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Year In Review

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Another year in Owen County history comes to a close

By The Staff

2009 may well be remembered as one of the most pivotal years in the long history of Owen County. New businesses opened while some old favorites closed. A new era in county government began following controversy. We said hello to new neighbors and goodbye to many old friends.

Here is a look back from the pages of the News-Herald.

Jan. 7, 2009

The Owen County Fiscal Court held a public hearing regarding a grant application for the extension of the existing walking track surrounding Actaris Field at the Owen County Park.

The meeting took place Jan. 12.

The hearing focused on proposed changes at the park, which included extending the walking track around Itron Field to create an oval, and funding for the purpose of revitalizing the existing athletic field – primarily the soccer field at the Owen County Park. 

In sports news, the Owen County Rebels basketball team defeated an Australian National Team, 60-37, in a tournament at Campellsville. The Rebels also beat the Carroll County Panthers, 47-39.

The Owen County Lady Rebels lost a district game against the Carroll County Panthers, 51-38.

Jan. 14

The trial of then Owen County Judge-Executive Billy O’Banion and County Treasurer Gayla Lewis, was postponed.

Commonwealth Attorney Jim Crawford said the delay was due to Lewis’ lawyer, Mike Judy, who had been ill.

The trial was moved to Jan. 20.

Crawford said they would discuss how to proceed with the trial if Judy’s illness continued.

O’Banion was charged with theft by unlawful taking, two counts of official misconduct and theft of services.

Lewis was charged with complicity of theft by unlawful taking and two counts of official misconduct.

In sports news, the Owen County Rebels basketball team picked up a 59-46 win over the Gallatin County Wildcats. The Owen County Lady Rebels also defeated their Gallatin County opponents, 61-43.

Jan. 21

Owen County officials Billy O’Banion and Gayla Lewis announced their resignations as judge-executive and treasurer respectively before entering guilty pleas Jan. 16 in Owen County Circuit Court to allegations of official misconduct. O’Banion, who was in his third term as judge-executive, was charged with theft, theft of services and two counts of first-degree official misconduct before the charges against him were reduced.

Under the plea agreement, the charges were changed to four counts of official misconduct.

His co-defendant, then Owen County Treasurer Gayla Lewis, was charged with first-degree official misconduct.

Under the terms of the deal, the charge of complicity to felony theft was dismissed.

During a special meeting of the Owen County Fiscal Court, held Jan. 16, O’Banion stepped down as the highest-elected official in the county. A resignation letter from Lewis was also read to the magistrates.

In sports news, the Owen County Rebels basketball team, defeated the Grant County Braves, 67-58; they lost against the Anderson County Bearcats, 67-49; and they lost to North Oldham Mustangs, 84-70.

The Owen County Lady Rebels entered the All “A” Classic, and they won against Trimble County and lost to Carroll County.

Jan. 28

An Owen County woman died and a man was severely injured during a shooting incident Jan. 24 in Owenton.

Charlotte Burke Cobb, 52, died at the scene of the shooting. Her ex-husband, Daniel L. Cobb, 54, of Owenton, was shot once.

Police believed both shootings took place in Daniel Cobb’s basement, which also served as the main entrance into the home.

It was believed that Charlotte Cobb shot Daniel Cobb once and then turned the gun on herself.

Feb. 4

While snow and ice blanketed the county during a winter storm the previous week, county and city officials worked to clear roads, give shelter to those without electricity and deliver groceries and medicine to those who were unable to leave their homes.

Owenton First Baptist Church set up a shelter for people who lost electricity during the storm. The county was prepared to open another shelter if needed. The Red Cross was on hand to provide cots and Angel Food Ministries helped provide food.

Owen County Sheriff Zemer Hammond stayed busy, providing groceries and medicine to those who had no way to leave their home.

Carolyn Keith, a former Owen County circuit court clerk, was nominated to take over as Owen County Judge-Executive.

Keith served as Owen County circuit clerk from 1988 to 2005. She was selected from a field of seven candidates by the Owen County Democratic Party Executive Committee.

Keith’s name and recommendations were passed on to Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear. The governor had the power to accept or reject the nomination.

Keith’s background and experience were important factors in the decision.

Feb. 11

It was learned that the former Owen County deputy judge-executive charged in connection with theft of public money could avoid jail time following the Feb. 17 formal sentencing.

