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As 2014 begins, The Spencer Magnet staff reflects on the year that was 2013. Here you will find our top 10 stories of the year, in no particular order. These are stories of significance that created a buzz in and around the county from January to December.
Brock, Glasscock among lives lost in 2013
2013 took the lives of many notable Spencer Countians — too many to have an all-inclusive list — but the following citizens left their mark on the county in a big way.
Laura G. “Dolly” Brock, 91, died March 4, 2013, at Signature HealthCare in Taylorsville. She had been a resident of Signature for the past year, and resided at the Chapel House in Taylorsville for over 10 years prior to her residency at Signature. She lived in Spencer County for more than 65 years.
Dolly was born May 24, 1921 in Crestwood.
Dolly and her late husband, Claude Alex Brock, were publishers of The Spencer Magnet newspaper from 1948-1990. That 42-year publishing span ranked Dolly and Claude as the longest, continuous, family-owned county newspaper publishers in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
The Spencer Magnet was sold to Landmark Community Newspapers in 1990, with Landmark’s then President and CEO Larry Coffey presiding over the historic sale. Landmark still publishes The Spencer Magnet as a community newspaper in Taylorsville with a local staff.
Dolly was made Editor Emeritus of The Spencer Magnet following the sale, a tribute made possible by Landmark Community Newspapers.
Carl Lee ‘C.L.’ Glasscock Jr.
A long-time Spencer Countian who served the community both in local government and spiritually in multiple facets died Sept. 23, 2013. Carl Lee “C.L.” Glasscock Jr. was 83.
In 1974, Glasscock was elected as Spencer County sheriff. In 1978, he was elected as Spencer County judge-executive, and he served in that position for 12 years.
Glasscock was known for his passion for Spencer County and for spreading the word of God.
Glasscock was well known, not only in Spencer County, but around the state.
His passing prompted Sen. Mitch McConnell to issue the following statement: “I was saddened to hear about the passing of my good friend, C.L. Glasscock. C.L. and I served as county judge-executives at the same time, and I remember how devoted he was to the people of Spencer County. I express my heartfelt condolences to C.L.’s family and friends. He will be greatly missed.”
“He had the ability to come to a black tie party in overalls,” said Bobby Smith, a friend to Glasscock. Glasscock was a Kentucky Colonel and was named to the Signature Healthcare Hall of Fame in 2008. He wrote a weekly religion column, titled “From the Word,” in The Spencer Magnet for many years. Glasscock was an ordained minister and started the Mission for Christ in Chaplin with his family. He ministered through the church at Signature on a monthly basis.
For Dawson Moore, life was not measured by the number of years he lived, but more by the number of people whose lives he touched.
At just 11 years old, Dawson died April 4, 2013, from a rare brain cancer called Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma or DIPG. He had been diagnosed with the disease in July 2012, and began extensive radiation and chemotherapy to battle the tumor growing on his brain stem.
The Spencer County community rallied around Dawson and his parents, Melody and Todd, and his younger brother, Mason. Just two weeks after the diagnosis, the Spencer County Youth Baseball Association held a weekend-long benefit at Ray Jewell Memorial Park, raising more than $28,000 for the family in donations and entry fees for baseball and softball games, a corn hole tournament, basketball shootouts and even a concert featuring local musicians.
Dawson’s story touched the hearts of many in the community and helped spearhead an effort to raise childhood cancer awareness in September.
Long time Spencer County Clerk and well-known community member Judy Puckett died October 5, 2013, after a long battle with cancer.
Puckett, 61, was a Spencer County native and spent more than 34 years in the county clerk’s office, including eight-plus years as county clerk. She retired from her position Dec. 1, 2011, before her term’s end due to her failing health.
She was married to Carl Puckett and together they had one son, Ryan Puckett.
The family issued a statement that said Puckett worked hard in the clerk’s office, but would be remembered for so much more than that.
The family wrote, “Our family will always remember Judy for who she was — a kind, loving, compassionate woman. She was a huge source of strength and encouragement. She cared about everyone and would do anything for anyone. She worked in the clerk’s office for over 30 years but her biggest achievement was her family.”
