• Kathy Mansfield has been watching the Wheel of Fortunegame show since it aired in 1983, and she said she always wanted to be a contestant.

    Little did she know it would take 29 years for her wish to come true.

    She will appear as a contestant on the long-running game show tonight at 7 in the episode scheduled to appear on WLKY-Ch. 32.

    Mansfield, a Simpsonville resident and librarian at Heritage Elementary School, said the children at Heritage are almost as excited as she is.

  • The challenge of American voters today bears a striking resemblance to the epic struggle of the puppet-boy Pinocchio.

    As told by the Italian novelist Carlo Collodi in 1883, and faithfully reflected by Disney in 1940 and 2002, a kindly old wood carver named Geppetto made a little puppet. Longing to have a son, he named the puppet Pinocchio and prayed for it to become a real boy.

  • Two hundred twelve years is a milestone by anyone’s standards. This weekend marks the founding of the Olive Branch United Methodist Church in 1800.

    But there’s more to celebrate in the little brick church on Zaring Mill Road.

     “One-hundred fifty years ago, we moved into our ‘new’ building,” said Judy Miller, a long-time member and church secretary. “It’s funny to think of it as the new building; it’s the one we’ve worshiped in since 1862.”

  • What would a shoebox containing a small toy or two and maybe a few toiletry items and a few pencils and perhaps a writing tablet mean to a small child at Christmas?

    To children in third-world countries, with no running water or indoor plumbing, no electricity, living in poverty, such a meager package exemplifies the true meaning of Christmas, De’Anna Clark said.

    "My daughter got a thank you note from a little girl she had sent a box to, and it meant so much to her,” she said.

  • Christmas not only came early for the Hall family this year, but they shared it with the entire county in a very special way that brought tears to the eyes of hundreds who watched their moment.

    “I'm excited, nervous, and oh, just so happy," said Margaret Hall Saturday night at the Celebration of Lights, moments after being presented with a specially equipped wheelchair accessible van for her disabled son, Glenn.

  • A huge crowd enjoyed almost balmy weather at the Celebration of Lights’ 25th anniversary Saturday in downtown Shelbyville.

    Visitors enjoyed everything from carriage rides to face painting to yummy treats to sidewalk shopping and train rides, all topped off at 6 p.m. with the lighting of the Christmas tree at Veterans Park and singing by several choirs, including the East Middle School Chorus, which sang the National anthem as members of the Shelby County High School ROTC color guard presented the colors.

  • A packed gymnasium, patriotic music, scores of veterans all in uniform and hundreds of flags, their red, white and blue brilliant against the green grass on Discovery Boulevard, all combined to make a Veterans Day event at Collins High School very special –  and emotional.

    “Each day we begin our school day with the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag, and everyone is so used to that,” Collins Principal John Leeper said.

  • This year Shelbyville’s Celebration of Lights will shine a little brighter than did the first one 25 years ago.

    The downtown event, sponsored by SMART (Shelbyville Merchants of Retail Trade), to kick off the Christmas shopping season, was not always the spectacular event it is now, said those who set the wheels in motion more than two decades ago.

    Kathy Yount was executive director of the Shelbyville Chamber of Commerce when what was then known as Light Up Shelbyville began.

  • After a career that has spanned nearly 40 years, Shelby County Parks and Recreation Director Clay Cottongim announced this week that will retire at the end of the year.

    Cottongim, 58, said there’s no special reason he has chosen this time to retire; he just feels it’s time.

    “It’s been thirty-eight wonderful years, and I’ve seen some goals come true, and I just want to retire and go on from there,” he said.

  • John Ellis hits the gym six days a week.

    A picture of fitness – he jogs, does some weight training, plays golf every weekend – he’s dedicated to a routine and diet that keeps him healthy and in shape.

    That focus and routine propelled Ellis, 60, to a banner run in his first Kentucky Senior Games in Murray last month, earning him gold medals in doubles tennis and the 50-, 100- and 400-meter sprints and the long jump. He also added a bronze in singles tennis and silvers in the discus and javelin.

  • Jim Miller would be the first to tell you that his well-plotted path from boy journalist of Shelby County to adult author took a few side trips, the last of which ultimately if unwittingly landing him at his destination.

    Miller, who grew up in the Clark Station area of Shelby, became Author James W. Miller as the result of a devastating hurricane that swept away his life and blew him forward and into the pages of his first book, Where The Water Kept Rising.

  • You don't see many homes that display as much family history as the stately old mansion on Cropper Road, where four generations of the Thomas family have lived, and that begins in the spacious foyer where a wooden cradle holds a doll near the winding staircase.

    "My father slept here," Ben Allen Thomas III, 92, said, lovingly running his hand over the cradle's dark wood.

  • LEXINGTON – Claire Kelly of Bagdad doesn’t make a habit of scaling tall buildings, but she had a superhero reception while rappelling from the top of Lexington’s tallest skyscraper on Wednesday.

    People all along Main Street craned their necks way back to watch Kelly as she began her 410-foot descent from the top of the 30-story Lexington Financial Center.

  • A client told me recently he could still feel the impact of his grandfather saying to him now and then: "The onus is on you, Boy."

    Onus is a word I used to hear a lot, so I looked it up. It is the Latin word for burden, an old-fashioned word for responsibility. Who these days does not need a little help drawing the lines that define where their responsibility begins and ends?

  • A woman of music, a woman of Christ, a woman of community.

    Betty Jean Chatham has been described in all these ways by many in Shelby County.

    Chatham, who is set to retire after a 60-year musical career of much distinction, with a last concert on Sunday at First Baptist Church in Shelbyville, has been an inspiration to so many people in the community, and not just musically, said former student John Shannon, who was also her assistant director of the longstanding Life Singers choir.

  • With this column, my 96th, the number of all my columns written for The Sentinel-News finally has equaled my age. I shall continue to write, subject to the editor’s tolerance, in order to reach 100 columns before my 100th birthday, hopefully well before.

    We all are reminded about the inconsistency, in fact utter unreliability, of recent memory. A typical example is opening the refrigerator door to get a dish out of the microwave.

    However, long-time memory seems to have an indelible quality. Once recorded, it can be forever recalled.

  • A Shelby County woman is recovering from Lyme Disease that she contracted during what she expected to be a peaceful walk on a nature trail in Jefferson County in August.

    But in an instant, her mood turned from tranquil to terror, when she glanced down and saw hundreds of ticks climbing up her body; many of them had even made it up past her waist when she spotted them.

  • It’s the time of year to take a moment to enjoy the beautiful autumn colors, but if you’re going to slip on an old pair of shoes you left on the porch before heading outside to admire your colorful trees, you’d better not – you could end up dead or scarred, experts said.

    That’s because along with an abundance of beautiful fall foliage, the spider population has really exploded this year, and two extremely poisonous varieties could be lurking in unlikely places.

  • Twinning is a phrase many of today’s youth use to describe the act of dressing alike.

    In Shelby County it can also be used to describe several of the fall sports teams.

    That’s because twins contributed to five of the varsity sports teams at Collins and Shelby County high schools.

    And in several cases those squads weren't just twinning, they’re also winning.

  • Members of Beechridge Baptist Church have seen a lot of changes in its 200 years, including moving indoors and a name change.

    This Bagdad-area church, located on Benson Pike about 3 miles east of the intersection with KY 395, started nearby its current location when parishioners would gather in the woods on log benches with lanterns hanging in the trees.

    But it persevered, and by 1888 what was then the Baptist Church of Jesus Christ at Beech Ridge had its own building.