Bernice A. Geiger Minutolo

Bernice A. Geiger Minutolo , 86, of Clinton, died May 23.
Funeral service was held May 27 at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Johnson City, Tenn. Followed by the Mass of Christian Burial, with burial at Monte Vista Memorial Park. Appalachian Funeral Home and Cremation Services was in charge of the arrangements.

Melissa Ilene Zissett Smith

Melissa Ilene Zissett Smith, 46, of Blackville, died May 28, 2009.
Funeral service was held May 31 at Folk funeral Home Chapel, Williston, with burial in the Blackville Cemetery. Folk Funeral Home of Williston was in charge of the arrangements.
Mrs. Smith was born in Pompton Planins, N. J. She was the daughter of Linda Brown Stewart and the late Buford "Bo" Stewart. She was a member of Unity Baptist church. She worked at Burger King. She was predeceased by a nephew, Daryl Allan "DJ" Zissette Jr.

Tharon Jo Mason Sullenger

Tharon Jo Mason Sullenger, 86, of Barnwell, died May 28, 2009 at her residence.
Funeral service was held May 30 at the Barnwell Presbyterian Church with the Revs. David Turner and Marianne Turner officiating. Burial was at the Hillcrest Abbey Cemetery, Savannah, Ga. Mole Funeral Home of Barnwell was in charge of the arrangements.

Barnwell County Hospital earns a top score

The Barnwell County Hospital is finding itself in an elite class with other top healers.

With a recent quarterly score of 85 given by the Joint Commission, BCH finds itself inching closer to the top 25 percent of hospitals in the nation.

The Joint Commission - a health care accreditation agency - scores hospitals nationally from one to 500 on the quality of health care and safety.

The national average for hospitals is 146; the state average is 121; the top 25 percent national average for hospitals is 62, according to data the hospital supplied at a May 28 board meeting.

Barnwell 45 considers budget and bond

Regardless of the wrangling between Washington D.C. and Gov. Mark Sanford over federal stimulus stabilization funds for education, school districts around the state are having to prepare budgets for its next fiscal year.

It was no different for Barnwell 45 as its school board gave a third reading to its fiscal year 2009-10 budget during its regular meeting May 28.

The board heard the reading but has not given final approval of it.

The budget has not been finalized yet, said the district chief financial officer, Shirley Kitchings.

District to get stimulus funds: Money is not from $700 million Sanford snubs

The Barnwell 45 school district will be getting stimulus money - of a sort - after all.

The cash-strapped district will receive $384,391 through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), where much of the stimulus money from the federal government is coming.

However, the money is coming through Title I of the U.S. Department of Education. Title I is part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to help poor children with their education needs. Title I includes such programs as the free and reduce school lunches.

Santuary provides haven for feral felines

There's a new gated community in Barnwell County that includes two-story condominiums and an exercise area.

However, this subdivision isn't for people.

It's for cats.

Just off S.C. 3, the Animal Advocates have established a 30-by-70-foot fenced sanctuary for about a dozen cats.

The inaugural residents of this enclosure are cats that had been running loose around Lake Brown.

Vikki Scott, the president of Animal Advocates, has been trapping the felines and relocating them to the sanctuary.

"They have gone from poverty to a gated community," Scott said.

Weather creates promising forecast for harvest

Barnwell County is moving into the growing season with a bountiful harvest of good conditions.

The county has been out of drought status since April 15, said Mark Malsick, the severe weather liaison for the S.C. Climatology Office.

"Lake levels are normal across the state and river flows are mainly normal," he said.

The state drought response committee looks at a number of factors other than precipitation and collects information from various sources and agencies before determining drought status, said Malsick.

Writing love of learning early in young minds

Bertha Folk sees teachers more as lifesavers than instructors.

"Doctors save lives medically and I personally believe teachers save lives academically," said Folk, a first grade teacher at Macedonia Elementary School in Blackville.

There are 14 first grade students in Folk's class and half of them are reading on a third grade level and others on a second grade level.

"It's a joy to see them have a love of books," she said.

"The vast majority of my students met or exceeded their MAP targeted goal," said Folk.

Fight over school money near an end

COLUMBIA - Gov. Mark Sanford predicted his fight to block federal money for schools is coming to an end and says he won't appeal court decisions on the issue.

Sanford told reporters and the Associated Press June 1 that he wasn't optimistic the court would side with him in a months-long battle against $700 million intended to spare schools and colleges from deep budget cuts.

