Saturday, January 31, 2009

Saturday Update: Dealing With the Aftermath

A few updates for Saturday on the situation in Crittenden County:

Water: Water is back in the city of Marion. The Crittenden-Livingston Water District reported that as of last night, 30 percent of its customers had water.

Fuel: One gas station was open in Marion today. Its lines were long and distribution was being limited.

Banks: Reportedly, banks were open today in Marion, but limiting withdrawals to $200 per customer.

Electricity: The situation remains grim for power restoration. The city of Marion may not have electricity for at least a week. The rest of the county can expect much longer waits (the most rural areas of the county could be looking at April for restoration).

Area Still Dealing With Phone Outages?

It appears some landline numbers are still not working in Crittenden County and, seemingly, some cell phone users are experiencing difficulty.

Send your updates to and we'll report on what's working, what's not.

A View of Patti's 1800s Settlement

AP photo: Overhead wires and signs outside Patti’s 1800s Settlement in Grand Rivers, Ky., dangle in ice.

Read the accompanying story in The New York Times:

Road Conditions Updated Online

The Transportation Operations Center (TOC) monitors road conditions 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

Condition reports for major routes are available by calling 511 in Kentucky or online at

The site logged 1.7 million hits from midday Tuesday to midday Wednesday.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Governor Launches Campaign to 'Restock the Pantries'

FRANKFORT, Ky. - Today, in conjunction with universities and community organizations across the Commonwealth, Governor Beshear launched a statewide outreach campaign to “Restock the Pantries” at Kentucky’s dwindling food banks.

Tomorrow, volunteers will be on hand at several Kentucky universities to encourage those attending basketball games to make both food item and financial donations to individuals in need, both in local communities and across the state.

For the full press release, click here:

Multimedia Report: County Residents Urged to Leave (Jan. 30, 2009)

Special report by Matthew T. Patton

Share your feedback by e-mailing

Viewer Report 3: Storm Damage Photos

Michelle Henderson of Dycusburg, Ky., shares these photos.

Share your photos with readers by e-mailing them to

Share Your News and Updates

What news have you heard from Crittenden County worth sharing?

Have photos to share?

Send your updates, photos and videos to about Winter Storm 2009 for inclusion on this blog.

Friday Update: Judge Brown Says 'Pack a Suitcase'

MARION, Ky. (AP) — In some parts of rural Kentucky, they're getting water the old-fashioned way — with pails from a creek. There's not room for one more sleeping bag on the shelter floor. The creative are flushing their toilets with melted snow.

At least 42 people have died, including 11 in Kentucky, and conditions are worsening in many places days after an ice storm knocked out power to 1.3 million customers from the Plains to the East Coast. And with no hope that the lights will come back on soon, small communities are frantically struggling to help their residents.

On Friday, one county put it bluntly: It can't.

"We're asking people to pack a suitcase and head south and find a motel if they have the means, because we can't service everybody in our shelter," said Crittenden County Judge-Executive Fred Brown (pictured), who oversees about 9,000 people, many of whom are sleeping in the town's elementary school.

For the full story from the AP, click here:

Friday Update: 'Consider Evacuating to the South'

This information is from the CBS Affiliate KFVS 12:
The Marion/Crittenden County Emergency Operations (EOC) in Marion, KY, advises its citizens to expect long delays in power outages, water outages, and fuel shortages. Water customers of Marion and the Crittenden/Livingston water districts should expect all water to be out. This period is expected to last up to several weeks.

We are advising person not able to sustain their personal health and well being for several weeks to consider evacuating to the south. An emergency shelter is open at the Crittenden County Elementary School, citizens utilizing the shelter should bring blankets, pillow, and person necessities this shelter is filling up.U.S. Highway 60 to Marion is open and US 641 South to I-24 is open. It is reported areas to the South around Nashville Tennessee are not affected by the ice storm.

The emergency operations center may be contacted at (270) 965-3500 or 911. Resources are very limited and the emergency rescue squads may not be able to reach persons in a timely manner.

Carbon Monoxide Responsible for Multiple Deaths

We've heard reports of people across the state placing their generators inside their homes -- a very lethal decision.

A story was published today, noting:

The biggest killer in the ice storm this week has not been the bone-chilling temperatures, car wrecks or falling trees and powerlines, but the silent killer known as carbon monoxide.

Read the full story here:

Friday Update: Electrical Help Enroute From North Carolina

We received this e-mail today:

Friday, January 30, 2009 1:01 PM
SUBJECT: Help is on the way !!!

My name is Pam Whitehurst, I live in Tarboro, NC. This morning my boyfriend left out on his way to Marion, he works for Edgecombe Martin County Electric Membership. I know they have 2 bucket trucks & I think 3 line trucks and pickup trucks on the way. They were in Greensboro, NC around lunch time, they will be driving until they get there. Ya'll are in my prayers.

Thanks and take care
Pam Whitehurst

Thursday, January 29, 2009

PDF Version of Paper Available for Online Subscribers

Although power outages prevented the updates to the main page of The Crittenden Press Online, the full PDF version of the Jan. 29 issue is available for online subscribers.

Among this week's headlines:

--"Pathway graduates 1st class" (information on Pathway Academy,Crittenden County School District's newly-implemented alternative learning center)
--"‘09 icing could be as bad as ‘08, perhaps worse" (I think we know the answer to this)
--"Livingston set to open new justice center"
--"Coal earns schools 45 new computers"

Once electricity is restored, the newspaper will be updated online. Thank you for your patience during this challenging time.

In the meantime, please send your news tips to

Not Even a Year Ago: Crittenden Deals With Back-to-Back Natural Disasters

Less than a year ago, Crittenden County was dealing with the worst widespread natural disaster in the area in 25 years. By all accounts, the storm there now is the worst ever. Some octogenarians are reporting this is the "worst in a lifetime."

