• John McGary, Woodford Sun News Editor

Here's Johnny

Two good things

Those of us in the so-called media are often accused, sometimes quite accurately, of not covering “good news.”

I’ve been known to tell folks that John Doe’s successful mowing of his yard may be good news to his family, neighbors and local emergency room workers, but it isn’t news. On the other hand, if Mr. Doe gets a bit too close to the blade, that might just be news.

I don’t believe an obsession with unpleasant happenings is a problem at the Woodford Sun, but I work here, so take that statement with two grains of salt if you wish. However, having been employed by television stations that did little more than race to crimes, crashes, fires and storms, I believe we have a good balance of hard news and feature stories, the latter mostly courtesy of my colleague Bob Vlach.

‘Nuff said. Here are the thoughts of yours truly on two very good things that happened in Woodford County in the last few weeks. Storm

No, the July 20 storm that toppled trees like matchsticks and knocked out power to most Woodford County residents for days was most assuredly not a good thing. It was a bad thing for people whose homes or property were damaged, and those who had to throw out hundreds of dollars worth of spoiled food, and those whose businesses were closed for days.

But …

By all accounts, utility workers and city and county employees worked together to get the lights back on and the roads cleaned up as quickly as possible. Not-so-ordinary citizens pitched in, too. The day after the storm, the county began allowing and publicizing free debris drop-offs at the Solid Waste and Recycling Center, which extended its hours. The center also allowed crews from the Versailles Public Works Department to unload the limbs and trunks they’d collected on city streets.

What a change a few years can make: In 2014 and 2015, city and county leaders squabbled heatedly over matters ranging from parks funding to emergency management services. Those days seem a distant memory now, though not so distant that I can’t remember covering them, or at least remember to do a document search for them.

In terms of storm damage, or at least the debris left behind, Midway seemed to fare better, especially after 30 volunteers gathered at the city cemetery to clean it up.

No one here wants to see such a thing happen again anytime soon, but the next time we’re hammered by Ma Nature, Woodford County residents will know their leaders can work together for the common good.

Expungements

Last Thursday, Aug. 2, I covered the Expungement and Opportunity Fair session held at First Christian Church. (See story on page 6.)

Though attendance was lower than that at a similar event held last year at the Kentucky Community and Technical College System headquarters, the chief goal was the same: to help people put their mistakes behind them.

One of the tough things about the business I’m in is having to ask folks if they’re willing to talk about things they’d probably rather not talk about. Even those who decline are almost invariably polite. However, whether it was because of my winning smile or, more likely, an offer to not use their real names, the first three people I approached that evening agreed to tell their stories.

Each owned up to mistakes, and each felt better the day after for having learned what to do to expunge criminal records that continue to limit them long after their supposed debt to society was paid.

Who among us hasn’t done something, illegal or just frowned-upon, that they’d rather not carry around on their back like an unruly simian for the rest of their lives?

I have and I don’t. As for those who wonder why a 20-year-old DUI conviction would still bother a person, “T.J.” put it well. She said her husband didn’t understand, then laughed and added, “But it’s not his record.”

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