Aiken Area Progressive

Progressive blog for the Central Savannah River Area.

Category: Elko

Baby Boomers complain about missing their events as destructive weather tears through South

Edgefield — Baby Boomers are behaving like children again.

On Sunday, several sporting events – the NBA, NASCAR and NCAA women’s basketball among them – saw multiple interruptions due to radio and TV stations “breaking in” to cover tornados. The path of destruction stretched from near Auburn, Ala. to Bishopville. Locally, Edgefield County – which was not under the Tornado Watch – was hit so hard, the schools were on a two hour delay to start the day.

The result?

At least twenty-four people dead in the Auburn Micropolitan Area alone, nearly thirty dead overall.

However, a man named Andrew from the Savannah-Hilton Head Island market was outraged over WSAV interrupting the PGA Tour to cover severe weather that hit the Georgia Lowcountry. He lashed out at the station’s chief meteorologist, Kris Allred, who was merely doing her job of making sure the folks in her television market – which includes the Aiken Area counties of Bulloch, Hampton, Jenkins and Screven – took proper shelter and stayed safe from the storm.

Ms. Allred was kind enough to not respond to him. I am not sure I would be as kind to someone like that. In fact, I know I would have tore Andrew a new one if I was in the position Ms. Allred was in.

Props to Ms. Allred and the meterologists throughout the Aiken Area for keeping us safe.

Another round of severe weather may be on the way, and the Williston School District 29 is already using up its last early release day of the school year

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The school day forecast for Wednesday is calling for scattered strong thunderstorms with a maximum of 78.

However, the Williston School District 29 will be using its last early release day of the 2016-2017 school year on Wednesday, a day which was originally scheduled for April 26.

The temperature at the end of the school day, which will be 10:48 for Kelly Edwards Elementary School and 11:00 for Williston-Elko Middle and High School, will be 72 with thunderstorms starting to fire up. The storms could be strong at times. For the beginning of the shortened school day, it is expected to be overcast and 66.

UPDATE @ 21:08: Orangeburg Consolidated School District has alerted its three district zones (Orangeburg 3, 4 and 5) that they will also end the school day early. This information comes from the Times and Democrat.

UPDATE @ 22:13: WJBF-DT is reporting that McCormick County School District is shutting down for the entire day. They will make up this day on April 24. The news station is also reporting that Barnwell School District 45 and Blackville School District 19 will also dismiss at 11:00.

Image of Williston-Elko High School via Facebook

Williston Telephone Company (TDS Telecom) publishes two anti-choice centers under “Women’s Health Services”

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On Thursday, residents of the towns of Williston, Windsor, Elko, Neeses, North, Norway, Wolfton and Woodford all got their telephone books, which was 15 days earlier than usual.

Usually, no one cares to look near the front, but I did (because I wanted to look at prefixes and area codes) and disgusted does not even begin to describe my reaction when I looked at the Human Services section, which is before you even get to the White Pages. Read the rest of this entry »

Did Joel Mitchell resign as W-E principal due to an investigation by SLED?

Joel Mitchell, who took over the principal’s job at Williston-Elko High from benevolent sexist Brian Newsome, has resigned on Tuesday…possibly in disgrace.

According to the (Barnwell) People-Sentinel, which filed a Freedom of Information Act request on Friday, Barnwell County Sheriff Ed Carroll said that they and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division is investigating the matter.  A high school teacher (unknown at this time) blew the whistle on Mr. Mitchell a few weeks earlier.

Missoura Ashe, the superintendent (and interim principal until May 28), told the People-Sentinel, “I can’t discuss personnel matters.  As an employer, I do not discuss matters that are being looked into.”

I don’t know what SLED’s looking at. I can’t really verify anything.”

She concluded, “My door remains open to students, faculty and staff, and parents as our graduating seniors and juniors, sophomores and freshmen complete their year-end activities and look forward to an even better 2016-2017.”

The People-Sentinel

The People-Sentinel (2)

Today in Weather History: the 30th anniversary of the coldest low (and day) in Barnwell County’s history – in Williston

Yesterday and today are important weather anniversaries – and yes, both of 30-year anniversaries.

It may have been a spring-like 60°f for a max temp on Tuesday (and the same forecast again today), but 30 years ago today, that was not the case.

