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First year has been filled with surprises, fun

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My Views

By Alex Wimsatt

 It was a little over a year ago that an aspiring reporter graduated from Western Kentucky University with a degree in journalism. 

Anxious yet optimistic, he ended one chapter of his life to begin another as he packed his bags to return home to Mount Washington, uncertain of what the future had in store. 

Unbeknownst to him, his fate was set in motion and within a matter of weeks he would begin his career in journalism at his hometown newspaper, taking him on a path that would cross with some extraordinary people and events. 

That aspiring reporter was me and the paper was The Pioneer News.

It’s been nearly a year since I joined The Pioneer News family and in that time I’ve had the opportunity to cover some amazing stories. 

With the New Year underway I felt it was the perfect time to share my personal reflection upon some of the events that transpired in 2010.

TARC proposes pulling out of Bullitt County

Not long after I came on board with The Pioneer News in February, Transit Authority of River City officials proposed cutting the Bullitt County Express Route 66X to help offset the multi-million dollar budget shortfall they were facing in the 2010 Fiscal Year.

With many Bullitt County residents relying on TARC to get downtown, advocates mobilized in a way that you just don’t see every day. Dozens of Bullitt Countians worked tirelessly to save the route, attending public hearings, contacting TARC officials and getting local leaders involved with their efforts. 

TARC heard their message loud and clear and many of us breathed a sigh of relief when TARC’s Board of Directors announced that instead of cutting 66X they would increase fare rates by $1 on the express route and so the Bullitt County Express was saved. 

Bullitt County beauties

If anyone ever doubted that Bullitt County boasted some of the most beautiful, capable, intelligent women in the world, 2010 certainly set the record straight. 

Within the past year, three Bullitt County gals have held major pageant titles, catapulting them onto the state, national and international stages. 

Not long after she was crowned Miss Kentucky USA 2010, Mount Washington native Kindra Clark went on to compete in the Miss USA pageant in Las Vegas. Though she didn’t win, she returned home and shared with me some interesting stories about her experience.

A few months later I had the pleasure of doing a story on former Bullitt East High School foreign exchange student Mariann Birkedal, who represented her native Norway in the Miss World pageant. 

Little did I know Mariann was not the only Miss World contestant with Bullitt County ties. When the winner was crowned in China, Shepherdsville’s own Alexandria Mills emerged the victor representing the United States. 

Upon her return home before fulfilling her duties as Miss World, Alex and her family were gracious enough to give their hometown paper an exclusive interview, giving me the chance to get to know Miss World and share her story with our readers. 

Comprehensive smoking ban proposed in Bullitt County

After Louisville Metro instituted its smoking ban in 2005 many speculated it would be only a matter of time before the anti-smoking fervor blew south-they were right. 

In September I began covering the smoking ban issue after the Bullitt County Health Department announced its intent to push for a comprehensive countywide ban on smoking in all public places. 

The saga continues as advocates on both sides make their final pushes before the board of health votes on a smoking ban ordinance this spring. 

Hearing excellent arguments from sources on both sides it’s easy to straddle the fence, unfortunately board of health members will not have that luxury in May when they are expected to vote on the matter during their quarterly meeting.

Election 2010

I was 8 years old when the midterm election of 1994 was dubbed the Republican Revolution as Republicans gained 54 seats in the United States House of Representatives. 

The Republican Revolution couldn’t compare to the upsets and Republican dominations of the 2010 midterm election. 

On election night we saw Republicans gain 63 seats in the U.S. House, but more surprising than the congressional races were the local events we watched unfold as many candidates once thought safe fell from grace and a few underdogs came out on top. 

The voice of the people propelled Republicans to nearly every major county position; the entire Fiscal Court, the Judge/Executive’s office, the County Attorney’s office, the Sheriff’s office. The only Democrats to survive were County Clerk Kevin Mooney and Martha Knox, who made history when she was sworn in as the first African American female to be elected Bullitt County Jailer. 

If 2010 was any indication of what’s to come, the next year should be full of surprises and I hope you will continue to rely on The Pioneer News for local perspectives on the stories that matter to you.