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Experience

The Ultimate Guide to Everything London - Laurel County, Ky.

Chamber of Commerce L O N D O N • L AU R E L C O U N T Y


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Experience Laurel County 3


index

table of contents Welcome . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Mayor/Judge Executive......................6 About Laurel County.......................... 8 Chamber of Commerce......................12 Education . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Laurel County Public Schools...........14 East Bernstadt Schools.....................14 Private Schools...................................16 Somerset Community College..........18 Eastern Kentucky University............19

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Industry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Laurel Grocery.....................................22 Soelberg Industries............................22 Industrial Authority............................24 Economic Development.....................27 Weaver's Hot Dogs.............................29 Lisa Joyner Designs...........................29 Recreation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Laurel River Lake................................34 Mike's Hike and Bike...........................37 Redbud Ride.........................................37 Attractions...........................................38 Health . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Saint Joseph London.........................40 Baptist Health Corbin........................40 Fitness Centers...................................43 County Wellness Park.........................43 Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 London Regional Recycling...............46 Farmer's Market..................................48 Family Life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 Laurel County Library........................50 Laurel County Extension...................52 Clubs, Day care centers.....................52 Festivals and events...........................54 Area map . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 Index of Advertisers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60

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The

a publication of

Sentinel

ECHO

123 W. FIFTH ST. LONDON, KENTUCKY (606) 878-7400

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story content by Tara KAPROWY

Experience ABOUT THE COVER Designed by James Marcum Jr.

The Ultimate Guide to Everything London - Laurel County, Ky.

Chamber of Commerce

Photo by Deavon Poindexter, winner of the "What I Love About London and Laurel County" photo contest

L O N D O N • L AU R E L C O U N T Y

Copyright 2013 The Sentinel-Echo (USPS 490-600) is published on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, except for the Christmas and New Year’s Day holidays, by Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. Periodicals postage paid at London, KY 40741. Postmaster send address changes to: The Sentinel-Echo, P.O. Box 830, London, KY 40743-0830. Subscription rates by mail: Laurel, Knox, Whitley, Clay, Pulaski, Jackson and McCreary counties —$57; elsewhere in Kentucky — $64; out of state — $66. To subscribe or for more information, call (606) 878-7400.


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w w w. d o n f r a n k l i n a u t o. c o m Experience Laurel County 5


welcome

from the office of...

David Westerfield Laurel Co. Judge-Executive

››

Troy Rudder London Mayor

When talking to everyone from the president of the farmers’ market to owners of large corporations, nearly every person credits part of Laurel County’s success to the fact that people work together. Two of the biggest players who exhibit this cooperation are Troy Rudder, London’s mayor, and David Westerfield, the county judgeexecutive. On a regular basis, they get together to chat, whether it’s about projects they’re jointly working on or even just to give each other advice. “The mayor, myself, the fiscal court and the city council get along really well,” Westerfield said while sitting in his sunlight-filled office in the Laurel County Courthouse. “We try to work together to move us forward.” Rudder, who was Westerfield’s biology teacher when he was a student, agreed. “It’s easier if you join forces,” he said. “If there is a program we really need, we have bound together and done it instead of waiting on state or federal help.” One prime example, Rudder said, was when the city and county worked together to entice Somerset Community College to open a campus in Laurel (see page 18). They likewise joined forces to obtain land for the new main branch of the public library (see page 50). And the city and county’s latest project, the wellness park (see page 43), is entirely a joint effort. Sipping from a cup of Starbucks coffee, Rudder described the kind of people who live in the area. “Laurel Countians are hardworking, progressive, interested in their community,” he said. “It’s an informed voter who asks questions and they ask ‘how’ — how are you going to pay for this, how are you going to do it, how is it going to affect me.” Westerfield said the Laurel County spirit was shining especially bright on the morning of March 2, 2012, hours after a tornado — rare in this area — struck East Bernstadt just north of London. “Around 7 p.m., the tornado hit,” Westerfield said. “By 4 a.m. we had every road cleared.” Over the next 13 days, volunteers and first responders removed 2,900 loads of debris from the area. “We wanted it clean so people could start rebuilding as quickly as possible,” Westerfield said. “That says Laurel County to me.”

I live in a small town with a huge heart. I am grateful that my family and I survived the tornado, although others were not so lucky. I have never seen a community come together as much as this one. Laurel County residents really do understand the meaning of love and friendship.”

6

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Kelly Gipson


university of the cumberlands educating leaders who in the world. The Hutton School of Business offers two online degree programs designed to help address the needs of working professionals and adult learners. The MBA (with optional concentration in Accounting) and B.S. in Business Administration offer you the flexibility to complete a business degree that fits into your life. The Hutton School of Business programs will help you to:

Develop business expertise Network with business professionals Make the connection between theory and practice

Eric Greer is founder and President of CIS located in Corbin, Kentucky. CIS is an organization that assists businesses and institutions in using technology to increase productivity and efficiency. “I enjoyed the quality of the materials and the instructors. The knowledge I gained will help me in my business.�

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606.539.4390 | gradweb.ucumberlands.edu/business Experience Laurel County 7


I love my memories of growing up in Laurel County and living my life here. Lots, in fact, most things have changed but one thing remains constant… the attitude of the people. If there is a need, they rally to the cause, be it the loss of a loved one, a disaster, natural or otherwise, or simply a community need, they rise to the challenge.”

Clockwise from left to right: The 100-mile Redbud Ride has lots of challenging hills for cycling enthusiasts. Redbud trees bloom every April. Cruisin' On Main delights car show lovers every summer.

Continued from Page 8

also allows for four distinct seasons, so there’s rarely a time people aren’t outside enjoying themselves. In the meantime, while Laurel County is a haven within itself, it’s within easy driving distance to major centers: Lexington with its horse racing and pretty fountains; Louisville with its unique urban and artsy flare; Cincinnati with its impressive skyline and five-star restaurants; the hazy Great Smoky Mountains; and Nashville with its honkytonks and famous Music Row. Helping you get to 10

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Peggy J. Black

most of these places is Ky. 80, which runs east to west, and bustling Interstate 75, which extends from Michigan to Florida and has two exits that pour into London. But more than its beauty, climate and access, London and Laurel County’s true gem is its people. Throughout the following pages, you’ll meet some of them — students who’ve grown up here, business owners who chose to relocate here, teachers, the man who helps take care of the city’s recycling, the man in charge of bringing hundreds of cyclists to town twice a year for spring and fall rides.

What you’ll quickly learn is these people are the genuine article: kind, welcoming, forward thinking, treasuring their past, willing to help out in any way. Maybe it’s an attitude passed down generation to generation, maybe it’s infused into them from the beauty of the area itself, but people in London and Laurel County know what’s right. Regardless of its source, this ethic spreads throughout the area like a quilt and keeps everything warm and comforting. Come with us, turn the pages and discover your new home.


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a local perspective London-Laurel County Chamber of Commerce Deanna Herrmann Executive Director Board of directors Dana Johnson L&N Federal Credit Union president Mike Fietcher Edward Jones Investments vice president Bridget Dunaway Tooms & Dunaway, Attorneys at Law secretary Holbert Hodges Community Trust Bank treasurer directors Lisa Baker Jackson Energy Cooperative Sharon Benge Benge Farm Supply Garry Conley Minuteman Press Larry Corum London-Corbin Airport Donny Cox Christian, Sturgeon & Associates

The London-Laurel County Chamber of Commerce has served the business community for many years, inviting them to use their membership to make their business more profitable. Through the Chamber’s distribution of this community profile, we hope to provide our members with extended opportunities and success. Within these pages you will find facts about London and Laurel County and a profile of our community that includes education, health care, recreational activities, along with economic development facts and visitor information you’re looking for. Working together with our business community, city and county officials, we have created an attractive, profitable climate and maintained a quality of life that has spurred our steady growth and continued commercial success. Members of the Chamber can conveniently and cost effectively tap into this active marketplace and secure its many rewards. A minimal investment in our non-profit organization actually offers a virtually limitless potential for businesses of all kinds and sizes. Most often, the Chamber is the first contact for visitors, new residents and businesses coming into the area. Through public relations, the chamber works closely with Mayor Troy Rudder and the City Council members along with County Judge Executive David Westerfield and the magistrates, as well as regional and state agencies to provide valuable information on our area. We respond to thousands of calls, letters, email inquiries and walk in visitors who want relocation, business and tourism information. Membership in the Chamber offers an opportunity to be part of an organization dedicated to promoting growth and creating an economically sound future for London and Laurel County. Please visit our website at www.londonlaurelchamber.com for up-to-date information on community events, Chamber programs, and the latest additions of our newsletters and videos. We welcome the opportunity to serve you! Yours in service,

Haskew Hayes Cumberland Valley National Bank Bob Jones First National Bank & Trust Willie Sawyers The Sentinel-Echo Michael Sliter Hotwire Productions.net Glenn Williams Laurel Co. Cooperative Extension Kenny Woodruff Mr. Electric & Nite Time Decor

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Deanna Herrman Executive Director London-Laurel Co. Chamber of Commerce


As customers enter the front door of Weaver’s Hot Dogs, they can wave to the kitchen staff.

