Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Gun play uncovered

CCHS history teacher Denis Hodge took his military history
class to a local private shooting range on one of the last
days of school. See this week's printed edition of
The Crittenden Press for the full flavor of the
coursework that included live firing of weapons
from medieval times to modern machine guns.

Tomorrow evening at Marion Baptist

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Monday, May 30, 2016

Area deaths

Longtime Marion certified public accountant Larry Orr died Monday afternoon at Crittenden Hospital following a lengthy battle with cancer. Myers Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Guthrie H. “Gus” Hale, 88, of Marion died Saturday at Crittenden County Health and Rehabilitation Center. Gilbert Funeral Home in Marion was in charge of arrangements.

Show and Dig this weekend

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Memorial Day observed at Mapleview

The annual Memorial Day service at the Mapleview Cemetery war memorial drew dozens to pay tribute to those who gave their lives in defense of the country. The crosses at the memorial represent each of the men from Crittenden County who have died as members of the military.

Bible School Invitation

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The Crittenden Press closed today

Memorial Day services honor war dead

Memorial Day services today will honor those from Crittenden County who died in the line of duty.

Held in the shadows of dozens of memorial crosses honoring Crittenden County men who lost their lives while in uniform, the annual American Legion Post 111 service will begin at 10 a.m. at Mapleview Cemetery in Marion. Linda Swyter, a six-year Army veteran, is the featured speaker.

Starting at 11 a.m. Monday at Shady Grove Cemetery, Kentucky Supreme Court Justice and Army veteran Bill Cunningham will honor fallen heroes as the featured speaker at the annual service. A lunch will be served afterward at the nearby Shady Grove fire department.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Rockets open region Monday

Crittenden County will play Caldwell County County at 1pm Monday in the opening-round of the regional baseball tournament at Hopkins Central.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Track and Field Action





Sports Action Photos
from The Press Archives

Track and Field 2016

Lucas running to state this weekend

Originally published in The Crittenden Press May 19, 2016

CCHS sophomore Aaron Lucas
Somewhere among the hills and hollows surrounding Mattoon there’s a dream lingering.

Last summer, Aaron Lucas chased it at dawn, running three miles from his home as measurered on a smartphone fitness app, then turning around for a return trip. He runs the roads surrounding the rural community in northern Crittenden County, building stamina for long-distance racing.

The Crittenden County sophomore never really thought much about running until high school, he said, after his career as a football player failed to pan out. A friend and teammate, Jacob Russelburg, encouraged the tall, lanky ninth grader to try out for track last spring.

To say it’s all been down hill from there would be inaccurate. Lucas is a raw but talented harrier, just now learning to run. His times in the 1600 and 3200 meters continue to plummet and on Memorial Day weekend he hopes to compete for a state championship in the mile- and two-mile races at Lexington. For good measure, he wants to break Crittenden’s age-old records in those races.

Recently, at the First Region Class A Finals at Murray State, Lucas won the 1600 meters with a time of 4:51.43. That’s not far from James Willoughby’s CCHS school record back in the early 1970s at 4:35.80. In the 3200 meters, Lucas also was regional champion, completing the race in 10:30.23. That isn’t too far off Claude Williams’ school best time of 10:14.30 that’s more than 25 years old.

Lucas won the two-mile regional race for the second time in a row. Last year, he was second in the mile at regionals and earned a state berth in both events as a freshman. As a sophomore, he wants to improve on his times at Lexington where the state finals are held on the UK Campus. He wants to do better than his 17th-place finish in the 3200 and 21st in the 1600 a year ago.

Lucas has trimmed more than a half minute off his two-mile time since last spring. Track coach Angela Starnes says Lucas’s speciality is the two-mile run and she thinks he already shows enough promise to be a collegiate prospect.

The sophomore was the only state qualifier from Crittenden County after last weekend’s regional meet. However, Starnes said the boys’ and girls’ 4x400 relay teams and hurdler Dylan Hicks have chances to earn invitations to the state meet once all of the state’s regional events are complete and at-large berths are handed out.

Starnes said Lucas has potential to indeed set school records and perhaps more. His unrefined skill set amazes opposing runners and their coaches. Starnes said Lucas’s overtly casual approach to competition is refreshing and revealing.

“He is just so laid back,” the longtime track coach said. “Before races he’s always shaking hands with the other runners and striking up conversations.”

For now, Lucas is just having fun, excelling in a sport that he’s far from mastering.

He put in several miles during the offseason to get better, but realizes the peak is much farther down the road.

“I plan on working even harder this summer, waking up early and watching the sun rise on a long run,” he said.

UPDATE: When times tallied Crittenden relay team, hurdler are in 
After all of the regional track and field meets were completed last weekend and the state numbers crunchers took a look at who deserved a berth in the Kentucky High School Athletic Association state track meet at Lexington, Crittenden was given four more tickets in two events.

The state meet is this weekend at Shively Field on the University of Kentucky campus. Already, Crittenden’s Aaron Lucas had earned a nod in the 1600 and 3200 meters by virtue of his First Region Class A championships in both events on May 14. Now, the Rocket 4x400 relay team has qualified based on its regional third-place time of 3:45.74, which is less than 17 seconds from a Crittenden County school record.

The relay squad includes sophomore Jacob Russelburg, freshman Devon Nesbitt, senior Dylan Hicks and junior Will Tolley.

Coach Angela Starnes knew her foursome was among the state’s best and she’s pleased that Kentucky track officials have added them as an at-large invitee to the state meet.

Also, Hicks has qualified for the state finals by virtue of his 300-meter hurdle time of 44.55 during the regional meet almost two weeks ago at Murray. Hicks narrowly missed second place at regionals after clipping the final hurdle. He finished the race .07 second behind the No. 2 runner Chase Cooper of Livingston Central.

“Our region is so fast, I thought we would be in the top 10 once all of the results were in,” coach Starnes said.

The meet will be a tight squeeze for Hicks, who graduates Friday night.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

No little league games tonight

Baseball and softball games are cancelled at Marion-Crittenden County Park tonight, Thursday, May 26 due to wet fields.

Clinton keeps Kentucky after recanvass

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky’s chief election official, today announced that a statewide recanvass of the votes was conducted in the May 17 Democratic Presidential primary election and the results did not change the outcome of the election. The results remain unchanged from the totals certified by county boards of elections to the Secretary of State last week, as required by law.

Pursuant to a request from Bernie Sanders, a Democratic candidate for President, each of Kentucky’s 120 county boards of elections convened at 9 a.m. today to recheck and recanvass each voting machine. The results were certified to the Secretary of State’s office.

"I’m grateful to our county boards of elections for their work today. Their efforts help ensure confidence in the Primary Election results for both candidates and the electorate," said Grimes. "The recanvass results did not alter the outcome of the election."

According to both previously reported vote totals and the recanvass results, Hillary Clinton received more votes than Sanders in the Democratic primary.

On election night, unofficial results indicated that Clinton led Sanders by a margin of 1,924 votes. Counties later certified and reported results to the Secretary of State's office as required by law, showing a difference of 1,911 votes with 212,534 votes for Clinton and 210,623 votes for Sanders. The 13 vote difference was due to provisional votes and a discrepancy in absentee ballot totals in two counties. Today's recanvass results are consistent with the totals certified to the Secretary of State's office last week as required by law.

