Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Tornado watch expires at 4 a.m.

The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch until 4 a.m. for Crittenden County. Severe weather has already impacted the region, with confirmed tonadoes in Missouri and Illinois, including deaths in Perryville, Mo.

Area death

Frankie Mae Croft, 92, of Marion died Tuesday. Boyd Funeral Directors and Cremations Services is in charge of arrangements.

Record-setting Rockets face Henderson tonight

The winningest two teams and the most experienced two coaches in the region square off tonight in the opening round the Second Region Girls Basketball Tournament at Hopkins Central High School in Morton's Gap.

Crittenden County (25-7) faces Henderson County (24-5) in the 7:40pm tipoff.

Lady Rocket coach Shannon Hodge (24 years) and Henderson County skipper Jeff Haile (30 years) are the longest tenured coaches in the entire region. Henderson has won 13 regional titles under Haile. The Lady Colonels have won 10 of the last 12 regional championships, including the last four in a row.

Coach Hodge's only regional championship came in 2011.

The winner will face either Madisonville (18-12) or Hopkinsville (22-8) in Friday’s semifinals.

Overnight threat of severe weather

Emergency planners are warning of a possible overnight storm cell capable of producing damaging winds, golf-ball size hail and possible tornadoes. 

The greatest chance for severe weather is between midnight and 6am which of great concern, according the National Weather Service at Paducah. 

People are twice as likely to be hurt or killed in night-time tornados, according to the weather service. The reason is people are less aware of a potential strike.

The weather service and local emergency management officials are urging everyone to make sure their weather radios are working properly and to be engaged with the chances of overnight threatening weather. 

Crittenden County's girls' basketball team is scheduled to play at 7:40pm tonight in Morton's Gap in the Second Region Tournament. So far, there is no indication from school officials that the game could be postponed.

Storewide savings at Holt's in Sturgis

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Monday, February 27, 2017

Board of ed cancels meeting

Crittenden County Board of Education has cancelled its monthly meeting scheduled for Tuesday. The meeting will be rescheduled at a later date.

County attorney points out "bone" dry law

Crittenden is a dry county and local leaders are making sure restaurants and other public establishments understand the letter of the law.

County Attorney Rebecca Johnson recently mailed about two dozen letters to local businesses and other public facility managers outlining details in the prohibition of alcohol in a dry option county such as this one.

The two-page correspondence begins, “Recently, local law enforcement agencies have fielded increased calls and have responded to area businesses regarding the sale, possession, distribution and consumption of alcoholic beverages on business promises.”

No one has been cited for bootlegging recently, but City Police Chief Ray O’Neal said there have been a number of instances where he or other law enforcement officials have been made aware of potential infractions, often days after an alleged event that could have violated state law.

“Several have been bought to our attention and there just seems to have been more of it lately,” O’Neal said.

The chief pointed out that social media is often a platform for discovering such activity.

Local police collaborated with the county attorney on the recent letter. O’Neal and Johnson each characterized it as an educational opportunity.

“It was intended as more of an educational opportunity rather than a warning,” Johnson said. “It is a reminder that we are truly a dry territory.”

Johnson said many surrounding counties or communities have passed laws allowing alcohol to some degree, which can create some confusion even in dry counties.

“We want everyone to understand the potential seriousness of it,” the police chief added.

The letter, dated Feb. 10, was sent local all restaurants and some other organizations. Foes Hall Inc., and Marion Country Club also confirmed receiving letters. Both have auditoriums or dining rooms that are routinely rented for dinners, weddings, reunions and other group parties.

The letter cites a number of Kentucky statutes in explaining the prohibition of alcohol being sold, shared or consumed in a “public place.”

“A public place is defined as a place which is accessible to the public and to which the public is invited,” it reads. “Retail establishments, restaurants and generally any business open to the public clearly fall under this definition.”

So-called brown-bagging is not permitted in dry counties, Johnson said. Brown-bagging is the phrase used for places where patrons bring into a restaurant or other establishment a bottle of concealed liquor or other alcoholic beverage and discreetly pour from their bottle.

There is no distinction in the law for for-profit or not-for-profit events or venues, the letter states.
It explains that private family events such as weddings are not subject to violation of the alcohol beverage control laws unless alcohol is sold at a cash bar or by other means.

“However, an otherwise private event becomes a public event if tickets are sold to the public. Dinners, dances, banquets, concerts, special events, etc., where tickets are sold to the public and where alcohol is present on the premises would constitute violation of alcoholic beverage control laws,” says the county attorney’s letter.

Johnson noted that providing alcohol to minors or selling alcohol would be considered blatant violations of dry-option laws.

The owner of an establishment bears legal responsibility if he allows alcohol to be consumed on his premises even if he’s not involved, explains the correspondence.

Johnson said it would probably be beneficial for those who rent their facilities to be very clear in their rental agreements as to what cannot and can be done on premises, if it will be a public event. Adding that language to the rental contract could provide some level of protection to the property owner.
“Clearly, the conduct of others on the premises can subject the business owner, operator or others associated with the business to criminal liability,” the letter reads.

Fines, jail time and property forfeiture can be part of the penalties, according to information in the letter sent to area businesses.

Crittenden County has been a dry option territory since Prohibition. There have been two public referendums since the 1930s to make all or parts of Crittenden a wet or “moist” area, but both failed at the ballot box.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Lady Rockets play Henderson in region

Senior Kiana Nesbitt cuts down the
nets Thursday at Lyon County.
The winningest two teams in the Second Region will square off Tuesday in the opening round of the Girls' Regional Basketball Tournament at Hopkins Central High School.

District 5 champion Crittenden County (25-7) will face District 6 runner-up Henderson County (24-5)  in the first-round game at 7:30pm Tuesday night.

The Lady Rockets are now the winningest team in school history and already have won the Second Region All A Classic championship, finished as a quarterfinalist in the All A State Tournament and won just the second 5th District championship for the school in the last 25 years.

Click here for the entire 2nd Region Tournament

Friday, February 24, 2017

Ferry re-opens

The Cave In Rock Ferry has re-opened after being closed earlier due to high winds.

