Active Cases Steadily Remain 10 Or Less At One Time Over Course of Pandemic
Darren Doyle, story:
Edmonson County has seen fairly consistent numbers regarding positive COVID-19 cases over the past several weeks. Active confirmed cases of coronavirus within the county have averaged under 10 at a time for most of the pandemic. To calculate known active cases, the sum of confirmed recoveries and deaths is subtracted from total cases, (total cases are tallied from the beginning of the pandemic).
As of today, the Barren River District Health Department reported a total number of 94 confirmed positive virus cases in Edmonson County (up 8 from last Friday), 74 confirmed recoveries (up 7 from last Friday) and 12 deaths, which has remained steady for close to a month.
Across the district, which is an eight-county area with a total population 276,669, according to census numbers, the BRDHD reported today a total of 3,635 confirmed positive cases total (up 396 from last Friday), 2849 recoveries (up 435 from last Friday), and 81 deaths (up 3 from last Friday).
Survival rate of confirmed cases within district is currently at 97.8% (or 2.2% death rate) (81 deaths from 3,635 confirmed cases).
Over the past week across Kentucky, cases rose to 30,151 (up 4220 from last Friday), recoveries also rose to 7,396 (up 85) and deaths rose by 44 to a total number of 735.
As of today, there have been at least 629,706 coronavirus tests performed in Kentucky, according to a statement from the Governor's Office, which said the positivity rate in KY currently stands at 5.43%. This is calculated by dividing the number of confirmed positive tests by the total number of tests administered. The Edmonson Voice has requested the total number of tests administered in the Barren River Health District so that we can calculate both the district and county positivity rate for comparisons. The World Health Organization says before a region can relax restrictions, the test positivity rate from a comprehensive testing program should be at or below 5% for at least 14 days.
The Governor's Office also reported 7,481 recoveries from the virus.
Few Items Discussed At Night Meeting
Darren Doyle, story and photos:
One of two annual night meetings was held last night for Edmonson County Fiscal Court where a very short agenda was discussed. The full meeting was live video streamed on the Edmonson Voice.
The two main items of business were introducing newly appointed District 3 Magistrate Charlie Tarter to the court in his first meeting and honoring Edmonson County K9 Deputy Tango, who passed on June 16th of this year.
Judge Executive Wil Cannon said most people don't understand the true nature of having a K9 deputy as a partner. Judge Cannon retired from Kentucky State Police as a Trooper for over two decades.
"I can tell you that that particular K9 is more than a right hand to that officer," he said. "When that deputy is lost, part of that officer is lost."
Cannon presented an honorary plaque to Deputy Tango's former handler, Deputy Jordan Jones. Jones thanked the court and discussed the difficulty he'd faced working without Tango. He also thanked the people of the county for their support of law enforcement officers, despite the current climate in the nation.
"I appreciate the community's outreach," he said. "I think it's nice to know that a police officer is still loved by his community, because a lot of places are showing that they just really don't care about them," Jones said. "That's not the way it is in Edmonson County and it never has been. This is the greatest place I've ever lived and I've lived a lot of places with my time in the military. I hope to never leave this place again. Thank ya'll very much."
Tarter was appointed by Governor Andy Beshear's office on Friday, July 24th and was sworn in to office on Monday morning. Tarter, a democrat, filled the vacant position left by former republican magistrate Clark Wood, who passed away while in office in March of 2020. Tarter is a local farmer from the Pig community that attended his first meeting last night.
"We welcome you to fiscal court," Judge Cannon said to Magistrate Tarter. "He spent most of the day with us and if there's anything we can do to help him, we'd be glad to."
Only a few county offices gave reports during the short meeting and no other new business was discussed.
The next fiscal court meeting is scheduled for August 10, 2020 at 9AM in the upstairs courtroom of the courthouse.
Edmonson Voice Staff Report:
Gov. Andy Beshear on Monday announced several new measures to stem the rising number of cases of the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) in the commonwealth.
“At a time when Kentucky is dealing with a surge in the coronavirus, knowing where other states have gone and knowing what it takes to stop it from happening here, let’s remember that we’re going to get through this, and we’re going to get through this together, but it’s going to require us to do what’s necessary,” the Governor said. “Wherever you live in Kentucky, the virus is spreading. Our state government and the federal administration have significant agreement on what we need to do right now to make sure we don’t turn into Florida, Texas, Arizona, so many other states going through what could be absolutely devastating for them.”
So, today Gov. Beshear announced the following steps:
To view the order from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services covering the new restrictions, which goes into effect at midnight tonight, click here.
Beshear Appoints Democrat Charlie Tarter To Magistrate Position Left Vacant By Passing Of Republican Clark Wood
Darren Doyle, story:
Governor Andy Beshear has appointed democrat Charlie Tarter as magistrate in District 3, which is the Rocky Hill/Pig area. Tarter will fill the seat that has been vacant since the death of former magistrate Clark Wood, who passed away in March of this year.
Tarter was sworn in during a private ceremony this morning at Judge Executive Wil Cannon's office. He began his duties immediately.
Darren Doyle, story:
Edmonson County saw only two newly confirmed coronavirus cases this week and four more recoveries, according to today's data from the Barren River District Health Department.