PHOTO BY Adam Wolffbrandt/Picture Kentucky

I moved to London 20 years ago. I have lived all over the United States. I love Laurel County because of the people. The community is very friendly. When I go into businesses, most of the staff know my name and always greet me with kind words.” Carlene Mallory*

* Winner of the "What I Love About London and Laurel County" essay contest

Experience Laurel County 13


education

Taking pride in our future

››

Bush Elementary teacher Jeannie George hands out flash cards to students as they practice their reading skills. PHOTO BY TARA KAPROWY

Standing in front of her rainbowhued classroom, the walls coated in jubilant pictures of words, numbers and letters, teacher Jeannie George stood tightly surrounded by seven first-graders on a recent Monday morning. In her hands, she held flash cards. “Now, let’s pretend they’re hot and I don’t want to hold them long,” she said of the cards. 14

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“Hurry, they’re hot,” Harley Williams echoed, warning her fellow students. George started rounding the circle, asking each student to identify a different word on the cards. When they answered correctly, she gave the card to them to hold. After the kids finished reciting the words, George stressed the importance of reading to their parents that

night. “What do we say about the first grade?” she asked. “It’s hard, but every day is a good day,” Williams responded. Thus concluded an hour-long reading workshop in which George patiently coaxed her students into learning one of life’s biggest educational skills. George, who has taught for the past 30 years, is one of more than 1,600 employees who work for the Laurel County school district, the largest employer in the county. “It’s been a great place to work — I’ve been blessed,” George said of Bush Elementary, where she’s spent all 30 years of her tenure. “It’s a great school with strong traditions and a good work ethic.” Bush is one of 11 elementary schools in the Laurel County school district (www.laurel.k12.ky.us). Two middle schools, two high schools, an alternative school and a day treatment round out the school system that, all together, educates nearly 10,000 students. While Laurel County school district is by far the biggest district in the county, it is not the only one. There is also East Bernstadt Independent school district (www.e-bernstadt.k12.ky.us), which serves about 500 elementary and middle school students, as well as various smaller private schools, including Cornerstone Christian School; London Christian Academy; and St. Camillus Academy of Corbin. Superintendent Dr. Doug Bennett oversees the Laurel County school system. “Our primary mission is to increase student learning,” he said. “That’s why we’re here. Every penny we allocate, every minute of time, every resource we have is focused on that.” The Laurel County school district has received many accolades in recent years. Bush Elementary ranked among the top 10 percent of schools in the state, while Camp Ground,


Cold Hill, Hunter Hills and Sublimity elementary schools follow closely behind. There are 24 nationally board-certified teachers in the district, a hard-won distinction only given to the very best educators in the country. And last year, the McDaniel Learning Center, the district’s alternative school meant to capture at-risk students and help them graduate, was named the best practices site for alternative education in the areas of curriculum, culture and leadership. High school juniors also ranked above the state average in all four subjects assessed on the ACT, a standardized test used in Kentucky similar to the SAT. East Bernstadt school district, which has been part of the community since 1885, also consistently performs well in statewide testing and was recently awarded three Eli Sizemore regional student attendance awards. “Many generations of families have attended East Bernstadt and take pride in the rich heritage of the school,” Superintendent Vicki Jones said. “The family atmosphere of the close-knit faculty creates a bond where children feel safe and secure. All decisions are made to advance the academic opportunities of the students and help students to become college and career ready.”

I love my school, Bush Elementary. I have learned so much from all my teachers in the past three years, and I have made some good friends.”

FACILITIES Since 2005, the Laurel County district has invested $88 million into construction and renovation projects at nearly every facility in the school system. “It is important that students are in facilities that are safe, uncluttered and whose design is conducive to student learning,” Bennett said. While much of the work has involved updating the facilities and expanding the buildings to make more room for the area’s increasing student population, architects have also integrated creative and educational design elements into the building plans. One example is at Wyan-Pine Grove Elementary, the newest school in the district, where an astronomy theme is woven throughout the architecture in and around the building. Upon entry, students, parents and visitors are greeted by a domed front foyer, which showcases constellations that glow using fiber optics. Surrounding the stars are portraits and short biographies of famed astronomers and, in mosaic tile on the floor, sits the sun. Surrounding it is the rest of the planets, which are proportionally located from the sun to reflect how

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Private Schools CORNERSTONE CHRISTIAN SCHOOL 606-862-0509 www.cornerstoneky.com Founded in 1992, Cornerstone Christian School has found a home in Corinth Baptist Church, though is not affiliated with a specific religious denomination. The school instructs around 100 students from preschool to eighth grade. Cornerstone Christian also has two preschool locations elsewhere in the county.

Bush Elementary student Aiden Forland practices his reading skills during a one-hour workshop in class. PHOTO BY TARA KAPROWY

Continued from Page 15

they appear in space. The result is when parents and students drive up to the school, they pass Uranus and Neptune on their way to the parking lot. The newest construction project on the agenda is a $16 million Career Readiness Center, geared to educate about 450 students who want to pursue joining the workforce after graduation. The school is set to open in August 2015. (See page WHAT for more information.) East Bernstadt Independent, whose administrators have a very affable relationship with those at Laurel County school district, has also jumped on the construction bandwagon. Students will move into a brand new, $10.5 million school in the fall of 2013.

TECHNOLOGY While the facilities themselves have all gotten facelifts, the schools are also outfitted with state-of-the-art technology. All 610 classrooms in the Laurel County school system have been fitted with interactive technology that includes whiteboards. Replacing the traditional chalkboard and overhead projector, the whiteboard allows students to learn using interactive lessons and games. Laurel County also consistently has a 16

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higher student-to-computer ratio than the state average, with about one computer for every three students. “And that number doesn’t include tablets,” said Barney Paslick, chief information officer. “We’ve got about 200-plus iPads and other Android-based tablets.” East Bernstadt likewise has whiteboard technology in every classroom.

EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES In the Laurel County school system, school-based athletics start in the fourth grade for basketball and cheer. Laurel County has 20 sport teams sanctioned by the Kentucky High School Athletics Association, including some non-traditional ones like archery and bass fishing. The county is particularly known for its success in basketball and cheerleading. There are also a variety of extra-curricular activities offered at East Bernstadt. Both high schools also have award winning marching and concert bands, and choirs that participate in all-state competitions.

LONDON CHRISTIAN ACADEMY 606-864-4861 www.londonfpc.com Providing education for Laurel County students since 1975, London Christian Academy is a mission of the First Pentecostal Church. The school instructs 60 students ages kindergarten to 12th grade and focuses on a biblically-based philosophy, basic reading instruction and computer-enhanced learning. ST. CAMILLUS ACADEMY OF CORBIN 606-528-5077 http://stcamillusacademy. cdlex.org This Catholic school is located in nearby Corbin, Ky., and is responsible for the education of more than 80 students, from preschool to sixth grade. The school has been a fixture in the community since 1908.


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2012 / 2013

Thank You to Businesses, Organizations & Individuals throughout our Southern Kentucky service area. Your Support has been a Key Factor in the Growth and Success of Somerset Community College.

