Edmonson County Voters to choose Governor, Sec of State, Supreme Court, More
Edmonson Voice Staff Report:
Tuesday, November 5, 2019 is Election Day in Edmonson County, and while there are no local elections with the exception of one unopposed school board seat in the 2nd education district, local voters will have the opportunity to vote for KY's next governor.
For those choosing to vote a straight ticket, additional votes will be required for a supreme court, county surveyor, and school district choice, as they are non-partisan offices.
The Edmonson County Clerk's Office will be closed on Tuesday. They will be conducting election affairs, only.
Below is a copy of the official ballot available to voters on Tuesday.
Edmonson Voice Staff Report:
The Department for Local Government (DLG) announced a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) allocation for the Edmonson County Fiscal Court to fund the construction of a new 2,725-square-foot fire station in the Lincoln community.
The CDBG program, overseen by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, provides assistance to communities for use in revitalizing neighborhoods, expanding affordable housing and economic opportunities, providing infrastructure and/or improving community facilities and services.
“We are excited today to announce $500,000 in CDBG grant funding for Edmonson County,” said Gov. Matt Bevin in a written statement. “Our Department for Local Government works closely with local officials to address priority projects that will most positively impact their communities. This significant investment is based on those discussions and will enable vital emergency services facility improvements to be made.”
The LVFD currently has a staff of 20 volunteer fire fighters. According to a press release, the department feels they are comfortably staffed to handle emergency calls, however with the addition of a new substation they can decrease their poor ISO rating and save insurance money for operations. In addition, by lowering the ISO rating and insurance payments, the LVFD can reduce insurance rates for local residents in the district as well.
The addition of a new substation for the LVFD will allow resources to be housed at a separate station which will alleviate congestion at the current center and serve residents of the area that were previously not adequately served.
“Public safety is a critical issue for our communities, and projects like this are a top priority for my department,” said DLG Commissioner Sandra Dunahoo. “The construction of a new fire station will improve the effectiveness of our first-responders and help them continue to deliver quality services to the citizens of Edmonson County. Additionally, the LVFD will be able to reduce their response times and lower insurance rates in the community.“
Local Clinic Already Planning Additional Location In 2020
Edmonson Voice Staff Report:
A Plus Family HealthCare, a 501c3 Not-for-profit primary healthcare facility in Brownsville, KY has been named a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) by the U.S. Health Resource Services Administration (HRSA), according to a statement from the clinic.
According to A Plus Family CEO Patrick Merritt, FQHCs are community-based health care providers that receive funds from the HRSA Health Center Program to provide primary care services in underserved areas. They must meet a stringent set of requirements, including providing care on a sliding fee scale based on ability to pay and operating under a governing board that includes patients.
A Plus Family Healthcare is governed by a board composed of Edmonson County community leaders, business owners, healthcare workers, and organizers of other local non-profits. The clinic said that A Plus staff members and their governing board have worked diligently over the past year to achieve this status.
“A Plus Family HealthCare truly cares about the health and well-being of our community,” said Merritt. “We want to provide the absolute best of care to everyone, no matter their circumstances. Achieving this status will allow us to provide more care, with better quality, to those in and around Edmonson County.”
Merritt said the clinic has centered its focus on building a healthier community through partnerships to link patients with services & resources to improve population health, while strengthening the focus on disease prevention across populations, providers and communities. He noted that they can now remove additional barriers to healthcare commonly caused by transportation issues, financial, burdens, access to primary care and language barriers, as well as providing healthcare for the underinsured, all while remaining a not-for-profit entity.
The clinic’s primary care provider is local APRN, Brittany Sowders.
“Being able to practice healthcare in my hometown is a blessing,” said Sowders. “I take great pride in caring for my patients, some of which have very limited access to care.”
Office manager Ashley Graham said that taking care of their patients has always been their top priority; however, more doors are opening for healthcare in Edmonson County. “Going through the FQHC process has granted us even more opportunities to our patients and we are beyond excited.”
Merritt said the support from the community has been substantial.
“It has actually been overwhelming. This whole process has truly been a blessing.”
A Plus Family HealthCare first opened in 2017 and is located in the Main Street Center in Brownsville. The clinic also said they are currently working on opening an additional clinic in Sonora, KY. More details will be available later, but the new clinic is scheduled to open sometime in early 2020.
For more, you can visit APlusHealth.org.
Edmonson County Judge Executive Wil Cannon is inviting the public to the Brownsville Community Center this Friday, November 1, 2019 at 2:45PM for a special announcement regarding a grant that has been awarded to Edmonson County.
He said details on the type of grant and the amount would be announced at the event.
Commissioner of the Department of Local Government Sandra Dunahoo is scheduled to speak along with State Representative Michael Meredith.
The public is invited to attend.
Darren Doyle, story:
Edmonson County fiscal court met today instead of the normal fourth Monday due to a scheduling conflict with the Judge, who recently attended a conference. Magistrate Corey Vanmeter and County Attorney Greg Vincent were absent at today's meeting.
Ty Bowman, a representative from Scott Waste addressed Judge Cannon and magistrates in response to what Cannon said were numerous complaints over the past few weeks that ranged from missed stops, billing problems, and poor service.
Magistrate Mark Meeks said one resident had shared complaints of the company not picking up a few extra cardboard boxes during the recent burn ban and as a result, the boxes were blown and strewn about. Meeks said that while he realized that normal policy from Scott Waste is to only empty what's inside a can, he noted other examples where the company had picked up larger excesses outside of can than the few boxes this particular customer had.
