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There may be a new year beginning on Thursday, but a change in calendar will have no effect on some of 2008's biggest stories - they just won't go away.
In fact, two of them - the Shelbyville Bypass and he new judicial center - will carry on for months.
Some of you may wonder if James Duckett's murderer ever will be caught. Nearly two months have passed now, and there's no suspect in sight.
And other high-profile criminal and legal cases are yet to be decided.
But the item that will carry into 2009 that affects most residents will be the completion of Freedom Way, which is the name that County Road Supervisor Carl Henry has proposed for the Shelbyville Bypass.
"I think it's a good name for it, because it will help to unclutter the
downtown area and free up those businesses to have more room to encourage people to go downtown when normally they wouldn't want to get caught up in
all that traffic," he said. "I think we'll see a tremendous change in the whole town once this thing is built."
Construction was suspended on the 5-mile project Nov. 15, Henry said, because that's when the state normally stops construction work on large road projects for the winter. Work will resume in April on the three-fourths-completed highway, which will run from east to west, then will change to north to south between Herrington Mill and Highway 53.
The bypass has been under construction for two years and should be completed by Aug. 31.
"Most everything is in place now except for the intersections of U.S. 60 and
55," he said. "They were saving those two major intersections for last."
The path of the road will go from U.S. 60, past the intersection of Highway
55, and will come out at Eminence, about a half mile from the stop light at
Painted Stone, Henry said he added that the project is the culmination of more than a decade and a half of planning.
"The road construction has only been going for the past two years, but we've
been planning this thing for the last 15 years," he said. "And I'm glad that we will have it done next year, because there's no doubt that the county needs it bad."
The judicial center
Officials are about to break ground on Shelby County's new judicial center, and officials are excited about the plans.
"The architectural firm has just done a fantastic job at meeting the needs and wants of the staff that will use the building, and the judges who have sat in on the meetings are also very pleased," County Judge Executive Rob Rothenburger said recently. "It's going to be a fabulous looking facility."
There will be a light-red façade covering a four-story 59,000-square-foot facility built in a classic style. This center, which will cost $18 million in state funds, will be located at 4th and Main Streets and is about four times larger than the current courthouse. It will house
family court as well as the circuit and district courts.
Rothenburger said he is excited because he has great expectations for the project, not just for the facility alone, but also because of its impact on the community.
"I think it will transform this end of town," he said. "It will be a state-of-the-art facility, both architecturally and esthetically designed by for
the east end of Shelbyville, and I foresee a very positive, dramatic change for the east end when it's built."
Police have not yet made an arrest in the brutal murder of Duckett, 43, a local man was who found dead at his home on Rockbridge Road. The case has gone unsolved since Duckett's body was found Nov. 10.
Kentucky State Police have asked for the public's help in getting information about the crime and have even put out a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. Duckett's family has also made a public plea via the media for
anyone to come forward who has information, but so far, with no results.
Trooper Ron Turley said at the latest press conference surrounding the murder that the crime has impacted the entire community.
"This is a small town, and something like this affects the whole community,"
There are three other significant court cases that remain:
* The death of David Fletcher, who was shot and killed when he entered his own residence on Brown Street in the middle of the night and apparently was mistaken for an intruder by his roommate, Eric Reynolds. Two men who were with Fletcher were arrested and charged with burglary in the incident, but Reynolds was not charged.
* The woman charged with leaving her newborn baby to die in a dumpster should come to trial. Tonya Nicole Brown was arrested in April and charged with killing her daughter, after she admitted to police that she threw the child into a trash receptacle behind a fast-food restaurant in Shelbyville shortly after delivering her. Brown is scheduled for a status hearing in Shelby Circuit Court on Jan. 5.
* In a bizarre medical incident that left the entire country stunned, a Waddy couple has filed suit against the man's doctors after he woke up from what was supposed to be a simple circumcision to find his penis had been amputated. Phillip Seaton, 61, and his wife, Debbie, Seaton, are suing both the surgeon Dr. John Patterson and anesthesiologist, Dr. Oliver James, as well as Jewish Hospital Shelbyville, where the surgery was performed. Doctors claim that they found cancer and decided to proceed in the best interests of the patient. Not only did Seaton object that he should have been asked for such consent, but he objects that he did not consent to the use of general anesthesia. He is seeking punitive damages. So far, his case has not been scheduled on the civil docket in the Shelby County Circuit Court Clerk's Office.