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ter Focus and Measure Our Progress These Standards Identify Areas for Grea 5. Enhance 4. Promote 3. Increase 2. Cultivate 1. Advance the Economic nition Student Access, the Recog Diversity, Excellence and Workforce and SCC of Value and Transfer and Multiculturalism Innovation in pment of Develo KCTCS and Success and Inclusion Teaching, Learning the Commonwealth and Service

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industry

location, location, location

››

Winston Griffin is the third generation of his family to help run Laurel Grocery. PHOTO BY TARA KAPROWY

22

The Sentinel Echo

With yellow forklifts buzzing to unload the morning’s shipments, Winston Griffin walked through his warehouse at Laurel Grocery on a rainy afternoon. The giant room is home to massive shelving units divided into aisles, all of which are filled with nearly any kind of food imaginable: Vesta saltine crackers, Duncan Hines blueberry streusel, Chunky Chips Ahoy cookies and Old El Paso flour tortillas. As Griffin explained the warehouse’s automation system, he simultaneously nodded and waved to many of the employees, stopping by one and amiably putting his hand on his shoulder. “How long have you been here, Ronnie?” “It’s 35 years now,” he responds. “See? This is exactly what I’m talking about.” Laurel Grocery was founded in 1922 by George Griffin and William Jennings Chesnut in East Bernstadt, which lies just two miles north of London. “That was where the terminating point of the railroad was,” Griffin explained. “It started with them buying bulk product, storing it in East Bernstadt and then distributing it in the eastern part of the state.” Griffin is the third generation of Griffins to run the company and is helped by the third generation of Chesnuts. Bruce Chesnut, William Jennings’ grandson, is the current chairman of the board. Laurel Grocery has grown considerably since its humble beginnings. Today, the company is housed in a 300,000 square foot warehouse on Ky. 229, distributes to independentlyowned grocery stores everywhere from Ohio and Pennsylvania to Georgia, and employs 375 employees, who Griffin credits with much of the company’s success. “We’re very blessed with long-term employees,” he said. “In December


we had our Christmas party and honored two employees — two have been with us for 45 years, three who have for 35. My father always said that the reason why we made it is because of the workforce in the area.” As for what kind of people Laurel County workers are, Griffin didn’t hesitate to respond. “They all have the basic understanding that you have to work hard to be able to provide for your family,” he said. “People here understand that when you work hard you can succeed. Our staff is very dependable. We do not have a lot of turnover, we don’t have absentee issues, they just have a really strong work ethic.” Bob Haarsma feels the same way. Originally from Minnesota, he moved to Laurel County in 1995 to start a cabinet door company that eventually grew to employ about 500 people. A few years ago, his partnership sold the company, leaving him free to start a new venture. When he opened a second location of Soelberg Industries in London in Sep-

tember 2012, Haarsma knew he wanted to reinvest in the area. “I like the people here,” he said. Soelberg Industries makes 3D decorative wall panels meant for universities, hotels and other commercial spaces. The panels are made using cutting-edge technology, along with earth-friendly materials like recyclable PET plastic and pressed fiber board. Soelberg Industries is based in Utah, and Haarsma had long heard complaints from founders Kirk and Steve Soelberg that they needed a second location on the eastern side of the country. “Shipping from Utah, they can reach places like Las Vegas and Los Angeles easily, but it’s tough when you want to reach the eastern side of the country,” he said. Like Griffin, Haarsma knew the benefits of where London and Laurel County is located in proportion to the rest of the country. “Within seven to eight hours, you can cover a lot of ground,” he said. “Coming from Minnesota, I know what it’s like to

ship something five hours and not even be out of the state.” Charlie Pennington, director of the London-Laurel County Industrial Authority, is not surprised to hear it. “The major attraction of Laurel County has always been its location,” he said. “Within a day’s drive, you can reach more than 50 percent of the population of this country.” London is at the center of two major corridors — Interstate 75, which runs north and south from Detroit to Miami, and Ky. 80, which runs east and west and is the major gateway into the eastern part of the state. Together, these roads make transporting efficient and quick. “Margins in this business are so thin you have to watch every single penny,” Griffin said. “How to get it there most efficiently is huge. London is a great spot for that.”

Experience Laurel County 23


dependable workforce When it comes to Laurel County’s manufacturing sector, “healthy” is the word that is most often used to describe it. Despite the national economic downturn in recent years, London and Laurel County have managed to ride above it. “It’s amazing how well we’ve done in the last three years,” said Charlie Pennington, executive director of the London-Laurel County Industrial Authority. “Laurel County is in good shape as far as the economy is concerned. It’s hard to put a finger on why, but we’ve got good industries here. They’re stable.” One of the best testaments of this 24

The Sentinel Echo

is the fact that empty facilities have already been purchased. In the past four years, the industrial authority has helped 10 new companies find homes around the county. “We have no empty buildings here and that’s unique,” he said. But land is available and the industrial authority is willing to work with companies, manufacturers and industries to find and build them a home and give them a good deal on real estate. Currently, there are five industrial parks scattered throughout Laurel County, with a 24-acre chunk of space still available

near the airport. Part of the attraction is the area’s location in proportion to the rest of the country, with powerful Interstate 75 lying right next to London. Ky. 80 runs through town and connects the area with the eastern and western ends of the state as well. Another major attraction is Laurel County’s workers. “It’s a dependable, honorable workforce,” Pennington said. “Southeastern Kentucky has a reputation of providing reliable workers.” The civilian labor force in Laurel Coun-


Richard Walls, a driver for Gill Trucking who works often with Begley Lumber, tosses a tie-down rope over packs of lumber before driving the load to Tennessee. PHOTO BY Hannah Potes/Picture Kentucky

ty is nearly 27,000 strong, according to the Kentucky Labor Force Market. As of November 2012, Laurel’s unemployment rate was 9.1 percent. For current numbers, visit www.kylmi.ky.gov. Laurel County’s industry is made up of a variety of sectors, the two biggest having to do with food and transportation. Indeed, a drive down Main Street and East Fourth streets is often accompanied by the sweet-smelling aromas wafting out of the factories making everything from bread to cookies to honey buns. The Cookie Factory, now called Hearthside Food Solutions, is the largest of these with more than 1,000 employees. Walmart Distribution Center, with about 900 employees and 100 truck drivers, is also considered part of the food-based mix. Bimbo Bakeries, which produces the famous Sara Lee products, has also found a home in Laurel, along with Laurel Grocery and milk-manufacturer Flav-O-Rich. Flowers Bakery is also a long-time and crucial part of the mix, churning out thousands of honey buns per hour each day. Given its advantageous position in proportion to the rest of the country, the transportation industry is also flourishing in the area, with Dayton Freight, Averitt Express, UPS and FedEx all based here. Since he’s been director of the Industrial Authority, Pennington said he has seen “steady growth” and expects more

Laurel County is home to several bakeries, including Flowers (top photo) and Bimbo Bakeries (bottom photo), which makes the famous Sara Lee products. PHOTOS BY Carrie dillard

in the coming years. “London and Laurel County remains strong during this struggling economy,” he said. “The cooperation between the Industrial Authority and its board, the city of London and the Laurel County fiscal court create an atmosphere of cooperation and have proven to be beneficial to retaining, growing and attracting new businesses to our area. I look forward to see what 2013 brings.” Experience Laurel County 25


London-Laurel County Tourist Commission

Helping children in crisis shine.

There are children who are waiTing for a home like yours. children like sammy. Sammy was one of those little kids who could frustrate you with his mischief, but melt your heart with a smile. Although he had been severely abused and neglected, his new foster family lovingly accepted Sammy and the challenges he brought. With the family’s love and care, Sammy began to accept boundaries and responsibility and his new setting began to feel like home. In fact, it became Sammy’s forever home a year later when he was officially adopted.

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eXPerience fosTer care wiTh sunrise. We hold ourselves to the highest accountability standard. We are the only private child care provider in Kentucky offering a full array of services that is accredited by The Joint Commission, the premiere health care accreditation organization in the country.

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878-9134 in London and 528-0379 in Corbin Our programs: GED preparation classes, English as a Second Language, Adult Literacy, College Preparation, and the National Career Readiness Certicate 26

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economic development quick facts POPULATION

London (2010) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7,993 Laurel County (2010) . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58,849

London (2011) . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . 8,058 Laurel County (2012) . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59,462 Source: U.S. Census Bureau

income

Per Capita Income (2010) . . . . . . . . $26,324 Median Household Income (2009) . . $36,664 Median Home Price (2011) . . . . . . . $105,000 Source: KY Cabinet for Economic Development

Climate

Average Annual (2011) . . . . . . . . 61 degrees Average July high . . . . . . . . . . . . 86 degrees Average January low . . . . . . . . . 25 degrees Average Precipitation . . . . . . . . . . 48 inches Mean Annual Snowfall . . . . . . . . . 10 inches Total Precipitation (2011) . . . . . . . 57 inches Days of precipitation per year . . . . . . . 128 Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, National Climatic Data Center

Flowers Bakery, located on East Fourth Street, is one of the nation's leading producers and marketers of packaged bakery foods for retail and food service customers.