Meeks said another customer in his district recently had their can removed by the company for non-payment, and the company charged a $45 fee to return their can. He said the customer's response was that he neither received a bill, nor was contacted by Scott Waste about a late or non-payment.
Judge Cannon said he had received numerous complaints from residents claiming the trash company failed to pick up certain items outside the can. While he, too, recognized the policy of items being required by Scott Waste to be placed inside the can, he also noted that common sense should determine that a loose box on the ground would be easier to remove than items crammed down inside the trash can that might not come out when the can is dumped.
He also said he'd received complaints and had also seen firsthand, of trash being scattered from a Scott Waste truck in the Pig Community.
Sheriff Shane Doyle said the problem that he experiences most is inconsistency. He said times and even days of pickup have been scattered for weeks for the people in his community, yet the company offers no apology, notice, or bill credit for the inconveniences.
Mr. Bowman apologized for all the issues and said most problems stemmed from different drivers and broken-down trucks. He first addressed items outside of a customer's can.
"If it's once in a while, and the customer has a couple boxes or something, then yes, they're gonna pick it up and take it," he said. "If it's a continual thing with a customer, we offer a second cart at a reduced rate so they can fit it inside of a cart, but if it's every now-and-again, where there's a bag, a couple boxes, then we've asked the drivers to pick those up."
Bowman also said with the driver changes, they've discovered some in the county that are receiving service but not paying, and others that have multiple cans but only paying for one.
"So there was a lot of things that he was trying to fix just to make routes accurate, and through that, I think we've gotten some complaints. Hopefully that's now lessening," he said.
Cannon said overall, he felt like the service from Scott Waste was good and that the company donates to Parks and Rec each year and allows for the countywide cleanup, where they provide dumpsters for customers at no additional charge and that he wanted to keep a good relationship with the company. However, some have argued that those services could be figured into customers' bills already, and that customers are paying for those services anyway.
Mr. Bowman left his business card for all magistrates and welcomed direct calls from anyone that had any potential issues so that he could deal with them directly.
In addition, county offices gave their periodic reports.
Road Report: County Road Foreman Greg Carroll said crews had installed several road tiles on Dalton Way, Stone Hill, Trail Wood, and Union Light Ch Rd. He said snowplows are now ready on county trucks; however, one truck would not be in service this winter due to being what was discussed as "a lemon." He also said crews had completed gravel work on multiple roads.
Sheriff Report: Sheriff Shane Doyle said that tax bills were being sent out today and that his office would be collecting and processing those bills over the next two months.
Jailer Report: Deputy Jailer Todd Vincent reported 23 county inmates at Hart County Jail with four on work release, and one in Butler County Jail. He said the jailer's office is currently waiting on a bid for new jailer vehicle.
County Clerk: County Clerk Kevin Alexander reminded everyone that Tuesday. November 5th is election day and that his office had already processed several absentee and early votes. He also announced that the clerk's office will not be open on election day, that they will be handling election matters only.
Parks and Rec: Parks Director A.B. Webb announced that youth soccer had ended for the season, which was the largest season yet and that youth basketball is beginning. He reminded the court of the Halloween on Square event scheduled for Thurs night on the courthouse square. The event will be moved inside the community center in case of inclement weather. He also announced the upcoming bluegrass concert sponsored by Parks and Rec this Saturday.
National Opioid Litigation:
The county also voted to a retainer fee agreement for a National Opioid Litigation, as recommended by the county attorney. A paralegal from the law office of Gary Logsdon said it was estimated that Edmonson County would be paid approximately $42K in a settlement (subject to change) and that the county could vote to retain services in the case where multiple plaintiffs and multiple defendants were combined, in addition to law firms in various regions teaming up to represent the plaintiffs.
It was estimated that approximately 10% of any settlement would be paid as attorney fees and that the county would not owe anything up front. The court voted to have the law firm on a retainer for this litigation. Judge Cannon suggested any settlement gained by the county be turned over to the Sheriff's drug fund to assist in the local fight against drugs.
Judge Cannon invited everyone to the Community Center this Friday, November 1st at 2:45pm for an announcement regarding a grant that the county is set to receive from the state. No details were available as to what type of funding will be allocated to the county, but the Commissioner of the Department of Local Government and State Representative Michael Meredith are scheduled to speak at the announcement.
The next fiscal court meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, November 12, 2019 at 9am. The day was moved due to Veterans Day.
Edmonson Voice Staff Report:
Santa's Helping Hands, INC., has released a statement that outlines the requirements for receiving assistance from the non-profit organization, in addition to answering some program questions that S.H.H. received this week.
We do have a few rules in order to get assistance from Santa’s Helping Hands. Please read the following guidelines before applying for assistance.
The deadline for application letters is November 21, 2019.
For additional questions please contact Mark Wardlow of SHH, INC., at 270-991-2972.
ECHS Sophomores Experience KSP Rollover Simulator, "Drunk Goggles" Driving, More Driver Ed At Event
Darren Doyle, story, photos, and video:
Edmonson County High School sophomore students had a chance to gain some non-conventional driver’s education today at the annual “16th Birthday Bash,” a program hosted by the Edmonson County Family Resource—Youth Services Centers.
During the event, Students got an up-close and personal view of the Kentucky State Police’s rollover simulator, operated by KSP Post 3 Public Affairs Officer, Trooper Daniel Priddy.
"It's a cab of a truck, hooked up to a motor that overturns and simulates a rollover collision," said Trooper Priddy. "We have a dummy that we place inside and we let the kids see it with the seat belt on, let them see how stationary the dummy is, and how connected it stays to the seat, not flying around in the cab. And then we take the seat belt off and we let them see just how uncontrolled it is. How they can't control their bodies in an overturned collision. Every time we do it, the un-belted dummy gets ejected from the car and usually right into the path of the rollover," he said.
