Saturday, February 28, 2015

Rockets, Lady Rockets each draw Henderson

Crittenden County's boys' and girls' basketball teams will both play Henderson County in next week's Second Region Tournaments.

The Lady Rockets play Tuesday at Marion where Rocket Arena hosts the Second Region Girls Tournament.

The Rockets play at Morganfield on Wednesday.


Friday, February 27, 2015

Senate passes the transgender student bathroom bill

The state Senate passed legislation today to regulate where transgender students may use the restroom in public schools.

The legislation would require public school students to use the restrooms of their biological sex or seek special accommodations, said Sen. C.B. Embry Jr. (R-Morgantown) who sponsored the bill.

Known as Senate Bill 76, the legislation passed by a 27-9 vote after a lengthy floor debate. Sen. Dorsey Ridley (D-Henderson) voted in favor of the measure.

Embry said the SB 76 had nothing to do with homosexuality, in response to questions from Sen. Reginald Thomas (D-Lexington), who opposed the legislation.

“Passing this bill would cast a shroud of darkness over this body,” Thomas said.

Sen. Danny Carroll (R-Paducah) spoke in favor of the bill.

“It is not the responsibility of this body to protect the rights of one particular group,” he said. “It’s the responsibility of this body to protect the rights of all. In this case, this bill does protect the rights of all the students.”

Carroll referenced prior testimony on the bill from a high school student who said she was uncomfortable using the restroom with a transgender classmate.

Sen. Mike Wilson (R-Bowling Green) also spoke in favor of the bill. He stressed that SB 76 is about modesty and protecting minors.

“I think as a parent, I don’t want that situation for my daughter,” he said.

Sen. Gerald A. Neal (D-Louisville) explained why he did not support SB 76.

“This is not about modesty,” he said. “This is about fear.”

SB 76 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Want to contact your lawmakers on this issue? Simply click on the links below:

Alicia’s Law bill heads to Senate

A bill aimed at protecting victims child rape passed the Kentucky House today without a dissenting vote.

The bill is House Bill 427, sponsored by House Judiciary Chair John Tilley (D-Hopkinsville). The bill passed by a vote of 93-0.

HB 427, known as the “Alicia’s Law” bill, would add $10 to court costs paid in Kentucky’s criminal cases to increase funding for the Kentucky State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Tilley said the task force works to prevent crimes like those suffered by Alicia Kozakiewicz, for whom Alicia’s Law is named.

Now a child advocate in her 20s, Kozakiewicz was abducted at age 13 then raped and tortured for days via live Internet streaming before she was rescued.  She is now working to get bills like HB 427 passed in states across the country.

Tilley said passage of HB 427 would make Kentucky the ninth state to pass Alicia’s Law.

HB 427 now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Want to contact your lawmakers on this issue? Simply click on the links below:

Area death

Rosa Mae Collins, 88, of Union County, died Feb. 26, 2015, at Crittenden County Health and Rehabilitation Center in Marion. Whitsell Funeral Home in Sturgis is in charge of arrangements.

Lady Rockets in district championship tonight

Lady Rocket senior Chelsea Oliver and the Crittenden County girls basketball team are chasing their
Leading Scorer Chelsea Oliver
first Fifth District championship in four years tonight when they take on Lyon County at 7pm in the title game at Smithland.

Flooding possible with forecast rains

March appears poised to come in like a lion, according to weather forecasts, and local officials are warning of potential flooding.

Across the region, rain is predicted for Sunday, the first day of the month, adding to the snowmelt as temperatures edge above the freezing mark. Then, late Monday night through Tuesday night, heavy rains are forecast by the National Weather Service (NWS) in Paducah. There is a chance of thunderstorms Tuesday, when the temperature is expected to reach an unseasonably warm 60 degrees. Combined with saturated ground and additional snowmelt, heavy flooding is possible.

"We just got off the (Kentucky Emergency Management) conference call regarding the heavy rains moving in Sunday and the first of the week," Crittenden County Judge-Executive Perry Newcom said this morning. "The warning is to expect heavy flooding due to the rapid melting of the snowpack, as well as the rain that is forecast up to 3 to 4 inches during the first few days of the week."

Hazardous weather is the norm for March across Kentucky. In fact, Gov. Steve Beshear has proclaimed March as Severe Weather Awareness Month.

But weather is always a threat in Kentucky. There have been a total of 13 presidential major disaster declarations during Gov. Beshear’s time in office, and all have been weather related.

As part of severe weather awareness activities, a statewide tornado drill is being planned in conjunction with the proclamation. However, if severe weather remains in the forecast, the tornado drill will be rescheduled.

The drill is currently set for 9:17 a.m. local time Tuesday. At that time, NWS will issue a tornado warning test message.

Weather alert radios will activate and television and radio stations and mobile devices will broadcast the alert – allowing the public the opportunity to practice tornado safety measures.

The broadcast test message will emphasize this is only a test of the alert system.

Lawmakers pass variety of legislation Thursday

Senate passes bill banning Internet sweepstakes
Online sweepstakes offered across Kentucky at businesses advertised as “Internet cafes” would be outlawed under legislation unanimously passed by the state Senate Thursday.

Known as Senate Bill 28, the legislation would make it clear in the law that so-called Internet cafes are illegal, said sponsor Sen. Mike Wilson (R-Bowling Green). The cafes are for-profit businesses that sell Internet access for a chance to play computer-based, casino-style games, or sweepstakes, in which customers can win cash prizes.

Supporters of SB 28 said Internet cafes are located in buildings that contain banks of computers with Internet access. Each purchase at the cafe entitles a customer to a certain number of sweepstakes entries. The customer then determines whether the sweepstakes entries are winners by logging onto a computer.

Officials from Kentucky cities previously testified that they have seen an increase in these businesses throughout the state, often in cities bordering Tennessee, Indiana and Ohio – states that have cracked down on such business.

Senate unanimously passes new ‘fracking’ regs
The state Senate on Thursday unanimously passed legislation that would modernize Kentucky’s regulations on high-volume hydraulic fracturing, often referred to as “fracking,” for the first time in more than two decades.

The legislation, known as Senate Bill 186, would mandate energy companies notify nearby landowners of any planned fracking process, clean up the well before abandoning it and disclose of the chemicals used in the fracking process, said Sen. Julian M. Carroll (D-Frankfort), the sponsor of the bill. He added that the bill would apply to new drilling operations.

“We haven’t really changed our laws or regulations in 20 years,” said Carroll. “During that time, technology has advanced that could essentially make Kentucky energy independent if we will go after our (energy) reserves. We are already doing that in the area of gas. This moves us in that direction with oil.”

Similar legislation passed the state House unanimously on Wednesday. The House bill, HB 386, is sponsored by House Majority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins (D-Sandy Hook).

Fracking is an oil and gas well development process that typically involves injecting water, sand and chemicals under high pressure into a bedrock formation, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The technique is used commonly in low-permeability rocks like tight sandstone, shale and some coal beds to release oils and gasses.

Tom Fitzgerald, director of the nonprofit environmental advocacy group Kentucky Resources Council, previously testified that he supported the bill. Carroll said during a floor speech that a key to getting Fitzgerald’s support was to include language in the bill that would require baseline water quality testing before any new fracking could begin. Those tests would be followed with additional water sampling once operations begin in order to monitor drilling impacts to local water sources.

