Metcalfe County: Looking in the review mirror at 2019

By PJ Martin
Editor, The Herald-News

January – A Memorandum of Understanding between T. J. Samson Community Hospital and Metcalfe County was approved by the fiscal court. The agreement states that TJ shall reimburse Metcalfe County for sums contributed to the Ambulance Service deficit allocation in excess of $150,000 annually, but not on sums utilized on capital expenditures and/or expenses.

The city created the new position of City Alcohol Beverage Control Administrator by a vote of 4-2 by amending the ordinance to allow the Mayor of Edmonton to appoint a person to serve as the City ABC Administrator.

Edmonton teen Amber Shirley was reported missing from her home on January 18th and the Kentucky State Police and The Center for Search & Investigation for Missing Children enlisted the public’s help in finding her.

The Metcalfe County Lady Hornets open the All-A State tourney with a 58-49 victory over Lady Cougars of Holy Cross (Louisville).

February – The Edmonton City Council voted in a two-hour parking limit around the north and west sides of the Edmonton square after several complaints were filed by businesses on the square concerning people parking their vehicles in front of their establishments and leaving them unattended for days at a time.

On February 12th another Metcalfe teen, Anthony Wilson was reported missing, but by Friday, February 15th Wilson and a second teen were found safe and returned to their families. The ongoing search for Amber Shirley would continue until April 7th when she would finally be found safe.

Both the Lady Hornets and Hornets had record-breaking seasons going to the 4th Region Tournament and both earning District 16 Runner Up trophies.

March –Retired Superintendent of Public Works Howard Dickson was honored for his 21 years of service to the City of Edmonton with a retirement reception at City Hall. Also honored was Assistant Chief of Police Michael Taylor who served with the department for 20 years.

Warning Coordination Meteorologist (WCM) Joe Sullivan with the National Weather Service (NWS) in Louisville spent a day in Metcalfe County teaching the community about severe weather. Sullivan visited the middle school where he spoke to the science class about the different types of clouds, and various other weather types and spent time at the local radio station WHSX FM The Hoss.

The community came out on a cold day for a warm bowl of soup and the trimmings at the Homemaker’s Soup Luncheon which first began in 1980 to support the UK Ovarian Cancer Research and Screening project. The event has become a popular fundraiser held each winter.

The Edmonton Police Department arrested Austin Grimes of Edmonton on March 12th in connection to multiple burglaries which occurred during a two week period. The burglaries listed were Hammer’s TV, Hog In The Road BBQ, the Edmonton Masonic Lodge, American Legion Post 65, a house on West Stockton Street, a house on the Greensburg Road, and the Foundation United Methodist Church. Attempted burglaries listed were H & J Shirts & More, Minnie’s Southern Café, Mainstreet Barbershop, and Miller Family Dentistry.

Metcalfe County Elementary School was awarded a 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant from the Kentucky Department of Education. The grant is worth approximately $675,000 during a five-year period. With this grant, all Metcalfe County Schools will be served by the 21st Century after-school program this fall.

April – Metcalfe’s Salvation Army Chapter dissolved after local emergency funds were taken over by Bo Sells Extension and Emergency Disaster Service Director in Louisville.

In part 1 of the Rural Matters Series: The changing family farm, census data showed that Metcalfe County had 2,086 farms in 1909. By the 2012 census a little over 100 years later, the number was less than half, with a meager tally of 924. Data for neighboring counties reflects a similar decline across the state and region.

The Kentucky Forest Industries Association held its 54th annual meeting with the theme “Weathering the Storms” at which Bill and Chris Lagermann, owners of Red Lick Ranch Certified Tree Farm were awarded the 2018 Kentucky Tree Farmer of the Year.

Rural Matter: Part 2 – Burley’s bygone era examined the plight of the generational family tobacco farmer and the effects that weather, equipment prices, and fluctuating market prices.

May – The Edmonton Metcalfe County Chamber of Commerce announced Benny Lile as the 2019 Metcalfe County Educator of the Year, and Mr. Elbert Hunley, Jr. as the 2019 Metcalfe County Educator Idol of the Year.

