Barnwell County Information Please 2018

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Information Please 2018 A Guide to Barnwell County Living

A publication of The People.Sentinel

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Information Please 2018 • The People-Sentinel • 3

Information Please is published by The People.Sentinel P.O.Box 1255 • 10481 Dunbarton Blvd • Barnwell, SC 29812 • (803) 259-3501 • Fax (803) 259-2703 Email: • Website: • Facebook: /thepeoplesentinel Publisher: Laura J. McKenzie • Managing Editor: Jonathan Vickery • Sports Writer: Michael Young Sales Representative: Shawn Roundtree • Bookkeeper: Linda Collins • Delivery Drivers: Rodney Creech, Angie Crosby Information Please 2018 A Guide to Barnwell County Living

A publication of The People.Sentinel



A beautiful collage of colors forms as the sun sets over Lake Edgar Brown in Barnwell.

What’s Inside What’s the best part about Barnwell County?.............................5 (Find out what local residents had to say)

Municipalities of Barnwell County.............................................6-9 (City of Barnwell; Towns of Blackville, Williston, Elko, Hilda, Kline, & Snelling)

Barnwell County at Work.......................................................10-13 (Businesses & Industries, Agriculture, Transportation)

Dining Out Guide..................................................................14-15 Emergency Services & Healthcare.........................................16-18 Things to do and see in Barnwell County..............................19-23 (Community Events, Arts & Entertainment, Libraries, Museums, Churches)

Adopting a Pet............................................................................24 Parks & Recreation.................................................................25-26 Education...............................................................................27-30 (Local Schools, The importance of teaching STEM)

The People-Sentinel Newspaper.................................................31

Information Please is an annual publication of

For additional copies, call (803) 259-3501 or stop by our office at 10481 Dunbarton Blvd., Barnwell. Send comments and suggestions to Managing Editor Jonathan Vickery at To advertise in the 2019 magazine, contact Shawn Roundtree in the sales department at (803) 259-3501.

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A note from the editor South Carolina’s motto is “Smiling Faces, Beautiful Places”. I believe this also sums up Barnwell County, a place I am proud to call home. Whether you have lived here all of your life as I have or are new to the community, I hope you love Barnwell County as much as I do. If you are not very familiar with the community, this magazine will provide you with some insight. On the next page you’ll get a glimpse into what some residents love about the county. I wish I could have included more comments, but I only had so much room. However, I’ll share a few of my own comments here. I especially love the people in this community. People are friendly and helpful. We come together in times of need. Barnwell County is a small community with a big heart. There have been so many examples in recent years alone, such as supporting fundraisers, people taking food to neighbors in need, and welcoming coastal evacuees of hurricanes to our community. As you will see in this magazine, Barnwell County has plenty to offer. There’s always something going on, such as a play, community event, church program, or school activity. If you love the outdoors, we have fantastic options for you. From abundant opportunities at the Barnwell State Park to the walking trail at Lake Edgar Brown, there’s no excuse not to get out and enjoy the fresh air. I highly recommend filling up bottles with the refreshing, cool water from Healing Springs in Blackville. That’s where I get my drinking water for my house. If you think you need to go to a bigger city to go shopping, think again! There are plenty of wonderful businesses in Barnwell County that offer unique goods, including locally made items. You also won’t go hungry because our local restaurants offer a wide selection of scrumptious dishes. Brand new to this year’s magazine is a Dining Out Guide on pages 14-15 where you will see some of those places. You can’t go wrong with any of the choices. As editor of The People-Sentinel, which is Barnwell County’s hometown newspaper, I pledge to keep the community updated and informed. We publish a paper each Wednesday and offer subscriptions if you’d like to stay informed about our wonderful community. Welcome home! Sincerely, Jonathan Vickery, Editor of The People-Sentinel

What’s the best part of Barnwell Co.? “It’s the friendships and big hearts and souls of the people that make Barnwell County great. Let someone need something, we all come together as one.” -Allison Kinard

The Natural Beauty The People

Healing Springs

“Healing Springs. Very good cold water in the hot summers.” -Emmylou Brown

“Our grandsons love to feed the ducks at Lake Edgar Brown. I am sure that many generations of Barnwell children have done the same.” -Cathy Hundley


Small Town Atmosphere My favorite part of Williston is the small town atmosphere and most of all everyone knows everyone. The community sticks together.” -Annie Smalls Tyler

The Sundial

“I love my weekly trips to the animal shelter. I get to see and play with the animals, and volunteer with some amazing shelter workers. And cats Bob & Bebe, the shelter ambassadors, are always entertaining!” -Doris Rosier

-Stephanie Collins Brandt said her favorite part is the sundial located in front of the Courthouse downtown. It was given to Barnwell in 1858 by state senator Joseph D. Allen and is believed to be the only freestanding, vertical sundial in the country.

The History “I love all the historical homes, buildings, churches, and monuments. We live in an historical town and county.” -Tessie Jo Morris (pictured above is the old Blackville train depot which is now the town’s library)

The Parks “How many towns have a helicopter in the air, tank, bricks honoring veterans’ service, monument, and nice lighted walking track? A lot of hard work and planning went into having this park for our community, honoring Veterans, some still here and some passed.” -Valenda Dunn Black of Veterans Memorial Park

“There is so much to love about Barnwell.” -Trina Wix

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City of Barnwell Population: 4,542 • Area: 7.8 square miles

Who’s in charge Administrator Mayor: John Zawacki Edward Lemon

City Hall: 130 Main Street (803) 259-3266

Barnwell City Council meets the first Monday of each month

The Circle in downtown Barnwell has long been the community’s main gathering spot and often is a spot for events.

