The biggest story of 2020 will likely be the biggest story at the start of 2021 — the pandemic and COVID-19.

But in Scott County, 2020 began routinely, if not quietly. There were rumors of a strange, new virus that began in China and was moving across Europe, but here, the new virus seldom entered any conversation in January. That would soon change.

Here is a month-by-month look back at 2020, the year we would all like to forget but the year we will always remember.

 

JANUARY:Scott County Deputy Jaime Morales, who was paralyzed in the line of duty, files a motion to have his civil lawsuit against the Georgetown Police Department and the City of Georgetown moved to Woodford County; commentary writer Joe Neville won the prestigious Eclipse Award; Ni’Karri Skal Raglin was the first baby of the year born at Georgetown Community Hospital on Jan. 2 at 8:45 p.m. She weighed 6 pounds and 15 1/2 ounces; The RAV4 Hybrid begins production at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky (TMMK); veteran firefighter Jonnie Jacobs dies 14 months after a double lung transplant; Mayor Tom Prather unveils a city report that shows its first responders are under paid based upon a survey of peer cities; Sunday alcohol sales begin.

 

FEBRUARY: The Weisenberger Mill Bridge is reopened; Oma Brawner celebrates her 100th birthday; the $9 million communication system for Scott County’s first responders goes online; Scott County Schools Superintendent Dr. Kevin Hub’s contract is extended through June 2022;  Dr. Crystal Miller, WEDCO Public Health Director said she is pleased with the progress of the county’s syringe exchange program after six months; some 700 students and 100 faculty and staff missed school due to the flu forcing Scott County Schools to close Feb. 6,7; The Scott County Courthouse clock tower cupola is removed for repairs; In his State of the City address Prather said the “city is strong, but faces challenges”; Georgetown Police Department struggles with a manpower shortage; Georgetown College receives a $1 million gift from the James A. and Martha R. Brown Charitable Foundation; 2020 Kentucky Teacher of the Year Erin Ball focuses on teacher recruitment; Sheena Baxter goes missing on Valentine’s Day and her body is eventually discovered in a storage facility in Richmond. Joseph Hicks, an ex-boyfriend, is arrested and charged with her murder; Gov. Andy Beshear says he is keeping a close eye on the outbreak of a coronavirus that is spreading across the world, and has now reached the U.S.; Georgetown College receives its second $1 million gift in less than two weeks. This gift is from an anonymous source.

 

MARCH: Scott County Schools announces its enrollment will exceed 10,000 students during the 2020-21 school year; Scott County and Great Cross high school graduations are moved to Birds Nest Stadium because of limited capacity in each school’s auditorium; SCHS Cardinals return to Sweet 16; Prather warns the city must raise taxes in order to provide salary increases and staffing levels for first responders; the state’s first two confirmed cases of COVID-19 are in Cynthiana; the Georgetown College basketball Tigers are looking to repeat as NAIA champions and are expected to enter the tournament as favorites; Schools, courts, sporting events, churches and many public activities are postponed as fears of COVID-19 spread; Restaurants are limited to drive-through only due to COVID-19 precautions; Georgetown and Scott County declare a State of Emergency due to COVID-19 shutdowns; The Sweet 16 and NAIA basketball tournaments are cancelled due to the pandemic; TMMK cancels all production; the county’s first COVID-19 case is confirmed; State Rep. Savannah Maddox files a bill to restrict Gov. Beshear’s executive orders during the pandemic; Georgetown’s budget and the city’s plans to address salary and manpower shortfalls of first responders is a victim of the virus, said Prather. The city expects to have to use its reserves to continue to provide services.

 

APRIL: Georgetown College graduate Dr. Keith Jerome is at the forefront of developing tests to detect COVID-19; $37 million is approved by the state to build a new judicial center in Scott County; shoppers are limited to one per household due to COVId-19 restrictions; TMMK extends its shutdown and releases 1,800 temporary workers; a community prayer service is held in the Georgetown Community Hospital for caregivers in the wake of the pandemic; Scott County Fiscal Court pushes for a roundabout at the intersection of Long Lick Pike and the new bypass; Easter services continue despite pandemic; a lack of sewage capacity may hinder development at Lane Run Business Park; TMMK begins production of commercial grade face shields for health care facilities during the pandemic; high school proms are cancelled due to the pandemic; Scott County Schools plan graduation ceremonies despite pandemic; the county anticipates a $5.3 million shortfall due to the pandemic shutdown; COVID-19 is quiet in Scott County but all neighboring counties are struggling; TMMK announces it will restart production May 4; AMEN House reports food requests have increased 59 percent since the pandemic shutdown; School system looks at ways to celebrate high school seniors; decision is made to hold virtual high school graduations; Kimberly Rice is named director of the Georgetown/Scott County Parks and Recreation Department; community leaders create the Scott County Community Relief Fund to help during the pandemic.

