Weather, record crowdes dominated FloydFest in 2013

The crowds came and so did the problems.

The crowds came and so did the problems.

FloydFest, the summer music festival that brings much national attention to the area, sold out completely for the first time in 2013.

The festival also saw what can happen when large crowds, heavy rains and traffic problems combine to create a morass of problems.

The festival sold out of both advance full-event tickets and single day admissions before the first band took the state on Thursday, July 25.  Traffic problems, long lines and waits for buses for transportation from remote parking lots to the festival sight brought complaints and a plea for help from festival officials to the Floyd County School system, which dispatched buses and drivers.

Then heavy rains swamped the festival site Friday night and Saturday, leaving parking areas a sea of mud and even washing away the tents of some who camped on site.  With the muddy parking lots closed, school buses ferried patrons from emergency parking lots at Floyd schools and the county’s Commerce Park and complaints flooded social media sights about hardships at the event.

The use of county resources to aid an event actually held in Patrick County brought some complaints from elected officials and festival officials scrambled to correct the problems and deal with damage control.

Debate and controversy continued into the weeks following the festival but eventually faded from public view.  Festival officials promised corrections to policies before next year’s event and even announced lower limits on sizes of future crowds.  The school system reported a profit from fees paid by the festival for use of buses and drivers.

Even with problems, many festival attendees praised the event and a schedule that appeared to a broader audience.  Festival officials promised the beat would go on in 2014.

Crimes, including child pornography, dominates news in 2013

011910crimeCrime, in various forms, dominated Floyd County news in 2013.

As in past years, the manufacture and use of the highly-addictive crystal methamphetamine kept law enforcement officers busy and court dockets filled but the year also included settlement of a murder case that was expected to drain county resources, the emergence of heroin into drug use and something area residents did not expect — shocking charges of child pornography involving a prominent local businessman and his son.

County gossip had buzzed for months over the sudden retirement of Farm Credt Manager Greg Clabaugh and his disappearance from announcing duties at Floyd County High School athletic events.  When a grand jury handed down a 21-count indictment on child pornography, the gossip became front page news.

The indictment, sealed until Clabaugh turned himself in, involved graphic pictures of children naked or engaged in sexual acts, and included charges from state police investigators who said they found the images on Clabaugh’s computer along with additional charges of reproduction of those images and a count of “conspiracy to commit a felony.”

Clabaugh’s son, 30-year-old auto mechanic and Iraq war veteran Mark Clabaugh, was also indicted on five counts in the same case,  Both are scheduled in Floyd County Circuit Court ont he charges on May 13, 2014.

But child pornography allegations in Floyd County did not end with the indictment of the Clabaughs.  Shortly after their indictments hit the news, state police seized a computer in the office of the Voter Registrar and Elections Board along with other materials at the home of a member of the county electoral board.

The case is expected to go before the grand jury early in 2014 and the county staff member has resigned and hired a lawyer.

In July, 30-year-old Eder Guzman-Rodriguez entered a “no-contest” plea to charges of killing his two-year-old daughter in the county in 2011.  The Mexican, an illegal immigrant working in the county, claimed his daughter was possessed by a demon and said he beat her to death to drive the demon from her body.

Guzman-Rodriguez was sentenced to 20 years in prison and faces deportation after his release.

At Floyd County Circuit Court, jail vans leave full after weekly sessions as Judge Marc Long hands down tough sentences to those who abuse and manufacture drugs.

Long calls the wave of drug cases “an epidemic that threatens the county.”  The judge is also proving touch on those who violate probation.  In one case in 2013, Long sent 23-year-old Harrison Chase Carrico to prison for 20 years for his latest probation violation and warned the young man that he still has another 20 years and nine months hanging over his head when he gets out of jail at age 43.