Thursday, February 28, 2013

Area death

Eulene J. Belt, 89, of Marion died Tuesday at Crittenden Hospital in Marion. Boyd Funeral Directors in Salem is in charge of arrangements.

Big Rivers rate debate continues in Frankfort

The ongoing rate dispute between Century Aluminum and Big Rivers Electric shifted to Frankfort as both parities lobbied on different sides of the proposed legislation to allow Century and Rio Tinto Alcan smelters to purchase power on the open market. Big Rivers says the proposed legislation subsidizes the two smelters while the bills' backers say the legislation allows the two smelters, along with more than 1,000 high paying jobs, to survive.

For more on this story of local interest, visit the Hancock Clarion online and read this week's issue of The Crittenden Press.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Area death

Sunnie Jim Belt, 76, of Burna died Tuesday at Lourdes Hospital in Paducah. Boyd Funeral Directors in Salem is in charge of arrangements.

House panel OKs plan to let counties eliminate constables

A first step toward allowing counties to eliminate the elected office of constable was passed by a House committee Tuesday. House Bill 147 would amend the Kentucky Constitution to give counties the choice of eliminating constables, who mainly serve civil court papers or perform security-guard functions, according to a 2012 study. That report, performed by the Department of Criminal Justice Training, found that constables were largely superfluous and get no training in modern law enforcement.

For the story, visit The Herald Leader online.

Guns, drugs seized in Eddyville search

A search of an Eddyville residence Monday morning led to three arrests and the confiscation of more than two dozen firearms. Units from the Kentucky State Police, Probation and Parole, the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office and the Eddyville Police Department conducted a search at a residence at 9 a.m. Monday. The residence was the home of 50-year-old Robert “Bobby” Murphy, a convicted felon, according to a Kentucky State Police report.

For the story, visit The Times Leader online.

Industrial hemp bill held up

House Agriculture and Small Business Committee Chairman Tom McKee stood up Kentucky on a jobs bill by officially adjourning the committee after stating he would reconvene the group to take up Senate Bill 50, Sen. Paul Hornback’s industrial hemp legislation supported by Agriculture Commissioner James Comer.

McKee took testimony this morning on the bill, but when other members moved for passage, he ruled them out of order and quickly adjourned the meeting. McKee was met with a round of boos from the audience but then stated he would reconvene the meeting for further action on the bill after session. But during a recess in session, he adjourned the committee at his desk.

“I’m very disappointed in Chairman McKee,” Comer said. “The testimony today was overwhelmingly in favor of SB 50, and we clearly had the votes to pass this bill. This is a perfect example of everything wrong with Frankfort right now.”

This morning’s bi-partisan panel in support of SB 50 included Sen. Hornback, Democrat Sen. Robin Webb, Commissioner Comer, and Nutiva hemp foods founder and CEO John Roulac. Roulac’s company is the fastest-growing health foods company in the country. Mike Lewis, a small-scale farmer, military veteran, and spokesman for the Homegrown by Heroes program, also testified in support of the bill.

In an interesting twist, members of law enforcement who testified on the bill actually conceded that SB 50 addresses many of the concerns they have raised. Rep. Jonathan Shell from Lancaster stated that if SB 50 failed to pass, no safeguards would be in place if the federal government legalized industrial hemp.

“It was clear that the entire room had finally come to a full understanding of the intent of SB 50, which is to position Kentucky with a responsible program that could achieve a waiver from the federal government,” Comer added. “We were ready to put Kentucky on the forefront for jobs, and Chairman McKee just pulled the rug out from under all of us. This is disrespectful to all the people who put a year of hard work into this bill, including our federal delegation and military veterans who deserve more job opportunities.”

Comer said that he will get together with Sen. Hornback and the Republican and Democrat supporters of SB 50 to determine the next step.

Contract for new bridges over Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley coming soon

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is hopeful of awarding a contract for the first phase of construction of two new bridges along U.S. 68 and Ky. 80. Keith Todd, public information officer for the Cabinet, said bids for the project were due in Frankfort on Feb. 22. Engineers will review each bid to ensure it complies with specifications before awarding the Secretary of Transportation signs the contract.

For the full story, visit the Marshall County Tribune Courier online.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Restoring felons’ voting rights OK’d

The Kentucky House approved a bill last week aimed at restoring voting rights to some felons after their sentence is complete.

House Bill 70, passed 75-25, proposes a constitutional amendment that would allow restoration of voting rights once a felon receives a final discharge from parole or probation, or their maximum prison sentence has expired. Rep. Lynn Bechler (R-Marion) was one of the 25 nay votes.

It would exempt felons convicted of treason, intentional killing, sex crimes or bribery and require ratification by voters before taking effect.

Currently, felons in Kentucky must receive a partial pardon from the governor before they can vote again.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Police searching for missing 12 year old

UPDATE: Missing girls has been found and safely returned home.

Marion Police Department is asking for the public's help in locating a missing local 12-year-old girl.

She was last seen 7:30 a.m., today leaving her Highland Circle home on foot.

Investigators do not believe at this time that she was abducted.

If you have information to share with searchers, please call 965-3500.

Kentuckians win at the Oscars

Kentucky Press News Service
Louisville native Jennifer Lawrence and Lexington native George Clooney, who grew up in Augusta, each won an Oscar at Sunday night's Academy Awards in Los Angeles.

Lawrence, who is only 22, won best actress for her role in "Silver Linings Playbook." She became the second youngest woman to win best actress.

Clooney, an accomplished actor in his own right, won his Oscar as producer of the movie "Argo," which won the best picture prize Sunday night.

Other major awards Sunday included: Daniel Day-Lewis as best male actor for his role as Kentucky-born Abraham Lincoln and Anne Hathaway for best supporting actress for her role in "Les Miserables."

Ang Lee won best director for "Life of Pi" and Christopher Waltz won for best male supporting actor for his role in "Django Unchained."

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Inmate indicted for threats to Obamas

An Eddyville inmate has been indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly writing letters threatening the lives of President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and their daughters. Anthony D. Holliman, 35, of Oldham County, was indicted by a federal grand jury meeting in Louisville. Holliman is currently serving a 35-year sentence in the Kentucky State Penitentiary in Eddyville for rape, unlawful imprisonment and other charges, after a 2009 conviction in Taylor County.

For the full story, visit The Times Leader online.

Kentucky supported efforts to abolish slavery — 111 years late

Here's an OMG fact for you: The Kentucky legislature didn't go on record against slavery until 1976 — 111 years after the 13th Amendment prohibiting involuntary servitude became the law of the land. "Lincoln," with 12 nominations at tonight's Academy Awards ceremony, tells of the president's struggle to have Congress pass the amendment. What isn't told is that Kentucky, Lincoln's birthplace, refused to ratify the amendment. Mississippi was another; more on that later.

For the full story, visit The Herald Leader online.

Kentucky House bill targets drunk drivers

Several members of the Kentucky House of Representatives want to curb drunk drivers by stopping them from even making it out of the driveway. House Bill 286 would require an ignition interlock system for anyone convicted of their first DUI. The ignition interlock system is a device that attaches to a car and requires the driver to pass a breathalyzer test before driving. If the driver fails the test, the car will not start.

For more on the story, visit the Kentucky New Era online.

Henderson lawmaker co-sponsoring gun registration measure

Rep. David Watkins
Legislation that would require the registration of all handguns and assault weapons in Kentucky has been co-sponsored by state Rep. David Watkins (D-Henderson) but he conceded he doesn’t think the bill has a very good chance of passage.

For the complete story, visit the Henderson Gleaner online.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Area deaths

Keira Grace Holt, 4, of Grand Rivers died Wednesday at Baptist Health in Paducah. Smith Funeral Chapel in Smithland is in charge of arrangements.

Bruce Y. Larkins, 86, of Grand Rivers, formerly of Dorena, Mo., died Monday in the East Prairie (Mo.) Nursing Center. Shelby Funeral Home in East Prairie, Mo., is in charge of arrangements.