 

MAY: Georgetown College moves its graduation to July and distributes funds it received from the CARES Act to most full time, residential students; health science physician Zack Gregory of Georgetown creates personal protection equipment for health care workers; state begins to reopen but Gov. Beshear warns that masks must be worn; TMMK establishes new safety protocols as it reopens during the pandemic; schools help high school seniors celebrate with yard signs; Gov. Beshear releases the Healthy at Work  protocols as businesses and other public events begin to reopen; Georgetown anticipates a $2 million budget shortfall for 2019-20 as it develops the city’s 2020-21 budget; WEDCO begins offering COVID-19 testing; Fayette County Health Department communications officer Kevin Hall is at the center of the coronavirus storm;  News-Graphic announces it will change its publication schedule to Tuesday/Friday in June; Kentucky as One music project including Jeff Everman of Georgetown released an inspirational video; school board plans late July in-person graduation for seniors; the Central Kentucky Landfill application for expansion is rejected by a state environmental board; ER nurse Miranda Florence goes to New York City to help during pandemic; fiscal court approves “zero capacity” for Central Kentucky Landfill in its revision of the county’s Solid Waste Management Plan; retailers adapt as they reopen for in-person sales; Scott County’s population has grown 21 percent since 2010, according to U.S. Census estimates; Scott County election officials prepare for an election in the midst of a pandemic; Larken Barnes is named SCHS valedictorian; Emily Bevins is named GCHS valedictorian; SCHS, GCHS and Phoenix Horizon hold virtual graduation ceremonies; Georgetown projects a $4.1 million deficit in its 2020-21 city budget.

 

JUNE: Eric Colson is named chief of the Georgetown Fire Department; the county experiences five overdose deaths in two weeks; the Scott County Fair is cancelled; peaceful protests are held in Georgetown because of the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd at the hands of police officers in Louisville and Minnesota; Pauline Duncan celebrates her 103rd birthday; Georgetown Police Chief Michael Bosse called the Minnesota officers’ actions in Floyd’s death, ‘inappropriate’; construction of a roundabout at the intersection of Long Lick Pike and the new bypass begins, forcing the closure of Long Lick Pike; State Sen. Damon Thayer says Kentucky businesses need to reopen faster after pandemic shutdown; another peaceful protest of police brutality brings larger crowds as they march through downtown, several law enforcement officers participate; Georgetown College announces it expects to hold in-person classes in the fall; a shooting at Southern Oaks Apartments leaves two people injured; Georgetown and Scott County expect to receive up to $4.3 million from the federal CARES Act; parades are held for the graduating classes of SCHS, GCHS and Phoenix Horizon; the Georgetown Municipal Water and Sewer System board considers giving priority to job creation projects; early voting lines have been steady and a record number of mail-in ballots have been requested for the June primary; the fiscal court signs a contract with Shepherd’s House to help jail inmates with addiction issues and to ease jail overcrowding; New York Times lists Scott County as a COVID-19 ‘hot spot; Chris Castle competes in virtual World Round-up skateboarding competition; prayer rally at Ed Davis Park starts conversation on racism; Scott County Schools releases plans to hold in-person classes starting Aug. 26; June primary goes ’smooth,’ according to election officials; fiscal court passes resolution prohibiting an solid waste disposal in county; Jenny Evans of Evans Orchard and Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles sue Gov. Beshear over pandemic restrictions; school board announces plans to build a new Scott County High School with ground breaking to be held in July 2021.