Per Kentucky law, the results of the recanvass shall become the official returns of each county. County-by-county results of the recanvasses are available at the Kentucky elections one-stop site, GoVoteKY.com.

A recanvass was also conducted in a tight race in the Republican primary for State Senate, 33rd District. John Yuen, who requested the recanvass, trailed his opponent, Shenita Rickman, by 38 votes. The recanvass did not change the results and outcome of the primary.

Today's recanvass marked the eighth Grimes has overseen as Secretary of State. Last year, she presided over a statewide recanvass in a close Republican primary for Kentucky governor with a margin of 83 votes. Historically, while recanvasses may have resulted in minor changes in the vote totals, they have never changed the outcome of elections.

Grimes, chair of the State Board of Elections, has called a meeting of the State Board of Elections on May 31 to certify the results of the Primary Election. All vote totals remain unofficial until the Board issues certificates of nomination next week.

Starting next week at Marion Baptist

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Webster County inmate on the run


Kentucky State Police need your help in finding an escapee from the Webster County Detention Center.

Scott A. Sullivan, 33, is 5-foot-7 and weights 150 pounds. He has brown hair and green eyes. Sullivan was last seen wearing a black hat, black shirt, and black pants. He was incarcerated in Dixon on charges of fleeing and evading (motor vehicle), wanton endangerment and wanton endangerment (police officer).

Police received word at 6:30 p.m., last night that Sullivan had escaped during a transport.

If you come into contact with him, do not try to apprehend him; dial 911 or contact the Kentucky State Police at 1-270-676-3313 or toll-free, in Kentucky, at 1-800-222-5555 or your local law enforcement.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Area deaths

Sally I. Millikan, 59, of Marengo, Ill., died Saturday. Gilbert Funeral Home in Marion is in charge of arrangements.

Virginia Ruth McDaniel, 91, of Marion died Wednesday at Crittenden County Health and Rehabilitation Center in Marion. Gilbert Funeral Home in Marion is in charge of arrangements.

Field Day at CCES

Fun is in Session at Crittenden Elementary School today.
Despite a bit of rain, students braved the elements to enjoy field day, complete with plenty of water sports that had them wet already.

See next week's newspaper for more from field day.

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

Friday brings graduation, honor
for Distinguished Alumni
Folks who frequent the Crittenden County Senior Citizens Center are not surprised the facility was just named the best in a nine-county Pennyrile region. This is the first time the center has been recognized as such...

For the rest of the story and the following headlines, pick up a copy of this week's issue of The Crittenden Press:
  • Four Distinguished Alumni to be honored Friday.
  • CCMS SBDM taps new principal.
  • Baker, Hollis tops among 82 graduates.
  • FALLEN HEROES: Pay your respects to the faces and names who gave all.
  • EDITORIAL: Memorial Day begs that we pay honor to our fallen heroes.
  • OPINION: It would be shame to forget Memorial Day
  • Fallen Ky. law enforcement officers remembered in annual ceremony.
  • Siemens recognized for safety.
  • CCES screenings slated for Tuesday.
  • FORGOTTEN PASSAGES: Remembering our heroes.
  • Farmers Bank starts renovation project.
  • Kentucky jobless rate falls to 5.3 percent last month.
  • Waste tire collection slated for next month.
  • Types O negative and positive blood needed.
  • Ky. 453 shut down for summer repairs.
  • Plans for 2017 solar eclipse event ongoing.
  • Kenergy finds new nonprofit to help low-income members.
  • Take a walk through Fredonia’s past.
  • SPORTS: Rockets suprise District 5 with post-season life.
  • SPORTS: 4 more earn state berth in track.
  • SPORTS: Crittenden girls make early exit from Fifth.
  • SPORTS: Track and field awards announced.

Super Hero Summer Workout

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Rockets headed to championship

Crittenden County's baseball team upset Livingston Central 10-6 last night at Eddyvlle to advance to tonight's 6pm championship of the Fifth District Tournament against Trigg County.

The Lady Rockets softball team was upset last night by Trigg County in the district tournament at Lyon, ending the CCHS girls' season.

See this week's Crittenden Press printed edition for details.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Employment opportunity

Bible School Opportunity

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Death of Interest

Schley J. “Slick” Frazer Sr. Lt. Col. Ret., 73, of the Big Springs community near Murfreesboro, Tenn., died Thursday. Woodfin Memorial Chapel in Murfreesboro is in charge of arrangements.

Registration events this week

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Saturday, May 21, 2016

Chamber seats directors for 2016-17

Crittenden County Chamber of Commerce recently held its annual meeting and banquet in Marion. The organization installed new officers, presented a number of awards and selected its board of directors for the coming year.

Seated as Chamber of Commerce directors for the coming year are (from left) Mark Bryant, Randa Berry, Elizabeth Floyd, Elliot West, Todd Perryman, Brad Gilbert, Angel Henry, Dee Brasher, Robin Curnel, Madison Qualls and Chris Evans. Not pictured: Devon Atwell, Marilyn Belt, Meredith Hall and Holly White.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Help Wanted

State vehicle auction to be held Tuesday

Nearly 200 vehicles, including more than 70 pickup trucks and SUVs, are being retired from the state motor pool and will be auctioned off May 24 at the State Service Garage, 513 Barrett Street in Frankfort.

The public auction begins at 10 a.m. Individuals can pre-register and inspect the vehicles from 1 to 4 p.m. on Monday, May 23 or register and view them the morning of the sale from 8 to 9:50 a.m.

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

Vehicles range over years, makes and models, from 1993 to 2007. Vehicles are categorized with a status of either “runners” or “non-runners.” One of the oldest vehicles on the runner list is a 1993 Jeep Cherokee 4x4 with 176,301 miles.  One of the newer runner status vehicles is a 2007 Jeep Compass 4x4 with 107,582 miles. A 1999 Ford Taurus has the least amount of miles at 56,320. More than 30 vehicles are classified as non-runners and will be sold as salvage.

In 2015 the average sale price of running vehicles was $2,207.

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

Questions can be directed to Fleet Management Inventory at 502-564-9943.

Full payment is due within one hour after the last item is sold. Payment can be made with a credit card; cash; cashiers, certified, or travelers checks; money order or personal check with proper identification. Any check over $5,000 must be accompanied by a letter of credit from the bank; all out-of-state checks for any amount must have a letter of credit.  Credit card transactions will incur a 2.5 percent fee. All items sold at the auction are subject to a 7 percent buyer’s premium. There is a $100 fee for returned checks.

Additional payment information and a list of vehicles are available online at http://finance.ky.gov/services/surplus/Pages/UpcomingPublicAuctions.aspx.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

We're here to serve at CHS

Firefighters have 2 Burna blazes

Firefighters in Burna have been fighting two structure fires near US 60 and have called for help from Crittenden County Fire Department.

One of the house fires in on US 60, but so far traffic continues to flow through Burna.

