WHAS11 anchors and reporters announced their picks for 2013 Newsmakers of the year.
Jennifer Lawrence: Louisville is lucky to call JLaw its hometown girl after the year she’s had. She won an Oscar and could easily be nominated for another this year. On the heels of “Silver Linings Playbook,” she managed to catapult “The Hunger Games” sequel to instant success and then take a dramatic tour and get nominated for a Golden Globe for “American Hustle.” It’s hard to believe her personality outweighs her impressive resume when it comes to what she’s known for. She has won over America by her down-to-earth attitude that is rooted right here in Louisville.
Hands down, Governor Steve Beshear. Despite public opinion polls which showed Kentuckians opposed the Affordable Care Act, Beshear made bold decisions to fully embrace Obamacare by expanding Medicaid and creating a state-based health exchange. His advocacy for the law, coupled with Kentucky's relative success in implementing it compared with the federal website's troubles, made Beshear the unlikely national champion of the ACA. His decisions have made both an immediate and permanent impact on Kentucky.
Roman Catholic Archbishop Joseph Kurtz - Elected President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Kurtz takes a leadership role for the Church in America and takes up the newly articulated message of Pope Francis, a delicate balance for Kurtz who has spearheaded marriage and family issues in the U.S. Church.
Ohio River Bridges Project: Discussed for decades, the talk became action in 2013 with actual construction of two new bridges commencing. Improved cross-river mobility and tolls are big changes for Kentuckiana's future.
My person of the year is Jennifer Lawrence. She's representing her hometown in a big way!! She's already an accomplished actress at a young age, but what puts her over the top for me is her attitude. She's gracious (that video of her stopping everything to hug a sobbing little girl in a wheelchair still brings me to tears), she seems REAL and she seems so unpretentious (something that has to be hard to do in Hollywood.)
It would be too difficult to pick just one so I picked 3! There are many men and women in Louisville but these are three who stood out this year. My categories are Invention, Innovation and Inspiration.
Invention – Dr. Roberto Bolli, Chief of Cardiovascular Medicine at UofL, honored this year for his research with adult stem cells. Bolli is proving the stem cells will someday be routinely used to restore damaged heart cells.
Innovation – Gill Holland, the entrepreneur who led the way in the transformation of Nulu sets his sights and vision on the Portland Neighborhood of Louisville.
Inspiration --Youth League Football Coach Terrance Washington doesn’t hesitate when he dives in to an open cistern in a city park to rescue a 2 year old.
Gill Holland: Founder and creator of the NuLu neighborhood and is now working to do the same with the Portland neighborhood.
Terrance Washington: Little league coach who jumped into an empty cistern in a west Louisville park after a 2-year-old girl fell inside.
I’m going to go with Rick Pitino.
Rick Pitino is my person of the year because 2013 was the year he overcame great adversity to achieve the highest level of triumph on both a personal and professional level. Yes, some of Pitino’s adversity was brought on by his own behavior, and yes that will now be a chapter in the story of his life. But after 2013, it is just a chapter. Post personal failures Rick Pitino found a way to tackle every day of his life with purpose. In the midst of overwhelming public pressure he faced his mistake and in doing so taught his players a valuable lesson. To quote, “When you have a problem If you tell the truth it immediately becomes a part of your past, If you lie it becomes a part of your future.”
Because Pitino didn’t quit, and quite the contrary worked even harder every day he experienced a year in 2013 like few others could ever imagine. He won a national championship (his 2nd) in the great state of Kentucky, and he was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame. As a horse owner Pitino had a horse named Goldencents run in the Kentucky Derby and he named several other horses after his players. Two of those players were drafted in the NBA draft, and the third is a pre-season player of the year candidate.
And then, perhaps the accomplishment that any father would be most proud of: Pitino’s son Richard was named the Head Basketball coach at Minnesota.
That is a hell of a year! Also considered: Jason Ellis and Tom Jurich
He is a man who has said for more than a decade he is innocent. After being imprisoned for 13 years David Camm was acquitted this fall for the murders of his family. Rarely do you see a case last as long as his and rarely does it end with an acquittal if DNA is not directly involved. After numerous appeals and overturned convictions Camm believes he is finally getting the justice he’s been seeking. The case is unique. It’s one this area will probably never see again.
For Kentuckiana – I think it would have to be David Camm.
Whether you believe he is the monster who killed his family, or the victim of the most horrendous injustice, he continues to be one of the most polarizing figures we have ever covered. His story continues with still more chapters to come.
As far as a personal choice, another one my picks would be Pat Byron.
This month marks 20 years since her daughter Mary was murdered by an ex-boyfriend at the Mall St. Matthews. For 20 years I have watched this woman give a voice to her daughter, and give a voice to other victims of domestic violence in creating programs to protect them. Both Pat and her husband said it was their moral duty to make sure good came from the tragedy of their daughter’s murder, and it has. Their resolve and courage takes my breath away. Also considered: Nelson Mandela