William Christianson, 45, of Hampton died Wednesday in an auto accident in Livingston County. There will be no services. Boyd Funeral Directors is in charge of arrangements.

State parks to offer camping discounts in April

Kentucky Press News Service
Kentucky State Parks are offering a 20 percent discount on camping reservations made for April 1-25.

To get the discount, campers need to make online reservations at (look for the “reservations” tab at the top of the page). Use the promotion code spring13.

The state parks will also be offering two nights’ camping for the price of one during Camper Appreciation Weekend, April 26-27. Many parks will be holding special events for campers that weekend, according to a news release from the parks department.

The Kentucky State Parks have 31 campgrounds across the state.

All state park campgrounds have sites with water and electric hookups.

Reservations can be made by visiting the website. Guests reserving online can view pictures of the individual campsites available, allowing them to better select a site to suit their individual needs. Guests may also call 1-888-4KYPARK for reservations.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Area death

Emma Lou Belt Williams, 79 of Crayne died Thursday at Livingston Hospital and Healthcare Services in Salem. Myers Funeral Home in Marion is in charge of arrangements.

Shirley Brown McCalister, 74, of Princeton died Wednesday in Vanderbilt University Hospital in Nashville, Tenn. Lakeland Funeral Home Chapel in Eddyville is in charge of arrangements.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Beshear tells Big Rivers, Century to resolve problems

With worries mounting in Western Kentucky, Gov. Steve Beshear on Wednesday urged Big Rivers Electric Corp. and Century Aluminum to work between themselves to prevent a jump in electricity prices and prevent job losses. In a letter to the presidents of both companies, Beshear urged Big Rivers and Century “to craft a framework of compromise that will end the crisis of confidence in the security of affordable electricity and of continued employment that has been communicated to me from hundreds of phone calls, letters, emails and faxes from rate payers, employees and families.” The governor’s letter indicated that it’s the responsibility of the two companies — not state government or the state Legislature — to resolve a looming emergency.

For more on this story, visit the Henderson Gleaner online.

Webster lawmaker wants to force Big Rivers,
East Kentucky Power Co-op merger

With Big Rivers Electric Corp. facing the probable loss of its two biggest customers and a big rate increase for its rural customers in places like Crittenden County, a Webster County legislator has filed a bill in Frankfort that would force Big Rivers to merge with East Kentucky Power Cooperative. House Bill 423 was filed Tuesday by state Rep. Jim Gooch (D-Providence). The bill seemed to find little support at Big Rivers or East Kentucky Power.

For more on this story, visit the Henderson Gleaner online.

Hampton man killed in traffic accident

A northern Livingston County man died as a result of injuries received in a single-vehicle accident Wednesday night near Smithland.

Bill Christianson, 45, of Hampton was pronounced dead at the scene of the late-night crash on Ky. 453 by Livingston County Coroner Jeff Armstrong.

According to Kentucky State Police, Christianson was northbound on the road when his vehicle left the right shoulder of the roadway and struck a utility pole. His 2006 Pontiac sedan then traveled an additional 58 feet before coming to final rest off the east side of the roadway.

The fatality occurred at 10:38 p.m., approximately 1.3 miles east of Smithland.

Trooper Donald Crawford was assisted on scene by Livingston County Sheriff’s Office, Livingston County EMS, the Livingston County coroner and Smithland Fire Department.

The investigation is continuing by Trooper Crawford.

Beshear pushes to put hemp on hold

LRC Public Information/Kentucky House Republican Caucus
Reps. Russell Webber (R-Shepherdsville) and Lynn Bechler (R-Marion)
talk on the floor of the Kentucky House of Representatives.
Kentucky Press News Service
Speaking with reporters in Frankfort Tuesday, Gov. Steve Beshear said he's pushing to put the hemp legalization issue on hold until law enforcement's concerns can be addressed.

According to WTVQ-TV, Beshear has concerns similar to those of Speaker of the House Greg Stumbo, who's said the state should listen to the concerns of police officers since hemp leaves look like marijuana leaves.

Despite those concerns, the state Senate passed a bill last week legalizing hemp production in the state and sending the bill to the House. Sen. Dorsey Ridley (D-Henderson) voted for the measure and Rep. Lynn Bechler (R-Marion) has expressed his support for the legalization, each saying it could benefit their respective, largely agrarian districts, which overlap.

But police have raised issues about making it legal to grow hemp. Their main concern is that pot growers will plant the stuff in fields of legal hemp - to obscure its location.

State Commissioner of Agriculture James Comer has been an advocate of hemp legalization - saying Kentucky farmers need another marketable crop to grow. In the 1800s, Kentucky grew large amounts of hemp for industrial use -- such as rope making -- before the crop was outlawed because of its close association with marijuana, its cousin in the plant world.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Comer urges farm license plate owners to donate

Kentucky residents who renew their farm license plates can donate $10 to a fund shared by the state Department of Agriculture’s Kentucky Proud program, Kentucky 4-H and Kentucky FFA. Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, a former Kentucky FFA president, said he hopes to raise $600,000 in donations by July, the end of the current fiscal year. Each agency would receive $200,000 if the goal is reached.

For more, read the story in the Frankfort State Journal.

School district asked to help close trust deficit

Before the Kentucky School Board Insurance Trust (KSBIT) went belly up last month, it paid millions of dollars in royalties to the Kentucky School Boards Association, which administered the trust and used the profits to subsidize its own programs for decades. The subsidies helped the school boards group keep membership dues low and provide services for member districts, but that's not much consolation to school boards that were recently informed that they have to find as much as $60 million to pay off the insurance trust's deficit.

Crittenden County Board of Education is one of those, asked to pay in more than $100,000 to the program to help meet the shortfall.

At a work session last week, board members agreed more information is needed before the district pays into the KSBIT, which is asking participating school districts across the state to help close its fiscal gap.

Most of Kentucky’s school districts have paid into the low-cost insurance program, but the local district has not used KSBIT since 2004. Nevertheless, the district is being asked to pay for the years it did participate. The estimated total assessment is $103,722.

"...If a district has ever been with KSBIT for any insurance time period then that district may be assessed some amount," said Crittenden County Superintendent Dr. Rachel Yarbrough.

About 40 percent of the state’s 174 school districts participate in the insurance program, but all will share in paying past claims because all have been a part of the program at some point. The individual shares will likely range from less than $100,000 for some districts to more than $1 million for others. Fayette County, the state’s second largest district, is facing a bill that could be somewhere between $1 million and $2 million.

KSBIT officials said the estimate for the local school district is high and the final amount districts are charged may be lower. KSBIT is offering districts the option to pay the assessments outright or through bonding over a period of years.

Dr. Yarbrough said she and many other school superintendents across the state have concerns regarding the amount of money owed to KSBIT. She said many more questions need to be answered and facts gathered before school districts can properly address the issue.

For more on the story, visit the Herald Leader online.

Monsanto philanthropic arm rewards area farmers

Caldwell County High School FFA will now be able to further support their education thanks to the support of local farmer, Craig Roberts, and America’s Farmers Grow Communities. This marks the third consecutive year a Caldwell County farmer was chosen by the program.

Sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, which is the philanthropic arm of Monsanto Co., Grow Communities provides farmers in eligible counties the chance to win a $2,500 donation for a local nonprofit organization of their choice. To further support counties declared natural disaster areas by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) due to the drought this year; winning farmers in these counties are able to direct double donations, a total of $5,000.

Caldwell County was declared a disaster area by the USDA, giving Roberts the opportunity to choose two organizations to receive $2,500 donations. He selected the Caldwell County High School FFA to receive both donations. The FFA plans to upgrade the Caldwell County Greenhouse that was established in 1996.

The Caldwell County Agriculture Department plans to replace the current polycarbonate siding and roof residing on the greenhouse, new siding will be energy efficient and allow more light transfer making the growing season shorter. The current polycarbonate has algae and crack from continued weathering. With additional funds, the FFA would like to make the second freestanding greenhouse a structure that can withstand the constant wind that blows everyday due to its location on the top of a hill. This greenhouse is currently covered in a polyethylene plastic that allows for light transfer but isn’t as reliable and secure. A heating and cooling system should be added to this greenhouse to make it useful year round. The Caldwell County FFA hopes to also introduce a hydroponics system in this second greenhouse that will supplement produce for the high school cafeteria. Finally, they plan to construct an area for a community garden and offer an alternative garden spot for FFA members.

