Friday, March 31, 2017

PADD honoring 100-year-olds

At least seven men and women in Crittenden County have already or will turn 100 this year, and others who have not been identified are encouraged to include their name for public recognition in May.

May is Older Americans Month, and Pennyrile Area Agency on Aging and Independent Living is honoring each centenarian in its nine-county area that includes Crittenden, Livingston, Lyon and Caldwell counties. The agency will provide a recognition plaque for those individuals who are or will be 100 years of age or older on or before Dec. 31, 2017.

To suggest someone to be honored, call Jill Collins at the Agency on Aging at the Pennyrile Area Development District office in Hopkinsville at (270) 886-9484, email her at, fax the honoree's name and information to (270) 886-3211 or visit the PADD website at for a link to access an information sheet. Submissions are requested by Monday.

Longtime anchorman dies

Former WPSD TV anchorman Tom Butler has died.

Butler was a fixture on Channel 6 for many years and he was recently selected to the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame.

Read more at WPSD-TV's website

Union County woman escapes serious injury

A Union County woman narrowly escaped serious injury last night when she crashed her SUV coming into Marion on US 60 East near the city sewer plant.

Police say they continue to investigate the crash.

The woman was taken to Crittenden Hospital and treated for non-lifethreatening injuries.

The vehicle was still in the ditch this morning.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Stolen Signs Creating Big Problems for County

The signs of spring are missing again.

It happens almost every year about this time, road signs start disappearing. It’s a major cost to the county and serious safety concern, said Crittenden County Judge-Executive Perry Newcom.

A few weeks ago, all of the signs on Nunn Switch Road were stolen. A few weeks ago, new road signs were planted along Reiter’s View Road. They were paid for by a state project to improve rural road safety. The next day, they were stolen. Last year about this time, signs were stolen from Fords Ferry and Crittenden Springs roads and around Cave In Rock Ferry landing.

County Attorney Rebecca Johnson said local officials will be more proactive in investigating and prosecuting cases where road signs have been stolen or vandalized. The sheriff is currently work-
ing on a case where a road sign was stolen and later appeared in a wedding photograph on social media. 

Newcom has asked the county’s fiscal court to approve additional funding for road signs in order to make them tougher to steal. He figures with time and materials, it costs about $100 to install a typical green road marker. For about $26 more, the county could get what’s considered anti-theft signs with heavy poles, sturdier material and riveted joints. 

“People don’t realize the safety issues that creates for ambulances and fire departments,” said Magistrate Dan Wood, who is also a member of the Shady Grove Volunteer Fire Department. 

The county attorney said anyone caught with signs will be prosecuted, and depending on the number of signs stolen or damaged, the crime could be considered a felony punishable for a year or more in prison.

The county decided it will soon begin using the sturdier material for road signs.

Remembering Crittenden County in World War I

The fateful day that sealed the doom of more than two dozen Crittenden County men and 116,000 other Americans in World War I is often left to the forgotten pages of history.

Today (Thursday) marks 100 years since the United States joined what until that time had been known here as the “European War.” But when American “doughboys” began shedding their blood on the battlefields of central Europe, the term “World War” was soon adopted.

The brutal war sparked three years earlier by the assassination of Austrian royalty, had long before April 6, 1917, plunged the globe into conflict. It ceased only after claiming the lives of 27 local soldiers and sailors and another 17 million men, women and children from four continents. Another 20 million civilians and military personnel were wounded, many grievously.

The war whose battles were confined primarily to Europe and the Middle East was of little interest to most Americans until Germany resumed unrestricted submarine warfare in early 1917. When the empire once again began claiming American ships and lives, war became inevitable.

The Great War, as it was known before World War II, at its height was adding 10,000 Americans a day to the fight. In Crittenden County, an isolated corner of rural Kentucky seemingly unaffected by European matters, few volunteered for duty. Most of the men from here who served – many of them farmers or spar miners – were drafted into Army service. All told, 2.8 million American men were drafted.

When they left Marion for training, it was not without a grand sendoff. On Sept. 12, 1917, the community gathered at the courthouse and marched to the train depot to see off the first group of local draftees, all to the music of the Marion Orchestra. 

“Everybody was there, feeble fathers, gray haired mothers, sisters, brothers and sweet hearts and not a few were the tears shed," reported The Crittenden Record-Press.

The war would drag on another 14 months, ending on Nov. 11, 1918, a date marked each year by Veterans Day. But that war gave us much more than a November holiday.

Man discovered ever-better ways to kill his fellow man, mechanizing war with new weapons like, warplanes, submarines, tanks, flamethrowers, hand grenades and machine guns. It also gave us chemical warfare.

The “War to End All Wars” fueled the rise of an obscure German corporal nearly killed in the war to the most infamous man in modern history. He, of course, was Adolf Hitler, the architect of the Holocaust and another world war that would claim 60 million more lives. It fed the birth of communism in Russia and today’s unrest in the Middle East.

It spelled the end for world powers (Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires), the decline of others (Great Britain) and the rise of both America and Russia/Soviet Union.

The spread of disease through its global nature led to the 1918 “Spanish Flu” pandemic that claimed more lives than the war itself. As many as 40 million died,   including Crittenden Countians not just in uniform, but those on the homefront.

There were notable figures like Lawrence of Arabia, the Red Baron and Gen. John J. Pershing. It introduced us to Winston Churchill and the grave of the Unknown Soldier.
But World War I also did some good. It helped to perfect blood transfusions, plastic surgery, telecommunications, prosthetics, mass production and psychotherapy. It gave us daylight saving time and an increased role for women in America’s future. It introduced us to words and phrases like “shell shocked,” “dud,” “camouflage,” “souvenir” and “ace.”

This war changed everything.

