News

D19 highlights recent improvements

The Nov. 13 Barnwell District 19 School Board meeting highlighted curriculum and facility improvements.

Curriculum Director Blue Huggins said they are starting the third round of benchmark tests, which they do every four-and-a-half weeks. These tests are done in certain subjects.

“We are getting a handle on where our kids are,” said Huggins.

The district is also providing professional development to teachers about high progress literacy.

D29 looks at options to select new leader

The Williston District 29 School Board has five options for selecting a new superintendent.

The district has been without a permanent superintendent since the resignation of Dr. Missoura Ashe in September. Interim Superintendent Dr. Everette Dean Jr. said the board can either promote a current District 29 employee, conduct its own search, employ a search firm, employ the S.C. School Boards Association, or employ a headhunter.

“In all of them the board makes the ultimate decision,” said Dean during the board’s Nov. 20 meeting.

Career center adds $55,723 to fund balance

An audit report took up most of the Barnwell County Career Center board’s Nov. 20 meeting.

Rod Dooley from Dooley & Company provided preliminary audit results for the school’s 2017 fiscal year, which ended June 30. The results are preliminary as the final paperwork hasn’t been signed, but numbers are not expected to change.

The career center added $55,723 to its general fund balance. As of June 30, the fund balance totaled $416,514. Ideally, Dooley said, he recommends the career center have approximately $1.5 million in its fund balance.

Game day has important message for teens, parents

Axis I Center of Barnwell hosted its first game day event on Saturday, November 18 at the Barnwell County Library.

Teens played games while learning about sexually transmitted diseases and teen pregnancy prevention. Natalia McLeod of Dillon facilitated the games. Parents were given information on ways to start the talk and community resources. There were 20 youth and eight parents who participated.

Blackville teens arrested for bomb threat

Two juveniles have been arrested in connection to a bomb threat that led to the evacuation of Blackville-Hilda High and Middle schools on Nov. 15.

Barnwell County Sheriff Ed Carroll said his office was notified at 12:56 p.m. of the threat of a bomb at the high school. He said the threat was called into the school, but declined to give further details of the call.

Barnwell Primary School student remembered

Barnwell Primary School is missing a piece of its puzzle after the death of Javian Hayward.

The 8-year-old died on Nov. 13 from injuries he sustained two days earlier from a wreck that occurred in Aiken County. His mother and older brother were also injured in the wreck.

“Our hearts go out to Javian’s family at this very difficult time. He will be dearly missed,” according to a statement on Barnwell District 45’s website.

Towns, county hold civil but direct meeting

A meeting was held Thursday, Nov. 16 without lawyers in a neutral site between four governmental entities that have been at odds for several years.

The Barnwell County Council met with the mayors and at least one councilman from each of the municipalities of Barnwell, Blackville and Williston. They came together to discuss issues related to the Barnwell County Economic Development Corporation and Commission.

Students, various agencies participate in drill

Over 100 people participated in a large-scale disaster drill on Nov. 15 in Barnwell County.

The drill simulated a 6.2-magnitude earthquake centered in Barnwell. The drill “assumed” the county courthouse had collapsed and a mobile command center had to be set up at the Barnwell County Airport. Over the course of the drill there were 51 people deemed as injured and 4 “confirmed” dead.

Williston approves matching grant to buy two police cars

The Williston Town Council approved an allocation as the town’s part of a matching grant to purchase two police cars and a utility vehicle.

The USDA grant pays for 55 percent of the cost up to $50,000 with the town matching 45 percent.

“We estimate the total cost will be about $88,000 meaning the grant will fund $48,400 and we would have to fund the remaining $39,600,” said Town Administrator Kenny Cook in a memo to council members.

He suggested that $22,000 from the Utilities Fund and $17,600 from the General Fund.

Memories retained at Blackville Museum

The Blackville Museum took people on a walk down memory lane during its Nov. 12 open house.

There was a good turnout for the event, which was held as a way to showcase all the work that’s been done recently to preserve the town’s history. The museum opened in 2016 at 655 Main Street.

“I think it’s wonderful. They’ve done a good job,” said Blackville resident Arie Guess.

Teen shooting victim ‘uncooperative’ with police

Details are limited about a shooting that injured a Blackville teen.

A 14-year-old male was shot on Sunday, Nov. 12 around 7:02 p.m. in the area of 954 Oak Avenue in Blackville as he walked between his house and a neighbor’s residence.

“One shot was fired and he was struck in the elbow,” said Blackville Police Chief John Holston of the juvenile victim.

SC Arts Commission reps visit Blackville

Members of the S.C. Arts Commission recently visited Blackville to provide an update about a rural arts initiative.

“The Art of Community: Rural SC” was launched in 2016 by the S.C. Arts Commission as part of its mission to create a thriving arts and culture environment for the state. The pilot program helps advance the Commission’s commitment to rural communities, particularly the six counties of the South Carolina Promise Zone. It receives financial support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development.

Deloach appointed to D19 board

The Barnwell District 19 School Board will soon be full again.

During their Nov. 13 meeting, the board unanimously approved appointing Bill Deloach to the seat vacated three months prior by George Fickling, who resigned over issues he had with board members.

After two previous attempts to be elected to the board came up short, Deloach said he appreciates the board giving him a chance to help move the district forward.

"I want what's best for the kids," said Deloach, a married father of four. “I want to serve all students."

County Council approves sale of property

Barnwell County Council approved the sale of property owned by Economic Development Corporation related to “Project Bradley”.

The unanimous vote came at the end of a 3-hour meeting, most of which was in closed session.

No details were given on the project.

Also at the end of the meeting council held first reading of ordinances approving fee in lieu of taxes for five solar projects.

They include Barnwell Solar, Blackville Solar II, Crossroad Solar, Edison Solar and Richardson Solar.

Food drive collects 400+ items

McKinley Blake Pritchard, a junior at Jefferson Davis Academy and Teen Miss Aiken County, hosted a food drive benefiting Golden Harvest Food Bank from Oct. 16 to Nov. 3.

She received 100 items from the students and staff of Jefferson Davis Academy during Oct. 16 and Nov. 3. On Oct. 28 and 29 at Sport's Gas and Convenience she received 150 items and $350 in cash donations from the community.

Cash donations will be used to purchase 300 items.

Lisa Ferguson named Teacher of Year for Orangeburg school

A Barnwell resident was recently named Teacher of the Year for an Orangeburg County school.

Lisa Ferguson is the 2017-2018 Teacher of the Year for the STAR (Students Taking Alternative Routes) Center for Learning in Cope. She is in her third year at the STAR Center for Learning where she teaches sixth through eighth grade math, but previously taught for 18 years at Barnwell District 45.

“It lets you know you’re doing a great job,” said Ferguson, who says she was “humbled” to receive the award.

Williston church holding vendor fair to raise money for food pantry

A Williston Gift & Craft Fair will be held on Saturday, Nov. 18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Winfield Heights Baptist Church’s Eddie Yelton Building (315 Chester St., Williston).

Admission is free, but all proceeds from raffles, concessions and booth fees will be donated to local organizations that assist those in need.

In addition to a variety of vendors, there will also be a bounce house, concessions, raffles and entertainment.

Community soup kitchen opening in December

Barnwell’s homeless and other financially-strapped residents will soon have a place to eat.

The community has been without a soup kitchen since Barnwell Presbyterian Church closed the Legion Center Ministry Soup Kitchen on April 28 due to financial reasons. However, First Baptist Church of Barnwell is organizing a new soup kitchen with the assistance of several other churches and organizations.

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