An Edmonson County Grand Jury returned the following indictments in February, 2020.
Natasha Goodall, flagrant non support.
Wallace Mercer, flagrant non support.
Adam Miller, flagrant non support.
Susan Cherry, trafficking in controlled substance in the first degree. Drug paraphernalia- buy/possess. Possession of marijuana. Careless driving. Tampering with physical evidence.
Johnathan E. Willoughby, possession of controlled substance in the first degree (meth). Public intoxication. Drug paraphernalia- buy/possess.
Timothy R. Bridges, possession of controlled substance in the first degree, second offense-meth. Drug paraphernalia- buy/possess. Leaving scene of accident. Criminal mischief in the first degree. (two counts) Criminal mischief in the third degree.
Pedro Sanchez, flagrant non support.
Patrick Ingram, Receiving stolen property $10,000 or more. Escape in the second degree. Fleeing or evading police in the first degree (on foot). Resisting arrest. Operating motor vehicle on suspended or revoked license. Disorderly conduct in the second degree. Persistent felony offender in the first degree.
Erik Harley Anderson, Possession of controlled substance in the first degree, second offense, meth- firearm enhanced. Receiving stolen property over $500. Receiving stolen property (firearm). Drug paraphernalia- buy/possess, firearm enhanced. Engaging in organized crime. Possession of firearm by convicted felon. Persistent felony offender in the second degree.
Erik D. Anderson, Possession of controlled substance in the first degree, meth- firearm enhanced. Receiving stolen property over $500. Receiving stolen property (firearm). Drug paraphernalia- buy/possess, firearm enhanced. Engaging in organized crime.
Martha Poteet, Assault in the third degree- police officer (two counts). Wanton endangerment- first degree- police officer (two counts). Resisting arrest (three counts). Criminal trespassing in the second degree (two counts). Burglary in the third degree. Terroristic threatening in the third degree. Menacing (two counts). Theft by unlawful taking or disposition all others under $500. Disorderly conduct in the second degree (two counts). Criminal mischief in the third degree.
Samantha Seabolt, Possession of controlled substance in the first degree (meth). Drug paraphernalia- buy/possess.
Calley Bell- Anderson, Possession of controlled substance in the first degree, meth- firearm enhanced. Receiving stolen property over $500. Receiving stolen property (firearm). Drug paraphernalia- buy/possess, firearm enhanced. Engaging in organized crime.
Tasha M. Anderson, Possession of controlled substance in the first degree, meth- firearm enhanced. Receiving stolen property over $500. Receiving stolen property (firearm). Drug paraphernalia- buy/possess firearm enhanced. Engaging in organized crime.
Sydney Sawyer, Possession of controlled substance in the first degree, meth- firearm enhanced. Receiving stolen property over $500. Receiving stolen property (firearm). Drug paraphernalia- buy/possess, firearm enhanced. Engaging in organized crime.
Tyler A. Miller, Possession of controlled substance in the first degree, second offense, meth-firearm enhanced. Receiving stolen property over $500. Receiving stolen property (firearm). Drug paraphernalia- buy/possess, firearm enhanced. Engaging in organized crime. Possession of firearm by convicted felon.
Jacob D. Burton, Trafficking in controlled substance in the first degree- meth. Drug paraphernalia- buy/ possess. Fleeing or evading police, second degree (on foot). Possession of marijuana. Theft- receipt og stolen credit/debit- 2 or more cards. Persistent felony offender in the first degree.
Kyra Leeann Holt, Trafficking in controlled substance in the first degree- meth. Drug paraphernalia- buy/possess. Fleeing or evading police, second degree (on foot). Escape in the second degree.
James Clinton, Possession of matter portraying a sexual performance by a minor (five counts). Video Voyeurism (five counts).
Corey Vanmeter, Theft by failure to make required disposition of property $500 or more.
Timothy McGrew, Assault in the fourth degree- domestic violence. Strangulation in the first degree. Possession of marijuana. Resisting arrest. Possession of controlled substance in the first degree. Criminal mischief in the third degree. Persistent felony offender in the first degree.
Kenton Webb, Theft by deception- include cold checks- $500 or more.
Charles Neighbors, Possession of controlled substance in the first degree (meth). Failure to or improper signal. Possession of marijuana. License to be in possession. Drug paraphernalia- buy/possess.
Dena A. Burris, Possession of controlled substance in the first degree. Prescription controlled substance not in original container.
Deanna M. Miller, Possession of controlled substance, first degree, third or greater offense (meth).
William Saltsman, Trafficking in controlled substance in the first degree (meth). Drug paraphernalia- buy/possess. No registration plates. Theft- receipt of stolen credit/debit card. Possession of a controlled substance in the first degree.
Kimberly A. Deering, Trafficking in controlled substance in the first degree (meth). Drug paraphernalia- buy/possess. Theft- receipt of stolen credit/debit card. Possession of a controlled substance in the first degree. Giving officer false identifying information. Persistent felony offender in the first degree.
Note: An indictment is only a formal charge and is not an admission of guilt. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Darren Doyle, story:
Alford's Pharmacy and Drive-Thru is now offering a $3,000 cash reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person involved in the break-in that happened at their location in the Main Street Center in Brownsville on Thursday, January 30, 2020.
Owner Kasey Alford said video surveillance footage shows a suspected vehicle involved, which is thought to be either a Ford or Dodge pickup, two-tone in color with an extended cab. The truck also had a diamond plate toolbox and what appears to one green fog light. The pharmacy was able to get short segments of video from neighboring cameras that showed the pickup slowly circling the area multiple times around the same time the break-in occurred. While the quality is poor, one shot showed the suspected pickup.
