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Features

  • Rebecca Marrilla is 26 years old, an age during which most people don’t stare death in the face.

    But in September, two days after celebrating her first wedding anniversary, the harsh reality of cancer shattered her world, when she learned she had Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare and aggressive form of bone cancer.

    “When I went in [to the doctor’s office] that today, I was not prepared to hear that,” she said. “I don’t think you can ever be prepared to hear that.”

  • Shelby Countians must be doing something right, judging by the county’s steadily rise as one of the healthiest counties in the state.

    Shelby County is up to third this year, according to the 2013 County Health Rankings of all states, complied annually by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

  • At Christmas, Gary Walls was surprised with a trip to Italy to see the Pope deliver the Easter Vigil at the Vatican.

    What he didn’t know then was that a new Pope would have been named – one who would resonate with Walls even more than his Catholic roots would have predicted.

    Pope Francis has become known for his commitment to service, to helping those in need.

  • Each day – every day for nearly 16 years – Tania Williams awoke in the orphanage in Ukraine.  Sixteen – the dreaded age that orphans in this Eastern European country “age out” to the streets, often thrown into a life of prostitution, drugs and crime. For Tania, it was a time of fear and anxiety, faced with no family and no physical or emotional support.

  • Sometimes downsizing is the best way to grow, and that’s exactly what’s going on with The Luci Center in Shelby County.

    Luci Center, a hippotherapy therapeutic riding center for children and adults with disabilities, has sold its property on Hebron Road and was planning to close Tuesday on a new location across the street.

    This 15-acre site will be built to suit the center’s unique needs.

  • In my 30 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, from 1937-1967, when I was promoted from second lieutenant up the ranks to brigadier general, I encountered a lot of interesting characters who had a lot of interesting things to say, some of them amusing and others career-changing. These appear in chronological order:

    “The Marine sentry did not salute me when I came across the gangway. I consider this a reflection on the captain of Marines.”

  • How can you put a price tag on being able to help keep kids off drugs and make the community a safer place to raise a healthy, happy family?

    That price tag is $100,000, said Elizabeth Pulliam, director of Shelby Prevention, a non-profit organization that works to provide programs, activities and community projects in order to build a drug-free community.

    That is the organization’s yearly budget that she is trying to generate by September.

  • John David and Mary Helen Myles have a 174-year-old baby.

    They have restored their 2-story brick Federal-style home they bought in 2002 with such loving care that the structure, known as the Dale Place, received the Ida Lee Willis Memorial Foundation Preservation Project Award in 2006.

    Myles, a Shelby County Family Court judge, is widely known throughout Shelby County for his love of history, and he went to great lengths to ensure that the house, when restored, should be as much as like the original as possible.

  • If you’d like to settle down with a good book, chock full of colorful characters, such as  moonshiners, long-haired, pot-growing Vietnam veterans, and even a man so scary everybody started locking their doors at night after he moved to town, you might want to check out The Cornbread Mafia, which was published last year.

  • I have listed below a few remarks that stand out in my memory of service in the regular U.S. Marine Corps from 1937 to 1967, in the ranks of second lieutenant through brigadier general.  They appear in chronological order:

     

    “Give it to 'em boys; give 'em what General Cheatham says!”

    Bishop-General Leonidas Polk at the Battle of Perryville (1862), conscious of his role as an Episcopal bishop, after Maj. Gen. Cheatham had shouted to his troops, “Give ‘em hell, boys.”

  • A man deeply experienced in managing parks at the state level has been chosen by the Shelby County Parks Board to lead the county’s facilities.

    After a 2-month search among 17 candidates, parks board chair Hubie Pollett on Tuesday night introduced Shawn Pickens, 33, a regional parks director for the Kentucky Department of Parks in Frankfort, as the county’s new parks chief, replacing Clay Cottongim, who retired in December after 38 years.

  • All over Shelbyville on Wednesday, people were texting each other, calling, and rejoicing when the news broke around 3 p.m. that a new pope finally had been selected.

    When newly elected Pope Francis appeared on television before a huge crowd in St. Peter’s Square in Rome and asked for his congregation’s prayers, a Shelby County priest said he was overcome with emotion.

  • Clustered around Allen Purnell, a group of employees all answered at once when asked what they thought of their boss.

    "He's gooo-od!" they chorused in unison as Purnell grinned the same easy-going grin he has made famous in his popular television commercials.

    The group gaffawed when asked if they liked sausage.

    "Sure do," said Robert Purnell, the youngest of the Purnell men who work at F.B. Purnell Sausage in Simpsonville.

    "Well, he better," someone else said, amid more laughter.

  • Have you ever seen a film that’s romantic but not sappy, humorous but not slapstick, with religious overtones but not spouting fire and brimstone?

    That might be a way to describe Pieces of Easter, a spiritual movie created and filmed in Shelbyville, Simpsonville, Finchville, Oldham and Jefferson counties and in Indiana that hits theaters today.

  • Hundreds flocked to a Black History event Feb. 10 at Stratton Center, but as far as bringing that history out for people to study, there is still much work to be done.

  • Sitting at ease in his Shelbyville home, retired Shelby County High School teacher and coach Roland Dale, or "Coach Dale" as he's known to former students and athletes, shares his own history and some thoughts on the history of the county's black community; how it was, how it is now, how it ought to be, and his family's part in it all....

  • Today we conclude a list of prominent individuals who each have been discussed in 100 previous columns.

    Each has contributed in his or her own way to the development of Shelby County, but this is not to be seen as a compilation of all the important – or the most important – contributors.

    Shelby County has been around nearly 221 years, and this is simply an alphabetical skimming of those who made it what it is today – which includes how it became my home.

     

    McMakin, Major Ben (1912-1945)

  • A Shelby County family is proud that feathers from their pet peacocks will be donated to charity, with a little help from a friend.

    Feathers from “Opal,” “Junior” and “Petie” have been incorporated into a child’s Halloween costume that will be auctioned off Saturday night at the annual fundraiser for the Shelbyville Rotary Club.

  • Writers hate it when they miss an opportunity to write a timely story, and that is what happened to me last fall. I had done some research on the 100th anniversary of the opening of Lincoln Institute in October 1912, and planned to write a story about it. However, in the midst of selling one book, nudging a literary agent along on a second and writing a third, I dropped the ball.

  • The African-American community has a rich history in Shelby County, but it’s often difficult to uncover. This also makes that history difficult to appreciate.

    “Many of our stories come out when we’re sitting around talking with our parents and grandparents,” says Sanda Jones, a member of the Shelby County Historical Society. “Most of the time, our history wasn’t written down because it didn’t seem like something to write about. It’s just how it was. We lived the way we lived.”