The Program is a series of driver’s ed presentations that show 10th graders the ins and outs of buying car insurance, learning about distracted driving, and driving while impaired—which was made possible by the students wearing “drunk goggles” on a golf cart, presented by the Edmonson County Sheriff’s Office and Edmonson EMS. The goggles are modified to simulate vision and reaction time that would be similar to that of an impaired person. Students were also given a series of field sobriety tests while wearing the goggles.
Both Trooper Priddy and Morgan Esters, Youth Services Center Coordinator for ECHS, said the students have noticeable reactions when being able to have experiences like these. She was sharing some laughs with students taking part in "drunk goggles" exhibit, hosted by the Edmonson County Sheriff's Office.
Students attempted to drive golf carts through a series of cones while wearing goggles that simulate an impaired person. The goggles blur vision and slow reaction time. They were also administered field sobriety tests from deputies while wearing the goggles. Very few students drove the course without running over cones and none that we saw could pass the sobriety tests.
"Students are paying attention to these activities today," said Mrs. Esters. "We can laugh about it and the students are having fun, but they're also seeing how hard it is to complete these tasks while impaired."
Esters said in addition to FRCYSC, the event was also sponsored by KSP, KY ASAP, Edmonson County Sheriff's Office, Edmonson EMS, and KY Farm Bureau.
Students also learned about purchasing cars, buying car insurance, and distracted driving, but students seemed to have the biggest response to what Trooper Priddy described as "Denim Dan," the dummy who continually was thrown from the rollover simulator.
"Usually there are some 'oohs and aahs' when the dummy gets ejected," said Priddy. "It's really good for the kids to see what exactly your seat belt can do for you, and just how important it is for them to wear theirs."
UPDATE: 6:15PM--The store manager reported that the store will reopen at 7am on Sunday, October 27, 2019.
Crews Working To Repair Damage
Darren Doyle, story: photo courtesy of Mandy Woodcock:
One of the county's most popular retailers is dealing with a messy problem this morning due to a busted water line.
The Dollar General Store, located on Chalybeate Road, suffered a burst waterline last night just before closing, according to store manager Mandy Woodcock. She said the line was located in the ceiling, which caused damage to the ceiling tiles, floor, and store merchandise.
"The ceiling tiles started falling and water poured out of the ceiling for about 30 minutes or so until I could get out here to shut it off," she said. "Luckily it happened before we closed. Then we had to have the water company come turn the meter off.
She said maintenance crews will be on site today to assess the damage and make repairs as soon as possible.
She also said that store employees worked for about 3 hours simply trying to clean up, but luckily no one was injured.
"At least no one was standing there," she said.
Biological and Health Dangers Posed With Wild Hogs
Photos courtesy of Edmonson County Sheriff's Office:
Darren Doyle, story:
Local officials are warning Edmonson County residents and hunters about the dangers of feral hogs that have been spotted in the county. A feral hog is defined as a pig living in the wild but has stemmed from a domestic breed.
An Edmonson County Sheriff's Deputy said he saw reports of the animals on social media over the weekend and he reached out to friends that supposedly had more information. The deputy said after a few phone calls he discovered several reports of the wild animals, and on Wednesday, he saw one while patrolling on Veterans Memorial HWY (259/101). He said he could not safely make a shot and the hog was able to disappear into the woods.
According to KY Fish and Wildlife, all pigs are an exotic, invasive species when living in Kentucky’s wilds, and they negatively impact the Commonwealth in numerous ways.
The term “wild pig” is used to describe free-ranging swine living independently of humans, according to KY F&W. They are most commonly seen as black or brown due to their hair, but can be a number of colors and combinations.
Wild pigs are also "omnivorous”, which means that they can and will eat almost any organic substance that is available. According to KY F&W, a domestic pig turned loose in the wild will grow hair, can eventually grow tusks, and will root the ground, destroying land, crops, and other property.
Officials say even a small, pot-belly pig will turn feral if released into the wild. They may not grow as large as a regular hog, but just as dangerous.
In a report published on the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife website, officials said "Threats generated from wild pigs are generally classified into biological, economic, and health-related concerns. "Biologically, wild pigs pose serious threats as they simply out-compete native wildlife for available food and space resources. As a result, it is not uncommon for native game species such as white-tailed deer and wild turkeys to be displaced as pig numbers increase."
The Edmonson County Sheriff's Office is encouraging hunters to kill any wild hog if safe and legal techniques can be used, and is also reminding pig and hog owners that they will be responsible if their animals are either released or escape into the wild. While an accidental escape is not a violation of the law, any damage caused by the animal would fall into the responsibility of the animal's owner. It is also unlawful to possess any wild pig.
The Sheriff's Office said one local farmer reported that a feral hog recently damaged his field by rooting.
According to KRS 150.186: Release of hog or pig into the wild prohibited -- Importing, possessing, or transporting wild or feral pig or boar prohibited -- Accidental escape of livestock exempted. (1) No person shall release a hog or pig from the family Suidae into the wild. (2) No person shall import, possess, or transport in Kentucky any wild or feral pig, Eurasian or Russian boar, or any hybrid of these, whether born in the wild or captivity, which is a Class A Misdemeanor and is an arrestable offense where violators can face stiff fines and penalties.
The Sheriff's Office said that sightings have been reported on Houchin Ferry Road, near Edmonson County High School, in the Mohawk Community, and along Veterans Memorial. If you are not hunting and see one of these animals but cannot safely shoot one, or choose not to, you are asked to report the sighting to the Sheriff's Office at 270-597-2157 or KY Fish and Wildlife at 1-800-858-1549. They also said they would like to hear from anyone that kills a feral hog in Edmonson County.