 

JULY: Brandon Remley retires as director of the Scott County Emergency Medical Service after 21 years; Attorney General Daniel Cameron joins the lawsuit filed by Quarles and Evans Orchard in their lawsuit against Beshear’s pandemic restrictions; a temporary restraining order is issued on behalf of Quarles and Evans Orchard against Beshear by Scott Circuit Court Judge Brian Privett; Quarles and Miss Kentucky Alex Franche distribute meals to students as part of the Kentucky Hunger Initiative; 

60 businesses received Paycheck Protection Program checks; Judge Privett responds to Beshear’s criticism following his restraining order against the governor; a man is wounded in a shooting in the Northern Heights area; the Festival of the Horse, which is held in September, is cancelled due to the pandemic; the Scott County Detention Center is closed due to a COVID-19 outbreak; the Kentucky Supreme Court refuses to disqualify Judge Privett from presiding over the Quarles-Evans Orchard lawsuit; Georgetown Police Chief Michael Bosse discusses coping with a police department that he says is under staffed and under paid; COVID-19 cases begin to surge in the county; area home sales are red hot, but inventory is historically low.

 

AUGUST: SCHS, GCHS and Phoenix Horizon hold in-person graduation ceremonies; resignations at GPD and GFD add to manpower shortage problems; 33 confirmed cases of COVID-19 are found in a Scott County long-term care facility; the city’s police committee meets to discuss the department’s salary and manpower shortage issues; Georgetown City Council implements a 911 fee that will be attached to GMWSS bills starting in January 2021 to fund the 911 Dispatch Center; Georgetown College begins in-person classes; the county, again, rejects expansion plans submitted by Central Kentucky Landfill; Taytum Hardin, 6, collects aluminum cans to purchase popsicles for GPD; county private schools begin holding in-person classes; some 80-to-100 gunshots are fired at several homes on Marks St. No one was injured although multiple homes were struck. Multiple shooting incidents that had left seven people injured frightened the community; Dover Manor is identified as the long-term care facility with 33 confirmed cases with two deaths; Scott County is identified by the White House as a COVID-19  ‘red zone’; the fiscal court hires a firm to conduct a broadband speed test; Dr. William Jones is officially installed as 25th president of Georgetown College even though he had been in office for more than a year; the COVID-19 death toll reaches four, all from Dover Manor; the city council names a street in honor of decorated Korean War veteran William McIntyre; several local shootings are linked to Lexington homicides, police said; Scott County Schools open with virtual instruction. 

 

SEPTEMBER: A fifth Dover Manor resident dies of COVID-19; the Scott County Detention Center reopens after being closed for six weeks due to a COVID-19 outbreak. There remains several isolated inmates with the coronavirus, said Jailer Derran Broyles but, “We can’t stay closed forever.”; a 78-year-old former Scott County road worker is assaulted and his wallet stolen; pastors Mike Justice and Rodney Mason hold conversations on race and other social issues on Facebook Live; Dover Manor executive director Dustyn Sloan goes on Facebook to say the facility only has three confirmed cases of COVID-19, “…and all are expected to recover.”; A pitch competition at Georgetown College lands a car for the Gathering Place a homeless shelter, thanks to GC graduate Phillpp Hoeper; Quarles is named president of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture; the Scott County 4-H and FFA hold a livestock showcase; three more Dover Manor residents die from COVID-19, according to WEDCO officials. The county’s coronavirus death toll reaches nine, all from Dover Manor; Kentucky Derby is held with no crowd and little media; AMEN House ends clothing giveaway to focus on food services; the second annual Battle of the Birds football game between Great Crossing and Scott County high schools is held with strict attendance limitations. A drive-in screen was set up outside Harmony Christian Church to allow people to watch their game in their cars; two more Dover Manor residents die from COVID-19, pushing the county and Dover Manor’s pandemic death toll to 11; Scott County Schools announce in-person classes will start Oct. 14; a Habitat for Humanity Mission house is remodeled to raise funds to build a vocational school in Uganda; TMMK holds SupeRecycling Day; 11 percent of Scott County voters request main-in ballots for November election; the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services is investigating three complaints against Dover Manor and says it is monitoring the facility; the Georgetown/Scott County Museum holds a new exhibit featuring the farming history of the Cutter family; the county approves a 3 percent raise for its employees; County-Judge-Executive Joe Pat Covington says countywide broadband coverage is a necessity, but warns it is “… not inexpensive.”

