Friday, January 29, 2016

Diagnostic Testing Near Home

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EMS death benefits bill heads to Senate

The House today passed a bill that would give families of paramedics and other emergency service personnel killed in the line of duty the same $80,000 state death benefit now provided to families of fallen police and firefighters.

House Bill 54, sponsored by Rep. Dean Schamore, D-Hardinsburg, was filed following last November’s death of Jessamine County paramedic John Mackey. The 40-year-old died after being hit by a car while on ambulance duty.

Families of paramedics, emergency medical technicians, ambulance and rescue squad members and local emergency management employees killed on the job on or after June 30, 2015 would be eligible to receive the $80,000 benefit under HB 54. Free tuition and fees to any state college, university or vocational training school would also be made available under the bill to the spouse or children of emergency service workers killed or disabled while on duty.

Rep. Russ Meyer, D-Nicholasville, recognized John’s Mackey family who were in the House chamber for the vote on the bill. Among them were Mackey’s children who Meyer said “who are going to benefit from this act.”

“They’re all with us here today in support of this,” said Meyer.

Rep. James Tipton, R-Taylorsville, said HB 54 is about “creating equity. We already provide this for police officers, for firefighters. For some reason the EMS personnel were not included originally, but now’s the time to make this right.”

The bill cleared the House on a 95-0 vote and now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Police searching for missing motor bikes

This is a bike similar to
those believed stolen.
UPDATE: One of the scooters has been found.

Marion Police Department is looking for a couple of motor bikes that went missing last night in Marion.

The bikes were a Honda Rukus and a TaoTao. One was taken from First Street and another from the corner of East Bellville and Walker streets. The thefts occurred after midnight Thursday. The keys were not in the bikes when they were taken, so police believe they were either pushed away, loaded into another vehicle or perhaps hot-wired.

If anyone has any information about these alleged thefts, please help by calling Marion Police Department at 270-965-3500.


Informed consent clears House

A consultation between a woman seeking an abortion and a health care provider would have to occur during an in-person meeting or through real-time video conferencing under a bill approved Thursday night by the state House.

The video conference option was added to Senate Bill 4 by the House Health and Welfare Committee shortly before the bill cleared the House on a 92-3 vote. Rep. Lynn Bechler, R-Marion, voted for the measure.

Only in-person, face-to-face consultation would have satisfied the state’s informed consent requirement under the original bill, sponsored by Sen. Julie Raque Adams, R-Louisville, which the Senate approved by a 32-5 vote last week.

SB 4 now returns to the Senate for consideration of the House changes.

Kentucky law already requires information be provided at least 24 hours before an abortion, but that information is often given over the phone, say supporters of SB 4.

House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, who successfully moved for passage of a floor amendment to correct an error in the bill before the House floor vote, said that moving SB 4 through the process “has been a battle.”

“It’s a tough issue for a lot of people. Many people believe very strongly on both sides of the issue,” said Hoover. “To be singled out as we are many times for particular issues from those who oppose our point of view—that’s not an easy thing to do. But there are good people with strong principles on both sides of this issue.”

House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, called SB 4 a “remedy” that would allow women to receive information without creating an additional financial burden on them at an already difficult time.

“If you believe that (the informed consent law) hasn’t been adhered to because … information is given electronically via telephone… then this is the way to remedy that, and it’s a way to remedy it in a manner that’s fair to people that live all across Kentucky,” said Stumbo.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Area Death: Jent

Retired businessman and developer Darrell Jent, 71, of Marion has died.

Jent was in Florida where he and wife Shirley had planned to spend the winter. He passed away unexpectedly Thursday morning.

He and brother, Ben, developed Darben Plaza in Marion and he opened the former Tudor Inn next to the shopping center. Jent also built and operated the skating rink in Marion in the 1980s.

Jent was among the original developers of the West Kentucky Outlet Mall in Eddyvlle and his company, The Jent Group, headed a number of other developments around the lakes area and in southern Illinois and central Kentucky.




Bill would ensure students receive CPR skills

The Kentucky State Senate passed legislation Thursday aimed at improving Kentuckians' chances of surviving sudden cardiac arrest. The legislation passed by a vote of 32 to 6 with strong bipartisan support. Sen. Dorsey Ridley, D-Henderson, voted for the measure.

Senate Bill 33, sponsored by Senator Max Wise from Campbellsville would ensure that Kentucky high school students receive a basic CPR training as part of high school health education, physical education or Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps course that meets the physical education graduation requirement.

“I am very excited to champion SB 33 the CPR bill in the Senate and look forward to learning about its successes as it makes its way through the House," said Senator Wise. "I’d like to thank Rep. Jeff Greer for paving the way for this cause in the legislature.   Representative Greer and I both care very much about our students learning hands on CPR because it saves lives, and I look forward to working with him to pass this legislation that we care so deeply about. “

This bill is a major initiative of the American Heart Association both in Kentucky and nationally. In 2011, the association released a Scientific Advisory stating that bystander CPR training and an overview of AEDs should be required for all high school students. Such training would rapidly increase the number of people ready to respond to sudden cardiac arrest, a leading cause of death in the United States.  If passed, Senate Bill 33 will make Kentucky the 28th state with such a law. Already more than a million students are being trained in CPR each year because of this initiative.

Cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in the U.S., and nearly 326,000 people experience cardiac arrest outside of a hospital each year.

Unfortunately, nearly 90% of cardiac arrest victims do not survive mostly because they don’t receive timely CPR. Our society has the opportunity to change this grim statistic by ensuring more people are trained in CPR, which can double or triple the chances of survival.  High schools can play a pivotal role by creating a generation of lifesavers by making sure all students learn CPR before they graduate. In less than 30 minutes we can give students the skills they need to help save someone’s life.

Without immediate, effective CPR from a bystander, a person’s chance of surviving sudden cardiac arrest decreases 7 percent to 10 percent per minute.

The bill now heads to the House for consideration.

KTRS survivor benefits bill heads to House

Spouses of deceased Kentucky public school teachers could remarry without losing survivor benefits from the state teachers’ retirement system under a bill passed today by the House State Government Committee.

“If this bill were to pass, if they were to go ahead and get married, they would not lose their spouse benefits. And I think that’s only fair because their spouse paid into the system,” said House Bill 172 sponsor Rep. Rick Nelson, D-Middlesboro.

There are now 459 surviving spouses receiving Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System (KTRS) survivor benefits who would lose those benefits if they remarry, said KTRS General Counsel Robert Barnes. The average monthly benefit drawn per individual is $1,777, he said.

While the system has not tracked those who have lost survivorship benefits due to remarriage before 2015, Barnes said retirement survivor benefits were revoked in two cases last year because the surviving spouses remarried. The revocation of those benefits, he said, cost the surviving spouses a combined $7,000 a year.

“It would appear historically that the cost of this bill would be pretty minimal,” said Barnes, adding true actuarial analysis is pending.

Rep. Brad Montell, R-Shelbyville, said he thinks “it’s a shame that we do encourage folks to remain single even though they do wish to marry” but that the bill may need a qualifier for retaining benefits, perhaps based on length of marriage to the deceased spouse. “Maybe we can talk about some kind of qualifier to make sure the late spouse was a lifelong companion, but I think it’s a good bill,” he said.

