Current Facilities Are More Than 40 Years Old
Darren Doyle, story and photo:
Edmonson County High School recently celebrated 40 years of their vocational programs offered to students, and the school system now gets to celebrate with a $10 million grant from the state legislature.
In a statement from the Kentucky House Majority, lawmakers said they are prioritizing funding KY classrooms at historic levels, and with the House and Senate's version of the state’s budget HB 1, the significant funding is headed to Edmonson County Schools for their local career and technical center.
The state spending plan includes funding for Local Area Vocational Education Centers (LAVEC) revitalization and renovation projects that did not receive funding from the grant program last year. Among the funded projects is Edmonson County Schools, which will receive $10,000,000 for the LAVEC facility.
“Not every student wants to pursue a four-year degree, but we need programs that prepare students for higher education or success in a career after high school,” said Representative Michael Meredith. “Edmonson County is blessed with vocational programs in our high school that provide students with needed skill sets to jump start those careers. This is an incredible investment in the future of our school district. It will be a game-changer in the lives of many of our students.”
Meredith also credited the General Assembly for swiftly appropriating funds to aid the school district, noting vocational schools across the state play a major role in ensuring all Kentuckians have accessibility to fair and equal employment opportunities.
Superintendent of Edmonson County Schools Brian Alexander said the school district is excited to see the funding come to fruition, as staff members have worked diligently to gain the funding.
"These funds will be used to expand our vocational center at Edmonson County High School and renovate our existing vocational center, which has not seen major upgrades since it was built in 1981," Mr. Alexander said. "Our board made a major commitment to our vocational center by expanding with our Skilled Trades program as well as our Allied Health program. This funding will be a game changer for the district in terms of these highly-developed facilities that will allow our students to learn. I also want to thank our State Representative Michael Meredith for his help on this. It's greatly appreciated."
According to the statement released from the House Majority, most programs are either connected to, or housed in area high schools--or need repairs and renovations to be a safe and accessible environment. The School Facilities Construction Commission—an independent agency created to provide an equitable distribution of state funding for the construction and technology needs of Kentucky’s 171 school districts—allocates the funds.
Callie Beliles, Director of Facilities and Safety for Edmonson County Schools, described the news of the funding as a complete honor.
"We have worked closely with our Board of Education, the School Facilities Construction Commission, the Kentucky Department of Education, our local legislatures, fiscal agents, architects, and construction managers to ensure that this funding was secured," she said. "We owe each of them a tremendous amount of gratitude."
Mrs. Beliles said the funding will be granted during the 22-23 budget cycle, so the school system looks for the funds to arrive in July.
"I have been in contact with the Facilities Branch of the Kentucky Department of Education to see what preliminary work & planning we can begin to do this school year," she said. "The high school's vocational wing celebrated its 40th birthday this past year, so a remodel is absolutely needed at this point. We are hoping to add two additional shops in the green area between the High School's gymnasium and current Vocational wings, expand our current shops to bring them closer in size to KDE's model program standards, give the existing wing a fresh remodel, and add state-of-the-art equipment to help our students be career ready when we hand them their diplomas. We are going to push for this to begin in the 22-23 school year. We will know more about actual square footage addition when we sit down again with the architectural and construction management companies to discuss construction costs, as we are dealing with a very volatile market.
In addition to funding for LAVECs and other school construction projects included in the budget, the House Majority Caucus said they will continue the commitment to educating the next generation of Kentuckians with record-high investments in per-pupil funding and workforce education and training programs.
The measure, HB 1, is the result of countless hours of deliberations and months of stakeholder input and contains provisions from both the House and Senate versions of the spending plan, according to their released statement.
"On behalf of the Edmonson County Board of Education, we could not be more excited for the future of our Local Area Vocational Education Center," Beliles added. "Our students will reap the benefits of this for years to come."
Madison Doyle, story and photos:
Today in the Edmonson County Middle School library, EC Family Resource and Youth Service Center hosted their annual "reality store" for the 8th Grade Class. Morgan Esters from the FRYSC organized today's event, and she explained how it works.
