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Hickman County Chamber Leadership students interact with local officials
Row 1 - Ethan Jackson, Keaton Heath, Bobbi Crumble, Cheyenne Basch , Lauren Pittman, Isabella Buckingham, Gabby Collins, Laken Grubbs, Harlee Byassee, Lexy Riddle, Hannah Carroll Row 2 - Cinda Yates, Ward Carter, Judge Hunter Whitesell, Jason Batts, Zek

Sophomores in the 2016-2017 Hickman County Chamber of Commerce Leadership Program heard presentations from local government officials on Thursday, January 26th.

Students began their morning sitting in the jury box in the courtroom of the Hickman County Annex.

Judge Hunter Whitesell discussed civics with the students, telling them that America is a "country of laws." He discussed his career path to his office, sharing that he worked as a construction manager before going back to law school. To a question about the hardest part of his job, the Judge said that dealing with cases involving dependent, neglected and abused children and their families is the hardest.

Circuit Clerk Cinda Yates urged students to take the duty of jury service very seriously. Trial by jury "is a right, she explained. Hickman County Attorney Jason Batts also shared his career path, explaining that he started out in teaching. After a stint in Washington, he became interested in law.

Students and their sponsors, Beverly Hopkins, Mattea Lock, Melissa Goodman and Christy Kimbell then moved to the Hickman County Courthouse for presentations.

Chad Barber, the Hickman County Jailer who spoke of how his job has changed since the Hickman County Detention Center closed. He now transports prisoners to jails around the Purchase. County Clerk Jimbo Berry showed students around the deed room and spoke of the records his office secures and the voting process he oversees. Property Valuation Administrator Amanda Ballantine showed students the technology her office uses, including a program with a birds eye view of real estate in Hickman County. Sheriff Mark Green discussed his job - a combination of tax collection and law enforcement.

The students then walked to the Young Center where County Judge Kenny Wilson showed them plans for the new Rotary Park being constructed on the edge of Clinton, the county seat. (See photo at left) The County is working with nonprofits and government agencies to stock the pond with trout and to build a pavilion on the grounds. City Police Chief Ben Natividad contrasted the life a small town police chief with the job of a police chief in Paducah. Natividad was the only officer on duty that morning. He said that would never happen in a large city.

Clinton City Councilman Howard Dillard shared his experience as a young soldier in Vietnam. He recalled as an 18 year old telling his lieutenant "I just want to go home."

After Law and Government Day, students left with a greater appreciation of the complex jobs that public servants in Hickman County Kentucky do.

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