Saturday, February 28, 2009

Paul Harvey, 90, dies


Popular radio personality Paul Harvey died Saturday at the age of 90.

His death was announced on ABC Radio Networks where Harvey and his Rest of the Story became a legend of the airwaves over the last six decades. 

Lady Rockets play Christian County in region

Crittenden County's girls basketball team will play Christian County in the first round of the Second Region tournament Tuesday at Madisonville. Tip off is at 7:30 p.m.

See complete Second Region Bracket.


Wild Game Supper tonight at Mexico Baptist

Mexico Baptist Church in the Mexico Community of rural Crittenden County will host its annual Wild Game Supper tonight starting at  p.m. The event is free and open to the public. It drew more than 300 people last year and is growing annually.

There are prizes and giveaways and lots of entertainment, including a devotional period.

Click here to see some photographs from recent Wild Game Suppers.

Friday, February 27, 2009

President's Stimulus Watch Web Site

For all of you who don't get enough of this stuff on CNN, MSNBC or Fox, here's a Web site that lists in detail money the State of Kentucky is getting for various projects around the commonwealth.

Here is the link: Stimulus Watch.

Good luck finding anything for Marion. Go to the very bottom right links to access additional pages.

Kenergy lineman injured on job

Kenergy lineman Donnie Hunt of Marion was injured working on high voltage power lines Friday.

He was taken to Western Baptist where he was treated. Hunt was then sent to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville as a precautionary measure.

He was reportedly alert and doing well despite his injuries.




Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lady Rockets fall in overtime

Crittenden County's girls' basketball team lost 51-46 to Trigg County Thursday night at Cadiz in the championship game of the Fifth District Basketball Tournament.

Both teams will advance to next week's Second Region Tournament at Madisonville. Trigg County went into the four-team district tournament this week as the fourth seed. Crittenden was the No. 2 seed.

Crittenden was trying to win its first district title since 1984.

Jessi Hodge and Jessica Cozart were named to the All-District Team.



Livingston courthouse included in review

Kentucky's Supreme Court chief justice wants to look at the state's continuing courthouse construction program to ensure the building has been in compliance with administrative procedures and state laws, The Associated Press reported today.

On that list of courthouse projects is the new justice center in Livingston County, though there is no indication that any procedures or laws were bypassed to have the Smithland facility built.

While not pointing to any specific project, Chief Justice John D. Minton wants to review the $880 million worth of projects after a story in the Lexington Herald-Leader question the court system's bonding practices to fun the building. The AP reports the state's Administrative Office of the Court will hire an attorney to conduct the review.

State clearing right-of-ways


State crews are clearing the right-of-ways in Crittenden County. Here a crew is removing storm damaged trees and limbs from the edge of Ky. 70 in the Mexico Community.

The Kentucky Department of Highways reminds motorist to use caution and slow down in areas where crews are working. Short delays can also be expected where highways are down to one lane of traffic.

New Kentucky highway maps released

The 2009 Kentucky Official Highway Map is now being distributed by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to welcome centers, rest areas and state parks across the commonwealth. It is also available for download in various formats.

The popular folding map features the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. It also encourages travelers to embark upon Kentucky’s many scenic and informational driving tours, including the BikeWalk.ky.gov bicycle route that runs through Crittenden County. The map also features Kentucky's only free Ohio River ferry at Cave In Rock, Ill., and the Marion-Crittenden County Airport. 

Conspicuously missing from the map, however, is the proposed new U.S. 641 route from Marion to Eddyville. The prospective corridor, for which land purchase and design work has already begun, does not appear on the 2009 version of the official highway map as in previous editions. However, no other proposed routes – such as Interstates 66 and 69 – appear on the new map.

"The decision was made to remove proposed highway projects on the new map to reduce confusion for travelers," said Mark Brown of the Transportation Cabinet's office of public affairs.

For spring/summer travel, the map highlights several driving tours across the Bluegrass, including the Country Music Highway, Kentucky Quilt Trail, Kentucky Bourbon Trail, Kentucky Artisan Heritage Trail and Lincoln Heritage Trail.

“Travelers can use this as a great tool for navigation or to plan a trip to one of our beautiful state parks and attractions,” said Commissioner Mike Cooper, Department of Travel. “From Pikeville to Paducah, this map showcases many of Kentucky’s hidden treasures.”

Motorists can find current road conditions for interstates, parkways and major routes by dialing 511 or visiting 511.ky.gov. Toll free numbers for police assistance and roadside emergencies including SAFE Patrol are also included on the new map.

The 2009 edition of Kentucky’s Official Highway map can be viewed at transportation.ky.gov/planning/maps/officialmap/ohm.asp.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

School 'disaster days' bill clears House

A bill that would allow the state to excuse school districts from making up certain days missed because of Tropical Storm Ike last September and the ice storm of 2009 passed the Kentucky House of  Representatives 92-6 today. It will need final passage in the Senate and the governor's signature before Crittenden County school officials begin considering an adjustment to the calendar that currently shows May 28 as the last day for students.

House Bill 322, sponsored by Rep. Mike Cherry (D-Princeton), was amended by the House to permit, rather than require, the state education commissioner to excuse up to 10 “disaster days” from school districts' calendars in counties identified as federal disaster areas at the local school board’s request. The original bill would have required a waiver from the commissioner, who would also be allowed to waive up to 10 disaster days in districts that were not designated federal disaster areas.

In Crittenden County, one of the counties declared a federal disaster area related to both weather events, the board of education on Tuesday evening amended its school calendar to account for the 13 days already missed during the 2008-09 academic year. Three of those days have already been covered by extra time built into the school calendar. A variety of methods have been used to account for the remaining 10 days missed because of the winter storm, including tacking days onto the end of the original calendar that would have sent students home for the summer on May 15.

But Superintendent Dr. Rachel Yarbrough said earlier today, before learning that the bill cleared the House, that the district might seek to cash in on at least a portion of those allowed disaster days, if the legislation becomes law. If all 10 days were used, the last day of school could be May 14, one day earlier than initially scheduled.

However, it did not appear from discussion at Tuesday's meeting that the local board of education would seek the full 10-days if a waiver request were made.

Soccer meeting is Tuesday for registration

All parents of children participating in the Crittenden County Youth Soccer Association's spring league are encouraged to attend at meeting at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday in the second-floor meeting room of the Coffee Shop. Registration will also be held at that time.

Missing hunters' bodies discovered

The bodies of two missing teenage duck hunters were discovered in Kentucky Lake Tuesday evening.

McKenzie Stanley, 18, and Jacob Scott, 17, had been missing since Jan. 10 when the boat in which they were hunting from sank during a storm. A third hunter, Trevor Williams, 18, also died but his body was soon discovered in the cold waters of the lake. A fourth hunter, Tyler Heathcott, survived the accident.

The first of the two missing teens was discovered around 4:30 p.m., Tuesday. The second around dusk at 6 p.m.

Marshall County Coroner Mitchell Lee confirmed the discovery to The Paducah Sun. 


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Rockets lose in distrct tounament


CCHS boys basketball team lost 70-57 to Trigg County in the opening round of the Fifth District Tournament Tuesday at Cadiz.

Gaige Courtney scored 22 points and finished his career ninth on the boys' all-time scoring list.

Courtney (23) and teammate Casey Oliver (4) are pictured.


Lady Rockets win district tournament opener


Crittenden County's Lady Rocket basketball – on fire recently – beat Lyon County 48-38 in the opening round of the Fifth District Tournament Monday night at Cadiz.

The CCHS girls will play for the district title Thursday against home-standing Trigg County. Both teams have already earned a berth in the Second Region Tournament next week at Madisonville.