Girls soccer team has best season in school history
A district title had eluded the Spencer County Lady Bears’ soccer program since the inception of the program, so the extra wait during two overtime periods and a shootout in October’s 3-1 victory over Anderson County for the 30th District Championship just made victory a little sweeter.
Anderson County played the underdog role as well as possible, hustling and holding Spencer County, the region’s highest scoring team, scoreless through the end of a second overtime.
The two teams had a shootout, with five players from each team getting a shot at a free kick against the opposing goalie. Spencer won the shootout 3-1 and the district championship. Spencer County’s Allie Stevens, Jasmine Thomas, Hannah Jaggers and Madison Ratchford were all named to the District All-Tournament team.
The girls lost in the first round of the region tournament, but finished the season with a record of 19-4-1, which included a 13-game winning streak.
Hannah Jaggers was named to the first-team all-state, becoming the first Spencer County soccer player to earn this honor. Madison Ratchford was named honorable mention all-state, the first Spencer County soccer player to earn the same honor in back-to-back years.
Fire department celebrates 100th anniversary
On Aug. 31, the Taylorsville-Spencer County Fire Department celebrated 100 years of service to the Spencer County community.
The fire department celebrated its 100-year anniversary with food, live music, fireworks and more. Many trucks — old and new — were on display throughout the day and at least six other fire departments showcased some of their equipment as well. The event featured live music by J.D. Shelburne, The Shane Dawson Band and Abbi Nation. The celebration marked the 100-year anniversary of the founding of the Taylorsville fire department, the 60-year anniversary of the founding of the county fire department and 20 years since the fire department became a taxing district.
Indiana man stabbed, dumped at Elk Creek Grocery; accused awaits February trial
In January, an Indiana man was stabbed, then driven by his alleged attacker to the Elk Creek Grocery where he was dropped off as the suspect sped away.
The victim was Jason Hill, 29, of Branchville, Ind.
Hill was dropped off in the Elk Creek Grocery Store parking lot in Spencer County.
Law enforcement in the area were unable to locate the vehicle or persons that dropped off the victim.
Hill was flown to the University of Louisville Hospital via Air Methods helicopter and he was admitted with non-life threatening injuries.
Lanny Hollar, the manager at Elk Creek Grocery, said he was sweeping outside when he saw a small four-door vehicle pull in close to the liquor store.
“A young white male kind of halfway fell out the back door,” Hollar said. “I looked at him and he said, ‘Help me, help me, I’ve been stabbed.’”
Hollar said at first he saw blood around the neck area of the victim and thought he’d been stabbed in the neck, but later realized he’d been stabbed in the lower part of the body.
Paul C. Barr, 34, of the 1100 block of Lehigh Avenue in Louisville, was arrested a couple of weeks after the incident and charged with first-degree assault and tampering with physical evidence.
Barr was set to go to trial in August, but his attorney, Stephen Wright, asked for a new trial date to be set. One of the reasons for the delay is that the prosecution’s witness was currently in custody in Indiana.
Barr’s trial is now scheduled for Feb. 27-28, 2014, with a final pretrial conference on Feb. 6, 2014.
Historic Main Street buildings torn down
Taylorsville’s Main Street underwent perhaps its biggest transformation in 100 years in mid-February.
Spencer County native and business owner Mike Driscoll, along with his buying partner and lifelong friend Kerry Edwards, purchased the buildings on Main Street between the Spencer County Judge-Executive’s Office and Valley Apparel — and tore them down.
Officially addressed as 14, 20, 22, 26 and 30 W. Main Street, the buildings were previously owned by Nellie Snider and most recently housed businesses such as the Taylorsville Florist and A&M Music.
Though business names still graced the front of the buildings, the structures had been empty for well over a year after being labeled with a large “X” by the Taylorsville-Spencer County Fire Department and being declared unsafe by the City of Taylorsville.
Driscoll said he hoped to be able to restore the buildings. However, after having two trusted contractors go through the buildings, Driscoll said it became clear the buildings could not be restored.
“I saw the opportunity maybe for us to — knowing we would have to tear them down — put something back that would make Main Street better in the long term,” he said.
The lots still sit empty today.
Driscoll said he hopes to sell the lots and have the buyer build back “a new structure with an old face.”