Sen. Ridley to appear on KET’s 'Kentucky Tonight'

Senate Democratic Caucus Chair Dorsey Ridley, D-Henderson, will appear on KET’s "Kentucky Tonight" on Monday to discuss the 2017 Legislative Session. 

Also scheduled to appear on Kentucky Tonight with host Renee Shaw is Rep. Wilson Stone, D-Scottsville, Senator Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, and Rep. David Meade, R-Stanford.

The program will air at 7 p.m. on KET and KET.org/live. For additional information, visit KET online.

Ridley represents the 4th Senatorial District that includes Caldwell, Crittenden, Henderson, Livingston, Union and Webster counties.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Lady Rockets capture district crown

Crittenden County beat Lyon County 36-30 to capture the Fifth District Tournament championship at Cadiz.

The girls are 25-7 heading into next week's regional tournament at Hopkins Central. Their 25 wins is a school record.

Read More

Unique finds at Our Picket Fence

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Council to pick mayor Wednesday

Marion City Council will meet in special session at 4 p.m. next Wednesday to select a new mayor. At Monday's regular council meeting, Mickey Alexander resigned his post as mayor effective next Tuesday. He had served as mayor for 29 years.

Any legal voter age 21 or up who lives inside the City of Marion is eligible to be selected.

The meeting had originally been scheduled for 5 p.m. Tuesday, but was moved back a day for procedural reasons.

Educators to launch campaign on need for school construction

A  facilities plan approved for Crittenden County Schools shows current district property at the middle and high school campus highlighted in yellow with the state highway maintenance facility property that should eventually belong to the school district highlighted in red. The 70-year-old segment of the current middle school would be razed and a new high and middle school wings would eventually be added to Rocket Arena along with shared facilities between the two schools,

FROM FEB. 16, 2017
When the calendar rolls over to March, Crittenden County School District will kick off a campaign to change the future of education in the county.

Starting next month, the district is planning to begin a series of efforts to inform the community on the nuances of proposed school construction to modernize and expand the halls of learning. Superintendent Vince Clark said the rollout will include a variety of materials aimed at explaining the local building need and the board of education’s proposal for a solution. The initial phase of the campaign will include short YouTube videos posted on the district’s website and a survey so that educators can address questions the public may have.

“We need to educate the (county’s) 9,500 people on what we are looking at and what our options are,” Clark said.

What is being eyed is a $31.2 million school facilities plan approved late last year by the board of education. It first calls for construction of a new high school that would allow middle-schoolers currently cramped into a 70-year-old building to then move into the current high school. Adding a wing onto Rocket Arena to serve as a new high school would cost more than $12 million and would call for a tax increase to get construction accomplished anytime within the next 10 years.

The board of education and district administrators appear to be taking a thoughtful approach toward taxpayers who would fund any construction. That is why they want to present their plan online, in print and in person to accommodate everyone in the community who may have questions or input on the proposal. A public forum is tentatively set for March 14.

“There are so many different ways to communicate and (ways) people get their
news,” Clark said.

A second phase of the campaign would start after the school district gathers and weighs all the initial input and concerns from the public.

The board of education is aware that a tax increase could be hard to swallow by taxpayers, particularly a 5-cent increase on the current rate of 46.3 cents per $100 of real estate. That construction nickel would match another already built into the tax rate and free up state matching funds to bring the district’s bonding potential high enough to build a new school.

The average Kentuckian pays about 62 cents per $100 of real estate to school districts, and local officials are hoping to convey to the public that they would still be getting a relative bargain for their tax burden while improving educational opportunities to future generations.

Any tax increase by the five-member board would be subject to recall by voters, so before moving on such a decision, they want to put their best foot forward.
“We’ve got one shot at getting this right the first time,” said board member Eric Larue.

Clark expects to learn from those who have failed and those who have succeeded in urging voters that education is a community responsibility. In fact, he has already spoken with school officials in Marion County, where a second nickel was recently approved by voters, and those from Hancock County, where the construction nickel was shot down at the polls.

The superintendent said multiple forums may be scheduled over the next couple of months to keep the public in the conversation.

“This will give people a chance to hear the plan presented and give folks time to ask questions to help the community understand where we’re at,” explains Clark. “We want to be as transparent as we can be.”

As a stopgap measure to help a middle school building bursting at the seams, the CCMS library will be combined with the high school’s before the 2017-18 school year. To accommodate, a portion of the CCHS library at the front of the building will be walled off over summer break to provide separate study areas for students from the two schools. Also, to provide a noise buffer, the entire library will be glassed in to the ceiling above the concrete half-walls, and doors will be installed at the two entrances from the hallway. The projected cost is about $96,500.

The middle school library will be turned into space for classroom instruction to accommodate next year’s incoming sixth-grade class of 137 students, which is about 40 more than the average class size.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Sen. Ridley’s highway safety bill heads to House

A highway safety bill, sponsored by Senator Dorsey Ridley, D-Henderson, passed out of the Senate today.

“Citizens and law enforcement folks have complained to me about the super bright lighting on some vehicles and how distracting it is,” said Ridley, a member of the Senate Transportation Committee. “This distraction presents a real danger for drivers.”

Ridley’s solution comes in the form of Senate Bill 92 that would restrict modifications of vehicles with certain replacement headlights and other lights that emit from beneath the vehicle.

“It is becoming a real safety issue and would be an addition to the road safety laws already on the books,” added Ridley.

SB 92 would not affect the original equipment installed on cars and trucks by the manufacturer, but would only affect equipment or lighting added after the vehicle rolls off the assembly line, he noted.

SB 92 would prohibit vehicles from:
  • Emitting anything other than white light.
  • Require all headlamps to meet U.S. Department of Transportation regulations.
  • Prohibit headlamps that appear to emit a solid color other than white.
  • Prohibit headlamp covers or film that changes the color of the light emitted.
  • Outline provisions for front, rear, side and undercarriage lighting of a vehicle.
It would exempt original equipment installed by the manufacturer.

SB 92 has the support of Kentucky State Police, the Kentucky Justice Cabinet, Henderson Police Chief Chip Stauffer, and Henderson County Sheriff Ed Brady.
SB 92 is a safety issue for the Kentucky motoring public, said Sen. Ridley.
SB 92 now moves to the House of Representatives for further action.

