Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Buffalo gnats invading Tradewater River area

There is a huge population of buffalo gnats hatching in the Shady Grove and Tradewater River areas of Crittenden County, according to Crittenden County Agriculture Agent Corey Payne. These gnats that are a real nuisance to farmers and residents. Payne has an article in this week's printed edition of The Crittenden Press discussing the spring-time pests. This week's issue will be on newsstands after 3 p.m., Wednesday.

What are black flies or buffalo gnats?
Black flies or buffalo gnats are one-eighth of an inch long hump-backed dark flies with wide, clear wings. Females use their sharp blade-like mouthparts to slice the skin and feed on blood that wells up. The bite may bleed for some time after feeding has stopped and it may itch intensely for several days. Black flies are most closely related to mosquitoes but their feeding habits are most similar to miniature horse flies.

Monday, March 30, 2009

More work at Dam 50 Recreation Area

More work is under way at the Dam 50 Recreation area in rural Crittenden County on the Ohio River. Last year, development began with restrooms and a pavilion. Now, the county is adding two more pavilions and camper hook ups for electricity, water and sewer.

See our You Tube video below of the Dam 50 Area which was produced last summer. The newest additions will be completed this summer.

Hillbilly who-dun-it

Nearly 150 people gathered Saturday for the annual mystery dinner theater at Fohs Hall. The Hilarious Hillbilly Massacre was deemed quite a success by the Fohs Hall Community Arts Foundation. Here Gordon Guess, a.k.a., Greasy Lips is being interrogated about a love letter he wrote to the Birchbumble's very strange daughter Mary Lou Emma Jo Bobby Sue.

Road check leads to DUI arrests

A road check on Ky. 91 North netted several arrests Sunday afternoon, including two DUIs. The road check was operated by local and state police. See this week's printed edition of The Crittenden Press for details.

County considers jail budget today

Crittenden County Fiscal Court will meet in special session this morning at 8 to consider approval of the Crittenden County Detention's Center's $1.9 million operating budget for the coming year.

This will be the new jail's first full-cycle budget.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Wildcats say good-bye to Gillispie

After two years at the helm of the most storied basketball program on the planet, Coach Billy Gillispie has been fired as head coach at the University of Kentucky. The university made the announcement this afternoon.

For more, visit Kentucky.com or The Courier-Journal's Web site.

Friday softball game cancelled

Lady Rockets' home softball game Friday is cancelled due to rain.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Rain a welcomed site

A thirsty earth eagerly drank up more than two inches of rain that fell overnight in Marion and around Crittenden County.

According to Brenda Underdown, a local weather watcher, 2.2 inches of rain fell in the last 24 hours in Marion, with varying totals throughout the county. 

And the rain was needed. The region was 6.4 inches of precipitation below normal for this time of year as of yesterday, according to the University of Kentucky Agriculture Weather Center station in Princeton. As of March 24, only 5.65 inches of rain had been recorded at the nearest weather station to Marion, less than half of the normal 12 inches expected by late March.

Kentucky last SEC hope for championship

And then there was one.

Kentucky remains the last SEC team in postseason college basketball. Auburn and Florida each lost Tuesday in their bids to reach the final four of the NIT, leaving the Wildcats as the only remaining team from the Southeastern Conference in either the NIT or NCAA tournaments. 

Kentucky plays at Notre Dame at 6 p.m., tonight on ESPN in a regional final that sends the winner to Madison Square Garden in New York for a semifinal game Tuesday against Penn State, which beat Florida 71-62 in action Tuesday. 

In the last remaining regional final, St. Mary's plays at San Diego State at 8 p.m., tonight. The winner will face Davidson, which beat Auburn 74-72 Tuesday.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Graduation, 2009-10 school calendar OK'd

Graduation ceremonies and a calendar for the 2009-10 academic year were approved Tuesday by the Crittenden County Board of Education.

Graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2009 will be as follows:
  • Baccalaureate at 7 p.m., May 27;
  • Class night at 6 p.m., May 28; and
  • Commencement at 7 p.m., May 29.
Next year’s academic calendar will begin on Aug. 11 for students. The last day of class will be May 21, 2010, with a full week for both fall and spring breaks, three days for Thanksgiving and two weeks for Christmas break.

Police solve ice storm burglary

Marion Police Department say it has solved a burglary that occurred at a home on Lewis Street during a power outage that followed the late January ice storm.

A criminal summons has been issued for suspect Larry Michael Lynch Jr., 28, of West Bellville Street, for his alleged involvement in a break-in on or about Feb. 1. Taken from the home were a 32-inch television, computer and monitor, Play Station, digital video recorder and other items valued at $1,353. 