Officials said that a domestic pig escaping or being turned loose into the wild can become feral in as little as two weeks.
Edmonson Voice Staff Report:
A Bowling Green man has been arrested and charged with felony drug possession after meth was reportedly found in his vehicle, according to the Edmonson County Sheriff's Office.
Deputies reported that around 11:30 pm on Tuesday, October 22, 2019, they spotted a Nissan Sentra sitting on the shoulder of the northbound lane of Veterans Memorial Highway with no headlights or flashers on. According to a press release, the deputy stopped to check on the vehicle. Officials said that the deputy immediately detected the strong odor of marijuana coming from the Nissan Sentra.
The occupant of the vehicle, identified as Bradley James Steenburgen (33) of Bowling Green, reportedly told the deputy he had stopped so he could make a phone call before losing cell phone service, according to the press release. Officials stated that the deputy then inquired about the strong odor of marijuana emitting from inside of the vehicle, to which Steenburgen allegedly replied was from a passenger he had in the vehicle earlier that day.
According to the Sheriff's Office, after conducting a probable cause search of the vehicle, the deputy found (suspected) methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia (commonly used for smoking meth, according to law enforcement), and drug paraphernalia containing marijuana.
Steenburgen was arrested and charged with:
He was lodged in the Hart County Jail.
30FT Trailer Is State-Of-The-Art Education Exhibit
Darren Doyle, story:
The Kentucky State Police made a stop at Edmonson County High School on Monday with their Mobile Substance Abuse Education Trailer, a state-of-the-art mobile substance abuse education exhibit designed to help inform the public about the devastating effects of substance abuse.
The 30-foot trailer features 14 flat screen monitors and one touch-screen monitor that present video messages about meth, heroin, marijuana, alcohol and tobacco. The videos include actual meth users who tell their real-life stories illustrated by before-and-after images that show the dramatic visual progression of their drug abuse.
The exhibit also makes use of two showcase displays to highlight examples of a variety of drug paraphernalia and meth-related items.
KSP Public Affairs Officer Daniel Priddy brought the display to the school and said it gathered quite the reaction from students.
"I was really happy to be able to bring the exhibit to Edmonson County yesterday," Trooper Priddy said, who is a graduate of ECHS. "There's only one in the state so it's sometimes difficult to get. I really wanted to be able to share it with ECHS students because it has a lot of information that may help them realize the dangers of substance abuse."
The exhibit was funded by a $92,000 grant from the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy and was designed and built by DCX Displays in Louisville.
Edmonson Voice Staff Report:
Police say a medical emergency led to a single vehicle accident and the death of a Brownsville man early Saturday morning in Brownsville.
Brownsville Police reported that they witnessed a company utility pickup driving on KY HWY 70 (Morgantown Road) around 6am on October 19th, headed toward the intersection of HWY 70 and 259 when the truck began to veer off the left hand side of the road.
Police said the truck grazed a utility pole, traveled through the ditch, then back onto 259 where it came to final rest in the grass near the Dollar General.
The driver was identified as Timothy Young, 42, of Brownsville, who was reportedly unresponsive in the vehicle.
"It did not appear that the accident caused the driver to be unresponsive, rather it appeared that the driver suffered some sort of medical emergency that caused him to be unconscious," said Brownsville Police Chief Jeff Jewell, who witnessed the accident.
He said that Young was transported to the Medical Center where he was pronounced deceased. Chief Jewell said the cause of death appeared to be a heart attack, not the vehicle accident.
Responding to the scene was Edmonson EMS and Brownsville Fire Department. Assisting was the Edmonson County Sheriff's Office. The investigation was led by Brownsville Police.
Edmonson Voice Staff Report:
KY Transportation Cabinet District 3 has made the following announcement regarding two local state roads for next week:
The expected traffic impacts in District 3 for Oct. 19 through Oct. 25 are listed below. All work is subject to change. For more information checkout the new GoKY.ky.gov. Follow District 3 on Twitter @kytcdistrict3 and Facebook @kytcdistrict3.
· Segal Road KY 655 - Contractors are expected to work on a resurfacing project that will improve roadside features along KY 655 from River Road extending east to KY 70, a distance of 3.22 miles. Flaggers will be present to maintain traffic through the work zone.
· Grassland Road KY 1365 - Contractors are expected to work on a resurfacing project that will improve roadside features along KY 1365 from KY 70 extending north to Holly Springs Road, a distance of 1.4 miles. Flaggers will be present to maintain traffic through the work zone.
Four Agencies Work Together To Find Man In Edmonson County
Darren Doyle, story:
A man that was first discovered as a pedestrian on the interstate has been arrested after an altercation with law enforcement, according to police.
KSP reported that on Thursday morning around 10:30 a.m. troopers responded to a male subject walking on I-65 near the Park City exit. The trooper made contact with the male subject, later identified as Marcelo Lopez Martinz (21), who was walking southbound at the 47 mile marker, according to KSP. Pedestrians are prohibited to travel on interstates in Kentucky.
KSP said that Martinz became combative toward the trooper during the interaction at which time the trooper attempted to place Martinz under arrest. Martinz fled from the trooper on foot into a wooded area near the interstate, according to KSP.
After a multi agency search for Martinz, he was located by the Edmonson County Sheriff’s Office behind a residence on Louisville Road in Edmonson County where he also allegedly became combative with the sheriff and a deputy. Officers deployed a taser in order to subdue Martinz, according to the Edmonson County Sheriff's Office.
