Welcome to the last day of 2022, and our final look back at December of 2002!
The end of the year was always a time for reflection for the newsroom staff when I was employed at the Commonwealth Journal. We would each rank what we considered to be the top stories from the previous 12 months, and we’d publish the results in the final edition of the year.
Unfortunately, in 2002, choosing the top story of the year was an easy task – as our entire community was still reeling from the shocking assassination of our Sheriff, Sam Catron, in April. You can find the rest of the top 10 stories from 2002 below, along with what else was newsworthy in Pulaski County 20 years ago this week, from the pages of the Commonwealth Journal.
Presley resigns jailer post a week early
Embattled Jailer Darrell Presley faxed a letter of resignation to Pulaski County Judge-executive Darrell BeShears on Friday. Presley’s resignation is effective on Dec. 31 at midnight. “My pay stops on Dec. 31, so my term is over then,” Presley said on Friday. “That’s when I’m leaving office.” BeShears said that while it’s true the jailer’s salary ends on Dec. 31, his term does not end until Jan. 6. BeShears will swear in (jailer-elect Mike) Harris tomorrow morning so he can serve out the remainder of Presley’s term. Then he will be sworn in again on Jan. 6.
Drug probe nets seven more arrests
Seven more Pulaski County residents have been arrested since Dec. 13, as part of a Lake Cumberland Area Drug Task Force undercover investigation. On Dec. 13, law enforcement began their roundup of 50 individuals, indicted on 127 various drug-related charges, following a seven-month investigation.
Prescription drug addictions making it tough on doctors
With prescription drug abuse on the rise in Pulaski County, doctors are finding themselves in a tough position. Is pain real or imagined? And if real, is the pain the result of a dependency to narcotics?
Quick response saves local business
Disaster was averted on Friday afternoon at Bastin Hardwood on Ky. 39 when employees helped douse burning sawdust, and the Somerset Fire/EMS finished the job without any structural damage.
City of Eubank set to take bids on $1.5 million water system expansion
The city of Eubank is about ready to advertise for bids on a $1.5 million water system expansion that will serve about 200 new customers in three counties. Mayor Frey Todd said the current schedule calls for bid advertisements to be published the latter part of February. Without unseen delays, the project should be completed next fall.
A Look Back at the Top 10 stories of 2002:
1. Sam Catron, Pulaski County’s beloved sheriff of 16 years, was shot and killed after making an appearance at a fish fry at the Shopville-Stab Volunteer Fire Department on April 13.
2. An exciting election year – Trudy Denham became the first woman elected to the post of Pulaski County Court Clerk; Somerset Police Detective Todd Wood would win the May primary election for sheriff after a county sheriff race full of tragedy and controversy; Richard New defeated incumbent Alan Stringer in the coroner’s race; incumbent Darrell Presley lost the jailer’s race to Mike Harris; and Burnside’s mayor and council changed overnight in the election.
3. The saga of local hate-monger Steve Anderson came to a close when a tip generated by “America’s Most Wanted” led to his capture in rural North Carolina. Anderson had been on the run since Oct. 2001 after he shot up a Bell County Sheriff’s Department cruiser.
4. The county witnessed a nearly continuous changing of the guard in many areas of government and business in 2002, with a new Pulaski County Industrial Foundation director, a new Blakley Family YMCA director, a new head of The Center for Rural Development, a new Somerset-Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce director, a new Somerset Police Chief, a new Somerset-Pulaski Convention and Visitors Bureau director, and a new Science Hill school superintendent.
5. Tempers flared on both sides of the road, literally, when First Baptist Church of Somerset purchased and tore down several older homes in the downtown area. The church planned to expand its territory, while neighbors fought to protect theirs.
6. Homegrown beauty queen Mary Catherine Correll followed in her mother’s footsteps, claiming the Miss Kentucky title in June.
7. The first open heart surgery at Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital was performed on Oct. 14 by surgeon Doug Adams, M.D. The patient was Arneda Richardson.
8. Congressman Hal Rogers authored a House Appropriations Bill that brought $12 million into his native Pulaski County for five separate projects.