Anyone with information can contact the Brownsville Police Department at 270-597-3814. Your information can remain anonymous with the police.
"We really appreciate the concern and care from the public," said Alford. "Please share this with everyone so this person can be caught."
**UPDATE: 2/19/20, 9:21am: KSP has reported Darron M. Wren has been located and taken into custody by the Glasgow Police Department. Wren has been charged with escape 2nd degree.
On February 18, 2020 at approximately 2:39 PM, Kentucky State Police Post 3 in Bowling Green, received a call stating an inmate had escaped from the Hart County Jail located at 520 AA Whitman Lane in Munfordville.
The escapee is Darron M. Wren, age 30, of Cave City, KY. Wren is a white male, with brown hair, hazel eyes, approximately 5’9” tall, and weighs approximately 135 pounds. Wren was last seen wearing blue jeans and a white hooded sweatshirt.
If anyone has information on the whereabouts of the subject, please contact Kentucky State Police Post 3 at 270-782-2010 or by Text a Tip via the Kentucky State Police App. Callers may remain Anonymous.
"He pulled out a gun and pointed it at me and he said give me all the money."
Darren Doyle, story and photo:
The clerk that opened up the Z Mart convenience store on HWY 259N, formerly Jr. Foods in the Sweeden community, discussed the frightening moment when an armed, masked man busted in the door demanding money.
The young clerk, who asked not to be named, along with the store manager, described the incident that occurred at 4:55am on Saturday morning, just as he opened the store.
He said a man quickly entered the store, wearing all black, with a black hood and mask. He said the man was completely covered and ran straight at him, where he was standing at the register.
"I knew when he came in it wasn't good, there was going to be trouble," he said. "He pulled out a gun and pointed it at me and he said give me all the money."
The clerk said he opened up the register and told the man to take the money.
"I told him, 'here, take it,'" as he motioned his hands up in the air. "He grabbed the money and he punched me." He pointed to his stomach and head.
The store manager said he feels like the suspect is someone that is local or familiar with the place because he knew the layout of the store.
"He knew when we opened and he knew where to take the clerk," said the manager, who noted that the robber took the clerk to another area of the store.
The clerk said the entire incident was over in just under a couple of minutes. He also said he called the police as soon as the robber left. Because it was still dark, he never saw a vehicle.
"I am very lucky," he said. "I was very scared."
The suspect is described as being 5'0"- 5'2" in height and was wearing black clothing, a black mask and gloves. The case is being investigated by Kentucky State Police. If anyone has information in reference to this incident or the identity of the person involved, please contact Kentucky State Police Post 3 at 270-782-2010 or via the Kentucky State Police App. Callers may remain anonymous.
Edmonson Voice Staff Report:
Kentucky State Police are investigating an armed robbery that took place over the weekend in Sweeden, according to a press release from KSP.
Troopers responded to Z Mart (formerly JR. Food Store) early Saturday morning to the report from employees that the store had been robbed at gunpoint.
KSP reported that at approximately 4:55 A.M. a male brandishing a handgun entered into the convenience store and demanded cash. He is described as being 5'0"- 5'2" in height and was wearing black clothing, a black mask and gloves. The investigation is ongoing and currently being led by Detective Courtney Milam.
If anyone has information in reference to this incident or the identity of the person involved, please contact Kentucky State Police Post 3 at 270-782-2010 or via the Kentucky State Police App. Callers may remain anonymous.
Charge Is Class D Felony
Darren Doyle, story:
An Edmonson County magistrate was formally indicted by an Edmonson County Grand Jury on February 14, 2020 and now faces a felony charge.
District Two Magistrate Corey VanMeter was indicted on one count of Theft by failure to make required disposition of property-$500 or more, according to court documents provided by the Edmonson County Circuit Clerk's Office. The charge is a Class D Felony.
The indictment document stated that VanMeter was paid by an individual to install a heating and cooling system and materials but failed to deliver the said materials, dating back to March 1, 2019.
VanMeter spoke to the Edmonson Voice about the charge, which he said he felt would be dismissed.
"I provided the materials and services that I was paid to do," he said. "I was unable to complete the full job, but I actually provided more than what the individual paid me for and I have documents that will show that, and I'm confident that this charge will be dropped."
Judge Executive Wil Cannon said that the fiscal court cannot and will not take any action on this at this time.
"This is unrelated to county business," he said. "First of all, everyone is innocent unless proven guilty, so as the Judge Executive, it's my job to support all magistrates in their duties. We all serve the same people and if I don't give support to magistrates to help them with their jobs, I'm not supporting the people in their districts. As long as Corey is doing his job as a magistrate, the county has no position in this matter."
A Class D Felony carries a penalty of 1-5 years in jail and can include fines ranging from $1000 to $10,000.
An indictment is only a formal charge and not an admission of guilt.
Delete The Old One, Download The New One
After a lengthy process, we're pleased to launch our brand new mobile app today for both Apple and Android users.
Our office has been swamped with calls and messages asking about the Edmonson Voice mobile app that stopped working a couple months ago. Due to circumstances beyond our control, the former version of our app had to be rebuilt and resubmitted to both the Apple Store and Google Play.
This was a very involved process with strict requirements from these app stores; however, the good news is that it's up and running, and better than ever.
PLEASE NOTE: If you still have the old app on your device, you MUST DELETE IT and download the new version. This is actually a brand new app, not just an updated version of the old one. The old version no longer exists and you'll need to download our brand new model.
We've also added a brand new "Forum" feature, which allows you to join in on conversations that affect our local community. We'll publish a series of questions each week and you can add your thoughts.
Click on either of the above icons to download your preferred version. Thanks for your patience and for making us the number one local news source in Edmonson County.