In December 2008, Renaee Gaines admitted her guilt before Owen County Circuit Judge Stephen Bates.

Gaines had been charged with theft by unlawful taking over $300, complicity to theft by unlawful taking over $300, two counts of first-degree official misconduct, and one count of complicity to theft of services over $300.

Gaines was accused of taking about $14,000 in public money for her own use while in office.

At the time of Gaines’ guilty plea, Owen County Commonwealth Attorney James Crawford said he made no pre-arranged deal with her, but she could have potentially testified against former Owen County Judge-Executive Billy O’Banion and former Owen County Treasurer Gayla Lewis, who were also charged with official misconduct in connection with the missing money.

Feb. 18

Saying she was looking forward to the challenges ahead, Carolyn Keith was sworn in Feb. 12 as the new judge-executive for Owen County.

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear announced the former circuit court clerk would assume the job following the resignation of Billy O’Banion.

At a ceremony in the circuit courtroom, Keith was sworn in by Owen Circuit Judge Stephen Bates.

“I would like to publicly thank everyone who has called or contacted me for their support,” Keith said. “It’s very touching to know that people are willing to come out and support me and this office.”

With a tough economy and the controversy lingering from the previous administration, Keith said there are obstacles to progress.

“These are some tough times. There is no doubt about that,” Keith said. “I know in my heart that we can overcome them with determination and strength. We can draw on our rich heritage as Owen countians.”

Feb. 25

The troublesome tree limbs that were responsible for thousands of power outages were left with nowhere to go after the biggest winter storm of the season.

The county and city governments started a program to clean up all of the tree debris. Residents were encouraged to bring the downed tree limbs to the side of the city or county roads. A company was hired to collect the limbs from the side of the road.

They company did not collect roofing shingles, tires or household garbage.

The company made one sweep through the county and city. The sweep started in the southern part of the county and worked its way north.

A federal grant covered 75 percent of the cost, while the state picked up an additional 12 percent. Local government covered the remaining cost.

In sports news, the Owen County Rebels finished their regular basketball season with the best record in the North Central Kentucky Conference and began readying themselves for the NCKC championship.

Collin Gamble and Rianna Gayheart were both named to the All 8th Region Team.

March 4

The Owen County Justice Center began taking shape. The center was planned to reflect the design of the current courthouse.

The plans presented at the project development board March 2 were a starting point to fine-tune the layout.

The plans feature three courtrooms, one each for district, circuit and family court. The family court, which takes up the entire second floor, was planned to remain vacant until the budget is available for a family court judge.

Owen County Circuit Court Judge Stephen Bates said the family court could be active in the next couple of years, but due to budget problems it may not be possible for six or more years.

The possibility of removing the third courtroom was briefly discussed by the board, but it was decided it was better to build the courtroom now so it will be ready when funding for the third judge is available.

In sports news, for the first time in school history, both the boys’ and girls’ basketballs teams captured the district title. The Owen County Rebels beat Henry County to take home the district title. The Lady Rebels beat Carroll County to take home their second straight district title.

March 11

After two people were arrested for possession of heroin in Owen County, Owenton Police Chief Terry Gentry became concerned that the use of heroin may have been on the rise in Owen County.

The two arrests were made within days of each other.

Eugene F. Wolpert was arrested Feb. 28 and charged with first-degree possession of heroin.

The second suspect, whose name was part of an ongoing investigation, was arrested March 2 and charged with first-degree possession of heroin.

Gentry said two different kinds of heroin were found.

“It’s disturbing to me that we found two different types of heroin,” Gentry said. “One type we hadn’t seen in a long time.”

Gentry said a heroin problem first became noticeable in Owenton about five years ago.

In sports news, the Owen County Rebels basketball team was defeated by Anderson County to end the Rebels’ season. The Lady Rebels were defeated by Oldham County, ending the Owen County girls’ season.

March 18

The Owen County Sheriff’s office became the center of an investigation of problems that were believed to be causing multiple illnesses within the facility.

Employees at the sheriff’s office first believed the cause of illness to be mold, mildew or asbestos.

The Department of Labor tested the facility July 8, 2008, after receiving a complaint from the Division of Compliance. The facility was tested inside and out. According to a report from the Department of Labor, no unusual circumstances were found.

The illnesses were brought forth at the March 10 fiscal court meeting. Chief Deputy Marty Lilly spoke on behalf of employees at the sheriff’s office.