There is no one left today in Crittenden County to share firsthand accounts of World War I at home or abroad. We are left with only history books, newspaper clippings, ancestry records and secondhand stories to tell the tales and teach us the lessons learned in those two years.

But it is a mistake to gloss over this period in American history and a disservice to mankind to let April 6 go unnoticed. To help, the United States World War One Centennial Commission commemorates this year’s anniversary with a website,; and “American Experience” offers us the three-part, six-hour documentary “The Great War” on KET, running next Monday through Wednesday.

Bus drivers wanted in Crittenden County

A shortage of bus drivers is becoming critical for Crittenden County School District. The school system has already been forced to consolidate a second route.

"The driver shortage continues to be a daily challenge," Superintendent Vince Clark said at last week's board of education meeting.

The district has had to consolidate to 18 routes because it does not have enough drivers, and has virtually no margin for overcoming absences and covering extra-curricular trips, some of which may be overnight.

"We have no room for error right now. We face running a route or taking a trip sometimes," said Wayne Winters, lead vehicle mechanic. "Of course, the route comes first."

Two drivers called in sick Monday, forcing athletic teams to scramble for a driver for after-school games.

Increased regulations over the years and the nature of the job had already created difficulty in finding interested and qualified candidates. But the November 2016 Chattanooga, Tenn., bus crash that killed six children and injured several more has made it even harder. The driver in the deadly crash was speeding and driving recklessly. Winters said increased scrutiny in the media since the wreck has turned up the heat on transportation officials who make the call on hiring drivers.

"You could not sit down to watch mainstream news for two to four weeks without seeing something about that crash," Winters explained. "If I pull your MVR (motor vehicle record) and find a ticket, I have to think twice. It could put us in a bad situation."

Winters said despite repeatedly advertising openings and coverage of the driver shortage in The Crittenden Press, he has received only a handful of applicants over the last few months. He's constantly recruiting and keeping an eye out for potential drivers.

"I'm just not getting the applications," Winters said.

Due to looming retirements and the return of at least one route, there is a need for three full-time drivers and three more subs for the next school year. Subs start out at an hourly rate of $10.19, while full-time drivers begin at $11.80. Incremental raises are added after that.

He admits driving a bus is not for everyone, but for those with the right stuff, it can be rewarding.
"Within three years, they can be making $13," Winters said.

Plus, there's insurance and retirement.

"The cool thing about it, it's one of the few jobs you've got where you can be off on the weekends and 2-3 months in summer," he added. "It's not a bad gig."

A driver can expect about four hours a day and opportunities for even more supplemental income through extra-curricular trips. Winters said retirees, self-employed individuals and even moms with flexible schedules are ideal candidates. In fact, Winters plans to target those women with a new round of advertising.

Currently, about half of the district's drivers are female.

For more information on becoming a bus driver, contact Winters at (270) 965-3866 or email

Company hiring for positions

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

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

Crittenden Health Systems’ most recent financial report is a reflection of the delicate footing on which health care in general teeters. The local hospital, like many others in rural America, is balanced on a thin edge and is ultimately buoyed by government reimbursements and an increase in private payers thanks to the Affordable Care Act. With the country split on the merits of the ACA, it’s clear that expanded insurance coverage has had a positive effect on the local hospital’s bottom line.

For more on this story and the follow headlines, pick up a copy of this week's issue of The Crittenden Press:
  • Investigation into fatal shock of lineman finds errors
  • Tucker looks to honor fellow centenarians
  • Teen located 4 days after going missing
  • Recall petition for school tax would require 408 signatures
  • Jail employees getting $1 raise
  • CCHS competes at Region 2 FFA Day
  • Atmos upgrading lines in Crayne, Fredonia
  • Historical museum set to open April 5
  • Students saving on college debt with dual credit
  • Registration receipt will save $3 on tag renewals
  • MY 2¢ WORTH: Behavior not Representative of adults
  • LEGISLATIVE REVIEW: Work still left in final 2 days of legislative session
  • Traffic stop leads authorities to mobile meth lab
  • Rogers attends family court justice training
  • Breakfast aims to grow leadership
  • Baptist Health goes through struggles
  • Kentucky jobless rate falls
  • Fritts earns high rating for prose
  • KSP seeks leads in unsolved murder
  • SPORTS: Track and field results
  • SPORTS: Softball girls blast tourney foes
  • SPORTS: Crittenden loses district showdown at Lyon County
  • VAUGHT'S VIEWS: Time in Lexington what Diallo expected
  • OUTDOORS: Reluctant contestant, upstater wins buck prize
  • OUTDOORS: Youth turkey season starts Saturday; general season April 15
  • OUTDOORS: Hayes’s 8-pointer scores big in youth buck contest
  • FORGOTTEN PASSAGES: Remember this? Forgotten items recalled
  • Club talks diet, plans Backroads
  • Cox’s entry in contest heads to next level
  • PASTOR'S PEN: What’s happening to the church?

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Tractor-trailer spilling fuel at Moore Hill

This shot was taken by motorist Diane Lundy and
posted on Facebook.
A tractor-trailer crashed at about 11:30am at Moore Hill on U.S. 60 and is spilling diesel fuel.

Emergency responders are on the scene now.

Workers at the nearby Crittenden County Animal Clinic said it sounded like an earthquake when the big rig ran off the highway.

Motorists may want to avoid that area for the next couple of hours.

Pool may not open without public assistance

City officials are still hoping there can be a deal struck to keep the Marion Country Club pool open, but time is running out.

Club officials have said the pool would not open without help from the city. If that happens, it would likely spell an end for the Marion Stingrays, the local swim team of more than five-dozen children.