Sen. Jared Carpenter (R-Berea), who is chairman of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy, said the legislation is the product of a year’s worth of work by officials at the state Energy and Environment Cabinet. He added that the legislation is also backed by the Kentucky Oil and Gas Association.

Carpenter said the legislation would ensure “continued energy growth in Kentucky.”

Gold Star Siblings license plate bill advances
A bill to create a Gold Star Siblings special license plate for Kentuckians whose brother or sister died in active U.S. military service has passed the state House.

House Bill 209, sponsored by Rep. Diane St. Onge (R-Lakeside Park) and Rep. Tanya Pullin (D-South Shore) advanced to the Senate on a vote of 94-0.

The bill “allows siblings who have lost their loved ones in active service in the military, in the service of this country, to honor them with a Gold Star Siblings license plate much the same as a Gold Star Spouse, Gold Star Mother, Gold Star Father license plate” which are already available in Kentucky, said St. Onge.

The initial fee for a Gold Star Siblings license plate would be $25 and the renewal fee would be $20, with $10 of the initial fee and $5 of the renewal fee dedicated to the state’s Veterans’ Program Trust Fund, according to HB 209. Proof of eligibility for the plate would be determined by the state Transportation Cabinet regulation.

HB 209 would take effect Jan. 1, 2016 if it becomes law.

Want to contact your lawmakers on these issues? Simply click on the links below:

Post-season CCHS basketball action

2 hour school delay Friday

Due to the overnight snow, Crittenden County schools will go to hours late today.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Phone deregulation bill now before Senate

A landline phone deregulation bill that supporters believe will lead to more investment in broadband and advance communication networks in Kentucky has cleared the House on a vote of 71-25. Rep. Lynn Bechler (R-Marion) voted in favor of the measure.

House Bill 152 sponsor Rep. Rick Rand (D-Bedford) described the legislation as a “business-friendly” bill that would encourage investment modern technology.

“It does move Kentucky forward,” said Rand of HB 152. “It moves Kentucky in the right direction in encouraging increased investment in our state’s broadband infrastructure—investment that is vital to economic development, competitiveness, and job creation.”

Rand told the House that HB 152 would end Public Service Commission landline regulation in urban areas where newer technologies are widely available, ensure voice service is available in rural areas, and allow customers in rural areas to keep basic landline service or transition to newer voice technologies.

An amendment, also sponsored by Rand, that was approved by the House would give rural customers 60 days – rather than the 30 days allowed in the original bill – to transition back to landline service from a newer technology should they desire to do so. It would also clarify which company owns which landlines, clarify that FCC rules protecting rural health-monitoring devices and related services cannot be changed by the state, and recognizes phone exchanges in place as of Jan. 1, 2015.

Several other amendments filed to the bill were defeated. The sponsor of one of those amendments, Rep. Larry Clark (D-Louisville) said HB 152 is geared toward “total deregulation of this industry.” His floor amendment, defeated by a vote of 28-59, would have guaranteed landline service for all remaining 11,000 or so landline customers left in Kentucky’s urban exchanges as long as they live in their home.

Rand said the amendment would have gutted the bill by denying Kentucky’s telecommunications companies the ability “to move from old technology to new technology.”

HB 152 now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Want to contact your lawmakers on this issue? Simply click on the links below:

Animal cruelty bill before House

Failing to provide adequate shelter and potable water for domestic pets would be considered second-degree animal cruelty under a bill that passed the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday.

House Bill 177, sponsored by House Speaker Greg Stumbo and Rep. Jeff Greer (D-Brandenburg) would not affect hunting, fishing, field dog trials, and several other activities included in the bill.  It would also not change standards governing the shelter of livestock, which is regulated by the state Board of Agriculture.

Second-degree cruelty to animals is a misdemeanor crime in Kentucky.

HB 177 now goes to the full House for its consideration.

Want to contact your lawmakers on this issue? Simply click on the links below:

Rockets go for district title tonight

Senior Noah Dickerson (4) vs. Trigg earlier this season.
Crittenden County's boys' basketball team will be trying to win just their second Fifth District title in the last half century when they take on Trigg County tonight at Smithland. Tipoff is at 7pm.

Crittenden County has played in the district tournament championship 7 times since 1998, when it last won the championship. That league crown was the team's first since Marion and Crittenden County had consolidated in 1957.

Prior to the city and county consolidation, Crittenden County won five district titles between 1950 and 1957.

The Rockets' 1998 title came at the expense of Trigg County in an 8--61 triumph.

Longest serving host of 'Kentucky Afield' dies

Former "Kentucky Afield" television host Hope Carleton Sr. died today at his home in western Kentucky. He was 89 years old.

Carleton appeared on the show for 23 years, serving longer than any other host.

"He was a consummate, gentleman sportsman," said Norm Minch, assistant director of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources' Information and Education Division.

Carleton started his career with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources as a conservation officer in Fayette County in 1947. His broadcasting career began when the president of a local radio station asked him to do a half hour show about hunting and fishing in the area.

In 1957, Carleton left law enforcement to replace Ron Rhody as the host of "Kentucky Afield" television. Carleton, who said he felt insecure in front of the camera, served as host until his retirement in 1980. "I had a ball - I enjoyed it," he said during a 2008 segment on "Kentucky Afield" television.

Current "Kentucky Afield" host Tim Farmer knew Carleton as a true outdoorsman.

"Hope lived for the outdoors until the last day of his life. He duck hunted, fished and enjoyed every aspect of the outdoors," Farmer said. "He spent the last years of his live in western Kentucky, where he could pursue his outdoor lifestyle. He lived and breathed it until the end.  He will be remembered by Kentucky sportsmen and sportswomen forever."

Senate approves KEES award bill

A bill that would allow students to use Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship (KEES) money during high school was unanimously approved by the Senate Wednesday.

Senate Bill 110, sponsored by Sen. Max Wise (R-Campbellsville) would allow Kentucky juniors and seniors earning college credit through dual-credit courses to use KEES money they’ve earned to pay for up to six college credit hours.

Making a dual-credit course more readily available provides many benefits, Wise said.

“It can improve college and career readiness,” he said. “It can increase participation in postsecondary education. It can reduce postsecondary degree time. And it also can increase participation among low income and underserved populations.”

SB 110 passed the Senate unanimously. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Want to contact your lawmakers on this issue? Simply click on the links below:

Ignition interlock device bill OK'd by House

A bill that would replace hardship licenses for DUI offenders with an “ignition interlock license” if an ignition interlock device is installed on an offender’s vehicle passed the House Wednesday by a vote of 96-0.

House Bill 60, sponsored by Rep. Dennis Keene (D-Wilder) now goes to the Senate for consideration.

An ignition interlock device is a breathalyzer-type device installed in a dashboard that keeps a vehicle from starting if the driver’s breath alcohol concentration level meets or exceeds 0.02.

Before being eligible for a license tied to an ignition interlock device—which the DUI offender would have to pay for—an offender would have to be enrolled in, or already have completed, an alcohol abuse treatment program. Anyone who has been incarcerated for DUI for any period of time would be allowed to apply for an ignition interlock license, according to the bill.

