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Happy 2014! And Happy 5th Birthday to West Kentucky Journal!
Not an auspicious start to 2013 - Historical Society Building collapses in February.


Here at West Kentucky Journal, we are happy to bid 2013 goodbye. It was a year that mixed pain with blessings. While that describes most years of our lives, 2013 was starker in its contrasts.

In January 2013, Ivan Potter, our publisher, took over as chair of the Hickman County Historical and Genealogical Society. Ivan’s love of history and his seemingly encyclopedic knowledge of the area made him a seemingly perfect fit to lead that organization in new exciting programs. Ivan made enthusiastic plans in that first month to reach out to young people, create new programs and fire new interest in our county.

In the early hours of February 11, 2013, the building housing the Hickman County Historical and Genealogical Society collapsed in a pancake. The building was a total loss. Courageous help came forward to help save 90% of the records and exhibits housed in the building. The huge collection found a temporary home in a city warehouse while Society members looked for a new home.

It is stating the obvious to say that Ivan was stressed by disaster. He spent too many hours in the cold working in the collection. The result of concentrating on the immediate problem before him as the new leader of the society was ignoring his health. He shook off  the warning signs of exhaustion,  shortness of breath and pallor of his skin.

That neglect wound him up in critical care in Mayfield’s Jackson Purchase Hospital for five days at the end of March. Being hooked up to multiple beeping machines, monitored by attentive nurses forced him to stop and take stock. It also brought the Nurse Ratchet out of his loving spouse. Slow down now or check out later. Permanently.

Since his release from the hospital, Ivan has become a unwilling student of the American health care system. Managing his medication schedule has become a greater part of his day than ever before. Scheduling follow up visits with his three doctors takes up more of his time than he ever planned. Especially vexing is trying to figure out the bills - or not bills - that come in a flood from the insurance company.

That explains in part why the West Kentucky Journal has many times gathered virtual dust this past year.  While one is facing life and death, writing about the latest escapades in Frankfort assumes a different importance. On balance, it just didn’t seem very vital this year.

We took our first summer vacation in many years in 2013. Lying around on the Isle of Palms for a week watching seagulls do their imitation of the General Assembly scrambling for the last bit of flotsam, far exceeded anything CVS Pharmacy was dishing out.  Beach, sand and constant surf was a balm for our souls. It didn’t make us more ambitious to cover the news in our corner of the world.

In the fall, I published my first book, “No-Count Dog“, a dream long dreamed. The children’s story of a hound who becomes a hero, No-Count Dog pushed his way out of black and white one syllable words on a page into full color in picture book.

Living in my head since Hurricane Katrina, No-Count Dog counted for very much of my time and attention. For months, I was consumed with issues as monumental as getting just the right shade of brown for his coat. My illustrator, Jennifer Nuckolls and I agonized over each illustration. It took us days to decide whether we should use her round headed Charlie Brown drawing of a rescue worker in the book. (We didn’t).

Then it was time to get ready for the Ninth Annual Hickman County Arts, Crafts and Books Fair. We published a twenty page advertising mailer that went out to 10,000 households in West Kentucky. Another distraction from the Journal!

Now that the end of year holidays are past, we are ready to get back to writing what we believe our readers want to know and need to know.  While there are multiple outlets for news, we have enough hubris to believe that we have something to add.

2013 brought multiple distractions. 2014 will too. Hopefully they will not be such that we walk away from reporting trends that will affect West Kentucky. Much happens that is under the radar of the mainstream media that keeps a finger up to test the winds of public attention.

If we have a New Year’s resolution, it will be not to follow the silliness of the celebrity of the day culture that infects the mainstream media. Among our “shalt nots” for the Journal will be mention of that Cyrus girl, those duck call sellers or that basketball player who goes to North Korea on vacation. I will include here any other celeb whose claim to fame is doing incredibly stupid things with their lives.

2014 promises to be one of the most exciting political years in our many years of watching Kentucky politics.  We will work to keep up with the people and events that will impact the lives of our readers.

January 2014 is also the beginning of our fifth year as West Kentucky Journal. We spent from 2007 until 2009 as the West Kentucky Journal of Politics and Issues before we shortened our name and broadened our scope to include education, the arts, culture, community and regional events. Very soon, we will publish our 5000th story under the Journal's banner. Not bad for two sixty something baby boomers!

Happy New Year to you and Happy Birthday to us! Thanks for hanging in there with us through 2013.

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