For more details on this case, see this week's printed edition of The Crittenden Press, which will be on newsstands after 3 p.m., Wednesday.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Salem man convicted of drug trafficking

Marty Harris of Salem was convicted Monday by a Crittenden County Circuit Court Jury for trafficking in marijuana and Lortabs.

The jury recommended a 15-year sentence. Formal sentencing will be next month before Judge Rene Williams.

See this week's printed edition of The Crittenden Press for more details from the day-long trial.

Results from 5K Rocket Into Spring

Here are results from Saturday's Rocket Into Spring 5K Race at Marion-Crittenden County Park.

Scott Buser 42 Morganfield 18:46
Chris Sitar 16 Marion 19:59
Dylan Buser 14 Morganfield 21:20
J.R. Adams 18 Marion 21:37
Bryan Potts 18 Tilene 21:45
Jed Gray 16 Burna 21:46
Jason Holman 32 Smithland 22:06
Anthony Stone 48 Clay 22:16
Dusty McConnell 17 Marion 22:18
Holly Nelson 36 Dixon 22:26
Anessa Brosman 14 Morganfield 22:51
Lauren Parrish 17 Sturgis 23:17
Shana Geary 30 Marion 23:34
David Perryman -- Marion 24:45:00
Jeremy Wheeler 28 Lexington 24:49:00
Rodney Stinnett 28 Fredonia 24:59:00
Wesley Hughes 20 Marion 25:01:00
Kyle Cook 29 Hopkinsville 25:13:00
Mallory McDonell 11 Marion 26:19:00
Josh Tabor 11 Marion 26:20:00
Angela Starnes 46 Marion 26:21:00
Kenneth Geary 34 Marion 26:33:00
Keith Smith 39 Marion 26:40:00
Nathan White 12 Sturgis 26:46:00
Maddie White 17 Sturgis 26:47:00
Logan Owen 17 Marion 27:07:00
Lauren Hunt 15 Marion 27:40:00
Silas Gray 14 Burna 27:41:00
Ann Newcom 44 Marion 27:53:00
Lori Griffith 29 Crofton 27:56:00
George Hollis 41 Marion 28:15:00
Trinity Tabor 23 Marion 28:16:00
Andrea White 42 Sturgis 28:18:00
Lonna Starnes 17 Marion 28:35:00
Noah Dickerson 12 Marion 29:14:00
Heather Gustin 32 Fredonia 29:42:00
Pam Collins 47 Marion 29:52:00
Anna Jimenez 18 Marion 31:11:00
Summer Courtney 15 Marion 31:11:00
Ashley Thomas 29 Marion 31:26:00
Kelsee Hensen 17 Grand Rivers 33:07:00
Daelynn Hardin 8 Marion 33:08:00
Kristen Winters 27 Morganfield 33:08:00
Natasha York 28 Fredonia 33:09:00
Jackie Green 24 Eddyville 33:10:00
Maggie Collins 12 Marion 33:23:00
Joe Swab 51 Marion 33:38:00
Robyn Taylor 42 Marion 33:43:00
Debbie Summers 50 Marion 33:44:00
Rebecca Grimm 37 Smithland 34:24:00
Tonia Courtney 39 Marion 34:30:00
Alison Evans 37 Marion 34:31:00
Jami Perry 29 Princeton 34:52:00
Wendy Selenger 37 Princeton 34:53:00
Larry O’Neal 44 Smithland 35:07:00
Amanda Dossett 39 Salem 36:04:00
Kelly Branch 35 Princeton 36:06:00
Robin Curnel 34 Marion 36:35:00
Leah Ko 24 Princeton 36:37:00
Chris Haire 8 Marion 37:40:00
Sarah Hardin 31 Marion 38:27:00
Jessica Root 26 Princeton 39:26:00
Lee Anna Boone 29 Marion 39:39:00
Chris Evans 45 Marion 40:10:00
Gavin Dickerson 8 Marion 40:23:00
Al Starnes 47 Marion 40:31:00
Laura Wood 46 Marion 40:33:00
Roberta Thomas -- Sturgis 41:46:00
Patricia Summers 36 Marion 42:00:00
Dale Faughn 83 Fredonia 42:54:00
Betty Richardson 57 Sturgis 43:26:00
Kay Winters 58 Marion 43:51:00
Neil Decker -- Marion 44:22:00
Shea Holliman 27 Marion 45:48:00
Jenny Whittington 28 Eddyville 46:49:00
Marianna Evans -- Sturgis 46:49:00
Sylvana Hunt 11 Marion 46:55:00
Sarah Ford 70 Marion 47:10:00
Christina Hunt 34 Marion 47:16:00
Kim West 34 Marion 47:16:00
Lila Edmondson 44 Marion 47:17:00
April Travis 29 Marion 47:27:00
Alison Maddux 27 Marion 49:31:00
Kristi Pavey 35 Princeton 49:32:00
Linda Kupisch 63 Marion 50:37:00
Peyton Porter 12 Marion 52:07:00
Michelle Reddick 32 Marion 54:02:00
Julie Crowdus 32 Morganfield 54:09:00
Ashley Soriano 33 Madisonville 55:29:00
Gaye Porter 55 Marion 55:30:00
Darren Paris 9 Marion 55:31:00
Karen Paris 36 Marion 1:04:54

