Sunday, March 31, 2013

An Easter Song

The following poem was written by Ida M. Roberts and published in the March 20, 1913, edition of The Crittenden Record-Press, the former name of The Crittenden Press. It was submitted by Steve Eskew.

I once did view with dread,
The horrors of the tomb;
But now I see for the righteous dead,
The grave has lost its gloom.

Death is a conquered foe,
Then let him do his worst;
Although he lay this body low,
His fetters I shall burst.

And come forth from the grave
At my Redeemer's call,
Example of his power to save
A victor over all.

A wondrous beauty too,
This figure then shall wear,
for when my Lord appears in view,
His image I shall bear.

My robes shall glistening shine
Far whiter than the snow,
My soul and body all divine,
No trace of weakness known.

As I have borne below,
The withering marks of earth;
My glorious presence then shall show,
A form of heavenly birth.

Crowned with immortality,
I then can ever sing;
O grave where is thy victory
O death where is thy sting.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Area death

Joseph Wayne Cole, 67, of Marion died Thursday at Livingston Hospital and Healthcare Services in Salem. Myers Funeral Home in Marion is in charge of arrangements.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Area death

Shelly Marie (Mullins) Curnel, 39, of Salem, Wednesday in Gallatin County, Ill. Boyd Funeral Directors in Salem is in charge of arrangements.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Judd opts out of U.S. Senate bid

A Louisville TV station is reporting that it appears that actress Ashley Judd will not be a candidate for U.S. Senate.

WHAS-TV reported on its 5 p.m. newscast and on its website that Judd tweeted Wednesday afternoon that after serious consideration she has decided her time should to be devoted to her family.

"Regretfully, I am currently unable to consider a campaign for Senate," the station said Judd tweeted.

Judd and her husband announced earlier this year that they planned to divorce.

Area death

Dora E. Clark, 80, of Paducah, formerly of Marion, died today at Western Baptist Hospital in Paducah. Gilbert Funeral Home in Marion is in charge of arrangements.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Area deaths

Emma Katherine (Kemper) Smith Dunkerson, 97, of Burna, died Tuesday at Livingston Hospital and Healthcare Services in Salem. Boyd Funeral Directors in Salem is in charge of arrangements.

Norman R. Newcom, 70, of Marion, died March 25 at Crittenden Hospital in Marion. Gilbert Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Area death

Betty Lou Zimmerman, 83, of Fredonia, died Saturday at Salem Springlake Health & Rehab. Gilbert Funeral Home in Marion is in charge of arrangements.

Lawmakers reconvene for final 2 days of session

Kentucky's state legislators will be back in Frankfort Monday and Tuesday for the final two days of the current legislative session. It's likely the action will run late into the night on both days.

Lawmakers are likely to work on the state's ailing pension system for state and local government retirees.

There may also be a push to approve the so-called Hemp Bill. The bill has been OK'd by the Senate but has not been before the House of Representatives.

Another bill whose future is uncertain involves legislative redistricting. Other topics likely to be covered during the final two days include voting access for soldiers stationed overseas and health care.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

State to auction scores of retired vehicles

Nearly 175 vehicles, including more than 60 cargo and passenger vans, are being retired from the state motor pool and will be auctioned off Tuesday.

Approximately 100 used tires, not usually offered at auction, will also be sold.

The public auction begins at 10 a.m. at the State Service Garage, 513 Barrett St. in Frankfort.

“Each year the state turns over part of its vehicle inventory,” said Pete McDonald, director, Kentucky Division of Fleet Management. “Many individuals and organizations can benefit from buying a low-cost car, truck or van at the auction.”

This is the first fleet sale of the year. Vehicles range over years, makes and models, from 1995 to 2007. Vehicles have been categorized with a status of either “runners” or “non-runners.” One of the oldest vehicles on the runner list is a 1995 Ford E-350 Club Wagon with 87,178 miles. One of the newer runner status vehicles is a 2006 Ford Expedition with 111,834 miles. Almost 30 vehicles are classified as non-runners to be sold as salvage.

“Over the years, we’ve seen businesspeople, churches, non-profit agencies and many others buy vehicles at our surplus property auctions,” said Danny Ford, director of the Division of Surplus Properties. “Whether you need a farm truck or a van, you may be able to find something suitable and affordable.”

In 2012 the average sale price of running vehicles was $2,886.46.

