TODAY IN KENTUCKY HISTORY

Kentucky Trivia ● Kentucky Tweets

February 17, 1795, J. H. Stewart’s Kentucky Herald, became the 2nd newspaper produced in Kentucky.  It was later consolidated into the Kentucky Gazette.

February 17, 1823, Henry Clay submitted the first amicus curiae to the U.S. Supreme Court.

February 17, 1880, Ballard County Courthouse burned, most records were destroyed.

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, 1911, State University, Lexington Blue and White Five (UK) defeated Georgetown College 47-22 in the Georgetown Gymnasium.  State University had many students accompanying them.  Still, no substitutes played during the game.

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.

February 17, 1931, the U.S. Senate approved funding for the George Rogers Clark Monument thanks to Kentucky Senator Barkley, who secured $100,000 for the project.  President Franklin D. Roosevelt traveled to Harrodsburg for the November 1934 dedication.

February 17, 1934, Kentucky basketball establishes a national record with its 23rd consecutive win (47-27 over Vanderbilt).  Near riot erupts as fans vie for seats in Alumni Gym.

February 17, 1942, the USS Phenakite yacht was reacquired by the Navy on for $65,000 and converted for naval service.  This famous vessel ended up grounded in a Boone County Creek.

February 17, 1947, the federal government announced Kentucky school children would receive 75,378 pounds of jam.  The number of Kentucky children in the national school lunch program determined the amount, with a goal for each child to receive 1.1 pounds.  Kentucky received 19,276 lbs. of peach and 56,100 lbs. of plum. 

February 17, 1953, Army SGT Roy D. Collier from Laurel County died in the Korean War.

In a Paris speech on February 17, 1955, candidate Happy Chandler launched a full-scale attack on Kentucky’s Democratic Governor Weatherby.  Former Democratic Governor Chandler attacked everything about the state’s operations, from finance to highways.  Chandler would win his 2nd term in November.

February 17, 1962, Governor Bertram T. 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: “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, 1968, Army SSG George M. Kihnley from Louisville, Marine Corps SGT Carl Cecil Lowery from Lexington and Navy PO2 Clayborn W Ashby, Jr. from Louisville died in the Vietnam War.

February 17, 1969, Marine Corps Dickie G. Keeler from Dexter in Calloway County died in the Vietnam War.

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, 1977, Kentucky Central Life Insurance Company got Lexington’s approval to build their $15 million, 22 story office building, Kincaid Towers, on the site of an old hotel.

February 17, 1982, Louisville dedicated the 41-acre Beargrass Creek State Nature Preserve.  Beargrass Creek is a major tributary to the Ohio River with three major forks, which run across most of Jefferson County.  Beargrass is a nickname for the yucca plant, which pioneers found growing abundantly on the creek’s banks, which bears ate.  This urban green space is also famous among birdwatchers.

February 17, 1985, Murray P. Haydon became the 3rd person to undergo a permanent artificial heart (AH) implant.  The operation by Dr. William C. DeVries occurred in Louisville.  Haydon, 59, lived 16 months on the mechanical pump.  William J. Schroeder, the 1st recipient of a bionic heart remained the world’s only patient with a permanent AH.

February 17, 1990, a federal judge approved a $30 million settlement for a class-action lawsuit against Kentucky’s Ashland Oil Incorporated.  Citizens sued the oil company over a 1988 oil spill that polluted the Monongahela and Ohio Rivers in three states.

February 17, 1996, workers struck Kentucky’s largest company, Ashland Inc., at the massive refinery in Catlettsburg for the first time in 16 years.  Ashland removed job definitions that workers claimed would compromise the plant’s safety.

February 17, 2001, Carl Helem, a native of Horse Cave who became a Harlem Globetrotter, died at 75 in Ashland.  Nicknamed Kingfish, he was the 15th player on the Globetrotters.  Helem was also 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.

Kentucky Trivia:  Between 2003 and 2011, of the more than 100,000 bachelor’s degrees awarded by Kentucky higher education institutions, only 6,500 went to African Americans.

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, 2011, state lawmakers criticized the EPA and created two legislative panels to shield Kentucky coal mining from federal pollution rules.

February 17, 2013, Rob Samuels, Maker’s Mark’s COO, reversed his decision to lower the alcohol amount, keeping it 90 proof.  Tweeting to his followers: You spoke, we listened.  Samuels said he was tremendously humbled for the last week after announcing he would cut the alcohol due to supply shortages.  

February 17, 2018, a Kentucky bred won the Fairgrounds GII $400,000 Risen Star Stakes for points to enter the Kentucky Derby.  The winner finished 6th for the roses.

February 17, 2019, Campbellsville native J.B. Holmes won the Genesis Open over fellow Kentuckian Justin Thomas by one stroke.  This was Holmes’s 5th PGA victory.

February 17, 2020, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet paid $150,000 after losing a legal battle to a man who wanted to put “IM GOD” on his license plate.  The money went to his legal fees.

February 17, 2020, 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. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2021, over 3.4 million people in the U.S, 131,000 in Kentucky, and 5,000 in Jackson County, lost electricity due to a massive winter storm.  Wednesday also had the lowest new cases in a month, one of several indicators the virus was receding.  Still, Governor A. Beshear stated, “it’s too early to relax, and we must remain vigilant.”