A few other lawmakers on the committee also suggested tweaking the bill should it come to a vote on the House floor.

Rep. Jim Wayne, D-Louisville, said HB 172 is a “pro-marriage bill” which he feels needs no added language. “This is a good bill as it is,” he said.

HB 172 now goes to the full House for consideration.

Tolu road ramming leads to arrest

A Livingston County man is jailed following an alleged assault with his vehicle on another motorist. The incident began in Tolu in Crittenden County then continued along Ky. 135 into Livingston County toward Carrsville.

According to Livingston County Sheriff's Department, John Chittenden Jr., 19, of Carrsville is charged with first-degree wanton endangerment, a Class D felony, and first-degree criminal mischief, also a Class D felony.

The arrest stems from an incident that began in Crittenden County Wednesday. The victim, Tim Chittenden Jr., 20, of Paducah told investigators that he and John Chittenden became involved in an argument near Tolu.  Tim Chittenden left the location in his car at which time John Chittenden left in his pickup truck and is alleged to have started ramming Tim Chittenden's vehicle. Investigators say evidence at the scene suggests that Tim Chittenden's vehicle was rammed at dangerously high speeds. Several witnesses in the Carrsville area contacted Livingston County Central Dispatch to report the alleged assault.

John Chittenden was arrested without incident at his home then lodged in the McCracken County Jail.

Anyone with information or who might have witnessed this incident is urged to contact the Livingston County Sheriff's Department.

The Livingston County Sheriff's Department was assisted in this investigation by Kentucky State Trooper T. J. Williams.

John Chittenden, Sr., 46, was also arrested following the incident. He was taken into custody on an outstanding warrant for receiving stolen property under $500, a class A misdemeanor. This warrant stems from an alleged burglary of a local hunting lodge in 2015.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Resolution urges Virginia to recognize concealed carry law

Leaders from both parties came together on the Senate floor today to condemn Virginia’s recent decision to stop recognizing Kentucky concealed carry permits by passing a joint resolution condemning the move.

Senate Joint Resolution 36 urges Virginia, which borders eastern Kentucky, to restore a so-called reciprocal agreement that allowed Kentucky concealed carry permit holders to legally carry a concealed firearm in Virginia. The resolution passed by a by a 37-1 vote.

“The governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the attorney general have arbitrarily and unilaterally made a determination that the Commonwealth of Virginia would no longer recognize Kentucky’s concealed carry permits,” said Democratic Floor Leader Ray S. Jones II of Pikeville. “Now, this is a significant problem for Kentuckians, particularly those of us from Eastern Kentucky who, when we travel south, have to travel through the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

Republican Floor Leader Sen. Damon Thayer of Georgetown joined Jones as a primary sponsor of the resolution. Eighteen other senators were cosponsors.

“Tens of thousands of Kentuckians, law-abiding citizens, have been trained and permitted to carry firearms for personal protection and defense of their family,” Jones said. “As we see so many mass shooting and terrorist attacks on American soil, I believe it is vitally important that Americans have the right to protect themselves, their families and their friends.”

Jones, a licensed NRA firearms instructor, said Kentucky’s concealed carry law has been a model since its inception and that Kentucky concealed carry holders are not the ones committing mass shootings.

“Gun violence is a problem in this country,” he said. “It is a horrific problem in this country … but the question is how do you address the violence. Do you address it by infringing on the rights of law-abiding citizens? I don’t believe that is the answer.”

SJR 36 now goes to the House for consideration.

Drivers' testing cancelled for Feb. 12

There will be no drivers' testing in Crittenden County Friday, Feb. 12, as examiners will be in training.

Area Job Openings

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What's news this week in Crittenden County...

Local community showing support for
Marion barber battling health problems
through hats and social media.
Freedom Waste Service, the company that has a non-exclusive franchise contract to provide residential roadside garbage pick-up in the county, has been approved to change its rate and service structure starting this spring.

For more on this and the following headlines, pick up this week's issue of The Crittenden Press:
  • Community tips hat to ailing man with social media.
  • 62 names invalid on alcohol petition.
  • ALCOHOL REFERENDUM: Read letters to the editor both for and against proposed alcohol sales in Marion.
  • How will governor's proposed budget affect Crittenden County?
  • Snow day instruction alternative considered.
  • County looks to reconcile roads list with state.
  • Rocket Docket propels savings, speeds judicial process.
  • Comer congressional campaign stops in Marion.
  • Bechler running unopposed for House seat.
  • Plan would raze blighted houses, place mobile homes.
  • Facebook helps woman stuck in snow get rescued.
  • Study: Crittenden 8th best county in commonwealth to own home.
  • LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: Pro-life, domestic violence bills taken up by Ky. representatives.
  • LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: Senate bill targets habitual drunken drivers.
  • FORGOTTEN PASSAGES: 1911 Vital Statistics reflect health of county.
  • Crochet Corner donating to nursing home.
  • HONOR ROLL: 2nd nine weeks CCES A's and B's
  • Average price of groceries in Ky. falls to close 2015.
  • McKenzie gives hoot about library, donates carved owl.
  • "The Voice" OKs local singers for online.
  • January among coldest in last 5 years.
  • SPORTS: Lyon spoils Lady Rockets’ hopes of Classic title berth.
  • SPORTS: Rockets would share third seed with win at Livingston.

Catch this Super TV Deal

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Job Openings at Hydro-Gear

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Bechler will face no opposition

Bechler
Rep. Lynn Bechler (R) of Marion will face no Democratic opposition in his bid for re-election to the Fourth District House seat.

This afternoon was the filing deadline for candidates seeking statewide office.

The state representative from Crittenden County will be seeking his third term in office.

Gothic Cathedrals TONIGHT at Fohs

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Local Daycare Center

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Fiscal court to meet Wednesday

Crittenden Fiscal Court will meet in special session at 3 p.m. Wednesday. On the agenda will be a  vote to seek authority to sign a purchase contract for a tract real estate and a closed session to review an issue regarding employees.

Bill to expand abandoned infants law goes to Senate

Parents of newborns would have up to 30 days to surrender their baby at a state-approved safe place without facing criminal charges under legislation that’s on its way to the Senate.

Current law gives parents 72 hours after a child is born to leave the baby at a hospital, police or fire station or with emergency medical services personnel if they feel unable to keep the child. House Bill 97, sponsored by House Health and Welfare Committee Chairman Rep. Tom Burch, D-Louisville, would expand that to 30 days and add churches or other places of worship to the list of approved safe places where a child could be surrendered.

Parents would not face charges for surrendering the baby as long as the child is not injured.

The bill passed the House by a vote of 92-0 today.

House Minority Caucus Chair Stan Lee, R-Lexington, voiced concerns with a floor amendment to the bill that he said would open safe places—namely churches—up to liability for negligence should they become safe places under HB 97. The bill would give churches and other safe places allowed under the bill immunity from civil or criminal liability for taking in a child, but the amendment, which narrowly passed by a vote of 44-43, would allow liability for negligence should the child be injured while in a safe place’s care.

