Editor's note: This is the first half of the Year in Review 2019. This covers news from January through June 2019. Next week's edition will feature the second half.


The city of Dawson Springs said farewell to its outgoing Mayor Jenny Sewell and hello to a new mayor and three new council members. Chris Smiley was sworn in as the new mayor and Dusty Vinson, Joe Allen and Martha Woolsey joined incumbents Kenny Mitchell, Rick Hendrickson and Mark McGregor on the council.

Former Dawson Springs administrator Kent Dillingham was appointed to fill a vacant seat on the board of education. He was appointed by Kentucky Commissioner of Education Dr. Wayne Lewis. He took the oath of office on Jan. 9.

Kentucky State Police have canceled an Amber Alert after a 10-year-old Trigg County boy was found safe. The suspect said to have the boy was found near Dawson Springs on Jan. 22 and had ties to the area. The boy was reunited with his family.

Dawson Springs received its first snow of the year on Jan. 19. Under the snow was ice and it forced the school district to go on a two-hour delay on Jan. 22.

First-class postage will rise from 50 cents to 55 cents starting Jan. 27.

A Dawson Springs man, who worked as a substitute teacher at Crittenden County Elementary School, was fired Jan. 21 after he allegedly made inappropriate comments to students in a fourth-grade class. He was charged with second-degree terroristic threatening.

The Dawson Springs Women, Infants, Children Clinic will open Feb. 5 at 308 E. Arcadia Ave.

Influenza has hit Dawson Springs and the school system closed Jan. 24 and 25 because attendance percentages were in the low 80s. Potential black ice and the spread of various illnesses contributed to the closure. All school events were canceled as the campus was sanitized.


The Dawson Springs High School academic team earned its second straight District 5 championship on Jan. 26. It's the fourth district championship in five years.

School was not in session Jan. 30, 31 and Feb. 1 because of snow and ice. Make-up days are limited and will be selected at the next school board meeting.

Carolann Oakley and Cameron Boyd were crowned Homecoming Queen and King on Feb. 2.

On Feb. 11, the Dawson Springs City Council granted Police Chief Mike Opalek's request to purchase five body cameras for the department.

The Dawson Springs Family Resource and Youth Service Center is the recipient of a sizable grant made available by an international

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manufacturer who has a Hopkins County location. Ahlstrom-Munksjo's grant would total around $17,000.

Dr. Herbert Chaney, who served the Dawson Springs community in various capacities, died Feb. 8. He was 88.

The final report of a Kentucky Office of Education Accountability investigation of Dawson Springs Independent Schools has been released and the office found no violations. Allegations against the district included excessive spending and irregularities and a car purchase without board approval. The OEA found no evidence of the allegations.

Baptist Health Madisonville has implemented new visitation guidelines as a precaution during influenza season to help reduce the virus' spread, while influenza is considered "widespread."

A student organization in Dawson Springs Independent Schools presented on why the campus should be tobacco-free. The Young Leaders in Action presented their ideas to the school board on Feb. 18.

Planters Bank has concluded its fifth Season of Giving campaign and announced totals raised at each branch. The Dawson Springs branch raised $2,726 for the Dawson Springs Educational Foundation.


Dawson Springs, Kentucky's first Trail Town, was highlighted in an article in the Kentucky Culture section of March 2019 issue of Kentucky Living.

There's a new officer in town. Newly sworn-in Dawson Springs police officer Scott Raup is the newest face in the department. He was sworn in March 8.

The Dawson Springs Independent Schools board of education approved a makeup day and to use banked instructional time to make up another day for students. Staff would have to make up the day at the end of the school year.

Strong winds March 14 cause damage to a tree, dugouts and fences at Dawson Springs City Park.

Maryssa Coyle has joined the staff at the Dawson Springs Baptist Health clinic. She is a nurse practitioner and is accepting new patients of all ages.

The results of an audit of Dawson Springs Elementary School and the district were announced this week. The audit reports were generated from data collected in early February. The elementary report earned a Needs Improving ranking on all 20 standards and the district report got Needs Improving on its 22 standards.

Magistrate Charlie Beshears may have found a solution to his efforts to bring high-speed internet to rural areas of Hopkins County. Beshears and County Attorney Byron Hobgood are traveling to Owensboro to meet with ConnectGRADD, which offers internet access with a company called QWireless.


As of March 30, 16-year-old Dawson Springs girl is missing and a nationwide Amber Alert has been issued. The man believed to have her now has a kidnapping warrant out for his arrest. A prayer service was scheduled for April 3.

A mine simulator and an X-ray light were used to educate students about various careers at Dawson Springs Career Day on March 29.

The fiscal court voted unanimously to apply for a Rural Utility Services Grant through the USDA that, if awarded, could help fund a project to print internet to rural area of Hopkins County.

Hopkins County-Madisonville Public Library director said planning for agency is impossible without secure funding. The agency relies heavily on public funds to keep the doors open to the Madisonville and Dawson Springs branches.

An announcement that the 16-year-old Dawson Springs girl was found safe was made three minutes into a prayer vigil held in her honor on April 3. She was found with her alleged kidnapper in a Walmart in Alabama. The suspect, Glenn Harper, was apprehended and charged.

The Dawson Springs City Council on second reading changed meeting dates and times to 5:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month.