City Administrator Adam Ledford said the city has credited the club for about $2,600 in over-billed water from last year and offered, among other things, to help detect a leak that kept the small children’s pool closed last year.

However, Ledford said club representatives have not responded to city offers since the two sides meet a few weeks ago and discussed options for keeping the pool going.

Ledford said the country club wants the city to subsidize operation of the pool, which consistently loses thousands of dollars, in exchange for expanding public days at the pool. The pool is actually owned by the private club, but has traditionally been open to the public a few days a week.

The city is not willing to subsidize the operation, according to officials. 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Officials concerned about Country Club Drive

Country Club Drive.
Of significant concern to Marion City Council is the rapid deterioration of Country Club Drive.

Councilwoman D’Anna Sallin in January brought forward her concerns, largely due to the role the pock-marked street plays in transporting students to school. Parents and buses must traverse the street to take children to Crittenden County Elementary School, which is home to nearly 700 students.

“I have had more complaints this week,” she said Monday. “I feel it urgently needs to be addressed.”

The road was initially built to handle a nominal flow of passenger vehicles between Chapel Hill Road to U.S. 60 West. Since its construction, however, the elementary school was built in the early 1980s, and later, Industrial Drive was installed, connecting U.S. 641 to U.S. 60 via Country Club Drive.

The connection created a bypass for tractor-trailers and other heavy trucks otherwise forced to negotiate a precarious 90-degree turn at the U.S. 641-U.S. 60 stoplight. Country Club Drive weathered the heavy traffic fairly well until the construction of a new U.S. 641 sent an untold number of loaded gravel trucks from the Rogers Group quarry on Crittenden Springs Road to the construction site south of town.

Country Club Drive, after two previous harsh winters, is now in a state of severe disrepair. Spot fixes have not lasted. Meantime, Industrial Drive has better sustained the heavy trucks that pass through each day, as it was built to handle typical traffic inside an industrial park.

The council has discussed the issue many times in the past, reaching no solution. Placing a weight limit on Country Club Drive has been considered, yet not seriously pursued. Now, however, resolution may perhaps be within reach following a recent council meeting.

City Administrator Adam Ledford said he has spoken with Kentucky Transportation Cabinet officials about the problem created by heavy traffic using the street to bypass the hairy intersection. He said Monday they appear open to the idea of taking over maintenance of the street. The state, perhaps, appears more eager to repair and keep up Country Club Drive than to rework a problem intersection of two federal highways.

Fire Chief Ronald “Red” Howton, who drives a heavy truck for his employer, said a weight limit will essentially be a paper tiger for most fellow operators.

“You won’t stop it unless you put gates on each end,” he warned.

For more on this matter and other city council business see the March 23 printed edition of The Crittenden Press.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Livingston shooting suspect still at large

Livingston County authorities are still looking for a local man they say is armed and should be considered dangerous.

Christopher “Critter” Curnel, 27, is wanted for attempted murder after a shooting on Lola Road last Thursday. 

Livingston County Deputy Ryan Burrow is the lead investigator in the case. He talked to Curnel on the phone late last week, and he said the suspect had agreed to turn himself in, but did not show up.

The sheriff's department said Curnel was last seen driving a blue 1995 Chevrolet S-10 pickup. The body of the truck is dark blue with light blue front fenders and a primer-gray tailgate.

Curnel faces charges of attempted murder, wanton endangerment and felony theft for an incident at a residence on Lola Road about 2 miles south of Berry’s Ferry. Barrow said Curnel was at the home and three other individuals, a woman and two men, were also there. After an argument, the three other people were fleeing the scene in their vehicles when Curnel allegedly fired multiple gunshots at them from a handgun.

“This was not just a random incident,” the deputy said.

The deputy said all of the individuals involved in the incident were acquaintances. He said Curnel is known to law enforcement officers because he has a criminal history. 

Nobody was hurt in the shooting.

Anyone with information about this case should call the Livingston County Sheriff's Office at (270) 928-2122, Kentucky State Police at (800) 222-5555 or Crime Stoppers at (270) 443-TELL.

Area death

Martha Henshaw Smith, 82, of Sturgis died Wednesday. Whitsell Funeral Home in Sturgis is in charge of arrangements. 

Mexico hosts annual Wild Game Supper Saturday

Mexico Baptist Church will be hosting its annual Wild Game Supper at 5 p.m., Saturday, March 25. 

Keynote speaker will be Steve Chapman, whose more than one dozen books are big sellers among outdoorsmen. His titles include A Look at Life from a Deer Stand, A Hunter Sets His Sights, A Good Husband’s Guide to Balancing Hobbies and Marriage and 365 Things Every Hunter Should Know. 

Chapman is a musician, storyteller and humorist. 

This event is free and will include prizes and a calling contest for kids.

Unplanned pregnancy? HOPE is on the way


A faith-based clinic aimed at helping teens and women in Crittenden and other area counties through unplanned pregnancies is just a couple of months away from opening in Eddyville. However, financial and volunteer support from the communities it serves will be critical to keeping the doors open.

At an informational meeting was recently held in Marion by HOPE Clinic Executive Director Lisa Holland who says the non-profit entity chooses to rely on fundraising, donations and volunteer hours in order to avoid government interference that could restrict the Christian ministry’s focus on the sanctity of life.

HOPE (Healthy Options for Preparing and Empowering) Clinic is a free and confidential place for people who may find themselves in an unplanned pregnancy. An Eddyville clinic will serve Crittenden County clients, as well as those from Lyon, Caldwell and Livingston counties that currently do not have a pregnancy clinic. However, the Benton clinic also serves clients form these counties.

HOPE Clinic does not offer, nor does it encourage abortion as an option. Instead, employees provide information, non-judgmental support and faith-based encouragement for clients and families so that they may make a better, informed decision. In fact, from 2011 to 2016, 79 of 91 clients who came to the clinic considering abortion chose to keep their baby.

