Love is spelled M-O-M

Is there any building block more basic in a community or society than a mother?

Note to everyone who has a mother: Mother's Day is this Sunday, May 10.

What is the hardest part about being a mother? Or what is the best part about being a mother?

These questions seem naivé, but garnered heartfelt answers when The People-Sentinel posed the queries to mothers in a random mother-on-the-street survey.

"It's hard. When they get bigger, they get harder. When they are little, they are easier, but you love them anyway," said Inell Owens. "The good part is knowing you got them."

Navy buddies, WWII vets reunite after 64 years

When Merrill J. Martin and Allen Lamm parted company in 1944, little did they know they would not see each other again for 64 years.

However, the long overdue reunion for these two World War II Navy veterans occurred in Barnwell April 23.

Lamm, 85, and Martin, 86, served together for 18 months aboard the PC-494, a small patrol vessel that escorted naval convoys to their destinations and protected them against enemy warships, particularly German submarines or U-boats.

These patrol craft were only 174 feet, 3 inches long and carried about 60 men but sailed the open sea.

Rain doesn't dampen spirits at USC-Salk graduation

As the rain rolled off the gym roof at USC-Salehatchie in Allendale during its 2009 commencement exercises, its dean, Ann Carmichael, told the crowd, "USC-Salkehatchie will not only thrive - it will survive."

About 65 graduates attended the ceremony and received their associate and bachelor degrees.

The graduating class had a total of 91 students including some who earned their degrees in December, 2008.

"I'm glad we have good roofs here," said Harris Pastides, the president of USC-Salkehatchie.

Barnwell County has not seen swine flu cases yet

Most of the media-powered hysteria surrounding H1N1 - also known as the Swine flu - has lost its virulency since dominating the headlines last week.

The new influenza strain - which burst out of Mexico and spread across the world - was transmitted from pigs and contains genetic material from past pig, bird and human viruses.

It is suspected in the death of about 150 people in Mexico, but so far only one U.S. fatality has been reported - a two-year old Mexican boy in Texas.

Old idea replanted

"Victory gardens" were plots of vegetables that citizens planted during World War II to supplement their food requirements and ease the demand on the food supply, much of which went toward the war effort then.

Holy Apostles Episcopal Church is replanting the idea to fight against the war on hunger.

In a vacant plot of land across from the church, church members have started their own victory garden, planting cucumbers, squash, radishes and tomatoes.

Volunteers resurrect graveyard's dignity from weeds and woods

Tucked away in the shade and clustered trees off of Oak Street in Blackville sits the Blackville Community Colored Cemetery.

Although still in use, through the years the cemetery has become overgrown with weeds, tangled in trees and pockmarked with litter.

But about 50 people showed up April 25 to begin a labor of love and respect - the first steps in cleaning and revitalizing the cemetery.

"I didn't know if we would have one person or a 100 people," said Vivian Alston, a worker and one of those involved in coordinating efforts for the project.

Barnwell 45 seats new board member, elects officers

The April regular meeting for the Barnwell 45 school district was one of seat-changing.

Abraham Sexton was sworn in as the newest member of the board April 23.

Sexton was elected to the board April 14. He fills the seat formerly held by Jeff Still, who decided not to run for another term. Sexton and Pete Zionkowski ran for the seat with Sexton garnering 506 votes to Zionkowski's 402.

The board also elected its new officers during the meeting.

Sweat equity in the county

It was hot and the sun beat down on the workers' brows all day, but it did little to dampen their enthusiasm for the United Way's Project CARE.

More than 60 volunteers swung hammers, pounded nails and swished paint brushes in eight projects around Barnwell County for "A Day of Caring," April 24.

Project CARE is a day for area volunteers to donate their time and skills to home improvement projects that can be done in one day, said Barnwell County United Way director Fred Geier.

"It's good to help out somebody and see the smiles on their faces," said volunteer Denise Long.

Brown's homicide still unsolved four years later

It's been four years and the investigation is no closer to being solved.

The S.C. Highway Patrol is still seeking leads and answers to who killed Jasmine Denean Brown.

Brown was a 13-year-old seventh grader at Blackville-Hilda Junior High School when she was struck and killed by a sedan on S.C. 3 near Wednesday Lane near Blackville April 21, 2005.

A pink wooden cross with "Jasmine" painted on it still stands near the site of the incident.

Boys lend sympathetic hands to furry paws

The love keeps them coming back - puppy love that is.