Here's the cover of the Feb. 14, 2008 issue. To read the archives from that issue, go here: This issue and the following issue contained some useful tips on food storage issues and dealing with tree removal contractors (hint: make sure they have insurance and carry workman's compensation coverage). An index of archived issues can be found here:

Update: Healthcare Systems

For those concerned about the welfare of friends and relatives in hospitals and nursing homes, we attempted to reach healthcare centers in the Crittenden County area between 5:30 and 6 p.m. Central time on Thursday. Hospitals and nursing homes are the highest ranked in terms of power restoration priority. Here are our results of calls:

--New Haven Assisted Living Facility: no answer. 270-965-4092.

--Crittenden County Health & Rehabilitation Center (formerly known as the Crittenden County Convalescent Center): 270-965-2218. Director of Nursing Kelly Stone reports the following: "Generators are supplying heat and electricity. We're cooking with gas in the dining room. We have plenty of personal sanitary wipes. Everyone is staying clean, dry, fed and warm." She added staff has been wonderful, some even staying overnight at the facility. She also noted support from the community, particularly Conrad's and Pamida, has been "amazing."

--Crittenden Health Systems (Crittenden County Hospital): 270-965-5281. Rapid busy signal.

--Livingston Hospital & Healthcare Service, Inc.: 270-988-2299. Running on a generator. (Awaiting a return call from a spokesperson).

Warming Center Opened at Elementary School

A "Warming Center" is available at the Crittenden County Elementary School for those without heat in Crittenden County. County residents are advised to seek warm shelter.

If anyone has information about the conditions at the hospital or assisted living centers, please e-mail and we'll post it here on the blog.

As of 5 p.m. Central, the Crittenden County Sheriff's Department remains "swamped," but reports they are doing everything humanly possible to keep people safe tonight.

Share Your News Tips, Media

Perhaps your friend e-mailed you some photos before the power went out or was able to send you video or a picture to your cell phone? Maybe your friend uploaded some photos on their Facebook or MySpace account that you can share? Share them with The Crittenden Press Online.

Share your news tips, photos and videos by e-mailing

Multimedia Report: Long Road to Recovery for Crittenden County

Special report by Matthew T. Patton

Viewer Report 2: View of Towery Rd. and Hwy. 120

Thanks to Bill Hillyard for sharing these photos taken from his Verizon cell phone.

Share your news, photos and video by e-mailing

Food Update: Food Inventory Moving Quickly at Food Giant in Marion

Food Giant in Marion is open until 3 p.m. Central time. The store, according to a representative there, is running on a generator.

"We are out of water and out of loaves of bread, but we have buns in stock." The store also has milk, eggs and other staples. The inventory is moving quickly.

The store is taking cash and check only for purchases.

Meanwhile, the Food Giant location in Eddyville was limiting items to 10 per customer, said Michelle Henderson of Dycusburg.

The phones at Conrad's were unanswered, but we understand they are open for business as well.

Water Update: City Water Will Be Depleted 'Within the Hour'

According to the City of Marion Water and Sewer Department, water in Marion "will be depleted within the hour."

A representative there recommended drawing up as much water (for example, in the bathtub) as residents can hold. Next, he recommended using as much bottled water as possible. Finally, he suggested gathering up snow and boiling it.

State officials are urging strict water conservation until such time water services are restored. The government is seeking generators for those pump stations with outages due to the storm.

The phone went unanswered at the Crittenden-Livingston Water District.

Electrical Update: Out-of-State Workers Headed to Kentucky to Help Restore Service

Workers from as far away as Alabama are headed to Western Kentucky to help with service restoration.

Early Wednesday morning, Central Alabama Electric Cooperative (CAEC) dispatched nine line workers in three bucket trucks and three pickup trucks to help restore power associated with the destructive ice storm that moved through the Midwest.

CAEC’s crew was en route to Owensboro and will be assisting in restoration efforts at Kenergy, a 51,000-member electric cooperative that serves more than 6,700 miles of line in all or portions of 14 western Kentucky counties.

CAEC is part of the nationwide network of nearly 1,000 electric cooperatives that help in recovery efforts as part of emergency assistance procedures.


Phone Update: Some Phone Service Restored

Phone service has been restored in some, but not all, parts of Crittenden County.

Some 965 and 988 prefixes are now able to make and receive calls.

We attempted to call the Sheriff's Office in Crittenden County, and the woman who answered the phone said, "Honey, we don't have power, gas or water. All I can say is it's a state of emergency."

She said the department is absolutely swamped and can barely keep up with calls. Unless it's an emergency, please don't call the sheriff's department.

Electrical Update: Service Restoration May Take Up to Two Weeks

Ice Storm Update - updated 10:15 a.m., January 29

As of 10:15 a.m., 183,000 LG&E customers are without power, down from 205,000 at the last update. KU has 180,000 customers without power throughout the state.

Downed wires:
LG&E: 8,952
KU: 6,017

2,985 workers are currently working on restoration efforts for both LG&E and KU combined.

Estimating 7 - 10 days before full restoration will occur in LG&E's service area.

Statewide, full restoration may take up to two weeks.

Crews are working to restore power as quickly and safely as possible.

Viewer Report 1: Central Kentuckian Waiting on Word From Crittenden County

Michele Rogers of Lexington, Ky., shared this:
Your blog is saving me right now! I live in Lexington, and I haven't heard from my boyfriend in Marion since Tuesday! I was hoping he could make it up here. Is the road clear enough to make it to the parkway?

We got hit hard here too. No water or electric for many in Central Kentucky. Here is a pic of the ice here. Enjoy. Keep the updates coming. Any idea when cell phone or electric will return there?

Share your news, photos and video by e-mailing

Web Site Down Due to Storm

Readers of The Press Online will see that all of this week's updates have not been made due to complications from the storm.

The site will be completely updated as soon as possible. Stay tuned to the Breaking News Blog for all your storm related updates, which we are being made from a remote location out of state.

