Darren Doyle, story:
A Rocky Hill woman and three children were injured this morning in a single vehicle accident on Rocky Hill Road around 8:30AM, according to the Edmonson County Sheriff's Office.
Local law enforcement said that Melita Simpson, (27) of Rocky Hill was headed north on KY 259 (Rocky Hill Road) in a 2006 Dodge Durango SUV when for an undetermined reason, her vehicle exited the right side of the roadway and struck a tree.
She and three juvenile passengers, a 7yr-old male, 8yr-old female, and a 7yr-old female were transported to the hospital via Edmonson EMS for serious injuries.
The Edmonson County Sheriff's Office said that upon investigation, it was determined that none of the children were properly restrained in the vehicle at the time of the crash. The case is being referred to the Edmonson County Attorney's Office for potential prosecution, the Sheriff's Office said.
Responding to the scene were the Rocky Hill, Chalybeate, and Brownsville Fire Departments, Edmonson EMS, the Edmonson County Sheriff's Office, and Edmonson County Emergency Management.
Darren Doyle, story:
Magistrates voted to approve a $1/hr pay raise for each employee of the county road department; they also voted to increase starting pay from $11.50 to $14/hr for road department positions.
Judge Executive Wil Cannon said there has been very little interest in new road department positions for a long period of time; mostly because the pay scale was too low.
Magistrates also voted to approve the addition to Joseph Court into the county road system. The small subdivision is located off Sulphur Road in the Chalybeate community, and is already paved. The 430ft lane also met the other criteria required for the county. A motion to accept the road was made by Magistrate Corey VanMeter and second by Johnny Brooks. The motion passed.
The court also received sealed bids for the mowing at the courthouse and Sheriff's Office, which were submitted by Page Lawncare, Baxter Cemetery Services and Mowing, Ray Willhite-R&T Improvements, Jeremy Spainhoward, and Bo's Lawncare. Magistrates voted to award the bid to Jeremy Spainhoward at $75 per mowing.
Judge Executive Cannon updated the court on the farmland property lease on Veterans Memorial, which was awarded to Chris Bowen at the last fiscal court meeting. Since that time, Mr. Bowen declined the bid which allowed the next bidder to receive it, which was Mr. Greg Whittle. Cannon said Whittle had signed the proper documentation.
The court also voted to:
The next fiscal court meeting is scheduled to be held virtually on May 10, 2021 at 9:00 a.m. via audio/video teleconference.
Mammoth Cave Man Dies In Bee Spring Crash
Darren Doyle, story:
A Mammoth Cave man was pronounced dead today at the scene of a single vehicle collision in Bee Spring, according to the Kentucky State Police.
KSP was requested around 4:00 PM by the Edmonson County Sheriff’s Office to investigate a singe vehicle fatal crash that occurred near the 6000 block of Highway 259 North in Edmonson County. According to KSP, 65 year-old Marshall T. Hornback, of Mammoth Cave was operating a 1994 Chevrolet truck northbound on KY 259 in Edmonson County, when for unknown reasons, his vehicle exited the right shoulder of the roadway and struck a tree.
Hornback was pronounced dead at the scene by the Edmonson County Coroner's Office. Two passengers in the vehicle were injured in the collision KSP said, which were 35 year-old Quentin A. Hornback of Mammoth Cave, who was transported by EMS to Medical Center in Bowling Green, and 62 year-old Martha Hornback, who was flown to University of Louisville Hospital for treatment of injuries.
The investigation is being led by Trooper Cody Edwards. He was assisted on the scene by KSP personnel, Edmonson County Coroner's Office, Edmonson County EMS, Kyrock Fire Department, Edmonson County Sheriff's Office, and Air Methods.
It is the third fatal accident in just over as many weeks in Edmonson County. A Louisville woman was killed in Bee Spring in a two-car crash on March 29th, and a Smiths Grove woman died in a Chalybeate crash on April 3rd.
