Barren County

Emil Moffatt

Over the last decade, thousands of dogs rescued in Barren County have found new homes, not only in South Central Kentucky, but also in other parts of the country. It’s thanks to a partnership between a Glasgow animal shelter and PetSmart Charities.

A few minutes before five o’clock on a mild March morning in Glasgow, a large green van pulls into the parking lot of a one-story brick building.  About a half-hour before, the lights of the animal shelter came on, an employee of the Barren River Animal Welfare Association took several shelter dogs out for a walk in preparation for the long road trip ahead.  The destination for 24 dogs is a shelter in Dubuque, Iowa.

Volunteers begin streaming into the shelter’s lobby more than an hour before sunrise. It’s all-hands-on-deck for the next few furious minutes as they prepare the dogs for the journey on PetSmart Charities’ “Rescue Waggin’”

“Once they get here, we’re supposed to be able to load one dog every five minutes or three minutes," said Margie Patton, who runs the shelter in Glasgow.  "Sometimes we can do that, sometimes we can’t.  We have volunteers who will have dogs ready, so that when one goes out the door, the next one is ready to be checked by their vet tech."

Barren County Schools

The superintendent of Barren County Schools says he would be willing to consider the idea of year-round school.

The concept has come up recently following several episodes of harsh winter weather that led many school systems to cancel classes over a dozen times.

Barren County Superintendent Bo Matthews says it might be a good idea to think about officially shortening the summer break, since it is often gets impacted by make-up days caused by bad weather.

"The summer break, if you will, continues to get smaller if you look at school calendars around the state,” Matthews told WKU Public Radio. “So, in some respects, it wouldn't be a stretch to see us begin to creep further into the month of June."

Barren County has missed 16 days this school year due to bad winter weather. Lawrence County has missed 32.

Kentucky State Police have arrested a man they described as "extremely dangerous" after requesting the public's help in finding him. Thirty-three year old Thomas Upton of Glasgow was arrested Sunday night at 9:30 on Boatman Road in Barren County without incident.

He's being held at the Barren County Jail.

Upton is described as a suspect in as many as eight auto thefts around Barren, Hart, Larue and Warren Counties. State police put out a warning to the public not to leave their vehicles running while unattended. That included warming up the vehicle in driveways in the morning or while inside service stations. They were also warning not to leave keys in an unattended vehicle as that's how many of the car thefts Upton's charged with occurred.

A police investigation is still ongoing.

Barren County Government

Barren County Judge-Executive Davie Greer will not seek re-election to a fourth term. Judge Greer says her family had a lot to do with her decision to retire.

"My family doesn't want me to run again, so I just gave in and said okay," admits Greer. "I've loved what I've done and if I was 20 years younger, I wouldn't think twice about running again and again."

During her three terms heading Barren County government, Greer tells WKU Public Radio that the highlight was building the correctional center. 

Greer's retirement leaves no shortage of potential successors. 

Barren County Magistrate Chris Steward is seeking the judge-executive post, as well as five others. They include Brian Taylor, W.R. Tarry, David Honeycutt, Don Gossett, and Rob Strickland.

Kentucky’s third annual sandhill crane hunting season wrapped up Sunday, and Fish and Wildlife officials are calling it a success.

The most recent numbers show 87 birds were killed in this year’s sandhill crane hunting season, mostly in Barren County. That’s slightly lower than last year, when 92 birds were killed. But both years, the actual hunt fell far below the quota of 400 birds the Department of Fish and Wildlife set.

Wildlife Biologist John Brunjes says nearly 400 people got permits to hunt sandhill cranes this year, but many weren’t successful.

"They’re an extremely difficult bird to hunt, they’re extremely wary," Brujes said. "It’s a challenge. The biggest limiting factor is there are only a few places where they occur in the state."

When Kentucky first began allowing sandhill crane hunting in 2011, it was controversial. Opponents argued the birds aren’t overpopulated or damaging the environment, and should be protected.

This year, Brunjes says there were about 68,000 birds in the sandhill crane’s eastern population. If that number ever fell below 30,000, that would trigger an automatic halt to the hunting season.

www.glasgow-ky.com

If a Barren County organization has its way, an unoccupied building on Glasgow's downtown square will be turned into a year-round farmers' market.

Sustainable Glasgow has applied for a matching grant from the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund to pay for half of the cost of renovating the building.

"It could be our permanent home, it would be on the square, we could have an indoor food court, and we could market more local farm products and farm-to-table prepared foods," Sustainable Glasgow President Jerry Ralston told WKU Public Radio.

The group's plans for the facility would also include a full commercial kitchen and cold storage for produce that could be sold by vendors in the building and wholesaled to local restaurants, schools, and hospitals.

Ralston says he hopes to hear within the next few months whether Sustainable Glasgow's grant application has been approved.

A federal judge is allowing former Barren County Sheriff Chris Eaton to remain free while he appeals his conviction on two counts of witness tampering.

U.S. District Judge Joseph H. McKinley concluded that Eaton has raised two reasonable issues that could result in his winning a new trial. Eaton had been scheduled to report to a federal prison in Oakdale, La., by Sept. 30 to begin serving an 18-month prison sentence.

He was convicted this year in federal court of directing two deputies to write false incident reports for the FBI. Federal investigators were probing accusations of civil rights violations during a 2010 arrest. Prosecutors had sought to force his immediate surrender, but McKinley noted that Eaton has complied with all pre-trial release conditions and is not a flight risk.

The ex-wife of a former Kentucky lawmaker serving life without parole for murdering another woman is launching her book Wednesday.

Tracey L. Damron was married to former Rep. Steve Nunn, the son of the late former governor Louie B. Nunn, while he served in state government. A news release says the book, "Trail of Feathers," covers "love, death, murder, political power, deception, the supernatural and ultimately spiritual consciousness."

Nunn pleaded guilty to the 2009 death of his ex-fiancee.

The release says Damron, who lives part-time in Pikeville, now practices as a medicine woman, conducts spiritual retreats and attends spiritual workshops.

She is announcing the book's launch Wednesday morning on the steps of the Capitol in Frankfort and will attend book signings at bookstores in Frankfort and Glasgow on Wednesday and Thursday.

Lisa Autry

When Barren County Judge-Executive Davie Greer began looking for a new sheriff, she didn't have to go far.  She choose Kent Keen, who retired from the Glasgow Police Department and joined the sheriff's office a year ago as a school resource officer.  

Monday's announcement attracted a standing room- only crowd inside a Barren County circuit courtroom.  A full contingent of uniformed officers stood behind him as Keen pledged to run the department by the book.

"I have three guidelines that I operate off of, and that's the KRS (Kentucky Revised Statues), the Barren County Sheriff's Department policy manual, and the Bible, just to be honest with you," explained Keen. "Some God-given common sense may go a long way, folks."

Noticeably present at Monday's announcement was Deputy Aaron Bennett, who stood trial in May alongside former Sheriff Chris Eaton. Bennett was also accused of using excessive force on a suspect in 2010 and lying about it to federal investigators.  Bennett was acquitted on all charges. He told WKU Public Radio that seeing Keen sworn in felt like the beginning of a new era at the sheriff's office.

Kent Keen has been named the new Barren County Sheriff.

Barren County Judge-Executive Davie Greer made the announcement to a standing-room only crowd at the county courthouse Monday afternoon.

Keen worked at the Glasgow Police Department before joining the Barren County Sheriff's Department as a school resource officer. He has over 20 year of experience in law enforcement.

Keen takes over from Chris Eaton, who resigned the position last week before being sentenced to 18 months in prison for witness tampering.

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