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2018 Year in Review

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By The Staff

 

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January

• Dr. James A. “Papa Doc” Ewing celebrated his retirement from Taylor Regional Hospital with a reception attended by family, coworkers and friends. Ewing helped thousands of local patients in more than 40 years at Taylor Regional Hospital. 

• Former Campbellsville University Athletic Director and Hall of Fame member Don Bishop passed away at the age of 82, leaving a lasting legacy behind at CU.

• The community mourned the loss of longtime CKNJ Sports Editor and athletics historian Bobby Brockman, who passed away at the age of 61. 

• Taylor County 2017 Distinguished Young Woman Lexi Raikes shined bright on the big stage, taking third runner-up at the state competition in Lexington. Raikes, now a student at the University of Louisville, is the daughter of Tiffany and Jeremy Cornish. 

• Lawrence Harris, a substitute teacher at Taylor County High School and local photographer, was sentenced to six years in jail for sending and soliciting explicit photographs to students, as well as having sexual contact with the students. 

• U.S. Rep. James Comer, R-Kentucky, stopped by Campbellsville High School to recognize students for their achievements. Among them were Bryce Richardson for acceptance into the U.S. Naval Academy, Austin Fitzgerald and Christian Berry for winning Comer’s Congressional App Challenge, and Hye Sue Cho and Eujin “Sydney” Jeong for participating in the app challenge.

• Taylor Regional Hospital presented gifts to the first local baby born at TRH. Guy Axle Wood, son of Guy Anthony Wood and Danae Wood, was born Jan. 10. 

• The Taylor County boys’ basketball team picked up its first win in the new Citizens Bank Arena with a 56-45 win over Louisville Moore. 

February

• Clem Haskins was honored at Taylor County High School with the arena floor being named in his honor. Many of his former teammates and coaches were in attendance to celebrate the occasion. 

• The filing deadline for the 2018 primary election passed with several candidates jumping in the race for many local offices up for grabs. 

• The city of Campbellsville had to pay up for a special audit conducted by Kentucky Auditor of Public Accounts Mike Harmon’s office with the bill totaling $25,000. The audit found several instances of the city not being compliant with state laws and policies, as well as instances of the city using businesses owned by council members to do work, but failing to solicit bids properly for those jobs. 

• Schools in the Campbellsville Independent and Taylor County School Districts took part in the #MarshallStrong Day to show support for Marshall County High School after a shooting left two students dead and others injured. 

• The Campbellsville University women’s wrestling team was welcomed back home with a police escort following a national championship victory in Oklahoma City. 

• Citizens, churches and civic organizations from around Campbellsville and Taylor County held programs and ceremonies in honor of Black History Month. 

• Niki Marineau was named the interim director of the Campbellsville-Taylor County Chamber of Commerce after Suzanne Grubesic stepped down from the position. 

• Former Taylor County basketball coach and player Brent Cox passed away at the age of 78. Cox helped lead the Cardinals to eight district titles and four region crowns. 

March

• As threats to schools in Kentucky became an epidemic of sorts, Campbellsville High School was no exception as school officials dealt with two separate threats within a week. CIS Superintendent Kirby Smith and then-Taylor County Superintendent Roger Cook began to weigh several options to ensure student safety. 

• Local musicians Chase McDaniel and Blake Whitlock played a concert that felt like a homecoming. The two musicians are part of the Nashville-based group, “4th + Main” and played their first concert in the area at Roger D. Cook Auditorium. 

• The Campbellsville Lady Eagles basketball team took home the 20th District title for the first time in 16 years under the leadership of coach Anthony Epps. 

• H&W Sport Shop opened their new building at 120 East Main Street. Included in the new building is a sign that was saved from the old building, which was destroyed by a fire in 2016. 

• Then-Taylor County Schools Superintendent Roger Cook got the community involved in raising funds to improve school security by taking donations for Barracuda Intruder Defense System devices that securely lock doors in place, denying an intruder entry into a classroom or office. 

• Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton visited Campbellsville and spoke to the Campbellsville-Taylor County Chamber of Commerce.

• Local business owners Bobby and Rebecca Phillips faced allegations of animal cruelty. The couple each faced 82 counts of cruelty to animals, setting the stage for a months-long legal battle. 

• Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin upset teachers and public workers around the state when he appeared on a local radio station, WVLC (99.9 The Big Dawg) and made controversial comments about teachers in regard to the state’s pension crisis and protests at the Capitol. Bevin said that teachers who were upset and protested were “throwing a temper tantrum.” Local legislators Rep. Bam Carney and Sen. Max Wise quickly issued statements distancing themselves from Bevin’s comments. 

• A rare snowy owl, normally found in Canada, made its home in Taylor County on Cave Road for a short while, drawing spectators from miles around to catch a glimpse.

• George Williams, a local icon, passed away at the age of 94. Williams was the first African-American police officer in Campbellsville, the first African-American jailer and was the nation’s first African-American Greyhound bus station owner.

• Mike Ramsey was the named the new director of Campbellsville-Taylor County EMS, officially taking over two months later after former director Gary Magers retired.

• Campbellsville native Hannah Ellis continued to see her career in Nashville flourish with the release of her song “ILYSoWhat” which received significant playtime on CMT.

April

• The state legislature passed Senate Bill 151, aimed at reforming Kentucky’s pension system for teachers and other state employees. The bill was controversial and some local teachers made their way to Frankfort to protest the bill. 

• Local students Mikey Sanford from Taylor County High School and Bryce Richardson from Campbellsville High School were accepted into military academies. Sanford was accepted into the Air Force Academy and Richardson into the Naval Academy. 

• Excellent weather paved the way for a record crowd for Plow Day at The Homeplace on Green River, as a crowd of around 2,500 made their way to the historic farm for a day full of activities. 

• The possibility existed that there would be no St. Baldrick’s Event in Campbellsville this year, but the Campbellsville University Student Government Association came together and hosted the event, which raises funds for cancer research. 

• The Taylor County School District continued its search for a new superintendent after the retirement of Roger Cook. 

• Taylor County baseball coach Jeff Gumm picked up a milestone victory with his 600th win at the helm of the Cardinals program. 

May

• Campbellsville University hosted an active shooter drill with local law enforcement and first responders to help agencies prepare for emergency situations. 

• CU hosted a forum with six of the candidates for mayor of Campbellsville, including incumbent Tony Young, Brenda Allen, Patti Phillips, Sharon Hoskins-Sanders, Steven Seibech and Roger Robertson. 

• Tucker Diamonds and Gold celebrated 70 years of being in business in the Campbellsville community. 

• Former 5th District Magistrate Ed Gorin stepped down from his position as magistrate, citing health concerns, after 16 years of service to Taylor County. 

• Campbellsville Independent Schools created a position for a school resource officer, and hired Campbellsville Police Officer Charlie Houk as the district’s first SRO. 

• State Sen. Max Wise began a circuit of town halls across the district, with these held at school facilities after the 2018 legislative session wrapped up, which had a heavy focus on education issues. Wise held town halls at both the Campbellsville and Taylor County School District campuses. 

• Campbellsville Fire-Rescue received a grant from Firehouse Subs in the amount of $17,000, which provided funding for the department to purchase several new sets of dive gear. 

• Campbellsville University set a record with 700 graduates receiving their degrees at their May commencement ceremonies. 

• School board members tabbed Charles Higdon Jr., assistant superintendent for the Taylor County School District, as the district’s next superintendent by a unanimous vote. Higdon accepted a four-year contract worth $155,000 annually for the job. 

• Tony Young and Brenda Allen were the top two candidates coming out of a crowded May primary election for the position of Campbellsville mayor as 35 percent of registered voters in Campbellsville/Taylor County made their way to the polls. 