People interested in the auction may pre-register and inspect the vehicles from 1:30-4 p.m. EDT Monday. In addition, they may register and view the vehicles on the morning of the sale from 8-9:50 a.m. EDT. Questions can be directed to Fleet Management Inventory at (502) 564-9943. More information and a list of vehicles are available online at

Full payment is due within one hour after the last item is sold. Payment can be made with cash; cashiers, certified, or travelers checks; money order or personal check with proper identification. Any check over $5,000 must be accompanied by a letter of credit from the bank.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Area death

Allie Cordelia Noel, 77, of Hampton, died Thursday at Livingston Hospital and Healthcare Services in Salem. Boyd Funeral Directors in Salem is in charge of arrangements.

Mae Dickerson Ramage, 99, of Burna, died Thursday at Livingston Hospital and Healthcare Services in Salem. Boyd Funeral Directors in Salem is in charge of arrangements.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Area death

Raymond Duffy, 87, of Marion, died Tuesday at his home. Gilbert Funeral Home in Marion is in charge of arrangements.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sinkhole affects traffic on Ky. 902

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet's Caldwell County highway maintenance crew is working to repair a sinkhole that formed yesterday, affecting Ky. 902 traffic about a mile west of Fredonia. The crew has placed special fabric across the hole and dumped about 160 tons of rip rap into it. The fabric allows water to go through, but holds soil in place. Engineers expect it will take another 40 tons or more of rock to fill the hole.

Using a long-reach trackhoe, the crew dug down about 35 feet. They then started back-filling the hole. Once it is filled, they will cap the area with soil and gravel.

-   -   -   -

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KyTC) has restricted traffic to one lane on Ky. 902 west of Fredonia in Caldwell County due to a sinkhole.

This is on Ky. 902 at mile-point 0.9 west of Fredonia. This is between Mill Bluff Road and West Dycus Avenue, about one mile east of the Caldwell-Crittenden County line.

KyTC have flaggers on site at this time to control traffic through the area. A track hoe is en route for possible repairs. Engineers are still trying to determine the extent of required repairs.

KyTC expects to have a crew working at the site at least until 5 p.m. today.  The roadway may have to be closed at times as they crew goes about their work.

Motorists should avoid the area, if possible.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Ethics panel charges Farmer with 42 violations

Former state Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer has been charged with 42 counts of ethics violations by the Executive Branch Ethics Commission. The announcement was made Monday afternoon by the commission, Louisville TV station WDRB reported on its website.

Farmer, a one-time U.K. basketball star and former candidate for lieutenant governor, had been criticized for his spending habits while serving two terms as agriculture commissioner.

Last spring, state Auditor Adam Edelen released an audit that was highly critical of Farmer's terms in office. He was criticized for allegedly having agriculture department employees take him hunting, perform work at his Frankfort home, take care of his dog and for spending state money on fancy hotel rooms for the Sweet 16 basketball tourney when his home was a short distance away, the station reported.

Edelen also said Farmer gave his friends jobs and gave himself gifts.

The sanctions that Farmer will face could result in substantial financial penalties. Another hearing will be scheduled for Farmer and his attorney to face the commission and offer a defense against the allegations, WDRB said.

CCHS students heading back from DC trip

Crittenden County High School students have their picture taken
in front of the White House on a recent trip to Washington, D.C.
Our nation’s history came to life for about 90 freshmen and junior students at Crittenden County High School. Social studies teachers Kim Vince and Shannon Hodge and their students are today on their way back from exploring Washington, D.C.

En route to the nation’s capital, students toured such famous landmarks as Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens. Also on the itinerary was a visit to Arlington National Cemetery, where students had the opportunity to visit President John F. Kennedy’s grave and view the eternal flame that marks the site.  Students also witnessed the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown.

Upon arriving in Washington, students visited the Newseum, known as the world’s most interactive museum where galleries and theaters immerse visitors in the world’s greatest news events. Afterward, a guided tour of the District was planned with stops at such iconic sites as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Jefferson Memorial.

Before the trip, Vince said the journey would give students the opportunity to have the cultural experience of being in the nation’s capital and visiting such important sites such as the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Ford’s Theater where President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated and the newly-unveiled statue of civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks.

On their journey back through the Bluegrass State, students also planned to tour Kentucky’s state capital. Included is a tour of the capitol building, Daniel Boone’s memorial at Frankfort Cemetery and a tour of the governor’s mansion.

“A lot of our kids never even make the four-hour drive to see Frankfort. So we wanted to make sure they did since we can take that path home very easily,” Vince said.

National Ag Day: Impact of agriculture broader than money it puts in economy

Agriculture provides more than 30 percent of Kentucky’s economy, but its impact is even greater than that. “If you eat, you are involved in agriculture,” American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman told the 400 or so people gathered Friday morning for the “Our Farm. Your Plate” breakfast at Bowling Green's National Corvette Museum. Stallman said the comment, borrowed from a bumper sticker two decades ago, points to the importance of agriculture. Nationally, more than 2.1 million people are involved in farming endeavors, he said.