One Individual Allegedly Able To Easily Remove Home Incarceration Ankle Monitor
Edmonson Voice Staff Report:
Three local men have been arrested on various drug, warrant, and escape charges after an investigation for warrant service by the Edmonson County Sheriff's Office.
According to a press release from the Edmonson County Sheriff, deputies arrived at the 2100 block of Mt. Zion Road in Brownsville on Sunday, February 9th around 8pm with information that a wanted fugitive was there. Deputies reported they saw drug paraphernalia in plain sight in a vehicle belonging to Steve Alford (58) of Brownsville. According to the press release, a search of the vehicle produced assorted drug paraphernalia commonly used for smoking methamphetamine, along with suspected methamphetamine residue. Alford was charged and arrested on scene for Possession of Controlled Substance, 1st Degree, 1st Offense (methamphetamine) and Drug Paraphernalia—Buy/Possess; he was lodged in Hart County Jail.
Barton Austin Houchin (31) of Brownsville, was then recognized by deputies at the front door of the residence, who was wanted on numerous outstanding warrants, according to the Sheriff's Office. Houchin was detained by deputies and drug paraphernalia was allegedly found on Houchin. Deputies reported that a search of the house produced a bag of suspected marijuana and additional drug paraphernalia. In addition to being served four outstanding warrants, Houchin was also charged with Possession of Marijuana and Drug Paraphernalia—Buy/Possess; he was lodged in Hart County Jail.
The Sheriff's Office also reported that a home incarceration ankle monitor was seen laying in plain view on a nightstand. Barton Austin Houchin allegedly told deputies it was his, but deputies confirmed through KY Probation and Parole that it actually belonged to his father, Barton Ashley Houchin (58) of the same residence, who was gone. Barton Ashley Houchin was located the next day and it was confirmed that Houchin could easily remove the device from his ankle. Barton Ashley Houchin was arrested and charged with Escape 2nd Degree (Identify Facility); he was lodged in Hart County Jail.
Darren Doyle, story and photos:
A mobile home was claimed by a fire tonight on Chalybeate School Road. According to emergency personnel, a Wingfield firefighter reported the fire around 9PM on Tuesday night, which was located at 4431 Chalybeate School Road.
Firefighters on scene said the structure was a rental property that appeared to be vacant. The cause of the fire was unknown.
Responding to the scene were the Wingfield and Chalybeate Fire Departments, Edmonson County Emergency Management, and WRECC.
No injuries were reported.
State's Rural Secondary Road Program Will See $1.1M, Extra Discretionary Funds Will Amount To $523K
Darren Doyle, story and photo:
More than $1.6 million dollars is coming to state roads within Edmonson County, thanks to both extra discretionary funds, that was first announced in April of 2019, and KY's Rural Secondary Road Program funding for 2020.
Joe Plunk, Chief district engineer for the KY Transportation Cabinet's District 3, addressed the Edmonson County Fiscal Court today to discuss how the funding was broken down for the county.
He said that a total of $523,053 in unexpected discretionary funds are coming to Edmonson County for roads and improvements to the Brownsville bridge. Repairs will be made to repair six different roads, which include: Mt. Zion Road, Oak Hill Road, Salem Church Road, Mohawk Road, Long Road, and Crump Road. He noted that $181K of the amount will be used for the North Main Street Bridge over Green River in Brownsville, which serves 7,000-8,000 vehicles a day. Repairs will address signs of aging on the sidewalk and bridge railing to maintain the safety of the bridge for pedestrians. He noted there were currently no structural problems with the bridge.
For the Rural Secondary Program, $369K will be used for routine maintenance on nearly 89 miles of state roadway in Edmonson County, while more than $530K will be used for a complete overhaul and rebuild of the Bear Creek Bridge on KY 238 (Sunfish-Bee Spring Road). Mr. Plunk said the project will cause a 60-day closing of the area that is scheduled to take place later this year. Estimated time of repair on the Brownsville bridge will be the summer of 2020.
He said $103K was carried over from last year's program for a total of $1,102,552 for the Edmonson County state road program.
In addition to Mr. Plunk's comments, other discussions were had as county offices gave their regular reports.
Road Report: County Road Supervisor Greg Carroll said that crews worked on clearing up to two inches of snow in some parts of the county as a result of Thursday night's snowfall. He said 50 tons of salt were used during the weather event. He also noted that more than 3 inches recently fell that closed the four, flood-prone bridges in the county. He also reported crews had installed tiles, and completed ditch/rock work in various parts of the county.
Sheriff Report: Sergeant Wally Ritter gave the Sheriff's Report in the absence of Sheriff Doyle, who recently had shoulder surgery and is recovering. He said the sheriff's office is still severely under-manned and is relying on special volunteer deputies to assist with calls.
Jailer Report: Deputy Jailer Todd Vincent reported 28 inmates currently at Hart County Jail with 3 on home incarceration.
County Clerk Kevin Alexander reported on the recent results of a state audit, which he said were excellent, overall. He said only one comment resulted in a negative connotation, which was lack of segregation of duties.
Coroner Report: County Coroner Brentley Esters reported that his office handled 41 deaths in the county last year. He noted none of the causes of death were out of the ordinary.
Jail Budget Passes: $571K
The fiscal court also passed the Edmonson County Jailer's Budget for 2020, in the amount of $571,600, which was $85K more than last year's budget. The budget also listed $430K of the amount going towards outside contracted jail costs since Edmonson County has no jail.
