Williston restaurant robbed

Police are searching for two suspects who robbed a Williston Chinese restaurant on Jan. 18.

The Hong Kong Chinese restaurant on Main Street was robbed around 7 p.m. on Jan. 18 by two black males. One suspect was described as a black male in his 40s who was wearing a camouflage jacket and possibly had a salt and pepper goatee while the other suspect was a younger black male, according to a police report provided by the Williston Police Department.

D19 audit reveals issues

Blackville-Hilda’s District 19 School Board heard a report of the district’s 2016-17 audit in closed session but accepted it in open session and provided a copy immediately upon request. A dive into the details of that audit revealed the discovery of multiple bookkeeping and accounting issues.

Blackville selected for energy savings program

The Town of Blackville has been selected as first in Barnwell County to benefit from an energy savings project.

Gerald Freeman and Scott Neely of South Carolina Electric & Gas/SCANA told the Blackville Town Council on Tuesday, Jan. 16 that Blackville residents within a specific map area have been selected for a Neighborhood Energy Efficiency Program. Freeman is the Residential Program Manager for SCE&G while Neely is the Local Government Manager for SCANA.

Court date set for EDC lawsuit

Despite discussions in hopes of ending a lawsuit between three local municipalities and the county, legal actions are proceeding.

A consent scheduling order was filed at the Barnwell County Courthouse setting a “non-jury trial” to hear the matter on April 2 before Judge Doyet A. Early.

Barnwell County Council Chairman Lowell Jowers also recently confirmed that no action has been taken since representatives from the county and the municipalities of Barnwell, Blackville and Williston met in November 2017.

DIG ‘Rookies’ honored at Future City meet

A local team of three middle school students was named Rookie of the Year at the Regional Future City competition last weekend in Aiken.

The Dreams, Imagination & Gift (DIG) Development Program in Williston sent a team to the Jan. 20 event at USC Aiken to compete against 44 other teams from across South Carolina and the greater Aiken-Augusta area. The DIG team consisted of Faith Johnson (8th grade), Payton Miles (6th grade), and Anastasia Smith (6th grade).

D29 seeks $445,100 bond to fund projects

The Williston District 29 School Board heard a proposal for a $445,100 general obligation bond to fund capital projects.

During the Jan. 16 board meeting, D29 Finance Director Rose Anderson said the district’s millage rate will remain the same, so taxpayers will not see a tax increase to fund the bond. The bond will be paid back with the debt service fund.

Ronnie Neville, the district’s maintenance supervisor, provided the board with an overview of the projects and estimates of the costs, although those could change once bids come in from contractors.

D29 board seeks input in search for superintendent

Applications are now being accepted for the Williston District 29 superintendent’s position.

After the school board retained the services of the S.C. School Boards Association to search for its next superintendent, SCSBA officials returned to Williston on Jan. 16 to provide an update. They posted the position on Jan. 8 and will accept applications through Feb. 19.

“We’ve received a number of calls of interest from potential candidates,” said Scott Price, executive director of the SCSBA, who could not elaborate about the number of applicants at this time.

Chili supper to raise money for pet oxygen masks

A local animal rescue group is raising money to purchase pet oxygen masks for Barnwell County’s 11 fire departments.

GROWL is sponsoring a Chili Extravaganza on Thursday, Jan. 25 at the Williston Fire Department (13120 Main Street, Williston). Lunch will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with dinner from 4 to 8 p.m. Plates are $8 and include chili or vegetable soup, cornbread, salad, dessert and a drink. Eat in or takeout available.

Locals cash in on prizes at Augusta Futurity

Several Barnwell County residents rode to victory and earned prize money recently during the Augusta Futurity.

The Futurity, held Jan. 13-20 in Augusta, Ga., is a national cutting horse competition overseen by the Atlantic Coast Cutting Horse Association. It is considered to be the largest cutting horse event east of the Mississippi River.

In the $35,000 Non-Pro Any Age Finals, Kaylyn Huggins Baxley of Barnwell and her horse Swoop That Rey earned the first place championship spot and a $3,300 prize.

AFHS girls flourish over BE for region win

So far this season, it has been a rough road for the Allendale-Fairfax High girls in region play.

Allendale-Fairfax High has stumbled out of the block with four straight region losses.

Despite the losing, its hasn’t been all downhill as the team came within victory several times in the final minute of play.

Unfortunately for Lady Tigers, if it was a tough, physical, close and a high-intensity contest, it seemed the team always gave a good effort before coming up short on the scoreboard.

That trend, however, changed Friday night Jan. 19 in Bamberg-Ehrhardt.

Warhorses circle wagons for win

The Blackville-Hilda High and Barnwell High boys varsity basketball game turned into a barnburner Thursday night in Barnwell.