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riginally known as “Red Hill” or “the Village”, Barnwell was incorporated in 1829 and is the largest community in the county. Barnwell City Hall is situated on “The Circle”, the centerpiece of the community where shopping, relaxing and community events take “center-stage”. Business and restaurant locations also extend out from The Circle like points of a star. The City of Barnwell has lots of places for recreation and relaxation such as a sports complex at Lemon Park, fishing and boating at Lake Edgar Brown, walking trails and sports facilities at Fuller Park, a gorgeous garden spot at Collins Park and a local Family YMCA. The city is also the home to the Barnwell County Museum and The Circle Theatre, for the arts minded. A modern library is situated on The Circle, offering both print and digital resources, a community meeting room, and special events for children and adults. The city is planning to build new police and fire departments to replace aging and outdated facilities that currently sit downtown. These public safety buildings will be funded with the penny sales tax. Within the city limits are four public schools for District 45 – Barnwell High, Guinyard-Butler Middle, Barnwell Elementary and Barnwell Primary. Just outside the city limits is Barnwell County’s airport and a public/private golf course at Sweetwater Country Club. But, most of all, Barnwell has wonderful, caring residents who participate in local events, support fundraisers, and invest in their community while welcoming newcomers to discover what Barnwell residents lovingly call “home”.

Town of Blackville Population: 2,265 • Area: 9.035 square miles

Who’s in charge Mayor: Michael Beasley

Town Hall: 5983 Lartigue St. (803) 284-2444

Blackville Town Council meets the third Monday of the month


Members of the Blackville-Hilda Carolina Cavalier band march in the 2017 Blackville Christmas Parade.

he Town of Blackville is investing in its future, changing to improve the community. The Town Council is working with the Blackville Community Development Corporation to eliminate blighted areas and create a town whose pride is evident on every block. They are using revenues from a Capital Sales Tax passed in 2016 to completely revamp water and sewer lines and improve the town. Blackville is a place where the community comes together for events such as the Taste of Blackville and the Music & Arts Festival as well as Blackville-Hilda High School homecoming and Christmas gatherings. The Community Building is available for meetings, social gatherings and special events. The town’s museum and community library are points of interest and learning. The town has several restaurants that are well worth visiting regularly. Near to Blackville is Healing Springs, a fresh-water springs considered to have healing properties. Residents and tourists have been coming there for centuries to sip the water on-site and fill jugs for savoring later. Healing Springs was “deeded to God” and is cared for by one of the many churches which make up the spiritual backbone of the community. To the west of town is the Edisto Research and Experiment Center, a major Clemson University Extension research facility. Blackville has three public schools and one private school – Blackville-Hilda High, Blackville-Hilda Middle, Macedonia Elementary and Jefferson Davis Academy. In addition to local businesses, the town also has an industrial park and sites nearby. Blackville is a community that is working hard to be a vital community and its residents are dedicated to show their pride.

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Town of Williston Population: 2,298 • Area: 8.996 square miles

Who’s in charge Administrator Mayor: Kenny Cook Jason Stapleton

Town Hall: 310 W. Main St. (803) 266-7015

Williston Town Council meets the second Monday of the month

Vickie Benjamin, pictured above with her husband Michael, was named Citizen of the Year during the town’s December 2017 Christmas tree lighting.

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esidents in the Town of Williston will tell anyone they are “True Blue”. The town rallies around the Williston-Elko Blue Devils and the individuals in the community. It’s a place where hugs are as commonplace as blue skies. The town lies in the center of the former CharlestonHamburg railroad line, the line of the Best Friend locomotive. Williston was incorporated in 1858 and again after the Civil War. After the railroad tracks were taken up, a walking trail was created and dedicated in 2015. Williston’s downtown businesses are mostly on either side of the walking trail although commercial and industrial sites are in the expanded areas. Williston is home to numerous companies and a nearby industrial park has room for potential industries. In recent years the town is the site of a new Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Festival hosted by Dreams, Imagination and Gift (DIG) Development Program. Last year’s event was in April and drew several thousand participants. Williston boasts of community parks, a museum, library and county club to provide recreation to all ages. In addition to recreation, local restaurants are places for neighbors to chat over delicious food. Schools which are the home of the Blue Devils include Williston-Elko High, Williston-Elko Middle and KellyEdwards Elementary. The town has an active recreation department as well. Williston residents are proud of their town and are always working together to make improvements, support each other through events and fundraisers. It’s a community that is “True Blue”.

Country Living in south Carolina



Population: 421 • Area: 3.1 square miles

Population: 185 • Area: 1 square mile

Who’s in charge Mayor: Marty Schumpert


lko is located on S.C. Highway 37 between the towns of Williston and Blackville. A great example of smalltown America, Elko’s Town Hall, post office and fire department all share the same building. The Elko Farmers Market along S.C. 37 is open on Saturdays from May through November. It attracts vendors of all types and is a delightful place to purchase fresh vegetables and lovely crafts.

Town Hall: 10067 U.S. Hwy. 78, Elko, SC 29826 (803) 266-7996 Using their share of the money from the penny sales tax that county voters approved in 2016, the town plans to construct or purchase a permanent structure to house the farmers market. They also are investing in water system improvements and installing new fire hydrants as a way to better serve and protect the town’s residents.


rains and tortoises are centerpieces in the Town of Hilda where life is lived easy. The Depot, which remains from when the town’s main transportation artery was the railroad, is a place for community gatherings such as “Christmas at the Depot”. Next to the Depot is a caboose for children to explore. Nearby a rail bed has been converted into a walking trail and a town park is being developed. Next to town hall is a pen which houses the town’s mascots – gopher tortoises including the two oldest – Lucy and Frank. These special stars of the town bring students and visitors to the community and works with Aiken Gopher Tortoise Heritage Preserve to study the species.


Mayor: John McClary Town Hall: 35 Railroad Avenue, Hilda, SC 29813 (803) 793-3818

One of the gopher tortoises. New businesses have opened in the community in recent months, providing resources for residents and commuters alike.