Employment

Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Products/Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Employees

ABC Automotive System Inc. . . . . . . . plastic automotive parts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 289 Aisin Automotive Casting, LCC . . . . . . aluminum engine components . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 547 Bimbo Bakeries USA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . bread/buns/rolls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 130 Flowers Baker of London LLC . . . . . . . doughnuts/honey buns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 423 Hearthside Food Solutions LLC . . . . . . cookies/crackers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 850 Highland Diversified Services Inc. . . . . automotive and major appliance assemblies . . . . . . 197 HSBC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . call center/collections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 230 Laurel Grocery Company LLC . . . . . . . food wholesaler/distribution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 280 Senture LLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . technical help desk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 360 Walmart D.C. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . distribution center . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 838 Source: KY Cabinet for Economic Development, 4/19/2013 Experience Laurel County 27


Weaver’s Hot Dogs is one of the oldest establishments on Main Street. PHOTO BY Alex Holt/Picture Kentucky

28

The Sentinel Echo


pride in our downtown On a sunny Friday afternoon, Weaver’s Hot Dogs is characteristically bustling. The grill is sizzling with burgers, and the air is rich with the aroma of the famous chili that tops the just-as-famous hot dogs. Tucked into one of the old timey booths is a group of lawyers with their ties flung over their shoulders to prevent stains. Officers with the city police department sit in their uniforms, while the sheriff’s office deputies chat nearby and wait for their meal. And then a group of bankers in blazers walk in to place their order. Surrounding the gathering, hugging it essentially, is a collection of photos on the walls that tells Laurel County’s story — black and whites of football victories, smiling cheerleaders, sailors in uniform, soldiers posing in Korea, fishing trips on Laurel Lake. Managing the lunch rush are Judd and Kim Weaver, who took over the 72-year-old establishment in August 2011 and expanded its space and menu. Meanwhile, over on the next block, Liza Joyner is surrounded by paint chips, stacks of elegant rugs and a white cradle hand-painted with gilded swirls. As she gets everything pulled together for a baby nursery she is designing for a customer in Tennessee, in walk Joyner’s own young daughters — three little dolls dressed in beautiful bows and jaunty bell bottoms. While Weaver’s is one of the oldest establishments on Main Street, Liza Joyner Designs is one of the newest and both are enjoying success — a testament both to their hard work and London’s vibrant downtown. In 2004, London Downtown was formed, a nonprofit organization aimed at revitalizing the heart of town. Almost immediately, participation was enthusiastic and today, there are 19 board members and 13 different committees charged with everything from events planning to economic development. London Downtown is most recognized for taking charge of and getting the funding for overhauling nine blocks of downtown’s streetscaping, which now boasts incredible landscaping, brand new sidewalks, elegant fencing and irrigated flower baskets that burst with color in the summer months. While the effort made downtown more aesthetically pleasing, it also spurred economic development, Executive Director Chris Robinson said. “People could see we have pride in our community,” he said.

“Dynamic Learning Opportunities for All”

Main Library

120 College Park Drive • London, KY 40741 • (606) 864-5759

South Branch

727 W. Cumberland Gap Pkwy • Corbin, KY 40701 • (606) 258-7000

North Branch

Located on N. 25 in Oak Tree Plaza 1789 N. Laurel Road • London, Ky 40741 • (606) 843-2013

www.laurellibrary.org

Continued on Page 30 Experience Laurel County 29


Home to me is where everything happens that makes you who you are. Everything that’s made me who I am today is here. Which is why I love it and which is why it will always stay my home.” Nichole Sharp

Continued from Page 29

Now, downtown’s vacancy rate is at about 25 percent, with nine new businesses opening in recent years, Robinson said. London Downtown is also responsible for some of the most innovative and well-attended events in the county, including the Redbud Ride (see page 37); monthly car show Cruisin’ on Main; and Thursday Night Live, a weekly concert series on the courthouse steps that attracts about 500 people each week in the summer. London Downtown’s latest undertaking is transforming the empty Marymount parking lot into a Main Street park, which will be anchored by a fountain, plenty of green space and benches for gathering and contemplating. For her part, Joyner said opening her business downtown was exactly the boost she needed. “I moved my business from rural East Bernstadt to Main Street and we have seen increased traffic flow that I am sure is due to the location,” she said. “And through the Main Street Program, I benefit from shared advertising costs, collaboration with other local business owners and through all the promotion by London Downtown.” Judd and Kim Weaver are likewise enthusiastic about their location. “You can go to any city in Kentucky and there are very few downtowns that look as pretty as London’s,” Judd said, while Kim nodded. “Downtown is on the right track,” she added. “I’m excited to see how far it will go.”

Liza Joyner said opening her design business downtown was just the boost she needed. PHOTO BY MAGEN McCRAREY

30

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Experience Laurel County 31


recreation

››

Laurel River Lake is home to houseboats, speedboats and pontoons. The warm, blue, clean water attracts visitors from everywhere from Michigan to Tennessee. PHOTOS BY RALPH WILSON

an angler's dream Ask Ralph Wilson if he has any photos of Laurel River Lake and the man can spend an hour showing you all the snaps he’s taken of his favorite place to be. There are shots of petal-pink sunrises blooming over the water, the slips of the marina offset by a blushing redbud tree, the burnt orange of a fall forest reflected in the mirror-like water and then shots of Wilson himself — generally holding up a fish as long as his arm. For most of his life, Wilson has dreamed of owning a houseboat so he could live part of the time on Laurel River Lake. And four years ago, his dream came true when he purchased a 48-foot long vessel, rented a slip at Holly Bay Marina and got to work relaxing. Ever since, Wilson spends every Thursday to Sunday at the lake, and dutifully documents the passing seasons on the water. “It’s the most beautiful lake,” he said. “In the winter, 34

The Sentinel Echo

it’s quiet and peaceful, but I like it year round.” Wilson said he also loves the atmosphere at the marina, where other houseboats are packed in beside him. “There’s always something going on,” he said. “In the evening, there’s always someone grilling steaks, you get up in the morning and you can smell the aroma of coffee and you can hear children laughing. The people at the dock are just like family. They all have cook-outs and have houseboat cruises and parties.” While Wilson loves the houseboat culture of Laurel River Lake, houseboats aren’t the only vessels on the water. Once May hits, trucks pulling speedboats and pontoons also start to show up on every road leading to Laurel County, a lot of them headed to Laurel River Lake. With 5,600 acres of warm, blue, clean water, the lake, located in the heart of the Daniel Boone National Forest, truly is a


London may seem small, but there is more to London than you think. My family loves to try new things, discover new places and experience new adventures. I am glad my family moved here. Matthew Mccarter

local gem — and one that attracts tourists from everywhere from Michigan to Tennessee. But, though the lake lures in thousands of people each year, the land surrounding the lake is owned by the Corps of Engineers, which does not allow people to build cabins or structures of any kind on it. As a result, the lake never feels overly touristy or crowded. Everywhere you look, there are just sheer limestone cliffs, tree-lined shores, dense forests and sometimes even a glimpse of the wintering bald eagles that have built their perch high in the trees. While it’s always possible to find a quiet cove or bay to relax in while out on the water, there is also plenty of room for water-skiing, tubing and zooming around on jet skis. Many families spend their afternoons zipping around this way and then tie up their vessel on a sandy beach that leads to their boat-in campsite. There are five campgrounds in the area comprising about 200 campsites, some of which can only be accessed by boat while others can be accessed by car. Fishing is also popular on the water, with black bass, rainbow trout, walleye, crappie, blue gill and catfish in abundance. Night fishing for trout is also popular when the water is warm in the summer. While Laurel is the biggest lake in the county, Wood Creek Lake is also within county limits and the Daniel Boone. Though just a little more than 600 acres in size, the lake is a favorite of locals. Anglers especially like to congregate here — the lake is home to the state record for largemouth bass.

Ralph Wilson holds up his biggest catch of the day.