The budget passed with little discussion; however, Judge Executive Wil Cannon noted that he had attended recent meetings regarding a potential regional jail that could possibly serve four counties: Edmonson, Butler, Ohio, and McLean. Jail talks always prompt reactions from the community from those in favor of the county building its own jail; however, Cannon said the most recent projections on a 200 bed facility would cost $20 million to build, which wouldn't include the cost of personnel, operating expenses, and other unknown costs. With a budget of $571K, he noted that the county could not afford to build its own, but a regional jail might be a possibility several years in the future, which would likely be located in Morgantown.
The next fiscal court meeting is scheduled for Monday, February 24, 2020 at 9am.
Friday, February 7, 2020
Edmonson Voice Staff Report:
MAMMOTH CAVE, Ky., February 7, 2020. – Mammoth Cave National Park will institute a two hour delay for all park offices, facilities, and visitor services on Friday, February 7, 2020 due to hazardous road conditions in the area. Roads through the park will remain open, but drivers are advised to drive with caution.
The Green River Ferry and Green River Ferry Road from Maple Springs Campground to the Green River Ferry parking lot on the north side of the river remains closed due to the Green River Ferry ramp improvement project which is still under construction.
For the most up to date information about the status of park roads visit us on our website, www.nps.gov/maca, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or phone (270) 758-2165.
For general park information, please phone (270) 758-2180.
Darren Doyle, story:
Edmonson County Schools will be closing again due to even more declining attendance as a result of area wide illness.
"There are still so many out due to different strands of the flu and other illnesses," said EC Superintendent of Schools Patrick Waddell. "Our attendance was at 78% today and because of that, we are cancelling school in Edmonson County for Friday, February 7, 2020."
The announcement comes after school in the county was cancelled Monday through Wednesday this week due to the same cause.
Waddell said school will be back in session on Monday, February 10th. As a result of the closing, all school activities, practices, games, and other extra-curriculars will be suspended during this time. The boy/girl doubleheader against Grayson County for Friday night will be rescheduled.
"Unless we are involved in a large district or regional activity, as was the case last Saturday with our academic team, we will suspend all school activities while school is closed."
Waddell noted that last Saturday's academic team competition involved multiple schools and rescheduling the event was not feasible.
Friday will also be NTI Day #4 for students and will not have to be a made-up school day.
Edmonson Voice Staff Report:
Congressman Brett Guthrie (KY-02) released the following statement today on the U.S. Senate’s acquittal of President Donald J. Trump in his impeachment trial:
“I am glad that impeachment has finally come to an end and that President Trump has been acquitted," Guthrie said. "He should never have been impeached in the first place. Democrats in the House and Senate have put politics over the American people, dragging out the impeachment process as long as they could while ignoring important matters facing our nation. I commend Leader McConnell for his handling of the impeachment trial in the Senate, and I am glad we can all get back to work.”
President Trump was acquitted on both charges. The first, which was abuse of power, was voted down 52-48. The amount of votes required to remove the President from office was 67. Only one republican voted in favor of the first charge, which was Utah Senator Mitt Romney. The second charge, which was Obstruction of Congress, failed 53-47.
All democrats voted to convict Trump on both charges.
Today's vote ended a trial, proceedings, and a probe that went on for nearly four months.
Officials Ask Community For Help
Darren Doyle, story:
Police are investigating a recent break-in at Alford's Pharmacy and Drive-Thru and are asking for the community's help with the case.
According to Brownsville Police Chief Jeff Jewell, the break-in occurred at 1:23 AM on Thursday, January 30th. Police said the suspect gained entrance to the pharmacy, located in the Main Street Center in Brownsville, by breaching a door.
Owner Kasey Alford said police were able to obtain video surveillance footage from the pharmacy's security system. The footage showed a white male, dressed in all black, approximately 6 feet tall.
"This could have been much worse, but we had good security measures in place and we were glad to have the help of Chief Jewell of the Brownsville Police," Alford said.
While damages to the pharmacy were undisclosed, Chief Jewell said multiple leads are being followed in the ongoing investigation.
"We are asking our community for help with any information you might have regarding this case," said Jewell. "You can also remain completely anonymous."
Anyone with information in this incident is asked to call Brownsville Police at 270-597-3814.
UPDATE: 2-03-20, 12:03PM: Alford's Pharmacy has confirmed that minimal damage was sustained and that no meds or patient records of any kind were taken. Pharmacy staff said there is no need for patients to be concerned.
Sports, Extracurricular Activities Also Suspended During Closing
Darren Doyle, story:
Edmonson County Schools will be closed Monday, February 3rd, Tuesday, February 4th, and Wednesday. February 5th, according to a released statement from Superintendent of Schools, Patrick Waddell.
"After monitoring attendance the past few days and conversations with local health care providers, I have decided that the best course of action for the safety and well-being of our students and staff is cancel school on Monday, February 3rd, Tuesday, February 4th, and Wednesday, February 5th," Waddell's statement read. "All schools will be closed during this time."
He continued in the statement: "Also, it does not benefit us to call off school if we allow extracurricular activities to continue, so beginning after this evening's contests and continuing until Wednesday afternoon, all games, practices and activities with the exception of Saturday’s Regional Middle School Academic Team Tournament will be canceled."
The release also stated that all schools will reopen on Thursday, February 6th.
"I hope our students, their families and our staff take this time to get better," he added.
Supt. Waddell also noted that schools will utilize NTI Days #1, #2, and #3 for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of next week.
Moriah Peterson, story and photo:
Edmonson County Fiscal Court met on Monday, January 27, 2020 at one of the two annual night meetings in the Edmonson County Courthouse. In addition to magistrates voting unanimously for Edmonson County to become a Second Amendment Sanctuary, county offices gave reports in addition to other business being discussed at the session.
Road Report: County Road Supervisor Greg Carroll reported that Willie Webb Bridge is still under water. The new signs for high water have been received, which are equipped with lights and will show how deep the water is over bridges in the county.
