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Let’s begin with a quiz.
Based on the 2010 Census, what incorporated Hardin County community had the largest percentage increase in population?
While you think about your answer, I’ll take a minute to point out a special four-week contest based on your knowledge of Hardin County history and trivia.
Coming off the extraordinary response to the newspaper’s Bingo Fever contest in June, the circulation staff was looking to try another fun, engaging way to interact with readers.
The result: “Are You Smarter Than the Editor?” For most of you, the title question has an obvious answer. Of course, you are smarter.
The chosen logo is another humorous matter. A walking brain dressed as a superhero, complete with a mask and cape.
Of course, that’s a direct reflection of my self-image. Ha!
For each of the next four weeks, three Hardin County trivia questions will be posted in the Sunday paper. All successful responses will be placed in a weekly prize drawing. One lucky winner will be drawn each week and receive a $25 gift card.
So try your luck. This week’s questions and the entry form appear on Page A12.
That’s it for the commercial. Now back to our Census question.
I’ve asked a few dozen people around the office about the Census results. Most guessed Vine Grove.
The fact that I grew up in Vine Grove may have influenced those responses. The rapid development of housing on or near Ky. 313 and Fort Knox’s expansions based on the Army’s base realignment are more likely the reason. Vine Grove did grow 8.4 percent to 4,580 souls.
But that’s not the right answer.
Elizabethtown is not right either. Over a decade, the county seat added 5,989 people — more than live in all of Vine Grove. That’s a pace of 26.6 percent for the state’s 11th largest city.
But the Hardin County community with the largest growth percentage between 2000 and 2010 was Sonora.
At a rate of 46.6 percent, Sonora was the 16th fastest growing community in Kentucky.
That’s surprising to many of us because the actual population count is small. The township of Sonora gained 163 folks in the decade, the Census Bureau reports, bringing the total population to 513.
If Sonora maintains this growth rate, the town will hit the thousand mark roughly by the Fourth of July in 2036.
But growth is growth. Sonora now ranks 247 out of 422 incorporated communities, according to the State Data Center. It remains the smallest of Hardin County’s six towns as West Point slipped to 797, a decline of 303, and Upton reached 683 thanks to its 29 newcomers.
I’m sharing this statistical insight about Sonora because a growth rate of 46.6 percent can be deceiving when you start out small. But this influx of interest in small-town life is not insignificant. It also might contribute to some good-natured boasting on the part of Mayor Larry Copelin and a couple town council members during a recent gathering of elected officials.
In discussing the local unification idea, representatives of Hardin County United presented detailed research into the present governmental layers. One chart illustrating taxing districts showed Sonora’s tax impact per resident as the lowest ratio of the seven government bodies.
“Then maybe we ought to run this thing,” Copelin said in a display of dry wit.
He later caused another explosion of laughter with remarks about “the Sonora family” decision-making process, which sounded a bit like an organizational structure from “The Godfather.”
The levity was an important reminder that as the community engages in potentially emotional discussions about shaping its future, one thing we don’t want to lose in the process is a well-defined sense of humor.
Thanks to the mayor of Hardin County’s fastest-growing city for pointing that out.
Ben Sheroan is editor of The News-Enterprise. He can be reached at (270) 505-1764 or firstname.lastname@example.org.