What a Start! Some Thoughts.

When Jim died, I felt not only his loss, but the loss of the news. Somehow over the years, the journalist bug bit me and I became infected. I started to see photos first as the photojournalist, and then with writing, it just grew.

When the News Era stopped even for the week, I was lost and stopped also. Jim had heaped some praise on me the week of his passing. He did not often do that. I felt that obligation to carry on. In the beginning it felt like leaping off the cliff. That was  December 1st of 2017. Seems like yesterday.

What started as a simple blog has blossomed. In this first three months I have watched the stats on the site. I am amazed at the growth. From 1 view in November of 2017 to now with over 7,000 views in February of 2018, I am speechless, and for a writer, that is not good. I own many thanks to those who share and like the articles. But that is just a number, what does it mean?

Before I started, I did some research, and found that digital publishing of news was the next wave of the future in journalism. The New York Time, Reuters, and Forbes have led the way. In fact some studies report that 83% of today’s news consumers get their news digitally.  So cellphones have become the way to get your news.

It has long been known that older print models were becoming harder and harder to maintain. We have seen the changes even here in Lancaster County. Across the state of South Carolina, smaller newspapers are closing as ad revenue dwindles. Classified and business advertising is the bread and butter of the print media.

With Amazon, eBay and Facebook, the need to buy an ad has become almost antiquated.  Some have asked if I will print a paper version of the Pantagraph. The answer is no. The cost of starting that up, would be difficult to recover in the current market. Will some not be able to access the Pantagraph, sure.

I am not here to replace the Kershaw News Era. I am not here to compete with the Lancaster News. I am here to offer the additional information, the alternative way to view the news.  The 7000 views means that someone, many someones are reading the articles. I am on target with what I am doing.

I reflect at times, would this be what Jim would have wanted me to be doing?  I would like to think he would approve. I hear it in his voice in the last words he sent to me

“David, meant to shoot you a note yesterday, but some other things interfered. Appreciate you making it to the council meeting and then delivering maybe you best meeting account yet. Just remember, your articles are the best way from people down here to learn what county government is doing countywide, not just for the southern end, although that is our main concern. Jim”

Will do Jim, Will do.

Photo Contest- Stevens Park

Here is a chance to showcase your photographic talent. Show me your best picture of you and your family or friends enjoying the Playground at Stevens Park before it was closed.

The winner will receive a $25 prize, and a donation of $50 will be made in your name to the current Kershaw Park build.

Deadline is March 9th, 2018

Details: Must be your original work, never before published or sold. Content must be of                  people in the Haile Gold Mine playground during the time when it was open.

Submission: Send full sized JPG file to editor@pantagraph.online
with following: Your Name, Names and ages of anyone in picture. Include                             why the playground is important to you and your friends and family.

Pictures will be showcased on Pantagraph.online and winner will have article written to highlight the picture and story behind it.

By entering the contest, you are agreeing to release your picture and right for use by Pantagraph and David Kellin. You acknowledge that this is a contest, and you may not be chosen as winner, and will not have picture returned. The picture chosen is final. Good Luck.

Kevin Harvick Earns Emotional Atlanta Win – 17 years After His First, plus Las Vegas Preview Notes

Five times in the last six years, Kevin Harvick has dominated the Atlanta Motor Speedway Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race – leading 100 laps or more – only to watch another driver take the checkered flag. This year, it was his race, his trophy. 

 The former Monster Energy Series champion led a race-best 181 of the 325 laps to claim an emotional second victory at the track. His first win 17 years ago as a 25-year old rookie came only three weeks after he was tabbed to drive the late champion Dale Earnhardt’s legendary Chevrolet, which had been given a number change from “3” to “29.”

 As he drove toward Victory Lane Sunday afternoon, Harvick saluted the crowd with three fingers – a sentimental second nod to Earnhardt and also personal affirmation of the hard work over so many years that went into this particular win.

