Year in Review

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Taylor Countians make headlines in 2012, experiencing both triumphs and tragedies

Taylor Countians made headlines in 2012, experiencing triumphs and tragedy.

From the death and retirement of several prominent residents to businesses closing and expanding, residents being found guilty of murder to a landmark business destroyed by fire and much more, the year 2012 was full of breaking news.

Following are some of the biggest local news stories of 2012, in no particular order.

In Memory

Taylor County lost many prominent residents in 2012, some who died of illness and others who were killed in collisions.

Former magistrate and Taylor County Sheriff Albert Lynwood "Sonny" Cave died in February after battling cancer. He was 74.

"The number of people he touched in his life was amazing to me," Bill Chandler, a friend of Cave's said. "Anybody that had a relationship with Sonny, I couldn't imagine anyone not liking Sonny. You always knew he was a straight arrow."

Former magistrate, Taylor County School Board member and gospel music singer Ernie Wise died in March after a battle with Alzheimer's. He was 64.

Gary Seaborne, former superintendent at Taylor County Schools, said, "He was a great man. A man of integrity. Good character. When Ernie told you he was going to do something, he was going to do it. You could count on him."

Walt "Coach" Green, the former Taylor County Superintendent who made sure his high school had a football team and band program, died in April. He was 82.

"He was a good mentor to me," Seaborne said. "He knew a lot of things and was very eager to learn more. And he was quick to learn. He was a fine man, very energetic, and really worked hard."

Billy Mitchell, owner of Mitchell's Men's Wear and active community leader, died at the age of 86 in May. He was known for being supportive, smiling and always well dressed.

"He's just like a father and mentor to me," Billy Joe Douglas, who works at the store, said. "He was witty, outgoing, caring and always willing to help."

Known for their compatible senses of humor, always having smiles on their faces and being perfect for each other, Jade Sullivan and Justin Atwood dated for about two years. The two died together after a head-on collision in May. They were 17, and 19, respectively.

Sullivan was set to attend prom the Saturday after she died and graduate from Taylor County High School just a week later.

"She was always happy," TCHS Principal Charles Higdon Jr. said. "She was a student that was truly loved by all. She basically had it in her hands to do whatever she chose."

Kate Gosser, TCHS senior class president and a close friend of Sullivan's, said, "You could just tell that Justin absolutely loved her. He was just like Jade."

And like Sullivan, Gosser says Atwood was always friendly.

"He just wanted to keep a smile on everybody's face," Gosser said.

Campbellsville City Councilwoman Vangie Ford died in December at the age of 74. She suffered a major stroke.

Campbellsville Mayor Tony Young said Ford was very dedicated and loyal to the city that she loved and called home.

"She was very involved and would always attend the meetings. Any time something was happening in the city, she was right there."

Businesses Close, Expand

Air filter manufacturer CLARCOR announced in January that it will close up shop. And as a result, 71 employees lost their jobs.

In a letter written to Taylor County Judge/Executive Eddie Rogers, Paul Marold, president of CLARCOR, stated that the closing involved the entire Campbellsville plant and was permanent.

"This action is necessary because we continue to have difficulty acquiring enough business to keep the Campbellsville plant at its current level," Marold wrote.

In February, Campbellsville Apparel's longstanding contract to make T-shirts and briefs for United States soldiers was in jeopardy. It eventually kept the contract after some key legislators rallied for the business.

However, in November, it was announced that 36 of the 173 employees at the plant would lose their jobs and another dozen would retire. The news came after a decrease in demand for T-shirts and briefs plummeted after the U.S. defense budget was cut.

In April, Gov. Steve Beshear announced that Intelenet Global Services, now owned by Serco, was adding 125 jobs to its Campbellsville facility.

Beshear was in Campbellsville in November to announce that INFAC will invest $6.5 million to expand its workforce by 20 jobs and build a 100,000-square-foot facility in the Heartland Commerce and Technology Park. This will be the first business to locate at HCTP. Work on the new building is in progress.

