2012 saw a lot of change in and around Logan County, but one of the biggest stories of the year involved Logan County state representative Martha Jane King holding on to her seat in a bitterly-contested race.
Her Democratic peer, state senator Joey Pendleton was not as lucky as he lost his bid for another term to political newcomer Whitney Westerfield.
Other significant changes in the past year included the raising of the speed limit on US 68/KY 80, the start of construction for a new Logan County Public Library, new mayors elected in Auburn and Adairville, a new principal at Russellville High School and a new county-wide recycling program that is on the way.
Here is a look at some of the top stories as they appeared in the N-D&L this past year.
King wins reelection bid, Pendleton ousted
Martha Jane King was given two more years by voters in Logan and Todd counties on Tuesday as she beat Republican challenger Chris Hightower with 54 percent of the vote int he November general election.
That translated to a 1,858 vote advantage for the incumbent, who was not surprised by the closeness of the race for the 16th District seat, which includes all of Logan and Todd counties.
“When I really looked at a lot of things that are on the top of the ticket, where I was running with an unpopular president, and then (U.S. Senator) Rand Paul got involved for my opponent,” King said. “Those things make a difference. I never thought this was going to be an easy race.”
In Logan County, King won with 53 percent, getting 5,549 votes to Hightower’s 4,823.
King said that her game-plan going into her third term has not changed either.
“I am very proud to continue to work for Logan and Todd counties in Frankfort,” King said. “People have asked me, what I’m going to do now that you’re reelected? Well, I’m going to do the same thing I’ve been working on the past four year - and that’s economic development to get more jobs in the counties. I know that there a lot of statewide issues that we need to tackle, but the work for our counties will remain the same. That means coming together with republicans and democrats.”
While King won reelection in her race, Democrat incumbent state senator Joey Pendelton did not.
Pendleton has been Logan County’s state senator since the districts were redrawn several years ago, but he was defeated by an extremely narrow margin by Republican Whitney Westerfield.
Westerfield, who is from Hopkinsville, won by just 297 votes in the third senatorial district, which includes all of Logan, Todd and Christian counties. He got 18,457 votes in the three counties while Pendleton received 18,160.
Auburn, Adairville get new mayors
Both the cities of Adairville and Auburn got new mayors in November’s general election.
Donna Blake defeated incumbent Jim Wilkerson, who was seeking a third term in Adairville, and Mike Hughes won in Auburn and will be taking over for Dewey Roche, who chose not to run again.
This was the third time Blake ran against Wilkerson to be mayor of Adairville. The last time four years ago, she was defeated by just nine votes.
But this time around was a completely different result with Blake getting getting 76 percent of the vote.
“I guess the third times the charm,” Blake said after the election.
She got 277 votes, while Wilkerson received 88.
“I was overwhelmed with the margin,” Blake said.
In Auburn, Hughes received 364 votes in the race for mayor. Wayne Thomas got 118 votes and Maxie Rittenberry got 26.
“I’m a bit overwhelmed by the confidence of the people of Auburn in me,” Hughes said. “Now that I am mayor, I’ll make the same promise I made while I was campaigning and that is that I’ll work hard and do the best I can.”
Hughes spent six years on the city council before running for mayor.
“I think Auburn has a very bright future,” he said. “This town has great people that are always willing to volunteer or help on anything that you need.”
Bro. Joe passes away
Long-serving Logan Countian Brother Joe Carrico passed away the morning of Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012. Brother Joe was loved and adored by many within and out of the community. His life serves as a reminder that one person can make a difference in the world we live in through caring for others.
Brother Joe has been involved in countless charitable efforts over the years in Logan County which include Toys For Tots, the Carrico Center, and assisting veterans and their families, as well as the citizens of Logan County. From collecting toys, bicycles, food and clothing for the underprivileged, to flying in an Army helicopter delivering medicine and coal to the stranded during ice and snow storms, Brother Joe has given of himself countless times out of the kindness of his heart.
Brother Jo retired as the pastor at Post Oak Baptist Church after serving for 40 years. Six years ago, the city of Russellville passed a resolution naming the town’s square after Carrico saying that great cities contain city squares named after important, or philanthropic, or religious, or historically significant persons and the city council and mayor have the privilege of knowing only one person residing in the great City of Russellville who is all of these things.