Darren Doyle, story and photo:
An Anneta man was pulled from the icy waters of the Green River during the early hours of Friday morning in a water rescue at the former Lock 6 area in Brownsville.
According to Edmonson County Emergency Management Director Terry Massey, local dispatch paged the Brownsville Fire Department around 2AM after a caller said a possible drowning had occurred at the Brownsville boat ramp, at the Brownsville bridge. According to radio traffic, the potential victim was a 40-year old male.
Massey said he and firefighters arrived but no vehicles or persons were there, with no sign of anyone having been there. Massey said the caller had given the wrong location to dispatch and crews were then paged to respond to the Lock 6 area instead, which is a couple miles up the river.
EM Director Massey said that Kyrock was then also paged and crews arrived on scene soon after.
"Myself and another firefighter arrived at the area and we saw two vehicles but nobody was in them," he said. "In just a minute, we could hear some yelling down at the river and could tell it was downstream a good ways."
Massey said he and the firefighter followed the commotion and the firefighter found the man about 200 yards downstream in about a foot of water, lying on his side.
"Tim Skees (firefighter) pulled him out of the water and we were able to get him up the bank and into my Jeep where we started trying to get him warmed up. He was already showing signs of hypothermia and it also appeared as if he was probably under the influence of something."
Massey said those on scene said the man, who was not identified, fell in the water after trying to retrieve some fishing gear.
The man was transported to Twin Lakes Regional Hospital by Edmonson EMS and is currently in ICU, according to Massey.
Also responding were the Brownsville, Kyrock, and Chalybeate Fire Departments, along with KY Fish and Wildlife.
"Our fire departments had boats en route, along with all the necessary equipment and manpower needed in this situation. There were probably 20 firefighters there," Massey said.
EDMONSON COUNTY FISCAL COURT
NOTICE OF REGULAR AUDIO/VIDEO TELECONFERENCE MEETING
In accordance with KRS 61.823, KRS 61.826, Executive Order 2020-243, OAG 20-05, 2020 Senate Bill 150 and the March 31 Attorney General Advisory, the Edmonson County Fiscal Court will meet in session at 9:00 a.m. on April 26, 2021 to consider the following Agenda. The meeting will take place via audio teleconference due to the current public health situation with the fiscal court not meeting in person. The public may attend via audio by dialing: 1-312-626-6799, meeting ID 86941231622, password 178709 or by going to the following link:
EDMONSON COUNTY JUDGE EXECUTIVE
Edmonson Voice Report:
A relief effort is now underway for the family of Phillip Pierce, who lost everything in a house fire early Wednesday morning. The Chalybeate Fire Department is now accepting clothing and toiletry donations at the firehouse.
A list of sizes and items are below:
Undergarments: 32D, 6
Shoes: 8 1/2
16 year old daughter
Bottoms: Size 5 or Small
Undergarments: 32A, 5 or small
(Favorite colors: Pink and White)
13 year old daughter
Bottoms: 12 youth size
Undergarments: 32AA, 12 kids
Shoes: 2 1/2 - 3
8 year old daughter
Shoes: 13 or 1
Toiletries are also very much appreciated. Please contact Daniel Johnson, Fire Chief, at 270-597-7350 to arrange drop off times.
Darren Doyle, story, photos, and video:
A Chalybeate home was lost in a fire early this morning in a subdivision off of Sulphur Road.
Local fire departments were paged at 5:45AM to the report of a structure fire on Joseph Court, a cul-de-sac subdivision off of Sulphur Road in Chalybeate.
Those on scene said the residents of the home, who rented from owner Johnny Davis, were not there at the time. Neighbors said that school-aged children also lived at the residence but no other information was given.
The cause of the fire was undetermined and no injuries were reported.
Responding to the scene were the Chalybeate, Wingfield, and Brownsville Fire Departments, as well as Edmonson EMS. The house was a total loss.
Local School Board Will Vote To Accept Or Reject All Applications
Darren Doyle, story and photo:
Edmonson County students in grades K-12 will now have the option of using the 2021-22 school year as a supplemental year, allowing them to repeat the grade level for this school year as a result Senate Bill 128, which was recently approved by the General Assembly.
