Edmonson District Court was held on Tuesday, November 27, 2018. The Hon. Judge Joseph B. Hines presiding.
Shawn Kinser, Theft by deception, including cold checks under $500 (two counts). Pleaded not guilty to both. Pretrial conference 1/8/19.
Tali Julianna Duke, Leaving scene of accident/failure to render aid or assistance. Failed to appear. Bench warrant issued.
Matthew Aharon Guinn, speeding 15mph over limit. Continue 12/11/18.
Adam R. Blanton, Careless driving. Operating motor vehicle under influence of alcohol/drugs-first offense. Disorderly conduct 2nd degree. Refuse to submit breath/blood/urine test. Pleaded not guilty to all. Pretrial conference 12/11/18.
Donald K. Bartley, Theft by deception including cold checks under $10,000. Criminal possession of forged instrument first degree. Pleaded not guilty to both. Pretrial hearing 12/11/18.
Adam R. Blanton, Violation of KY EPO/DVO. Resisting arrest. Disorderly conduct second degree. Pleaded not guilty to all. Pretrial conference 12/11/18.
Call 270-597-2819 for more info, or click the ad below:
**11/30/18: The Judge Executive's Office submitted a new notice, noting an error from their office. The original notice said Edmonson County "Fiscal Court" will meet Friday, December 7; however, they corrected the notice to say Edmonson County "Finance Committee" will meet Friday, December 7th. There is no Fiscal Court meeting on that date.
Mammoth Cave National Park Receives "Tourism Partner of the Year"
Darren Doyle, story and photos:
In addition to 2018's Edmonson County Chamber of Commerce "Business of the Year," which was awarded to R&R Heating and Air Conditioning, the chamber also awarded "Citizen of the Year."
This year's award was presented to Judge J.B. Hines and his wife, Shaska, for their volunteer work for the Edmonson County Tourism initiatives, as well as their continued work to promote business opportunities in Edmonson County.
The award was going to be presented by Stephanie Gibson, but she surprised not only the crowd, but also Judge and Mrs. Hines by welcoming Judge Hines' brother, sister, and mother, to present the award.
Judge Hines thanked the chamber and those in attendance for what he described as a "gracious gift," and he gave several reasons why he and Shasta chose to live in Edmonson County; one being the people's appreciation for the county's rich history, and for the opportunity for all Edmonson County residents to live nearby good neighbors.
Also at the ceremony, the Edmonson County Tourism Commission awarded Mammoth Cave National Park the Tourism Partner award for their instrumental role in clearing the area of the Nolin River after the breach and removal of Lock and Dam No. 6 on the Green River.
Erosion caused extreme damage to the water flow of the Nolin with hundreds of downed trees, which made the river impassable and useless to those boating and fishing, as well as canoers and kayakers. MCNP allowed funding for the Corps of Engineers to provide the labor and resources to clear the river. The boat ramp reopened in September of 2018.
To find out more about the Edmonson County Tourism Commission, visit their website here. The Edmonson County Chamber of Commerce always accepts members and those memberships can be purchased on their site.
R & R Heating and Air Conditioning Take Home 2018 Chamber's Business of the Year
Double Amputee Jason Koger Shares Inspiring Story Of Faith, Hope, Determination
Darren Doyle, story and photos:
A capacity crowd filled the Heritage Centre across from Patton Funeral Home on Thursday, November 29th for the 2018 Edmonson County Chamber of Commerce annual dinner and awards presentation.
This year's guest speaker was Jason Koger, a 33-year old father of three who was critically injured in an ATV accident that resulted in both arms being amputated. Koger shared his inspirational story of hope, faith, and determination and how he became the world's first recipient of double bionic arms.
Koger has made multiple TV, movie, and national news network appearances, and travels extensively all over the world sharing his positive message. He demonstrated several features of his high-tech electronic arms and shared how he drives, works, hunts, and even holds his children the same as one with no disability would. Koger and his family are from the Owensboro area. He received a heartfelt standing ovation at the conclusion of his speech.
The 2018 "Business of the Year" award was presented to R&R Heating and Air Conditioning, owned by the family of Rex Wells. The 32-employee company recently moved into a brand new facility just south of the Brownsville city limits on Veterans Memorial Highway. R&R is a full service HVAC company that works in multiple states and handles all types of residential and commercial heating and cooling.
Siblings Holly Hayes and Ross Wells accepted the award on behalf of the company.
Chamber Director Rhonda Clemmons said it was one of the largest crowds yet.
"We're thrilled at tonight's attendance and for the wonderful hospitality shown by the Patton and Brantley families at the Heritage Centre," she said. "We also thank Laura's Hilltop for tonight's delicious catered meal and for all our chamber and community members for attending tonight. Having Mr. Koger as our guest speaker tonight was very moving. We heard nothing but positive things about his appearance. Our chamber is funded by our members, so it's a true example of local businesses sticking together and helping each other. We congratulate all our winners tonight."
Edmonson Voice Staff Report:
A Smiths Grove man is in critical condition after an argument over the thermostat led to him being shot by his girlfriend, according to an arrest citation.
Kentucky State Police responded to 818 College Street in the Smiths Grove community of Warren County this morning in reference to a shooting incident around 10am. According to a press release, upon arrival, they found that 64 year old, Stevie Flynn, of that address, had been shot multiple times. Candy A. Moss, also a resident of the home, (52) was also present inside.