Sunday, March 22, 2009

UofL advances; Hilltoppers toppled

The University of Kentucky Wildcats will take on Creighton at 6 p.m., Monday in Omaha, Neb., with the second round NIT game televised on ESPN and broadcast on radio stations that usually carry UK sports. 

Including Kentucky, three SEC teams remain alive in the NIT playoffs. Both Florida and Auburn advanced to the final eight with second-round wins in the last few days. If Kentucky wins Monday, the Wildcats will face Notre Dame at 6 p.m., Wednesday on ESPN2.

Meantime, Louisville advanced to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament with a win Sunday over Siena. The Cardinals will face Arizona at 7:07 p.m., Friday on CBS.

Western Kentucky University lost its second round NCAA game Saturday on a last-second shot by Gonzaga. Oklahoma State, coached by former UK standout and Madisonville native Travis Ford, lost on Sunday to Pittsburgh. No SEC teams remain alive in the final 16.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

5K Run today at city-county park

The Rocket Into Spring 5K Race and 1-Mile Fun Run will be held today at Marion-Crittenden County Park. Traffic will be regulated around the park during the race.

Registration started at 7 a.m. The races start at 9 a.m.

Proceeds from the event will go toward replacing the track at the park.

Donations are being accepted.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Blaze guts unit at Gilmore Apartments

Firefighters responded to a blaze at a Marion apartment complex that appears to have left at least one family displaced Friday night.

Marion Fire Department was still on hand at 9:30 p.m., with firefighters looking for hot spots that remained in a large unit at the rear of Gilmore Apartments on South Main Street. Though Crittenden EMS responded, firefighter Mike Crabtree said he believed no one was injured in the fire.

As volunteers filtered in and out of the apartment with equipment to tear away portions of the interior structure as they searched for possible hot spots, another doused water on a smouldering couch that had been pulled out of the unit, burned mostly to the metal framing. One firefighter said it appears the fire could have started on the couch and spread to other portions of the unit.

Smoke continued to filter out of the apartment, but it was unclear if the fire had spread to other units. Several residents of the complex were gathered on the parking lot in the chilled air, some consoling others who were in tears. Other residents stood at their doors of their apartment, all of which are under one roof of the brick structure. It is uncertain how many residents were displaced by the blaze.

Further details will be made available in next week's Crittenden Press.

Storm debris removal one-third complete

A dump truck filled with storm debris collected from along U.S. 60 in Livingston County dumps its load Wednesday at  a huge brush pile near Burna set afire and attended to by contractors hired by the state to clean along state highways.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet engineers estimate that debris removal contractors have covered about a third of their assigned road miles in Kentucky's 12 westernmost counties, which make up Department of Highways District 1. Crittenden and Livingston counties are included in District 1.

This week engineers expect the district to surpass more than 900,000 cubic yards of material picked up.

With crews just over four weeks into the storm debris collection process, Cabinet Chief District Engineer Jim LeFevre says crews need some additional assistance from the public.

"We've had a number of locations where property owners have stacked debris along state highway right of way that crews have been unable to reach with their equipment," LeFevre said. "If crews have been through your neighborhood and your pile was left behind, we're asking that you move it closer to the edge of the roadway to allow crews to reach it safety."

Due to different types of equipment being used by various contractors and right of way obstacles like ditches, embankments, and utility lines, some piles could not be picked up. LeFevre emphasized that homeowners should be aware of safety issues when placing piles near roadways. Debris stacked near intersections or driveways can obstruct the view of oncoming traffic.

"This is a balancing act. We need the debris to be close enough to the roadway to be reached by the contractors without the piles becoming a hazard or hindrance to traffic," LeFevre said.

Contracts for the debris removal work conclude on April 6. LeFevre says those contracts will be extended to allow contractors time to complete their work.

District 1 Public Information Officer Keith Todd reminds motorists to do their part to maintain the safety of debris crews by slowing down and being alert for the many work zones scattered across the district.

