Thursday, April 30, 2009

Swine flu reported near Bowling Green

According to Gov. Steve Beshear's office, the Kentucky Department for Public Health has reported the first confirmed case and another probable case of the swine flu in the commonwealth to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The confirmed case involves a woman from Warren County who recently traveled to Mexico. She is hospitalized in Georgia. Officials from the Barren River Health District are actively investigating the circumstances of this case to determine whether any contacts of the patient may be ill or need preventive treatment.

The probable case  involves an infant from another area within the Barren River Health District who had been in close contact with an individual who recently traveled to Mexico. It is unrelated to the confirmed case. The child's family and other close contacts are being evaluated for illness and possible preventive treatment. The child has not been hospitalized.

Warren County and the Barren River Health District lie just southeast of Crittenden County. Bowling Green and Western Kentucky University are located in Warren County.

Officials planning for swine flu pandemic

Officials with Pennyrile District Health Department met with authorities in Crittenden County this morning to begin formulating plans in the event spreading worldwide epidemic reaches the county's borders.

"To be forewarned is to be forearmed," said Jim Christensen, CEO of Crittenden Health System.

As the top health care official in the county, Christensen said planning in each western Kentucky community is critical because it is a matter of when, not if the H1N1 influenza, or swine flu, arrives in the region. At present, no cases of the pandemic have been reported in Kentucky, but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 109 confirmed cases of infection and one death in the nation, with neighboring Indiana and Ohio each reporting one case.

Dr. Rachel Yarbrough, superintendent of Crittenden County Schools, said newsletters regarding precautions families can take to avoid the flu strain as well as what the school system is doing will be distributed today for students to take home to parents. And cleanliness will be a top priority as the spread of the potentially deadly virus continues around the U.S. and world.

"Their little hands being washed is about the best thing you can do," said Jim Tolley, director of the five-county Pennyrile District Health Department.

Tolley was in Marion to discuss the necessity of planning for a pandemic with officials from the school, hospital, city and county government and the county's emergency management agency. Crittenden County is the fourth county he visited.

"Right now, there are a lot of unknowns," he said, urging calm and common sense.

Tolley encouraged authorities to begin formulating plans for a secondary care center in the event CHS becomes overwhelmed with cases from inside the county and neighboring communities. The center would provide necessary treatment for recovery from swine flu, while freeing up the hospital for addressing the most serious cases and other health care needs of the area. Sstaffing such a care unit could be difficult, some warned.

"We just wouldn't have it," Christensen said of the manpower needed to provide long-term care.

However, if the need were to arise for a secondary facility, schools would likely be dismissed, Yarbrough said, allow school staff and nurses time to help keep such a unit operable. Tolley said while health department nurses would also be able to provide care, the most serious cases would need to be taken up by the hospital.

"We're looking at possible conditions the we never see," he said. "We're not an emergency room."

Currently, symptoms of the swine flu are similar to that of seasonal influenza in the U.S. each year. It cannot be passed by eating pork, only from human-to-human and swine-to-human contact. That is why health officials so strongly recommend that increased precautions as simple as washing hands more frequently are so important.

"Plans are in place," said Marion City Administrator Mark Bryant. "There is no reason to panic, certainly."

Updates on the swine flu epidemic can be found on the CDC's Web site. The Crittenden Press will continue to monitor the situation and preparations locally.  Updates will be provided as available.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Call for Spotlight: Send us your information

The Crittenden Press printed edition is always seeking news tips and short features for its Spotlight on the Community section.

Do you have a college student who joined a fraternity or sorority, a friend who received a special award or recognition, an employee who recently completed special training or a parent who is retiring? These are just a few examples. We're looking for a variety of Spotlight features. If you think it's important to you, it's probably important to our readers.

If so, we want to know. Provide us with some basic information such as who, what, when, where and why. And please include a contact email address or phone number. 

Land auctions provide bellwether

Some upcoming farm auctions in the area – which include more than 1,000 acres in total – will be a good barometer of where local land prices are in the current economy.

About a year ago, farm prices had peaked largely due to recreational value. Hunters were the main reason land prices had reached about $2,000 an acre.

Now, however, local real estate agents say the market is much softer. Few farms have sold this year and those that have went for much less than similar places sold for a few months ago.