Numbers from the BRDHD rose and fell throughout the week as corrections were made on the totals. In a press release today, they stated: "Please note that a decrease in numbers is due to the county of residence being corrected/updated from what was previously reported."
Totals for Edmonson County today were as follow:
Across Kentucky, the state saw it's second-highest single day total with 797 newly confirmed cases since yesterday, according to the Governor's Office.
“Today we are reporting what I believe is the second-highest number of new cases we have had since our first case on March 6, with 797 new cases of COVID-19," Governor Andy Beshear said today. "That brings our total number of cases to 25,931. What it means is we are continuing to see an increase and a growth that we absolutely have to stop,” said Gov. Beshear. “And we’ll be watching these very carefully through the weekend and if we do not see the numbers come down, we going to have a series of recommendations and steps that we’ll need to take next week.”
Nineteen new cases were reported as being from children ages 5 and younger.
Governor Beshear also reported seven new deaths Friday, raising the total to 691 Kentuckians reportedly lost to the virus.
As of today, there have been at least 574,233 coronavirus tests performed in Kentucky. The positivity rate currently stands at 5.28%, which is the highest ever reported in Kentucky.
At least 7,396 Kentuckians have recovered from the virus, according to a statement from the Governor's Office.
New Record Set For Event: Nearly $5K In Monetary Donations Plus Supplies
Darren Doyle, story and photos:
Another record-breaking year of cramming school supplies into police cruisers happened today in Edmonson County as local school and law enforcement officials teamed up once again for their annual fundraising event.
The 14th Annual Cram the Cruiser event took place at two locations: Dollar General in Chalybeate and Family Dollar in Brownsville as boxes, carts, and bags of school supplies were dropped off at both places.
Jamie Carnes, Supervisor of Federal and State Programs for Edmonson County Schools, said the purpose for CtC is to ensure that all students have the necessary supplies at school, especially those that need a little more help throughout the school year.
"There are a lot of kids out there who do not have access to those items that other kids have," he said. "A lot of parents buy their kids plenty of stuff for back-to-school, we understand that, but there are also plenty of other kids that don't have access to those types of things, and those are the kids we're trying to help out. You'd be surprised the kind of requests we get through the regular school year just for basic things, like notebooks, pencils, pens, erasers, just simple things like that."
Edmonson County Sheriff Shane Doyle said the reason that Cram The Cruiser is always successful is because of the tight-knit community in Edmonson County.
"We do everything together, as a community, as a whole," he said. "We try to support our school system, we try to support our whole community, and they try to support us. We've got a wonderful partnership going."
Also helping out at this year's event was Brownsville Police and the Kentucky State Police. With teams and law enforcement at both locations, the donations were coming in steadily, despite social distancing recommendations. Both places had drop off stations set up where folks could drive in, drop off, and never leave their vehicles.
ServPro set up a tent and provided fans for workers and handed out snacks throughout the day. Pelican's Snoballs of Bowling Green was on hand in Brownsville, and Ladybug's Fritters and Fries was set up in Chalybeate. Both donated a portion of their proceeds to the event.
Kentucky State Police Public Information Officer Daniel Priddy said he was extremely pleased with the local turnout for this year's event.
"This has been another successful event and I'm happy that Edmonson County came out the way they did to show their generosity for our local kids," he said. "And under these circumstances, it's even more important to see just how great Edmonson County is. Today's event will help local students start off right and get help throughout the school year."
Superintendent of Edmonson County Schools Brian Alexander also attended today's event.
"We appreciate everything we get, everything our community can offer to our schools," he said. "And I can't say enough about our staff here today. Our Family Resource folks, our Community Ed folks that come out every year and give their time. They're folks that you don't see sometimes. You see my face, but you don't see theirs and they're the ones that make our school community tick."
The supplies will be divided equally among local schools. The resources will be utilized all school year long.
Arrest At School Supply Fundraiser, Sponsored By Law Enforcement
Darren Doyle, story and photo:
Law enforcement officers were putting more than just school supplies into a deputy's cruiser at one of the annual Cram the Cruiser event locations in Brownsville today, at the Family Dollar.
Local officers were on hand to help Edmonson County School personnel with their annual school supply drive today when something grabbed their attention. A car pulled into the crowded event into a handicapped parking spot with no visible permit. While that normally wouldn't be breaking news, one Edmonson County deputy, the Edmonson County Sheriff, and the Brownsville Chief of Police were surprised at the action, in the midst of large law enforcement event.
After the driver returned from the store to his vehicle, he was questioned about parking in the spot. According to the sheriff's deputy, the driver was identified as Roger Harris, (37) of Brownsville, who not only did not have a handicapped parking permit, but he was also driving on a DUI suspended license.
Officers said that Harris began cursing and became confrontational with officers while parents and children watched at the school supply drive event.
Harris was arrested and charged with:
First Fair Cancellation In 65-Year History of Event
Darren Doyle, story and photo:
For the first time in the 65-year history of the Edmonson County Lions Club Fair, there will be no fair this year.
The Edmonson County Lions Club, who has brought the enduring event to the fairgrounds annually since 1955, made the decision at their monthly meeting, which was held last night. Lions Club President Jimmie Duvall spoke with the Edmonson Voice about the difficult decision.