PSC helps explain high electric bills

Rural Crittenden County residents have been concerned about ballooning electric bills from Kenergy Corp. the past two months, but the Kentucky Public Service Commission says there is "nothing at this point that the commission feels is in any way out of the ordinary operating procedures of those utilities.”

WDRB in Louisville explores the issue with the PSC in a news story available by following this link.

Senate panel approves bill to make some military surplus vehicles street legal

In an effort to make it possible for citizens to title and license certain military surplus vehicles like Humvees, the Senate Transportation Committee today unanimously passed Senate Bill 176.

“It is basically taking care of a problem that was brought to me by one of my constituents,” said Sen. Stephen West, R-Paris.

West told committee members the bill would give citizens who purchase certain military surplus vehicles a way to make them street legal. The bill would set up a way to get them licensed, titled and ensure that they’ve been retrofitted as needed and have seat belts installed.

The proposed legislation calls for military surplus vehicles to be inspected before they are titled. Additionally, a new inspection form for the vehicles will be created and a military surplus vehicle will be defined as a motor vehicle.

The bill now goes to the Senate for full consideration.

Funny money passed locally

This fake $20 bill was passed at a Marion convenience store recently. The red,
Oriental writing on the face to the left is a clear indication the bill is counterfeit.

Counterfeit money has been passed locally of late, and more is circulating in the area.

Liberty Fuels owner Craig Gilland said his Marion convenience store has seen two $20 bills come through the business that are clearly fake, with red Oriental writing on the face. Local businesses are warned to check bills closely.

In addition, Kentucky State Police are warning of fake $20 and $100 bills being passed in the area. These bill, too, are easy to spot, with "FOR MOTION PICTURE USE ONLY" imprinted on the face.

Kentucky State Police are warning people to be on the lookout for counterfeit
bills with "FOR MOTION PICTURE USE ONLY" imprinted on the front.

Sale at Holt's in Sturgis

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

Marion Mayor Mickey Alexander is greeted by Councilwoman D'Anna Sallin Monday
evening following the mayor's final meeting as head of city government.
Crittenden is a dry county and local leaders are making sure restaurants and other public establishments understand the letter of the law. Earlier this month, County Attorney Rebecca Johnson mailed about two dozen letters to local businesses and other public facility managers outlining details related to the prohibition of alcohol in a dry option county such as this one.

For more on this story and the following headlines, pick up a copy of this week's issue of The Crittenden Press:
  • Marion Mayor resigns post, plus mayoral history and resignation statement
  • Income survey could save city $1 million
  • Bellville stoplight adjustment sought
  • Marion City Council addresses myriad issues
  • City revolving loan fund appointments chosen
  • Officials vow to eradicate pestilence
  • Marion man dies in Princeton crash
  • Telephone audit could save county thousands
  • Illness half fills hospital, empties schools
  • School calendar may be pushed to May 16
  • LEGISLATIVE REVIEW: Bike helmet bill overreach
  • LEGISLATIVE REVIEW: Bill doubles political gift limits
  • Ky. grocery costs falling
  • Distinguished Alumni nomination period open
  • CCHS photo project asks juniors to define world with image
  • Emergency managers preparing for eclipse
  • Pest control, wheat schools open to farmers
  • WEVV to carry Crittenden weather data
  • Local gardening program March 4
  • SPORTS: Unsatisifed, Lady Rockets want district crown
  • SPORTS: Towery gets 20 in loss
  • SPORTS: Crittenden splits with Campbell to close out regular season
  • VAUGHT'S VIEWS: Alexander a four-star recruit for Calipari
  • Fredonia auto salvage offers inventory of its parts online
  • Meacham Hams now closed
  • Talents of an interesting life emerge during Marion visit
  • Kentucky colleges release dean’s lists
  • Main Street programs Travis among put $109M in towns
  • Workplace labor posters available free
  • AG Beasher seeks faith-based scam busters
  • FELTY YODER: From his heavenly throne, Jesus still building ministry

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Monday, February 20, 2017

Needs no caption!


Marion Mayor Alexander resigns seat

After almost 30 years as the City of Marion's mayor, Mickey Alexander announced at Monday's city council meeting that he is resigning effective Feb. 28. Alexander, an investment broker with Edward Jones in Marion, cited increased demands at work as his reasoning for leaving mid-term. He was last elected to the four-year post in 2014. The city council will now be charged with appointing his replacement by March 30. For more on this breaking story, pick up a copy of this week's issue of The Crittenden Press.

Marion man dies in Ky. 91 crash

A man Marion died this afternoon in a single-vehicle automobile accident between Princeton and Fredonia on Ky. 91.

Kentucky State Police say Robert A. Butts, 28, was traveling south toward Princeton at about 1:45pm when his 1997  Mitsubishi Eclipse left the roadway in a curve. The vehicle ran off the right side of highway and continued down an embankment before crossing a railroad track, causing his vehicle to become airborne. The vehicle then overturned and crashed into a tree.

The accident happened about two miles north of Princeton.

Trooper Ben Sawyer is investigating the collision and was assisted on scene by Captain Brent White, Lt. Brian Duvall, Trooper Brian Graves, Caldwell County Sheriff Department, Caldwell County EMS, Caldwell County Coroner and Princeton Fire Department.

Marriage Conference Saturday

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Friday, February 17, 2017

Vehicle transaction on hold locally

Crittenden County Clerk Carolyn Byford says the computers in her office are down until mid-morning Monday, meaning no vehicle transactions can be processed until the machines are up and running again.

"We are very sorry for the inconvenience," she said.

School cancelled Monday due to illness

Crittenden County school officials have called off school for Monday due to a drop in attendance related to illnesses running rampant through the community. But students will still have to put on their thinking caps.

Superintendent Vince Clark made the call this afternoon. All students are being notified before heading home today, and a One-Call to parents will be sent out as well.

Attendance is at 88 percent and trending down, the superintendent said. So far this academic year, attendance has averaged 95 percent.

Clark said Monday will be a non-traditional instruction (NTI) day, which the district was allowed to begin using this year as a means to continue instruction on days when classes are called off, primarily due to weather. He called Monday a Rocket Way "Flu" Day, a play on Rocket Way Snow Day, the name of the program designed to save the school calendar due to inclement weather.

