Male Subject Who Fled on Foot Still Wanted
Darren Doyle, story:
An investigation on the whereabouts of a suspected meth trafficker led to her arrest this past weekend, according to the Edmonson County Sheriff's Office.
According to Edmonson County Sheriff's Deputy Tim Jackson and an official arrest citation, Deputy Jackson arrived at a residence on Chalybeate School Road on Saturday, November 25th around 5PM where consent to search was given by the resident, who said drugs could be present.
Deputy Jackson stated in an arrest citation that Ponda Bennett, (48), who was staying with the resident, was observed in a bedroom with an odor of marijuana and a meth pipe in plain view. Jackson stated to the Edmonson Voice that while interviewing Bennett, a white male jumped out of a glass window from a closet of the bedroom and fled on foot with what appeared to be cash along with narcotics.
During that time, Dep. Jackson said he observed Bennett flushing an unknown amount of methamphetamine down the toilet, which he said he was able to recover a portion. A further search of the bedroom resulted in the discovery of a large amount of meth, scales, and drug paraphernalia, Jackson said.
Kentucky State Police along with Warren County Sheriff's Office assisted in the search for the male, who was later identified by Deputy Jackson, with charges pending as a wanted fugitive, according to Jackson.
Ponda Bennett was arrested and charged with:
She was transported to the Hart County Jail.
Fiscal Court Recap: County Clerk Discusses Pause in Vehicle Transfers Late December Due to State System Update
Madison Doyle, story and photo:
Edmonson County Fiscal Court met tonight, November 27, 2023. The meeting was called to order by Judge/Executive Scott Lindsey, who began the meeting by leading the court in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Tonight's agenda was very light with only four items of new business to discuss. Most of the discussions tonight stemmed from reports from county office department heads. The majority of those reports were very short and to the point, with the exception of County Clerk Kevin Alexander.
Alexander reported that beginning Friday, December 29, 2023, through roughly midweek of January 8-12, there will be no vehicle transfers in the entire state of Kentucky. This is due to the state providing a new and updated system for vehicle transfers. Alexander said the current system that is used is 25 years old.
"I know this is going to be hard on some people, it's going to be hard on us too. Just know this is out of our hands, this is a state thing, but it'll be worth it."
Alexander said the clerks office will be closed December 29, 2023, and they will return to office on January 3rd but will not be able to do point of sale until the new system gets put in. Alexander also said that Edmonson County is one of the first counties in the entire state on the list to receive this new system, so they might see business from other counties until they get their new system.
There were no other major county office reports. The court voted to:
The next fiscal court meeting is scheduled to be held December 11, 2023 at 4 p.m.
Madison Doyle, story and photos:
The annual Lions Club Christmas Parade was back tonight, November 25, 2023 in Brownsville. The winners are as follows:
Best of Show: Shop on 70
Commercial: Webb's Eats N' Treats
Antique Car: Andrew and Macy Whobrey
Civic: Cody and Jon Vincent
Emergency Vehicle: Wingfield Fire Department
School: ECHS Cheer
Best Horse: Angela Cherry and Paisley Glenn
Darren Doyle, story:
The Edmonson County Judge/Executive's Office has announced that the countywide ban on all outdoor burning has been lifted. The current statewide restrictions for fall burning are still in place.
In a statement, Judge Scott Lindsey said: "I have just spoken to our Emergency Management Director, Terry "Moose" Massey, and we have made the decision to lift the local burn ban that has been in place for Edmonson County since November 15, 2023. This is for the local Edmonson County burn ban, only. We are still under the guidelines of the State Burn Ban as outlined by KRS 149.400 listed below. Violators will be subject to the state burn ban fines and punishment."
149.400 Fire hazard seasons -- Fires prohibited -- Exceptions. (1) The periods commencing on February 15 and ending on April 30 and commencing on October 1 and ending on December 15 of each year are hereby declared to be and established as the fire hazard seasons. During the fire hazard seasons, even though the precautions required by KRS 149.375 shall have been taken, it shall be unlawful for any person to set fire to, or to procure another to set fire to, any flammable material capable of spreading fire, located in or within one hundred fifty feet (150') of any woodland or brushland, except between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., prevailing local time, or when the ground is covered with snow.
