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Hoofin' it

About 100 high school, junior high and middle school students from across South Carolina saddled up in Barnwell County to stay on the bull for eight seconds.

The Barnwell County Career Center hosted the FFA rodeo over the weekend at the Rosier Farm on Old Allendale Highway March 13 -15.

"Last year it went really well. So we thought we should do it again - hopefully it will become an annual event," said Mindy Sandifer, an agricultural instructor for the Barnwell County Career Center and an FFA advisor.

Candidates see similar challenges facing Williston schools, district: Mulligan - a new voice for school board

Last year's failed school bond referendum was the inspiration for Alan Mulligan to run for the Williston school board.

"That really got me to do this. A lot of people wanted me to put my name in the hat," he said. "That got me more involved in the school system."

Elections are April 14. Two school board seats are open with incumbents Elizabeth Coleman and Calvin Melton both running for reelection.

Candidates see similar challenges facing Williston schools, district: Coleman the board veteran

Elizabeth Coleman is a veteran of the Williston school board.

In April, Coleman will have been on the board 18 years or six terms. During her time, she has been the board chairperson four times.

"I've got four gavels," she said of the wooden mallets, the symbol of the office.

School board elections are April 14. Coleman and fellow school board member Calvin Melton are running for reelection. Facing them is challenger Alan Mulligan for one of their seats.

During her tenure, Coleman has not minded asking tough questions, second-guessing assumptions and confronting issues.

Candidates see similar challenges facing Williston schools, district: Melton an experienced board member

Calvin Melton would like to graduate when his son does.

Melton, 57, is running for another term on the Williston school board.

Melton said that he would like to see his son John, an eighth grader, graduate from Wiliston-Elko High School, before giving up his service to the school board. Melton will watch his older son, Charles, graduate this year.

School board elections are April 14. Melton and Elizabeth Coleman, another board member, are running for reelection. They are facing newcomer Alan Mulligan for the two open seats on the board.

New law may prohibit resale of used children's thrift good items

With the economic downturn that most have seen over the past few months, news of a new law regulating what children's items can be re-sold is not helping local parents' wallets.

The goal of the new law is to protect children, but what it has done locally is keep parents from being able to get affordable used items at some locations.

The Pick of the Litter, a thrift shop located in Barnwell, has stopped selling children's items until the particulars of what can and cannot be resold are better understood, said Vicky Scott.

South Carolina now second in unemployment nationally

Barnwell County's unemployment rate jumped up more than one point between January 2008 and December 2009.

The jump puts South Carolina at second place in the national jobless rates - Michigan is first.

South Carolina's unemployment rate reached 10.4 percent in January - making it one of the four double-digit states for jobless rates in the nation, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Michigan's unemployment is 11.6 percent, followed by South Carolina and then Rhode Island at 10.3 percent and California at 10.1 percent, U.S. Department of Labor figures show.

Gas leak causes temporary evacuation of Williston school

A broken natural gas valve forced a brief evacuation of the Williston Middle School March 12 just before students were to go to lunch.

The incident occurred at about 12:55 p.m. when a student hit a natural gas line outside the school building. The line began leaking gas, which is invisible, but has a distinctive odor. A student reported the leak to the principal's office and from there the information was reported to the district office.

Bill would give parents choices for child's educational needs

Making their voices heard, a group of Barnwell County residents headed to the State house to speak with lawmakers in support of a bill.

The Education Opportunity Act - Senate Bill 520 - would provide parents with education choices for their children.

If the bill passes, it will allow parents to home school a child or send him or her to a private or charter school by providing parents with, on average a $2,500 state tax credit per child, said Neil Mellon, the communications director for South Carolinians for Responsible Government.

Stimulus cash to help local police departments

Some of the federal stimulus money will be used for the nation's law enforcement agencies, including money that will find its way to Barnwell County.

The White House announced in a March 6 press release about a $2 billion portion of the Recovery Act 2009 that will be allocated to individual police departments through the Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Program (JAG).

Of that amount, nearly $38 million will go toward South Carolina agencies.

Cardboard currency: Box tops, etc. help BPS with educational expenses

To Phyllis Martin, spare change isn't nickels and dimes but rectangular bits of cardboard.

