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Two rescued from wrecked SUV

Two people were airlifted to a hospital after being extricated from their wrecked vehicle last week.

Armard Breeland, 16, of Beaufort, was driving a 2001 Ford SUV west on Highway 278 near the town of Kline when the vehicle ran off the left side of the roadway and struck several trees, said Lance Cpl. Judd Jones with the S.C. Highway Patrol. The wreck occurred on Friday, Feb. 9 around 7:58 a.m.

Catoes help couples for more than 25 years

“To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge myself to you.”

Rev. Ken Catoe and his wife Lynn have not only taken those vows seriously during their 46 years of marriage, but have also led other married couples to understand the keys to a successful marriage.

“Marriage is designed for a lifetime,” said Rev. Catoe, who has been pastor of Hagood Avenue Baptist Church in Barnwell since 1992.

American Zinc Recycling apprentices earn awards

A local company is investing in its employees and, at the same time, their employees are investing in their future.

American Zinc Recycling in Snelling last week recognized five employees who had completed apprenticeships to become Electromechanical Technicians.

“Our program started six years ago with the support of the South Carolina Technical College System and Denmark Technical College (DTC),” said AZR plant manager Eric Stroom. “”It is a foundation element of our local organizational development initiatives.”

EDC given project updates

No action was taken by the Barnwell County Economic Development Commission on Feb. 5 but the commissioners met for close to an hour getting updates on projects.

Tommy Boyleston, who serves as the EDC’s executive director, said any votes on Economic Development Corporation assets would have to be in a corporation meeting. Since none was needed, the commission meeting would be for advisory matters only.

Barnwell County Council votes on three candidates for Administrator - none approved

“We don’t have an administrator,” said Barnwell County Council Chairman Lowell Jowers after three votes failed to approve the hiring of any of the three finalists during their regular council meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 13.

The first vote on Debbie Fickling resulted in a 3-3 deadlock. Chairman Jowers recused himself on an ethics ruling due to the fact that Fickling is his sister-in-law. Fickling is currently the business manager for the county.

Keel reappointed as SLED chief

Barnwell native Mark Keel has been reappointed as the state’s top law enforcement chief.

S.C. Governor Henry McMaster announced on Jan. 31 his decision to reappoint South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) Chief Mark Keel. Having first been appointed to the position by Governor Nikki Haley in June 2011, Chief Keel’s distinguished law enforcement career spans over 40 years, according to a press release.

$1,000 raises proposed for county council

A $1,000 annual raise for Barnwell County Councilmen is one of two recommendations by the county Personnel Committee to be presented to the full council on Tuesday, Feb. 13.

The committee met on Wednesday, Jan. 24 to discuss the matter. The committee is comprised of County Council members Jerry Creech and Don Harper, County Administrator Pickens Williams Jr. and Business and HR Manager Debbie Fickling.

Barnwell Co. Career Center director retiring in June

The Barnwell County Career Center is searching for a new director.

BCCC Director Sam McKay is planning to retire at the end of the 2017-2018 school year. The school board unanimously accepted his resignation due to retirement during the Jan. 29 meeting. McKay’s last day is June 30.

“I’m going to miss the kids,” he said.

Vroom program steers parents as teachers

A new early learning initiative is looking to drive the growth and development of young brains.

Save the Children is partnering with Vroom, an initiative of the Bezos Family Foundation, in communities that have the Early Steps to School Success (ESSS) program. This includes Barnwell County where there are ESSS programs in all three public school districts.

“It teaches parents how simple interactions can build brain capacity,” said Lakisha Bowman, an Early Steps to School Success Program Specialist with Save the Children.

Jack Keel’s grandson continues legacy

Jack Keel lived up to State Farm’s motto: “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.” Now his grandson is hoping to continue that legacy.

Will Keel, the son of Mark and Jeri Keel, officially became the agent of the State Farm office located at 505 Reynolds Road, Barnwell, on Thursday, Feb. 1. The agency was started in October 1958 by his grandfather, who worked for State Farm for nearly 60 years until his death on Sept. 23, 2017.

Wil Alexander returns home to help people

A Barnwell native has returned home to open a personal injury law office and help his community.

Wil Alexander recently established the Law Office of William H. Alexander, LLC in downtown Barnwell after completing law school and a one-year stint as a law clerk in Chester.

Living in other places, including bigger cities, “made me realize what a special place Barnwell is. It’s special because of the people. I’m really happy to be back in the community,” said Wil, who is the son of Don and Garnette Alexander.

Williston Council discusses goals, master plans

Williston Town Council was presented with the results of two master plans as they discussed goals during a Feb. 2 retreat.

Mayor Jason Stapleton along with council members Eric Moody, Adadra Neville, Kurt Odermatt, Annie Tyler, Scott Valentine and Brett Williams met at Meeting on Main for a morning full of updates, ideas and setting goals for the town’s future. Administrator Kenny Cook and Utilities Director Marty Martin were also present.

“We’ve made a lot of progress these last few years,” said Stapleton.

Fire victims grateful for community support

Victims of a recent house fire are grateful to the community for their prayers and support.

Susan Grubbs along with her boyfriend David Smith and friend CJ Knowles were left homeless on Jan. 28 following a fire at 933 Old Whiskey Road. No one was injured, but they lost everything, including four pets. However, a number of people have stepped up to help.

“We thank them for all of their love and support. Please continue to pray for us,” said Grubbs.

Local radio personalities attend Grammy’s

Three local radio station employees represented Barnwell County at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards.

LaKonda Bing Raysor and Alicia Gaines from the L & A Entertainment Duo on the WIZ 97.9 FM along with their assistant Margaret Sparrow traveled to New York City, N.Y. the last week of January to attend the awards show and interview some of the Grammy-nominated artists, such as the Hamiltones and Steve Ray (Youngsta). Raysor and Gaines are graduates of Barnwell High while Sparrow graduated from Allendale-Fairfax High.

Allendale native promoted to Army Brigadier General

ANDERSON – In the presence of family, friends and fellow soldiers Frank M. Rice became the newest Brigadier General in the South Carolina National Guard.

The promotion ceremony took place at the 263d Army Air and Missile Defense Command (AAMDC) National Guard armory located in Anderson marking a pivotal moment in an already illustrious 35-year military career.

School board candidates file

There won’t be a lot of competition on the April 10 ballot for local school boards.

As of the Jan. 26 filing deadline, only the incumbents in Barnwell District 45 and District 19 filed. Abraham Sexton is the lone candidate for one seat in District 45 while Karen B. Jowers and Sharon E. McClary are the only candidates for two seats on the District 19 board. Williston District 29 has the most people running as incumbent Russell J. Overton and newcomers Ronald J. Brown and Annette W. Burnette are running for two open seats.

All seats are for three-year terms.

Flu virus continues to spread across South Carolina

Flu activity is continuing to increase in the Palmetto state and while it’s unknown when the flu season activity will peak, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is encouraging South Carolinians to protect themselves against the flu.

According to DHEC statistics as of Jan. 20, more than 75 people in Barnwell County and up to 25 people in Allendale County had been diagnosed with the flu.

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