On January 21, 1985, the day started off as the second coldest day in the county’s history day temperature-wise – it was –2°f. A Banana Front so powerful shredded its way through the nation, and the historic cold was just about to be in store for the town of Williston, or Barnwell County for that matter.

The skies cleared throughout the night the previous night.  That allowed the temperatures to fall like a rock.

At 1am, the mercury in Williston fell to –3°f, tying the record set in Blackville on Valentine’s Day 1899. This would prove to be the last minutes that the Valentine’s Day 1899 record would stand as the county’s coldest ever.

At around 1:30 am, the mercury dipped to a mind-boggling (at the time) –4°f, breaking the mark set at the Clemson Extension station in Blackville in 1899.

Then, just before sun up, a new county record was set again: this time, –5°f.

Then it started to ‘heat up’ once the sun went up.

It did not get above zero until 11am, when the temperature hit 1°f.

It was still 5°f at noon.

It got above ten at 2pm, when the temperature hit 12°f.

It got up to 18°f the next hour, and then 19°f at each reporting hour after that for the rest of the day.

However, the max temperature in Williston was 20°f – but that temperature was not reached until 23:59:36, just 24 seconds in front of January 22, 1985.

Yes, Williston School District 29 missed being below 20 by 24 seconds on this day in 1985.

At Orangeburg Municipal Airport; the Regional Airport in Augusta, Ga.; and Columbia Metropolitan Airport, the low was –1°f in each location.  All three are record lows that still stand to this day.

City or Town 
Max Temperature (1/20) 
Min Temperature (1/20) 
Max Temperature (1/21) 
Min Temperature (1/21) 
Average Temperature on Coldest Day 
Williston-Elko High 
43
-2
20
-5 
7
Aiken 
47
6
25
0
12
Orangeburg Municipal 
46
10
28
-2
13
Hampton 
 50
9
26
-1
12 
Beaufort 
 
 
26 
16 
Barnwell County Airport 
46 
18 
27 
-3 
12 
Charleston 
 
 
27 
6 
17 
Daniel Field 
55 
30 
15 
Augusta (Ga.) Regional 
46 
25 
-1 
12 
Owens Field 
39 
24 
-1 
11 
Cayce 
46 
26 
-1 
12 
Florence 
48
25 
13 
Darlington 
48 
3 
22 
-2 
10 
North Myrtle Beach 
 
 
26
15
Greenwood 
38 
-1 
20
-8 
6
Greer 
40
26
-4
11 
Asheboro Regional 
40
0
26
-8
10
Greensboro 
36
-6 
21
-8
7
Asheville 
32
-13 
7
-16
-5
Jefferson, N.C. 
32 
-11 
0
-12
-6
Tarboro, N.C. 
47
10
17 
-5
6
New Bern 
53 
22
1
11
Charlotte 
41
-2 
24 
-5
9
Winston-Salem 
39 
-3
20 
-10 
5
Wilmington 
 
 
27 
5
16 
Statesboro 
54 
28 
0
14
Savannah-Hilton Head 
 
 
26
15
Macon 
45 
24
-6
9
Atlanta 
43 
-6
18
-8 
5
Knoxville, Tenn. 
24
-18
10
-24
-7
Nashville 
7
-16
17 
-17
-4 
Crossville, Tenn. 
-21
11 
-21 
-8
Memphis 
17 
-4 
24 
1 
6
Drakesboro, Ky. 
0 
-16 
8
-14 
-8
Paducah, Ky. 
1
-15 
17
-10
-7 
Woodbine, Ky. 
-2 
-18 
6
-16 
-10
Lexington, Ky. 
1 
-18
9
-16 †
-9
Louisville, Ky. 
2
-16
12 
-11 
-6 
Jackson, Ky. 
-18
5
-18 
-6
Olive Branch, Miss. 
22
-4 
26
2 
9
Tupelo, Miss. 
18 
-4
24 
-6 
9
Huntsville, Ala. 
18 
-9
16 
-11 
3
Muscle Shoals, Ala. 
16
-8
17
-11 
3 
Bristol, Tenn. 
25
-16
0
-21
-11
Roanoke, Va. 
30
-10
9
-11
-1
Washington, D.C. 
21
-7
17
-7 †
5

† – not a record low (records are as follows: in Lexington, Ky., –17°f on January 21, 1984; in Washington, D.C., –16°f on January 21, 1984.)