Experience Laurel County 35


1

day

100

miles

1,100 riders

Riders from at least 15 states traveled to London in 2013 to participate in the annual Redbud Ride. PHOTO BY DEBBIE PREWITT

36

The Sentinel Echo


A cycling destination While Mike Hale discussed his new venture downtown, he was sitting in a canvas camping chair with his boots propped up on a limestone table. Behind him, hammocks hung from trees, tents were popped up throughout his 6,300 square feet of space and retired hiking shoes sat venerably nearby. When asked why he decided to open a second store of Mike’s Hike and Bike in Laurel County, he answered frankly. “Rodney Hendrickson told me I had to,” he laughed. Indeed, while one of Laurel County’s executive directors of tourism did have a hand in encouraging him to expand south, Hale said the more he thought about the idea, the more it appealed to him. “I realized that whenever we go to do stuff, this is where we go,” he said. “Laurel County has everything — gorgeous vistas, steep cliffs, it has the same topographic and geographic landscape of the nearby Red River Gorge, but it’s untouched. You get half of the travelers here clogging up the trails and putting beer cans everywhere. The trails here are a lot more wild." This is exactly the kind of endorsement that Hendrickson likes to hear. Hendrickson, whose preference for the outdoors is obvious by his nearly empty office at the tourist commission, would like Laurel County to be viewed as the adventure tourism mecca of Kentucky. “If people want to do it, they have the opportunity to live a very active and healthy lifestyle here,” he said. Indeed, Laurel County boasts 300 miles of road cycling routes; 40 miles of the 300-mile Sheltowee Trace hiking trail, which Hale deemed “40 of the best;" the Rockcastle River, which Hendrickson said has some of the best paddling in the state; Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park and its popular campground; the Daniel Boone National Forest; and Laurel River Lake, a 5,600-acre stretch of water that sits in the center of the Daniel Boone. Hendrickson’s goal is to make all of these local jewels known not only to tourists, but to locals too. He’s started by focusing his efforts on road cycling. Working with downtown’s revitalization committee London Downtown, Hendrickson has been pulling off the Redbud Ride to everincreasing popularity since 2008. Last year, there were nearly 780 registrants from 22 states, including Hawaii, Vermont, Utah and Colorado. The ride boasts four routes, one of which is a monster 100 miles, which were voted by active.com users as the Best Century Ride in America in 2011. The ride covers road that is hugged by tens of thousands of redbud trees, whose stunning pinkish-red buds make for incredible views in the spring. In the fall, the Thriller Ride showcases the fall foliage, made especially colorful by the area’s abundance of red maples, sugar maples and poplars. “Here, there are so many different species,” Hendrickson said. “It’s every color in the rainbow.”

In addition to the rides, Hendrickson would like London to be designated a Trail Town and he’s not the only one. Already, the Trail Town committee boasts 48 members, whose goals are to do everything from getting bike routes mapped and marked to getting bike racks installed downtowns to hosting organized hiking, biking and paddling outings. “Enthusiasm for cycling, hiking and paddling in London and Laurel County seems to be at an all-time time,” Hendrickson said. “With key players working together to make Laurel County the mecca for adventure tourism and recreation, the time is perfect to move forward. Our future is bright.”

Mike Hale opened Mike's Hike and Bike on Main Street in London because the county has so much to offer cycling enthusiasts. PHOTO BY TARA KAPROWY

Experience Laurel County 37


Attractions

The Harland Sanders Cafe and Museum is a fun stop with a lot of history about Kentucky's most famous food.

Known as the "Niagara of the South," Cumberland Falls is dramatic day or night, but at night, during a full moon, a moonbow can be seen.

The Battle of Camp Wildcat Civil War reenactment includes cavalry competitions and much more. 38

The Sentinel Echo

Renfro Valley, nestled in the foothills of the Cumberland Mountains, has been known as "Kentucky's Country Music Capital" since 1939.


“

Levi Jackson State Park has many things to do, from hiking to camping. I love when we take our camper in the summer to the park to camp. The campground is a great place to ride bicycles with friends.� Meg Anderson

Levi Jackson State Park encompasses more than 800 acres and includes the Defeated Camp Pioneer Burial Ground, McHargue's Mill and the Mountain Life Museum. Experience Laurel County 39


health

››

state-of-the-art health care On a busy Friday in January, nurse Connie Krossber stood in the emergency room filling out paperwork. In the middle of a 12-hour shift and with her hair tied back in a neat bun, she quickly filled in the forms, walked down a hallway and pulled the curtain into patient room No. 3. On the bed lay a mother rubbing the forehead of her daughter, who was tucked beside her napping. While talking to her in a low, gentle voice, Krossber seamlessly opened a package holding a syringe and filled it with medicine. “That little vein sure did hold up well,” she said smiling to the mother. “I was worried.” She injected the medicine and then put her hand on the mother’s. “You need anything, just ask,” she said. Krossber has been a nurse at London’s only hospital since 1988. Working everywhere from obstetrics to the ICU, she’s found her new calling in the bustling ER, which serves more than 90 patients in a busy 12-hour shift. For the past two years, Krossber’s job has gotten a little easier though, in large part because Saint Joseph London opened a new state-of-the-art, $150 million facility in August 2010. “Look at all of this room,” Krossber said, marveling at the wide hallways and roomy drug-dispensing utility room nearby. “We have so much more space, and have room for more patients.”

SAINT JOSEPH LONDON Saint Joseph London is licensed for 150 beds, all of which are located in private rooms and most of which have a view of the large, sparkling lake that sits outside. “We’ve been busy since Day 1,” said Sharon Hershberger, public affairs director at the hospital. The facility was built with the intent of taking out the institutional atmosphere that generally dominates hospitals and replacing it with something “more welcoming and relaxing,” Hershberger said. As a result, Saint Joseph is bathed in natural light, lobbies that look like they belong more in a hotel than a hospital, and the fresh aroma of coffee as soon as patients walk into the front door. Outside, visitors can walk around the sizable lake adjacent to the facility or take a tour in the healing garden and labyrinth, designed by the esteemed Jon Carloftis. While architecturally pleasing, the hospital is serious about health care. Last fiscal year, there were nearly 44,000 visits to the emergency room alone, 1,040 babies born in the Birthing Center and more than 5,000 outpatient surgeries performed. The hospital itself employs about 1,200 employees, resulting in an annual payroll of more than $47 million. But the Catholic, non-profit hospital is also about giving back to the community. Last year, charity care accounted for more than $39 million of 40

The Sentinel Echo

services rendered. In 2012, the hospital added hematology and oncology as part of their services, as well as orthopedics. It, along with its parent company Saint Joseph Health System, merged with Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s Healthcare in Louisville to form KentuckyOne Health. KentuckyOne Health later formed a partnership with the University of Louisville Hospital and the James Graham Brown Cancer Center, creating the largest health care system in the commonwealth. The network of hospitals is committed to improving the health of Kentuckians by integrating medical research, education, technology and health care services wherever patients need care. “It helps with our cost associated with care,” Hershberger said. “We can negotiate for good pricing for our supplies and our needs. It also allows us to offer a wider range of expertise, not the least of which are U of L’s academic resources.”

BAPTIST HEALTH CORBIN Patients likewise benefit when they visit Baptist Health Corbin, located 10 miles from London in Corbin. Baptist Regional is affiliated with Baptist Health, which owns six other facilities across the state and manages two others. In addition, Baptist Health Corbin has recently added primary care practices to its services, including ones in London, in Laurel County and in two other towns nearby. “I think the fact that we are part of a larger Baptist health care system across the state of Kentucky is important,” said President and CEO Larry Gray. “We have resources and services we can draw from.” Baptist Regional, built in 1986, has 273 beds with nearly 40,000 room visits per year. Last year, the hospital delivered more than 870 babies and provided more than 100,000 outpatient services. The facility employs just over 1,150 employees. “We have a good, strong history in this community,” Gray said. “Our employees are members of this community and they have a commitment to doing the right thing. Our patients are their family members, friends, people they went to school with or go to church with.” Like Saint Joseph London, Baptist Health is also closely tied to its Christian principles. “Our mission is to provide a high level of quality care and quality service that is consistent with our Christian values,” Gray said. Part of what helps Baptist do that is state-of-the-art procedures and technology. The daVinci robot, for example, is used when patients undergo a variety of minimally invasive surgeries, resulting in “less pain, less blood loss, less scarring and a shorter recovery time,” said Tiffany Hart Sharpe, marketing associate. Continued on Page 42


Saint Joseph London's walking trail has been used for community events, such as the Walk for Life. PHOTOS BY MAGEN McCRAREY

Experience Laurel County 41


Baptist Health Corbin utilizes state-of-the-art technology, like the daVinci robot, to minimize recovery time after surgery.

Celebrating 9 years in Laurel County

PHOTO BY MAGEN McCRAREY

Continued from Page 40

The hospital now offers telemedicine as well to prevent high-risk obstetrics patients. Under a local obstetrician’s direction, ultrasounds are performed in Corbin while a perinatologist observes the procedure 60 miles away in Lexington. The facility also offers physical rehabilitation, mental health services and a weight loss program in the hospital setting. And the hospital is looking at establishing a comprehensive breast health program “for everything that would be needed from diagnostics to treatment,” Gray said. “One of our goals is to expand what services are available here in our local market,” he added. “We’re looking at where our service gaps might be.” As a result, Baptist Health Corbin expanded services in urology and general surgery. It also relocated the oncology center in the hospital for easy accessibility, which is enhanced by valet parking. The cancer team consists of social workers, financial counselors, an oncology pharmacist, massage therapist, nutritionist, patient care navigator and an oncologist to meet patient needs.

