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Opinion

  • This week I am grieving for the loss of a beautiful building I have loved through all of my life. My family has lived in this area since 1767, and the Lancaster County Courthouse has been a part of my heritage for as long as I can remember. Anyone who came to visit from other places and other countries was given a tour down Main Street and a brief, but proudly delivered, history of the courthouse. I feel as if I have lost not only a cherished landmark, but a large piece of my own identity.

  • It was 6 a.m. I was groggy, coffee-deprived, as I stood on the grass behind the Lancaster County Courthouse, watching as firefighters and law enforcement officers worked the scene of a fire at 6th Circuit Solicitor Doug Barfield’s office.

    But then a question woke me up.

    “And where is the courthouse?” a TV news reporter asked, as we stood in the shadow of Lancaster’s charred but beloved building.

    WHAT?

  • When someone’s house burns down, often the greatest loss people experience deals with items, on face value, would be worthless: old letters, photographs, remnants of childhood.

    Actually these little things represent far more than monetary worth. They are priceless. When a building, such as the Lancaster County Courthouse is lost, nearly two centuries of history and pride is taken leaving little for future generations to appreciate and respect.

  • The Lancaster County Courthouse, designed by Robert Mills, is one of the most historically important buildings left in Lancaster County today. I use the word is because I firmly believe that Lancaster County, its citizens and surrounding businesses, can still salvage and rebuild this monument.

  • It has been six months since Derek Hammaker was killed in an automobile accident. To us, it seems only yesterday. In some ways, the pain and sadness we are experiencing is worse than when the accident first happened. Every day without Derek is a reminder of how much he meant to us and how much we miss him. Nothing is the same.

  • I read the article on Builder’s Supply in the July 25 edition of The Lancaster News and remembered something else about the company. I’m not sure where folks bought their ice and coal a hundred years ago, but I do know that in the 1930s and 1940s those places were at the end of Catawba Street, not French Street.

  • The Lancaster County Volunteer Guardian ad Litem (GAL) program teaches people to become positive, effective advocates for children living in foster care. The GAL volunteers advocate for children who have been abused or neglected and are now involved with the family court system.

  • In the wee hours of Monday morning, someone slipped into a window of Lancaster County’s courthouse, crept upstairs and lit a flame. The arsonist ignited not only court documents, but 180 years of American history. It doesn’t really matter that the building was inadequate as a courthouse. The arson was a slap in the face to both justice and history.

    According to local historian Lindsay Pettus, here are some of the reasons the courthouse was such a landmark:

  • The town of Kershaw now has a children’s park unlike any other. The park resembles a mock town at the turn of the 19th century. It’s dotted with old Kershaw landmarks.

    Springs Cotton Mill, Haile Gold Mine, Kershaw Mercantile, Hanging Rock are memorialized in the multilevel play complex, which has slides, swings, climbing nets, tunnels, a chin-up bar and a fire pole for children to play on.

  • People always amaze me. Just when I thought human kind was going down the tubes, I get a big surprise that restored my faith in people.

    My friend, Cassie, and I run a small animal rescue here in Lancaster County. We were on our way to a veterinarian in Union to have some dogs and puppies spayed and neutered when someone turned in front of us. I had no where to go and I hit the other car. There were 10 dogs and puppies in the car with us, including my dog and Cassie’s dog.

  • What does it take to keep our homes safe these days? We do all the right things and then our home was broken into. It happened two weeks ago. We found out who did this, went to the authorities and they did nothing.

    We even told them where the young boys hid some of the things that were stolen from another house. We haven't heard a word from officers and they will not return our phone calls.

    My wife and I work everyday just to make a living. Then some young jerks with nothing else better to do steal our things. Where is our protection and rights?

  • I am very disappointed that The Lancaster News did not choose to cover the latest work of the Lancaster Community Playhouse. The first show of the year was Disney’s “The Jungle Book Kids.” The director, Eric Grace, and many helpers, held auditions just before school was out. The turn out for this audition was huge with more than 100 kids from Lancaster County participating. Eric immediately saw potential in so many of the children that he cast 20 extra children than the show originally required.

  • Before moving to South Carolina in 1989, I lived in Annapolis, Md., for four years. Even though we were near Washington, D.C., I never attended a July Fourth celebration in the nation’s capital until this year.

    The July Fourth parade started down Constitution Avenue and ended with fireworks on the Mall next to the Washington Monument and reflecting pool.

    The parade included high school bands from Alaska, Mississippi, Missouri and Maryland. The parade also included floats from different cultures in the community – Bolivian, Vietnamese and Taiwanese.

  • We would like to thank all of the people who worked so hard to help during the time of Ronnie W. Cairnes Sr.’s death on July 9.

    We especially want to thank all of the law enforcement officers, first responders, coroner and others who we don’t know about.

    We know that we probably have missed thanking someone, but we want you to know that you are appreciated in more ways than you know. Ronnie was a true treasure and had many friends.

    He was always the same person no matter when you saw him.

    When Ronnie loved you there was no doubt in it.

  • I have delivered newspapers for 10 years and have been through a lot of vehicles. I would like to thank all my customers for being so patient with me when I was late sometimes. It really gets frustrating when I want to get my customers their paper on time and can’t because of car trouble or some fault not my own. I had the nicest customers, who were very patient.

    My husband, who also delivered newspapers, had some nice customers. He had another job, and if he couldn’t get the newspapers delivered before he went to work, he delivered them after he got off.

  • Sen. Barack Obama had been planning to go to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany before a flight to Paris on July 25.

    He was told that his campaign staff would not be allowed photo ops and this visit was not to be considered as a campaign stop.

    Since he is a U.S. senator, Obama and other political dignitaries are always welcomed and encouraged to visit wounded soldiers out of respect and appreciation of their service.

  • About 7:45 p.m. on July 13, my husband, our two children and I were on our way home from Chesterfield County after attending a funeral and visiting relatives.

    We were on Pageland Highway and it was raining. My husband was driving his truck and we began to slide like we were on ice.

    He lost total control and we hydroplaned and landed in a small embankment on the side of the road.

    It was the scariest thing I've ever encountered. I immediately began to call on God to protect us and keep us safe.

  • Hanging on the wall is his black belt certification. Along with his master of science degree in chemistry. Along with his membership in the Catholic choir at service school in Pennsacola. Along with his numerous photography and writing awards, recognition from the National Park Service and certification as a beekeeper from the S.C. Beekepers Association.

    There are more, but these exemplify his depth, versatility and passion for life.

    While they are impressive achievements for anyone – they are even more so for someone confined to a wheelchair.

  • The recent editorial concerning the need for additional funds for the Indian Land Library mentioned using the county’s “healthy reserve fund” for this purpose.

    Whether or not to use that funding is of course County Council’s decision, but I would not want your readers to think Lancaster County has a lot of money just sitting in the bank for no good reason.

    While I would call our reserve fund “adequate,” it is not healthy in the sense it is holding more than it should.

  • I have been overly impressed with the class, dignity, sportsmanship and athleticism that was displayed by the Lancaster Dixie Baseball 9-10 year old all-star team in the state playoffs in Hartsville.

    These boys are representing our town, families and themselves in a dignified, superb fashion, while not losing a game and are on their way to compete in the World Series in LaGrange, Ga.

    Congratulations to each of you young men for your hard work and fine representation of Lancaster County.