To keep the satellite clinic going, it will need financial support. Last year, $177,727 was taken in through donations from individuals, churches and other organizations. The previous five years, $709,900 was raised. The group is looking for churches and other organizations to help.

The next fundraiser will be specifically for HOPE Clinic of Lyon County. It will be at the Lee S. Jones Convention Center in Eddyville at 6 p.m. March 28. It will include a light dinner and commentary from a guest speaker. Seating is limited, so reservations are required by Tuesday by calling (270) 527-4111 or sending a Facebook message to HOPE Clinic of Lyon County.

For more information on HOPE Clinic, call or text (859) 935-1613, call the Benton office at (270) 527-4111or email Holland at The clinic can be found online at

For more on this organization and its fundraising hopes, see the March 16 printed edition of The Crittenden Press.

Forgiveness House: Walk-through Easter drama

Scenes from last year.

First Baptist Church of Fredonia will present its 11th Annual Forgiveness House on two weekends this month and next, starting with this weekend.

During March, the walk-through drama will be held from 6-8 p.m., this Friday and Saturday and from 2:30-8 p.m., on Sunday.

During April, the dates are Friday, April and Saturday, April 15 from 6-8 p.m., each night.

The drama will be held at the church’s Family Life Center located next to the church at 208 Cassidy Avenue in Fredonia.

The production will portray the last days of Jesus Christ on earth.

Event goers will begin their journey through Forgiveness House by viewing the Last Supper of Jesus with his disciples. The next scene will take them to the garden where Jesus prayed. Then comes the scene of Jesus’ crucifixion.  Next is a stop at the tomb where the viewer will experience the resurrection of Jesus Christ. From there, a newly added scene for this year is the ascension of Jesus into Heaven. The final segment will be a visit to Heaven. This scene has also been newly revised.
The entire production includes script changes from previous productions,  and new scenery and music.
Scenes from last year.

This event is free and everyone is not only invited, but encouraged to attend, say organizers.
Child care will be available for children under the age of nine.

New tours will begin approximately every 30 minutes.

Walk-ins are welcome, but reservations are recommended, especially for larger groups.
For more information, call Rena Hillyard at (270) 625-3837 to make reservations.


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

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

An informational meeting hosted by Crittenden County Board of Education to share the rationale for a proposed “recallable nickel” for school construction turned out to be more of an inquisition. A vocal opposition, mostly farmers who would be among the most affected by the property tax, raised more questions than could be answered at last week’s public forum. But school officials say that was part of the purpose for the public forum – find out what taxpayers need to know about the proposed 5.8-cent increase in the school tax before moving forward.

For a comprehensive look at the proposed tax increase and the following headlines, pick up a copy of this week's issue of The Crittenden Press:
  • Man wanted for attempted murder
  • CCMS library move makes room for baby boom
  • Board of ed sets last day of school, summer longer than recently
  • Board of ed gives OK to ag ed for turning bus into greenhouse
  • Bus driver shortage creates havoc
  • Free lunch questioned, threatened
  • Country Club Drive concern for city
  • Utility pole relocation plan on hold for now
  • Fiscal court OKs asphalt for Ky. 365, Ky. 723
  • Tabor selected to fill vacant council seat
  • Local man pops "the question" at Trivia Night
  • Road sign thefts grow
  • EDITORIAL: Frankfort to blame for inequity of school tax
  • LEGISLATIVE REVIEW: Charter schools bad for Ky.
  • LEGISLATIVE REVIEW: Charter schools: No heartburn in House
  • Ky. Legislature: Charter schools, nuclear plants OK’d
  • FORGOTTEN PASSAGES: Crittenden residents head to Washington State at turn of 20th century
  • SPORTS: Charter students, homes-chooler legislation poses questions for public school officials
  • SPORTS: Youth recreational team assignments
  • SPORTS: Track & Field results
  • SPORTS: Summer hoops action set for boys
  • SPORTS: Book’s walk-off triple completes comeback
  • SPORTS: Crittenden winless after first 4; rain makes going even tougher
  • Wood Badge recognizes Combs for leadership
  • County seeks fitness grant for park’s trail
  • VAUGHT'S VIEWS: LB Daniel ‘keeps it real’; ‘Cats survive Shockers
  • Easter Story comes to life at Forgiveness House
  • Sun ending Monday print newspaper
  • Bruns presents at WKU conference
  • Crochet Corner creates comradery, craft time
  • Post 217 celebrates 98 years of service
  • New resource offers clothes, accessories at CCMS
  • Spring Fling Saturday

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Discout Grocery in Marion

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Job Opening: Deli manager sought

Deli manager wanted at Conrad’s Harvest Foods. Competitive pay commensurate with experience. Apply in person weekdays 10 a.m., to 4 p.m. No phone calls please.

AG opposes KU's full rate hike

How it will affect your KU bill
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A recommendation from Kentucky's top law enforcement official could save a large number of electricity users in Crittenden County several dollars on each month's utility bill.

Attorney General Andy Beshear announced last Thursday that his Office of Rate Intervention is recommending that the Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) hold PPL Corp. sister utilities Kentucky Utilities Co. (KU) and Louisville Gas & Electric (LG&E) to approximately one-third of the increase requested in rate cases filed late last year. Local customers of KU will get a chance to weigh in on the proposed rate adjustment next month.

In November, the utilities filed an application with the PSC for a combined $210 million increase in annual revenues. KU is seeking $103.1 million of that. Beshear’s rate proposal incorporates the testimony of five experts, including an engineer, and asks the PSC to reduce the rate request by $142 million.