“The future of agriculture lies in the hands of our youth, that's why it's so important to me to be able to support it,” said Roberts.

This year, the Monsanto Fund will invest nearly $6 million in rural America through Grow Communities, which includes double donations for counties impacted by the historic drought.

In Kentucky, $160,000 is being given across 32 counties, including Crittenden, Livingston, Union and Webster counties. Last week, Crittenden County's Philip Parish was given the opportunity to present a $2,500 check to both the Jake Hodge Memorial Scholarship Fund and Cali Cares, his daughter's effort to provide blankets to severe cancer patients.

Next week, read about Ledbetter's Anthony Calendar's choice for his two $2,500 donations. A check presentation will be held 10 a.m. Thursday at the Girl Scout Paducah Office, 711 Jefferson St., Paducah.

Webster County farmer Paul Tapp and Union County farmer Becky Steward have also been chosen as 2013 by America's Farmers Grow Communities.

The program is sponsored by the Monsanto Fund to partner with farmers in helping them positively impact their communities. This program is part of the Monsanto Fund’s overall effort to strengthen rural America.

For a complete list of Grow Communities winners and more program information, please visit

Libraries share accomplishment with lawmakers

Kentucky’s public libraries are providing new digital services along with books and other items at an unprecedented level, according to statistics compiled by the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives (KDLA) from annual reports submitted by Kentucky’s 119 public library systems.

Today marks Library Legislative Day, designated each year to concentrate the awareness of the legislators on libraries of all types across Kentucky. Librarians from all over the Commonwealth visit with their legislators in Frankfort on this day.

Kentuckians checked out almost 20 million books from public libraries and bookmobiles in addition to more than nine million audio visual items in 2012, while welcoming almost 20 million visitors and serving many more through websites offering a wide range of services.

Children’s services were used more than ever, with 8,282,762 children’s items circulated.  Attendance at children’s programs set a record at 1,269,546, an increase of 3.5 percent in 2012.

“These numbers debunk the myth that libraries aren’t a necessity in the Internet age,” said State Librarian and Commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives Wayne Onkst. “On the contrary, the data show that children are checking out books and other materials, as well as attending educational programs more than ever before.

“With continuing economic difficulties in the state, citizens are using the public computers and Internet access to seek employment and educational opportunities. Public libraries are a strong link in workforce development in Kentucky,” said Onkst.

Electronic services continued to increase rapidly last year. The libraries provided 4,497 computers free of charge for public use and trained more than 47,000 Kentuckians in using electronic resources. Kentuckians used library computers for creating resumes, searching and applying for jobs, accessing e-government resources, doing homework for school at all levels, obtaining information for small business applications and searching for information on a variety of topics. Collections of e-books increased dramatically so that more than three million e-books were available for checkout.

More community groups met at the library with a total of 58,097 meetings held in library buildings in 2012.

Almost 2.5 million Kentuckians, 57 percent of the state’s population, are registered to use library services.

Local public libraries are also held in high regard across the nation. The recently released report “Libraries in the Digital Age” from the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life project, found that 91 percent of Americans (16 or older) say that public libraries are important to their communities, and 76 percent say libraries are important to them and their families.

KDLA provides equitable access to quality library and information resources and services, as well as helps public agencies ensure that legislatively mandated documentation of government programs is created, efficiently maintained, and made accessible. For more information on KDLA resources, programs and services visit or call (502) 564-8300, ext. 315.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Area death

Isabel Dickerson, 101, of Hampton died Sunday at Crittenden Hospital in Marion. Boyd Funeral Directors in Salem is in charge of arrangements.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

KyTC offers scholarships

The application deadlines for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet's (KyTC) Engineering Scholarship programs are quickly approaching

Each year, the Cabinet awards 10 to 20 new civil engineering scholarships and five to 10 new engineering technology scholarships. A civil engineering scholarship may be worth up to $44,000. Plus, there's job placement after graduation and the opportunity for a potentially rewarding career. In fact, many current and former Cabinet leaders were scholarship recipients—including  Cabinet Secretary Mike Hancock and State Highway Engineer Steve Waddle.

The Engineering Technology Scholarship Program is in its fifth year and prepares students for careers with KyTC after graduation. Each engineering technology scholarship student receives $2,500 per semester to complete an Associate's Degree in Civil Engineering Technology.

For more information, log on to Under the Programs & Services tab, click Scholarship Opportunities.

The application deadline for both scholarship programs is March 1.

Area deaths

Charles William Knight Sr., 74, of Marion died Friday at Tradewater Health and Rehabilitation Center in Dawson Springs. Gilbert Funeral Home in Marion is in charge of arrangements.

Jeremy Scott Cunningham, 31, of Smithland died Feb. 10 at his residence. Hughes Funeral Home of Paducah is in charge of arrangements.

Charles “Charlie” Harper, 93, of Fredonia died Wednesday at West Kentucky Veterans Center in Hanson. Morgan's Funeral Home in Princeton is in charge of arrangements.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Area death

Juanetta Martin, 87, of Salem died Friday at Baptist Health of Paducah. Boyd Funeral Directors in Salem is in charge of arrangements.

Lawmakers send sweethearts to Ford

State lawmakers in both chambers showed their Valentine's Day love for one of America's Big Three automakers.

On Thursday, all of Kentucky's legislators by resolution voice vote recognized and congratulated Ford Motor Co. on the 100th anniversary year of building cars and trucks in Louisville.

Whitfield demands alternative to dam blockades

U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield, (R-Hopkinsville, Ky.), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power,  on Friday announced that he is demanding the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to consider alternative options to permanent barrel blockades along the Cumberland River as a means to allowing conditional boating access to river tailwaters for sportsmen and recreational fishermen.

“Boating and fishing are longstanding pastimes for many people in Kentucky, which is why I’ve been sitting down and having conversations with the Army Corps of Engineers to seek alternatives to permanent blockades along Cumberland River dams,” said Whitfield.  “I will continue working with the Corps to come up with a reasonable solution to allow conditional boating access to river tailwaters for sportsmen and recreational fishermen, but considering the response that I have received from the Corps so far, I feel as though I have a responsibility to also pursue a legislative path.”

Since learning of the Corps of Engineers Nashville District’s decision to fully enforce restricted boating access along 10 Cumberland River dams, Whitfield has been in communication with officials from the USACE in an attempt to seek an alternative solution.

On Feb. 5, Rep. Whitfield met with Major Gen. Michael Walsh to further discuss restrictions and to urge USACE to re-examine the decision to permanently restrict boating access to the tailwaters. Also attending the meeting were U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee) and U.S. Rep Jim Cooper (D-Nashville, Tenn.). During this meeting, the judge-executives Chris Lasher of Livingston County and Wade White of Lyon County and Rep. Whitfield offered a compromise to restrict the tailwater zone only at times when the dam is operating.

Crittenden County Judge-Executive Perry Newcom has also pled with the Corps leaders to reconsider the blockade. He said there are several commercial fishermen from the county that the measure could harm, as the tailwaters are some of the best fishing areas along the river.

Whitfield said he will continue working with the Corps, local residents, local officials and his colleagues in Congress to come up with alternative solutions to permanent barriers in the upcoming days and weeks. In the coming weeks, Rep. Whitfield intends to introduce legislation that would require a study of the consequences and benefits of a blockade of the tailwater fishing area.

Man killed in Livingston when tractor overturns

UPDATE: Victim identified as Gerald "Jerry" Haley of Paducah.

- - - -
A McCracken County man was killed early Friday afternoon off Lola Road in a farming accident.

The man, 69-year-old Gerald "Jerry" Haley as reported by WPSD TV 6, was unloading a tractor from a trailer when it overturned, killing him. The victim was in the tractor at the time.