"The health department is requiring too many regulations for us to be able to bring the fair to the county this year," he said. "We had already planned on bringing a truck and tractor pull, rodeo, demolition derby, a mud bog, and of course our beauty pageants for this year's fair, but there are too many mandates in place for us to be able to do that."
Duvall said some of the requirements would be allowing only two spectators per beauty contestant, with a requirement for the Lions Club to obtain phone numbers and other contact information for those that would attend, and that the Lions Club would be responsible for keeping all attendees 6 feet apart at events.
"This is the first time we've ever had to cancel the fair," an emotional Duvall said. "There's more to this than what most people know. We have so many that look forward to this every year: those that grow vegetables and participate in our exhibit barns, those who work to put it on, and all the kids that come during school day after the parade."
Duvall said the parade is also cancelled. He mentioned that there is a possibility that perhaps a demolition derby or a mud bog could be scheduled later in the year, but that depends on the situation at that time, and obviously any regulations that would be required.
"It's just a bad time right now," he said. "People aren't sure what to do, what to expect. We feel like we're letting folks down, but we have no choice under the circumstances. It's just a bad time."
Edmonson Voice Report:
Edmonson County has fallen behind in its response to the 2020 U.S. Census, according to national and state averages, provided by the Census Bureau.
Julie Travillion, Partnership Specialist with the U.S. Census Bureau, said that response activity hasn't increased much at all over the past few weeks.
"Kentuckians only have a few more weeks to respond to the 2020 Census before local census takers start knocking on doors in mid-August," she said. "Nearly 35% of Kentucky households still need to respond online, by phone, or by mailing back their paper questionnaire."
The image above shows the current response rates in the county, with the northeastern corner falling behind.
Average response rates are as follows:
National Response Rate: 62.3%
Kentucky's Response Rate: 65.6%
Edmonson County's Response Rate: 50.4%
Lowest Responding Tract: 50.5%
Highest Responding Tract: 65.5%
The lowest responding tracts are in brown and pink, and the highest responding is in darker blue. The white area is Mammoth Cave National Park.
Information on responding online can be found by clicking here.
Public Notice From Edmonson County Fiscal Court
EDMONSON COUNTY FISCAL COURT
NOTICE OF SPECIAL (OR REGULAR) AUDIO 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 6:00 p.m. on July 27, 2020 to consider the following Agenda. The meeting will take place via audio teleconference. A portion of the Edmonson County Fiscal Court will be appearing in person with the remainder appearing via audio only. Members of the public may attend the in-person meeting at: Edmonson County Courthouse, Brownsville, KY or watch the meeting via live stream. The meeting will be broadcast/shown live at Edmonson Voice Facebook page.
I. Call to Order
II. Pledge of Allegiance
III. Roll Call
IV. Approval of Minutes
V. Approval of July 13,2020 Fiscal Court Minutes
1. Read 2. Dispense
VI. Approval of Bills
VII. Road Report
VIII. EM Director Report
IX. Sheriff Report
X. Jailer Report
XI. County Attorney
XII. County Clerk
XIII. Parks & Rec Report
XIV. Committee Reports
XV. Old Business
XVI. New Business
A. Approve Treasurer’s Annual Settlement FY 2020.
B. Tango Plaque Dedication
XVIII. Judge Executive
XX. Next Fiscal Court Meeting will be August 10, 2020 at 9:00 a.m.
Edmonson Voice Report:
A boil water advisory for the City of Brownsville water customers that was issued on July 16, 2020, has been lifted, according to an announcement from Brownsville City Hall.
"Please be advised that the Boil Water Advisory for the City of Brownsville Water System has been lifted. Just a reminder that everyone should empty their automatic ice maker and start fresh," the statement said.
Beshear Says Social Gatherings Of 50 Reduced Back To 10 Or Under: Also Recommended Quarantine To Those Traveling To Hot Spot States
Darren Doyle, story:
As a result of a spike in coronavirus cases over the weekend, specifically Sunday, which showed 979 new cases, Governor Beshear announced new guidelines today, which included a new travel advisory and a pullback on the guidance for mass gatherings. The daily number of positive cases as well as the rolling seven-day average showed Kentucky seeing its positivity rate on COVID-19 tests jumping from around 2% in mid-March to about 4% in recent weeks.
The new travel advisory recommends a 14-day self-quarantine for travelers who went to any of eight states – Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Nevada, South Carolina and Texas – that are reporting a positive coronavirus testing rate equal to or greater than 15%. The advisory also includes Mississippi, which is quickly approaching a positive testing rate of 15%, and the U.S. Territory of Puerto Rico.
“This is a recommendation," said Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health. "This is an advisory. I’m telling you what you need to do to stay safe,” he said. “The economic difficulties are real. The isolation this has caused for a lot of folks. Problems with deferred medical care. We’re aware of these things. They pain us. The pandemic has worsened all of them. The way we avoid many of those things is taking the steps to control our destiny, wearing those masks and socially distancing.”
Gov. Beshear also announced that the Cabinet for Health and Family Services has issued a new order that pulls back on guidance covering social, non-commercial mass gatherings. On June 29, the original guidance was eased to allow for gatherings of 50 or fewer people. Today’s order returns the guidance to allow only for such gatherings of 10 or fewer people. The guidance, which does not apply to weddings, restaurants, retail or other public venues, went into effect today at 5 p.m.