KU wants to double the basic service charge for customers, a charge commonly known as the meter fee, and slightly lower the charge per kilowatt hour (kWh). The request to restructure the rates would impact 516,000 customers in 77 Kentucky counties, including hundreds of users in Marion and portions of rural Crittenden County.

The PSC will hold a public meeting in Madisonville at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 12 in the Byrnes Auditorium of the Hatley Building on the MCC campus. Persons wishing to comment on the proposed rate increase may do so at the public meetings, or written comments may be mailed to the PSC.

For more on this issue, see the March 16 printed issue of The Crittenden Press.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Smithland bridge takes barge hit

UPDATED, 4:15 p.m.
An inspection found no damage. The bridge has re-opened.

A barge hit on the US 60 Cumberland River Bridge at Smithland in Livingston County has halted vehicular traffic on the bridge for a time.

The U.S. 60 Cumberland River bridge at Smithland, also known as the Lucy Jefferson Lewis Memorial Bridge and the Smithland Bridge, is at US 60 Livingston County mile point 12.348. 

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the Motor Vessel Bill Atkinson was heading downstream on the Cumberland River with 15 barges when it rubbed against the one in-water pier on the bridge.  The Coast Guard contacted the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Paducah Office to halt traffic and conduct an inspection.

The estimated duration is 90 minutes.

The 1,817 ft. through truss structure was opened to traffic in 1931.  About 5,100 vehicles cross the bridge in an average day.

Kindergarten registration under way

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Three considered for open school board seat

Three names are being considered by the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) to fill the vacant seat on the five-member board of education, and all support a proposed tax increase for new school construction.

Ryan C. McDaniel, Kenneth O. “Ken” Crider and Michael A. “Mike” Crider were all educated in Crittenden County schools and have children in the local education system, including the middle school, which is targeted for replacement in the school district's construction plan. They will be interviewed later this month by a KDE-appointed panel to fill Phyllis Orr's unexpired term. The names were released last week.

A fourth applicant, Crittenden County Public Library Assistant Director Kathleen Guess, was disqualified because she works for local government.

Interviews are scheduled for Tuesday, March 28 at the Crittenden County Board of Education central office, according to Nancy Rodriguez, a spokesperson for KDE.

"Following the interview, a recommendation will be drafted and forwarded to the Commissioner of Education Stephen Pruitt for consideration," she said.

Interviews will be conducted by a panel of designees from outside the county appointed by Pruitt. The panel will consist of individuals from an array of educational interests from across the state, including other boards of education. It will not include anyone from the local school district or board of education.

Pruitt will make the final call on selecting a new board member by April 26. He will review the panel's recommendation, but is not bound by it. He may select any of the three candidates. The new board member will serve the remainder of Orr's unexpired term, which ends December 2018. He may run in the non-partisan 2018 general election to keep the seat.

All applicants are from Educational District 5, which was represented by Orr for 15 years prior to her resignation in January due to health reasons. 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.

The appointee will begin his service immediately.

For more on this article, including interviews with the candidate, see the March 16 printed issue of The Crittenden Press.

Health departments sponsor running events

Pennyrile District Health Department is sponsoring the inaugural Pennyrile Spring Cross Country Challenge Season with the first race to be held in Marion.

This will be a five-race series with events taking place in Trigg, Lyon, Caldwell, Crittenden and Livingston counties from April to August. The purpose of this race is to encourage all ages to become physically active through walking and running. There will be a race each month with distances of 1K, 2.5K and 5K. Medals or bracelets will be awarded to top finishes in each division. Runners will accumulate points based on their finishes in each race and there will be awards for the top three runners in age division at the season’s end.

Early Registration is encouraged. Applications are now available on the Pennyrile District Health Department Facebook Page, at each of the local health departments and throughout many of the schools and businesses across the district.

Each race will cost $20, or pay only $75 to enter them all. Registration will include a shirt, if met by the deadline. Registration for the entire season will allow you to receive a season shirt and each of the five race shirts.

Race day registration may allow for shirts to be given out on a first come basis.

Proceeds support outreach wellness programs. Sponsors are also being sought for each race and the series. The first race will be at Marion-Crittenden County Park on April 29. Registration deadline is April 15. For more information, contact your local health department or the district office at (270) 388-9747 ext. 403.

Racing Series Schedule
Race Date    Place   Early Registration
April 29   Marion       April 15
May 20   Eddyville  May 5
June 17   Cadiz         June 1
July 22      Princeton July 7
Aug. 19   Smithland Aug. 5

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Police looking for armed Livingston man

Critter Curnel
Authorities are looking for a Livingston County man they say is armed and dangerous.

The Livingston County Sheriff's Department says Christopher "Critter" Curnel, 27, is wanted for attempted murder after a shooting on Lola Road near Salem on Thursday.

The sheriff's department said Curnel was last seen driving a blue 1995 Chevrolet S-10 pickup. The body of the truck is dark blue with light blue front fenders and a primer-gray tailgate. The truck bears a Kentucky registration plate with the number 389LKJ.

Curnel faces charges of attempted murder, wanton endangerment and felony theft.

Anyone with information about this case should call the Livingston County Sheriff's Office at 270-928-2122, Kentucky State Police at 1-800-222-5555 or Crime Stoppers at 270-443-TELL.

Friday, March 17, 2017

City seeking laborers

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Green trivia at 7 tonight at library

Oops! Installment 3 of Trivia Night at Crittenden County Public Library begins at 7 p.m. today. The time listed in this week's issue of The Crittenden Press was listed incorrectly. In honor of St. Patrick's Day, this month's trivia will have a green theme.

Be safe for St. Paddy's Day!

