“The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope.” Wendell Berry
August 16, 1888, Patrolmen James W. Jones and Joseph Rosenberg, Louisville Police Department, were walking a beat at 2:00 a.m. when they heard a woman scream “murder, help.” The officers entered a house infamous for crimes and murders committed within its walls. They found a man beating Mary Burns, with whom he was living. What occurred inside the house was never discovered, but the man fled and arrested two hours later.
Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Eleanor R. Beckham, born in 1901. Eleanor is the only child born in the Old Governor’s Mansion in the 117 years of the governor’s official residence from 1797-1914.
August 16, 1943, Deputy Sheriff John Middleton, Harlan County Sheriff’s Office, died by a man collecting snakes to use at an upcoming church service. Kentucky law prohibited snake handling at church services. The man shot Deputy Middleton after a confrontation.
August 16, 1950, Army PFC Oliver Colegrove from Carter County, Army PFC William C. Gray from Perry County, Army PVT Garland R. Hall from Jefferson County, and Army PVT Charlie Harmon from Magoffin County, died in the Korean War.
August 16, 1963, Pat Kelly, son of the greatest clown in the business, Emmett Kelly, clowned at Shriner’s Circus at the Lexington Trotting Track. Pat, 29, began his career a few years after leaving the Marine Corps.
On August 16, 1965, the promotion of two veteran police officers gave Louisville its 1st African American assistant police chief and the South’s 1st African American Police Major. The International Association of Police Chiefs stated they were unaware the South had any African American above the rank of Lieutenant.
On August 16, 1971, candidates agreed to limit their campaign spending for the 1st time in Kentucky political history. Lt. Governor W. Ford balked earlier but then agreed with Tom Emberton to only spend $330,000 in the general election from May 26 to November 2. Happy Chandler from the Commonwealth Party and William Smith from the American party also agreed.
August 16, 1974, Harlan’s mayor rejected the United Mine Workers (UMW) union’s request to hold a parade downtown. Mayor Beecher Rowlett said no because of the “prevailing highly electrified atmosphere” in Harlan County, the site of a 13-month-old UMW strike.
August 16, 1986, as UK football players returned to practice and school, they received a two-prong approach to drug testing. The athletic department utilized in-house testing and a local lab to be as exact as possible.
August 16, 1990, sheriffs from Breathitt, Owsley, Wolfe, and Lee Counties received indictments for taking payoffs and protecting drug traffickers. Federal authorities said it was the largest drug related public corruption case in state history. Undercover agents posed as Chicago drug dealers doling out $85,000 in bribes.
August 16, 1995, Bluegrass Airport announced they would build a booth for smokers inside the terminal. The National Smokers Alliance (NSA) praised the decision, while drawing rebuke from Kentucky’s Alliance to Control Tobacco Smoking in our Neighborhoods (ACTION).
August 16, 2000, a Kentucky family with ties to Murray State University but wished to remain anonymous gave the school $3 million. The gift carried no restrictions and qualified for matching funds from the Bucks for Brains budget.
August 16, 2011, House Speaker Greg Stumbo demanded that the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure oversee doctors who prescribe questionable amounts of pain pills. He also told them that if they can’t do their job, he will find another agency. Unfortunately, Stumbo’s demand was never met, and he never found another agency.
Kentucky Trivia: Between 2006 and 2012, drug companies distributed 76 billion doses of prescription pain medicine, “enough pills to supply every adult and child in the country with 36 each year.” Kentucky ranked 2nd in pills per person per year, at 63.3, topped only by West Virginia at 66.5. Some Kentucky counties had staggering distribution rates per person. Whitley-187, Perry-175, Floyd-168, Bell-156, Johnson-152, Pike-146, Clay-134, Lee-133, Clinton County-147, Crittenden-119, and McCracken at 107.
On August 16, 2019, the Castle & Key Distillery southeast of Frankfort discharged an unknown quantity of untreated wastewater into Glenns Creek, killing an unknown number of fish. Down the road, Governor M. Bevin released his investigation findings and claimed the sick-outs by 1,074 teachers in February violated Kentucky law, one of many blunders that ended his reelection.
On August 16, 2020, as schools started back, districts across the state were torn between doing what the governor said and following their instincts. In tears, Madison County board member Lori Cobb emphasized the importance of teaching kids in the classroom. The lockdowns placed her family and many neighbors in a difficult situation. Three economists later concluded in a Johns Hopkins working paper that lockdowns did not have a significant effect on mortality rates.
August 16, 2022, Britain authorized Moderna’s new coronavirus booster, making it the 1st vaccine available to target two variants: the original virus and Omicron. Current COVID-19 vaccines remain effective at preventing severe cases and death, but the new booster will provide increased protection, said a Britain official.