"We do this every year for our 8th graders, to get a taste of the real world," she told us. "Each student is given a fake scenario where they are all 28 years old, they are given a job, a marital status, a certain number of children. They walk in with a certain amount of money where they go around to different booths, and they buy insurance, groceries, a car, etc. to provide for their families."
Esters also wanted to thank the Edmonson County locals who came out to participate in the event. "I want to personally say 'thank you' to all the members of the community who showed up today. We could not have done it without them."
ECMS Principal Brandon Prunty also discussed today's event.
"The reality store is always a great learning experience for our 8th graders," he said. "They get some eye-opening information about life, and they can see how expensive life can be, depending on the scenario you are given. It's a great hands-on event to apply some of the knowledge they have learned in Mrs. Amberly's career and consumer economics classes."
Mr. Prunty also thanked the Family Resource Center and the community volunteers.
"I greatly appreciate our FRYSC for organizing the event and all the members of our community who came and volunteered their time to make this a success."
Madison Doyle, story and photo:
Edmonson County Fiscal Court met today, March 28, 2022, in the upstairs courtroom of the Edmonson County courthouse. The EC Youth Leadership group was in attendance today to learn more about how Edmonson County government worked.
EC Youth Leadership Sponsor Jami Booker thanked the court for allowing youth leadership to attend and the students from Edmonson County High School were recognized at the meeting. Each magistrate, with the exception of Corey VanMeter who was absent, introduced themselves and shared each community they respectively represented.
Multiple county offices spoke today and gave reports on their departments.
Sheriff Shane Doyle reported that he is currently working with Edmonson County Schools Transportation Director Lannie Deweese to come up with a solution for better traffic control for school buses in the Chalybeate area of HWY 101 and 743, specifically in the mornings. The Sheriff said that buses are arriving late to Brownsville due to crowded traffic in the mornings that are hindering the buses from turning onto HWY 101 from HWY 743. Sheriff Doyle said they should be able to provide help for buses very soon, which would likely include brief control for HWY 101 drivers that would allow all buses to pull out at the same time. It would only be a few minute delay for 101 drivers but would free up all the buses at once.
County Clerk Kevin Alexander said he was notified that the new voting machines will be here either this week or early next week, and will work on state rebates that are available to the county - which will bring in about $2,500 per district. Alexander said he was told that the machines would not be here anytime soon but that recently changed and voters will be able to use them in time for the primary election in May.
Alexander also said that you can call or request online for a mail-in ballot starting this Saturday. He also stated that all in-person voting will be available at all districts. This runs for about one month, then early voting will be on the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday before the election, times to be announced, but tentatively 8am-4pm. Also excused voting options will be available with details to come. Judge Executive Will Cannon asked Alexander if there would be enough available poll workers, and he said there are enough but the county will have to pay poll workers for the extra voting days. Alexander also advocated for in-person voting. “I really believe people want to vote in their polling places," he said. "I want to, it’s the American thing to do.”
Edmonson County Tourism Director Vanessa Ulm stated that Governor Andy Beshear had recently awarded $5.3M in funding for tourism in 88 different counties. Each region can expect to receive around $680K, and Edmonson County is located in the Caves, Lakes, and Corvette Region.
The court also voted to:
Darren Doyle, story:
A Brownsville man was arrested for meth possession, driving under the influence, and faces several other charges after he was pulled over by the Sheriff's Office on Saturday night, according to a released report.
The Sheriff's Office reported that on March 26, 2022, at approximately 10:45 pm, an Edmonson County Sheriff’s deputy observed a Chevrolet Blazer traveling eastbound on Morgantown Road at a high rate of speed and crossing the center and white lines. The deputy initiated a traffic stop at the intersection of Oscar Raymer and Morgantown Road and identified the driver of the vehicle as Mark Renfro (56) of Brownsville.
Renfro was reportedly exhibiting signs of stimulant use, so law enforcement instructed Renfro to exit the vehicle in order to perform field sobriety tests, the Sheriff's Office said. Renfro was placed under arrest for DUI, and a search of Renfro’s vehicle found an open bottle of alcohol, a cup containing alcoholic beverage, suspected methamphetamine, and drug paraphernalia containing suspected methamphetamine residue, according to the Sheriff's Office.