Churches can still gather for in-person services, as they were excluded from the Mass Gatherings Order by a U.S. District Judge on May 9th, 2020.
Much of the other guidance on mass gatherings remains intact, including mandates on barring sick people, requiring face coverings and social distance, and a ban on sharing food and drinks. People hosting such gatherings also are encouraged to host the events outdoors when possible, and sanitize high-touch surfaces.
“We’re seeing clusters created by our backyard barbeques, our block parties, and it’s because we let our guard down, said Beshear. "We have a lot of friends over and we know them. We figure they’re probably doing everything right. We take off our masks, we relax, we get too close, we stand around while people are grilling and we’re seeing some very difficult outcomes because of it. So much depends on us trying to stop this thing before it gets out of control.”
It is important to note, the travel advisory is a recommendation only, and the non-commercial Mass Gathering Guidelines that reduce gatherings from 50 to 10 are via executive order.
Five New COVID-19 Cases, Four New Recoveries While Supreme Court Temporarily Upholds All Executive Orders
Executive Orders Remain In Place Until Supreme Court Can Hear Full Arguments
Darren Doyle, story:
It's been somewhat of a quiet week in Edmonson County with relation to COVID-19 cases, with a rise in total cases of 5, (84) and four new recoveries (63), according to the Barren River District Health Department. The death toll determined from the virus remained steady this week at 12.
Across the district, total cases rose by 240 to 2,808 while recoveries rose by 225 (2,283). There were also 7 more deaths in the district this week, according to the BRDHD.
Across Kentucky, according to the Governor's office, cases are still on the rise as the total number rose by 2,935 (21,605 total) with recoveries totaling 6772, an increase from last week of 1,514. The statewide death toll from COVID-19 rose from 620 to 658 this week.
The Governor's Office also announced today that the Kentucky Supreme Court has kept all executive orders in place that are related to COVID-19, including the mask order, until the court can hear full arguments from the Beshear administration and the attorney general’s office and issue a final ruling.
In an order issued this afternoon by unanimous decision, the Supreme Court stated, “Given the need for a clear and consistent statewide public health policy and recognizing that the Kentucky legislature has expressly given the Governor broad executive powers in a public health emergency, the court orders a stay of all orders of injunctive relief until such time as the various orders are properly before the court with a full record of any evidence and pleadings considered by the lower courts.”
“Up until an hour ago, we faced a horribly uncertain future where a request had been made to have zero rules, the Wild West,” Beshear said on the ruling. “No requirements to wear a mask even though Alabama and Colorado have both done it in the last couple of days. Without requiring businesses to do the cleaning that would make sure that you don’t catch COVID-19. Without the requirement to even wash or sanitize your hands. It threatened all of the extra support that we’ve given to our first responders and it would be devastate our school systems.”
Attorney General Daniel Cameron discussed the court's decision on his Twitter account:
"The Supreme Court today indicated it will hear the challenges we and Kentucky businesses raised as to the process used by the Governor to issue COVID-19 executive orders," he tweeted. "As important issues are being considered in these cases, we respect the Supreme Court’s decision to maintain these orders until the court can undertake its proceedings. Our goal in joining these cases is that the law is followed and the rights of Kentuckians are protected. We look forward to having the Supreme Court take up these important issues in the coming days."
MAMMOTH CAVE, Ky.– Mammoth Cave National Park will begin construction on several improvement projects planned for the Green River Ferry area starting on Monday, July 20. The park will begin construction on a canoe and kayak river access ramp and the installation of a pedestrian bridge over the Echo River. River and ferry users will be able to access the Green River from the ferry ramps until Tuesday, September 8 when construction on the Green River Ferry ramp extension project will resume.
Canoe and Kayak Access Ramp Construction and Bridge Installation
The Green River Ferry area is a popular destination for river users who are beginning or ending their paddling trip down the Green River. The new canoe and kayak access ramp will improve river access, safety, and reduce congestion between paddlers and vehicles utilizing the ferry boat.
The Echo River Springs Trail pedestrian bridge will span approximately 200 feet over the Echo River and will create an accessible loop trail that leads directly back to the Green River Parking Area. The existing trail will also be extended by an additional 0.3 miles. Portions of the Echo River Springs Trail were rehabilitated in 2018 to improve accessibility and add tactile wayside interpretation stops along the route. The bridge project is the last step to complete the plan to improve Echo River Springs Trail.
During the canoe and kayak ramp construction and bridge installation the Green River Ferry parking area will be closed to all day use parking. The area will remain open to river users, hikers, and vehicles wishing to access the ferry during the ramp and bridge construction, but parking will only be allowed along the south side of Green River Ferry Road in areas where vehicles can safely pull off the roadway. The first half of the Echo River Springs Trail will remain open to the public, and two accessible parking spaces will be available for visitors with accessibility needs.
Green River Ferry South Ramp Extension Project Closure
The Green River Ferry will close vehicle ferry operations on Tuesday, September 8 in order to complete the last steps of a vehicle ramp extension project. The ramp work will also require the temporary closure of all river access points at Green River Ferry and Dennison Ferry, 7.6 miles upstream from Green River Ferry, for a period of three months.
