Have you read The Journal Enterprise lately? You really should.

Beginning with the expanded news coverage and on through the community/county culture pictures that are worth at least a thousand words, down to the poignant life reminders in The JE's news editor Matt Hughes Staff Stuff column, this small town-America newspaper may well be on it's way to winning a Pulitzer Prize.

This week's December 2014 Christmas edition is chock full of Christmas events from around the county, along with its colorful, creative "Wishes for the Christmas Season" advertisements that ring true the new marketing rep Todd P'Poole's marketing savvy.

A glimpse of things to come for The JE are the mentioned Relish and American Profile supplements, adding more reasons to subscribe to its paper edition and bringing back excitement of days gone by, a desire to rush out to the stands to get the first copy, hot off the press.

Readers will also find great local sports coverage with close-up action shots and a dedicated "Athlete of the Week" spotlight. Charlie Hust having more time to focus on his sports coverage talent is evidence the new ownership by The Kentucky New Era was a great move for The JE with it's foundation dating back to 1899 starting as The Dixon Journal.

My favorite highlight of the week was at the end of the Staff Stuff column. Hughes says, "My Christmas wish for all of you (and myself) is that we can slow down this holiday season! Spend some time with the people who matter most to us and don't worry about the clock."

To subscribe to the paper or view The Journal Enterprise online edition, click here.

Love Story Began Over Lunch

by Stephanie Brown --

Those that know me well know I am truly a lover of  a good romance book or movie. I have read  or watched  such great love stories like Gone with the Wind and  The Notebook  so many times I can pretty well quote the pages or the script. However, something that is nearer and dearer to my heart, yes even more so than the characters Scarlett and Rhett and Noah and Allie, is when the love story is about two people you actually know, and are family. Recently, we were blessed to hear the love story of Terry’s parents Earl and Susie Brown.

It all began with a boxed lunch auction at Dixon Elementary School. When farmer boy from Lisman heard that the lunch prepared by Susie Mooney was up next he began reaching into his pockets for money. Susie’s boxed lunch was a popular one so Earl Brown paid a whole entire five dollars( he swears every penny he had to his name) to own it. For five dollars, Earl got the boxed lunch made up of a potted meat sandwich, a bag of chips, a sweet treat, and an apple. This apple would be the only thing the nervous teenage boy could actually eat, as he also got to sit with Susie after his purchase. Everyone that knows and loves this couple knows he must have been really nervous.
 Not only is Susie a great baker of sweets , but also Earl has always had a huge sweet tooth. He must have had major butterflies in his stomach to pass up one of Susie’s delicious treats. After Earl finished the apple, he asked if he could take then fifteen year old Susie home. Not only did she agree, but Earl also had to take her little brother home as well  as Susie. After attending countless ball games and  watching movies at the local drive-ins,  this couple was  engaged and later wed a year after that boxed lunch purchase on  January 24,1964.
After surviving six house moves, purchasing ten cars and six trucks, raising two sons, feeding countless pet dogs as well strays and enjoying four grandchildren, this couple has stayed together through it all for fifty years.
 Something to celebrate for sure…. Especially treasured in today’s world. But it took a bit of convincing Earl by sons Terry and Craig to have this golden celebration, so time became a factor.
Could a 50th wedding reception be planned, decorated, and enjoyed in just three short weeks?
 I am happy and pleased to say thanks to some wonderful reception resources (many of them right here in Webster County) Earl and Susie Brown’s reception was beautiful and will always be a day not only they will remember but also their family and friends.

Webster County Cross Country Wins Top Honors at Regional Meet; Whitsell Wins Regional Crown

by Deb Ryan, editor --

The Webster County cross country teams won top honors in the Kentucky High School Athletics Association (KHSAA) state cross country championships for the Class 2A Region 1 meet held at Marshall County High School in Benton, Kentucky this past Saturday. 

Photo credit: Marilyn Ware @ Facebook
The boys’ squad, with a score of 22 points, nearly tripled Calloway’s score for the regional championship win, while the girls’ squad finished only three points behind Fort Campbell, to win second place, qualifying both teams to compete in the state meet next week in Lexington.

Webster County’s top five runners placed in the top ten of the regional 5,000 meter race. 
Webster County senior Iszack Whitsell finished in first place, winning the  boys’ regional crown with a comfortable time of 16:55.70, nearly a minute  ahead of second place runner Chase Oxford of Union County. However,  Union County did not have a full team, disqualifying Oxford for second place.
For the boys’ squad, Mitchell Shelton moved into second place winning  runner with a time of 18:03.80. Webster County runners Ronin Periard earned third place, Trevor Cole, sixth place and Preston Glazebrook, tenth place.
Boys' coach: Todd Whitsell 
Boys running:  

Iszack Whitsell, Mitchell Shelton, Ronin Periard, Trevor Cole, Preston Glazebrook, Robert Daughtery  and Nolan Petit

Photo credit: Marilyn Ware @Facebook
For the girls’ squad, Ali Cherry was Webster’s number four runner, taking fourth place at 21:43.10. Hadley Mitchell placed fifth at 21:51.20, with Kaile Branson clocking in at 22:03.70 for seventh place.  

Girls' coach: Brandye Whitsell
Girls running:   

Ali Cherry, Hadley Mitchell, Chandler Cole, Kaile Branson, Paige Tapp, Hannah Pritchett and  Colleen Glazebrook

For more information about Kentucky High School cross country teams, see:

Thank you Webster County: A Guest Post by, The Messenger's Sports Reporter, Mike Stunson

For a fresh-out-of-college 22-year-old, arriving in the Hopkins County area in August 2011 was a bit of an adjustment.