EM Director Report: EM Director Terry Massey reported a total of 13 local runs by emergency personnel.
Sheriff Report: Sheriff Shane Doyle reported that he will be having surgery this Thursday due to an injury he sustained while taking a fugitive into custody in October. Despite months of physical therapy he reported that doctors say he still needs surgery. Sheriff Doyle said that recovery will be extensive and he will out of the office for at least a few weeks.
“I have a very capable staff and I fully trust them to continue to take care of our county,” stated Doyle.
He said the Sheriff’s Office has received a new truck and is waiting for it to be outfitted with police equipment. Doyle also included the recent tragic house fire in his report and stated that the investigation is being handled by the state fire marshal and KSP.
Doyle closed his report by giving the magistrates a felony indictment numbers report from 2011 through 2014, from information obtained by the Edmonson County Circuit Clerk's Office. The report showed that 433 total cases were handled by local law enforcement in the county; 37% of those were handled by the Sheriff's Office, for a total of 161 cases. From 2015 to 2019, he said there were 704 felony cases in the county, which was a 62% increase of total cases.
These numbers were in contrast of Judge Executive Wil Cannon's claim at the last fiscal court meeting where he said the amount of activity and calls for services for the Sheriff's Office haven't changed much over the years.
Doyle said out of those 704 felony cases, the sheriff's office handled 77% of those (541) during the time that Doyle has been Sheriff. He noted that while other local law enforcement agency case numbers are holding steady or dropping, the Sheriff’s Office workload is steadily increasing. He also clarified that he nor his office was claiming that previous administrations did a lesser or poorer job than his office, but simply that the case numbers were much higher for whatever reason, and that his office was the one having to work them. He also noted that the numbers he provided were available to the public from both his office and the Circuit Clerk's Office.
Doyle said after the meeting that the numbers he provided to fiscal court prove that any claim that the Sheriff's Office isn't significantly busier now than ever is incorrect.
County Attorney Report: County Attorney Greg Vincent gave an update on the Park Mammoth Case. He reported that the property has sold, but no money from the sale has been distributed.
County Clerk Report: Kevin Alexander reported that there are no local races in May, but the school board and city races will hold elections in the fall. He also noted that the Clerk’s office has applied for a grant to transfer some larger paper plats to digital format along with restoration for some.
He also informed the court that any Edmonson County resident planning to fly domestically, or wishes to have access to federal buildings and military bases must obtain a Real ID/ Driver’s License by October 1st. All residents will have to go to the Bowling Green location to receive this license. Clerk Alexander also reported that the Excess Fees for 2019 are $374,424 and in the last five years as County Clerk total Excess Fees are 1.1 million dollars. All this money goes back to county for Fiscal Court to use accordingly.
Parks & Rec Report: A.B Webb reported several items on behalf of Parks and Rec: 1. Youth league basketball is set to wrap up mid-February, 2. The annual Easter egg hunt is scheduled for April 11th. 3. New LED lights will be installed soon and the mowers are getting ready for the summer season. Webb also praised all the work that has been put into the Disk Golf course by its coordinators. He said last year 900 players came to the course to play.
Tourism Report: Rhonda Clemmons stated that the office’s review is up to date. There will be lunch and learn on March 4th on small business development. The class $10 and includes lunch. The event will take place at the Mammoth Cave Lodge. Room and Rec tax bills have been distributed and those payments have been received. The planning commission meeting will take place February 11th at 7pm at the planning office.
In other county business, the fiscal court also:
The next Fiscal Court meeting will be February 10, 2020 at 9am.
Moriah Peterson, story and photos:
Edmonson County has been named a 2nd Amendment Sanctuary. Edmonson County residents gathered in the upstairs court room last night for one of the annual nightly Fiscal Court meetings, many that were in support of the resolution.
Resolution EC20-03 passed unanimously with no hesitation or opposition from the county magistrates.
Judge Executive Wil Cannon stated "I would like Edmonson County to be a protected place for our 2nd Amendment rights and all Constitutional rights."
There was little discussion prior to Monday's vote or at the meeting regarding the resolution. A copy of the resolution is pictured below.
A Second Amendment Sanctuary is a term that refers to states, counties, or localities in the United States that have adopted laws or resolutions to protect citizens at local levels from certain state or federal gun control acts that are perceived to violate the Second Amendment. Those measures can include universal gun background checks, high capacity magazine bans, assault weapon bans, red flag laws, etc.
Darren Doyle, story and photos:
The annual D.A.R.E. graduation ceremony was held at the Edmonson County 5/6 Center this morning where 148 5th grade students accepted their certificates for completion of the program, which is administered by the Edmonson County Sheriff's Office and Edmonson County Community Education.
While some students received prizes and the large group of students, parents, and faculty enjoyed a dance routine from the lion mascot "Daren," the star of today's show was Edmonson County Sheriff K-9 unit Tango, who performed a number of tricks and maneuvers. However, most all students would agree that seeing Principal Rex Booth getting attacked by Tango was the highlight of the day.
Booth agreed to wear a protective sleeve while Tango was ordered to attack him. Tango was able to very aggressively remove the sleeve from Booth in about 12 seconds, which appeared as though it was plenty of time for Booth to get acquainted with the highly trained K-9 unit.
Deputy Jordan Jones, who not only serves as the school's D.A.R.E. instructor, but is also Tango's certified handler for the Sheriff's Office, said this year's program was highlighted by the students' enthusiasm.
"The kids made it so much more exciting," he said. "They were always so eager to participate and willing to learn. They definitely made it even better for me, and this is something I really enjoy. They obviously love seeing Tango and we were happy to have him here today as a special treat."