Transportation survey to help plan future

What will our Kentucky transportation system needs be in 2035? Will our focus be on maintaining and improving existing roadways, constructing new roads or issues concerning other modes of transportation? Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KyTC) officials are asking these questions as they update the Kentucky Long Range Transportation Plan.

In determining the transportation needs for all areas of Kentucky over the next two decades, the updated plan will consider changes in communities, freight movement, financial resources, economic development, rural and urban transportation, the environment and other transportation issues that are impacting you.

The process of updating the Kentucky Long Range Transportation Plan has begun. The new plan will be an overarching policy guide with goals, objectives and strategies to address the core transportation opportunities and challenges facing each of us.

“A strong transportation system is vital to a strong economy and key to maintaining a high quality of life for Kentucky residents and those who travel through the state,” Transportation Cabinet Secretary Mike Hancock said. “This long-range plan currently in the works is the perfect way to establish our transportation focus for the next two decades.”

As part of the planning process, KyTC has designed and will widely distribute a confidential public survey to gauge the transportation expectations of all those who travel the state.

The “Your Turn” survey will run through Feb. 25. It consists of 19 questions concerning demographics, transportation needs and desires and funding options. Your input will be used to plan for the future transportation system for you, your family and your community.

The survey will be available in electronic and hard copy form in English and Spanish. A link to the “Your Turn” survey and other transportation information can be found by visiting and clicking on the “Your Turn” survey link. You can also access “Your Turn” directly at the link

This direct link will also provide compiled survey results in late 2013 as well as other information throughout the update of this Long Range Plan.

Call (502) 564-3419 weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. EST for information or to request a survey.

Marshall County farm featured on KET

Kentucky Hydro Farm of Marshall County grows nutritious vegetables hydroponically. Its connection as a food supplier to the Graves County School District will be featured in an upcoming public television documentary. “Well Fed: Nourishing Our Children for a Lifetime” will air on KET at 8 p.m. Monday. Once the program airs, it will be available for viewing on-line at

Kentucky's economic recovery continues

Kentucky Press News Service
Kentucky's General Fund tax revenues grew by 3.8 percent in January compared to figures from January 2012. That's an increase of $30.4 million, according to the state Budget Director Jane Driskell.

Total revenues for the month were nearly $839 million compared to $908 million during January 2012. Receipts, according to a state news release, have grown 3.8 percent for the first seven months of the fiscal year,

The fiscal year 2013 revenue estimate calls for 2.4 percent growth and would require 0.4 percent growth for the final five months to make budget.

"We are pleased with the preliminary results of the tax amnesty program, which has bolstered our receipts over the last several months," Driskell said. "However, we continue to be concerned about the performance of sales and tax tax receipts, which are basically flat year to date."

Individual income tax collections are up 35.4 percent and are up nearly 9 percent through the first seven months of the current fiscal year.

Corporation income tax receipts increased nearly 83 percent and have increased almost 8 percent in the first seven months of fiscal year 2013.

Cigarette tax receipts dipped 9.2 percent and have now fallen 4.8 percent year to date.

Coal severance tax receipts fell 26.8 percent for the month and are down 24.4 percent through the first seven months.

The Road Fund estimate calls for an increase of 3.9 percent in revenues for the fiscal year. Based on year to date figures, the state's Road Fund looks to finish the fiscal year slightly under budget, the news release said.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Area deaths

Elvis H. Hillyard, 86, of Fredonia died Wednesday at Princeton Health and Rehab Center. Morgan's Funeral Home in Princeton is in charge of arrangements.

Roberta Yvonne "Bobbie" Lytton, 58, of Shelbyville, Tenn., formerly of Crittenden County, died Feb. 1 at her home after an extended illness. Doak Howell Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

Janet Sue (Head) Orenduff, 69, of Burna died Thursday at Baptist Health of Paducah. Boyd Funeral Directors in Salem is in charge of arrangements.

Packaging manufacturer bringing 72 job to Bowling Green

Kentucky Press News Service
Alpla Inc., a multi-national plastic packaging manufacturer, plans to establish a facility in Bowling Green, creating 72 new, full-time jobs and investing $22.4 million.

“Alpla is not a household name here in Kentucky, but the products the company manufactures are in nearly every home in the Commonwealth,” Gov. Steve Beshear said in a statement. “This global company makes a wide variety of packaging, and we’re excited Alpla is here in the Commonwealth, creating 72 jobs and investing more than $22 million in this project.”

Alpla produces customized plastic packaging solutions to meet the needs of customers. With a diverse range of customers, Alpla products include packaging for everyday items such as beverages, motor oils, cleaning supplies and more, according to a state news release.

Hemp vs. marijuana: A complex issue

As Kentucky lawmakers consider whether to legalize the growing of hemp, they're hearing arguments from both sides of the issue. The nightmare hemp scenario for Kentucky State Police apparently is a field legally licensed to grow hemp for grain with illegally planted marijuana mingled in. Unlike hemp grown for fiber (when the plants are inches apart to promote tall stalk growth), the hemp grown for grain and marijuana plants would look substantially the same, said Jeremy Triplett, supervisor of the state police forensic lab.

For the full analysis, visit The Herald Leader online.

Better to take GED this year than next year

Anyone thinking about getting a GED should do so before the end of the year, when several aspects of the test will change. Mary Beth Wood, an adult education specialist at Hopkinsville Community College, wants people to know that the test will change substantially with the new year. “In January 2014, the new tests will be more difficult and computer-based,” she said. “They will be taken on a computer and will cost twice as much.”

For the full story, visit The Eagle Post online.

Ag grant workshop slated for Feb. 25

A free grant workshop will be held starting at 9 a.m. Feb. 25 at the U.K. Research and Education Center in Princeton.

The workshop will cover preparation strategies and opportunities for agricultural producers and rural businesses interested in learning more about how to find and secure funding opportunities; how to prepare strong applications; or how to connect with other resources available.

Lunch is provided, but pre-registration is required. To pre-register, contact Aleta Botts at (859) 951-8328.

Rep. Bechler among those asking Beshear to distance self from gun control comments

More than 50 House lawmakers, including Rep. Lynn Bechler (R-Marion), sent Gov. Steve Beshear a letter  asking him to clarify that Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer wasn’t speaking for the administration when he told Pure Politics he favors certain gun control measures.

For the full story, visit Pure Politics online. To download and read the letter, click here.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Deregulating land-line phone service headed to House

A controversial telephone-deregulation bill that opponents say could leave people in rural areas without land-line service cleared the state Senate Thursday on a 24-13 vote. Sen. Dorsey Ridley (D-Henderson) was one of the 13 nays.

The sponsor of Senate Bill 88, Republican Sen. Paul Hornback of Shelbyville, said it would not mean loss of telephone service for anyone in the state. The bill is needed, Hornback said, to increase the state's access to high-speed Internet.

For the full story, visit the The Herald Leader online.

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Kentucky businesses to pay more unemployment taxes

Many Kentucky businesses will be paying higher unemployment insurance taxes in the years ahead as the state repays hundreds of millions in federal loans. Kentucky has borrowed about $950 million from the federal government since 2009 to continue paying unemployment benefits after the trust fund was depleted.

This year, Kentucky businesses will be paying 1.5 percent in federal unemployment taxes on employees’ first $7,000 in taxable wages, up from the normal 0.8 percent. That equals about $21 more in federal unemployment taxes per employee, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Vice President of Public Affairs Bryan Sunderland said.

For the full story, visit the Frankfort State Journal online.

House OKs grad bill despite GOP opposition

A bill that would raise the school dropout age in Kentucky from 16 to 18 by July 2018 passed the House today by a vote of 87-10.

House Bill 224, sponsored by House Banking and Insurance Chair Jeff Greer (D-Brandenburg) and Rep. Reginald Meeks (D-Louisville) now goes to the Senate for consideration.

“We need to send a message to our kids in our districts throughout this Commonwealth that we have expectations of you,” Greer said.  Approximately 6,000 students drop out of high school each year in Kentucky on average, he said.