See details in this week's printed edition of The Crittenden Press, on newsstands at 3 p.m., Wednesday.

Moore Hill area accident

UPDATE: An auto accident near Moore Hill on U.S. 60 West early Tuesday morning left one driver with a probable broken arm, but no other serious injuries were reported from the two-vehicle accident. Drivers involved in the wreck were Jimmy Watson and Ronnie Newcom, both of Marion.

No other details are available at this time. 



Local men win coyote contest


Jason Brown (pictured) and John Bontrager won the inaugural Coyote Hunting Contest sponsored by Hodge's Sports & Apparel in Marion. The one-day hunt was held Saturday. This week's printed edition of The Crittenden Press chronicles the men's hunt through wind, rain and snow. 

The Press will be on newsstands at 3 p.m., Wednesday.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Hooch found at county jail

An inmate at the Crittenden County Detention Center is facing a felony charge of promoting contraband for allegedly making homemade hooch in his cell.

Court documents say that Gary Justin Tabor, 24, of Marion was allegedly making an alcoholic drink by fermenting fruit cocktail.

Tabor was in jail awaiting a court appearance on a church burglary charge.

See this week's printed edition of The Crittenden Press for more details.


Today's meetings

Crittenden Fiscal Court will meet in special session at 9 a.m., this morning at the courthouse.

Crittenden-Livingston Water District will meet in regular session tonight at 7 p.m., at its headquarters in Salem.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Contractors cleaning debris from along state roads

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet debris removal contractors plan to be working in areas of Crittenden and Livingston counties, according to Keith Todd, a spokesperson for the Cabinet. The will be working along the following listed highways and areas:

Crittenden County: A contractor plans to work along Ky. 70 and Ky. 295 in the Dycusburg area.

Livingston County: Crews plan to work generally in the Grand Rivers, Lake City and Iuka areas along Ky. 917, Ky. 453 and Ky. 866.

Crews are likely to be working in other counties as well, but with the constant addition of crews and constant work flow, there are no specific locations for all crews at this time. These planned work areas are tentative and subject to change due to the amount of debris encountered and may also be altered by weather conditions.

Motorists are reminded to use extra caution as debris removal crews will have lane closures and work zones set up on highways across the region between sunrise and sunset seven days a week.

City not cleaning up prunings; inmates chip in

Twenty-three inmates from Crittenden County Detention Center will join crews tomorrow as the county road department begins removing limbs along rural roads. With the help of the inmates and industrial-size chippers like those employed by the City of Marion this week, according to Shea Holliman, Class D coordinator for the jail, road crews should begin making a dent in the winter storm debris scattered along 360 miles of county right-of-way.

Meantime, Marion City Administrator Mark Bryant said some residents and contractors have been taking undue advantage of the city's ongoing debris removal by placing prunings in piles along curbsides. Bryant said the city is offering free removal of only storm debris from city properties, not cuttings made by residents or contractors to ensure the health of trees. 

"We're not picking up pruned trees," he said Friday. "We're supposed to be removing only what fell."

The city administrator said the city has neither the manpower nor reimbursement assurance from FEMA to begin picking up prunings in addition to limbs torn from trees due to the weight of ice from last month's winter storm.

For trimmings pruned from trees or bushes by residents or contractors to reshape damaged foliage, Bryant is asking that such waste be taken to the city or county brush dump on Mill Street and Bridwell Loop, respectively. Dumping is free and can be made around the clock.

Log truck takes out television


UPDATE: Here is an update to an earlier story posted about the log truck taking down power lines near Mott City (see previous post).

It appears that part of lines damaged in the incident belonged to Mediacom cable television. All cable TV in Marion was out Friday afternoon. 

Mayor Mickey Alexander said the company has told him that cable will off, at least, the rest of the afternoon.

Photo submitted by a motorist.


Gov. Beshear making national TV appearances

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear will be making the national news circuit this weekend, appearing on ABC's "20/20" and live on CNN's coverage of the National Governors Association meeting in Washington, D.C.

The governor, a Dawson Springs native, can be seen on ABC tonight when "20/20" follows up on last Friday's airing of "Children of the Mountains," an ABC documentary hosted by fellow Kentucky native Diane Sawyer. The program airs at 9 p.m.

CNN's coverage of the NGA meeting and a visit with Beshear can be seen at 7:30 p.m., Saturday.

Also, starting this week, Beshear will present video commentaries posted new each Friday on the Kentucky governor's Web site. This week, the first-term Democrat speaks out on Kentucky's budget issues.

KET seeking scenic photos; prize offered

KET’s new special, "Our Kentucky," roams the state from east to west, displaying Kentucky’s scenic beauty in vivid high-definition. KET invites viewers to participate in showcasing the beauty of the Commonwealth by sending in their best Kentucky photos.

Viewers may submit photos of Kentucky scenery or landmarks to the KET Flickr group, through March 15. (Entrants will need a Flickr account to submit photos.) The winner will receive an Apple iPod touch. The winning photo will be featured in Visions, KET’s monthly member magazine
.
Entrants are limited to three photo entries. Only photos featuring Kentucky will be accepted. More information and contest details are available at www.ket.org/ourkentucky.

"Our Kentucky" airs 7 p.m., Feb. 28 on KET1 and KET HD and 6 p.m., March 1 on KET1 as part of TeleFund 2009, KET’s major annual on-air fundraising event.

Livingston County's Lighthouse Landing and Paducah will be featured on the airing of "Our Kentucky" among dozens of other places in Kentucky.

JV game off, Varsity still on

Crittenden County's girls' basketball JV game at Caldwell County has been cancelled. The varsity girls are still playing at 7:30 p.m., at Princeton.


Live wires cause fire on U.S. 641

A log truck's high load of cut timber caught some low hanging utility wires on U.S. 641 near the intersection of Lilly Dale Road just before noon today, pulling down the wires and starting a grass fire.

Utility workers were on the scene.

No one was injured, according to a motorist who reported the accident.


Great photo of President Obama's inaugural


Here is a great panoramic photograph of the inaugural in Washington, D.C., last month.

It's worth opening and looking at. You can zoom in and get a very high-resolution look at this link: Obama Inaugural Photograph.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Special thanks to Matthew T. Patton


Now that the ice has melted, the limbs piled up, we're growing use to our treetops' bur cut and the wind has died down, we at The Crittenden Press Online would like to salute one of the individuals who went above and beyond the call of duty – and goodness knows there were many – during this disaster.

Matthew T. Patton is a Crittenden County native who lives in Pennsylvania. He has maintained a great deal of contact with his homeland. Patton writes a regular column in The Press printed edition called Southern Crittenden News and he also publishes a blog about his hometown of Dycusburg. It can be viewed at http://dycusburg.blogspot.com/. His uncanny ability to stay digitally in touch with western Kentucky was especially useful during the storm-forced power outage.

During the initial phases of the disaster, Patton was our remote correspondent. He kept The Press Online, especially the daily blog, loaded with fresh, accurate information regarding the storm and the community's response. He gathered news and photographs on his own, collected data from various online sources, made phone calls to Crittenden County and answered several from us after we were able to call out and provide him with updated information. 

While we in Marion were without Internet service and electricity, Patton kept the news flowing online. The information he provided in those earliest hours of the storm, was among the most detailed and indeed the only information flowing from Crittenden County. It was an invaluable service at a critical time.

So, here's to you Mr. Patton !
A big ole Crittenden County Saaaaalute !


Southern Baptists offer free chain saw work

The disaster relief teams from the Southern Baptist Convention will be taking work requests for free chain saw work and debris removal for Crittenden County.