Community Education Director Lisa Whobrey said the working partnership between the Sheriff's Office, the school, and local sponsors make the program a success.
"The biggest impact we see with students is that this program gives them confidence," she said. "Deputy Jones does a wonderful job with our students. He doesn't just instruct the kids, he bonds with them."
Several community members were assembled as a panel in support for the local program today, which included: Principal Rex Booth, Officer Tamara Jupin from Brownsville PD, Chief Jeff Jewell from Brownsville PD, Sheriff Shane Doyle, State Farm Agent Josh Roney, Judge Executive Wil Cannon, Deputies Wally Ritter and Jeremy Hodges, along with Melissa Newkirk from the Edmonson County Sheriff's Office.
Deputy Devin Lindsey also agreed to play another one of Tango's victims in the K-9 presentation.
Principal Booth said having the program continue at the 5/6 is "extraordinary."
"This goes far beyond our standard classroom content," he said. "This is real-life material we're confident that will stick with our students for a lifetime. Deputy Jones and the Sheriff's Office have been outstanding to work with because they go above and beyond. Today's program was so much more than handing out certificates. You can tell that Deputy Jones treats this as so much more than just as part of his job."
Funding for the program's officer is secured by KY-ASAP, or Agency for Substance Abuse Policy. This year's sponsors were: Buttram Farms, St. John's Thrift Store, Lindsey's Auto Parts, Josh Roney State Farm, and Edmonson Co. PVA Kyle White.
Bogus Company Asking For Money To Remove Non-Existent Virus
Edmonson Voice Staff Report:
Edmonson County Sheriff Shane Doyle has issued a warning for county residents as a result of multiple reports of a scam that's currently popular in the area.
Doyle is calling this a "Computer Virus Scam."
"County residents are getting phone calls from someone who claims that a dangerous computer virus has been discovered on the victim's computer and the caller will arrange a repair for $299," said Doyle.
He said it was scam, that there are no viruses, and the company does not actually repair anything--all they simply want is quick money.
"Never give bank, credit card, or any other financial information over the phone," said the Sheriff. "In today's times, we recommend ignoring a call from a number you don't recognize. If it's truly a necessary call they will leave a message with information that can either be verified or it will be someone that you know."
Sadly, many of the scam callers are no longer real people. Many cell providers have reported that nearly half of all cell phone calls were robocalls in 2019. 40% of those calls were scams, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
"It's also difficult for us to track these numbers because they change all the time and scammers can also "spoof" their number to appear as a local one," said Doyle. "The easiest thing to do is to simply ignore the call, but if you answer and someone wants to sell you something, asks for money or other personal information, hang up."
Mother and Daughter Perish In Fire
Darren Doyle, story:
Tragedy struck in the Segal Community last night on E Hack Road as a house fire claimed the life of a mother and daughter, according to the Kentucky State Police. Emergency calls began coming in sometime around 10:30pm.
In a press release issued by KSP, troopers responded to the call around 2AM of a possible fatal residential fire at 1425 E Hack Rd in Edmonson County. Multiple fire departments responded to the scene and extinguished the residential fire. Tiffany B. Mooneyhan (33) of Brownsville along with her 6 year old daughter Ayreana L. Mooneyhan were located deceased in the burnt residence. No foul play is suspected at this time.
"This is a horrible tragedy that has impacted our community," said Sheriff Shane Doyle. "I encourage everyone to remember this family in your thoughts and prayers."
Emergency Management Director Terry "Moose" Massey said the structure was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters first arrived.
"It was fully involved but still standing. We knew we couldn't save the structure but we began trying to knock down the fire."
He said in those instances, additional help is called off because there's nothing that can be done to save the structure but in this case, Massey said Mooneyhan's father arrived and told emergency workers that there were people still inside.
"We immediately called for more help and we did everything we could," said Massey. "We fought the fire from different directions and went inside to try to find the individuals but with a burning building, the smoke and steam, we did all we could do."
The investigation is ongoing and being led by Arson Investigator Terry Scott. He was assisted on the scene by other KSP personnel, Edmonson County Coroner, Edmonson County Emergency Management, Edmonson County Sheriff’s Office, Bear Creek, Kyrock, and Brownsville Fire Departments.
*10:07am: this article was updated after speaking with Edmonson County Emergency Management Director Terry Massey.
Edmonson Voice Staff Report:
Two men were arrested and face meth charges after allegedly leaving the scene of an accident that occurred on Saturday, according to the Edmonson County Sheriff's Office.
According to a press release from the Sheriff's Office, a deputy responded to a vehicle collision on Saturday, January 11th at approximately 12:00 pm, to the 3800 block of Otter Gap Road, where an eye witness allegedly stated the driver had fled the scene to a neighboring house.
After the deputy surveyed the collision and found the suspected driver, based on eye-witness accounts, Timothy Bridges (33) of Bowling Green, at the home of Jonathan Willoughby (45), just a short distance from the scene of the collision, according to the release. Willoughby was detained outside of the home after Bridges allegedly ran inside and locked all the doors. The Sheriff's Office reported that after numerous verbal commands from law enforcement, Bridges unlocked a door and was detained without incident. A security sweep of the home produced a visual on the clothes Bridges had been reportedly seen wearing at the time of allegedly fleeing the scene of the collision, along with facial hair in the bathroom sink, Bridges had allegedly tried to alter his facial appearance, according to the press release.
Officials reported that drug paraphernalia with suspected methamphetamine was also found in the same room as Bridges’ discarded clothes. A photo of Bridges was presented to eye witnesses, who confirmed he was the one to flee the scene of the accident, according to the Sheriff's Office.