Kentucky’s compulsory school attendance age of 16 was set in 1920. Today, a high school diploma is necessary to join the military and for most types of employment, Greer said.

All 10 nay votes were from the Republican caucus, including Rep. Lynn Bechler of Marion.

Rep. Ben Waide of Madisonville, who was a youth minister at Marion United Methodist Church in the mid-1980s, also voted against the measure on the floor. He expressed concern with the bill in Tuesday's House Education Committee, "saying only five states that have raised their dropout age have had 'any appreciable increase' in graduation rates, and that the bill will cost money," reports the House Republican Caucus website.

Rep. David Floyd of Bardstown had a differing reason for his no vote. Floyd told The Courier-Journal that the decision to allow a child to dropout should still be left with the parents, since a student must still have parental permission between the ages of 16 and 18 to leave school.

Industrial hemp bill heads to House

The Kentucky Senate approved by a 31-6 vote today a bill that would regulate the growing of hemp in the state if the crop is legalized by the federal government.

Senate Bill 50, sponsored by Sen. Paul Hornback (R-Shelbyville) would make the state Department of Agriculture responsible for monitoring industrial hemp. Farmers wishing to grow hemp in Kentucky would register yearly with the department and would be required to submit to criminal background checks before receiving a license to raise the crop.

According to Sen. Hornback, hemp is a good alternative to tobacco and other crops and has been successfully grown in Kentucky in the past. If legalized, the crop could also boost the state’s economy by generating new jobs and revenue, he said. Industrial hemp can be used in the production of ropes, fabrics, plastics and a variety of other goods.

Sen. Dorsey Ridley (D-Henderson), who voted in favor of the bill, said passage of the bill would favor his largely agrarian, six-county district.

"We're creating the beginning process of hemp in Kentucky should the federal government allow it," Ridley said.

Hemp was a popular crop grown in Crittenden County during the years of World War II.

Hornback told lawmakers the measure would give Kentucky a market edge if the crop is legalized federally. Ironically, today U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Bowling Green) and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Louisville) joined Oregon Democratic Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden in introducing legislation to allow American farmers to cultivate and profit from industrial hemp.

“You have to be first to seize opportunities. If you’re not first, you’re last,” Hornback said.

Currently, the growing of hemp is prohibited by federal law. U.S. Sen. Paul and U.S. Reps. John Yarmuth (D-Louisville) and Thomas Massie (R-Vanceburg) told lawmakers earlier this week they are working on legislation or a waiver to lift that ban.

Some expressed concerns that the regulation would put an undue burden on law enforcement and other agencies enforcing marijuana laws since hemp is similar to marijuana in appearance.

Under the bill, state and local law enforcement would receive notification of licenses with exact GPS coordinates of hemp crop locations, and would be allowed to inspect fields. Crops not used for research purposes would be at least ten acres in size.

The bill also requires documentation from a licensed hemp grower when transporting hemp from a field or other production site.

Senate Bill 50 now goes to the full House for consideration.

An old-fashioned love story: 'The 1st Letter'

"This following is a true account of the way my cousin met her soulmate. I was her roommate at the time and followed it from the very first day. They will be married 25 years this fall. Today, matchmaking has gone to computers, so personal ads seem old-fashioned. But, I was there and saw how beautifully it worked for them."
— Linda Defew
A freelance writer from Livingston County who has had numerous works
published. Her column appears in The Crittenden Press periodically.

The First Letter
Years ago, a popular show
Said, “Personal ads are the way to go.”
She just laughed and turned off the set,
“Are you kidding? I couldn’t do that.”

One month later, sitting at home,
Feeling blue and all alone,
She picked up a pen and started to write,
She had to be honest and get the words right.

“Single, lonely, 30-something mother,
Desires to share her life with another.
Long winter evenings were meant for two,
If you feel like this, let me hear from you.”

She kept it simple, the warnings she heeded,
Be safe, be smart, no name would be needed.
She rented a post office box with a key,
She called the paper then waited to see.

Over one hundred men answered her ad,
Some were funny and some were sad.
Many sent photos and numbers to call,
“How would I ever decide from them all?”

The very first letter was from a father,
Lonely and seeking the love of another.
“I’ve never answered a personal ad,
But yours didn’t sound like the others I’d read.”

She spent the whole night reading the rest,
But the one she read first was by far the best.
In a public setting, they met the next day,
He was handsome and charming, he blew her away!

Two years later, they made wedding plans,
Then pledged their love with golden bands.
Out of one hundred letters, they could hardly believe,
The first one he answered was the first she received!

Abortion bills pass Senate

Doctors would be required to make ultrasound images available to women seeking abortions and mandate women get face-to-face consultations with medical professionals before undergoing abortions under separate legislation passed by the Senate last week.

Both bills passed the GOP-controlled Senate 31-4, with Sen. Dorsey Ridley (D-Henderson) supporting both. Rep. Lynn Bechler (R-Marion) said he would back both bills, though there may not be support in the Democratic-controlled House for them to reach the floor.
may not reach the floor.

Similar proposals have repeatedly cleared the Senate in recent years only to die in the Democratic-controlled House. And the prognosis is no better this year.

Rep. Tom Burch, chairman of the House Health and Welfare Committee, said he doesn't believe the proposals have enough support to clear his panel.

Americans spend billions on love

Americans were expected to spend $18.6 billion this year to express their undying love today for their Valentine. That is almost twice Kentucky’s current fiscal year spending plan.

Nearly 1-in-5 will be buying jewelry for their special Valentine.

School district 'shares the love'

In an effort to show recognition and appreciation to its employees, Crittenden County School District will celebrated its fifth annual Share the Love Day today.

Superintendent Dr. Rachel Yarbrough said the idea is to demonstrate appreciation to each employee for their hard work and dedication and to ask them to further communicate an attitude of gratitude by writing a note of appreciation to a colleague.

“Share the Love Day in the Crittenden County Schools started five years ago, and is held each Valentine's Day," Yarbrough said. "We give a small token of appreciation to each staff person and expect them to pay it forward with a note of gratitude to their colleagues.

"This notion of paying a positive comment forward creates an opportunity for members of each school and district employee team to get a kudo from a co-worker.  It’s a way to share our appreciation to members of our school team.”

Traffic over 62/641 bridge spanning Cumberland to be restricted

A contractor for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KyTC) has placed a lane, load width and weight restriction on the U.S. 62/U.S. 641 Cumberland River Bridge at Lake City in Livingston County.

This lane and load restriction is to allow retrofitting of floor beams on the bridge structure.

The bridge is at the Livingston-Lyon County Line immediately below Barkley Dam at Lake City. Also, known as The Blue Bridge and the Eureka Highway Bridge, the structure carries approximately 7,000 vehicles in an average day.

Traffic is restricted to one lane and a strictly enforced 12-ton load limit during the work. There is a 10-foot load width restriction in this work zone.

This lane restriction with alternating traffic flow controlled by an automated signal is in place around the clock. An enhanced enforcement presence has been requested for this work zone.

Due to the potential for traffic delays during peak travel periods, motorists are advised to self-detour via Interstate 24. The minimum delay is estimated at about five to 10 minutes during the morning and afternoon commute.

Intech Contracting LLC, is the prime contractor on this $247,051 bridge maintenance project. This work zone with lane, load width, and strictly enforced 12-ton maximum load limit will be in place for about five weeks, weather permitting.

Gun locks available at sheriff's office

Crittenden County Sheriff’s Department has scores of free firearm safety kits available to local residents through a partnership with Project ChildSafe, the nationwide firearms safety education program.

The safety kits, which include a gun lock, will be distributed until the department runs out. Project ChildSafe has distributed 35 million kits since 2003 and is funded by a U.S. Department of Justice grant, with additional funding provided by the firearms industry.

“We encourage residents to pick up a Project ChildSafe safety kit so that they can securely store their firearm,” said Sheriff Wayne Agent. “Each kit contains a safety curriculum and a cable-style gun lock.”

