Hardin County


When U.S. Air Force veteran Staff Sgt. Karl Edward Stempien was laid to rest Thursday, he became the 3,000th person buried at the Kentucky Veterans Cemetery Central since it opened just outside Fort Knox in June 2007.

Stempien had served 11 years in the Air Force.

The Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs oversees the state's regional military cemeteries. The cemetery in Radcliff contains the remains of 2,489 veterans and 510 dependent spouses and children. The total includes 11 service members who died on active duty, four of whom were killed in action.

The cemetery also serves portions of Ohio and Indiana.

Kentucky LRC

A Kentucky lawmaker who represents five counties in our listening area has decided two decades in office will be long enough.

Republican House member Dwight Butler announced he won’t run for re-election after his current term expires next year. Butler’s district covers Breckinridge and Hancock counties, along with parts of Bullitt, Daviess, and Hardin counties.

He told WKU Public Radio he plans to take a hands-off approach when it comes to who runs for the seat next year.

“If someone comes to me and asks advice about the district, or about what I’ve seen, or how the process works, I’d be happy to give that to them," said the Republican from Harned. "But I’m not going to have any hand-picked successor, at all.”

Butler’s successor will take over a more compact district than the one the long-time incumbent currently represents. Following the latest round of redistricting, Butler’s district picked up more of Hardin County,while losing parts of Bullitt and Daviess counties.

Kevin Willis

A new veterans center planned for Hardin County will be just the fourth such facility in the state, and will offer long-term care in a region known for its close ties to the military.

State and local leaders were in Radcliff Wednesday to honor the official groundbreaking for the center that has been seven years in the making. With a planned opening in June, 2015, the project will feature a dozen ten-person homes, and will provide full nursing services to 120 veterans.

Those who helped design the Hardin County facility say it will offer residents a degree of autonomy not often found in nursing homes.

“They will be able to design their own rooms as far as how they decorate the room,” said Gilda Hill, Executive Director of the Office of Kentucky Veterans Centers. “They are welcome to bring their own furniture if they like, if that will make them feel more at home. They will tell us when they want to eat breakfast, when they want to bathe, and when they want to go out of the building for visits.”

The Radcliff Veterans Center will sit on 195 acres of land donated by the Defense Department.

Speaking at Wednesday’s ceremony, Governor Steve Beshear pointed out there is a great need for the kinds of services that be provided at the Radcliff Veterans Center.

A nurse midwife has appealed a hearing officer's decision to deny a permit for a proposed alternative birthing center in Elizabethtown.

The News-Enterprise reports Mary Carol Akers filed the appeal in Franklin Circuit Court arguing that the decision to deny the permit was "arbitrary and capricious."

An administrative hearing officer denied the permit in July, months after a hearing that detailed support and opposition for what would have been the first such facility in the state.

Akers said women should be offered a choice while three area hospitals argued that the facility wasn't needed.

Hearing officer Kris M. Carlton ruled that the birthing center's business model and use projections weren't reasonable and that Akers hadn't shown a need for the facility in Elizabethtown.

Crews are cleaning up after a train derailed in Hardin County, sending 15 cars carrying coal off the tracks.

The News-Enterprise reports that no injuries were reported when the Paducah & Louisville train derailed early Thursday morning in northern Hardin County. The train had a total of 88 cars. No hazardous materials were involved.

The newspaper reports crews from R.J. Corman were cleaning up the site.

Work has begun on a veteran's center planned in Hardin County even though officials are still awaiting final approval from federal officials.

Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Ken Lucas told The News-Enterprise that the project in Radcliff has gotten preliminary approval and there's no indication that it won't get final approval soon.

A construction bid for the Radcliff Veterans Center nursing facility has already been awarded and excavation at the site, which is adjacent to the Kentucky Veterans Cemetery-Central, is underway.

Lucas says the final cost of the facility is estimated at $40 million, with the state paying 35% and the federal government paying 65%.

He said it will be the fourth nursing center in Kentucky authorized specifically for veterans.

A developer behind a proposed pipeline that would run through parts of Kentucky is holding an open-house meeting  in Hardin County Thursday night to explain their plans. Williams, a construction company based in Tulsa, OK., is  hosting the meeting at Pritchard Community Center in Elizabethtown from 5-7:30 p.m.

The Bluegrass Pipeline would carry natural gas liquids from sources in the northeast through northern Kentucky, and into several counties in our listening area, including Hardin, Nelson, Meade, Larue, and Breckinridge.

Pipeline opponents delivered a petition to Governor Beshear’s office Wednesday detailing their concerns about possible environmental damage and property rights concerns related to the project.

Governor Beshear has declined to add the pipeline issue to the agenda of a special legislative session that begins Aug. 19 in Frankfort. Beshear says he wants the sole item on the agenda to be legislative redistricting.

Kentucky Denies Permit for Hardin County Birthing Center

Aug 1, 2013

An administrative hearing officer has denied a permit for a proposed alternative birthing center in Elizabethtown.

