News

Blackville teens arrested for bomb threat

Two juveniles have been arrested in connection to a bomb threat that led to the evacuation of Blackville-Hilda High and Middle schools on Nov. 15.

Barnwell County Sheriff Ed Carroll said his office was notified at 12:56 p.m. of the threat of a bomb at the high school. He said the threat was called into the school, but declined to give further details of the call.

Barnwell Primary School student remembered

Barnwell Primary School is missing a piece of its puzzle after the death of Javian Hayward.

The 8-year-old died on Nov. 13 from injuries he sustained two days earlier from a wreck that occurred in Aiken County. His mother and older brother were also injured in the wreck.

“Our hearts go out to Javian’s family at this very difficult time. He will be dearly missed,” according to a statement on Barnwell District 45’s website.

Towns, county hold civil but direct meeting

A meeting was held Thursday, Nov. 16 without lawyers in a neutral site between four governmental entities that have been at odds for several years.

The Barnwell County Council met with the mayors and at least one councilman from each of the municipalities of Barnwell, Blackville and Williston. They came together to discuss issues related to the Barnwell County Economic Development Corporation and Commission.

Students, various agencies participate in drill

Over 100 people participated in a large-scale disaster drill on Nov. 15 in Barnwell County.

The drill simulated a 6.2-magnitude earthquake centered in Barnwell. The drill “assumed” the county courthouse had collapsed and a mobile command center had to be set up at the Barnwell County Airport. Over the course of the drill there were 51 people deemed as injured and 4 “confirmed” dead.

Williston approves matching grant to buy two police cars

The Williston Town Council approved an allocation as the town’s part of a matching grant to purchase two police cars and a utility vehicle.

The USDA grant pays for 55 percent of the cost up to $50,000 with the town matching 45 percent.

“We estimate the total cost will be about $88,000 meaning the grant will fund $48,400 and we would have to fund the remaining $39,600,” said Town Administrator Kenny Cook in a memo to council members.

He suggested that $22,000 from the Utilities Fund and $17,600 from the General Fund.

Memories retained at Blackville Museum

The Blackville Museum took people on a walk down memory lane during its Nov. 12 open house.

There was a good turnout for the event, which was held as a way to showcase all the work that’s been done recently to preserve the town’s history. The museum opened in 2016 at 655 Main Street.

“I think it’s wonderful. They’ve done a good job,” said Blackville resident Arie Guess.

Teen shooting victim ‘uncooperative’ with police

Details are limited about a shooting that injured a Blackville teen.

A 14-year-old male was shot on Sunday, Nov. 12 around 7:02 p.m. in the area of 954 Oak Avenue in Blackville as he walked between his house and a neighbor’s residence.

“One shot was fired and he was struck in the elbow,” said Blackville Police Chief John Holston of the juvenile victim.

SC Arts Commission reps visit Blackville

Members of the S.C. Arts Commission recently visited Blackville to provide an update about a rural arts initiative.

“The Art of Community: Rural SC” was launched in 2016 by the S.C. Arts Commission as part of its mission to create a thriving arts and culture environment for the state. The pilot program helps advance the Commission’s commitment to rural communities, particularly the six counties of the South Carolina Promise Zone. It receives financial support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development.

Deloach appointed to D19 board

The Barnwell District 19 School Board will soon be full again.

During their Nov. 13 meeting, the board unanimously approved appointing Bill Deloach to the seat vacated three months prior by George Fickling, who resigned over issues he had with board members.

After two previous attempts to be elected to the board came up short, Deloach said he appreciates the board giving him a chance to help move the district forward.

"I want what's best for the kids," said Deloach, a married father of four. “I want to serve all students."

County Council approves sale of property

Barnwell County Council approved the sale of property owned by Economic Development Corporation related to “Project Bradley”.

The unanimous vote came at the end of a 3-hour meeting, most of which was in closed session.

No details were given on the project.