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Fitness minded It's 8 a.m. Thursday, and Mark Smith, 27, is getting ready for a workout at Powerhouse Gym after dropping his 6-year-old daughter, Cassidie, off at school. It's become his regular morning routine since he completed his time with the Kentucky National Guard in 2010. Powerhouse Gym is open 24 hours and offers cardio and strength equipment, aerobics classes and even a sauna and smoothie bar for a treat afterward. Working out at least five days a week, Smith says he is more fit now than when he was in the service. After the birth of his two daughters - Cassidie and Carlee, 3 - he realized being fit needed to be a priority. First Baptist Recreational Center is another large fitness facility in the area and consists of a big gymnasium, a walking track and aerobics rooms. For people choosing to live in the southern end of the county, Baptist Family Fitness is nearby and offers a huge cardiovascular center with rows of treadmills and crosstrainers, an indoor pool, a full schedule of aerobics classes and free weights. While Laurel County has access to state-of-theart health care and fitness facilities, public officials themselves are also active in making sure local citizens are healthy.

Mark Smith made fitness a priority after he started his family.

WELLNESS PARK The most recent example of this is the London-Laurel County Wellness Park, which occupies a 47-acre piece of land and will offer everyone from toddlers to grandparents something active to do. “With the prevalence of computers, video games and TVs with 200 channels, we’ve all lost the need to find entertainment other than from sitting on the recliner,” Mayor Troy Rudder said. “We’re trying to provide an avenue for people to get out and enjoy the absolute beauty of this area.” Already, a skateboard park has been built on the tract, which offers different obstacles for kids and teens like rails and quarter-pipe ramps. Funding is also in place to build two curving miles of mountain biking trails and 1.5 miles of walking/hiking trails that will circle around the green space surrounding a concrete pad that is already in place. Two shelter houses for families to enjoy picnics while visiting have also already been built. But there is much yet to be done. The city and county have plans for a splash pad for kids to play in different water features; basketball courts; and playground equipment.

PHOTO BY CARRIE DILLARD

“We all want to lose weight and look better and feel better,” said Rick Cochrane, public safety director. “You give kids something fun to do and they’ll get off the couch and go out and ride.”

CONNECTIVITY TRAIL To truly make an impact on people’s health, they need the infrastructure needed to go out and be active. The wellness park is one piece of this, but city and county officials don’t intend to stop there. That’s why Rudder has designed a complete trail system for the city, which would connect key parts of London to each other via bike lanes and paths. The goal is for kids to be able to once again ride their bikes to school, so Walmart can be easily reached by bike, and so downtown can be connected to Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park via pretty trails. Already, Rudder has applied for a $3 million state and federal grant for the project and has had several discussions with Gov. Steve Beshear concerning the effort. He has also asked that any new road that is built be fitted with bike lanes. After six years in office, he has made clear his commitment to promoting wellness and reducing London’s carbon footprint.

Experience Laurel County 43


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www.londonky.minutemanpress.com 101 South Plaza • London, KY Owners: Garry & Amy Conley Phone: (606) 862-9195 Fax: (606) 862-9196


P H YS I C I A N S S O U T H E AST At Baptist Health Physicians Southeast, our physicians and staff are dedicated to providing the same excellent care and compassion that patients have come to expect at all of the Baptist owned facilities. Baptist Health Physicians Southeast physicians are highly skilled and offer “State of the Art� procedures that have never been offered in this area before. Baptist Health Cardiology 606.528.5331

Baptist Health Radiology Specialists 606.523.8542

Baptist Health Orthopedics 606.523.1565

Baptist Health Surgical Specialists 606.526.7363

Baptist Health Heart Specialists 606.523.9010

Baptist Health Urology 606.528.1172

Baptist Health Oncology Specialists 606.523.1934

Baptist Health Primary Care Barbourville 606.546.6027 Lily 606.258.7035 London 606.330.4140 Williamsburg 606.549.8244

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services

››

I like knowing that I keep so much stuff out of the landfill and I like working with the public.” Dillon Blair

46

The Sentinel Echo

a green city On nearly every day of the week, Dillon Blair can be found zipping around on a Bobcat managing mountains of pop cans, shredded paper, plastic bags and cardboard. As he tools around the London Regional Recycling Center getting the items properly prepared for shipment, people pull into the parking lot to drop off more recyclables, opening up the green doors at the center and dropping them down the chute. Blair, 19, has been working at the recycling center since he was a sophomore at North Laurel High School. “I like knowing that I keep so much stuff out of the landfill and I like working with the public,” he said, shrugging his shoulders as he dug his forklift into a pile of milk jugs. London’s recycling center, run by the city of London, is one of the busiest in the area, serving not only Laurel

County but four surrounding counties as well. Part of its popularity has to do with what the center accepts, including all types of plastic, glass, paper, cardboard, tin and aluminum cans, even electronics and motor oil. Since the new center opened in 2008, the amount of recyclables that have been collected has steadily increased. Since that year, about 15 million pounds of recyclables have been collected. “That’s 15 million pounds we haven’t had to put into the ground,” Mayor Troy Rudder said. “Think of that. That will put cold chills on you.” Public Works Director Steve Edge said the city is focusing now on expanding its commercial collection. As of now, about half of the commercial businesses in town get their recyclables picked up by center workers.


Left, Dillon Blair has been working at the London Regional Recycling Center since he was a sophomore. PHOTO BY TARA KAPROWY

London-Laurel County

Chamber of Commerce

Deanna Herrmann Executive Director

606-864-4789

Find us on Facebook! www.londonlaurelchamber.com

Hello, neighbor!

Since it opened in 2008, the recycling center has collected 15 million pounds of recyclables. PHOTO BY MAGEN McCRAREY

“I just need one more truck and I can do all the businesses,” Edge said. “It’s going to happen pretty quickly.” The city is also looking at providing curbside pickup for residences “in the near future,” Edge said. While Laurel Countians are dedicated recyclers, Blair said he is surprised by how many people come from out of town as well. “There are these little, old ladies who come from Clay County,” he said. “I was working one evening and this lady came from Barbourville to dump her glass.” Dropping off recyclables is possible at any time, since the center is open 24/7. “We’ve very accessible,” Blair pointed out. As for his plans, Blair will enroll at EKU for fire protection administration. His goal is to continue his career with the city of London. “I like how everything is run and it’s a good, steady job,” he said.

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a growing economy Every Saturday in the summer, Ford and Amanda Waterstrat set up their booth at the London-Laurel County Farmers’ Market and watch the customers pour in. With jovial signs advertising their USDA-certified organic produce, they chat happily with their customers about everything from green beans to rainfall. Some come to check out the veggies they have for sale, others pick up their CSA baskets — their share of the Waterstrat farm’s harvest for the week. It is, they openly admit, their passion. “It’s my dream to be a full-time farmer,” Ford Waterstrat said. “I just really, really enjoy it and think it’s a good thing and a healthy thing to be involved in.” For now, Ford works as a school teacher at Eastern Kentucky University, while Amanda is a professor at Somerset Community College in town. Juggling their careers with the farm, along with their toddler Finley, the Waterstrats admit they have a full plate, but say the busy schedule is worth it. 48

The Sentinel Echo

Ford Waterstrat collects his organic tatsoi, an Asian leafy green similar to spinach, for his customers at the farmers' market. PHOTO BY Adam Wolffbrandt/Picture Kentucky

“It seems we’ve always had busy schedules, even when we met in college, but now, especially in the summer, we work together every day as a family,” Amanda Waterstrat said. “That’s something we always hoped would happen and it brings unity to our family life that we really cherish.” The Waterstrats are just two Laurel Countians who take part in the farmers’ market, which is located in the heart of downtown and open every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from May to October. On Saturdays, about 30 to 40 vendors show up with their pickup trucks, open their tailgates and are ready for business. By 11 o’clock, the customers have usually come and gone, picking up staples like beans, tomatoes, corn and peppers, but also finding unusual items like bok choy, kohlrabi, artisanal greens, hickory nuts, stone-ground corn meal, locally-raised lamb, local eggs and, in the fall, foddershocks and gourds. Farmers’ Market President Fred King has been with the market since it casually started 10 years ago. “We started on the street corner,” he said. “We were all sitting out there baking our brains out in the sun.” But through a combined effort between the city and county, along with the state agriculture board, the farmers’ market got