Population: 189 • Area: 3.1 square miles

Population: 256 • Area: 4.1 square miles


line is located on U.S. Who’s in charge 278 and was charMayor: tered on June 11, 1895. The town was originally named William Cave Brownell but because its name was so similar to nearTown Hall: by Barnwell, it was changed 55 Railroad Avenue, to Kline in 1900. Currently the town is Barnwell, SC 29812 planning to combine Capital (803) 300-1916 Sales Tax revenues as well as other funding to replace its town hall and community center. Next to town hall is the fire department. Nearby is a park. Each fall the community gathers and donates bookbags and school supplies to local children. Additionally, each Christmas the community gathers for a tree lighting and holiday service. Kline is a popular stop during the summertime as a large peach operation sells The Kline Christmas Tree fresh fruit there. Lighting is held annually.

Who’s in charge

Who’s in charge Mayor: Paul Moore Snelling Town Park


ocated just outside the gates of the Savannah River Site, Snelling sits on the western side of the county. In the early 1950’s, Snelling was slated to be dissolved to make way for construction of the Savannah River Site but was spared. A new town hall opened in 2012 and is connected to the fire department by a conference room. The town hall also serves as a polling place for nearby residents. A centerpiece of the town is its park which includes a large picnic shelter, new playground equipment and a walking path for year-round

Town Hall: 30 Morris St., Barnwell, SC 29812 (803) 259-4980 use. At Christmas the Town of Snelling usually leads off the county’s schedule of holiday events with a tree lighting and carol-singing. The S.C. Advanced Technology Park, 1,606-acre, fully equipped, state-of-the-art industrial park which has rail available, is located in Snelling. Major industries are located there and some are expanding. A new bed-and-breakfast opened in 2017, providing guests with good food and personalized amenities.

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Cutting the ribbon celebrating the start-up of the Orchids Paper Products is (left to right) is Orchids VP of Operations Eric Diring, SouthernCarolina Alliance Board Chairman Charles “Buddy” Phillips, Rep. Lonnie Hosey, Orchids Plant Manager Brian Merryman, Barnwell Mayor Ed Lemon, Orchids CEO Jeff Schoen, Barnwell County Council Chairman Lowell Jowers and Barnwell County Economic Development Commission Chairman Steve Jowers.

Barnwell County goes to work


outh Carolina’s economy remains strong and stable, a trend Palmetto State residents can expect to continue in 2018, according to University of South Carolina economists at the Darla Moore School of Business. Barnwell County’s economy seems to have the same outlook as the unemployment rate improves, new businesses open, current industries expand, and new jobs are created. The county’s largest employer is the Savannah River Site, but there are many other industries and businesses of all sizes that create jobs and opportunities for Barnwell County’s residents. Visit advantages/industries-achieving-success to learn more about local industries. The Orchids Paper Products plant in the City of Barnwell, which was announced in 2015, has hired more than 100 employees so far. In 2017 a paper mill went online to create paper rolls that will be made into paper towels, toilet paper Continued on page 11

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LOOKING FOR A JOB? S.C. Works Center

248 Wall Street, Barnwell (803) 450-1000



and other paper products. “This plant right here is now the flagship for the organization. It moves us into a space that is growing and does that with a lot of competitive advantages that a lot of others don’t have,” said Jeff Schoen, Orchids Paper Products CEO. A number of other industries have announced major expansions recently, including Swiss Krono in Snelling and Augusta Fiberglass Coatings in Blackville. From restaurants and clothing shops to a grocery store, many small businesses also opened in the county in 2017. A number of others are planning to open in 2018. Business Allies There are allies looking to help economic growth. The Barnwell County Chamber of Commerce helps businesses large and small. Under the direction of executive director Terri Smith, the Chamber provides professional development opportunities, including partnering with the Savannah River Site to hold an event showing small businesses about opportunities to do business with the Site. The Chamber also provides networking events for business professionals and free advertisements for its members. Working to recruit new industries and opportunities is SouthernCarolina Alliance, a seven-county regional economic development organization that has an office in Barnwell, and the Barnwell County Economic Development Commission/Corporation. The region’s federal designation as a Promise Zone is another benefit for the county. This designation gives preference to the region on applications for federal grants. It is also bringing people together to brainstorm ideas, such as how to improve broadband internet service.

U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson (center) and his wife Roxanne tour Anovotek’s new research and development facility on Patterson Street in Barnwell in 2017. Also pictured is Anovotek President Don Alexander.

SouthernCarolina Alliance is the lead agency for the S.C. Promise Zone. Learn more at Giving Back Folks in Barnwell County are very civic-minded. This mindset is also true for many businesses, which seek to give back to those in the community. For example, Crane Corporation in Williston annually donates thousands of dollars in grants to local organizations. The Savannah River Site helps with various charities, including the United Way and Toys for Tots. Small businesses also give back in various ways, including donating school supplies and holding fundraisers for people in need.

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Agriculture is big business

Farmers tour fields at the Clemson University Edisto Research and Education Center. (Photo: Scott Miller)