“If you want churches to essentially be able to be sued, then you’ll want to support this floor amendment,” said Lee. “I would encourage you to vote against this floor amendment.”

Burch said churches should not be exempt from liability for negligence involving a child.

“Had we allowed churches not be sued you would not have seen all these sexual abuse cases brought (in recent years),” he said.

Lee said that “has nothing to do with trying to save newborn babies. If we really want to save newborn babies then I think we ought to afford these churches immunity from civil liability.”

Rep. Donna Mayfield, R-Winchester, thanked Burch for working with her to offer the option of places of worship as a safe place under HB 97. “I believe that if only one parent is led to know they can leave a child, a newborn at a church, a staffed house of worship, and it saves one baby’s life then I think it’s worth (it),” said Mayfield.

Get a Jump on Spring

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Monday, January 25, 2016

Schools back in session Tuesday, but ...

Crittenden County Schools will be back in session on Tuesday, Jan. 26 unless further inclement weather or refreezing overnight creates hazardous road situations. 

If so, and the start time must be delayed, the school district will issue a One Call and notify media outlets at 5 a.m.


Area Deaths

Clara Bell Brown, 88, of Marion died Monday at Livingston Hospital in Salem. Boyd Funeral Directors and Cremation Services in Salem is in charge of arrangements.

Johnnie Lou Conger, 83, of Marion died Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016 at Crittenden County Health and Rehabilitation Center. Gilbert Funeral Home in Marion is in charge of arragnements.

Jerry Dean Fricker, 72, of Elizabethtown, Ill., died Thursday at Baptist Health in Paducah.
He was the owner and operator of Fricker’s Machine Shop and Salvage, and also a member of the Masonic Lodge and Shriners. Hardin County Funeral Services Cox Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Melba Belt Clark, 100, of Radcliff, Ky., formerly of Marion, died Sunday. Gilbert Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Local Satellite Internet Service

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Sunday, January 24, 2016

No school Monday in Crittenden

Due to continued hazardous road conditions, school will be cancelled Monday, Jan. 25 in Crittenden County.

Sunday services cancelled

The following church services in the area have been cancelled for tomorrow:

Sunday services at Marion First Cumberland Presbyterian Church.
- Frances Community Church.
- Glendale General Baptist Church.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Motorists urged to stay off the roads tonight

Despite the best efforts of road crews to clear and treat snow-covered roadways, motorists are still encouraged to stay off the roads tonight as the threat of refreezing increases.

As temperatures fall to near zero tonight, road conditions are expected to worsen, especially in high elevation areas including Interstate 75 from Williamsburg to Berea. Driving conditions will be slick and treacherous in all portions of the Commonwealth.

Motorists should stay home and off the roads if possible. Being on the roadways tonight increases the chances of long delays, crashes and the inability of road crews to treat and plow the roads.

As the sun sets, plowed snow changed over to slush will refreeze and chemicals are rendered ineffective at those low temperatures. However, snow and ice crews will remain on the clock until roads return to their normal conditions.

Over the course of the day, road conditions improved drastically for most high priority routes, but remain slick and partially covered in some areas. Many lower priority routes as well as some major highways across the state have not been addressed. Citizens should not expect these roadways to be cleared immediately.

If you must be out, the Kentucky State Police offers the following winter weather driving tips:
  • Avoid travel unless necessary when winter weather is in your area.
  • Slow down.
  • Always wear your seat belt.

Collision information
  • Be patient – bad weather also limits the capabilities of law enforcement officers and emergency crews and increases response time. Also, keep in mind that they will be experiencing a high volume of requests for service.
  • Attempt to move your vehicle out of the roadway if you are involved in a minor, non-injury traffic collision; especially if you are in a dangerous area such as a curve or a blind hill.
  • If your vehicle is stranded or wrecked but not in the roadway, attempts to recover your vehicle will have to wait until conditions improve for safety considerations.
KSP is requesting travelers to observe for potentially stranded motorists. If you see or suspect that someone is stranded, please call 911 or contact the Kentucky State Police at (800) 222-5555.

KyTC offers roads update

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet crews in western Kentucky have received a lot of help from the sunshine today.

While ambient air temperatures have been in the 31 degree range, the sun had raised pavement temperatures up into the mid-40s by mid-afternoon at most locations. That has helped to activate salt and other ice-fighting chemicals.

Most "A" Priority Routes such as Interstates, parkways, and federal highways are cleared. Crews have moved to "B" and "C" Snow Priority Routes in a big way today.

"A" Routes are in good condition, many with dry pavement from the sunshine.  However, many "B" and "C" Routes continue to have sections of snow cover, especially where trees or an embankment blocks sunshine from hitting the pavement.

While driving conditions are greatly improved from Friday, low temperatures expected tonight create a threat of refreezing.  Anyone who plans to be on the road tonight or early Sunday should be alert for icy spots and the possibility of black ice at any location where the pavement is damp as low temperatures approach the 10 degree mark.

Several crews battled drifts ranging from 3 to 6 feet deep overnight and into the morning hours today. Henderson County and Graves County both had blocked highways. Union County also battled drifts. During the overnight hours and early today heavy equipment was used to bust through the drifts.  Whenever possible, the snow was pushed back to allow two lanes of travel.   Due to the depth of the drifts, there are still a few isolated sections where traffic is restricted to one lane. Drifts are expected to be less of an issue now that winds have dropped substantially.

Some highway crews expect to complete their work for this event tonight.  However, many will continue snow and ice operations into the night hours.  Several expect to return to work on Sunday morning to complete work on their "C" Routes.

Governor activates gouging regs

Gov. Bevin has activated the state’s prohibitions on price gouging to protect consumers during the winter storm that has affected most of the Commonwealth. The price gouging emergency order took effective this morning.


“In coordination with state authorities, I have put in effect prohibitions on price gouging in order to ensure Kentuckians pay appropriate prices on essential services and supplies during this winter storm,” said Gov. Bevin. “Safety remains our top priority as we dig out of the snow. I urge Kentuckians to continue to monitor road conditions before leaving the house and report any price gouging activity to the Attorney General’s office.”

The emergency order triggers several consumer protection measures that will remain in place for 30 days, but may be extended past that time as needed. This order empowers the Attorney General’s office to be on the lookout for consumers and prosecute, where appropriate, any instances of price gouging including, generators, building supplies, chainsaws, hotel rooms and other necessary goods and services at an exorbitant price in a time of disaster.

“Kentuckians should never be subjected to price gouging by retailers and this is especially true during a natural disaster,” Attorney General Beshear said. “My office and all of its resources stand ready to investigate and even prosecute cases of identifiable predatory pricing. I appreciate Gov. Bevin issuing this emergency declaration on price gouging to help protect Kentucky consumers. During this time of crisis, we are asking Kentuckians to be cautious when purchasing goods and services.”

Beshear is encouraging anyone with specific information regarding possible price gouging to contact the Office of the Attorney General at (888) 432-9257 or e-mail consumerprotection@ky.gov.

Driving drunk citations on the rise

Police say DUIs are spiking in Marion and Crittenden County.