For more, visit the Bowling Green Daily News online.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Area deaths

Christine Montgomery Hughes, 86, of Sturgis  died Saturday at Salem Springlake Health & Rehabilitation Center. Whitsell Funeral Home in Sturgis is in charge of arrangements.

Margaret  S. Towery, 93, of Marion died Saturday at Crittenden County Health and Rehabilitation Center in Marion. Myers Funeral Home in Marion is in charge of arrangements.

Peggy Sue Brown McEuen, 79, of Princeton died at her home on Saturday. Morgan's Funeral Home in Princeton is in charge of arrangements.

Schools preparing for new rules governing the restraint or seclusion of unruly students

Kentucky's public school districts are gearing up for a new state regulation that specifies how and when educators can restrain or isolate students who are unruly. The regulation, which went into effect Feb. 1, allows students to be physically restrained — preventing students from moving torso, arms, legs or head — or placed in a secluded area away from classmates only to protect them from hurting themselves or others. It also bans the use of physical restraint or seclusion as student punishment. Students can be restrained for intentionally destroying property. Advocates have been calling for such rules for years.

For the story, visit The Herald Leader online.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Technology spreads bad news too fast for officials, families

While social media and cell phone technology continue to advance, so does the way people communicate and receive information, both good and bad. These days, news of tragic events spreads faster than ever before, often leaving officials and traditional media in the dust. The long-standing practice of waiting until kin has been notified of a death by officials before releasing information is being trampled by text messages and Twitter tweets that are often incomplete, inaccurate or false. For Garrard County Coroner Daryl Hodge, this is making the already difficult task of notifying family members of a death much more complicated, and potentially harmful for those whose lives have just been shattered.

For more, visit The Advocate Messenger online.

Ranking the top 75 NCAA moments in state's history

For the NCAA Tournament, 2013 is the diamond anniversary year. Across the decades, few states have had a more profound impact on March Madness than Kentucky. Out of the 74 NCAA Tournaments before this year, teams from the commonwealth have been represented in 66 of them. There has been at least one Bluegrass State team in every NCAA tourney since 1963. At least one team from our state has won an NCAA tourney game in every season since 1991.

For the full story, visit The Herald Leader online.

Photography fundamentals taught at WKCTC in April

West Kentucky Community and Technical College is offering a five-week class to teach the fundamentals of photography beginning next month.

Class instructor Jim Ethridge will cover topics such as camera types, ISO and exposure settings, composition, lighting, types of photography, and more.

Ethridge owned and operated a portrait/wedding photography business for fifteen years. Photographs by Ethridge have been used in several books including: “Paducah, Kentucky: A Center for Culture and Commerce,” which celebrates the 65th Anniversary of the Paducah Chamber of Commerce and was published by Turner Publishing and “In Your Backyard,” an article in the fall 2001 issue of Nature Photographer Magazine. Ethridge has also won several local photography contests.

Photographic Fundamentals will be taught each Tuesday evening beginning April 2, and ending April 30. The course will be held from 6-8 p.m. in the Emerging Technology Center, room 112. A short field trip is planned for April 23.

The cost for the five classes is $85. Participants are encouraged to bring a camera. A specific type of camera is not required for the

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Rehab projects kick off busy construction season on I-24

Contractors for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KyTC) are preparing for a busy construction season along Interstate 24. KyTC engineers expect work zones to start going up on Monday and Tuesday with projects coordinated to help minimize traffic issues.

“We have four major projects scheduled that will include extended work zones along Interstate 24 through Kentucky,” KyTC District 1 Chief Engineer Jim LeFevre said. “We are phasing the work to reduce the length of lane restrictions and spread out the work zones to help minimize congestion.”

LeFevre noted the contractor on the project in the immediate Paducah area will attempt to suspend work during the American Quilter’s Society Show that brings thousands of visitors to the area.

