Opinion

Vote in a primary

Just as we believe in the importance of donating blood, we also believe it’s important to exercise your right to vote.

The Republican Presidential Primary is this Saturday, Feb. 20 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at precincts across the county. The Democratic primary is the following Saturday, Feb. 27.

You can vote in one primary, but not both.

Politics can be a confusing and complicated topic, which is why we encourage you to do your homework on the candidates so you can make an informed decision.

Black History Month is fabric of all our lives

At a concert last weekend at the Barnwell County Museum in celebration of Black History Month, one person said, “This is the history of America of which this is a part.”

Black History Month is not a time to be exclusive. It is a time to be inclusive.

Our history is the fabric of our lives and each thread is important to remember.

Some of those threads are soft and comfortable. Others are itchy, making us want to scratch. A few poke us in the ribs, reminding us of the not-so-nice periods of our lives.

Finish this sentence - Happy Valentines Day

My husband and I were at a cash register paying for our bill.

The gal asked a few questions and we answered them.

She got the funniest look on her face and smiled. “How long have you two been married?” she asked.

We looked at each other for a moment, calculating the years.

“Thirty-eight,” my husband answered.

“And a half,” I finished.

The gal laughed and said, “I thought as much. People like you finish each other’s sentences.”

I suppose we do. Often we catch ourselves speaking in chorus or finishing sentences in tandem.

Community can be a part of the healthcare solution

The past is in the past. It is simply impossible to change history; however, we can work to mold the future into one we want.

That’s the situation Barnwell County residents are in after the sudden closure of Southern Palmetto Hospital. The county’s only hospital and place for emergency medical care is now shut down due to financial reasons.

What does this mean for the health of our community and those of us who live here?

State journalist registration bill ‘laughable’

I confess. I had more fun responding to inquiries about Mike Pitts’ (R-Laurens) journalist registration bill than I have had answering questions about any other proposed restrictions on the press or personal freedoms.

A client called and asked what the response to the bill should be. I responded, “laughter.” The client then asked, “What do we say when someone wants our official response?” “Tell them when we quit laughing we’ll think of something.”

Fairey felt ‘blessed’ even while fighting cancer

“I’m blessed.”

If you ever asked Ann Fairey how she was doing, she would always respond with the two words above. She would also tell you to have a blessed day when it was time to say goodbye.

Her faith never wavered, even as cancer ravaged her body and led to lengthy hospitalizations and grueling treatments that left her weak and tired. The average person, myself included, would find it easy to lose hope and feel sorry for themselves. Not Ms. Ann!

Lives at stake as county reacts to hospital demise

Barnwell County residents along with Southern Palmetto Hospital employees were blindsided last week by news the county’s only hospital would close.

The closure, which took effect Jan. 21, leaves 120 people without a job and Barnwell County without a hospital. Many are rightfully worried about their health now that the closest hospital is 30 minutes away.

At the time the county sold the hospital to a private company in 2013, county leaders said getting out of the hospital business would preserve healthcare for residents. Not so much, apparently.

Much discussion needed before vote on sales tax

In November of 2014, Barnwell County voters soundly voted “no” on a one-cent sales tax referendum. The tax would have paid for a variety of capital projects not only at the county level but also for the towns.

Since that time, members of Barnwell County Council have had a lot of time for reflection. They have also spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to fund many of the sorely needed projects. Many of those projects just were put on the shelf.

And they waited.

Step forward

Speaking of elections, it’s time for candidates to file for positions on each of Barnwell County’s public school boards.

We are not sure if the incumbents are planning to vie for another term in office or if there are others who want the chance to serve.

Either way, the time is now for candidates to step forward.

If no one comes forward, those who have filed and face no opposition will automatically become the “electee” even without a single vote. Incumbents will consider that an endorsement by their constituents.

District, officers kept our children safe

Enough is enough!

That seems to be the sentiment of Williston parents, educators, and law enforcement officials after a bomb threat, for the third time in just 10 months, disrupted classes at Williston District 29.

Thankfully, none of the threats yielded any bombs after authorities searched all buildings room by room.

These threats not only waste precious resources, especially with law enforcement, but they also impede valuable instructional time.

