• We are now entering the fourth year of the continuing Fort Lawn sewer saga. The town has a sewer system, because of Springs Industries. In 1979, Springs said it would let the town tap into a line across the river, under the L&C Railway trestle, which connected its three Fort Lawn plants to the Grace treatment facility.

    Up until the ’06 decision to shut down the treatment plant, Fort Lawn residents not only had sewer, but they got it cheap.

  • We recently heard a report of a fire in one of our rural districts while listening to our scanner. We won’t say which fire district, because this problem happens all over, so it doesn’t matter.

    A few minutes into the fire call, as we heard dispatchers talking on the scanner, we got a call. On the phone, we heard someone talking, shouting over an engine gunning, and those same dispatch reports.

  • Another day, another public official popping off and bringing national scorn and ridicule down on our collective heads. And we’re not talking about Gov. Mark “Appalachian Trail” or U.S. Rep. Joe “You Lie” Wilson.

    Normally, we don’t have many problems with Lt. Gov. André Bauer, who’s running now for governor. He put his foot squarely in his mouth last week when he spoke to a group of senior citizens.

  • We’re getting tired of all the talk and the hypocrisy we are subjected to by our “leaders.”.

    Better than perhaps almost any other community in the state or nation, we in Chester County understand that times are tough. We’re sick of the economy being used as an excuse, particularly when some of our officials created the problems.

    State politicians are habitual offenders of poor budgeting and spending, both in good times and bad. The bad budgeting in good times actually makes the bad times worse.

  • When summer gets into full flow, students are on vacation, the high school sports we report on understandably diminishes.

    Sports reporting at the local level has a gap in its year as a result.

    Sports Editor Travis Jenkins has found some special things to fill in the gap over the years. A couple of years back, he found other towns with the same names and wrote about their sports teams. (Who knew there were so many Great Falls?

  • In December, of 1999, I wrote the following column for The People-Sentinel. The headline said, “Why can’t I be happy about returning lost child?”

    I went to Williston to cover the parade. … I walked up the street, and saw a little girl turn the corner. I love kids, but I’m awful at guessing their ages, particularly when they are as small as this little girl. … A year old? As I said, she turned the corner, and started walking down the block.

    By herself.

  • One of the things I enjoy working on at The News & Reporter is Discover Magazine.

    When I started, I needed to know who was who and where to find answers. After one of my first such questions, I was handed Discover. It became a go-to resource.

    The magazine at its root is an information resource. The approach is it’s a newcomer’s guide. If you move here or are starting a business, you need to know some basic things.

    Discover has most of those answers. And it always has some pretty pictures throughout.

  • We haven’t had a chance to praise an elected official in a bit, so we’re overdue.

    Our praise here comes not for something done on the side, away from government’s give and take. It comes directly about how this official did his elected job. More extraordinarily, this was done in the heart of the latest controversy, when the pressure might be on more than “normal.”

    As we told you last week, Richburg Town Council passed a resolution against the incinerator coming to 100 acres on S.C. Highway 9 between Fort Lawn and Richburg.

  • The 2010 Census count got its official kickoff for the local area last week in Rock Hill.

    There was a ribbon-cutting ceremony, complete with several officials, including U.S. Rep. John Spratt, D-York. The Rock Hill office is the district’s base for 11 South Carolina counties, including Chester and Lancaster counties..

    The U.S. Constitution requires that a census be taken every 10 years. For this latest census, at stake is $400 billion in federal money to be distributed to state and local governments.

  • We have never underestimated the generosity of people in Chester County. We take pride in it.

    We wrote last week about a boy who wanted his family to have a Christmas. They had fallen on some hard times. They had a roof over their heads, a warm house, everything basic taken care of. But no extra money at Christmas time for Christmas.

  • For many a year, The News & Reporter has run this column at Christmas, and it’s a holiday tradition. Francis P. Church, then editor of The New York Sun, wrote “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus,” in 1897, in response to this letter:

    Dear Editor,

    I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, ‘If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.’ Please tell me the truth. Is there a Santa Claus?”


    Virginia O’Hanlon

    Dear Virginia,

  • For the past several years, I have been the biggest fan of the world of Chester County’s almost overkill on Christmas parades.

    There are five, count them, five.

    Great Falls always went first. Chester, Fort Lawn and Richburg always were on the same weekend, and the Lowrys parade ended the season.

    I’d always be good for at least three of the parades.

    Then Chester moved it’s parade up, so there wasn’t a weekend of parades. But Saturday was parade day in Chester County, with both the Richburg and Fort Lawn parades held.

  • Covanta’s plans to build a waste-to-energy incinerator between Richburg and Fort Lawn should be put on hold until health, traffic and rail congestion concerns are fully addressed.

    I toured a couple of plants recently with an economic development group and saw what appeared to be well-run facilities with minimal impact on the environment and health. Based on what I saw, I had no major concerns with the incinerator. But I’m not an authority.

  • We understand emotions can run high these days when the people try to talk to their government.

    It was clear as a bell during the summer during “town hall” meetings on the proposed health care reform.

    The people want to be heard. People believe they have been denied their right to participate in their government.

    The local debate is over a proposed “waste-to-energy” incinerator to be built between Fort Lawn and Richburg on S.C. Highway. County Council has OK’d it.

  • We apologize for the lateness of this editorial, but this is actually the first chance we’ve had to discuss the Fort Lawn sewer consultant issue, which was actually a campaign issue in the recent special election.

    The town hired a consultant to help it with a sewer expansion. He later started helping with a barely related annexation issue.

    The council hired a man named Pat Roddey to do the work. His wife was on the council when the position was discussed and voted to create the position.

  • We’ll also repeat something we wrote last year at this time. We do Christmas right in Chester County. We do Christmas big.

    We have five parades. Five. A couple are institutions, like Great Falls, which kicks off the season first every year. Chester has now moved its parade up in the year, but “back” to its traditional date. Fort Lawn, Lowrys and Richburg follow, though not in that order. Lowrys’ parade is an event in itself.

  • We’ve had a running theme in our editorials for the past two, three years at this time of the year. We’ve said we know some in our community might be more worried, even scared at this time of the year.

    Times are tough, all around. And they keep getting tougher. Last year, we all knew the county had high unemployment. This year, how many of us would give up something significant to go back to how it was just a year ago?

  • We, like everyone else in Chester, were hoping for the three-peat that Head Coach Maurice Flowers made a priority for the 2009 Cyclones.

    Under former Head Coach Victor Floyd, the Cyclones were the 2007 Upperstate champs and went to the state championship game for Class AAA. They lost to Wilson.

    Last year, when Flowers took over, the Cyclones won the 2008 Upperstate title, and advanced to the state AAA championship again. They lost again in the final, to Myrtle Beach.

    We don’t know which was more exciting. But we were proud then.

  • We are staunch advocates for freedom of information. It’s the best public policy.

    There are many in government who “talk the talk,” but few who “walk the walk.”

    Gov. Mark Sanford has had a rocky road when it comes to freedom of information and open government. By his words, he is among the strongest advocates of openness.

    “Sunshine is the best disinfectant,” he has often said. He made a pledge to have open government once elected.

  • We were thrilled to report on the story of a national syndicated radio show host, whose two great uncles were executed years ago for murder.

    The murder was in just the second decade of the last century. Tom Joyner’s great uncles had nothing to do with the crime.

    But it was 1913. The victim wasn’t just white. He was a Confederate Army veteran. They were black. The two men had to give up all they owned to hire a lawyer. The show trial lasted a day.