Lilly said all employees were ill at some point. Once employees started talking and all realized they had the same symptoms, it became clear that the problem may have been in the sheriff’s office.

March 25

 Area law enforcement had their own version of spring cleaning March 20, rounding up 17 of 26 individuals indicted recently by a Carroll County grand jury for drug trafficking.

Eleven individuals from Owen County were indicted on the drug charges; four were from Gallatin County; five were from Henry County; and one was from Frankfort.

Dubbed “Operation Spring Clean-up” by the Kentucky State Police, the arrests were an extension of investigations continuing after a similar bust on Nov. 13, in which 49 of 68 people indicted were arrested in a multi-agency dragnet.

As with the November bust, officers from sheriff’s departments in Carroll, Gallatin, Henry, Owen and Boone counties joined forces with KSP and the Owenton Police Department.

Marijuana, heroin and methamphetamine were all found during the round-up. Prescription drugs were the most common illegal substances among the arrests.

In sports news, the Owen County Judo Team hosted its third annual “Rebels Invitational” judo tournament March 14 at Owen County High School.

Over 150 competitors represented 17 teams from across Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, Mississippi and Kentucky. In the team competition, Owen County took first place with 63 points.

April 1

 When prisoners Bobby Cockerell, Jerry Sargent and Christopher Marshall escaped from an Indiana prison March 20 and made their way to Carroll County, Owen County Sheriff Zemer Hammond took every precaution to ensure that citizens of the county stayed alert and aware.

Hammond said he and his deputies worked long hours throughout the county to keep an eye out for the escapees.

“We stayed on patrol 24 hours a day,” Hammond said. “We had perimeters set up through Wheatley and New Liberty and extra patrol throughout the county.”

Hammond said he worked with Owen County Judge-Executive Carolyn Keith to notify citizens of the possible dangers.

“We used the One Call Now Emergency Notification system to notify citizens of the county to stay alert,” Hammond said. “We made sure to tell everyone to keep their doors locked, to not leave their keys in their car and things like that.”

Keith said employees at the courthouse were also notified and given information.

Frequent contact was also made with the Grant and Carroll counties’ sheriffs, the Kentucky State Police and the U.S. Marshal’s Office.

In sports news, the Owen Couuty Judo Team brought home second place in statewide competition March 28.

April 8

After reviewing plans for the new Owen County Judicial Center, the state board in charge of approving the designs called on the county to remove over 6,500 square feet from the project.

Under guidelines supported by Kentucky, the current design of the new courthouse had to be scaled back to be approved by the Court Facilities Standards Committee.

Although funding for the nearly $12 million dollar Owen project is secure, the design had to be approved before the new courthouse could move forward.

In sports news, after a rough start to the 2009 campaign, the Owen County High School baseball team headed into spring break riding a three-game winning streak.

April 15

Mayor David “Milkweed” Wotier began making plans for spring cleaning.

At the April 7 Owenton City Council meeting, Wotier announced plans for several things he would like to see done over the next few months.

Wotier said he would like to bring in volunteer help from the Carroll County Detention Center to assist with a street cleanup.

Wotier said he felt a cleanup was essential to providing visitors with a good image of Owenton.

Wotier said once the city was cleaned up, the citizens should be more apt to keep it that way.

April 22

The Owen County Fiscal Court and Monterey Mayor Dennis Atha worked together on an interlocal agreement, which would enforce Owen County’s nuisance ordinance within the City of Monterey.

A piece of property located at 365 Taylor Street in Monterey was abandoned after a fire left the home in shambles.

Atha, who attempted to get in touch with the owner of the property numerous times, said something had to be done about the property.

Atha attended the April 14 fiscal court meeting to propose the idea of an interlocal agreement. Once an agreement had been drawn up by County Attorney Charles Carter and the fiscal court approved it, then the county’s nuisance ordinance could be enforced. The city of Monterey could then go in and clean up the property.

In sports news, the Owen County baseball team took on Gallatin County and Williamstown April 15 and 16 to pick up two more victories.

April 29

A slightly shorter version of the new Owen County courthouse was unveiled April 27.

It was announced that the proposed family courtroom would remain but the second floor of the building would be removed.

The change was necessary after the state’s Court Facilities Standards Committee rejected the three-story design and directed the county to remove 6,500 square feet from the project.