Sections of I-24 scheduled for improvements this summer include:
  • I-24 McCracken County, 3 to 16 mile marker: This section will include bridge repair work and work along the right-of-way starting with intermittent lane restrictions around Wednesday with more extensive work to follow. A section of new pavement between Exit 4 and the Buckner Lane Overpass will be left in place. Jim Smith Contracting is the prime contractor on this $14.83 million project.
  • I-24/I-69 in Livingston/Lyon counties, 31- to 38-mile marker: Work is expected to start Monday. All traffic will initially move to the right- lane. Work along this section includes new pavement and drainage improvements and bridge and overpass repairs. Jim Smith Contracting is the prime contractor on the $3.1 million project.
  • I-24 in Lyon Count, 38- to 45-mile marker: Work is scheduled to start Monday with work on a number of bridges and overpasses. Lane restrictions will be limited to specific work locations. Asphalt work along this section is scheduled to start June 1. Jim Smith Contracting is the prime contractor on the $8.4 million project.
  • I-24 in Christian County, 85- to 93-mile marker at the Kentucky-Tennessee state line: Rehab work on this section is expected to start around April 1. Rogers Group Inc. is the prime contractor on the $13.97 million project. The expected completion date on this section is Oct. 13.
  • Updates on traffic shifts and work zone configuration will be provided to the public as work ramps up at each of the locations.
LeFever said some of the road surface being replaced was last paved between about 1998 and 2000.

State reminds Kentuckians salmonella can come from animals, not just food

The state's residents are being reminded by the Kentucky Department for Public Health that salmonella infections don’t just come from contaminated food. Infections can also come from contact with animals. Many salmonella infections occur in people who have contact with certain types of animals, especially poultry.

“Backyard poultry flocks are very popular today in Kentucky so it’s worth the time to review a few good safety rules when handling live birds,” Dr. John Poe, state public health veterinarian, said in a DPH news release. “Washing hands thoroughly, cleaning equipment used with live poultry and making sure live poultry remain outside are measures everyone should take to prevent illness. As we move into chick season this spring, it’s particularly important to observe these guidelines.”

In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported eight outbreaks involving contact with live poultry that sickened more than 450 nationwide, more than recorded in any year previously. It also reported the largest outbreak of human salmonella infections linked to backyard flocks in a single year.

Each year DPH receives reports of salmonella infections as a result of exposure to live poultry, and Kentucky had 13 human cases related to two of the 2012 multi-state outbreaks recorded by CDC.

Live poultry may have salmonella germs in their droppings and on their feathers, feet and beaks even when they appear healthy and clean. While salmonella doesn't typically make birds sick, salmonella germs can cause a diarrheal illness in people that ranges from mild to severe and in some cases can even be life threatening. Infants, seniors and those with weakened immune systems are more likely than others to develop severe illness, the news release said.

DPH recommends following these simple steps to prevent illness:
  • Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching live poultry or anything in the area where they live and roam. Adults should supervise hand washing for young children. 
  • Clean equipment or materials associated with raising or caring for live poultry outside the house, such as cages and feed or water containers.
  • Never bring live poultry inside the house, in bathrooms, or especially into areas where food or drink is prepared, served or stored, such as kitchens or outdoor patios.
To learn more about the risk of human salmonella Infections from live poultry you can visit CDC’s website:

Booth apps taken for arts, crafts fair

Booth application deadlines for this year's Christmas in Marion are April 15 for repeat exhibitors and Sept. 15 for first-timers. The show, held Oct. 19 at Fohs Hall, features handmade goods from local vendors.

Checks must be included with booth application in order to reserve a space. Make your $35 check payable to Fohs Hall Community Arts Foundation and send along with your booth application to: Kim Vince, Show Chair, 919 W. Main St., Princeton, KY 42445 or call 365-3420.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Whitfield concerned Obama administration’s actions will raise energy costs

Congressman Ed Whitfield, (R-Hopkinsville), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power, recently joined with leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee to request that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provide further information regarding the President’s climate change agenda for his second term. Whitfield is particularly concerned with how an aggressive climate change agenda by the President would adversely affect Kentucky’s coal industry.

“Coal is one of America’s most abundant and important domestic energy resources,” stated Whitfield.  “I will continue to work to protect our coal miners and protect coal as an essential energy resource.  Without coal, consumers will face increased energy costs, making America less competitive in the global marketplace. Roughly 40 percent of our electricity is supplied by coal, and attacking coal as some in Washington tend to do and making it harder for coal-fired power plants to operate will not only hurt our consumers, but will also negatively impact jobs.”

In their letter to EPA Acting Administrator Robert Perciasepe, Whitfield and Committee leaders expressed concern over the impacts of EPA’s recently issued greenhouse gas regulations and the agency’s plans for additional rules that will raise energy prices and impede job creation and economic growth.  The also questioned the President’s priorities as the nation confronts a stalled economy and continues struggling to recover from the Great Recession.

They wrote, “As you are aware, unprecedented economic challenges threaten current and future generations of Americans. Our nation faces prolonged high unemployment, anemic economic growth, and a national debt rapidly approaching $17 trillion. The U.S. Senate has not passed a budget in four years, and the President has not yet submitted a fiscal year 2014 budget proposal to Congress.  As these pressing fiscal, economic, and employment risks confront American families and businesses, the President announced in his Inaugural and the State of the Union speeches that climate change is one of his top priorities and that he intends to take action in his second term.” 