For the Sanders boys, Jacob and Joseph, sharing a little of their love is as easy as sharing a few steps.
Jacob and Joseph started coming to the Barnwell County animal shelter several months ago to help walk the dogs.

Jacob, 13, said he liked, "seeing the cute dogs."

Joseph, 11, said he liked, "playing with them."

The Sanders adopted a dog, "Lucky" from the shelter and now they come back each week to spend some quality time with the pets which have yet to find a home.

'Mucho gracias' to Barnwell County worker

Deloris Charlton has probably wanted to say gracias to Jessie Ortiz a lot.

With a little help from a state organization, Charlton got to do that last month for Ortiz, who is the chief custodian for Barnwell County government.

As custodian, Ortiz runs many errands around the county and its offices. That's his main duties, he said.

However, Ortiz, who is fluent in Spanish, often assists the Barnwell County Detention Center with Hispanic inmates.

PTSO brings on the fun

Faster than Blackville Coach Albert Pressley fell into the cool waters of a dunking booth at the PTSO Community Fun Day April 25 - college can sneak up on students.

The Parent Teacher Student Organization of Blackville held a community fun day where students and parents ate tasty treats and played a variety of games at the high school.

Students raced each other, held water balloon wars, tried their luck at bingo, and took turns dousing Pressley and Blackville-Hilda High School principal Vance Jones in a dunking booth.

Barnwell County gathers for festival with a purpose

For a moment the carnival-like atmosphere stopped; the conversations slowed to low murmurs and the lights around the Circle in downtown Barnwell were extinguished.

The yellowish glow from hundreds of luminaries became more prominent; more noticeable. On each paper bag was a name illuminated by the candle inside.

"Each candle has a name for someone who is battling cancer, has battled cancer or is in memory of someone. We want to read the names of the candles," said Pat Rodgers.

Then the names were read, all 450 from Barnwell County.

Williston school board reviews district goals for next year

During its April 21 meeting, the Williston school board was given a review of the district's goals and strategies for the upcoming school year, which they approved.

However, before each school principal gave a presentation on what they are doing in their respective schools to improve student achievement, the board reconfigured itself.

Newly elected school board member Alan Mulligan was sworn in and then the board elected its officers.

"I look forward to working with everyone and the whole community," Mulligan said.

On the ball: Updated Lemon Park opens

For Ed Corley, the night could have been described easily by New York Yankees baseball legend Yogi Berra: "It's like deja vu all over again."

For Corley, it was deja vu in a sense as he participated in the grand opening for the new Lemon Park sports complex April 17.

The Rev. Kenneth Catoe opened the ceremony with a prayer and the city of Barnwell Tourism and Community Development Director Lynn Cox read letters from S.C. Sen. Brad Hutto and the Baseball Tomorrow Fund, each congratulating the city on completing this portion of the complex.

Barnwell County jobless numbers level off

Some numbers held steady - some numbers caught people's attention when it comes to unemployment figures.

Allendale still tops the state's unemployment list, but Bamberg had the highest jump in March.

Barnwell County's unemployment rates stayed steady between February and March, holding at 17.2 percent, ranking Barnwell County eighth in the state for March.

However, the labor force numbers from March 2009 compared to March 2008 rose by 370 people in Barnwell County.

Barnwell to use text messaging, e-mailing for citywide alerts

Blue lights and a siren aren't the only way Barnwell Police Department can alert people when it needs to now.

The police department will start using something closer at hand for many people and one that is more discreet - like e-mails and text messages over cell phones.

The police department has joined with a service, Nixle, that will allow the department to send messages and alerts to people via their e-mail addresses and cell phones.

The Barnwell Police Department launched its newest feature April 22.

Pipe bomb found in Barnwell field; SLED agents neutralize it

A homemade pipe bomb was discovered in a field just outside the Barnwell city limits April 16.

Barnwell County Sheriff Ed Carroll said the device was found in a field off Forest Drive by farmers around 2 p.m.

Police are investigating to determine who built the bomb and why. No one was injured by the bomb, which was safely detonated.

"They were getting ready to plant watermelons," he said.

Around (and around) the bend - Relay nearly here

The teams are in place, the location set and the money is still rolling in.

Barnwell County's Relay For Life 2009 is just waiting for Friday, April 24 to come around for the event to occur.

Already the county has mustered 16 teams for fund-raising, 14 of which will be walking in the Relay on Friday night. That equates to about 200 participants, said Valerie M. Bridges, the community manager for the South Atlantic division of the American Cancer Society.


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