100 Complete Thanksgiving Meals Delivered
Madison Doyle, story and photos:
Stuff the Bus, one of southcentral Kentucky's largest and most well known charities, continues to expand its giving, and today they joined forces with some of Edmonson County's hardest working charities and local organizations to make even more of a difference.
What started as a radio stunt nearly 20 years ago from morning radio show host Tony Rose has turned into a giving powerhouse that continues to make a difference all across the region. Just a few years ago, Stuff the Bus started what was known as the annual STB Turkey Drop, which was inspired by an episode of the 70s TV sitcom "WKRP in Cincinnati." The episode was about a promotion that the station held where 40 live turkeys were dropped out of a helicopter for a Thanksgiving giveaway, but not all the turkeys flew, causing smashed windshields and other carnage. The episode remains one of the most popular in the series' history.
Luckily, no windshields were smashed (as far as we know) as the annual STB Turkey Drop was held today all across the Bowling Green area, where the charity teamed up with other orgs in the area to see that needy families are able to have plenty on Thanksgiving Day.
Rose reached out to Darren Doyle, Founder of the Edmonson Voice and President of the Edmonson County Chamber of Commerce to see how STB could partner with some EC organizations to spread a little more giving.
"The Chamber knew there was a need in Edmonson County and we asked Mark Wardlow, co-founder of Santa's Helping Hands and a fellow Chamber board member, what was the best way to handle it," Doyle said. "Mark then coordinated with the Edmonson County Family Resource and Youth Services Centers, the Senior Food Pantry, and other locals to coordinate some extra giving on Thanksgiving Day."
Wardlow and Doyle, with trailer in tow, made their way down to Priceless IGA on Louisville Road to meet the STB crew to pick up 100 meals, which included a full turkey with sides, ready to be delivered, cooked, and enjoyed.
Tony Rose discussed the opportunity to branch out into Edmonson County for the Thanksgiving event.
“The Stuff the Bus Foundation is humbled to have the chance to work with Santa’s Helping Hands, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Edmonson Voice to help make sure families in Brownsville and the county can celebrate together this morning and this holiday season," he said. "We are blessed to have some amazing friends in Edmonson County.”
Wardlow said it was another way that SHH could continue making a difference in Edmonson County.
"Coming off the single biggest year we've ever had with our annual benefit auction, this was a fantastic way to start the holiday season for several Edmonson County families that could use a 'helping hand,'" he said. "Once we learned about the opportunity, we jumped at the chance. We appreciate Tony, all the Stuff the Bus crew, and of course, our Edmonson County friends that helped make this happen."
Santa's Helping Hands and the Edmonson Voice helped sponsor the local event while the regional event was sponsored by Houchens Food Group, The Mint Gaming Hall, WBKO, Farmers Bank & Trust, Logan Aluminum, Wendy's of Bowling Green, Red Elephant Studio, Tri County Auto & Oil, D93 WDNS, and WRUS 104.9 610.
All 100 meals were delivered to Edmonson County families just in time for cooking and sharing with friends and family.
The annual Santa's Helping Hands shopping day is coming up this Sunday, Nov. 26th at 3pm at Walmart on Morgantown Road. Any volunteers looking to help can meet there to assist purchasing items for distribution for SHH.
Darren Doyle, story:
A Mammoth Cave man has been arrested and faces meth and other charges after a dispute call on Monday, according to the Edmonson County Sheriff's Office.
Sheriff James Vincent said that deputies responded to Chestnut Drive in Mammoth Cave on Monday, November 20th around 11AM to a call of what was described as a family property dispute.
According to an arrest citation, a subject at the residence identified as Andy Quentin Hornback, (38), was found to be in possession of a small bag of methamphetamine. The citation also stated that Hornback was found to be in possession of multiple meth pipes with fresh residue along with discharged needles that tested positive for methamphetamine.
The citation also stated that upon attempt for law enforcement to detain the subject for questioning, Hornback refused commands from officers and jumped off the porch, pulling a deputy with him. The citation also stated that during an altercation to subdue the subject, a deputy obtained multiple injuries to his arm, finger, and shin.
Hornback was arrested and charged with:
He was transported and lodged in the Hart County Jail.
Sponsorships Available For 2024 Induction Ceremony
Darren Doyle, story:
The Edmonson County Hall of Distinguished Alumni has announced four new inductees that will be honored at a ceremony on March 15, 2024.
