The Times Journal & Russell County News
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Year in Review: Looking back at 2009
In Dec. 31 Issue

After the volatile petroleum prices of the previous year, 2009 opened with a news story about the price of gas being less than $1.50 and one of the year’s small but significant miracles was that it remained about that all year long.

January brought the final word on the Farm Services Office in Jamestown. It closed as those jobs were lost and the building sat empty for most of the year before Lake Cumberland Real Estate and Auction purchased and refurbished it.

City hall in Jamestown came down after only 15 years as the land was needed for the Russell County Judicial Center. Excavation work has since been done and concrete has been poured for some of the foundation walls.

The new city hall was already occupied in what had been the Monin Building, also known as the Jamestown Clinic, which had been purchased from Russell County Hospital.

The hospital was going through some turmoil as the Chief Executive Office, Gary DelForge, had been asked to leave by the hospital’s management firm, Alliant. That change resulted in a significant cost for contract termination and the hospital operated the whole year on an interim CEO.

As the first month of that year was winding down the bight of the economic crash was effecting all aspects of the local economy. But it wasn’t necessarily a bad impact. Car sales were strong, and getting stronger as cash for clunkers was starting to hit its stride and those with money were buying.

Those with assets sliding downward due to slow-downs or outright layoffs were going to the mechanics more, and that was keeping that sector’s head above water.

There was a great deal of sliding as the end of January brought an ice storm that paralyzed much of the state, especially just north of Russell County.

News also came of the location for a new county jail, as Russell Springs sold the county land behind the senior citizens’ center to the county for $1.

As February opened the state was still reeling from that ice storm, and the plans were advancing for a new jail.

The economic downturn was hammering the local economy with the announcement that Hitachi would be closing its plant, and other local plants continued to lay off workers.

Sports news was good though as the Offshore Super Series races were fast approaching and local men who train at Club Fit were preparing to take their “Ultimate Fighting” to the professional level, and the youths in the middle school basketball team were celebrating a big win in the conference tournament.

The row over a possible noise ordinance wound down for a while, as the local drag strip was put up for auction. After it was purchased by new owners who reopened it as a drag strip that issue grew noisy again, but in the end the fiscal court would not approve a noise ordinance.

As February was winding down local governments were getting good news about federal stimulus as sidewalks and money for a Russell Springs City Hall were announced, but other projects such as a bridge downstream of the dam on US 127 and a cloverleaf interchange at the parkway are still years away from fruition.

With the close of that month the boys basketball team was looking forward to March as they earned a shot at the District title. Cumberland County took that from them, but the took it out on Warren Central in the regional semi-finals in March. Franklin-Simpson later spoiled things for them in the regional finals.

The officials at Russell County Hospital were looking forward to a good end to the fiscal year as they were $1 million ahead of where they had been the previous year.

And as march opened the fiscal court gave the go-ahead to plans for a $3 million to $4 million 80-bed jail.

March also saw the first of the heavy machinery getting into place for the repair work at Wolf Creek Dam.

Joe Flanagan took over as Director of the Russell County Ambulance Service after Mark Coots decided to resume his place working as a paramedic.

In April the US Army Corps of Engineers brought local officials and members of the press from all around the state out to see the progress of repairs to Wolf Creek Dam.

The new farmers’ market was announced in April and it was in a new location. The corner lot at Lakeway and US 127 operated for the entire season on extended hours, selling only locally grown produce.

The Russell County Hospital Auxiliary’s dance competition saw Kim Haydon and Greg Hammond taking home the top prize, as April was winding down.

The date, time and course of the big boat race on Lake Cumberland was announced and people got a preview of just how big an event this would be.

Meanwhile Jamestown Police Chief Mike Keaton announced his retirement and Derek Polston was posted to the position, short-term. That posting became permanent later in the year.

May opened with more excitement over the big boat races on the lake, and a new auditorium / natatorium opening in front of the middle school.

Jorge Sanchez, 30, was stabbed to death at the end of April, but as May began Roberto De Jesus Gomez had turned himself in to police for the crime.

In news about news, WJRS turned the local AM station into an ESPN affiliate, bringing sports-talk radio to the region.

As mid-May arrived so did the promised big boats. The race was heavily attended, and ancillary events such as a bathing suit contest was popular as well.

After the ice storms as the year began heavy rain storms hit in June, resulting in FEMA emergency assistance in Russell County. On the lake several marinas were heavily damaged by the fast rising water.

That came just as the announcement was made that Lakefest would not be taking place in Jamestown.

The Russell County Lakers, already district champs and coached by David Rexroat, defeated the Bowling Green Purples 8-3 at Nick Denes field on the campus of Western Kentucky University to win the 4th region tournament title.

The fair opened to hopes for high turnout, and warm weather. Rain and the economy were blamed by some for the less than stellar turnout.

Meanwhile Russell Springs’ officials announced they would be taking up the slack on Independence Day. Since the City of Jamestown did not host an event and fireworks the fair grounds was chosen as the venue.

By mid-June Tanner’s on the square in Jamestown was reopened as Manner’s after extensive renovation.

Officials were saying that work was progressing at Wolf Creek Dam.

July saw a near tragedy at Clear Springs Baptist Church when the roof caved in after one service and before another.

Second Chance Outreach Center opened bringing more substance abuse options to the county in what had been the Pinehurst Lodge.

The new month brought a new director for the Russell County High School Marching Band, Curtis Ervin.

