Chris Cooper|NDL In September, Jailer Phil Gregory had three dollies holding 31,699 pages of documents wheeled into a fiscal court meeting by jail deputies and turned over to First District Magistrate Dickie Carter.

Chris Cooper|NDL

In September, Jailer Phil Gregory had three dollies holding 31,699 pages of documents wheeled into a fiscal court meeting by jail deputies and turned over to First District Magistrate Dickie Carter.

There was no shortage of big stories in Logan County this past year.

2017 had a little bit of everything including football glory for the formerly downtrodden Cougars, political intrigue, notorious murder trials and a celestial event of historic proportions.

So before we head straight into 2018, let's take a moment and look back at some of the most important news items from our county in the past year.

Guiling indicted on organized crime, other charges

The indictment of Commonwealth Attorney Gail Guiling in October was easily one of the most shocking news stories in Logan County, not just in

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2017, but also in several years.

Guiling, who serves as the primary prosecuting attorney for both Logan and Todd counties, was indicted on two counts of tampering with physical evidence, two counts of official misconduct and one count of engaging in organized crime.

She has plead not guilty to the charges and has been suspended from performing her elected duties until the case against her is resolved. Justin Crocker, who served as her assistant Commonwealth Attorney, was appointed by the Attorney General to serve as prosecutor in Guiling's absence.

B. Alan Simpson, the attorney for Guiling in her criminal case, has critisized the Logan County Sheriff's Department in its handling of the investigation.

"Almost every time I've seen an elected official who has been investigated, the case has been assigned to a special investigations unit of the state police and not a local law enforcement agency," Simpson said.

Simpson said that the charges against Guiling are likely meant to cover up "problems" in the sheriff's department.

"Gail has had to dismiss several drug cases because the sheriff's department has lost evidence in those cases," Simpson said. "That has been brought to the court's attention and it is public record. There are clearly some very serious problems within the sheriff's department about who has access to evidence and how evidence could just disappear."

The trial is scheduled to take place this spring.

Logan County football has best year in history

After snapping a record losing streak in 2016, it wasn't hard to imagine that Logan County High School football having an upturn in 2017.

No one could have predicted what actually happened though -- an undefeated regular season.

The Cougars went 10-0 through the regular season and showed real heart and determination in gutting out close wins against district opponents Hopkinsville and Madisonville-North Hopkins. The most satisfying win of the regular season had to be a 28-21 come-from-behind victory over arch rival Russellville at historic Rhea Stadium in the fourth week of the season. After winning the first three games of the year against less than stellar competition, Logan County earned a rare victory over the Panthers that served as a springboard for the remainder of the season.

Posey convicted in murder trial

Just days prior to her indictment, Commonwealth Attorney Gail Guiling got a conviction in one of the biggest trials of her career when a jury found Greg "Jap" Posey guilty of murder on Sept. 19.

Posey was convicted of killing Patrick "P.J." Gilbert in July of 2016.

The trial lasted for eight days before the jury's conviction and sentencing recommendation of the maximum sentence of life in prison for Posey. His formal sentencing has been postponed for the time being, however. In November, Posey gave special judge John L. Atkins a hand written motion that claimed one of the jurors did not disclose knowing the victim's mother and should have been excluded from taking part in the trial.

Atkins is scheduled to rule on that motion this month and if he finds it has merit, a mistrial could be declared and Posey would get a new trial.

Logan County sees total eclipse

The total solar eclipse that occurred on Monday, Aug. 21, was only viewable in a few areas of the United States, but Logan County was one of the best places in the country to see it since it was right in the path of totality.

Thousands of people from all over descended on Logan County that day and were able to watch and take part in the numerous events that celebrated the eclipse all over the county. Schools shut down for the day because of the great amount of traffic that would be on the county roads before and after the event.

Four indicted in Bell murder

Nearly a year after the murder of 21-year-old Lexus Bell in her Russellville apartment, four people were indicted and arrested in connection to her murder.

On July 28, 2017, Detective Kenneth Edmonds of the Russellville Police Department presented the Lexus Bell homicide case from Aug. 21, 2016, to the Logan County Grand Jury. After this case was presented, there was a true bill provided for this crime.

