• Column: Sorting out what’s true, what’s spin not so easy

    Someone asked why I hadn’t written anything lately, and I said that my last article was not published because the editor felt I needed more verifications of my sources.
    At first it bothered me, and I felt he doubted my integrity. But after consideration I realized he was right to doubt because, as I told the editor, “there is so much information available from numerous sources that I often consider something factual if it has multiple sources in agreement,” but in today’s world of TV, radio, print media and Internet, that is not always true.

  • Column: Fred Sheheen was an S.C. institution

    We were shocked and saddened to hear about the passing of Fred Sheheen today. Fred was a South Carolina institution who devoted his life to lifting up all of us.
    As a young journalist, his reports on the Civil Rights Movement told stories of injustice that helped spur a nation to act. He played his own part in the long march toward justice as an aide to Gov. Donald Russell, during whose tenure our state took fitful yet peaceful steps toward desegregation.

  • Column: S.C. riding a bike, while race cars whiz past

    Consider the following S.C. and national unemployment numbers from recent news reports:
    For April 2016, the S.C. unemployment rate rose for the second month in a row, to 5.8 percent, up a bit from 5.7 percent in March. This is bad.
    The April unemployment rate across South Carolina ranged from a high of 9.1 percent in Allendale County to a low of 4.34 percent in Lexington County. This is good or bad, depending on where you live.

  • Column: Let’s pull together for a day of unity

    Lancaster is one of the most beautiful cities in the South and is known as the “The Red Rose City.”
    When people identify a town, city, state or a nation, they’re not just talking about buildings, streets, businesses, churches or schools. They’re talking about the people of that city.
    Lancaster is my hometown. As a citizen and minister of the Gospel, I have a great love and compassion for all people, especially hometown folks.

  • Column: Blackmon: Consider my experience, community service in auditor’s race

    The Republican primary is June 14. I am a candidate in the county auditor race.
    It is important for everyone to know the candidates. I graduated from Clemson University in 1978. I married Jane Bridges and we settled in Heath Springs. We have raised two very successful children who are happily married and have two wonderful grandchildren.
    Lancaster County has been a fantastic place to live. During this time, I have been involved in community service.

  • Our nation pauses to salute the fallen

    Bystanders listened to great speeches as children from the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphan Home and members of the Grand Army of the Republic made their way through the cemetery, strewing flowers on both Union and Confederate graves, reciting prayers and singing hymns as tears fell from their eyes while they remembered the fallen.
    It was 1868. The first large observance of what we now call Memorial Day, then called Decoration Day, was happening at Arlington National Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington.

  • Column: Pinckney honored: Celebrating shared history

    Last week in Charleston a large mural of Rev. Clementa Pinckney was unveiled. It was done by 28-year-old Columbia artist Tripp Barnes. It is big and colorful and covers the whole outside wall of a building on St. Phillips Street, a few blocks from my house and from Emanuel AME Church.
    In addition to his likeness, the mural also has a short but powerful quote by Clem: “Across the South, we have a deep appreciation of history – we haven’t always had a deep appreciation of each other’s history.”

  • Column: Trump mimics NRA orthodoxy, but S.C. voters might disagree

    The papers this week had big stories about Donald Trump speaking to the National Rifle Association convention and accepting its endorsement. Among his promises was to eliminate gun-free zones in schools on his first day in office.
    In Trump’s typical over-the-top rhetoric, he proclaims himself the greatest defender of the Second Amendment in history.
    No surprise here – that’s Trump.

  • Editor's Column: 2 sketchy guys exit a pickup truck

    I had never killed anyone before.
    The two men stepped out of their pickup truck after I stopped them for speeding. One reached inside his coat, pulled out a handgun and pointed it at me. I shot him a half dozen times from 10 feet away.
    The other man was moving toward me, and I saw his hands jerk. I shot him too, pulling the trigger as fast as I could until my sidearm was empty. By the time the last few shots hit the man, he was already on the ground.

  • Column: County needs to hit ‘pause’ on residential growth in IL

    We need to talk about better planning for our community and infrastructure.
    Because of the company I worked for back in the 1980s, I had the opportunity to see two huge 4- by 6-foot mark-up boards of artist renderings for Ballantyne. I’ll never forget how impressive it was to see pictures of farmland at the time look so modern and beautifully planned. What is even more impressive is that what we see there today looks just like what was designed back then, as if paper came to life. This is the best example of planning I can think of.