There are many other records that are not on the list, as this was the historic cold event in the United States history.  Look up those on http://wunderground.com/.  Type in the airport code and access the records for both January 20 and 21, 1985.  It’s free!

With the notable exception of the beach counties (Jasper, Beaufort, Colleton, Charleston, Georgetown and Horry), every county’s record low occurred some time between 1982 and 1985.  Those six aforementioned counties are the only six counties that still have a record low from Valentine’s Day 1899.

Today in Weather History: 30th anniversary of the third coldest low in Barnwell County’s history – in Williston

Today and tomorrow are important weather anniversaries – and yes, both of 30-year anniversaries.

It may have been a spring-like 60°f for a max temp today, but 30 years ago today, that was not the case.

On January 20, 1985, the day started off as a normal winter day temperature-wise – the max was 43°f. However, a Banana Front so powerful was shredding its way through the nation, little did some know what would be in store for the town of Williston, or Barnwell County for that matter.

After sunup, the skies clouded up first.

After that, while the daytime talk shows were on, the divebomb began.

While there was only a trace of snow, it was enough to deal a devastating blow to the temperatures.

When the snow began in Williston, at roughly 11am, the temperature was 40°f. When the front blew the doors off Blue Devil Country the next hour, the temperature dropped all the way down to 18°f at high noon.

At sundown, roughly 17:45 on the day, the temperature fell to 10°f at the Williston School District.

At 20:00, it was down to 8°f.

By 22:30, it was down to 0°f at the School District 29.

Finally, at the very last minute of the day, it was –2°f.

That temperature was briefly the second coldest day in county history, only behind the –3°f set in Blackville on Valentine’s Day 1899. January 20, 1985 would be the last day that the 1899 record would stand as the county’s coldest ever.

At Orangeburg Municipal Airport, the low temperature was 9°f; at the Regional Airport in Augusta, Ga., the low was 8°f; and at Columbia Metropolitan Airport, the low was 5°f. All three were record lows that still stand to this day.

Coming up Wednesday…it’s the 30th anniversary of the coldest day in Barnwell County’s history. We’ll have more on some of the numbers from that day.

Weather Underground Columbia

Weather Underground Augusta, Ga.

Historic first: Rafael Bush’s jersey and number retired by Williston-Elko High School

WILLISTON — When high school football players from Elko, Williston and Windsor don the blue and white jerseys, one jersey number will now be off-limits to anyone outside of the Bush family.

The number 9.

On Saturday, Williston-Elko High School formally retired the number 9, never to be used again by anyone who does not have any biological relationship with Rafael Bush, the wearer of that number from 2001-2004.

“I think my purpose in life is to open a door for others,” said Mr. Bush during the ceremony.

As Mr. Bush addressed the crowd gathered at the Williston Town Park on Saturday, he covered an array of topics.

Mr. Bush, a member of the NFL’s New Orleans Saints, talked about his faith, his family and his history in the community. The topic that perhaps resonated the most with those honoring him, though, was his current role.

The secondary player is believed to be the first athlete from Williston-Elko High School — and the first from the Williston, Elko and Windsor areas — to sign with a National Football League team.

While prepping for the upcoming high school football season, current head coach Dwayne Garrick said that status serves as a beacon to those still playing at the small school.

“To me, it’s probably more; it’s a lot bigger than just retiring his jersey,” said Coach Garrick. “I think a person like Rafael represents, kind of hope for this community. He represents where these younger guys can go. All the things you talk about in a football player and a person – commitment, perseverance, dedication – he had to put a lot of work in to get where he’s at.”

Hard work was a major theme of Mr. Bush’s talk. He said that from the time he was a boy trying to play football with his older Kelly Edwards Elementary and Williston-Elko Middle friends to his college days at South Carolina State, he had to earn his place in the game.

“Everything revolves around work,” Mr. Bush said. “What you put in is what you get out.”

One of the toughest lessons Mr. Bush learned was in the final year of the old millennium, when academic issues caused him to be in danger of repeating the sixth grade and landed him in summer school.

Due to that possible grim prospect, his mother prohibited him from playing on the Williston-Elko Middle School football team, despite protests from her neighbors and school officials.

Mr. Bush said that was his wake-up call.

“That’s probably one of the biggest things that could ever happen to me,” he said. “Before that, I always thought it was about football, football, football. But that was an eye-opener. … When she told me I couldn’t play football, it was like a blow to my heart, but it also taught me that school comes first.”

