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.

Filing tips for benefits as unemployment rates rise

Unemployment rates are up in Barnwell County, more than doubling the national rate of unemployment for November.

Barnwell County's unemployment rates were at 14.4 percent for November 2008. The national unemployment rate was 6.7 percent.

Guy Ferguson, the assistant director of the local Employment Security Commission  Workforce Center said for those faced with unemployment there are some steps which should be taken right away.

Remembering freedom's start

Few documents in American history are celebrated like the Declaration of Independence is for the Fourth of July.

However, for African-Americans, the Fourth of July comes Jan. 1.

That is when Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1864, stating that "...all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free..."

Budget cuts hit local special needs group

For one children's center in Allendale, Christmas break is still going on - and will continue through the new year.

The children's center was run by the Allendale and Barnwell Counties Disabilites and Special Needs Board. However, because of state budget cuts, the center will not re-open after the holidays.

Before the economy took a downturn, news of state budget cutbacks loomed. Since the fall of the economy, those cutbacks have worked down to the local levels.

Secret Santa program makes sure county children have Christmas

Santa Claus is an undercover operative - but instead of dealing in espionage, the jolly old elf is spreading Christmas cheer clandestinely through Barnwell County's Secret Santa program.

Secret Santa is a program handled by the Rotary Club of Barnwell County to make sure county children have some presents to unwrap this Christmas.

The county office of the Department of Social Services provide first names only of unprivileged children in the area that individuals, civic and church groups and the Rotary Club sponsor by buying them items from each child's Christmas wish list.

Barnwell police make arrests in robbery and shooting incident

Barnwell Police Department has made three arrests in the armed robbery and shooting incident which occurred Dec.15.

Johnny D. Hardy, 19, of 1313 Hunter Dr., Barnwell was arrested on Dec. 16. He is charged with armed robbery and assault and battery with intent to kill, according to police reports.

Antwan Jones, 19, of 57 Hiott St., Barnwell was arrested Dec. 17. He is charged with armed robbery and assault and battery with intent to kill.

Marcus Kodell Jacobs, 19, of 80 Brown St., Barnwell was also arrested Dec. 17.


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