On Aug. 1, 2017, a sealed indictment was served on Demetrius Ulysses Roberson for murder, first degree robbery, nine counts of wanton endangerment, possession of a firearm by convicted felon and persistent felony offender second. Reba S. Kirk, formerly of Russellville, was also served with a sealed indictment for murder and first degree robbery (complicity). Jordan Lunsford was indicted and arrested on charges of murder and first degree robbery (complicity). And Khalin Breon Sparks was indicted and arrested on charges of murder and 10 counts of first degree wanton endangerment.

Auburn Amish saga comes to close

The lengthy saga involving horse manure in the city of Auburn is over, at least for the Amish population who travel through the town on a daily basis. For those in the community who have complained about poop on the streets, the problem is sure to continue.

"This is excellent news," said Travis Lock, attorney for the Amish. "I hope this means my clients and all members of the Amish can go about living their peaceful lives among other members in the community without feeling they are being singled out. I applaud the city council for taking such a positive step forward. It is a good day for all members of the Auburn community."

With a four to one vote, the ordinance that saw well over 100 violations in a four year period, was amended Monday, Nov. 13, taking out a requirement that all large animals that travel through Auburn be outfitted with collection devices.

Council members Thelma Cottrell, Steve Montgomery, Claude Tisdale and Ricky Heflin voted in favor of the amendment, with councilman Rex Evans voting no. Bobby Price, who voted no on the first reading to amend, was absent Monday night.

In 2014, the city council voted unanimously to amend its animal ordinance to include collection devises. The council took action when the city failed to get the Amish to clean up the manure their horses dump on the streets.

Buildings on Russellville square torn down

Two buildings on the corners of Fourth and Main streets on the Russellville city square were torn down beginning in October.

Deborah Hirsch, the owner-operator of Ariella Bistro and Bar, owns the former Duncan's Drugstore and Southern Deposit Bank buildings. Her plans for the Fourth and Main properties include two boutique hotels.

The Hotel Duncan is expected to be five stories tall, have a sports bar on the ground floor, and have extended stay rooms with apartments in the rear for staff. The Hotel Gaelle will be six stories tall, with 38 rooms and suites, a coffee shop, retail store, exercise room, conference room, and a spacious, luxurious event space.

Carter, Gregory feud over jail records

First District Magistrate Dickie Carter and Jailer Phil Gregory had disagreed over records at the Logan County Detention Center for some time, but those disagreements came to a head in September when Gregory had three dollies holding 31,699 pages of documents wheeled into a fiscal court meeting by jail deputies and turned over to Carter.

Carter had filed an open record request for all transactions over the past two years having to do with the commissary account at the jail. He was also handed a bill for $4,633 by jailer Phil Gregory for the copies (10 cents per copy) and the 40-plus hours it took to process his request, plus overtime. Because the request was submitted by Carter as an individual citizen and not part of the fiscal court, he is solely responsible for the costs, according to Gregory.

The commissary, or canteen, is where inmates can purchase personal hygiene items, snacks, paper, etc., with their own money. There is no cash allowed at the jail and all transactions are handled digitally by an outside agency. Funds collected can be used by the jail to purchase items that benefit the inmates.

Carter said he began looking into the account after an audit showed poor record keeping. The audit also found no findings of criminal wrongdoings or misappropriation of any funds.

Carter then took the matter to the state Attorney General, who found in November that Gregory was in violation of the open records act. Gregory has appealed the Attorney General's decision, however, and the matter is still pending.

Fiscal Court plans to buy Wildcat Hollow, then backs off

The Logan County Fiscal Court voted five to two on Tuesday, Feb. 14 to offer the Lincoln Trail Council $1.1 million to purchase 758 acres of Wildcat Hollow, known as Boy Scout Camp, located in the northern part of the county. The camp is approximately 1,050 acres with a lake. The City of Russellville owns the lake and an easement around it and will retain ownership even if a deal is struck.

Magistrates Dickie Carter, Jack Crossley, Jo Orange and Thomas Bouldin all voted yes to the venture, along with Judge Executive Logan Chick. Magistrates Barry Joe Wright and Drexel Johnson voted no.