Whitfield and the Committee have a long history of reviewing climate change policies. The letter continues, “Over the past three Congresses, our Committee developed a sizable Congressional record regarding climate change, including dozens of hearings and testimony from hundreds of witnesses. Our consideration of the impacts of climate policies has informed our view that raising the price of energy would hurt households and businesses with no perceptible impacts on global greenhouse gas emissions, weather or climate conditions.

“Notwithstanding the importance of encouraging economic recovery and job growth, EPA has during the President’s first term issued thousands of pages of greenhouse gas regulations that impose additional costs on all sectors of the economy.  We are concerned about the impacts of these regulations and also of new additional regulations that EPA intends to issue that will drive up energy prices for Americans, further discouraging economic growth and job creation.”

Investments made in ag diversification projects

Today the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board, chaired by Gov. Steve Beshear, approved $305,881 for eight county agricultural diversification projects across the Commonwealth during its March board meeting at the Franklin County Cooperative Extension Office.

Just one of the improvements included:

Agricultural Asset Mapping
The Pennyrile Area Development District (PADD) was approved for $100,000 in state funds to conduct a statewide mapping project of Kentucky’s agricultural assets.  In coordination with the other 14 area development districts, a database of Kentucky’s agricultural assets and resources will be developed, including potential sites for agricultural development, agricultural industrial sites, food production and supply facilities, as well as other critical agricultural infrastructure locations.  For more information on this project, contact Chris Sutton, PADD executive director, at (270) 886-9484, (270) 625-2766 or

FSA supports National Ag Day

The Kentucky Farm Service Agency (FSA) suggests that we all take a moment in these turbulent fiscal times to celebrate agriculture and honor our hard-working farmers in Kentucky. State Executive Director John W. McCauley announces that March 19 is National Ag Day and this year’s theme is “Generations Nourishing Generations”.

“According to recent USDA studies, the agricultural sector right now remains a bright spot in terms of economic stability and growth and there is a strong demand for U.S. agricultural products,” said McCauley. “Generation after generation of agricultural producers in Kentucky are getting up early every day to provide the food, fiber, and fuel that feed and clothe Americans and others around the world. ” McCauley further notes, “As research advances, the future may be even brighter. New uses for ag products are being found to utilize natural ingredients for life-saving medicines and supply the critical commodities required in a long list of manufacturing sectors .”

Despite the onslaught of natural disasters weathered by farmers this past year that created less than ideal growing conditions, producers still managed to grow the commodities that keep our economy moving forward. And they maintain our abundant supply of renewable resources in an environmentally sensitive manner. “For their life sustaining efforts, we honor Kentucky's agricultural producers for their vital contribution,” said McCauley.

Major commodities produced in Kentucky include cattle and calves, corn, tobacco, and soybeans. Kentucky agricultural production contributed over $2.4 billion in export revenues last year alone. Today each American farmer produces enough food to feed more than 144 people, a dramatic increase from the 25 people a farmer sustained in 1960. These increased efficiencies demonstrate that American Agriculture is producing more—and doing it better than ever before.

Ad Day is a project of the Agriculture Council of America. For further Ag Day information and events visit More information on FSA assistance and programs can be obtained at your local FSA service center.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Area deaths

Naomi Fritts Stallion, 86, a native of Marion, died March 9, 2013, at her home in Leesburg, Fla.  Funeral services will be at Gilbert Funeral Home in Marion at 2 p.m. Sunday, with Bro. Harry Todd, pastor of Paradise United Methodist Church in Grand Rivers, officiating. Visitation will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday.

Suzanne Conger James, 87, of Marion died Wednesday at Kindred Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Greenville. Myers Funeral Home in Marion is in charge of arrangements.

Tests show more Kentucky children need academic help to succeed

Most Kentucky children entering kindergarten need academic help in order to succeed, according to test results released Tuesday. "These results clearly show many of our students are starting school at a disadvantage, often without the basic foundation on which to build academically," Education Commissioner Terry Holliday said in statement. The report was based on results from a test given at the beginning of this school year to more than 31,000 kindergarten students in 458 Kentucky public schools. The test, designed to assess children's basic skills and academic readiness, was administered on a voluntary basis.

For more, visit The Herald Leader online.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Hemp bill gets last-minute push

A proposal to regulate industrial hemp in Kentucky received a late push from House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins, who has filed an amendment that would establish a five-year study on the crop. Adkins, D-Sandy Hook, discussed industrial hemp Friday with Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, who is leading the charge to establish a regulatory framework to cultivate the illegal plant. Senate Bill 50 would not legalize the crop, which has been federally banned because it is of the same plant species as marijuana.