River users may still utilize the Green River through the park but are advised that the only river access point will be at Houchin Ferry. Access to the Green River outside of the park, upstream in Munfordville, KY and downstream in Brownsville, KY, will remain available for use.
As part of the construction, the Green River Ferry Road will be closed from the north side of the Green River, beginning just south of Maple Springs Campground, to the south side of the river at the entrance of the Green River Ferry parking lot. Day use parking in the Green River Ferry parking area will be temporally suspended.
The Green River Ferry serves as a river crossing location, river access for canoes and kayaks, boat ramp for fishing boats, and parking area for trail and river users. During periods of low and high water, extended closures of the Green River Ferry create negative impacts which affect local citizens and park staff by presenting safety problems, limiting access to recreational resources, and disrupting frequently used travel routes. The ramp extension project will extend the current vehicle access ramps into the Green River by 30 feet which should allow the ferry boat to operate during periods of low water levels.
The ramp extension project is being coordinated by the park with assistance from the Federal Highway Administration Eastern Lands Highway Division.
For more information on the Green River Ferry improvement projects and the Green River Ferry and road closure, please visit the park’s website www.nps.gov/maca or call the Green River Ferry Hotline at 270-758-2166 for current ferry operating status.
Jonathan Vincent Named Principal
Edmonson Voice Report:
Warren East High School has named Jonathan Vincent, an Edmonson County native, their new principal during a special called site based decision-making (SBDM) council meeting on Thursday, July 16, 2020. Mr. Vincent currently serves as the assistant principal of WEHS where he began his career in education in 2005. Throughout his tenure, he has served the Raider Community as a teacher, athletic director, dean of students, assistant principal and now principal.
"I am honored to be named the principal of Warren East High School," Vincent told the Edmonson Voice. "I have worked here for fifteen years and it is humbling to be given the opportunity to lead this great school. I hope to work closely with our teachers and staff to provide every possible opportunity for our students to become young, successful citizens in our community."
Warren County Superintendent Rob Clayton issued a statement on Vincent's new role.
“In our community, Warren East High School is recognized for its ‘Raider Pride,’ and long standing traditions that are sometimes generations deep," he said. "I cannot think of an individual who recognizes that more than Mr. Jonathan Vincent. He began his career as a Raider and has never wavered in his commitment to the students, families and community he serves. I am confident that Mr. Vincent’s experience and deep connection with the Raider community will enable him to successfully lead during a very challenging time in K-12 education. He has demonstrated the leadership capacity essential to building upon the school’s rich heritage and success.”
Mr. Vincent steps into the role at Warren East left vacant by another Edmonson County native, Jonathan Williams, who was recently named principal of Edmonson County High School.
He has also served as Head Softball Coach – WEHS – 2007, Head Girls Soccer Coach – WEHS – 2012-2015, 4th Region Athletic Director’s Association President – 2012 – Present, 4th Region Policy Board Chair – 2016 – 2019, as well as several other roles in educational leadership.
Mr. Vincent is a 1999 graduate of Edmonson County High School. He holds degrees from WKU as well as the University of the Cumberlands.
He currently lives in Smiths Grove with his wife, Tiffany, his son Mason (7), and daughter Emma (4). He is the son of Shela Vincent and late Ronnie Vincent.
The City of Brownsville has issued a boil water advisory.
"We will advise when advisory is lifted," said Kim Brown, a city utility management professional.
This includes all Brownsville city water customers.
Guidelines Laid Out For Upcoming School Year
Darren Doyle, story:
The Edmonson County School System has released their reopening guidance plan in a comprehensive document, currently available on their website.
Superintendent of Schools Brian Alexander told the Edmonson Voice today, "As we've stated earlier, we know this isn't a perfect plan for everyone, but we feel that it's the best plan for us a school district. We are dedicated to two main priorities, as described in this document, and they are 1: preserving the health and safety of our students, staff, and community, and 2: educating our students."
We have included the adopted school calendar and guidelines below. The school board is asking parents to visit their site and fill out the survey form in order to let schools know how your student(s) will be attending school this year. There are also Frequently Asked Questions and other useful resources about the upcoming school year. PLEASE CLICK HERE.
Based on this calendar, schools will reopen school for students on September 8, 2020. Students have to option to attend school in one of the following ways:
This plan is based on available public health information at the time of its creation. The plan will be adjusted based on newly available data and guidance from public health officials and the Kentucky Department of Education. We greatly appreciate your feedback to support our collaborative efforts to ensure the education of Edmonson County’s students and the health of the entire Edmonson County Community.
Reopening Taskforce Team
Edmonson County Schools Reopening Plan was constructed with two main priorities:
Preserving the health of our students, staff and community
Upon returning to school, the following public health recommendations must be observed and become part of our “Healthy at School” according to the Guidance on Safety Expectations and Best Practices for Kentucky Schools (June 24, 2020).
These factors are:
Educating our Students
In order to ensure every student population is accounted for and has access to prescribed curriculum, additional platforms for teaching and learning will be established including:
The Edmonson County Schools Reopening Plan consists of the following areas:
Edmonson County Schools will continue to collaborate with the Edmonson County Health Department and the Barren River Area Development District Office to ensure a safe and healthy learning environment for our students and staff. Regardless of the learning model, any person on Edmonson County Schools property will be required to follow all public health regulations. Below is an explanation of the health regulations we anticipate based on current information.