See this week's Crittenden Press printed edition for more on these upcoming land auctions and what they might tell speculators and landowners. Today's edition will be on newsstands after 3 p.m.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Free: Lincoln at Fohs Hall Monday night

Fohs Hall Community Arts Foundation will host a Chautauqua performance featuring Abraham Lincoln at Fohs Hall Monday night. A Chautauqua performer will portray Lincoln and then offer a question and answer period, which will last approximately 1 hour. 

This year is the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birthday. The presentation will begin at 6 p.m., and is free to the public.

AP: Unemployment benefits gapped

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Jobless Kentuckians whose state and federal unemployment checks have run out may have an eight-week gap before their newly extended benefits start arriving.

A spokesman for Gov. Steve Beshear told The Courier-Journal that while the unemployed will receive all the money that is due to them, it may take time for state workers to be trained and for computer systems to be updated.

Beshear signed an emergency order April 17 that allows Kentucky to use no-strings-attached federal stimulus money to help unemployed workers who have used up their 26 weeks of state benefits and 33 weeks of federal benefits and still haven't found jobs.

Jay Blanton, a spokesman for the governor, said jobless workers are now eligible for an extra 13 weeks of benefits.

"The experience in other states has been that it can take up to eight weeks to get everything in place," he said. "We will get everyone their payments and benefits, but it will take some time to get the processes in place to make sure we're doing it right."

The delay worries some unemployed workers who say they've already drained their savings and retirement plans to survive the past year.

"If I have to wait eight weeks from the time my extended benefits run out (in early May), it will be difficult to pay my bills," said Christina Dillon, who is now searching for work out of state.

Dillon, 44, said she has a bachelor's degree in marketing and 20 years of product management experience and "can't even get nibbles on my resume. I never in my lifetime thought I'd have this much of a problem finding work."

Beshear issued the emergency order when it became clear that the benefits wouldn't automatically kick in before jobless workers began exhausting existing aid.

He said last month that he believed the workers would be eligible for the additional benefits because the state's "insured unemployment rate" would reach 5 percent - high enough to automatically trigger the additional benefits.

But that did not happen.

In fact, the rate, which is calculated weekly by the U.S. Department of Labor, dropped from 4.91 percent April 12 to 4.84 percent last Sunday.

The insured unemployment rate is the percentage of workers who have received benefits in the past quarter. Workers who have exhausted their 26 weeks of state benefits but have not found jobs and are collecting federal benefits are not counted.

Under the emergency regulation, the state can now use a different unemployment calculation to provide the extra 13 weeks of coverage after residents exhaust their regular state and federal benefits.

Also under the emergency regulation, once the 13 weeks are exhausted, jobless Kentuckians may be eligible for another seven weeks of assistance if Kentucky's three-month unemployment rate remains above 8 percent. The current three-month rate is 9.3 percent.

To receive the extended benefits, jobless workers will face more demanding requirements to prove they are searching for work, Blanton said.

"They have to show pretty detailed evidence, as I understand it, of an active job search," he said.

Blanton said the more rigorous requirements are the reason for the additional training and computer updates.

"Once all that is in place, the Office of Employment and Training will notify those eligible to apply for the extended benefits," he said.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Courthouse offices closed Saturday

Due to this weekend's Backroads Festival, some government offices in town will be closed. On Saturday, the courthouse offices of the sheriff, circuit clerk and county clerk's office will be closed.

Missing fisherman's body discovered

The body of a missing Indiana fisherman who was believed to have drowned in the Ohio River after an April 1 boating accident has been discovered.

Daniel David Rust, 45, of Lake Station, Ind., was found Thursday by workers at Smithland Lock and Dam, some 40 miles down river from the Dam 50 Recreational Area in Crittenden County where he went missing.  The lockmaster, according to The Associated Press, said the body was found inside a gate of the dam.

Rust and a companion, Patrick May, also of Lake Station, entered the water on April when their 12-foot john boat overturned in the water near the recreational area where they had been camping. May was able to float to the safety of Cave in Rock Island and was rescued by workers on the Ohio River Ferry just before midnight on the night of the accident. May told rescuers he was sure that his buddy had drown in the current of the river.

Searchers with numerous organizations have been scouring the river for Rust's body since, using high-tech underwater sonar and cameras, visual searches and even a cadaver dog.

Though Rust was from Indiana, relatives of the man live in Crittenden County.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Big Weekend in Marion Starts Friday

The annual Crittenden County Backroads Tour begins Friday and runs through Saturday. The event will include self-guided  tours of the county's back country, including its Amish communities where lots of things are going on.