Hilltoppers advance to face Gonzaga

Western Kentucky University advanced to the second round of the NCAA men's basketball tournament by defeating No. 5 seed Illiniois Thursday night. The Hilltoppers (25-8), a No. 12 seed, will now face No. 4 Gonzaga (27-5) at 7:10 p.m., Saturday. 

All NCAA tournament games are carried by CBS.

LSU, the only SEC team left in the tournament, will face North Carolina at 4:45 p.m., Saturday.  Mississippi State lost Thursday to Washington. Tennessee dropped its first round game Friday to Oklahoma State 75-77. The Cowboys of OSU are coached by Madisonville native and former UK standout Travis Ford.

Rick Pitino's Louisville Cardinals play Morehead State University tonight at 6:10.

Game Trails fined for illegal deer kills

Game Trails Lodge, which operated a hunting guide service in Crittenden and Union counties, and its outfitting manager were fined Thursday, March 19 in U.S. District Court in Owensboro for misdemeanor violations of the Lacey Act.

The hunting outfitter pleaded guilty of taking female deer, known as does, and shipping some of their parts out of state.

Game Trails was ordered to pay a $35,000 fine and manager Dirk McTavish Jr., was ordered to to pay a $15,000 fine.

According to the Evansville Courier Newspaper, the charges arose out of Game Trails’ practice of the killing of does over the limit at its leased property (formerly Kimball International) on Ky. 365, near Strugis, between June 1, 2006 and Nov. 30, 2007. The defendants pleaded guilty to shipping parts of the wildlife to Atlanta.

The Evansville newspaper also reported that Game Trails and its agents used the Social Security numbers of hunters at the lodge without their permission to report the deer as having been legally taken to Kentucky Fish & Wildlife’s telecheck program. McTavish was the Lodge Manager at Game Trails Lodge at the time, was aware of and participated in the violations, according to court records.

The case was was investigated by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Two die in I-24 accident

A Princeton man was killed in a two-vehicle accident Thursday night about 6:30 p.m., on I-24 in Christian County.

According to Kentucky State Police, Trisha Apte, 22, of Georgia, was operating a 2006 Honda Civic eastbound on the interstate, when for an unknown reason, her car ran off the pavement and into the sunken grass median. From there, Apte's car entered westbound traffic, striking on the driver's side a car driven by Andrew F. Young, 24, of Princeton.

Young was pronounced dead at the scene by the Christian County Coroner. Apte was life-flighted to Vanderbilt University Hospital, where she died at about 10:30 p.m.

Alas, rolling into springtime

Today is the first day of spring. It's a good feeling for Crittenden Countians still reeling from the worst winter storm in modern history.

In the United States, the opening of spring and end of winter is marked by the vernal equinox occurs, a astrological term for when the sun sits directly above the equator.

As Earth revolves around the sun, the top half, called the Northern Hemisphere, becomes tilted more toward the sun as winter turns to spring. Meanwhile the bottom half, the Southern Hemisphere, becomes tilted more away from the sun. It is autumn for people in Australia and the southern parts of Africa and South America.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Area death

L. Keith Shewcraft, 71, of Marion died Wednesday at Crittenden Hospital. Gilbert Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

UK visits Creighton in NIT Sweet 16

The University of Kentucky will head to Creighton Monday for its second round game in the National Invitation Tournament. Tip-off is at 6 p.m., against the Blue Jays. The game will be televised on ESPN.

Creighton advanced Wednesday to play the Wildcats by defeating Bowling Green State Univeristy by two points.

Fredonia hosts 'Picture Share Day'

Fredonia Valley Heritage Society will host “Picture Share Day” Saturday to gather photos and other items for publication in a Fredonia Valley history book.

The event is scheduled from 9 a.m., to noon at the Cumberland Presbyterian Church Activities Building in Fredonia. Previ­ously scheduled for Jan. 31, the event was rescheduled because of the Jan. 26-27 ice storm.

The public is encouraged to search for old photos, stories, receipts, newspaper articles and other items of interest pertaining to the Fredonia Valley. These items are being sought for possible inclusion in Fredonia’s first history book.

Persons willing to share photos or documents are asked to take them to the picture share day on Saturday.

The photo owners will not have to leave them. All items will be marked for identification, scanned by computer and returned to the owner to take back home that day.

Individuals submitting items will be asked to sign a release permitting their inclusion in the Fredonia Valley History Book.

As many Fredonia Valley communities as possible will be included in the book. The Fredonia Valley area includes parts of Caldwell, Lyon and Crittenden counties.

The book will be approximately 200 pages with a hard cover. Orders will be taken for the book, which will cost $30, prepaid.
Some categories in the book are early history, churches, schools, businesses, agriculture, tobacco factory,

A brochure will be printed and distributed soon giving more information about the book.