Area Deaths

Charles Monroe Brannam, 70, of Salem died Wednesday, May 18, 2016 at Livingston Hospital in Salem. Boyd Funeral Directors and Cremation Services is in Salem.

Mattie Louise Hardin of Burna died Tuesday, May 17, 2016.  She was six days short of her 87th birthday. Boyd Funeral Directors and Cremations Services in Salem is in charge of arrangements.

Suttons best loggers in Kentucky

Justin Sutton of Sutton Logging runs a feller buncher recently at the site of a logging operation in Crittenden County. Justin, his father Mike and brother Jason run the local sawmill and logging company, which has been named 2015 Kentucky Logger of the Year.

All trees are not created equal.

Oak, hickory and poplar are kings of the hill. Loggers love them because there is a strong market for such timber. Wood from those trees will go into homes, bourbon barrels, furniture and other fine products.

On the other hand, Cottonwood trees are not much good for anything, says local logger Mike Sutton.

In similar terms, all loggers are not created equal.

Sutton and his son, Justin Sutton, are certified master loggers who have been singled out as the state’s best in the industry.

Sutton Logging, headquartered in the Caldwell Springs community, was recently recognized as the 2015 Kentucky Logger of the Year during the Kentucky Forest Industry Association’s 51st annual meeting in Louisville. The men received a new chainsaw from Stihl, which along with Kentucky Tree Farm, sponsored the award.

Truth is, though, there isn’t much need for a handheld saw around their operation. They’re much more modern than that.

Mike and Justin operate the timber company’s logging operation and Jason, Mike’s other boy, runs the sawmill near Frances. It’s a family operation with about a half dozen other employees. Together, they have several decades of logging and sawmill experience.

Mike had worked for many years on swing shift at a Calvert City plant. Now, at age 61, he’s a full-time logger. He and his family have labored to build a highly-reputable name in the logging industry. The boys are grown now, both in their mid-30s, and each of them understands how important it is to do things right.

“There is nothing like it. Being able to work with my boys, there’s nothing like it in the world,” said Mike, who’s been logging since he was old enough to wield an ax, clearing logging roads for his father’s timber business back in the 1960s.

“Out here in the woods, it’s just me and Justin. There’s no drama like you see on those logging television shows,” Mike said with a chuckle.

The company was nominated for the state’s highest honor in the logging profession by local Forester Chad Brothers with the Kentucky Division of Forestry.

“They do a really good job. As far as businessmen go, they are about the best around,” Brothers said. “I have never received a complaint from a landowner about them, and any time we find anything at all that needs to be fixed at one of their sites, they fix it right away. There is never a problem with the Suttons. They go out of their way to help landowners, and they work really well with us.”

Much of the timber they cut is delivered out of state to specialized buyers. The Suttons have developed strong relationships with timber markets from Missouri to Wisconsin and beyond. They keep their logging sites in order and work hard to be good stewards of the land.

“There are a lot of good Christian loggers out there, but it only takes one bad one to spoil things,” Mike said.

Over the years, the Suttons have logged throughout western Kentucky and even into Mississippi and Alabama. They’ve always tried to develop a high-quality relationship with the landowner, too. That’s how they get plenty of referrals.

Kentucky estimates that its timber industry has a $14 billion economic impact on the state. Justin says the timber industry positively affects a good number of other local businesses. He said there are about 20 more logging operations in the immediate area.

The Suttons have been fortunate, they say. As long as Mother Nature cooperates, they stay pretty busy.

“In my lifetime, there are places where I’ve cut the same woods three times,” Mike said. “It’s just like a crop. Timber needs to be cut. You need to go in and cut what needs to be cut, the big ones and damaged trees.”

About the only time you will find the Suttons clear-cutting a place is when it’s being prepared for farming.

“We all need to be able to make a living in this business, and when you strip a place, you probably won’t be able to cut it again in your lifetime,” Mike said.

Justin drives the feller buncher that runs on tracks and makes quick work of de-limbing and tree cutting. It’s a modern piece of equipment operated from climate-controlled cab with a toggle switch. Dad operates the forwarder, picking up cut logs and moving them to trailers. The newfangled equipment helps eliminate damage to standing timber and the forest floor.

Their operation is so exceptional, the University of Kentucky uses it as a demonstration area quite regularly, bringing forestry students to their timbering sites by the van load to learn about the industry.

Mike helped get the certified master logger program started in Kentucky. To qualify, loggers must go through on-site inspections and keep their logging records open to inspectors. Some of the qualifications include recycling their oils and tires. For good measure, they make a sizable annual contribution to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.

“They’re just so good to work with,” Brothers said. “That is why I nominated them for this award.”

This story originally appeared in May 12 issue of The Crittenden Press.

Mike Sutton of Sutton Logging runs a forwarder recently at the site of a logging operation in Crittenden County. Mike and his sons run the local logging company and sawmill, which has been named 2015 Kentucky Logger of the Year.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

CCMS looking for SBDM parent-member

Crittenden County Middle School is seeking a new parent-member for the school-based decision making council for 2016-18.

The school's council is composed of the principal, elected teachers and elected parents who make many of the most important decisions about how their school operates. Parent-members are elected by parents and serve two years (July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2018). Training for the position is provided after election.

Nominations for parent-members are due to Ann Laughlin in the school office no later than 3 p.m. Friday.

Parents not able to attend the PTO meeting may vote in the school office from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday and Tuesday of next week. The election will be held from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. next Wednesday in the school library. Parents with a child enrolled in CCMS next year are eligible to vote.

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

Find election results in this week's paper
This summer, city water customers can expect a new charge to appear on their water bills in order to help finance the city’s largest capital project ever. Marion City Council on Monday introduced an ordinance to establish an environmental assessment fee that will be added to all water bills effective July 1. The revenue, City Administrator Mark Bryant explained, is needed to start a $10-$12 million sewer system rehabilitation project that will include a new wastewater treatment plant.

For the rest of this story and the following headlines, pick up a copy of this week's issue of The Crittenden Press on newsstands now:
  • Comer wins by landslide in GOP race for Congress.
  • ELECTION RESULTS: Get the local numbers from the primary.
  • Court orders man to 6 years, forfeit 30 weapons
  • Grand jury indicts 6 on drug, assault, flagrant non-support charges.
  • Tuesday deadline to appeal PVA tax assessment.
  • EDITORIAL: Transgender edict to public schools is fed gone too far.
  • OPINION: Today in America seems a lot like ‘1984’
  • Burna Legion to honor vets on May 29.
  • Local tourism generates $6.15 million.
  • Kentuckians eligible this week for free dental, medication card.
  • Taxpayers benefitting from school energy cuts.
  • OPINION: Snake IDs can be slippery.
  • CAF organizing barbecue festival.
  • Crash leads to charge.
  • 1st graders learn ‘egg’cellent lesson.
  • Seniors about to turn graduates.
  • Equipment on move at U.S. 641.
  • Henley representing county on state Extension council.
  • CCES screenings slated for May 31.
  • Senior center features Friday move, popcorn.
  • Next eclipse meeting set for today.
  • Cell phone drive to help deployed U.S. military.
  • Older Americans Month celebrated locally, nationally.
  • FORGOTTEN PASSAGES: World War II sailor tells of war's last days in letter home.
  • Murray names York Outstanding Senior.
  • MSU’s LaPlante joins Sigma Alpha Lambda.
  • Newman wins poetry competition at MSU.
  • Senior center offers health fair to seniors.
  • SPORTS: CCDL roundup.
  • SPORTS: High school diamond round-ups.
  • SPORTS: Lucas throttling toward school track records at Lexington.
  • SPORTS: High school track and field results.
  • SPORTS: Cosby heading to Arkansas for collegiate baseball.
  • OUTDOORS: Wildlife officials mindful of Crittenden’s turkey dip.
  • OUTDOORS: It’s that time of year when anglers enjoy a fishing bonanza for bluegill, red ear.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Sanders, winners in downticket races carry county in primary election

Hillary Clinton earned a narrow victory in Kentucky's Democratic presidential primary Tuesday, but Bernie Sanders carried Crittenden County.