For more, visit The State Journal online.

Funding ties up pension reform bill

Efforts to link changes to Kentucky’s cash-strapped public pension system with a dedicated funding source could derail reform talks as the 2013 session nears its end. After meeting for several hours over the weekend and again Tuesday, lawmakers are preparing to continue discussions on pension reform during the veto recess. The House and Senate are scheduled to gavel in at noon March 25. House Speaker Greg Stumbo said the chambers could reach an agreement once the funding issue is settled.

For the full story, visit The State Journal online.

Area death

Jean Dalton Tabor, 69, of Salem died Tuesday at Livingston Hospital and Healthcare Services in Salem. Myers Funeral Home in Marion is in charge of arrangements.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Area death

Edwinna Cash, 70, of Marion, died Monday at her home in Marion.  Gilbert Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Area death

Troy Marcus Asbridge, 41, of Fairview, Tenn., died Thursday at Vanderbilt University Hospital in Nashville. Myers Funeral Home in Marion is in charge of arrangements.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Magazine ranks Kentucky 10th in nation for industry activity

Kentucky Press News Service
Site Selection magazine’s annual Governor’s Cup rankings have placed Kentucky 10th in the nation for new and expanded industry activity in 2012.

In 2012, Kentucky announced 354 location or expansion projects, resulting in 14,075 projected new full-time jobs and a capital investment estimated at nearly $2.7 billion.

Kentucky has finished among the top 15 states in the nation for the last five years in a row, according to a news release from Gov. Steve Beshear's office.

“This is another strong showing for Kentucky’s economic development activity,” Beshear said in the release. “This ranking reflects our dedication to economic growth, with a focus on attracting new businesses and supporting the expansion of our existing companies, reaching out to global markets through exporting, as well as showcasing all of the strategic advantages Kentucky offers.”

Site Selection, an Atlanta-based publication, has rated the states annually since 1978. The ranking is based on a state’s total number of qualified projects as tracked by Conway Data Inc.’s New Plant database.

Qualified projects include those that meet at least one of three criteria:
  • Involve a capital investment of at least $1 million;
  • Create 50 or more jobs; or
  • Add at least 20,000 square feet of new floor space.
During 2012, Kentucky generated 196 projects that met the above standards for Site Selection’s Governor’s Cup consideration, the news release said.

“Kentucky’s 10th-place finish in our annual Governor’s Cup facilities race is evidence that more and more companies are finding in the Commonwealth the location criteria they require in today’s economy,” said Mark Arend, editor in chief of Site Selection. “My colleagues and I congratulate Gov. Beshear, his economic development team and the local and regional economic development professionals who worked to make Kentucky the right location choice for so many expanding companies.”

Conway Data’s rankings are regarded by corporate real estate analysts as “the industry scoreboard.” The magazine’s circulation base consists of 44,000 executives involved in corporate site selection decisions.

In addition to the Governor’s Cup, Site Selection recognizes top metropolitan and micropolitan areas for their economic development successes. The Top 10 Metro Areas Ranking rated Lexington seventh in the Tier 2 class (population 200,000 to 1 million).

Kentucky ranked fifth in the nation for number of communities making the magazine’s Top Micropolitans list, with 10 communities making the cut.

The article and rankings can be viewed in their entirety at

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Senate approves special taxing district legislation

Kentucky LRC
A bill aimed at increasing transparency and accountability of the state’s special taxing districts was approved by the Kentucky Senate today.

House Bill 1, sponsored by House Speaker Greg Stumbo (D-Prestonsburg) would require “special purpose government entities” in the state to submit administrative and financial information to the Department of Local Government. That information would then be posted in an online registry and available to the public.

According to Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) the bill would apply to more than 1,300 special taxing districts in the state that raise and spend approximately $4 billion in public money annually.  These entities include public library boards and fire and water districts, among others. They are found in more than 117 Kentucky counties.

There are three countywide special taxing districts in Crittenden County: Library, Health, and Extension Services. The Lower Tradewater River Floodplain district taxes only properties along the river.

As amended by the Senate, the bill would also give fiscal courts the power to veto certain tax increases proposed by special districts. It would also make the results of audits of districts covered under the legislation available for public review on the online registry, Thayer said.

The Senate changes to House Bill 1 “add much-needed oversight to special districts across the Commonwealth,” he said.

The measure was passed on a 23-10 vote. Opponents of the bill cited concerns about allowing fiscal courts veto power over the taxing districts. Sen. Dorsey Ridley, the Henderson Democrat who represents Criitenden County, voted against the bill. In fact, both of the county's representative lawmakers have now cast "Nay" votes on the measure. GOP Rep. Lynn Bechler of Marion was the lone dissenting voice in the House.