griculture is the life-sustaining sector of our nation’s economy and Barnwell County is an active part of that. Cotton, peanuts, corn for grain and forage-land for hay are the top crops for Barnwell County farmers, according to the 2012 Census of Agriculture conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture. In December 2017 the newest agricultural census forms were mailed out to update statistics. Top livestock inventories are chickens, cattle and calves. The census notes there are 397 farms in Barnwell County averaging 221 acres each. A total of 87,837 acres are considered farmland in the county. According to the USDA, the market value of agricultural products sold in 2012 equaled $48,381,000, an increase by 130 percent from the census in 2007. The majority of the land in farms is in woodland (42.6 percent) and cropland (42.7 percent). The rest is used for pastureland (6.9 percent) and “other uses” (7.8 percent), according to the USDA. Barnwell County ranks in the top ten in South Carolina for value of sales for vegetables, melons, potatoes and sweet potatoes; sheep, goals, wool, mohair and milk; and crops and hay. The leading value of sales is poultry and eggs. A special feature for Barnwell County is Clemson University Extension’s Edisto Research & Education Center located outside of Blackville. According to their website, the Edisto REC is “home to men and women who work as a team to help solve problems facing the South Carolina farmer, particularly the farmer in the Coastal Plain. Their task is to find better ways to grow and harvest crops, raise beef cattle, and conserve natural resources. Its problem solving centers like Edisto REC that make it possible for consumers to shop at supermarkets stocked with an abundance of high quality food.” In addition, the Edisto Forage Bull Test (EFBT) located at the Edisto Research & Education Center “is a unique approach to central gain testing bulls. It is a 168-days pasture-based test with limit-feeding of a commodity byproduct-based test ration at 1 percent of body weight. EFBT was developed, built and started in 1982 with the commercial cow-calf producer in mind. It utilizes the Southeast’s advantage in the cattle business which is the 12 • Information Please 2018 • The People-Sentinel

ability to grow high quality, lush forages year-round. EFBT was designed to performance test bulls in an environment in which bull buyers expect their progeny to perform,” according to their website. The Edisto REC is one of only four such centers in South Carolina and is a testing area for precision ag technology and engineering. The center not only conducts research but also hosts field days for farmers and the general public.


Highways and runways

hile Barnwell County is considered a “rural” area, it has numerous U.S. highways connecting it to the metropolitan areas and interstates of South Carolina. Additionally, the Barnwell Regional Airport is a modern facility that provides fuel and a resting place for pilots from all over the world. Major North-South corridors include U.S. Highways 301 and 321. East-West corridors include U.S. Highways 78 and 278. For those in need during hurricane season, U.S. 28 and 278 are designated as coastal evacuation routes. Motorists can find additional information at Barnwell Regional Airport was originally built as a B-52 Mitchell Bomber training base during World War II because the “Columbia Air Base simply did not have enough room for the expected large number of places and pilots in the training pipeline,” according to www. Construction on the $1 million project started in September 1942 and was completed in March 1943 after crews

Barnwell Regional Airport attracts people from all over the world, including Hans Bakker (above) from Holland during his two-week trip to America in 2017. worked around the clock. Several other satellite bases were built around the state. After the war, the U.S. Army turned the air base over to the State of South Carolina. Barnwell County was granted ownership in the 1950’s. The airport rents hanger space and sells fuel to pilots. However, the economic impact spreads into the community as some guest spend time eating at local restaurants, shopping and staying overnight at local motels.

The Corvair College is held annually (and sometime semi-annually), attracting hundreds of people from all over the country and occasionally overseas. The Corvair College is a three-day event where enthusiasts build and test engines for private planes using Chevrolet Corvair engines from the popular car manufactured in the 1960’s. Learn more about the county’s airport at or by calling (803) 259-1090. The airport is located at 155 Airport Road in Barnwell.

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Please support these businesses and tell them you saw their ad in this magazine.

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to the tasty side of Barnwell County


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Emergency Services

A “patient” is taken by EMS to a helicopter ambulance during a 2017 disaster drill held at the Barnwell County Airport.

County Fire service Barnwell County Fire Coordinator: Timbo Williams Local Departments

(To report a fire, call 911)

•Barnwell City (District 1) - Chief Tony Dicks •Blackville (District 2) - Chief James Haskins •Elko (District 3) - Chief Michael Schumpert •Hilda (District 4) - Chief Thomas Sharpe •Kline (District 5) - Chief Sims Morris •Snelling (District 6) - Chief Bobby Morris •Williston (District 7) - Chief Milton Widener •Red Oak (District 8) - Chief Joe Gaines •Friendship (District 9) - Chief Wayne Ray •Barnwell Rural (District 11) Chief Jessie Elmore •Long Branch (District 12) - Chief Andy Hogg

S.C. Forestry Commission

To be eligible to burn yard debris outside the city limits, residents must call the S.C. Forestry Commission to report where they will be burning. For Barnwell County, call (800) 895-7061. 16 • Information Please 2018 • The People-Sentinel

In an emergency, always dial 911. Barnwell County Emergency Management Director: Roger Riley - (803) 541-1001 Medshore Ambulance Service Williston, S.C. 29853 • (803) 266-7019

CodeRED Alert System The CodeRED Weather Warning system provides county officials the ability to quickly deliver messages to targeted areas or the entire county. It taps into the National Weather Service’s Storm Based Warnings. Sign up at

•Barnwell County Sheriff’s Office Sheriff Ed Carroll 599 Joey Zorn Blvd. Barnwell, S.C. 29812 (803) 541-1052, •Barnwell Police Department Chief Brian Johnson (803) 259-1838 •Blackville Police Department Chief John Holston (803) 284-2333 •Williston Police Department Chief Rodney Pruitt (803) 266-7011

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Local healthcare options expanding

RMC celebrated the beginning of construction of a new freestanding emergency medical center in Denmark on August 8, 2017.


he last year has seen a lot of change with regards to improvements in healthcare for Barnwell County. The closure of Southern Palmetto Hospital in 2016 prompted local officials and health care providers to take action to make sure local residents had the best health care available. The result has been multi-faceted. A local urgent care opened with extended hours. An existing healthcare provider expanded services, worked with schools on a telehealth project and also extended hours. Several new practices have opened or expanded offices to Barnwell County. The local EMS provider added a new ambulance, moved its base in Barnwell to a new location and worked to shorten run times between Barnwell County and regional hospitals. Local firefighters trained to be first responders, assisting patients until EMS can arrive. A Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) was organized and trained. The Barnwell County Council also approved funding for a program with an air ambulance service to provide “membership” coverage for all county residents so that there is no cost of being flown out in the event of an emergency outside of what their normal insurance covers. Area residents in Barnwell and Bamberg counties will soon have a new emergency medical center close to home. The Regional Medical Center (RMC) is currently constructing an $8.63 million freestanding emergency