Martinz was taken into custody and lodged in the Barren County Detention Center. He was charged with the following offenses:
"I'm proud of our office any time we can assist our fellow law enforcement agencies," said Sheriff Shane Doyle. "Thankfully, this situation wasn't any worse than it was. We were able to use the least amount of force necessary and injuries were kept to a minimum."
Martinz's address could not be confirmed as law enforcement reported the man had no form of identification.
In addition to KSP and the Edmonson County Sheriff's Office, the Barren County Sheriff's Office and Cave City Police Department also assisted in the investigation.
Frankfort, KY (October 17, 2019) – The Kentucky Office of Homeland Security has awarded the Edmonson County Ambulance Taxing District a $32,000 competitive grant to equip medical first responders with the tools they need to serve the public. Edmonson County was one of only 31 counties awarded funds through the State Homeland Security Grant Program.
The grant will allow the Edmonson County Ambulance Taxing District to acquire necessary medical equipment that will aid them as they respond to emergency situations and perform their duties.
“This grant will give our medical first responders the ability to better serve the public,” State Representative Michael Meredith said. “It is encouraging to know that our brave first responders will have new, state of the art technology at their disposal to better meet the needs of the people of Edmonson County. These men and women have a tough job, and they deserve to have every resource available to them.”
This grant was made possible by the State Homeland Security Grant Program. Funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSGP) provides resources to city and county governments, special taxing districts, and public school districts to purchase first responder equipment, communications equipment, critical infrastructure protection, and cybersecurity protection.
Survey Participants Will Be Registered To Win $500 VISA Gift Card
Edmonson Voice Staff Report:
The Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center (SKyPAC) is offering the community an opportunity to weigh-in on the future of both the entertainment venue and the Capitol Arts Center, as part of an ongoing strategic planning process. Over the next two weeks the entire community is encouraged to complete a survey designed to evaluate how well SKyPAC is meeting the needs of the ten-county Barren River Area Development District. These include Allen, Barren, Butler, Edmonson, Hart, Logan, Metcalfe, Monroe, Simpson, and Warren Counties.
“This is the first strategic plan for SKyPAC in its seven years of existence,” said Tom Carto, President & CEO of SKyPAC. “We think the process will offer direction for the coming years and provide insight into what the community knows about us and our mission. We also want to hear from the region about what kind of entertainment options they would like to see at SKyPAC and the Capitol Arts Center.”
SKyPAC is a non-profit organization responsible for overseeing the 1,800-seat state-of-the-art performing arts facility located on College Street as well as the historic Capitol Arts Center on Main Avenue. As part of the strategic planning effort, SKyPAC coordinated with A Different View, an international consultancy with offices in the United States and the United Kingdom. The firm has previously worked with the Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) as well as the William J. Clinton Library and Museum in Little Rock, Arkansas and is responsible for the creation of both a patron survey being sent to existing SKyPAC customers as well as the community survey they hope will be circulated to every household in SKyPAC’s ten-county service area.
Over the course of the survey, participants will have the opportunity to react to existing programming/customer experiences and offer suggestions for events they would like to see come to SKyPAC and/or the Capitol Arts Center. The survey was created based on input from several focus group discussions held over the past year throughout the BRADD region.
Everyone who fully completes the survey within the next two weeks will be registered to win a $500 VISA gift card. One winner will be determined by random drawing on November 6, 2019. Once the survey period has ended, the consulting firm will analyze the findings and submit a final report to SKyPAC expected sometime in December.
The survey can be accessed by visiting http://bit.ly/SKyPACSurvey. Everyone is encouraged to participate, even those living outside SKyPAC’s ten-county service area. Submissions will be accepted into the lottery drawing until November 5, 2019. Additional terms and conditions for winning the $500 VISA gift card are noted within the survey. For more information, please visit www.theskypac.com.
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Western Kentucky University will become a tobacco-free, smoke-free campus beginning Jan. 1, 2020.
The policy prohibits the use of all tobacco and vaping products on all properties that are owned, operated, leased, occupied or controlled by WKU.
“At WKU, we strive to provide a safe and healthy environment and to promote a culture of health for our students, faculty, staff and visitors,” Dr. Cecilia Watkins, Professor of Public Health and a member of the Tobacco-Free Taskforce, said. “We also strive to support research, which continues to show that tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure are significant health hazards and serious safety concerns.”
WKU has resources in place for those of the campus community who want to stop using tobacco and related products and will continue to expand cessation programs. More information about these programs, as well as the policy, can be found on the University’s tobacco-free website.
Edmonson Voice Staff Report:
A single vehicle accident in the middle of the night has resulted in the arrest of a Bowling Green man, who faces multiple charges that include felony drug and DUI, according to a press release from the Edmonson County Sheriff's Office.
The release stated that at approximately 2:24 a.m. on Tuesday, October 16th, an Edmonson County Sheriff’s deputy responded to the intersection of Veterans Memorial HWY and Cleavie James Road to a single vehicle accident. The driver was identified as Jason Cooper, (43) of Bowling Green, who was operating a 2009 Mitsubishi Eclipse. According to the sheriff's office, Cooper stated he had been traveling north bound on Veterans Memorial when his car exited the right side of the roadway and traveled down a grass embankment.
According to the press release, Cooper showed multiple signs of impairment and was asked if he had consumed any alcohol or illegal drugs. Cooper allegedly admitted to smoking marijuana a couple hours prior to driving and also stated he had marijuana in his vehicle. The sheriff's office reported that Cooper gave the deputy consent to search his vehicle, where the deputy located drug paraphernalia containing marijuana and a plastic container containing pills that were suspected to be Lorcet, a controlled substance. Cooper was then placed under arrest and charged with:
Cooper was lodged in Hart County Jail.