Familiar names within school system retire
2013 saw the retirement of four trusted names and faces within Spencer County Schools: Transportation Director Jack Senior, Assistant Superintendent Norma Thurman, SCES Principal Dale Kleinjan and SCMS Principal Ed Downs.
Senior started his career as a bus driver 13 years ago. He was promoted to driver trainer shortly after becoming a driver and then to transportation manager, where he served the district more than 10 years. He said retiring was a bittersweet decision.
Thurman’s career in education spanned 31 years. She began her career in elementary special education in Fulton County and went on to spend 20 years employed with Carroll County Public Schools. Her career with SCPS began 10 years ago following a move to Mount Washington because her husband had changed jobs. She served as Spencer County Elementary principal for three years and as assistant superintendent for seven.
Kleinjan spent 23 years with SCPS. Kleinjan traveled full circle in the district. He took the helm of SCES in 1990, which was then located in the current Taylorsville Elementary School building. Kleinjan saw the school through Spencer County’s population boom of the 1990s and, along with his staff, opened the current SCES building on Mount Washington Road in 2001.
Addressing his retirement, Kleinjan said, “It just felt like it was time.”
Just one month into the school year, Downs announced his retirement effective at the end of September, citing health concerns as the major motivation behind his decision.
Downs spent just under 24 years in education, 22 as a school administrator.
Downs joined the district in 2004 as an assistant principal for three years, left the district for a principal’s position then returned to the middle school as principal six years ago.
Wife charged with stabbing husband in groin
A domestic dispute apparently raged out of control in early September when a Spencer County woman stabbed her husband in the groin area and then called dispatch to report the crime.
Kentucky State Police arrested Nicole L. Early, 40, of Taylorsville, shortly before 9 p.m. at her Highway to Heaven home for allegedly attacking her husband with a knife. Police found her husband, Robert L. Early, 43, at the scene with critical injuries. He was transported by Air Methods to University of Louisville Hospital. According to a news release, state police dispatch received a call at 8:22 p.m. from Early advising dispatchers she “stabbed her husband in the groin area during a domestic dispute.”
State police said alcohol appeared to be a factor in the case.
Nicole Early was a bus driver for Spencer County Public Schools.
Neighbor and family friend Terri Cooper told The Spencer Magnet that Robert and Nicole Early are loving parents and were known for being kind and generous. She said she never witnessed any violence when around the couple.
“They are a wonderful family. Kind and loving parents, wonderful neighbors, great friends, willing to help anybody,” she said. “Both of them would give you the shirts off their backs.”
Nicole Early faces a first-degree assault domestic violence charge. Her case was recently referred to a Spencer County Grand Jury, which will determine whether to indict her.
FFA brings home two national championships
Spencer County FFA’s Farm Business Management and Dairy Cattle Evaluation and Management teams placed first at the National FFA Convention in Louisville in November.
Darryl Matherly is the adviser for the farm management team, which is made up of Jacob Barnett, Daniel Cooper, Tyler Nichols and Rachel Sibert.
Each member of the team also placed in the top 10 individually with Nichols coming in second, Barnett in third, Cooper in fourth and Sibert in seventh.
This is the first national first place win for the farm management team.
Bland Baird is the adviser for the dairy judging team, which is made up of Tyler Goodlett, Caleb Fulkerson, Andrew Krueger and Shelby West.
Three of the team members finished in the top 10 individually, with Goodlett placing first, Fulkerson placing second and West placing sixth.
This is the fourth national first place win for the dairy judging team.
Baird explained that FFA members are only allowed to compete in each category one time, so an immense amount of preparation is required for competition.
Members of the farm management team began preparing for competition during the last school year and met all throughout the summer to study and take practice exams.
Dairy judging team members have been preparing their entire high school careers.
Nothing quite tops the feeling of hearing your team called as a national champion, Barnett said.
“I cried I was so happy,” he said. “I thought I was going to faint, it was so exciting. It’s the happiest I’ve been.”
900 pounds of marijuana seized; other drug busts in 2013
A combined effort of several law enforcement agencies in early November led to the arrest of two men and the discovery of 900 pounds of marijuana in a Spencer County residence.
