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  • Families endure a pain that will never go away

    Editor’s note: Hannah Strong joined us a year ago, fresh out of Winthrop. Today she begins an occasional column on what her first reporting job is teaching her about herself, her profession and Lancaster County.

    The operator from an S.C. prison says, “You have 15 seconds left on this call.”
    “Let me call you right back,” the woman tells me.
    She has been jailed for attempted armed robbery  since 2013.
    I’m talking to her because her 19-year-old son has been shot dead in Lancaster.

  • Editor's Column: Parnell’s big moment in the comedy vortex

    Archie Parnell, one of the 14 candidates running for the congressional seat vacated by Mick Mulvaney, got a bit of national publicity last week to help him stand out from the crowd.
    Boy, did he ever!
    Fair warning. If you’re not a fan of crude anatomical humor, do not check this out.
    It happened on comedian Samantha Bee’s political satire show “Full Frontal With Samantha Bee” on TBS. She has an audience of about 2.5 million, not far behind the 3 million or so who watch Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon on the big networks.

  • Editor's Column: Wait, sir! Read this before you burn the paper

    In more than a quarter century of newspaper work, I’ve received my share of vile phone messages. Last week I got a doozy.
    It even tops the voice mail I got a few months ago from some guy who threatened to cut off my head and burn my body. I filed a police report on that one, so that if I turned up headless, the cops would have a logical place to start the investigation.
    Here’s the latest message. There’s a bit of rough language, but I dashed out the objectionable words.

  • Editor's Column – Mulvaney: I was sloppy, not greedy

    Mick Mulvaney’s political career, which has rocketed upward since his first election win in 2006, jumped to light speed six weeks ago, when Donald Trump nominated him as White House budget director.
    The guy who quietly blended in at my Rotary breakfast a couple of months back – affable, low-key, not the center of attention – had pole-vaulted into Trump Tower. Suddenly, we were envisioning him a stone’s throw from the Oval Office, with the federal budget in a headlock.

  • Editor's Column: How we deliver your newspaper changes Friday

    We have been delivering news and advertising to this community for 164 years.

     Long ago, an army of kids on bikes threw papers onto porches and carports after school. I was one of those kids. Delivering The Lancaster News was my first job, in 1968. 

    The paper switched to morning delivery 25 years ago, and since then its carriers have mostly been adults with motor routes, supplementing their income from other work.

  • Editor's Column: My 1st encounter with Linda Blackmon

    Let me start by making this clear: I have no opinion about the truthfulness of Jackie Harris’ voter-fraud allegations against Linda Blackmon after the Nov. 8 Lancaster City Council election. There aren’t enough facts on the table yet.
    With that out of the way, let me tell you a peculiar story.
    If you were driving past The Lancaster News parking lot on White Street late Wednesday afternoon, that was me in the white button-down shirt with my arms crossed, listening and looking perplexed.

  • Editor's Column: Hold your nose if you must, then vote

    Choosing among bad alternatives is sometimes part of life, unavoidable and unpleasant. You hunker down, minimize the damage and cause the least hurt.Slam into an 18-wheeler or drive off a cliff. Close your business and lose everything, or dig the hole even deeper by borrowing in hopes of an unlikely turnaround. Let your life end quickly and painlessly, or undergo months of miserable treatment for a bit more time with those you love.
    Horrible choices. It’s depressing just to think about them.

  • Editor's Column: William McCoy’s missteps come back to baffle him

    When candidates make colossal blunders, you learn a lot about them. 

    Donald Trump declared war on a Muslim Gold Star couple who criticized him at the Democratic convention. And he ranted for a week after the first debate about a Miss Universe who gained weight. 

  • Editor's Column: Weaver wilts in Ansley Park spotlight

    Imagine that this newspaper is being accosted by organized complainers demanding that our publisher take action on their long-standing concerns.

    The publisher calls a big public meeting to hear their gripes and get her editor’s recommendation on how to proceed.

  • 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.