Through the first 16 minutes of the game, Barnwell High looked completely overwhelmed by Blackville-Hilda High.

However, Barnwell High coach Michael Highsmith made halftime adjustments and the Warhorses circled the wagons in the second half to come away with a 41-39 win.

Ziran Williams was the hero of the night for the Warhorses. Williams scored the winning bucket with less than a minute left to play.

W-E Blue Devils continue to sizzle

Coming off a big road win over region rival Wagener-Salley High, the Williston-Elko High varsity boys could have easily overlooked a 0-7 Estill High team Friday night in the Devils’ Den.

That was anything but the case, though, for Williston-Elko High. The Blue Devils came out hotter and more balanced than ever on their way to torching the Gators by a score of 79-56.

Williston-Elko High coach Mark Crossland said they weren’t concerned about Estill High’s record going into the game.

Lady Horses rally to beat Lady Hawks

For the Barnwell High girls varsity basketball team, it took until halftime for the team to finally get going against in-county rival Blackville-Hilda High Thursday night, Jan. 18 in Barnwell.

By then, Barnwell High was trailing Blackville-Hilda High 25-17.

After getting out-played by their in-county rivals in the first half, Barnwell High coach William Hammonds had some stern words for his players in the locker room.

Hammonds’ message was well received as the team stormed back to claim a 48-36 victory.

With the win, Barnwell High improves to 11-1 overall.

Shutdowns and divisions hurt everyone

We’ve talked about it before, but a lack of unity in government still seems to be an issue on both the local and national level.

The ongoing saga over the Barnwell County Economic Development Commission/Corporation continues to cause division among many locally. While progress has been made, it’s an issue that continues to divide residents and the parties that are currently involved in a lawsuit.

James W. Blackwell Sr. (Barnwell)

James W. Blackwell Sr., 80, of Barnwell, passed away on Saturday, January 20, 2018 in the Hitchcock Center in Aiken.

J.W. was born on February 28, 1937 in Stilson, Georgia. He was a son of the late James Rufus and Mariee Blackwell Sheffield. He retired from the U.S. Navy and had served in Vietnam. He was a retired systems analyst with Northrop-Drummond Corp.

Laura Chavis (Blackville)

Funeral service for Laura Bell Jeffcoat Chavis, 70, of Blackville, will be held 3 o’clock p.m., Wednesday, January 24, 2018 in the Folk Funeral Home Chapel, Williston; burial will be in the Williston Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m., Tuesday at the funeral home.

Laura passed away on Monday, January 22, 2018.

Born in Old Dunbarton, she was a daughter of the late John Jay Jeffcoat and Lottie Bell Kennedy Jeffcoat and was married to the late Clyde Chavis. She was a member of Ashleigh Baptist Church and was a homemaker.

J.L. 'Jake' Keele (Barnwell)

J.L. “Jake” Keele, 92, of Barnwell, passed away on Thursday, January 18, 2018 in the Regional Medical Center, Orangeburg.

Mr. Jake was born April 29, 1925 in Aiken and was a son of the late Lonnie and Nellie Toole Keele. He was a Navy veteran of WWII and retired millwright having worked at Shuron Inc. and Allied General. He was a devoted member of the Barnwell United Methodist Church. He was a loving father, grandfather and great-grandfather and will be missed by his family and friends.

Tommy Sweat Jr. (Barnwell)

Funeral services for Tommy Sweat Jr., 64, of Barnwell, were held 1 o’clock p.m., Saturday, January 20, 2018 in the Folk Funeral Home Chapel, Williston, with burial at the Barnwell County Cemetery by the airport. The family received friends from 11 o’clock a.m. until the time of the service at the funeral home on Saturday.

Tommy passed away on Wednesday, January 17, 2018.

Born in Barnwell County, he was a son of the late Frank Sweat and Florrie Still Sweat. He previously worked at Sandoz; loved fishing and hunting; was a Barnwell Warhorse and Carolina Gamecocks fan.

Donna Givens (Williston)

A Memorial Service for Donna Elizabeth Miller Givens, 69, of Williston, will be held 3 o’clock p.m., Sunday, January 21, 2018 in the Folk Funeral Home Chapel, Williston. The family will receive friends after the service at the funeral home on Sunday.

Donna passed away on January 18, 2018.

Annie Ruth Tilley McCrary (Siler City, N.C.)

Annie Ruth Tilley McCrary, the daughter of the late James Tilley and Rena Mack of Panama City, Florida, was born on October 10, 1951 in Barnwell County. She entered eternal rest on Wednesday, December 27, 2017 at UNC Hospital in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

She received her education in the Allendale County Public School System. She worked at various jobs, including Sara Lee Sock/Hosiery Company, Milliken, SRP and King Bar-B-Que, until her health declined.

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