9. For the first time since World War II, local soldiers responded to a call to serve overseas. A new generation learned what it meant for America to be at war.
10. Several horses were lost to the dreaded West Nile Virus, and we had at least two confirmed cases in humans.
Beacon Hill Baptist Church – Free admission to see “Left Behind,” from the runaway best-selling novel, at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 29 and Dec. 31 in the sanctuary. Chili supper in the Fellowship Hall at 5:30 p.m.
Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 5.1 percent in November from 4.9 percent in October, according to the Department for Employment Services. In Nov. 2001, the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.1 percent. “Kentucky’s unemployment rate has been below the national rate for all 11 months of 2002,” said Carlos Cracraft, the department’s chief labor market analyst.
Thousands of American troops and dozens of warships will head to the Persian Gulf in the coming weeks as the Pentagon puts forces in place to make war on Iraq, defense officials say. Since Christmas, the Pentagon has begun alerting units around the United States and overseas to prepare for deployment.
This Week in Local Sports:
-The Somerset Briar Jumpers boys’ basketball team snapped a five-game losing streak with a 77-64 win over the Elliott County Lions. Senior Trey Sharpe returned to dominant form with 32 points.
-The Somerset Briar Jumpers girls’ basketball team played perhaps its best half of the season Friday. The Briar Jumpers outscored the visiting Corbin Redhounds 40-26 on their way to a 69-52 win in their home opener.
-The Pulaski County Maroons boys’ basketball team can no longer say it hasn’t won back-to-back contests. They beat two quality opponents in the 5/3 Bank Holiday Classic over the weekend at Lexington Catholic to do just that.
-The losing streak stands at five for the Southwestern Warriors boys’ basketball team. The Warriors dropped to 1-5 following two losses over the weekend at the Laurel County Hoopin’ It Up Classic.
-The Northern Middle School dance team recently competed at Southwestern and Wayne County High schools. At the Southwestern competition, the team placed first in pom and second in kick. At Wayne County, the team placed second in kick and fourth in pom. They are coached by Ashley Stykes. Team members include Emily Ard, Shenoa Merritt, Samantha Harris, Kerra Flynn, Kasey Boatman, Rachel Huntsman, Amber Acton, LaDonna McMullin, Kayla DeBord, Susan Davis, Meagan Baker and Jamie Smith.
This Week’s Advertisements:
-Ray’s Satellite – Somerset Plaza Shopping Center. Dish Network, lowest all-digital price in America at $22.99/month.
-Goldenberg Furniture – New Year’s Day sale, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., everything storewide is 50 percent off.
-Belk – Happy New Year sale going on now! Up to 50 percent off sweaters and fleece activewear.
-Roberts Jewelry, Downtown Somerset. Jewelers you can trust. Watches 25-50 percent off, and all rings on sale.
-Burton & Poynter Furniture — 1335 E. Mt. Vernon St. Hot buys on mattress sets. Queen size, reg. $599, now $299.
-Save-A-Lot – Milk, $1.69/gallon. Lettuce, 59 cents/head, 10 lb. bag Idaho potatoes, $1.89.
In the Classifieds:
-Frisch’s – Now hiring experienced servers, to take care of our booming business. Can make $10+. Apply within.
-Two and three bedroom apartments, $265-$295/month. Mall area.
-1991 14×56 mobile home. Two bedrooms, one bath. $8,000. Land contract option.
Showing This Week at Showplace Cinemas:
Treasure Planet – Santa Clause 2 – Wild Thornberrys – Drumline – Gangs of New York – Catch Me if You Can – Lord of the Rings – Two Weeks Notice – Maid in Manhattan – Harry Potter – Hot Chicks – Star Trek Nemesis
Submitted by Lorena Davis
8 potatoes (medium size)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 ½ cups sharp cheese, grated
1 ½ cups sour cream
Salt and pepper
Boil potatoes with peeling on them. When cold, peel, then run through grater. Spread in bottom of a 9 ½ x 13 x 2 ½ inch pan – do not stir. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and melted margarine. Mix soup, cheese and sour cream; pout this mixture over top of the potatoes. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle crushed crackers over the top (and more cheese if desired.) Put back in oven until crackers begin to brown.