Interested persons may contact one of the following for more information: Pam Faughn, 545-3215; Linda Ben­nett, 545-3305; Nicky Baker, 963-0156; Angela Blair, 545-3561; Martha Bynum, 545-3304, or Ann Kimmell, 365-2265 or you may email Pam Faughn at pamfaughn@att.net.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Internet gives window to stimulus money

Gov. Steve Beshear today unveiled the new “Kentucky at Work” Web site – a virtual information center that will give Kentuckians access to how federal stimulus dollars are being spent in the Commonwealth.

“One of the cornerstones of the federal recovery effort is to be transparent and accountable with every dollar being spent in Kentucky,” said Gov. Beshear. “This new site is one important way we can be transparent and accountable with the dollars we are using in the commonwealth to save and create jobs.”

The site – www.kentuckyatwork.ky.gov – is named for the state’s stimulus initiative, “Kentucky at Work.” The site includes a link to the federal stimulus site – www.recovery.gov, as well as links that will allow Kentuckians and other interested parties to track how dollars are being spent as they come into the state.

The site also contains a welcome message and video from Gov. Beshear as well as a breakdown of where federal stimulus dollars are going.

The Web site’s debut comes as the governor has officially confirmed to the federal government that Kentucky will be accepting stimulus dollars. The official letter, required to receive recovery aid, is also posted on the Web site.

The Kentucky at Work initiative will receive about $3 billion over the next 28 months for strategic investments in health care, education, energy, infrastructure and economic development. In addition, the state will be able to compete for further investments in areas such as energy research and education.

The majority of those dollars, Gov. Beshear said, will help Kentucky mitigate the impact of declining revenues resulting from the deep recession in the state and national economies on our highest priorities of education, healthcare and public safety. Gov. Beshear said it’s critical that one-time dollars from the stimulus effort be used wisely and strategically to preserve commitments and save and create jobs and economic opportunities where possible.

To that end, Gov. Beshear’s interagency work group that is planning the Kentucky at Work initiative continues to move forward with its work. Last week, State Budget Director Mary Lassiter joined other state leaders from across the country for a meeting on stimulus efforts. The group was addressed by both President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

Vice President Biden has been directed by President Obama to oversee much of the stimulus implementation at the state and local levels.

“The President and Vice President – along with other administration officials – made it very clear that transparency and accountability are keys to a successful recovery effort,” Lassiter said. “Our Web site – kentuckyatwork.ky.gov – is an important pillar in that process.”

Kentucky advances in NIT

Kentucky advanced to the second round of the National Invitation Tournament with a 70-60 win over UNLV Tuesday night. The Wildcats face the winner of tonight's Bowling Green-Creighton game at 7 p.m. If No. 8 seed Bowling Green (Ohio) upsets Creighton, Kentucky would host the second round game, which would be March 19, 20, 21 or 23.

In other NIT games with SEC teams involved, South Carolina was defeated Tuesday by Davidson and Florida faces Jacksonville at 7 p.m., today.

The first round of the larger, NCAA tournament begins Thursday. Three clubs from Kentucky are in the 64-team field, with two of them facing each other Friday. Tip-off of Louisville-Morehead State game will be at 6:10 p.m., with all coverage of the tournament on CBS. Morehead earned the right to play Rick Pitino's overall top-seeded Cardinals by defeating Alabama State Tuesday in the "play-in" game.

In other games of interest:
  1. Western Kentucky University, a No. 12 seed, will face No. 5 Illinois Thursday at 8:55 p.m
  2. Tennessee, an SEC team, plays Oklahoma State at 11:25 a.m., Friday. Oklahoma State is coached by former UK standout and Madisonville native Travis Ford.
  3. LSU, the highest seeded SEC team at No. 8, plays Butler at 11:20 a.m., Thursday.
  4. Mississippi State, the final SEC entry in the tournament, plays Washington at 4 p.m., Thursday.

Another busy weekend for police department

For the second straight weekend, Marion police were busy with a variety of alleged criminal activity. After putting six people in jail the previous weekend, officers rounded up seven more Friday through Monday, including three individuals allegedly involved in a plot to buy a handgun for a convicted felon.

This story and others will be detailed in The Crittenden Press printed edition, which will be on newsstands after 3 p.m., today.

Also in this week's Press is a story about the state's forgiving 10 days snow and ice days, but Crittenden County will use none of them. Graduation will remain on May 29.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Youth league assessment

Crittenden County Dugout Club youth baseball and softball leagues will hold skills assessments from 9 a.m., to noon Saturday and again on March 28 at the middle school gym.

All new players in any league are required to attend the assessment. There will be a $25 fee per child for baseball and softball and a $20 fee for T-ball and Co-Ed Rookie if received by March 28. 