The vote was discussed at length over the next few court meetings and eventually, Crossley and Chick changed their votes and the court did not wind up making the $1.1 million offer.

Bomb scare at Logan courthouse

Streets and some businesses were shut down in Russellville on Monday, March 27, because of a bomb scare at the Logan County Justice Center.

A device resembling a bomb was found attached to a back maintenance door of the courthouse Monday morning and local law enforcement quickly sprang into action. Streets around the courthouse, including Third, Fourth and Fifth streets were closed and some businesses, such as Walgreens just beside the Justice Center, were also closed.

After approximately three hours, the device was deemed to be a hoax by the Kentucky State Police Hazardous Devices Unit.

"The device was made up of three flare sticks and some wire," Whittaker said.

Similar devices were also located at the Todd County Courthouse on Monday morning morning and KSP Post 2 Madisonville were on the scene there also where an investigation will be conducted.

Flener hired to lead Russellville schools

In May, the Russellville Independent school board hired Bart Flener this week to replace the retiring Leon Smith as the district's superintendent.

Flener was one of four finalists for the position who interviewed with the school board.

"I feel honored that the board had faith in me to be able to do this job," Flener said. "It won't be mistake free, but I can assure them that my heart and soul will be in it."

Flener was an assistant superintendent at the Murray Independent School District. He also served as Murray High School's boys' basketball coach. Before taking the job at Murray, Flener was the basketball coach at Asbury College, but also coached at several Kentucky high schools -- including Glasgow in the Fourth Region, where he won an All A Classic state championship in 2001.

He also served as an assistant superintendent for Jessamine County schools while coaching basketball as Asbury.

The Climb comes under fire

A weekend of fun turned into a out-of-control situation for the owner and his staff at The Climb Adventure Lagoon, located off of 431 South just outside the Russellville city limits. in May, owner Benjamin Lamb leased his property to Nahpro Entertainment, an outside agency who held an event that brought in numerous all-terrain vehicles and hundreds of people. Several complaints of noise into the night and early morning hours followed, causing Lamb to be embarrassed and apologetic.

The Climb, which opened in Logan County in April of 2016, is a land-water obstacle course located in an old rock quarry that challenges the physically fit. There is camping, live entertainment and wildlife to enjoy.

"I hate that this happened," said Lamb. "But I can tell you it won't happen again."

Lamb prides his park as being family friendly and says his reputation is very important to him.

"The last thing I want to do is upset my neighbors. You are only as good as the community you are in," said Lamb.

Lamb said when he leased the park out for the weekend, he was assured there would be plenty of security and those who would monitor the activities.

In the weeks the followed, the Climb came under scrutiny from governmental agencies and was shut down Thursday, June 29 by the Barren River District Health Department for not meeting specific permit requirements.

Lamb reopened the business, however, saying he had decided to operate as a members-only establishment.

Logan County teacher indicted for sex crimes with student

A former Chandlers teacher and coach has been indicted on 37 counts of sexual crimes against a student in the Logan County School system.

A warrant for the arrest of Adam L. Decker, 29, was granted by a Logan County Grand Jury on Friday, June 30 after Decker was indicted following an investigation by the Kentucky State Police.

Decker was also a former assistant baseball coach at Logan County High School and served as the boys basketball coach at Chandlers.

Logan County schools superintendent Paul Mullins said that he could confirm that Decker resigned in February of this year from his teaching and coaching positions, but could not comment further because it was a personnel matter.

Decker was arrested over nearly three weeks later after evading police for several days following his indictment. His trial is scheduled for May of this year.

Ruler Foods opens Russellville store

The Grand Opening and ribbon cutting of Ruler Foods in Russellville drew hundreds of shoppers Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017. Ruler Foods, a subsidiary of Kroger, is a warehouse store grocery chain in the United States. It is a no-frills grocery store where 80 percent of the offerings are Kroger Brand. The customers bag their own groceries at the checkout, and rent shopping carts for 25 cents, which is then returned when the cart is replaced. This cuts down on the number of employees needed at each store.