Abuse Allegations Cleared

Allegations surfaced in 2011 that workers at the Taylor County Animal Shelter buried several animals alive in a mass grave. In 2012, the shelter was cleared of any wrongdoing.

Andy Stewart, an inmate who served time at the Taylor County Detention Center, wrote in a 2011 letter to the News-Journal that he was working at the shelter when he was asked to bury animals alive.

Taylor County Judge/Executive Eddie Rogers said the allegations weren't true. The Kentucky Environmental Protection Agency referred the case to the Kentucky Board of Veterinary Examiners.

In February, state officials dismissed the allegations, stating that there was insufficient evidence to show any laws had been broken.

The allegations were the center of several governmental meetings in 2012 and sparked lots of discussion in the community. Taylor County's SPCA group reformed as a result of the allegations. Inmates are no longer used at the shelter.

Taking Office

Taylor Countians now have several new leaders, after the retirement of several and after one left town for another job.

Gary Magers was named director of the Campbellsville/Taylor County EMS service in February, taking the reigns from Allen Bottoms. Campbellsville Mayor Tony Young declined to reveal the reason for the change but said he hoped it would increase patient care. Bottoms accepted a position as a major.

Also in February, Julia Turpin began work as the director of Taylor County Public Library, filling the position vacated by Elaine Munday. After 37 years in the director's chair, Munday voluntarily stepped down. She is now library cataloger.

Allen "A.J." Johnson, Campbellsville Fire & Rescue chief, retired in July after his son, Alex, decided to start his firefighting career. Kyle Smith of Frankfort was hired to replace Johnson in October.

Taylor County Middle School got a new principal in July, after longtime principal C.D. Harvey retired after having the post for 22 years. Tony Jewell moved to the position from vice principal.

After having difficulty finding the right candidate to permanently take the reigns after Taylor County Elementary School Principal Brian Clifford resigned in June to take a job out of town, Donna Williams was named interim principal in July.

And in August, Ronnie Dooley, assistant supervisor at Campbellsville/Taylor County E-911, retired after nearly 40 years on the job.

Serving Time

Several Taylor Countians were charged with murder in 2012. Some have been found guilty of the crimes and sentenced to prison time. Others pleaded guilty and have been sentenced and others are still awaiting trial.

In February, Jesse Durham, 20, formally pleaded not guilty to murdering Elizabeth Arinsmier, his great-grandmother, with a hammer. Court records, however, state that Durham admitted to police that he argued with Arinsmier and struck her with a hammer until she died. Durham is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday for a hearing in his case.

William Howard Mayes, 30, pleaded guilty in April to the first-degree murder of Bethany Mann in a drunken driving crash. He received 20 years in prison.

Kathleen H. Wise, 61, was found guilty in August of the first-degree murder of her husband. A former nurse, Wise gave Joseph Kenneth Wise an overdose of morphine. She was sentenced to life in prison but has filed an appeal of her sentence, which is pending with the Kentucky Supreme Court.

Tonya Ford, 39, was found guilty in August of the first-degree murder of her husband, David Ford, who served as a police officer in Lebanon. She was sentenced to serve 20 years in prison for shooting Officer Ford. She has filed an appeal of her sentence, which is pending with the state Supreme Court.

The Ford and Wise cases will be featured on episodes of the television show "Snapped," which details the lives of women accused of murder. Ford's episode will air Jan. 20. Wise's episode will begin filming this month to air this summer.

David Salyers, 59, was arrested and charged in October with complicity to the murder of Wendell "Gleason" Pyles of Adair County. William "Bobby" R. Rigdon of Lebanon and Anthony L. Byrd of Dunnville have also been charged in Casey Circuit Court. If convicted, Salyers could be sentenced to as much as life in prison. He is expected to appear in court again in March.

School Plans on Hold

Plans to build a new high school and a performance-based education campus for the Taylor County School District are now on hold. The news was announced in March.