"Before considering this option, please review the information in this letter so that you can make an informed decision," Superintendent of Edmonson County Schools Brian Alexander said in a letter to school personnel and students." If you do not want your child to utilize the supplemental school year, no action is needed. If you would like to request this option, you can visit https://forms.gle/ewRX49PC5FFkhaQT6 to access the application. The application must be completed no later than May 1, 2021."
According to Supt. Alexander's letter, the law requires local Boards of Education to either approve or reject the supplemental year. On May 10, 2021, the Edmonson County Board of Education will make a decision on whether to approve the requests for the supplemental year. This decision will not be made at the individual level as the law requires that the Board to either approve all applications or deny all applications. If adopted by the Edmonson County Board of Education, families have until May 28, 2021, to choose to opt out of the Supplemental Year Program should they change their mind. After May 28, students and parents are obligated to follow through with their intent to commit to a FULL SUPPLEMENTAL YEAR OF INSTRUCTION at their respective school.
Edmonson County Schools has compiled a list of benefits and concerns associated with the law, published below.
"Please look closely at all benefits and concerns listed below in order to make an informed decision regarding your child’s educational future," said Supt. Alexander.
"We have worked very hard to put together information that will allow students and families to make an informed decision in terms of whether they want to investigate the possibility of a supplemental year," Alexander told the Edmonson Voice. "Anyone with questions concerning this is free to contact me at the board, or any of our schools."
Darren Doyle, story:
After being suspended for COVID, jury trials are resuming in May, according to Edmonson Circuit Court Clerk Tanya Hodges.
Hodges said that letters for potential jurors will be going out in a week or so. She has issued the following statement in regards to these letter:
As you may know, when court cases require a jury here in the Edmonson County Courthouse, our office has to request a jury panel from Frankfort. I, nor anyone in our office has any control as to who is mailed a jury summons. We simply request a certain amount of names, and then the names are randomly selected from a database stored in Frankfort.
It has come to our attention that in the past, several families have received a summons in the name of a deceased loved one. We know this is frustrating, and sometimes painful. We deeply apologize for these incidents and we are working hard to keep this from happening in the future.
A new jury panel is currently being selected and the summons' will be mailed out soon. Again, we do not select these names locally, but we ask that if you or a family member receive a summons for someone who has passed, to please contact our office immediately so that we can notify Frankfort in order to remove that name from the database.
We are here to serve you with respect and dignity, and we deeply care about our responsibilities, our credibility, but most importantly, you, the people of Edmonson County. Please contact our office with any needs for our services, it is our pleasure to serve you. Thank you so much."
The office is still closed to the public under KY Supreme Court Order, despite the fact that the courthouse is open; however there are still options available for those who need to see someone at the office in person, according to Clerk Hodges.
"People can come in by appointment-only for emergency filings," she said. "Also, CDL drivers and out-of-state drivers transferring in can make appointments to come in for renewal. People who need to to take written tests can also make appointments, which can be done by calling the office at 270-597-2584. All other transactions including regular driver renewal can be done by mail or drop box."
Driver’s license renewal forms can also be found at drive.KY.gov.
Edmonson Voice Report:
The Barren River District Health Department has paused the administration of Johnson & Johnson vaccination under the direction of the Kentucky Department of Public Health, the CDC, and the FDA, according to a released statement from BRDHD today.
"Due to the temporary pause in Johnson & Johnson vaccinations, we are providing (2-dose) Moderna vaccines during all scheduled vaccination clinics," the statement said. "Existing appointments will be honored with Moderna vaccine in place of Johnson & Johnson vaccine. If you currently have an appointment scheduled and wish to wait for the re-release of Johnson & Johnson vaccine, please contact us and cancel your appointment. We will notify the public when the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been re-released, and appointments can be rescheduled at that time."
The BRDHD is currently administering COVID-19 vaccines for individuals 18 years of age and older in all 8 county clinics.