As Kentuckians prepare to celebrate one of the country’s most popular holidays, the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety (KOHS) is reminding motorists to plan for a designated driver before the St. Patrick’s Day party begins. 
Local and state police will be conducting extra patrols Friday night in and around Marion and Crittenden County.
“If you know you are going to drink, plan a ride ahead of time,” said KOHS Executive Director Dr. Noelle Hunter. “Alcohol not only dangerously impairs your driving skills – it impairs your judgment. Don’t wait until you’ve been drinking to find a sober driver.”  

Tragically, St. Patrick’s Day has become one of the nation’s deadliest holidays. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 25 percent of the fatal crashes that occurred last year during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday involved drunken drivers.
“With all the sober ride options available, there is never an excuse for driving after drinking,” said Hunter. 

According to NHTSA, on average, one person is killed every 53 minutes in a drunk-driving crash in the United States. Last year, more than 16 percent of fatalities on Kentucky roadways were due to a drunken driver.
To prevent roadway tragedies from occurring, the KOHS recommends the following:

    • Before the festivities begin, plan a way to get home safely at the end of the night.

    • Before drinking, designate a sober driver and leave your car keys at home.

    • If you are impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation or your local sober ride program.

§  Download the free “Drive Sober Kentucky” application for information on local taxi services and sober ride programs. Visit for more information.

    • If you see a drunken driver, contact law enforcement. Safely pull off the road and utilize the one-touch dial feature through the “Drive Sober Kentucky” app. The call will be received at the nearest Kentucky State Police post. Callers will remain anonymous and should give a description of the vehicle, location, direction of travel and license number if possible.

    • If you know people who are about to drive while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements.

“Please have a safe and happy St. Patrick’s Day,” said Hunter. “All we ask is that you celebrate responsibly.”

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Yearly tree giveaway Friday; 7 varieties

Crittenden County Conservation District will again offer free tree seedlings to residents of the county. Seedlings will be available from 10 a.m. until noon Friday in front of the office located at 118 E. Bellville St. in Marion.

This year’s offerings include paw-paw, pecan, southern red oak, overcup oak and persimmon. These seedlings were purchased by Crittenden County Conservation District. The Kentucky Division of Forestry has matched this purchase with flowering dogwood and chestnut oak.

The Conservation District welcomes persons throughout Crittenden County to take advantage of this opportunity. However, quantities are limited and there will be a per person limit of 10 trees.

Wild Game Supper next Saturday

Click Image to Enlarge

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Area death

Mary June Jennings, 77, of Burna died Tuesday. Boyd Funeral Directors and Cremations Services is in charge of arrangements.

What's news this week in Crittenden County

Educational District 5
Three names are being considered by the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) to fill the vacant Educational District 5 seat on the five-member board of education, and all support a proposed tax increase for new school construction. Ryan C. McDaniel, Kenneth O. “Ken” Crider and Michael A. “Mike” Crider were all educated in Crittenden County schools and have children in the local education system, including the middle school, which is targeted for replacement in the school district's construction plan.

Find more on this story and the following headlines inside this week's edition of The Crittenden Press:
  • Marion man, 20, killed in Saturday crash
  • AG wants KU rate increase request cut by 2/3
  • Faith-based clinic offers HOPE to unready mothers
  • Crittenden 1 of 7 counties where jobless rate jumped
  • Salem woman, 53, arrested on meth-related charges
  • EDITORIAL: Ag Day gives us pause to thank our local farmers
  • AD DAY: Extension agents help keep counties’ diverse agriculture thriving
  • AG DAY: Comparison of 2012 county ag census with 1950
  • LEGISLATIVE REVIEW: Later school start bill awaits Governor
  • LEGISLATIVE REVIEW: Time short for lawmakers
  • Sen. Ridley planning for eclipse
  • Yearly tree giveaway Friday; 7 varieties
  • Meetings invite education accountability input
  • March recognized as Eye Donor Month
  • Foundation grants museum funding
  • Siemens executives meet with Congressman Comer
  • Perrin wins essay contest
  • Fohs Hall offers renewable scholarship to senior class
  • SPORTS: Free cleats, bats for youth players
  • SPORTS: Late losses keep Rockets winless after 2
  • SPORTS: Beverly homers in Lady Rockets’ 11-0 win to open season
  • SPORTS: Starnes expects strong track season
  • VAUGHT'S VIEWS: Hawkins important to UK’s tourney run
  • BRACKETS: Find our 2017 NCAA brackets
  • SPORTS: Area runners invited to 5-race series

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Trump in Louisville on Monday

President Donald Trump will be in Louisville early next week.

Trump will speak Monday at the Kentucky Exposition Center.

Vice President Mike Pence visited Louisville Saturday as part of the effort to sell a White House-backed health overhaul.

Trump will also be in Nashville on Wednesday.

Concern mounts over potential eclipse crowd

While a couple of local organizations are rolling out the welcome mat and inviting the world to Crittenden County on the third Monday in August, others are huddling up, trying to figure out what to do if everyone shows up.

Crittenden County Chamber of Commerce and Crittenden County Lions Club are among those making plans and sending out invitations for people to visit Marion to view or celebrate the first solar eclipse in the continental United States in the last 38 years.

The Lions, who own the fairgrounds, are advertising on the internet that they will rent eclipse enthusiasts a small space to set up a telescope or self-contained camper. There is no power, water or sewer available for campers at the fairgrounds. 

Chamber members are promoting a weekend event just ahead of the eclipse.

“We will be having a festival at our park on Saturday, Aug. 19 centered around the solar eclipse,” said Angel Henry, vice president of the Chamber. “Several of us attended a regional meeting (last week) and left with tons of valuable information to make our festival a success. We plan to have live music, contests and will end the day with an outdoor viewing of the movie ‘ET’.”

