What headlines are coming in 2018?

Published 7:24 am Tuesday, January 2, 2018


The Advocate-Messenger

In the last paper of 2017 and the first of 2018, we’ve looked at some of the biggest stories from the past year. But what will be the big stories to make headlines in the next year? We have some educated guesses.

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At the top of our list is Tennessee Gas Pipeline No. 1. In 2017, Tennessee Gas secured federal approval for its plan to abandon the natural gas pipeline that spans 964 miles between northeast Ohio and southern Louisiana. But that was only step one of a larger plan from Tennessee Gas’ parent company, Kinder Morgan.

There has been and continues to be strong, local opposition to the next steps in the plan, which involve using the pipeline to transport heavier and more explosive “natural gas liquids.” Kinder Morgan may have the blessing of the federal government, but they clearly do not have the same OK from Boyle County — or from many other communities along the pipeline’s route.

As 2018 progresses, watch for updates from Tennessee Gas, which has, for now, said it’s not moving forward with abandonment of the pipeline until it can determine “market interest” in the plan. If and when the plan does move forward, the attention will shift to local Planning and Zoning agencies, including Boyle County’s, that have instituted regulations requiring permits for piping hazardous materials like NGLs.

The outcome of the pipeline story is still very much up in the air, and it will likely come down to how involved the communities through which the pipeline travels are willing to be.

Here’s something else to expect in 2018: Lots of new business in Boyle County. We had a lot of businesses announce plans to expand or locate in Boyle County in 2017, but a lot of the actual expansions and openings will be finished or happening in 2018.

A — most likely truncated — list of those projects includes: a $9.9 million/10-job expansion at Wilderness Trail Distillery; the arrival of a new distillery business, IJW Whiskey; a new Ambrabev distillery — and eventually a tavern — on Techwood Drive; 66 new jobs at Denyo Manufacturing, growing to 90 jobs over subsequent years; development of the old Caterpillar factory to house a 70-job operation from Adkev (though those jobs are expected to arrive in early 2019); further growth at Meggitt Aircraft Braking Systems; the opening of a second Hub Coffee House location; the opening of a new Starbucks; construction of a new restaurant, Buffalo Wings and Rings; and the addition of a dialysis center being built west of the Morning Pointe retirement community.

Here’s something you hopefully won’t see a lot of headlines about, but will have a big impact in 2018: 911 service in Danville and Boyle County.

2017 was rough in this area, but with an interlocal agreement all but finalized between all entities in Boyle County, and Danville moving full-steam-ahead with upgrades that will increase 911 capabilities across the board, we think things will go swimmingly in 2018.

We like the spirit of cooperation all officials are now exhibiting and hope the new 911 advisory committee will solidify that goodwill and make 911 headlines a thing of the past.

And finally, we can’t ignore what will likely generate the most headlines of anything by far in 2018: elections.

2017 was all but silent on the election front — it was an off-year that Kentucky gets once every four years. But that off year is always followed up with a big one: In 2018, all local offices are up for reelection. Given how badly prognosticators were able to predict election outcomes in 2016, we’re not even going to begin to speculate on possible outcomes in 2018. Suffice it to say, there are a lot of motivated people for a lot of different reasons right now, and there likely won’t be such a thing as an easy election — at any level of government — this year.

Is that good for the health of our country? It can be great if it means people are getting involved, getting educated and taking responsibility for the future of their community and nation. It can be awful if it means we descend further into partisan bickering and political gamesmanship.

Let’s hope we get more of the former than the latter in 2018.