Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down: April 4

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Richard Campbell retiring

Boyle County Attorney Richard Campbell officially retired at the end of March, after a four-decade-long career, including the last 14 years as county attorney.

It takes many people willing to work for the betterment of their community in order to keep our society running. We need volunteers to clean litter from our streets; we need police officers to keep the peace; we need social workers to look out for children in bad situations; and we need county attorneys to keep the courts rolling smoothly and keep local government officials informed.

As an elected leader, Campbell already had the unenviable position of trying to do the best for everyone from his base of supporters to those who voted against him. On top of that, county attorney is one of the roughest positions you can hold, as every day you’re dealing with people who may not like what you have to say and you have to know exactly how to maneuver many different legal mazes at the same time.

Campbell navigated those mazes successfully and has now decided to move on to greener — or at least, less stressful — pastures. Congratulations are in order.

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Mary Beth Touchstone retiring

Continuing on the theme of retirement, Mary Beth Touchstone beat Richard Campbell to the retirement party by a couple days, stepping down from her position as executive director of the Community Arts Center.

During her eight years at the Community Arts Center, Touchstone helped to “vastly” expand the organization’s offerings and reach, to paraphrase CAC Vice President Jennifer Ahnquist.

“She believes that a community’s appreciation of the arts is directly tied to its quality of life,” Brandon Long told us for our exclusive on Touchstone’s retirement. “I always loved that someone could come from so far away, yet get so involved and invest so much in a grassroots organization like the Arts Center.”

Touchstone is among those community-minded people we mentioned with Richard who are essential to having a great place to live. Artists don’t get thought of in the same way as law enforcement, firefighters or water department employees, but unless we want to live in heartless world where work and sleep are all that matter, they are just as important.

We’re reminded of a Winston Churchill quote: “The arts are essential to any complete national life. The state owes it to itself to sustain and encourage them … ill fares the race which fails to salute the arts with the reverence and delight which are their due.”

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BBQ Fest comes to bourbon country

Many people will doubtless have many opinions about the Kentucky State BBQ Festival deciding to leave Constitution Square in downtown Danville and move to Wilderness Trail Distillery on the outskirts of town.

It’s not a totally surprising move — the festival had been wanting to grow its footprint, but a solution that others in the downtown area could get on board with couldn’t be found. Rather than keeping the festival as a potted plant in Constitution Square and capping its size at 2016 levels, now it will have the opportunity to put down larger roots and grow as big as it wants.

That should mean more economic activity for Danville every September and bigger checks to the United Way every year — as long as the new location proves viable.

Here’s why we think it will work: If we had no BBQ festival, but we were getting a new festival that has already proven it can attract tens of thousands of people, no one would think twice about hosting it at Wilderness Trail, where you can have rolling farmland that serves festivals well, infrastructure available from the distillery business and easy access to Danville’s urban center.