• Kentucky State Police held a ceremony honoring fallen trooper and Taylor County native Johnny Edrington, nearly 30 years after he was tragically killed in the line of duty. Kentucky State Police say they continue to follow up on any leads in the unsolved case. 

• Taylor County sophomore Ciara Mosely took home a state title in the shot put competition at the KHSAA State Track and Field Championships. 

• Kentucky Christian Academy tabbed Alicia Riggs as the school’s next administrator following the retirement of former Administrator Lori Eubank. Riggs formerly was a principal at Saint Augustine in Marion County before opening a private school in Florida. 

• Campbellsville and Taylor County high schools held graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2018. 

• Local farmer Jeff Arnold was named the 2018 Ag Council Person of the Year at the monthly meeting of the Campbellsville-Taylor County Chamber of Commerce.

• The Campbellsville University baseball team brought home a World Series championship, a program first. 

• The Campbellsville High School baseball team won the 20th District Tournament, its first in five years. 

June

• Questions about the future of the city pool continued, as Cody Wood told city council members needed repairs to bring the pool back into working condition could border on $200,000. Those repairs could give the pool a life of another 5-7 years, but it’s uncertain how much longer the pool could operate after that. 

• Derrick Bright was appointed to the position of 5th District magistrate, replacing Ed Gorin who stepped down from the position. Bright had recently won the Republican primary for the seat in May. 

• Campbellsville native Keaton Jones appeared on the television show, “American Ninja Warrior,” filmed in Indianapolis. 

• Several administrative changes occurred in the Taylor County School District. Sara Tucker removed the interim tag and was named TCMS principal, Laura Benningfield left her position as Taylor County High School principal for a position at the district office and Jon Hall was hired from Temple Hill Elementary in Barren County to be the next TCHS principal. 

• The Taylor County Fair Board presented Randall and Linda Caulk with the 2018 Finest Farm Family award. 

• A microburst wind struck the southern part of Taylor County, damaging property in the area of New Columbia Road and Green River Marina. 

• The late former CKNJ Sports Editor Bobby Brockman was named the 2018 Citizen of the Year by the Campbellsville-Taylor County Chamber of Commerce. H&W Sport was named Business of the Year, John Chowning was named Chamber Investor of the Year and Dr. Milton Rogers of Campbellsville University was named Educator of the Year. 

July

• A second microburst wind hit Taylor County, leading to substantial damage across the county. The storm spanned about 3.5 to 4 miles long and was 3.5 miles wide. Downed trees struck numerous houses and a tree also fell on a Taylor County Sheriff’s cruiser. 

• Campbellsville High School began the search for a new principal after David Petett took a position as Food Services Director at the district office. Weston Jones was named the new principal at CHS. 

• Democrat candidates for Kentucky Governor visited Campbellsville ahead of the 2018 state legislature elections. Attorney General Andy Beshear, who had already filed to run for Governor, and then House Minority Leader Rocky Adkins (who later filed for Governor) were the featured speakers at the event. 

• A federal drug investigation resulted in the arrest of five Taylor County individuals on methamphetamine and cocaine trafficking charges.  Mickey D. Watson, William Downs, Rashad Dunn, Kali Gomez, and Keyaira Grider were indicted on the drug trafficking charges. 

• Five cases of Hepatitis A were confirmed locally since 2017, beginning a string of several Hepatitis A cases in Taylor County over the next few months. 

August

• A riot at the Taylor County Detention Center involving 27 inmates occurred overnight, but no injuries were reported and the inmates had to be transported to Marion County while damages at the jail were reported. 

• Rep. Bam Carney and Sen. Max Wise were named co-chairs of the legislature’s School Safety Committee, traveling the state and gathering information from stakeholders to bring back to the legislature. 

• Taylor County School District hired Tim Coppage as the district’s fourth school resource officer in an effort to improve school safety. With the hire, each school has one SRO. 

• Laurie Mandi, a local United States Navy veteran, was named Kentucky Legionnaire of the Year, from more than 20,000 American Legion members in the state of Kentucky.