Construction of new library begins
The rainy and very cold weather Monday, Dec. 10 did not deter the approximate 56 individuals who turned out for the ground breaking ceremony of the new Logan County Public Library.
The new library is expected to be complete this time next year. The library will be moving from its home on Sixth Street in Russellville to Armory Drive in the lot next to Save-A-Lot.
The facility is approximately 14,000 square feet, one third larger than the old library. The layout of the new building is expected to be user friendly with more space for different programs and will have a lot more parking spaces, allowing easier access.
The idea of building a new library has been in the works for several years, says Kompanik. The board of trustees have been collecting funds and applying for grants for some time now in hopes of having enough start-up money to begin.
Speed limit increased on 68/80
Rep. Martha Jane King announced in September that the speed limit on US 68/KY 80 in Logan County would be increasing from 55 mph to 65 mph, along most of the route.
The speed limit was raised to 65 mph on approximately 58.75 miles of US 68 between Cadiz and Bowling Green. The 65 mph limit will start just east of US 68X in Cadiz. The speed limit will not be raised on a short 5-lane section around the I-24 interchange in Trigg County, the section through Hopkinsville, or the section through Russellville.
The 65 mph will ultimately stop at an existing 45 mph zone to the west of Bowling Green.
Specifically, within Logan County, the speed limit would transition from 65 to 55 on the western approach to the Russellville Bypass. The 65 mph speed limit would pick up again on the eastern side of the Bypass.
“This is great news for Todd and Logan counties and all of the counties located between I-65 and 24,” King said. “Increasing the speed limit to 65 mph will open that stretch of highway to more commerce, travel and traffic which translates into economic opportunities for all of us.”
Courthouse renovations completed
Renovations on Logan County’s historic courthouse, which began in the fall of last year, are now complete and have cost the taxpayers just “a little less than $600,000,” says Logan County Judge Executive Logan Chick.
When it was announced that Logan would be among 18 counties selected to receive a new Justice Center, it forced the county government to start thinking about what it would do with one of its oldest landmarks now that the majority of its space was vacant, leaving only the judge executives offices.
The courthouse has been a center point for the community since its construction in 1904, surviving numerous changes and a few threats of destruction.
Chick says the courthouse actually suffered from a bomb soon after it was built. Tearing down the old building has never been more than a fleeting thought as many have come out to save it in the past and would more than likely do so again.
Leasing out space in the historic courthouse became the common goal of the fiscal court to help subsidize the missing funding. This put the court on a fast track to renovating the structure, as the bathrooms were very outdated and the elevator needed an overhaul. The court could have never imagined once they began the project, the other, very costly things that would need to be dealt with.
When preparing the old building for newcomers, the project became somewhat of an albatross, as costs for renovations continued to climb. What started out as replacing some flooring, painting and making the bathrooms bigger, turned into chiseling out what seemed to be solid rock underneath the elevator, putting in new piping for the HVAC system throughout the entire building, and installing new carpet in the large courtroom.
Before long, the small project turned into a massive overhaul leaving magistrates frustrated at facing new costs around every turn.
New radio system causes problems
Exasperation and a great deal of concern surrounds the county’s new digital emergency radio system, that was supposed to be a beacon in the night for emergency service workers throughout the outlying areas in the county.
Instead of getting what they had hoped for, however, some fire departments and police officers are feeling literally disconnected from the help they may need.
Over the past three years, the county has been working toward replacing its outdated emergency radio system.
They system had been failing to connect those out in the field to the dispatching center. The center provides dispatching services for all county and municipal law enforcement agencies, fire departments, emergency medical services and a variety of other public safety agencies. The county purchased a new digital system from Kenwood USA Corporation in 2009 soon after Auburn fire Chief Jeff Gregory had a gun pointed at him, which luckily misfired. Gregory reported that when he ran from the assailant he could not get through to dispatch to call for help.
Unfortunately, according to several firemen and police, the new system is still having trouble connecting to dispatch when needed, which puts these men and women right back out there in harms way with no way to call for help in certain areas of the county.