The state follows guidelines established for courthouses serving similar demographics across the country.

Without the approval of the committee, the $12 million project could not move forward.

May 6

Members of the Owen County Board of Education met April 28 to choose another construction company for the middle school project, which had been delayed when problems arose with Quantum Construction’s bid.

Members of the board voted to select D.W. Wilburn Inc. for the project. The company is located in Lexington.

Wilburn was the lowest bidder after Quantum Construction, with a total bid of $15,135,000 minus the direct owner purchase orders.

The estimated cost of the project is $19,023,836.

Owen County School Board Superintendent Mark Cleveland said due to problems with Quantum Construction’s bidding process, the board chose to go with another general contractor.

In sports news, the Owen County Rebels baseball team played at home against Frankfort April 27 and picked up a 7-0 win at Dunavent Field.

May 13

An Owen County student was suspended for bringing a handgun to the high school.

According to Owen County Superintendent Mark Cleveland, the male student left class with an excused absence.

About 1:30 p.m., the student’s teacher noticed the boy had left his jacket.

When the teacher lifted the jacket, she found it was unusually heavy and immediately took it to assistant principal Charles Hagg.

Inside the jacket, Hagg found a Browning 25mm handgun, two boxes of ammunition and some alleged drug paraphernalia.

Because it was late in the afternoon, and the student had already left the school grounds, and the weapon was secured, it was decided not to put the school in lock-down.

Cleveland said there was no reason to think the student intended to harm anyone.

In sports news, Carroll County knocked off the Owen County baseball team in the NCKC championship game.

May 20

The Owen County Fiscal Court met May 19 for the first reading of the 2009-2010 budget.

Owen County Judge-Executive Carolyn Keith held several budget workshops to help magistrates make decisions concerning the budget.

The budget was submitted to the Department of Local Government to be approved.

Keith said the budget had seen some cut-backs in training and conventions.

Magistrates were given two different budgets to consider, one with a 1-percent county employee salary increase and one with a 3-percent salary increase.

The biggest change in the year’s budget came from the approval of advanced life support ambulances.

In sports news, the Owen County baseball team finished its regular season with a 12-15 record. The win total was an improvement over the previous season’s when the Rebels won just nine games.

May 27

The Kentucky State Police investigated a wreck that left a Sanders woman dead.

According to a statement from the Kentucky State Police, at about 6:37 p.m. May 24, a 1999 Ford truck driven by Brian J. Ritchey II, 28, of Bluff City, Tenn., was eastbound on U.S. 42 and turned in front of a westbound vehicle driven by Lonna D. Kehrer of Sanders.

Kehrer was killed in the wreck.

In sports news, on May 18 the Owen County softball team played in the 8th Region Tournament for the fourth consecutive year. The Lady Rebels advanced to the tournament by once again reaching the finals of the 31st District Tournament.

June 3

The new Owen County judicial center was expected to take another step forward when the property was formally sold to the county.

At a special meeting of the Owen County Fiscal Court June 2, Owen County Judge-Executive Carolyn Keith was elected by magistrates as the director and chairperson of the Owen County Public Properties Corporation.

For legal protection, the corporation was to be listed as the deed-owner for the property. Once the bonds used to finance the property were paid off, the deed was to be turned over to the county.

June 10

The Owenton City Council was looking for ways to spruce up the city before the U.S. Open Sporting Clay Championship came to town.

At its June 8 meeting, the council discussed several other issues including the completion of the Severn Creek water intake project.

The water intake restoration project at Severn Creek took three years to complete. During that time, upgrades and/or replacement of lines, equipment, telemetry and pumps took place.

June 17

Some magistrates had mixed feelings when an updated version of a county ordinance that granted the authority for collection of fire department membership fees was given its first reading during the June 9 Owen County Fiscal Court meeting. The ordinance was accepted.

The first version of the ordinance was approved during the June 2008 fiscal court meeting. At that time, members of the court agreed that the ordinance would be reviewed yearly.

Problems with the ordinance were discovered when it was reviewed this year.

One part of the original version said that any property owner who did not want to pay the fire department subscriber fees was not required to do so. Property owners who did not pay the fees did not incur any delinquency or penalty. Under the ordinance, property owners who wished to delete property from subscriber fees were to notify the sheriff’s department at the time of payment on property taxes.