Request will be received Feb. 23-28 at Emmanuel Baptist Church located at 108 Hillcrest Dr., in Marion. Emmanuel is in Greenwood Heights behind Bobby Stinnett Auto Sales off U.S. 60 East. Requests will be taken from 9 a.m., to 4 p.m., each day.

Senior adults, people with disabilities and requests with trees on homes or blocking drives will receive priority, but anyone is welcome to make a request for work. If you have any questions call 988-2204.

SBA warns of scam aimed at small businesses

The U.S. Small Business Administration issued a scam alert today to small businesses, warning them not to respond to letters falsely claiming to have been sent by the SBA asking for bank account information in order to qualify them for federal tax rebates.

The fraudulent letters were sent out with what appears to be an SBA letterhead to small businesses across the country, advising recipients that they may be eligible for a tax rebate under the Economic Stimulus Act, and that SBA is assessing their eligibility for such a rebate. The letter asks the small business to provide the name of its bank and account number.

These letters have not been sent by or authorized by the SBA, and all small businesses are strongly advised not to respond to them.

The scheme is similar in many ways to e-mail scams often referred to as “phishing” that seek personal data and financial account information that enables another party to access and individual’s bank accounts or to engage in identity theft.

The SBA is working with the SBA Office of Inspector General to investigate this matter. The Office of Inspector General asks that anyone who receives such a letter report it to the OIG Fraud Line at 1 (800) 767-0385, or e-mail at OIGHotline@sba.gov.

School officials visit Mexico for community input

The school district's next Crittenden County Community Conversation, or C4 Session, is scheduled for 12:30 p.m., next Wednesday at Mexico Baptist Church. This is the third C4 Session conducted by Superintendent Dr. Rachel Yarbrough and the first to visit southern Crittenden County. 

Lunch will be provided for all who attend. This session is a way for community members to learn more about Crittenden County Schools. Board members, the superintendent and other district school leaders will be available for questions and answers. Administrators and board members will also use this meeting to seek input from the community as to how they can best meet the needs of students.

Previous C4 Sessions were held in Marion and Tolu.

Purchase Parkway will be closed this morning

The Purchase Parkway will be closed today between Draffenville and Benton in Marshall County to facilitate the installation of a new power transmission line as part of ongoing ice storm repairs by Jackson Purchase Energy.

The parkway will be closed between Benton and Draffenville starting at 10:00 a.m. Thursday. The parkway is expected to remain closed to all traffic for approximately one hour to allow the utility work.

Traffic will be detoured along U.S. 641 between Draffenville and Benton.



Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Cable customers still be ready for digital TV

Television viewers not ready for the conversion to digital broadcast got a break this week after the federal government pushed back the date for the mandatory switch by stations from analog.

After months of prepping television owners for a nationwide switch from analog broadcast signals to digital, the fed delayed the change until June 12. The original switchover was slated for yesterday, but due in part to the exhausted funds set aside to help Americans purchase converter boxes for analog-only TVs, the move was postponed.

Those still using conventional antennas, or "rabbit ears," to receive signals will still need the converter boxes in order to watch TV beginning June 12. However, cable or satellite subscribers in Crittenden County should already be prepared for digital broadcasts, according to a cable TV spokesperson.

Randy Hollis, a government liaison for Mediacom, said Monday that the cable television company has been set for some time for digital broadcast to begin Feb. 17. The delay should have no effect on its current customers, as subscribers were already equipped for the changeover or have made their receivers digital-ready by renting the necessary equipment from Mediacom.

"As long as you're hooked up to us, you're okay," Hollis said Monday.

The only exception, he pointed out, would be sets for which digital receiver technology has not already been purchased or additional televisions added to a home without the necessary Mediacom equipment. Subscribers within the City of Marion were not required to add any additional technology through Mediacom, though most rural customers in Crittenden County did need to pay an additional monthly fee to rent the necessary equipment for digital reception.

Hollis said several broadcast stations may begin airing in digital before June 12. Mediacom or satellite customers should have no problems, but those still using rabbit ears will no longer be able to receive programming from those stations.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Kimball property closes

Three buyers, including the timber management company Forestland Group of Chapel Hill, N.C., completed closings recently on more than 11,000 acres of property formerly owned by Kimball International. Two other buyers were involved in the deal, too. Details will be published in this week's printed edition of The Crittenden Press.

Also, the City of Marion has axed its plans to build a new firehouse in light of costs associated with cleanup from the recent winter storm and other issues.

Read more about these and find other local news stories in this week's Crittenden Press, on sale at newsstands Wednesday afternoon.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Kenergy Update - Monday

KENERGY NEWS RELEASE - FEBRUARY 16, 2009

“The power restoration effort is almost over for Kenergy. After initially
assessing the storm damage, we predicted that some customers could remain without power for 3-4 weeks. The majority will be on within three,” says Sandy Novick, Kenergy President and CEO.

“There is still a lot of work to be done. Cleanup after a major storm like this will go on for months. There are approximately 500 poles remaining to be replaced, over 2,500 broken poles and more than 1,800 transformers to be disposed of,” adds Novick.

Currently there are less than 900 Kenergy outages. Many of which are oil wells, campgrounds, barns, and garages. It is important for Kenergy members to notify the cooperative once you have repairs to your weather head and/or meter base complete. Also, if you have any further questions regarding the status of your service, please call 1-800-844-4832 or (270) 926-4141.

Kenergy once again would like to thank their membership for their patience and understanding during this difficult time. The community support has been overwhelming and it is greatly appreciated.

Kenergy is a not-for-profit, member-owned electric distribution cooperative, serving customers in all or portions of 14 western Kentucky counties. The corporate headquarters is in Henderson with service centers being located in Owensboro, Hanson, Hartford, Hawesville and Marion.



U.S. 60 closed in Livingston today for 2 hours

Jackson Purchase Energy plans to close U.S. 60 in Livingston County today from approximately noon until about 2:00 p.m.

U.S. 60 will be closed near the 17 mile marker at Dyer Hill Mine Road between Burna and Smithland to allow Jackson Purchase Energy to string new line through an area heavily damaged by the ice storm. 

This closure is near the Dyer Hill Curve and the entrance to Three Rivers Rock Quarry.

Motorists should be aware of this two-hour closure and make advanced alternate travel plans.


Kenergy back to normal hours

Kenergy has resumed normal business hours starting today and will no longer be utilizing its automated outage reporting system.

When members call the Kenergy offices now, they will be routed through switchboard operators to the appropriate personnel, according to Lisa Vincent, communication manager.

The power company, which serves most of Crittenden County, has reported that only a couple dozen homes are still without power in this county.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Area death


Ellie Mae Belt,
84, of Marion, KY. died at 5:38 AM, February 14, 2009 at Crittenden County Health and Rehab. She was a member of Seven Springs Baptist Church. Gilbert Funeral Home in Marion is in charge of arrangements.


Saturday report from Kenergy

Kenergy currently has 1,910 customers remaining without power.

Here's the breakdown by county of Saturday:
Caldwell 13
Crittenden 25
Daviess 192
Hancock 50
Henderson 472
Hopkins 285
Lyon 20
McLean 304
Ohio 236
Union 150
Webster 163

Homecoming Queen and King

Senior Mary Holloman was crowned homecoming queen Friday night at the Crittenden vs. St. Mary basketball game. Senior basketball player Cody Dunham was king. The Rockets and Lady Rockets each won their ballgames.

At halftime of the boys' game, Markeata Brown Daniels and Nicky Brown were inducted in the Farmers Bank and Trust Co., Marion-Crittenden County Basketball Hall of Fame.