• The Campbellsville School District voted not to increase the district’s tax rate on real and personal property. 

• CU Bass Fisher Nick Ratliff punched his ticket to the 2019 Bassmaster Classic by winning the 2018 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Classic Bracket. 

• Mold issues arose at the Taylor County Judicial Center, prompting the building to be shut down for three weeks for cleaning and mold eradication. 

• A controversial deal was reached in the Phillips Animal Cruelty case. Via the agreement, all 164 charges against Bobby Phillips were dismissed. He had faced 82 counts of cruelty to animals second degree and 82 counts of failure to vaccinate against rabies. Rebecca Phillips faced the same counts. Via an agreement reached between special prosecutor Lisa Nally-Martin and Lebanon attorney Jim Avritt, the attorney for the Phillipses, 76 of the cruelty to animals charges as well as 76 of the failure to vaccinate charges were dismissed.

• The Grandview Nursing Home faced an uncertain future after a series of state surveys found conditions that constitute health concerns to residents. Local residents rallied around the nursing home and held a prayer chain around the building at one meeting. 

September

• Protesters lined the side of Greensburg Road outside Phillips Agri protesting the agreement that protesters said did not provide justice in the Phillips Animal Abuse Case. Around 100 people held signs and chanted throughout the day. 

• The annual football game between Campbellsville and Taylor County High School was renamed the Five Star Bobby Brockman Memorial Big Dawg Bowl. 

• Elizabeth Sullivan from Campbellsville High School was named Taylor County’s Distinguished Young Woman. Elizabeth’s mother, Cheryl, was a Junior Miss contestant in 1982. Her aunt, Nancy Cox, was 1985 Junior Miss. Her cousin, Emily Cox, won the title in 2004. 

• The Taylor County School Board voted to raise the tax rate from 58.2 cents to 58.9 cents by a 4-1 vote. Jan Burkhead cast the lone vote against the tax increase. 

• A final settlement was reached in the case of the death of 18-year-old Lebron Gaither in July 1996. Gaither, a Lebanon native, was killed in Taylor County by Jason Noel, a known drug dealer, one day after Gaither testified against Noel in a grand jury proceeding. The state paid out more than $300,000 to his family for their role in how the situation played out. 

• Taylor County topped the area in Hepatitis A cases, as health officials worked to contain the outbreak in Taylor County. 

October

• Testing results from Kentucky schools were released and local schools fared well with test results. Both school districts exceeded state averages in several areas. 

• The C&S Mission Store held a grand opening at its new location on South Central Avenue with several local elected officials and business leaders in attendance for the ribbon cutting and open house. 

• A nationwide raise for Amazon workers to a minimum of $15 per hour affected about 1,000 workers at Amazon’s Campbellsville Fulfillment Center. 

• Campbellsville native Gabby Pyles was crowned homecoming queen at Lindsey Wilson College and Kendra Polston was crowned Campbellsville University Homecoming Queen. 

• The Taylor County Boys Golf Team took home a state title after a huge comeback win over Saint Xavier (Louisville). The Cardinals trailed by 10 strokes with six holes remaining in the state championship to pick up the title. 

• A new radio station hit the airwaves in the area as 106.7 FM and 1450 AM “The Rock” went live. Program Director Rob Collins said that they were going away from the CBS Sports programming on the AM side and the station will play classic rock music with some previously popular programs staying on. 

November

• Former state legislator and CU Professor Russ Mobley passed away at the age of 84. He served in the state legislature from 2000-2009, winning election as a Republican after former representative Ricky Lee Cox opted not to seek re-election.

• Campbellsville and Taylor County witnessed a change in leadership in city and county government, as incumbents Tony Young and Eddie Rogers lost to Brenda Allen and Barry Smith in the races for Campbellsville Mayor and Taylor County Judge-Executive, respectively. Approximately 55 percent of registered voters in Taylor County turned out to the polls. 