The new members include Mr. Jimmie Gipson (d.), Coach Keith Madison, Judge N.E. Reed (d.), and Mr. Scottie Woodcock. The HODA Committee provided the following information for the inductees:
Jimmie Gipson is a 1959 graduate of Brownsville High School. Whether on the basketball court or leading a large company, he was a key player on every team for which he played. Described by friends as a servant leader who embodied the characteristics of loyalty and altruism, Jimmie was proud of his modest upbringing in the Chalybeate community. He was employed by Houchens Industries for 55 years, serving as CEO for the last 26 years. It was under Jimmie’s leadership that Houchens expanded from a single grocery store to become the largest and most diversified ESOP in the country. This strategy fended off the expansion of big box stores into Houchens’ territory while transforming the company into an ESOP with over 19,000 participants. Thus, securing it as a primary driver of the southcentral Kentucky economy. Jimmie has received many honors over the years including Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst and Young, honoree in the WKU Hall of Distinguished Alumni and the Junior Achievement Hall of Fame, and recipient of the Lou Fox Award for Charity and Community Service from Associated Wholesale Grocers.
Keith Madison, a 1969 graduate of Edmonson County High School, grew up in the Lindseyville community in a household where faith, family, and sports were mainstays. At age 17, he signed his first professional baseball contract charting the trajectory of his life toward a career in athletics. During his career, Keith played with several professional teams including the Montreal Expos and the Cincinnati Reds. His collegiate coaching career began at Mississippi State University in 1977. In 1979, Madison, then age 26, became the youngest head coach in NCAA Division I baseball when he was hired to lead the University of Kentucky baseball team. He remains the winningest coach in U.K. baseball history, which led to the retirement of his jersey and recognition as an honoree in several halls of fame for his success on the field.
Judge Noah Everett “N.E.” Reed, Jr., a 1965 graduate of Edmonson County High School, grew up in the Mohawk community, but served all of Edmonson County for 21 years as Judge/Executive. First elected in 1993, the role was a natural fit for this servant leader who tirelessly sought opportunities to improve the quality of life for his constituents. He developed the first Parks and Recreation Department and Industrial Authority in Edmonson County and he worked tirelessly throughout the region to create economic development opportunities and enhance infrastructure for residents. As a long serving Judge Executive, Judge Reed was well known by his peers across the Commonwealth and his sage council was often sought by other elected officials. Judge Reed continued to serve Edmonson County after retiring from office as a District 4 Director of WRECC and a Board Member of Edmonson County Water District as well as a member of the Edmonson County Lions Club.
Scottie Woodcock, a 1951 graduate of Brownsville High School, grew up in Brownsville and when he married his wife, Ethel, they put down permanent roots to raise their family and make a living there. He had a strong business acumen at an early age and found success in several ventures, including the Gulf service station, Woodcock General Store, (serving as manager), and Western Auto. Scottie also played a critical role in bringing the first factory—Kelwood—to Brownsville, which created jobs for many residents leading to far-reaching economic impact in the county. In 1989 Scottie made a career change and became a Loan Officer and Board Member at the Bank of Edmonson County. This allowed him to help many Edmonson Countians achieve their dreams by approving loans for homes, farms, and businesses. He served in a myriad of volunteer and civic roles, including Brownsville City Council, Brownsville Water District, Lions Club, and the Washington Meredith Masonic Lodge. His professional success and service to his community led to his recognition as Mr. Brownsville in 1964.
The inaugural class of the Edmonson County Hall of Distinguished Alumni, 2023: L-R: Johnny Pete Vincent, the late David Webb (accepted by wife Ann Webb), MSgt. Larry Hawks, Johnny Webb, Jeanne Patton, Jerry Patton, Dr. Kevin Clemmons.
"The four inductees selected for the 2024 Class were chosen from a pool of 26 nominations submitted by members of the community," HODA said in a written statement. "The committee took great care to evaluate each nomination to ensure that those selected reflected the criteria set forth, which include: outstanding personal, civic, or professional achievements, honor and recognition to the alma mater through his/her profession or service, strong personal character, moral conviction, and outstanding service/contributions, attended or graduated no less than fifteen years from date of consideration, and achievements in career, public service, and volunteer activities worthy of recognition which have brought honor to the Edmonson County School District.
The 2024 ECHS Honorary Alumnus will also be announced at the event, which will not be revealed until the evening of the Induction Ceremony, the committee stated.