The two favorites – and presumptive statewide winners – in each party's senatorial race also carried the county convincingly. Republican Rand Paul outdistanced his nearest opponent in a three-way race by 578 votes, while Democrat Jim Gray bested the nearest of his six competitors by 378 ballots.

Meantime, James Comer appears to have sewn up the Congressional District 1 nomination for Republicans. He also carried the county by 123 votes over Mike Pape, his closest challenger.

For complete statewide election results with totals and maps depicting the counties carried by each candidates, visit the Kentucky Secretary of State's website.

Countywide results are as follows:

Bernie Sanders - 344
Hillary Clinton - 240
Uncommitted - 67
Martin O'Malley - 14
Rocky De La Fuente - 9

Jim Gray - 446
Ron Leach - 68
Jeff Kender - 40
Sellus Wilder - 37
Grant Short - 19
Tom Recktenwald - 18
Rory Houlihan - 15

Rand Paul - 668
James Gould - 90
Stephen Slaughter - 25

James Comer - 393
Mike Pape - 270
Jason Batts - 115
Miles Caughey Jr. - 17

Rx card offers dental plan

All Kentuckians will have the opportunity to download a free Aetna Dental Access card this week. This special offer was launched to help celebrate Rx Awareness Week. The Kentucky Rx Card is a free statewide prescription assistance program that was launched in 2009.

“Our goal this week is to inform the residents that there is a program that can help them with their medication costs. Many families are struggling with the rise of health care costs and we are pleased to offer these programs to help them,” said Milton Perkins, Program Director for Kentucky Rx Card.

Aetna Dental Access provides savings on dental services at over 169,000 dental practice locations nationwide. Kentucky Rx Card can offer significant savings on brand and generic medications and is accepted at most pharmacies across Kentucky. If you are unable to print a free prescription card, simply visit CVS/pharmacy and ask them to process your prescription through the program.

All Kentucky residents are eligible for this program.Simply visit www.kentuckyrxcard.com to get your free Aetna Dental and prescription card. All cards are pre-activated and can be used immediately. The Aetna Dental offer is good this week only.

Company seeks bookkeeper

Monday, May 16, 2016

1st Congressional District ranks among worst in nation in well-being

A 2015 study ranks Kentucky's 1st Congressional District
among the nation's worst in well-being for its residents. See how
the district measures up by clicking image to enlarge.

Nowhere are the disparities between the haves and have nots in America more apparent than in California, but in Kentucky, that disparity gives way to an apparent desperateness from one end of the state to the other.

Kentucky, particularly western and far eastern portions of the state, is mostly populated with have nots when it comes to well-being, according to a recent Measure of America study, a project of the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Social Science Research Council (SSRC). The 1st Congressional District's abysmal rankings in three fundamental areas determining the general welfare of a population helps underscore the importance of Tuesday's primary election.

The 65-page study of well-being, Geographies of Opportunity, ranks each of the nation’s 435 congressional districts and the District of Columbia on how its residents are faring in the areas health, access to knowledge and living standards. The rankings simply provide a way to measure based on geography what the independent, non-profit research organization SSRC calls the American Human Development Index.

Kentucky's 1st Congressional District, which encompasses most of western Kentucky, including Crittenden and Livingston counties, ranks in the bottom 10 percent in all three fundamental areas studied. The state's 5th Congressional District, nestled in far eastern Kentucky in the heart of Appalachia, ranks even lower.

Retiring Congressman Ed Whitfield, who has represented the 1st District for 22 years, said the task ahead to improve the quality of life in western Kentucky will require conservative leadership on Capitol Hill.

“I believe the most effective way for Congress to improve the quality of life in the 1st Congressional District is by advancing policies that promote economic growth, create jobs and expand opportunities for Kentuckians,” the Hopkinsville Republican told The Crittenden Press. “The House Republican majority has passed legislation to reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens, simplify the tax code, promote educational opportunities for our students, expand domestic energy production, make it easier to hire veterans and to empower the American worker.”

However, Republicans have held the majority in the House in all but four years – 2007-11 – since Whitfield first took office in 1995, and the district is still suffering from poor health, subpar living standards and an apparent weak emphasis education.

Of the 436 districts, Kentucky’s 1st Congressional District ranks only 18 from the bottom in Measuring America’s overall human development index, which is a composite score of health, living standards and access to knowledge. The nation’s highest rating came from California District 18 that includes the San Francisco Bay Area. Next door, the Golden State’s Central Valley (District 21) reflected the worst score.

The top 10 congressional districts in terms of human development are all in the greater metropolitan areas of Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. The bottom 10 disproportionately comprise struggling rural and urban areas in the South. These areas face interlocking challenges in terms of residential segregation by income and race, poor health, under-resourced educational infrastructure and limited job opportunities.

Whitfield said work to improve the lifestyle of a district as large as Kentucky’s 1st District, which includes 35 counties, takes time.

“Communities and regions of the country cannot change overnight, but (House Republicans) can and are taking the incremental steps necessary to promote change and improve lives,” he explained.

Three of the four candidates in next week’s GOP congressional primary to fill Whitfield’s open seat discussed with The Press the issues they would be facing as congressman should they earn the nomination and go on to beat Democratic nominee Samuel L. Gaskins in November. Jason Batts of Clinton said the Measure of America study is emblematic of small town America.

“Being from a small town,” he said, “I know firsthand how we the people struggle with the policies implemented by career politicians. It’s our small towns that have felt the worst impact of Washington’s policies.

“We need to pass a balanced budget amendment, end the rules and regulations coming out of Washington and reform our tax system so we have more money in our pockets. These are the types of policies that will increase the economic opportunity for all of us.”

Perhaps the most telling result of the poor overall ranking for rural parts of Kentucky is found in life expectancy. Congressional District 5 in eastern Kentucky rates last in the nation in life expectancy at only 72.9 years. Just 14 spots up from last, where residents can expect to live 75.5 years, is District 1. The average life expectancy in the U.S. is 79.1 years and tops out in the bay area of San Francisco (District 19) at 83.9 years.

If prosperity is measured in dollars alone, western Kentucky is scraping the bottom again. The median income is only $24,070, more than $6,000 off the national average and almost $37,000 behind someone living in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan (New York District 12), America’s most affluent district. The median earnings in Kentucky District 1 are poor enough to place it 394 of 436. California District 12 in the slums of L.A. had the lowest median earnings at $20,054.

