• Do you have an Elf on a Shelf?

    If you do, then you are part of the Elf on a Shelf phenomena that has been sweeping the nation since Georgia businesswoman Christa Pitts created the doll-sized stuffed toy in 2005.

    How popular is the little guy [or girl] in Shelby County?

    Responses from local people ranged from very enthusiastic responses about their “elf” to a moment of confused silence.

    “What did you call that thing?” asked Gail Renfro? “No, I don’t know what that is.”

  • A monkey? What in the world do you want with a real monkey?”

    The look of astonishment on Santa’s face and his tone of voice was comparable to when the Jolly Old Elf told “Ralphie” in the movie The Christmas Story that he couldn’t have a Red Ryder BB gun because he’d shoot his eye out.

  • Today’s date is catchy numerically, with three sets of twelves.

    But how is the date significant?

    It isn’t.

    That’s the opinion of Shelby County High School science teacher Eric Herndon.

    The only thing even approaching an event of scientific significance in December is the fact that the sun will align with the center of galaxy for the first time in 26,000 years, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

    Is that significant?

    An expert in astronomy, Herndon, said no.

  • Affordable Christmas are two words we don’t often place side-by-side. For many of us, the holiday season is anything but affordable.

    But the folks at Graefenburg Baptist Church have a different idea. They have dreamed up a new program to help a handful of families have an affordable Christmas this year.

  • For decades this has been the most wonderful time of the year for Joyce and Sam Medley of Finchville, with their holiday spirit shining from the brilliant lights glowing on their front lawn and from their eyes.

    But what is perhaps the most decorated holiday presentation in Shelby County is down to its last showing, when the Medleys stage what they say will be their final holiday open house at 5-8 p.m. Sunday

  • Saturday’s Christmas parade held special meaning for a select group of veterans.

    This group of Vietnam vets who rode in the “Deuce and half” (a 2.5-ton Army truck) said seeing hundreds of cheering people smiling and waving at them was an experience that other veterans coming home take for granted these days.

    But it wasn’t that way for them, coming home from Vietnam in the 1960s to an atmosphere of extensive antiwar demonstrations, to an American public who not only didn’t respect them, but also disdained them.

  • When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor more than 70 years ago, on, Dec. 7, 1941, I was stationed aboard the USSWasp, an aircraft carrier, anchored in Grassy Bay, Bermuda. Having just returned from one of our so-called “neutrality” patrols, we found our attention, which had been focused on the Battle of the Atlantic, suddenly shifted to the Pacific.

  • People with business at the Shelby County Judicial Center may have noticed a Masonic symbol on the wall of the building on a side entrance adjacent to the front door.

    The depictions of the compass and the square, tools of measurement that are the logo of the Masonic fraternity, bear the inscription of Solomon 5, the Masonic Lodge in Shelbyville.

    Why is it on the judicial center’s wall?

    That’s simple, Shelby County Deputy Judge-Executive Rusty Newton aid.

  • Former Shelby Countian Seth Edens will appear on Wheel of Fortune on Thursday night, less than a week after Heritage Elementary librarian Kathy Mansfield won big on the show.

    A 1999 Shelby County High School graduate who lives in Middletown with his wife, Adrienne, Edens said he will be watching the show Thursday night at the home of his parents, Cathy and Bill Edens of Shelbyville.

  • 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.