Darren Doyle, story:
The Edmonson County Fiscal Court met today, October 15, 2019 instead of the regular second Monday of the month due to Columbus Day, which is a holiday.
The court voted to new terms with Hart County Jail for an exclusive 4-year contract, which we reported in an earlier article. The court also heard from two residents who voiced their concerns over the county's purchase of a 12 acre tract for the purpose of a future animal shelter and other county uses.
Edmonson County Road Foreman Greg Carroll reported that the final bit of blacktop work had been completed for the season. He said county crews paved more than 21 miles of Edmonson County roads in 2019, totaling more than $500,000 worth. Carroll added that several road and drainage tiles had been installed throughout the county. He also said that the road crew was preparing their equipment for upcoming ditch work as well as getting the snow plow equipment ready for the winter season.
EM Director Report: EM Director Terry Massey reported three field fires, two combine-tractor fires, two recoveries to assist EMS, several vehicle accidents, and one missing person response since the last meeting.
Sheriff Report: Sheriff Shane Doyle reported that the sheriff's office will be short handed due to required training for some deputies. "When we’re staffed we’re already running thin, so when we run short on manpower, it’s even more difficult to do what we do, but we’ll do the best we can, he said. He said he knew that his budget was already set but he asked magistrates to re-evaluate the budget for future and asked for either more overtime allowance, another deputy, or both.
Jailer Report: Jailer Hank Vincent reported 31 county inmates at Hart Co Jail, two on work release, one on home incarceration. He reported one county inmate at Butler County Jail.
County Attorney Report: County Attorney Greg Vincent updated the court on the Bailey Branch Road situation where the road was apparently damaged by a regional tree service contractor. Vincent said he spoke to the contractor and asked them to pay for the damages that are estimated at $4,000. The contractor asked if they would be allowed to repair the road themselves. Vincent said he saw no issue with that as long as the county road department could be involved in the process and oversee the work. Road Foreman Greg Carroll said he had no problem with that and Vincent said he would reach back out to the contractor.
County Clerk Kevin Alexander reported that in-house and absentee voting began last Tuesday for the upcoming general election, which is scheduled for Tuesday, November 5th.
Parks and Rec Report: Parks Director A.B. Webb reported that youth league soccer is winding down and is set to end in two weeks with youth basketball season coming up. He said he's closed the bathrooms for the season at HWY 70 park, and that one bathroom had been vandalized with a broken sink.
The court also voted to:
The next fiscal court has been changed from Monday, October 28th to Wednesday, October 30th due to a scheduling conflict.
Two Citizens Address Court With Concerns Over Animal Shelter Property
Darren Doyle, story and photo:
Less than a dozen visitors attended today's fiscal court meeting, not counting court officials and employees, as two main items of county business were discussed. Magistrate James Vincent was not in attendance due to a death in his family, according to Judge Executive Wil Cannon.
Judge Cannon described the pains of the current jail contracts, where Edmonson County currently has agreements with both Butler and Hart County Jails. Magistrates voted on August 26, 2019 to accept sealed bids from Butler County Jail for a cost of $35 per day, which would include up to 10 inmates for the county, and Hart County Jail for a cost of $45 per day. Cannon explained to the court that neither was an exclusive contract and that both jails could be used according to the county's needs.
At that time, Cannon estimated a savings of $18K per year to the county by being able to use Butler County's rates up to 10 prisoners; however, in today's court meeting, he said to his knowledge, Butler County had never accepted more than two county inmates at once. He also asked Sheriff Shane Doyle to describe a difficult situation the county faced just a few weeks ago.
"We had a situation where both Butler County Jail and Hart County Jail said they couldn't take any Edmonson County prisoners," said the sheriff. "We were stuck with not knowing what we were going to do with some individuals that had been arrested and were in our custody. Luckily, Todd (Vincent) and Joe Carl (Daugherty) (both deputy jailers) were able to start calling jails and we were able to find space at Simpson County Jail."
Cannon reminded the court that Hart County Jailer Israel Bergenson had assured the court back in August that Hart County would always have a bed available for Edmonson County prisoners, which is what he said in open court on the day of the sealed bids.
"Evidently he changed his mind," said Cannon. "I talked to him about that later, and he said since we weren't using Hart County exclusively, he would have to fill their beds as he saw necessary. They're holding all the cards, guys," he said to the court.
Cannon suggested entering another contract with Hart County, which would be an exclusive, four-year deal.
"We might spend more money, but we have to have a guaranteed space for our prisoners," he said. "I know people are going to start bringing up the 'we need a jail in Edmonson County again,' but that's not going to happen. We'd have to build a 200-bed jail which is estimated to cost $20 million dollars. We would have to double our property tax rates here to the point that people couldn't afford to live here. That doesn't even include the staff to operate it or the costs to maintain it. No one would ever want to build or buy property in Edmonson County again."
Cannon also noted that some had complained to him that if Edmonson County had a jail that housed federal and state prisoners, the jail would receive higher revenue for their prisoners.
"Maybe in some places, but there wouldn't be enough of them to bring here," he said. "We're not right off the interstate. That makes a big difference."
Magistrate Edd Rich said he estimated the costs actually being more toward $25 million now.
A motion was made for a new exclusive contract with Hart County Jail, for a cost of $45 per inmate-per day, for a period of four years. The vote passed unanimously.