House OKs Democrat-drawn redistricting map

Update: On Wednesday, the House passed a Democrat-drawn redistricting map 53-46. The bill as approved would pit several Republicans against one another in the 2014 primary election, including Rep. Lynn Bechler of Marion who would face Rep. Ben Waide of Madisonville in a redrawn 5th District that includes Crittenden, Caldwell and a portion of Hopkins County. Crittenden County currently lies in the 4th District along with Livingston, Caldwell and a portion of McCracken County.

Democrats currently control the House 55-45.

House Bill 2, sponsored by House Speaker Greg Stumbo (D-Prestonsburg) would create seven new districts and split some current districts without violating the constitutional standard of “one person, one vote, ” Stumbo said. He also told members before the vote that the legislation meets state and federal mandates. 

Each district under HB 2 would have a population within the allowed deviation of 5 percent from 43,308—the ideal size of a House district based on the state’s total population of 4,380,415, Stumbo said.

The new map is not likely to see daylight, as GOP Senate President Robert Stivers has expressed that he is not inclined to take up the measure in the upper chamber in the waning days of the 2013 regular session.

-  -  -  -  -
House Speaker Greg Stumbo unveiled proposed new boundaries for House districts Tuesday that pit incumbents against each other in six districts and create seven districts with no incumbent. In the proposal, 4th District Rep. Lynn Bechler (R-Marion) would face 10th District Rep. Ben Waide (R-Madisonville).

For the complete story, visit The Herald Leader online.

Click to enlarge

Auditor: Kentucky has tolerated 'political culture of low expectations and corruption'

Being Kentucky’s “taxpayer watchdog” is a role state Auditor Adam Edelen said he is glad to fulfill, saying he is happy to uncover wasteful spending and mismanagement on a daily basis. Edelen was a featured speaker Monday hosted by the Democratic Woman’s Club of Clark County. Edelen told the group there are two challenges that have held Kentucky back. “The first is that we’re a poor state. We don’t always have the resources to invest in our people,” Edelen said. “The second is that we have too often tolerated a political culture of low expectations and corruption.”

For the full story, visit the Winchester Sun online.

Area death

Marlene (Davis) Black, 77, of Carrsville died Tuesday at Crittenden Hospital in Marion. Boyd Funeral Directors in Salem is in charge of arrangements.

Coyotes: Kentucky's most wanted

Coyotes could be legally shot on sight anytime of the day or night under House Bill 60, which passed the Kentucky Senate yesterday by a 37-0 vote. The legislation introduced in the House flew out of that chamber by a 99-1 vote. In response to growing concerns about the threat the animals pose to dogs, rabbits and young children, state Rep. Fitz Steele (D-Hazard) sponsored the bill.

The bill awaits the governor's signature.

Dam fight continues: senator requests Corps delay

Federal legislators are trying a new approach in their effort to stop the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from blocking boat access in the tailwaters of Barkley Dam and nine others along the Cumberland River. Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, joined by Rep. Ed Whitfield of Kentucky, met Monday with Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy to seek a delay in the plan’s implementation.

For the full story, visit The Times Leader online.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Lawmakers say aluminum company jobs at risk without cheaper electrictity

In the final days of the 2013 legislative session, lawmakers are wrestling with the possibility that well over 1,000 good jobs in Western Kentucky will be lost as electric bills soar for about 112,000 homes and businesses in the region.

For more on the story, visit The Courier-Journal online.

Whitfield stresses importance of coal in hearing

Congressman Ed Whitfield, (R-Hopkinsville), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power, today delivered opening remarks during a Subcommittee hearing on “American Energy Security and Innovation: The Role of a Diverse Electricity Generation Portfolio.” In his remarks, Whitfield stressed the importance of coal in domestic energy production.

“The best way to deal with the electricity challenges of today and tomorrow is to expand the options available, not to reduce them,” stated Whitfield in his prepared opening remarks. “That is why I believe that EPA’s regulatory assault on coal is bad policy. Coal is the leading source of electricity generation in the U.S., and it certainly remains the fastest-growing source of energy for China and many of our other global competitors. We gain nothing when we foreclose the option of new coal-fired generation by regulating it out of existence.”

Whitfield also expressed concern over the well-funded political efforts by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other environmental groups to ultimately stop the use of fossil fuel to generate electricity in America.