"Due to vaccine supply, vaccine clinics will occur on specific days for each county. Once the appointments are full for April, we will schedule appointments again in mid-April for the month of May," BRDHD said.
To schedule an appointment online: Visit https://www.yellowschedule.com/booking/brdhd__vaccine__site as well as www.barrenriverhealth.org.
Darren Doyle, story:
The Edmonson County Fiscal Court is seeking more than $6 million dollars from FEMA to repair damaged county roads due to the floods experienced in March of this year.
County Road Supervisor Greg Carroll submitted a written report for today's fiscal court meeting that outlined the damages in each district which included the following:
Carroll and County Treasurer Tammi Willhite submitted the damage report to FEMA; they conducted a recent meeting with a FEMA representative, to which Carroll reported went positively.
Willhite said that FEMA will assess the reports and estimate the repairs themselves, compare to the county's assessment, then hopefully come to agreement for federal aid.
Sheriff Report: Sheriff Shane Doyle said his office had experienced a very busy period since the last meeting that included multiple felony arrests over Easter weekend, as well several other DUI and drug arrests. He also noted that last week's fatal accidents were an anomaly in Edmonson County, stating that Edmonson County is consistently one of the lowest-numbered states for fatal accidents. There were two within 6 days recently. He also added that he thanked Kentucky State Police for sending an accident reconstructionist to both fatal scenes.
County Clerk Report: Clerk Kevin Alexander said that March is the busiest month of the year for his office. He said $167K in tax revenue was turned over to the county in March alone.
Parks and Rec: It was announced that the annual baseball/softball jamboree is scheduled for April 24th. The event and seasons for youth baseball and softball were cancelled last year due to COVID.
Farmland bids: Sealed bids to farm county property on HWY 259-Veterans Memorial HWY at the site of the new proposed animal shelter were open during today's meeting. Two bids were submitted; one by Chris Bowen for $715 and another by Greg Whittle for $650. After a brief discussion, Magistrate Charlie Tarter motioned to accept the highest bidder, contingent on the bidder providing proper insurance documentation, as required in this particular bidding process. The motion was seconded by Magistrate Johnny Brooks and passed unanimously.
County Agreement With Local Rescue Squad Discontinued: Magistrates chose to take no action on an expired agreement with the Brownsville/Edmonson County Rescue Squad, which means there is no longer an agreement in place. Each year, the county enters into an agreement of affiliation with the RS that allows local dispatch to dispatch the RS to local emergencies.
County Emergency Management Director Terry Massey recommended the agreement be discontinued because the county has its own resources to handle these emergencies and that the RS failed to provide some financial documentation requested by the county.
We reached out to a member of the Rescue Squad for their side of the issue and will have a follow-up later this week with more details.
The court also agreed to:
The next fiscal court meeting is scheduled to be held virtually on Monday, April 26th at 9AM.
Edmonson Voice Report:
The Edmonson County Sheriff's Office made a meth arrest on Saturday as a result of a reckless driver call, according to a press release from their office.
The release stated that on Saturday, April 10, 2021, at approximately 8:20 pm, Edmonson County Dispatch received a reckless driver complaint involving a red GMC pickup truck. A deputy with the Edmonson County Sheriff’s Department reportedly observed a vehicle matching that description traveling north on Veterans Memorial Highway that was allegedly weaving in the lane of travel. According to the Sheriff's Office, the deputy initiated a traffic stop and identified the operator as Glenn F. Fournier (46) of Bowling Green.
The Sheriff's Office said that Fournier gave the deputy consent to search his vehicle which produced the discovery of suspected methamphetamine. The deputy then placed Fournier under arrest and charged him with:
An Edmonson County Grand Jury has returned the following indictiments:
Christopher Y. Reeves, Possession of controlled substance first degree-meth, Possession of marijuana, Drug Paraphernalia-buy/possess, Tampering with physical evidence.
