Georgetown College was Scott County’s big newsmaker in 2019 with a national championship, a new administration and an innovative plan to build good will and enrollment.
The year of 2019 will be remembered as a year of big changes with a new high school, a new county judge-executive and a big change in the model lineup at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky.
Even so, Georgetown College managed to stay in the headlines throughout the year starting with its third NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship in March.
Still stinging from an overtime loss in the 2016 title game, Georgetown College cruised to an easy 68-48 win over Carroll College. The Tigers have been in the national championship game seven times, including three under current coach Chris Briggs.
In May, Dr. M. Dwaine Greene retired as Georgetown College president and the search for his successor continued until late June when William A. Jones was named the college’s 25th president. Jones arrived at Georgetown from Bethany College in Kansas, but is a Berea College graduate.
An early Christmas gift for seniors and their parents arrived in December when Jones announced over several weeks free tuition for 2020 graduating seniors from Scott, Franklin, Casey and Owen counties. The Legacy and Legends Scholarship, worth about $160,000, begins in the fall of 2020 and is up for renewal in 2030.
In March, Toyota officials announced a $238 million investment to start building Lexus and RAV4 hybrids. The move was made possible because of investments made to the plant enabling adjustments from one model to another more easily than in the past. Although the Camry remains one of America’s best selling cars, trends indicate consumers are moving towards SUVs and hybrid model vehicles are also gaining in popularity. The RAV4 is on the Camry’s heels as Toyota’s best selling vehicle.
Other major Scott County news stories in 2019:
— Great Crossing High School opened in August as the county’s second high school. The school was built at a cost of about $90 million to manage overcrowding issues at Scott County High School and opened with 1,430 students. The athletic teams are called Warhawks and the school’s opening has set up a number of “first” rival encounters with SCHS. Along with the school was an impressive athletic complex.
— Joe Pat Covington was sworn in as the judge-executive of the Scott County Fiscal Court succeeding George Lusby who retired after 29 years as county judge-executive.
— In June, a Kentucky State Police report revealed Scott County Sheriff’s Deputy Jaime Morales was struck by friendly fire while attempting to capture a suspected serial bank robber in September 2018. Morales, who was paralyzed in the shooting, has since sued the City of Georgetown and its police department alleging he was struck by a bullet fired by a GPD officer. Morales has been hired as a special deputy with the sheriff’s office.
— Scott County High School basketball coach Billy Hicks reaches 1,000 wins. Hicks is the winningest basketball coach in Kentucky and one of the winningest coaches in the United States. Hicks retired following the end of the 2018-19 basketball season. Tim Glenn was named as his successor.
— In May, Erin Ball, a language arts teacher at Georgetown Middle School was named the Kentucky Teacher of the Year. Ball is in her fifth year teaching in Scott County.
— The Georgetown City Council approved two historic pieces of legislation in 2019. In July, a syringe exchange program which allows drug users to exchange used needles for new syringes was approved. The program is designed to create a relationship between drug users and public health experts as well as prevent used needles from being left behind in parks and other public areas.
Later in the year, the council became the 13th Kentucky city to approve a fairness Ordinance. The bill protects LGBTQ individuals from discrimination in employment, housing and other public accommodations.
Mike Scogin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.