The Leadership Clinton (LC) Class of 2021-22 started its first official class day — Government and History Day — at the Clinton County History Center in Wilmington on Thursday, Sept. 16.
The History Center welcomed participants to the museum and genealogy library where we enjoyed a tour of Clinton County’s history. Bev Beireis, collections manager, and Shelby Boatman, director and fellow Leadership Clinton classmate, conducted the tours.
The Center is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which relies solely on donations, memberships, events, and memorial contributions. Our class enjoyed learning about the community in which we work and reside, as well as about its people, places, and past.
As we walked into the grand entrance of the Murphy Theatre, we were greeted by the smiling long-term volunteer, Terry Thompson. He gave us a brief speech about the amount of work this theatre has gone through from its first owner, Charles Murphy, to today’s refashioned and functioning modern theatre.
As Thompson took us through the entire theatre, he introduced us to the new director, Steve Burnette — an inspiring and jovial professional of the arts, especially within the theatre world.
As the group was finishing exploring the niches and backroom renovations of the theatre, Burnette showcased his background in movie theaters as well as in improv and dance. He has many ambitious plans for the theatre, and hopes to instill the wonderment this place left each and every one of us at the end of the tour.
We then made our way to the General Denver for lunch.
The General Denver buzzed with activity at the lunch hour and our group of 26 was no small addition to the already busy historic restaurant. We were introduced to Shane Breckel, who went over the processes one would go through in order to successfully run for office in Clinton County, including guidelines and attention to detail.
We then scurried to the Clinton County Courthouse a tour of the Courthouse from Nancy McKay. She gave us a look back at the history of the courthouse, from the antiquated painting processes to mysterious moonshine once hidden in the clerk’s office safe. She has a natural way of making the court building feel magical and leaving us feeling more connected to the history of our historic and beautiful courthouse.
The Clinton County Jail was the final stop on our history and government day tour. Clinton County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Col. Brian Prickett welcomed students and provided us with a behind-the-scenes look at how the sheriff’s office responds to emergency calls, interacts with people who are incarcerated, and operates throughout the county and villages.
The original jail building was strategically built to not resemble an incarceration facility, per the community’s request. We learned about a new tool officers have available — a scanner that can discover if booked inmates are hiding objects on their person — and how their commissary makes purchases to fund some inmate items such as laundry soap and other necessities to offset the need for taxpayer money.
To learn more about the Clinton County Leadership Institute and the work that the Leadership Clinton Class of 2021-22 are doing, please visit www.leadershipclinton.org .