Wilderness Warrior Inaugural Event

Wilderness Warrior will be recess for adults;
Inaugural event set for April 27th in London

The Wilderness Road was a steep, rough and narrow path that could only be traversed on foot or horseback after Daniel Boone and 35 axmen cut a route through the Cumberland Gap into Kentucky in 1775.

In the spring of 2019, modern-day fitness warriors will encounter similar rugged conditions when they traverse 3.1 miles on and around the former Wilderness Road.

They will get tested, covered in mud and have a lot of fun, while supporting local family organizations.

The Wilderness Warrior Obstacle and Mud Run will be held Saturday, April 27 at Levi Jackson State Park and the Laurel County Fairgrounds located on Ky. 229, which incorporates a lot of Boone’s Wilderness Road.

“Wilderness Warrior is like recess for grown-ups, except our playground involves getting dirty and epic obstacles,” reads promotional materials for the event.

The inaugural run is the brainchild of two London fitness trainers, Susannah Zawko and Mike Lovitt, who participate in similar challenges across the South and believe it’s time for Laurel County to have its own.

Wilderness Warrior is a combination race and obstacle run that will challenge competitors’ strength and endurance along the 5K course.

“We’re drawing up all the obstacles now,” said Lovitt, who is health and wellness coordinator for PT Pros. “It will go all the way around the perimeter of the fairgrounds, along the power line, up past Conley Road and circle back.”

Participants will have to crawl through mud, jump over logs, work their way through nets and tires, jump over water and carry weight up a hill, Lovitt said.

“It’s a good test of fitness, but we also plan to make it very safe,” he said.

The main obstacle course will be for adults. There will be a smaller course for children and races where they can win prizes.

“I am interested in doing an event that gives back to our community and is something the entire family can come out and be involved in,” said Zawko, who is owner of Elevate Fitness Studio in London. “It’s not just a target age group, we want something that kids can do. We’ll have food trucks and live music and just band together for our community.”

Proceeds from Wilderness Warrior will support two agencies that work with families; Benchmark Family Services, a therapeutic foster care agency and Cumberland Valley Children’s Advocacy Center.

The event will be an individual test of strength and endurance, but will also be a good team-building exercise for participants who want to work together, Zawko said.

“Lots of times you’ll have a group from work that wants to band together, and they all have their team names,” she said. “They train together and wear costumes. It’s a lot of fun.”

Zawko and Lovitt hope to have 500 entrants in the inaugural year and grow Wilderness Warrior in succeeding years. Sponsorship opportunities are available to businesses and individuals who want to support the event.

Early-bird registrations for Wilderness Warrior are $35. For more information and to register, go to: http://wildernesswarriorky.com.

London City Council Recognizes Three New Dept. Heads

London City Council recognized three new department heads Monday night, brought on by the retirements of Larry Vanhook and Derek House.

Carl Hacker, left, was named chief of the London Fire Department. He has been with the department for 32 years.

John Allen, center, was appointed chief of the London-Laurel County Rescue Squad, where he has served for 30 years.

Darrel Kilburn, right, was named chief of the London Police Department. He has been with the department since 2002, and previously served as assistant chief.

Mayor Rudder names Darrel Kilburn Chief of Police

On Friday, Feb. 1st, 2019, City of London Mayor Troy Rudder named Capt. Darrel Kilburn the new Chief of Police following the retirement of Derek House who served as Chief for five-and-a-half years. Kilburn began his service to the City of London as a Police Officer in 2003 and served as Captain for six years.

Chaplain and friend to Kilburn, Bob Combs, began the pinning ceremony at London City Hall on Friday with Mayor Troy Rudder, members of the London Police Department, family and friends. Combs prayed over Kilburn for wisdom, guidance and direction.

“We have all of the confidence in this man, we know that he’s trained for this job for years. We know he can do it and do it well.” Mayor Rudder said.

Darrel stated that he and the London Police Department needs the community’s continual support and prayers.

“My proudest achievement in this world is that I’m a Christian. I’ll do everything in my power to lead the best I can as a Christian, because God is going to come first in everything I do – to the best of my ability and family is second,” Kilburn said, adding, “It’s not “me,” it’s a “we” no matter what we do, we’re going to do it together.”