Fred King sells grass-fed beef at the London-Laurel County Farmers' Market. PHOTO BY MAGEN McCRAREY

an official home two years later — a shelter at the corner of Main and Dixie streets. The shelter was expanded for more vendors a few years after that, and money was raised to build bathrooms and a stage for music groups to perform during busy farmers’ market days. Today, the market also features an industrial kitchen, which is used by the University of Kentucky Extension Service to teach classes on canning, freezing, cake decorating, dehydrated foods and fruit bouquets. The farmers themselves are also happy to offer an education. “We sell things that are ripened in the field,” King said. “You don’t have to buy a four-pack of tomatoes. You can buy one tomato and you can buy the one you want. And you get to meet your vendor, you get to meet the person that raised the thing. You can ask them what is the best canning tomato and they’ll steer you in the right direction. You’re not going to get that education in a grocery store.” For King, the success of Laurel County’s farmers’ market, which he says is second in size only to the one in Lexington, is a larger comment on the community as a whole. “London is the biggest city in the county and it’s the center of agriculture, center of manufacture, center of it all,” he said. “As a result, you don’t have a power struggle against everybody and you can get things done. It’s a good community. People are very open-minded and progressive. And that’s a very good thing.”

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family life

››

50

a place for kids of all ages When Leah Rudder walked into the children’s circle at dren’s programs each week, and even more in the busy the Laurel County Library, faces lit up even before her summer months when kids are out of school. All told, singsong voice filled the space. 20,000 people attend the children’s programs each year. “We’ve got some sillies we need to shake out,” she said But there are plenty of programs for adults as well. joyfully. “We are a cultural center as well as a reading center,” Ecstatic toddlers stand to join her in the circle, while Acton said. “We offer everything from marionettes to jazz infants sit on their parents’ laps ready to clap. concerts, photography contests to theatrical productions “Ready? We’re going shake, shake, shake our sillies from Cincinnati, Lexington and Louisville.” out,” she sang while kids and parents joined her. There are also discussion series covering subjects such After the sillies had been dutifully dispensed of, Rudas the Holocaust, world religions and Appalachia over a der handed out shakers so the kids could sing the ABCs six-week period, as well as an active book club that is song, which was followed by a weather song, a time-tellwell attended each month. ing song and the classic “Head and shoulders, knees and But of it all, it’s Leah Rudder’s Babygarten that is the toes.” most adorable gathWhile the ering, with up to 60 half-hour propeople attending each gram wrapped week in the summer. up, Rudder “What I really love turned on two is when parents of the bubble-making ‘shy’ kids come in and machines, and tell me that the child is soon the kids going home and singwere squealing ing the songs,” Rudand swishing der said. “I know that through the way that even though I magical, raindon’t see it, the songs bow orbs. and the program are It was just impacting them.” another day at Acton said she is not Krystal McDonald Babygarten, one surprised by the supof more than port and participation a dozen activiby child and parent ties held at the alike. library each “I think Laurel Counweek. Rudder, who is manager of children’s service, is ty is a community that wants, first and foremost, better just one of the many who make the library tick. things for their children,” Acton said. “Laurel Countians Laurel County’s main library, together with its two want the opportunity to learn; they’re not stagnant. We satellite branches, is the ninth busiest in the state, are a community of readers.” with 550,000 items circulating annually. The airy, light*** filled main branch opened in 2003 and boasts 25,000 This interview was conducted shortly before Lori Acsquare feet of space, 32 public computer terminals, and ton’s death on January 28, 2013. The staff of the library 165,000 items. Circulation has more than doubled since continues its work to achieve Lori’s vision of lifelong the main library opened, and plans are in the works to learning for all Laurel Countians. expand the space, which would more than double the children’s area, expand the local history and adult collections, and house a multi-purpose room with a stage. “I think the reason we are successful is because our Ross Ryser leaped into a curtain of bubbles after community is responsive to our offerings and we’re song and dance time at Babygarten. responsive to the community,” said Library Director Lori Acton. “We study all the time what the community accessPHOTO BY MAGEN McCRAREY es and what people enjoy the most.” Between them, the three facilities offer 10 to 13 chil-

When it’s too cold to get outside, I find the activities at the library to be a blessing for my children. They also provide quilting, cooking workshops and other things for the adults on days when I like to get time away for myself.”

The Sentinel Echo


wait, there's more Moving to a new place can be tough. You’ve left your friends behind, the children are starting a new school and you’re settling into your new home. But in Laurel County, there are plenty of clubs and organizations to make the transition easier. • MOPS: This local chapter of the international organization Moms Of Preschoolers meets the second Wednesday of the month at Corinth Baptist Church. The group is geared for moms of children from birth to age 6. At the monthly meetings, where childcare is provided, members listen to speakers who discuss parenting and women’s issues and have the opportunity to share with fellow moms. MOPS NEXT is for mothers of school-age children and meets the fourth Monday of each month. The 15-member group generally meets at a restaurant in town. 864-5440 /www. mops.org • Newcomer’s Club: As its name implies, this club is designed to make newcomers feel at home and help them get adjusted, whether that means offer52

The Sentinel Echo

ing tips on where to get your hair cut or which pediatrician to go to. The club meets once a month, with the meeting generally featuring a speaker. Members can join several groups within the club, including one that plays bridge on a regular basis or one whose members meet for lunch. Club members also take day trips together to area attractions. The club meets the first Monday of every month at 7 p.m. at First Christian Church. 864-5010. • Laurel County Extension Service: Operated by the University of Kentucky, the cooperative extension service in Laurel County is extremely active and run by knowledgeable agents. Their mission is to deliver research-based information, education and solutions to the people of Laurel County. The agents offer topnotch classes on a dizzying array of subjects. Some of the classes scheduled for 2013 include Japanese embroidery, how to make gourmet marshmallows, cake decorating, self-defense and beginner yoga. Extension agents are also advisors to the Master Gardener’s program and

Children shake their sillies out during Babygarten at the Laurel County Public Library. PHOTO BY MAGEN McCRAREY

the Homemakers Club. 864-4167. For a schedule of classes offered, visit www. laurel.ca.uky.edu • Daycare: There are plenty of good options for child care throughout the week, with facilities located all over the county. They include: • Cornerstone Christian Day Care and Preschool, London: 862-2068 • Giggles & Grins Preschool, London: 877-2811 • Kids First Child Care, Corbin: 606523-0550 • Little Bears Too, London: 877-2606 • Little Learners Educational Center, London: 877-1250 • Little Shepherds Day Care, London: 877-2601 Miss Barbara’s Child Care Center, London: 864-0783 • Sonlight Christian Preschool, London: 878-0030 • Wonderland Preschool & Child Care, London: 878-8199


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What I love most about London are all the special memories I made here with my parents while visiting their favorite places. One of them was The World Chicken Festival. Dad loved to eat, and the Chicken Festival was the perfect place for him. With all the great food, it was hard for him to decide.” Teri A. Hill

Festivals and events SPRING

London Community Orchestra spring concert www.londoncommunityorchestra.com 606-864-4194 Pulling together musicians from around the area, as well as surrounding counties, this ensemble always impresses. London-Laurel County Farmers’ Market http://laurel.ca.uky.edu/FarmersMarket Open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from May to October, this market is one of the largest in the state, and is particularly bustling on Saturday mornings. Redbud Ride www.redbudride.com 606-862-8841 This April ride features four routes that wind past the stunning redbud trees that are native to the area and usually in full bloom during the event. Last year, nearly 800 riders from 22 states participated.

The Cruisin' on Main Car Show is hosted by London Downtown each month, May to September.

AMGRO Flower & Garden Show 606-864-4167 Each year in May, the county’s Master Gardener’s club hosts this event, which celebrates gardening and offers educational workshops. Laurel County Shrine Club Bluegrass Festival 606-862-8841 A celebration of the famous music homegrown in Kentucky.

54

The Sentinel Echo

PHOTO BY MAGEN McCRAREY

AM Shooters ASC Pro-Am Tour Archery Competition www.asaarchery.com 1-770-795-0232 Each year, hundreds of archers from around the country flock to this competition, which is held at the Laurel County Fairgrounds.


