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2000-2009: A decade in review

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Turkey burns, county clerk dies too soon

By The Staff

It all seemed simple enough.

Anderson News general manager Ben Carlson needed someone to compile a list of the top stories making the news in Anderson County over the past 10 years.

As a former editor/publisher of the News before retiring in 2006, he felt I might be interested in undertaking the project.

He mentioned coming up with a top five or top 10.

I hadn’t made much progress on an attempt to review the front pages of some 520 issues before reaching a decision.

Limiting the stories to five or 10 wasn’t going to be an easy task.

So, what follows, in no particular order other than chronological, are what I consider the highlights from a decade of local news reporting.

 Jan. 5, 2000

 The world didn’t come tumbling down, as some predicted when the calendar turned from 1999 to 2000, but the worlds of two Anderson residents was turned upside down. Jeannie Beasley and boyfriend Frank Stevens considered themselves lucky to be alive after fire destroyed the home they shared in Tyrone. In another New Year’s Day fire, Bradley Campbell of Ninevah watched many of his belongings go up in smoke.

 

March 1, 2000

For local residents accustomed to having a Kentucky Utilities office nearby, the winds of March ushered in the unwelcome announcement that the local office on Woodford Street would be closing and operations moved to Shelbyville. The move had popular manager Jerry Chesher considering taking early retirement after 28 years with the company.

 

April 12, 2000

Production resumed at the Wild Turkey Distillery after a four-week stoppage due to a strike.

 

May 10, 2000

A blaze destroying a warehouse at Wild Turkey created havoc for the entire community with a 15,000-barrel bourbon spill into the Kentucky River, affecting the water supply and causing the closing of schools and restaurants. The story was reported worldwide, including being the lead item on network news.

 

June 7, 2000

The Anderson Bat Cats captured their first-ever regional championship with a victory over rival Shelby County.

 

July 19, 2000

The Anderson News took a giant step forward with introduction of a website offering immediate access to the news of the day.

 

Aug. 9, 2000

Anderson County was back in the national spotlight for a day when newly announced vice presidential candidate Dick Cheney made an appearance at Anderson High.

 

Nov. 22, 2000

One-month after the strangulation death of Daisy Whitaker inside her Bell Street home, 32-year-old Rodney Bixler of Lincoln Street was arrested and charged with her murder.

 

Dec. 13, 2000

Lawrenceburg Police Chief Jimmie Lee Hawkins was pictured moving his belongings from the police station. He had been suspended from duty by Mayor Gary Chilton and had filed a lawsuit against the mayor and City of Lawrenceburg over his dismissal.

 

Aug. 29, 2001

John Perry announced his retirement after serving as property valuation administrator for nearly 31 years.

 

July 17, 2002

A light rain failed to dampen the spirits of people attending a groundbreaking ceremony for the city’s $8.8 million water plant.

 

Nov. 20, 2002

Hardees became the first restaurant in Anderson County to enact a no-smoking policy. Some smokers said they would simply move on to the Lawrenceburg Food Court. Both places are now out of business. 

 

Feb. 19, 2003

Anderson residents were jarred awake on a Sunday morning by the sounds of tree limbs breaking and falling to the ground, a result of one of the worst ice storms in modern history. At one point, more than 6,500 customers of Blue Grass Energy were without power. For many, the outages lasted over a week, sending some to local churches for food and shelter.

 

May 28, 2003

The county’s newest school was dedicated to the memory of Robert Turner, long time principal of Western Anderson.

 

Sept. 3, 2003

Former Lawrenceburg policeman and school resource officer Kevin Crum, 31, was arrested on a charge of attempted murder in Harrodsburg. He had gone to Harrodsburg with the intent of killing a woman claiming he was the father of her child. A detective said there was also evidence he intended to kill the woman’s mother, a sister, and two other people living in the same household.

 

 

Sept. 10, 2003

Lawrenceburg City Council approved an ordinance allowing the sale of liquor by the drink in restaurants.

 

Jan. 26, 2005

Plans called for Lawrenceburg City Hall to move from Woodford Street to the old U. S. Post Office building on North Main by May 1.

 

March 2, 2005

Developer Brad Smith said Eagle Lake Flea Mall and Convention Center would be open to the public very shortly. The complex, which also includes two restaurants, has proven to be a boost for the county, hosting trade shows, auctions, reunions and a wide variety of other events.

 

March 16, 2005

Super Wal-Mart was scheduled for a grand opening in August of 2006.

 

May 4, 2005

Fiscal Court voted to merge the two-man county patrol with the sheriff’s department.

 

June 8, 2005

Kim Shaw was named superintendent of Anderson County Schools.

 

Sept. 14, 2005

Locals opened their homes and hearts in support of victims of Hurricane Katrina.

 

Oct. 26, 2005

Developer Dave Disponett was indicted in the hiring probe surrounding the administration of Governor Ernie Fletcher.

 

March 22, 2005

Frank Deitsch, 74, a long-time youth league soccer coach and referee, was sentenced on dozens of counts of unlawful transactions with a minor.

 

April 12, 2006

Publisher Don White announced his retirement from The Anderson News. Since retiring, he has been writing a syndicated column published by 30-40 newspapers and magazines statewide. He was replaced in May be current general manager and editor Ben Carlson.

 

April 26, 2006

Master Sgt. Clinton Cubert was laid to rest at Camp Nelson National Cemetery in Jessamine County. The 38-year-old Anderson Countian was critically wounded on Sept. 11, 2005 in Iraq.

 

Nov. 8, 2006

Edwinna Baker became Lawrenceburg’s first female mayor.

 

March 7, 2007

Fiscal Court approved an ordinance allowing liquor by the drink at qualifying restaurants outside the city limits and a measure allowing display of the Ten Commandments in the courthouse.

 

Aug. 22, 2007

Home foreclosures were up across the nation, and Anderson County was no exception with projections of 90 here by the end of the year. 

 

April 2, 2008

Bill Keightley’s Anderson County friends paused to say goodbye to the famed University of Kentucky equipment manager known to thousands as “Mr. Wildcat.” He was an Anderson native and graduate of Kavanaugh High School.

 

May 21, 2008

Former school leader and coach Kent Stevens gave Anderson County some political clout by defeating Mercer’s Milward Dedman for a seat in the state legislature.

 

June 4, 2008

County Clerk Harold Ritchey, arguably the most popular political figure in Anderson County history, died while jogging. He was 64.

 

Feb. 4, 2009

What was being called the worst ice storm in state history didn’t spare Anderson County, knocking out power to more than 3,000 residents for several days.

 

March 11, 2009

A last-second three-point shot by C. J. Penny earned Anderson’s Bearcats a trip to the state basketball tournament. It was Anderson’s first appearance on the big stage since 1997.