Mike Pape, a Republican congressional candidate from Hopkinsville, largely blames President Obama for crippling one of the biggest economic drivers in western Kentucky.

“It is hard to grow an economy where coal is one of our largest economic drivers while Obama’s EPA wages their war on coal,” he said. “This isn’t just a war on a mineral or companies. This is a war on coal jobs.

“I have seen the effects firsthand that this has had on coal miners and their families from my 21 years of working with Congressman Whitfield. Our economic growth can’t flourish while we’re losing well-paying jobs to the EPA.”

Of course, one of the road blocks to attaining better paying jobs or starting a new career after a mine layoff is education. District 1 in Kentucky ranked only 21 spots from the bottom in terms of percentage of the population with a bachelor’s degree. Just 15.5 percent of the people living in the district have earned a four-year degree compared with 69.2 percent – tops in the nation – in the same New York district where earnings were highest. California’s Central Valley (District 12) that attained the overall worst rating in the study, ranked last in education with only 8.3 percent having attained a degree. That agricultural district is home to tens of thousands of migrant farm workers.

James Comer, the presumed frontrunner in Tuesday’s 1st District race, says western Kentucky suffers from a brain drain. Over-regulation by the federal government is forcing those with an education to go elsewhere to seek employment, he claims.

“In my travels across the district, one major problem that I see is that our best and brightest leave home to go to college and do not return back home,” he explained. “In order to keep our best and brightest young people in the rural counties across the 1st Congressional District, we must create more good-paying jobs. The biggest impediments to job creation in rural areas are the federal government's burdensome regulations, unfair trade policies and lack of infrastructure.”

Improving the welfare of the people in District 1 and other disaffected areas of the country will be a long, uphill battle, Congressman Whitfield warns. It is also one that will take more than a single congressman to solve.

“It is essential that we have presidential leadership that promotes economic growth,” he said, citing a Goldman Sachs Global Markets Institute study that found 6 million jobs lost in the U.S. from 2009 to 2014 tied to a decline of small businesses. “According to this report, the primary cause for these declines is because of regulations that have come from the Obama Administration.”

But whether studies like Measuring America are enough to get voters to the polls remains to be seen. Crittenden County Clerk Carolyn Byford expects a low turnout Tuesday, perhaps 17 percent, she guessed.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Primary Election 411

If it seems like you’ve already voted more this year than in most others, for many, you are right.

Next week’s primary election in Kentucky marks the third vote in 2016 for many in Crittenden County. For Republicans, the March 5 presidential caucus led off the balloting, and residents inside the City of Marion voted down legalizing alcohol March 22.

Tuesday will mark the first voting opportunity for county Democrats living outside Marion’s city limits.  However, with Hillary Clinton having all but wrapped up the party’s nomination for President, the election is not likely to draw many of the county’s 2,927 registered Democrats. There is still a vote to pick the party’s nominee for U.S. Senate, but of the seven hopefuls, only two carry any significant name recognition – Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, who is Kentucky’s first openly gay candidate for the post, and Tom Recktenwald, who two years ago ran an unsuccessful primary bid for the state’s other seat in the Senate.

A contested Democratic race for District 1 congressman is on the ballot, but only in appearance. Paducah’s Tom Osborne dropped out of the race after ballots in the Bluegrass State were printed, and all votes for him will be discarded, anointing Hopkinsville’s Samuel Gaskins the party’s choice to face one of four Republicans looking to fill retiring Congressman Ed Whitfield’s seat on Capitol Hill.

Those four candidates – Mike Pape, Jason Batts, James Comer and Miles Caughey Jr. – will be featured in one of two races for 3,230 GOP voters in the county. An outsider at best, Caughey offers only token resistance in what could be a tight three-way race.

Seeking the party’s choice to vie in November for the upper chamber in Congress will be incumbent U.S. Sen. Rand Paul. He is facing two political longshots. Paul ran for President, but ended his bid just after the Iowa caucuses in February.

For whom can I vote?
Kentucky’s primary is closed, meaning voters can only select from candidates of their own political persuasion. If you are uncertain if you are a Democrat or Republican, you may contact County Clerk Carolyn Byford’s office prior to Election Day at (270) 965-3403 or visit the secretary of state’s Voter Information Center.

It is too late to register to vote or change parties.

When can I vote?
Across Kentucky, polls are open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday. In Crittenden County, absentee balloting in Byford’s office ends at 4 p.m. Monday.

Where do I vote?
There are a dozen precincts in Crittenden County, giving every voter a polling location within only a few miles of their home. Precinct numbers, their polling location and IDs are:
  1. Crittenden County Courthouse (C101).
  2. Emmanuel Baptist Church (A101).
  3. Marion Baptist Church (F101).
  4. Marion Ed-Tech Center (D101).
  5. Crittenden County Gun Club (C102).
  6. St. William Catholic Church (E102).
  7. Mexico Baptist Church (D102).
  8. Grace Baptist Church (D102).
  9. Deer Creek Baptist Church (B101).
  10. Tolu Community Center (B102).
  11. Mattoon Fire Department (A102).
  12. Shady Grove Fire Department (F102).
To find out where you vote, visit the aforementioned Voter Information Center online or contact Byford’s office.

Where can I get results?
Local election results will be posted here at The Press Online around 7 p.m. Tuesday and will be available at the courthouse as returns filter in.

Next eclipse meeting set for May 19

The next meeting for planning a local event tied to next year’s rare total solar eclipse will be at 2 p.m. next at The Peoples Bank in Marion. Organizers are hoping to schedule a community fun day the Saturday before the Monday, Aug. 21, 2017 event.

The eclipse will be the first since 1918 with a path of totality crossing the lower 48 states, and Crittenden County will have one of the longest viewing times in the country. Tens of thousands of people from around the world are expected to descend upon western Kentucky for the astrological phenomenon.

Curnel Chamber's Person of Year

Among those recognized by the Crittenden County Chamber
of Commerce last week were (from left) Eddie King,
Melanie Lloyd, Robin Curnel, Kathey Penn Belt
and Natalie Parish.
From The Crittenden Press, May 5, 2016 Issue

A nurse who’s devoted her professional life to the local hospital and her spare time to volunteer work, largely with children’s and civic groups, was named Person of the Year last week by the Crittenden County Chamber of Commerce.

Robin Curnel, a native of Graves County who has called Marion her home for more than 20 years, was humbled and a bit emotional following her recognition during the Chamber’s annual awards banquet last Thursday at the Marion Ed-Tech Center.

“This is certainly something I never expected,” Curnel said.

She is the outgoing Chamber president having served two terms at the post. Curnel is by day the chief nursing operations officer at Crittenden Health Systems where she’s spent the vast majority of her 21-year nursing career.

A member of the PTO, park board and youth sports organizations, Curnel has devoted much her volunteer work to children for which she’s always had a soft spot in her heart. She was originally an obstetrics nurse and counts among her greatest blessings her two children.

A self-professed farm girl and NASCAR fan, Curnel will remain as a Chamber director through 2017 as past-president.