“I feel just as vulnerable as I did before,” said Gregory. “We’ve got people that are responding to fire runs that can’t even get out on their portables to inform dispatch they’re on route. It’s not a good thing. Someone is going to get hurt.”
Countywide recycling on its way
The city of Russellville approved a resolution in October to enter into an interlocal agreement with the county and its cities for consolidated waste pickup services.
This means the initiative to have everyone on board with a unified waste contract has moved forward one more step. The interlocal agreement was later approved by the state.
The plan to come together under one contract began soon after the county started a pilot program in 2011 with Scott Waste to offer curbside co-mingling recycling for just under 400 residents. The program has been very successful prompting Magistrate Thomas Bouldin to push for the recycling to be offered to everyone at no additional cost. The only thing that would have to be done to keep the costs low for trash pickup and offer the recycling, is to unify as one.
Murder in north Logan
Logan County saw its first murder in several years in August.
An arrest was made in the shooting death of 46-year-old Dale Holloway of Russellville. According to the Logan County Sheriff’s Department, Timothy Claytor, 44, of Lewisburg, was arrested and lodged in the Logan County Detention Center and charged with the murder of Holloway.
At approximately 10:22 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 30, the Logan County Sheriff’s Department responded to a disturbance involving a weapon at 2785 T. McReynolds Road, Lewisburg. Upon arrival, officers discovered Holloway unresponsive in the front yard with multiple gunshot wounds.
It appeared that Holloway came to the home of Claytor looking for Lori White, a female associate of Holloway.
It appears, says police, that some type of argument took place between Holloway and Claytor that resulted in the death of Holloway.
Wright takes over for Watkins on Fiscal Court
When long-serving magistrate Curtis Watkins died in May, it left some pretty big shoes to fill.
Barry Joe Wright of Olmstead says he knows he could never come close to filling those shoes but will try to be the best representative possible for the people of the third district and the county as a whole.
Wright was appointed by Governor Steve Beshear to serve in the vacated seat left by Watkins until the November election.
Watkins was serving in his fourth term as a popular county official and replacing his knowledge and likability after he died was most surely going to be a daunting task.
Wright, a democrat, filled out the necessary paperwork and was one of the nominations that was submitted by the Logan County Democrats.
“I have always thought of Curtis Watkins as a great magistrate, one who cared about the people he served. It was unfortunate I was placed in this position in this way but I will try to do the best I can for the betterment of the third district and the county as well,” said Wright. “Curtis left big shoes to fill.”
Wright ran unopposed in the November election and will fill the remaining two years in Watkin’s old seat.
Baskerville convicted of assault in death case
Randy Lee Baskerville was found guilty of assault fourth degree on May 11, in Logan County District Court for punching 50-year-old Jerry Crowley in 2011. Crowley died days later as a result of his injuries.
Baskerville was sentenced to the maximum for a Class-A misdemeanor, which is one year in jail and a $500 ﬁne.
According to county attorney Joe Ross, the incident occurred on July 11, 2011. Ross told the jury of six that Baskerville was walking down a Russellville street on the way to a friend’s house when he threw a bottle of alcohol on the lawn of Jerry and Kerri Crowley of Russellville.
According to Baskerville, he did this after seeing a Logan County Sheriff’s cruiser and was afraid of getting into trouble.
Baskerville said in an interview with police that he was afraid he would be arrested if the police saw him with a bottle of
alcohol and that was why he threw it. He also stated he wasn’t aware Mrs. Crowley was sitting on the front porch at the time. According to Baskerville, Mrs. Crowley began cussing him for throwing the bottle, to which he said he apologized and tried to explain why he had thrown it. He said he picked up the bottle and continued to walk down the street towards his friend’s house with Mrs. Crowley “on his heels” cussing him.
When Baskerville reached the house where Jerry Crowley was, the altercation began.
According to Baskerville, who is the only living witness to the incident, Mr. Crowley came outside and seemed calm even though his wife was still very upset. Baskerville said he told Crowley he wasn’t trying to disrespect them by throwing the bottle and explained what had happen. According to Baskerville, Mrs. Crowley was saying she had cancer and he showed her sympathy.
