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Carlisle County's year of sorrows

(Bardwell, Kentucky, May 19, 2011) - Parents and children in Carlisle County experienced the unimaginable on Monday, May 16th. A school bus ran off the road, killing one child and injuring first and second graders returning from a trip to Paducah to celebrate their reaching reading goals. Two adult chaperones were also seriously injured.

Six year old Logan Simpson, a first grader at Carlisle Elementary, was killed in the crash. A funeral service for Logan will be held at Faith Missionary Baptist Church in Paducah on at 1:00 central time Friday afternoon.

School was out on Tuesday for Election Day. Grief counselors were on hand at the school when it came back into session. Superintendent Shoulders said any child who could not face school on Wednesday would be excused.

first baptist church bardwell kyThe accident is one more blow to Carlisle Countians who have had more than their share of problems in the past year or so. Little Carlisle County, one of four small counties located on the banks of the Mississippi River, has a population that hovers around 5100. The county lost 5% of its total population and 10% of its young people between the 2000 and 2010 census. The county seat and largest town is Bardwell.

In late April 2011, a tornado touched down in Bardwell causing three million dollars damage. The main street of Bardwell was practically wiped out. The post office lost its roof and First Baptist Church’s new family center’s roof was peeled back. 

Flooding from the Mississippi closed roads throughout the county.

Bardwell’s city government got into a fight with local business when it proposed raising taxes.

Arlington’s mayor was forced to resign by a vote of the Arlington City Council.

A promised coal liquefaction plant that would have added up to 1,000 jobs was announced with great fanfare in August 2010. Since then, the company has been silent.

The brightest spot for Carlisle County this year arises from a very dark time when the courthouse was burned by an arsonist in late December 2009. The new courthouse is set to be dedicated in early June.  The new building will hold both judicial center and county government.new Carlisle county courthouse Carlisle County enjoys a close relationship between its judiciary and local government.

After the fire, Carlisle County public officials from the circuit court to the PVA, had to scramble to find places to set up shop. The Carlisle Circuit Clerk relocated to in a small building on the main road. The sheriff was a few blocks away.  Deeds and county records used the undamaged deed room with modular buildings. Court would be conducted for almost two years in the Masonic Hall on the edge of Bardwell.

During the construction of the new courthouse, two competing electric utilities wound up in court fighting over who would supply power to the new facility.

The school system faced a challenge to school taxes when local residents filed suit to stop the system from raising school taxes. Even thought the court ruled in the school system’s favor, tax collection was delayed.

Carlisle County’s highway north to Wickliffe remains flooded. New Page in Wickliffe, a major local employer, is closed until the water recedes.

Resilient as they are, Carlisle Countians will be more than ready to see the calendar flip over to 2012.

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