Thank your for your patience.

On the Scene: Share Your Storm News, Photos, Videos With The Crittenden Press

Perhaps your friend e-mailed you some photos before the power went out or was able to send you video or a picture to your cell phone? Maybe your friend uploaded some photos on their Facebook or MySpace account that you can share?

Share your news tips, photos and videos of the storm by e-mailing

We'll post your news or multimedia here on this blog.

Consumer Alert: Report Suspected Price Gouging

Attorney General Jack Conway is putting Kentucky retailers on notice that price gouging will not be tolerated during times of emergency. Governor Beshear signed an executive order on Tuesday declaring a state of emergency in the wake of the winter storm that has left dozens of Kentucky communities blanketed in snow and ice and tens of thousands without power. Yesterday, General Conway asked Gov. Beshear for an emergency order that will also implement Kentucky’s price gouging laws.

“I have made it clear that I will not tolerate unscrupulous retailers who seek excessive profits during emergency situations. Those who have fallen victim to this storm should not be victimized again by predatory pricing,” General Conway said.

General Conway’s recently concluded investigation into price gouging in the wake of Hurricane Ike resulted in fines totaling $107,500 against eight retail gas stations in seven Kentucky communities.

The emergency declaration issued by Gov. Beshear triggers several consumer protection measures that will remain in place for 30 days. Among them, it empowers the Attorney General to investigate and prosecute, where appropriate, those who sell gasoline, generators, building supplies, chain saws, hotel rooms and other necessary goods and services at an exorbitant price in a time of disaster.

General Conway encourages anyone with specific information regarding possible price gouging to contact the Office of the Attorney General at 1-888-432-9257 or to email He also encourages Kentuckians to stay safe.

“I strongly encourage Kentuckians who are without power to utilize shelters in their communities. Please take caution during this time of emergency, keep your families safe and let’s not forget those around us who may need a helping hand,” said Conway.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Federal Agency Provides Tips for Coping During Isolation

As Crittenden Countians face what could be days of isolation in their homes, FEMA provides tips for those impacted by winter weather at its Web site. If you are able to communicate with your loved ones in Crittenden County, in addition to advising them to travel only as necessary, consider arming them with tips on how to stay safe and sound.

For example, FEMA notes, "Prepare for possible isolation in your home by having sufficient heating fuel; regular fuel sources may be cut off. ... Store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove. Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them. House fires pose an additional risk, as more people turn to alternate heating sources without taking the necessary safety precautions."

For the complete list of tips, visit

Posted by Matthew T. Patton

Updates: Some Able to Call Crittenden County, President Declares State Disaster Zone

We're hearing reports that some out-of-state residents have been able to reach the Crittenden County Sheriff's Department to check on relatives. The number is 270-965-3500.

We have also learned some calls have been successfully placed to Verizon cellular customers living in Crittenden County. Some landlines are working locally, creating a patchwork system of spotty service.

In other breaking news, President Obama, shortly after 11 p.m., declared Kentucky (and Arkansas) a disaster zone, the first time he has issued such a declaration. The White House said citizens seeking more information should call FEMA at 202-646-4600.

Posted by Matthew T. Patton

Multimedia Report: Winter Storm 2009 Freezes Crittenden In Its Tracks

A special video report by Matthew T. Patton

Officials: Power May Be Out Seven to 10 Days

The current ice storm that slammed Kentucky has become the second worst in the state's history. Some officials are saying power could be out as long as 7-10 days.

Chris Evans, editor of The Crittenden Press, reported that not only are power lines down, but poles have also fallen under the sheer weight of the ice.

Although more lost power in the wake of Hurricane Ike (an approximate 600,000 compared with the 525,000 impacted by this storm), Gov. Steve Beshear said this ice storm is “more dire and potentially life threatening” because so many people could be without power in temperatures that are expected to stay below freezing until Sunday.

More than 500 members of the Kentucky National Guard have been activated in support of relief efforts in the wake of the current winter storm emergency.

Soldiers are currently in 27 counties across the commonwealth, supporting Kentucky Department of Transportation personnel and utility companies in clearing debris from roadways and powerlines.

In addition, troops are helping transport critical personnel, equipment and supplies (such as bottled water) where travel conditions are hazardous. This mission includes transporting kidney dialysis patients to treatment centers.

Posted by Matthew T. Patton

State of Emergency: Historic Power Outage in Wake of Ice Storm

No Phones, No Electricity, No Internet Means Western Kentucky Essentially "Off the Grid"

PHOTO: Ice-encrusted tree limbs like this these near Dycusburg will hamper the efforts of power companies trying to restore electricity. Crittenden County residents report that cracking limbs pierce the air like popping gunfire as they snap. Photo courtesy of Michelle Henderson.

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear is asking President Obama for a federal emergency disaster declaration to deal with widespread power outages and cleanup from a powerful winter storm that hammered Kentucky.

An approximate 525,000 residents remain without electricity in Kentucky. More than 68 counties of Kentucky's 120 are operating under a state of emergency.

What does this mean for you? If you have tried to call Western Kentucky from out of state, you might get a busy signal or hear a message saying: "Due to technical difficulties, we are unable to complete your call at this time. Please try your call again later." All incoming and outgoing phone, including cell, and Internet communication has come to a halt.

If you have loved ones in Crittenden County, the National Guard is assisting those who need help. Several who sought warm shelter slept at the Crittenden County courthouse.

The printed version of The Crittenden Press was delivered today from the Crittenden Press offices from the printers. Of course, there's no way to deliver the newspaper and all retail locations are closed during this catastrophic emergency.

Please continue to monitor this blog for further updates.

Posted by Matthew T. Patton

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Power outages continue to rise

Precipitation continues to fall as nightfall sets in on Crittenden County and more and more homes are losing power. At 4 p.m., the power company Kenergy reported that 13,000 customers were without power in its service area, including 2,222 in Crittenden County.