Multiple learning models will be essential with the reopening process. These will include in-person learning that will be accomplished on a staggered schedule, as well as virtual learning for students and families with documented health issues or anxiety concerning in-person instruction
Many, if not all, of the services Edmonson County Schools provide will be altered so that we may continue to serve and support our students. Regardless of the mode of learning, we want to ensure that the needs of all our students are continuing to be met and that our students are provided with safe, clean and well-maintained learning environments.
The mental wellness of all students and staff of Edmonson County Schools will be a priority in our school reopening plans. Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is an area of emphasis with Edmonson County Schools, and has also emerged as a critical priority for the pandemic and related school closure. The psychological, interpersonal, and emotional needs of students, staff and families must become a key focal point of the reopening process. In addition to requisite services and resources, SEL strategies and techniques must become a consistent part of classroom instruction, reinforcing safety, well-being, and engagement within the learning community. Focus must be maintained on:
The Director of Maintenance & Transportation will work with his department to provide necessary student accommodations, both internal and external, to support educational learning. To the extent necessary, district sites and buses will be available to create a safe, clean and well-maintained learning environment for student experiences. Whether it be in-person instruction or remote learning, Edmonson County Schools will offer the following:
The Transportation Department supports students by providing safe and timely transportation services for eligible rides attending education programs in Edmonson County Schools. The district also will continue to serve special needs students. As part of the reopening phase, Edmonson County schools will focus on:
The Information Technology Department is invested in ensuring that the technological needs for students and staff are met. It is imperative that we provide an appropriate infrastructure and support system to ensure an effective instructional environment whether that be in-person or virtual learning. Edmonson County Schools will focus on:
Considering the changing dynamics of the 20-21 school year and the district’s intention to deliver an alternative learning mode, we anticipate increased complexity in our communication efforts. These complexities could be triggered by potential fluctuation in status of schools (open or closed due to virus outbreaks), changing health advisories, national and local government actions, and multi-layered crisis situations. To succeed we must remain flexible, creative and responsive in our communication efforts.
Edmonson County Schools anticipates the need for an abundance of communication to address multiple audiences and fluctuating conditions. Clear and consistent communication is essential for sharing calendar, class, and logistic changes and adjustments to ensure smooth transitions. Communication will address the following:
Communication modes will include:
As Edmonson County Schools reopen, awareness of potential funding, both short-term and long-term, is a priority in these unprecedented times. Budget allocation must include health and sanitation supplies as well as budgetary implications due to social distancing requirements. Edmonson County Schools is communicating with KDE to understand and capitalize on all federal funding during the Pandemic. We are communicating to prioritize spending and ensure meeting the needs of all students. Edmonson
County Schools is assessing and tracking all expenditures related to the COVID-19 Pandemic and the reopening process and how this relates to the expenditure of federal funds.
Communication and collaboration will be more vital than ever as we launch and implement our plan for reopening schools in Edmonson County. The Superintendent will communicate regularly with the Board of Education regarding information that makes the reopening plan for the school district. . The Superintendent will also work collaboratively with both the Board of Education and school administration to provide information for essential actions that will foster a shared understanding of goals, responsibilities, and accountability. Additionally, the Reopening Task Force Team will take into consideration the thoughts, wishes and ideas of parents and staff which has been compiled from survey results as we move forward with reopening efforts. School administrators will create and adjust school SBDM policies as a result of State and Federal requirements as well as changes unique to the Edmonson County School Community.
PLEASE CLICK HERE for more helpful resources about this subject.
Edmonson Voice Report:
A Leitchfield man has been arrested and faces fleeing and evading charges after leading law enforcement on a chase after he failed to stop for officers, according to the Edmonson County Sheriff's Office.
According to a press release, a sheriff's deputy observed a 2005 Kia van disregard a stop sign at the intersection of Wilderness and Nolin Dam roads. The deputy reportedly followed the vehicle and when it crossed over into the opposite lane of travel, the deputy attempted to initiate a traffic stop.
The driver, Arthur Bratcher (51) of Leitchfield, reportedly did not pull over or stop for lights or sirens, but continued on, accelerating to speeds of 80+ miles per hour. After a short pursuit, deputies said that Bratcher eventually pulled over, and upon making contact with Bratcher, the deputy said he smelled the strong odor of alcohol emitting from the vehicle and Bratcher showed evident signs of impairment.
Bratcher was arrested and charged with:
Bratcher was lodged in Hart County Jail.
Edmonson Voice Report:
A Chalybeate man was arrested on Tuesday and now faces multiple felony drug charges, according to the Edmonson County Sheriff's Office.
The local Sheriff's Office, along with KY Probation and Parole visited the home of Wesley R. Booker (29) at the 2300 block of Noah Bledsoe Road for the purpose of what law enforcement described as a "knock and talk." Officers said they were allowed in the residence by Booker’s grandparents and upon making contact with Booker, they said they could immediately smell the odor of marijuana.
A search of Booker’s room produced numerous bags of suspected methamphetamine, along with numerous forms of drug paraphernalia, the Sheriff's Office said.
Booker was arrested and charged with:
He was lodged in Hart County Jail.