Alcohol sales petition circulated person-to-person

Neither side in the local alcohol referendum debate has either registered or formed an official political issue committee at this time to further their cause, though both sides have spoken out publicly on the issue in this week's edition of The Crittenden Press.

Jerritt Hovey-Brown, organizer of the petition for an option election, reports having gathered a few hundred signatures in a week's time. The names of almost 1,000 registered voters are needed to bring the issue to ballot. Hovey-Brown said she and supporters are collecting the signatures individually and do not have the petition placed in any particular location to gather the names of more people who would like to see the issue of countywide alcohol sales come to a vote.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Area death

Carzella Winters, 81, of Marion died Wednesday at Crittenden County Health and Rehab. Gilbert Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Special districts tracking bill passes House

The Kentucky House voted 96-1 Friday to require special taxing districts and similar entities to provide their administrative and financial information to the state to be posted online.

House Bill 1, sponsored by Speaker Greg Stumbo (D-Prestonsburg) would require the state’s more than 1,200 special districts to submit the information to the Department for Local Government to be placed in an online registry to make the districts more transparent and accountable to taxpayers. State Auditor Adam Edelen estimates that the special districts spend around $2.7 billion in public money per year.

“This is not a bill that’s in response to bad conduct,” Stumbo said. “House Bill 1 sets up and clarifies the reporting requirements and the auditing standards. It adds teeth to compliance. It establishes education and ethics provisions. … It’s a step in the right direction to bringing some sanity to how statutes interact.”

Rep. Lynn Bechler (R-Marion) was the lone dissenting vote on the measure. He said seeing the read light indicating a no vote on the roll call board was a little uncomfortable while 96 green lights showed approval of the measure, but he was simply voting his conscience. Bechler explains his vote in his legislative column in this week's issue of The Crittenden Press.

Crittenden County property owners pay in almost as much to special taxing districts—Extension service, library and health board—as they do to the fiscal court's coffers each year. Property owners along the Tradewater River also pay into the Lower Tradewater River Floodplain special district.

Measure would OK Election Day alcohol sales

The ban on the sale of alcoholic beverages on election days in Kentucky would be lifted under a bill the Senate approved Tuesday on a 29-8 vote. Sen. Dorsey Ridley (D-Henderson) voted for the measure.

Kentucky and South Carolina are the only two states to currently ban liquor sales on Election Day.

Senate Bill 13, sponsored by Sen. John Schickel (R-Union) now goes to the House for its consideration.

Area death

Ralph Randel Hardin, 85, of Burna died Monday at his home after a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer. Boyd Funeral Directors in Salem is in charge of arrangements.

Camaro raffle to benefit Trooper Island

The Kentucky State Police (KSP) are raffling off a 2013 Chevrolet Camaro 1SS Coupe to help support their annual summer camp for underprivileged youth. Sporting a crystal red metallic exterior and black interior, the vehicle features a 6.2 liter V8 dual overhead cam engine with 400 horsepower and a six-speed automatic transmission that incorporates Active Fuel Management for a 24-mpg highway rating. In government crash testing, it earned a superlative five-star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Other features include a rear spoiler, 20-inch aluminum wheels, front seat and full-length side curtain airbags, four-wheel, anti-lock disc brakes, electric assist power steering, theft deterrent and battery run down systems, power windows, a nine-speaker Boston Acoustics audio system, telescoping steering wheel with audio controls, rear-vision parking assist and camera system, six-way driver and passenger power seat adjustment and Chevrolet MyLink, an advanced infotainment system that integrates select phones via wireless technology for hassle-free communication on the go.

Tickets are $10 each and are available from any state trooper, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement officer or any of the 16 KSP posts located throughout the state. Only 20,000 tickets will be sold. The winning ticket will be drawn on Aug. 25 at the Kentucky State Fair.

Bill takes aim at school safety

Surrounded by supporters who share his goal of making schools safer, state Rep. Richard Henderson introduced legislation Tuesday that would forge a stronger relationship between educators, law enforcement and mental health professionals and lays out new standards for schools to follow.

Rep. Henderson’s bill is built on recommendations given in recent weeks during the House Special Subcommittee on School Safety Issues, which he chairs. “We have learned that there is a lot of room for growth in this area, especially in light of the Newtown, Conn., tragedy in December,” he said.

His legislation calls on all schools to adopt a comprehensive emergency plan – covering everything from lock-down situations to fires and tornadoes – and have the schools carry out drills regularly, beginning within a month of a new school year. Those emergency response plans would be shared with the Kentucky Department of Education and with local law enforcement, fire departments and medical personnel. Local review boards would also study new or renovated school designs to see if further safety measures could be added.

Many of the safety measures called for in House Bill 354 are already taken at Crittenden County schools.

In other areas, the bill encourages local chiefs of police and sheriffs to receive more school and student safety training.

Parents or legal guardians would also have to make school officials aware if their child has a mental or emotional condition that may be a safety concern, a move that builds on current law requiring disclosure of any other illness that could adversely affect the student population.

“This bill is a common-sense approach that I think will go a long way to improving current safety plans, and do it in a way that is cost-effective as well,” Rep. Henderson said.

Prescription abusers invited to share stories

Kentuckians affected by prescription drug abuse are invited to share their stories through Attorney General Jack Conway’s prescription drug abuse prevention webpage. One in three Kentuckians has a friend or family member who has experienced problems as a result of abusing prescription pain relievers, according to the 2012 Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP).

“Prescription drug abuse is an epidemic that has shattered families in every corner of the commonwealth,” Conway said. “I have had too many parents cry on my shoulder and I have seen the pain of addiction on too many faces. Public awareness is a key component in our fight against prescription drug abuse. I encourage Kentuckians, of all ages, to share their stories of how prescription drug addiction has affected their families. Working together, we can make sure we don’t lose another generation to this scourge.”

Ashland resident Mike Donta knows the heavy toll that prescription drug addiction can have on a family. In 2010, Donta’s 24-year-old son, Michael, lost his three-year battle with prescription drug abuse. Donta, who travels with General Conway through his Keep Kentucky Kids Safe program, is now sharing his story as part of a series of videos entitled the “Faces of Prescription Drug Abuse.” Donta’s video was posted on the Attorney General’s website today, on what would have been his son’s 27th birthday.

“To receive a phone call that says your son is dead is devastating,” said Donta. “I have traveled from one end of the state to the other with ... Conway to share my message that prescription drugs really do kill. If you abuse prescription drugs, you are going to struggle the rest of your life. You are not born a drug addict; it’s a choice you make. My son made some bad choices, and they cost him his life.”

Donta’s video is available for viewing at In addition to Donta’s video, Miss Kentucky Teen USA 2009 Jeffra Bland tells how prescription drug abuse has forever changed her family.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Discoloration, low water pressure inside Marion result of routine maintenance

Marion residents may experience some less-than-desirable water conditions as the week continues while city utility crews perform routine maintenance of the water system.

City Administrator Mark Bryant said crews will be flushing lines this week, which could lead to temporary discoloration of water or low pressure. The work began last night, but will continue throughout the week.

Bryant said most of the work is done at night to attempt to minimize disruptions.

Two inducted into Athletics Hall of Fame

Turner Martin, Farmers Bank representative Andy Hunt and
James Willoughby.
The Marion-Crittenden County Farmers Bank Athletics Hall of Fame inducted two new members last weekend during a ceremony between high school basketball games at Rocket Arena.

Enshrined were James Willoughby, a 1970s era track star; and Turner Martin, an early 1980s football and basketball star.

Making the presentation was Andy Hunt, president of the hall of fame selection committee and employee of Farmers Bank, which sponsors the program.

Monday, February 11, 2013

TDS customers report 'vishing' calls

TDS Telecommunications Corp. customers have reported receiving voice phishing calls. These calls are fraudulent attempts to scam TDS customers into revealing sensitive account information. People should be extra cautious of any phone call requests to verify account information.

Voice phishing or “vishing” scams have become increasingly sophisticated. While people have become smarter about other phishing scams, so have criminals. They are switching tactics and using a form of communication that people trust—the phone.