Ignition interlock licenses would not be granted for use in commercial motor vehicles under HB 60. Only noncommercial vehicles and motorcycles would apply.

HB 60 would also increase the time for driver’s license revocation for a first DUI within five years from the current 30 days to 120 days to a minimum of six months and maximum of nine months. It would also require revocation of the ignition interlock license of anyone who has violated the terms of the license, or require that a camera or other monitoring device be installed along with the device in that person’s vehicle.

Continuing to drive when an ignition interlock license has been revoked would be a Class A misdemeanor. An offender who drives without court-ordered identification or monitoring would be guilty of a Class D felony and have his or her license revoked for a longer period of time.

Keene said HB 60, which is similar to legislation he has sponsored in past sessions, could save 60-75 lives every year by limiting drunk driving accidents. He explained that the devices are affordable and preserve an offender’s “privilege” to drive.

Want to contact your lawmakers on this issue? Simply click on the links below:

Time to buy new fishing license

It is the time of year anglers must make an investment in their future fishing. Current 2014-15 fishing licenses expire this weekend. If you plan to fish on or after Sunday, you'll need a new fishing license.

A Kentucky resident annual fishing license sets you back $20. This isn't as cheap as it was 20 years ago, but it is still a great bargain for all you receive in return.

"We do not receive General Fund state tax dollars for our funding," said Jeff Ross, assistant director of fisheries for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. "Our funding is reliant on license sales and the federal monies that go along with them. The anglers of Kentucky fund the fisheries division."

For each fishing license sold, the federal government sends monies back to Kentucky from excise taxes on fishing tackle, trolling motors, electronic sonar units for boats, commonly called fish finders, and boat motor fuels.

Not everyone has to purchase a fishing license. Kentucky residents fishing a pond or lake on land they own don't need a fishing license, but their guests, and even blood relatives, must have a valid fishing license. Dependent children and tenants who live and work on the land also are license exempt if they are fishing a pond on the land on which they live.

Anglers under the age of 16, military personnel on furlough for more than three days and those participating in Free Fishing Days in June don't need a fishing license.

Kentucky residents certified as disabled or those 65 or older get their fishing license and trout permit with the $5 senior/disabled license.

A great deal is the resident combination hunting and fishing license for $30, a savings of $10 if bought separately. A resident one-day fishing license costs $7, while the same license for non-residents is $10.

Remember to buy your fishing license if you plan to fish after this coming Sunday. You may purchase your fishing license in person at tackle stores, in the sporting goods section of major department stores and at county clerk offices across Kentucky. You may also buy a fishing license 24 hours a day by calling (877) 598-2401 or online at the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife website at

Area deaths

Robetta Sue Flanary, 67, of Marion died Feb. 24, 2015, at Deaconess Hospice Care in Evansville, Ind. Myers Funeral Home in Marion is handling arrangements.

Betty Jean Fitzgerald, 84, of Marion died Feb. 24, 2015, at Livingston Hospital and Healthcare Services in Salem. Myers Funeral Home in Marion is in charge of arrangements.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

School back to normal Thursday

Crittenden County Schools will be in regular session tomorrow, Thursday Feb 26.  Preschool will also be on a regular schedule.

Relay for Life meeting set for Monday

Crittenden County Relay for Life has moved its February meeting to 5:30 p.m. Monday at the courthouse. The location of the 2015 Relay will be discussed.

Area death

Juanita Doom Cobb, 89, of Elkhart, Ind., formerly of Crittenden County, died Feb. 10, 2015, at Valley View Health Care Center in Elkhart. Billings Funeral Home in Elkhart was in charge of arrangements.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Freshman O schedule changed

The timing of the Freshman O event set for Thursday has been changed. The event will now run from 4 to 6 p.m. in the multi-purpose room.

Entry into middle, high schools restricted

For safety purposes, when classes are back in session Wednesday, all students should enter the middle and high schools through the multi-purpose room or the middle school lobby. All car riders should be dropped off in front (at the rocket) of the middle school.

Lady Rockets open post-season play

The 15-10 Lady Rockets will play 10-15 Trigg County tonight at 6pm at Smithland in the girls' Fifth District Tournament opener.

The winner will advance to Friday's championship game and will earn a berth in the Second Region Tournament.

Back to School Wednesday: A little late

Crittenden County schools will be back in sessionon Wednesday.

Schools will operate on a one-hour delay with classes starting at 9am.

"I encourage everyone to be extra careful as they travel to campus and be aware of black ice and refreeze from today’s melt," said Supt. Vince Clark.

Clark cautions students and staff that parts of campus remain snow and ice covered, even some areas in parking lots may not be completely clear as students return to class.

"With some extra caution we can get start our journey to get back to normal," Clark said.

There will be no pre-school on Wednesday.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Open to Community: MBC Family Life Center

Click Image to Enlarge

Livingston two hours late

On Tuesday, Livingston County Schools will be back in session two hours late.

No school Tuesday for kids

There will be no school in Crittenden County on Tuesday for students. However, teachers are to report at 9am.

District tournament on for tonight

Crittenden County's Fifth District basketball tournament game against Lyon County is on for tonight at Smithland. Crittenden plays the second game of a doubleheader starting at approximately 7:30 PM. Trigg plays host Livingston Central in the first game which begins at 6.

Area death

Barbara Jean Qualls, 67, of Marion died Feb. 22, 2015, at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn. Gilbert Funeral Home in Marion is in charge of arrangements.

Carolyn Sue Franklin, 72, of Marion died Feb. 22, 2015, at Livingston Hospital and Healthcare Services in Salem. Myers Funeral Home in Marion is in charge of arrangements.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

City council to meet Monday

There will be a special called meeting of the Marion City Council at 5 p.m. Monday at Marion City Hall. The agenda is the same as the one for last week's regular meeting which was cancelled due to inclement weather. 

No school in Livingston Monday

There will be no school in Livingston County on Monday.

Tiny Tot Daycare on normal schedule

Tiny Tot Daycare in Marion will open at its normal time, 6:45 a.m., on Monday and the center will be on its routine schedule to begin the work week.

No school Monday in Crittenden

Classes are cancelled once again for Monday in Crittenden County.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

No services at Emmanuel Baptist

There will be no services Sunday at Emmanuel Baptist Church.

Weather still plagues roadways

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KyTC) crews continue to battle a variety of weather-related issues on highways.

At this hour, air temperatures are moving into the 35-degree range which has helped to lower the opportunity for freezing of road surfaces.

Normally, pavement temperatures are 2 to 3 degrees warmer than the ambient air temperature, which helps to activate salt when it is spread on road surfaces.  However, due to bitter cold temperatures over the last several days, pavement tempertaures have lagged behind the air temperature, in some cases as much as 2 to 3 degrees cooler.

KyTC continues to ask everyone to avoid unnecessary travel due to the multiple hazards of ice and spot flooding. Crews are attempting to mark flooded areas with "Water Over Road" signs. However, crews may not be immediately made aware of areas with standing water.

If you are out and encounter flooded areas that are not marked, please take note of the specific location using a mile marker, crossroad or other landmark and immediately report it to 911 so it can be reported to highway personnel for appropriate action.

