John 'Bubba' Bessinger (Williston)

John “Bubba” Bessinger, 83, passed away on January 24, 2018 at the Laurel Baye Healthcare of Williston.

Bubba was born on September 29, 1934 in Bamberg County. He was a son of the late William Henry and Bertha Hulst Bessinger. He was a retired employee of the Edisto Electric Coop. and a member of Mount Lebanon Christian Church.

Funeral services were held on Sunday, January 28, 2018 in the Mount Lebanon Christian Church with Rev. Ron Franklin and Rev. John Jerkins officiating. Burial followed in the church cemetery. Visitation was held one hour before the services.

Edwin Cooley Sr. (Williston)

Funeral services for Guy Edwin Cooley Sr., 84, of Williston will be held 2 p.m. Tuesday, February 13, 2018 at Elko Baptist Church with the Reverend Tom Baker officiating. Burial will be at the Williston Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. on Monday, February 12, 2018 at the funeral home, Williston. The family has asked that in lieu of flowers memorials be given to Elko Baptist Church, Mission Fund to Madagascar, P.O. Box 277, Elko, SC 29826.

Edwin died Saturday, February 10, 2018 at his home.

Marilyn Drew

Marilyn Yvonne (Dyches) Lutes Drew of Viera, Fla. departed our world to be in the arms of God on February 7, 2018.

Born October 22, 1934 in Hilda to George Roy Dyches and Janie Lou Hutto Dyches, she grew up in Barnwell and was a graduate of Dreher High School in Columbia. Following high school, Mrs. Drew became a secretary with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Savannah, Ga. and New York City. She later retired as branch manager of Bank of America in Barnwell. Throughout her life, Marilyn loved playing piano, gardening, reading and playing bridge.

John Stoney Sanders Jr. (Allendale)

John Stoney Sanders Jr., age 90, of Allendale, died Saturday, February 10, 2018.

Mr. Sanders was a lifelong native of Allendale and the son of the late John Stoney and Nina Flowers Sanders Sr. He was a graduate of the Citadel, U.S. Air Force veteran and retired from the U.S. Postal Service. He was a member of Swallow Savannah United Methodist Church. Stoney lived life to its fullest, enjoyed people and will be missed by his family and many friends. Allendale has lost a true icon.

Keel reappointed as SLED chief

Barnwell native Mark Keel has been reappointed as the state’s top law enforcement chief.

S.C. Governor Henry McMaster announced on Jan. 31 his decision to reappoint South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) Chief Mark Keel. Having first been appointed to the position by Governor Nikki Haley in June 2011, Chief Keel’s distinguished law enforcement career spans over 40 years, according to a press release.

$1,000 raises proposed for county council

A $1,000 annual raise for Barnwell County Councilmen is one of two recommendations by the county Personnel Committee to be presented to the full council on Tuesday, Feb. 13.

The committee met on Wednesday, Jan. 24 to discuss the matter. The committee is comprised of County Council members Jerry Creech and Don Harper, County Administrator Pickens Williams Jr. and Business and HR Manager Debbie Fickling.

Barnwell Co. Career Center director retiring in June

The Barnwell County Career Center is searching for a new director.

BCCC Director Sam McKay is planning to retire at the end of the 2017-2018 school year. The school board unanimously accepted his resignation due to retirement during the Jan. 29 meeting. McKay’s last day is June 30.

“I’m going to miss the kids,” he said.

Vroom program steers parents as teachers

A new early learning initiative is looking to drive the growth and development of young brains.

Save the Children is partnering with Vroom, an initiative of the Bezos Family Foundation, in communities that have the Early Steps to School Success (ESSS) program. This includes Barnwell County where there are ESSS programs in all three public school districts.

“It teaches parents how simple interactions can build brain capacity,” said Lakisha Bowman, an Early Steps to School Success Program Specialist with Save the Children.

Jack Keel’s grandson continues legacy

Jack Keel lived up to State Farm’s motto: “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.” Now his grandson is hoping to continue that legacy.

Will Keel, the son of Mark and Jeri Keel, officially became the agent of the State Farm office located at 505 Reynolds Road, Barnwell, on Thursday, Feb. 1. The agency was started in October 1958 by his grandfather, who worked for State Farm for nearly 60 years until his death on Sept. 23, 2017.

Wil Alexander returns home to help people

A Barnwell native has returned home to open a personal injury law office and help his community.

Wil Alexander recently established the Law Office of William H. Alexander, LLC in downtown Barnwell after completing law school and a one-year stint as a law clerk in Chester.

Living in other places, including bigger cities, “made me realize what a special place Barnwell is. It’s special because of the people. I’m really happy to be back in the community,” said Wil, who is the son of Don and Garnette Alexander.

Williston Council discusses goals, master plans

Williston Town Council was presented with the results of two master plans as they discussed goals during a Feb. 2 retreat.

