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Today's Opinions

  • 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.

  • Column: Consulting jobs for ex-agency heads costly and unnecessary

    According to a contract obtained by the Post and Courier, the former head of the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, Catherine Templeton, accepted a contract with the agency just one day after she left her position in January 2015.
    As DHEC director, she was paid $13,500 a month. After signing her no-bid consulting contract, she was paid $17,300 a month – a 28 percent increase.

  • Column: We pay more for electricity than any other state, but not all of us do

    In a ranking of states by total energy costs, South Carolina is solidly in the middle, at 24th most expensive.
    When the costs of electricity, natural gas, motor fuel and home heating oil are averaged and combined, state residents spent $278 per month.
    That’s much better than the most expensive state, Connecticut, at $380, and much worse than the least expensive, Washington, at $226. (The District of Columbia is even lower, at $219.)
    More curious is the ranking of states just on monthly retail electricity costs.

  • Column: Where Dems are in charge, everything is falling apart

    Dimple Ajmera, a Charlotte City Council member, said last week that any Republican who supports President Donald Trump has no place on the city council or in the Charlotte mayor’s race. 
    Her liberal Democrat self-satisfaction is off the chart. She and her party consider themselves the epitome of compassion, empathy, goodness and light, while believing that conservative Republicans are full of greed and hate.

  • Column: Open government has come a long way in the last decade

    It was 10 years ago this month that I began developing plans for what would eventually become the state’s fiscal transparency website – one of the first such sites in the country. The goal was to provide citizens easy access to details about how state government spends their money.

  • Column: Feeling nibbled at checkout line? This may be the reason

    If you shop locally and wonder where the money goes, the Tax Foundation has an explanation. South Carolinians pay the 17th-highest sales taxes in the nation, according to a new midyear report from the nonpartisan think tank.
    The ranking, arrived at by combining state sales taxes and a population-weighted average of local sales taxes, is another rebuke to public officials who tout the Palmetto State as a low-tax environment.

  • Editor's Column: The CEO taps on the door: ‘Did we treat you right?’

    I didn’t know who Janice Dabney was when she tapped on the door of my dad’s room just before he checked out of Springs Memorial Hospital for the last time.
    It was February 2015, and I had just moved back to Lancaster after four decades away. Dad had spent eight weeks shuttling between Springs Memorial, its two rehab wings and Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte. First an aortic aneurism, then a stroke, and his lymphoma was back.
    At 91, he decided no more hospitals, and we told him that was understandable. He passed away at home three months later.

  • 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.