SUMMER Thursday Night Live www.thursdaynightlivedowntown.com 606-862-8841 Live music on the courthouse steps draws hundreds each week during this concert series held from June to August. Different types of bands and music styles are featured each week. Cruisin’ on Main Car Show www.cruisinonmain.com 606-862-8841 Another event hosted by London Downtown, this monthly car show attracts hot wheels, muscle cars and classic rides to downtown from May to September.

most well known, this four-day event at the end of September draws up to 250,000 people for its chicken-themed fun. The WCF was named the best festival in the state by Kentucky Monthly Magazine and the Southeast Tourism Society included it in its Top 20 Events list. Col. Sanders look-alikes wander the streets, while people line up at the world’s largest skillet to get their fried chicken dinner. Youngsters are invited to the Chick-O-Lympics, which includes a chicken scratch where they dive through flour to find hidden dollar bills. Students countywide participate in the egg drop, where they test their architectural skills to protect an egg from a two-story fall. A chicken wing-eating contest, a chicken sculpture competition, carnival rides, live music and fair food round out the fun. Camp Wildcat Civil War Re-enactment www.wildcatreenactment.org With cannons firing and bullets flying, Civil War re-enactors recreate the battle of Camp Wildcat, which originally took place Oct. 21, 1861. They also recreate the Battle of London. Part of the entertainment is walking around the encampment the re-enactors have set up, complete with Civil War-era tents, cooking utensils and sleeping quarters.

Red, White and Boom 606-864-6995 Thousands gather to watch this spectacular fireworks display in honor of the Fourth of July. Games, face painting, food and entertainment are all part of the celebration. Laurel County Fair www.laurelcountyfair.com 606-682-2899 This classic fair in July features carnival rides, funnel cakes and candy apples, tractor pulls, demolition derbies and a popular pageant.

Thriller Ride 606-878-6900 http://cvcc-ky.org/Thriller_Ride.html The Halloween-themed Thriller Ride in October boasts three cycling routes of varying lengths, all of which wind through Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park. Riders are encouraged to dress in costumes.

Col. Sanders look-alike, Col. Thompson, was the World Chicken Festival Goodwill Ambassador in 2012.

PNC Junior Golf Championship 606-878-6900 Nearly 150 of the country’s best junior golfers converge at Crooked Creek Golf Course in August for this 54-hole event. Laurel County Homecoming www.laurelcountyhomecoming.com This multi-day event in August celebrates Laurel County’s heritage with crafts, live music, a pet parade and fun contests like a roller skating race and the Fittest Kid in the County competition. Also popular are the beauty pageants and gospel singing on Sunday. Held at peaceful Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park, this event is a time-honored tradition.

FALL World Chicken Festival 606-878-6900 www.chickenfestival.com Easily the festival for which London and Laurel County are

WINTER Sights and Sounds of Christmas 606-864-7777 Held on Thanksgiving weekend, this craft show features some of the best handmade objects d’art in the area. Christmas on Main 606-862-8841 With Christmas carols singing through speakers set up all over downtown, this festive evening is an annual favorite at the beginning of December. The event includes singing; a book walk for children; a jolly, float-filled parade and the annual lighting of the Christmas tree. The parade route, which is always packed with hundreds of onlookers, ends at the Laurel County Farmers’ Market, where Santa is ready to take pictures.

Experience Laurel County 55


Laurel County Map Reprinted with permission of the Cumberland Valley Area Development District

56

The Sentinel Echo


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City of London Map Reprinted with permission of the Cumberland Valley Area Development District

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index of advertisers (in alphabetical order) Alliance Home Mortgage Corporation — Page 64 583 W. Laurel Rd. Suite 4 London, KY 40741 606-878-6000 Baptist Health Corbin Page 45 Page 64 1 Trillium Way Corbin, KY 40701 606-528-1212 www.baptisthealthcorbin.com Baymont Inn & Suites Page 57 2075 Hwy 192 London, KY 40741 606-877-1000

Housing Authority of London Page 29 100 Scott Street London, KY 40741 606-864-5474

London Downtown — Page 44 501 South Main Street London, KY 40741 606-862-8841 www.londonkydowntown.com

Huffman & Huffman PSC Page 53 503 N. Main Street London, KY 40741 606-877-1877 www.huffmanandhuffman.com

London-Laurel County Chamber of Commerce Page 47 409 S. Main Street, #A London, KY 40741 606-864-4789 www.londonlaurelchamber.com

Jackson Energy Cooperative Page 17 177 Barbourville Road London, KY 40741 606-864-2363 www.jacksonenergy.com

Benge Farm Supply — Page 53 870 E. 4th Street London, KY 40741 606-864-5096

Kentucky Auto Exchange Page 53 310 Old Whitley Road London, KY 40741 606-878-7815 www.kyautoexchange.com

Cumberland Valley National Bank — Page 32-33 100 Main Street London, KY 40741 606-878-7010 www.cvnb.com

Ky Highlands Innovation Center — Page 61 440 Old Whitley Road London, Ky 40744 606-729-1031 www.khic-center.com

Don Franklin Ford Lincoln Page 5 425 South Laurel Road London, KY 40741 606-864-3555 www.donfranklinauto.com Edward Jones- Mike Fiechter Page 15 543 W. Laurel Road, Suite 4 London, KY 40741 606-862-6700 Edward Jones- David Vickers Page 11 908 W. Fifth Street, Suite 104 London, KY 40741 606-864-8500 First National Bank & Trust Page 17 Fourth and Main Streets London, KY 40741 606-877-2200 www.fnblondonky.com Flea Land Flea Market, Inc. Page 63 Hwy 229 at 192 Bypass London, KY 40741 606-864-3532 Flowers Bake Shop — Page 44 435 East Fourth Street London, KY 40741 606-878-8561 60

The Sentinel Echo

L&N Federal Credit Union Page 11 101 Spring Street London, KY 40741 606-878-0662 www.lnfcu.com Laurel County Adult Education Page 26 90 Bennett Circle London, KY 40741 606-878-9134 www.laureladulted.com Laurel County Health Department — Page 20 525 Whitley Street London, KY 40741 606-864-5187 www.laurelcohealthdept.org Laurel County Public Library Page 29 120 College Park Drive London, KY 40741 606-864-5759 www.laurellibrary.org London BP Auto Truck Page 11 15 Dogpatch Trading Center London, KY 40741 606-864-6426

London-Laurel County Tourist Commission — Page 26 140 Faith Assembly Church Road London, KY 40741 606-878-6900 www.laurelkytourism.com London Women’s Care Page 43 803 Meyers-Baker Road, Suite 200 London, KY 40741 606-878-3240 www.londonwomenscare.com Minuteman Press — Page 44 101 South Plaza London, KY 40741 606-862-9195 www.londonky.minutemanpress. com Old Town Grill — Page 17 25 Dogpatch Trading Center London, KY 40741 606-862-1684 www.oldtowngrillinc.com Powerhouse Gym Fitness Center — Page 20 649 Meyers-Baker Road London, KY 40741 606-878-0011 www.londonpowerhouse.com Remax Property Professionals Page 53 583 W. Laurel Road London, KY 40741 606-862-0555 www.remax.com Saint Joseph London Page 3 1001 Saint Joseph Lane London, KY 40741 606-330-6000 www.saintjosephlondon.org Shiloh Counseling — Page 59 272 London Mtn. View Drive London, KY 1-888-268-5241 www.shilohcounselor.com

Somerset Community College Page 21 North Laurel Campus 100 University Drive London, KY 40741 606-878-4748 www.somerset.kctcs.edu Southeastern Farm Supply Page 2 807 South Dixie Street London, KY 40741 606-864-6603 www.southeasternfarmsupply.net State Farm, Judy Phelps Insurance Inc. — Page 47 715 S. Main Street London, KY 606-864-4703 www.judyphelpsinsurance.com Sunrise Children’s Services Page 26 240 Bennett Circle London, KY 40741 606-862-9132 Surplus Sales Inc. — Page 49 3369 N. Hwy 1223 Corbin, KY 40701 606-523-9166 www.mysurplussales.com The Imaging Center of London, LLC — Page 62 148 London Mountain View Drive, Suite 1 London, KY 40741 606-877-2840 www.imagingcenteroflondon.com The Sentinel-Echo — Page 31 123 W. Fifth Street London, KY 40741 606-878-7400 www.sentinel-echo.com Tincher Williams ChevroletBuick-GMC — Page 62 698 South Laurel Road London, KY 40741 606-864-5790 www.tincherwilliamschevrolet. com University of the Cumberlands Page 7 6178 College Station Drive Williamsburg, KY 40769 800-343-1609 www.ucumberlands.edu Wildcat Harley-Davidson Page 23 575 Hal Rogers Parkway London, KY 40741 606-862-5656 www.wildcatharley.com


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