KyTC District 1 Snow and Ice Team reports Paducah area counties are experiencing pooling of water on the roadway, especially on bridges. While it may not meet the criteria for flooding, it creates a very real driving hazard. Snow that has been plowed from highway driving surfaces earlier this week is piled on top of drain grates.

In some cases, those snow windrows are 3 to 4 feet deep and are hard-packed following extreme lows earlier this week.  That keeps water from running of the bridge deck. Crews have been attempting to dig out some drains and have used snow plows to push accumulated slush and water off bridge decks.

The main concern is that as temperatures again drop below freezing later tonight, ponding water will dilute salt that has been spread and allow the accumulated water to freeze.  KyTC has a secondary concern with the potential for vehicles to hydroplane when they hit standing water. Almost all District 1 counties have reported having to deal with water-covered bridges.  

Temperatures are expected to drop below freezing around 10 p.m. and stay down into Sunday when the projected high is in the 31-degree range. However, as the sun comes out, pavement temperatures are expected to rise to about 34 degrees by around 11 a.m., assisting road clearing efforts.

Avoid unnecessary travel and use extreme caution if you do get out and about today.

1st Cumberland Presbyterian cancels services

First Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Marion has cancelled all Sunday services.

No services at Marion United Methodist

Due to extremely hazardous conditions there will be no Sunday services at Marion United Methodist Church tomorrow, Feb. 22.

Area death

Harold K. Whitmer, 79, of Marion and Madisonville died Feb. 20, 2015, at his home in Marion. Boyd Funeral Directors in Salem is in charge of arrangements.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Weather shuts library

Crittenden County Public Library will be closed Saturday due to the winter storm. There will be no late fees until further notice.

Pending weather offers mixed bag, troubles

A winter weather advisory has been issued for Crittenden County and much of western Kentucky by the National Weather Service (NWS) in Paducah. The advisory for snow, sleet, freezing rain and rain is in effect until 6 a.m. Saturday.

The impending weather has local officials concerned.

"We expect a lot of flash flooding," said Crittenden County Judge-Executive Perry Newcom during today's fiscal court meeting.

Newcom and local emergency management personnel met with NWS officials Thursday to go over the forecast and its possible repercussions, including flooding from heavy rainfall expected on top of a layer of snow and ice.

The county, as well as the state, remain under a state of emergency declaration. The local emergency operations center has been open all week, manned by emergency management volunteers, and the rescue squad is on alert for any help it may need to provide.

The weather service predicts snow and sleet will begin to develop across the area by midday. The precipitation will intensify and transition to freezing rain tonight.

A combination of snow and sleet accumulations underneath a thin layer of ice will create a period of very hazardous driving conditions, especially this evening.

Up to 2 inches of snow and sleet are possible across the advisory area, especially east of the Mississippi River. Up to a 0.1 inches of ice accumulation is possible near the Tennessee and Arkansas borders.

"If it stays cold, we could a half-inch to three-quarters of an inch of ice," Newcom cautioned.

Temperatures will warm to above freezing by early Saturday. At this point precipitation will change over to all rain, with 1 to 3 inches of rain possible through the day.

"We're really uncertain what is going to happen," Newcom said.

Some flooding issues will be possible, especially as rains fall on existing snow cover. The courthouse, whose roof is already leaking in multiple spots from melting snow, could see even more leaks spring up over the weekend with excessive rainfall.

By Sunday, colder temperatures will return, along with wind chills of zero to 10 below into Monday morning.

As of noon today, travel remains treacherous across the county. While many county roads have been cleared by road crews, some roads remain only one lane. And drifting snow has recovered many areas already cleared by plows.

The courthouse will remain open as a warming shelter until temperatures are consistently above the freezing mark.

KU urges reduced electrical use during cold

Kentucky Utilities, which serves Marion and portions of rural Crittenden County, is urging customers to be conservative with their electrical appliances and other devices during the current cold wave to save energy and avoid power outages. Too much electrical demand can trigger outages, such as the one that hit about 1,950 KU customers in the Versailles area Thursday morning. KU officials said it was caused by heavy power demand that tripped a circuit breaker.

For the full story, visit The Herald Leader online.

Area death

Katherine C. Sutton, 78, of Marion died Feb. 18, 2015, at Crittenden Health Systems in Marion. Boyd Funeral Directors in Salem is handling arrangements.

Relay event for Saturday cancelled

The Relay for Life breakfast scheduled for Saturday at First Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Marion has been cancelled due to weather. It will be rescheduled for a later date.

Crews prep for another round of wintry weather

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 1 Crews are preparing for another round of winter precipitation over the next 48 hours. As our snow and ice team has evaluated this approaching event, it appears our forecasters have tried to cram as much variety of winter precipitation as possible into the next two days.

The best we can determine light snow will likely move into District 1 starting after about noon today and continue until about dark. Radar is already indicating some snow showers.

The snow is expected to change to freezing rain and sleet around dark, and then transition to rain around 11 p.m. tonight.

The mixed bag of winter precipitation today and Saturday creates the potential for more hazardous driving conditions through Sunday.

Due to salt spread over the last several days, our highways have enough salt residue to help melt falling snow in the early hours of the event. As the precipitation transitions to freezing rain and sleet this afternoon, motorists are likely to encounter slushy conditions on the afternoon commute.  As crews plow accumulating snow early in the event they will leave some slush on the roadway to help hold salt on road surfaces to help prevent icing when the freezing rain and sleet arrive later in the day.

Crews have been divided into 12 hour shifts to provide around the clock coverage.

As they go about their work today, highway personnel will be joining city street departments and county road departments around the region in trying to clear accumulated snow that may be blocking drainage grates. This is in preparation for the winter mix to transition to rain on Saturday.  The drainage system along our highways is packed with snow from our near-historic snow event earlier in the week.  That means we have the possibility of flash flooding on Saturday, perhaps in some areas that haven’t flooded before.

Crews will be prepared to respond as appropriate.

Motorists are advised to carefully monitory area news media and the National Weather Service for updates as this system develops.

Marion Christian Church cancels services

Worship services at Marion Christian Church have been canceled for Sunday.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

No school Friday; games cancelled too

There will be no school in Crittenden County on Friday, and the basketball teams' scheduled varsity doubleheader at Fort Campbell has been cancelled.

Area death

William Glenn "Bill" McConnell, 90 of Kuttawa, a Crittenden County native, died Feb. 16, 2015 at his home in Kuttawa. Funeral services will be Saturday at Kuttawa United Methodist Church. Dunn's Funeral Home in Eddyville is in charge of arrangements.

Road crews continue cleanup from this snow

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KyTC) highway district road crews are mostly spot treating today as arctic temperatures send the state into a deep freeze.

Crews stayed busy Wednesday plowing and salting roadways following the second round of snow that fell across the Commonwealth this week. Crews were able to clear most roads by the afternoon but then battled drifting snow throughout a gusty evening.

Crews worked through the late evening hours keeping roads clear and were back at it early today, plowing and spot treating trouble areas, hills and curves in most districts. Temperatures continued to drop throughout the night and into today, reaching below zero in most parts of the state by early morning.

Today, crews will continue to push back snow from shoulders and plow secondary and rural routes where necessary.

