the May 18 regular council meeting that hiring a town administrator would be beneficial for the town.

Felder said it would be "the best money ever spent."

Car dealership rolls past 20-year mile marker

A local businessman was recently surprised by an anniversary celebration - but he only wanted to share the spotlight with his employees.

Howard Bush, owner of B&B Ford in Barnwell, celebrated 20 years of being in business June 15 with his family and employees. Those employees are what Bush says makes his business successful.

"Every person is important and it is a team effort," he said.

Bush said he has a great group of people working for him. They are certified and work to maintain those certifications, he said.

"That is the strength of the business," he said.

Police complaint comes before Williston town council

Filings - one of complaints and another of candidates - were part of the June 8 regular Williston Town Council meeting.

During the meeting, the council and Mayor Tommy Rivers heard complaints from resident Lonnie Atkins concerning the Williston Police Department.

Atkins said his complaints stem fom several instances some of which occurred between two and three months ago.

In one instance Atkins said officers illegally searched his truck.

On May 30, Atkins said an officer turned in front of him while he was riding his motorcycle, almost causing Atkins to wreck.

Water lessons return like tides to shore for FINS program

Two years ago, Deonta Spann began taking formal swim lessons through FINS, a local community swim program.

Now he has come full cycle as Spann was in the pool again last week - as an FINS instructor.

FINS is a local program to teach Barnwell County youth water safety and basic swimming skills. The program was the brainchild of the late B.B. Baxley, a Barnwell pawn broker and Rotarian. It is now supported by the Axis 1 Center of Barnwell and the Rotary Club of Barnwell County. The overall goal of FINS is to teach a child enough about water to prevent drownings.

Filing deadline nears on Banwell, Williston municipal elections

The filing deadline for the Barnwell and Williston city and town council elections is approaching and there appears to be no new contenders in the ring vying for a seat at the municipal tables.

The deadline for filing is June 26 and the elections are Sept. 8 with three open seats in Barnwell and four in Williston.

In Barnwell, City Administrator John Zawacki said incumbent city councilmen Ben Duncan and Robert Pattillo have filed for the race and both are seeking re-election.

Duncan is running for a fifth term, Duncan said.

Study sees nuclear renaissance

A new study is drawing a road map for high school and middle school students to set foot on what many believe is the coming nuclear renaissance to South Carolina.

The study finds a significant gap between new workers and aging retiring workers in the nuclear industry even as 10,000 new jobs may emerge in the next decade in the Central Savannah River Area.

Savannah River Site Community Reuse Organization (SRSCRO) - an economic development group - hired consulting group Booz Allen Hamilton for the study.

Job fair for SRS/stimulus jobs attracts hundreds

The line weaved out of the Barnwell Primary School cafeteria along the sidewalk to the front of the school and then beside the semicircular driveway to the street.

Several hundred feet of sidewalk - crowded with several hundred people.

These were people seeking jobs through the more than $1.6 billion federal stimulus package that is coming through the Savannah River Site and the U.S. Department of Energy.

The package will create or retain about 3,000 temporary jobs at SRS overall. The jobs will be to clean up areas at SRS as part its environmental management mission.

Boys and Girls Club gets financial support for start-up in Barnwell County

Sanctuary is another term for a safe haven.

That's what a group of Barnwell County residents want to establish in the county for its youth.

"A lot of times, children have nothing to do once they are out of school," said James Wallace, the board chairman for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southern Carolina.

First Baptist's pastor in Barnwell to take over Sumter pulpit

Transitions - it's what the Rev. Dr. Stephen Burnette has seen occur at First Baptist Church of Barnwell during his tenure there.

The church will undergo more transition as it searches for a new pastor.

Burnette has accepted the senior pastor's position at First Baptist Church of Sumter. He will begin there the first week of August.

Burnette's last Sunday service in Barnwell will be June 28. He came to Barnwell December 1995 from Millbrook Baptist Church in Aiken.

Barnwell County personnel part of multi-county hurricane drill

As the high winds howled across the county, the emergency response crews nestled deep in the Barnwell County Emergency Operation Center in the courthouse basement lept into action.

A tornado had touched down in the Heathwood neigborhood and electrical fires were breaking out along with reports of people missing.

Barnwell Rural, Hilda and Friendship fire departments are called to respond to fires.

Barnwell County Sheriff's deputies are asked to keep non-emergency people out of Heathwood while two medics from two shelters are placed on standby.

Barnwell police to handicap violators of handicapped parking with tickets

The Barnwell Police Department has launched its enforcement campaign of handicap parking violators.

There are numerous handicap parking zones throughout the city. These parking zones are there to make life easier for those who are handicapped, said Barnwell Police Chief Todd Gantt.

Some of these designated zones are located on public streets and some on private parking lots, he said.

Many of these handicap parking zones are being illegally used by non-handicapped people with an indifference to the plight of the handicapped, Gantt said.

Do tell! Salkehatchie Stew 'boils' stories for more than entertainment

Like the stories themselves, storytelling has many layers and can bring many results.

The stories spilled forth in humor and heartache during "Barnwell County's Boil," the local 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.

The region is defined in that all the counties are connected by the Salkehatchie River.

Do tell! Project's idea is to grow local talent

The stories, like the entertainers who told them, were homegrown.

Although the Salkehatchie Stew project brought in professional storyteller Sheila Kay Adams to relate some of her Appalachian tales from the mountains of western North Carolina, local people took the stage primarily during "Barnwell County Boil," the Barnwell County version of the Stew.

Many of the local storytellers spun their yarns June 13 at the Edisto Research and Education Center in Blackville during the second day of the two-day event.

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.


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