Marion Police Chief Ray O’Neal says there is no common denominator, but over a nine-day period starting Jan. 9, city police cited four motorist for driving under the influence.
That is double the normal number of citations for an entire month. Last year, the city made 27 DUI arrests. 

“We usually have one or two a month,” the chief said. “I don’t really know what to attribute it to, but we’ve had a lot since the first of the year.”

Sheriff's deputies have also seen an increase in DUIs since the holidays. 

First-offense DUI is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail, a mandatory substance abuse program, 30 to 120 days license suspension and possible community service. Penalties increase on subsequent offenses. A fourth-offense within a five-year period is a Class D felony with minimum jail time of 120 days. 

For the rest of this article, see this week's printed edition of The Crittenden Press, on sale now at area newsstands.

Snow plow operator in Christian dies

A Kentucky Transportation Cabinet employee has died while plowing highways in Christian County.

The employee was identified as Christopher Adams, a 16 year Transportation Cabinet employee.

About 5:50 a.m., Adams called a supervisor indicating his snow plow had slid off in a ditch along KY 115.   When the supervisor arrived on KY 115 Adams was slumped over in his truck seat and unresponsive.  An ambulance was called to the scene.  Paramedics then summoned the coroner.

The the 44 year old transportation employee had been on the clock since about midnight.  During a break overnight he interacted with other employees and appeared to be in good spirits.

The coroner has notified the family.

KYTC District 2 Chief Engineer Kevin McClearn offered sympathy to the family and his coworkers.  "Our crews are very tight knit.  Working long hours in all kinds of weather you get to know the character of people around you.  Losing a friend and coworker is always tough, but our Christian County Crew is continuing work today to carry on efforts to make travel safer for the rest of us."

Friday, January 22, 2016

US 641 searching for best pathway

Tuesday's meeting in Marion involved a number of
leaders from three counties and PADD officials 
The lack of a definitive route around Fredonia has been a major stumbling block in the effort to complete the new U.S. 641 highway between Marion and Interstate 24.

Work on the project – conceived 26 years ago under then-Gov. Wallace Wilkerson, moved ahead by Gov. Paul Patton and christened with a formal groundbreaking ceremony four years ago under then-Gov. Steve Beshear – has been effectively scuttled the last couple of years due to ongoing debate and the lack of a resolution with regard to how to get around Fredonia. There has been both support and opposition to a variety of proposed routes, and what exists now is a political stalemate. Factions of interested parties from every side have been trying to untie the knot that has had construction in limbo since crews effectively moth-balled the project and left the Phase 1 area of Crittenden County in 2014.

A group of leaders and interested individuals from three counties met last week in Frankfort with state legislators and other bureaucratic chiefs, then sat down again Tuesday in Marion at the Ed-Tech Center.

Millions of dollars have already been spent and millions more have been proposed, but those numbers are meaningless until leaders from the communities through which the road will transverse can agree on one thing – where to put the middle section of the road.

Lyon and Crittenden counties are on the same page, but there is still question as to what route Caldwell County leaders will support. After Tuesday’s discussions, there appear to be two routes that are chiefly preferred. Both run east of Fredonia. One is farther from town and goes in a straighter line toward Lyon County. The other is closer to Fredonia yet has two sweeping curves. 

----
For more on this issue, see the Jan. 21, 2016 issue of The Crittenden Press, or subscribe here to the full version of the newspaper in PDF forma. 

Normal road conditions could be days away

West Bellville Street in Marion around 2 p.m.

With nightfall quickly approaching, snow and ice crews will remain on the job for the rest of evening and into Saturday.

Today’s heavy snow storm dumped over 14 inches of snow in some parts of the state causing many delays, service disruption, impassable roadways and overturned semis along the interstates. 

The most problematic areas for traffic included I-65 near Hart County; I-75 in Rockcastle County and spots of U.S. 23 in Lawrence County.  Extra resources have been dedicated to clear these priority routes.

This afternoon, Gov. Matt Bevin issued a statewide emergency declaration that will “provide local officials immediate access to state resources for public safety and assistance.”  This order expands the scope of assistance and gives more flexibility to officials to leverage resources.

The Kentucky National Guard, in conjunction with the Transportation Cabinet, has strategically position tow trucks across the Commonwealth.  Crews are on standby to remove major blockages along priority routes and help alleviate any queued congestion.

Gov. Bevin also stressed in his order that motorists need to restrict non-essential travel.  Bevin continued, “We urge all citizens to remain at home and stay off of the roads allowing emergency services the opportunity to keep the roadways safe.”

By staying off the roadways, crews will be able to safely plow more highways and effectively do their jobs.  Motorists are also advised to give a wide berth to snow plows and other heavy highway equipment along the roadway.

Motorists should stay off the shoulders in the case of a traffic backup.  This may create additional crashes or hazards and not allow emergency vehicles, tow trucks and plows to access the scene.

Due to the sheer volume of snow, it may take days for roads to return to their normal conditions.  Crews will continue to focus on clearing high priority routes and shift to rural/low volume roads once those major routes are clear.

Saturday closings in Crittenden County

Following are closings in Crittenden County for Saturday:
  • Crittenden County Courthouse
  • Crittenden County Public Library. No fines for late materials will be assessed.
  • The Peoples Bank.
Have a church closing or meeting cancellation? Tell us and we will post it online.

Snowfall totals vary, only minor incidents reported locally

Early Friday afternoon in Marion, Winter Storm
Jonah had dumped at least 8 inches of snow. Heavy
snow in near whiteout conditions throughout the
afternoon dumped a few more inches on town. Show
us how much snow you got and where you live.
Email thepress@the-press.com.
Besides vehicles slipping and sliding on the pavement and the few local businesses that were open today in Marion, county officials have reported no major incidents in Crittenden County related to Winter Storm Jonah, though some wrecks have been reported. This morning, a semi got stuck on U.S. 60 just west of Marion blocking traffic for an hour or so.

Snowfall totals have varied across the county, but most areas are reporting between 9 inches and a foot on top of a thin layer of ice that fell in the early morning hours Friday. Drifting has been a problem in some areas.

Show or tell us how much snow you got at your house and where you live.

Refreeze increases travel danger

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet snow plows like this one on Bellville Street in Marion have been out in force since midnight clearing roads for travelers.

Greeted by heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KyTC) snow and ice crews began operations at midnight as waves of freezing rain, freezing drizzle and snow began sweeping across the region.

The icy precipitation created hazardous driving conditions for the public and for highway crews out treating the roadways. Overnight numerous snow plows were off the road due to the icy conditions.  By mid-morning, most of the freezing precipitation changed into heavy blowing snow.

Highway crews in Kentucky’s westernmost counties of District 1 and District 2 made some good progress in their snow clearing efforts today. Much of the region received less ice that expected on the front end of the storm. However, snow accumulations ran above expectations ranging from about 3 to 6 inches. Wind gusts in the 25 to 25 mph range created near-blizzard conditions at times.

As we head into the nighttime hours, motorists are advised to continue avoiding unnecessary travel. Low temperatures in the low 20s will create the opportunity for re-freezing. With the continuation of high winds there is an ongoing opportunity for drifting snow. There have been several instances where highways have been plowed down to bare pavement only to have the wind blow snow back across the driving surface.