If you took photos of the crowning of the queen or hall of fame induction, share them by sending to thepress@the-press.com.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Kenergy Update Friday evening

Kenergy has approximately 4,353 customers remaining without power.

Breakdown by county:
Caldwell 50
Crittenden 135
Daviess 373
Hancock 98
Henderson 639
Hopkins 872
Lyon 284
McLean 395
Ohio 303
Union 819
Webster 385


$787 billion stimulus package almost law

It's all but final. President Barack Obama's $787 billion economic stimulus plan passed the U.S. House of Representatives Friday without a single vote from Republicans and is poised to gain senate approval later tonight.

In a losing effort, Congressman Ed Whitfield and every other Republican in the House of Representatives, as well as seven Democrats, voted against passage of the unprecedented package of spending and tax cuts. The measure sailed through the Democratically-controlled House 246-183 and quickly moved to a senate roll call where it lacks only one vote to reach final approval. That missing vote is expected later tonight when Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown returns from home from his mother's funeral. 

Kentucky GOP Sens. Mitch McConnell and Jim Bunning both voted against the package in the upper chamber, but three moderate Republicans sided with Democrats to reach 59 votes. Brown, a Democrat who has voted for a larger version of the stimulus plan in the past, is expected to send the bill to Obama's desk to become law.

On the House floor, GOP Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner of Ohio charged that the bill gained passage without one member of congress having read the 1,100-page document.

Spring forest fire hazard season starts Sunday

Though Crittenden County's burn ban has been lifted, outdoor burning restrictions start across the state this weekend.

Kentucky law designates Feb. 15 through April 30 as spring forest fire hazard season. During this time, it is illegal to burn anything within 150 feet of any woodland or brushland between the daylight hours of 6 a.m., and 6 p.m. The law is intended to prevent forest fires by allowing outdoor burning only during the time when conditions are less likely to cause a wildfire to spread.

While it is not illegal to burn after 6 p.m., forestry officials say that now is not a good time to do any burning due to the fallen trees and limbs from recent storms.

“The fallen timber will dry out and become fuel for future wildfires,” said Leah MacSwords, director of the Division of Forestry. “We are also concerned about escaped fires caused by residents burning storm debris. Although most people who burn debris do no intend for their fire to get out of control, it frequently happens. Last year, 4,871 acres burned in Kentucky as a result of debris fires that escaped.”

Most of the wildfires in Kentucky are caused by human negligence or by malicious arson; therefore, most wildfires are preventable. To reduce the risk of wildfire, the division recommends the following guidelines:

Debris Burning
  • Clear a safe zone that is wide enough to prevent the escape of fire.
  • Keep a supply of water and a rake or shovel readily accessible.
  • Do not leave a fire unattended.
  • Burn only when the wind is calm and the humidity level is high.
  • Extinguish fire completely if conditions become windy.
  • Keep burn piles small to allow quick control of the fire if necessary.
  • Locate burn piles an adequate distance from structures and utilities.
  • Obey all outdoor burning laws including forest fire laws, air pollution regulations and local ordinances. 

Kenergy contractor injured in Lyon County

A power company contractor working for Kenergy was injured when a utility pole that was being lifted came into contact with a high voltage transmission line in Lyon County.

According to Kenergy President and CEO, Sandy Novick, “The gentleman was immediately taken to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville, where he is reported to be in stable condition. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family at this time."

No further details were available.

A contract lineman working in McCracken died yesterday from injuries he sustained in a fall earlier this week.


Whitfield asks for 100 percent clean up funding

News release from U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield

WASHINGTON – Continuing his efforts to ensure that Kentucky receives the resources and funds that it needs to clean up and rebuild following the ice storms which devastated the region last month, U.S. Representative Ed Whitfield (KY-01) spoke to the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) yesterday to request that the federal government shoulder one hundred percent of the costs for repair and clean up.

“Local governments in Kentucky are already facing significant budget shortfalls this year,” Whitfield said. “The additional financial burden imposed by the ice storms is simply too much for our counties and towns to bear. It is essential that FEMA step up to the plate and ensure that local officials have the funds and resources they need to clean up and rebuild.”

Whitfield spoke to FEMA Acting Administrator Nancy Ward and expressed the dire need for FEMA to pay for one hundred percent of the repair costs from damage which occurred following the initial storm. Administrator Ward told Whitfield that FEMA was still reviewing the request, but that she expected damage assessments to be finalized by next week.

Typically under such circumstances when an emergency is declared, the federal government pays 75 percent of the costs and state and local governments pay the other 25 percent. During the phone call, Whitfield told Administrator Ward that the severity of the storms, which crippled much of the Commonwealth and most of the First Congressional District, warranted FEMA covering the entire costs of clean-up and repair under the emergency declaration. The Congressman is exploring ways to increase the federal cost share for the overall storm clean-up which is expected to take months and a heavy toll on county and city budgets.

Whitfield joined the entire Kentucky Congressional Delegation last week in sending a letter to President Barack Obama asking for this one hundred percent seven-day cost-share, which Governor Steve Beshear previously requested. Whitfield and his staff have continued to be actively involved in recovery efforts, working with FEMA and the Kentucky National Guard. The Congressman has also stayed in close contact with utility companies and emergency workers to make certain that power is fully restored as quickly as possible.


Kenergy power update Friday

Kenergy reports significant progress yesterday. The power company that service much of Crittenden County currently has 5,914 customers without power in its 14-county service area.

While 167 Crittenden County customers remain without electricity, a portion of those reflect outages at hunting camps, well sites, barns and garages. Very few home remain without power at this point, according to local officials.

Kenergy says that it has implemented a 10-day waiver for electrical inspections. In other words, residents can have power restored to their home by the power company and take 10 days to have it inspected. Generally, the inspection must be done before power will be turned on. 

Outage breakdown by counties:

Breckinridge 2
Caldwell 258
Crittenden 167
Daviess 640
Hancock 272
Henderson 758
Hopkins 1,280
Lyon 351
McLean 528
Ohio 358
Union 854
Webster 446

Line worker dies from McCracken fall

A Minnesota utility worker involved in an accident earlier in the week in McCracken County died Thursday at Lourdes Hospital in Paducah. 

Jackson Purchase Energy said 35-year-old Andrew Reichwein died at 8:30 a.m., at Lourdes Hospital. Reichwein was a guest worker from Minnesota. He and a local lineman were working on a power line when both men fell almost 40 feet. 

A 300 pound transformer fell on top of Reichwein, official said.

His death brings the total fatalities from the storm to 36 statewide.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wednesday wind storm cuts power to 150,000

About 54,100 Kentucky electric customers remain without power as the result of a severe wind storm that swept across the state yesterday, according to figures compiled by the Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC).

That number is in addition to the 26,200 customers still without power due to last month’s massive ice storm. Nearly all of those are in western Kentucky.

Power outages statewide total 81,411 customers.

With wind gusts reported in excess of 70 miles per hour, yesterday’s storm knocked out power to at least 150,000 homes and businesses, according to reports received by the PSC from regulated utilities. Most of the wind damage was in the eastern half of the state.

Although the wind storm caused relatively few new outages in western Kentucky, electric providers are reporting that it hampered most restoration work yesterday. Saturated ground due to heavy rains is expected to slow restoration in some areas over the next few days.

About 742,500 (96 percent) of the nearly 770,000 customers who lost power at the peak of the ice storm had power restored before the wind storm arrived. It is unknown how many of the customers who lost power during the ice storm lost it again yesterday.

Local legislators weigh in on key issues

State Rep. Mike Cherry of Princeton voted Wednesday to approve legislation that would increase taxes on tobacco and alcohol in order to help close a $456 million shortfall in Kentucky's current budget.

