News

Hospital to furlough non-healthcare employees

The Barnwell County Hospital is taking a healthy approach to hard economic times and Medicare woes without cutting into the quality of its patient care.

At a Barnwell County Council meeting Feb. 3, Mary Wisner, the interim chief executive officer for BCH, presented Council with a cost-containment program that will save the facility about $236,000 a month.

"The hospital is being proactive to a decrease in funds from Medicare and Medicaid," said Wisner.

Since the hospital's fiscal year began in October, it has suffered a loss of about $400,000, she said.

Blackville group opens new low-income houses

Brick by brick and house by house, the Blackville Community Development Corporation is hoping to improve Blackville from the ground up.

On Feb. 6, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to celebrate the end of a four-year project for the BCDC.

The nonprofit community group swung open the doors of four modular homes on South Boundary Street for low-income families to rent.

BCDC members, as well as community and area figures, toured the three-bedroom, two bathroom homes after the ribbon-cutting.

Committee takes another step towards community center

The first steps in making the Williston-Elko Community Resource Center a reality took place at the Feb. 3 Barnwell County Council meeting.

Council gave a collective nod to clear a portion of land - capped at the cost of $10,000 - in mid-February and conduct a groundbreaking ceremony in March at the center's future site.

The Williston-Elko Community Resource Center will be located behind the Williston Library on Academy Street, said Barnwell County Councilman Freddie Houston.

Kline gets land for recreational usage

Recreation programs in area towns seem to be getting a boost even as the economy continues to slide.

With the construction continuing on the City of Barnwell's Lemon Park Sports Complex, the city has taken steps to ensure area youth have plent of places to play.

Even though the town of Kline has a much smaller population, they are moving forward with their own recreation plans.

For many years, softball has been a favorite pastime in Kline and with two new donations the town hopes to expand the recreation activities available.

Counselors educate school board about their function in district

The Jan. 22 Barnwell 45 school board meeting was a different opportunity for learning.

This time, the school board members were the pupils.

Guidance counselors from three of the district's four schools appeared before the board to give an overview tutorial of what their programs and job positions entail.

"Since they are the board of the district, I thought it would be good that they (the counselors) educate them about it," said Roy Sapough, the district superintendent.

Allied Air plant in Blackville to be phased out

The latest victim for Barnwell County in the faltering national economy is Allied Air Enterprises in Blackville.

Lennox International, Allied's parent company, announced Feb. 4 that it would be phasing out the Blackville facility within a two-year time period, according to a corporate press release.

Employees were alerted to the plant's future the same day Lennox issued the press release.

"We notified them at the same time," said Ozzie Buckler, the director of Lennox communications and public relations. Buckler was contacted by The People-Sentinel at his Dallas, Texas office.

DSS work study program may help jobless in county

Bad economies and tight budgets might actually be good things for Joe Bacote's programs.

Bacote is trying to join two facts together through his programs to make a mutual solution.

The two facts are that, one: businesses might be shorthanded with employee layoffs but still have the same amount of work to be done. Two, there are people willing to work temporarily just to learn or improve their job skills to make them more marketable as an employee later.

Counselors educate school board about their function in district

The Jan. 22 Barnwell 45 school board meeting was a different opportunity for learning.

This time, the school board members were the pupils.

Guidance counselors from three of the district's four schools appeared before the board to give an overview tutorial of what their programs and job positions entail.

"Since they are the board of the district, I thought it would be good that they (the counselors) educate them about it," said Roy Sapough, the district superintendent.

Neighbors helping neighbors

Damage assessment - on present and future effects that a faltering economy and plant closings are and will have on Barnwell County - was the purpose of a meeting between county officials, human services personnel and business and civic leaders recently.

The Feb. 2 meeting was coordinated by Barnwell County United Way - whose member agencies and others that it interacts with - are starting to see the human effects of tough economic times in the county.

New Williston salon offers one-on-one care

The letters stand about five inches high in gold on the workbench countertop.

"Dream" spells the letters.

That's what Krystal Garrick is doing - working a dream with her own hair salon, Krystal's Kreations.