If you venture out tonight or on Saturday morning, please use appropriate caution. Simply slowing down can help improve safety for you and your family.

While Western Kentucky avoided some of the more disruptive aspects of this storm, as you travel eastward in Kentucky downed trees, power outages, stranded motorists and jackknifed tractor trailers are much more common. The impact of the winter storm is expected to continue through the weekend.

Again, the big concern for overnight hours is that slush and water from melting snow may refreeze as temperatures hover around the low-20s and that drifting snow will cover previously cleared pavement. Caution is required.

Some crews have managed to make some runs along “C” Snow Priority Routes.  Most counties expect to be moving to “C” routes tonight or during the day Saturday.

Snow removal efforts are initially focused on “A” Snow Priority Routes which include interstates, parkways, and federal highways. Crews then move to”B” and “C” Snow Priority Routes which are mainly secondary and rural roads once “A” routes have been cleared.

To view the priority network for snow removal, visit KyTC online and select a county.

The cabinet also reminds motorists to follow these simple tips:
  • Exercise greater caution when driving. Slow down.
  • Be prepared for slick conditions.
  • Give a wide berth to snow plows and other heavy highway equipment.
  • Eliminate distractions while behind the wheel.
The cabinet’s SAFE Patrol is available to assist motorists whose vehicles become disabled on Kentucky interstates and parkways. For SAFE Patrol assistance, call 511 or toll-free at (877) FOR KyTC.

Timely traffic advisories for the 12 counties of KyTC Highway District 1, where Crittenden County is located, and District 2 are available on Facebook. You do not have to be a Facebook member to access this page.

Navigate traffic with KyTC and 511.ky.gov.

Work travel dependent upon employer

Matt Berry cleans off snow from the parking lot
of Liberty Fuels in Marion where he works. It was
one of the few businesses open Friday as Winter
Storm Jonah hit Kentucky and much of the U.S.
Although travel may be difficult during these weather conditions like those created by Winter Storm Jonah and a state of emergency is in effect across Kentucky, it does not override attendance requirements between employer and employees. That is determined by your employer's personnel and attendance policy, according to Kentucky Emergency Management.


Counties may declare local states of emergency, and if so, local officials may impose travel restrictions.

Gov. Bevin declares state of emergency

In response to the winter storm affecting most of the Commonwealth, Gov. Matt Bevin today declared a statewide emergency to provide local officials immediate access to state resources for public safety and assistance.
“My primary concern is safety. By declaring a state emergency we are giving emergency management the options they need to proactively respond to local needs. I thank all of the officials working hard to keep people safe and commerce flowing,” said Gov. Bevin. “We urge all citizens to remain at home and stay off of the roads allowing emergency services the opportunity to keep the roadways safe.”

Kentucky Emergency Management’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and Joint Information Center (JIC) remain active to monitor the winter storm and coordinate the response.

“The Commonwealth has come through the worst part of the snowfall event. The storm front should move out of the area by 7 p.m. EST. We’ve encountered sporadic power outages, but more specifically calls regarding slow moving traffic on interstates," said Michael Dossett, Director of Kentucky Emergency Management.

“It is imperative that we allow our first responders the ability to provide timely services throughout the state. In that light, we are asking that our citizens refrain from travel on the interstate system for the remainder of this storm period," continued Dossett. "By virtue of the executive order for a state of emergency, allied state agencies are now able to leverage resources that are beyond local government capabilities.”

Area closings due to winter weather

Stay abreast of any power outages in the area:
KENERGY OUTAGE CENTER
KU OUTAGE CENTER

SNOWFALL TOTAL IN CRITTENDEN COUNTY: 9 inches at 3:30pm

CLOSED TODAY ARE THE FOLLOWING:
  • Crittenden County Courthouse.
  • All Farmers Bank locations are closed.
  • All state offices across Kentucky.
  • Crittenden County Senior Citizens Center will be closed today due to the weather, and no deliveries will take place.
  • Crittenden County Extension Service is closed.
  • Crittenden County Public Library is closed today and Saturday. There will be no fines for overdue materials during this period.
  • Conrad's Food Store is closing at 5pm.
US 60 W was blocked by semi across
highway. It was trying to pull into
Liberty Tire and became stuck.

Traffic was blocked until after lunch time.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

No school Friday

Due to forecasted inclement weather, there will be no school in Crittenden County tomorrow, Friday Jan. 22.

Area Death

Leona Gregory, 90, of Tucson, Ariz., formerly of Marion, died Tuesday. Gilbert Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

State offices closed Friday

In anticipation of inclement weather, all state offices will be closed on Friday.

Address protection bill heads to Senate

A bill to make it easier for potential victims of abuse to get a substitute legal address unknown to their abusers has passed the Kentucky House.

House Bill 59, sponsored by House Health and Welfare Committee Chair Tom Burch, D-Louisville, would allow potential victims of domestic violence and others to apply for a substitute address under the state’s address protection program without first obtaining a domestic violence order. A sworn statement would suffice for program eligibility.

Those who qualify for a substitute address would be issued a residency letter, document or card “to offer as proof that he or she actually resides in a specific county,” HB 59 states.  The address could be used on driver’s licenses and state-issued personal ID cards and would not interfere with a potential victim’s ability to vote.

“I got the bill from the state of Colorado. I went out there and witnessed first-hand how it was adopted and how they used it,” said Burch.

“It worked very well, and I thought it would work well here in Kentucky.”

The address protection program was established to protect victims of domestic violence and abuse, stalking and related crimes under a 2013 Kentucky law.

HB 59 passed by a vote of 94-0 now goes to the Senate for consideration.

‘Dog bite bill’ passes out of Senate

The state Senate passed legislation today that supporters say will put a leash on frivolous dog bite litigation in Kentucky’s courts.

Senate Bill 68, known as “the dog bite bill,” was introduced by Sen. Ralph Alvarado, R-Winchester. He said it would protect landlords from being held liable when a negligent tenant’s canine bites someone. SB 68 would do this by amending the current statute to modify the definition of persons who would qualify as the owner of a dog.

Alvarado said the legislation was prompted by a 2012 Kentucky Supreme Court opinion that a landlord could be considered a dog owner of his tenant’s dog for the purposes of legal liability. He said that opinion puts unfair pressure on property owners who may not even know that a dog is living on their property.

Sen. Robin L Webb, D-Grayson, was one of six Senators who voted against SB 68. A roll call vote was not available at the time of this post.

“It would totally take the landlord out of any potential recovery, whether they knew, not knew, promoted, or encouraged any activity,” she said. “It would fully insulate the landlord regardless of conduct.”

SB 68 now goes to the state House of Representatives for further consideration.

Senate passes bill protecting state’s most vulnerable

The state Senate passed a bill aimed at better protecting child victims of repeated abuse but a 36-0 vote today.

Many children who have experienced repeated abuse over time, referred to as a continuous course of conduct, have difficulty remembering the details of each specific incident of abuse, said Sen. Whitney Westerfield, R-Hopkinsville. The legislation, known as Senate Bill 60, would accommodate a child’s more generalized testimony when a tragedy of repeated abuse occurs.