Ages are as follows: T-Ball (ages 3-4, boys and girls) must turn 3 before May 1; Co-ed Rookie (ages 5-6, boys and girls) must turn 5 before May 1; Baseball Rookie (7-8), Minor (9-10), Major (11-12); Girls’ Softball Minor (7-9), Major (10-12).

Restrictions placed on painted caps

Based on a concession made by the Crittenden County High School Site-Based, Decision-Making Council, seniors graduating May 29 will be able to have their caps and paint them, too.

Crittenden County High School Principal Todd Merrick said the school council decided last summer to prohibit seniors from wearing decorated mortarboards during graduation. He said that the decision was based on decorum and uniformity. 

In order to placate parents and students supporting decorated caps, the school council decided Monday to give this year's Class of 2009 an option. They will be able to purchase an extra mortarboard and decorate it. They will be able to have the fancied up caps, but cannot wear them until after coronation of graduates, when tassels are moved from one side of the mortarboard to the other.

For more details, see a full story on this subject in this week's printed edition of The Crittenden Press, which will be on newsstands Wednesday after 3 p.m.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Wildcats' NIT game on ESPN Tuesday night

The University of Kentucky Wildcats will play Tuesday evening in their first National Invitation Tournament game since 1979 when the 20-13 Wildcats play host to UNLV (21-10) at Memorial Coliseum. Tip-off for the game is at 8:30 CDT. UK is the No. 4 seed in the eight-team bracket, UNLV is a fifth-seed. The game will be televised on ESPN.

The winner of the contest faces the winner of No. 1 seed Creighton and No. 8 Bowling Green (Ohio). If UK beats UNLV, the second round game would be anytime between Thursday and Monday. Because the higher seed plays host in the NIT, the 'Cats would travel to Creighton or host Bowling Green.

The NIT championship is April 2 at Madison Square Garden. Thirty-two teams comprise the NIT field.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Free Trees Available in Marion Wednesday

Tree seedlings will be offered free to the public from 9 a.m., to noon, Wednesday, March 18 in the parking lot next to The Crittenden Press. 

Giveaway trees will be pines, flowering dogwood and redbud. Quantities will be limited per person. 

The trees are made available by the Crittenden County Conservation District and Kentucky Division of Forestry. The Conservation District encourages people in the Crittenden County community, urban and rural, to take advantage of this opportunity.

5K Race is Saturday, March 21

The inaugural Rocket Into Spring 5K and 1-Mile Fun Run will be held at Marion-Crittenden County Park on Saturday, March 21. 

The event is open to all ages and includes a Full Body Fitness Expo to promote greater health and fitness. 

Cost is $20 to register. There are discounts for multiple family members. 

For more information about entering the event, or joining it as a sponsor, call Serena Dickerson at 704-1871 or 965-2386.

Proceeds from the event will go toward replacing the track at the park.

Volunteers meeting Tuesday
There will be a meeting on Tuesday for those interested in volunteering for the upcoming Rocket Into Spring 5K and 1-Mile Fun Run.

The meeting will be held from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Crittenden County Public Library conference room. Race officials are seeking volunteers to help with aid stations, course marshalling, and the start and finish areas. All volunteers will receive free T-shirts.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Criminal activity spikes in Marion

Marion police say last weekend was perhaps its busiest in history. A variety of criminal activity kept officers hopping. Six arrests were made between Friday and Sunday.

Among the most alarming incidents was a mugging Sunday night on an alley between South Main and Moore streets. Ronnie Newcom, 31, of Marion was on foot walking along the alley between a church and an apartment complex when he was attacked and robbed to by two men.

Authorities say that Newcom was beaten with a three-foot long club and robbed of $50. Newcom, who suffered arm injuries, was taken to Crittenden Hospital where he was treated and released.

Find more details about this and other criminal activity in this week's printed edition of The Crittenden Press due out on newsstands at 3 p.m., Wednesday.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Wood chips piling up high in city

Marion City Administrator Mark Bryant looks over a heap of wood chips piled high on city property. The chips are from ground up limbs and debris from the recent ice storm.

Bryant said city cleanup crews have almost completed one round of debris removal in the city and will be making one or two more before they are done.

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

Friday, March 6, 2009

Federal money for U.S. 641 OK'd by House

It looks as if a new highway from Marion to Eddyville will receive federal funding to move toward completion thanks in part to the economic stimulus package approved by Congress last month.

Rep. Mike Cherry, a Princeton Democrat, said Friday afternoon on his way home from Frankfort that $27.4 million in federal funding could be shifted to cover Phase I of a new U.S. 641 in the state's revised road plan, speeding up completion of the long-awaited highway. 