Other Services S.C. Department of Health & Environmental Control / Barnwell County Health Department (803) 541-1061 Hours: 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday - Friday Axis 1 Center (803) 541-1245 • Generations Unlimited (803) 541-1249 18 • Information Please 2018 • The People-Sentinel

medical center on 10 acres of land adjacent to Highway 70 between the cities of Denmark and Barnwell. It will be located approximately 12 miles east of Barnwell and about one mile west of Denmark (Bamberg County). “We are excited to provide local, around-the-clock emergency care services for residents of Bamberg and Barnwell counties with this new facility,” said Melvin Seabrooks, chairman of the RMC Board of Trustees. The 20,500 square-foot facility will be open 24/7 and will provide a full range of medical emergency services including diagnostic imaging, lab and observation services. RMC officials broke ground for the project in August 2017. Construction is expected to be completed in fall 2018. Accredited by The Joint Commission along with advanced certification as a Primary Stroke Center, RMC is a 286-bed, acute-care hospital. It is designated as a Level III Trauma Center, and is affiliated with MUSC Health, the most nationally recognized and comprehensive academic medical center, to enhance select healthcare services for patients in the region. The RMC healthcare system is comprised of 22 practices including primary care, internal medicine, gastroenterology, occupational medicine, endocrinology, cardiology, obstetrics/gynecology, orthopaedics, general and vascular surgery, behavioral health and urgent care. The efforts are continuing as stakeholders continue work on ways to improve sustainable healthcare in rural areas. For more information, visit

Snow machines at the City of Barnwell’s Christmas Tree Lighting are a hit every December.

Community fun all year


A number of 5Ks are held every year.

The Taste of Blackville is held every spring.

here’s always something to do in Barnwell County. During the school year, residents can be found cheering on their favorite hometown teams at local athletic events. While the schools have teams, there are also recreation programs through the towns for youngsters to participate in, including summer programs. The Lemon Park Sports Complex in the City of Barnwell also attracts teams from across the state for various tournaments. Several festivals are held annually, such as the Blackville Music & Arts Festival and A Taste of Blackville. The Dreams, Imagination and Gift (DIG) Development Program in Williston offers the STEM Festival to promote science, technology, engineering and math. The Circle in downtown Barnwell is where you can find “mini” festivals sponsored by the city. There are also plays and concerts to attend, fundraisers like Relay for Life to support, 5Ks to run/walk, church events, and plenty of seasonal events, including Christmas parades and tree lightings. On the rare occasion you can’t find an event, Barnwell County’s parks and natural resources are the perfect place to explore while enjoying the fresh air. Over the next few pages you will find out about some of what our community has to offer, including fun events to bring the family to and how to get involved in the community.

Williston residents show their support for the Blue Devil football team during a community pep rally in 2017. Information Please 2018 • The People-Sentinel • 19

Circle Theatre kicked off its 2017-2018 season with “A Charlie Brown Christmas” in December 2017.


Arts & Entertainment

rom artisans to musicians and actors, Barnwell County is full of talented and creative people. Circle Theatre in Barnwell has been a staple for local entertainment since 1974. It is located on Academy Street in a historic building that used to house Barnwell Presbyterian Church. Depending on the play, you will either laugh or cry - or maybe a little bit of both. The 2017-2018 season includes “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, “Once Upon a Mattress”, and “Are You Being Served?”. Details are available on the theatre’s Facebook page. The theatre is run by a volunteer

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board and relies on volunteers to help onstage and behind the scenes. If you are interested in acting or helping offstage, they are always looking for new people. In October 2017, the theatre hosted the inaugural Barnwell’s Got Talent to showcase some of the area’s non-acting talent. They plan to hold more events during 2018. The students of Williston-Elko High’s drama club perform a show each February. The 2018 play is “Into the Woods”. There are also concerts and other events, including the Blackville Music & Arts Festival, to enjoy throughout the year.

Barnwell County Arts Council The Barnwell County Arts Council seeks to educate and stimulate participation in the cultural arts. This is brought to life through an annual membership drive, concerts, murals in schools, and generous donations. The BCAC was founded in 1997 by retired teacher Jean Orr Belcher, who passed away in November 2017. A scholarship is awarded annually to a Barnwell County senior who plans to pursue an arts degree.

Local Branches Barnwell Branch Manager: Tricia Gordon 40 Burr St. (803) 259-3612 • Monday-Wednesday, Friday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. • Thursday: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. • Saturday: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. • Sunday: closed

Animals visit the Williston Library every summer as part of the Summer Reading Program.

Libraries offer more than books


arnwell County’s three public libraries offer residents more than just books. The Aiken-Bamberg-Barnwell-Edgefield (ABBE) Regional Library System operates the Barnwell, Blackville and Williston branches in Barnwell County. “The Barnwell County libraries continue to serve as destinations in their communities where people of all ages come together for programs, lifelong learning opportunities, recreational reading, school support, and job seeker services,” said Mary Jo Dawson, director of the ABBE Regional Library System. All three local libraries have seen growth in the number of users and items checked out. The ABBE Regional Library System’s Digital Branch Library also continues to grow in popularity as people download e-books, audiobooks, comics, TV shows, music and more. Patrons can visit and click on the Digital Branch Library link. In addition to books, Dawson said they have “more and more” people utilizing their facilities for online services, such as filing taxes and using the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce website looking for work. The libraries also offer a variety of programs throughout the year, including the popular summer reading program. It encourages children to check out books and attend weekly programs, such as a visit by magician Chad Crews. “It addresses what’s called the summer slide,” said Dawson of keeping students’ minds active during the summer months. The program has expanded to youth and adults, too. The library system receives funding from local governments, but also relies on donations through The Friends of the Libraries of Barnwell County, a non-profit group that seeks to raise funds for the three Barnwell County branches. Mail donations to P.O. Box 183 or learn more by calling Dawson at (803) 642-7575.