April Flora, Careless driving, License to be in possession, Possession of controlled substance first degree-meth, Possession of marijuana, Drug paraphernalia-buy/possess, Tampering with physical evidence.
Shawn Filback, Bail jumping first degree, Persistent felony offender first degree.
George W. Payne, Possession of controlled substance first degree-meth, Possession of marijuana.
David R. Kurtz, Trafficking controlled substance first degree<2gms meth, Public intoxication, Drug paraphernalia, buy/possess, Persistent felony offender second degree.
Toni D. Brown, Trafficking controlled substance first degree<2gms meth, Trafficking in marijuana, Drug paraphernalia-buy/possess, Resisting arrest, Assault third degree-police officer, Tampering with physical evidence.
Jason Stanka, Trafficking controlled substance first degree<2gms meth, Trafficking in marijuana, Drug paraphernalia-buy/possess, Resisting arrest.
James W. Reynolds, Speeding 26mph or more over speed limit, Reckless driving, Attempted murder-police officer, Burglary second degree, Theft by unlawful taking over $500, Fleeing or evading police first degree (motor vehicle), Fleeing or evading police first degree (on foot), three counts of Wanton endangerment-first degree, Wanton endangerment first degree-police officer, Persistent felony offender first degree.
Dekota Jaggers, Rape third degree, Sexual abuse first degree.
Rhonda J. Clemmons, 52 counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument second degree, Theft by unlawful taking or disposition all others over $10,000 or more, but under $1,000,000.
Jenny Durbin, Possession of controlled substance first degree-meth-firearm enhanced. Possession of marijuana-firearm enhanced, Drug paraphernalia-buy/possess-firearm enhanced.
Douglas Sanders, Rear license not illuminated, Possession of controlled substance first degree-meth-firearm enhanced, Possession of marijuana-firearm enhanced, Drug paraphernalia-buy/possess-firearm enhanced, Possession of handgun by convicted felon.
Dustin Dean Willis, Flagrant non-support, Persistent felony offender first degree.
Tracy Larimore, Flagrant non-support.
Wendy L. Browning, Possession of controlled substance first degree-meth, Drug paraphernalia-buy/possess.
Willie Ray Lindsey, Possession of controlled substance first degree-meth, Drug paraphernalia-buy/possess.
Shawna McStoots, Possession of controlled substance first degree-meth, Drug paraphernalia-buy/possess.
Ronnie Corn, Retaliating against participant in legal process, Persistent felony offender second degree.
Garnett Richard Clifford, Possession of controlled substance first degree-meth, Drug paraphernalia-buy/possess.
Craig T. Sheffield, Possession of controlled substance first degree-meth, Drug paraphernalia-buy/possess.
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.
EDMONSON COUNTY FISCAL COURT
NOTICE OF REGULAR AUDIO/VIDEO TELECONFERENCE MEETING
In accordance with KRS 61.823, KRS 61.826, Executive Order 2020-243, OAG 20-05, 2020 Senate Bill 150 and the March 31 Attorney General Advisory, the Edmonson County Fiscal Court will meet in session at 9:00 a.m. on April 12, 2021 to consider the following Agenda. The meeting will take place via audio teleconference due to the current public health situation with the fiscal court not meeting in person. The public may attend via audio by dialing: 1-312-626-6799, meeting ID 824 1397 2771, password 063715 or by going to the following link:
EDMONSON COUNTY JUDGE EXECUTIVE
Edmonson Voice Report:
The Edmonson County Sheriff's Office had very high activity through the Easter weekend as they reported nine different felony arrests in six different incidents, as well as multiple felony warrants.
In a press release, the Sheriff's Office said that on Thursday, April 1, 2021, law enforcement arrived at the 4800-block of Chalybeate School Road to serve an Indictment Warrant for charges of Possession of Controlled Substance, 1st Degree/1st Offense (methamphetamine) and Drug Paraphernalia—Buy/Possess for Wendy L. Browning (40). Officers reportedly found drug paraphernalia with suspected methamphetamine residue in plain view. Browning was taken into custody for the Indictment Warrant and charged with new offenses that included:
No photo available for Wendy Browning
Deputies arrested five more individuals the following day as they executed both bench and indictment warrants, which included:
photos not available for James K. Webb, Matthew Avery, and Cody Vincent.