Mr. Bush recovered from that setback and became a stand out for the Blue Devils in high school. Former Williston-Elko head coach Paris Mason, who was Bush’s position coach and then head coach during his senior year, said that it was the athlete’s “work ethic” that set him apart from all the rest.

“He refused to be second,” said Coach Mason, a current assistant coach at archrival Blackville-Hilda High School. “You’re talking about a kid his junior year, played almost a whole season with a high pulled hamstring and rushed for about 1,400 yards and about 18 touchdowns.”

Injuries continued to be an issue his senior year in 2004, as he dislocated his elbow and played in only five of the eleven games of the season. Coach Mason said that Mr. Bush never stopped working and helping at practice, but Mr. Bush described the experience as a humbling one.

He said that while he was never overtly arrogant, he always felt he was the absolute best on the field.

“It was one of the worst situations in my life at the time, but it was a lesson learned,” he said. “That situation brought me back to earth.”

Mr. Bush ended up at North Greenville College in Tigerville for a year, but he left, telling his mother that he didn’t feel that program offered him the opportunity to pursue an NFL career. So he left the security of a partial scholarship and went back to the Central Savannah River Area to walk on at South Carolina State in Orangeburg.

Bulldog assistant head coach David Blanchard was in attendance on Saturday and said that he remembered seeing Mr. Bush on film, but his shortened senior year in 2004 kept guys from Orangeburg from offering him a chance out of W-E. When Mr. Bush walked on at SC State, Coach Blanchard said Mr. Bush “took everybody by storm.”

Mr. Bush is listed as 5-foot-11 and 200 pounds on the Saints’, the NFL and ESPN websites, but Coach Blanchard said his “fierce” play despite that frame makes him a major asset at the highest level.

“From that small stature, he will knock your head off,” said Coach Blanchard. “His heart doesn’t pump Kool-Aid; he is a strong man.”

Mr. Bush drove home the importance of finding a way to make yourself outstanding in your field, athletically or otherwise. He said that particularly coming from a town like Williston, with a population of around 3,160, young people hoping to achieve their dreams have to go above and beyond to get there.

“Especially coming from this community, you can’t just be average,” said Mr. Bush. “You’ve got to stand out.”

For the Saints, Mr. Bush has found his niche making plays largely in special teams, although he does have one interception. He recorded 14 tackles last year and forced one fumble while scooping up two.

Former Blue Devil Kendric Salley is trying to follow Mr. Bush’s road to the big leagues. The running back/halfback is a redshirt freshman for USC, and he’s looking to make a dent in his first year on the field for the Gamecocks. He said knowing that everything he’s trying to do has been done before by a native of the Williston, Elko and Windsor areas makes the task ahead seem a lot less daunting.

“It’s a whole big deal,” said Mr. Salley, who was one of the main contributors to the Blue Devils’ 2009 Class A Division II State Title. “Now you realize somebody’s ahead of you that actually fulfilled the same dreams you’re looking forward to fulfilling. It makes you realize you can actually accomplish your goals and dreams.”

Mr. Bush said that realizing he’s a role model, especially for people in his hometown, is a huge part of his life as an NFL player.

“It means a lot,” he said. “A lot of kids have dreams, and a lot of kids don’t get to see people that’s done it beforehand. so to be able to be that voice and that person that they see everyday, just to know that he’s the same person that he was when he left and to come back and still be the same person. It just motivates those kids, if they have dreams to be an athlete or whatever the case may be, it just motivates them. If I just reached one of those kids today, man, I’ve done my purpose.”

Well, done, Mr. Bush. Nice to see the community come out like they did, although I wasn’t there due to other things I had to do.

Hopefully, Mr. Salley can go right there with you to the NFL, if not New Orleans.

As an alum of Williston-Elko High, I know both of you and both of you are the icons and flagships of our communities in eastern Aiken County and western Barnwell County.

[WRDW News 12]

W-E get their rings

WILLISTON — The rings have finally arrived.

Two and a half months after polishing off the first perfect season since 1979, the South Carolina High School League Class A Division II state championship rings arrived at the Williston-Elko District Auditorium at 12255 MAIN STREET on Monday night — less than six hours after the Drama team ‘struck’ the stage and took down the creations for the weekend’s Beauty and the Beast performance.