 

OCTOBER: GFD fireman Ben Peel completes Kentucky Brotherhood Ride in honor of the late Johnnie Jacobs; GC’s COVID-19 protocols are working.The school has protocols that include testing all students and staff every three weeks and outdoor classes; hundreds turn out for Stamping Ground Church of God’s food giveaway; a man is shot by a Scott County Deputy following a disturbance at a Homestead Estates residence. The man, Chester T. McDonald, 44, was doing some construction work when he got into an altercation, police said; Waste Services of the Bluegrass, Central Kentucky Landfill’s parent company, seeks an injunction against the county’s new Solid Waste Management Plan, which prohibits any solid waste from being dumped in the county; GMWSS general manager Chase Azevedo says the system needs to expand in order to handle the community’s growth; AMEN House holds a food box giveaway;  early voting begins and some1,851 ballots are cast during first two weeks for the November election; the Community Medical Mission is looking for a new home; county’s COVID-19 death toll reaches 19, including 15 from Dover Manor; the pay packages for Georgetown City Council members vary from just less than $13,082 to almost $31,000 depending upon health insurance and other benefits; nearly 20 percent of the county’s voters cast ballots early; the county’s COVID-19 death toll reaches 22; the SCHS band holds a park-n-play concert in the school parking lot.

 

NOVEMBER: County’s COVID-19 incident rate drops to orange; Willow Hambrick and Greg Hampton are elected to the Georgetown City Council joining six incumbents; stone masons David Kenley and Patrick Parker repair the stone wall at Great Crossing Cemetery; WEDCO public health director Dr. Crystal Miller is named Citizen of the Year by the Georgetown/Scott County Chamber in a virtual ceremony. Others who received awards include: Dr. Theo Levenrez, Ambassador of the Year; Legacy Chiropractic, New Business of the Year; Landcal Logistics, Small Business of the Year; AMEN House, Nonprofit of the Year; Commonwealth Credit Union, Business of the Year and Katherine Johnson, Jim Reid Community Award; State Supreme Court upheld Beshear’s emergency regulations although the Quarles/Evans Orchard lawsuit was not included; city council member Karen Tingle-Sames makes a social media post about the presidential election that sparks anger and allegations of racism; county magistrate salaries range from just above $32,000 to just over $49,000; November sees COVID-19 surge in county; State Sen. Damon Thayer and Ag. Commissioner Ryan Quarles push back against Beshear’s new pandemic restrictions; Damou Akbar Bradley is convicted of attempted murder in one of the first county trials held since the pandemic shutdown; Christmas parade is cancelled, tree lighting ceremony held virtual; citizens voice concerns about Tingle-Sames’ social media post during council meeting.

 

DECEMBER: Georgetown Kiwanis Club teams up with Scott County Schools to distribute 55 bicycles and helmets along with 40 boxes of food; The bikes were hand delivered. Normally, the Kiwanis hold a large Christmas party, but that was cancelled due to the pandemic. Funds for the project are normally raised during the Scott County Fair, which was also cancelled, but the Kiwanis dipped into its reserves so the holiday program can continue; plans for distributing COVID-19 vaccines are being formulated’; Thayer said he and the GOP have a mandate to limit the governor’s emergency powers; Olivia, 11, Max and Eli Coyne, 9, start their own bake shop called Moe’s Bake Shop in their kitchen at home; Salvation Army kicks off its Kettle Drive; the bypass is completed months early from Long Lick Pike to U.S. 25. This section completes the bypass which began in the late 1980s; restaurants struggle with COVID-19 restrictions, relying on take-out and drive-thru; construction of the new SCHS is delayed with its opening now set for August 2024; AMEN House holds another food box giveaway; Charlie and Ann Hoffman’s home on Main Street is designated historic by the Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation; Blair Walker is honored by the fiscal court for saving a man’s life at the courthouse; COVID-19 death toll rises to 25; huge surge of COVID-19 cases in December; AMEN House to extend food delivery service to Sadieville in 2021; Georgetown Community Hospital begins vaccinating health care workers who are dealing directly with COVID-19 patients; WEDCO begins providing vaccines for first responders; pharmacies CVS and Walgreens will manage vaccines for nursing homes and long-term care facilities as part of a federal contract; city council swears in its new council; Georgetown assistant police chief Robert Swanigan announces his retirement.

 

Mike Scogin can be reached at mscogin@news-graphic.com.

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