Vishing typically begins with an automated phone call. The recording warns of fraudulent account activity on the persons account and directs them to call a toll-free or local number immediately. At this time, they are asked a series of questions about personal and account information.

Customers should be aware that TDS is not placing these calls. TDS will never contact customers directly to verify account information. In fact, legitimate businesses do not contact customers to “verify” or “update” account information.

To protect against phishing attempts, TDS advises customers:
  1. When receiving a message or email requesting a return call, do not use the number provided or that appears on caller ID—it may be fake. Instead, use the company’s phone number listed in the phone book or on your bill.
  2. If contacted via email, do not follow any included links. Even if they look real, the link could take you to a counterfeit website.
  3. If someone calls offering to check the computer by logging in remotely, hang up immediately. Do not allow anyone remote access to a home computer unless you’ve initiated the call.
For more information on phishing and tips for prevention, visit the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission web site,

Area death

Ellis “Jake” Reddick, 74, of Hopkinsville, formerly of Madisonville, died Sunday at Jennie Stuart Medical Center in Hopkinsville. Barnett-Strother Funeral Home in Madisonville is in charge of arrangements.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Escapee surrenders without incident

UPDATED: 4:14 p.m.
Jason Scott Arkenberg, an escapee from Crittenden County Detention Center, gave himself up to police this afternoon. Arkenberg had escaped the Crittenden County Detention Center early this morning and had been at large all day. He was found at the former Turner and Conyer sawmill off U.S. 60 West. He surrendered to Marion Police Department who talked him out of hiding without incident over a public address system.

-   -   -   -   -   -

State and local authorities are looking for a man who escaped from the Crittenden County Detention Center early this morning. The subject could be armed and dangerous.

The search was concentrated around an area between the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet's garage on Old Salem Road near the junction with Ky. 91 North and the former Turner and Conyer Lumber Co. Police were using a dog, trying to pick up the escapee's scent in the wooded area between the old West Side Market and the saw mill. However, use of the dog was stopped when rain started falling about 10:45 a.m.

Authorities say the man, Jason Scott Arkenberg, 40, was a trusty at the jail. While taking garbage to an outdoor dumpster this morning around 6:30 a.m., he fled on foot. Police think he most likely broke into a building at the state's highway garage, where he once worked as a trusty.

Heath Martin, supervisor of the county's state road crew, said the highway garage's building had, indeed, been broken into this morning, with several windows smashed and other vandalism apparent. Martin said a quick inventory revealed the damages, around $50 or $60 or so missing from the garage's employee snack area and a Critttenden County road map left lying on the floor. A kitchen utensil having been sharpened and black tape wrapped around it as a possible handle for the shank was also found.

The escapee, who worked at the county road department between stints at the state garage, last worked for Martin in October or November of last year, the supervisor said. He has also worked on the jail's mowing crew since having been incarcerated there since March 2011 on charges of arson, receiving stolen property and fleeing or evading police.

Arkenberg left the jail wearing a khaki jail jumpsuit and a white thermal, long-sleeve shirt underneath the jumpsuit. He was last seen in the area of the highway garage at approximately 9 a.m. and may have obtained camouflage overalls, according to state police. He is 5-6, weighs 190 pounds and has brown hair and blue eyes.

Authorities urge caution, advising residents to take precautions such as keeping their doors locked and removing the keys from their vehicles, as well as avoiding contact with unknown individuals.

If you see this subject, do not approach or attempt to apprehend him. Call 911 or contact the Kentucky State Police at 1-800-222-5555.

Area death

Charlotte Ann Day, 72, of Smithland died Friday at Mercy Scared Heart Village in Louisville. She was the wife of the late Livingston County Sheriff Jack Day. Boyd Funeral Directors is in charge of arrangements.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Parish donates $5,000 winnings to charity Sunday

Philip Parish of Marion has been selected as a winner in America's Farmers Grow Communities, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund. Grow Communities gives farmers the opportunity to win two $2,500 donations for their favorite local nonprofit organizations. Parish selected Cali Cares and Jake Hodge Memorial Scholarship Fund as his nonprofits.

Parish and a Monsanto representative will participate in a check presentation ceremony at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Family Life Center at Marion Baptist Church during Denis and Shannon Hodge's book-signing event.

"Life Without My Point Guard" was written by Denis about his son Jake, for whom the scholarship fund is named. Donations from the book signing will also go to the scholarship fund.

Cali Cares is a program started by Parish's daughter, Cali, that provides blankets to cancer patients, the critically ill or anyone suffering from loss.

WKCTC scholarship app deadline nears

The deadline to apply for a scholarship at West Kentucky Community and Technical College is 4 p.m. March 1.

Scholarship applications are only accepted online at Application and supporting documentation must be received by the stated deadline.

WKCTC recognizes and rewards outstanding scholastic achievements by awarding merit-based scholarships and special awards to deserving students.

For more information about scholarships, contact the WKCTC scholarship office at 534-3065 or visit

HVAC class taught at Ed-Tech Center

An HVAC, electrical and plumbing class will be held on Feb. 23 at the Ed-Tech Center in Marion. Those interested in attending should call the center at 965-9294 to register.

Lady Rockets kick off homecoming

The Lady Rockets will kick off tonight's homecoming festivities, with the game starting at 6 p.m. The boys' team will play the second game of the night.

Homecoming queen ceremonies start at 5:30 p.m.

Tonight is also the Hall of Fame Game. Turner Martin and James Willoughby will inducted.

Pension reform bill clears Senate

A bill aimed at easing the state’s public pension debt was approved in the Kentucky Senate Thursday by a 33-5 vote. Sen. Dorsey Ridley was among those voting in favor of the measure.

The state’s pension systems administer benefits to more than 325,000 current and former public employees. Some estimates say the systems are facing a combined $30 billion unfunded liability.

“This issue affects every Kentuckian…It continues to eat away at our ability to deliver the services and policies that all Kentuckians expect from us,” Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) said.

In an effort to pay down that debt, Senate Bill 2, sponsored by Thayer, would require the Commonwealth to contribute the full amount recommended by actuaries to the pension system each year beginning in fiscal year 2015. Currently, the state is scheduled to pay three-fifths of the actuarially required contribution (ARC) that year.
To provide immediate relief to government budgets, the measure would extend the pay-back period for the debt from 26 to 30 years.

Other provisions in the bill would prohibit public employees from being re-employed with the state for up to two years after retirement and would repeal annual cost-of-living adjustments provided to retirees.  Thayer said the increase had been suspended during previous budgets and could still be reinstated in future budgets.

While the bill would not affect the Kentucky Teachers Retirement System and would not change benefits received by current and former state employees, it does propose a new hybrid cash balance plan for future public workers.

Different from the state’s current defined-benefit plan and a traditional 401(k), the shared-risk plan would guarantee new employees a four percent return on contributions. A quarter of returns over four percent would go to the state’s fund.

SB 2 mirrors the plan adopted by the Task Force on Kentucky Public Pensions in November. The 14-member task force, co-chaired by Thayer and comprised of members of both chambers, met with state and national pension funding experts during the interim.

The bill now goes to the House for consideration.
Senate Majority Leader Thayer speaking during floor action on Senate Bill 2 which seeks to address the financial shortfall facing the Kentucky Retirement System.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Louisville lawmaker offers bill to alter gun laws

Rep. Jim Wayne (D-Louisville) introduced a bill in the Kentucky House of Representatives today that would place limits on the sale of  certain firearms in Kentucky, creating new statutes to specify definitions for assault weapons, large-capacity ammunition-feeding devices and ammunition sellers; require background checks for private firearms sales; require reporting to law enforcement of firearm and ammunition thefts and losses; require the safe storage of firearms and require an estate's inventory to list each firearm. The legislation calls for numerous other changes to Kentucky law regarding firearms.

As of today, almost 20 bills related to firearms and weapons have been filed by legislators, some calling for protections of the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and some seeking to tighten restrictions on firearms. One even calls for the Kentucky long rifle to be the official gun of the commonwealth.