“This bill is to protect … young victims or victims with intellectual or developmental disabilities who can’t articulate when something happened to them,” said Westerfield, who introduced the legislation.

Westerfield said he filed the bill after the Kentucky Supreme Court last year overturned the conviction of a man accused of sexually assaulting his 6-year-old stepdaughter in the case Ruiz v. Commonwealth. In Ruiz, the child victim testified that she was sodomized and abused  up to three times a week by her stepfather while her mother was on military deployment, but her inability to distinguish between the events helped lead to the case being overturned.

A companion piece of legislation, known as House Bill 109, passed out of the state House of Representatives by a 91-0 vote this past Tuesday.

Food bank distribution still on; make-up date set for next week


UPDATE AT 4:45 pm
A make-up date for Crittenden County Food Bank distribution has been set for next Wednesday. Food bank distribution will still take place Friday at the usual time and location. However, for those unable to make it due to the weather, distribution will again take place from 8 a.m. to noon Wednesday.

ORIGINAL POST AT 10:42 am
Despite the weather forecast, Crittenden County Food Bank will go ahead with distribution Friday from 8 a.m. to noon. That is unless there is a significant accumulation of ice. Regardless, there will be a make-up day announced Friday.

"There's no right decision to be made," said volunteer Fred Brown.

Because the severity of forecast wintry precipitation overnight and into tomorrow is so iffy at this hour, Brown said the best decision is to have the monthly giveaway as scheduled and add another date for those unable to make it out or those who may have assumed the usual fourth Friday distribution was cancelled due to weather. That way, he explained, if people do come out to the distribution site at 402 N. Walker St. in Marion, they won't have risked the trip for nothing and can get the food they need to help make it through another month.

Because of the extreme dangers associated with ice and the possibility of electrical outages, a heavy dose of freezing rain or sleet cancels Friday's distribution.

Graphics show winter storm forecast

Below are forecast models for the impending winter storm expected to hit Kentucky. They include anticipated snow, ice and total accumulation related to the winter storm warning issued by the National Weather Service for the entire state. But there is still much uncertainty with the forecast models, which predict anywhere from a half-inch to two feet in Louisville.

These images were provided by Kentucky Emergency Management. Click to enlarge the graphics.

Snow accumulation
Ice accumulation
Total accumulation

Driver testing cancelled

Driver testing in Crittenden County has been cancelled due to the impending winter weather event.

Governor addresses storm warning

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for Kentucky as the weather event approaches the Commonwealth. Kentucky officials are coordinating with local officials and emergency personnel. Gov. Bevin urges the public to restrict travel and stay alert. The following is a statement from the governor:

“Over the next 48 hours, a major winter storm is expected to impact many regions of Kentucky — potentially causing ice-related damage, service interruption and impassable roadways.

“The National Weather Service has projected snowfalls of up to a foot or more in most parts of the state. Some areas may experience icing and white-out conditions with wind gusts up to 30 mph. These harsh conditions may complicate our ability to effectively clear the roadways and provide essential services throughout the Commonwealth. With the sheer volume and rate of snowfall expected, it's unlikely that even main roads will be clear until after the storm subsides on Saturday.

“Transportation Cabinet operators and contract crews will work around the clock to help restore roads to their normal conditions. The National Guard has also been placed on high alert to provide assistance during this time.

“Safety is our first priority; so it is very important to restrict travel to a minimum.  I strongly encourage everyone, except in the case of emergency, to stay off the roads and prepare for any inconvenience during this major snow event. Please stay tuned to the latest weather forecasts and avoid all non-essential travel. Your cooperation will give snow-clearing operations the best chance for success in the hours ahead.”

Snow opens window into world of wildlife

KENTUCKY AFIELD OUTDOORS
Newly fallen snow has a way of awakening the spirit of adventure in kids and grown-ups alike.

It's also nature's tattletale.

As such, a fresh blanket of snow opens a window to new discoveries by revealing which animals inhabit the landscape around us and how they use it during the winter months.

Animal tracking in the snow exercises the body and mind, and it can be fun for the entire family.

Laura Palmer, furbearer biologist with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, suggests carrying a guide to animal tracks as well as a ruler that will show up clearly in photographs.  A basic pocket guide to animal tracks may be printed from the department's website at fw.ky.gov.

When you find a track, take note of the shape, number of toes, the presence or absence of claw marks, the shape of the heel pad and the length of the animal's stride. Keep a journal for personal reference and comparisons.

"Animal tracking does not only include looking for animal tracks," Palmer said. "There are many other signs that animals leave to let you know they are in the area: bear scratches on trees, squirrels stripping bark from trees for nest building, deer rubs, scat, slides made by a river otter or beaver, fresh vegetation cut around a pond and stems left in water from muskrat."

Observing wildlife and their movements provides clues about their habits, where they den or bed, what they eat and whether the animal travels by hopping, bounding or striding, she said.

As an added bonus, the exploration of animal tracks can lead to unexpected discoveries.

Newly fallen snow helps make antlers shed by deer easier to see. Male deer may drop their antlers any time from November to May, but the peak period stretches from late December through early March.

For hunters, antler size provides insight into the number and quality of bucks that made it through the hunting seasons. Deer tracks also reveal what deer eat when food is scarce as well as travel corridors and bedding areas.

"Movement is going to be different in winter than it is in the fall but the more you know about how deer move around a piece of property, the more effective that makes you," said David Yancy, deer biologist with Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. "That's information that you can file away for later."

Archery deer season ended Jan. 18, closing the book on a record-setting deer season overall in Kentucky, but other opportunities for small game and furbearers remain available. Consult the Kentucky Hunting and Trapping Guide or Kentucky Fish and Wildlife's website for season dates.

Some grouse hunters like the snow because it helps close the gap on the elusive birds. Squirrels also will remain active with snow on the ground.

"Snow can make quail hunting difficult because they'll try to wait it out as long as they can," said Ben Robinson, small game biologist with Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. "If you've got a lot of snow on the ground, birds are probably not going to be just out walking around in fields because that exposes them to predation.

"If you target thick, woody cover like fence rows and brush piles and shrub thickets, you have a better chance of finding some birds. The same could be said for rabbits as well."

Some state parks host opportunities to view wildlife from January into March. Offerings include bald eagle, elk and sandhill crane viewing tours. More information about those opportunities is available at parks.ky.gov.

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife also provides on its website a listing of wildlife viewing sites at various wildlife management areas across the state.

There is more to the snow than snowmen, racing sleds downhill or shoveling driveways. Take the opportunity to get a close-up look at what often goes unseen in nature.

(Editor's note: Author Kevin Kelly is a staff writer for Kentucky Afield magazine, the official publication of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. Get the latest from Kevin and the entire Kentucky Afield staff by following them on Twitter: @kyafield.)

State police bracing for winter storm

In the coming hours, the tri-state will be dealing with another round of wintery weather. Kentucky State Police Post 2 requests owners of any abandoned or stalled vehicles which have been left on the shoulders, or the right of ways of limited access highways (interstates and parkways), federal and state highways in the seven-county Post 2 District, to remove these vehicles without delay.