“Our crews have worked around the clock this week keeping main routes passable. The colder than normal temperatures and wind gusts have created new issues, but our crews are ready to meet those challenges,” said Michael Williams, KyTC snow and ice coordinator.

While crews work to finish cleaning roads from the snow earlier this week, a new storm system is expected to bring a wintry mix to the area beginning Friday afternoon. Light snow is in the forecast, changing to a wintry mix by Friday night and switching to rain by Saturday evening as temperatures begin to rise. Crews will be working on trucks and restocking materials in preparation for this next round.

A statewide emergency declared by Gov. Steve Beshear on Monday remains in effect. The governor’s action came during a storm that blanketed the Bluegrass State with snow more than a foot deep in places. Snow fell at such a rate that plowed roadways quickly became covered again.

As with any significant snowfall, citizens should be aware that plowing may result in snow piles that block driveways, subdivision entrances and side streets. It is regrettable but unavoidable when plow crews must clear deep snow.

KyTC can deploy 1,000 snow plows and 385 contractors with plows, but has responsibility for 63,000 lane miles of roadway. Some districts supplemented the plow fleet with road graders.

The cabinet also has deployed SAFE Patrol trucks – Safety Assistance for Freeway Emergencies – whose drivers are trained to render emergency assistance. SAFE Patrol units operate along interstate routes, parkways, U.S. 23 and Ky. 80.

If travel cannot be avoided, motorists are advised to slow down, buckle up, rid themselves of distractions such as cell phones and keep extra distance – at least 500 feet – between themselves and other vehicles.

Snow removal efforts are initially focused on interstates and other major routes. Crews tend to secondary and rural roads once main routes have been cleared.  To view the priority network for snow removal, go to and select a county.

Extension office closed rest of week

The University of Kentucky Crittenden County Cooperative Extension Service office in Marion will be closed the remainder of the week following this week's wintry weather.

Thinking Spring yet? Register for rec ball

Crittenden County Dugout Club is now registering players for baseball, softball and kickball for the coming season.

An assessment day will be held Sunday, March 8. See registration form for details.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Saturday: Dealing with Family Issues

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Library open Thursday

Crittenden County Public Library is scheduled to be open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday. Due to this week's snow, there is limited parking and hazardous walking conditions outside the building.

No school on Thursday

With road conditions still hazardous throughout the county, there will be no school again Thursday in Crittenden County.

Ky. House calls off session for rest of week

Recognizing the combination of record cold temperatures and the near-record snowfall this week, the leaders of the Kentucky House of Representatives announced today that the House would not meet for the remainder of yhe week. It will re-convene Monday afternoon.

“Several members have expressed concern about leaving their families in these conditions, and major highways like I-65 have seen closures because of accidents,” House Speaker Greg Stumbo said. “Therefore, we think it is more prudent to be safe than sorry.”

Speaker Stumbo said it would be up to the individual committee chairmen to decide whether to meet prior to the legislative session on Monday, but “the other leaders and I do not recommend any meetings before we gavel in.”

He added that, at this time, they do not expect this decision to alter the session calendar. “We have more than enough time to complete the work before us,” he said.

The Senate plans to convene Thursday afternoon.

Wind chill could dip to minus 24 degrees

Highway crews across western Kentucky have been working to cover all routes today in anticipation of plummeting temperatures overnight. With lows expected below zero tonight and a high expected to in the teens on Thursday, crews are attempting to get driving surfaces in the best shape possible before everything freezes.

Motorists who plan to venture out overnight should be prepared to encounter extreme conditions. A mechanical problem with a vehicle that might otherwise be a minor inconvenience can easily turn into a life-threatening situation when temperatures fall into the single digits and below.

Exposure to the extreme cold can cause frostbite in less than 30 minutes.

In fact, the National Weather Service in Paducah has issued a wind chill advisory from 6 p.m. today until noon Thursday.

Incredibly cold Arctic air with record shattering low temperatures forecast will combine with the brutal north to northwest winds creating dangerously cold wind chill readings.

By sunset tonight, wind chill values are expected to be below zero. By midnight, they will drop to as much as 18 below zero. Finally, by sunrise Thursday, the wind chill factor could be 24 below zero.

Crittenden County Courthouse will be open as a warming center until temperatures are consistently above freezing.

Fiscal court to meet Friday

Crittenden Fiscal Court will meet at 8:30 a.m. Friday in the judge-executive's chambers of the courthouse.

What's news in Crittenden County...

This week's snow is, obviously, the big story of the week in Crittenden County, but there's much more to read about in the current issue of The Crittenden Press. Here's a taste of what you'll find inside:

  • What effects will this week's snow have on school and the community?
  • Basketball homecoming king, queen crowned.
  • How did the Rockets and Lady Rockets fair last week?
  • Big tournament coming to town.
  • There will be a new summer sports league for youth.
  • County applies for grant to improve recreational opportunities.
  • Church saved by divine intervention.
  • Timing of U.S. 641 completion iffy. 
  • Charity to help youth with auction.
  • What's happening with lawmakers in Frankfort?
  • Five sentenced in circuit court.
  • 2014 Lion of the Year named.
The Crittenden Press will be available at newsstands as usual today, though on a bit of a delayed schedule thanks to this week's wintry weather.

Area death

William Eugene "Bill" Clark, 71, of Marion died Feb. 16, 2015, at his home. Gilbert Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Freshman O reschedule

The Freshman O program for current 8th-graders (incoming high school freshmen) will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Feb. 26 in the multipurpose room. The program was rescheduled due to the effects of this week's wintry precipitation.

Sledding fun on shopping center lot

Who knew sledding in the CVS parking lot in Marion could be so much fun? With a little help from Ric Carder, Hannah and Kaden Herrington did the sledding circuit Tuesday, taking in a hill in the shopping center parking lot after taking in a hill at Marion-Crittenden County Park.

UPDATE: Written driver's test given Friday

There will be only the written driver's test administered in Crittenden County on Friday. The testing will from 9 to 11 a.m.. There will be no road test.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Courthouse open as warming center

Crittenden County Courthouse will remain open as a warming center for the public until such time as temperatures are consistently above freezing.

Library to remain closed

Crittenden County Public Library will remain closed Wednesday due to this week's wintry precipitation.

It's official: No school Wednesday

There will be no school in Crittenden County on Wednesday.

Although no one will make it official, it appears there may be no classes the rest of this week. Stay tuned.

Bank on abbreviated schedule

The Peoples Bank will be open on Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Old Man Winter not finished

According to the National Weather Service in Paducah, a round of light snow late today and tonight is anticipated followed by brutal cold Wednesday and Wednesday night.

A quick moving weather system should bring a period of light snow to much of the region late today and tonight. A fresh inch or two may accumulate on roadways. While gradual improvements are being made with plowing across the area, most roads are still snow-covered with some very hazardous to near-impossible to drive on. Use extreme caution if you must get out to travel.

The light snow will usher an even stronger Arctic blast Wednesday and Wednesday night. Temperatures will likely hold in the 8 to 15 degree range all day long. In addition, blustery northwest winds 15 to 25 mph will create wind chills in the minus 5 to minus 15 degree range.