Garrick just opened the salon Jan. 6 on Church Street in Williston.

Despite the doom and gloom of economic news lately, Garrick, 27, tries to remain unperturbed by it.

"You just have to have faith and believe in God. If I never took the chance, I would never know. You have to take the chance and it's a big chance when you have a family to support," she said.

Black skin, white skin: Green uniforms

South Carolina integrated the last of its public schools by 1970.

However, the Army had integrated itself nearly 20 years earlier.

Ben Duncan of Barnwell was one of the early witnesses to see that military integration firsthand as a soldier in the Army in the early to mid-1950s.

Duncan, now 74, is retired from his various jobs which saw him as a brick mason, county magistrate's constable and sheriff's deputy.
Now Duncan serves on the Barnwell City Council - its first African-American councilman to do so. He has been on City Council since 1995.

Won't be 'around this year: Barnwell's Festival on Round victim of economic factors

The Festival on the Round won't be circling around as the spring downtown festival this year, city officials have decided.

During the regular monthly council meeting Feb. 2, Lynn Cox, the Toursim and Community Development Services director, informed the full council of the decision to not hold the annual festival this year.

Cox said in an earlier meeting with Mayor Ed Lemon, Mayor Pro-temp Pickens Williams Sr. and City Administrator John Zawacki, the decision was made to cancel this year's event based on several factors.

Blackville looks for answers to improvements in schools

The Blackville-Hilda school board held an information meeting Jan. 29 to discuss a facility improvement plan and explore ways to fund it.

The proposed plan would cost approximately $500,000 and focus on roof and floor repairs and renovations in the district's schools as well as the district office.

District superintendent Teresa Pope presented a plan to the board that would give them time to look at it before a voting at the Feb. 8 school board meeting.

All politics is local: Barnwell County people take in presidential inauguration

The freezing temperatures and massive crowds didn't stop some Barnwell County residents from attending a historic event in U.S. history - President Barack Obama's inauguration.

"African-Americans were shut out for so long and now to see an African-American in the White House that slaves built; I'm proud to be an American who had the opportunity in my life to witness how much our nation has progressed," said Teresa Jenkins of Barnwell.

Jenkins - along with relatives Cherise Jacobs, Jhordan Jenkins and Alean Odoms -were present for the Jan. 20 inauguration of nation's 44th president.

Public defender's office revamps in county and state

Overhauls are repairs to engines to make them run better.

If the state public defender's system was an engine, it now runs more effectively and efficiently, which is the miles per gallon measure for state agencies.

In June 2007, the General Assembly passed legislation to create a unified, statewide public defendants system.

All 46 counties in the state were part of the overhaul. The new system creates a public defender's office in each judicial circuit.

Home is where the heart (and help) is

This time, the church decided to look inward instead of outward.

Each year for the past three years, Williston United Methodist Church sent members out of state on mission projects. The projects involved house renovations in areas affected by Hurricane Katrina, said the Rev. Cindy Fuller, the pastor for Williston United Methodist Church.

Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast states in 2005.

This year, the church stayed home.

"This church usually works in Mississippi, but this year, we decided to work in the community," Fuller said.

Rumor false about Horsehead abandoning Barnwell County

The rumor may have spawned from fears generated by the news of the eventual closings of the Milliken and Hanesbrands plants in Barnwell County.

The rumor was that Horsehead Corp. would not finish construction of its zinc refinery in Barnwell County but cancel the project due to the poor economy.

The rumor is not true, said Jim Walsh, the plant manager of Horsehead's Snelling plant, located in the S.C. Advanced Technology Park.

Hospital acquires new CAT scanner

Four times faster is better when holding one's breath.

That is the advantage the Barnwell County Hospital has with a new CT (computed tomography) scanner.
The General Electric Brightspeed 16 slice CT scanner operates four times faster and takes four times more slices (images) than the old one.

"It used to take 40 seconds (scan), but now it takes about 10-15 seconds, one breath - and when the scanner rotates it takes 16 images," said Paula Creech, a technician certified in radiologic technology and computed tomography.

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