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February 17, 1902, Deputy Sheriff Charles Cecil and Posseman John Doyle from the Bell County Sheriff’s Department were killed at a saloon near Middlesboro, attempting to arrest mule thieves. As they arrived on the scene with several posse men, the bartender opened fire from a window killing Deputy Cecil. His companions returned fire, killing the bartender. In an ensuing gun battle, Posseman Doyle and several suspects were killed. Several others escaped.
February 17, 1929, Deputy Sheriff W. H. Carter, Letcher County Sheriff’s Office, was killed while attempting to arrest a man for being drunk in the streets of Neon. During the arrest, the man pulled out a pistol and shot Deputy Carter twice before the pistol jammed. The man disarmed Deputy Carter after struggling with him. He then shot Deputy Carter several more times. Several of the shots penetrated a steel breastplate that Deputy Carter was wearing. The subject was acquitted of Deputy Carter’s murder in May 1929.
February 17, 1962, Governor Bertram Thomas Combs received the Keep America Beautiful award for his work on cleaning up Kentucky’s highways, including securing passage of a bill requiring that auto junkyards near major roadways be screened from view by fences.
February 17, 1966, Kentucky Senator Ed J. Kelly introduced the following: “A Resolution requesting the U.S. Department of Agriculture to change the name of the Cumberland National Forest to the Daniel Boone National Forest.
February 17, 1970, Kentucky teachers threatened a statewide walkout over opposition to a bill named “professional negotiations.” Committee Chairman Rep. James Murphy D-Newport tried to shame the teachers’ leader, Marvin Dodson, telling him, “it strikes me as being very unprofessional for the teachers to talk of strikes and let the kids go uneducated.” The schools announced basketball games would be canceled if the strike happened.
February 17, 1982, Beargrass Creek State Nature Preserve, a 41-acre second-growth woodland near Joe Creason Park and the Louisville Zoological Gardens, was dedicated. This urban green space is famous among birdwatchers. Beargrass Creek is a major tributary of the Ohio River with three major forks, which run across most of Jefferson County. The name is possibly derived from the yucca plant’s nickname that the first pioneers found growing abundantly on the creek’s banks. The yucca was called beargrass because bears ate it.
February 17, 1990, a federal judge approved a $30 million settlement for a class action lawsuit against Kentucky’s Ashland Oil Incorporated. The oil company was sued over a 1988 oil spill that polluted the Monongahela and Ohio Rivers in three states.
February 17, 2001, Carl Helem, a native of Horse Cave who became a Harlem Globetrotter, died at age of 75 in Ashland. Nicknamed Kingfish, he was the 15th player designated a member of the Globetrotters Legends team. Helem was the last surviving member of the 1944-45 Horse Cave team that won the state championship in the all-black Kentucky High School Athletic League.
On February 17, 2006, the Kentucky House passed a bill enabling Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) to prescribe controlled substances. Opponents worried that it would exacerbate the prescription-drug abuse problem plaguing the Commonwealth. It eventually became law.
February 17, 2020, Louisville native Governor S. Beshear and Alabama native Mitch McConnell were on hand to witness a massive roundup of invasive Asian Carp from Kentucky Lake. Wildlife officials wanted this to be the first of many.