Inaugural New Year’s Eve Extravaganza


History was made Monday night at the inaugural New Year’s Eve Extravaganza in downtown London. The rain ended just in time and the temperature was about 60 as thousands of people watched a ball drop from 100 feet to ring in 2019.

Everyone had a great time thanks to the entertainment from DJ Larry Lee and Radio 80, along with food and beverages from a variety of vendors.

The event was sponsored by London Downtown, City of London Tourism and Wildcat-Harley Davidson. Organizers made notes about how to make the extravaganza bigger and better next year.

Blue Star Memorial Marker

A dedication was held Saturday for a Blue Star Memorial Marker at the Whitley Branch Veterans Park.

The marker is a tribute to the Armed Forces who have defended the United States of America, and has been used to salute veterans since World War II.

The Lady’s Slippers Garden Club of London procured the marker for the Veterans Park.

Optimist Club gets money for new gym floor

Replacing the gym floor has been on the wish list for the Laurel-London Optimist Club for some time. The cork-based floor was installed in 2001 and is deteriorating under heavy play at the gym on West Ky. 80.

City of London Tourism decided to step in and help with a $58,000 check presented Wednesday that will pay for a new sports floor made of durable plastic over a foam foundation. The tourism commission has been investing funds in the Optimist Club and Little League programs after an outside study said it should focus on improving existing sports facilities.

The Optimist Club provides a variety of sports and other programs for about 4,000 youths a year.

Pictured, from left, are Lawrence Foister and Plinio Tuta of the Optimist Club, London Mayor Troy Rudder and tourism chairman Bill Dezarn.

City donates to Shop With A Cop program

The City of London donated $2,500 to the Cumberland Valley Fraternal Order of Police Shop With a Cop, Inc. in honor of Don Wattenbarger who was instrumental in the program. London Mayor Troy Rudder and London Police Chief Derek House presented the check to Virginia Wattenbarger and Jamie Harrison, with Deputy Gilbert Acciardo. This December will be the 23rd year Shop With A Cop has provided Christmas cheer for children in need in Laurel County. Donations are accepted at the London Police Department year-round.

Mayor Troy Rudder elected Kentucky League of Cities Second Vice President

LEXINGTON–Mayfield Mayor Teresa Rochetti-Cantrell has been elected president of the Kentucky League of Cities (KLC) by its membership with Jeffersontown Mayor Bill Dieruf as first vice president and London Mayor Troy Rudder as second vice president.

Mayor Rudder said he looks forward to the opportunities the statewide leadership position will provide for his city.

“I am very humbled to even be considered for any position at KLC. I was honored that my city became a member of such a fine organization.” he said.

“Since 1927, KLC has been all about cities and is our ‘go to’ organization – our sounding board for legal information or anything dealing with cities,” said Mayor Rudder. “KLC provides one-stop shopping.”

The officers were sworn in on Wednesday, September 19, during the Kentucky League of Cities Conference & Expo President’s Banquet in Louisville.

“KLC is fortunate to have an engaged and diverse Board representing cities of all sizes across the commonwealth,” said Jonathan Steiner, KLC executive director/CEO.

KLC is an association with more than 370 municipal members that provides services for cities including advocacy, training, legal and other services, as well as successful insurance and finance programs.

Mayor Rudder has been active with the League for several years. The mayor has served on numerous KLC and affiliated boards including the KLC Board of Directors, KLC Executive Board, KLC Insurance Services Board, KLC Insurance Agency Board and KLC Premium Finance Board.

“Mayor Rudder is a great ambassador for all cities and has a tremendous knowledge about or organization.” said Steiner.

“I hope to be able to explain to every city that is not currently associated with all of KLC’s services, just what the League can do for them,” said Rudder.

He said, “Kentucky’s motto does say it all, ‘United we stand, divided we fall.'”

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Community Cleanup Day Success

About 150 volunteers worked in the bright sunshine this morning to help rid London of trash during Community Cleanup Day. Several truckloads of unsightly garbage were removed from city streets and parks.

Cleanup crews assembled downtown at the Tourism & Parks office at 9:00 a.m. They picked up safety vests, gloves, tongs and garbage bags and set out to clean assigned areas.

For their efforts, volunteers received a free climbing pass to Treetop Adventure at Levi Jackson State Park when they reconvened at noon.

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