The court also heard from two county residents, Randy Parsley and Donna Lindsey, regarding the recent purchase of the property on Veterans Memorial HWY by the county for the purpose of a future animal shelter and other county usage.
Both residents expressed their opposition to the purchase of the property. Parsley's main concern was that he felt like the public was not made aware enough about the purchase before magistrates voted. He also took issue with the negotiations being held in closed session.
Both Cannon and County Attorney Greg Vincent said that it is a common practice statewide in all county governments for these types of negotiations to be done in closed session and that this was certainly nothing new. Mr. Parsley noted he was aware of the law that allowed the court to do so, but thought it was unfair to the residents. Cannon said the reason the court went this route was to keep the price of the property from being driven up by potential developers or others wanting to make higher offers to the seller. He said it was also to protect the identity of the seller until details of the deal were made public.
Parsley also had other concerns, which included noise, odors, traffic in and out of the facility, and possible eyesores if the county was going to use the property for storage.
"If this was by ya'll's houses, I know how you would've voted," he said.
Cannon spoke at length as he reiterated the same points he made in an interview last week with The Edmonson Voice.
"I can’t promise you won’t ever hear a dog bark or a that you won't notice a vehicle going up and down the driveway, but this will not be something the county won't be proud of," he said. "You can take a look at what's on the property now, and I can assure you we're going to improve it. It's going to be better than it is now."
Parsley asked if other locations had been sought, if the county had advertised for this, and if anyone had offered to donate land to the county for this purpose, as he'd heard. Cannon said other sites have been looked at, but the county did not advertise that they were searching for property. He also said one person had once offered property and a building for this purpose but the building was unsuitable and would have to be completely remodeled, in addition to that the location was not desirable. He added that the offer was only open for a short time.
Judge Cannon said the road department wouldn't be constantly in and out, and this would be to store gravel and large equipment that is not used often. He said the sheriff's office would possibly use it as an impound lot but measures would be taken to see that it wasn't done during midnight hours.
Mr. Parsley also noted the examples of recent property sold in the area and their prices, which he read in the Edmonson Voice interview with Cannon. He incorrectly referenced Judge Cannon as making those comparisons. It was the Edmonson Voice who asked the county PVA's office for recent examples, not Judge Cannon. Mr. Parsley said the purchased property only contained a very small portion of road frontage and the other properties were likely those which offered much more road frontage. While that is likely, he did not provide further information; however, The Edmonson Voice also did not research the amount of road frontage in the eight examples of property sold in the 5-mile radius within the past 18 months. Cannon said the property appraised for $120,000 and the county paid $105,000.
Mr. Parsley concluded his argument by stating he understood the deal was already complete, but that he needed to voice his concerns anyway.
"I'm very disappointed in the way this was handled," he said. "You might say this was legal, but I don't think this was right," he said. "But it's a done deal."
Mrs. Donna Lindsey also expressed the same type of concerns; however, at one time she began shouting and was called down by the sheriff.
Judge Cannon stood by his decision to bring the property before the court and the court's decision to purchase it.
"We're still probably at least two or three years away from building an animal shelter, but I think we can build this here and it will be something the county will be proud of," he said.
KSP Deflates Tires, Spins Out Car To End Pursuit
Edmonson Voice Staff Report:
An Owensboro man is facing multiple felonies, including attempted murder of a police officer, after he was arrested in a high speed chase that stretched over three counties, according to Kentucky State Police.
KSP reported that Warren County sheriff deputies attempted to make a traffic stop on a 2017 Ram truck on I-165 northbound near the 8 mile marker just before 4 p.m. on Monday, October 14th. The operator, identified as Levi D. Lyons, 30 of Owensboro, fled from deputies at a high rate of speed, according to KSP.
In a press release from KSP, troopers said that Warren County sheriff's deputies terminated the pursuit and Lyons' vehicle traveled into Butler County, where a Kentucky Fish and Wildlife officer located the vehicle at the 27 mile marker of I-165 where the pursuit was re-initiated. Kentucky State Police Troopers took the lead in the pursuit as the vehicle entered Ohio County, and a tire deflation device was successfully used on two of Lyons' vehicles tires, according to the release.
KSP said that Lyons then used his vehicle to strike two marked Kentucky State Police Cruisers that were pursuing him. Officials reported that a KSP trooper then performed a legal intervention (pit maneuver) with his cruiser causing Lyons to spin sideways to a stop near the 55 mile marker of I-165. Levi Lyons was taken into custody without incident and was lodged in the Ohio County Jail.
He was charged with:
Edmonson Voice Staff Report:
Due to recent rains and favorable weather forecasts, Mammoth Cave National Park officials have lifted the burn restriction that was placed on all open fires within the park. The restriction has been in place since mid-September and applied to the use of campfires in the park’s three front country campgrounds and all back-country campsites and picnic areas. Visitors are now permitted to use the fire pits and grills found within these areas.
Visitors are reminded to always use caution when building and enjoying a campfire. Fires should never be left unattended and a source of water or fire extinguisher should be close at hand. Fires should be completely extinguished so that the coals are no longer hot to the touch once the fire is now longer being used.
Darren Doyle, story and photo:
The Edmonson County fiscal court voted to purchase 12 acres in the county in the amount of $105,000 at the September 23, 2019 fiscal court meeting, in open session. Neither the location of the property nor the owner were disclosed at the time of the vote due to what Judge Executive Wil Cannon said could be a danger to the negotiations with the land owner. Those negotiations were held in closed session.
The vote passed for the purchase and according to the discussion in fiscal court that day, the purpose of the land was not only for a possible future site of a county animal shelter, but also for other county use that might include the road department and the sheriff's office. The Edmonson Voice first reported the purchase, along with all details available to the public at that time.