I didn't know a soul and was honestly nervous about what was in store for me.

But the people of Webster County, whether it be the students, coaches, or parents, have helped make this nearly two-year experience so worthwhile.

As most of you know, I am borderline-obsessed with Twitter — that's the best way for me to get my name out there.

I've been on Twitter for over four years, but it wasn't until fall 2012 where I think people in the area began to notice. That's when my followers came in flurries, with Webster County people always being the ones to communicate with me more, despite knowing that as a Messenger reporter my allegiances have to fall with Madisonville-North Hopkins and Hopkins County Central before Webster.

Some of the most interesting and warm-hearted people I've come across in my two years here have been from Webster, such as 2012 Trojan grad Jacob Scott, who to this day has been my favorite student-athlete to cover.

Others that come to mind are Dan Boswell and Kolbi Edens.

And the connections I've built with coaches in the past two years, most especially with the Lady Trojan basketball team, have been so helpful for me.

I never expected my name to be chanted during a basketball game by a student section, but that's what happened last winter at a Trojan game.

In a way, I feel like a part of this big Webster County family, and it's always been a great feeling for me.
I always wanted to be a journalist, dating back do to my middle-school days when I realized I probably wasn't going to be a professional basketball player.

And now, as people like to tell me all the time, I'm apparently a celebrity in these parts. I never asked for that, as I'm just trying to do my best to provide high-school sports coverage. I feel honored that the people in Hopkins and Webster counties speak so highly of me.

I don't know what the future has in store for me. I'd be lying if I said I want to stay in this area permanently. But no matter where I'll go, I'll always be checking up on how all the student-athletes from the area are doing. Some are destined for big things in the sports world, while others are going to make it big in their respective professions.

I can honestly say that communicating with people from across the area and learning their stories has helped shape me to become the man I am today. There are so many amazing people in Webster County, and a lot have been inspirations for me.

More than anything, this post is a thank you to the people in Webster. You all have made this job so much more enjoyable for me, and I am extremely grateful.

Editor's note: I became acquainted with Mike through Twitter in the winter of 2012, as I was seeking to follow Webster County students, coaches, teachers, parents, etc. Mike has impressed me with his professionalism and excellent reporting/coverage of sports. I have learned a lot about engaging on Twitter from Mike, and I've been entertained by many of his random tweets that so timely break the routine of life. Whatever Mike Stunson does with the rest of his career will be awesome. He has definitely made an indelible impression on Webster County that will long be remembered.

The Clay Zephyr

Raymond Turner
-- by Jordan Turner--

To some, it was probably just another gas station. To me, it was a part of my life, though it had been for only six or seven years. The Clay Zephyr opened in 1970 on South Main Street, one block from the blinking red light of the four-way stop. My Grandfather, Raymond Turner, had been hired to manage it.

For 20 years, it was a big part of his life and ours. He would be up each morning at 5 a.m. to open the station and would be back at 9 p.m. that night to close the station. He never took a vacation of more than a day or two during those years. He lived and breathed the Clay Zephyr. 

When the Clay Zephyr opened, gas was 32 cents a gallon. During the gas wars of the 1970s, gas prices would fall to only 25 cents per gallon. 

My mother, Cindy, remembers pumping gas at the Zephyr when she was only eight years old. By the age of 12, she would run the station by herself, at times. She wasn’t the only one either. Her older brother, Dunie; sister, Lori; and younger brothers, Terry and Robert; also worked there. Just about every teen boy in town had their first job there.

The station consisted of two islands with two pumps on each island. One island was self-service and the other was full service. This was back in a time when gas station attendants would come out and pump your gas, clean your windshield, and check your oil. The days before places like the Seven Eleven stores. The only drinks sold there were in the vending machines outside, and the only food items sold were snacks like prepackaged chips and peanut butter and crackers.

There was no counter and no cash register. The attendants carried a roll of money in their pockets to make change. No separate men and women’s restrooms were available, and there was no air conditioning. All that was inside the building was my grandfather’s desk, a restroom inside and one outside (though, I don’t remember the one outside ever actually working) and a fan. It was an old-fashioned corner gas station.

Driving was about the only fun thing to do on Friday nights and the Zephyr was part of the main drag. I’ve heard that people would drive from there to the Pantry (which also no longer exists) and back again; over and over again.

Reading some comments on Facebook on a picture I posted of my grandfather, many people have some great memories of it as well. One person commented that they would have donuts there while waiting for the school bus. Others have said how they would stop there just to hang out and chat with him.

Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond his control, my grandfather lost the Zephyr in 1991. Another person was brought in to run it. It stayed open for a few more years, but no one else could keep it alive. It was eventually sold, and a store was opened up in it, which also didn’t last long.

Sometime later, someone set up a taco stand on the property and set up picnic tables where the vending machines and ice used to be. Every time I’d see the building it just looked worse and worse. It was like watching a member of my family die.

I’ve had a few dreams where I’d buy it, fix it up, and reopen it. Now it’s no longer there. When I learned that it had been torn down, I felt like crying. Now if I ever go by that spot when I’m visiting Webster County, I think, “It just doesn’t look right.” As they say, time marches on. But sometimes, I would really enjoy it if time could just stop for a little bit.