Also at the end of the meeting council held first reading of ordinances approving fee in lieu of taxes for five solar projects.

They include Barnwell Solar, Blackville Solar II, Crossroad Solar, Edison Solar and Richardson Solar.

Food drive collects 400+ items

McKinley Blake Pritchard, a junior at Jefferson Davis Academy and Teen Miss Aiken County, hosted a food drive benefiting Golden Harvest Food Bank from Oct. 16 to Nov. 3.

She received 100 items from the students and staff of Jefferson Davis Academy during Oct. 16 and Nov. 3. On Oct. 28 and 29 at Sport's Gas and Convenience she received 150 items and $350 in cash donations from the community.

Cash donations will be used to purchase 300 items.

Lisa Ferguson named Teacher of Year for Orangeburg school

A Barnwell resident was recently named Teacher of the Year for an Orangeburg County school.

Lisa Ferguson is the 2017-2018 Teacher of the Year for the STAR (Students Taking Alternative Routes) Center for Learning in Cope. She is in her third year at the STAR Center for Learning where she teaches sixth through eighth grade math, but previously taught for 18 years at Barnwell District 45.

“It lets you know you’re doing a great job,” said Ferguson, who says she was “humbled” to receive the award.

Williston church holding vendor fair to raise money for food pantry

A Williston Gift & Craft Fair will be held on Saturday, Nov. 18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Winfield Heights Baptist Church’s Eddie Yelton Building (315 Chester St., Williston).

Admission is free, but all proceeds from raffles, concessions and booth fees will be donated to local organizations that assist those in need.

In addition to a variety of vendors, there will also be a bounce house, concessions, raffles and entertainment.

Community soup kitchen opening in December

Barnwell’s homeless and other financially-strapped residents will soon have a place to eat.

The community has been without a soup kitchen since Barnwell Presbyterian Church closed the Legion Center Ministry Soup Kitchen on April 28 due to financial reasons. However, First Baptist Church of Barnwell is organizing a new soup kitchen with the assistance of several other churches and organizations.

Towns, county to meet Nov. 16

The Barnwell County Council and the mayors from the municipalities of Barnwell, Blackville and Williston are slated to sit down this week and talk. The topic of discussion is the Barnwell County Economic Development Commission (EDC) and Corporation.

Council Chairman Lowell Jowers confirmed this week the meeting will be held on Thursday, Nov. 16 at the Barnwell County Library – “a neutral site”.

“It is just the mayors and council, no attorneys present,” said Jowers. “We want to sit down like gentlemen and try to get this thing settled and start working again.”

Election brings changes to Williston Town Council

Two new faces will soon join the Williston Town Council.

Eric Moody (244 votes) was the only incumbent to win re-election during the Nov. 7 Williston Town Council election. Dwayne Cagle did not receive enough votes while Kevin Wall did not file for re-election. Taking their places will be newcomers Annie Smalls Tyler (371 votes) and Kurt J. Odermatt (174).

Results for the other three candidates are: Dwayne Cagle (149 votes), Nigel E. Abner (139) and Tim Scott (114).

8-year-old Barnwell boy dies from injuries following Aiken wreck

An 8-year-old child succumbed Monday to injuries he suffered in an traffic accident along Old Barnwell Road in Aiken County this weekend.

Javion Hayward of Barnwell died Monday morning, Nov. 13 at Augusta University Medical Center from the traumatic injuries he sustained from a two-vehicle crash Saturday morning at Cedar Road in Windsor, according to an Aiken County Coroner’s Office news release

Smithsonian traveling exhibition about rural America coming to Barnwell Museum

In 1900, about 40 percent of Americans lived in rural areas. By 2010, less than 18 percent of the U.S. population lived in rural areas.

In just over a century, massive economic and social changes moved millions of Americans into urban areas. Still, nearly 60 million Americans live in rural areas, and the United States needs vibrant and sustainable rural communities.

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