Two weeks ago, Corbin City Commissioner Joe Shelton announced he wouldn’t seek re-election to a seventh term.
He was very gracious and complimentary about his time on the commission as he announced his impending departure. I read with great interest our story about some of the improvements and projects that have happened during his 12 years on the board.
Sometimes, I think, when we constantly think in the moment we don’t really realize or see all the good things that have happened. All the work and effort that got us to this point. I think Corbin is a better place to live now than it was when Joe Shelton first became a commissioner. The list of projects he noted when making his announcement — things like the creekwalk, renovation of the Engineer Street Bridge, The Arena, Sanders Park, miles of sidewalk replacement, etc. — are impressive.
But he left one thing out.
And to me, personally, it is the most important.
Shelton was the ideological force behind the “NIBROC Just Lose It” community weight loss competition. His idea … his dream, so to speak … was that Corbin become the healthiest community in Kentucky. Shelton is a popular local physician’s assistant. No doubt he’s seen many people who would have likely lived longer, healthier, more satisfying lives if they would have exercised more and maintained a proper weight.
I signed up for the very first NIBROC Just Lose It competition. I finished well; fourth overall in a group of about 190 competitors. At the time, I was simply focused on winning, snatching the $1,000 cash prize and taking my family to Disney World.
By the end, I didn’t really care so much about winning. I just FELT so much better! I was proud of myself and the physical freedom that I’d regained as part of the process. That competition had an extraordinary positive impact on my life. I get emotional every time I write about it.
I think it’s helped many others as well.
I see more people walking and jogging and biking and just basically taking more interest in their physical well being than ever before. Many hundreds of people have competed in “NIBROC Just
Lose It” over the years. I have to think some of those people, like me, didn’t just quit trying to be healthy once the competition was over.
Instead, it sparked a true lifestyle change.
I know things like bridges and sidewalks, better housing and improvements to our recreation facilities are worthwhile projects. Perhaps since they are very concrete sorts of things that people can touch and use, they sort of get priority when cataloging someone’s political legacy.
A competition to encourage people to lose weight is less tangible, I suppose. But I find it no less important. “NIBROC Just Lose It” changed my life immeasurably. I could never thank enough all the people at city hall that volunteered their time, weekend after weekend, to make it happen. That was very nice of them to do that. And thanks Commissioner Shelton for dreaming it up in the first place.
SOME OTHER STUFF
• For the first time in 15 years, school districts are required to print their financial statements in the newspaper for everyone to see. In this week’s edition of The News Journal, you will find statements for Whitley County and Williamsburg school districts.
Kentucky law required the publication of this important information for years until an exception to the law was tagged onto language in the state’s budget that allowed school districts to post them in the local library or on the Internet. These are horrible substitutes for publishing in the local newspaper. I checked one school district’s website and the most recent financial statements I could find were from 2013, so that should tell you something.
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin sided with newspapers, and taxpayers, this time around and vetoed that language making it once again a requirement. Now it’s easy, once again, to see how money is being spent in our school systems.