Jeff Plummer
Jeff Plummer

As one of my 2022 New Year’s resolutions, I am unearthing my personal column, “Community Connection.” I used to write a column under this name on a regular basis, but it got away from me a couple of years ago in the endless grind of simply covering the everyday news. I figured that writing a regular column was an option, not a requirement.

But then again, my mentor and predecessor, the late Editor Ed Clark, made the small-town newspaper column a true art form for decades. His “Sun Spots” and “Our Town” columns appeared on the front page and were widely acknowledged as being the “first-read and most-read” items in the newspaper. Therefore, I know firsthand that a personal column can have a special place in a small-town newspaper.

If history is any indicator, I probably won’t stay with it for very long. In my long newspaper career, I’ve written previous columns called “Sun Corner,” “Shop Talk,” “Social Sharings,” “Hometown Cooking,” “The Pressbox,” “Sports Spectrum,” and there was even two that I called ”Meandering With Marvin” and “Marvin’s Mailbag.” I didn’t stick with any of them for a very long time, but yet I understand the potential value and function of a column as a way to communicate interesting and useful information in a different and more personal way that may not have worked as well in a regular news story.

Sometimes, I may write about just one thing, but many other times, there will be multiple topics. Along the way, I’ll drop many names, tons of trivia and some personal observations and opinions.

There will be no regular schedule for the Community Connection column. I will do as time allows and the spirit moves me. Here we go….

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAVE – Jackson Fire Chief David Channell recently celebrated his birthday and this would seem to be an appropriate time to offer this good and generous man a public thank-you as he certainly deserves the community’s respect. Not only does he serve in a leadership position for a crucially important public service, but he has served as a firefighter practically his entire adult life, beginning his senior year at Jackson High School. Channell has now served the Jackson Fire Department for a total of 49 years.

This has been a major personal commitment for David as the Jackson Fire Department is a volunteer department with the chief’s position providing only a part-time salary. In spite of this, David has always been out front making the Jackson Fire Department very community-service oriented. For example, the Jackson Fire Department has always conducted the annual Pig Iron Day event in August, spearheaded the fund drive for fireworks displays in the city and is a major player in organizing the community’s pre-Christmas celebration at Manpower Park as well as the Santa’s House project. Very recently, Channell was an important player in coordinating the county’s fire departments to participate in the Kentucky Kare relief drive to benefit tornado victims in Kentucky.

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HOLIDAY-SEASON SHARING – The generosity and good works of  both of Rowdy’s Smokehouse in Jackson and the Ladle of Love meals program based at the Good Shepherd Wesleyan Church near Jackson should be publicly acknowledged and appreciated.

On Thanksgiving Day, with the support of other sponsors and donors in the community, Rowdy’s Smokehouse owner/operator Nathan Kitts provided a free hot Thanksgiving carry-out dinner at the restaurant. It was advertised as being open to anybody in the community and as it turned out, more than 500 meals were served. Kitts had volunteers to help him with the work and main sponsors such as Walmart of Jackson, the Tedd Frazier family, the Speyside Bourbon Cooperage Plant of Jackson, and the Sons of the American Legion of Wellston all stepped up as major sponsors.

Then on New Year’s Day, Kristina Sexton Inbody spearheaded the successful effort to provide a New Year’s Day meal as part of the continuing Ladle of Love community meals program operated out of the Good Shepherd Wesleyan Church. Kristina reported that a total of 278 hot meals were served. Ladle of Love normally provides free meals twice a month and Kristina and her corps of volunteers often plan a special menu for the major holidays. It is a tremendous undertaking for a relatively small group of volunteers, all driven by Kristina and her zeal to serve.

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HUSTLING FOR HAPPENINGS BISTRO – Owner-operator Jeff Plummer has been very active on the front line trying to make his new Wellston restaurant, The Happenings Bistro, a success in its crucial first year. The Bistro, of course, is a successor to the famed Lee’s Steakhouse and Plummer’s decision to reopen the restaurant gives Wellston and Jackson County another quality sit-down dining option.

Plummer proved his resolve and marketing creativity by dressing up in a colorful New Year’s baby costume and standing outside along busy Pennsylvania Avenue to promote the restaurant’s extended hours and special menu on New Year’s Eve. Plummer reports business was especially good in the afternoon and early evening hours before it slowed down later.

“I maybe should have stayed out all night,” Plummer joked, later adding, “I just like to make people smile.”

Plummer has been a very active owner thus far. In addition to directing the business, he makes it  a point to greet customers and make sure they are glad they came. Most diners would agree both the food and service have been top-notch.

That’s About It…Be Seeing You