A variety of vendors will be set up at Marion Commons in front of the Tourism and Welcome Center on Main Street. Food, quilts and crafts will be the highlights.

Motorists through town should use caution as pedestrians will be numerous.

Nearly 100 visitors stopped by the tourism center on Thursday, many of them had come from the annual Paducah quilt show that coincides with Backroads Tour.

It is also the second weekend of wild turkey season which always draws a number of camo-clad folks to Crittenden County. So be on alert and welcome our guests with a smile.

Fire destroys mobile home in Marion

Fire destroyed a mobile home on Sturgis Road in Marion Thursday morning. Firemen were still on the scene shortly after 10 a.m., putting out hotspots in the trailer which is right behind Wild Hair Saloon.

A neighbor, Allen Bishop, said he was walking by the mobile home when he heard a small explosion and flames shooting from the window. He tried the door, but it was already hot.

Bishop said the renter, Tabitha Sisco, had just moved in a couple of weeks ago. Sisco arrived and was consoled by friends and neighbors. Sisco has two children who live with her in the mobile home, neighbors said. No one was home when the fire started.

More details will be available in next week's printed edition of The Crittenden Press.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Front row at CCHS Grand March

Miss Grand March at CCHS last weekend ?

Never fear. All of the pictures are right here.

Click HERE for a front-row seat at Grand March.

Debris Cleanup on US 641 & US 60

Contractors for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet are continuing their debris removal work along several main highways in Crittenden County this week.

Crews expect to finish up work along US 641 from the 0 to 6 mile marker between the Crittenden-Caldwell County Line and Marion by Thursday afternoon.

Cutting crews plan to work along US 60 from the 5 to 8 mile marker between the Crittenden-Livingston County Line and Marion over the next couple of days.

Cutting crews plan to work along US 60 between Marion and the Crittenden-Union County line (17-24 mile marker) over the next several days.

Debris crews continue working along KY 91 North from the 0 to 11 mile marker between Marion and the Cave-In-Rock Ferry Landing over the next several days.

Debris removal work continues along a number of secondary highways in Crittenden County.

Motorists should continue using appropriate caution across the region as debris removal contractors continue to go about their work.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Hamilton undergoes emergency surgery

Marion businessman Mike Hamilton was flown by air ambulance to Deaconess Hospital in Evansville early Tuesday morning where he underwent emergency heart surgery.

Relatives said he came out of surgery late Tuesday and was in the intensive care unit.

Hamilton owns and operates Superior Trophies on Main Street in Marion.

Burkhart celebrates 50 years in medicine

Dr. Stephen Burkhart has been practicing medicine in the area for 50 years. The Burkhart Rural Health Clinic will host a celebration of the 77-year-old doctor's career from 5 to 7 p.m., Friday at Occasions on Main Street in Marion. Dr. Burkhart says he plans to continue practicing as long as he's in good health. See this week's Crittenden Press printed edition for more details.

The newspaper will be on newsstands after 3 p.m., Wednesday.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Area death: Ratley

Gerald Ratley, 64, of Sturgis died at 3 p.m., Saturday, April 18, 2008 in Sturgis. Ratley was a prominent Union County businessman and had owned and operated Ratley Trucking Company for 46 years. Funeral services are Tuesday at Whitsell Funeral Home in Sturgis.

Susie “Sudie” M. Woodring, 81, of Ledbetter died at 2:23 p.m., Saturday, April 18, 2009 at Lourdes Hospital in Paducah. Boyd Funeral Directors in Salem are in charge of arrangements. The funeral is Wednesday.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Area Death: Border

Mildred Watson Border, 91, of Marion, died Thursday, April 16, 2009 at Lourdes Hospital in Paducah. The funeral is Monday at Gilbert Funeral Home in Marion.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Burdon running for Murray State SGA president

A Marion college junior is planning another run at president of Murray State University's Student Government Association.

Jonathan Burdon, who last year finished second in the race for SGA president, is giving it another shot against incumbent Kara Mantooth. Burdon is touting his experience as a freshman SGA senator and sophomore public relations chair in his campaign against the Owensboro senior. He also wants to give more of a voice to students on campus.

Burdon, the son of Tim and Joyce Burdon of Marion, has his campaign Web site posted at

For a complete story on the race, read the Murray State News story by clicking here

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Collision injures Marion man

Three Marion men appeared to have avoided serious injuries Thursday in a two-vehicle wreck at the southern edge of town.

