As every student can attest, nothing will prepare you for the future quite like someone who has been in your shoes. For the students of Thomas Nelson, they were treated with a day to interact with various alumni from the last several years, just ahead of their winter break.
On the Tuesday before the school let out for the holiday break, a group of nearly 40 alumni gathered at the high school to connect with students. Assistant Principal Amy Rucci said the alumni were grouped into various Care and Connect groups to chat with students and talk about their time at Thomas Nelson High School, citing many of the most recent graduates are the ones who come back.
“I want them to be experienced for our seniors and juniors and then also give some insight to our freshmen that are brand new and say, ‘OK, this is what I should have done as a freshman,’ ” Rucci said. “And so I know in my Care and Connect, I had two seniors that came back, well two alumni … and they talked to the freshmen to let them know these are some things that we wish we had done as a freshman.”
Christin Roberson, backpack leader at Thomas Nelson, said one alumnus was able to show her Care and Connect students that not everyone is bound for college. Roberson said the former student is currently preparing to become a firefighter. She also praised the alumni for jumping back into their former community to give important perspective.
“They were kind of swapping stories and shared challenges about research projects and the experiences that they’re having in class that are challenging them, but then in the end kind of seeing the other side of that like, ‘Oh, this is worth it,’ ” she said. “… (A)nd basically the main message from alumni was seize the opportunities that are here at Thomas Nelson and realize that, you know, time is not infinite. They’ve got to use the time they have wisely and make the mistakes now. It’s OK to make mistakes and you learn from them.”
In addition, their Care and Connect alumni session, Rucci said two former students approached her about speaking with students about how to prepare for college. Class of 2021 graduate Sarah Vincent and Class of 2022 graduate Ella Wooton offered to speak with current juniors and seniors about things they wished they had known before going to college. The duo also had class of 2020 alum Caroline Thomas and class of 2022 Donovan Willis.
“We just decided that there were several things that we wished we would have known when we went to college,” Vincent said. “We thought that if we could just help one person then it would be worth it. We just put together some things that we wished we’d known and the advice that we have.”
The quartet focused on everything from what you need to know about applying to college to living in dorms to putting academics first. Vincent said the most important aspect that she wanted the students to get out of their presentation was that every student feels as lost as they do on day one.
In their own personal college experience, they each emphasized finding your own place within the college/university. They encouraged the students to seek out things they loved and said there is likely an organization out there that fits.
“Making friends in high school is much different than college,” Wooton said. “One thing that I wasn’t really prepared for going to college, like I was a very personal person in high school. And going from high school where you get the same people every single day. You have the same classes with them all year long. It’s a lot different than college because you go from school with like, 700 kids to 22,000 people.”
Rucci praised her former students for their presentation and said they gave many of the students the opportunity to hear about their future from someone who had been in their shoes. She said she was proud of them for coming and presenting for their fellow students and the messages they left behind.
The county saw several areas affected with Monday night’s and Tuesday morning’s heavy rain, leading to flash flooding. Bloomfield, New Haven and Boston were three of the most heavily affected areas, with some citizens needing water rescue services because of the rising water levels.
Nelson County Dispatch received several calls Tuesday morning, starting at 5:38 a.m., following heavy rainfall with drivers going into flood zones and trapping their vehicles. Communications Director Shawn Gaither said within just one hour dispatch services received more than 30 calls related to standing water and flooding, which did not include the seven rescues that took place across the county.
“Basically this (Tuesday) morning dispatch was inundated with multiple calls of people that had crossed into flood zones and got their vehicles stuck,” Gaither said. “Several of them had to be rescued. One lady that I do know of was swept away in her car. She was retrieved later safely.”
In the early morning hours, Northeast Nelson Fire Department received multiple calls by 8:30 a.m. Tuesday morning regarding trapped vehicles. Chief Ted Shields said the department had also received a call regarding a detached propane tank near the area, which they were able to locate by 2 p.m.
“Our initial call came in as a stranded motorist at about 1,000 block of Springfield Road,” Shields said. “That quickly turned into about four stranded motorists. We requested City of Bardstown Fire for mutual aid. They began working on the south side of Springfield Road at the intersection of Bloomfield Road. And in conjunction with them, we were able to get all those personnel out.”