A backdrop to all the planning for these opportunities is a bit of concern from Crittenden County Emergency Management and other groups responsible for safety, transportation and other human needs. There are some who think a mass influx of thousands would create major traffic jams, consume all available fuel, overload cellular networks and create a significant, perhaps even crippling, stress on other limited resources. 

Some schools in the area have already announced they will be closed on the day of the eclipse, Aug. 21, but Crittenden County is currently planning to stay on a normal course. School Transportation and Safety Director Al Starnes said the district has purchased 1,300 pairs of glasses for students to safely view the eclipse.

“We think this is a great opportunity for our students. We have activities planned in order to make it educational.

“We are listening and hearing what is being said, but right now we feel like our best option is to not close school,” Starnes said. 

Keith Todd, spokesperson for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, said state transportation officials are anticipating a potential swamping of major roads and highways.

“We’re looking at this like they handle coastal evacuations during hurricanes,” Todd said. “We handled major events in Kentucky like the Equestrian Games, Kentucky Derby and auto races, so we have some expertise.”

Todd said there is potential for gas stations running out of fuel and bottled water being scarce because the event will be in August when temperatures in Kentucky can reach triple digits. 

“We are looking at billboards that will tell people they can’t stop on the sides of the highways,” he said.

If there is a major overload on the infrastructure and resources, Crittenden County Emergency Management Director David Travis said Crittenden County will be on its own. He said other outside resources, such as assistance from the National Guard or other government entities, will not be immediately available.

“They are telling us we will be on our own for the first 72 hours,” he said. “If we get 2,500 to 3,000 people in the community, we would be swamped.”

Of course, no one knows yet when the guests will start showing up.

Fred Brown, another emergency management official for the county, said many jurisdictions are already trying to declare a state of emergency in order to trigger funding and response mechanism. 

“Our No. 1 concern in this county is road blockage,” Brown said. “We have two-lane roads, and if drivers pull off the side to watch this, it could choke traffic and create accidents. If people get stuck here, we have nowhere to put them.”

Right now, it’s too difficult to predict what can be expected when the skies go dark, but one thing is for sure, local leaders are starting to worry a bit and to plan for the worst.

Monday, March 13, 2017

District-produced video explains need for new school

There is a short survey at the end
that school district officials would
like for local citizens to complete

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Printable NCAA brackets

Click to enlarge and print

20-year-old Marion man dies in crash

Facebook profile photo
A young Marion man died in a single-vehicle automobile accident last night shortly before midnight.

Kentucky State Police investigated the crash that resulted in the death of 20-year-old Logan Bingham.

It happened approximately 2.5 miles east of Marion on US 60 at 11:46pm.
The preliminary investigation found that Bingham was operating a 2004 Chevrolet passenger car traveling westbound on US 60.  For an undetermined reason his vehicle ran off the right shoulder of the roadway and struck a tree.

Bingham was wearing a seatbelt and succumbed to his injuries on scene, according to state police. There were no passengers in the vehicle.

According to information on social media, Bingham was employed at Henry and Henry Monument Co., in Marion and was attending Madisonville Community College. He was a 2015 graduate of Crittenden County High School and had recently worked as a fueling attendant at Liberty Fuels on the south side of Marion.

The investigation is ongoing by Trooper Cody Kromer.  Trooper Kromer was assisted on scene by Trooper Jacob Stephens, Sergeant Craig Engler, the Crittenden County Sheriff’s Department, Marion Fire Department, Kentucky Highway Department and the Crittenden County Coroner’s Office.

Board wants tax hike to build new school

The middle school was built before 1950.
Despite being one of the landowners who would be hit hardest, Natalie Parish says she supports a tax increase being considered by Crittenden County Board of Education to give both middle- and high-schoolers new homes.

The proposed 5.8-cent increase, or  recallable nickel, would be assessed on each $100 of property, generating enough revenue to finance the proposed $8 million project.

Parish and her husband Philip own and farm hundreds of acres in Crittenden County and would pay hundreds more dollars each year in school taxes. But the couple also has a senior and freshman in Crittenden County High School.

“It’s going to cost our family greatly, but how else are we supposed to get (a new school)?” Parish said.

The Parishes, too, are facing the possibility of a similar tax increase on their Caldwell County acreage. The school board there is also considering a recallable nickel, but the family still supports the proposal locally.

“I understand we have a 70-year-old middle school. I respect that,” Parish said in support of the board’s proposal. “I also realize it’s going to be costly for people, especially over 20 years. I respect that, too.”

The school district has posted on its web site a 9-minute YouTube video explaining the need for school construction, as well as a survey and downloadable answers to frequently asked questions and an outline of a facilities plan. At 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, the information will be shared live with the general public during a forum in the Rocket Arena conference room. 

As planned, Crittenden County Schools would need $6.7 million to build a new high school and another $1.3 million to renovate CCHS for middle-schoolers, demolish the portion of CCMS built in 1949 and renovate the eighth-grade wing for a new central office.

CCMS suffers from myriad issues, including undersized classrooms; plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical systems in need of replacement; floor supports slowly rusting away; and more. Giving those students the two-story high school would provide plenty of breathing room and modern infrastructure in a building that is 40 years old and allow the top four grades to have a new, state-of-art high school with more accommodations for 21st century learning.

Currently, the school district has about $4.75 million in bonding potential through a nickel construction tax automatically built into the 46.3-cent school levy. With a state match, the second, recallable nickel would generate about $6 million more, which could be used only for construction.  

Only districts that implement the recallable nickel can receive the matching state monies.

If approved by the board, voters can petition to recall the tax in a special election.