With plans finished the expectation was that a new jail could be under construction by the end of August, that was not to be.

Meanwhile discovery of a buried oil tank put a hold on work at the judicial center for a short time.

As July came to a close people were gearing up for the 127-yard sale, and the announcement was made that the offshore race, the Lake Cumberland Grand Prix, would be located on the other end of the lake next year.

As planned, the hospital did end the year well, with a $1.4 million profit, a monumental success compared to the figures in 2008.

Local dairies were still feeling the pinch, in August as wholesale milk prices were at 1970s levels, though retail prices were more than twice that.

Russell Springs pulled in more federal stimulus money, this time for sewer system improvements.

The “cash for clunkers” program was still going strong for local car dealerships, as magistrates began a months-long debate over random drug testing for county workers.

With school opening in August, Superintendent Scott Pierce said the federal stimulus money was preventing state budget problems from decimating school funding, for that year.

After deaths world wide the local health department was getting ready to begin immunizations as soon as the anti-virus arrived in the county.

And the month ended with a bigger-than-ever bluegrass festival at the Indian Hills KOA.

Jobless rates had doubled in the spring, compared to the previous year, and in August they had passed 10 percent locally.

A lengthy investigation resulted in seizure of alleged gaming machines at two businesses in Russell County as September began, and a petition was turned in to the court clerk’s office that led to a “moist” vote in Jamestown and Lake Precincts.

The results of that petition was a court challenge, then a vote, which has resulted in another court challenge as the year draws to a close.

In September a local drug case against a Russell Springs pharmacist was dismissed. Leon Grider’s case was dismissed by Special Judge Gary Payne at a hearing in Frankfort after the state’s investigators did not provide the defense evidence they had collected in other investigations.

At Wolf Creek Dam the Corps was quelling rumors of terminations after problems with some of the work was discovered. Several of the concrete panels poured into the earthen portion of the dam were not installed properly. Work to repair those problems has been ongoing.

Russell Springs officials offered cooperation with Jamestown on a yearly independence day event, but the city which traditionally hosted the Lakefest, was non-committal.

Plans for a new jail were put on hold after construction bids came in $2 million higher than originally intended and the architects were told to go back to the drawing board.

October started with planning for a fall festival in Russell Springs, and later that month the event went off well according to planners, as the rains stopped just in time.

Ground was broken in October for the judicial center, the health department also broke ground on a new facility in Jamestown.

State investigators closed down a local daycare, and workers there were later indicted for allegedly putting children inside a garage when investigators had come to see that they were not keeping more children than allowed.

As October was winding down a local judge ruled that the “moist” vote would go forward, and set the questions for the ballot.

Seasonal Flu shots were gone after only 15 minutes at a clinic by the health department. The Swine Flu shots did not go as fast, and several other clinics were held to offer that inoculation.

By the end of the year there were none of the feared deaths from an expected pandemic due to H1N1.

In the last week of October the county received the news that it has the highest teen pregnancy rate in all of Kentucky.

November opened with the ribbon cutting at the Jamestown Water Plant’s expansion, and the Mighty Laker Band was headed to state finals.

The band took third in their division, and fifth in state overall.

With less than $10,000 left in the bank the fiscal court decided to continue plans to seek bids for construction of a county jail. In August the court had approved giving the old jail to new judicial center project for a parking lot.

James Lunsford of Jamestown got lucky winning $500K with a number 13 scratch-off ticket from Lake Cumberland Country Store.

As November came to its end. Voters said yes to the sale of alcoholic beverages in restaurants. But the outcome of the vote was in question since both precincts approved sales outside the city and the overall city vote was a no.

The local ministerial association and the emergency shelter board announced in December that the federal grant sought to turn the old Shiloh Inn into a shelter had been approved and final negotiations were underway.

As the month and the year was drawing to a close the issue of the “moist” vote went again to the courts as the calendar turned to 2010 and a new year, and decade, began.

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The Times Journal is a weekly newspaper issued on Thursdays. It was first published on October 13, 1949, by Andrew J. and Terry Norfleet.
P.O. Box 190
120 Wilson St.
Russell Springs KY 42642
Phone: 270-866-3191
Fax: 270-866-3198
Russell County News is a weekly newspaper issued on Saturdays, and is mailed free to every address in Russell County, Ky. It was first published on February 1, 1913.
404 Monument Square
Jamestown KY 42629
Phone: 270-343-5700
David Davenport
Managing Editor:
Greg Wells
News & Sports Editor:
Derek Aaron
Advertising Manager:
Stephanie Smith
Business Manager:
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Production Manager:
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Jamestown Office:
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Members of the public may attend meetings. Boards or agencies may schedule other meetings at special times, but are required to notify the public.
FISCAL COURT: 2nd Monday of month, 6 p.m. in the Courthouse
RUSSELL SPRINGS CITY: 2nd Thursday of month, 6 p.m. in the City Hall Municipal Room
JAMESTOWN CITY: 3rd Thursday of month, 6 p.m. in basement meeting room at City Hall
SCHOOL BOARD: 3rd Monday of month, 6:30 p.m., Board of Education office in Jamestown
LIBRARY BOARD: 2nd Tuesday of month, 5 p.m. at Jamestown Library
AIRPORT BOARD: 1st Tuesday of month, 5 p.m. at Airport
TOURISM COMMISSION: 2nd Wednesday of month, 12:30 p.m. at Tourism Office
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: 3rd Tuesday of month, noon at The Cove restaurant
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