2020 was a tumultuous year with unimaginable hardships for many across Grayson County, the nation, and the world.
It would be impossible to discuss 2020 without discussing COVID-19, an ongoing pandemic that, to date, has claimed over 365,000 American lives and impacted nearly every facet of daily life.
To date, over 1,400 cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in Grayson County, and 40 residents have lost their lives as a result of contracting it. Over 1,200 have recovered, but the number of cases continues to rise, and there have been multiple cases of individuals becoming infected more than once.
In December, Grayson County received its first doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, and, as of this week, nearly 600 individuals have received the vaccine in the county.
Yet, even during a pandemic forcing so many to hit the pause button on much of their lives, time marches forward.
2020 was the first year in memory in which Grayson County graduates were unable to gather for a traditional graduation ceremony, and, instead, took part in a parade through Leitchfield in May, cheered on by supporters, and, one at a time, exited their vehicles to receive their diplomas.
In June, Grayson County lost one of its largest employers, as MTD Products Inc. closed its Leitchfield manufacturing facility. The facility employed 295 people. Officials have reported that the former MTD facility has been sold, but the buyer had not been announced at the time of this publication.
The year also saw Grayson County residents come together to stand in the face of adversity and demand change, as dozens of protesters supporting the nationwide Black Lives Matter movement took to Leitchfield Public Square in June to combat racial injustices.
Similar protests were held across the nation throughout 2020, following the deaths of African Americans such as Louisville, Kentucky EMT Breonna Taylor, who was shot and killed during a police raid of her home, and George Floyd, who died while in the custody of Minneapolis, Minnesota police officers.
The long-awaited renovation of the Leitchfield Public Square courthouse began in September 2020. From its start date, the project was estimated to take eight to 10 months to complete.
And while November’s presidential and congressional elections proved some of the most contentious in recent memory, Grayson County saw a number of changes among its own elected officials as a result of them.
After longtime Councilmen Harold Miller and Kelly Stevenson chose not to seek re-election to the Leitchfield City Council in 2020, new councilmembers Jessica Embry and Carl “Moon” Smith were elected to fill their vacancies. Additionally, Raymond “Tooty” Cottrell, who had resigned from the council in the spring of 2020 due to health reasons, was re-elected in November, earning the most votes among his fellow candidates.
The Clarkson City Commission welcomed a new member to its ranks following November’s General Election, as well. Commissioner Robbie Richardson did not seek re-election last year, so his seat will be filled by write-in candidate Michael Anderson, who received eight votes — one more than fellow write-in candidate and former Clarkson City Commissioner Ed Schott.
The project to renovate the former Rite Aid into a new Leitchfield city hall/police department kicked into high gear in 2020, as well, with an estimated opening date set for late January/early February of this year.