This will be the second NTI day used this year. The first was on Jan. 5 due to wintry weather.
Classes will resume Tuesday, at which time attendance will be re-evaluated.

Several school districts in the area and across Kentucky have called off classes recently due to illnesses.

This will not affect the Fifth District Basketball Tournament and the Lady Rockets' game scheduled for Monday at Cadiz. It will be played as schedule.

Area deaths

Marcella Loveless Mathis, 78, of Henderson, formerly of Salem, died Wednesday. Boyd Funeral Directors in Salem was in charge of arrangements.

Mary Helen Marvel, 89, of Marion died Wednesday. Gilbert Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

Aaron Edward Nolan, 34, of Salem died Tuesday. Boyd Funeral Directors in Salem was in charge of arrangements.

Douglas Wayne “Okey-Doke” Coleman, 63. of Marion died Tuesday. Myers Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

KSP forms new unit to investigate officer-involved shootings

With increasing public interest and media attention throughout the U.S. regarding the use of deadly force by law enforcement agencies, the Kentucky State Police has formed a new unit designed to add experience, expertise and transparency to investigations of officer-involved shootings in the Commonwealth.

“We have a responsibility to our officers and the communities we serve, to apply our best resources for determining the unbiased facts of these incidents,” said KSP Commissioner Rick Sanders. “There must be best practices in place to ensure high quality, unbiased and transparent investigations. It’s simply a matter of public trust.”

Designated as the Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT), the unit consists of three lieutenants, two sergeants and one detective. Collectively, they bring almost 100 years of applied law enforcement experience to the team. They are supported by the Collision Analysis Team, which consists of five members and brings laser scanning capabilities for detailed crime scene mapping. Also supporting the CIRT are crime scene technicians from the agency’s forensic laboratories, as well as Electronic Crimes Branch personnel, who collect and examine digital evidence.

“The people on this team are all seasoned investigators with the experience, training, and resources to ensure a thorough and complete analysis,” said KSP Deputy Commissioner Alex Payne, who played a vital role in the development of the team. “They will operate on facts only to arrive at a conclusion of what happened at each incident.”

According to Payne, the new team will automatically be involved if a KSP officer is involved in a shooting and on a case-by-case basis if requested by outside agencies.

Since 2015, KSP has investigated 29 of its own officers who were involved in shooting incidents. In 2016, the agency investigated 19 shooting incidents involving officers from other agencies in the state.

Since its formation in January, CIRT has investigated five incidents.

“I have great confidence that this new team will have a positive impact on how officer-involved shooting investigations are conducted around Kentucky,” said Sanders. “It will provide a more standardized structure that will make the process more efficient and effective, while providing more clarity to each incident.”

Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary John Tilley applauded the new initiative. “The Justice and Public Safety Cabinet seeks to be a leader in reform and transparency for the citizens of the Commonwealth, and this is another example of how Kentucky is leading the way. “I commend Commissioner Sanders and KSP for their forward thinking with innovations that will make a real difference.”

Starnes endorses Thompson as next head coach

Crittenden County football coach Al Starnes will be retiring at the end of the 2018 school year.

With just over a 15 months remaining before he's gone, Starnes is making a move that will help him ensure that the football program he's overseen since 1991 remains on a track that he endorses.

Last week, Starnes named former Rocket quarterback and current offensive coordinator to a newly created position – associate head coach. The promotion is meant, as much as anything else, to be an endorsement for Thompson to be the next head coach when Starnes retires.

This article appeared in last week's Crittenden Press. Read More

KDE process to fill board of ed seat under way

Educational District 5
The district includes voters in Precincts 3, 6 and 12
and is an area east of U.S. 641 and south of U.S. 60 East
to Fishtrap Road and continuing south of Fishtrap,
Nunn Switch and Cool Springs roads.

from Feb. 9, 2017
The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) has begun the application process to fill a recent vacancy on the Crittenden County Board of Education, and there appears to be a healthy level of interest in the seat.

Longtime board member Phyllis Orr resigned her post in January, leaving an opening on the five-member elected body. Her resignation has been officially accepted by KDE, which is accepting applications for the post through the next two weeks. In fact, a notice of vacancy has been published on the local board of education's website for several days and appears in The Crittenden Press this week.

Superintendent Vince Clark is hopeful applicants will match Orr's dedication to the position.

"She had a passion for students, staff and the community," Clark said. "To keep moving our school district forward, they have to have that compassion and passion. There are still lots of areas to continue to grow in."

Clark and the board of education will have no say in who steps in to fill Orr's role.

KDE conducts the search to fill the unexpired terms of school board members in all 173 districts. Applications must be mailed by the candidate directly to Frankfort, where an appointee will be named by the education commissioner by April 26. The only functions of the local board of education are to advertise the vacancy and make applications available to prospective board members.

A former educator, Orr had served 14 years on the board and was in the middle of her fourth term when she resigned due to health reasons. She had been unable to attend meetings for several months, and the work commitments of Bill Asbridge sometimes have left the board setting policy with only three members.

The last unexpired term filled by KDE for Crittenden County Public Schools was in 2004, when Mark Williams was tapped to fill the unexpired term of Dr. Donald Wight, who resigned his seat in December 2003, also due to failing health. At the time, he was the longest serving school board member in Kentucky.

Orr's replacement will serve until the next scheduled general election, which is not until November 2018. The seat serves Educational District 5, which includes voting Precincts 3, 6 and 12, which vote at Marion Baptist and St. William Catholic churches and Shady Grove Volunteer Fire Department.

Clark said he is aware of multiple qualified individuals interested in the seat.

To be considered, applicants must live in the district, be at least 24 with a high school diploma or GED and have been a Kentucky resident for three years. The state's anti-nepotism laws prohibit applicants who may be close relatives of board employees. A full list of requirements is available in the application packet.

Those, though, do not cover the intangibles that are needed to do the job well, Clark suggests.

"They need to realize we're all connected – parents, grandparents, farmers, business owners...," he explained.