An overall negative reaction was received from the article about the vote to purchase the property for a number of reasons; some of which Judge Cannon has discussed with us since our initial story.
We sat down with Judge Cannon today in his office, discussed the public reaction, and asked him direct questions about the fiscal court's vote to purchase the property. We've outlined each concern and have provided Judge Cannon's response, in addition to information from our own research.
Judge Cannon confirmed today that the property is located at 3020 Veteran's Memorial Highway on 259, on the south side of Brownsville near the fairgrounds. Cannon also confirmed the property was purchased from owner Rollin Rountree.
"We don't do business in fiscal court to hide things, period," said Cannon. "Nearly everything that's discussed for county government is done in open session, but the law permits us to conduct some business in closed session, and for good reason. Since I've been Judge Executive, we've gone into closed session for personnel issues, litigation, and this property purchase. Pretty much everything else we've ever discussed has been in the open."
Cannon referred us to state law, KRS 61.810, section 1, item b:
"All meetings of a quorum of the members of any public agency at which any public business is discussed or at which any action is taken by the agency, shall be public meetings, open to the public at all times, except for the following: (a) Deliberations for decisions of the Kentucky Parole Board; (b) Deliberations on the future acquisition or sale of real property by a public agency, but only when publicity would be likely to affect the value of a specific piece of property to be acquired for public use or sold by a public agency;
Cannon said the court and the county attorney felt if the discussions of the land were made public, the negotiations would've immediately become more complicated. He said all negotiations were done with the best interest of the taxpayer dollars. The vote was not done in closed session, but in the open, as we originally reported.
Cannon said once the county discovered that the land would be for sale, Cannon felt like it met the criteria for needed county property for the following reasons:
a. It was centrally located in the county
b. It had good accessibility to a main roadway
c. It was large enough to accommodate other county offices and needs, not just for a shelter
d. It was a large enough area that its use could be utilized away from homes
With all the main criteria being met, Cannon said the county requested an appraisal on the 12 acre property, which was assessed at $120,000--$15k more than the selling price.
"I don't really know why people think the price was outrageous," said Cannon. "Sure, I was hoping the county could get it for less, but with everything I felt that was needed in a piece of property, this certainly had it. Contractors everywhere are searching for these types of properties all the time and I felt like this was a good investment."
We contacted Edmonson County Property Value Administrator Kyle White and asked for recent examples of sold property in the area. White provided us with 8 examples of property recently sold within a 5 mile radius of the purchased property over the past 18 months, which resulted in three Veteran's Memorial HWY property:
When averaged, the 8 properties sold for a combined total of $10,157.91 per acre. The county purchased the 12 acre property for $8750 per acre, $1407.91 less than the average.
Cannon said this simply isn't true. He said the county government does not own property on 31W, but that the Edmonson County Industrial Authority owns property there, and they are not affiliated with the county government. Furthermore, Cannon said the IA property can only be used for limited industrial use, not for the purposes the county needs.
Judge Cannon said the 12 acres can serve many purposes, the first of course, would be for an animal shelter.
"I don't want the county to purchase 2 acres and have an animal shelter within rock-throwing distance of somebody's house," he said. "We want an area large enough that we can build a shelter and have it separated as much as we can from homes, but again, it needs to be centrally located and access to a main road."
Cannon also said that the road department is going to fund part of the purchase, as they plan to use it as well.
"Our road department is out of room where they are now," he said. "They need a bigger area to store equipment and this will also allow them to be able to create storage for rock and other material needed for our roads. They can't do that where they are now. Our sheriff's office is also out of room. They're piled up on top of each other now and they don't even have enough room to park their own patrol vehicles. Our parks and rec can also use this property. There is a 30 x 40 metal building that we can use to store equipment and other needs of parks and rec. It's property that can be used for so many things that will help Edmonson County."
Judge Cannon also noted that as they way things are now, no money will have to be borrowed for the purchase and county taxes will not be raised in order to pay for it.
"Once we paid off the new county emergency radio system, we started budgeting for a land purchase for an animal shelter," he said. "The law requires us to house animals and we ended our contract locally with the only shelter we had in June of 2016. Everybody knows what kind of mess that was. Thankfully, the Bowling Green/Warren County Animal Shelter agreed to take our animals on a 5-year contract. They didn't have to, but they did. It's up to the county to figure out a way to provide our own shelter once this contract ends and that's what we've been working toward. I know there are people concerned about how it's going to go, and I completely understand that, but the fact is, we have to have our own shelter and we have to figure out a way to do it that works best for everyone in the county, and I feel this property is a start. Our magistrates voted unanimously on this, it's a court decision, not just mine. I don't rule the county. I try to make decisions in the best interest of the county taxpayer and bring those items before our magistrates."
Cannon also said that he felt like a three-year period is feasible to build a shelter and have it in operation. He also said he felt like the BG/WC animal shelter would continue to work with the county past the contract date as long as the county was being proactive with moving forward with their own shelter.
"This is not going to be something that's an eyesore," he added. "This will be something attractive with fences and landscaping. I know this decision isn't going to please everybody but as a whole, the fiscal court is trying to do what's best for the entire county and I think this property purchase is a step in the right direction."
One local resident has been added to the next fiscal court agenda to speak on this matter. It's important to note that fiscal court meetings are open to the public; however, they are not open town hall-type forums. No county fiscal court meeting is. If you'd like to speak to Judge Cannon with regards to this or any other matter, or if you'd like to get in touch with your magistrate, you can contact them by visiting the county governmental website: edmonsoncounty.org.