In addition, to the multiple calls within Northeast Nelson County, the fire department also aided Spencer County. Shields said once they were able to secure Springfield Road, they sent two engines to the Little Union and Graves Run Road area for a water rescue.
“This is the first major flooding we’ve seen since (the road) was reworked by the highway department four or five years ago, but it is still susceptible, if you get as much rain as we have,” he said.
Rolling Fork Fire Department Chief Taylor Skaggs said much of the area surrounding the Rolling Fork River saw substantial flooding Tuesday morning. Thankfully, the department only received one call for a water rescue near the area of Nat Rogers Road and Patton Road. He said the vehicle was driving through a flooded area when a log went under the vehicle, sending the car into the ditch.
Residents of Boston and New Haven saw high water levels blocking the roadways early Tuesday morning. Prior to sunrise, residents near Boston reported high water levels on Ky. 52/Nelsonville Road near Ky. 46. However, by mid-morning, Skaggs said as the rain began to lull they would encounter new problems.
“The biggest problem as of now is water has went down and there is a lot of debris in the roadways,” he said. “With water levels dropping there is going to be debris over the roadways. Just use caution and watch for big debris and loose gravel.”
Nelson County Emergency Services also alerted county residents to emergency shelter options. Joe Prewitt NCES Director said as soon as he received the National Weather Service alert at 5 a.m. Tuesday, he prepared for the flood to come. He opened the Civic Center on South Third Street to those in need of sanctuary from the rain.
“We had three ambulances out doing the same kind of survey, ‘Do you need me?’ type of thing,” Prewitt said. “One of them was at the rescue Shawn (Gaither) was referring to and (we) just stood by there in case there was a need. Luckily everybody came out OK … Everybody is just vigilant that this is happening.”
With more heavy rainfall in the forecast for the rest of the week, both Skaggs and Shields agree it is safer to turn around than drive into standing water. Skaggs leaned on the side of caution for residents of his jurisdiction, urging them to be safe and use due regard.
Prewitt urged drivers to remember it’s much easier to spot flooded roadways in the daylight rather than during the night. Gaither said if you see high water level, do not try to drive you vehicle into these puddles of standing water. He noted that what may often look like slow-moving water could be the opposite, which puts drivers at risk.
“If you cannot see the pavement, do not attempt to go through the water, especially at night,” Shields said. “Of course, now that it’s daylight, it’s a little bit better, but particularly at night when you cannot see the surface of the road, it’s very difficult to gauge the depth of the water. Most people are really unaware of how forceful moving water is and that it doesn’t take a lot to sweep a car or even a passenger truck off the roadway. It’s not worth the risk that you’re taking. The best advice I can give them is turn around, don’t drown.”
For Bernard Ice, his time as the District Three Magistrate began in 1985 following an unopposed run in the November election. Thirty-seven years later, Ice is saying goodbye to the role that made a major impact not just in his life, but to the greater Nelson County community.
In nearly four decades in office, Ice and the Nelson County Fiscal Court ushered in changes that shaped the way the county has grown. However, looking back to his earliest years on the court, Ice said he had always been a part of leadership and knew in 1985 the county was due for changes.
“Well, so many things that needed to get done wasn’t getting done,” he said. “I and other members and the judge, we felt that things needed to change, so we did.”
Running unopposed for District Three in the election, Ice served his first term alongside Judge-Executive Mike Abell, Joe Eddie Mouser, Raymond Greer, Joe Evans and Glynn K. Cheatham. He reflected on those early years on the court and now mourns those members who have passed away in the years since.
“The road department — most people in the road departments were on welfare,” he said. “And we didn’t want that to happen. We changed that and gave them a good raise and modern equipment. Back then we didn’t have any mandatory garbage and none of that existed, so we called it into effect … The county didn’t even own a garbage collection or any of that when I took office. The landfill that was out there was city-ran and they were going out of business. And so we decided in 20 minutes and the rest of it is history.”
Ice recalls one of his main priorities when he first began was giving the citizens of District Three paved roads. Another big-ticket item for him was getting accessible water to everyone in the county, now proudly proclaiming, “Everybody has city water now in my district. Basically countywide.”