 Harvick will try to repeat the effort Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where he won in 2015. He’s led 166 laps at Vegas since his championship season in 2014, but crashed out early last season.

 Adding fuel to the Vegas motivation, Harvick’s victory at Atlanta was win number 99 in NASCAR’s three national series. He needs one more to join a very short list of triple-digit success stories that include only Richard Petty (200 Cup wins), Kyle Busch (183 over three series) and David Pearson (106 in Cup and Xfinity).

Defending Las Vegas winner and reigning Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Martin Truex Jr. holds a very specific distinction in Las Vegas – it is one of two venues (also Kentucky) where he swept all three race stages in 2017.

 He’s the only Cup driver to accomplish the feat – anywhere – and Truex certainly wouldn’t mind channeling that dominant mojo this weekend. He’s currently ranked seventh in the points standings – 20 points behind leader Joey Logano – and his best showing thus far is a fifth-place earned Sunday in Atlanta. Interestingly, Truex was also ranked seventh last year when he used Vegas as a championship launch.

 The track certainly proved to be a significant springboard for the entire 2017 season, when Truex recorded a career-best seven of his eight wins at 1.5-mile venues. It was the biggest haul for any single driver and certainly bodes well for him as the series moves West this week.

 “No question we had some special moments in Las Vegas last year,” Truex said. “The victory was a confidence booster to our team. It not only took the pressure off for making the playoffs, but it also showed that we had some strength at the mile-and-a-half tracks.”

Team Penske driver Joey Logano finds himself atop the championship standings for the first time since late in the 2016 season. He leads teammate Ryan Blaney by six points heading into Las Vegas, a track where he has not won previously.

 He has, however, put together an impressive last few visits, finishing no worse than 12th and winning the pole at the track in 2014. He led 74 laps and was runner-up to his teammate Brad Keselowski there in 2016.

 It’s a big week for 20-year-old Cole Custer, who will make his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut at Las Vegas for Rick Ware Racing.

 The Californian will drive the No. 51 Ford Fusion that Justin Marks drove to a 12th-place finish in the Daytona 500 two weeks ago. Custer, who is running for the NASCAR Xfinity Series championship in the No. 00 Haas Automation Ford fielded by Stewart-Haas Racing, won the 2017 Xfinity Series season finale at Homestead-Miami in November and is a two-time winner in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

 “This is a dream come true,’’ Custer said of his Monster Energy Series opportunity. “It’s going to be a new experience for me, but I feel that we can have a productive day by completing all the laps and seeing the checkered flag.”

 Custer has raced twice previously at Las Vegas, finishing 11th in the Xfinity race last year and finishing third (and leading three laps) in the trucks in 2016.

Jimmie Johnson is the last driver to win consecutive races at Las Vegas – earning three straight trophies from 2005-2007 – and adding another in 2010 for good measure.

 The seven-time champ is hopeful to reclaim those victorious ways as he currently negotiates an unfamiliar winless streak. It’s been 25 races since the 83-time winner last hoisted any hardware. And it’s been a rough start to the 2018 season with finishes of 38th (at Daytona) and 27th (at Atlanta). You have to go back to Martinsville Speedway last October to find his most recent top-20 finish (12th) and back four races earlier than that at Charlotte to find his last top-10 (seventh).

 Johnson has four top-10 finishes in his last six Vegas starts, including a runner-up finish in 2012 and a third-place to the Penske duo of Keselowski and Logano in 2016. He was 11th last year.

The NASCAR championship Busch brothers are a crowd pleaser in their hometown. Younger brother Kyle Busch – the 2015 series champion – has won a pair of pole positions (2008-09) and the 2009 Las Vegas race. He has two top-fives in his last four starts at LVMS and has led 117 laps in that time.

 Older brother Kurt, the 2004 Monster Energy Series champion, has never won a Cup race at Las Vegas, but does own a pair of pole positions (2010 and 2016). His best finish in the race is third in 2005. It’s been a tougher stretch for him recently, with only two top-10s in the last 11 races (ninth place in 2011 and 2016).

