One of my fondest memories of former Williamsburg Mayor Bill Nighbert was the time we sat out around the pool at the old Williamsburg Motel for about five hours smoking cigars and waiting on a Williamsburg Police Department sting operation to go down.
Two drug dealers from Indiana, I think it was, were coming down to buy a significant quantity of marijuana from what they thought was a local supplier, but it turned out to be a police confidential informant and an undercover police officer.
Police officers were in the motel room next door to the room where the bust was going down, another was sitting hidden in Bill’s SUV with tinted windows, and at least one more was hiding in a maintenance building waiting on the bust to go down on a hot summer night the best I recall.
There were at least a couple of other officers in marked police cruisers a couple of miles up the road waiting to respond.
I think everybody was in place by about 7 p.m. and the bad guys showed up and everything went down about midnight as I was able to get pictures of the bad guys being arrested as the police still had guns drawn.
It was close to 2 a.m. when we all got out of there, and I remember Bill buying everyone’s dinner/breakfast over at BJ’s Restaurant afterwards, which was about the only restaurant open 24/7 in Williamsburg at the time.
Back in those days, media members and others could accompany police as they executed search warrants at the homes of suspected drug dealers, and in the mid to late 1990s, the Williamsburg Police Department was very active in regards to drug investigations.
Bill, David Kersey, who was county attorney at the time, and myself accompanied the police on many such raids back in those days. The three of us usually rode in Bill’s vehicle, and waited for the police to secure the scene before we went inside. It was kind of exhilarating for all three of us. At any rate, this is probably a memory that no one else will be sharing about Bill Nighbert, who passed away Thursday from cancer.
During the 10 years that Bill was mayor, I dealt with him a lot. He was a very intelligent, funny man, who I enjoyed talking with.
Probably his most recognizable accomplishment during his tenure as mayor was construction of the Kentucky Splash Waterpark, which has now been operating for 20 years.
If memory serves me correctly, the city ceremonially broke ground six times on the project. To Bill’s credit, he got his political money’s worth out of that … LOL.
Bill did a lot during his tenure as both city manager and mayor and later as Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary that improved Williamsburg, and he was able to help a lot of people during that time.
Even though he hadn’t lived in Williamsburg for several years, Bill’s passing is still greatly felt in his home town. My condolences go out to his family.
Now to touch on one other subject before I conclude this column.
Whether you like her politics or not, history was made on Jan. 20, 2021, with the inauguration of Kamala Harris as the first female vice-president in the history of the United States of America.
Joe Biden was also sworn in on Jan. 20 as the 46th President of the United States with most living former U.S. presidents from both parties in attendance, including: Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.
Several congressional leaders from both sides of the political aisle were also there to mark the occasion. Outgoing President Donald Trump even left a letter to his successor, which Biden described as “very generous.”
The recent Capitol riot aside, one of the greatest things about this country is our peaceful transition of power that nearly all Americans recognize. This isn’t something you see in every country, and it should be celebrated by Republicans and Democrats alike.
In America, we have the means to resolve our political differences at the ballot box. Sometimes we get the outcome we want. Sometimes we don’t. If there is an issue with the election, we take it to the courts to resolve it in a lawful, peaceful manner. Sometimes the courts agree there was a problem, and sometimes they don’t.
At the end of the day though, we have to respect the outcome even if we dislike it. This is how we do things in America. Violence is never acceptable as a means of resolving our political differences.