The Blue Devils state title win is still the talk of the towns of Williston, Elko and Windsor long after November 27. In fact, that is talked about more than the Super Bowl and Sunday’s upcoming Daytona 500 event.

The crowd filled the auditorium, cheering over the highlights and long before the football team was presented with the rings.

“That’s why we are state champions,” said W-E head football coach and athletic director Dwayne Garrick after viewing the Powerpoint presentation. “Now time for the bling bling.”

School board chairman Calvin Melton brought his old jersey from 1969 — the season that the Blue Devils won their first title — to the ceremony. But, he didn’t wear it.

“We are a unique group of people,” said Mr. Melton to the football team. “There have been only four championships in Williston.”

Superintendent Alexis Clamp thought about dressing in something special.

“I thought I would wear my cheerleading outfit from 1968 but I didn’t think crowd would be ready for that,” said Mrs. Clamp.

Well, I wished that Mrs. Clamp had worn her 1968 cheerleading outfit. Those outfits are a lot more conservative than the uniforms that the Blue Devil cheerleaders currently wear. There should be no shame in having a 60-year-old female superintendent show her spirit by wearing her old uniform.

Well, that’s that. Way to go, Devils!

WILLISTON-ELKO BLUE DEVILS COMPLETE PERFECT SEASON FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 1979!!!

ORANGEBURG — Move over, Coach James Hewitt. You’re no longer the most recent head coach to take Williston-Elko to the state crown.

After trailing Scott’s Branch after one half by the same final score as the year before, the Blue Devils turned it up and outscored the Eagles 28-12 in the second half behind Dexter Staley, Tamyn Garrick and Demetrius Facison. But, it came down to one last desperate heave from Scott’s Branch that sailed over everybody and that sealed the win 34-26. It is the first state title for the Blue Devils since 1980 and the first perfect season since 1979.

“That makes it even better,” said W-E head coach and athletic director Dwayne Garrick. “We’re going to celebrate, and I’m definitely looking forward to it.”

Mr. Staley’s three yard touchdown scamper and Kendrick Salley’s subsequent (and critical) two point conversion gave the Blue Devils their first lead of the game after 43:57 had elapsed. It would prove to be a lead that the Blue & White would never again surrender.

The Eagles’ Quentin Singleton, who already scored three touchdowns rushing the football, scored his fourth overall touchdown of the day after quarterback Jerell Adams caught a 63 yard bomb from Mr. Singleton on a fourth down play.

Scott’s Branch then attempted an onside kick. It failed.

The Blue Devils then tried to run the clock out. Mr. Staley put the dagger on the game with a 49 yard touchdown run on the left side with just 25 seconds left.

“He said that we can’t lose to this team two times in a row,” said Mr. Staley, who finished with 134 yards on 17 carries. “After losing last year, we’ve been thinking all season to get back to state. We got the team we wanted to play to get payback, and we did. But we really overlooked Scott’s Branch (today). They’re way better than their (8-5) record. We had to work really hard to come out on top.”

Marcus Bates and Darryl Salley led the defense with 14 tackles apiece, while Shamel Harley added 13 and Andrea Williams made 10 stops.

“It means a lot to get this game,” said Mr. Salley. “Everybody will be trying to real hard against us next year, and we’ll look forward to it.”

Until Friday, the Devils closest win was 18 points over Hunter-Kinard-Tyler on October 2. Coach Garrick said that the eight point win was what made the championship win extra special.

“But I would rather win by 30 points,” he said with a grin. “This was way too stressful. But the people who paid $8 today got to see some great football.”

Well done, Blue Devils! Hopefully, Williston-Elko can do it again in 2010!

Blue Devils lose to Scott’s Branch

ORANGEBURG — The Williston-Elko Blue Devils were on their way to their first state title since 1980 in the first 43 minutes of the Class A Division II state title game on Friday.

Then came the last five minutes.

Quentin Singleton scored the Scott’s Branch Eagles two touchdowns in THOSE five minutes as the Eagles snatched the Class A D2 state title away from the Blue Devils 14-6.

My thoughts? Coach Dwayne Garrick took the words right out of my mouth:

“We stayed on the field way too much on defense.”

Exactly. The Eagles dominated the ToP war.

And the Devils also turned the ball over three times in the last six minutes, four overall.

It was a great season, but it wasn’t to be in Friday’s game.

Well, I hope that we will take it all next year.

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