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.

Cumbee Center is running a deficit of volunteers in county

When police need help, they call for back-up.

It's the same for paramedics and firefighters.

Jessica Pierce doesn't have that option.

Pierce is the rural service provider for Allendale and Barnwell counties for the Cumbee Center to Assist Abused Persons, Inc.

Pierce is the only paid employee for Cumbee Center for Allendale and Barnwell counties. Actually, she is the only representative for the center for the two counties.

In that sense, Pierce is on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week in case an incident of domestic violence or rape occurs in the area.

Hanesbrands to close plant in Barnwell by spring

Barnwell County -- already hit by several economic downturns -- was struck again.

The Hanesbrands Inc. plant, located in the city of Barnwell, will close by spring of this year.

Hanesbrands Inc. released a statement about the closing from its Winston-Salem, N.C. corporate office Jan. 14.

The closing of the Barnwell plant means a loss of 310 jobs for the area, according to the Hanesbrands Inc. press release.

Money becoming available to help Barnwell County's unfortunate

Barnwell County will soon be getting a chunk of cash to help the less than fortunate in the county.

South Carolina is receiving $3.4 million in federal funds and Barnwell County is set to get $23,063 of it.

The announcement was made Dec. 22 by U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, according to a press release from his office.

The Emergency Food and Shelter (EFS) program money will be used to supplement and expand ongoing efforts to help those in need, stated the press release.

Final curtain call: the late Ellen Jenkins held many civic roles

Ellen Bush Jenkins played many roles for Barnwell County - librarian, historian, newspaper editor and community supporter.

For friends who remember her, the best roles Jenkins played were "friend" and being herself.

Jenkins died Dec. 29, 2008.

She was 76.

"She was always going out of her way to help people," said Marylen Jackson. "She was always jolly." Jackson served on the Barnwell County library board for 40 years.

211 service active now, may compete with county's own phone helpline

Between now and the end of February, Barnwell County residents have a choice of who they call for help with questions related to human services.

Since 1980, county residents have been able to call (803) 259-3333, a local helpline, to find answers, mostly on public and human services. The number is available seven days a week, 24 hours a day and is provided by the Axis 1 Center of Barnwell, the substance abuse intervention and counseling service agency in the county.

Senior citizen couple rings in new year with wedding

The Gail Reyes Senior Center in Barnwell closed out 2008 with a first - the marriage of two Barnwell County residents who started the rest of their lives together with the new year.

Jimmy L. Coger, 78, and Sharon Maxwell, 66, tied the knot Dec. 31 surrounded by family, friends, and residents after a five-month courtship.

Notary Mary Ellen Black presided over the ceremony as the two took their vows.

"It was a nice way to end the year and begin the new one," said Patricia Edenfield, Coger's daughter.


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