He said he didn’t know if that made Mr. Crowley mad, but said his demeanor changed and he became angry telling Baskerville he would kill him.
Tackett steps down at LCHS
Logan County High School announced in June that Harold Tackett has resigned as teacher and head boys’ basketball
coach effective immediately at Logan County High School. Coach Tackett was named the head boys’ basketball coach at Greenup County High School near Ashland later in the week.
“I would just like to thank Logan County for the opportunity they gave me,” Tackett said. “It’s been an honor and a privilege to be apart of the school system and to have coached four years there.”
Coach Tackett leaves Logan County High School following four years at the helm of the Cougar Basketball program. His first year saw the Cougars go through some expected growing pains as they finished the year at 4 -21.
In the second season the Cougars saw immediate improvement under coach Tackett’s leadership as they improved to 11-15. His third year where his frenetic style of play finally took hold as he guided LCHS to a winning season of 14-11 but just missed out their shot to get to the region tournament.
This past season the region got to see how dangerous that frenetic style of play was, withthe region leading offense, as he guided the Cougars to a 21-11 mark and LCHS made its first appearance in the regional tournament in over 12 years.
Tackett was later replaced by former LCHS assistant coach Lonnie Mason.
Gettings pleads guilty in major theft case
Kevin Gettings plead guilty to nine counts of theft during June in Warren County Circuit Court in relation to the embezzlement scheme he ran while living in Russellville.
As part of a plea agreement, Gettings will admit guilt on nine counts of theft by failure to make required disposition of property valued over $300. Each count carries a four-year sentence, but the total sentence will be only eight years as most of the sentences will run concurrently.
However, Gettings will only have to serve 180 days in jail as Warren County Commonwealth Attorney Chris Cohron will recommend probation after six months, according to the deal he worked out with Gettings.
Gettings will serve his sentence in the Muhlenberg County jail. He currently lives and operates a print business in Muhlenberg County, Cohron said. The agreement also allows for Gettings to work at his business for up to 55 hours per week for work release.
“That way his business can hopefully stay viable and he can work toward making restitution,” Cohron said.
Also as part of the plea deal, Gettings will serve at least a five years on probation.
He is also required to pay $234,889.62 in restitution. If at the end of his five-year probation, the restitution is not paid, Getting will remain on probation until such time as his full debt is paid off.
Bar causes stir in south Logan
The Tenn-Tucky State Line Tavern caused churches in south Logan County to worry about the moral fabric of the community in March.
Sheila Haley, the owner of the bar, which sits on the Kentucky-Tennessee state line, applied for an entertainment license with Logan County.
According to judge/executive Logan Chick, the application stated that Haley would employ dancers at
her business, but that they would be clothed.
Chick said that Haley had looked into the county’s adult entertainment ordinance that governs nude dancing, but she was not going do that because stringency of the law.
Later that evening, pastors and representatives from eight Adairville area churches met in opposition to Haley’s application.
The church leaders then decided to have a “mass prayer meeting” on Sunday, April 1 at Calvary General Baptist Church at 5 p.m.
The group of churches is encouraging all Christians to pray about the situation so that Haley will hopefully change her mind about offering dancing in her bar. Calvary General Baptist is in plain view of the tavern, which is why it was chosen as the site for the prayer meeting.
Chick eventually denied Haley’s permit request. She then took the county to court and is still awaiting a ruling as to the legality of the law that governs the entertainment permit.
Meeting signals start of Southern Bypass construction
A large crowd gathered in March at the Russellville High School cafeteria to hear about plans to complete the Russellville Southern Bypass.
Several exhibits were set up around the room to allow people to see just what the project would be like.
Joe Plunk of the K entucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) gave a short presentation as an overview.
He said that the project has been stalled for several years due to a lack of state funding, but that looks like it will be changing.
“This project now has reliable funding,” Plunk said. “This project has support and is moving forward.”
The first section of the Southern Bypass was completed in 2011 when the road connecting 68-80 to Franklin Road was constructed. The next and final stage will connect the bypass at Franklin Road to Nashville Road and then complete the loop around the city at Clarksville Road.