Renfro was arrested and charged with:
Renfro was lodged in Hart County Jail.
Darren Doyle, story and photos:
A house and contents were lost after a structure fire on Saturday afternoon, March 26, 2022.
Firefighters were paged to 5827 HWY 259 N in Sweeden, just north of Kyrock Elementary to the report of a structure fire around 4:30PM.
Officials on scene said the structure was a total loss but no injuries were reported.
Responding to the scene were the Kyrock, Bear Creek, Lincoln, Brownsville, and Wingfield Fire Departments along with the Edmonson County Sheriff's Office, Emergency Management, and WRECC.
A portion of KY HWY 259 near the fire was closed to thru traffic for about three hours.
Darren Doyle, story and photo:
Edmonson County Vietnam War veterans, those present, absent, and the fallen, were honored today at a ceremony held at the Brownsville Community Center, and presented by the Wand B. Doyle Unit 32 Disabled American Veterans & Auxiliary.
Today's featured speaker was Vietnam veteran Larry Moore, who was a U.S. Army Sergeant from C Company, 502nd Infantry Battalion, 101st Airborne Division. He told the crowd that he wasn't an Edmonson County boy, but he married an Edmonson County girl, who is Lenda Davis Moore, from the class of 1965, and he said they have been married 55 years.
Moore began by referencing the war in Ukraine and likening it to Vietnam.
"It's not any difference. It's one country trying to take over another one and I think about them people in the Ukraine and what they're going through," he said.
The three-Purple Heart recipient discussed some of experiences in the Vietnam war and his 13-month tour of duty that began on June 5, 1965.
"I was the company commander radio operator," he said. "Everything went pretty well in Vietnam until September 17, 1965."
That's when they were moved to another landing zone that turned out to be the center of Vietnamese headquarters, where there were about 200 American soldiers against 2,000 Vietnamese.
"The first person killed was my company commander," an emotional Moore said. "The second one killed was Jerry Underwood, he was my best friend, from the same machine gun."
Moore talked about being wounded and being placed in a hospital for a month then facing monsoon season, laying in the mud, working in the mud, sleeping in the mud, and the mosquitos that bit through his poncho and spread malaria, which he eventually contracted. After another several-month stay in the hospital, he returned to his company as a radio operator and also worked as what was known as a "tunnel rat."
"I fit all the categories (of a tunnel rat)," he said. "I carried a .45, I carried a flashlight, and I was little."
As Moore gathered himself once more, he said "13 months and 3 Purple Hearts later, we finally did go home, and we had one saying over there. 'If you come out this and make it home, every day is nothing but gravy."
All Vietnam veterans in attendance were asked to stand and be recognized and eleven fallen Edmonson County veterans killed during Vietnam were honored by the tolling of the bell for each name. Those included were:
The ceremony was concluded outside in the courtyard as the VFW Honor Guard conducted a 21-gun salute after the honorary wreath was placed by DAV member and Vietnam veteran Johnny Russell.
It was also the final Vietnam veteran ceremony over which would be presided by Jack Hasty. Commander Hasty said he would be stepping down from his post this year. He told the Edmonson Voice that the 2022 Memorial Day ceremony would be his final local ceremony as DAV Commander.
After 30-plus years of service to veterans, Hasty said he intends to spend more time with his wife who has experienced some health issues. He still continues to serve at the state level as a committee member.
Edmonson Voice Report:
A Grayson County woman was arrested yesterday during a traffic stop and faces multiple felony drug charges as well as charges resulting from outstanding warrants, according to a statement from the Edmonson County Sheriff's Office.
The statement said that a deputy observed a Chevy pickup traveling on E. Hack Road in Brownsville around 4:50PM on Wednesday, March 23, 2022 with a missing brake light and after a traffic stop was initiated, the deputy observed an open alcohol container inside the vehicle.
The operator of the vehicle was identified as Travis D. Higdon (47) of Big Clifty and the passenger as Lori F. Lindsey (34) of Clarkson, and according to the Sheriff's Office, Lindsey was found to have two active Grayson County Bench Warrants for failing to appear on drug related charges, as well as an active Grayson County indictment warrant for trafficking in methamphetamine.