House Bill 144 is expected to generate an additional $150 million in revenue for the commonwealth by adding 30 cents to the tax on a pack of cigarettes, doubling the tax on pouch, snuff and dip tobacco and lifting the current sales tax waiver on the purchase of package liquor or beer. Cherry, who represents Crittenden, Livingston and Caldwell counties, was one of 60 House Democrats, along with four Republicans, to vote for the measure. 

HB 144 passed 64-34 and now awaits a Senate vote, which Senate President David Williams (R-Burkesville) has promised by Friday. In fact, the legislation on Thursday passed a senate committee vote 9-7 to head to the senate floor.

Williams, the top Republican in the GOP-controlled senate, supports the bill.

Meantime, Sen. Dorsey Ridley (D-Henderson), voted in favor of one education bill this week presented by Crittenden County native Sen. Ken Winters (R-Murray) and against another.

Ridley joined a 36-0 vote Tuesday to make extensive changes to the state student testing that would remove open-response in favor a national norm-referenced testing that uses multiple choice on the end-of-the-year exams. Writing portfolios would be used only as a teachers tool, not as a portion of the CATS test. In essence, Senate Bill 1 would axe CATS testing as it has been known the last two decades. 

Ridley represents Crittenden, Livingston, Caldwell, Union, Webster and Henderson counties.

Ridley, though, opposed another measure from Winters to reduce the number of required high school credits from 22 to 15. The move, Winters said, would allow students aggressive about their education to graduate high school in three years instead of four, after completing all 15 core content courses. Senate Bill 3 passed Tuesday 24-12.

Both senate bills now head to the House.

Kenergy power update Thursday

Kenergy has approximately 10,986 members remaining without power due to the ice storm late last month and wind damage this week.

Here is a breakdown by counties:
Caldwell 433
Crittenden 234
Daviess 2,141
Hancock 989
Henderson 1,395
Hopkins 1,639
Lyon 560
McLean 891
Muhlenberg 7
Ohio 621
Union 1,073
Webster 1,001

Burn ban lifted in Crittenden County

Effective as of 8 a.m., Thursday, Feb. 12, 2009 (today), the countywide burn ban has been lifted.

According to Judge-Executive Fred Brown, anyone burning debris must still abide by the state law regarding burning, which prohibits outdoor flames during daylight hours between 6 a.m., and 6 p.m., with 150 feet of a forest or grassland.


Winds damage buildings in county

FROM STAFF & AP REPORTS

Storms lashed Kentucky with fierce winds Wednesday amid springlike warmth, causing a new round of power outages in a state recovering from a crippling ice storm that still has thousands in the dark.

In Crittenden County, wind damage was widespread. Crittenden Farm Supply lost its roof as did several homes in the area. Barns were damaged and trees and power lines were downed. Power company Kenergy said the wind storm caused further outages and slowed work by crews to restore power to about other 11,000 customers still without electricity from the ice storm. Most in Crittenden County now have electricity.

The latest power disruptions overlapped several outages statewide from the ice storm, leaving some customers without electricity for a second time in a month. Kentucky Public Service Commission spokesman Andrew Melnykovych said Wednesday night that the wind and rain storms had resulted in at least 120,000 new outages, a figure that doesn't include Tennessee Valley Authority cooperatives or municipalities.

There were reports of possible injuries in Trimble, Johnson, Hopkins and Whitley counties and of possible tornadoes in Breathitt, Garrard, Knox and Whitley counties, said Buddy Rogers, spokesman for the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management.

In western Kentucky, three tractor-trailers were blown over, two on the Pennyrile Parkway and one on the Audubon Parkway, Kentucky State Police said. One driver suffered a broken collar bone, but the other two were uninjured, police said. Western Kentucky was pounded by sustained winds of 45 to 50 mph, said weather service meteorologist Robin Smith in Paducah. Wind gusts reached 63 mph at Paducah and near Madisonville.

At Murray State University, electricity was knocked off Wednesday afternoon to two residential halls, the main library and some administration buildings due to a broken power pole, said university spokeswoman Catherine Sivills. Efforts to restore power were hampered by continued strong winds, but all power on campus was back by 4:45 p.m., she said.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Kenergy appreciates kind words

News Release from Kenergy

“When crews return from working at the end of a long day, many of the guys
share stories with us about the many acts of kindness from our members,”
says Lisa Vincent, Kenergy Communication Manager.

“These men are working long, hard hours in very unfavorable conditions.”
They appreciate more than words can express the kind gestures. They have
been offered hot drinks and food. Many have offered to clear paths so the
utility trucks could access the roads. Offices have been stocked with
home-baked cookies and cakes. In addition, community support has been
overwhelming. Churches and other local organizations have served hot meals
to the crews at the end of the day,” adds Vincent.

Since the beginning of the ice storm Kenergy has restored power to
approximately 31,000 members. There is still work to be done. Significant
progress has been made to the 3-phase lines that serve large numbers of
members. “However, the winds and rain we have experienced today have slowed
progress. In fact, in some areas outages have increased slightly. Mother
nature isn’t working in our favor right now,” says Kenergy President and CEO
Sandy Novick.

Kenergy is a not-for-profit, member-owned electric distribution cooperative,
serving customers in all or portions of 14 western Kentucky counties. The
corporate headquarters is in Henderson with service centers being located in
Owensboro, Hanson, Hartford, Hawesville and Marion.


High winds close Ohio River ferry

The Cave In Rock Ferry has shut down today due to high winds on the Ohio River. The ferry will remain closed until winds die down significantly. 

The ferry connects Ky. 91 with Ill. 1 across the Ohio River between Crittenden County and Hardin County, Ill. The ferry normally operates from 6 a.m., to 10 p.m,. central time, seven days a week. The ferry carries about 500 vehicles across the Ohio River in an average day.

Price of postage going up

The U.S. Postal Service on Tuesday put in its two cents on the faltering economy.

On May 11, the postal service announced yesterday, the price of a First-Class Mail postage stamp will go from 42 cents to 44 cents. A postcard will go up a penny to 28 cents. The cost of other mailing services, including for periodicals such as The Crittenden Press, will also be changing, according to a release on USPS.com.

New postage rates are announced in February of each year, three months before the new prices take effect. The rates are tied to inflation the year before. Post office officials claim the increase in First-Class Mail prices will cost the average U.S. family only $3 a year. 

The current 42-cent Forever stamps can still be used at any time after May 11.

For a listing of all new postal rates, click here.

Today's winds can be very dangerous

The National Weather Service at Paducah is predicting rain showers, isolated thunderstorms and winds gusting from 40 to 50 mph today. The weather advisory is in effect until 5 p.m.

These strong winds can be especially dangerous with so many dangling and loosely hanging limbs left by the recent ice storm. Local officials are telling residents to use extreme caution and urging them to avoid being underneath limbs or power lines during today's extreme weather conditions.

Livingston Middle School teacher charged


A Livingston Middle School teacher is charged with filming cheerleaders with a video camera from underneath the bleachers at a basketball game in Mayfield.

Police charged Steve L. McCuiston, 51, with voyeurism, eavesdropping, disorderly conduct and tampering with evidence. Reports say that DVDs and CDs found in his vehicle were taken into evidence.

He has been employed at Livingston Middle School since 2005. He is not a coach.

Police took into evidence the video camera, which they say the suspect threw into the grass after being confronted by parents.

The Paducah Sun has a full story on the incident. Click here for more. This requires a subscription to The Sun Online.