Owners of these vehicles, who have not removed them from these areas prior to accumulating precipitation, risk these vehicles being towed/impounded by the KSP.  The area is forecast to receive several inches of snow and possibly ice.  We are requesting the removal of these vehicles to assist the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KyTC) personnel in their efforts to properly remove the snow and ice the area is forecast to receive.  Shoulders and right of ways must be cleared of snow and ice, in addition to the travel portions of roadways, in order for moisture to properly drain from these areas.

The KSP wants to remind travelers of the following:
  • Limit your driving activities during the winter storm.
  • Refrain from calling 911 for road conditions.
  • Observe for potentially stranded motorists. If you see or suspect that someone is stranded, please call 911 or contact the Kentucky State Police, toll-free, in Kentucky, at (800) 222-5555
  • Post 2 serves the following counties: Caldwell, Christian, Crittenden, Hopkins, Muhlenberg, Todd and Webster.

Traffic advisory issued ahead of storm

Special traffic advisory from the Kentucky Department of Transportation:

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Warning for western Kentucky and surrounding areas starting at 6 p.m. today with the potential for extremely hazardous driving conditions.

The forecast calls for freezing rain starting tonight changing to snow over all of western Kentucky by morning.  Snow accumulation numbers run in the 2 to 6 inch range with higher amounts from about Princeton eastward along the I-69 and Western Kentucky Parkway Corridor.  Winds will be increasing overnight with gust to 25-35 mph on Friday. That creates the possibility of drifting and blowing snow that can further deteriorate driving conditions

With the likelihood of ice followed by snow overnight, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and area emergency management agencies are asking everyone to think ahead and plan now for whatever arrives overnight.

Please avoid unnecessary travel.  Unnecessary travel might include a trip to the store for cigarettes, soft drinks, or a movie rental.

If you have a medical appointment or a dialysis treatment scheduled for Friday or Saturday, make arrangements to get treatment today. That will allow you to stay off the road until highway crews have time to treat, plow, and clear roadways.  Emergency agencies will be hard pressed to respond to true emergencies, so calls for non-emergency transportation may have to be turned down.

If you are required to be at work, take a sleeping bag and food to be prepared to spend the night.  If you have an extended commute to work consider staying with a friend or relative closer to your job site.  This will reduce the number of miles traveled on ice and snow covered roadways.  Some hospitals, nursing homes, and other critical services may require employees to stay on site to assure essential services.

Highway crews are prepared to work around the clock to do what they can to improve driving conditions. Our crews are geared up to plow and salt roads when we have snow.  However, when ice is included in the forecast ahead of the snow, that becomes a game changer and limits what can be done to keep traffic moving. Again, the National Weather Service is predicting extremely hazardous driving conditions.

Please carefully monitor area news media for updates on the forecast. We’re expecting additional information from the National Weather Service today, as the forecast firms up, and will issue additional traffic advisories as required.

Senate approves bill to crack down on repeat DUI offenders

The state Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would strengthen penalties for habitual drunken drivers.

Senate Bill 56, sponsored by Sen. Dennis Parrett, D-Elizabethtown, would change what is known in legal circles as the “look back period” to 10 years from five years. What that means is that if someone is convicted of drunken driving multiple times in a 10-year period the penalties for the crimes can be increased. The bill would also expand the quarterly reporting window of pending DUI cases to 180 days from 90 days.

“For a lot of people, the first DUI is a mistake,” Parrett, D-Elizabethtown, said during discussion of the bill on the Senate floor. “But the second one is not a mistake. The third, fourth and the fifth are big problems and we need to correct that.”

According to Parrett, statistics show that 99.6 percent of habitual drunken drivers’ DUI cases fall within a 10-year period.

If the bill becomes law, it would be named the Brianna Taylor Act. Brianna was 17 when she died in a car wreck in the summer of 2014 in Hardin County. The Elizabethtown High School graduate was on her way home from a fishing trip at the time of the crash.

Similar legislation was approved in the Senate last year but did not become law. SB 56, which was approved by the Senate on a 35-1 vote, will now go to the state House for consideration. Sen. Dorsey Ridley of Henderson voted for the legislation.

TRAFFIC ALERT: I-24 Grand Rivers

UPDATE: Traffic is now moving on ONE LANE westbound. Due to extensive cleanup, this could go on most of the day. Traffic will be moving slowly through this area.

The westbound lanes of Interstate 24 are blocked at the 33 mile marker near the Grand Rivers Exit.

Livingston County 911 Dispatch reports a semi on fire with emergency personnel on site.

Estimated duration of traffic delay is 2 hours, according to the department of highways.

A recommended detour is via I-24 Exit 40 at Eddyville/Kuttawa to US 62 westbound to I-24 at Calvert City.

BREAKING: No school Thursday

Crittenden County School officials have made an early-morning decision to go ahead and cancel classes for today.

The original plan, announced late yesterday afternoon, was to have schools begin 2 hours late with buses running on alternate routes where necessary.

School Transportation Director Al Starnes said further review of the situation this morning prompted officials to decide to cancel for the entire day. Starnes said after checking Thursday's road conditions, school officials found several rural areas that remained treacherous. Considering all transportation issues, Starnes said caution was the driving force behind making the change this morning.

"I know it is an inconvenience for many, but we can't put our students at risk," he said.

Game with Hardin off; girls in limbo

Crittenden County's scheduled basketball game for tonight at home against Hardin County, Ill., has been cancelled.

It remains unclear whether the Lady Rockets' basketball game in the All A Classic will be played at Eddyvlle tonight.

The girls are scheduled to play Lyon County in the nightcap of Thursday's All A semifinal-round doubleheader, pitting Caldwell and Livingston Central in the first game. Because a new round of winter weather is expected late this evening, the first game of tonight's DH was set to tip off at 5pm. The second game is scheduled to start about 6:45pm.

Stay tuned to The Press Online for any developments about whether tonight's games will remain as scheduled.

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Tonight's All A Classic Basketball

In an attempt to beat tonight's forecasted winter weather, the Girls' Second Region All A Classic semifinals will be played simultaneously at two different gyms at Lyon County.

Both games will tip off at 5pm.

Crittenden County will play Lyon County in the Lyon County High School gymnasium and Livingston Central will face Caldwell County in the Lyon Middle School gym.

Admission is $5.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Area Death

Elaine Cheryl Barnett, 60, of Burna today at Lourdes Hospice Care Center in Paducah. Boyd Funeral Directors and Cremation Services in Salem is in charge of condolences.

Human trafficking measures heads to House

Kentucky’s Attorney General would be given jurisdiction over the state’s human trafficking cases under a bill approved today by the House Judiciary Committee.

Jurisdiction over these cases now lies with Kentucky’s Commonwealth’s Attorneys and county attorneys. House Bill 229 would expand that jurisdiction to the Attorney General’s Office to beef up investigation and prosecution of such cases, said HB 229 sponsor House Majority Caucus Chair Sannie Overly.

“Too often we are finding (these cases) are not progressing through investigation and through to a conviction,” said Overly, D-Paris. HB 229 would help fix that, she said.

