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January 7, 1978 Around Adair with Ed Waggener

The article below first appeared in the January 7, 1978 issue of the Daily Statesman. Topics included the building anticipation for the Inauguration ceremonies, which were bringing media from Louisville and Lexington, the election of "Miss Print" at Waggener-Walker Newspapers, renovations at WAIN, new blood at Central Kentucky Realty, an idea we *still* out to steal from Meigs County, Tennessee, and a history lesson from Former Mayor Ralph Willis. --Pen

By Ed Waggener

Busiest ever in Columbia
The day leading up to the Inauguration has been one of the greatest ones of frenetic activity I've ever seen here. I was told that at various places around the town there were a minimum of 150 people working on the preparation for the events. There were girls making trash cans out of cardboard boxes in the courthouse. The chili was being given the final touch by Master Chef Carl Harris and members of the Rescue Squad. The Reception was being prepared at Lindsey and scores were making last-minute preparations for the floats and parade.

Everybody has helped
It has been an event with the greatest unamimity of spirit I've ever seen exhibited in Columbia. And that bodes well for the New Day the leaders are talking about. Even when Don Moss, the head of the finance committee, asked for funds to help defray the cost of the event the three banks, led by Willard Smith of First Federal, followed by the Bank of Columbia and the First National Bank, each put up $250 apiece to help underwrite the event. That helped. Moss expects to need $2,000 to $3,000 to pay for the event, but he anticipates no problem there.

Miss Print Enclosed
At the newspaper plant, Miss Print was elected. She's pretty Joyce Ann Wisdom, head of the Waggener-Walker Circulation Department. It took money to buy votes for Miss Print, and Miss Wisdom's backers put in the most.

In all $116 was raised by the Miss Print contest to add to the Inaugural Fund being raised by Don Moss.

Mike Murrell, the famous Daily Statesman sports editor, was elected to escort Miss Wisdom. Votes for the escort didn't cost anything, and Ralph Waggener actually won, but he was disqualified when it was discovered that the telephone repairman had stuffed the ballot box for him.

Newsmen here
Ken Hoskins of the Courier-Journal got to town yesterday. And Judge Brock got a call yesterday that the Herald of Lexington would have a representative here today.

Sue Stivers reported that the ticket sales for the banquet and ball were brisk yesterday, and it appeared there would be barely enough to meet the demand. "That's good," Arlene Young said. "People ought to know that they can't take an event in Columbia for granted."

Some wisdom for the event

You learn something every time you do something new. Just ask bone weary Carl Harris. Harris reported that he had bought an $80 pair of fine, pointedy-toed cowboy boots in Alabama. "The only trouble is," Harris admitted, "I got them a size too small. Is there any way that you can stretch boots a size." He was in luck, because that's the thing that Bill Henson knows how to do best. "Just fill the boots with dry corn," henson advised, "then pur the boots full of water. The corn will swell and stretch the boots exactly one size."

New men at Central Kentucky Realty
The first of the year has seen some changes in the real estate business. Barry Myers and Darrell Overstreet have joined Central Kentucky Realty Company, as salesmen. The firm is headed by Colonel Curtis Wilson. Colonel Jessie Loy is a broker and auctioneer with the firm also. The agency operates offices in Columbia and Russell Springs.

W.A.I.N. open house
Radio Station W.A.I.N. is also celebrating today. The radio station will have an open house today from 9a.m. to 4p.m. Radio Station Manager Allan Reed planned the open house to coincide with the Inaugural Activities so that he could get maximum exposure for the station's new look and new equipment. It's a fascination trip to go through the station.

Crossville good lab town
Crossville, Tennessee, is as good a place as I've seen lately, as a model for any town wanting orderly growth. There's hardly a significant area of civic life which is not planned for maximum returns in that community. It's clean everywhere, and the town already has a great industrial base. Lately, they've added an industrial park on the Genesis Road east of town. The water tower for the park is illuminated, and it can be seen easily by the thousands of cars which pass it on Interstate 40. I stopped in a shop there Thursday. The business had won First Place for Landscaping from the Cumberland County (TN) Beautification Committee. I wondered if maybe Columbia wouldn't see greater interest in beautification if there were a committee to pass out awards each year to recognize those who do the most to improve the appearance of the town in several categories. We all like plaques to hang on our walls.

Ought to be in love with his community
I talked with an old friend of the newspapers in Decatur, Tennessee, on Thursday. He's Steve Miller, the youthful president of the Meigs County Bank in Decatur. Steve was aglow about his bank's progress. They had finished out the year up 25 percent in deposits. Assets were up from $7,580,000 to $9,776,000 from December 31, 1976, to December 31, 1977. He was completing the construction of a new bank addition, he was in the process of computerizing the bank, and they had already added a branch bank this year. On top of that the prestigious 1977 Sheshunoff Directory of Banks had ranked his Meigs County Bank as number one among the 111 banks in the under $10 million class in Tennessee in terms of profitability. He was a happy man. I asked him how he had managed to do it. "I'll tell you," he said. "I like my job, and I like this community. I like to drive up and down the roads of the county and see projects we've financed making good. I think that a bank president ought to be in love with his community."

He talks that way
His incessant desire to make that small Tennessee county with the longest shoreline in Tennessee become a better place to live is infectious. To ride through the county and hear him describe the future is to make you want to live there. I thought at the time that that rule, "A bank president ought to be in love with his community," was a good one for other walks of life as well. And that if the heads of government in Adair County-and the other elected officials as well- show the kind of demonstrative love for their community Steve Miller prescribes for bank presidents, and if the business leaders and the citizens (and newspaper writers) become imbued with the same excited romance, then nothing could stop Adair County from achieving all the goals we can envision at this time of great expectation. I think that the puppy love Columbians have shyly admitted for their town is finally being acknowledged in a more adult manner and that we need no longer be modest about being "in love with our community."

Not an "A" on history
I'm getting some corrections on historical references. Former Mayor Ralph Willis called me to tell me that there are actually six living ex-Mayors in Columbia. Besides Mayor Willis, Charles Marshall, Hollis Keltner, J.R. Kerbow, and W.R. Murphy. B.E. "Bunny" Shively served a term in the 1930's. Shively was mayor when the WPA built the concrete streets in town. He won, Mayor Willis said, "When a bunch of boys got together and elected him." Mistakes such as I made make me anxious for a definitive history of Columbia to be written. I'd do it myself, but it would likely be more colorful than accurate. Pete Walker would have approved, but Nancy Berley would shoot me.

This story was posted on 2020-01-19 08:04:42
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She'd win the contest again if it were held today

2020-01-19 - Photo from family collection.
All the fun of the 1978 inauguration preparation included a contest for "Miss Print" from the staff at the newspaper plant. Ed Waggener wrote, "The winner of the title of Miss Print was pretty Joyce Ann Wisdom, head of the Waggener-Walker Circulation Department. In all $116 was raised by the Miss Print contest to add to the Inaugural Fund being raised by Don Moss. Mike Murrell, the famous Daily Statesman sports editor, was elected to escort Miss Wisdom. Votes for the escort didn't bring in any money, and Ralph Waggener was the actual winner, but he was disqualified when it was discovered that the telephone repairman had stuffed the ballot box for him." I think were the contest held today, pretty Joyce Wisdom Pyles would win again! -- LW

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