The responsibilities of board members are quite serious. The board, which generally convenes twice a month for its regular meeting and a working session, develops policy for the school district, hires and evaluates the superintendent annually, conducts disciplinary hearings and sets tax rates among many other duties. Facing a need for school construction in the district that can be met only by a tax increase, the state-appointed board member could before their term ends be part of what is sure to be an unpopular vote to produce revenue for construction.

The person selected to fill Orr's seat must complete initial and annual training in board of education governance, which is paid by the board of education. The required number of training hours depends upon years of board experience.

Local board members earn $3,000, mileage for out-of-town conferences and receive $30 per diem for overnight trips.

Applications for the seat should be completed and postmarked by Feb. 22. KDE will schedule interviews approximately 6-15 working days after that date.  All qualified applications received before the interviews are scheduled will be considered.

Tax free through Feb. 28

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Foster youth driver’s license bill heads to Senate

Sixteen- and 17-year-olds in foster care could apply for driver’s permits and driver’s licenses under a bill that has passed the Kentucky House.

House Bill 192, sponsored by Rep. Larry Brown, R-Prestonsburg, said the bill will give foster children access to the same rite of passage that most teenagers enjoy—the ability to get a driver’s license or permit—without requiring them to have a parent’s or other adult’s signature on the permit or license applications.

Brown said teens in foster care could sign permit or license applications for themselves as long as the application is verified by the state and the teenager has proof of insurance.

“Foster youth are very disadvantaged in this respect because most of them have to wait until they turn 18 to be able to get a driver’s license. This will allow them to do so on their own signature,” said Brown.

Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, D-Louisville, described the bill as a positive step for Kentucky’s foster youth.

Foster youth “have felt like there is a stigma attached because all of their peers were able to get driver’s licenses but they just had an ID that basically said who they were,” said Marzian.

HB 192 passed by a vote of 96-0 and now goes to the Senate for consideration.

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

Crittenden County Middle School Principal Tom Radivonyk (left) spent Monday
as a sixth-grader to gain a new perspective on his job as head of the school

Dressed in jeans, a sweatshirt and Converse tennis shoes, Tom Radivonyk packed around his Chromebook, ate from his lunch box and raised his hand to ask questions like the rest of his fellow sixth-graders Monday. The Crittenden County Middle School principal saw the school day from a new perspective as he participated in the second annual Shadow a Student Challenge, a statewide initiative that sends administrators into K-12 hallways and classrooms to immerse themselves in the student experience.

For the rest of this story and the following headlines, pick up a copy of this week's issue of The Crittenden Press:
  • KSP: Death investigation not yet closed
  • Bryant begins serving 6-year sentence
  • Circuit court: Man sent back to jail on sexual assault charge
  • Grand jury: Grand jury indicts 9 on variety of charges
  • Salem man, 34, killed in single-vehicle crash
  • Educators to launch school construction tax PR campaign
  • Marion native merges culture, outdoors for custom getaways
  • 2 hurt in separate Saturday crashes
  • Kentucky colleges release dean’s list
  • County clerk office open one Saturday a month
  • A SIMPLE PERSPECTIVE: Going for less may be best
  • PASTOR'S PEN: Hollywood’s misfits provide little in the form of wisdom
  • Foster parents needed in Crittenden, Livingston
  • SPORTS: Fifth District opens Monday at Trigg
  • SPORTS: Legendary Status: Lady Rockets set wins record
  • SPORTS: Stretch run inspires Rockets for playoffs
  • VAUGHT'S VIEWS: NBA analyst discusses UK draft prospects
  • Spring forest fire hazard season under way
  • FORGOTTEN PASSAGES: Church’s role big in county history
  • Taxpayers’ bill for legislative session: $3.86 million
  • LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: Tax, pension reforms loom
  • LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: Bevin offers sweeping changes, but no solutions
  • GUEST EDITORIAL: Trump vows to ungag pastors
  • Ag Tag donations help local FFA, 4-H programs
  • Mattoon firefighters seek grant for gear
  • License renewals no longer mailed out
  • Mardis Gras event at Fohs cancelled
  • Kentucky starts processing state tax returns week early
  • Scam threatens to cut utility service
  • Caldwell vocational school gets $1.5M
  • Princeton teen shot, killed Monday night

Spring wildland fire season is here

The Spring Forest Fire Season, which begins today and lasts until April 30, is in effect in every Kentucky county. This law prohibits any person to burn between the daylight hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.

The Kentucky Division of Forestry (KDF) urges residents across the state to exercise caution when burning debris during this season. The KDF has responded to 78 wildland fires since January and nearly 40 percent have been attributed to debris burning.

After the drought last fall, and extreme wildfire conditions, it is important to remain vigilant about wildfires. In the spring, people do a lot of yard work that often includes burning leaves and yard debris. The KDF encourages residents considering debris burning to exercise caution and consider all factors in order to help maximize the safety to people, property and to the forest.

“Don’t burn on dry, windy days and maintain a careful watch over a fire until it is extinguished,” said Division of Forestry Director Bill Steele.

For people who choose to burn debris, the KDF urges them to:
  • Consider alternatives to burning. Some yard debris, such as leaves and grass, may be more valuable if composted.
  • Check with your county fire marshal’s office for local laws on burning debris. Some communities allow burning only during specified hours; others forbid it entirely.
  • Check the weather. Don’t burn if conditions are dry or windy.
  • Only burn natural vegetation from your property. Burning household trash or any other man-made materials is illegal. Trash should be hauled away.
  • Plan burning for the late afternoon when conditions are typically less windy and more humid.
  • If you must burn, be prepared. Use a shovel or hoe to clear a perimeter around the area where you plan to burn.
  • Keep fire tools ready. To control the fire, you will need a hose, bucket, a steel rake and a shovel for tossing dirt on the fire.
  • Never use flammable liquids such as kerosene, gasoline or diesel fuel to speed burning.
  • Stay with your fire until it is completely out.
These same tips hold true for campfires and barbeques, also. Douse burning charcoal briquettes or campfire thoroughly with water. When the coals are soaked, stir them and soak them again. Be sure they are out cold and carefully feel to be sure they are extinguished. Never dump hot ashes or coals into a wooded area.

If your are burning agriculture residue and forestland litter, a fire line should be plowed around the area to be burned. Large fields should be separated into small plots for burning one at a time. Before doing any burning in a wooded area, contact your county ranger who will weigh all factors, explain them and offer advice.