Lindsey was detained for the warrants and a search of her belongings resulted in the discovery of drug paraphernalia with suspected methamphetamine residue, the Sheriff's Office stated. A probable cause search of the vehicle resulted in the discovery of what appeared to be a drink can but allegedly contained a false bottom with suspected methamphetamine and suspected Hydrocodone inside, according to the Sheriff's Office. The top of the can was also false and proved to be a scale with suspected methamphetamine residue, the Sheriff's Office stated. Law enforcement also said that Lindsey took ownership of all drug-related items in the vehicle.
She was charged with:
Lindsey was lodged in Hart County Jail.
Edmonson Voice Report:
A Morgantown woman was arrested on Monday night during a traffic stop and now faces a felony drug charge, according to the Edmonson County Sheriff's Office.
In a statement released by the Sheriff's Office, they said that a deputy observed a white Honda Accord traveling east on Morgantown Road around 10:30PM on Monday, March 21, 2022 that crossed the center line multiple times. As law enforcement attempted a traffic stop, the vehicle allegedly passed pull-off spots before finally coming to a stop in the middle of the road, the Sheriff's Office said.
Law enforcement said the operator of the vehicle was identified as Dustin Portman and the passenger as Brittany Witten-Parsons, and they also said that a drug complaint had recently been received from Butler County Sheriff’s Office on Witten-Parsons. Due to being close to the Butler County line, the Edmonson County Sheriff’s Office requested assistance from the Butler County Sheriffs’ Office K-9 Unit, and the K-9 indicated on the presence of drugs in the vehicle, the Sheriff's Office said. A probable cause search resulted in the discovery of suspected marijuana in the area of the vehicle occupied by Witten-Parsons, according to the Sheriff's Office. They further stated that a search of Witten-Parson’s person also resulted in the discovery of suspected methamphetamine.
Edmonson County Sheriff’s Office arrested and charged Witten-Parsons with Possession of Controlled Substance, 1st Offense (methamphetamine) and Possession of Marijuana.
Witten-Parsons was lodged in Hart County Jail.
The Edmonson County Sheriff’s Office also stated their gratitude for assistance provided by Butler County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit.
Darren Doyle, story:
The Edmonson County Road Department has announced that Upper Smiths Grove Road is currently closed to thru traffic due to blacktop surfacing.
The office said work is expected to continue through the end of the week.
Edmonson Voice Report:
A Henderson man was arrested in the early morning hours of Thursday after a property owner reportedly caught him stealing from the owner's barn, according to the Edmonson County Sheriff's Office.
The Sheriff's Office reported that on around 3:00 am on March 17, 2022, an Edmonson County sheriff’s deputy was dispatched to the 17000-block of Louisville Road for a male that had allegedly been caught by a property owner stealing from a barn. The farm owner was reportedly alerted by a camera on the property, and he was then able to locate the suspect at the farm with tools belonging to the property owner, law enforcement stated.
The male was identified as William C. Jones (22) of Henderson, Kentucky. When law enforcement arrived on scene, Jones was found to be in possession of a backpack and inside the backpack were various tools belonging to the farm owner, according to the Sheriff's Office.
Jones was arrested and charged with:
The Sheriff's Office said the investigation is ongoing, as there was a second individual on the property owner’s camera that fled the scene before the property owner and law enforcement arrived.
Jones was lodged in Hart County Jail.
Darren Doyle, story and photo:
A very brief agenda was discussed at today's Edmonson County Fiscal Court, most of which was approving various reports.
After a few county offices gave general reports, magistrates voted on the following:
The final item on the list was to approve Resolution EC22-11, the Voting Machines Purchase Agreement with ARPA Funds; however, County Attorney Vincent said the purchase agreement was not a resolution, but a purchase agreement, and therefore could not be voted upon as a resolution. The item was tabled until the county receives the invoice for the new voting machines, which will cost around $130,000.
The county had previously budgeted for the new machines prior to the ARPA guidelines. Judge Executive Wil Cannon suggested they be funded with ARPA money since that would be allowed.