The original ordinance said that fees could not exceed $40 per tax bill for noncommercial property and $75 for commercial property. If passed during the second reading, the amended ordinance will then read that no fee shall exceed $35 for noncommercial property and $75 for commercial property.

The amended version of section three also says that owners of multiple parcels of noncommercial property are required to pay only a maximum of $70, but fire service will be provided on all of their properties without further charges. Owners of multiple properties who are husband and wife and have units owned by one individually and others jointly are considered together as the same ownership. Also, property owners who owe no property tax because of the homestead exemption are entitled to fire coverage but are exempt from payment of the membership fee without further charge.

The amended ordinance also said that each fire department will provide a financial statement on a quarterly basis after collections begin and are subject to audit by the county treasurer.

June 24

Owen County Judge-Executive Carolyn Keith was notified that taxing districts in Owen County could be giving money back to the utility after the company apparently overpaid its tax obligation.

The estimated overage, which according to Director of Government Affairs for Kentucky American Water John-Mark Hack could be as much as $131,000, went to the different taxing areas in Owen County. Owen County’s taxing districts are the fiscal court, the public school district, the health department, the library, the extension service and the soil conservation agency.

Keith said the exact amount was uncertain at the time.

July 1

After several months of debate, the Owen County Fiscal Court passed an ordinance that made it mandatory for property owners to pay fire department membership fees. The ordinance was passed during a special June 25 meeting.

Upon reviewing ordinance 156 this year, the court concluded that ordinance 156 was illegal because it gave property owners the option of not paying the fire department membership fees.

Owen County Judge-Executive Carolyn Keith said all the attorneys she spoke to said the opt-in opt-out was illegal.

Although it became mandatory for property owners to pay the fire department membership fees, the court did agree to lower the fee on noncommercial property.

The new ordinance, 164, now reads that no fee will exceed $35 per tax bill for noncommercial property. The fee stayed at $75 for commercial property.

In sports news, George Gayle from Pleasant Home won second place in the “E” class of the main event held at Elk Creek Hunt Club.

July 8

Approximately 65 young people asked what they could do to help.

Patti Clark, coordinator of the Owen County Teen Alcohol Prevention Project, said 2009 was the third year local youth volunteered their muscles and sweat to improve the lives of others through the Servolution Project.

Working with Tony Watkins, pastor of the Monterey Baptist Church, and others, a list was compiled of projects within Owen County that could be accomplished by the young volunteers with a minimum of outside help. About 30 adults, including contractors and other skilled professionals, volunteered to help supervise the projects and the volunteers.

July 15

July 13, 12 young ladies stood before three out-of-town judges in hopes of becoming the 2009 Miss Owen County Fair.

After a two-hour contest that included formal wear and swimsuit competitions, the judges’ decision  became final, and Shadoe Perry was crowned Miss Owen County Fair.

Perry had participated in pageants since she was a baby.

Other winners included Breanna Clark, Kristen Haines, Laura Williams, Khristian Tate, Brittany McDonald and Lauren Lowe.

July 22

 The Owen County Fiscal Court discussed temporarily moving the Owen County Sheriff’s Office at its July 20 meeting after concerns over sheriff’s office employees’ health were brought forward at the March 10 meeting.

Magistrates Bobby Gaines and Ray Smith, who are on the county’s facilities committee, inspected the upstairs portion of the sheriff’s office and found birds had been entering the building and there was some speculation that the staff’s illnesses may have been related to the bird feces on the floor.

Bids were taken to have the upstairs cleaned.

Judy Hetterman was named Owen Countian of the Year and Barbara Craigmyle was named Mother of the Year.

July 29

After some problems in the initial process, it was announced that the new Owen County middle school was starting to come together.

During the July 20 meeting of the Owen County School Board, Ron Murrell, a representative of construction firm D.W. Wilburn Inc., offered an update on the new middle school.

Owen County School District Superintendent Mark Cleveland said the project was right on schedule.

Cleveland said the middle school could be completed December 2010.

Murrell also presented the board with the schematic design for improvements on the track at Owen County High School, as well as the restrooms and concession stand.

Aug. 5

It was announced that the Owen County Sheriff’s Office would be staying put after all.

After several weeks of debate, the Owen County Fiscal Court rejected a proposal that would temporarily move the department to a rented building on U.S. 22E.

