The Nicest Place in Kentucky: Winchester
NICEST PLACES IN AMERICA 2019 FINALIST
A friendly town gets into an unfriendly battle with polluters, and wins!
The trash heap was just down the road—a year’s worth of yard waste from a local landscaper, soaked in oil to keep it smoldering, “a pile as big as our house,” local Lori Moore recalls. The soot and fumes were a problem for the neighbors and their children, so the community of banded together and took action.
It was a long, tough fight, eventually involving the fire department and local government officials, but the folks who live in the neighborhood persevered.
“Everybody had everybody’s back,” Moore says of Winchester, a blue-collar town of about 20,000 people just 20 miles from thriving Lexington and best known as the home of the state’s signature soda, a ginger-citrus mix called Ale-8-One.
Business owner Karl Crase knows Winchester’s spirit well. His restaurant, a local landmark called Halls on the River, sits a few miles from Moore’s house. When the occasional flood swamps the place (“It turns into ‘Halls IN the River,’” he says with a laugh), Crase knows he can count on his neighbors for help.
“We don’t have to lean on them, but they show up,” he says. “We had one guy carrying a canoe on his lawnmower.”
With the burning yard waste taken care of, it’s on to the next neighborhood cause, like finding a home for a tubby stray named Bob the Cat. Moore’s daughter took him in, and—spoiler alert—he’s still tubby.
It’s blue skies, clean air, and a good home for stray cats once again for what Moore calls “one of those neighborhoods where when people leave, they eventually come back.”
When there is a need, lost pet, or an incident or emergency people pitch in. We check in on each other and we keep alerts if any arise from disturbances or activities of concern.
Out side water spigot was busted and a neighbor pitched in to stop the leak. When dogs go missing, we all jump in to help at all hours—and this has happened a few times.
A guy down the highway was illegally burning making everyone sick, including some elderly and some children with health issues. We all got together and got it stopped. It left ashes and black soot. It was dangerous.
A guy not from area tried to open a car door on a mom and her kids at 10:00 p.m. and we all banded together and went on a search for him to try to catch him. We even joined together to save a stray cat named Bob and got him fixed and a home.
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