Shop locally and support communities

Taxes, taxes, taxes! Don't you sometimes just want a little break from it all?
Well, you're in luck, sort of.
South Carolina's back-to-school sales-tax holiday begins this Friday, August 1, and runs through midnight on Sunday, August 3.
While the annual holiday doesn't exempt you from all taxes, you can buy a lot of things your child needs for the new school year, plus a few things they don't.
The tax-free days, approved by the S.C. Legislature, cover items such as clothing, accessories, hats, scarves, hosiery, handbags, footwear, and school supplies. It also extends to computers, printers and printer supplies, and computer software, along with linens and some bathroom decor, such as bath mats.
You can also load up on sweatbands, ski masks, roller skates, lingerie, furs, bridal gowns, costumes and adult diapers. We're not sure what these items have to do with going back to school, but if you want them they are tax free this weekend only. You better stock up while you can.
Whatever it is you're looking for, we encourage you to shop locally here in Barnwell County first. You don't have to go far to find most of what you need.
Shopping local helps your gas budget stay low while benefitting area businesses and our neighbors who work there.
We support this tax-free holiday because it allows us to keep more of our hard-earned money in our local economy. That creates jobs and opportunities.
Do your part to help the community we all call home by shopping local first.
Community meetings
in Blackville...
You can also help our community in another way.
On Monday, August 4, two meetings are scheduled for 6 p.m. While they are about different topics in different towns, they share the common goal of improving our communities.
In Blackville, the town council there will be meeting at the community center and hope local property owners will be in attendance. This is to follow up from a June 26 meeting where town officials begged property owners, especially downtown business owners, to clean up their properties.
This comes as more than 200 properties, both commercial and residential, have been identified by the town as needing improvement. Letters were sent out to those owners and the town is asking property owners to come to the August 4 meeting with a plan on how they will improve their properties.
Solutions for some are as simple as a fresh coat of paint and some minor yard work. Others need a major renovation or should be torn down altogether.
If property owners don't do their part, the town has vowed to use code enforcement. They will fix properties up and send owners the bill or have it charged to their taxes.
...and Williston
The other meeting is in Williston. Residents in Williston are scheduled to gather at the Williston Town Hall for the second meeting of the W-E CommUNITY Coalition. They plan to meet the first Monday of every month.
This coalition was formed in response to recent violence. The June 29 murder of D'Andre Gleaton, allegedly by a 17-year-old, was the final straw that sparked the call for change.
A major focus of the group is on Williston's young people and helping them contribute to society. This can be done by working as a community and coming up with ideas and positive outlets for young people.
The coalition is planning a back-to-school bash on Sunday, August 10, from 4 to 7 p.m. on the Williston-Elko High School football field. The entire community is invited to this free, fun event for games, food and school supplies. According to information from the group, the event is intended to unify the community's efforts to ensure the students are equipped with the supplies needed to excel academically during the upcoming school year.