Ruler Foods resembles hard discounters like Aldi, according to Russellville Manager Tim Poole. The company incorporates similar strategies to reduce costs and increase efficiency such as the coin-released shopping carts, a limited assortment of private label products displayed in their shipping cases, and no service departments like butchers, delis, bakeries, gasoline or pharmacy. Shoppers must provide their own bags or buy them at checkout.

Lewisburg mayor resigns

Lewisburg lost its mayor effective Thursday, June 1 at 6 p.m. Bert Adler left his post one and a half years before his four year term ended, claiming a move out of the city would render him ineligible to serve is a mayoral capacity.

"It has been an honor to serve the City of Lewisburg as mayor for the past two years," said Adler in his resignation letter. "The city is processing with signs of growth in small business and the housing market is improving. I wish the city growth and prosperity. However, we have sold our property in Lewisburg and will be relocating out of the Lewisburg community."

Teddy Harper was soon voted in by the Lewisburg City Council to serve as mayor of the city for the following year and a half. Harper said he is hitting the ground running and wants to do what is best for the city and the citizens who live there.

Harper was voted in last year to fill a vacant seat for an exiting council member. His son, Jason, also serves on the council along side of him. He says he accepted the recent nomination to become the mayor because he cares about Lewisburg, the only home he has ever known.

Bruni named as RHS principal

Ben Bruni was named the new Russellville High School Principal in June. Bruni has been serving Adairville for the past two years as its assistant principal. He will be following the footsteps of Kim McDaniel, who has been serving as leader at the school for the past five years. She has accepted a position as Director of Pupil Personnel at the Russellville Board of Education.

The announcement came at a press conference at the Russellville High School. Russellville Superintendent Leon Smith introduced his successor, Bart Flener, who in turn introduced Bruni to over two dozen in attendance.

"It gives me great pleasure to announce that Mr. Bruni has accepted the position of principal at Russellville Jr./Sr. High School," said Flener. "I am confident that Ben will provide clearly communicated, practical, pragmatic, and motivational leadership to Russellville Jr./Sr. High."

Adairville, Auburn vote for alcohol sales

Both mayors of Adairville and Auburn were surprised at the margin of votes received that passed the sale of alcohol in their respective cities in January. Each felt it would be a closer race. The local option election was held Tuesday, Jan. 17 in each city to decide if alcoholic beverages could be sold in the city limits of Adairville and Auburn. Total votes yes for Adairville fell at 108 with 34 no. Total votes yes for Auburn fell at 166 with 83 no.

"I really didn't think it would be that much of a gap. I thought it would have been a closer election," said Auburn Mayor Mike Hughes.

Adairville Mayor Donna Blake agreed. "I was overwhelmed it being that big of a difference," said Blake.

The mayors agree the election came with mixed emotions by many in their communities. But both also agree the decision to drink is a personal one, and if people are going to purchase alcohol anyway, why shouldn't the cities receive the revenue.

"People have to make a personal decision and vote they way they feel is right for them," said Hughes. "The advantage for Auburn is another tool for economic development for our community. We will see a benefit down the road."

Money generated to the cities from the sale of alcohol has to be spent in specific areas such as law enforcement.

Blake said that would free up other funding to use to better the city.

Chris Cooper|NDL

In September, Jailer Phil Gregory had three dollies holding 31,699 pages of documents wheeled into a fiscal court meeting by jail deputies and turned over to First District Magistrate Dickie Carter.

File Photo

Ruler Foods opened in January of 2017, giving Logan County another choice in grocery shopping.

Photo by Kelly Phillips | NDL

Logan County experienced a total solar eclipse on August 21st. The sun was completely blocked by the moon for around two and a half minutes in our area.

Photo by Kelly Phillips | NDL

The Logan County Cougars football team was the talk of the town in 2017. After breaking a 42-game losing streak during the last game of 2016, the Cougars posted an undefeated regular season in 2017. It was the first undefeated regular season in school history.

OJ Stapleton|NDL

The courthouse and several nearby businesses were shut down in March when a fake bomb was found on one of the doors to the Logan County Justice Center.