School Board Chooses Staggered Day Schedule, Will Also Offer Virtual School For All Grades & Students
Staggered Means Two Days At School, Three Days Of Virtual Learning
Darren Doyle, story and photos:
The Edmonson County School Board voted tonight at the monthly board meeting to adopt a staggered schedule for students that choose to attend in-person classes for the 2020-21 school year.
In Brian Alexander's first meeting as Superintendent of Schools, he and board members answered questions from parents and guardians in attendance who addressed the board with some concerns.
A staggered schedule means that half the students will attend in-person classes on Mondays and Wednesdays while the other half attend Tuesdays and Thursdays. On the off days, students will participate in virtual learning, which was described by Mr. Alexander as "something much different that NTI work." All Fridays will be virtual learning days.
Before the vote, Alexander laid out the options for the upcoming year, which included staggered days, virtual school for all students in all grades, and homeschooling, which is not the same as virtual learning.
"I want you understand, these two are not the same," he said to the crowd. "If you participate in our virtual learning, it will be our curriculum and we'll have all that set up. We will also be able to provide school food options. Home schooling will be up to the parent or guardian to follow your own curriculum and take care of those things yourselves."
Alexander said that the school system has spent over $230K for devices available to students that choose virtual learning so that they have proper equipment to download and upload assignments and information. He also said the board is working on providing internet hot spot options at some school parking lots for students that live in areas where internet service is unreliable. This would at least allow students the capability of downloading and uploading assignments.
When attendees were allowed to speak, one of the first parents with a question asked the board if the situation could possibly change to a regular 5-day school week after the year began.
"Absolutely," said Alexander. "This is the definition of a fluid situation and we have been preparing for constant change. We'll do what's best for our kids, no matter what."
In response, the parent replied, "Yes, I believe that."
Some of the other questions asked and covered at tonight's meeting involved virtual school combined with extra-curricular activities, special education and special need students, and the process of riding school buses.
Alexander said that any student learning through virtual study can participate in any extra-curricular or sport but that student would still be expected to attend any and all practices and team/organization activities, and be responsible for transportation getting there and back.
He also noted that special education and special needs students would be taken care of according to whatever needs they had, to the best of the ability of the school system.
School buses are a bit more complicated. Transportation Director Lannie Deweese described the process for riding school buses as current guidelines require.
Students will have their temperature taken before entering the bus. They will be given hand sanitizer, and masks must be worn on the bus at all times. There will be two students per seat. One bus driver asked if drivers would be made aware in the event a rider tests positive for the virus. Deweese said yes because the driver will become part of the contact tracing process, should that occur.
Other board members spoke on different points during the very civil discussion.
"This school year won't be like how school ended up in the spring," said board member Alex Ulm, to which all board members nodded in agreement. "I think we all can agree that what we dealt with in the spring isn't the type of learning we want for our kids."
He also noted why he was in favor of a late school start.
"I think some of the schools that are starting early will see some mistakes," Ulm said. "I think it's a great opportunity for us to learn from those mistakes and make adjustments as needed."
Alexander said in March, the school system had 72 hours to put a virtual school program in place, which was basically nothing more than NTI work.
"NTI work is intended for a couple of snow days, not this," he said. "Our virtual learning will not be like the NTI work."
The school board also voted to adopt the 2020-21 school calendar, which has a start date of September 8th for students, August 20th for teachers, and the school year ending on May 26th.
There will be no Fall Break, but Thanksgiving and Christmas will see the normal days off, as well as spring break April 5th-9th. The day will be 25 minutes longer per day. Brownsville schools would start at 7:48am with dismissal at 3pm. Kyrock and SEES would begin at 7:45am and would dismiss 25 mins later than usual.
After the meeting, Mr. Alexander spoke to us with more details on the staggered schedule.
"First, we'll make sure that all students from the same households will attend schools on the same days. We'll then divide the rest of the students equally so that the number of students at school will allow kids to take off their masks during the day. If we attend 5 days per week right now, everyone has to wear a mask all day, with pretty much no exceptions. Masks can distract kids from learning so we want to provide opportunities around that when safe."
Mr. Alexander said that the number one goal is student safety.
"We want our kids to be safe, happy, and comfortable.The better environment we can provide, then the better chance they'll have to learn. No plan is perfect in this situation and we understand not everyone will be happy, but we feel like these are the best options for the most amount of students in Edmonson County Schools."
U.S. Attorney’s Office Shuts Down Multiple Websites Claiming To Offer Pre Orders For COVID-19 Vaccine
Edmonson Voice Report:
United States Attorney Russell Coleman today announced that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Kentucky has filed a lawsuit in federal court in Louisville, Kentucky to shut down a webpage, six related web addresses and a related Facebook page that the suit says are attempting to lure consumers to “pre-register” for a non-existent COVID-19 vaccine in exchange for $100 worth of Bitcoin (“BTC”), a type of cryptocurrency. The lawsuit names Luke John Flint, of Louisville, Kentucky, doing business through “coronavaccine.center”, “coronavaccine.today”; “coronatesting.site”; “coronatesting.center”; “coronavaccine.shop”; “coronavaccine.club”; and “covid19vaccine.center. Today a federal judge entered an order prohibiting Flint and others associated with the websites from committing wire fraud, maintaining and doing business through the websites and social media, and destroying business records.