Blackville Branch Manager: Ruthie Hewitt 19420 Solomon Blatt Ave. (803) 284-2295 • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., 2 to 6 p.m. • Wednesday: 2 to 6 p.m. • Friday-Sunday: closed

Williston Branch Manager Jo Crider 5121 Springfield Rd. (803) 266-3027 • Monday-Thursday: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., 2 to 6 p.m. • Friday-Sunday: closed

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Visitors explore the Blackville Heritage Museum, which opened in 2016, during an open house in 2017.

A historical place to call home


arnwell County, named after Revolutionary War figure John Barnwell, was once called Winton County. Like many small Southern areas, Barnwell County grew with the introduction of the railroad. At the time, the railroad linked Charleston to the old town of Hamburg on the Savannah River. Alongside the railroad, small towns, including Blackville and Williston, sprung up creating stops along the railroad. The railroad tracks are now gone, but the county has continued. The greatest impact to the county came in the 1950’s with the creation of the Savannah River Site by the federal government. Owned by the Department of Energy, the site encompasses nearly a third of Barnwell County’s land mass. Four museums preserve Barnwell County’s history and heritage. The Barnwell County Museum opened its doors on June 22, 1978 and currently collaborates with the Barnwell District Genealogical and Historical Chapter to preserve and record the history of Barnwell District (which includes Barnwell, Bamberg and Allendale counties). The museum manager’s office, genealogy research center and collection of William Bartram prints are located in the Anne Hagood Gallery of the Effie Mae Fuller Community Center. Besides a large collection of exhibits, the museum is working to repair the old German Prisoner of War guard shack, commonly known as the Old Police Station that sits on the Circle in downtown Barnwell. The single-room structure was constructed in 1944 and used as the town’s police station after 22 • Information Please 2018 • The People-Sentinel

World War II. The Effie Mae Fuller Community Center is frequently used for traveling exhibits, special events and is available for rental. The newest museum in the county is the Blackville Heritage Museum. Opened in 2016, the museum houses artifacts from the old Shamrock Hotel, a mail carrier’s bicycle, as well as home goods. A special contribution to the museum is a pair of antique cars donated by the Frank J. and Lucy C. Hartzog Foundation. The cars are a 1926 Ford Model T and a 1931 Ford Model A. Both were completely restored by the late W. S. “Buck” Guess Jr. of Blackville. Williston’s museum was opened in 1989 and founded by the late Billie Jean Martin Sprawls. She and others gathered items to be placed in an early Williston school house and it now shares the building with Williston’s Public Library. On display are mementoes of Williston’s agricultural history as “Asparagus Capital”, a country store, dentist office, and items from notable former residents. There are also items from Wonderful Williston Weekend festivals and Blue Devil memorabilia. Preserving the region’s agricultural history is the task of the Agricultural Heritage Museum, located 3 miles west of Blackville. The museum displays agricultural equipment and items from the 18th and 19th centuries. Located at the Edisto Research & Education Center, visitors can learn about past agricultural efforts while also viewing cutting-edge research and technology at the REC center.

local Museums Barnwell County Museum & Effie Mae Fuller Community Center

(617 Hagood Avenue, Barnwell) Open Tuesday through Thursday from 3 to 5:30 p.m. or by appointment by calling (803) 259-1916. Email: Facebook: BarnwellCountyMuseum Admission is free. To rent the Community Center, call (803) 259-1916.

Blackville Heritage Museum

(655 Main Street, Blackville) Open Tuesdays from 2 to 4 p.m. and by appointment by calling (803) 2843267, (803) 284-2525 or (803) 300-1578. Admission is free.

Williston Museum

(5121 Springfield Road, Williston) Open Tuesday and Thursday from 2 to 4 p.m. or to schedule an appointment or book an event, call Williston Town Hall at (803) 266-7015. Admission is free.

Agricultural Heritage Museum

(Located at the Clemson University Edisto Research & Education Center on Hwy. 78, Blackville) Open by appointment, Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. To set up a tour, contact Don Still at (803) 266-3925 or Jennings Owens at (803) 260-2534. Admission is free for students K-12; $2 per person for groups of 10 or more. Custom school field trips available.

Faith, Family & Fellowship

Family, friends and other supporters of Jenna Bodiford join hands in prayer during an October 2017 prayer rally at Collins Park in Barnwell. The teenager was diagnosed with cancer in September 2017.


arnwell County is home to many churches, including the oldest original Catholic church in South Carolina. Saint Andrew’s Catholic Church, located on Madison Street in Barnwell, was built in 1831. It is the oldest religious structure in Barnwell as well as the old original Catholic Church in the state. While much of Barnwell was burned by Sherman’s army in the Civil War, Saint Andrew’s was spared. There are more than 30 churches in and near the city of Barnwell, more than 15 churches around the towns of Blackville and Williston, and at least one church near each of the smaller towns of Elko, Hilda, Kline and Snelling. The vast majority of the churches are Christian including Methodist, Presbyterian, Anglican, Baptist, Episcopal, Catholic, Mennonite, as well as services at nondenominational congregations. Church events are listed weekly in The People-Sentinel.