As the arctic high moves closer Wednesday night, winds will slacken and temperatures will plummet below zero before midnight in many locations. By sunrise Thursday, actual temperatures in the minus 5 to minus 15 range should be commonplace.

With these types of conditions, numerous home and business water lines could freeze up. Vehicles batteries may die and fuel lines may freeze. In addition, overworked furnaces may create demand issues at local utility plants, resulting in some power outages. Outdoor pets should be given adequate shelter from the cold. Outdoor water dishes will freeze, so fresh water should be given frequently to avoid dehydration.

Snow continues to be big problem

Ryan Schaibley clears snow from in front of Peoples Bank
County officials say this week's snowfall continues to be a big problem and more is forecast for tonight.

Anyone who has an emergency is asked to call central dispatching at 270-965-3500 rather than any other number or agency in the community. Dispatchers are trained and have at their disposal the resources to properly deal with any situation.

County, city and state workers and contractors are plowing and removing snow as best they can, officials say.

An announcement about schools will be made each day at 5 p.m. While it doesn't look like classes will resume this week, school officials say they will make daily decisions with regard to safety. See more about school makeup days and how the county is dealing with the winter storm in this week's printed edition of The Press, which will be on newsstands tomorrow.

Fiscal court meeting postponed

Crittenden Fiscal Court has postponed today's meeting due to hazardous road conditions. No make-up date has been set as of yet.

Extension Service office closed today

The University of Kentucky Crittenden County Cooperative Extension Service office is closed today due to hazardous road conditions.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Library closed Tuesday

Crittenden County Public Library will be closed Tuesday due to Monday's winter storm.

School board meeting cancelled

The Crittenden County Board of Education regular board meeting scheduled for Tuesday has been cancelled. It will be rescheduled at a later time.

Surprise, surprise! No school tomorrow

In case it's not obvious, there will be no school in Crittenden County tomorrow.

Roads remain very treacherous. Many side roads are unplowed and impassable for small vehicles.

Governor declares statewide emergency

In response to heavy snows and bitter cold across the Commonwealth in the past 12 hours, Gov. Steve Beshear declared a statewide emergency to allow local officials immediate access to state resources to assist in public safety and recovery efforts.

“This storm system is still dumping snow across much of the state and temperatures are forecast to drop further.  Some areas may see accumulation of up to 16 inches, making it one of the worst storms in recent memory,” said Gov. Beshear. “By declaring a state of emergency now for the entire state, we can deploy any needed state assistance, including National Guard troops if necessary, without delay.”

Gov. Beshear and state officials remind drivers that it is extremely important to avoid travel if possible so road crews can salt and plow interstates and major highways.  He again encouraged citizens to check on elderly neighbors.

So far, the snow has been dry and powdery; this has limited accumulation on power lines and tree limbs. That’s good news, as that likely means little impact on power lines for this storm.

The Commonwealth Emergency Operations Center, located in Frankfort, remains activated with additional staffing from Kentucky Emergency Management, Kentucky National Guard, state cabinets and volunteer organizations monitoring the situation, fielding calls and responding to requests for assistance.

Tuesday's school site-based meeting off

Crittenden County High School Site-Based Decision-Marking Council will not meet at schedule on Tuesday. No makeup time has been announced at this point.

County delays fiscal court meeting

The meeting of Crittenden Fiscal Court set for Tuesday will be delayed by 30 minutes due to road conditions following today's snow, according to Judge-Executive Perry Newcom. The meeting will begin at 9 a.m.

Accident on I-24 in Lyon County

Looks like 11 inches so far in Crittenden County.
There is a multi-vehicle crash blocking the eastbound I-24 Exit ramp to I-69 northbound in Lyon County. The crash involves a snow plow, a semi and some passenger vehicles.

Traffic is backing up down the ramp at I-24 Exit 42 and out onto the main line of I-24 eastbound lanes.

Travelers should avoid this area over the next hour or so.

Area death

J.W. Clarke, 93, of Salem, died today at Livingston Hospital. Arrangements are incomplete at Boyd Funeral Directors in Salem.

Johnson's: Celebrating American Workers

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Courthouse is closed in Marion

Crittenden County Courthouse is closed today.

Snow changes Tiny Tot schedule

Tiny Tot Child Care will operate on an abbreviated schedule Tuesday. The center will open at 7:30 a.m., and close at 4:30 p.m., due to inclement weather. 

City postpones meeting

Marion City Council will not meet tonight as scheduled due to the effects of the winter storm. No make-up date has been set as of yet.

Winter storm closings

Marion City Hall and the Extension Service office are closed today due to the excessive snowfall from the winter storm.

Roads, streets are treacherous

South Main Street in Marion covered.
Kentucky Transportation officials have halted spreading salt on major highways because the depth of accumulation will hold moisture on the roadways, creating an opportunity for re-freezing overnight.

Keith Todd, spokesman for the highway department, said crews have been authorized to work 16-hour shifts for the duration of this winter storm event.  

Driving surfaces are snow packed and hazardous across the region, Todd said. 

"We continue to urge everyone to avoid unnecessary travel," Todd added.

In Marion, conditions are just as poor for travel. Many cars have been observed stranded. Snow is piling up so high that vehicles are becoming stuck even on parking lots in town.

Very few businesses appear to be open. Convenience and grocery stores are open. The courthouse appears to virtually vacant. It is President's Day, a federal holiday, so some offices were already closed.

No Family Court on Tuesday in Marion

Family Court, a branch of Crittenden Circuit Court, has been postponed for Tuesday in Marion. All matters on Tuesday's docket will be heard next Tuesday, Feb. 24, according to Judge Brandi Rodgers.

Conditions extreme; Avoid travel if possible

8 inches of snowfall in Crittenden County by 8:30 a.m.

The Kentucky Transportation Department is urging motorists to avoid unnecessary travel. If you must travel on roadways today, be sure you are fully prepared for extreme cold and difficult driving conditions.

State highway officials primarily say that mostly only snow is falling across western Kentucky at this time. Fulton is reporting more sleet than snow at this time.   

From about Princeton eastward, snowfall has significantly increased. Snow is a fine powder, said Keith Todd, state transportation spokesperson.

Crews are plowing but heavy snowfall is covering tracks of plows shortly after each pass. Counties are mostly plowing and halted salt treatment. 

Parkways are snow-covered and slippery conditions are being reported. Traffic is moving at about 40mph on I-24, but conditions are not great for driving. 

Motorists should use appropriate caution where equipment, flaggers and personnel are along the roadway in close proximity to traffic flow.

Grace services are postponed

The Pamela Jo Grace funeral service has been rescheduled for 1 p.m., Wednesday at Gilbert Funeral Home because of the winter storm.

The family will receive visitors from 9 a.m., until service time Wednesday.

Family Life Center is Open to Public

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Sunday, February 15, 2015

No school in Crittenden County Monday

Crittenden County Supt. Vince Clark announced at 8:26pm that schools in Crittenden County will be closed Monday due to the impending winter storm.

Livingston closes schools for Monday

Livingston County Schools will be closed Monday due to the the winter storm warning and forecast of approaching snow. The notice was Tweeted just before 8pm by Livingston Supt. Darryl Chittenden.