The plan to move the department was sparked by concerns of employees’ health. It was reported that several staff members had suffered from upper-respiratory problems.

The employees’ concerns prompted the court to seek bids to clean up the second floor of the sheriff’s department in March.

Bids were submitted by JWI Restoration, Paul Davis Restoration and Goderwis Construction Inc. Goderwis submitted the lowest bid at $5,025.80. The bid included repairing the sheriff’s office where birds were said to be entering, as well as removing debris from the second floor.

Aug. 12

A new medical clinic in Owen County had been the dream of many since 2001 when plans first began. Eight years and some delays later, the dream finally came true.

New Horizons Family Practice officially opened Aug. 3, one year after construction began.

Office Manager Kim Knochelmann said the staff at the family practice had reached the point where their old building, which was located next to New Horizons Medical Center, was not big enough

“We had just outgrown our old building,” Knochelmann said. “We did not have enough room to efficiently flow the patients through.”

Knochelmann said the new facility has over double the amount of exam rooms the old building had.

“We now have 20 exam rooms as opposed to nine in the old building,” Knochelmann said. “Because we now have so much space we will be able to serve our patients in a larger capacity and also be more efficient in our service.”

Knochelmann said for right now the family practice will employ 13 full-time support staff members, three full-time physicians, one full-time nurse practitioner and two part-time physicians.

In sports news, the Owen County Rebels 8U girls softball team went undefeated this year with a record of 15-0. They defeated Carroll County in the final game of the tournament. They had traveled to Carroll, Trimble and Gallatin counties throughout the summer.

Aug. 19

Owen County lost one of its most recognizable citizens.

James Edgar “Ed” Ashcraft, originally from Covington, passed away Aug. 15.

Ashcraft was the former publisher and owner of the News-Herald, a retired horse trainer and owner of Ashcraft Realty.

Ashcraft was extremely involved with Owen County from many different aspects.

Ashcraft’s son, John Ashcraft said his father will be remembered for his commitment to the community.

“He was a very genuine man,” John Ashcraft said. “He was honest to a fault. I think some people will remember him for his business ventures, some for his charitable efforts, some for his dedication to the education system, but many will remember him by his involvement in the community.”

John Ashcraft said Ashcraft had a great love for Owen County.

“Dad loved Owen County,” John Ashcraft said. “He moved us away from the big city of Boone County in 1979 to come here. He loved the people of Owen County and he tried to show them that through all that he did. He was committed and genuinely concerned for the community. He was always trying to make Owen County a better place.”

Aug. 26

Although members of the Owen County Fiscal Court voted to raise the county’s property tax to 11.8 from last year’s 11.7, some tangible or personal property tax rates have been lowered.

The 2009 watercraft and motor-vehicle tax rate will stay the same as last year’s 14.8. The aircraft and personal property rates have been lowered from 15 to 14.2.

Owen County Judge-Executive Carolyn Keith said any time the real estate rate goes up, the tangible rates come down.

Owen County Clerk Joan Kincaid said the rates are based on a set formula and the formula is how all of the rates are arrived at.

Keith said although the real-estate tax has gone up slightly, she hoped the citizens of Owen County realize the need for more revenue.

Sept. 2

After years of being promised water, the dream has finally come true for those living on Harmony Road.

The Peaks Mill Water District in Franklin County will be providing water once all of the property easements to run a water line are in place. Owen County Magistrate Teresa Davis said all but two easements have been signed.

Davis said bids for construction on the water line will be put out in September and bidding will open the first of October. If all goes well, Harmony Road should have water by Christmas.

The water line will run up the left side of Harmony Road but those living on both sides will be able to hook up to the line, Davis said.

Davis said Harmony Road had been promised water before, but up until now the promise had never been fulfilled.

“Everyone’s really excited,” Davis said. “After all these years, they will finally get water. It’ll be mighty nice to reach over and turn that faucet on.”

Davis said without the Peaks Mill Water District, Harmony Road may have still been waiting for water.

“I’d like to thank Harmony Baptist Church for opening their doors and letting all those people come in and talk with the Peaks Mill water district,” Davis said. “I’d also like to thank Peaks Mill for being such a good neighbor and helping us get water to all these people.”

Sept. 9

As residents across the county geared up for flu season, the Three Rivers District Health Department began preparing for H1N1, more commonly known as swine flu.

Although no cases of H1N1 have been reported in Owen County, many people are looking for a vaccination.

Three Rivers Public Health District Director Georiga Heise said although the Centers for Disease Control have not yet released a vaccination, Three Rivers is expecting one to be made available by mid-October.

“We are currently planning a mass vaccination at the high school,” Heise said. “We’re not sure how we will receive the vaccination yet. If it is sent a little at a time, then we will reach out to the targeted groups first, which are small children, young adults and pregnant women.”

Although H1N1 cases have popped up all over the United States, it was not yet known how easily the virus could spread. The virus was thought to spread in the same way the seasonal flu spreads.

Sept. 16

An Owen County volunteer firefighter died after responding to a call.

Although the pumper truck he was driving crashed, the accident is not believed to be the cause of death for the 60-year-old Terry Sharon, a firefighter with the Monterey Volunteer Fire Department.

According to a press release by the Kentucky State Police, Sharon had responded to a report of a motor-vehicle accident and was returning to the firehouse. He was driving east on Sawridge Creek Road in a 1978 Ford fire truck when the truck left the road and traveled about 150 feet before colliding with an unoccupied fifth-wheel camper parked on property adjoining that of the Monterey Volunteer Fire Department.

Sharon was transported to New Horizons Regional Medical Center by Owen County EMS where he was pronounced dead.

In sports news, the Owen County Rebels football team lost to the Henry County Wildcats, 50-13.

Sept. 23

Dozens of firefighters from across the state gathered Sept. 19 to honor a fallen Monterey Volunteer Firefighter, Terry Sharon.

Sharon died Sept. 13 after responding to a report of a motor-vehicle accident.

Although many in attendance did not know Sharon personally, a sense of brotherhood was felt throughout the service as firefighters stood in honor of Sharon and the Monterey Volunteer Fire Department.

Owen County Judge-Executive Carolyn Keith opened the service followed by former Owen County Fire Chief Charlie Riddle.

Riddle said Sharon devoted his life to the fire department.

“He was a firefighter’s firefighter,” Riddle said.

Those who knew Sharon best said he was consumed with being a firefighter and went after training as much as possible.

In sports news, it had been 341 days since Owen County’s last home football victory. That win came against Atherton and their head coach Chris Collins.  On Sept. 18, Collins brought his new team – Trimble County – to Patterson Field for a match-up with the Rebels.

He again left disappointed as the Rebels used a 16-point second quarter to take control of the game and eventually won, 30-14. The victory evened the Owen County record at 2-2.

Sept. 30

Owen County lost one of its most beloved citizens – Dr. Charles Calvin “C.C.” Arnold died Sept. 28.

Dr. Arnold, who was born in Squiresville, served as a dentist in Owen County for more than 50 years. He also served as mayor of Owenton from 1969 to 1973, president of the Owen County Parent Teachers Association and chairman of the Owen County Hospital Board.

Janetta Keith, who went to work for Arnold as a dental assistant in 1977, said Dr. Arnold was a devoted dentist.

“He gave many long hours to his dental practice and Owen County,” Keith said. “He gave much of his dental work without payment, but it came with the price of advice about healthy eating habits and how much money you could save.”

Oct. 7

The Owenton City Council voted to raise its real property tax rates to .326 from last year’s .316 during its Oct. 1 meeting.

The .326 tax rate means a property owner will pay .326 on each $100 worth of real property at its assessed cash value.

Owenton City Clerk and Treasurer Laura Aldridge said a property owner whose property was worth $100,000 would pay $326 in real property taxes.

Jensen Wainscott was named Owen County High School football homecoming queen.

Oct. 14

A fire claimed the building where dozens came to worship each Sunday evening.

The EPOCH Fellowship church, located at 1370 Hwy. 22 E., caught fire Monday morning.

The Owenton Fire Department received word of the fire at approximately 7:15 a.m.

Oct. 21

As attendance in the Owen County School district continues to drop due to various illnesses, Superintendent Mark Cleveland looked for ways to keep the doors open.

Cleveland said the attendance rate stayed above 90 percent the second week of October but dropped drastically the third week with only 87 percent attendance Monday and 85 percent Tuesday of that week.

Cleveland said although there have been several cases of the H1N1 virus in the district, other illnesses are more prominent.

Seven-straight seasons of frustration for the Owen County Rebels ended Friday night. Joey Wood scored a pair of touchdowns and the Rebels’ defense again played well as Owen County defeated Carroll County, 27-6, for its first win in the rivalry since 2002.

 “It feels really good,” Tyler Pruitt said after the game in a jubilant Owen County locker room. “We beat Gallatin, Trimble and Carroll County all in the same year.”

The win was the first district win for the Rebels in the three years since the new alignment had been put in place.

Oct. 28

Hundreds of Owen countians eager to protect themselves from the H1N1 virus lined the area around the Owen County Health Center for the first mass vaccination clinic Oct. 21.

Three Rivers District Health Department Director of Public Health Georgia Heise said that all of the vaccination available was given out at the clinic.

“We had more people than we had vaccine,” Heise said. “District wide, we’ve given out 1,800 vaccines and 350 of those were given out in Owen County Thursday.”

Nov. 4

For the third year in a row, Owen County High School will host a Veterans Day lunch and assembly. The event will give students the chance to connect with and learn from Owen County veterans.

The yearly assembly began when the state passed legislation for an hour-long program commemorating veterans in the schools.

Nov. 11

The Owen County Chamber of Commerce held its ninth annual dinner meeting Nov. 5.

Awards were given to outstanding business person of the year, outstanding business of the year and the latest addition to the “Wall of Fame.”

The winner of this year’s outstanding business person of the year award went to insurance agent and Owen County School Board member Stuart Bowling.

The outstanding business of the year award went to the Smith House Restaurant and was accepted by owner Billie Jo Ashcraft.

This year’s inductee to the Owen County Wall of Fame was retired teacher Sherry Wilson Ayres.

Nov. 18

An Owen County man passed away three weeks after he sustained injuries in a crash following a police pursuit Oct. 22.

Roy D. Austerman, 20, was pronounced dead at 8:47 p.m. Nov. 12 at New Horizons Medical Center in Owenton.

Austerman was injured in a single-vehicle wreck that occurred when he was being pursued by Owenton police after he allegedly ignored directions to pull over.

He sustained multiple injuries from the accident and was flown to University of Kentucky Medical Center for treatment.

Nov. 25

While plans continue to move forward on the new Owen County Judicial Center, Owen County Judge-Executive Carolyn Keith has some financial concerns connected to the existing courthouse.

Groundbreaking on the new judicial center is expected to take place in early March of 2010. The new building will take 18 months to two years to complete.

Keith said the center will not directly cost local taxpayers any additional money.

“The money for the building is coming from bonds that the Administrative Office of the Courts will pay back over 30 years,” Keith said. “But AOC is currently renting 68 percent of the courthouse and, in turn, they pay us $71,000 for maintenance and cleaning. That $71,000 contributes to repairs and that’s a big concern for me. How are we going to continue maintaining the courthouse without that $71,000?”

Dec. 2

“Christmas: A Time for Memories” is the theme for this year’s Owen County Christmas Parade, which will be held at 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

Owen County Extension Office support member, Stephanie Howard, said this year’s theme was chosen by Diana Dawson.

The grand marshal of this year’s parade will be Miss Kentucky 2009, Mallory Ervin.

Dec. 9

Quick thinking by several water district employees apparently prevented the theft of copper tubing worth several hundred dollars.

Steve Dempsey, Randy Teegarden, Paul Tudor and Dalvin King, all of whom are employees of Kentucky American Water, were having lunch at the office when one of them noticed a man removing copper tubing from the back of one of the service trucks.

The men approached Sean Jarman, a 24-year-old resident of Ohio, and asked him what he was doing.

After calling police, the men ordered Jarman to put the tubing back in the truck.

Dec. 16

With the nation suffering through an economic crisis, many people throughout Owen County became angels to 76 boys and girls on this year’s angel tree.

The angel tree started out with 54 children, but as the weeks passed by, more and more parents went through the Owen County Extension Office to receive assistance for their children.

The extension office’s support member, Stephanie Howard, said 76 is the highest number of children the records show, which go back to 1994.

Dec. 23

An Owen County man was found dead early Monday morning in a creek bed at 3120 Hwy. 1316 near Mosby Creek.

According to Owen County Sheriff Zemer Hammond, Jesse Bailey, 66, kept a sump pump in the creek to pump water into his home.

Police suspect Bailey went to turn the sump pump off Saturday evening and slipped, hitting his head on a rock in the creek bed.