Her comments were echoed by Attorney General Andy Beshear who joined Overly before the committee.

“I’m ready to go to work,” Beshear said. “My office is ready to go to work. We’re going to work every single day to make sure we get results.”

HB 229 now goes to the full House for consideration.

Schools on 2-hour delay Thursday

There will be classes for students Thursday in Crittenden County, though on a two-hour delay.

What's news this week in Crittenden County...

Healthy Living
Find a six-page special
section of health news and tips
inside this week's issue.
The lack of a definitive route around Fredonia has been a major stumbling block in the effort to complete the new U.S. 641 highway between Marion and Interstate 24. Work on the project has been effectively scuttled the last couple of years due to ongoing debate and the lack of a resolution with regard to how to get around Fredonia. There has been both support and opposition to a variety of proposed routes, and what exists now is a political stalemate. (Click here for 72 news photos related to the U.S. 641 relocation project.)

For more on U.S. 641 and the following stories, pick up today's issue of the week's The Crittenden Press, available on newsstands as usual despite the snow:
  • Development of Paddy’s Bluff replaced by conservation project.
  • Grand jury indicts 4.
  • Country club burglar enters plea in court.
  • Jurors recommend pay increase for jail staff.
  • As local option looms, DUIs up in city, county.
  • Obama, presidential caucus move Kentucky voters right.
  • Blue Knights host regionals, close in on state.
  • Livingston teens killed in wreck.
  • NPR story tells of local decline of coal mining.
  • Guess, Allen trying out for ‘The Voice’.
  • 2015 Ky. soybean production up.
  • ‘Mad Men’ among new library DVDs.
  • Woman’s Club of Marion hosts homeschooling presentation.
  • SPORTS: Lady Rockets' second half grabs first-class ticket to All A semis.
  • SPORTS: Rockets blast Livingston with pesky defense, patient offense.
  • OUTDOORS: Record deer harvest here.
  • OUTDOORS: Coyote contest coming.
  • FORGOTTEN PASSAGES: Grandparents: Fond memories recalled.
  • RELIGIOUS VIEWS: Alcohol referendum: Serpent, adder strike again.
  • PASTOR'S PEN: Reclaiming words of Dr. King: Character, not color.
  • INSIDE FRANKFORT: Prevailing wage legislation clears Senate.
  • INSIDE FRANKFORT: Expungement bill falls short of addressing all issues.
  • FAMILY FUNDAMENTALS: Images in news can disturb children.

    U.S. 641 meeting Tuesday in Marion. Find more photos
    of the U.S. 641 relocation project by clicking here.

Bill to change election cycles moves to House

A bill that would move the governor’s race to even-numbered years passed out of the state Senate Tuesday by a 28-9 vote. Sen. Dorsey Ridley, D-Henderson, voted no.

State Sen. Christian McDaniel, R-Taylor Mill, who introduced the legislation, known as Senate Bill 10, said it would increase voter turnout by aligning state elections with federal elections. He said voter turnout in Kentucky is usually 20 percent higher in even-numbered years when there are federal elections.

“This measure carries with it many benefits but chief among them is what it does and what it means to our democracy,” McDaniel said. “The death of our democracy is not likely be an assassination from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference and undernourishment.”

McDaniel said SB 10 would also save Kentucky $3.5 million and its 120 counties more than $14 million every four years by consolidating the dates elections are held. That translate to $603,000 in saving for Kenton County, $173,000 in saving for Pike County, $45,000 saving for Clay County and $1.3 million in saving for Jefferson County.

State Sen. Robin L. Webb, D-Grayson, explained her vote against SB 10. She said saving money on elections doesn’t strengthen democracy or increase citizen involvement. “I think anything that suppresses voters, or suppresses elections, or the disengagement of the populous isn’t good for democracy,” Webb said. “Therefore, I vote no.”

If SB 10 passes the state House of Representatives, it would still require a vote of the people since it’s in the form of a constitutional amendment.

Senate approves informed consent legislation

The state Senate passed an abortion-related measure by a 32-5 vote Tuesday. Sen. Dorsey Ridley, D-Henderson, voted yes.

Senate Bill 4, introduced by state Sen. Julie Raque Adams, R-Louisville, would require a face-to-face meeting between the pregnant woman and a healthcare provider at least 24 hours before an abortion takes place. It is currently often done via a recorded telephone message, she said.

“What this bill does not do is restrict a woman’s rights,” Adams said. “How could anyone consider the receiving of medical information as restrictive?”

State Sen. Reginald Thomas, D-Lexington, said he voted against SB 4 because it is unnecessary and women already understand what the procedure entails.

SB 4 now goes to the state House of Representative for consideration.

Senate OKs legislative pension transparency bill

Bills that would disclose the value of state legislators’ public pensions passed the Senate Tuesday by a 38-0 vote.

State Sen. Christian McDaniel, R-Taylor Mill, who sponsored the bill, said the legislation was designed to strengthen the public’s faith in the democratic process. Known as Senate Bill 45, it would allow pension managers to disclose the name and benefit amount for any current or former lawmaker by making those figures subject to the state’s open records laws.

“This requirement will introduce a greater level of accountability to those of us who have to cast ballots on some of the most difficult, contentious and painful issues confronting us today,” McDaniel said.

He said one of the greatest challenges of the session will be to find more money for the public pension systems. The systems carries more than $30 billion in unfunded pension liabilities. State economists say the main pension plans for government workers and public school teacher are in the most trouble.

SB 45 now goes to the state House of Representatives for consideration.

Tobacco research bill heads to Senate

Bechler
Research of snuff and other smokeless tobacco products would get some assistance under a bill now on its way to the state Senate.

House Bill 83, sponsored by House Agriculture and Small Business Chair Rep. Tom McKee, D-Cynthiana, would expand the state’s definition of reference tobacco – or tobacco products made specifically for research and not for public use – to include smokeless tobacco products like snuff and a moist snuff called snus labeled specifically for research and experimental purposes.

Current state law limits the definition of reference tobacco to cigarettes.

Reference tobacco product work in Kentucky currently takes place exclusively at the University of Kentucky which is in the process of applying for a $7 million federal grant for reference tobacco research. The recipient of that grant is expected to be announced by the Federal Drug Administration next month.

A floor amendment to HB 83 sponsored by Rep. Lynn Bechler, R-Marion, would allow any accredited college or university in the state to engage in reference tobacco research. It would also exempt reference tobacco products from tobacco excise taxes. The amendment was approved by a vote of 92-1.

HB 83 as amended passed the House by a vote of 94-0. It now goes to the Senate for consideration.

NARFE meeting today is off

The National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) meeting scheduled for today has been cancelled. There will be a meeting in February. 

Local roads, highways information

If you have not been out this morning, you should know that county roads and side streets are remain snow and ice covered. Secondary state roads like Ky. 70 are getting better as plows continue working on them, but still spotty. Main highways such as US 641 and US 60 are safely navigable, plows have them almost completely clear. Main city streets are in good condition.

See PERISCOPE-TV for a 15-minute video showing county roads and highways. Download the Periscope-TV app on your computer or mobile device and follow us @CrittendenPress for future broadcasts.