By PJ Martin
The year 2020, will perhaps be best (or worst) remembered as the year of Covid-19, the cancelation of almost every public event, toilet paper shortages, limited dining out, unemployment, and quarantines; however, there were events taking place despite the pandemic.
The Metcalfe County Emergency Management team was very proactive in fighting the pandemic and this resulted in Metcalfe being the very last county in the 10 county Bradd area to have an initial Covid case. While other counties were reporting dozen, Metcalfe remained free for many weeks.
January started with a bang as a large group of citizens led by the Young Republicans requested that the Metcalfe County Fiscal Court adopt a resolution stating they would protect 2nd Amendment rights against all else. After County Attorney Barry Gilley referred to state ordinances and regulations against the resolution as it was presented, the fiscal court agreed to work with the citizens to create a similar resolution for the county that would acknowledge and adhere to the law.
Two well know locations were sold in 2020. The Board of Directors of the Metcalfe County Health Care Center made the decision to sell the care facility due to the inability to afford the monthly County Employee Retirement System (CERS) increases. The nursing home was the last county-owned in the state of Kentucky.
Butlers Funeral Home was sold in May to Morris Family Services. The funeral home had been owned and operated by the Butler family since 1945. Morris Family Services now owns eight locations including Butlers.
The year also saw the demolition of a well-known building. The former Jim’s Grill building which was purchased by the library, was taken down in October. Many people have many fond memories of eating curly q’s, a Shirley Burger, or playing a game of pool at ‘the grill.’
April saw the closing of a well know business. TOPPS Safety Apparel opened its doors on October 23, 1953, over 66 years ago. Many families have had multiple generations employed by the manufacturer. Just two months later, American Shield Apparel opted to open a business in the old Topps building, making personal protection equipment (PPE) gowns for hospitals and medical offices. Unfortunately, they too closed after being forced to compete for contracts with Chinese companies.
There was new hope for Metcalfe countians with the opening of several new businesses during 2020.
J & J Floor Care opened its doors in February to provide floor care and cleaning to customers. The owner/operators Justin Bruce and Josh Neal continue the business that was originally started by Herby Bunch, Justin’s father-in-law.
Another student run business to open was the MC Shirt Shop, located at 709 West Stockton Street. The shop is under the direction of Hornet Enterprises at Metcalfe County High School, they specialize in screen printing, heat transfers, vinyl, and have Hornet apparel for sale.
Edmonton Lumber Company opened in March offering framing, treated lumber, and basic electrical, plumbing, and hardware items. The business is owned by James Mossman and is a family run business.
After a total remodel of the building, The Salvage Store opened its door at 605 South Main Street providing bargains on commonly used household products and bins full of special items.
In November, H2 Health Outpatient Rehabilitation opened to patients offering all types of physical therapy services. H2 is located at 1704 West Stockton Street in Edmonton.
Edmonton Hometown Jewelers owned and operated by father and son, Gary and Jeremy Wood opened in December at 903 W. Stockton Street, Suite 1C selling quality jewelry and offering jewelry repair.
The City of Edmonton officially began a long-awaited 5 million dollar water project to be carried out in three stages. The first part consists of constructing approximately 40,000 linear feet of water lines, replacing three booster pump stations, and improving piping at four storage tanks.
The second part consists of constructing a 250,000-gallon water storage tank and demolishing an aging water tower. The third and final part consists of rehabilitating three existing water storage tanks.
The year saw several well-known figures make the decision to retire.
Metcalfe County Public Library’s Executive Director Rhonda Glass retired after dedicating 34 years to the literacy of the community. Another well-known face at the library, Kasey Warf was appointed as Director.
After Benny Lile announced he would retire at the end of the school year, a new Superintendent of Metcalfe County Schools was chosen. Josh Hurt became the new Superintendent after working in various positions at MCS for the last six years.
After state Auditor Mike Harmon released his Fiscal Court audit, questions began to surface about protocol, documentation, etc. As a result, the County Treasurer Vickie Stephens was released and a new Treasurer Page Edwards was named.
Barn Lot Theaters Executive Director Shane Chambers stepped down from the position after 21 years in August. Kyle Hadley who began working with the theater in 2012, was chosen as the new Executive Director.
The Metcalfe County School system made the best of a unique year for the students. After Covid-19 shut down in-person education for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year, the staff at MCHS managed to hold individual graduations for each senior.
The school system also made the best of a difficult situation in response to the Governor’s Covid-19 regulations to delay in-person learning until the end of September. They gave parents the choice of sending their child back to school in person or virtually and school began on schedule.
Due to spikes in Covid numbers, schools were again required to go to all virtual classes for periods of time, but the teachers and staff did their best to keep kids learning.
Also with Covid affecting many parent’s employment, the school set-up programs to deliver weekly food boxes to students by school bus route. A plan was also initiated for parents to pick-up food boxes at the school.
In sports, Coach Tiffany Coffey and the Lady Hornets ended the regular season at 11-15 overall, 9-8 in Region 4 games, and 6-2 in District 16. The Lady Hornets finished as runner-ups in the 16th District. Despite a valiant late comeback attempt, they were edged by Logan County at E.A. Diddle Arena 53-50 in the 4th Region tournament.
In football, the Metcalfe County Hornets beat Edmonson County Wildcats 34 – 27 to capture the 2A District 3 Championship and advance to the quarter-finals of the KHSAA State Playoffs. Despite the team’s many efforts, their season ended with a defeat by the Lexington Christian Eagles.