More arrests occurred the next day on April 3rd, as three individuals were arrested throughout the day by Edmonson County Sheriff's Deputies.
Law enforcement reported that around 1:30PM, an officer observed a Ford Ranger traveling eastbound on New Grove Road cross the yellow center line four time in a short distance. The driver allegedly failed to stop when the deputy initiated his emergency lights. The deputy reportedly activated his siren but the vehicle accelerated slightly and fled approximately three miles, while disregarding a stop sign before pulling into a driveway at the 900-block of Pig Road. The driver reportedly exited the vehicle and the deputy took him into custody without further incident. The driver was identified as Lester D. Adams (44) of Smiths Grove, who was operating on a DUI suspended license, the Sheriff's Office reported. Deputies also reported an open beer can in the driver’s side floorboard, as well as drug paraphernalia with suspected methamphetamine residue laying in plain view in the center console. Upon further investigation, the deputy discovered a handgun in the center console and a small bag of suspected marijuana under the center console. Adams was arrested and charged with:
• Careless Driving
• Fleeing or Evading Police, 1st Degree (motor vehicle)
• Driving DUI Suspended—1st Offense (aggravated circumstance)
• Disregarding Stop Sign
• Possession Controlled Substance, 1st Degree/1st Offense (methamphetamine—firearm enhanced)
• Possession of Marijuana (firearm enhanced)
• Drug Paraphernalia—Buy/Possess (firearm enhanced)
• Possession of Open Alcoholic Beverage Container in Motor Vehicle Prohibited
Later in the day, deputies arrested Regina Freeman (45) of Paducah, Kentucky, for a Bench Warrant out of Marshall County for failing to appear on charges of Trafficking in Controlled Substance, 1st Degree/1st Offense (> or = 2 GMS methamphetamine) and Drug Paraphernalia—Buy/Possess.
Finally, later on Saturday night, April 3rd, the Sheriff's Office added one more drug arrest to the list, which resulted in a large quantity of meth being confiscated.
The Sheriff's Office said that around 9:20PM, a deputy initiated a traffic stop on a Chevrolet Blazer traveling westbound on Nolin Dam Road for no license plate light. The driver was identified as Justin Goodman, (22) of Sweeden. Goodman allegedly did not have his driver’s license in his possession and did not have an insurance card. The deputy reported that Goodman was acting nervously so the deputy asked if there was anything illegal in the vehicle; Goodman allegedly stated the center console contained drugs, the Sheriff's Office said. A significant amount of suspected methamphetamine was discovered in the center console, along with drug paraphernalia, and more suspected methamphetamine in the vehicle. Goodman was placed under arrest and charged with:
• Rear License Not Illuminated
• License to be in Possession
• Failure to Produce Insurance Card
• Trafficking in Controlled Substance, 1st Degree/1st Offense (> or = 2 GMS methamphetamine)
no photo available for Justin Goodman
All suspects were transported and lodged in the Hart County Jail.
Darren Doyle, story and photo:
A Smiths Grove woman has died and another man is in serious condition after a single vehicle crash earlier today, according to Kentucky State Police.
The Edmonson County Sheriff's Office requested assistance from KSP today around 12PM to investigate the collision that took place at the intersection of Denham Road and Noah Bledsoe Road.
Troopers said that 91 year-old Wilmon N. Linger, of Smiths Grove, was operating a 2005 Pontiac van on Noah Bledsoe Road when he veered onto Denham Road where his vehicle exited the right side of the roadway, striking a tree and causing the vehicle to overturn. A passenger in the vehicle, 88 year-old Mary C. Linger, of Smiths Grove, was pronounced dead at the scene by the Edmonson County Coroner's Office. Wilmon Linger was transported by Air Methods to the University of Louisville Hospital where he is listed in serious but stable condition.
