October 31, 1869, Springfield native Charles A. Wickliffe, our 14thgovernor, passed away. He became Lt. Governor in 1836, and when Governor J. Clark died on October 5, 1839, he became governor, serving nine months. His family laid him to rest in Bardstown.
October 31, 1882, Scott County native James F. Robinson, our 22nd governor, passed away in his hometown of Georgetown. He served one year and two weeks (1962-63) the remainder of Governor B. Magoffin’s term after the legislature pushed him out due to Civil War politics.
October 31, 1948, Chief of Police Charles F. Elliott, Louellen Police Department, succumbed to gunshot wounds sustained two days earlier when he was shot while he and a deputy from a local mining company attempted to raid a still in the mountains near Louellen.
Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Russellville native Terrence Wade Wilcutt, born in 1949. Wilcutt graduated from Southern High School in 1967 and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics from Western Kentucky University. He went on to become an astronaut and a veteran of four Space Shuttle missions.
Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Paducah native Russell Earl Cochran, born in 1958. Earl played professional golf and was one of the few natural left-handed players to win a PGA Tour event. For much of the 1980s through 1992, Russell was the only lefty on tour.
October 31, 1970, Sheriff Raymond Warf, Letcher County Sheriff’s Office, suffered a fatal heart attack while investigating a Halloween prank that involved a group of men dismantling a bridge. When he arrived at the scene he was confronted by a group of 15 people.
October 31, 1973, the Kentucky State Racing Commission agreed to have horse racing year-round for the 1st time when they approved 274 racing days in1974 for Kentucky’s five tracks: Churchill, Keeneland, Miles Park, Latonia, and Ellis.
October 31, 1982, Kentucky First Lady Phyllis George Brown and a group of Kentuckians inaugurated another shop devoted to the rugs, pottery, and quilts of Kentuckian artisans. The “Oh! Kentucky” boutique opened in the exclusive Bloomingdale’s department store in Northern Virginia. With former Governor Ned Breathitt’s son, Edward III, playing the harmonica, the crowd sang My Old Kentucky Home.
October 31, 1987, Kentucky’s Department of Parks agreed to hire more blacks after two employees filed a federal lawsuit arguing the state denied their professional advancement due to race. As a result, the state agreed to raise black employment from 2% to 7.4%.
October 31, 1992 the 9th Breeders’ Cup returned to Florida and 90-degree temperatures. The day began with Thirty Slews Sprint victory for Eddie Delahoussaye and a young former Quarter Horse trainer named Bob Baffert. Jockey Chris McCarron rode two winners. The Classic winner became the 5th Classic winner to be voted Horse of the Year.
October 31, 2006, Master Police Officer David George Whitson, Bowling Green Police Department, died from friendly fire after him and two other officers responded to a call of a man brandishing a knife on Vine Street.
On October 31, 2012, Senate President David Williams resigned to become a circuit court judge. Governor S. Beshear publicly stated he appointed Williams because he was the most qualified nominee. The appointment also removed the governor’s main legislative obstacle. The press asked Beshear if he felt Williams had the temperament to be a good judge, and the governor replied, “I think he certainly has all the qualities to be a good judge.”
Friday, October 31, 2014, the 31st Breeders’ Cup returned to Santa Anita for the 3rd consecutive year, and a record two-day crowd of 98,319 at the track enjoyed the 13 races. They held four races on Friday and nine races on Saturday.
Saturday, October 31, 2015, the 2nd day of the 32nd Breeders’ Cup Classic ran at Keeneland. American Pharoah raced for the final time. Keeneland hosted the largest Friday attendance in BC history the day before.
On October 31, 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to investigate President D. Trump, only the 4th such process in U.S. history. At the same time, they passed his entire appropriations request, including the largest military budget in U.S. history. They called him unfit to hold office but provided him unlimited funds to fight endless wars.
On October 31, 2019, Churchill Downs announced a $300 million project to invest in a new hotel, a Historical Racing Machine (HRM) facility, a millionaire row renovation, and new stadium seating. The future looked bright for the historic racetrack.
October 31, 2020, nursing homes began to see a shortage of nurses, and restaurants saw a decline in business as the mask mandates grabbed hold. They pinned their hopes on outdoor seating to save their businesses.
On October 31, 2021, Marion Gruber worked her last day as the FDA’s top vaccine reviewer. She announced her retirement a month earlier, days before the Biden administration began giving the experimental booster vaccinations. She disagreed with the President’s decision. For three decades, Gruber headed the vaccine review office. The FDA called Marion’s departure a “huge loss,” citing her “immeasurable contributions.”