We have no report from the power company Kentucky Utilities which serves a portion of Crittenden County and much of the City of Marion. However, their crews were seen out working today in the area and we know of their customers who are without power.

The Crittenden County outage number has continued to climb all day long as lines have been damaged by falling trees and the weight of ice. The outages are expected to climb higher overnight.

Customers can expect a long period without power.

Here is a breakdown of Kenergy power outages per county:

Caldwell 282
Crittenden 2,222
Daviess 1,815
Hancock 1
Henderson 150
Hopkins 2,414
Livingston 18
Lyon 1,644
McLean 711
Ohio 2,563
Union 129
Webster 1,051

Marion Baptist Church cancellations

Tuesday, January 27, 2009 – NO UPWARD Practice

Wednesday, January 28, 2009 – NO Mission Possible
NO Children’s Musical at 6:00 pm
NO Prayer/Devotional Service at 6:30 pm
NO Adult Choir Practice at 7:00 pm

Judge Brown declares state of emergency

Crittenden County Judge-Executive Fred Brown has declared a state of emergency in Crittenden County due to the ice storm that started early Tuesday and continues to fall into the afternoon.

Brown said the Red Cross, National Guard and other state agencies will be the county's disposal due to the declaration.

Gov Steve Beshear announced at 1:30 p.m., that he was declaring a state of emergency statewide in Kentucky.

Judge Brown opened the county courthouse to anyone needing a warm shelter overnight Tuesday and said it would stay open as long as current conditions necessitate. He said anyone seeking refuge in the courthouse should bring blankets, sleeping bags, cots and/or chairs. No items of that sort will be available he said.

Update on Kenergy power outages

Approximately 6,700 Kenergy customers are without power due to ice damage as of 1 p.m., Tuesday.

Breakdown by counties:
Caldwell 901
Crittenden 315
Daviess 636
Henderson 2
Hopkins 1,661
Lyon 1,339
McLean 651
Muhlenburg 7
Ohio 1,224
Webster 15

ICE STORM 2009: Here we go again

An mix of snow, freezing rain and sleet hammered Crittenden County starting at about 2 a.m., Tuesday morning. Local power outages were already in the hundreds by 8 a.m., in the rural parts of the county. Lines were down in the Mexico community and power company Kenergy was reporting 3,008 homes without electricity in its service area, including 248 in Crittenden. Farther west, thousands are without power in Graves, Marshall and other counties. 

Here is a list of Kenergy power outages in the area as of 7:40 a.m.:
Caldwell 10
Crittenden 248
Daviess 2
Hopkins 1330
Lyon 10
McLean 875
Muhlenburg 7
Ohio 523
Webster 3

Crittenden County schools were out Tuesday and there will likely be no classes Wednesday and perhaps longer. The high school basketball games scheduled for Tuesday were postponed.

Fit Camp with Serena Dickerson was cancelled Tuesday and the circuit clerk's office was not open in the courthouse. Most of the other county offices were open and skeleton crews were manning most businesses in town.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Crittenden schools closed Tuesday

School for Tuesday is cancelled in Crittenden County.

KYEM says winter storm could be deadly

State and local officials continue preparing as a major winter storm approaches the Commonwealth.

Representatives from the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management (KYEM), and other state and local officials participated in conference calls with National Weather Service offices in Paducah and Louisville today, discussing the impending winter weather system. 

Weather predictions range from the possibility of up to one half inch of ice in the far western part of the state, and one inch along the Kentucky Tennessee border, up to five to 10 inches of snow and ice in the Bluegrass and northern portions of the state. The winter weather is expected to enter Kentucky after dark and continue through Tuesday and much of Wednesday morning before tapering off.

"This is a very dangerous storm," said Buddy Rogers, public information officer for KYEM. "According to reports from the National Weather Service, it has the potential to be a deadly storm. The best advice I can give you, is stay home with your family, don't travel and be aware - be prepared."

Road conditions throughout the state can be found on the Kentucky Department of Transportation's Web site at, or by calling 511 in Kentucky or 1-866-737-3767 for out-of-state callers.

Stay tuned to the Breaking News Blog for school closing information and other community news when the winter weather hits.

Weather Service issues warning for KY

Forecasters have issued weather warnings for all of Kentucky as frozen precipitation moves into the state.

Although school was open in Crittenden County, classes were dismissed Monday across a broad area from east of Louisville through the Bluegrass region and the coal fields of eastern Kentucky.

The National Weather Service posted an ice storm warning for southern counties from the Mississippi River to just west of Somerset. Forecasters expect two found of freezing rain, the first beginning Monday evening. Total accumulations of ice could range from a half-inch to 2 inches. Crittenden County is expected to be on the fringe of the worst weather, but frozen precipitation of some sort is virtually guaranteed.

A winter storm warning was issued for the rest of the state, with a mixture of snow, sleet and freezing rain.

The Weather Service said the heaviest accumulations are expected north of a line from Cape Girardeau, Mo., to Owensboro. Between 5 and 10 inches of frozen precipitation are likely.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Area deaths

Donnie Lee Ramage, 67, of Salem, died Thursday, Jan. 22, 2009 at his home. Boyd Funeral Directors in Salem is in charge of arrangements.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Whitfield votes to hold bailout funds

Ed Whitfield was one of the five Kentucky Congressmen to vote for a measure that would keep the remaining half of the $700 billion bailout in the government's hands.

Whitfield, who represents western Kentucky, voted "yes" this week on a resolution that would deny the Department of Treasury the authority to spend the remaining $350 billion of the Troubled Asset Relief Program approved in October by both houses. Whitfield also voted against the measure then. John Yarmuth, a Democrat, was the only Kentucky congressman to oppose the resolution this week.

The resolution passed 270-155 with bipartisan support. House members from both sides of the aisle have been under pressure from constituents to oppose releasing the money. Whitfield, a Hopkinsville Republican, argued, among other things, that the initial package did not hold financial institutions accountable enough to the American people.

