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Kaler, Newberry tout year's successes

BY CORIANNE EGAN cegan@paducahsun.com

Paducah Mayor Gayle Kaler and McCracken County Judge-Executive Van Newberry were in high spirits Thursday morning as they praised the area's growth and good fortune in 2013.

What could have been a disheartening year - with the onset of USEC layoffs and the vacating of the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant - instead turned out some of the best and most promising stories for McCracken County, Newberry said. Both Kaler and Newberry took to the stage Thursday morning for their state of the city and county addresses at the Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce's Power and Partnership Breakfast, and both were happy to list off the strides the community made in 2013.

"Paducah is on the move," Kaler said. "(Last year) was an eventful year, with great challenges and great successes."

Newberry's comments focused more on what his administration has done in the long run, and the pieces of the community that bring great attention to the area. He talked about keeping a balanced budget and not raising taxes, and praised the deal with GE-Hitachi's Global Laser Enrichment Corporation.

Kaler highlighted achievements of the city, from a $1.3 million renovation of the Noble Park Pool to the upcoming phases of the Greenway Trail and the impending hotel construction. Kaler also noted changes she had made in her first year in office that helped Paducah become what she called a more caring and compassionate city.

Those included starting a Mayor's Book Club and the Mayor's Art Club, and opening warming centers around the community. Kaler also detailed her part in the initiation of an Anti-Bullying Task Force.

The Chamber also announced its new president, Deborah Edmonds of Edmonds Gallery.

A list of the Chamber's priority projects for this year's legislative session was revealed. The list, topped by a $6 million appeal for the Paducah School of Art, touches on a variety of road projects including improvements along Friendship Road, the widening of Olivet Church Road, and improvements to the Hinkleville Road-Interstate 24 interchange.

The next Power in Partnership breakfast will be Feb. 6 with programming focused on Black History Month.

Contact Corianne Egan, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8652 or follow @CoriEgan on Twitter.

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