The new section of road will be 4.6 miles long and will cost approximately $15.6 million in construction costs alone.
Plunk said that about $3.1 million has been allocated to purchase the land for the road and an additional $3 million will be needed to pay for moving utilities that will be affected by construction of the new roadway.
LCHS shows up to support Magoffin at state tournament
In March at Diddle Arena the Girls Sweet Sixteen tournament was well under way.
But after the tragedies of the previous week with the tornadoes and horrific weather the focus for one team wasn’t entirely on getting the state title.
The Lady Hornets of Magoffin County took to the court with heavy hearts as their community back home was devastated last week by the weather. Most of the community stayed behind as they helped rebuild the community as the Lady Hornets took on the Lady Patriots of Lincoln County in the quarter finals of the state tournament.
With the majority of the community staying back home to tend to the devastated community, the student section was supposed to be empty.
That definitely was not the case.
The Logan County family took the Magoffin County team under their wing. Logan County High School held a pep rally in the afternoon to show their support for the team.
Then they went one step further.
The Logan County student section, who have been one of the best student sections in all of the state, showed up in droves. They all wore black as they showed their support for the team and the community.
Pardue steps down as RHS coach
In a surprising move, Russellville High School basketball coach Dennis Pardue resigned from his position in March.
The Panthers had just completed the season with a heartbreaking loss to Warren Central in the Fourth Region tournament and it was believed that coach Pardue would stay on as the a while longer.
But with the announcement, that was not the case.
“It’s been eight years since I started here, and with Davis graduating, I felt the timing was right to step away for a little bit to view some other opportunities I may have in my life,” Pardue said.
The Panthers have enjoyed success under Pardue as he guided Russellville to the region tournament in each of his eight years. Pardue took over the program after having a lot of success at Todd County Central. He went 142-90 in the regular season as the coach of the Panthers. Overall at both Todd County and Russellville, coach Pardue compiled a 247-146 record.
Play begins at new athletic park
The first real use of Russellville’s new athletic park took place on Saturday, March 17 with teams from the Russellville Parks & Rec youth soccer league using the artificial turf field for a series of scrimmages.
Work on the park began in 2010, but when the $1.5 million the city got from the state’s Energy & Environmental Protection Cabinet (EEPC) ran out, the project was put on hold.
After former mayor Gene Zick left office, new mayor Mark Stratton made it a priority to get the new park up and running – in the most economical way possible.
That turned out to be a $150,000 grant from the Carpenter Foundation, which has been used to get the sports complex in good enough shape to at least use the one artificial turf field.
The soccer field has been divided into three smaller fields for use by the youth soccer leagues.
There are two small fields for 6-and-under teams to play on and a larger field for the 8-and-under teams.
“Playing on the artificial turf is something different for the kids and I’m sure they’re excited about it,” Stratton said.
The youth soccer league had previously used the open fields behind Stevenson Elementary for games and practices.
Myers steps down as RHS principal
After serving the past eight years as an administrator at Russellville High School, principal John Myers left school at the end of the year to take a position as Director of Transportation, Maintenance, and Energy Management for the school district.
Robert Coker previously served in that position, but he retired effective July 31. For the previous four years, Myers had been the school’s head administrator and football coach. He will continue to lead the gridiron Panthers.
“I’m ready for a change,” Myers said. “It’s been an outstanding eight years, and I have thoroughly enjoyed working here. The teachers have made this possible for me. There is a tremendous faculty here and I owe them a whole lot.”
In his eight years at RHS, Myers served as assistant principal, interim principal and athletic director during his first four years. The past four he has been the school’s principal.
Myers said that holding that position as well as head football coach has been extremely time consuming.
“The first three years I didn’t really notice it much, but it took its toll this year, and I kinda ran into the wall,” Myers said. “I’ve been burning the candle at both ends and you can’t do that forever. If I didn’t have great people around me, in the classroom and at the central office, I would not have been able to do it this long.
“I’ve been blessed that the school board allowed me to be principal and coach here. Not every place will let you have that opportunity. They’ve just been overwhelmingly supportive of me.”