The committee also made special note of those inducted that are being done posthumously, Mr. Gipson, Judge Reed, as well as last year's Mr. David Webb.
"The committee has endeavored to be thoughtful in selecting honorees who have reached the pinnacle of their careers or community involvement and, in some cases, to choose those who may be nearing the twilight of their impactful lives to ensure we are able to personally celebrate with them while they are still with us," they stated. "The committee recognizes that in the first few years of the program, it will likely be necessary to “reach back” to honor some inductees who are no longer with us. It is our privilege to do so and we make those selections with reverence and gratitude for their achievement in their chosen profession and service to our community. We give special consideration to make sure that there is a good balance of living inductees with whom we may personally celebrate and those who have gone on and will require a loved one to receive the award on their behalf. Each group is equally important and it is our wish to honor them well while bringing a top tier event to our community. While the committee discussed many names of worthy individuals who deserve consideration, we are limited to only evaluate those with complete nomination forms. Consequently, if the community feels strongly that someone should be included, then the onus is on them to submit a complete nomination for that candidate. Once a nomination is submitted, it will remain in the pool for consideration for three years."
There are also a number of sponsorship opportunities available for the ceremony, which is to be held at Tayvin Gardens.
Tickets to the public will go on sale soon and will be advanced-sale, only. No tickets will be sold at the event. For more info, see any committee member or email email@example.com. The sponsorship levels will be filled on a first come, first served basis.
Committee members of HODA are: Regina Byrd, Melinda Campbell, Darrell Cassady, Treasurer, Cooper Clark, Video Production, Morgan Esters, Amanda Lich, Chair, Hon. Ronald Scott Lindsey, Carol Stice, Laura-Grace Vincent, Johnny Webb , Jonathan Williams.
Darren Doyle, story:
After a record-breaking year at the 2023 Edmonson County Fair, the Edmonson County Lions Club is sharing the success with the same community that helped make this year's event the biggest ever.
Newly-elected Fair Board Chairman Donnie Turley said the Lions Club had to commit to investing much more capital this year, in order to secure a much bigger and better carnival--something that has been lacking in recent years.
The cancellation of the 2020 fair due to the Covid pandemic was a huge setback to the Lions Club, which was already struggling to attract fairgoers. Turley and a new group of Lions Club members began asking for support from businesses in the community to help make the much-needed investment happen, and it happened. Their efforts raised nearly $20K to help fund the new carnival and fair, which rejuvenated the community's interest in the annual event. As a token of thanks, the Lions Club wanted to pay it forward.
So far, the Lions Club have provided the coats for this year's local Coats for Kids and made $1000 donations to each of the following local charities: VFW Chapter 6937, DAV Chapter 32, Santa's Helping Hands, Feeding America (Edmonson Backpack Program), Edmonson County FRYSC Affordable Christmas, and Turley said they have plans on doing even more in the future.
"We just wanted to do something for our community that gave back," said Turley. "There are so many good organizations in Edmonson County doing great things for our community and we want to help anywhere we can."
The Lions Club is making preparations for Santa to stop in Brownsville this Saturday, November 25th at 6PM for the annual Christmas Parade. Participants will lineup beginning at 4PM at Edmonson County High School.
The Lions Club is the title sponsor for this year's Edmonson Voice Christmas Parade Livestream that is scheduled to begin at 6PM on both the Edmonson Voice Facebook and YouTube pages.
Darren Doyle, story:
Edmonson County Judge/Executive Scott Lindsey has issued an executive order for a burn ban for all of Edmonson County, due to drought conditions. The ban applies to all open outdoor burning with the exception of campfires in an established campground or structured fire pit.
Local firefighters have battled multiple recent field and grass fires, including two today, according to the Judge's Office.
The National Weather Service has placed the region in an "enhanced fire danger," as a result of the combination of a dry atmosphere and low fuel moisture.
The ban will remain in effect until further notice.
Darren Doyle, story and photos:
An early morning fire claimed a mobile home in Wingfield on Tuesday, November 14, 2023 just before daylight.
Fire departments were paged around 5:30AM this morning to the report of a structure fire in the 2900 block of Wingfield Church Road. Firefighters arrived to a mobile home that was fully engulfed.