Thanks to the state budget woes, there is no money to help build new category five schools, those deemed by state inspectors to be in the worst state of repair and in need of replacement. Taylor County Elementary is classified as category five.

The District's building plan calls for a performance-based education center at the current middle and high school locations. The center would house the elementary and middle school. In addition to a new building, which would house pre-school through second-grade students, the current middle and high schools would get facelifts. Grades three through five would be housed in the current middle school. Taylor County Middle School would move to the current high school. A new high school would be built on the 120 acres of property the District owns on KY 210. The current elementary school would no longer be used.

Though that plan was put on hold in 2012, Campbellsville Schools announced that it might restructure its school buildings this year. And those who want to give their two cents about the plan now have their chance.

Superintendent Mike Deaton said at a recent Board of Education meeting that a survey about the plans for parents, community members and any interested parties is now available online at www.cville.k12.ky.us.

The proposed reconfiguration was first announced in May. If approved, the changes would be implemented during the 2013-2014 school year.

Deaton's proposal is to have the current CMS building become an Early Education Center for students in preschool through third-grade.

CMS students in grades four, five and six would move to the existing CES building.

Seventh and eighth graders could become students at a "transitional" school between the current CES and CHS buildings. Freshmen through seniors will remain at the CHS building.

Preschool students currently attend class in a house near CES, which currently houses students in kindergarten through fourth grade. Students in grades five through eight attend CMS and CHS houses freshmen through seniors.

Making Way for Progress

Work on the new Taylor County Public Library has been in progress for quite some time now, though the building won't be opening its doors until February.

At a recent meeting of the library's Board, representatives from Blevins Construction Co., the company overseeing the project that will turn the former Gabehart Lumber Building on East Broadway into the new library, said the project is on budget.

The library is expected to receive its certificate of occupancy for its new building on Feb. 4, depending on upcoming winter weather, and would open around that date. The project, which began with the purchase of property in 2010, is estimated at costing about $1 million. The building's completion date has been pushed back several times for a variety of reasons.

Raining Money

Campbellsville became $750,000 richer in June, thanks to a state grant to help pay for a new water storage tank.

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear was in Taylor County to announce the city received a $746,000 grant to help fund a water tank project in the industrial park.

The grant will be used toward the design and construction of a 1-million gallon water storage tank and the removal of two unsafe and deteriorated tanks built in the 1950s. The total project cost is $2.38 million and will increase the county's water capacity by 400,000 gallons.

The city also received Kentucky Infrastructure Authority grants totaling $750,000, which have been authorized by legislators. The remainder of the project, which will total $884,000, will be paid for with a federal low-interest loan. The project is ongoing.

Mail Stays in Mannsville

After residents feared its doors might close for good, it was announced in August that Mannsville Post Office will remain open but with limited hours of operation as part of a continual effort to reduce costs.

The new hours were to change around the Christmas holiday. The post office will be open from 8 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday and from 8 to 11 a.m. on Saturdays.

The Postal Service announced in July 2011 that the Mannsville Post Office was one of 3,700 being studied for possible closure. More than 130 of the locations were in Kentucky. A few months later, about 140 people gathered at Mannsville United Methodist Church to protest the closing.

Former Mannsville Postmaster Jesse Mings Jr. said word that their post office will remain open has reached many Mannsville residents, who were happy to hear.

Down in Flames

It was never a question of whether it was going to happen, only how long it would take. Brothers and Taylor County Tire owners Ronnie and Tony Knifley have already begun plans to rebuild their shop after it was destroyed by fire early last month.

But until then, Taylor County Tire has set up shop at the former Ratliff Motor headquarters on East Broadway.

According to a Campbellsville Fire & Rescue news release, Tony Knifley called 911 and reported the fire at 6:25 a.m. Fire & Rescue personnel arrived on the scene at 6:28 a.m. and found heavy fire in the back and upstairs areas of the building. The building is a total loss and the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Though the building might be gone now, Ronnie Knifley said, the Taylor County Tire business will live on.

"I don't know what else we'd do," he said. "Basically, we don't know anything else."