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Our View

  • Editor's Column: Butch Flynn’s political self-destruction

    This newspaper hasn’t endorsed a candidate in Lancaster’s July 10 mayoral election, but I’m dis-endorsing one today – Butch Flynn.
    Mr. Flynn chose not to appear with the other four candidates Monday to answer questions in the campaign’s single public mayoral forum. He had not returned our phone calls since the news broke that he had been arrested May 1 for disobeying a court order in a family court case.

  • Editor's Column: Parnell crashes and burns, killing Democrats’ hopes in 5th District

    Archie Parnell stopped by my office one day during last year’s special congressional election, and we chatted for 20 minutes or so.
    I liked him. He was one of the calmest, most mild-mannered, understated politicians I’ve ever met. He smiled easily, listened well, spoke softly and carefully, and made good eye contact and coherent policy points. He poked fun at himself. Some of his campaign commercials were flat-out hilarious.
    No one is laughing now.

  • Publisher's Column: Newsprint tariffs won’t save U.S. jobs, will damage essential industry

    There are two things you need to know about newspapers.
    Newspapers are important to community life and democracy. Always have been. We at the National Newspaper Association think it is important for all sorts of newspapers to survive for the sake of a free society – the very large and the very small ones, the liberal ones, the conservative ones, the middle-of-the-road ones, the ones with no viewpoint but just important news, all of them. Some are our members. Many are not. We defend them anyway. America needs them like we need oxygen.

  • A year’s worth of stories I never predicted

    I sit in the newsroom and reflect on the 200-something stories I’ve written this year.
    Christmas songs play on the radio, which only picks up one station.
    I hear the clicks on keyboards from reporters typing holiday stories about recycled Christmas decorations, a food drive, a Santa truck, embroidered ornaments.

  • Homelessness is regular guys getting chance to restart lives

    I stand on the porch with six homeless men.
    They’re chatting, smoking cigarettes, picking on the youngest guy in the group about his rapping skills.
    And I’m taking it all in – writing notes, snapping photos, listening to their stories.
    Ten men are staying in a home on Trestle Lane, part of Lancaster’s old mill hill. They’re in a 90-day program organized by the nonprofit Citadel House, and they’re trying to get back on their feet.
    I’ve seen poor people before.

  • Column: Tributes to an S.C. pioneer, Chief Justice Ernest Finney

    Ernest Finney, former chief justice of the S.C. Supreme Court, died Sunday at his home in Columbia. He was 86.
    Finney, a Virginia native, was a hero in the state’s judicial community, a well-known legislator and accomplished civil-rights attorney. He broke racial barriers throughout his life, becoming a Supreme Court justice in 1985 and chief justice in 1994, the first African-American to hold those positions since Reconstruction.

  • Memories of Holiday Barbie

    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.


    My grandma Reba Bruton used to get up from our Christmas present-opening time to grab the white Walmart bags.

    Inside were her three granddaughters’ presents.

    She gave these same – but different – presents to all of us each year.

    I got mine for 14 years, starting when I was 3 years old.

  • Editor's Column: I could have brought my AK-47, says the raging man with the axe

    I can’t stop thinking about the 11th paragraph of a Nov. 8 story on our front page.
    A 44-year-old Lancaster man was accused of trying to break in on his estranged wife, screaming that he would dismember her and a fellow she was with. He had arrived with a .38 revolver, a knife, an axe, a metal baton and a set of throwing knives, according to the incident report.
    In the 11th graph, the suspect told the arresting deputy: “I could have come over here with my AK-47 and AR-15 and… nobody would have had a chance.”

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

    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?

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

    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.