The resident of the home, Russell Logsdon, was staying with a friend at the time of the fire. He said he had left a small space heater on for his dog, which was inside. He said he thought the dog must have knocked over or moved the heater, which could have caused the blaze. The dog was lost in the fire and the home was a total loss.
The mobile home was on the property of Freddie Logsdon.
Responding to the fire were the Wingfield, Chalybeate, and Brownsville Fire Departments. No other injuries were reported.
Darren Doyle, story and photo:
Another quick meeting of the Edmonson County Fiscal Court was held today, Monday, November 13, 2023 at the Edmonson County Courthouse. An update of current Edmonson County Water District projects was among some of the brief discussions held at today's meeting.
Edmonson Water General Manager Tony Sanders addressed the court today to bring magistrates up to speed on the current projects with the district, including the ARPA allocated project and the continuing issues with Green River water levels that are major concerns to the district.
In April of 2022, magistrates with the former fiscal court administration voted to allocate $650,000 of the county's $2.3M in ARPA funding for a water district project that focuses on a $1.1M job that would improve multiple pump stations, new service to E Hack Road, and improvements on Luttrell Cemetery Road, Segal Road, Carl Ashley Road, and HWY 70.
"We are now in the process of the design," Sanders said. "We expect to have plans ready in March or the first of April to submit to the division of water. Once we get approval back, we're thinking we can probably do our advertising and hopefully go to bids sometime in the second quarter or the beginning of the third quarter."
Sanders said he hoped to have a finished contract by the end of 2024. He said that former Judge /Executive Wil Cannon approached him a couple years ago when the ARPA funding first came to the county and asked Sanders how the water district could use some of the funding. Early on, restrictions on how funds could be spent were focused for infrastructure, only; however, the restrictions for the funding became much looser as time went on.
With additional grants available to the water district from The Cleaner Water Act, projects are moving forward, however, inflation has driven up the prices of labor and material since the first estimates in 2021. Sanders said he was concerned about completing the projects now at the 2021 prices, but only time would tell.
Sanders also updated the court on the current intake situation that has been a major concern of the water district since the federal government passed legislation to remove Lock number 6 and Lock Number 5, which has currently been halted. The changing water levels from the Lock 6 removal have caused major problems for the district's intake system which is expected to fail in it's current state, should the Lock 5 removal continue. It has been temporarily halted due to the emergency it has caused.
"It's a touchy subject," Sanders said. "We had a meeting on October 27th. The new Colonel from the Louisville Division (Corps of Engineers) was here and we talked to her. Of course, we're still looking at a permanent solution--one of the new ideas is to build a new intake structure up close to where the old Lock is. They're looking at a short term solution to where they can take the Locks out. The problem is, with the short term solution, nobody really knows what to do."
Congress allocated funding for the removal of the dam, so if it's not done, Congress will have to decide on something else, which leaves local decision makers helpless. However, both Sanders and Judge/Executive Scott Lindsey said Senator Rand Paul's Office, Senator Mitch McConnell's Office, and the office or Congressman Brett Guthrie have been very resourceful in helping the county with the issues, despite the continuing push to remove the lock/dam.
The Edmonson Voice spoke with representatives from Rep. Brett Guthrie's Office just over a month ago about the pending issue. They informed us that their door was open to helping the water district in anyway they could; however, Sanders said today that neither a short term nor a long term solution is in place yet, other than the hold of the lock removal.
In other discussion, Judge Lindsey reminded the court of the current statewide fall burning restrictions that occur during this time each year. Burning anything 150ft or closer to woodland or brushland is prohibited between the hours of 6AM to 6PM. These restrictions are in effect from October 1st to December 15th each year.
County Clerk Kevin Alexander reported that last week's general election went smoothly throughout the county, in all precincts. He said he was meeting with officials to discuss the upcoming changes to the precinct boundary lines that will take place next year.
Park Director Position: Judge Lindsey said the candidates that have interviewed for the open Edmonson County Parks and Rec Director have been narrowed down to six individuals. The hiring committee will now discuss and make a recommendation for a fiscal court vote.
Sunfish-Round Hill Road Update: Judge Lindsey reported that FEMA has finally allocated $860K for the repair of Sunfish-Round Hill Road, a dangerous unfinished project since the previous fiscal court administration. One man died as he drove off the unfinished portion of the road into the creek. The caveat is that the county will have to determine a way to front the costs of the repair and then be reimbursed for the project; however, most would argue that it's a must for the county.
The court also voted to:
The next Edmonson County Fiscal Court meeting is scheduled for November 27, 2023 at 9AM.
Madison Doyle, story and photos:
Local Veterans were honored today at Edmonson County High School during the annual Veterans Day Program.
The program began with opening remarks from Principal Jonathan Williams, and FFA President Johnathan Vincent leading the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance. The ECHS Band then performed the National Anthem, and later also performed "God Bless America" and "American Heroes." The ECHS Choir also gave a performance of "America the Beautiful."
Vice Principal Nikki Culbreth introduced the Voice of Democracy Essay winners to read their essays to the audience. Cariann Williams was the first place winner, Addison Browning won second place winner, and Peyton Manor won third place. Each winner received a cash price; $200 for third, $300 for second, and $500 for first.
Mr. John Vincent, VFW State Commander, then presented VFW Post 6937 with a special award.
Edwin Vincent was the special guest speaker today. Vincent is a former US Air Force Chief Master Sergeant, retired Post 6937.
Mrs. Nikki Culbreth gave closing remarks, and an ECHS Band Performer played "Taps".
Darren Doyle, story:
District 19 State Representative Michael Meredith (R) has filed for re-election, according to an announcement today. Meredith has held the office since 2011. The primary election for District 19 is set for May of 2024. An Edmonson County native, Meredith lives with his wife and children in Warren County.
He will face at least one challenger in May, Warren County resident Kelcey Rock. Rock ran for District 6 Magistrate in Warren County in the 2022 primary where he was defeated by incumbent Ron Cummings. Rock announced this week that he was seeking the office of District 19 Representative as a conservative republican. He lives with his wife and children on a farm in Warren County.
District 19 includes all of Edmonson and a portion of Warren County.
Darren Doyle, story:
A Bowling Green man faces multiple charges after he was found hiding in a vacant building near a local daycare center, according to the Edmonson County Sheriff's Office.
According to an arrest citation, Sheriff James Vincent responded to a complaint call at Sarah's Playschool around 8:30AM on November 8, 2023, located on KY HWY 259 North, of an individual that walked across their property and disappeared into a vacant building. Sheriff Vincent stated that he entered the vacant building and made contact with a man who was identified as Richard Spears, (59) of Bowling Green, who was not an owner of the property.
The citation stated that Sheriff Vincent asked Spears to walk outside but Spears attempted to run away. Spears was detained by the sheriff and a search of his person resulted in the discovery of a bag of suspected methamphetamine, cash, and a pipe that was suspected for the use of smoking meth, according to the citation.
Spears was arrested and charged with:
He was also found to have two outstanding arrest warrants for probation violations from Warren County. He was transported and lodged in the Hart County Jail.
Darren Doyle, story and photo:
Andy Beshear has claimed victory in the Kentucky governor's race according to the Associated Press earlier tonight. While Republican challenger Daniel Cameron carried Edmonson County by a large margin, Beshear was reelected to his position, 53% to Cameron's 47%.
Also winning statewide races were Republicans Russell Coleman (Attorney General), Michael Adams (Secretary of State), Allison Ball (Auditor of Public Accounts), Mark Metcalf (State Treasurer), and Jonathan Shell (Commissioner of Agriculture).
Edmonson County saw a 37.39% voter turnout with 3,656 ballots cast out of 9,777 registered voters.
CUMULATIVE COUNTY TOTALS:
Darren Doyle, story and photos:
The folks behind Santa's Helping Hands, INC. are still in awe after another record-breaking year at the group's annual benefit auction held at Edmonson County High School this past Saturday, November 4th.
"We really thought this year's numbers would be down after we were told that some of our larger supporters might not attend, but boy, were we ever wrong," said Mark Wardlow, co-founder and board member of SHH, which has now become the county's most influential nonprofit. "With the uncertainty in the world today, there was concern about turnout and bidders, but plenty of folks came out and everyone seemed to have a great time bidding or watching the bids of others."
The group completed their 19th annual event on Saturday that began years ago raising a few thousand dollars for a handful of Edmonson County families that were struggling to provide Christmas gifts and necessities for their own. Wardlow and the rest of the SHH family are now lending their "helping hands" to dozens of local families, not just through the holidays but all year round.
Nearly $90,000 was raised in a matter of a couple hours at ECHS, an astonishing number for the attending few hundred people. That money goes to fund Christmas gifts for needy children, clothing, basic needs, and personal hygiene items that they may not be able to acquire otherwise. In addition, the charity helps families throughout the year by helping those that have extended hospital stays, house fire losses, and other sudden tragedies or illnesses.
The process for receiving assistance from SHH each year goes under quite the magnifying glass as the board members adhere strictly to making sure that help isn't being squandered on those who simply refuse to help themselves. It has truly been a source of help for those that simply needed those helping hands on some occasion.
"To say Saturday was an unbelievable record-breaking day is understatement," Wardlow said.
The day started off with Congressman Brett Guthrie stopping by to address the crowd and donate UK vs Tennessee men's basketball tickets, followed by members of the Edmonson County Lions Club presenting the group with a $1K donation.
Bidders did not fool around as the first item up for grabs, a package containing UK vs. Gonzaga men's basketball tickets (donated by state rep Michael Meredith), a hotel stay, and a Rafferty's gift card went for the stunning amount of $5,000.
Another big ticket item was a homemade quilt donated by the Nimble Thimble Quilt Club that also brought $5,000.
"In the crowd, Illinois, Tennessee, Alabama, and Kentucky were all represented, and of course mostly Edmonson County," said Wardlow. "We are blessed to live in a community where people get behind a charity that supports Edmonson County residents-only."
Wardlow also noted that SHH owed many thanks to multiple organizations and individuals, including the ECHS administration for use of the gym and equipment and the donors of the items sold at the auction, which he said becomes more diverse each year.
"SHH would also like to send out a huge thank you to the ECHS volleyball team and coaches who helped unload all the items, ECHS football players Gavin Alexander, Tucker Kiernan, and Noah Meredith for helping arrange and move items around for presentation, Kennedy and Hallie Jane Stice for helping serve food all day, Kailee Hollis and Madison Hollis for their bookkeeping, Rachel Hennion, Will Alexander, Kyle and Kisha Lindsey, Marty and Tammy Lindsey, Jason and Andrea Webb, Larry Starnes, Terry Vincent Webb--they were helping behind the scenes setting up or assembling items for the auction or helping Saturday during the auction."
He also wanted to thank volunteer auctioneers Ricky Keith and Jake Keith, who have been with the annual auction for 19 years, along with Hunter Ashley, who has volunteered his auction skills in recent years.
"Also thank you to Dad’s BBQ for preparing all our food. I don’t want to leave anyone out but these people with above and beyond to help out," he added.
Wardlow said 70% of the group's annual budget is centered around the Christmas holiday but at least a dozen other families have received some sort of assistance in other ways throughout the year.
Last, but certainly not least, Wardlow wanted to thank the people of Edmonson County for 19 years of continued support and SHH is planning next year's 20th annual event to be even bigger than ever.
"We are humbled, blessed, excited, and thankful for this year's event and hope to continue working for Edmonson County in the years to come."
None of the board members are paid, they are not reimbursed for their meals, fuel, travel, etc., and 100% of the families helped are strictly Edmonson County residents. Board members consist of Wardlow and his wife Lorie, Mark Rich, Renee Rich, Jeff Rich, Lynette Saling, Scott Lindsey of Rafferty's, and Greg Nugent.
For those requesting assistance from SHH, they are instructed to write a letter with parent/guardians' names, child information, current situational info, and a working contact number to the Family Resource/Youth Services Center to any Edmonson County School, or Lifeskills, Community Action, or the Head Start Program.
The deadline for receiving assistance is November 20th.
Darren Doyle, story and photos:
Folks that live closer to the Union Light community than the Lincoln Volunteer Fire Department may now feel a bit safer after the grand opening of the Lincoln VFD substation, or "Station 2." It's the first fire department in Edmonson County that now has two stations.
The Lincoln district has faced challenges over the years, with some areas seeing up to 20 minute response times from firefighters in emergency calls, due to the amount of land coverage in district. The new station allows better access to the district residents, while being mostly funded through grants.
"We started in 2015 when I first approached (former) Judge Wil Cannon about what we wanted to do," said Lincoln VFD Fire Chief Steve Sanders. "We applied for a grant and were awarded $250,000 with about 25% coming in matching funds from the fire department, but when we bid it out, it came in over budget, so we had to back up and regroup."
Chief Sanders said they reapplied about a year and a half later and were then awarded $500,000 in grants, but with rising building costs, the bid price was still too much for the department to handle. Finally, through the pandemic and after the last application process, the department was awarded $800K with the bid being accepted for $913K.
When all was said and done, the fire department now owns nearly a million-dollar facility for $167K out-of-pocket expense.
The new station houses their newest truck, purchased around 2018 that was too large to fit in the main fire department.
While the ground-breaking was in July of this year, the entire process has been eight years in the making. Sanders said there are many Lincoln residents that live outside of the five-mile limit for home insurance discounts.
"I had a guy call me yesterday that has a place in Sunset Harbor. He asked if the firehouse was in operation yet and I told him yes and told him about the open house. He was happy to hear it because he was going to let his insurance company know, because that was big for him."
Many homeowner insurances offer discounts for living in close vicinity of a fire department.
Sanders thanked all the community members in attendance for their support of the project over the years, in addition to the BRADD Office, Judge/Exec Scott Lindsey and staff, architect Nick Sewell, Scott, Murphy, and Daniel Contracting, all the contractors that worked on the job, the Lincoln VFD Building Committee, and all the fire department members.
The station is located at 2450 Union Light Road, Mammoth Cave, 42259.
Kyrock, South Edmonson Show Success
Edmonson Voice Report:
The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) released assessment results for the 2023 Kentucky Summative Assessment on October 31, 2023. This year’s results are based on the state’s revised accountability system.
“This year’s data release has significant changes from last year’s accountability model," said Carol Stice, District Assessment Coordinator for Edmonson County Schools. "We continue to see a color-coded rating system that ranges from red (very low) to blue (very high), but now we have added in a “change” score that looks at each indicator score and whether it increased or decreased from the year before. That change number is either added to or subtracted from the current year’s score to give the overall indicator score.”
Elementary and middle schools were scored in the areas of Reading and Math (grades 3-8), Science (grades 4, 7), Social Studies and Writing (grades 5, 8), and Quality of School Climate and Safety (grades 3-8). High schools were scored in the areas of Reading and Math (grade 10), Science, Social Studies, and Writing (grade 11), Quality of School Climate and Safety (grades 10 and 11), Post-Secondary Readiness (grade 12), and Graduation Rate. Schools and districts were also scored on English Language Proficiency, however, the ECSD does not have a high enough student population for public reporting.
The tables below show each school’s results for each indicator and their overall scores and rank. Scores are listed for all students that were accountable to the school.
Brian Alexander, Superintendent of Edmonson County Schools, said, “Overall we are pleased with the test scores we received from the state. Every school was at least at the yellow indicator and no school was classified as low-performing. We are happy to report that we saw growth across our district and know that the sky is the limit for our schools. I know our teachers and students worked very hard to see all of this come to pass and we are very happy with the increases we’ve seen.”
Among the successes noted in this year’s data release are those seen at Kyrock and South Edmonson. Alexander stated, “There were 128 elementary schools out of 719 in Kentucky that scored Blue/Very High. We have two of those schools in our district. When we looked at that further, Kyrock ranked 11th out of 719 overall and 1st among the 126 elementary schools in the GRREC (Green River Regional Educational Cooperative) region. Additionally, we saw gains at South Edmonson Elementary and are thrilled that they have reached the blue performance rating. They are 91st among 719 elementary schools in Kentucky and 9th in the GRREC region. Also, two of our schools in the “Medium” category were less than two points from a “High” designation.”
Mr. Alexander also explained that while there were many positives to be found in the data, plans are already being developed to improve accountability across the district. “We have had these scores for a couple of weeks, but this is the first day that we have been allowed to share them. Now that we have a better understanding of this revised accountability system, I am confident we will improve on this new rating scale. We already have a plan in place for improvement that we feel will make our scores even better when we see them next year. Our Board, our administration and our teachers are all committed to continuing to make Edmonson County Schools a great place to learn. While we have work ahead of us, Edmonson County has a lot to be proud of. We want to thank all of the community stakeholders that make an effort day in and day out to support our schools and make each of our schools a great place to learn. When kids and staff know they are valued on a daily basis it shows up in test results. ”
For more detailed information on the release of state assessment results, you may access the Kentucky School Report Card.