For more information on ways you can prevent wildfires and loss of property visit http://forestry.ky.gov.

Area deaths

Marcella Mathis, 78, of Henderson, formerly of Salem, died this morning at Lucy Smith King Care Center in Henderson. Boyd Funeral Directors and Cremation Services is in charge of arrangements.

Aaron Nolan, 35, of Salem, died Tuesday. Boyd Funeral Directors and Cremation Services is in charge of arrangements.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Lady Rockets set new mark for wins

Cassidy Moss gets a congratulatory kiss from her aunt,
Annette Moss Parker during Friday's celebration honoring
Moss for becoming the girls' all-time scoring leader.
Crittenden County's girls' basketball team has had a season full of successes and accolades, and on Tuesday night the Lady Rockets added another feather to their caps.

A two-point win at Hopkins Central makes this year's team the winningest girls' squad ever in CCHS history with 22 victories in a single season.

On Friday, the team celebrated with senior Cassidy Moss who recently became the all-time leading scorer in Lady Rocket history. A reception at Rocket Arena was attended by dozens.


Fatal accident in Livingston County

A Salem man died in a single-vehicle crash on Shelby Store Road in eastern Livingston County this morning at approximately 11:30am. 

Kentucky State Police say Aaron Nolan, 35, died after his Chevrolet Blazer left the roadway and overturned. The police report says he was traveling north on Ky. 133. He was not wearing as seat belt and was ejected from the vehicle, according to the report.

Livingston Middle SBDM to meet

Livingston County Middle School's School Based Decision Making Council will meet  Wednesday from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Cardinal Room Annex. All parents, community members, and staff are invited to attend.

Princeton teen shot to death Monday

A Princeton teen is dead and police are searching for suspects.

Princeton police officers responded to a report of shots fired Monday night at a location in the 300 block of North Seminary Street. They found a 15-year-old lying in the middle of the road. The teen was taken to Caldwell Hospital and later pronounced dead.

His name has not been released, but information on social media indicates that the victim was a Caldwell County football player, DeAryn Hamilton.

Anyone with information is asked to call Princeton Police at (270) 365-2041 or (270) 365-4657.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Grimes opens online poll for voting slogan contest

Students throughout the Commonwealth are participating in Kentucky’s 28th annual Secretary of State Slogan Contest. Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes invites the citizens of Kentucky to vote for their favorite slogan in an online poll today through Friday.

"More than 1,000 students from across the Commonwealth submitted entries for our annual Slogan Contest," said Grimes. "Making sure our youngest Kentuckians understand the power of the vote is one of the most important lessons we can teach them. I hope voters will be inspired by these students' creative slogans and be reenergized to participate."

The contest is open to Kentucky students in the sixth, seventh, and eighth grade. Contestants were invited to enter a slogan to encourage voting. All entries were judged on creativity and the slogan’s ability to convey the importance of voting and civic engagements. The Secretary of State’s office has narrowed the entries down to 20 finalists.

Grimes invites Kentuckians to view the finalists and vote for their favorite slogan at sos.ky.gov. The poll will remain open through 10:59 p.m. local time Friday.

The first, second and third-place winners in the Slogan Contest will receive cash awards worth $1,000, $600 and $400, respectively.

The Secretary of State's office's partners for the contest are the University of Kentucky Scripps Howard First Amendment Center, the Kentucky Department of Education, Kentucky Education Association and KEA Retired, and Harp Enterprises, Inc.

Area Death

Reba Nell Kersey, 79, of Marion died Friday. Myers Funeral Home in Marion is in charge of arrangements.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Sturgis man hurt in 60 crash

Kentucky State Police is investigating a single vehicle, injury-collision that occurred about 10:30pm Saturday on U.S. 60 East near the intersection with Ky. 365.

The preliminary investigation revealed that Jerry Wright, 51, of Sturgis was operating a 2004 Ford F-250 traveling eastbound when he lost control of his vehicle while attempting to negotiate a curve. The truck went off the right side of the roadway and hit an embankment, causing it to overturn.

Wright was transported by ambulance to Methodist Hospital in Union County due to injuries sustained in the collision. He was wearing his seat belt.

Kentucky State Police is investigating the collision. Mattoon Volunteer Fire Department, Crittenden County EMS and Crittenden County Sheriff's Department assisted at the scene.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Motorcyclist hospitalized after crash with deer

A Marion man was injured when the motorcycle he was driving struck a deer on Ky. 365 Saturday night just before dark.

According to state police, Charles Adamson 38, was operating a 2015 Honda XR650 motorcycle traveling south bound when a deer ran out onto the roadway. The collision forced the motorcycle off the right side of the roadway where Adamson and the motorcycle came to final rest. The deer was also laying dead nearby.

Adamson was transported to Baptist Health in Paducah for treatment. He was not wearing a helmet.

Crittenden County EMS and the Mattoon Volunteer Fire Department assisted at the scene.

Moss, Stephens crowned homecoming royalty

Cassidy Moss was celebrated Friday night as the Lady Rockets' new all-time leading scorer and as homecoming queen. Moss and Rocket guard Bobby Stephens were crowned queen and king at the annual basketball homecoming coronation ceremony.

Crittenden County swept the basketball doubleheader, beating St. Mary in the girls' and boys' games.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Hart, Myers and Moss honored tonight

Several big events are on the schedule tonight as the Rockets and Lady Rockets host St. Mary. 

Festivities will begin at 5:30 p.m., with the crowning of the 2017 Basketball Homecoming king and queen.

During halftime of the girls' game, the Farmers Bank Marion-Crittenden County Athletics Hall of Fame will induct two Crittenden alumni, Brad Hart and Kyle Myers. Hart is a 2005 graduate of Crittenden County High School and the only player under Coach Al Starnes to play football and graduate from a Division I college. Myers was the driving force behind the Crittenden County boys’ district championship team in 1998.  A reception will be held in the Rocket Arena Conference Room.

