The Richmond Register

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April 28, 2013

That’s just how it is: Part one

RICHMOND — Now that I’ve announced my retirement, I’m going to share with you some of my most memorable experiences as publisher.

Just remember, I will be poking some fun at some of you, so please don’t take it personally.

If you are mentioned, it just means I respect you as a community member whether you agreed with me or not. I hope to bring you some humor, but also give you food for thought about the future of our community.

This is the first installment of “That’s just how it is”… I felt that was a good name for it because that’s been my philosophy and how I write … so here you go. Enjoy!

I remember the first day I walked in this building as publisher. It was a special day in more ways than one. It was my deceased father-in-law’s birthday who in many ways was the real father I never had.

On that day I was excited, anxious and ready to take on this community and make a difference. I really didn’t know what the future would hold, but as we now know, it’s was an interesting ride.

I remember one of my first close encounters was with Phil Seyfrit. I didn’t know much about this guy who I’ve come to know and respect.

As you know, The Herd and The Colonels had a rich history on the gridiron. He stopped in to talk about something and noticed I was wearing a Marshall University sweater.

I guess that didn’t set well with him. So, Phil looked me square in the eyes and in the most politely way said, “Mr. Lewis (I think that’s what he called me), you just don’t wear that stuff around here.”

I thought to myself … whoa baby … I’ve only been here a short time, hadn’t written anything yet, and I’m already making people mad. I guess it was just a glimpse of what the future held for me.

I responded, “Well, just get me some maroon, and I will wear it.”

Eventually, maroon apparel started showing up, including an EKU tie that I still wear proudly. Even today, I still get razzed about wearing green, but the fact is that I wear much more maroon than green.

When my youngest daughter graduated from EKU, I officially became an EKU dad and I’m proud of it. But make no mistake … I will always bleed Kelly green and that’s just how it is.

When I started writing columns about what is now Paradise Cove, they pushed some folk’s hot buttons, especially former city commissioner Kay Jones.

She called to defend the project and former Mayor Connie Lawson. I remember looking at the caller ID when the phone rang and thought this is going to be interesting.

Jones didn’t like what I had to written … imagine that. Anyway, she informed me that I wasn’t from around here and what gave me the right to write such a column. Of course, I was very professional and respectful in my response; however, when I got off the phone I remember saying to myself what I would have like to said … Commissioner Jones … it’s my job so I can … get over it!

One of the more interesting rumors about me worth writing about came out of the Camp Catalpa fiasco. I always felt that this issue ultimately secured the fate of former Mayor Lawson and the city commissioners.

I wrote several columns about it, but the one just before the 2010 election exposed two rumors in the community. One rumor flying around was that the former city commission had agreed to an out-of-court settlement for $750,000, which became reality. Funny how rumors eventually become fact. I always believe where there is smoke, there is fire. In this case there was fire.

At this same time, a rumor was circulating that if Jim Barnes was elected as mayor, I would become his city manager. Can you imagine if they gave me the keys to the city? I would be looking out those big windows at Main Street thinking to myself … finally, it’s all mine.

I’m just kidding folks; please don’t start any rumors. City Manager Jimmy Howard is not leaving and has done a great job steering the city through rough waters. Besides I’ve been working in a business that has been 24/7, and that’s something I’m not ready to take on anytime soon. But who knows what might happen down the road; anything is possible.

And that’s just how it is.

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