Public asked to help crown Lexington’s official tree

Lexington Christmas Tree Lighting 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Lexington will soon have its own official tree, and the public is being asked to help decide which one of three oak trees gets the honor.

“Trees play an important role in making Lexington the special place it is,” says Third District Councilman Jake Gibbs. “It makes sense that the city designate one of these significant and historic oak trees by selecting one type as the city’s official tree.”

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The finalists, selected by the Lexington Tree Board, are bur oak, Shumard Oak, and chinkapin oak. All three are native to the Bluegrass region and thrive here. The board decided that Lexington’s official tree should be an oak since the official National Tree is one. The board hopes that by identifying an official city tree, the public will plant more of that variety and preserve and protect others as well.

“Designating an official tree allows the public to learn more about the importance of trees in our urban environment,” says Bridget Abernathy, Tree Board chairperson. “Each of these iconic oak trees is worthy of this honor.”

The public can vote online at, or vote in person at West Sixth Brewing on Nov. 11 between 2 and 6 p.m.  A portion of the proceeds from that afternoon will benefit TreesLexington!, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving and expanding Lexington’s tree canopy.

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at You can also follow Tom on Facebook and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.