Timothy Bridges was charged with:
Both were transported and lodged in Hart County Jail.
County Also Applies For Grant To Fund New Local Weather Data Station
Darren Doyle, story:
Edmonson County Fiscal Court voted against locking gates at flood-prone bridge locations in the county today in a 6-0 unanimous vote. Instead, the county approved the Edmonson County Road Department to utilize either larger barricades or more barricades that spanned the entire road, not just one lane.
During the discussion, county road supervisor Greg Carroll said he would recommend the county to stay with barricades because he felt residents would simply cut the lock off a gate if they wanted to go around it. The question was asked again about liability for the county between barricades or locked gates, to which County Attorney explained there was no difference.
Vincent said once the road is marked closed, it becomes unlawful for anyone to go around it, whether it's a gate or a barricade.
Magistrate Edd Rich made a motion to object to the locking gates and Magistrate James Vincent seconded. As the motion passed unanimously, Jailer Hank Vincent said while the gates may not be needed, something extra needed to happen in order to prevent tragedies in the future and to show that the county was being proactive in an effort to save lives.
A 20-month old toddler recently drowned when his mother, who was allegedly high on meth, disregarded a barricade and drove into Alexander Creek on Oak Hill Road when the bridge was flooded, on December 2, 2019, according to county officials. Jailer Vincent volunteered the costs of larger barricades out of his own salary if the county didn't want to fund them; however, supervisor Carroll said the county has enough barricades to cover both lanes of traffic on the problematic roads, which are: Willie Webb Road, Oak Hill Road, Blackgold Road, and Cedar Grove Church Road.
County Approves Grant Process For WeatherSTEM
Magistrates also approved a grant application process for a WeatherSTEM station for Edmonson County. The system is a weather monitoring and forecasting system, much like a mesonet, that would give real-time weather data for Edmonson County. The county currently has no form of monitoring weather data, mainly because of the cost.
Dajuana Crockett from BRADD, discussed the advantages of the system that could offer local text alerts and allow schools to access educational weather components. Units are said to cost more than $6000, but a grant would cover the cost, minus an $845 fee and a $500 annual cost for operation. Fiscal court also voted to accept the one-time fee and $500/yr maintenance costs.
We later reached out to Edmonson Voice and regional Meteorologist Landon Hampton from WxOrnotBG.com, who has experience with the system. He said it's a top-of-the-line addition to any community.
"Each station has a very in-depth, localized dashboard, which provide real-time updates," he said. "With the fast advancement of technology, this device provides for additional updates as they become available in the weather world. I applaud the fiscal court's decision to try to obtain this service, as it's a tremendous addition for Edmonson County."
County offices also gave their routine reports:
County road supervisor Greg Carroll reported that 3 of the 4 local flood-prone bridges are currently closed due to high water. He also said crews worked lots of hours after storms on Saturday night took down several limbs and trees on county roadways and he commended road workers. He also noted that crews had fixed a drainage problem on Parsley Road, and had recently installed tiles on Mattingly Road and Ray Ashley Rd.
EM Director Terry "Moose" Massey reported several medical assist runs and eight fire runs, most of which were from recent storms where tree limbs damaged power lines.
Sheriff Shane Doyle reported a very busy start to the new year. He said his office has documented 14 arrests, 19 felony cases, 20 misdemeanors, 9 warrants, and more in the past 12 days. He said his office has collected nearly $30K extra in tax revenue for the county so far from 2019's property taxes.
Jailer Hank Vincent reported 30 county inmates currently housed at Hart County Jail.
County Clerk Kevin Alexander was reportedly absent because of the flu.
County Attorney Greg Vincent reported on the status of the county's ongoing opioid litigation. He said that two companies involved have filed bankruptcy, which could affect the county's estimated settlement amount of $42K. He also reported on an expired "CrimeStoppers" donation program. He said several years ago, an agreement of affiliation was made with CrimeStoppers and fiscal court where $1 was added to all local court cost to help fund CrimeStoppers. He said the resolution has expired and that the fiscal court must approve a new resolution in order for that partnership to continue. The court agreed to allow Vincent to prepare a new resolution. He was then asked a question regarding past due room and rec taxes owed to the county by the previous owners of Park Mammoth, who have since filed for bankruptcy. Attorney Vincent said the county is basically waiting “in line” for past due amounts.
Tourism Report: Chamber and Tourism Director Rhonda Clemmons thanked volunteers for help with this year's Christmas decorations around town and noted that the county chose not to rejoin the SOKY Film Commission, due to the expiration of incentives allowed to film companies from the state. The Bevin administration discontinued the incentives which have kept filmmakers away from the bluegrass. Clemmons said in the event the state continues these incentives, the county would reconsider joining.
A discussion and approval of the 2020 Sheriff's budget then took place.
The next fiscal court meeting is scheduled for Monday, January 27, 2020 at 6pm in the upstairs courtroom of the Edmonson County Courthouse.
Darren Doyle, story and photo:
Edmonson County magistrates approved the 2020 budget for Sheriff Shane Doyle's office today, but one lower than requested by the sheriff, who said he'd already cut as much as he could.
The approved amount was for $666,000 for the upcoming year, which is $28K less than what Doyle requested, but $50K more than last year's $616K. Doyle said the increased amount was mainly to provide a raise to his deputies and provide more overtime as a result of the increased amount of calls for his office, in addition to large increases in state retirement and health benefits, which his office is required to pay. Doyle has said that these costs have risen drastically over the past couple years and his budget has been forced to absorb it. The Sheriff requested a budget amount of $694,000. Doyle's salary is set by the state and neither he nor the county have any say in that.
