2006 has come to a close and as the year ends we remember the top stories of the year that affected our area. Here’s a look at the headlines that captured South Central Kentucky’s attention.
Starting at number ten ... back in February, Western Kentucky University got a lot of national attention but not the kind of attention you’d want.
Police were called to the Alpha Gamma Rho house during a loud party. They found a goat tied up in the basement without food or water and was standing in its own waste.
First, the president of the fraternity said the goat was brought in as a prank to make some pledges think they would have to have relations with it. He later claimed the incident was not hazing-related.
As a result, Western suspended the fraternity from any campus activities as an organization for three years.
The number nine story ... centers around all the familiar faces that were voted out of office in South Central Kentucky.
Long-time Rep., Steve Nunn, a 16-year veteran of the state house, lost his seat to Glasgow attorney, Johnny Bell.
Several local races also saw upsets in the last election. The 37-year veteran to Morgantown’s City Hall Mayor Charles Black, was unseated as was the long-time Judge Executive Hugh Evans.
In the city of Tompkinsville Mayor Wendell Carter also lost his bid for re-election.
Hitting the countdown at number eight ... is the indictment of an area mayor.
Mayor Darrell Pickett of Glasgow was charged with a payroll scheme with two other employees. The case against the mayor was dismissed when the other two used their their fifth amendment rights and refused to testify in Pickett’s trial.
Coming in at number seven ... is the case of a Tompkinsville teacher who’s charged with running off to Mexico with a 14-year-old student.
Angela Comer, a former middle school teacher, is accused of having a sexual relationship with the boy and then taking him to Mexico.
Comer is still in jail awaiting her trial.
At number six ... is the end to the long Transpark battle that cost Warren County taxpayers a ton of money.
Warren County Judge-Executive Mike Buchanon told WBKO the Kentucky Supreme Court rejected the plea from the Warren County Citizens for Managed Growth. The group asked that the court review on all the remaining zoning appeals. The court said no and Buchanon said that means that the Transpark can go ahead as planned.
Buchanon said these suits have cost South Central Kentucky nearly 4,000 jobs and $100 million-a-year in revenue.
At number five ... is the construction of Western’s Owensboro campus.
This addition has the residents of Daviess County area excited about the potential for higher education. Daviess County’s Judge Executive told WBKO that in 20 years, he expects to see as many students graduating from the Owensboro Campus as do from here in Bowling Green.
Number four on our countdown ... Miss USA, Tara Conner from Russell Springs, was in danger of losing her crown after accusations of wild partying, underage drinking, drug use and sexual escapades in New York City surfaced.
Donald Trump, the owner of the Miss Universe Organization, gave Conner a second chance and allowed her to keep her crown under the condition that she straighten up and enter rehab.
At number three ... is Western Kentucky University’s decision to move its football program to Division 1-A.
In November the Board of Regents voted seven to two, to pass the measure with one abstaining vote. This means the team will be competing at the highest level of college football. The transition will be complete in 2009.
Unfortunately, two very sad moments make up the top two stories for 2006.
First at number two ... we remember Master Police Officer David Whitson.
He was killed by friendly fire, as another officer tried to shoot Rojelio Gonzalez Pacheco. Pacheco was also killed in the incident.
The procession for Whitson’s funeral included around 300 police cruisers, fire engines and 100 other vehicles.
Meanwhile, the deaths of businessmen Cornelius Martin and Brooks Mitchell round out our countdown.
Martin and Mitchell were killed while riding their motorcycles after being hit by a truck. Police said the driver of the truck, Mickey Mosher tested positive for using marijuana three hours before the wreck.
Bill Leachman was also injured in the crash and Mosher’s trial is set for February 2007.
While 2006 has come to an end, many of these stories will continue on throughout the new year. Stay connected to wbko.com in 2007 as we continue to follow them and update you on the latest.