Webster and Union counties have also cancelled for tomorrow. An announcement about Crittenden County Schools is expected by 9pm.

Winter storm expected to dump heavy snowfall on region, create hazardous travel

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet crews across western Kentucky are on alert and prepared to respond to a winter storm that expected to sweep across the region tonight and into Monday. The National Weather Service at Paducah has issued a winter storm warning from 6 p.m. today through 6 p.m. Monday with accumulations in the 6-inch range for most of the area.

Due to extreme cold temperatures accompanying this system, motorists should be fully prepared for hazardous driving conditions for about the next three to four days. The cold temperatures will mean a flat tire or dead battery that might normally be an inconvenience can become a life-threatening situation very quickly. If you plan to travel, even short distances, make sure you are fully prepared for the extreme conditions. Wear clothing appropriate for the temperature and weather conditions.

If you have an extended commute and feel compelled to try to make it to work, please consider planning to stay at a site closer to your workplace.  You should also consider carrying emergency food and water supplies, as well as taking extra clothes in case you are unable to make it home.

The colder than normal temperatures create the opportunity for a very dry and fluffy snow. Combined with the wind, this provides an opportunity for drifting which adds an extra element of hazard to this event.

Friday, February 13, 2015

House anti-heroin bill heading to Senate

A bill that would use both treatment and incarceration to reduce the devastating effects of the heroin trade in Kentucky was supported today by Rep. Lynn Bechler (R-Marion) and passed the House by a vote of 98-0. The bill now goes to the Senate.

House Bill 213, sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chair John Tilley (D-Hopkinsville) and Rep. Joni Jenkins (D-Shively), includes several provisions to attack the problem including:
  • Tiered penalties for traffickers, with the greatest prison time for those felons who sell over a kilo of the drug.
  • A “good Samaritan” provision that gives criminal immunity from prosecution for possession of substances or paraphernalia to both those who call for emergency help in overdose situations and for the person who suffered the overdose.
  • Prescriptive authority for pharmacists to provide the rescue drug naloxone where needed.
  • Immunity for paramedics and other first responders who carry and administer naloxone.
  • Redirects a portion of criminal justice reform savings for treatment programs, community mental health programs and expedited prosecutions.
  • Allows local governments to set up a needle exchange program to stave off Hepatitis C and HIV infection from shared needles.
The bill was also changed by an amendment offered by Rep. Tom Riner (D-Louisville) approved 95-0, that would allow those charged with nonviolent drug felonies who are eligible for diversion to use faith-based residential treatment to meet their diversion or deferred prosecution requirement.

A proposed amendment sponsored by Rep. Addia Wuchner (R-Florence) asked that the needle exchange proposal in the bill be replaced with a 2015 legislative study of hypodermic needle and syringe drug outreach programs. “It only postpones this portion of the bill,” said Wuchner.

Tilley, who said cases of Hepatitis C related to opioid dependence have increased nearly 1,600 percent, argued against the amendment. He said needle exchange programs in other states “have proven time and again to save lives.”

The amendment was voted down 45-53.

The Senate has also taken up an anti-heroin measure this year. The chamber approved Senate Bill 5 on Jan. 8 and sent the measure to the House for consideration.

Recent news reports indicate that there were nearly 200 deaths caused by heroin overdose in the Commonwealth in the first nine months of 2014.

Want to contact your lawmakers on this issue? Simply click on the links below:

Ky. Department of Revenue resumes processing of electronic tax returns

The Kentucky Department of Revenue earlier this week began processing tax returns again after temporarily holding electronically filed returns because of questionable returns being filed through Intuit Inc.’s TurboTax program. As reported nationally, many states have encountered the same issue. At this point, Kentucky’s processing schedule has returned to normal.

“We worked closely with Intuit to identify returns that were suspicious based on similar patterns and additional screening criteria,” said Tom Miller, commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Revenue.”

As of Thursday afternoon, Intuit had identified approximately 300 suspicious returns. The department is reviewing those returns and has confirmed approximately 50 returns as being fraudulent. Less than $6,000 has been identified as having already been refunded. The department will pursue remedies to recover those funds.

Since e-filing started on Jan. 20, the Department of Revenue has received more than 575,000 individual returns. Filing electronically is still safe and the quickest way for taxpayers to get their refund, normally within seven to 10 days.

The department is sending letters to affected taxpayers encouraging them to contact the Department of Revenue Taxpayer Assistance line at (502) 564-4581. They may also want to contact the IRS to determine if any activity has impacted their federal return.

“With our internal fraud detection processes and the fraud analytics capabilities of our third party vendor, each year we are better able to identify fraudulent returns,” said Miller. “This newest fraudulent activity just means we must work with other states and tax preparation programs to see what new trends are out there.”

Intuit Inc. has set up a dedicated call center, (800) 944-8596, for customers to call if they believe they have been victims of tax fraud.

Electronic filing in Kentucky has been available to individuals since the 1995 tax year. It is the only way to have a refund direct deposited. In the last 5 years, e-filing for individuals has increased from 65 percent to more than 84 percent in 2014.

Area death

Pamela Jo Grace, 56, of Marion died Friday at Crittenden County Health and Rehab after a lengthy battle with cancer. Gilbert Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. The funeral is Monday.

Anthem identity theft services begin today

Anthem members will be able to sign up for credit monitoring and identity theft protective services from a company called AllClear starting today, Mark Robinson, director of communications for Anthem of Kentucky, said Thursday. These services have been highly anticipated since millions of the health insurer's customers — up to 80 million — learned in early February they may have had personal information stolen when hackers breached one of the company's databases.

Go to to learn how to sign up for the free protective services.

For more on the story, visit The Messenger Inquirer online.

Ky. House passes local option sales tax legislation, other bills

Two proposed amendments to the Kentucky Constitution and a bill to give immediate protections to dating violence victims passed the state House Thursday and now rest with the Senate.

House Bill 1, sponsored by House Speaker Greg Stumbo (D-Prestonsburg) and House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover (R-Jamestown), is a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow statewide voters to authorize state lawmakers to give local voters the right to approve up to a one-cent temporary sales tax on agreed-to local projects. The other, HB 70, sponsored by Rep. Darryl Owens (D-Louisville) and Rep. George Brown Jr. (D-Lexington) would allow statewide voters to decide on the automatic restoration of voting rights for certain non-violent felons who have served their sentence.

HB 8, sponsored by Rep. John Tilley (D-Hopkinsville) and Rep. Joni Jenkins (D-Shively), would for the first time under Kentucky law, allow dating couples to receive immediate civil protection from domestic violence, sexual abuse or stalking in the form of an “interpersonal” protective order. It would also streamline the process to obtain protective orders for other victims, and would allow an order to be expunged from someone’s record if the order is dismissed by a judge.

HB 1 passed on a vote of 62-35 and HB 70 passed on a vote of 86-12. Rep. Lynn Bechler (R-Marion) voted against both measures. HB 8 passed by a vote of 98-0, with Bechler's support. All three proposals are now before the Senate for its consideration.

HB 1, unofficially called the “LIFT bill” for the name of its advocacy group Local Investments for Transformation (LIFT), would add Kentucky to the list of 37 other states that allow for a local option sales tax for specified projects, should local voters agree to the levy. Stumbo said the amendment could free up state dollars for required services like education by allowing local communities to cover the cost of local projects themselves.

