Step increases are step forward

A few months ago we encouraged the Barnwell District 45 School Board to restore missed step increases for teachers and other staff who had it withheld during tough economic years.

The board stated they would make this a priority as long as funds were available. To keep their word, the preliminary budget for the 2016-17 school year includes $197,507 to bring affected employees up to date on their step increases.

We believe this is a good move and money well spent. Spending money in the classroom where students are directly affected is important.

Teen pregnancy of great concern in Barnwell

Dear Editor,

May is Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month. The issue of teen pregnancy and the increasing rates of sexually transmitted infections for Barnwell County are of great concern.

Consider the following facts:

• In 2014, Barnwell County had 37 teen births among females aged 15-19 years of age. This was up two births from 2013 where Barnwell County had 35 teen births.

• One in four girls in South Carolina will become pregnant before their 20th birthday.

• 52% of all mothers on welfare had their first child as a teenager.

Uniting makes a difference in our lives

United we stand, divided we fall.

We’ve all heard this phrase which is attributed to John Dickinson, a founding father of America. However, it’s been used by many folks over the years, including after the 9-11 terrorist attacks that rocked our country.

While everyone certainly has their differences, that doesn’t mean we can’t work together to make Barnwell County the best place it can be.

Many folks, including some who no longer live here but care about their hometown, are working to make a difference.

D19 Superintendent gives ‘Report to the People’

Dear Editor,

This year marks my tenth and final year as Superintendent of Barnwell #19. Each year a “Report to the People” has been printed to share our progress at the end of a school year. This year is a tenth anniversary edition. We will look back with pride over past accomplishments as we anticipate a future of progress and change.

Since 2006, we have seen facility improvements as a result of two five-year facility plans developed to set priorities.

Major projects

Renovation of the Blackville-Hilda High School Gymnasium

Smith family grateful for kindness

Dear Editor,

The family of the late Leon Smith Sr. is truly grateful for all acts of kindness shown to them during his passing. May God continue blessings upon each and every one of you. Special thanks to MUSC of Charleston, Pruitt Health of Aiken, Aiken RMC, and Guinyard and Sons Funeral Home of Barnwell and Sheffield Funeral Home of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Thank you,

Dorothy Smith and family


STEM festival opportunity to show best work

Dear Editor,

Let me began by thanking everyone who took part in bringing the DIG STEM Festival this past weekend to fruition in the Town of Williston.

A special thanks goes out to Mr. Steven Brown who worked endlessly to make sure everything was in place to provide the kind of fun and education for the people who came out to the event. This young man has truly shown his desire to give back by investing his time, money and service back to his community where he once lived, but now lives in Greenville.

Reader responds to Jennings letter to editor

Dear Editor,

This is in response to Jennings Rountree’s harsh and judgmental letter on Wednesday, April 6.

There are no perfect people in Barnwell County or on Barnwell County Council. There are also no perfect people in Charleston, S.C. While I vocally disagree often with Barnwell County Council, I would not call them idiots. Nor would I call fellow citizens who are trying hard to make a difference mindless sheep simply because their wishes are ignored once County Council goes behind closed doors.

Join the fun and fascination at STEM festival

This past weekend was a busy one as several special events took place around Barnwell County.

Relay for Life brought hundreds of residents together and raised nearly $22,000 for cancer research.

Volunteers at clean-up events in Barnwell and Williston collected bags and bags of trash in an effort to beautify the community.

At the Taste of Blackville festival, the aroma of food, sounds of choirs singing and many vendors filled the downtown area.

Food, fun, fellowship in abundance

Barnwell County has experienced some challenging times lately but there are several opportunities for our community to unite in the coming days to make a positive difference.

There’s nothing like a little family fun to help people forget their hardships and differences.

The Barnwell Development Association and City of Barnwell Parks and Recreation Department are joining together to host the annual Spring Fling on Thursday, April 14 on the Circle in downtown Barnwell from 5 to 7 p.m.