Jim Hatfield was taken to Crittenden Hospital by Crittenden EMS for what appeared to be cautionary measures after his Nissan Mirano collided with a late model Chevy Suburban driven by Gary Gillespie, pictured here indicating the spot of impact. Gillespie and passenger Cody Bryant were shaken up, but refused medical treatment at the scene.

The collision occurred on South Main Street in front of St. William Catholic Church. According to Gillespie and marks left on the roadway by the collision, Hatfield was partially in the northbound lane while heading south, forcing Gillespie into a ditch to avoid a head-on crash. 

The rear axle of the Suburban was torn away from impact with a culvert. The large SUV came to rest in the middle of the road, though Hatfield's vehicle traveled some distance up the highway before a broken front driver's side wheel stopped the vehicle.

Walking to Hatfield's car to check on his condition, Bryant said Hatfield indicated he was not seriously injured before exiting the vehicle.

TEA Party brings out locals, anger

Debbie Hendrix is one of millions across the nation fed up with the growth of government and her tax bill. That's why the Crittenden Countian participated in yesterday's coast-to-coast TEA Party demonstrating on tax day, April 15, against what she calls a burgeoning federal power.

An acronym for Taxed Enough Already, the TEA Party was held at 12 locations in Kentucky and as near to Marion as Paducah and Madisonville. Hendrix took her protest to Madisonville.

"We are out here today to show we don't like taxing," the self-professed Republican told for their online publication. "Our freedoms are being taken away." 

To read the entire story on the TEA Party held in Madisonville and more of Hendrix's comments to, click here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Area Death: Raineri

Barbara Raineri, 68, of Marion died Tuesday, April 14, 2009 at Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville, Tenn. She was injured in an automobile accident last week on U.S. 641.

Myers Funeral Home in Marion is in charge of arrangements, which are incomplete at this time.

Tax day! Post offices not open late today

No area post offices will be open late today to accomodate last-minute tax filers. In Marion, the post office will be open until 4:30 p.m., the latest of any local offices.

Press Online launches new Extra feature

The Crittenden Press has launched a new online feature called The Press Online Extra.

The daily blog will include a variety of stories, information, photographs and advertising. It will include news releases and other information that our readers will find nowhere else in Crittenden County.

"We get so much information and so many news releases that include valuable information, but we have very little space in the newspaper to publish these items," said Press publisher Chris Evans. "The Online Extra will provide a virtual infinite amount of space for publishing these types of interesting articles. We think our readers will find the new Extra site valuable and informative."

The Press Online continues to maintain a Breaking News blog which is updated many times a week, almost every day.

Online Extra can be accessed through the home page of The Press Online at

The Extra site went online last week and has already been receiving frequent views by online readers. This is a free online feature.

Anyone interested in reaching a wide variety of online viewers may contact The Press to discuss advertising options on this new Extra site.

The Press Online is an extensive Web site that includes free html files of current and archived articles, and paid subscriptions to a full version of the newspaper in PDF format.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Motorist stranded in high water

Crittenden County Rescue Squad and Shady Grove volunteer firefighters were dispatched to Providence Road in eastern Crittenden County shortly before 11 a.m., Tuesday where a U.S. Census worker had driven into deep water covering the road.

Judy Manley had driven into the water about a half mile from the Webster County line not knowing its depth. When she realized it was swamping her car, Manley used her cell phone to call 911. Responders were sent to the scene, but by the time emergency personnel arrived, Manley had found safety on high ground between two bodies of water across the road. She was rescued without further incident.

Fishermen's boat found near Golconda

The small john boat has been found that two fishermen were in April 1 when it capsized on the Ohio River. One of the two men is still missing and believed drowned.

The accident happened near Cave In Rock Island. The boat was found more than 30 miles down stream below Golconda, Ill.

This week's printed edition of The Crittenden Press will have more details.

Area Death: Hubbard

Mary Hubbard, 83, of Shady Grove died early Tuesday morning. Myers Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. The funeral is Thursday, April 16.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Grand Jury: 20 individuals, 21 indictments

A Crittenden County Grand Jury has indicted 20 individuals, 18 men and two women, in 21 criminal cases brought before jurors late last week.

Included in those indicted is former Caldwell County basketball coach Michael Fraliex for an alleged "doctor shopping" scheme.

A complete listing of those indicted and charges they face will be published in this week's printed edition of The Crittenden Press, available on newsstands after 3 p.m., Wednesday.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Area Deaths: Booker, Driver

Dorothy B. Booker, 90, of Marion, Ky. died Friday, April, 10 2009 her home. Gilbert Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. The funeral is Tuesday.