In a closing report from Judge Cannon, he noted to the magistrates that while the general fund is currently healthy, it's due to recent tax revenue that was received in December. While the current balance is somewhere around $1 million , he said that balance would have to last the county until December of this year and that the county would have to stick with their budgets.
The next fiscal court meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 28, 2022 in the upstairs courtroom in the courthouse at 9AM.
Darren Doyle, story:
On Sunday, March 13th, multiple complaint calls were made to Edmonson County 911-Dispatch referencing Kevin Sanders (34) of Brownsville walking in and out of people’s properties on Morgantown Road, while carrying a gun and talking incoherently, according to a report from the Edmonson County Sheriff's Office.
While local deputies were on their way to the Morgantown Road area, an additional call was received at dispatch, stating Sanders had walked into a home carrying a lever-action rifle, the Sheriff's Office said, and also stated the caller was able to get Sanders out of the residence. As deputies patrolled the area of Morgantown Road, dispatch reportedly received another call that Sanders was walking down the middle of Honey Creek Road, still carrying a gun and deputies were able to locate Sanders on Honey Creek Road, according to the Sheriff's Office.
The Sheriff's Office also stated that multiple commands were given for Sanders to stop walking, but he instead allegedly continued walking into the woods, out of sight from law enforcement. Deputies reported that they eventually located Sanders in a creek, where he agreed to walk out of the woods; however, he allegedly refused to put down the gun.
Law enforcement attempted to forcefully remove the rifle from Sanders’ hands; however, the Sheriff's Office stated that Sanders would not relinquish control of the firearm. Multiple verbal commands were reportedly given to Sanders, with which he did not comply, resulting in the successful deployment of department issued tasers by Edmonson County Sheriff’s Deputies, law enforcement stated. Sanders was then placed in handcuffs without further incident.
The firearm in Sanders’ possession was discovered to be loaded, according to the Sheriff's Office. Deputies located several deceased animals in the bed of Sanders’ truck, for which he allegedly neither had proper licensing, nor permission to hunt. The Sheriff's Office said that Sanders was exhibiting signs of stimulant intoxication, was talking incoherently, and appeared to be both a danger to himself and others.
Edmonson County Sheriff’s Office arrested and charged Sanders with:
Sanders was lodged in Hart County Jail.
Darren Doyle, story:
A Mammoth Cave man has been arrested and faces felony drug trafficking charges after an incident on Saturday night.
The Edmonson County Sheriff's Office reported that a deputy observed a vehicle traveling north on KY HWY 259 using an off-road LED light bar with a brake light out at approximately 9:00 pm on March 12, 2022. A traffic stop was initiated, and the driver of the vehicle was identified at Michael P. Anderson, Jr. (47) of Mammoth Cave according to the Sheriff's Office.
The sheriff’s deputy reportedly smelled the strong odor of marijuana emitting from the vehicle and advised Anderson of a probable cause search, which resulted in the discovery of a significant amount of suspected methamphetamine and cash, both consistent with trafficking, the Sheriff's Office said. Anderson was placed under arrest and charged with:
Anderson was lodged in Hart County Jail.
New Cases Drop From 135 to 3 in Less Than 3 Months
Darren Doyle, story:
It's good news for Edmonson County and COVID-19 after the latest data released by the Barren River Health District. After nearly two years of the Coronavirus battle, things are looking steady for the county, and in a good direction, at least for the moment.
Today's press release from the BRDHD showed only 3 new COVID-19 cases in the county over the past week. That's down from 135 on January 21st. Since the beginning of the pandemic in March of 2020, the way COVID cases were calculated and reported worldwide varied from different governmental and health agencies, as well as news outlets. The Edmonson Voice has always included the total active cases in the county instead of just reporting total number of cases from the beginning, as we have always believed the active case number shows the most accurate climate for the virus at any given time for a specific area.
That number was always figured by taking the total number of cases reported from the pandemic's beginning and subtracting the total number of recoveries and deaths. The BRDHD now reports new cases in each county instead of the recoveries.
Mask requirements are virtually non-existent in the county, with the exception of medical facilities, and Edmonson County Schools currently have zero active cases reported from students and only one from a staff member.