The same make of car hasn’t won back-to-back races at Las Vegas since Jimmie Johnson’s triple victory haul from 2005 to 2007 in a Chevrolet. In fact, the track has dealt mostly fair deals – the winner’s podium alternating regularly between the Ford, Chevrolet and Toyota makes.

 The last three races, for example, have been won by Harvick (then in a Chevrolet), Keselowski (Ford) and Truex (Toyota). Ford drivers have won four times in the last 10 years, Chevrolet drivers three times in that span, and Toyota three times.

Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. is the early leader in the Rookie of the Year running. The 24-year-old Richard Petty Motorsports driver’s dramatic runner-up finish in the Daytona 500 and a 32nd place at Atlanta last week have him ranked 14th overall in the Monster Energy Series standings.  Hendrick Motorsports driver William Byron, 20, is ranked 24th with finishes of 23rd at Daytona and 18th at Atlanta.

AJHS Focus Programs Presented Anansi the Spider Performance to Elementary Students

200 Kershaw Elementary and Heath Springs students, from classes up to second grade, were treated to a performance by the AJHS Focus programs on Wednesday the 28th of February. The combined efforts of the Music, Art, Drama and Dance departments brought “Anansi the Spider” to life on the AJHS stage.

The show, which lasted about an hour brings the story of Anansi and his stories to the stage. Anansi is a cultural icon in many African countries as the keeper of stories. His tale has been told by many different authors and communities. It is a reminder of the importance of storytelling and its’ impact in the lives of people.

County Council Approves One Million Dollars for New EMS Headquarters

The Lancaster County Council met on Monday night, February 26th. Resolution 0990-R2018 to Reserve Funds for EMS headquarters not to exceed $1 million was considered. The Public Safety and Administration Committee recommended reserving the excess collection of EMS billing and proceeds from a property sale for renovation use at the new EMS headquarters building. A discussion ensued when Councilmember Jack Estridge raised concern that funding was being used for a new headquarters when EMS workers are working 24-hour shifts. Estridge suggested hiring more EMS workers to relieve the current workers.

Clay Catoe, the Director of Emergency Services, addressed the question of shift duration. He explained that the duration of the shift does include times when the EMS staff can rest between calls. Currently EMS staff work 24 hours on and 48 hours off. There have been proposals to change the ration to 24/72. Catoe explained if the shifts changed to 12 hours on and 12 hours off, then many workers would leave the service. That shift would require 18 new positions at a cost of $80,000 each position.  Currently, 75% of EMS services in South Carolina operate on the 24-hour shift schedule.

Catoe also spoke to the need of an EMS headquarters due to inability to use the 15th street facility. He reports that EMS is bumped for their scheduled use of that facility so often that they now consider themselves as third rate citizens. The council voted 6-1 to pass the resolution.

In other actions, Ordinance 2018-1496 was moved to the non-consent agenda. That ordinance related to the rezoning of the property of Robert Wilson. The Ordinance would allow the rezoning of 1.25 portion of an 11-acre piece of property fronting on Hwy 521 from Low-Density Residential to Neighborhood Business. Mr. Wilson has plans to build a 3-story office building. The Council originally did not approve the 2nd reading, but reconsidered and recalled their vote, and will have the second reading at the next meeting. The reason for reconsidering was that Mr. Wilson was not notified of the move to non-consent agenda, and was not in attendance.

On the Non-consent agenda was resolution 0988-R2018 to declare the roads in Ashley Glen as Legacy Roads. This passed 7-0. This means the roads will become part of the county road system.