Rep. Wayne speaking on his bill that would place limits on the sale of  certain firearms in Kentucky.

Statewide smoking ban bill passes committee

The state House Health and Welfare Committee today approved a bill that would ban smoking statewide in all indoor workplaces and public places, including restaurants and bars.

House Bill 190, sponsored by Rep. Susan Westrom (D-Lexington) and Rep. Julie Raque Adams (R-Louisville) now goes to the full House for its consideration. If it becomes law, Kentucky will join the list of 29 other states with statewide smoking bans in enclosed public places.

Workers and the public need more protection from smoking, which costs Kentucky employers $3.8 billion a year in lost productivity due to illness and smoking related problems, Westrom said.

Adams said workers currently exposed to cigarette smoke shouldn’t “have to choose between their paycheck and their health.”

The state’s Medicaid program alone spends nearly $500 million a year on smoking-related illnesses, Westrom added.

HB 190 includes an exception from the ban for smoking rooms in airport or other large public facilities, although the smoking would only be allowed in designated freestanding areas with separate ventilation.

A portion of HB 190 would be designated the “Smokefree Kentucky Act” if the bill becomes law.

Audio of Rep. Westrom commenting on her bill that would mandate a statewide smoking ban in Kentucky.

Kentucky SOS warns of business scam

The Kentucky Secretary of State's Office has received inquiries from several businesses regarding a "2013 Annual Minutes Form" they received from an entity called Corporate Records Service.

"Based on information available to our office, we believe this request is a scam and advise businesses to exercise caution in providing information or payment to Corporate Records Service," warned the Secretary of State's office.

Additional information is available in a press release issued earlier this week, available at

Bill would name new 641 for Hardin, Cherry

State Sen. Dorsey Ridley has introduced a legislative measure that would name the new U.S. 641 between Marion and Lyon County for late Crittenden County Judge-executive Victor "Pippi" Hardin and retired state Rep. Mike Cherry of Princeton.

Senate Joint Resolution 17 recognizes the efforts of both men to move the massive project from concept to construction. The first leg of the road--Marion to Fredonia--is well under way. The resolution also honors the two men for other successful projects and measures to further the county and the 4th House District.

Officially, the resolution would direct the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to designate the new U.S. 641 in Crittenden County as the "Former State Rep. Mike Cherry and Former County Judge-Executive Victor 'Pippi' Hardin Highway," and to erect the appropriate signage.

Hardin died last year after a battle with cancer.

The bill was introduced earlier this legislative session, the first without Rep. Cherry in 14 years, to the Senate Transportation Committee on which Ridley serves. It must clear the committee, then be approved by both chambers before heading to the governor for his signature.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Livingston 'chop shop' charges mount

Kentucky State Police continue to investigate the north Livingston County “chop shop” operation that was raided on Jan. 31, leading to the arrest of Joseph Shane Robinson. The 38-year-old Hampton resident was initially charged with four counts of receiving stolen property, but as a result of the ongoing investigation, state police charged Robinson with 10 additional felonies today.

In all, this investigation has led to the recovery of five stolen Harley Davidson motorcycles and Harley Davidson motorcycle parts from four states. It has also resulted in charges related to three stolen trailers and the recovery of two of those trailers. Additionally, furniture and electronics have been recovered.

The investigation is continuing by state police, and more arrests are pending.

Robinson remains lodged in the McCracken County Jail.

More on the initial charges can be found in this week's issue of The Crittenden Press.

Church hosts Hodges' book-signing

Marion Baptist Church will host a book-signing for Shannon and Denis Hodge from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday in the Family Life Center of the church. The book, "Life Without My Point Guard," will be available at the signing, and all donations go to the Jake Hodge Scholarship Foundation.

USPS done with Saturday mail

The U.S. Postal Service reports it will no longer deliver Saturday mail beginning in August. Packages, however, will still be delivered.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Area deaths

Howard W. "Punk" Wheeler, 82, of Marion died Monday at Bradford Heights Health and Rehab in Hopkinsville. Gilbert Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Charles Ray "Bubby" Duvall Jr., 71, of Marion died Monday at Crittenden Hospital. Gilbert Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Area death

Sandra Quertermous, 59, of Marion died Feb. 1 at Crittenden County Health and Rehabilitation Center in Marion. Whitsell Funeral Home in Morganfield is in charge of arrangements.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Lyon limestone plant nearing 100 percent operation

A Lyon County limestone processing facility is nearing peak operation, five months after its launch was announced. Administrators of the Lake Barkley Partnership for Economic Development visited H & G Limestone Products Thursday afternoon to view the plant’s progress and deliver a little more than $6,800 in funding to aid the site’s development.

For the complete story, visit The Times Leader online.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Court employees spared furloughs in 2013 despite judicial branch budget shortfall

Employees of Kentucky's court systems won't have to take unpaid furlough days during this calendar year, Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. said Thursday. Minton said the state's judicial branch is wrestling with a $28.7 million budget shortfall in its $186 million operating budget for the new fiscal year that begins July 1. As a result, he would not eliminate the possibility of furloughs for courts workers in the first six months of 2014.

For more, read the Lexington Herald-Leader online.

Groundhog says...spring near...except in South

Three out of four groundhogs agree, winter is near its end.

The "official" groundhog in Punxsatawney, Pa., Phil, did not see his shadow, predicting an early spring. His cohorts in Staten Island, N.Y., and Ohio agreed with Phil's assessment.

However, according to The Weather Channel, the South's prognosticator, General Beauregard Lee in Atlanta, says winter will hold on another six weeks.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Kentucky sheriff won't enforce gun mandates

In a letter making its rounds online, Boone County Sheriff Michael Helmig addresses his take on the Second Amendment – of which he’s a “staunch supporter” – and writes that he refuses to enforce any mandates, regulations or rules restricting firearms. In a Jan. 16 letter, Helmig writes “I do not believe the federal government or any individual in the federal government has the right to dictate to the states, counties or municipalities any mandate, regulation or administrative rule that violates the U.S. Constitution or its various amendments.”

For the complete story, visit the Kentucky Enquirer online.

Princeton teen to stand trial as adult on murder charges

A Princeton teenager indicted by a Hopkins County grand jury this week faces trial as an adult in connection with the murder of his mother and attempted murder of his stepfather. Kentucky State Police charged Adam Teems, 17, with the crimes, following the Aug. 26 shooting at the couple’s residence in Dalton. Prosecutors said the 17 year old remains in custody at a juvenile facility in Owensboro. He cannot be held with adult prisoners before the age of 18.

For the complete story, visit the Madisonville Messenger online.

Grand jury to hear case of alleged robber of Poole bank

A Henderson County grand jury is expected to hear the case of a local man accused in 10 area bank robberies since 2006. In Henderson District Court on Thursday, the case against James A. Morris, 53, 500 block of Gabe Street, was waived to the grand jury. Morris currently faces 10 counts of robbery in connection with heists that have occurred in Henderson and Poole since 2006.

For the full story, visit the Henderson Gleaner online.

KADF policy changes discussed at workshop

The Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy (GOAP) will hold a KADF regional workshops in western Kentucky Tuesday at the Christian County Extension Office in Hopkinsville. The workshop begins at 9 a.m. and is one of seven workshops that GOAP will hold.

The purpose of the workshop is to discuss policy and program changes of the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund, as well as reorganization of the County Agricultural Investment Program (CAIP).

“The KADF Regional Workshops are critical in communicating the new policy and program changes to the agricultural community,” said Roger Thomas, executive director of the GOAP. “They have proven to be extremely beneficial in the past, and I encourage anyone interested in learning about these changes to attend.”

The workshops are also designed to be an interactive learning session that will help local program administrators with application and administration of KADF programs, including reporting requirements.  This year's workshops will prove to be a great opportunity for administrators, cooperative extension agents and county agricultural development councils to exchange ideas and experiences and learn more about all KADF programs.

Attendees are asked to RSVP at least one business day prior to the workshop date that will be attended. RSVP to Kylee Palmer at (502) 782-1763 or Visit for a copy of the agenda and a list of additional locations and dates.