Others honored by the Chamber of Commerce were owner Eddie King and the Heritage Golf Course at Marion Country Club, Conrad’s employee Melanie Lloyd, Pennyrile Allied Community Services Crittenden County Director Kathey Penn Belt and Relay for Life Chairperson Natalie Parish.

The Chamber named Parish Volunteer of the Year for her work with the American Cancer Society’s biggest fundraising event and her volunteer work with the Crittenden County Lions Club. Parish, the community’s first female member of the Lions Club, is co-chair of the county fair and directs the fair pageants. She was also the Lions Club Lion of the Year for 2015.

Parish lives in the Caldwell Springs community with her family, which has a large farming operation. She serves a director for the Caldwell Springs Volunteer Fire Department, School Advisory Council and the county food bank.

Lloyd, who works as a shift manager at the service desk and checkout line at Conrad’s Food Store, was recognized with the Chamber’s Customer Service Award. Lloyd’s high-energy, bubbly persona has been a regular fixture at the grocery store for the last six years. She is a native of California who moved to Crittenden County 11 years ago.

Belt was awarded the Chamber’s Unsung Hero Award for her tireless dedication to the less fortunate in the community. As director of the PACS in Crittenden County, she oversees a number of low-income programs that affect thousands of people, including free food distribution, clothes closet and winter heating and summer cooling assistance and more.

Much of her time is spent teaching community classes to help people learn how to cook, sew, apply for college grants, garden and find other types of assistance.

“When I took this position, I vowed to make a difference in my community,” Belt said.

The Chamber agrees that she has indeed done just that.

For its renovations over the last year or so, the country club was selected for the Chamber’s Community Pride Award. The club was purchased by King less than two years ago and he and his staff have made great strides at improving its appearance and benefit to the community. King grew up in this area, but has become a successful California businessman. He now spends part of his time here and part of it on the West Coast.

Mayor Mickey Alexander said a country club is an asset to any community because of its offerings of swimming, dining and golf. He said King never forgot his roots and has been a key figure in reinvigorating interest in the semi-private club in Marion.

The Chamber also installed its new officers for 2016-17. They are Randa Berry, president; Angel Henry, vice-president; and Todd Perryman, treasurer. New board members were also sworn at the annual meeting. They are Madison Qualls, Chris Evans, Dee Brasher and Marilyn Belt, who was not present.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Area Death

John James Autry, 35, of Marion died Thursday, May 12, 2016 at his home after a long illness. Gilbert Funeral Home in Marion is in charge of arrangements.

Know the candidates for Tuesday's vote

Click to enlarge
Tuesday is Primary Election Day in Kentucky. While President is the top office on the ballot, Republicans have already chosen Donald Trump in their caucus March 5, and Hillary Clinton has all but wrapped up the Democratic nomination. However, voters in both parties still need to choose candidates for U.S. Senate, and Republicans also have a nominee for U.S. House of Representatives to select.

On the image to the right, The Crittenden Press shares some basic information readily available for all candidates appearing on Tuesday’s ballot, a sample of which is also shown above. The information includes age, city of residence, occupation, military experience, political experience, education, family, religion and the candidate’s website.

Further information can be found online with the 2016 Kentucky Voter Guide, Ballotpedia.org and Project Vote Smart, which offers its Political Courage Test that indicates where candidates stand on key issues.

Votes for candidates who have withdrawn from their respective races – Democrats Tom Osborne for Congress and Martin O’Malley for President – will be discarded.

Click to enlarge

Friday, May 13, 2016

We're Celebrating You

Click Image to Enlarge

Area deaths

Linda Pearl Odom, 67, of Marion died Wednesday at Crittenden Hospital. Gilbert Funeral Home in Marion is in charge of arrangements.

Charles Edward Beard, 87, of Marion died Friday at Crittenden Health and Rehabilitation Center. Boyd Funeral Directors and Cremation Services in Salem is in charge of arrangements.

Martha Jane Robertson, 82, of Princeton, formerly of Marion, died Thursday at Crittenden Hospital. Boyd Funeral Directors and Cremation Services is in charge of arrangements.

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Election turnout expected to be low

Election officials expect next week's turnout for the primary in Kentucky to be low.

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes on Wednesday projected approximately 20 percent of the 3.2 million people registered to vote in Kentucky will turn out for the May 17 Primary Election. Crittenden County Clerk Carolyn Byford predicts 17 percent turnout locally.

“After reviewing absentee data provided by our county clerks and historical turnout in similar election cycles, I believe one in five registered Kentucky voters will cast ballots in Tuesday’s Primary Election,” Grimes said. “While presidential primaries generally draw significant interest, overall turnout will likely be driven lower because Republicans held a presidential caucus earlier this year.”

Election officials are expecting a lighter turnout among Republicans because the party held a caucus to choose presidential delegates in March, Grimes said. Republican voters in the Primary may still consider candidates for U.S. Senate, U.S. House, state Senate and state House.

About 13 percent of voters cast ballots in the 2012 Primary Election, the last presidential election cycle. In 2008, when the office of U.S. President was an open seat, Primary voter turnout was approximately 31 percent.

As of May 9, 5,694 voters had voted absentee on machines in county clerks’ offices and 9,814 absentee ballots had been mailed to voters.

Grimes encourages voters to prepare to vote on May 17 by checking their polling places and viewing sample ballots through GoVoteKY.com, Kentucky’s new one-stop voter portal.

Area Death

Donald Garner Brasher, 81, of Pleasanton, Texas died Saturday. The funeral was Monday at First United Methodist Church in Pleasanton. He was author of "The Wampus Cat" a tale of his boyhood in rural Crittenden County.

KSP traffic checkpoints listed

Throughout the month, the Kentucky State Police Post 2 in Madisonville will conduct traffic safety checkpoints in the Post 2 District.

The KSP utilizes traffic safety checkpoints to promote safety for motorists and to provide a deterrent for those who violate laws contained in the Kentucky Revised Statutes.

The intent of a traffic safety checkpoint is to provide a highly visible, public safety service focusing on vehicular equipment deficiencies, confirming appropriate registration and insurance of vehicles, and the valid licensing of drivers.  Violations of law or other public safety issues that arise shall be addressed.

Drivers encountering a traffic safety checkpoint are requested to have their operator’s license, vehicle registration receipt, and proof of insurance readily accessible.  Drivers with this information in hand can reasonably expect to be delayed for no more than a few minutes, as long as there are no violations of law, and depending on roadway congestion.