Martin is on a mission to save this cardboard for the betterment of Barnwell Primary School, where she works as an administration assistant and records clerk.

"People think I'm crazy. I'm the ‘Box Top Queen.' People have said, ‘You are obsessed about box tops,'" Martin said.

Police track bloody man through Williston after wreck

Municipal police followed a injured and bloodied man through downtown Williston before apprehending him after the man wrecked a sport utility vehicle and left the accident scene.

Williston police were called to the scene of a one-vehicle wreck on Burckhalter Street at about 4 p.m., March 12 where a 2004 Mercury Mountaineer had crashed through a fence, struck a tree and then partially ran underneath the porch of a house, according to police reports.

The People-Sentinel collects six SCPA awards

The People-Sentinel collected six awards during the annual awards ceremony held by the South Carolina Press Association March 14.

Three of those awards had Michael Young's name on them. Young is the sports editor for The People-Sentinel.

Young received a first place award in the category of sports feature photo as well as a third place in that category. He also won a third place award for in the sports action category.

Staff writers Jared Guadagni and Susan Delk also garnered awards.

Guadagni won a second place award for his health reporting.

Fishing rodeo needs community support to continue its mission

Dear Editor,

The Barnwell County Chamber of Commerce and the S.C. Department of Natural Resources will co-sponsor the 21st annual "Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs" Fishing Rodeo for Barnwell County. The rodeo will be held Saturday, May 2 at the fish hatchery on Dunbarton Boulevard in Barnwell.

This function is the largest of its kind in the state. It provides education and information on drug abuse, environmental protection and wildlife habitats.

Transparency should be part of government's actions

The governor works for you. So does your local county administrator, your mayor, your legislator and the superintendent of your school district.

This means you have a right to know how each of them spend your tax dollars and how they arrive at decisions that affect you.

This week, March 15-21, is National Sunshine Week. Its purpose is to celebrate - and raise awareness of - laws that grant citizens access to public records.

Lady Warhorses spank Hampton in softball

The Barnwell High Lady Warhorses spanked region rival Wade Hampton High by a score of 10-0 in five innings Friday in Barnwell.

The game was played on a cold evening as the temperatures dipped into the uppers 40s.

However, for Barnwell High, they didn't let their bats get cold. Leading 3-0, Barnwell High pulled away from its adversaries with a five-run fourth inning to take a commanding 7-0 lead. Taylor Roberts and Catherine Padgett highlighted the inning.

Roberts delivered a two-run RBI triple while Padgett added an RBI double.

Hawks fly past Blue Devils in soccer

Round one of the soccer battle between in-county rivals Blackville-Hilda High and Williston-Elko High goes to the Hawks.

The Hawks soared to a 3-0 victory over its counterparts behind the dynamic duo offensive performance of Quentin Johnson and Freddie Glover.

Johnson, who has emerged as the team leader on offense this season, scored the first two goals of the game.

Glover, who continues to excel offensively, added a goal and an assists.

With the win, Blackville-Hilda evens its record at 1-1 in the season. The teams play in a rematch April 28 in Williston.

Barnwell High girls win in junior varsity soccer action

The Barnwell High Lady Warhorses squeezed past the South Aiken High Lady Thoroughbreds by a score of 1-0 March 9 in junior varsity soccer action.

The entire game was a constant defensive battle with both teams missing opportunities to score on the are occasion they were given.

Barnwell High, however, cranked the scoreboard in the first half on a penalty kick by Olivia Ray.

JDA girls open floodgates in softball

The Jefferson Davis Academy Lady Raiders opened the offensive floodgates on region rival Andrew Jackson Academy March 10 in softball.

Fueled by the hitting of freshman Avery Owens, JDA poured out a season high 28 hits in a 18-6 lopsided victory.

The game was never in doubt as the Lady Raiders jumped to a 13-0 lead in the first two innings.

Owens led the hitting onslaught with a two-run homer in the first inning. Owens, who came into the game with four hits in her last six at-bats, ripped the Lady Confederates for five hits, including two home runs and four RBIs.

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