Resolution 0989-R2018 was a resolution to establish a course of action of accepting Reid Point Subdivision into the county road system. Currently, the HOA has presented a letter of credit for $75,000. That amount will not be sufficient to bring the roads up to a level to allow the county to accept the roads. The option for the homeowners of the subdivision to vote to have a special tax district established for the properties in the subdivision. This would impose a special tax levy on the properties that would be for many years. This would allow the funds to be obtained with the tax as security for the loans. 15% of the homeowners would have to sign a petition for the tax district vote. The vote would pass if 50% + 1 of the homeowners agree to the district. If the vote fails, the homeowners would own the roads and be responsible for the maintenance. Resolution 0989 R2018 passed 7-0. It will now be up to the homeowners of Reid Point to determine if a vote will be held.

 

Sheriff Reports 2/13/2018-2/20/2018

All individuals named in these reports are consider innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. If you have any information related to these reports please contact the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office at 803-283-3388 or Midlands Crime Stoppers at 888-CRIME-SC (888-274-6372) or visit www.midlandscrimestoppers.com. 

Flim Falm (Swindling): On 1/17/2018 Alicia Snipes  of Fork Hill Rd had Googled for a website to replace a social security card. She was found ssadmin .com. She completed the information and was asked to pay 39.00 to obtain the new card. She has not received her card, and contacted the Social Security office and was informed that the website was a scam, and the SSA does not ask for money when it comes to new cards. The company that billed her was CCbill . com

Traffic Investigation:  Edith Michelle Hancock of Cheraw was arrested and charged on 2/17/2018 with Driving Under Suspension, Uninsured Motor Vehicle Fee Violation 1st Offense, Failing to Report Striking Fixtures On Highway, Use of License Plates Other Than Vehicle Issued, and Deface License Plate With Intent To Defraud.  A Semi Truck flagged down an LCSO deputy to report a vehicle swerving off roadway behind him. The officer observed the red 2002 Monte Carlo go around the semi, and the car had moderate front end damage. The officer activated blue lights and pulled the car over. The driver immediately denied hitting mailbox. The owner of the mailbox arrived While viewing the damaged mailbox, the suspect confessed to another deputy. Upon checking it was determined there was no insurance on vehicle, and tag was from a different car, and that the validation sticker was not the correct one, and concealed a expired validation. The driver was determined to be driving under suspension with a prior conviction for DUS. She was arrested and transported to Lancaster Co. Detention Center.

DUI: Douglas Lee Williamson of McBee, SC was arrested and charged with DUI on 2/16/2018 after failing a field sobriety test. The driver was reported to be swerving all over the road, and was stopped at Flat Creek Rd and Old Jefferson Hwy. He explained he was returning from Rock Hill, and had a open bottle of wine in car. He said he last had a drink leaving Rock Hill. Searching the car, officers located a bottle of Sutter Home wine in cup holder, and two more unopened bottles along with a bag of medication including Xanax. Upon testing at Detention Center, suspect blew a BAC of 0.15%.

Domestic Violence: Amber Hunter of 548 Scout Cabin Road was arrested and charged with Domestic Violence on 2/20/2018. Deputies responded to a domestic disturbance. The report was called in out of concern for the couple’s children. The victim reported that when he returned home, the suspect appeared to be drunk and assaulted him. Deputies observed the suspect to be intoxicated . The victim was noted to have a swollen wrist and was slightly bruised. The children were moved inside, and suspect was arrested and transported to detention center.

Disorderly Conduct: On 2/20/2018 a 25 year old female was arrested at AJ High School after a complaint was made from the school that the suspect was acting erratically and possibly intoxicated. Deputies arrived and determined she was searching for a flashlight to find her cell phone she lost. Her appearance and demeanor was strikingly different than prior incidents with deputies. She was arrested and transported to the detention center.

Grace Smith Crowned Miss Kershaw 2018 on Saturday Night in Lancaster.

She qualified for Regionals for IEA equestrian team,  is a member of the  Beta Club and National Honors Society. She was Miss Camden 2016.  She took First Place in DTI dance Regional, Qualified for Nationals for DTI dance. She is a Delta Zeta member at the University of SC. She Graduated from Camden High School as a Distinguished Honors Student. Grace Smith is an accomplished young woman, and now has a new title and crown. She is your 2018 Miss Kershaw.

Every pageant contestant develops a platform, or issue, to work on during their reign as the titleholder. Grace has one as well. Her platform seems evermore important as our nation confronts how to address mental health issues. “During my year as Miss Kershaw 2018, I want to open doors to break the negative stigma involved with mental health, and showcase resources available in the community and state. With the changing society and the growing conflicts within our generation, there is a tremendous need for this.” Grace said.

Grace is an active Mental Health Advocate, and is studying Early Childhood Education and with Minor in Psychology. “It is important to me to use this position as Miss Kershaw to help others communicate their feelings,  know the warning signs, and how to reach out for help.  I want to be a role model and tell my story so those going through hardships would not feel alone and have HOPE (Hold On Pain Ends).” She is a sophomore at the University of South Carolina.

She spoke about her experiences at the Miss Lancaster and Miss Kershaw pageant. “Mrs. Lynda Watson knows how to put on a top notch pageant. She made all of the contestants feel comfortable and loved us all like her own daughters.  I thoroughly enjoyed meeting all of the girls. I selected the song “I Hope You Dance” as my talent.  I have always been a dancer, but this was my first time singing as my talent.  I was thrilled to receive the Miss Talent Award.  I can’t wait to go on this journey with my LED and sister queens to the state pageant in June 2018.”

There is no doubt that Miss Kershaw 2018 will change the world.

 

 

Gracie Stines is Your 2018 Miss Kershaw Teen

At 15 years old, Gracie Stines is a leader. On Saturday night, she was crowned the 2018 Miss Kershaw Teen. During practice, she was nervous about being able to perform her dance routine during the talent phase of the competition. ” I have a difficult routine, and am hoping I do okay.” She danced beautifully.

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The Camden resident is set on her goal to be a defense attorney.  “I am the oldest child of three and I’m a part of my schools cross country team and I’m a competitive dancer. I was home schooled throughout middle school where I found where my future was going to be lead.” Stines said.

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Her desire to be a defense attorney came after participating in a mock trial in the United States Court House. “Through this experience I was able to be a witness for one side and a defense attorney for the other side. After I had this amazing experience I’ve wanted to be an defense attorney ever since.” she said

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The experience of winning the title of Miss Kershaw Teen marks a huge acheivement, and boosted her self confidence. “I get to represent Kershaw with the four points of the crown along with my platform of: T.E.A.C.H- Teens Educating And Cultivating Helpers.” she added.  Her platform focuses on children with disabilites who are being bullied. ” I want to show kids that its not okay to bully others and how to handle if they happen to be in a situation with this issue..”

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Grace represents the fact that contestants are inspired and wanting to change the world. For Gracie, today is a win, and you look forward to tomorrow. “I’m really looking forward to this year as Miss Kershaw Teen, and I couldn’t be more excited to be attending Miss South Carolina Teen in June!” she exclaimed. The future looks bright for this young woman. Congratulations Miss Kershaw Teen.

And The Winners Are…

It was the culmination of a lot of work, planning, and hope. Thirteen young women competed in the Miss America Preliminary pageant, The Miss Lancaster and Miss Kershaw Pageant. The event was held in the USCL Bundy Auditorium on Saturday evening. The pageant’s Lead Executive Director Lynda Watson brought the glamorous evening to the Red Rose City.

The contestants were part of two groups, Teen and Miss, and competed for the titles of Miss Lancaster, Miss Kershaw, Miss Lancaster Teen, and Miss Kershaw Teen. Each winner will hold the title for one year. Each winner will also compete in the Miss South Carolina Pageant for the opportunity to advance to the Miss America.

The Winners were Miss Lancaster Teen 2018 is Abby Kay Caudill,  Miss Kershaw Teen 2018  is Gracie Stines, Miss Lancaster 2018 is Kyndall Ellis, and Miss Kershaw 2018 is Grace Smith.