“While I believe that the government must do what it can to create new jobs and revitalize our economy, we must have proper oversight measures in place before moving forward with any new spending,” he said in a news release. “The careless manner in which the first half of these TARP funds was spent demonstrates that we simply cannot hand the Treasury Department a blank check at taxpayers’ expense."

Despite passage of the resolution, the money is effectively made available to President Barack Obama's administration because the Senate last week shot down the resolution.

Road treatments precautionary

If you're wondering why highways crews are pretreating roads with brine despite springlike weather conditions Friday, it's because of what's looming.

There is a chance of some icy or snowy weather early next week and highway departments don't commonly work on weekends. So, they're getting a jumpstart on the potential bad weather which may prevent overtime work on Saturday or Sunday.

Temperatures are predicted to start falling Saturday. Click her for forecast.

Lady Rockets lose in All A semifinal

Crittenden County's Lady Rocket basketball team lost in overtime 67-59 to University Heights in the semifinal round of the All A Classic Tournament Thursday at Eddyville.

UHA advances to the championship against favored Caldwell County.

Crittenden's boys were eliminated earlier in the week by tournament favorite Lyon County.

Lady Rocket newcomer Laken Tabor, a transfer from Marshall County, made her debut in the contest. She scored two 3-pointers.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

State police solve Deer Creek break-in

Kentucky State Police have solved the Deer Creek Church burglary that occurred Dec. 12.

Two individuals have been arrested in connection with the case after officers discovered some of the items allegedly stolen from the church in an Evansville pawn shop.

Arrested were Gary J. Tabor, 23, of Burna and a juvenile.

The Crittenden Press printed edition will have more details next week.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Free help offered with college financial aid

Prospective and current college students can get free help with their college financial aid application at College Goal Sunday at 2 p.m., in the Byrnes Auditorium at Madisonville Community College Health Campus, 750 N. Laffoon St.

Professionals from Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA) and MCC Financial Aid office will provide free assistance to students and families completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Students must complete the FAFSA to be considered for any type of financial aid—including student loans, work-study, grants, or scholarships.

Students should bring a completed copy of their 2008 IRS 1040 tax return and any other 2008 income and benefits information, including their parents’ tax returns. If families haven’t completed their taxes, financial aid professionals will be able to help fill out the rest of the FAFSA form and give instructions on the financial portion. Students who attend College Goal Sunday can enter a drawing for a scholarship to be used at any Kentucky institution.

For more information on applying for financial aid, contact the MCC Financial Aid Office at 821-2250.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

News stories for this week's edition

The Crittenden Press printed edition will be on newsstands Wednesday afternoon. The Press is following several stories that have developed over the past week, including the arrest of a former western Kentucky police officer who fled the scene of a traffic stop over the weekend and a series of field and grass fires that kept emergency personnel busy Saturday.

In other news, there are some changes in store at the Crittenden County Courthouse now that the Extension service is moving across the street. The PVA, sheriff's Department and PACS will each benefit from more space in the courthouse.

Stay tuned for more on these and other stories in this week's Crittenden Press.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Area deaths

Laura Andrews, 59, of Marion died Sunday at Western Baptist Hospital in Paducah. Gilbert Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Carolyn Ann Peek, 60, died at Saturday, Jan. 17, 2009 at her residence. Boyd Funeral Directors in Salem are in charge of arrangements.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

High winds stoke flames in Marion & beyond

UPDATE: Cold, dry weather mixed with high winds created a tinderbox in western Kentucky this weekend. 

Firemen were busy all day Saturday fighting field fires in Marion, near Smithland, between Tolu and Salem and near Eddyville. 

Firemen from Crittenden County and Tolu were dispatched to the brush fire on Ky. 838 at midday.

Later, four fire departments (Mattoon, Marion, Shady Grove and Crittenden County) battled a grass fire that threatened several homes and destroyed an outbuilding and other property in the city limits of Marion between U.S. 641 and Hillcrest Subdivision above it. Pictures above right is a barn that was destroyed by the blaze. The photo was taken by a neighbor, Dennis Walker, and submitted online.

After frigid temperatures that reached zero in some places late last week, the warmup has begun in Crittenden County. Despite warmer temps, in the high 30s Saturday, brisk winds continued gusting between 25-30 mph on Saturday, creating fire hazards.

Weekend lows were predicted in the mid 20s and next week highs will be in the upper 40s.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Pilgrim on journey of faith

Traveling along the highway in the last few days, many drivers may have noticed a bearded man bundled in a bright yellow coat with a staff in his hand and ram's horn and scarf around his neck. Some no doubt, have wondered who this man may be and what he is doing.

Mark Mills expects the question, but in walking nearly 1,000 miles from Frankfort west to Louisville and then around the state's edge in clockwise direction, he found Marion this week to be one of the most hospitable areas. He's not a vagrant or transient, but a pilgrim for Christianity.

Mills arrived in Marion mid-week in his four-month trek around Kentucky, blowing the shofar around his neck every 30 minutes and when he reaches a county seat. And that scarf around his neck is actually a prayer shawl.

He says he was called by God to travel around Kentucky on a mission to generate awareness of the Christian faith and pray for the city, county and state leaders along the way. A "prayer walk" he calls it. It's also a mission to continue his evangelism and further his faith in the Spirit.

While next week will find Mills near Owensboro on his journey, the next edition of The Crittenden Press will bring you the full story of one man's effort to bring a state together in difficult times. Meantime, find more about the trip at

Thursday, January 15, 2009

McConnell reverses on financial bailout

Just a few months after approving an unprecedented bailout of the nation's financial institutions, Kentucky's senior senator voted to keep the final $350 billion of the aid from the sector it was intended to help.