Immediately following the girls' game, which begins at 6 p.m., there will be a special recognition of senior Cassidy Moss, who on Jan. 30 became the girls' all-time leading scorer, eclipsing a record set in 1978 just a few years after the girls program was established in Crittenden County. That record was held by Jeanne Hinchee, who now resides in Chattanooga, Tenn.  Additionally, members of the Lady Rockets' 1,000 Point Club will be honored.

During halftime of the boys' game, the public is invited to a reception for Moss in the Rocket Arena Conference Room. The reception will continue at the conclusion of the boys' game.

Firemen respond to College blaze

Site is now cleared. There does not appear to be extensive damage to the home.

City firemen have responded to a house fire on North College Street in Marion. Light smoke is coming from the rear of the residence and it appears the occupants were at home when it started.

Library extending hours as of March 1

Readers, researchers and internet surfers will have more time to work or enjoy themselves under the roof of Crittenden County Public Library beginning next month.

Starting Wednesday, March 1, the library will be extending hours on four of the six days it is open, including more time after 5 p.m., on weekends and all day Wednesday. Last Thursday, the library board of trustees approved adjusting the facility's hours of operation to 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. This adds 12 hours to the weekly schedule.

"This will give us more opportunities to plan programming and more time for students and families to use all the resources found at the library," said Library Director Regina Merrick.

Merrick introduced the idea to the board last year as planning for physical expansion of the building ramped up. The $2.5 million expansion was put on hold when the library was denied a state grant last fall, but the board decided to move ahead with plans to offer more to its patrons.

Currently, the library is open eight hours on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and half-days on Wednesday and Saturday. In the spring and summer, Monday and Tuesday hours have been extended to 6 p.m.

Over the decades, patrons have become accustomed to the limited weekend and after-5 p.m. hours, and suggestions for improvements at the library have regularly included additional hours of operation. With limited access to high-speed internet across the county and users of free WiFi commonly parked or seated outside the library after closing, the board felt now was a good time to address the community's growing need for online access while giving users of traditional print and audio materials and DVDs something extra, too.

All library services will be available during the extended hours, and some additional programming will go hand in hand as part of the expansion of services.

County convenience center rates

Monument Sale at Henry & Henry

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Thursday, February 9, 2017

Area deaths

Margaret Christine Chittenden, 89, of Marion died Tuesday. Myers Funeral Home in  Marion is in charge of arrangements.

James Roy Tramble, 75, of Burna died Wednesday. Boyd Funeral Directors and Cremation Services in Salem is in charge of arrangements.

1937 flood swamped Crittenden river communities

The Great Flood 1937 inundated communities along the Ohio River that forms Crittenden County’s northern border and its tributaries like the Cumberland River on the southwest border and Tradewater River that forms the northeastern border. The map above shows what flooding (light blue) might have looked like in Crittenden County based on elevation and the reported Ohio River stage at Shawneetown, Ill. The communities of Dycusburg, Tolu, Fords Ferry and Weston were swamped with floodwaters and parts of Shady Grove were under water. The normal channels of the Ohio and Cumberland rivers and an other bodies are shown in dark blue above. Roads are depicted in yellow, and green shows the Shawnee National Forest.


It remains one of the worst natural disasters in American history and is rivaled locally only by the 2009 ice storm that crippled Crittenden County.

The Great Flood of 1937 swamped cities and towns the entire length of the Ohio River, displacing hundreds of thousands of residents from Pittsburgh, Pa., down to Cairo, Ill., including those along Kentucky’s northern border and every river community in Crittenden County. Across four states, the mid-winter calamity claimed 385 lives and racked up nearly $9 billion in damage in today’s dollars.

Because of its rural nature and relatively early warning before the floodwaters rose to epic porportions, Crittenden County was spared the human toll and devestating personal property losses endured in places like Cincinnati, Louisville, Evansville and Paducah. Still, it was a disaster brought on by flooding that won’t likely again be seen locally by anyone living today

“It was a lot of water,” said Robert Lee White, who at 99 is one of the oldest residents of the county to recall a January deluge and the ensuing floodwaters. “If you lived in the right place, it was bad.”

Dycusburg was one of many communities in Crittenden County
where residents were forced to flee to higher ground during the
Great Flood of 1937 along the Ohio River and its tributaries like
the Cumberland River. (Click to enlarge)
Eighty years ago today (Feb. 2, 2017), the inundation was at its peak along the lower Ohio River. At Paducah, the river was at a record 60.6 feet, 21 feet above flood stage. Three days earlier just upstream from the bank in Crittenden County, the river crested at 65.64 feet at Shawneetown, Ill., which is 32 feet above flood stage and almost 10 feet above the next highest crest on May 6, 2011. The rising water reached 68.1 feet in Crittenden County at Lock and Dam 50, where the lockhouse and surrounding homes were submerged.

The 500-year flooding was brought on by a torrent of rainfall over a period of days. Already waterlogged from more than 27 inches of rain in the last four months of 1936, the ground could not handle the 17.6 inches that fell across 22 days in January 1937. The flooding far eclipsed previous records along the Ohio and most of its tributaries and changed how the nation approached natural disasters. In fact, the resulting flood control efforts aimed at preventing those high water marks from being reached again included Kentucky Dam.

The waters rose so high that Coast Guard cutters dispatched to help areas in need were forced to sail through fields and streets when the boats no longer had enough clearance overhead to navigate under bridges.

In Crittenden County, Tolu, Fords Ferry and Weston were put underwater along the Ohio River and Dycusburg residents were forced from their homes along the Cumberland River. The Tradewater River, a minor tributary of the Ohio that forms the county’s northeast boundary, flooded Blackford in Webster County just across the channel and backwaters encircled Shady Grove.

Farmers with cattle and silage were among the last to flee their property, using every hour possible to save livestock and grains from the previous year’s harvest. Still, not all could be saved and agricultural losses accounted for much of the damage in Crittenden County.

Roads and highways like U.S. 60 were swamped, communications compromised and despite the warning time afforded residents due to their locale downstream from major cities already dominating headlines, many refugees were still forced to leave behind all but a few belongings that would fit in a skiff headed for higher ground. Most local refugees were able to stay with friends or family above the rising water. But many out-of-county workers were cut off from returning to their families for many days.

White, who lived with his parents a few miles inland from Tolu and at a higher elevation on Irma White Road, was one of the lucky ones.

