The county saw a struggling economy with hundreds of coal miners losing their jobs in 2013.
As a new year approaches, one might look to the words of author and poet Alfred Tennyson, who said, “Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering it will be happier…”
The top 10 news making stories of 2013, chosen by the Enterprise, are as follows:
10. Harlan Station restaurant first to sell alcohol — In February, approximately two years after the city of Harlan passed an ordinance allowing restaurants with a capacity of over 100 to serve alcohol. Harlan Station, formerly Ken and Paul’s Steakhouse, became the first restaurant in the city limits to offer alcoholic beverages.
9. Hatfield resigns as mayor in Cumberland — In April, the Cumberland City Council passed a motion requesting the resignation of Mayor Carl Hatfield during their regular meeting. Council member Ron Jarvis made the motion to request Hatfield’s resignation. The motion was seconded by Charles Raleigh and unanimously approved by all council members in attendance. After the motion was passed and several days later, Hatfield turned in his written resignation.
8. Troopers shoot man in standoff — In October, Kentucky State Police troopers and other officers found themselves involved in a standoff situation where gunfire was exchanged resulting in the alleged shooter being wounded. KSP Public Affairs Officer Shane Jacobs said Post 10 troopers responded to the assistance of the Cumberland City Police Department on Old College Road to a shots fired complaint. Jacobs said upon troopers’ arrival, Jason W. Edmond, 42, of Cumberland, had barricaded himself inside of his residence after firing several shots into neighboring homes.
7. Council: Benham subject of IRS probe — In September, the city of Benham continued to operate without a mayor. The city council learned, through questioning by the Internal Revenue Service, that $38,000 in payroll taxes hadn’t been paid. This probe is still in progress.
6. Auditor refers sheriff’s finances to KSP — In January, due to alleged discrepancies in the drug account of the 2011 financial statement of the Harlan County Sheriff’s Office, Kentucky Auditor of Public Accounts Adam Edelen referred the audit to the Kentucky State Police. According to the audit, the sheriff’s office could not account for $37,668 in drug buy monies. This investigation is still in progress by the KSP Special Investigations section out of Frankfort.
5. Judge-executive arrested by Harlan sheriff — In June, Harlan County Sheriff Marvin Lipfird arrested Harlan County Judge-Executive Joe Grieshop on charges of third-degree burglary, theft by unlawful taking, first-degree official misconduct and 10 counts of retaliating against a participant in a legal process.
4. Charges against Grieshop dismissed — In September, Harlan County Judge-Executive Joe Grieshop was cleared of charges filed against him by Harlan County Sheriff Marvin Lipfird during a preliminary hearing in Harlan District Court. Judge Ralph E. McClanahan, a retired senior judge from the 23rd Judicial Circuit, presided over the hearing.
3. Henry Johnson is named circuit judge — In July, Henry S. Johnson was appointed to the judgeship of the 26th Judicial District Court Circuit by Gov. Steve Beshear. Johnson was among three names submitted for consideration by a judicial nominating committee earlier in the week.
2. Alpha Natural Resources lays off 200 miners — In January, sad news reached 200 coal miners in Harlan and Letcher counties as they were laid off from their jobs. Four operations owned by Alpha Natural Resources were shut down as a result of reorganization within the company.
1. Harlan 20/20 helps miners keep the lights on — In a November project to help laid off coal miners in Harlan County, Harlan 20/20 partnered with the Goose Creek Candle Company to help the unemployed miners keep their lights on this winter. Harlan County 20/20 board member Rie Whitfield said 100 percent of the proceeds from this project will be used to help pay electric bills for laid off coal miners in the county.
Reach Nola Sizemore at 606-573-4510, ext. 115, firstname.lastname@example.org