Hoover added that a local option sales tax could only be levied with “direct consent” of those affected, not to exceed one percent per dollar for specific projects.

“I have been a supporter of this idea from the beginning because I view this… as democracy at its best, where local people make a decision on what they want to do,” he stated.

Rep. Mike Harmon (R-Danville) proposed an amendment to HB 1 that would prohibit the use of tax dollars to promote a referendum on a capital project in association with the legislation. That amendment was defeated by a vote of 38-53.

Following the passage of HB 1, the House also voted 57-38 to approve HB 344, sponsored by Rep. Tommy Thompson (D-Owensboro) which would set requirements for a local option sales tax levy should the proposed amendment allowing such a tax be approved during the Nov. 2016 general election. Rep. Bechler opposed this legislation.

If passed by the Senate and signed into law by the governor, HB 344 would take effect on Jan. 1, 2017.

Legislation similar to HB 70, the felons’ voting rights bill that passed the House Thursday, has been filed in the House for at least nine years, but has not yet won the support of both chambers needed to put the issue on a statewide ballot.

Before passing HB 70, the chamber voted 37-57 to reject a proposed amendment to the bill filed by Harmon what would have required felons to wait three years to have their voting rights restored, unless the person has been pardoned.

“It’s time for HB 70 and for Kentucky to come out of the dark ages,” Brown said of the measure.

During often somewhat emotional debate on HB 8, Tilley said Kentucky would become the last state in the U.S. to include domestic violence protections for dating couples in its statutes should HB 8 become law. Only victims who are married to their abuser, have lived or currently live with the abuser, or who share a child with the abuser can file for protective orders under current Kentucky law.

The measure passed the chamber with an amendment filed by Rep. Thomas Kerr (R-Taylor Mill) that would allow protective orders issued on the basis of domestic violence and abuse to be referred to by the court as “emergency protective orders” and “domestic violence orders.” It would take effect in Jan. 1, 2016 should it become law.

One concern with HB 8 voiced by Rep. Donna Mayfield (R-Winchester) who ultimately voted for the bill, is that the orders may be used in spats between teenage couples. “I just fear that this (could) open the floodgates to some situations that dilute the purity of the way we have it in the courts right now,” said Mayfield.

Tilley said persons under age 20 are “four times” more like to be abuse by a partner than others.

“The purpose of this bill,” he said, “is to protect lives.”

Want to contact your lawmakers on these issues? Simply click on the links below:

Shawnteetown Bridge down to 1 lane

The Shawneetown Bridge in Union County will be restricted to one-lane traffic starting at 9 a.m., this morning.

The bridge is localted where KY 56 and Illinois Route 13 meet at the Ohio River Bridge at Shawneetown, Ill.

Maintenance work on rocker bearing near the Illinois end of the bridge is being conducted today.

Drivers should be alert for one-lane traffic with alternating flow controlled by flaggers. Work is expected to be completed by noon today.

Reward for missing dog

This dog has been missing since Friday morning from 407 Fords Ferry Road. $500 reward offered for its return. Call 270-704-1204.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

115 new jobs coming to southwest Ky.

More jobs are coming to southwestern Kentucky. Gov. Steve Beshear Tuesday announced Douglas Autotech Corp. plans to expand its operations in Christian County.

Douglas Autotech, a manufacturer of automotive controls, steering columns and shifters, is expected to create up to 115 jobs – a more than 30 percent increase of its workforce – and invest $14.1 million into the project.

“Douglas Autotech accepts the opportunity to continue to partner with our customers, the Commonwealth of Kentucky and Hopkinsville on workforce development and continued growth,” Douglas Autotech plant manager Todd Thomas said in a state news release. “We are pleased with the talented workforce in Hopkinsville and the support provided by the surrounding community. We also commend Kentucky for developing and executing incentives designed to bring industrial growth to the Commonwealth. This growth secures many more years of stable work opportunity for Douglas Autotech and its employees.”

Douglas Autotech, a subsidiary of Japan-based Fuji Kiko Co. LTD, has two North American plants – one in Hopkinsville and a second in Michigan. The Hopkinsville plant opened in 1995 and currently employs more than 230 people. The new jobs will be added over the next three years.

Kentucky continues to be a key player in the international automotive industry. Kentucky’s 465 motor vehicle-related establishments employ nearly 85,000 people. Over the last five years, nearly 350 motor vehicle-related projects have been announced in the state, representing 20,000 new jobs and more than $4.5 billion in new investment.

Conrad's 2-Day Sale Friday and Saturday

Homecoming starts at 5:30pm tomorrow

Crittenden County High School basketball homecoming festivities will kick off at 5:30 p.m., Friday before the varsity doubleheader at Rocket Arena. The court will be recognized and king and queen crowned prior to opening tipoff of the first game. At halftime of the girls' game, which starts at 6 p.m., there will be an athletics hall of fame induction ceremony. Joey Rich and Von Summers, two former CCHS athletes will be inducted.

New recreational sport for boys and girls

There will be a new recreational sport for boys and girls this summer at Marion-Crittenden County Park.


It will be available for children ages 4 and 5.

Anyone age 4 by May 1 will be able to register. Children who are 5 years old will have the option to play kickball or co-ed rookie league baseball – a hybrid of machine pitching and T-ball.

Baseball and Softball skills assessment will be from 2-4 pm Sunday, March 8 at the CCMS gym.



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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Minimum wage bill approved by Ky. House

The Kentucky House of Representatives voted Tuesday to pass legislation that would gradually raise Kentucky’s government-mandated minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by July 2017.

House Bill 2, sponsored by House Speaker Greg Stumbo (D-Prestonsburg) passed 56-43. Rep. Lynn Bechler (R-Marion) voted against the measure.

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Kentucky’s current minimum wage, which is tied to the federal minimum wage, is now $7.25 an hour. HB 2 would increase that rate to $8.20 this July, $9.15 in July 2016, and the final rate of $10.10 the following year.

Stumbo said more than 390,000 Kentuckians make less than $10.10 an hour, and that most of those earners are women. He wants to raise the wage gradually to what he called a “living wage” rate of $10.10 an hour as 29 other states and Washington, D.C. have done, he told fellow House members. Businesses that gross less than $500,000 a year (up from the current threshold of $95,000 annually) would be exempt from the wage increase.

“The trend across America is to reach out to those minimum wage workers and give them a living wage,” said Stumbo.

The bill would also prohibit wage discrimination based on gender, race, or national origin for equivalent work, with some exceptions allowed for seniority, merit, or productivity.

If the bill becomes law, it could spread local government thinner.

Crittenden County Judge-Executive Perry Newcom said all county employees are earning above the current minimum wage, but many are earning below the proposed $10.10 rate. So a mandated increase to that hourly rate would cost the county significantly more in salaries each year.

House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover (R-Jamestown) explained that passing the bill as written could cost the state more than 14,000 jobs based on a recent Kentucky legislative staff report.

“So it’s clear – there would be a loss of jobs,” said Hoover.

Stumbo challenged the study data cited by Hoover.

Want to contact your lawmakers on this issue? Simply click on the links below: