The Catch-Up: Black Rooster goes Italian, prominent attorneys take on Lexington murder trial

Also: District 5 offers meals to students, Lexington Police officers honored

Posted 12/20/23

A prominent West Columbia restaurant is changing its focus.

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Subscribe to continue reading. Already a subscriber? Sign in

Get 50% of all subscriptions for a limited time. Subscribe today.

You can cancel anytime.

Please log in to continue

Log in

The Catch-Up: Black Rooster goes Italian, prominent attorneys take on Lexington murder trial

Also: District 5 offers meals to students, Lexington Police officers honored


A prominent West Columbia restaurant is changing its focus.

Previously “French-ish” eatery Black Rooster, located at 201 Meeting St., announced it will soon transition into an Italian restaurant in the New Year. Owner Kristian Niemi told the Free Times, which broke the news, that the closure of longstanding Italian destination Al’s Upstairs presented an opportunity to change direction.

“We are SUPER excited to announce this, as Chef/Owner Kristian Niemi has lamented the loss of his beloved Rosso Trattoria ever since he sold it and has been dying to get back to Italian cuisine,” Black Rooster posted to Facebook. “In the final weeks of December, we will be running specials on all of our  French wines as we prepare for a new era in Black Rooster's life!”

In her Free Times story, Hannah Wade quotes Niemi as saying Italian cuisine is much more approachable and that the restaurant will be able to have a lot more fun with its dishes. In the article, Niemi, who operated Columbia’s Rosso Trattoria from 2009 to 2019, says the menu will be similar to that now-closed eatery.

Prominent attorneys in Murdagh cases take on Lexington County murder trial

Attorneys Eric Bland and Ronnie Richter, partners at prominent local law firm Bland Richter, are defending two prominent Lexington County residents in what should be a high-profile Palmetto State murder trial.

They’ve been retained to defend Ryan Jordan Lindler Jr., 26, and Ryan Jordan Lindler Sr., 52, both of the family who owns Lindler Farms. The younger Lindler is accused of killing Kevin Lester Newhouse, 36 of Lexington, Dec. 6 at the behest of his father. Both Lindlers were charged with murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime.

The case will test South Carolina's “stand-your-ground” and “castle doctrine" laws, as the altercation took place on Newsome's property, not the Lindlers'.

According to the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department, the shooting started with the Lindlers confronting Newhouse about a trespassing incident, and before the three men fought, the Lindlers prevented Newhouse from going back into his home.

Provided arrest warrants state that Lindler Jr. used a handgun in the shooting and that he and his father tracked Newhouse to his residence following the alleged trespassing incident.

“The circumstances surrounding this case are tragic and sad not only for the victim and his family, but also for Mr. Lindler, his son and the entire Lindler family,” Bland and Richter are quoted in a Dec. 12 release. “These cases will test the right of a property owner to protect their property from trespassers and vandals, including those who may bring deadly weapons onto the property of another.”

Richter has been retained to represent Lindler Sr. and to assist in the defense of Lindler Jr. who will be represented by attorney Gill Bell of Moore, Bradley and Myers.

The Lindlers have each been released on $150,000, with a 10% cash requirement and significant conditions restricting their movements ahead of their trial.  

“To be clear, no one is high-fiving here. Lives have been shattered,” Bland is quoted in a release about the bond outcome.“Still, we are gratified that the court was able to appreciate even at this early stage, the unusual circumstances of this case, and to set a bond with conditions that will allow the Lindler’s to participate in the defense of their case while hopefully giving the Newhouse family some sense of security.”

Bland Richter’s notoriety was boosted by the high-profile Lowcountry murder trial of Alex Murdaugh. The firm represents the family of Murdaugh’s long-time housekeeper and nanny Gloria Satterfield, who died following after tripping and falling at the Murdaugh family residence in 2018, and Bland became a prominent commentator as Murdaugh’s trial, which ultimately resulted in his conviction for killing his wife and son, progressed.

Bland Richter takes the high-profile local case, having just moved its local office from Columbia to downtown Lexington, having opened July 14  at 105 W. Main St.

Lexington 1 settles lawsuit, owes Pelion resident over $48,000

Pelion resident Ryan Hoover is set to receive $48,250 as part of a dismissal of his lawsuit against Lexington County School District 1 where he claimed his First Amendment rights were violated when he was kicked out of an elementary school Facebook group, writes The State’s Bristow Merchant.

Merchant reports that Hoover filed the suit in April when he became concerned about Pelion Elementary after his son’s teacher was placed on administrative leave without notice or an adequate explanation to parents. Hoover took to the school’s Facebook page to declare his displeasure and to discourage parents from letting their children to the school, claiming that his comments were quickly deleted by the page’s administrators.

“Soon after Plaintiff posted this comment, Defendants also blocked Plaintiff’s personal Facebook profile from the Pelion Elementary School Facebook page,” the lawsuit is quoted by The State. “After Defendants blocked Plaintiff, he could no longer read posts, comment on posts, or even find the Pelion Elementary School Facebook page on a Facebook search.”

“Hoover claimed that since the Facebook page is for a public school his comments are protected speech and the school district cannot censor or punish critical opinions expressed there that school officials don’t like,” Merchant writes, adding that Hoover was not readmitted to the school’s Facebook page and his child no longer attends Pelion Elementary.

District 5 offers meals to students

Lexington-Richland School District 5’s Student Nutrition Department is offering free meals to students within the district’s after-school program. 

Per a release, the program is made possible through a sponsorship arrangement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Child and Adult Care Food Program. Having started in October, it’s set to continue through June 1.

The meals are offered “Monday through Friday to students enrolled in afterschool programs at Harbison West Elementary School, Leaphart Elementary School, Seven Oaks Park, CrossRoads Intermediate School and YMCA Northwest location on Kennerly Road,” the release states, and are provided to all children enrolled in the afterschool program regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability.

Lexington Police officers honored

On Dec. 12, several Lexington Police officers were honored for their years of service – including Chief Terrence Green, who has been in law enforcement for 30 years.

Green joined the Lexington department in 2006 and has been recognized by the American Police Hall of Fame in 1998 for his dedication in disrupting a major drug ring in the town. He also holds the Palmetto Award from the state Department of Public Safety and led the department to attain international accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies, among other awards and recognitions.

Other officers that were honored included: Officer James Guerry and Patrolman First Class Donnie Hare, who have served for five years; Cpl. Brian Payton and Detective Mariah Tomaino, who have served for 10 years; Patrolman First Class Trey Kerwin, who has served for 15 years; and Patrolman First Class Steffonie Cockerill, Lieutenant Rick Hazewinkel and Sergeant Paul Walker, who have served for 20 years.

black rooster west columbia, lexington county restaurant, columbia dining, bland richter, lindler murder trial


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here