Local students in national spotlight - good choices made difference

The Clemson Tigers have had an incredible season as they head to the National College Football Championship game next week with a 14-0 record.

While everyone is not a Tiger fan, we are all South Carolinians and should be proud of this state team. It’s not every year that a college football team from South Carolina plays for the national title.

For those of you who are diehard fans of another team, such as the Gamecocks, and can’t cheer on the Tigers, we encourage you to show your support for the Barnwell County natives who are part of the Tigers team.

Jobs, safety are continuing resolutions

A lot can change in a year. It sure has for Barnwell County.

We typically reserve this space in the last edition of the year to reflect on the current year, so we can learn from the past in order to have a prosperous future. We also like to set resolutions for our hopes for the New Year.

This time last year our main hope was for good jobs for Barnwell County’s residents, including 134 new jobs from a then-unidentified industry codenamed “Project Flower”.

We wish for faith, hope and love

Christmas is about gifts and selflessness.

That’s true for children who focus on the gifts Santa will bring them on Christmas morning as well as folks who put a lot of thought into picking out the perfect gifts for their loved ones.

However, the best Christmas gift won’t be found in a neatly wrapped box under the tree. It also can’t be found in any store or website. This gift was delivered 2015 years ago in a tiny manger in the town of Bethlehem surrounded by animals.

We are talking about the birth of Jesus - the son of God who was born of a virgin.

Step increases should be restored

Most teachers don’t go into the education field seeking to get rich, but they expect to be paid what they are owed for their years of service as outlined on their pay schedule.

Teachers work hard to prepare our children for a successful future. It’s only right they should be fairly compensated.

However, step increases were withheld from many teachers across the state - and right here in Barnwell County - a few years ago during the economic downturn. Some districts did this more than one year.

Blackville residents missed oppprtunity to voice opinions

Blackville-Hilda residents missed out on an important opportunity to give input into the type of person they want to be their school district’s next superintendent.

A focus group was held Monday evening, Dec. 7, for School Improvement Council members and residents in the community. However, only two people showed up, other than The People-Sentinel’s editor.

This was a prime opportunity for members of the community to talk about the characteristics, experiences and professional attributes they want their next superintendent to possess.

Dear, what do you want for Christmas? A list?

Every year my husband dutifully asks me, “Dear, what do you want for Christmas?”

And every year I draw a complete blank.

All year long I browse through local shops and think to myself, “Gee, I’d really like to have that.”

But when he asks the annual question, it’s like my mind has been erased. He thinks I do it just to be maddening because I really do like surprises on Christmas morning.

Get into the Christmas spirit

Are you ready for Christmas?

If not, there are plenty of events in the coming weeks to get you in the Christmas spirit.

Sunday evening’s Christmas tree lighting in Snelling kicked off a busy season for us at the newspaper as towns, churches, organizations and others host Christmas events.

However, we don’t really mind the busyness. It is the most wonderful time of year after all!

These events are the perfect opportunity for our community to come together for a joyous occasion.

Congratulations champions

Barnwell and Allendale counties may be small, but that doesn’t mean our residents can’t do great things.

Sharing those accomplishments is one of our favorite things to publish in the newspaper.

Williston resident Kerri Bolen, for instance, won the IFPA Pro Yorton Cup World Championship for women’s bodybuilding. Congratulations, Kerri -you represented your community well! We are proud of you!

We also congratulate the Allendale-Fairfax High School Tigers varsity football team for making it to the 1A Division 1 State Championship.

30 ways to be thankful

“Count your blessings, name them one by one, Count your blessings, see what God has done!”

Those words from the 1897 hymn perfectly sum up the message and spirit of Thanksgiving.

Sometimes it’s difficult to be thankful as life throws challenges and curveballs at us. However, no matter what we are going through, it’s important to count our blessings and be thankful for the good things. In recent years, many folks have taken a 30-day challenge to post daily one thing they are thankful for on Facebook.

Shop local and support our small businesses

The most wonderful time of year can also be the most hectic time of year.

From office parties and family gatherings to Christmas parades and mailing Christmas cards, there is so much to do between now and December 25. That doesn’t even account for all of the shopping we have to do.

If you haven’t started your Christmas shopping, you better get a move on. You only have five weeks left.

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