According to The Sun, McCuiston is on paid leave from Livingston County School District. He did not teach Tuesday.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Video from first hours of the storm

Here is a video we shot in the first hours of the Winter Ice Storm 2009. The footage was taken on Wednesday morning, Jan. 28, 2009. Due to power outages and no Internet connection, we were unable to post the video in a timely fashion. Better late than never!

Power restoration virtually complete this week

The two power companies serving Marion and Crittenden County – Kenergy and Kentucky Utilities – says that 98 percent of local residents will have electricity by Wednesday.

In most cases, only those with damaged service lines will be without power after mid week.

If you know of downed or badly sagging lines, contact the power company.


Debris cleanup differs in city and county

Debris cleanup on private property in Crittenden County will be left up to property owners unless something changes in the coming days. As of now, there will be no Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) roadside cleanup in Crittenden County, according to Judge-Executive Fred Brown.

Brown appealed to residents to not leave debris piled up near roadways because it can add to dangers and flooding problems.

The City of Marion plans to pick up debris piled on curbsides in the city beginning this week. City debris should be piled away from sidewalks and drainage ditches, and 10 feet from street right-of-ways.

City Administrator Mark Bryant said Marion is considering renting a chipping machine to grind up the debris.

Brown said county residents are responsible for their own debris disposal at this point although there is a small chance the county may be part of a statewide FEMA contract for clean up in the coming days. See this week's Crittenden Press printed edition for more details.

The old county landfill is open for dumping biodegradable material such as limbs and brush. There is no charge for dumping debris.

Brown said the county is clearing county right-of-ways, but that will be the extent of local government debris removal. Right-of-way clean up will take several weeks, he said.


Kenergy update Monday night

Here are Kenergy numbers as of late Monday night.

Breakdown by county:

Breckinridge 2
Caldwell 838
Crittenden 655
Daviess 2,686
Hancock 770
Henderson 1,100
Hopkins 2,473
Livingston 16
Lyon 770
McLean 867
Muhlenberg 7
Ohio 690
Union 1,000
Webster 1,177

Monday, February 9, 2009

Kenergy update Monday afternoon

Kenergy's utages by county as of 4:15 p.m., Monday, February 9, 2009.

Power was restored to to about 300 homes in Crittenden County today.

Breckinridge 2
Caldwell 838
Crittenden 655
Daviess 2,866
Hancock 770
Henderson 1,100
Hopkins 2,507
Livingston 16
Lyon 770
McLean 867
Muhlenburg 7
Ohio 690
Union 1,000
Webster 1,199

UPDATE: School back in session on Tuesday

Crittenden County schools will be back in session Tuesday, Feb. 10 after 10 days missed due to the major winter storm and its aftermath.

Buses are running on normal routes and normal times.


Church giving away diapers and wipes

Marion Church of Christ is giving away free diapers and baby wipes to those affected by the storm and in need of such items.

The church is giving them away as long as supplies last Monday. The church is locateda t 546 West Elm in Marion, Ky.


KU & Kenergy Updates from their Web sites

Now that power has been restored to a great number residences in Crittenden County, we will not be providing online updates as often. You may, however, continue to seek your own updates from the power companies' Web sites listed below:

School decision will be made today at 2 p.m.

Crittenden County school officials are meeting today at 2 p.m., to discuss when classes will be able to resume in the county.

School officials are hoping that bus routes and schools will be ready for classes to start back on Tuesday; however, that decision will not be official until after 2 p.m.

We will post an update as soon as it's available.

Dangers still lurking in Crittenden County

The ice and snow are gone but the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management (KYEM) is warning residents there are still dangers.

"We have had reports of people being injured and even killed from things like falling off a roof to carbon monoxide poisoning from generators," said KYEM Director Gen. John Heltzel. "Kentuckians need to use good judgment as we recover from the devastating winter storm. Our top priority is always saving lives."

KYEM is offering the following tips:

* Be careful cleaning debris from property, if using a chainsaw be sure
to read the owners manual and follow the safety instructions.
* Make sure circuit breakers are turned off if you lost power to
prevent surges when electricity is restored.
* Only use generators and portable heaters in well ventilated areas.
Read and follow the manufacturer's safety instructions.
* Use extra caution while driving and be aware that emergency service
vehicles and utility service vehicles may still be working in the area.



For more safety information visit the KYEM Web Site at www.kyem.ky.gov.

There are currently 93 counties in the Commonwealth covered in the Federal Major Disaster Declaration by President Barack Obama for the winter storm that began Jan. 27.

No Burning in Crittenden County

Reminder: There is a burn ban in Crittenden County. Outside burning of any type is prohibited due to high winds and conditions that could easily lead to devastating forest fires.

High winds are forecast for Monday.



Monday morning Kenergy Report

Kenergy made strides in restoring power in Crittenden County on Sunday, re-energizing about 250 customers.

The power company has approximately 15,000 customers remaining without power in its 14-county area.

Outages by counties:

Breckinridge 2
Caldwell 1,003
Crittenden 946
Daviess 3,000
Hancock 770
Henderson 1,100
Hopkins 3,123
Livingston 16
Lyon 816
McLean 1,111
Muhlenburg 7
Ohio 772
Union 1,000
Webster 1,314



Sunday, February 8, 2009

Be aware of downed power lines

The ice storm of 2009 has brought miles of downed power lines to the ground throughout Kenergy’s 14-county service territory. Downed power lines can present extreme hazards if people aren’t cautious.

“Safety for our employees, visiting crews, and our members is our number one concern. Never touch, move, or go near any type of downed power line. People should consider all downed wires to be energized and hot. Even lines that are de-energized can become energized at any time, especially during the restoration process,” says Sandy Novick, Kenergy President and CEO. 

Also, never try to move tree limbs that are on or near power lines. Anything touching a line should be considered dangerous. To report a downed power line, please call 1-800-844-4832.

Kenergy was operating with 981 men in the field Sunday. An additional 120 were expected to join in the restoration efforts on Monday. 

“We are prepared to add to our resources as they become available,” adds Novick.

Kenergy is a not-for-profit, member-owned electric distribution cooperative, serving customers in all or portions of 14 western Kentucky counties. The corporate headquarters is in Henderson with service centers being located in Owensboro, Hanson, Hartford, Hawesville and Marion.


30 dead from Kentucky storm

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Warm weather helped Kentuckians continue their efforts to bring order back to a state turned upside down since a deadly ice storm almost two weeks ago killed 30 people and forced thousands from their darkened homes.
Statewide, officials said Saturday the number of ice storm-related deaths had increased by two, bringing it to 30.

In addition, Public Service Commission spokesman Andrew Melnykovych says the number of power outages in the state dropped to about 90,000, down from a high of a record 769,000.

State emergency management officials said 27 water systems across the state remained on a boil-water advisory, and a total of 719 people remained in shelters as of Saturday morning.


Saturday, February 7, 2009

KU reports progress, post photos


The power company Kentucky Utilities says it is making great progress in restoration efforts in the area. The company has also posted some photos on its Web site (click here) taken by linemen while working after the storm.

KU spokesman David Ward said, "Many of the poles shown are transmission poles and structures. Though they look simple, they are highly engineered to specific standards and much more challenging to build, repair, or replace than a normal wooden utility pole. These pictures are reasons why we lost so much of our infrastructure contributing to the outage times."


Kenergy report for Saturday afternoon

At 3:30 p.m., Saturday, Kenergy reported the following outages across western Kentucky:

By County Outage:
Caldwell 989
Crittenden 1,200
Daviess 3,300
Hancock 770
Henderson 1,100
Hopkins 3,200
Livingston 18
Lyon 1,600
McLean 1,200
Muhlenburg 7
Ohio 935
Union 1,100
Webster 1,500


Burning is prohibited

Due to high winds burning is prohibited in Crittenden County until further notice by order of County Judge-Executive Fred Brown.

