key stories from the past year from ABC 36

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) — As 2023 wraps up, we’re remembering some of our key news stories produced by ABC 36 over the last 12 months.

From interesting to noteworthy to significant stories, we were there for them all.

Here are some of our most-remembered stories of 2023:


President Joe Biden visits Kentucky

Biden arrived in northern Kentucky on Jan. 4 to tout $1.6 billion in funding to upgrade the Brent Spence Bridge.

The bridge, which spans the Ohio River, was declared functionally obsolete by the Federal Highway Administration in the 1990s.

Biden was accompanied by Sen. Mitch McConnell, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), former Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican.

Officials hope much of the work on the new project will be completed by 2029.

FULL STORY: President Biden visits Kentucky, delivers remarks on infrastructure, jobs


Kentucky native Chris Stapleton performs the national anthem at Super Bowl LVII

Super Bowl Football

Eight-time Grammy, 15-time CMA and 10-time ACM award winner Stapleton performed the national anthem on Sunday, Feb. 12 in Arizona at the State Farm Stadium.

Stapleton was born in Lexington and grew up in Staffordsville.

In the early 2000s, he moved to Nashville for college but dropped out to pursue a music career.

In 2023, Rolling Stone ranked Stapleton at No. 170 on its list of the 200 Greatest Singers of All Time.

FULL STORY: Ky. native Chris Stapleton to perform national anthem at Super Bowl LVII


Lexington goes without a homicide for all of January — the first time in over 2 decades

For the first time in over 20 years, Lexington was without a homicide for the entire month of January.

The first homicide reported in 2023 was on Feb. 6.

A 24-year-old man lost his life in the shooting.

Homicide numbers were also down for the full year compared to 2022: this year, as of publishing time, homicides stand at 25; last year was 44.

FULL STORY: These are the 25 Lexington homicide victims of 2023


Medical marijuana and sports betting legislation are signed into law

Medical Marijuana Signing

Sports Betting Signing

Gov. Andy Beshear on March 31 signed two long-disputed, historic pieces of legislation into law — medical marijuana and sports betting.

Medical marijuana, or Senate Bill 47, passed the Senate by a 26-11 vote. On the last day of the legislative session, it cleared its final hurdle in the House with a 66-33 vote.

The sports betting bill, or House Bill 551, passed the House by a vote of 63-34. Also on the last day of the legislative session, it cleared its final hurdle in the Senate with a vote of 25-12.

SB 47 will legalize medical marijuana use for Kentuckians with a handful of certain medical conditions, like PTSD or epilepsy. It also sets strict provisions for possession, like needing the proper identification card and the right dosage; outlines that smoking the product will be prohibited, meaning oils and edibles will likely be primary routes; and the rollout won’t take effect until Jan. 1, 2025.

HB 551 legalized, regulated and taxed sports betting in the state. It allowed Kentucky’s nine horse racing tracks to be licensed by sports-betting facilities for a $500,000 upfront fee.

FULL STORY: Beshear signs medical marijuana, sports betting bills into law


Mass shooter takes the lives of 5 people and injures 8 more in Louisville

Nickolas Wilt

A gunman killed five people and injured eight more in a mass shooting at Old National Bank in downtown Louisville on April 10.

Tommy Elliott, 63; Jim Tutt, 64; Josh Barrick, 40; Juliana Farmer, 45; and Deana Eckert, 57, were identified as the victims who were killed.

Louisville Metro police officer Nickolas Wilt was shot in the head while attempting to take down the gunman.

He miraculously recovered and was released from the hospital on July 28.

Wilt’s rehab doctor said his “will to survive and recover and his family’s deep love and dedication have made this homecoming possible.”

FULL STORY: 5 dead, 8 hurt including 3 police officers in downtown Louisville shooting: LMPD


14 Fort Campbell soldiers die in separate helicopter crashes during training missions

Admin Ajax

Nine soldiers based in Fort Campbell died during a training mission when two helicopters crashed in Western Kentucky on March 29.

Eight months later, five soldiers also based in Fort Campbell died during another training mission when their aircraft crashed in the Mediterranean Sea on Nov. 13.

The soldiers were identified as the following:

  • Warrant Officer 1 Jeffery Barnes, 33, of Florida
  • Sgt. Emilie Marie Eve Bolanos, 23, of Texas
  • Chief Warrant Officer 3 Zachary Esparaza, 36, of Missouri
  • Sgt. Isaacjohn Gayo, 27, of California
  • Staff Sgt. Joshua C. Gore, 25, of North Carolina
  • Warrant Officer 2 Aaron Healy, 32, of Florida
  • Staff Sgt. Taylor Mitchell, 30, of Alabama
  • Chief Warrant Officer 2 Rusen Smith, 32, of Missouri
  • Sgt. David Solinas Jr., 23, of New Jersey
  • Chief Warrant Officer 3 Stephen R. Dwyer, 38, of Tennessee
  • Chief Warrant Officer 2 Shane M. Barnes, 34, of California
  • Staff Sgt. Tanner W. Grone, 26, of New Hampshire
  • Sgt. Andrew P. Southard, 27, of Arizona
  • Sgt. Cade M. Wolfe, 24, of Minnesota


‘We will see them again’: What we know about the 9 Fort Campbell soldiers killed in helicopter crash

5 Fort Campbell, Ky. soldiers die when aircraft crashes during training mission


Taking a look at Eastern Kentucky’s progress 1 year after devastating and widespread flooding

Admin Ajax 2

ABC 36’s Jordan Smith, Dylan Scheid and Hannah Woosley-Collins spent a week in Eastern Kentucky towns that were hit hard by flooding in 2022.

They sat down with Wiley Hudson, a flood survivor who watched his family’s home swallowed by water and talked about the progress of rebuilding. They interviewed Gov. Andy Beshear about the impact flooding had on the communities — the floods killed 45 people and displaced thousands, among countless dollars of damage. They looked back at the state National Guard’s response. Lastly, they revisited Gwen Christon of Isom’s IGA.


Wiley Hudson, an Eastern Ky. flood survivor’s story

Then & Now: Sitting down with Gov. Andy Beshear ahead of EKy. flood anniversary

A look back at the Ky. National Guard’s response to EKy. flooding

Revisiting Gwen Christon and her Isom IGA 1 year after devastating flooding

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