The decision came months after a hearing in which Kris M. Carlton heard support and opposition for what would have been the first such facility in the state.

Certified nurse midwife Mary Carol Akers said women should be offered a choice while three area hospitals argued that the facility wasn't needed. The News-Enterprise reports Carlton ruled that the birthing center's business model and use projections weren't reasonable. She said Akers didn't show that there was a need in Elizabethtown for the facility and questioned whether women from Louisville would travel an hour to receive care.

Ground will be broken Wednesday morning at the future site of the Hardin County Schools Early College and Career Center. The effort is a collaboration between the school system and WKU, and will allow high school students in the Hardin County system to take classes during the academic year that will transform into college credit from WKU, Elizabethtown Community and Technical College, or Sullivan University.

Hardin County Schools Superintendent Nannette Johnston says the Early College and Career Center is facing a strict construction deadline.

"I can sum it up in the one word: aggressive. Typically, we look at construction projects of this magnitude taking about 18 months. We want this project to be completed by August of 2014," Johnston told WKU Public Radio.

The Early College and Career Center will offer Hardin County students classes in fields such as engineering, manufacturing, automotive technology, media arts and communication, and culinary arts and hospitality services.

Authorities say 16 people in Hardin, Muhlenberg and Nelson counties have been charged with drug trafficking after a yearlong investigation.

The News-Enterprise reports that the probe, titled "Operation Pill Crusher," netted arrests of 14 residents of Elizabethtown and one New Haven resident.

A warrant was also served on an inmate at the Green River Correctional Complex in Central City.

All but one of those arrested June 28 was charged with trafficking in prescription medication. One man was charged with selling marijuana.

Officials said that the prescription drugs being illegally sold included morphine, hydrocodone and Oxycodone.

Ron Eckart, director of the Greater Hardin County Narcotics Task Force, said detectives served arrest warrants after spending two weeks pursuing indictments through a Hardin County grand jury.

A historical marker that tells about a Union Army officer who led a mass prison escape will be dedicated Saturday in Morgantown, where he was murdered in 1895.

The marker tells the story of Maj. Andrew Graff Hamilton of Pennsylvania. The Kentucky Historical Society says Hamilton joined Company A of the 12th Kentucky Cavalry in 1862 and was captured at Jonesboro, Tenn., a year later and sent to Libby Prison in Richmond, Va.

Hamilton and Col. Thomas Rose led the escape of 109 Union officers in 1864, but Rose and 47 others were recaptured.

At athletic and academic standout from Hardin County has been named the Gatorade Kentucky Baseball Player of the Year.

Central Hardin High School senior Drew Harrington is a 6'6" left-handed pitcher who has signed to play his college ball at the University of Louisville.

Harrington has helped lead Central Hardin to a 26-4 record, and is 7-0 as a starting pitcher for the Bruins. He has 89 strikeouts in 50 innings pitched this season.

The Gatorade award also recognized Harrington's 3.59 GPA.

Mary Carol Akers looks in the trunk of her car before she leaves for work to make sure she has all the necessary tools for her job. 

"You can see the oxygen tank, medications. I've got catheter kits and IVs, anything mother and baby might need," she says.

Akers makes a lot of house calls. She is a certified midwife serving Hardin and surrounding counties in central Kentucky. The retired Army lieutenant colonel has delivered babies at military hospitals throughout the world, and over the course of her career, she estimates she has delivered six thousand babies. 

In the car with Akers on her way to a house call, she explains why some women choose not to give birth at a hospital.

"I think that one of the things about birth centers and midwifery is high touch and low tech, and high touch and low tech require a lot more work than putting them on the monitor and going to the desk to watch it from there," explains Akers.  "I've also seen women go to the hospital with a birth plan in mind and be bullied out of it."

A Michigan trucking company involved in a crash that left six people dead on Interstate 65 in Central Kentucky over the weekend had a satisfactory rating from the federal agency that oversees long-haul carriers.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration based its ranking of Highway Star Inc. on a 24-month span when the company fell below the national average of vehicle problems.

A tractor-trailer driven by Ibrahim Fetic, 47, of Troy, Mich., hit an SUV carrying a family back to Wisconsin from a vacation in Florida on Saturday. Fetic and two children in the SUV survived the crash.

The wreck set off a four-vehicle collision on the other side of the interstate. Police said Gregg Lohman, 36, the drummer for country music singer Kellie Pickler, remained hospitalized Monday.

The drummer for country music star Kellie Pickler has been identified as one of the people hospitalized in two crashes along Interstate 65 in southern Hardin County.

Pickler's manager, Larry Fitzgerald, said Gregg Lohman suffered serious injuries in the wreck Saturday.

University of Louisville Hospital spokesman David McArthur said Lohman remained there in serious condition Sunday.

State troopers have said a collision between a tractor-trailer and an SUV headed north started a fire that slowed traffic on both sides of the interstate Saturday. Troopers have said the wrecks on the southbound lane were likely caused by people slowing to look at the initial crash.