Listed below are the supervisory-approved traffic safety checkpoint locations in the Kentucky State Police Post 2 District:

  • Ky. 297 at the U.S. 60 intersection
  • U.S. 641 at the Crayne Post Office
  • U.S. 60 at the Ky. 365 intersection
  • Ky. 91 at the Ky.135 intersection
  • Ky. 91 at the Ky. 139 intersection
  • Ky. 126 at the Ky. 672 intersection
  • U.S. 62 at the Lyon County line
  • U.S. 41 at the Ky. 56 intersection
  • U.S. 41A at the Ky. 56 / Ky. 873 intersection
  • U.S. 41A at the Ken Williams Road intersection 
  • U.S. 41 at the Ky. 800 intersection
  • Ky. 91 at the Ky. 1026 (Clark Store Sinking Fork Road) intersection
  • Ky. 107 at the Ky. 1682 intersection
  • Ky. 507 at the Ky. 508 intersection
  • Ky. 109 at the M.J. Boyd intersection 
  • U.S. 62 at the Ky. 813 intersection
  • U.S. 41 at the U.S. 62 intersection
  • U.S. 41 at the Ky. 112 intersection
  • U.S. 41A at the Ky. 630 intersection
  • Ky. 70 at the Ky. 109 intersection 
  • U.S. 431 at the Ky. 176 intersection
  • Ky. 181 at the Ky. 601 intersection
  • U.S. 431 at the Ky. 70 (Browder) intersection
  • Ky. 189 at the Ky. 70 (Front Street) intersection
  • Ky. 81 at the Ky. 181 intersection 
  • U.S. 79 at the Ky. 102 intersection
  • Ky. 181 at the Ky. 507 intersection
  • Ky. 181 at the Chestnut Road intersection

Traffic safety checkpoint locations in the Post 2 District may also be located at its website: www.kentuckystatepolice.org/posts/press/post2_checkpoints.html.

Post 2 serves Caldwell, Christian, Crittenden, Hopkins, Muhlenberg, Todd and Webster.

Congressional candidates face local voters

There’s not a lot of daylight between Mike Pape and Jason Batts on policy matters, but at a town hall meeting last month in Marion, each of the Republican congressional candidates put miles between themselves and the moderate wing of the GOP, not to mention Democrats in Washington, D.C.

The town hall on April 28 night at Fohs Hall was a bit of a departure from political events in recent years sponsored by Crittenden County Republican Party. Half of the field vying for the party’s nomination to fill an open seat on Capitol Hill took the stage at the community center to answer questions on issues submitted from the audience. While the local party has worked to bring candidates to the county for events in the past, they have essentially served as a platform for politicians to offer rehearsed comments on a whistlestop and discuss policy one-on-one with only a handful of voters aggressive enough to push for details.

The new format was a hit.

“It was a helluva good show,” said local pundit Gordon Guess, who probably knows national politics as well as anyone in the 1st Congressional District. “This offered a lot of substance.”

Former Kentucky agriculture commissioner and gubernatorial candidate James Comer was also on the billing, but cancelled just hours before the town hall, according to Fred Stubblefield, vice chairman of the county’s GOP. A fourth Republican candidate, Herndon farmer Miles A. Caughey Jr., whose campaign has registered little more than a blip on the radar, also sat out the chance to reach Crittenden County voters.

In stark contrast to the bitter presidential campaigns playing out in the media, Pape and Batts seemed to reach the few dozen voters at Fohs Hall – including a handful of Democrats – through substance, not slurs. At times, the two even made a point to compliment the other. Pape did, however, take a few shots at Comer, who is perceived as the frontrunner, though no independent polling less than two weeks before the May 17 primary has proven such.

In 1994, Ed Whitfield became the first-ever Republican elected to represent Kentucky’s 1st District in Congress. Last summer, Whitfield decided to make his 11th term in office his last, opening the field for a new set of GOP hopefuls like Pape and Batts.

While only nuances on policy separated the two men April 28 under the spotlights at Fohs Hall, the candidates took pains to underscore the biggest difference in their resumes – experience.

Pape, though he has never held public office, clearly holds the lead in political maturity. For 21 years, he served as Whitfield’s top man on the ground in Kentucky, working out of the congressman’s field office in Hopkinsville, where both men call home. In that role, Pape has visited all 35 counties in the district that encompasses all of far western Kentucky and spreads across much of south-central Kentucky. In fact, he is on a first name basis with most every county and city leader in the district, including those in Crittenden County.

“I have unmatched experience in representing the people of the 1st District,” Pape said in his opening comments, a statement he would repeat throughout the evening, touting his familiarity with issues concerning most western Kentucky conservatives from social issues to a $19 trillion national debt.

Meantime, Batts calls himself a different kind of candidate, a true establishment outsider. Unlike Pape and Comer, he is new to the political arena outside of his home county of Hickman, where he serves as county attorney. He sees that as his advantage over his opponents.

“I’m running because I’m absolutely fed up with Washington,” said the captain in the U.S. Army Reserves who has served as a military prosecutor. “I’m fed up with the direction of this country.”

Throughout the night, each man followed the other in answering question after question from the town hall moderator, Lyon County Judge-Executive Wade White, who selected topics from questions submitted prior to the event by voters in the crowd. On issue after issue, the two seemed to echo the sentiments of the audience, which cast its approval with applause.

Some of the issues addressed included:

Term limits
Both canddiates have pledged to limit their time on the Hill. Pape has restricted himself to 12 years, calling career politicians, including those in his own party, a big part of the nation’s problem. “They are too comfortable and too far removed,” he said, excluding his former boss from the suggestion. “I see that in what doesn’t happen in Congress today.”

Batts did not restrict himself to a specific number of terms, but said, “If we want to change Washington, we have to end career politicians.”

Gun control
Both want to strengthen the rights of gun owners and adamantly oppose any efforts to restrict ownership.

“As a prosecutor and soldier, I know how critical the 2nd Amendment is to our lives,” Batts said. “The 2nd Amendment is 27 words worth fighting for.”

“It’s a fundamental right we have as Americans,” Pape echoed.

Religious liberties
Liberal justices have gone too far in their efforts to remove the influences of Christianity on the daily lives of Americans, the two agreed.

“The first thing you do (to protect religious liberties) is follow the Constitution,” said Pape. “Congress should come back and legislate, in effect, to overturn the courts.”

“(Religious freedoms) are placed at the front of the Constitution for a reason,” Batts added. “We are a Christian nation.”

Both candidates are opposed to the federal government legalizing gay marriage, preferring instead to let each state decide the issue’s.

War on coal
Batts called the war on coal “one of the primary battlefields in the country.”

“All of us are impacted by the carrot and stick policy of Obama” in regard to energy policy, Batts said. “Alternative energy gets the carrot; coal gets the stick.”

“We have to reign in the EPA,” Pape said, calling the agency Obama’s tool to destroy coal. “It makes no sense at all. It wipes out our cheapest energy by over-regulating.”

Both men said the EPA is emblematic of a larger problem – overreach by the federal government that is negatively impacting the lives of the average American, particularly in coal country where local economies has been devastated by the loss of top jobs.

National defense
When asked the most important role of the federal government, Pape and Batts agreed that national defense is paramount and a stronger military is needed to carry out that duty.

Channeling the philosophy of President Ronald Reagan, his political idol, Pape said the best way to achieve peace is through strength.

“We’ve got to restore our military,” explained Pape, whose  wife’s brother was killed in Afghanistan. “We have to be a force for good so when we say something, the world knows we mean it and can back it up.”

Speaking as a veteran of the regular Army and current reservist, Batts railed on the issue of the federal government’s responsibilities.