Doyle said after much research and several meetings with County Treasurer Tammi Willhite, they found $50K from last year's budget not yet earmarked. The additional $28K was due to additional tax revenue his office had collected, and Doyle said he even felt like that number is estimated to be even higher.
"I've got to keep my employees happy, I've got to try to keep the taxpayers happy, and I've got to try to keep you all (magistrates) happy. And so, what I'm trying to do with this budget I've turned in of $694,000, is I'm trying to get my employees pay rates up to somewhere close to what other employees of the county make," said Doyle. "Particularly, the County Clerk's office, which is the only other fee office we have in this county besides me. It still wouldn't make the rates the same as the deputy clerks at the County Clerk's office. It's getting them a little bit closer. We are in a position right now, with the deputies we have, with the exception of Deputy Meredith (who is currently attending law enforcement academy), they're well experienced, highly trained, and they're very desirable for other agencies to steal. That's exactly the way I think about it. We've paid to train them, we put them through the academy, and we've given them every bit of their experience."
Doyle went on to commend his staff and the work they provide for Edmonson County taxpayers. He said the experience his officers get is much richer than that in larger towns because county deputies work all sorts of cases that include larger, higher profile cases for just a few officers on top of the normal small town calls for service.
"Every time one of them leaves and goes somewhere else to make more money and better retirement, we have to start that process all over again," he said. "And we also lose quality workers. And that will happen if we can't pay them better."
Doyle said he wouldn't ask for that number if he felt the county would be put in a bind.
"That's what I feel like we need to do to properly serve the residents of this county and to properly reward the people that are working very, very hard for everybody here."
Judge Executive Wil Cannon said he didn't think anyone would say that deputies didn't work hard but because of a low tax base, past revenues, and rising retirement and jail costs, the number requested was too high. He felt that a comfortable budget number that could be handled by the county was $663K. He also discussed that if jail costs continue on the same pace from Hart County Jail, a budget amendment would have to be approved for an additional $70K this year for those costs alone.
Cannon also said he felt like the county shorted Doyle $7K on last year's budget and he added that back to his proposed number.
Doyle noted that in 2014, the fiscal court funded 26% of the Sheriff's budget compared to only 23% now, largely due in part to the rising retirement and health benefit costs that his office has had to absorb. He said in order to continue at this pace, the county would either have to pay more or cut services. "People want services, they don't want to hear 'magistrates wouldn't give me the money.'"
Cannon passed out old activity reports to magistrates from when he was sheriff and said that the stats were not that much different back then. He also passed out copies of dispatch reports that said calls for service aren't that much different either.
Magistrate Edd Rich told Judge Cannon that he and the sheriff should've already had a suitable amount between the two prepared and then have that amount ready to be presented to fiscal court. Cannon said he presented Doyle with a number but Doyle wasn't happy with it. Mag. Rich made a motion to accept a budget amount of $666K, but County Attorney Greg Vincent said the motion on the agenda was to either accept or reject the Sheriff's requested amount of $694, which passed unanimously to reject. Mag. Rich then made a motion to accept the $666 amount, seconded by Mag. Johnny Brooks. All magistrates voted "Yes" except for Mag. Corey Vanmeter, who said he felt like the amount wasn't enough, and Mag. James Vincent, who said the amount was too high. The motion passed 4-2.
Edmonson Voice Staff Report:
Two individuals have been arrested and face felony drug trafficking charges after in incident in Bee Spring on Tuesday, according to the Edmonson County Sheriff's Office.
Authorities said in a press release that at approximately 6pm on January 7, 2020, the Edmonson County Sheriff’s Office received information that Kimberly Deering (44) of Bee Spring, who was wanted on multiple outstanding warrants was possibly traveling in the area of Noah Stevenson Road.
Deputies reported that they observed a vehicle matching the description of the one Deering had been driving. Deputies said that since the license plate of the vehicle returned as expired, a traffic stop was initiated, according to the release. When deputies approached the vehicle, the female occupant allegedly gave a false name, but officers immediately recognized her to be Kimberly Deering and placed her under arrest for three outstanding warrants, according to the Sheriff's Office.
Deputies also reported they detected the distinct odor of marijuana coming from the passenger side of the vehicle and after a probable cause search was conducted, deputies said they found suspected methamphetamine and multiple forms of drug paraphernalia, along with a stolen debt card.
The driver of the vehicle, William Saltsman (47) of Leitchfield, Kentucky, along with Kimberly Deering were charged with:
Both were arrested on scene and lodged in Hart County Jail.
A Bowling Green man has been arrested and faces auto theft charges as well as facing previous charges as a fugitive from Tennessee.
According to a press release from the Edmonson County Sheriff's Office, a deputy responded to the 800 block of Pine Grove Church Road around 10 am today, after a caller advised a vehicle had been abandoned in a nearby driveway and the male driver fled towards the woods.
Deputies said they discovered the vehicle had been reported stolen from Warren County by Bowling Green Police Department. A neighboring property owner reported they discovered a man lying in the back of a pickup truck asleep and covered in oil, and that the man fit the same description as who was witnessed fleeing from the vehicle, according to the release.
Law enforcement reportedly made contact with Patrick Ingram, (40) of Bowling Green, who allegedly claimed he received the car from someone else and it ran out of gas. The Sheriff's Office reported that during the arresting process, Ingram attempted to flee on foot and became extremely combative when the deputy detained him. Officers credited a civilian on scene who assisted in helping to get Ingram in cuffs, where Ingram allegedly continued to fight with law enforcement.
Ingram was arrested on scene and charged with:
Ingram was lodged in Hart County Jail. Edmonson County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by Brownsville City Police. Additional charges against Ingram are expected from Bowling Green City Police.