The Lady Hornet tennis team took top honors at the District 16 tournament. Kylee Coleman and Gabby Devore took the doubles championship. Konnor Gallagher captured the singles title and Taryn Deckard was the singles runner-up.

Guest speaker Mark Welsh of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Department, Rural and Municipal Aid announced that Metcalfe County was being awarded $585,000 in discretionary funds for road improvements at the monthly fiscal court meeting.

Rural Matters: Part 3 – Milking it for all it’s worth took a look at the dwindling number of family dairy farms in the country. In 2018, the USDA reported that licensed dairy farm numbers in the county have declined by 2,731 farms, a drop of 6.8%.

June – Governor Matt Bevin made the official announcement that the much-anticipated barrel factory, Pennington Stave and Cooperage Corp. would be locating in Edmonton, Kentucky. The mill will be located in the Edmonton-Metcalfe County Industrial Park with a $34.4 million-plus investment and will create an approximated 126 full-time jobs for residents.

The Edmonton City Council voted to increase the water rate by 10 percent as of July 1, 2019. The wastewater rate was also increased by 10 percent as of July 1, 2019. The ordinances were approved by a vote of 4-2 with Councilmembers Wayne Wilson and Austin Bragg voting against both.

Rural Matters: Part 4 – The Way We Eat explains how the changes in society have caused foods once raised and preserved at home to now be purchased at the grocery store causing a total lack of basic living skills such as food preparation, food safety, money management, and healthy living.

July – Edmonton lost another landmark when the “Hughes House” on the corner of Rogers Street (across from the City Grill) was completely destroyed by fire. One of the oldest homes in Edmonton, it once housed a café.

All that remained of the Hughes House the morning after the fire. PJ Martin/The Herald-News

The evening of Thursday, June 27th a body was discovered along with a vehicle in Metcalfe County. The badly decomposed body was sent to Frankfort for an autopsy. The body was later identified as that of Adam McCoy, a 42-year-old man who had been missing since May 24th. No cause of death has been released.

August – Metcalfe County said farewell to Sheriff Ricky Brooks, who succumbed to cancer after a long and hard-fought battle.

The hotly debated committee nomination process for the sheriff’s race caused several to file as write-in candidates on the November ballot. By the end of August 6 had already filed.

US Attorney Russell Coleman spoke of the immense drug abuse (prescription and illegal) issues in Kentucky in his interview with Jennifer Moonsong. He also discussed plans to track and prosecute offenders who perpetrate scams against the elderly.

September – In early 2019, America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education, sponsored by the Bayer Fund, partnered with local farmers to nominate rural schools and awarded a $25,000 grant to Metcalfe County Schools to enhance their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs.

Congressman James Comer held a town hall meeting at the Metcalfe County Judicial Center. He gave a brief update on what was happening in Washington and then turn it over for questions from the audience.

October – The Edmonton-Metcalfe County Chamber of Commerce celebrated its 25th year of operation. Originally incorporated on February 13, 1986, by 16 members, the chamber office was not established until its revitalization in 1994. The chamber has grown from just 32 members to over 378. That is why it is referred to as the “biggest little chamber in the Commonwealth.”

The very first sheriff’s candidate debate was held in Metcalfe County on October 10th at Barn Lot Theater. The debate was organized by the Metcalfe County Young Republicans (MCYR).

The long-awaited Metcalfe County Wellness Center opened its doors in the remodeled elementary school building bringing new up to date workout equipment and classes to the community at an affordable membership fee.

November – The damage to the Dunham Lake Dam became a more urgent issue for the City of Edmonton when the state upgraded the hazard level of the dam from moderate to significant.

Metcalfe County Superintendent, Dr. Benny Lile announced his retirement. At the end of a fruitful 35-year long career in education which began as a teacher at North Metcalfe Elementary in 1985.

December – After enduring months of issues with the Ag Renew LLC rendering plant, 34 residents who live near the plant gathered to meet with Kentucky Environmental Attorney Hank Grady, to discuss the possibility of bringing a class-action lawsuit.

The 2019 Lady Hornet tennis team posing proudly in front of the newly named “Russell Estes Tennis Courts.” The courts (located at Bowling Park) honored Estes for his coaching, mentorship, and support of the sport of tennis in the Metcalfe community and at the high school.

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