“We know that there are people in the Administration, political leaders around the country, national and international environmental groups, nonprofit groups and others who really do have a desire to stop the use of fossil fuel in the production of electricity. Just yesterday for example, Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York was quoted as saying that ‘it used to be said that coal is king. And regrettably, coal remains king in nations like India and China.’ But then he went on to say that, ‘Here in the United States, I am happy to say the king is dead. Coal is a dead man walking’.”

Unlike other commodities, electricity cannot be economically stored and must be generated as it is needed, while supply must be kept in constant balance with demand. Deviations from this constant balancing of supply and demand can impair the reliability of the electric grid. Additionally, delivery interruptions or supply shortages can increase prices for consumers, which is why Whitfield continues to call for an all-of-the-above approach to domestic energy production, focusing on fossil fuels like coal.  

The following issues were also examined at the hearing:

  • The role of fuel diversity in providing affordable electricity.
  • The role of fuel diversity in maintaining electric reliability.
  • Challenges to maintaining fuel diversity in the nation’s electricity generation portfolio.
  • Advanced, efficient technologies that can help maintain a diverse electricity mix.
  • Potential impacts of reduced fuel diversity on consumers.

Area death

Verna Hodges, 87, of Marion died Tuesday at Crittenden Hospital. Gilbert Funeral Home in Marion is in charge of arrangements.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Area death

Katessa Lee Maze, infant child of Thomas and Crystal Maze of Hampton, died Feb. 26, 2013, at Norton Hospital in Louisville. Gilbert Funeral Home in Marion was in charge of arrangements.

Edna Nunn, 91, of Marion died March 2, 2013, at Crittenden County Health and Rehab in Marion. Gilbert Funeral Home in Marion is in charge of arrangements.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Area death

Katharine Buckalew Wardlaw, 94, of Marion died Friday at Salem Springlake Care Center. Gilbert Funeral Home in Marion is in charge of arrangements.

John James Audubon State Park celebrates 75th anniversary

John James Audubon State Park in Henderson is celebrating its 75th anniversary during 2013 and has scheduled several special events throughout the year.

The park is named after the famous wildlife artist who made Henderson his home in the early 1800s. The park has a museum dedicated to Audubon’s life and his work, as well as a nature center. The park also has cottages, a campground, golf course, gift shop, art programs, a lake, hiking trails and other recreational activities.

For more information, visit  or call the park at 826-2247.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Area death

Shari Porter Ruschmeyer, 54, of Salem died Thursday at Livingston Hospital and Healthcare Services in Salem. Arrangements are under the direction of Boyd Funeral Directors in Salem.

Senators file Freedom to Fish Act on Cumberland

A second Freedom to Fish Act bill has been filed in Congress in an attempt to prevent the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from installing physical barriers along portions of the Cumberland River, which would block fishing access to the tailwaters of the Lake Barkley and other dams in Kentucky and Tennessee.

On Thursday, U.S. Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) joined their colleagues from Tennessee, Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, in introducing the legislation. Earlier in the week, Congressman Ed Whitfield (R-Hopkinsville) filled similar legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“I have heard from many Kentuckians, including county judge-executives and officials at the Kentucky Division of Fish and Wildlife, who are concerned with the Corps' plan to block access to areas which are popular with anglers from across the Commonwealth," Sen. McConnell said. "They have expressed their opposition to the proposal, which they say would have a major impact on the communities near the dams and to Kentucky’s economy. Instead of imposing burdensome federal regulations, which this Administration believes is the solution to every problem, I believe the Corps should work with these communities on alternative proposals that ensure safety, but allow anglers access to waters they have safely fished for years.”

“There is a deep love for fishing in the tailwaters of the Cumberland River, and to deny the public this recreational activity would not only disappoint thousands of fishermen across the country, but lead to detrimental impacts on the area’s economy,” Sen. Paul said. “Safety can be promoted in this area without completely blocking all boating below the dams, and by working together I believe we can come to a solution without imposing burdensome regulations that seek to hurt local businesses and residents.”

Senators McConnell and Paul have heard from local officials who told them that one such alternative is for the Corps to focus their efforts on the rare occasions when the dam gates are open and spilling, apparently the only time when the waters themselves present an active danger.

Questions emerging over Big Rivers's ability to survive

Doubts concerning the future viability of Big Rivers Electric Corp. were a topic of discussion before state regulators on Thursday. Big Rivers’ two biggest customers — the Century Aluminum and Rio Tinto Alcan aluminum smelters, which together account for 65 to 70 percent of its sales — have each served notice that they will terminate their power contracts. Big Rivers’ own auditor, KPMG, is actively evaluating whether there is “substantial doubt” of the company’s “ability to continue as a going concern for a reasonable period of time,” according to a memo from the auditing firm to Big Rivers’ chief financial officer.

For the full story, visit The Gleaner online.