Christene Driver, 90, of Marion, died at 12:40 p.m., Saturday April 11, 2009 at Crittenden Health and Rehab. Morgan Funeral Home in Princeton is in charge of arrangements. The funeral is today.

Woman hurt in accident Friday afternoon

A Crittenden County woman was injured in a single-vehicle accident on Ky. 120 at Ky. 139 at 4 p.m., Friday.

According to Kentucky State Police reports, Cynthia R. Phillips, 34, was operating her 2002 Pontiac Montana westbound on Ky. 120 when she left the right side of the roadway. Phillips overcorrected causing the vehicle to cross both lanes of traffic. The car left the highway and struck an earth embankment. Phillips, who was wearing a seat belt, was transported to Crittenden Hospital with a back injury.

Police looking for clues

Marion Police Officer Chuck Hoover investigates the scene of a hit-and-run accident Friday night that destroyed one of the stylish, aluminum lamp posts on East Bellville Street.

The incident happened after 7 p.m., and before about 12:30 a.m., Hoover said.

Anyone with information about the accident should call Marion Police Department at 965-3500.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Marion native in Murray stage performance

Matthew Collins, a senior at Murray State University an native of Marion, is playing the part of Panatalone in the university theater production of Carlo Goldoni's “The Servant of Two Masters."

The show opened yesterday, but will continue at 7:30 tonight and Saturday at the Robert E. Johnson Theater on campus. A final show, a matinee, will be at 2:30 p.m., Sunday. Tickets for the general public are $10, but are free for MSU students with a Racercard. For more information on how to reserve tickets, contact the theatre department at 809-4421.

To read a story on the performance by the Murray State News, click here.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Homeland security grant announced

Kentucky organizations, including one in Crittenden County, were awarded $4.9 million in Preparedness Grants by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
“These grants will help improve the security and safety of our citizens,” Gov. Steven L. Beshear said of Wednesday’s announcement by DHS. “Our important river ports will be more secure, some critical infrastructure will have improved protection, and interoperable communications will be enhanced for first responders.”
In Crittenden County, a $750,000 grant for an Emergency Operations Center will improve management and preparedness capabilities and addressing deficiencies and needs.

“The grants focus on improving strategic planning and preparedness and measuring performance,” explained Thomas L. Preston, executive director of the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security (KOHS).
DHS’s final allocations for fiscal year 2009 for 10 federal programs totaled nearly $970 million in funding to assist state, local, and tribal governments and private industry in strengthening community preparedness. 
“As we continue to expand our state, local, tribal and private sector partnerships, our combined efforts will improve and hone our grant programs – which helps us strengthen and protect individual communities and the entire nation,” Homeland Secretary Janet Napolitano said.

Injured Iraq War veteran focus of aid

Homes for Our Troops, a nationwide mission to provide specially-adapted houses to veterans wounded in combat is starting a drive to build a home for Sgt. Chase Matthews, a Crittenden County native.

On Monday, an informational session on the effort to build the wounded National Guard soldier a home will be held at 6:30 p.m., Monday at the Courtyard Marriott on Technology Drive in Paducah. Those planning to attend should RSVP by Friday by calling 1.866-7-TROOPS or e-mailing

Sgt. Matthews, a Dycusburg resident, lost both of his legs and functionality in one arm after a roadside bomb attack in Iraq in March 2007 tore through the humvee he was driving. Though two other soldiers were injured in the ambush, neither suffered the severity of injuries of Matthews. Now married, Matthews continues his rehab even today.

Homes for Our Troops is seeking help for Matthews through monetary donations, contributions of professional construction services, volunteers or fundraisers organized by local groups. More can be found out at

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

City, county government offices closed Friday

All city and courthouse offices in Crittenden County will be closed Friday in observance of Good Friday. Individual courthouses offices will also be closed Saturday. The Crittenden Press will also be closed Friday in observance of the Easter holiday.

Federal and state offices, including the University of Kentucky Extension Service at its new location, will remain open during their regular business hours. Crittenden County Public Library will also be open its regular hours.

Marion City Council meets tonight

Marion City Council will meet briefly tonight at 5:30 to introduce an amendment to the current budget.

The move will send $346,500 to Crittenden Fiscal Court for use on detention center debt as agreed upon in past meetings and add about $140,000 for emergency measures and clean-up related to January's ice storm. Other items will also be discussed.

