Jan. 1, 2014 —
Legal booze, taxes, murder, missing drugs and new schools were 2013’s top news stories in Carter County, according to the news staff of the Journal-Times.
Picked as the year’s top story was Grayson’s surprising vote in June to allow legal sale of alcoholic beverages for the first time since 1937, a dry spell of 76 years.
Four months later, Clark’s BP on Carol Malone Boulevard began selling beer as the city’s first licensed vendor of alcoholic beverages.
Voted No. 2 were the financial woes of the City of Olive Hill, including passage of a one-half percent payroll tax to help balance the budget and the filing of a class action lawsuit against the city’s utility system over electric rates.
If the city loses in court, the results would be catastrophic for Olive Hill’s already shaky finances.
The arrest and indictment of Kyle Holbrook, 20, of Olive Hill in the 2011 death of Dillon “Nemo” Bryant, 19, came in at No. 3. At year’s end, Holbrook was awaiting trial.
In what was thought originally to be a related case, the Kentucky State Police said in April that the death of Nathan Barker, 20, had been ruled accidental due to a fall from a cliff.
At the time of Barker's disappearance in 2012, investigators were looking into the possibility of ties to the Bryant murder.
Coming in at No. 4 was the disclosure by the KSP in September that it was investigating the theft of two controlled drugs – Fentanyl and morphine – from Carter County Emergency Medical Services.
That investigation apparently is ongoing.
Rated fifth was the opening in August of two new elementary schools – Tygart Creek and Carter City – to replace the former Upper Tygart and Carter elementaries.
Both old buildings have been declared surplus and are awaiting sale by the school board.
Voted No. 6 for the year were the indictments of two former public employees on embezzlement charges.
Chris Stamper was the manager of Rattlesnake Ridge Water District and Melissa Black was a financial clerk for the Northeast Kentucky Community Action Agency. Both are awaiting trial.
Seventh is the additional funding and successful bidding of the primary renovation of the old Olive Hill High School building by the Olive Hill Historical Society.
Work has started at the hilltop structure under a $731,887 contract with Tri State Construction as a result of a $500,000 CDBG grant and an ARC grant of $325,000.
Eighth was the deployment to Afghanistan and recent safe return of Olive Hill’s Army National Guard unit, the 149th Vertical Engineering Company.
The soldiers came home a few days before Christmas and were welcomed in a ceremony at the Kentucky Horse Park.
Ninth was the possibility of Grayson becoming the site of a residential drug rehabilitation center as part of Recovery Kentucky.
However, the Kentucky Housing Corporation vetoed that decision and directed that the facility be located in Boyd County as originally planned.
No. 10 on our list of top news stories was the Community Partners Summit, a gathering of Carter County civic, business and political leaders to explore better cooperation for the good of the entire county.
A direct result of the summit was the creation of the Carter County Community Fund which raised more than $11,000 in four months through private giving to qualify for $5,000 in immediate grants to non-profit groups.
The CCCF is an endowment operating under the Foundation for the Tri-State in Ashland.