The children and youth of St. James Anglican Church in Blackville presented “God with Us”, a play about the birth of Jesus, in December 2016. Information Please 2018 • The People-Sentinel • 23

Adopt a furry friend


arnwell County is full of animal lovers, including those who volunteer their time to find forever homes for dogs and cats. The Barnwell County Animal Shelter, located at 55 Diamond Road, Barnwell, takes in hundreds of animals every year. In recent years, the shelter’s staff and volunteers have worked to partner with rescue organizations in northern states, which has helped to significantly reduce the euthanasia rate. Some of the shelter’s animals are pulled by The Animal Advocates to go to their no-kill Friends for Life Foster/ Adoption Center in Barnwell. The Animal Advocates have also partnered with the Allendale Correctional Institute to form a MuttMates/MeowMates program where qualified inmates in the Character Housing Unit foster animals. GROWL, which was started by Williston native Dawn Pennington in 2010, rescues animals from various states, but mostly focuses on the south. Animals are fostered in private homes until they are adopted. The animals are adopted mostly by people along the east coast, including in New York, New

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Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland. “They are some of the best dogs,” said Pennington of shelter/rescue dogs. She logs 5,000 miles per month rescuing dogs, making home visits to potential adopters, and taking dogs to their forever homes. While adoptions are important, spaying and neutering pets is the only true solution to reducing the overpopulation of unwanted animals. Dr. Shannon Miller offers a low cost spay/neuter program through the Barnwell County Animal Shelter Foundation. GROWL has helped start a low cost spay/neuter program in Williston through Fido Fixers, a mobile spay/ neuter clinic from the Humane Society of Columbia. “As of October 1, 2017, we had helped with 94 surgeries and had contributed $2,900,” said Pennington. These stats are from June through September. For more information, contact the animal shelter at (803) 259-1656, The Animal Advocates at (803) 541-PETS (7387), or GROWL at mygrowl1@ Melissa Creech Renfroe adopted Stoney, You can also visit their a shepherd mix, during a fundraiser for the Facebook pages. county animal shelter in 2017.

A beautiful place to live

Public Parks Barnwell

•Collins Park •Darnell Park •Lemon Park •Fuller Park •Jack Phillips Park •Lake Edgar Brown •Veterans Memorial Park •Kilkenny Park To reserve a park in Barnwell, call (803) 259-3317.


•Barnwell State Park, For reservations, call (803) 284-2212. •Healing Springs


•Snelling Town Park, For reservations, call 259-1464.


•Williston Town Park, For reservations, Town Hall at (803) 266-7015. •Library Park


hether you’re a hunter, fisherman, athletic enthusiast, boater or just a nature buff, Barnwell County may be just the place for you. The county features prevalent rural settings brimming with deer, ducks, turkeys and many other species, each with their own hunting season. Fishing is as close as a short walk for most residents. Fishermen have many choices of local waters from which to wet their hooks. From the popular Lake Edgar Brown and many small creeks, to the expansive and beautiful Savannah River, those who love the water will find many options in Barnwell County. Barnwell State Park is a favorite among locals and guests alike. Situated off Highway 3 near Blackville, the park offers nature trails, picnic areas, swimming area, fishing spots, boat rentals, playground, and cabins and campgrounds to rent. A community building is a popular spot for parties, weddings and other events. The park is open from 9 a.m. to dark daily. A few miles away from the park on Springs Court in Blackville is God’s Acre Healing Springs. It’s a great spot to enjoy a cold, refreshing glass of water. Native Americans who lived near this site believed the waters were sacred and had healing properties. People flock to the springs from all over the state to fill up jugs and bottles with the water.

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Recreation football through local town programs is a popular sport for many youth to participate in during the fall.

A place to have fun


hree of Barnwell County’s municipalities offer recreational programs for the community’s children and teens. In the fall, football and cheerleading attract many young boys and girls. There are different divisions based on age. Soccer is another option in the fall. Basketball is typically in January and February followed by spring sports, including baseball, T-ball, softball. Other offerings, such as adult leagues, are available depending on the town and season. Summer camps and programs are also offered. Participation has been on the rise in recent years. Three times a year, the City of Barnwell’s recreation department publishes a guide for upcoming activities. They are available online and at city hall. To learn more about local recreation contact : • City of Barnwell: Director Pamela Davis at (803) 259-3317 or (803) 259-3266, or visit their Facebook page • Town of Blackville: Director Earl Nix at (803) 284-2444 • Town of Williston: Director James Hewitt at (803) 266-7015 26 • Information Please 2018 • The People-Sentinel


Local Schools Barnwell

•Barnwell Elementary, (803) 541-1285 •Barnwell High, (803) 541-1390 •Barnwell Primary, (803) 541-1321 •Barnwell School Dist. 45, (803) 541-1300, •Guinyard-Butler Middle, (803) 541-1370


•Barnwell County Career Center, (803) 259-5512 •Barnwell Christian, (803) 259-2100 •Blackville-Hilda Middle School, (803) 284-5900 •Blackville-Hilda High, (803) 284-5700 •Barnwell School Dist. 19, (803) 284-5605, •Calvary Fellowship Mennonite, (803) 284-2876 •Jefferson Davis Academy, (803) 284-2476 upper school, (803) 284-2017 grammar school •Macedonia Elementary, (803) 284-5800


•IHS Christian School, (803) 266-7372 •Kelly Edwards Elementary, (803) 266-3737 •Williston-Elko Middle, (803) 266-3430 •Williston-Elko High, (803) 266-3110 •Williston School Dist. 29, (803) 266-7878

Continuing Education

•Aiken Technical College, (803) 593-9231, •Augusta State University, (706) 737-1405, •Denmark Technical College, (803) 793-5176,, Barnwell facility, (803) 259-9331 •USC-Aiken, (803) 648-6851 •USC-Salkehatchie, West campus (803) 584-3446, East campus,(843) 549-6314, •Voorhees College, (803) 780-1234,

Macedonia Elementary School students are ready to learn on the first day of school.