Tonight's meeting will take place at city hall.

Search continues for suspected drowned man

A cadaver dog capable of detecting a body under water has been brought in to aid in the search for a missing Indiana man presumed dead after a boating accident last week on the Ohio River.

Crittenden County Sheriff's Deputy Greg Rushing said the weeklong search for 45-year-old Daniel David Rust near Dam 50 Recreational Area has yet to yield any results despite visual and underwater searches with sonar and cameras. 

"We're doing everything we can," Rushing said this morning.

Rust has been missing since April 8 when a 12-foot john boat he and friend Patrick May were fishing from capsized and sank after striking something in the water around 9 p.m. May was able to swim to safety about four miles downstream and has been released from the hospital where he was treated for exhaustion and hypothermia.

Rushing said Rust's body will likely remain submerged for a couple of more weeks in the frigid 45- to 50-degree waters of the Ohio River. For the complete story, see this week's issue of The Crittenden Press available in stores this afternoon.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Woman injured in single-vehicle accident

A woman was injured when her SUV ran off the road just south of Marion about 12:30 p.m., Tuesday and snapped a utility pole. The highway was blocked for almost an hour.

The driver of the car was identified as 68-year-old Barbara Raineri of Marion. She was taken to Crittenden Hospital and later transferred to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville with head and neck injuries.

Students safe in Italy

A group of Crittenden County High School students on a trip to Italy during spring break are okay. Their trip will not be affected by the deadly earthquake that struck that country early this week.

The Press has talked with some in the group of local students and will have their reflections on the worst earthquake in 30 years in Italy. So far more than 200 are known dead and thousands of buildings are destroyed.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Area Deaths: Stout

Imogene C. Stout, 90, of Marion died Saturday, April 4 at Crittenden Hospital. The funeral is at 11 a.m., Tuesday at Gilbert Funeral Home. Visitation is Monday night.

Marcia D. Davidson, 68, of Marion died Sunday, April 5. Gilbert Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Visitation is Tuesday night. The funeral is Wednesday.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Beshear's weekly address focuses on stimulus

To view Gov. Steve Beshear's latest weekly Web commentary, "About Kentucky," click here for the video. 

This week, the governor speaks on the effects and focus of the $3 billion in Recovery and Reinvestment Act money sent to the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

A new program funded by the stimulus money, Kentucky at Work, focuses primarily on jobs, though much of the stimulus money is allocated for specific social programs. Spending of the recovery act funds can be tracked on the Kentucky at Work Web site,

Whitfield hosts town hall meeting at Morganfield

Congressman Ed Whitfield (R-Hopkinsville) will be in Morganfield next week for a town hall-type discussion with area residents. Whitfield will be at the Union County Courthouse from 6 to 7 p.m., Thursday o answer questions and discuss a wide variety of important issues including the economy, energy and healthcare. The meeting will take place in the second floor courtroom. The event is open to the public.

Arbor Day today in Kentucky

Residents of Kentucky are celebrating Arbor Day 2009 today. While National Arbor Day is held on the last Friday in April, Kentucky, similar to several other states, observes the holiday at a time best suited for tree planting.

The Arbor Day Foundation encourages everyone to plant a tree to celebrate this special holiday. The Foundation’s Web site ( offers many helpful tips from how to plant a tree to selecting the right tree for the right place.

Kentucky has 35 Tree City USA communities. Tree City USA is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters. The program was established to recognize communities that are committed to its trees. More than 120 million Americans live in a Tree City USA community. To see a list of Tree City USA communities, go to

The first Arbor Day was celebrated in Nebraska on April 10, 1872, thanks to a resolution proposed by Nebraska City, Neb., resident J. Sterling Morton. Morton, a civic leader, agriculturist, and former newspaper editor, urged Nebraskans to “set aside one day to plant trees, both forest and fruit.” The tree-planting holiday was so popular that by 1920, more than 45 states and U.S. territories annually celebrated Arbor Day. Today, Arbor Day is observed in all 50 states and in many countries around the world.

The tulip poplar, Liriodendron tulipifera, was adopted as Kentucky’s state tree in 1994. Before, the tulip popular had been considered the state tree prior to 1976, though it was never official. In 1976, after a hot political debate, the Kentucky coffee tree was named the official state tree. The debate was revived in 1994, and historians, in support of the tulip tree, cited stories of how Daniel Boone left Kentucky by loading his family into a 50- to 60-foot-long tulip tree canoe. That year, a bill was finally signed to make the tulip tree the official tree of Kentucky.