• The Kentucky Traveling Vietnam Wall came to Campbellsville for the annual Veterans Day Ceremony. The wall travels around the state and contains the name of Kentuckians who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country in the Vietnam War. 

• Taylor County Boys Basketball Coach Maze Stallworth stepped down, just two weeks before the Cardinals were set to start regular season play. Jeff Gumm was named the interim head coach for the 2018-2019 season. 

• The Campbellsville School District voted to expand their preschool by hiring one new teacher and instructional aide due to high enrollment numbers. 

• Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin visited Campbellsville to host a forum at Campbellsville University with community members. Much of the conversation centered on adoption/foster care, one of the main focuses of Bevin’s gubernatorial campaign in 2015 and a topic Bevin has aimed to bring awareness to during his time in the Governor’s office. 

• Central Kentucky News-Journal Publisher Jeff Moreland announced that he would be leaving his position after accepting a position with The Isaiah House, a faith-based drug and alcohol treatment center for men in Willisburg. Moreland had been with the CKNJ’s parent company, Landmark Community Newspapers, for approximately 13 years. 

• Longtime magistrate and community leader Ed Gorin passed away at the age of 70, just months after stepping down as 5th District Magistrate. Gorin served as a magistrate in Taylor County for 16 years. 

• Campbellsville and Taylor County High School’s football teams both earned regional championships and punched their tickets to the state semifinals. 

• A multi-vehicle automobile collision claimed the lives of two individuals. Steven Kyle Taylor, 31, of Burkesville passed away at the scene of the collision on KY 55, and three-year-old Hunter Hedgespeth passed away at the hospital days later as a result of injuries sustained in the collision. KY 55 was closed for several hours as emergency officials worked the scene of the accident. 

• November finally saw a much-needed decrease in the number of Hepatitis A cases locally, which had been among the highest in the area. Health officials have made extra efforts to curb the spread of Hepatitis A in Taylor County by encouraging vaccines and hand washing. 

• Reports were released showing that Taylor County residents make up about 16 percent of participants in syringe exchange programs in the Lake Cumberland District despite no program existing in Taylor County. More than 160 Taylor County residents have participated in syringe exchange programs in Adair, Russell, and Pulaski counties. 

• The Taylor County Extension Office held an open house to celebrate 100 years of service to the community. The first Taylor County Extension Office was established in 1918. It was located on Main Street in the old Bank of Campbellsville with the first Taylor County extension agent, J.L. Miller.

December

• A study from the Kentucky Hospital Association reported that Taylor Regional Hospital has an approximate $46 million local impact. The study used numbers from 2016 to determine taxes paid and money that flowed into the local economy through TRH and its employees. 

• Rep. Bam Carney was named House Majority Floor Leader, his first move into a leadership position in the Kentucky Legislature. His peers in the Republican caucus elected Carney to the position. 

• Bluegrass legend Ricky Skaggs came to Campbellsville to perform a concert at Campbellsville University in front of a large audience in Ransdell Chapel. Skaggs also held a meet-and-greet with fans before the show. 

• A Campbellsville couple and their church are the feature of a new Viceland documentary series titled “Kentucky Ayahuasca.” The show follows Campbellsville residents Steve and Teri Hupp, along with their family and members of their team, as residents come to their church, Aya Quest, to try Ayahuasca. The show comes on at 10 p.m. ET on Wednesdays on the Viceland Network. 

• Local attorney Danny Butler pleaded guilty to five federal charges of wire fraud as part of a scheme to obtain money from clients of his legal practice, by means of misappropriating funds, in order to pay for personal expenses including gambling losses, according to U.S. Attorney Russell M. Coleman. 

• Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin announced that Frost-Arnett, a Nashville-based company with a facility in Campbellsville located in the Elmhurst Plaza, is purchasing and renovating a building at 685 Watertower Bypass, known as the Lippert Building. The move is also expected to result in 135 full-time jobs, a welcome boost to the local economy.