Russellville school superintendent Leon Smith said he was glad that Myers is able to move up into the new role.
McDaniel named new principal at RHS
The new Russellville High School principal is Kim McDaniel, who previously held the position of curriculum specialist for grades 7-12 in the city school district.
McDaniel was one of three candidates interviewed in April by superintendent Leon Smith and the rest of the high school’s site-based decision-making council.
“I want to commend our site-based council,” Smith said. “They took a lot of time to seriously look at all the candidates. They asked the hard questions, really did a good job to try and scrutinize all the possible principals.”
Smith said that since McDaniel has spent her whole career with the Russellville school district, that made her a very attractive candidate for the position, which became available when former principal John Myers announced he was stepping down to take a job as the district’s director of transportation.
“One of the things we liked about her is that she’s been in the Russellville system for her whole career,” Smith said. “She knows the system and she bleeds black and gold. Continuity is very critical, because we’re making some nice gains. That consistency that she brings will be a good thing.”
King’s run for state senate cut short
The deadline to file to run for the state legislature came and went in February with no change to a judge’s ruling that the newly-drawn legislative districts are unconstitutional and that election officials have to use previous district lines in this year’s state legislative elections.
And so, Logan County’s Martha Jane King withdrew from the state senate race and refiled for her position as representative for District 16, which includes all of Logan and Todd counties.
“The situation is just unfortunate,” King said.
Every 10 years, after a national census, Kentucky is required to redraw its district lines to keep them all even in terms of population.
That was done by the state general assembly last month, and signed into law by Governor Steve Beshear, but both Republicans from the House of Representatives and Democrats from the senate, filed suit claiming the new lines were unconstitutional.
And Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd agreed.
The senate district King would have ran in would have included Logan, Todd, Muhlenberg, Allen, Simpson and a portion of Warren counties.
Longtime Logan County Attorney Tom Noe filed to run as a democrat for state representative last month, but he has said he has no intention of running against King.
“When I filed, I was filing for an open house seat,” Noe said. “The best thing for Logan and Todd counties is for her to stay in the state house where she can be the most effective leader we have in the position.”
Three Republicans had filed to run for that seat. They were Logan County Magistrate Jo Orange, Chris Hightower and Jimmy Kent Wilson. Orange later dropped out of the race and Hightower beat Wilson in the Republican primary.
Logan County snaps losing streaks to RHS
February saw the much anticipated rematch between the two crosstown rivals in the ‘Clash of the Cats’ game.
In the first matchup between the Panthers and Cougars of the season in January, Logan County snapped a nine-year losing streak to Russellville.
Now an even longer streak needed to be snapped.
Logan County went into Jim Young Gymnasium not having won there in the last 18 years.
“Sounds like we were due for a win doesn’t it?” LCHS head coach Harold Tackett said. But this season, the hottest team in the region, was determined to see the magic of Jim Young gymnasium expunged.
In a thrilling four quarters, the Cougars took 18 years of frustration out on the Panthers in a 90-79 victory.
City of Russellville gets out of lawsuit
The law suit filed against the city of Russellville Jan. 23, 2010, by Interstate Environmental Services out of Glasgow was be dismissed in January.
The suit contended that the city of Russellville owed Interstate Environmental $183,860 from a $223,120 bill for environmental cleanup work, by way of asbestos abatement, at the old Logan County Hospital between June 23 and Sept. 2, 2010.
The company claimed a portion of the work was done on an emergency basis and was approved by previous mayor Gene Zick.
The city had already paid $39,260 of the bill while Zick was still in office and the environmental company wanted the rest of the money they felt they were entitled to.
The city’s position has always been that mayor Zick did not follow proper procedure to approve the cleanup and therefore the city is not liable to pay it.
The city also filed a counterclaim to retrieve the $39,260 back that was already paid. The agreement will cancel out each suit, never to be brought up again.
The city council passed a resolution explaining the agreement standing by what they have always contended, which is that no emergency was declared by then mayor Gene Zick prior to, during, or after the services were performed by Interstate Environmental Services and that based upon the aforementioned determinations, the city has concluded that any such contract alleged between Interstate Environmental Services and the city is void.