The Arbor Day Foundation is a nonprofit conservation organization of nearly one million members, with a mission to inspire people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees. More information on the Foundation and its programs or ways to celebrate Arbor Day can be found at

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Search for missing fisherman halted

The search for a missing Indiana man believed to have drowned in the Ohio River Wednesday night has been called off due to a line of powerful thunderstorms that could make the recovery operation dangerous for searchers.

See Video at Ohio River

Crittenden County Sheriff's Deputy Greg Rushing, who is heading up the search for Daniel David Rust of Lake Station, Ind., said choppy waters and lightning are too much of a risk for the search by crews on at least five boats to continue. Rushing said the recovery effort would be called off after dark anyway, resuming tomorrow morning.

"At this point, it's strictly a recovery operation," Rushing to The Crittenden Press at mid-day Thursday.

The missing man is believed to have drown early this morning after the boat from which he and a friend, Patrick May, were fishing Wednesday night capsized. May, also said to be a Lake Station resident in his mid-40s, was rescued early this morning and remained hospitalized Thursday at Hardin County General Hospital in Rosiclare, Ill. 

May told authorities that he and Rust were headed back to the campsite at Dam 50 Recreational Area in Crittenden County when their 12-foot john boat struck something in the water. Disoriented and exhausted from floating almost four miles downstream in 45-degree waters, May could not pinpoint the exact location of the accident, but it is believed to have near the Kentucky shore within site of the recreational area.

Neither man was wearing a life jacket, but May apparently stayed afloat by clinging to a spotlight ejected from the overturned boat. He came ashore at Cave In Rock Island, where he began to yell for help, Rushing said.

A harbor boat run by the operator of the Cave In Rock Ferry was moving barges in the area when the crew began hearing screams for help. Upon investigating, the ferrymen found May on the shore of the island, covered in mud. He was taken to the LaFarge Quarry Dock on the Illinois side of the river where workers wrapped him in blankets and called an ambulance.

Lonnie Lewis, owner of the ferry, was piloting the harbor boat that picked up the survivor.

Crittenden County Rescue volunteers who had been at the scene searching for Rust since shortly after midnight, said May told authorities that he was pretty sure his buddy had drown. Rust was believed to have been swimming toward the far shore on the Illinois side, said Terry Angleton of Hardin County (Ill.) Emergency Management.

Rushing said the men had been camping at the recreation area since early this week. They entered the water in a small aluminum V-hull boat with a 5 hp motor.

A third man who had been at the camp site left the recreation area before Wednesday night's accident. By late morning, family of the victims had removed the men's belongings from the campsite.

Searchers have walked the shoreline and traveled as many as six miles of river looking for signs of the capsized boat or Rust's body. The search has focused down-river from the Dam 50 site, reaching as far as Elizabethtown, Ill. Initially, two boats from Crittenden County Rescue Squad were using visual and depth-finding equipment methods in an attempt to locate the body.

Hardin County rescuers joined the operation around noon Thursday with an underwater camera and their own boat. Kentucky Emergency Management Area II Dive Rescue Team, which assisted on the search for three missing duck hunters on Kentucky Lake this winter, also joined the search with a large boat equipped with two types of high-tech sonar. One of the divers on the team, Richard Curtis, said the sonar can detect the outline of a human body.

Divers, however, will not enter the muddy swirling waters along the Kentucky shore until a body is located by the sonar equipment.

The U.S. Coast Guard joined the recovery effort with a crew of four from Paducah, and the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife is also involved. 

Deputy Rushing said a body submerged in 45- to 50-degree waters could remain on the bottom for as long as three weeks. He is hoping the recovery operation will end much sooner so that the family can have closure, but cautioned that a river search is difficult, particularly with tow traffic and debris in the water.

The rescue squad has a command post set up in a camper at the Dam 50 site until the recovery is complete. While the team will not be searching after dark, the Red Cross and Marion Baptist Church will be providing meals for searchers.

The first bright spot of the day for searchers came from Rust's family who visited the recovery site around 1 p.m. Information they provided volunteers narrowed the search to between Dam 50 and the mouth of Crooked Creek, cutting the search area by about three-quarters, according to Rushing.

Rushing said the men apparently chose Crittenden County for their fishing expedition because family members had relocated from the Lake Station area to Marion. Lake Station is in northwest Indiana near Chicago.

The last Ohio River drowning in Crittenden County occurred in August 2002 when Randy L. Floyd, 47, died after going overboard from a pleasure boat.

More details on the search for Rust's body will be provided as available.

Area Death: Hodge

Leon Hodge, 72, of Marion died Thursday, April 2, 2009 at Crittenden Hospital. Gilbert Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Visitation is Friday and the funeral is Saturday.

Update: Drowning on Ohio River

UPDATE: Authorities have released more information about the recovery effort to find the body of a fisherman believed drowned on the Ohio River late Wednesday night.

Two fishermen had been camping at the Dam 50 Recreation Area since earlier this week. They had set out for nighttime fishing in a 12-foot john boat powered by a 5 hp engine Wednesday and when they were returning to shore shortly before midnight, their boat hit something in the river and capsized. Neither man in the boat was wearing a life jacket. Both are in their mid 40s, but names are not being released at this point. Authorities say the men are from Lake Station, Ind.

One of the fishermen was able to stay afloat until he made it to the head of Cave In Rock Island. Workers at the Cave In Rock Ferry heard his cries for help and rescued him with their harbor boat. Authorities continue to search for the other man who is feared drowned.

The Crittenden County Rescue Squad spent all Wednesday night searching a four-mile stretch of the Ohio River from Dam 50 to below Cave In Rock. Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, U.S. Coast Guard, Kentucky Emergency Management Dive Team and Hardin County (Ill.) Rescue Squad have also been called in to help with the search.

The Crittenden Press has a reporter at the scene and will be providing updates as information becomes available.

Track meet cancelled today

The high school track and field meet scheduled for this afternoon at Marion-Crittenden County Park has been cancelled due to a high chance of rain and thunderstorms.

Authorities looking for possible drowning victim

Members of the Crittenden County Rescue Squad, along with Illinois authorities, continue to search the Ohio River near Dam 50 Recreation where a boat capsized last night after midnight.

One male was recovered, but one male is still missing.

The two people, from Indiana, were camping at Dam 50 and set out on the river in a 12-foot john boat, sheriff Wayne Agent said. One of those who went overboard was rescued at about 1 a.m., this morning.

The Press Online will continue following this story.

Area Death: Arflack

William Edwin Arflack, 87, of Marion, died Wednesday, April 1, 2009 at Crittenden Hospital. The funeral is Friday. Myers Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Shawneetown Bridge work changed to April 20-24

Due to weather delays, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has moved back plans to conduct a detailed inspection of the Ky. 56 Ohio River Bridge at Shawneetown. The inspection, which is now scheduled for April 20-24, will require lane and load width restrictions on the Shawneetown Bridge during daylight hours.

Once the inspection begins, motorists can expect to encounter lane and load width restrictions on the bridge between approximately 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., each day whenever weather allows. Motorists should slow down and be alert for equipment, flaggers, and inspection personnel on the bridge deck in close proximity to traffic flow. The inspection work is expected to create few traffic delays; most likely less than a couple of minutes.

Todd noted that loads on the bridge will be restricted to a maximum 16 foot load width due to the lift equipment required for inspectors to go about their detailed review of the structure. Engineers believe the inspection can be completed in about a week.

Also known as the Earle C. Clements Bridge, it carries about 3,800 vehicles across the Ohio River each day.

16-year-old hurt in ATV accident

A 16-year-old Crittenden County boy was hurt in a four-wheeler accident around 9 p.m., Tuesday night on Nunn Switch Road in rural Crittenden County.

According to Kentucky State Police reports, Terry Werne was operating an 2002 Yamaha 660 ATV on the roadway when he topped a hill. A cow was the road, prompting Werne to lose control of the four-wheeler which overturned. Werne was not wearing a helmet.

He was taken by ambulance to Crittenden Hospital and later flown to Deaconess Hospital in Evansville. He suffered head and face injuries, including a broken jaw. The injuries are serious, but did not appear life-threatening.

Werne is a member of the high school football and basketball teams.

Don't be fooled today !

The traditional day for jokes, hoaxes, pranks and little white lies is today - April 1.

Be on guard, don't be fooled by some sophisticated prankster !

A couple of things you can count on today is The Crittenden Press and taxes. Yep, cigarette and alcohol taxes go up today to help Kentucky make ends meet, and just assuredly, The Crittenden Press will be on newsstands after 3 p.m., with local information you can count on with no foolish fodder.