Also today, the BRDHD reported that Edmonson County currently has the lowest vaccination rate (37.6%) of any of the eight counties in the Barren River District. In addition, Edmonson also has the lowest number of deaths reported from COVID-19 (38), as well as total cases (2,665).
Darren Doyle, story:
A Tennessee man was arrested and faces felony meth charges after a theft of services complaint on Wednesday afternoon, according to local law enforcement.
The Edmonson County Sheriff's Office said they responded to a complaint call of theft of services from Warren Rural Electric around 4:45PM on Wednesday, March 9, 2022 in the 5000 block of Segal Road. Officials stated that law enforcement made contact with James Michael Tarkington (60) of Centerville, Tennessee in the yard of the residence in the complaint. A sheriff’s deputy observed what appeared to be a knife clipped to the right front pocket of Tarkington’s pants and instructed him to keep his hands out his pockets, to which Tarkington immediately responded by sticking both hands in the front pockets of his pants, the Sheriff's Office stated.
According to law enforcement, Tarkington was instructed to remove his hands from his pockets and the deputy advised Tarkington that he was going to do an exterior frisk for weapons, which resulted in the discovery of a knife and drug paraphernalia. The Sheriff's Office also stated that the drug paraphernalia contained a significant amount of suspected methamphetamine.
Tarkington was arrested and charged with:
Tarkington was lodged in Hart County. The WRECC theft of services complaint is an ongoing investigation with further charges pending.
According to Sheriff Shane Doyle, a common theft of services offense is when someone runs an extension cord to a nearby unattended structure to steal electricity. He also said he has seen where individuals have dangerously tied in to a main line off a utility pole.
Edmonson Voice Report:
A Brownsville man was arrested and charged with felony drug possession after a traffic stop late Sunday night, according to the Edmonson County Sheriff's Office.
The Sheriff's Office stated that a deputy initiated a traffic stop near P. Lindsey Road for a brake light violation around midnight on Sunday, March 6th. The operator of the vehicle was identified as Dayton Thomas (18) and the passenger was identified as Jeremy Thomas (40) of Brownsville.
According to the Sheriff's Office, the deputy detected the odor of marijuana emitting from the vehicle and conducted a probable cause search of the vehicle, which resulted in the discovery of a used syringe and drug paraphernalia. Law enforcement also said that they discovered Jeremy Thomas to be in possession of another syringe and suspected methamphetamine. Jeremy Thomas allegedly took ownership of the suspected drugs, was placed under arrest, and charged with Drug Paraphernalia—Buy/Possess, Possession Controlled Substance, 1st Degree/1st Offense (methamphetamine).
He was lodged in Hart County Jail.
Darren Doyle, story:
Two individuals were recently arrested in separate incidents and charged with felony drug counts, according to the Edmonson County Sheriff's Office.
The first incident occurred at approximately 8:30PM on Friday, February 25th, when a sheriff's deputy reportedly conducted a traffic stop on a black Chevrolet passenger car for a lighting violation on Ed Cooke Road. The deputy reported a strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle as he approached the car. The Sheriff's Office said that a passenger in the vehicle was identified at Cody W. Johnson (18) of Glasgow, who was discovered to have an active warrant from Warren County for failing to appear on traffic violations.
Johnson was also discovered to be in possession of a large amount of marijuana, according to the Sheriff's Office. He was arrested on the active warrant and also charged with Trafficking in Marijuana—1st Offense (less than 8 oz).
Johnson was lodged in Hart County Jail.
On Saturday, February 26th around 9:14PM, the Sheriff's Office reported a vehicle that ran a stop sign at the intersection of Morgantown Road and KY Hwy 259. A traffic stop was made on Washington Street in Brownsville where the operator of the vehicle was identified as Adam Durbin and the passenger as Natasha Crowder, the Sheriff's Office said, where there was a strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle.
Crowder reportedly admitted to smoking marijuana while inside the vehicle, the Sheriff's Office said. A probable cause search of the vehicle was conducted and produced drug paraphernalia, suspected marijuana, and suspected methamphetamine, according to the Sheriff's Office. Crowder allegedly took ownership of all suspected drugs, placed under arrest, and charged with:
Crowder was lodged in Hart County Jail.