The first phase of the 641 project encompasses only Crittenden County. Dirt could now be moved as soon as July 2010 with the federal backing. A second phase, which is only the initial design stages, is included in the road plan for Caldwell County.

State's unemployment at record high

Unemployment in Kentucky has tied an all-time high according to figures released for 2008 from the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. The Cabinet reported today that last year's annual jobless rate was 6.4 percent, tying the record set in 1993. The annual rate for 2007 was 5.5 percent, almost a full point lower than the most recent reporting period.

Nationwide jobless claims rose also in 2008. The U.S. unemployment rate jumped 1.2 points from 2007 to 5.8 percent in 2008, the highest annual rate since 2003 when it hit 6 percent. 

The Associated Press also reported today that the nation's jobless rate in February jumped to 8.1 percent amid the lingering recession. That is the largest percentage of unemployed workers in 26 years.

In December 2008, the most recent month for which figures are available from the Cabinet, unemployment in Crittenden County was at 8.1 percent, the highest since February 2004 when 8.4 percent unemployment was recorded.

Annual unemployment statistics for Kentucky's 120 counties, as well as new figures for January 2009, should be released next week by the state.

Fire laws continue to be broken

Another brush fire got out of control late this week, charring several acres just south of Marion despite a statewide law prohibiting daytime burning.

Volunteers from five fire departments were called Friday afternoon to help extinguish a blaze that threatened homes about 2.5 miles south of Marion of U.S. 641. The fire spread in a field on the eastern side of the highway behind several houses.

No reports of injuries or damages to structures, however, were recorded.

It remains illegal in Kentucky to conduct any type of outdoor burning during daytime hours. State law prohibits burning between the hours of 6 a.m., and 6 p.m., through April 30, due to spring forest fire hazards season.

Violation of the law could result in a bill to the person starting the fire in order to pay the cost of battling the blaze. Violators cold also face up to a $500 fine and/or jail time.

The law reads as follows: 

KRS 149.400 Fire hazard seasons -- Fires prohibited -- Exceptions. The periods commencing on February 15 and ending on April 30 and commencing on October 1 and ending on December 15 of each year are hereby declared to be and established as the fire hazard seasons. During the fire hazard seasons, even though the precautions required by KRS 149.375 shall have been taken, it shall be unlawful for any person to set fire to, or to procure another to set fire to, any flammable material capable of spreading fire, located in or within one hundred fifty feet (150') of any woodland or brushland, except between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., prevailing local time, or when the ground is covered with snow.

Legislators prepare for final week

Starting Monday, Kentucky legislators face a final full week of work devoted mostly to considering bills sent over from the other chamber.

The House this week passed a bill in response to a tragedy: The heat-related death of 15-year-old Max Gilpin, a Pleasure Ridge Park High School football player who died last summer during practice on a hot August day. House Bill 383 instructs the Kentucky Board of Education to review and revise, if necessary, its hot-weather policies for athletic practices and events.

The bill was amended to remove a requirement that an ice-pool be available for athletes in hot weather, after other possible health problems were cited concerning that particular treatment for apparent heat stroke.

The Senate passed a bill to expand KEES, the achievement-based program that has given thousands of Kentucky students financial help to earn a college degree. While both public and private school students are eligible for the program – which awards up to $2500 for each year of college – home-schooled students have not been.

SB 180 would give those students the same opportunity as their public and private school counterparts. Under the bill, home schoolers' KEES award would be based on their standardized ACT score rather than their GPA, until after the first year of college. Then, the portion of their KEES award normally based on their high school GPA would be based on the GPA from their college freshman year.

You can stay informed of legislative action on bills of interest to you this session by logging onto the Legislative Research Commission website at www.lrc.ky.gov or by calling the LRC toll-free Bill Status Line at 866-840-2835. To find out when a committee meeting is scheduled, you can call the LRC toll-free Meeting Information Line at 800-633-9650.

House votes to freeze gas tax at 22.5 cents

The Kentucky House of Representatives on Friday voted 82-17 to freeze the state's gasoline tax to fund an ambitious road plan instead of allowing a four-cent drop in the tax tied to tumbling prices at the pump. If the measure passes the senate early next week, the governors signature would keep the gas tax at 22.5 cents per gallon.

The roads package was hammered out in talks between House and Senate leaders and the Beshear administration over the past few weeks and has gained bipartisan support. However, the only representatives to vote no Friday were all Republicans. Rep. Mike Cherry (D-Princeton) was one of 64 Democrats and 18 Republicans to support the measure.

The road plan would commit to significant spending – some $3.7 billion – to give a major boost to road building across the state, which has slowed markedly in the current recession. Of that money, some $400 million would come from issuing bonds, and another $400 million from the recently passed federal stimulus package. The balance will come from the state road Fund, which is now facing a difficulty also addressed in the bill – falling revenue. 