Summer feeding program: Appetites don't go on vacation

It's like summer school for the stomach.

Children who receive free or reduced cost lunches during the school year will still have the opportunity to receive meals through the summer feeding program.

This year's summer feeding program will run in Barnwell County from June 8 through July 31.

The program has 46 sites designated so far countywide where meals will be delivered.

Williston-Elko High honors athletes at banquet

Williston-Elko High School athletic department honored its student-athletes May 14 at its annual banquet.

Blue Devils sports continues to reach new heights its second year under athletic director Dwayne Garrick.

This season, Williston-Elko sports captured region championships in girls and boys tennis, baseball and golf. In varsity football, the Blue Devils were upper state champs. In boys varsity basketball, Williston-Elko advanced to the final rounds of Upper State.

Garrick said the program is coming along well.

Spec's Vision survives scare in recreation baseball action

A sign of relief came across the face of Lee Richardson, coach of the Spec's Vision following his team 9-8 victory over Kinard's Used Cars Saturday at Lemon Park.

Leading by seven runs in the last inning, Spec's Vision needed only one out to wrap up the win.

However, Kinard's Used Cars didn't go down without a fight. Sparked by a two-run RBI double by Tyler Hutto, Kinard's stormed back with six runs to narrow the lead to 9-8.

With a batter at the plate and a runner at second base, Kinard hope to keep the rallying going in the inning.

BHHS celebrates its athletes in year-end banquet

After the greens of the playing fields and courts came the trophies and plaques for the athletes of Blackville-Hilda High School May 26 during its annual sports banquet.

Blackville-Hilda High recognized more than 100 athletes for their accomplishments in competition.

Blackville-Hilda High athletics enjoyed another successful season. The varsity football team won the region 4A title after going unbeaten in the regular season at 10-0. The Hawks finished 12-1 overall after losing to Scott's Branch High in the Lower State Finals.

Restaurant is an investment for one family

Austin's Restaurant is more than just a place to grab something to eat.

It's a building that is constructing a future for a young boy and providing family entertainment to the community.

The combination restaurant/game room/alcohol-free karaoke center - located on U.S. 278 - is owned and operated by Joe Gioiosa and his wife, Debra.

Gioisa's 9-year-old grandson, Austin May, helps cook, clean, make change and wait on customers.

"I wanted to get something going for my grandson," said Gioiosa.

Blackville councilman resigns

Blackville needs one town official now but also wants another in the future.

During the regular monthly meeting May 18, council member Dan Ligon, resigned his position from the council, "effective today," Ligon said.

Ligon cited his business as the reason for his resignation.
Ligon owns a construction company that has been pursuing jobs in Texas.

Ligon said he thought the job would be temporary, but it has turned into longer term jobs and he didn't think he could effectively serve the town.

Scholarships encourage next generation of scientists

They are two years from their graduation, yet professional people are already asking one group of high school students where they will be in the future.

The EnergySolutions Foundation, the college scholarship organization, awarded 22 sophomores from Georgia and South Carolina each with $2,000 college scholarships.

Three students from Barnwell County were among the recipients: Valerie Moody of Barnwell High School; Allanté Harrison of Blackville-Hilda High and Christopher Harvey with Williston-Elko High.

Event opens door to outdoors for handicapped

Family Fest 2009 - the second annual outdoor event for the disabled and their families was a little soggy at times but the rain didn't dampen the determination of those trying to pull the ‘big one' from the pond.

As the rain fell during the morning, wheelchairs still sat on the banks, poles still in the water, waiting for the next bite.

For some, the disabilities were apparent with wheelchairs, walkers and canes visible. For others the disabilities were not so apparent.

Some sat quietly and fished while some walked or were driven around to the various exhibits in golf carts.

Local car deal leads to Honduras

A local auto dealer's good deed toward two people will in turn be multiplied to eventually help hundreds of people.

Michael Nix of Whittle Motor Company in Williston got a call from Sam Turnipseed asking about available vehicles for a foundation in which Turnipseed and his wife, Roxanne volunteer.

The foundation, Honduras Agape Foundation, was in need of a vehicle for their mission work in Honduras, Turnipseed said.

Turnipseed said after talking with Nix, he offered to sell the vehicle, a seven-passenger Ford Expedition, to the Turnipseeds at a price, "well below his cost."

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