“Their role is to protect our country, back the Constitution and stay out of our lives,” he said. “Washington doesn't understand. (Obama) won't even say ‘radical Islam.’ Well, I don't have any problem saying it. PC or not, we have to kill them first before they get us.”

Each extended their concern about protecting Americans to a porous southern border that threatens national security by allowing both foreign terrorists and illegal aliens into circulation. Increasing border security is the only way to reduce those threats, and building a wall is part of the answer along with adding more personnel.

Pape is the son of a legal German immigrant.

Pape is also the son of a World War II and Korean War veteran. He said he is embarrassed at how the nation’s veterans are treated, particularly when it comes to their health care.

“Veterans should be able to go to the doctor here in Marion and get treatment, not have to wait in line at the VA and fill out complicated paperwork.”

“Career politicians have failed our veterans and failed us all,” Batts said. “Three hundred thousand veterans have died awaiting care.”

Other issues
Both candidates identified as pro-life and advocated cutting all federal monies to Planned Parenthood. And reigning in the national debt with a balanced budget amendment is a must, they agreed. 

Ending Obamacare is a priority, too, each calling the President’s solution to health care issues in America as the worst thing to happen to health care in America.

Pape and Batts seemed careful to distance themselves from the presumptive GOP presidential nominee. Donald Trump’s name was not mentioned once all night.

This story first appeared in the May 5 issue of The Crittenden Press.

Senior center meal set for this evening

Crittenden County Senior Citizens Center’s monthly fundraising meal is today at 5 p.m. Ravioli will be on the menu, but guests are asked to bring a side dish. A $5 donation to benefit the center is requested. Musical entertainment will be provided by Richard Maxfield.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

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Salute your graduate

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Area Death

Harold Bennett Shouse, 92, died Thursday, May 5 in Salem. Boyd Funeral Directors and Cremation Services in Salem is in charge of arrangements.

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

Get prepared for Tuesday's election with The Crittenden Press.

An almost 10 percent increase in anticipated tax receipts will not mean any lavish spending for Crittenden County government, but it will provide a pay hike for county employees of at least 2 percent, and provide a small cushion for unforeseen expenses. A reassessment of soil classes in Kentucky will have a marked affect on the county budget. Crittenden County Judge-Executive Perry Newcom and the budget committee have estimated a boost of at least $40,000 in new taxes for the 2016 general fund.

For more on the projected county budget and the following headlines, pick up a copy of this week' issue of The Crittenden Press:
  • Quality of life in 1st Congressional District ranks near bottom in U.S..
  • Tuesday’s primary in Kentucky third vote in two months for some.
  • ELECTION 411: Find out where you vote Tuesday, who you can vote for and a little about the candidates.
  • IN PICTURES: CCES hosts its own Run for the Roses.
  • 4 to be interviewed for CCMS principal.
  • Suttons best loggers in Kentucky.
  • PVA letters indicate new assessments for property.
  • Cattle number 12,500 in county.
  • State’s coal jobs continue to fall.
  • Sunday wreck hurts three local residents.
  • Woman’s Club Gala hosts trivia, Cinco de Mayo event.
  • IN PICTURES: Mother’s Day, Derby observed at senior center.
  • FORGOTTEN PASSAGES: One-room schoolhouses hold fond memories.
  • SPORTS: High school diamond round-ups.
  • SPORTS: High school track and field results.
  • SPORTS: CCDL results, standings.
  • SPORTS: Crittenden County Rockets Special Olympics team competed.

Funnel cloud reported over county

A storm system passed over western Kentucky Tuesday
afternoon and evening that dropped tornadoes on the area, including
one in Mayfield, and led to reports of several funnel clouds. This one
over Crittenden County seen around 7:30 p.m. looking eastward
from atop Wilson Hill in Marion at the intersection of Ky. 506
and Briarwood Drive never touched down in the county.

The Mayfield Messenger

A tornado struck Graves County Tuesday afternoon, causing extensive damage and leaving several people with non-life-threatening injuries.

The National Weather Service office in Paducah issued a severe thunderstorm warning around 2:30 p.m. for Graves, Carlisle and Hickman counties. About 15 minutes later, the office issued a tornado warning for Graves County after a tornado was spotted about four miles from Fancy Farm. It then headed northeast toward U.S. 45 north of Mayfield and crossed Ky. 121 and 45, the NWS reported.

Graves County Emergency Management Director Davant Ramage said the tornado left extensive damage from north of the Purchase Parkway all the way to the Marshall County line.

Jackson Purchase Medical Center CEO Dave Anderson said there were no reported fatalitie. He said several patients were brought into the emergency room, but their injuries were mostly minor. One orthopedic injury was more serious, he said.

"I was overwhelmed by our medical staff and their response," Anderson said. "I think our staff was fantastic, and we had people that came in just in case we needed them because initially it sounded like the casualty count could have been pretty high. So we had all hands on deck ... I was proud of our entire team and how they stepped up."

Pat Spoden, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Paducah, said Rick Shanklin, a senior meteorologist charged with damage assessment, was en route to Mayfield late Tuesday afternoon to assess the damage.

"We have someone on the way to start to look at the damage," Spoden said. "We have lots of reports but really no detail."

Sloden said estimates concerning the size and force of the tornado would have to wait for Shanklin's assessment.

"We won't know until we do the inspections tomorrow (Wednesday)," Spoden said.

David Smart, CEO of West Kentucky Rural Electric Cooperative Corporation, said the company had about 6,000 outages - mostly in Graves County - across the company's service area at the storm's peak. As of 6 p.m. Tuesday, there were still some 2,450 outages, and crews were assessing damage and gathering the equipment needed to make the repairs, he said.

"At this point, we look forward to probably the rest of the evening working on these repairs before we can restore service to those folks," Smart said.

One of the businesses on U.S. 45 North that experienced heavy damage was Bennett Motors. Many vehicles in the lot had their windshields smashed in addition to other major damage.

Owner Mike Bennett arrived at his business some time after the tornado hit.

"It's just devastating; I don't really know what to say," Bennett said. "I was in Murray picking up a car, and they called me and said a tornado had just hit the lot and destroyed the lot. I just wanted to make sure everyone was OK. That was the main thing for me. I don't care about all this (damage); I'm glad they're OK. All this can be replaced. I hate it, but there's nothing you can do about it."

Kentucky State Police spokesman Michael Robichaud said preliminary investigations showed that the tornado developed in the western part of the county and began a path east across the county. It traveled close to Graves County middle and high schools, the Board of Education office and Central Elementary, but the school buildings did not sustain significant damage, he said.

Robichaud said homes and businesses on the north side of Mayfield experienced significant damage. The majority of the damage east of Mayfield was contained to trees and fields, although some homes were seriously damaged, he said.

Graves County Schools spokesman Paul Schaumburg said the district's schools kept students on site in a lockdown after the tornado warning was issued and released them after the danger had passed. He said all the teachers did a great job responding to the situation, keeping the children safe and helping them feel secure.

Mayfield Independent Schools spokeswoman Kim Hamby said that while some of the Mayfield High School students had left for the day, the warning was issued before any elementary or middle school students had been released. Students were then held in tornado shelter areas for about 45 minutes until the all-clear was given and buses could be loaded, she said.