Mitch McConnell voted "yes" today in the senate on a resolution that would have blocked the second half of a $700 billion bailout of the country's faltering financial sector. He had voted to approve the aid package last fall, but was one of 33 Republicans who voted to keep the money from becoming a part of President-elect Barack Obama's planned stimulus package.

The resolution passed, however, 52-42 with Kentucky Sen. Jim Bunning joining two others in abstaining. Bunning initially voted against the $700 billion bailout.

Obama has pledged $100 billion of the new monies to help homeowners facing foreclosure. House Democrats are also backing the 44th-president-to-be's $825 billion economic stimulus plan that will include $275 billion in tax cuts and increased government spending for infrastructure, education and health care.

Area deaths

Pauletta Frankaline Hill, 83, of Marion died Wednesday, Jan. 14 at Salem Springlake Health and Rehab Center. Gilbert Funeral Home in Marion is in charge of arrangements.

Jackie Cosby, 63, of Marion died Wednesday at Crittenden County Hospital. Gilbert Funeral Home in Marion is in charge of arrangements.

Dennis D. Croft, 91, of Salem died Thursday, Jan. 15 at Livingston Hospital. Boyd Funeral Directors are in charge of arrangements.

Caldwell basketball coach arrested

Former Caldwell County and Western Kentucky University basketball standout Michael Frailex was arrested by Kentucky State Police today. The 35-year-old Frailex, a Caldwell County teacher and head coach for the boys' basketball team, was charged with 12 counts of attempting to obtain a controlled substance by fraud in Crittenden, Livingston, Lyon and McCracken counties.

According to state police, on Dec. 30, a local physician contacted the authorities to report that a patient might be “doctor shopping” to obtain controlled substances. An investigation by detectives from the Madisonville and Mayfield posts revealed that the Fredonia man had been receiving hydrocodone, a narcotic pain reliever, on a routine basis from January of 2006 through December of 2008. Frailex was arrested at the school, according the police report.

Doctor shopping is the practice of trying to obtain prescriptions for drugs from numerous physicians over a short period.

Fraliex was lodged in the Crittenden County Jail. The investigation is continuing.

Arctic blast hits county

The mercury in Crittenden County dipped to the lowest mark in more than three years today, with a low of 3 degrees predicted for tonight. Residents woke up to temperatures in the single digits, while ponds and streams came to a standstill overnight with a coating of ice.

The frigid air is part of a weather system that has put most of the Midwest in a deep-freeze. On an otherwise beautiful day, the temperature in downtown Marion was a 14 degrees at 1 p.m., according to the monitor at Peoples Bank.

The high temperature on Friday is not expected to leave the 20s, but Saturday's high should reach the mid-40s.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Kentucky mining deaths quadruple in 2008

For the ninth time since 1996, Kentucky led the nation in mining deaths.

Over the last decade, Kentucky has become one of the most dangerous places to work in the mines. After a record low two fatalities in 2007, Kentucky followed up by once again leading the nation in mining deaths. It's the ninth time since 1996 that the state has been either tied for most deaths or held the dubious spot on its own.

Nine mining fatalities were reported in the Bluegrass State last year, more than any other state in the nation. West Virginia followed with eight deaths. The rise in Kentucky mining deaths occurred even as United States mining deaths fell last year to 51 as compared to 2007 when 67 were killed in the industry.

The report on mining deaths was released last week by the U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration.

“Although these numbers demonstrate continuing improvements at our nation’s mines, they also represent significant loss to the families and friends of 51 miners,” Richard E. Stickler, acting assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health, stated in a Jan. 9 release on MSHA's Web site.

Kentucky and West Virginia combined for 16 of the 22 coal mining deaths in 2008. Kentucky also recorded one of the 22 fatalities in other types of mines, such as copper and stone. In 2007, the nationwide number of fatalities at coal and other types of mines were higher at 33 and 34, respectively. 

Two of the 2008 coal mining fatalities in Kentucky were in District 10, which oversees about 30 operational mines in western Kentucky. Both occurred at the Warrior Coal LLC preperation plant in Hopkins County. The deaths were recorded on March 9 and Dec. 11. Since 1999, only nine have died as a result of mishaps at western Kentucky mines. 

But mining deaths continue to plague both Kentucky and West Virginia. In 2006, Kentucky had 17 fatalities, second only to the Mountaineer State's 23. Since 1996, according to MSHA data, the two states have combined for more than a quarter of the nation's 931 mining deaths. West Virginia recorded 128, Kentucky 125. Last month, Len Peters, Kentucky's Energy and Environment Secretary said the state would not be able to afford the number of inspectors it would take to implement a plan to inspect mines six times a year.

Coal was first discovered in what is now Kentucky in 1701. Thousands have died in Kentucky mines since that time, but mining deaths have been recorded by MSHA only since the early 20th century. Kentucky has averaged nine mining deaths annually since 1996.

Mickey Travis was the last known Crittenden Countian to die in a mining accident. He was killed Aug. 19, 2002, at a Warrior Coal mine in Hopkins County.

CCES student wins regional contest

A student at Crittenden County Elementary School has won a regional trash sculpture contest.

For the second year, Ellie Grace McGowan, a CCES first-grader, took top honors among her age group in the annual Regional Recycling Corporation contest. McGowan, 6, also took first place in Crittenden County.

School-age children in western Kentucky are invited each year to submit sculptures made of what would otherwise be trash. Twelve winners in each county are selected by judges, with the top three automatically entered in the regional contest. 

All winners receive cash prizes, which will be awarded at Tuesday's board of education meeting at the high school.

McGowen is the daughter of Lowell and Mollie McGowan of Fredonia. More can be found on The Times Leader's Web site.

FSA office down to last days

Crittenden County's Farm Service Agency office has only two more days remaining before services are moved to Salem as part of nationwide downsizing of USDA operations.

