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Editor's Column: 2 bizarre weeks in a bewildering political career

By Brian Melton

On Monday, Oct. 16, Linda Blackmon called this newspaper and asked to speak to Publisher Susan Rowell, my boss. It was the morning after my column about the new Lancaster City Council member taking a vote that clearly violated state ethics law.
Susan wasn’t in, so Blackmon asked to speak to me. When I answered, she identified herself cordially and said she wanted to come by the newspaper later that day to talk to me and reporter Mark Manicone, who had been writing news articles about her.
Fine, I said. When would you like to come?


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Lancaster News | circulation@thelancasternews.com | 803-283-1133
PO Box 640; 701 North White St, Lancaster SC 29720
Office Hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday

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"It's Hannah at the paper"

A long, scary, life-and-death saga unfolds

By Hannah Strong

Editor’s note: This occasional column takes you behind the scenes with Hannah Strong, who has been reporting for a little more than a year.

The bench outside the Lancaster County Courthouse lets me see who’s coming in and going out.
It’s a summer afternoon in August 2016 and I wait – impatiently.
There’s a private hearing going on inside that I can’t legally witness.
I finally see who I’m looking for after a 30-minute wait.
I recognize her big, blonde hair from an online photo.


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Lancaster News | circulation@thelancasternews.com | 803-283-1133
PO Box 640; 701 North White St, Lancaster SC 29720
Office Hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday

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Blackmon’s vote to pay herself $6,750 might launch a long, secret legal battle

Editor's Column: Obey the law or grab the cash? Choices, choices

By Brian Melton

It has been a whiplashing few weeks in the drama of Linda Blackmon’s return to the Lancaster City Council.
Just before she took the oath Oct. 1, a house that she owns burned, and she postulated that it was an assassination attempt to keep her out of office.
“I believe someone tried to kill me,” said Blackmon, angry and in tears on the sidewalk as SLED agents combed the fire scene. “You want to run for office, you want to have a dream, you know? But people are against it.”


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Lancaster News | circulation@thelancasternews.com | 803-283-1133
PO Box 640; 701 North White St, Lancaster SC 29720
Office Hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday

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Staff Column: Hello! I’m your new reporter

By Mark Manicone

If you told me six years ago that I’d become a reporter, fall in love with a country girl and live in good ole’ South Carolina, I’d have said ease up on the psychedelics.
Yet here I am, with all of the above turning out to be true.
God must be punishing me for my cynicism as a Northerner.  
I currently live in Columbia and commute to Lancaster. But I have bought a house in Lancaster’s Erwin Farm neighborhood and will be closing on the sale today.
I am not an S.C. native, but I don’t plan on leaving – ever.


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Lancaster News | circulation@thelancasternews.com | 803-283-1133
PO Box 640; 701 North White St, Lancaster SC 29720
Office Hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday

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Publisher's Column: We are your ‘Main Street media’

By Susan Rowell

Editor’s note: Susan Rowell last week became president of the National Newspaper Association, which represents community newspapers nationwide. Here are excerpts of her acceptance speech at the NNA’s annual convention in Tulsa, Okla.

I am beyond honored to join this group of individuals who have led the National Newspaper Association to where we are today. Over 2,000 members strong, representing communities from the East Coast to the West Coast.


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Lancaster News | circulation@thelancasternews.com | 803-283-1133
PO Box 640; 701 North White St, Lancaster SC 29720
Office Hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday

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Staff Column: Let’s name new school after Charlie Duke

By Greg Summers

Naming a new public building is a chance to celebrate something we’re proud of.
Next August, a new elementary school will be opening in Lancaster County. And if the committee assigned with choosing a name is fishing for ideas, I have a suggestion.
It should be named Charlie Duke Elementary School to honor our homegrown Apollo 16 astronaut.
Twelve men have left footprints on the moon. Duke, who celebrated his 82nd birthday Tuesday, is one of them. He logged 71 hours on the lunar surface in April 1972.


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Lancaster News | circulation@thelancasternews.com | 803-283-1133
PO Box 640; 701 North White St, Lancaster SC 29720
Office Hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday

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"It's Hannah at the paper"

Teaching the kids at Discovery School about newspapers

By Hannah Strong

Editor’s note: This occasional column takes you behind the scenes with Hannah Strong, who has been reporting for a little more than a year.

I juggle a big metal plate and a bag full of newspaper-related things in my hands on a Friday morning.
I walk into Discovery School, trying to carry it all in one trip.
The school will start its own newspaper soon.
And I’ve been asked to talk with fourth and fifth graders about what’s newsworthy, how the paper works.


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Lancaster News | circulation@thelancasternews.com | 803-283-1133
PO Box 640; 701 North White St, Lancaster SC 29720
Office Hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday

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My hardest story yet: Jacarion’s death

By Hannah Strong

Editor’s note: This occasional column takes you behind the scenes with Hannah Strong, who has been reporting for a little more than a year.

I sit on my sofa, scrolling through Twitter after a not-so-long day of work.
It’s about 9 p.m.
That’s when I read it for the first time – a 2-year-old has been shot at a home in Lancaster.
My Lancaster? Yes. My Lancaster.
I scramble. What do I do?


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Lancaster News | circulation@thelancasternews.com | 803-283-1133
PO Box 640; 701 North White St, Lancaster SC 29720
Office Hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday

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"It's Hannah at the paper"

A stench, a scalpel, an eyeball

By Hannah Strong

Editor’s note: This occasional column takes you behind the scenes with Hannah Strong, who has been reporting for a little more than a year.

That sea-animal stench smacks me in the face when I walk through the door at Buford Elementary.
I know what I’m getting into when I decide to film it.
The smell gets stronger the closer I get to the classroom – the classroom with the dead, 2-foot-long dogfish sharks on the table.


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Lancaster News | circulation@thelancasternews.com | 803-283-1133
PO Box 640; 701 North White St, Lancaster SC 29720
Office Hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday

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“It’s Hannah at the paper”

A bumpy ride, a shooting and 17 shell casings

Editor’s note: This occasional column takes you behind the scenes with Hannah Strong, who has been reporting for a little more than a year.

I didn’t know what we were about to walk up to.
I knew I had my camera bag. That my adrenaline was rushing. The White Street construction made the road bumpy. And my fellow reporter Greg Summers’ manual-transmission truck was shifting us back and forth as we sped down the road.
We knew we were headed toward a shooting – thanks to the newsroom police scanner for the tip.


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Lancaster News | circulation@thelancasternews.com | 803-283-1133
PO Box 640; 701 North White St, Lancaster SC 29720
Office Hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday

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