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No job for the faint-hearted
There has never been a time when I didn’t encounter a pleasant greeting when calling the Lancaster County Voter Registration Office. While it’s not always pleasant in that office, director Cassie Stump’s demeanor never changed. Usually when I call, we banter before getting down to business. She has always been helpful and prompt with anything we needed.
It’s a challenge to keep calm while helping people register to vote, verifying and counting absentee ballots, tallying votes for every election and accommodating lines of people that snake around the county building halls wanting to cast absentee ballots.
Yet, Stump has done just that – kept her calm.
After 20 years, she has decided to retire – wanting to spend more time with her family. That’s understandable. We appreciate Stump’s professionalism, cooperation and kindness. We’ll miss her and wish her well.
I was dumbstruck when the Rev. W.C. Wallace called to tell us about the woman who was kidnapped from a convenience store in Jefferson, raped and brutally beaten to death on Dec. 26. Her body was dumped in a desolate area in Kershaw populated with coyotes.
Just listening to the details sent chills over me. But then instinct took over. How do we cover this story that happened in another county with a local angle? That was the reason Wallace was calling. Hope Melton was the sister-in-law of Freddie Melton, pastor of Heath Springs Baptist Church, which is in Lancaster County.
Wallace saw on Facebook where Freddie Melton requested prayers for his family as they dealt with Hope’s heinous murder. Initially, that was our angle – the brother-in-law. As the story progressed, we found out Hope was from Lancaster County, too.
Gary Phillips, editor of The Progressive Journal in Pageland, our sister newspaper, worked collaboratively with our reporter Jesef Williams to get the story. By now you’ve read the details of Hope Melton’s tragic death.
Hope Melton wasn’t even born when a similar incident happened almost 32 years ago. In 1980, Lancaster resident Becky Eudy was kidnapped from the Bi-Lo parking lot. She too was raped, shot and left to die in a pasture on Craig Farm Road.
Neither death makes any sense. But at least both perpetrators were caught.
Help for an
Ronnie Carter saw the turkey buzzard in his backyard. He tried shooing it away. The bird of prey hobbled, but didn’t fly off – not normal for such birds. It didn’t take Carter long to figure out something was wrong. He called different agencies, including the Department of Natural Resources, trying to get some help for the wounded bird. After being forwarded several times, he was put in contact with Janet Sciulli and her son, Michael. The Sciulli family are involved with the Carolina Raptor Center (CRC) in Huntersville, N.C. Janet and Michael are volunteers for the center. Mother and son went to the Carter house, donned well-padded gloves and captured the buzzard.
The Sciullis took the turkey buzzard to the CRC where it was treated for a broken wing.
CRC is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to educate the public about the birds of prey and rehabilitate and release injured raptors. Visit www.carolinaraptorcenter.org/ for more information about the center.
Barbara Rutledge is editor of The Lancaster News