“Our house was in the hills, and it didn't bother anything,” he said. “The water was out there, though.”

White and a buddy cobbled together a raft with spare wood from around the farm and explored the flooded lands of northern Crittenden County. Most of the roads, White said, were under water.

“It was a lot of fun,” he recalls. “You could go almost anywhere you wanted.”

White, though, takes no pleasure in accounts of losses from the 1937 flood that saw the Ohio River rise at Tolu by almost an inch per hour at its worst. As a farmer in the area for decades, he understands the give and take of the nation’s second largest river by volume.

Marion remained dry from the flooding, and became a centerpience among regional relief efforts. The city’s National Guard Armory and Woman’s Club of Marion building were used as refugee centers, housing dozens displaced by the flooding. The clubhouse and Fohs Hall were also used as infirmaries, staffed by nurses brought in by the state to tend to the wounded and sick. The Crittenden Press from Feb. 12, 1937, also reports that the city’s three “colored” churches also housed and fed about 75 blacks from Paducah who had nowhere else to go.

The city also served as an American Red Cross distribution hub for food, clothing, bedding and medical supplies. About two dozen men with local Guard unit were called to duty to deliver goods and check on the welfare of area residents.

Recovery from the massive flood was slow. In 1937, the nation was in the depths of The Great Depression. The economic hardships, already among the worst in rural areas like Crittenden County, were made worse from the devastation to agricultural land and retail losses due to nearly a month of isolation.

In the 1930s, there was no flood insurance, no FEMA and those of only the least means received any kind of assistance to rebuild, and that was through the Red Cross. Farmers were eligible for only meager stipends to replace lost silage. The Works Progress Administration, or WPA, was called on to help rebuild public works projects, not assist with private rebuilding. It took more than 1,000 tons of rock to reconstruct Shady Grove Road, now Ky. 120, from Marion to Shady Grove and 1,200 more tons to repair what is now Ky. 91 North from the current edge of Marion’s city limit to Ky. 387.

The 1937 disaster forever changed America’s approach to flood control. Under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the U.S. spent $85 million ($1.4 billion today) on Ohio River flood control and hundreds of thousands in the spring and summer of 1937 alone for mosquito control. Kentucky Dam was built to control the waters of the Cumberland River and hundreds of square miles of low-lying lands along the Ohio were set aside as reservoirs for floodwaters. And floodwalls in cities like Paducah were reconstructed to handle another 500-year event.

For more on the 1937 flood on the Cumberland River in Crittenden County, visit Dycusburg.com.

During the Great Flood of 1937, residents all along the length of the Ohio River from Pittsburgh, Pa., to Cairo, Ill., were forced from their home during the 500-year event. One of the communities affected was Fords Ferry in Crittenden County.
Homes around the Lock and Dam 50 area in Crittenden County were swamped by the 1937 Flood.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Indoor sale!

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

The discovery of a 4-year-old girl walking along U.S. 641 Monday morning led authorities to a tragic find at a Sulphur Springs Road home. Kentucky State Police say a passerby stopped to help the child, and after realizing something was terribly wrong, contacted local authorities shortly after 11 a.m. The sheriff responded to a residence just over a mile away from where the girl was found. Inside her home, the sheriff found her 33-year-old father deceased. Also in the home was an 8-month-old child in a crib...

For more on this story and the following headlines, pick up a copy of this week's issue of The Crittenden Press.
  • Boat dock coming to Dam 50
  • Ruling could affect rural water rates
  • KDE begins process to fill board of ed seat
  • Clark ‘exemplary’ in all facets of evaluation
  • Newcom: Study does not reflect efforts at shelter
  • FOR THE LOVE OF PETS:Pet overpopulation a wide problem
  • FOR THE LOVE OF PETS:Parasites common in dogs, cats highly treatable
  • FOR THE LOVE OF PETS:Food favors can hurt pets
  • SPORTS: Athletics Hall of Fame to induct Hart, Myers on Friday
  • SPORTS: Starnes endorsing Thompson for head job in ’18
  • SPORTS: Rockets limp into final leg
  • SPORTS: Tough win vs. Cards gives girls title share
  • SPORTS: Perkins gets scholarship to play at Ky. Wesleyan
  • VAUGHT'S VIEWS: UK gridiron recruit long way from home
  • SPORTS: Marion tumblers win lots of first-place hardware
  • Atmos continues to upgrade Marion lines
  • Vet benefits claims help available locally
  • Kenergy offices closed Feb. 16
  • Ky. top cattle state east of Mississippi
  • Local pruning class set for Feb. 18
  • Kentucky slips to 4th in coal production
  • Ridley’s legislation would outlaw headlamps of alternative color
  • Scouts recognize MUMC for hosting troops
  • Marion native named Ky. Deputy Chief Justice
  • Blue Knights once again dominate chess boards
  • Friends of Library alters meeting time
  • Crittenden County Schools 2015-16 Report Card
  • DEFEW'S VIEWS: New friend recalls path to U.S. citizenship
  • Community Christmas classes scheduled for annual holiday event
  • CCHS students reap benefits of Kentucky Lottery funds
  • CCES Rocket Role Models named
  • Elementary, middle school students earn trash sculpture awards
  • CCHS, CCMS speech teams qualify
  • Registration receipt needed to renew plates
  • Info session today on dual credit, early graduation HS courses

Visit Our Picket Fence

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Local business hiring

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Coyote context this weekend

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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Tax free February

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Moss reception is Friday night

A special recognition of Crittenden County Lady Rockets' new all-time scoring leader Cassidy Moss will be held immediately following the girls' varsity game Friday night at Rocket Arena. Additionally, there will be a cake and reception during halftime of the boys' game. 

Moss recently eclipsed Jeanne Hinchee's scoring record (1,628 career points) that has stood since the 1978 basketball season. 

The Lady Rocket program will also honor members of the 1,000 Point Club including Hinchee, Shannon Collins Hodge, Jessi Hodge Sigler, Morgan Dooms Morris, Chelsea Oliver, Vanessa Gray and Jessie Mathieu. Former teammates of each of these Lady Rockets are encouraged to attend. 

The Lady Rockets host St. Mary at 6 p.m. Friday. There is a boys' game afterwards.