The tax would cost property owners $5.80 for each $10,000 worth of real property. Motor vehicles would not be assessed, therefore renters would foot no portion of the bill to build a new school.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Byford Sworn as Mayor

Read More in the March 9 issue of The Press
Click Above Image to Enlarge

Daylight Saving Time in the Morning

Daylight saving time returns in the morning.

You will lose an hour of sleep tonight but will enjoy more evening light in the months ahead.

Move your clocks ahead by an hour before you go to bed Saturday night, so you're not caught off-guard in the morning. For most of the U.S., the change officially starts Sunday at 2 am local time.

It is also a good time to remember to put fresh batteries in smoke detectors and radios, and repeat that when standard time returns Nov. 5.

No time change is observed in Hawaii, most of Arizona, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Marianas.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Softball, Baseball Season Passes

Season passes for softball and baseball will go on sale Monday at Crittenden County High School.

A season pass for adults is $30 and $10 for students. 

The pass is good for all home baseball and softball games.

Auction Saturday in Mayfield

Click Image to Enlarge

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

School calendar bill going to governor’s desk

A bill that would give school districts more leeway in setting school calendars is on its way to the governor’s desk after passing the Kentucky House today.

Senate Bill 50, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, would allow school districts to operate on a “variable student instructional year” that would offer the same 1,062 or more hours of instructional time that’s required for students under current rules. Districts that opt for the variable instructional year wouldn’t have to meet the state’s 170-day requirement for the school year, as long as students receive the number of hours’ worth of instruction that are proportionately equivalent to 170 school days.

Districts could begin using the variable student instructional year with local board approval beginning with the 2018-2019 school year if their first day of instruction is on or after the Monday closest to Aug. 26.

Rep. Brian Linder, R-Dry Ridge, who explained the bill before the House vote, said the variable option is “completely voluntary” and is designed to give school districts more flexibility.

“When we look at schools, after testing, many days have become track-and-field and band field trip days,” said Linder. “Many schools go these days just to get those days in. This bill will allow them (if they start on the Monday closest to Aug. 26) to use this and only use the 1,062 hours.”

House Minority Whip Wilson Stone, D-Scottsville, was concerned that the bill limits school days to seven hours.

“If districts don’t elect to extend their school day somehow, either at the beginning or the end of the day, then it would be very difficult for school districts to start the 26th of August and still not be going into June,” said Stone.

The bill also would allow for creation of school district calendar committee (comprised of a school principal, office administrator, a school board member, parents of students in the district and a few others) that would recommend school calendar options to the local board. And it would require that the media be notified of school board meeting regarding the school calendar at least 24 hours in advance.

SB 50 passed the House by a vote of 77-18. It was approved by the Senate on a 33-1 vote on Feb. 9. Rep. Lynn Bechler, R-Marion, and Sen. Dorsey Ridley, D-Henderson, each voted in favor of the bill.

For audio clips on this and other topics from lawmakers as well as news photos from the current session, visit the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission online. Video clips from the current session, as well as archived videos, are available on the LRC's YouTube channel. To view or sign up for news releases from the current session, visit the LRC's news page.  A virtual tour of the Capitol is also available online.

REAL ID compliance bill advances to Senate

The Kentucky House voted 77-19 today to create “voluntary travel ID” cards that would meet federal REAL ID requirements, while also voting to change procedures for issuance of standard Kentucky driver’s licenses and permits. Rep. Lynn Bechler, R-Marion, voted against the bill.

House Bill 410, sponsored by Rep. Jim DuPlessis, R-Elizabethtown, would create the voluntary travel ID—an enhanced driver’s license that could be used to board airplanes and enter certain federal facilities, including certain military facilities, as of Jan. 1, 2019 while meeting security standards of the 2005 federal REAL ID Act. The bill would also spell out rules for the issuance of a “standard” driver’s license, permit or state personal ID card as of that date.

The licenses, permits and IDs under HB 410, both enhanced and standard, would be issued by the state Transportation Cabinet instead of the state Office of the Circuit Court Clerk, as they are now, and allow the documents to be renewed for eight years instead of the current four.

DuPlessis said a standard driver’s license would be standard issue, although those who choose that over the voluntary travel ID would not be able to use a standard license to board an airplane or enter certain federal facilities, as they would with a voluntary travel ID.

“If that person wants to get on an airplane they will need to take their standard Kentucky driver’s license along with some supplemental that the government has listed, maybe a passport,” said DuPlessis. “Standard practice, standard driver’s license, and enhanced practice gives you the voluntary travel ID.”

New fees for driver’s licenses and personal ID cards issued to non-U.S. citizens or non-permanent residents would also be established under the bill, which would add a $30 fee onto driver’s license, permit and personal ID applications for those individuals. Proceeds from that fee would go into the state’s Road Fund.

Kentucky issued driver’s license and/or permits and personal ID cards to around 20,000 immigrants in the state in 2016, said DuPlessis. If that same number were issued annually under HB 410, he said that could mean around $600,000 in additional state Road Fund dollars.

Other provisions of HB 410 would allow former members of the Kentucky National Guard and Reserve to have that service designated on their driver’s license, and allow spouses and dependents of active duty military stationed outside Kentucky to get a Kentucky driver’s license or personal ID.

When asked by Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, D-Louisville, if there would be public education and outreach about the new licensing and ID procedures that would be established under HB 410, DuPlessis answered with a swift “yes.”

“I’ve spoken with the Transportation Secretary and he’s emphatic that we would do exactly that,” he told Marzian.

HB 410 now goes to the Senate for its consideration.

For audio clips on this and other topics from lawmakers as well as news photos from the current session, visit the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission online. Video clips from the current session, as well as archived videos, are available on the LRC's YouTube channel. To view or sign up for news releases from the current session, visit the LRC's news page.  A virtual tour of the Capitol is also available online.