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COLUMN: New editor joins familiar territory

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South Oldham High School grad joins The Oldham Era

My wife, Sarah, and I moved to Oldham County nearly 10 years ago.
Having grown up here, I knew the area quite well.
For Sarah, the outsider, the learning curve was more precipitous.
When needing to get somewhere in Crestwood, La Grange or Goshen, Sarah would often come to me for directions. Those conversations sometimes went like this:
Sarah: “How do you get to (fill in the blank)?”
Me: “Do you remember where (fill in the blank) used to be?”
Sarah:  “No.”
Me: “Well, do you know where (fill in the blank) is now, where the old (fill in the blank) was?”
Sarah: “Uh, no!”
You get the idea.
These exchanges mostly ended with Sarah frustrated and turning to a road map for help.
But that’s an Oldham Countian for you: Ask any one of us for directions and it’ll probably include a landmark that no longer exists or is now something it wasn’t 20 years earlier.
Of course, compared to many of you, I’m a short timer.
I arrived here in the early 1980s, well into the county’s suburban explosion which began in the early ’70s. Oldham County was well on its way to becoming the favored bedroom community for those who worked in Louisville.
But it was still a largely rural area, populated with family-run grocery stores and a scarcity of fast-food joints.
How times have changed, right?
As it is with any county with an interstate running down its middle, the gas stations, quick eats and carloads of travelers are sure to follow.
And, sadly, that’s all some may know of Oldham County.
Of course, as you and I both know, this county’s heart lies just off that well-beaten path.
Many of us enjoy Oldham for its quiet, suburban appeal.
Heck, it’s one of the main reasons my wife and I chose to raise our family here.
But there are still many of you who wake up before dawn to care for a barn full of animals.
And you’re not all farmers; you’re lawyers or doctors, teachers or assembly-line workers. Oldham County is one of those unique places where one can live a quiet, country life without being so far removed from the “big city.”
In so many ways, it defies description. The best I can come up with is contemporarily quaint.
As a (nearly) lifelong Oldham Countian, I am excited to lead my hometown newspaper.
Playing youth baseball, football and basketball, there were many weeks when The Oldham Era was the most anticipated piece of mail at home.
“I scored a touchdown on Saturday. My name is probably going to be in the paper!”
Somewhere in my parents’ house there is a scrapbook with yellowing bits of newsprint to prove that it happened a time or two.
Now my name will appear in this paper quite often.
I can’t say that I became a journalist with the sole intention of one day becoming editor of The Oldham Era, but here I am.
Outside of being a husband and father, there is nothing I take more seriously than being a journalist.
My primary goal here is to continue the great tradition of The Oldham Era.
I fully intend to keep giving Oldham Countians the best possible news coverage of what happens here week in and week out.
I am a firm believer in the role this newspaper plays in not only being a community partner, but also a community watchdog.
These pages will not be ground zero for dirt and gossip meant only to tear down, but to affirm those who would build this county up and, when necessary, to hold accountable those who would harm it or its residents.
When it’s necessary for me to give my opinion on an issue, you can be assured it will be one that is thought-out and well-informed.
With the proliferation of the 24-hour news cycle, the most successful “news” agencies are often those that shout the loudest.
I do not intend to shout you down if our opinions happen to differ.
We can disagree on important issues, but shouting our opinions at one another does little to foster a civilized dialogue, which I believe is sorely lacking today.
You see, we’re all in this together. We’re neighbors, we’re family, we’re friends.
 We sit in church pews together; we eat at the same restaurants; we teach each other’s children.
That’s a heavy responsibility—and it demands respect in spite of our differences.
And in that way, I believe Oldham County can be a model for others.

Drew Nichter lives in Pewee Valley with his wife, Sarah, and their two daughters. He can be reached at news@oldhamera.com.