Mayor Jason Stapleton along with council members Eric Moody, Adadra Neville, Kurt Odermatt, Annie Tyler, Scott Valentine and Brett Williams met at Meeting on Main for a morning full of updates, ideas and setting goals for the town’s future. Administrator Kenny Cook and Utilities Director Marty Martin were also present.

“We’ve made a lot of progress these last few years,” said Stapleton.

Fire victims grateful for community support

Victims of a recent house fire are grateful to the community for their prayers and support.

Susan Grubbs along with her boyfriend David Smith and friend CJ Knowles were left homeless on Jan. 28 following a fire at 933 Old Whiskey Road. No one was injured, but they lost everything, including four pets. However, a number of people have stepped up to help.

“We thank them for all of their love and support. Please continue to pray for us,” said Grubbs.

Local radio personalities attend Grammy’s

Three local radio station employees represented Barnwell County at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards.

LaKonda Bing Raysor and Alicia Gaines from the L & A Entertainment Duo on the WIZ 97.9 FM along with their assistant Margaret Sparrow traveled to New York City, N.Y. the last week of January to attend the awards show and interview some of the Grammy-nominated artists, such as the Hamiltones and Steve Ray (Youngsta). Raysor and Gaines are graduates of Barnwell High while Sparrow graduated from Allendale-Fairfax High.

Pritchard, Sandifer to wed

The families of Ashley Pritchard and Brandon Sandifer are proud to announce their engagement and forthcoming wedding.

Ashley Alaine Pritchard is the daughter of Cammy Moody of Barnwell and Derek and Anneta Pritchard of Springfield. James Brandon Sandifer is the son of Tara Carrigg Sandifer and Chris Sandifer of Blackville.

The bride-elect is a 2014 graduate of the University of South Carolina with a degree in Education and is employed as a teacher at Barnwell Elementary School.

Allendale native promoted to Army Brigadier General

ANDERSON – In the presence of family, friends and fellow soldiers Frank M. Rice became the newest Brigadier General in the South Carolina National Guard.

The promotion ceremony took place at the 263d Army Air and Missile Defense Command (AAMDC) National Guard armory located in Anderson marking a pivotal moment in an already illustrious 35-year military career.

Church Calendar - February 7, 2018

All events listed here are open to the public:
Union United Methodist Church (245 Union Circle, Kline) will host the 14th choir anniversary of The Anointed Voices on Sunday, Feb. 11 at 3 p.m. Other groups are asked to render one musical selection. 
St. John Baptist Church (1660 St. John Road, Barnwell) will celebrate the 9th Appreciation Celebration for Pastor Audrey Lofton on Feb. 25 at 3 p.m.
Men’s Program 

Lady Hawks soar over Lady Blue Devils

The Williston-Elko High girls varsity basketball team was no match for Blackville-Hilda High Tuesday, Jan. 30 in the Hawks’ Nest.

The Lady Hawks won handily over the in-county rivals by a dominating score of 104-40.

The game was never in doubt. The Lady Hawks soared to a 16-6 lead five minutes into the game and never looked back.

With the win, Blackville-Hilda High moves to 14-5 overall and 10-2 in region play.

Blackville-Hilda High coach Corette Ferguson Richmond said the team played with a lot of energy.

Barnwell boys beat AF for 2nd time

Whether it’s a scrimmage or a regular season game, the Allendale-Fairfax High and Barnwell High boys basketball teams come ready to play when they meet each other.

That was the case again Jan. 30 in Barnwell with the teams meeting for the second time of the season.

On Jan.12 in the teams’ first meeting in Allendale, the Warhorses got the best of the Tigers, 67-62.

This time, however, Allendale-Fairfax was looking to even the season and avoid a season sweep.

Blue Devils ground Hawks, 65-52

The Williston-Elko High Blue Devils grounded the Hawks of Blackville-Hilda High by a score of 65-52 on Jan. 30 in Blackville.

The Blue Devils controlled the contest throughout as they sizzled to a 15-point first half lead behind 10 first-half points by Desmond Murray. Murray went on to highlight the Blue Devils’ offense on the night with 22 points, four assists and four steals.

With the win, Williston-Elko High improves to 13-4 overall and 8-2 in region play. The win also gives the Blue Devils the season sweep over the Hawks.

BHS girls cruise past AFHS

Barnwell High held Allendale-Fairfax High to just 10 second-half points on its way to a convincing 51-27 win.

With the win, Barnwell High improves to 12-3 overall and 8-1 in region play.

“I really like the way we played tonight,” Barnwell High coach William Hammonds said. “We shot the ball well. We were strong on the boards and we forced turnovers. This is a good formula for success in the playoffs.”

For a brief moment in the opening quarter, it looked like the Lady Tigers would make the game competitive.


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