An investigation initiated by the Louisville Metro Narcotics Division in Louisville resulted in a search warrant, which was executed at a residence in the 600 block of Hickman Lane in the Highgrove area of Spencer County, according to Trooper Jeff Gregory, public affairs officer for Kentucky State Police Post 4 in Elizabethtown, and Dwight Mitchell, of the public affairs department of LMPD. LMPD contacted the Greater Hardin County Narcotics Task Force seeking help in locating a large stash of marijuana. The task force in turn contacted KSP Post 4, because investigators initially thought the stash was located in Nelson County. However, Hickman Lane is in Spencer County near the Spencer/Nelson line. Police arrested Hector M. Serrano, 25, a hispanic male who is not a legal U.S. resident. They later arrested Gabael S. Jimenez-Suarez, 22, a hispanic male who also is not a legal U.S. resident, in Louisville in connection with the stash, Gregory said.
Both Serrano and Jimenez-Suarez were indicted on 43 counts of complicity to traffic in marijuana greater than five pounds while in possession of a firearm, one count of complicity to possess drug paraphernalia while in possession of a firearm and one count of complicity to acquire property/invest with income from trafficking in a controlled substance. Serrano was also indicted on a criminal possession of a forged instrument charge. All the charges are felonies.
Both Serrano and Jimenez-Suarez are still in custody. Both men have been offered a plea agreement from the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office. Their attorneys requested time to go over the agreements with their clients and to review the discovery in the case. Both are scheduled to return to court this month.
Other noteworthy drug-related arrests from the year are:
- Joey Singer, 37, of Frontier Drive. Police located an indoor marijuana grow at Singer’s residence in June. Officers described the grow as “high quality,” estimating it could sell for $325 per ounce. Singer claims he didn’t sell to many people and that they were mostly cancer patients, according to police. Singer has entered a guilty plea in Spencer Circuit Court and is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 9.
- Chad M. Ellison, 36, of Yoder Tipton Road, and Milissa D. Hall, 45, of Little Union Road. Ellison and Hall were arrested in early November after an active methamphetamine lab was discovered in an abandoned trailer off Little Union Road.
According to police records, the methamphetamine was packaged and ready for sale.
Ellison faces charges of possession of a handgun by a convicted felon, first-degree possession of a controlled substance — methamphetamine — third or greater offense, manufacturing methamphetamine — first offense, and buy/possess drug paraphernalia. Ellison also had an outstanding parole violation warrant, according to the citation. Hall had an outstanding Bullitt County bench warrant and faces charges of manufacturing methamphetamine — first offense, and first-degree possession of a controlled substance — methamphetamine — second offense. Both are scheduled for review in Spencer Circuit Court in February.
- Karen R. Cook, 40, formerly of Taylorsville. Cook turned herself into police several days after police located an active methamphetamine lab in a Main Street apartment. Responding to reports of an explosion that rattled windows, police located the lab in the apartment. Cook and Jess T. Priddy, 39, whose last known address was Main Street in Taylorsville, were indicted in July on charges of complicity manufacturing methamphetamine, first offense; complicity first-degree possession of a controlled substance, first offense; complicity unlawful possession of a meth precursor, first offense; and complicity buying/possessing drug paraphernalia. Priddy has not yet been arrested and is still wanted by police. Cook is in custody awaiting a Jan. 9 court date.
Rift between magistrates, judge-executive leads to call for daily meetings
After receiving criticism for his spending from several magistrates during a September regularly scheduled meeting of the Fiscal Court, Judge-Executive Bill Karrer decided to call daily special meetings for the court so that magistrates could have the option of approving all of the county’s expenditures.
A quorum was not present at the first of the called meetings, but Karrer used the gathering as an opportunity to make a public announcement that he would call a special meeting every work day to approve spending requests from the different departments.
“We’ll do this every work day and on Saturday and Sunday if I have to to keep the county moving,” Karrer said. “I cannot do this any more clear, with any more transparency, being any more legal than for us to meet on a daily basis and still continue for the county to operate.”
A quorum was present for one of the meetings, but before it was called to order, Karrer read a complaint received from The Spencer Magnet accusing that the meeting agendas were too vague and required more detail for a special meeting to occur. Magistrates ultimately decided because the agenda for the meeting was called into question they would rather not have the meeting, so they left.
Karrer stopped calling the daily meetings within the first two weeks.