According to the civil complaint, the purpose of these websites, which contain several false statements, is to induce victims to pay Flint and those working in concert with him for a non-existent vaccine for COVID-19 amid the global pandemic. There is currently no known FDA approved COVID-19 vaccine. The website and related Facebook page lists the Corona Vaccine Center’s address as 545 South Clay Street, Louisville, KY, which is nothing more than an empty parking lot/field.
The civil complaint further alleges that Flint is not a licensed medical professional and he is not registered with the FDA to investigate or develop a COVID-19 vaccine, and as such, he could not legally distribute a vaccine. When interviewed by federal agents, Flint admitted that there is no known FDA approved vaccine for COVID-19 and that he is unaware if and when one would become available. During this interview, Flint also admitted that he is not a licensed medical professional and is not registered with the FDA to distribute a vaccine for COVID-19, if and when one becomes available.
“Seeking to profit during a global pandemic by offering false hope is both foul and flat out puts vulnerable people at risk,” said U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman. “We will pursue every available legal tool in our toolkit to swiftly put an end to such predatory conduct.”
Flint has signed an agreed injunction, agreeing that the “United States can establish by a preponderance of the evidence that Defendant is about to violate or is violating” the federal wire fraud statute.
The case is styled United States of America v. Luke John Flint, 3:20-cv-489-CHB. Assistant United States Attorneys Nicole Elver and William F. Campbell are handling the case. The investigation was conducted by the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
If you think you are a victim of a scam or attempted fraud involving COVID-19, you can report it without leaving your home by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form: https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.
Darren Doyle, story:
The City of Brownsville has been approved to receive $60,042 in reimbursements from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act for local government expenses related to COVID-19, according to a statement from Governor Andy Beshear's office.
Fifteen western Kentucky governments have applied for and been granted $3,667,367 in funding, in a collaboration with the Department for Local Government (DLG). Sixteen others, which include Brownsville, have received preliminary approval, meaning they will receive reimbursements once final documentation is submitted to DLG, the Gov's office said.
Several other regional county and city governments were also included in the reimbursements: Allen, Butler, and Hart Counties were also named among those receiving funds, as well as the cities of Caneyville and Russellville.
Some other regional governments that also received preliminary approvals are: Logan and Simpson Counties, as well as the cities of Franklin, Horse Cave, and Tompkinsville.
The reimbursement approved for Brownsville will be for payroll costs and sanitizing supplies and resources.
Darren Doyle, story and photo:
As hard as local parks and recreation personnel work to keep up Edmonson County's parks, vandals seem to always be working just as hard. From broken toilets and sinks, spay-painted graffiti, and now broken basketball backboards, the county is faced with another repair; this time at the Chalybeate Sports Complex.
Parks and Rec Director A.B. Webb said that the plexi-glass backboards had been broken at the Chalybeate facility, something that is not new to local parks. Webb and other county personnel have replaced these in the past, with steel backboards that are not as easily vandalized.
Webb said three out of the four backboards are currently busted out, which will cost around $700 each to replace; however, Webb also said that there was a local group of kids that have discussed possibly spending their own money to ensure at least one is replaced with plexi-glass, or some other similar clear material. Webb said if the county uses park funds to replace the goals, steel boards will be installed.
Also included in Webb's Parks and Rec report was an announcement where a world horseshoe tournament could possibly be held at the Chalybeate horseshoe shelter; however, it was possible the tournament wouldn't be held at all, due to the virus pandemic. In the event a world tournament wouldn't be held, it was possible that a national tournament could be held.
New County Roads
The court also voted to accept Marvin Way, which is within the Richland Subdivision, off Carnes Road, as well as Huckleberry Lane, which is off Otter Gap Road near the Warren County line. Magistrates approved unanimously to accept both roads.
Also discussed were two additional roads to be adopted into the county system, which were Miranda Drive and Mallory Lane. Both roads are off Denham Road in Chalybeate. Some who lived on those roads were present at today's meeting and discussed reasons for becoming part of the road system. They included: four families that currently maintain both roads, which are gravel, the roads were constructed using county specs, and it would lengthen the county road system, which could lead to more road tax revenue. Property owners said another reason is that water lines cannot be currently run down the roads because they're not county roads. Instead, hundreds of feet of water line are being run from a joining road.
Once a survey and proper deeding is presented to the court, along with the other final documentation, the court can then vote on whether or not to accept the roads. In the discussion, magistrates spoke in favor of accepting the roads; however, no official vote could be held today.
Census Numbers Still Down In Some Parts of EC
Julie Trovillion from the U.S. Census Bureau spoke about census numbers in Edmonson County still being down. As a whole, the county is only at a 50% response rate, which is below the national average (62%) and the state average (65%). She said the Lincoln area is still the slowest to respond (under 50%) with the Bear Creek/Roundhill areas next, right at 50%. The highest responsive area so far is the Chalybeate/Southern Edmonson County area at 65%. Without proper census numbers the county will not qualify for as much aid through federal programs. The deadline to respond to the census is October 31, 2020.
The court also voted to:
The court then went into closed session to discuss possible litigation, the subject matter of which was not discussed in open court.
The next fiscal court meeting will be one of the two annual evening meetings, July 27, 2020 at 6pm.