Education: An important lesson in Barnwell Co.


ach year, Barnwell County educators work hard to equip thousands of students with the knowledge and skills they need to be successful, productive members of society. A majority of students go to one of the county’s three public school districts – Barnwell District 45, Barnwell District 19 (Blackville-Hilda Public Schools, and Williston District 29. Districts 19, 29 and 45 have all earned district-wide accreditation through AdvancEd. Many gains have been made when it comes to academic achievement, including on state standardized test scores. The South Carolina State Department of Education regularly releases new data concerning public schools. Data can be found online at Parents looking for an alternative to public schools have several private schools to choose from, as well as the home schooling option. Jefferson Davis Academy is the largest private school. It is located in Blackville and serves students of all grade levels. There are also several other private schools run by churches. When students earn their high school diploma, they don’t have to go very far to further their education and gain the skills needed for a career. Denmark Technical College has a facility in Barnwell, though several colleges, universities and technical colleges are within an hour of Barnwell County, including Attorneys Adrian Pandev and Wil Alexander the University of South Carolina’s hand out school supplies at a community Salkehatchie campus in Allendale. back-to-school bash in Williston. Information Please 2018 • The People-Sentinel • 27

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Barnwell County Career Center


he Barnwell County Career Center is a shared educational resource for the community. The career center, which includes students from all local high schools, offers 11 programs, from agriculture and drafting to cosmetology and criminal justice. “We want to train as many people as possible to be employable or ready for higher education,” said Sam McKay, the director of the career center. The biggest curriculum change for the 2017-2018 school year affects students in the health science program, which is led by Debbie Dicks and Dawn Wilbanks. The state is mandating that health science move from a two-year to a three-year program. Health science students will still be able to earn certifications as a certified nursing assistant and certified pharmacy technician, but the changes will allow students to also earn additional certification as a Patient Care Technician/Assistant. The school is located on a 160-acre site at 5214 Reynolds Road, Blackville. Learn more about the school at www.

Barnwell County Career Center criminal justice students (from left) Bilaysia Deloach, Anajae James and Byron Williams process a fake crime scene that was set up in front of the school in March 2017 as part of a learning exercise. The students later competed in a similar scenario at the SkillsUSA competition in Greenville.

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Opportunities STEM from education


Williston-Elko High School teacher Christie Palladino (left) helps lead a forensic science experiment at the DIG afterschool program in December 2017.

Shanteka Glover (right) from CBNI Areva MOX Services leads a hands-on activity during the March 30 STEAM Fest at Guinyard-Butler Middle School that involved glove boxes to simulate working with nuclear materials. 30 • Information Please 2018 • The People-Sentinel

hile core classes are still important, many schools realize they have to dig a little deeper to help prepare students for the future. STEM-related curriculum and activities are becoming more prevalent in schools. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. An alternative acronym is STEAM, which includes the arts. Guinyard-Butler Middle School in Barnwell holds a Project STEAM Science Fair and STEAM Fest. The latter brings in professionals from local businesses and industries to showcase what they do and how important STEAM is. “These are things they’re going to experience in real life. Everything seems to be going to technology. It is helping them choose careers and exposing them to all kinds of possibilities,” said GBMS science teacher Melanie Corell of how many careers are related to at least one component of STEAM. She started both events five years ago. With more than three million job openings in STEAMrelated fields expected by 2018, Corell said it is vital that students be exposed to STEAM while in school. The school also has a STEM lab to teach all students. Other schools have been ramping up STEAM exposure recently. Barnwell High School, Blackville-Hilda High School and Williston-Elko High School all have a Project Lead the Way program, which includes courses like engineering, computer science and software engineering. “The project-based aspects of the Project Lead The Way curriculum give students a chance to apply what they know, identify a problem, find unique solutions, and lead their own learning, rather than be passive recipients of information in a question-and-answer, right-or-wrong learning environment. When students understand how their education is relevant to their lives and future careers, they get excited, and that is why PLTW students are successful,” according to online information about the program. The Dreams, Imagination & Gift (DIG) Development Program is also working to promote STEM. Williston native Steven Brown, who now lives in Greenville, started DIG four years ago as a way to give back to his hometown after noticing how children in rural areas lack the same resources and opportunities as their peers in big cities, particularly when it comes to STEM. Promoting STEM to students is essential in creating a “pipeline” to local industries, which seek highly-qualified employees, such as engineers. DIG does this through its afterschool program, summer camp and annual STEM Festival in downtown Williston. The 2018 festival is scheduled for April 21 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. “We try to relate everything to real life,” he said of the activities and programs they provide, such as computer coding. A new partnership with the South Carolina Coalition of Mathematics and Science (SCCMS) at Clemson University will help promote STEM in Barnwell County and surrounding areas. Barnwell native Shelby Williams has been hired as the SCCMS’s STEM Community Outreach Coordinator for the region but also is DIG’s program director. “I want to provide opportunities for them that I didn’t have,” said Williams. Learn more about DIG at

Fast-paced information source with traditional spirit


roviding information to residents and visitors in Barnwell County is a fastpaced effort, even in a small community atmosphere. The People-Sentinel has been providing its readers news, sports, features and advertising for 166 years. Currently that information flow is not only in print but also digitally with our website,, and Facebook, www.facebook. com/thepeoplesentinel. The print edition dates back to 1852 when The (Barnwell) Palmetto Sentinel was established. In 1925 it merged with the Barnwell People, which began publication in 1877. Thousands of residents weekly receive The PeopleSentinel through the mail or purchase copies at vendors across the county. It’s the publication to read for local news, sports, lifestyle and advertising. In recent years The PeopleSentinel added a website and Facebook presence which can be accessed on computer, tablet or cell phone. Our digital presence allows us to provide breaking news and updates on local events. During inclement weather, our sites are the “goto” locations for information. We ask you to join the more than 9,500 people who already “Like” our page and given us 4.7 Stars out of a 5-Star rating with over 400 reviews. Our offices are located at 10481 Dunbarton Boulevard in Barnwell. Come see us! We can also be reached by mail at P.O. Box 1255, Barnwell, SC 29812 or phone at (803) 259-3501 or fax at (803) 259-2703. We love our readers and invite you to be a part of our newspaper family.

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