Friday will be the last day the Marion service center is staffed, though the relocation to the Salem office has already begun. Desks, fixtures, even wall calendars have been moved as office staff continue packing today. But producers in Crittenden County should still contact the Marion office until Friday for questions or information regarding FSA programs.

Beginning Tuesday of next week the consolidation will be complete, and all Crittenden County services will be conducted out of the Salem office. The Salem office will be closed Monday due to Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

All current files will be maintained in the Livingston County office beginning next week, but producers may choose offices in Morganfield, Princeton, Dixon or Madisonville as their new service center. Contact the Salem service center at 988-2180 to begin the process of transferring files to another office.

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and Crittenden County Water and Soil Conservation District will maintain operations at the Marion office on East Bellville Street.

Courthouse warming center open this week

Due to the extremely cold weather forecast for the next couple of days, Judge-Executive Fred Brown said the Crittenden County Courthouse will be open throughout the night Wednesday (Jan. 14) and Thursday (Jan. 15).

Anyone needing a warm place to seek refuge from the predicted single-digit temperatures and frigid wind chills will have access to the courthouse hallways all night long. Individual offices will not be open but restrooms will be accessible.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

KU Reaches Settlement with Parties in Rate Case

This is a news release from Kentucky Utilities:

LOUISVILLE, Ky., – Louisville Gas and Electric Company, Kentucky Utilities Company, the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office, the Kentucky Industrial Utilities Customers, Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, The Kroger Company and the low-income advocates have reached a settlement agreement in the LG&E/KU rate cases. The settlement will be formally presented at the hearing this morning at the Kentucky Public Service Commission in Frankfort.

The settlement means that electric customers of LG&E and KU will likely enjoy rate reductions beginning Feb. 6. For typical KU residential customers, using 1,000 kWh, the proposed reduction is 60 cents per month and for typical LG&E residential customers the proposed reduction is expected to be $1 per month. A typical LG&E residential gas customer, using 70 ccf, is expected to see an increase of $5.10 per month.

“Settling these cases is the right decision,” said Vic Staffieri, Chairman, CEO and President of E.ON U.S., the parent company of LG&E and KU. “As with any negotiation, there is give and take on both sides. In this case, while we continue to believe our original requests were reasonable, the differences between the parties were significant. The settlement allows for a modest reduction in residential electric customers’ bills while allowing us to recover some of our costs for improvements to our natural gas system.”

As previously noted, as a result of the companies’ filing for base rates and their subsequent implementation, customers will no longer see the merger surcredit or the value delivery credits on their bill. The value delivery credit ended in August and the merger surcredit will disappear when the new rates go into effect.

“I can reassure customers, however, that this settlement will not affect our reliability or service levels,” said Staffieri.

The settlement agreement is still subject to KPSC review and approval.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Authorities investigating burglaries

A series of burglaries in Crittenden, Union and Caldwell counties have authorities scrambling for clues and extending patrols in rural areas.

Three burglaries since the first of the year have been concentrated in the northeast section of the county. Other break-ins in Caldwell and Union counties have also been reported.
The circumstances have been largely the same in case with intruders breaking down doors at homes during daylight hours while owners were at work or away from the home. Guns and money appear to be the primary targets of the burglars.

Crittenden County Sheriff Wayne Agent encourages residents to be vigilant. Pay attention to strange vehicles and get license numbers if you have reason to be suspicious. To report tips, call 965-3500. Stay tuned for more details in The Crittenden Press printed edition this week.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Interviews with Crittenden coaches & players

Listen to podcast interviews below with Crittenden County basketball coaches and players following the Lady Rockets' and Rockets' victories over Livingston Central Friday, Jan. 9.

Pictured at right is Crittenden's Misty Wallace making the game-tying shot that sent the girls' contest into overtime Friday against Livingston. Photo by ReeseBaker.Com.

Interviews with Lady Rocket Coach Shannon Hodge, senior forward Jessica Cozart, Rocket coach Rob Towery and Rocket senior guard Cody Holzer.

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Rockets host Livingston Central tonight

Crittenden County's boys' and girls' basketball teams host arch-rival Livingston Central in a doubleheader tonight at Rocket Arena. 

The girls' game starts at 6 p.m. Boys play the second game.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Ferry closed due to high winds

The Cave in Rock Ferry across the Ohio Rivers was shut down early this afternoon due to high winds. Kentucky Transportation Cabinet spokesman Keith Todd said the winds will likely keep the ferry closed until dark, when the winds are forecast to subside.

The ferry connects Ky. 91 in Crittenden County to Ill. 1 on the other side of the river.

The ferry normally operates from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days days a week. The ferry carries about 500 vehicles across the Ohio River in an average day.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

2008 ends with 2 county traffic fatalities

Kentucky's road were a lot safer in 2008, as were the more than 400 miles of roadways in Crittenden County. Only two traffic fatalities occurred in the county in 2008, down significantly from the five killed in 2007.

John Stuart Baker Jr., of Florida died Jan. 17 in a one-vehicle accident on U.S. 60 east of Marion after fleeing police in a stolen vehicle from Louisville. On Sept. 26, Teddie Davenport, 56, of Dycusburg became the second fatality when he died four days after an accident on Ky. 295 south of Dycusburg.

Across Kentucky, the number of traffic fatalities was down from the previous year. Only 816 were reported killed on Kentucky roads during 2008, as compared to 864 in 2007. In fact, 2008 deaths were the fewest since 791 in 1994. So far in 2009, only four people had been killed on roadways through Jan. 5.

This story was among the top 10 news stories from 2008 in Crittenden County, according to The Crittenden Press' annual look back at the year that was. A recap of this year's top stories can be found this week's edition of the newspaper.

Also on tap for this week, Marion police are investigating a break-in at a Marion pharmacy, users of the USDA Farm Service Agency in Marion and the office of Rural Development in Paducah will soon have to make treks to new locations to conduct business, a Crittenden County couple is recovering from the loss of their home to a fire, the U.S. Census Bureau is looking for local workers and a 43-year fixture at The Peoples Bank has retired. Also, the first Crittenden Press of 2009 will take a look back at those we lost in 2008.