Here's why: The state gasoline tax raises money for the road fund, which is dedicated exclusively to highways and bridges and road maintenance across the state. The gas-tax rate is based largely on the wholesale price of gas. Without going into the math of it, a portion of the tax is variable, so rates go up periodically as the price goes up, rates drop as the price goes down.

Because gas prices have plummeted dramatically since last summer, to under $2 a gallon from a high of over $4, the tax is scheduled to be cut by four cents a gallon April 1. Those four pennies would cost the road fund – already strapped for cash – some $128 million in lost revenue. One legislative leader said the potential loss of that revenue would be 'catastrophic.'

To fix that, the roads package passed by the House keeps the four pennies and freezes the gas-tax rate at its current level, 22.5 cents per gallon.

Proponents say the vigorous building plan will not only create jobs related to the construction work itself, but be a long-term economic stimulus by encouraging business and industry to remain or locate in areas well-served by good transportation

LBL to benefit from stimulus package

Land Between the Lakes will be one of the the beneficiaries of President Obama's economic stimulus package.

On Friday, the U.S. Forest Service announced four projects slated for Kentucky through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. At LBL, $2.5 million will be spent on three projects aimed at helping recovery from January's ice storm. Another $588,000 will be spend for roads and trails at Daniel Boone National Forest in eastern Kentucky. Details of the plans were not readily available.

Numerous areas and facilities inside LBL remain closed due to damages created by the ice storm. For an updated list of closures, click here. Money from the stimulus package will go toward clean up of those areas.

LBL and the national forest are the only two lands in Kentucky managed by the U.S. Forest Service.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Mineral museum closed for inventory

The Ben E. Clement Mineral Museum in Marion will be closed Saturday through Wednesday while an inventory appraisal takes place. The museum is normally open 10 a.m., to 3 p.m., Wednesdays through Saturdays. The first dig of the season is April 25.

Fires burn out of control

Four brush fires in Crittenden County Wednesday kept volunteers out past dark to extinguish the flames, and at least one resident will be paying for the cost to put out one of those blazes. 

Shannon Travis of Coy Watson Road in the Sheridan community will likely face a sizable bill as a result of a debris pile that quickly got out of control Wednesday evening, burning several acres, threatening woodlands, at least one home and several horses in a nearby field. Don Lam, a Kentucky Division of Forestry officer, said Travis will be charged the cost to suppress the 40-acre brush fire.

The final cost could be pretty sizable, too, Lam said. Four volunteer fire departments – Tolu, Salem, Mattoon and Crittenden – responded, as well as Forestry. Forestry also dispatched a dozer to create a fire line between brush and woodlands threatened by the fast-moving flames fanned by high winds.

Lam, whose voice was hoarse Thursday morning from a long day of fighting fires in the wind and cool temperatures the day before, reminds Kentucky residents that it remains illegal to burn anything outdoors during the daytime. Kentucky's spring forest fire hazard season prohibits burning between 6 a.m., and 6 p.m., until April 30.

No one was injured and no structures were damaged in any of Wednesday's fires in Crittenden County. Also, neither Travis nor any of the other fire-setters will face criminal charges, Lam said.

Forestry: If it's daylight, fires are illegal

Kentucky forestry and local law enforcement are reminding residents that it is currently illegal to start fires during daytime hours. Violators could not only be charged for the cost to extinguish an out-of-control fire, they could face jail time and as much as a $500 fine.

Even small trash fires can get out of control in the windy, dry conditions of early spring, warn officers from the Kentucky Division of Forestry and the Forest Service of the U.S. Department of 
Agriculture. Together, the two agencies have developed an information sheet to warn people of the risks and possibles costs of daytime burning during Kentucky spring fire season. (Click on the images above to view the front and back of the flyer.)

Daytime burning, or fires between the hours of 6 a.m., and 6 p.m, are prohibited until May 1.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Area death

Mary Ann Renee McDonald, infant daughter of Misty Ladd and Mark McDonald, died Wednesday, March 4, 2009 at Livingston Hospital and Healthcare Services. Arrangements are incomplete at Boyd Funeral Directors at this time.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Lady Rockets knocked out of postseason

Crittenden County's girls basketball team lost 81-53 to Christian County Tuesday night in the opening round of the Second Region Tournament at Madisonville.

Students punished for alcohol incident

Eight Crittenden County Middle School students have been disciplined for having vodka at school. The Crittenden County School Board has punished the students with suspensions and alternative school assignments.

See this week's printed edition of The Press for more on this matter. The Press will be on newsstands at 3 p.m., Wednesday.