According to KSP, Candy A. Moss shot Stevie Flynn multiple times with a handgun after an argument escalated in the early morning hours of Wednesday. Flynn was transported via EMS from the scene to an area hospital, and eventually transported by a medical helicopter to a trauma center for treatment of gunshot injuries, where he is currently listed in critical condition.
Candy A. Moss was arrested by KSP Post 3 Detectives and lodged in the Warren County Regional Jail. and was charged with: Assault 1st degree (Domestic Violence) and Tampering with physical evidence.
Darren Doyle, story:
Bank of Edmonson County CEO Michelle Coleman is warning the public about a statewide scam that has now hit Edmonson County, better known as the "Grandparent's Scam."
Coleman said a bank customer came in to withdraw a large amount of cash today as a result of a very troubling phone call they received explaining that the customer's family member was in jail in a nearby county and needed money to make bond.
Various reports from across the state and through the Kentucky Attorney General's Office have described the exact same scenario as Coleman described today. The victims reported a phone call from someone claiming to be their grandchild who is in jail. A second scammer joins the call pretending to be some sort of official or bond agent who confirms the story and requests the grandparent immediately wire money or send cash to pay the bail bond.
"This customer was extremely upset and was in the process of getting the cash as demanded by the phone call," Coleman said. "Luckily, we were able to help the customer understand that this was nothing more than a scam."
The following tips were recently shared from the KY Attorney General's Office that can help avoid scams:
Anyone with information on the grandparent scam is encouraged to report it to the Attorney General's Consumer Protection hotline at 888-432-9257 and complete an online report, or contact the Edmonson County Sheriff's Office at 270-597-2157. Sheriff Shane Doyle also released additional information today regarding holiday scams.
Kentuckians can also sign up to receive Scam Alerts from the KY AG's office. To receive text message alerts, text the words KYOAG Scam to GOV311 (468-311) or enroll online at ag.ky.gov/scams and select either text message or email alerts.
Sheriff Shane Doyle has released the following message regarding potential scams that often appear during this time of the year:
The Christmas season is upon us, and that means celebration, parties, gift-giving, and shopping for the next month. Unfortunately, that also means that scammers are lurking around every corner, hoping to take advantage of people's good nature and giving spirit. The Edmonson County Sheriff's Office would like to give some advice on how to recognize and avoid scams as we get ready for the celebration of the holidays.
First, understand that scammers are getting more and more creative, and are using multiple avenues to reach people. Between emails, phone calls, and Facebook or other social media, these scammers are trying to cheat you out of all of your hard-earned money. Here are some signs to watch for:
Email: If you don't recognize the name of the sender, don't even open the message. These emails usually promise some sort of inheritance, or large international gift. Immediately place these messages in your junk mail folder and don't give it another thought. Also, people are setting up emails and web pages that look very similar to companies such as Amazon, WalMart, or other retailers. If you get a message asking you to verify some information, or asking for personal info, DO NOT CLICK THE LINK THEY GIVE YOU. Go to the website in your web browser and type in that company's website, and log in using your login info. If they need something, they'll let you know that way.
Phone calls: These can vary from people impersonating a government agency (FBI, IRS, or even local), and can show up appearing as a local number. These scammers use computers to make these calls and can input any local area code to look more believable. Usually, these callers will have a thick accent, but not always. Hang up immediately. The same goes for any text message from a number you don't know. Delete them and do not reply.
Social Media: These scams usually start by the scammer "spoofing", or impersonating someone who is already on your friends list. They make new profiles, with someone's name and current profile picture, then send you a private message asking if "you've heard the good news" or something similar. They then try to get you to contact an "agent" to discuss large grants or gifts, and ask you to pay a transfer fee to get your money. They may even mention another person on your friends list, and copy that info as well. One local resident received messages from friends and local business owners (all of which were from fake accounts) and almost fell victim.
If you think someone may be trying to scam you, always trust your gut. Hang up, delete and block the messages, and if you have further questions, we are happy to give advice.
Merry Christmas from Edmonson County Sheriff Shane A. Doyle.
Edmonson Voice Staff Report:
The two remaining defendants out of six individuals who were arrested on multiple counts of arson, burglary, and wanton endangerment charges in a series of fires in Edmonson County in 2016, which included the historic Sunfish Mall structure and its contents, received final sentencing in court on November 21, 2018 for lesser charges.
Court records showed that Wesley Daniel Massey pleaded guilty to four counts of Criminal Mischief-first degree (Class D Felony) on July 18, 2018. He was sentenced last week to three years in jail for each count, for a total of a 12 years in prison.
Court records also showed that Dylan Ramsey pleaded guilty to three counts of Criminal Mischief-first degree (Class D Felony) on the same date, July 18, 2018. Ramsey was sentenced last week to 5 years in jail for each count, for a total sentence of 15 years in prison.
The penalty for a Class D felony in Kentucky is 1-5 years in prison.
Reckless Homicide Case Ends In Mistrial
Future of Case To Be Determined
Edmonson Voice Staff Report:
A reckless homicide case against a Sweeden man has ended in a mistrial after the jury could not reach a verdict.
James Rance Miller of Sweeden was indicted in January of 2016 on one count of Reckless Homicide for the death of Tammy Duncan that occurred on October 12, 2014 in Sweeden.
According to Kentucky State Police, Duncan, who was 49, was a pedestrian on Little Mountain Road when she was struck and killed by a vehicle driven by Miller around 7:30pm on that evening.
The jury was deadlocked and did not reach a verdict after deliberating on Wednesday, October 31, 2018 at the conclusion of a trial that lasted several days in Edmonson Circuit Court.
Reckless Homicide is a Class D Felony in Kentucky and carries a maximum sentence of 5 years in jail.
A court date of December 19, 2018 has been set to review the future of the case.
Fiscal Court Approves Lesser Pay Raise For Parks & Rec Program Admin After First Vote Fails
Darren Doyle, story:
The discussion from the previous Edmonson County Fiscal Court meeting continued in today's meeting regarding a proposed pay raise by Judge Executive Wil Cannon for Parks and Rec Program Administrator John Kiernan.
A vote was postponed during the last meeting after a lengthy discussion where two magistrates, Joe Durbin and Mark Woosley, questioned the pay raise, with Magistrate Durbin opposing it.
Kiernan was unable to attend today's meeting due to his full-time job; however, he prepared a statement that was read by Judge Executive Wil Cannon.
The Edmonson Voice obtained the prepared statement from Mr. Kiernan, which is published in its entirety below:
I’d like to make a statement as part of the discussion that occurred at the last fiscal court meeting regarding the proposed raise for my position. I’d also like to respond to comments that were made on social media that were misleading to the public.
Magistrate Mark Woosley took issue with some of the comments and responded: first to the references made to Woosley's comments on social media, which were part of the comment thread on the Edmonson Voice Facebook page.
"As far as the comments go on social media, I just put out there the information I had been given," Woosley said. "So I don't appreciate it being...that I was being disparaging. And I said, I made the comment, that evidently I'd been misinformed. That being said, parks and rec is for our children, not for the people running parks and rec."
Woosley went on to say that the each league is run by a board and that those boards are the ones responsible for the operation of each of their respective leagues, not the program director. He also noted that if the county is spending over $50K in Parks and Rec salaries (which include Kiernan's and Park Director A.B. Webb's), then the $118K total parks budget is already in a bind.
"Mr. Kiernan is doing his job, and I think he's doing a good job at it," said Woosley. "But he may be taking on more, or doing more than he's supposed to be doing-- getting paid for."
Magistrate Durbin spoke regarding Kiernan's job description. Durbin said that Kiernan is apparently spending lots of his time on the phone with parents when the boards are supposed to be doing that.
"Again, where do we draw the line?" Durbin asked. "He's saying he didn't ask for the phone, he didn't ask for the truck, so where did that come from?"
Cannon said that recommendation for the phone came from the Judge Executive's office, when it was determined that the Parks and Rec landline was not being used, but cost the county $130 per month.
Durbin then questioned Kiernan's overall numbers for the events in the prepared statement.
"Donald Trump said he got the largest inaugural gathering that ever was, nobody knows if that's so or not," said Durbin. "There's a lot of controversy over that. These attendants of these things (parks and rec events) maybe they're that big, maybe they're not, I don't know."
Durbin said he thought the county was simply overspending, based on the total budget amount.
Cannon pointed out that both the truck and phone allowance were voted on during the same meeting in July, and both passed unanimously.
After clarifying the raise request in today's meeting, Judge Cannon asked for a motion to increase Kiernan's pay from $12.24/hr for 1199 hours per year to a salaried position in the amount of $15,888. Cannon said the number was roughly based on a dollar per hour raise.
Magistrate Clark Wood suggested that the court wait until February, where Kiernan will have been an employee for one year, but Cannon disagreed because he said other similar situations called for a raise at the six-month mark. After County Attorney Greg Vincent asked for clarification of the motion, it was made by Magistrate Edd Rich, seconded by Johnny Brooks to increase Kiernan's pay to $15,888 per year. The roll call vote resulted as follows: Magistrates Johnny Brooks and Edd Rich both voted YES. Magistrates Buck Simmons, Clark Wood, Joe Durbin, and Mark Woosley voted NO. The motion did not pass.
Judge Cannon then asked for another motion; this time that the raise be in a lesser amount of $15,288, and Magistrates Rich and Brooks made the motion. During another roll call vote, Magistrates Simmons, Rich, Brooks, and Durbin voted YES, and Magistrates Clark and Woosley voted NO. The motion passed, and now Kiernan will be considered a salaried employee that is retirement-exempt.
The pay increase is $612.24 per year, or roughly $51 additional per month.
Fiscal Court Recap: November 26, 2018
Hawks Cemetery Road, Rock Castle Shooting Safety Measures Discussed
Darren Doyle, story:
Concerns for two items on last meeting's agenda were brought before the court today, but once again, no solution was found for either.
Mr. James Simmons, a resident of the Wingfield community and a trustee of Hawks Cemetery, asked the court to make Hawks Cemetery Road a one-way road during the last meeting. Judge Cannon said that this request was made a few years ago but when those who owned property on the road were contacted, no one was interested in changing the narrow county road.
Today, Judge Cannon said during the research, he found statements from five different trustees that were against changing the road to one-way; however, he proposed a motion that would allow the trustees to make the road a temporary one-way street in the event of funerals, if they so chose, which he said was the only time there were traffic issues. He also said that while there are no homes on the road, two of the property owners said they were not in favor of a change and another said they didn't care either way.
Magistrate Clark Wood made the motion requested by Cannon, but Mr. Simmons objected. He said there was no driveway, no home, or no other business on the road except for the cemetery. Magistrate Edd Rich seconded the motion; however, County Attorney Greg Vincent said the motion was invalid because legally, the county can't give up temporary government function to a non-governmental agency. Vincent asked for time to research options and the motion was tabled.
The court also discussed a safety issue regarding shooting near residents around a Rock Castle Shooting range. Magistrate Clark Wood said he'd heard from local citizens near one of their facilities that rounds were too close to their home with at least one part of their property receiving a bullet hole.
Wood said he went to the facility recently, where he sat and watched for around two hours. He said shots were coming from all directions and they were indeed aimed toward the home. He said some of the shooting came from large caliber rifles. After another discussion ensued regarding the county's authority to require the shooting facility to take further safety measures, it was decided more research was needed and no vote was held.
In other fiscal court news, the following reports were given:
Road Report: County Road Foreman Ray Page said that blacktop season is now complete and mowing and trimming with the extended boom arm is now in operation. Ditch, Dirt, Backhoe, and rock work is also taking place.
Sheriff Report: Sheriff Shane Doyle said that the call volume is down 2-3% during this time of the season. He also reported on his first Law Enforcement Council meeting that he attended. Doyle was appointed to the statewide council by Governor Matt Bevin in September of this year. He said he looks forward to serving on that council over the next four years.
Jailer Report: Jailer Hank Vincent reported 24 county inmates are currently housed in Hart County Jail, with one on home incarceration.
Parks and Rec: Judge Wil Cannon read from a statement sent by Parks and Rec Program Administrator John Kiernan, who was not able to attend. The statement said that the backstop project at HWY 70 is completed and Kiernan, thanked Baseball/softball board for their work that made the project possible. He also said league basketball is now underway with 116 kids registered. There was also a lengthy discussion regarding a proposed pay increase that passed in today's meeting.
The court also:
The next meeting is scheduled for December 10, 2018 at 9am.
Parade Winners, Photos Listed Below
Alyssa Doyle, photos:
You can watch the entire 2018 Edmonson County Lions Club Christmas Parade below! Sponsored by Hayes Insurance Agent Ryan Stice, Edmonson County Chamber of Commerce, and the Edmonson County Tourism Commission.
Check out the photo slideshows as well.
2018 Christmas Parade Winners:
Brownsville Man Severely Injured In ATV Accident: Family, Friends Reaching Out For Prayers, Support
Darren Doyle, story:
An innocent ride on an ATV has drastically changed one Brownsville family's Thanksgiving plans after an accident on Saturday, November 17, 2018.
According to family members, Joey Moon hopped on an ATV on Saturday evening as his family and friends had gathered together for a meal. Joey drove the ATV out of sight when a friend, who was on the porch, noticed that the sound of the engine had stopped. Fearing that something was wrong, he headed in the direction of the ATV.
"He took off running towards Joey, caught up to where he was, he saw him laying there and ran back and got me," said Joey's wife, Whitney Moon. "My friend and I took off running out there to him. It was a pretty good piece from their house. He was laid on his back on the edge of the field, it seems he had driven through an electric fence, and the four-wheeler was laid on its top."
Whitney said Joey was unresponsive and the family called 911. Joey was taken by ambulance to the Kyrock Elementary parking lot then air-lifted to University of Louisville Hospital where he is currently in critical condition.
"He has a severe traumatic brain injury, they are talking long term recovery with therapy," said Whitney. "He has several small brain bleeds all over his brain. He is on a ventilator and feeding tube. They are doing stimulation every hour with him to see if he wakes up and responds to commands, etc. He has been off of the sedative since 10:00am yesterday morning. We have had to give him medicine to calm him down, and pain medication to keep him comfortable."
Another family member reached out to the Edmonson Voice and shared their Facebook support page, "Prayers For Joey Moon," where prayers, photos, messages, and donations can be shared. Updates are also available on the page. Several friends and family members discussed that Joey is the single income provider for their household. All the details are available through the Facebook page.
One family member, who wished to remain unnamed, said that while donations are appreciated, they are asking for prayers above all.
Whitney said that Joey has awakened twice this morning on his own and is recognizing and responding to her voice.
"We have had so many reach out to us," she said. "I’m just overwhelmed with the love everyone has shown already. I’m thankful we live in a small town that people actually care."
Edmonson County Schools will be closed on Friday, November 16, 2018, according to Patrick Waddell, EC Schools Superintendent.
"We have over 900 homes without electricity, and I know of several roads around the lake that we can’t run for sure, and we are having numerous accidents around the county," he said.
"I don’t see this improving. There will be no school in Edmonson County tomorrow, November 16th."
Supt. Waddell said his wish was for everyone to be safe if out on the roads tonight.
Edmonson District Court was held on Tuesday, November 13, 2018. The Hon. Judge Joseph B. Hines presiding.
Annie Jewell Bush, Arson, second degree. Pleaded not guilty. Pretrial hearing 11/27/18. No contact with alleged victim.
Robert T. Trent III, Tampering with physical evidence. Possession of controlled substance-first degree-2nd offense (meth). Drug paraphernalia-buy/possess. Pleaded not guilty to all. Pretrial hearing 11/27/18.
Matthew Daniel Thompson, Possession of marijuana. Drug paraphernalia-buy/possess. Guilty. Total fines and costs $154.
Kimberly Ann Deering, Possession of controlled substance-3rd degree-drug unspecified. Controlled substance prescription not in original container first. Pretrial conference 12/11/18.
Michelle Trent, Controlled substance prescription not in original container. Pleaded not guilty. Pretrial conference 11/27/18.
Patrick Nathan Blanton, Violation of KY EPO/DVO. Deferred.
Thomas Matthew Minton, Speeding 23mph over limit. Failure to wear seat belt. Failed to appear.
Cody Wayne Vibbert, Careless driving. Not guilty. Review 1/8/19 for County Attorney Traffic School.
Gregory T. Houchens, Speeding 23mph over limit. Will attend County attorney traffic school. Failure of owner to maintain required insurance/security first. Dismissed with proof shown. Review 1/08/19.
Arron D. Miller, Reckless driving. Failure to produce insurance card. Failed to appear.
Joseph Charleston Jones, No/expired registration plates. Failure of non-owner operator to maintain required insurance first. Pleaded not guilty to all. Pretrial conference 12/11/18.
Dylan W. Bullock, Improper start from parked position. Dismissed by motion of county attorney.
Christina Irene Filback, Speeding 18mph over limit. No/expired KY registration receipt. Failure to produce insurance card. Pleaded not guilty to all. Pretrial conference 12/11/18.
Several EC Residents Still Without Power: Additional Crews Join WRECC To Restore
Edmonson Voice Staff Report:
On Wednesday evening, a strong system of freezing rain caused outages that affected Warren RECC members across the eight-county service area. According to WRECC, approximately 7,000 members were without power at the peak of the event.
Ice and winds from the storm led to numerous downed lines and several broken poles.
"Crews worked through the night and will continue to work today until all outages have been restored," said WRECC's Kim Phelps in a statement. "In addition, crews from BGMU and South Kentucky RECC in Somerset have been dispatched to help aid in restoration."
Multiple local fire departments and first responders worked through the night to clear trees and limbs from roads. Superintendent of Edmonson County Schools Patrick Waddell announced this morning at 5:51am that school would be closed today, not because of slick roads, but because of hazardous conditions caused by the many downed lines and trees.
As of 8 am Thursday morning, Warren RECC has 173 outages with approximately 3,500 members without power. According to WRECC, there are still 851 Edmonson County customers without power. WRECC said they would have updates available from their social media accounts.
Edmonson Voice Staff Report:
Mammoth Cave National Park is temporarily closed November 15, 2018 due to multiple downed trees across park roads. The closure includes cave tours, the visitor center, the Lodge at Mammoth Cave, roads and all park offices.
Mammoth Cave National Park road crews have made significant progress in clearing roadways and reopening facilities after multiple trees fell and blocked park roads in the early hours of Thursday. The park visitor center, roads, Green River Ferry, park offices, and the Lodge at Mammoth Cave will open to the public at 10:30 am this morning. Cave tours may be available on a limited basis.
For up to date information about park road status visit us on our website, www.nps.gov/maca, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.
For updated information on ferry operations, please phone (270)758-2166.
For updated information on park roads, please phone (270)758-2165.
For general park information, please phone (270)758-2180.
Edmonson County Schools will be closed on Thursday, November 15, 2018 due to hazardous road conditions in some parts of the county.
Some areas of the region saw up to a half inch of ice Wednesday night through the early morning hours of Thursday.
2018 Veterans Day Program: Voice of Democracy Speeches Focus On Importance of Voting
Edmonson County High School honored local veterans as well as those across the world today at the annual Veterans Day assembly, which was highlighted by the Voice of Democracy speech winners.
The ECHS FFA chapter welcomed guests and handed out programs and buddy poppies to all that attended. The crowd stood at attention as the colors were presented by the ECHS color guard, then remained standing as FFA member Hunter Ashley led the Pledge of Allegiance. The ECHS band then played the National Anthem. They also played "America the Beautiful" later in the program, along with a medley of songs from each of the Armed Forces.
Opening remarks were made by FFA members Jarrod Sanders, Laura Wilson, Savannah Lindsey, and Sha Vincent. All veterans in attendance were asked to stand and be recognized as each conflict was called, dating back to WWII.
The Voice of Democracy winners then delivered their speeches; with third place winner Lainey Alexander taking the podium first, followed by second place winner Macie Glass. First place this year went to Keylee Saling, and as the other contest winners did, much of the speech focused on the importance of voting, those who sacrificed in order to bring voting rights to all people over the years, and how we must never fail to properly use the right to vote.
This year's guest speaker was Lt. Colonel Floyd Houston, U.S. Marine Corps Retired, and Commander of local VFW Chapter 6937. Col Houston discussed some of his military history and experience, brought two very emotional prints and discussed their impact on him, and addressed the students in the crowd.
"It always makes me feel good to see bright faces like yours," he said. "It assures us that America will go on for at least one more generation."
FFA member then gave closing remarks and the program concluded. Most veterans in attendance stayed and fellowshipped with other veterans and their families and friends.
Superintendent of Edmonson Schools Patrick Waddell was also in attendance at today's event.
"It's always been important to recognize and honor veterans in Edmonson County schools," he said. "All our schools have had some type of program for this occasion. I was glad to see the effort put into today's program at ECHS and to hear our student and guest speakers. It's our hope that our students, faculty, administration, and staff will continue to honor and appreciate our veterans."
$43K Raised During Record-Breaking Auction
Darren Doyle, story and photos:
For the fourteenth consecutive year, the Santa's Helping Hands charity event (formerly known as Santa's Secret Hands) grew once more, as Edmonson County's most popular local benefit organization drew people from all around at their annual charity auction, held on Saturday, November 10, 2018 at the Brownsville Community Center.
Not to sound like a broken record, but SHH, Inc., again, broke the record for the amount of money raised at both the auction and additional events throughout this year. Auction activities alone raised $43,000 on Saturday.
"Words can't describe how happy we are for this wonderful turnout and support from our community," said event coordinator Mark Wardlow. "This was overwhelming and we can't wait to put this back into our Edmonson County community."
Saturday's auction also included food sales, donations, and raffle ticket sales for a rifle and shotgun.
The group also hosted a golf cart raffle earlier in the year, along with a newly formed charity golf tournament. Overall, the group has raised $55,000 in 2018, which is another milestone in the group's achievements.
"We'd like to invite everyone to our annual shopping spree, which will be held on Sunday, December 2nd, at 3pm at Walmart on Morgantown Road, in Bowling Green," said Wardlow. "We'll meet in the garden center."
Wardlow and the other selfless board members work diligently all year round to ensure the success of the event, which in turn, means the difference for many needy Edmonson County seniors and children during the holidays.
One can't have a discussion with Wardlow for very long until he either starts talking about the charity or just helping people in general.
"We're happy," said Wardlow. "Saying 'thank you' isn't enough, but this makes a big difference, so on behalf of everyone at Santa's Helping Hands, thank you."
Darren Doyle, story:
Edmonson County Fiscal Court met in the downstairs courtroom on Friday November 9, 2018 as a result of the regular Monday meeting falling on Veterans Day. The upstairs courtroom was occupied by other court activities.
Road Report: Assistant Road Foreman Greg Carroll said that crews will soon be moving into District 4. He said three bridges were underwater due to recent storms but are now okay. He also said some major work is being done on the paver. Discussion later in the meeting said costs could be upwards of $10K; however, that was better than spending $100K for a used paver.
Jailer Report: Deputy Jailer Todd Vincent reported there were 27 inmates currently housed in Hart County Jail, with one on home incarceration. He also said one car has been repaired while another one is still out of service. He discussed some recent medical bills for inmates that the county will have to cover. According to the bill list for this week's meeting, nearly $1300 was accrued in medical bills for inmates.
County Clerk: Kevin Alexander recapped the election process from Tuesday's general election. Overall voter numbers were up countywide 82 voters from the May primary, with all precincts up except for Kyrock. Total Absentees: 239 voted in the clerk's office, 64 submitted ballots. He said those numbers were up significantly since May, which was a total of 173.
Number of voters: he said in the primary, there were 3,000 voters, which was a 33% turnout, compared to 49% in the general. More than 52% voted in District 1, District 2 had 44.7%, District 3 had 43%, Kyrock had 48.4%, Lincoln was the lowest with 35.5%, and Bear Creek showed a 51.5%. He also mentioned the difficulty of finding poll workers, and this year they had some high school/college students participate as workers for the first time. He wanted to publicly thank them for their service.
Parks and Rec: A.B. Webb, said that he had shut down the bathrooms for the winter in all the parks. He also said there had been more vandalism at Chalybeate, with the vandals stuffing paper into the toilets to clog them, along with stealing parts of the faucets. John Kiernan reported that they had another great year in soccer with 40 more kids in league. He commented on the recent Halloween on Square, which was the biggest ever. He said it was a good move to change the date as a result of the weather forecast, which he felt like drew the bigger crowd. He said little league basketball is about to begin with games starting the week after Thanksgiving.
Judge Wil Cannon said that residents near Rock Castle shooting center are requesting berms to be installed around property, and have requested a county ordinance. County Attorney Greg Vincent said there is much to consider, according to law.
Cannon said because it’s a commercial shooting range, the county needed to consider an ordinance. He noted that everyone, including homeowners have to follow law regarding the use of firearms on their property (wanton endangerment possibilities). He said the court would research the options.
Judge Cannon also addressed apparent rumors of the county kicking out the backpack program from the county health department building, which he said were not true. He said the county is going to clean out some rooms at the facility to ensure there's enough room for supplies for the backpack program.
James Simmons, a trustee of Hawks Cemetery, requested that the Hawks Cemetery Road be turned into a one-way street. Judge Cannon said property owners did not want this a few years ago but that the court will check again. Simmons said the road is too narrow for two cars that meet and recently a mower had to back a truck and trailer all the way back in order for an oncoming car to pass. Magistrate Buck Simmons confirmed that two property owners that have adjacent property to the cemetery didn’t want the change; however, they don’t live there.
Judge Cannon said the court would reach out to landowners to seek their input; however, Mr. Simmons appeared agitated at the comment. "Did you ask all the businesses on the street out here in front of the courthouse before you made it a one-way street (referring to Jackson St.)?" he asked. "What about Bowling Green? You think those folks ask everybody if it's ok with them?"
Simmons said there are no residents or driveways on Hawks Cemetery Road; that it's just the cemetery and some farmland. He agreed that the property owners of the area don't actually live there. Cannon again said he would contact the property owners.
As the meeting came to a close, Judge Cannon introduced three newly-elected magistrates that were in attendance. They will take office in January, which was District 2 republican Corey Vanmeter, District 6 republican James Vincent, and District 1 democrat Mark Meeks.
The next fiscal court meeting is scheduled for Monday, November 26th at 9am.
Darren Doyle, story:
At least two magistrates questioned Judge Executive Wil Cannon's recommendation to raise Edmonson County Parks and Rec's Program Administrator pay $1 per hour at today's fiscal court meeting; with one magistrate opposing the pay raise and another questioning the figures.
Judge Cannon recommended that Parks and Rec's John Kiernan's pay be raised from $12.24/hr to $13.24/hr, or an annual salary of $16,523.52. Cannon said that the Parks and Rec program has thrived since Kiernan took over in February of 2018 and that the pay increase was well deserved.
The county has to keep Kiernan's position under 1200 yearly hours in order to stay exempt from retirement benefits, something the county does not pay to the part-time position. Currently, Kiernan is paid by the hour, for 24 hours per week; however, that exceeds the yearly hourly limit by by 49 hours (1248 total).
Cannon asked for an increase from $15,275.52 to an annual salary of $16,523.52, which he said was based on $13.24/hr for 1199 total yearly hours.
Magistrate Joe Durbin disagreed with the pay increase, citing examples of what he thought were unfair practices to other county offices.
"Since he's been on the job, we've furnished him a truck, we've furnished him a cell phone, which the past park director did not get, and I think that's kind of unfair," Durbin said. "Any county employee that uses their phone should be compensated." He then asked the assistant county road foreman if he or any of the road department was reimbursed for personal cell phone use, to which the answer was "no."
"That's not really treating everybody fair," Durbin continued. Using the road department as an example, he said he guessed those guys conduct 75% of their business from their personal cell phones.
"One thing I've been about, in my position, and I instructed Ray (Page, road foreman) early on, I said if we can't do it for everybody, we're not going to do it for anybody," said Durbin. "The pay--you said we weren't going to start upping the rate of pay and John accepted that in that short of time. These guys, (he pointed to the asst. road foreman) and any county employee that's been on the job--some of them 15, 20 years--they sweat over that asphalt, they freeze in the winter months when they're out doing their work, we're not offering them anything besides the annual 2% increase. I just think it's unfair that if we can't do it for everybody, then we shouldn't be discussing it."
"If you remember right, we did it for everybody over the last four-year time period," he said. "We've given everybody at least a 50 cent raise per hour increase after they've been here for six months. The road department got a dollar an hour, on top of the 2% the year before last, I believe it was. So it's not like we haven't done it for others."
Cannon also the cell phone issue. He said Kiernan conducts 100% of Parks and Rec business from his cell phone. County Treasurer Tammi Willhite noted that it's because there is no landline for Parks and Rec like there is for other county offices. Cannon noted that fiscal court approved reimbursement to Kiernan earlier in the year. Fiscal Court voted to approve that upon proof of bill submission and an invoice, Kiernan would be paid $50 a month towards his phone bill. Disconnecting the park phone has saved $130.00 each month. That motion passed unanimously on June 25, 2018.
"You all agreed with me on that, and it's the same thing for the truck," Cannon said. "If we're paying an employee $12 an hour and he's having to drive to all the parks, all these events on his own dime, I thought that was unfair. For him, it's not just about getting in his car and driving to work then going home. He travels between the parks systems, the courthouse to conduct business, he goes to town to pick up materials for the park, it also helps pull lawnmowers at times. There's a lot of different reasons we bought the truck and again, we all agreed to buy the truck for those reasons.
Durbin said he and other magistrates indeed agreed but said he didn't know the list was "going to go on and on."
"The truck was already lined up and was after-the-fact when it was brought to us, but still yet, I went along with it, but this pay increase, again, it's adding to what we're taking on in that parks and rec position, and John knew what the pay was 7 or 8 months ago when he took the position, and agreed to it. I don't see at this point it warrants an increase, myself."
Magistrate Mark Woosley said that when Kiernan was hired, nothing was ever mentioned about a pay increase after a certain amount of time and pointed out that the figures listed on today's agenda were not multiplied correctly. The agenda listed the requested salary amount of $16,523.52 but Woosley pointed out that 1199 hours at $13.24/hr equaled $15,874.76.
Treasurer Willhite then clarified the figures and said the $16k number was based on 24hrs per week, the number Kiernan currently works, at the new hourly rate of $13.24; however, under the pay raise, Kiernan would no longer be an hourly employee, but a retirement-exempt, part-time salaried employee. Cannon said the county has other part-time employees that are salaried and retirement-exempt.