The order means that no outdoor flames are permitted.

Kenergy update Saturday morning

Kenergy's progress in Crittenden County has been slowed a bit as crews try to get poles reset and hardware attached to them.

As of 6:30 a.m., Saturday, Kenergy has 19,322 customers remaining without power.

Breakdown by counties:
Caldwell 989
Crittenden 1,200
Daviess 3,800
Hancock 770
Henderson 1,100
Hopkins 3,200
Livingston 18
Lyon 1,600
McLean 1,200
Muhlenburg 7
Ohio 1,100
Union 1,500
Webster 1,600

Maps showing where Kenergy crews are working are available at its Website www.kenergycorp.com.

"The primary area of focus remains on rebuilding the infrastructure, which includes framing and setting poles, and attaching the necessary hardware to the poles," said power company spokesperson Lisa Vincent.

There are 623 linemen from neighboring utilities helping Kenergy restore power.


Friday, February 6, 2009

Marion United Methodist Schedule

Marion United Methodist Church will have its regular service Sunday, Feb. 8. Here is the church's schedule:

9:30 a.m., Sunday School

10:45 a.m., Worship -- Sermon 3 on "Intentional-Faith Development"

6 p.m.,  Make-up session for the "Passionate Worship" (Study that was missed on Jan. 28)


Press publisher interviewed for public radio station

Crittenden Press publisher Chris Evans was featured on Murray's National Public Radio affiliate station WKMS. Click here to listen to that interview regarding the storm aftermath and the newspaper's efforts to keep residents informed following the storm.

Also, the Rural Journalism Institute published story on its blog regarding The Press' storm coverage. Click here to see that coverage.


Food stamp replacement period extended

Kentuckians who lost perishable groceries purchased with food stamp benefits after the recent winter storm have extra time to apply for replacement benefits.

Recipients from across the state whose food was spoiled because of power outages have until Feb. 17 to apply for replacement benefits at their local Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) family support offices, part of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

DCBS Commissioner Patricia R. Wilson said that the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service, which oversees and funds the food stamp program, agreed to Kentucky's prompt request to extend the application period.

"With several hundreds of families still without power, and many only recently having power restored, we wanted to be sure every food stamp recipient who lost groceries and needs replacement benefits has the chance to apply," she said.

The original deadline for filing a replacement benefits application was 10 days after the date of the incident.

Replacements are provided in the amount of the loss to the household, up to the household's full monthly allotment.

Recipients must sign a statement that they lost food during a power outage and are requesting replacement funds. They also need some form of verification, such as a statement from a neighbor, verifying that they lost electricity. Elderly and clients with disabilities may contact their food stamp workers by phone to have an affidavit sent to them to sign and return.

Requests will be processed as they are received.

In another effort to assist recipients, DCBS immediately released all of the February food stamp benefits to recipients on Feb. 2, rather than staggering the release dates as usual.
The funds were loaded onto recipients' electronic benefits cards for use at any retailer that accepts food stamp benefits.

"We're working hard to help families who were disrupted by the storm recover and restock their pantries," she said.

Here are instructions for clients of county offices that have been closed because of power outages.
 Crittenden and Livingston county clients: Staff can accept paper applications in the offices' lobbies. Or call the Muhlenberg County DCBS office at (270) 338-2330.
Lyon County clients: Call the Muhlenberg County DCBS office at (270) 338-2330.

Recipients can also visit any nearby family support office.

Customers can find the address of their local DCBS family support offices online at .
More information about food stamp eligibility is online at chfs.ky.gov/dcbs/dfs/foodstampsebt.htm.

Average KU customer to pay 11 more cents

Kentucky Utilities Co., customers will have to scrape up an extra dime and penny when paying their next bill.

On Thursday, the PSC accepted a settlement in a rate increase request by KU and Louisville Gas and Electric Co. (LG&E), both subsidiaries of E.ON-US, that leaves electric rates for customers of essentially the same while increasing natural gas base rates for customers of LG&E.

A typical KU residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt hours per month will see an 11-cent increase in the monthly bill. A kilowatt-hour is the amount of electricity used by a 100-watt light bulb in 10 hours.

The approved rate increase began today.

See map of Kenergy's work orders today

Kenergy has released a detailed map showing where its crews are working to restore power in Crittenden County today.

Click here, to see a PDF version of the detailed work map.


Wild Game Feast rescheduled

Due to this year's devastating ice storm, the Camo, Chili and Wild Game Feast advertised in both The Early Bird and The Crittenden Press has been postponed.

Originally scheduled for Saturday, the event has been moved to March 20 at at Grace Fellowship Church in Morganfield. Tickets already purchased can be used, or call 952-5053 for reimbursement.

Press looking for your storm stories


As the county slowly begins to recover from last week's ice storm, countless stories of survival, generosity and craftiness in the face of adversity have begun to circulate. The Crittenden Press wants to share and preserve those stories from quite possibly the worst disaster in county history.

But, we need you. 

We are asking our readers, residents and friends with ties to Crittenden County to send us stories and photos – like the one above from Natalie Parish in the southern part of the county – from the 2009 ice storm. Whether you rode out the storm at home using creative means to stay warm and fed, volunteered to help strangers or crammed into a shelter or home with others to make do, we want to know.

Your stories and photos can be sent to pressnews@the-press.com. Though we prefer e-mail, not everyone has those capabilities, so feel free to stop by our office or call. No story is too big, no too small.

Family Life Shelter needs volunteer workers

Marion Baptist Church Family Life Center is the county's new primary shelter. It has blankets, food and water. 

Volunteers are also needed at the shelter. Call 965-5232 if you can help. 

Shelter shifts are from
8 a.m., to 4 p.m.
4 p.m. to Midnight
Midnight to 8:00 a.m. (this shift has the greatest need)

NOTE: Marion Baptist Church will have Sunday morning service this weekend starting at 11 a.m. It will not have Sunday School nor Sunday Evening Service.

Kenergy offices open & live operators for calls

All Kenergy offices are now open for business. They will remain open during the weekend maintaining normal business hours. In addition, beginning today at 5 p.m. until 10 p.m., Kenergy will switch from its automated phone answering system to live operators. Kenergy will follow this plan until further notice.

Kenergy is a not-for-profit, member-owned electric distribution cooperative, serving customers in all or portions of 14 western Kentucky counties. The corporate headquarters is in Henderson with service centers being located in Owensboro, Hanson, Hartford, Hawesville, and Marion.


Power outage updates from mayor


Marion Mayor Mickey Alexander says he has been informed that Kentucky Utilities has fewer than 1,000 customers without power in the immediate area. He said a KU official has told him Friday morning that virtually all power should be restored by Wednesday, Feb. 11 in the City of Marion.

Kenergy, the other power company serving Crittenden County, has also made great strides. It reported about 1,100 customers without power early this morning.

Kentucky Utilities has delivered a shipment of 100 and 200 amp service boxes to H&H Supply in Marion for its customers that need to replace their breaker boxes.

The map above is difficult to read at low resolution, but the red lines indicate KU lines that are not in service at this time. Blue lines indicate those where restoration is complete.