Help and love nearby

There is a horrible sinking feeling when a person gets diagnosed with cancer or even the possibility of cancer.

You are stunned, then look at your doctor to make sure they haven’t made a mistake.

It takes a while, but the diagnosis sinks in. You start thinking about all the things you want to do, your family and what needs to be done in the near, and hopefully, far future.

Be courageous; be a part of the solution

Barnwell County is a great place to live, work and raise a family.

That’s not to say we are perfect. Like any community, we have our issues.

Crime, unemployment, drugs, gangs, and a lack of healthcare are a few issues plaguing our community. Several of these issues are tied together as unemployment and drugs can lead to criminal activity.

However, it does not have to be that way.

We are responsible for inactions and actions

Dear Editor,
The chain of events in Barnwell County is bewildering.  
Medical care is necessary and cannot always be scheduled two weeks in advance when the next appointment is available.
The people of the county deserve what they have accepted. They allowed the county hospital to be more or less given to a private for-profit organization. 
Who negotiated and approved the deal? One would think the guilty party would have to be the Barnwell County Council. 

CANS for CANS successes celebrated

Dear Editor,

Happy one-year anniversary, CANS for CANS!

There are so many people that I would like to thank but if I start naming names, I’m afraid I’ll leave someone out.

There is one person in particular that has went out of his way to make sure this ministry does as well as it has. That is Mr. Jake Kilgus from T&J recycling. Not only has he paid us more per pound than any other recycler offered, but he actually comes and helps me prepare the trailer for moving and then he uses his truck to pull it.

Oh, did I mention that he’s a Christian?

Do homework before elections

Students might be enjoying a week off from school as they are on spring break, but it is time for Barnwell County voters to do a little homework.

School board elections will be held Tuesday, April 12, in all three county public school districts – Barnwell District 45, Barnwell District 19 (Blackville-Hilda Public Schools) and Williston District 29. Two seats are up for grabs in each district.

While we do not typically endorse a specific candidate, we do endorse being informed so you can make an educated decision come election day.

Promise Zone already seeing promising results

It’s been nearly a year since our region was designated a federal Promise Zone.

Many meetings have been held where opinions and ideas were shared of how residents wanted to see the region transformed for the better – the whole intent of the Promise Zone.

However, it takes time to bring ideas to life. A combination of many things, such as planning, researching and securing funding, has to take place before dreams are realized.

Bad situations can lead to good outcomes

Area emergency responders have stepped up since the closure of Southern Palmetto Hospital in January to see people are cared for in times of need.

That has been highlighted several times in recent weeks as various wrecks resulted in multiple victims needing medical attention at once. This could be a strain in an ordinary situation since there are only four ambulances on call at all times, but is especially so when there is no hospital in Barnwell County.

Hold on to dreams while on the same team

“We love each other, we trust each other, we believe in each other, and we work hard together on the things that matter. That’s how we win.”

That is what I believe it takes to achieve sustained success. That is what I have begun telling members of the Barnwell 45 team as I speak with them and interact with them. I can’t force our team to take on this philosophy, but I can strive to show them by example.

Let’s transform region by working together

Hundreds of people from our neck of the woods helped to craft the new long-term strategic action plan that will guide the South Carolina Lowcountry Promise Zone in the years ahead. Months of truly collaborative work provide us with a detailed map of what we need to do and how we must work together to reduce poverty by growing jobs, improving education, reducing crime and building more opportunities for citizens who live in the six counties of the Southern Carolina region.

Let the 'sunshine' in

It’s National Sunshine Week!

No, this is not a week devoted to the physical sun.

Rather, “Sunshine Week is a national initiative to promote a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information,” according to sunshineweek.rcfp.org. Sunshine Week is sponsored by the American Society of News Editors and Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

But it’s not about the press. It’s about the public’s right to have access to public information and the actions of government.


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