Woman dies in house fire

Authorities are investigating the death of a Snelling woman on Saturday night, Sept. 2.

According to Barnwell County Coroner Lloyd Ward, “A body was discovered after a mobile home fire was extinguished at Lot 16, 13626 Highway 64, Barnwell on Sept. 2 around 8:20 p.m.

Ward said, “The initial call was reported to be a fire with entrapment at the above address. Snelling Fire Department along with Barnwell County Rural and Red Oak fire departments responded.”

“After the body was located, the Coroner’s Office along with SLED Arson was contacted.”

‘No bond’

“Why no bond?” asked Ricky Lamont Williams of Judge Sport Holland on Wednesday, Aug. 30.

Holland had just declined bond for Williams who is accused of murder and possession of a weapon in the commission of a crime in the July 23 shooting death of George Lee Grimes.

Grimes reportedly paid Williams for drugs with counterfeit money on July 22 and the shooting the next day on Fairway Lane was in retaliation.

District 29 superintendent goes on leave

Mystery surrounds the status of Williston District 29 Superintendent Dr. Missoura Ashe.

A letter was sent to employees last week from Board Chairman Ferlecia Cuthbertson stating that “the Superintendent is presently on leave.”

It directed that, “While Dr. Ashe is away, any calls or matters typically addressed by her be forwarded to Mrs. (Stephanie) Alford at the District Office.” Alford is the district’s human resource coordinator.

As of Tuesday, the board had not issued a statement to the public nor indicated the length of Ashe’s expected absence.

Hurricane relief supplies head to Texas

As the flooding in Texas and Louisiana caused by Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey continues to wreak devastation, people in Barnwell County are trying to determine what they can do to best help the victims.

“The best way is to coordinate with the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Golden Harvest or any of the sanctioned charities,” said Barnwell County Emergency Management Director Roger Riley. “That’s where my money is going to.”

To donate, go online to Other agencies can be located on the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s website at

Local business is stop on Wilson bus tour

A local business was one of the stops last week in Congressman Joe Wilson’s district bus tour.

Wilson, his wife and staff stopped at Anovotek in Barnwell on Thursday, Aug. 31 to meet with company owner Don Alexander along with his family and staff. Also attending were representatives from the Barnwell County Chamber of Commerce, SouthernCarolina Alliance, Barnwell County Economic Development, City of Barnwell and Barnwell County.

Demolition begins in downtown Blackville

Blackville Town Councilman Steve Jowers sat on a bench along the town’s Main Street, watching in satisfaction as Liz Ann Bonnett operated a trackhoe to tear down a building.

Bonnett works for Owens Construction, the company tasked with demolishing several dilapidated buildings owned by the town.

“I am glad to see this,” said Jowers, occasionally snapping a picture with his Canon. “It has been way past due.”

Local closings announced due to Hurricane Irma

Updated: 1:30 p.m. Sept. 11

The following closings have been announced.

Local Governments:

The Barnwell County Courthouse and county offices will be closed on Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 11 and 12. The Sept. 12 County Council meeting is postponed until Sept. 19.

The City of Barnwell will be closed Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 11 and 12. The Sept. 11 City Council meeting is rescheduled for Sept. 18.

Storm Information links - Helpful websites and apps to get you through to storm

Social media and websites are a great way to get information during a storm of any sort. As you make your plans in advance of the storm, consider the following links and apps. Some of the apps require setups so that is something you may want to do now.

The People-Sentinel:



A letter to The People-Sentinel readers

Dear Valued Readers –

We want everyone to prepare now and plan for being on their own for 2 to 3 days following the expected impact of Hurricane Irma, possibly on Monday or Tuesday of next week.

The People-Sentinel is normally printed in Savannah, Ga., on Tuesday night but we want to make sure all our staff – including our delivery drivers – are safe and secure.

Barnwell County residents urged to plan and prepare in advance of Hurricane Irma's potential impact

Governor Henry McMaster today issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency and, along with the S.C. Emergency Management Division, has urged South Carolinians to prepare for the possibility of Hurricane Irma impacting the state.

Murder trial postponed

A murder trial has been postponed due to an allegation of witness intimidation.

Demontay Markeith Payne was supposed to stand trial on August 23 for the May 23, 2015 shooting death of DeVante Quintell Odom on Emerald Lane in Barnwell.

However, Judge Jack Early ordered the case be “continued” until the next term of court as the Barnwell County Sheriff’s Office and State Law Enforcement Division investigate a potential case of witness intimidation.

Prayer sustains officer

“In the name of Jesus, you will live and not die.”

Those are the words Estill police officer Quincy Smith heard after being shot while on duty on January 1, 2016. The prayer was said by a cousin, who rushed to the scene after hearing about the shooting on her police scanner.

Smith recounted that day for students at the Barnwell County Career Center on Thursday, August 24.

He woke up, prayed and headed to the police department before starting his shift. He learned there were no major incidents the night before.

Blackville moves ahead with code enforcement

Code enforcement and the demolition of buildings encompassed most of the discussion by the Blackville Town Council during its regular meeting Monday, Aug. 21.

Mayor Michael Beasley briefed the council on the demolition of several buildings located on Main Street. “We own the buildings but the railroad owns the property,” said Beasley.

He said the town has been maintaining the property for years and is now getting information to acquire the property from the CSX.

USC fans ‘win’ fund rivalry

The rivalry between local Clemson and University of South Carolina fans has benefitted schools in Barnwell County.

The Barnwell County United Way held its annual “Stuff the Bus” campaign on Aug. 11-12 and Aug. 18-19 in front of Wal-Mart in Barnwell. United Way volunteers asked shoppers to donate school supplies or money to benefit Barnwell County’s three school districts.

Billboard issues warning to drivers

A new billboard going up this week gives a warning – don’t drive impaired.

The billboard can be seen on S.C. Highway 3 (near Barnwell Pediatrics) by Friday, Sept. 1, said Axis 1 Director of Prevention Services Pam Rush.

“The billboard is to increase awareness of the risk of getting caught if you are out drinking and driving,” said Rush.

For all of 2016 there were 50 DUI arrests in Barnwell County and already there have been 51 this year, said Rush.

Employment numbers improve

Employment numbers in both Barnwell and Allendale counties continued to improve according to information recently released by the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW).

The number of people employed rose to the highest level since December 2015 in both counties, according to DEW statistics.

In July there were 8,055 people employed in Barnwell County which is an increase of 92 people from June. There were 7,886 people with jobs in July 2016 – a difference of 169 jobs filled.

Football ticket prices to rise in Williston, teacher lunch price increase considered

The Williston District 29 School Board approved an increase in football game ticket prices.

Williston-Elko High School Athletic Director Derek Youngblood asked for the $1 increase after attending a region meeting where he learned other area schools either currently charge $7 or will soon go to $7. WEHS previously charged $6, but the increase makes tickets $7. Student prices will remain at $5.

Locals gather items to send to victims of floods in Texas, Louisiana

As the flooding in Texas and Louisiana caused by Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey continues to wreak devastation, people in Barnwell County are trying to determine what they can do to best help the victims.

“The best way is to coordinate with the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Golden Harvest or any of the sanctioned charities,” said Barnwell County Emergency Management Director Roger Riley. “That’s where my money is going to.”

“Donations of items are great but they really need to go through the proper channels,” he said.


Subscribe to RSS - News