Former Judge Executive Dean Watts served alongside Ice for more than 28 years. Watts said the former magistrate was always a team player and was one of the most open-minded people that he has known.
“Probably his best trait and one many of us do not have is Bernard is a good listener,” Watts said. “Most of us react and start talking right away, but he absorbs things and then he speaks. That is a trait that most of us don’t have.”
Watts said looking to the future, it will be hard for someone to be elected as many times as Ice. He said he knew Ice came to the court to better the people in his district and set out to get things done year after year for those around him.
“And he made sure his district was represented on fiscal court by getting blacktop and water and other projects that need to be done in that district,” Watts said. “So he provided, I guess, a reason for people to continue to vote at that, but he was very productive.”
Ice himself said his goal was to bring the people the things they needed. He said in each election he went door to door campaigning to hear what the citizens of District Three needed. He recalls the times they began to pave some of the roads, several constituents commended Ice for staying true to his promises.
“And I stopped by and was paving in front of her house that day,” Ice said. “You could just kinda see how happy she was and those things like that can make you feel good. I had another gentleman; I was over paving his road. The guy had come down and hugged me. I never had someone hug me and I said, ‘What’s going on?’ He said ‘You come back and asked me for a vote. You didn’t lie to me. You told me to try and that’s what you did is you said you’d try.’ Those two answers, it’s really making me feel good.”
After serving his community for the last four decades, Ice said he knew it was time to pass the torch to someone else. He said he has seen Nelson County grow since 1985, in population and industry, and Ice said he is proud of the work he has done.
Ice will be remembered for his many years of dedication to the court, his district and county as one of the lasting pioneers bringing Nelson County to the forefront. In July 2022, Ice was honored by Watts for his years of service by naming the fiscal court room the “Bernard E. Ice Room.”
Earlier last week, Ice’s successor, M.T. Harned, was sworn in along with the other members of the new Nelson County Fiscal Court. Ice said now he is looking for to letting the new group of magistrates continue to move the county forward while he takes a step back to enjoy his time with his family.
“I’m ready,” he said. “It’s time and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”
It’ll only take a blizzard to cancel the upcoming special Sunday, Jan. 8 show at Joel Ray’s Lincoln Jamboree.
Sunday, Jan. 8 is symbolic for several reasons.
Elvis Aaron Presley or simply Elvis was born on Jan. 8, 1935. A singer and actor, he was dubbed the “King of Rock and Roll”, and was regarded as one of the most significant cultural figures of the 20th century. His energized interpretations of songs and sexually provocative performance style, combined with a singularly potent mix of influences across color lines during a transformative era in race relations, led him to both great success and initial controversy. He died on Aug. 16, 1977.
On Jan. 8, 1978, original owner of the Jamboree Joel Ray Sprowls purchased an Elvis suit and had Eddie Miles do his first Elvis concert to a sold-out crowd at the Lincoln Jamboree. While the show was going on the Blizzard of 1978 began, and before the show was over several feet of snow had fallen, which began a stretch of the most consecutive days with one or more inches of snow on the ground, occurring for 63 days from Jan. 8 until March 11, 1978.
Eddie Miles has been a staple and regular performed at the Jamboree since, but that 1978 performance started his career with his own show in Pigeon Forge and regular shows in Las Vegas and Branson, Missouri.
His performances at the Jamboree are done with soundtracks, but for one time only for the 45th anniversary of this memorable performance, Miles will return to the stage with four of the original five band members playing a live performance. Band members Wayne Sexton, Ronnie Benningfield, Lou Bingham and Camille Bingham all performed in 1978 along with Charles Durham, who passed away November of 2021. Miles’ brother will play drums, filling Durham’s vacancy.
To add to the show, Miles will perform this one time only in the leather Elvis suit and the show will open just like it did in 1978.
Kentucky’s Finest Family Style Restaurant, located inside the Jamboree, will be open with 1978 featured priced meals for the commemorative anniversary performance.
Seats are limited for the 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 8 performance at Joel Ray’s Lincoln Jamboree located at 2579 Lincoln Farm Road in Hodgenville. Call the box office at (270) 358-3545 for ticket information.