Gov. Steve Beshear will be the keynote speaker for the 44th annual Gov. Ruby Laffoon-Gov. Steve Beshear Democratic Dinner on April 23.

Josh Morgan, Jason Jones and Trey Blanchard, all with ties to Dawson Springs, won in various division and categories in the Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park photography weekend April 12-14.

Kentucky Attorney General and a Democratic candidate for Kentucky governor Andy Beshear will be in Dawson Springs on April 23 for a fundraising event.

The sixth annual Dawson Springs Mule and Draft Horse Days, for the first time since being hosted in Dawson Springs, has a home of its own. Mule Days is May 1-4 at Trail Town Agricultural Center at 223 Eddie Beshear Drive in Dawson Springs.

The Dawson Springs Board of Education met for a special-called meeting April 22. The board approved a reorganization plan presented by Superintendent Lenny Whalen and the district facilities plan. Juniors in Dawson Springs earned a 20.6 composite score on the ACT. The score is the highest in Dawson Springs history. The board also approved the band to be included in the athletics uniform rotation.

The school and the community banded together in the annual Spruce Up Dawson Springs Day on April 22.

The Dawson Springs Museum and Art Center will have Dawson Springs native Jarrid Scott's exhibit, titled "Portals," on display. A reception for Scott will be April 28.


The Dawson Springs City Council met April 29 in order to pass a resolution to apply for a sidewalk grant for U.S. 62.

A female juvenile was cited and released to her parents April 29 following an altercation at Dawson Springs Schools, police said. The same girl was cited again for a separate incident April 27 and lodged in the McCracken County Detention Center; three other girls were involved. Two were cited and released to their parents. Another girl was not charged.

Dawson Springs Hgih School has again made the U.S. News and World Report list of best schools in Kentucky. Dawson Springs was named 26th best out of 227 schools.

The man accused of kidnapping his step-granddaughter and igniting a nationwide hunt for her made his second court appearance since being extradited to Kentucky. The case has been sent to the grand jury.

The family of Harley Hatton, a local teen with a rare inherited disorder, is seeking help in purchasing a handicapped van for travel.

The Woodburn Drugs sign was repaired. A&B Signs out of Madisonville welded the sign and hung it up in early May. A sign-lighting ceremony is planned.

As many as 300 youngsters, ages 3-15 are expected to attend the 14th annual Take Kids Fishing Day on May 18 at Riverside Park in Dawson Springs.

Margaret Ann Dillingham Ausenbaugh, former part owner of The Progress, died Monday, May 13, 2019, at Deaconess Gateway Hospital in Evansville. She was 72.

A partnership between the Hopkins County Health Department and the Dawson Springs Police Department has brought to town a prescription medication disposal box and incinerator.

Residents in Hopkins County will vote for state offices in the primary election on May 21.

Dawson Springs High School will have its 110th annual commencement at 7 p.m. May 24 in the school gymnasium. Fourty-two graduates will participate in the cap and gown ceremony.

The school board approved nearly $7 million tentative budget on May 20.

Gov. Matt Bevin and Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear have been feuding for years now and their feud will continue until the November general election as both men won their party's primary election.

The city council approved the $2.09 million budget for fiscal year 2019-20 on May 28.

Dawson Springs High School graduates were awarded more than $250,000 in scholarships during commencement May 24.

Scouts from Dawson Springs Pack 3000 placed flags on gravesites at Rosedale Cemetery and other cemeteries on May 27, Memorial Day.

Locally-produced film, "The Silent Natural," will premiere Friday at the Alhambra Theatre in Hopkinsville. Portions of the film were recorded in Dawson Springs.


More than 75 people were in the Dawson Springs Community Center on May 31 to celebrate Senior Day Out.

Members of the 2019 class of Leadership Hopkins County were at Dawson Springs City Park on June 4 to formally introduce the community to its project: four metal musical flowers installed at the park.

Those interested in becoming Miss Dawson Springs have until June 14 to apply for the pageant. The pageant will be 7 p.m. June 22.

The last day to register for the summer reading program at the library is June 14. Children of all ages are encouraged to spend some of their summer at their local library.

In order to combine resources and lower expenses, The Dawson Springs Progress is relocating to The Messenger newspaper located at 221 S. Main St. in Madisonville on July 1.

Five contestants will compete for the Miss Dawson Springs crown on June 22.

The annual Dawson Springs BBQ 5K with its famous pig shirt is set for the morning following the Dawson Springs Barbecue and Homecoming. The race is on July 27.

The Dawson Springs City Council approved a resolution for Mayor Chris Smiley to sign for the water department's community development block grant for the sewer system rehabilitation project through the Pennyrile Area Development District.

The Dawson Springs annual Independence Day Celebration will be July 3 at Riverside Park. The day will be filled with baseball, a Clayton Quisenberry concert and fireworks.

The Dawson Springs Progress is the longest-running newspaper in Dawson Springs and celebrates 100 years in 2019.

After a closed session with a duration of one hour and seven minutes to discuss the superintendent's evaluation, Board Chairperson Vicki Allen announced that Dawson Springs Independent Schools Superintendent Lenny Whalen has received a summative rating of exemplary. The district hired Larry Cavanah to fill new academic officer position.

Cameron Riley was crowned Miss Dawson Springs on June 22. Tori Bullock was runner-up. Abigail Miller was Miss Congeniality.