Storm Briefs from Crittenden County



  1. A high wind advisory is in effect for today and tomorrow in Crittenden County. Emergency personnel are warning residents to stay clear of power lines and trees at this time. Dangling limbs can be very susceptible to falling during high winds. Winds are expected to be 25-35 mph. This could be a very dangerous situation.
  2. Crittenden County Schools will be out Monday, but all teachers and staff must report Monday for a full day.
  3. Crittenden-Livingston Water District has lifted its boil water advisory for the final segments of the county. Water District Superintendent Donnie Beavers said he has received some calls about discoloration of water. Cloudy or milky water is a result of air in the lines. He said it is of no concern and the water is safe for drinking.
  4. Members of the Marion Public Works Department have been assisting in wellness checks around the community.
  5. Crittenden County's roads and highways are 99 percent passable, according to Judge-Executive Fred Brown. About 75 percent are completely clear of debris. The rest are passable on one lane.
  6. A mobile home fire Thursday night destroyed a trailer on Carr Street in Marion. Fire officials say the blaze may have started due to a power surge. They urge residents to turn off main power breakers in their homes until the electric companies have restoration completed in that area.
  7. Anyone on food stamps who has lost their perishable foods may go to their area food stamp office for new stamps to replace food lost due to the storm.
  8. The Marion Baptist Church Family Life Center will become the county's primary warming shelter starting today. Officials are clearing out Crittenden Elementary School in order to prepare it for classes next week. It had been the primary shelter.
  9. All high school athletic events will start as scheduled beginning Monday of next week.
  10. Emergency Operations briefings are now down to just one per day, starting at 8 a.m., at the EOC (city hall). Pictured above is a recent EOC briefing.

President declares Major Disaster

ASSOCIATED PRESS

President Barack Obama on Thursday issued a major disaster declaration for Kentucky in the wake of a deadly ice storm, ordering federal aid to supplement local recovery efforts.

Gov. Steve Beshear sought the major disaster status earlier this week. The storm has been blamed for 27 Kentucky deaths.

Beshear said such a declaration would open the state to immediate federal financial assistance in the wake of the devastating ice storm, which cut power to more than three-fourths of a million homes and businesses, a state record.

The declaration allows state and local governments to be reimbursed for up to 75 percent of storm-related costs from the federal government. Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Nancy Ward said her agency is reviewing whether the severity of the storm and the cost of repairing damages warrant 100 percent reimbursement.

Beshear said statewide damage is more than $50 million and he expects that number to rise.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Kenergy Update Thursday Night

Here are the latest updates from the power company Kenergy as of Thursday, Feb. 5 at 7:45 p.m.

About 200 Crittenden County customers had their power restored today; however, about 1,100 remain the dark.

Kenergy currently has 20,000 members remaining without power.
Breakdown by county

Caldwell 900
Crittenden 1100
Daviess 4500
Hancock 900
Henderson 1100
Hopkins 3,100
Livingston 18
Lyon 1600
Mclean 1600
Muhlenburg 7
Ohio 900
Union 1500
Webster 1500

Scouts help sickened couple while bringing food

The Associated Press

MARION, Ky. -- A group of Boy Scouts handing out food and water to needy residents in storm-plagued western Kentucky came to the aid of an elderly couple suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Scouts from Troop 30 in Marion were going door-to-door Wednesday in rural Crittenden County when they arrived at a house with a generator sitting near the front door.

Zach Sizemore, a 15-year-old sophomore at Crittenden County High School, said the scouts noticed a woman at the house was lethargic and not making sense.

Sizemore said his first-aid training came in handy when the woman complained about a twitch in her face.

"She said she thought she was having a stroke," said Sizemore.

The couple were taken by ambulance to a hospital. Medical officials determined they had been exposed to carbon monoxide, according to a statement provided by the Emergency Operation Center in Benton, a communications hub for emergency workers.

The dangerous gas has been blamed for several deaths in Kentucky since ice storms cut power to hundreds of thousands of residents. The prime culprit has been the misuse of fuel-powered generators.

The statement did not identify the couple. The author of the statement, Keith Todd, a spokesman for the state Transportation Department, said the couple lived in a rural area and did not have phone service.

Sizemore's father, scout leader Dennis Sizemore, said the couple appeared to be in their 80s.
"If we wouldn't have got there, it could have been worse," Dennis Sizemore said.

The scouts also helped moved the couple's generator away from their house.

Zach Sizemore, who has been scouting for nine years, said he has felt compelled to get out and assist needy neighbors since the storm hit.

"The community has to unite, and I feel if you're able to work, you should," he said.

Dennis Sizemore said the scouts in Crittenden County were not giving out the FEMA-provided meals that contained peanut butter. State officials on Thursday asked residents who received those meals to discard the peanut butter packet due to salmonella concerns.

Historian Underdown writes about storm


Crittenden County's official historian Brenda Underdown, who is a regular columnist for The Crittenden Press printed edition, has written about the recent ice storm on her blog.

Read Forgotten Passages Blog online, click here.


Kenergy Power Update

The power cooperative Kenergy just reported its updated list of outages from around the region. Progress in Crittenden County was a bit slower today with about 100 customers being reconnected. 

We have received NO information from Kentucky Utilities.

As of 3:45 p.m., on Thursday, Feb. 5, Kenergy had 22,000 customers remaining without power.

Breakdown by counties:

Caldwell 989
Crittenden 1,200
Daviess 4,900
Hancock 939
Henderson 1,100
Hopkins 3,200
Livingston 18
Lyon 1,600
McLean 1,600
Muhlenburg 7
Ohio 1,450
Union 1,500
Webster 2,000


Local Scouts on WPSD TV tonight

Crittenden County's Boy Scouts will be part of a feature segment on the local relief effort. The Scouts have been going door to door helping people in need. 

The segment will air during the 6 p.m., Channel 6 News broadcast.


Kenergy says work is under way

Kenergy spokesperson Lisa Vincent just announced that the power company is receiving many phone calls and complaints regarding the fact that people are not seeing Kenergy trucks in their areas. 

"We have contractors and rural electric cooperatives from neighboring states working for us. You may not necessarily see a Kenergy vehicle but these crews are working on behalf of Kenergy."

More than 450 crewmen from various states are in the Kenergy service area working on lines.


Kentucky disaster status upgraded


PRESIDENT DECLARES MAJOR DISASTER FOR KENTUCKY

WASHINGTON – The head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today announced that federal disaster aid has been made available for Kentucky to supplement commonwealth and local recovery efforts in the area struck by a severe winter storm and flooding beginning on January 26, 2009, and continuing.

Acting FEMA Administrator Nancy Ward said federal funding is available to commonwealth and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis in Allen, Anderson, Ballard, Barren, Bath, Bourbon, Boyd, Boyle, Breathitt, Breckinridge, Bracken, Bullitt, Butler, Caldwell, Calloway, Campbell, Carlisle, Carroll, Carter, Christian, Clark, Clay, Crittenden, Daviess, Edmonson, Elliott, Estill, Fayette, Fleming, Floyd, Franklin, Fulton, Garrard, Grant, Graves, Grayson, Green, Greenup, Hardin, Harrison, Hart, Henderson, Hickman, Hopkins, Jackson, Jefferson, Jessamine, Johnson, Larue, Lawrence, Lee, Lewis, Lincoln, Livingston, Logan, Lyon, Madison, Magoffin, Marion, Marshall, Martin, Mason, McCracken, McLean, Meade, Menifee, Mercer, Metcalfe, Montgomery, Morgan, Muhlenberg, Nelson, Nicholas, Ohio, Oldham, Owen, Owsley, Perry, Powell, Pendleton, Robertson, Rockcastle, Rowan, Scott, Shelby, Spencer, Todd, Trigg, Union, Warren, Washington, Webster, and Woodford counties for debris removal and emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures for all counties within the commonwealth.

Kim R. Kadesch has been named the federal coordinating officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area. Kadesch said additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.

FEMA coordinates the federal government’s role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.