At Kiernan's current hourly rate, if the county forced him to work a maximum number of 1199 hours, instead of the current 1248, Kiernan's yearly pay would decrease by $599.76. To counter that, Cannon wanted to change his employment status from hourly to salary, but base the pay on an increased hourly rate at his regular working hours. Changing Kiernan to salary would eliminate the need for keeping up with hours altogether.
Willhite noted that the request for pay increase should've been broken down into two different requests: 1. for Kiernan to be changed from hourly to salary with a pay increase, and 2. For notation, that the job requires working less than 1200 hours per year. She also noted that Kiernan actually works more than those hours because of his dedication to the program; however, he just doesn't turn in that time.
Magistrate Woosley noted that magistrates use their personal cell phones, too but don't get reimbursed. Willhite said that's because magistrates are listed as full-time county employees with a $300 per month allowance for expenses. Magistrates are paid a base salary of $520.67 per month, plus the $300 for expenses for a total of $820.67 per month, plus retirement benefits and health insurance. Part-time employee receive no benefits or expense reimbursements.
She also noted that Kiernan's cell phone is the only advertised contact number for Parks and Rec and that magistrates have the option of advertising their personal cell phone numbers.
Magistrate Durbin said that Road Foreman Page also conducted most of his business from his personal cell phone and Cannon said that he was open to discussing reimbursement for Page's cell phone in a future meeting.
Cannon said the court would table the issue until the next meeting. There was no vote on the item.
Darren Doyle, story and photos:
A scary moment turned out to be fairly lighthearted after a Chalybeate woman drove through the front of Cee Bee Food Store today around 1:30pm.
Sharon Jacobs, who was driving a gold BMW sedan, said she was pulling into a parking spot directly in front of the building when suddenly her brakes didn't work. Her car went over curb, side-swiped a pillar, and crashed through the front window.
When asked if she remembered exactly what caused the crash, "The Cokes were on sale, honey, I had to get inside," she said with a hefty laugh.
Store owner Jeff Rich said no employees or customers were close to the point of impact and he was able to first offer Mrs. Jacobs help.
"She got her necklace tangled up in a seat belt and she really didn't know what had just happened, but she started calming down pretty quick when she realized everything was ok," he said.
Rich was helping other store employees clean up the broken glass, wood, and concrete blocks that were scattered about.
"This could've been so much worse, but no one was hurt and that's the main thing," said Rich.
He said the front entrance will be framed up and boxed in as a temporary fix until all the windows can be properly replaced. He said the store will likely install steel dividers at the storefront to prevent this from happening again.
Store employee Jason Hawkins said he was partially down an isle near on the right side of the store when he heard the crash.
"I thought a shelf had collapsed," he said. "I ran towards the front and then I saw it was car. I didn't know what to think."
The store is still open despite the mess. Even though a certain area is roped off, business was still active inside the store as employees took turns waiting on customers and cleaning up.
Emergency officials guessed that Mrs. Jacobs thought her foot was on the brakes when it was actually on the gas pedal; however, that was only a guess. All on scene were happy that no injuries were reported.
Mrs. Jacobs' son, Jeff Jacobs, a local business owner, was there with her. "Luckily, she's ok," he said with a grin. Mrs. Jacobs was laughing and joking with several friends in the parking lot.
"Oh, I'm not sure what happened, I was scared to death," she said. "Oh, me..." she said laughing.
Jeff Rich said everything will be put back together as soon as possible but that business would go on as usual.
"I've been wanting to put a drive-thru in, anyway," he said as several standing by laughed. "But seriously, no one was hurt and that's the key here. Everything is okay."
Assisting at the scene was the Edmonson County Sheriff's Office, Brownsville Fire Department, and Edmonson EMS.
Here's how each district added up in the 2018 Edmonson County General Election. You can pause, move forward, and move backward in the slideshow below, just click an image for more.
Law Enforcement Says Resident Admitted To Starting Fire In Argument
Darren Doyle, story and photos:
A Brownsville woman is facing a felony arson charge after she admitted to setting her own residence on fire, according to the Edmonson County Sheriff's Office.
The Sheriff's Office said that fire departments were dispatched to the scene of a structure fire at a mobile home at 4103 Brownsville Road, across from Wells Road around 12:30am on Wednesday, November 7th.
David Bush, one of the residents, advised dispatch that his wife had started the fire and flames were visible from inside the mobile home. According to the Sheriff's Office, his wife, Annie Jewell Bush (40) of Brownsville, was found on scene by first responders and the smell of alcohol was present.
The Sheriff's Office said that Bush admitted that she had set a mattress on fire inside the mobile home, as a result of a verbal argument with her husband.
Brownsville, Chalybeate, Rocky Hill, and Wingfield Volunteer Fire Departments responded to the structure fire and were able to extinguish the blaze; however, the mobile home still suffered severe damage.
Annie Bush (40), of Brownsville, was arrested and charged with Arson, second degree. She was transported and lodged in the Hart County Jail. If convicted, she could face up to 20 years in prison. The Sheriff's Office said more charges are pending.
"We appreciate the effort shown by our local fire departments and first responders as always," said Sheriff Shane Doyle. "This senseless crime could've been much worse if not for their great work. We're glad to be able to work well with these folks."
Assisting the Sheriff's Office were the Brownsville, Chalybeate, Rocky Hill, and Wingfield Volunteer Fire Departments, Edmonson EMS, District 2 Constable, and the Edmonson County Deputy Jailer.