Intruders break in at CVS

Marion Police Department was investigating a break-in at CVS early Tuesday morning.

An alarm alerted police of the attempted burglary at about 1 a.m. The suspects were apparently scared away by the alarm. At first inspection, there appeared to have been nothing taken.

The store opened on schedule this morning at 9 a.m., however, workers were still trying to clean up the mess. The intruders came in from duct work in the ceiling, causing a great deal of damage.

Pictured is shift supervisor Gretchen Jamison looking at the hole in the ceiling where the would-be burglars gained entry to the store.

The Crittenden Press will have more details on this case in this week's printed edition due out Wednesday afternoon.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Here's one for the hunters...

Perhaps the largest elk ever produced in the wild — a Utah bull taken in 2008 by a hunter on public land — has been confirmed as a new World’s Record. The official declaration was made Friday by the Boone and Crockett Club of Missoula, Mont.

A special judges panel determined a final score of 478-5/8 B&C non-typical points, an incredible 93-plus inches above the Boone and Crockett minimum score of 385 for non-typical American elk, and more than 13 inches larger than the previous World’s Record.

It is the only elk on record with a gross score approaching the 500-inch mark, at 499-3/8. Official data dates back to 1830.

The giant bull has 9 points on the left antler and 14 points on the right. The larger antler has a base circumference topping 9 inches.

“Along with measurements that honor the quality of the animal, Boone and Crockett Club records also honor fair-chase hunting,” said Eldon Buckner, chairman of the Club’s Records of North American Big Game committee. “Through our entry process, signed affidavits and follow-up interviews with the hunter, his guides, and state and federal officials, we were satisfied that this bull was indeed a wild, free-ranging trophy and that the tenets of fair chase were used in the harvest.”

The hunter, Denny Austad of Ammon, Idaho, hunted the Monroe Mountain District in south-central Utah. Hunting with a self-designed rifle, Austad took the bull on Sept. 30, 2008. He hunted for 13 days before connecting with the trophy, dubbed “spider bull” for its unique antler configuration.

For details, visit

Ice skating in Paducah

Paducah Parks & Recreation's Ice Skating Rink in downtown Paducah has been a big hit this winter. The rink was supposed to close for the season last weekend, but due to popularity, it's now open for the remainder of January. Cost is just $5 per person and it's a wonderful time for kids and adults alike.

Pictured are some Crittenden County skaters enjoying New Year's Day at the Paducah rink. They are (from left) Lauren Beavers, Kaitlin Maynard, Audry Hunt and Lauren Hunt.

The blue milk crates are simplistic aids to help novice ice skaters learn their balance before taking off alone. The crates act as a walker type assistant. After a few minutes, skaters are generally able to glide along on their own. Here's a tip, lace up the skates very tightly on your feet.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Bobcats preliminary schedule released

Marion will open the 2009 KIT League season on the road, rekindling the hottest rivalry from the team’s first foray into the summer collegiate baseball league, if last week’s preliminary league schedule holds true. The team would also spend 31 of its 50 games at the friendly confines of Gordon B. Guess Field.

But several tweaks and changes will be needed before the first pitch is thrown, cautions League Commissioner Randall Morgan.

“This is an imperfect schedule; just a start for getting the final one done,” he said. “It will work out.”

According to the early schedule, the Bobcats begin play May 29 with a three-game series at Tradewater and will face the Pirates seven times in the team’s first 23 games. Marion will host all but three of the 10 games against Tradewater in 2009, according to the posted schedule.

To read more and to link to the entire league schedule, visit

Friday, January 2, 2009

PSC to hear comments on KU rate request

The Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) will hold its second in a series of public meetings Tuesday in western Kentucky to receive comments on the requests for rate increases by Louisville Gas and Electric Co. (LG&E) and Kentucky Utilities Co. (KU).

“These meetings offer an opportunity for the ratepayers who would be affected by any increases to speak directly to the commissioners,” PSC Chairman David Armstrong said. “We look forward to hearing those comments.’”

Tuesday's meeting will be in the health campus auditorium of Madisonville Community College, 750 N. Laffoon St, at 5:30 p.m. Other meetings will be Monday in Louisville, Thursday in Middlesboro and Jan. 12 in Lexington.

The application and related documents are available on the PSC Web site, The case numbers are 2008-00251 (KU) and 2008-00252 (LG&E).

KU and LG&E are seeking to increase revenue from electricity sales by about 2 percent. An average KU residential customer would see an increase of $4.50 in his or her monthly bill, while the average monthly bill for an LG&E electric customer would increase by $5.20. LG&E is also asking for an increase of nearly 6 percent in gas revenues, which would increase the average monthly residential bill by about $11.

Persons wishing to comment on the proposed increases may do so at the meetings. Depending on the number of people wishing to speak, the length of oral comments may be limited.                                         

Written comments also will be accepted at the meetings. Written comments also may be mailed to the PSC at P.O. Box 615, Frankfort, KY 40602, faxed to (502) 564-9625 or e-mailed from the PSC Web site.

The evidentiary hearing in the case will be held at the PSC offices in Frankfort beginning Jan. 13. It will be open to the public, but there will be only limited opportunity for public comments. Written comments will be accepted through the conclusion of the hearing.
The PSC is an independent agency attached for administrative purposes to the Energy and Environment Cabinet. It regulates more than 1,500 gas, water, sewer, electric and telecommunication utilities operating in Kentucky and has approximately 100 employees.

Area deaths

Steven Wayne Perryman, 63, of Leesburg, Fla., formerly of Marion, died Saturday, Dec. 27, 2008 at his home. Gilbert Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Prentis “Pat” Evitts, 67, of Salem died Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2008 at Livingston Hospital & Healthcare Services. Myers Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.