It is the second fatal accident in Edmonson County this week. Julia Broderick, 46, of Louisville died on Monday in an accident on KY HWY 259 N.
The investigation is being led by Trooper Bo Hubbard. He was assisted on the scene by KSP personnel, Edmonson County Coroner's Office, Edmonson County EMS, Chalybeate Fire Department, Edmonson County Sheriff's Office, and Air Methods.
MAMMOTH CAVE, KY. – National Park Service fire managers will conduct two prescribed burns at Mammoth Cave National Park sometime between Saturday, April 3 and Friday, April 9. The 260-acre Parkway Barrens Prescribed Fire and the almost 100-acre Chaumont-Wondering Woods Prescribed Fire will reduce the spread of exotic plants, promote the regrowth of native species and reduce hazardous forest fuels that have accumulated in the area.
The Parkway Barrens burn will take place on the westside of the Mammoth Cave Parkway (KY-255) from the Park City entrance to near the intersection with Mammoth Cave Road (KY-70). The Chaumont-Wondering Woods burn will take place in an area north of Mammoth Cave Road (KY-70) from Cave City. No roads, trails, or park facilities will be closed during either burn, but traffic control measures may be in place to manage travel along the Mammoth Cave Parkway during the fire activities. Nearby communities and areas directly outside of the park should expect to see some short-term smoke impacts during the burns.
In 2019, Mammoth Cave National Park updated its Fire Management Plan which provides the framework and guidance on how and when to use fire as a tool to manage ecological processes within the park. Prescribed fires, such as the Parkway Barrens and Chaumont-Wondering Woods burns, reduce the spread of exotic plants like privet hedge and Bradford pear, and encourage native species such as Post oaks, native grasses, and various wildflowers to grow in the eastern tall grass prairie vegetation that are found within this section of the park. These burns also reduce hazardous forest fuels such as branches twigs and logs which help to protect human life and property from more intense wildfires that could feed off excess fuels.
The plans for the Parkway Barrens and Chaumont-Wondering Woods prescribed fires contain a set of parameters which define the acceptable weather and fuel conditions under which the fire can be initiated. Prior to implementing the burn, fire managers will evaluate current conditions and will only ignite the fire if all the prescribed conditions are within those parameters that provide for the greatest safety and best smoke management.
Trained wildland firefighters from the National Park Service’s Mississippi River Fire Management Zone, Cumberland Gap National Historic Park, The Nature Conservancy, and Mammoth Cave National Park will manage the prescribed fire.
For more information about Mammoth Cave National Park’s Wildland Fire program, please visit Wildland Fire website.
Darren Doyle, story and photos:
A predawn fire had local firefighters busy as an abandoned mobile home stuffed with old uniforms went up in flames.
Multiple firefighters were paged around 4:30AM on Saturday, April 3rd to the report of a structure fire in the 3700 block of Chaumont Road, just off 31W. Firefighters arrived to a fully engulfed mobile home that was barely standing.
According to Rocky Hill Fire Chief Tim Compton, the mobile home had been abandoned for some time. He said the former occupant, who had previously passed away, sold uniforms in the area. The mobile home was packed top-to-bottom with these uniforms, which had the entire area smoldering from the burnt clothing.
It was one of several unoccupied mobile homes in the same vicinity. No injuries were reported.
Responding to the scene were the Rocky Hill, Chalybeate, and Brownsville Fire Departments.
Former County Tourism Director Indicted: Accused Of Stealing Over $30K From County Tourism Commission
Darren Doyle, story and photo:
Rhonda Clemmons, a former Edmonson County employee and former director of Edmonson County Tourism, has been indicted on more than 50 counts of forgery and/or theft.
According to court documents which were available this week following an Edmonson County Grand Jury, Clemmons faces 52 counts of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument and one count of Theft by Unlawful Taking over $10,000.
The indictment document stated, "Rhonda J. Clemmons, committed the offense of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree when, with knowledge that it was forged and intent to defraud, deceive or injure another, she uttered or possessed a forged check on the account of the Edmonson County Tourist & Convention Commission."
