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  • Staff Column: Hello! I’m your new reporter

    If you told me six years ago that I’d become a reporter, fall in love with a country girl and live in good ole’ South Carolina, I’d have said ease up on the psychedelics.
    Yet here I am, with all of the above turning out to be true.
    God must be punishing me for my cynicism as a Northerner.  
    I currently live in Columbia and commute to Lancaster. But I have bought a house in Lancaster’s Erwin Farm neighborhood and will be closing on the sale today.
    I am not an S.C. native, but I don’t plan on leaving – ever.

  • Publisher's Column: We are your ‘Main Street media’

    Editor’s note: Susan Rowell last week became president of the National Newspaper Association, which represents community newspapers nationwide. Here are excerpts of her acceptance speech at the NNA’s annual convention in Tulsa, Okla.

    I am beyond honored to join this group of individuals who have led the National Newspaper Association to where we are today. Over 2,000 members strong, representing communities from the East Coast to the West Coast.

  • Staff Column: Let’s name new school after Charlie Duke

    Naming a new public building is a chance to celebrate something we’re proud of.
    Next August, a new elementary school will be opening in Lancaster County. And if the committee assigned with choosing a name is fishing for ideas, I have a suggestion.
    It should be named Charlie Duke Elementary School to honor our homegrown Apollo 16 astronaut.
    Twelve men have left footprints on the moon. Duke, who celebrated his 82nd birthday Tuesday, is one of them. He logged 71 hours on the lunar surface in April 1972.

  • Teaching the kids at Discovery School about newspapers

    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 juggle a big metal plate and a bag full of newspaper-related things in my hands on a Friday morning.
    I walk into Discovery School, trying to carry it all in one trip.
    The school will start its own newspaper soon.
    And I’ve been asked to talk with fourth and fifth graders about what’s newsworthy, how the paper works.

  • My hardest story yet: Jacarion’s death

    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 sit on my sofa, scrolling through Twitter after a not-so-long day of work.
    It’s about 9 p.m.
    That’s when I read it for the first time – a 2-year-old has been shot at a home in Lancaster.
    My Lancaster? Yes. My Lancaster.
    I scramble. What do I do?

  • A stench, a scalpel, an eyeball

    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.

    That sea-animal stench smacks me in the face when I walk through the door at Buford Elementary.
    I know what I’m getting into when I decide to film it.
    The smell gets stronger the closer I get to the classroom – the classroom with the dead, 2-foot-long dogfish sharks on the table.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.