The indictment further stated, "Rhonda J. Clemmons, committed the offense of Theft by Unlawful Taking over $10,000.00, when she stole approximately $30,407.77 from the Edmonson County Tourist & Convention Commission."
Each charge states that the acts were committed on or between January 14, 2019 through May 21, 2020.
While the Edmonson County Tourism Commission funded Clemmons' employment, she was made a county employee in order to receive full-time benefits. During Clemmons' employment, the Tourism Commission was not able to provide full-time employee benefits as a result of how their organization was set up. Tourism had an agreement with the county where Tourism would pay $8,000 per quarter to the county as reimbursement for Clemmons' pay.
Clemmons administered local room and rec taxes, which are collected by the Judge Executive's office with all room taxes being turned over to the Tourism Commission. All in-county businesses that provide lodging are required to pay a quarterly room tax. Clemmons, served as tourism director under the authority of the tourism commission board. The Edmonson County Planning Commission also contributed to Clemmons' salary and benefits package for her role as secretary there.
In April through May of 2020, the Judge Executive's Office discovered that the Tourism Commission was behind on $22,000 of quarterly payments. In a fiscal court meeting from May 26, 2020, Judge Wil Cannon said that when the commission was asked about the past due payments, Clemmons allegedly said there was no money as a result of the coronavirus pandemic; however, Cannon said that over that time period, the county had turned over more than $50,000 in room taxes over to Tourism, much of which was prior to the pandemic. The fiscal court voted to terminate her employment at that meeting.
As a result, the Judge Executive's Office began to work with the Edmonson County Tourism Commission to figure out where the money went. The Edmonson County Sheriff's Office was then contacted for an investigation, which was turned over to the Kentucky State Police. Judge Cannon spoke to us about the discovery of the missing funds.
"When the county discovered that tourism was behind on their payments we just thought it was an innocent mistake," he said. "But the more questions we began to ask Rhonda, the more she began to avoid them. Before too long we could see that something was wrong."
Judge Cannon said Clemmons was asked to provide receipts or other documentation regarding where the money went but nothing was ever produced.
Cannon said he then began working alongside Tourism to try to figure out what went wrong. He said 18 months of checks from the Tourism account were requested from the bank and that's where it was discovered the checks had been forged with Tourism board members' names.
Judge Cannon also said that Clemmons was asked to return the Tourism computer, which she regularly used. He said she finally returned it but the hard drive had been removed.
"I'm glad it's been investigated thoroughly and the indictment has finally happened," he said. "With this amount of money missing, someone has to have some answers."
The Edmonson Voice contacted Ms. Clemmons for comment at the time of her termination last year as well as now for comment on the indictment; neither of which did we received a response.
Shaska Hines, Chairperson of the Tourism Board gave a statement to the Voice on Thursday.
"This matter has been turned over to the authorities, who have investigated and brought the charges," she said. "The board of commissioners, including myself, remain committed to our community and moving forward in a positive direction."
Sheriff Shane Doyle also discussed his role in the investigation.
"I want to thank the Kentucky State Police for their excellent work on this case," Doyle said. "When it was brought to my attention, I realized the potential magnitude and the resources that would be required to properly investigate such a large scale crime. KSP's special investigations unit is the best of the best when it comes to these kind of issues, and they have done a wonderful job in helping our county and our government offices. I hope that justice is properly carried out through our court system, and I have full faith that it will be."
Clemmons was also the former Edmonson County Chamber of Commerce Director; however, she was not accused of any wrongdoing while employed by the Chamber, which has since hired a new director. She is also no longer the secretary of the Edmonson County Planning Commission.
If convicted, she faces 1-5 years in prison for each count of Possession of a Forged Instrument (a class D Felony) and 5-10 years in prison for the count of Theft by Unlawful Taking over $10,000 (a class C Felony). An indictment is only a formal charge and is not an admission of guilt.