Edmonson Voice Report: photo submitted
Edmonson County Middle School Principal Brandon Prunty recognized classified and certified staff at
the April 10, 2021 Board Meeting.
The following staff members were recognized for their outstanding work: Tim Minton, Brad Meredith, Melanie Pierce, Kim Wood, Terri Johnson, Jamie Lindsey, and Kathy Wolf.
It was a privilege to serve you and our district at the Capitol during the 2021 Regular Session. At this same time last year, no one could have predicted just how drastically our lives would change amid the COVID-19 pandemic. As the 30-day session closed on March 30, we can now see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Going into this year’s legislative session, we knew we had a pressing responsibility to address the budget and issues related to the pandemic. Constitutionally, we were required to pass a continuing budget following last year’s decision to pass only a one-year budget instead of the traditional two-year budget. Through cautious and conservative planning, along with federal stimulus funds, I am happy to say the General Assembly invested taxpayer dollars in Kentucky to ensure we get the most out of every penny.
This year’s budget invests $300 million in federal funding to expand broadband access to areas of the state most in need and advance economic development. While reliable internet connectivity is essential to our state’s financial future, so is improving our state’s infrastructure. To improve that, we must include access to quality water and wastewater systems for Kentuckians. The General Assembly allocated $200 million for county water and sewer projects and grants. Billions of dollars have been placed into highway appropriations, with nearly $700 million for revenue sharing to help county and rural and secondary roads.
Additional budget appropriations showcase the General Assembly’s commitment to building a better Kentucky. Over 40% of the state’s approximate $12 billion budget is dedicated to education. That number is well over 50% when including higher education spending. Additionally, our Family Resource and Youth Services Centers program’s funding was maintained in this year’s budget, with $20 million being appropriated to help our rural hospitals. Finally, the General Assembly met our moral and legal obligation to fund state employees’ pensions fully.
Looming over every legislative decision was COVID-19 and its various impacts on our economy, health, education, and more. Knowing how important it is to get our state back on track, the General Assembly passed liability protections for businesses and legislation to allow companies to operate within safety guidelines that are less restrictive so that they can get their employees back to work. For parents fortunate enough to remain employed but have found child care options limited following state-mandated shutdowns, the legislature passed a bill to reopen our child care centers. For those still struggling with unemployment-related issues, we enacted legislation to require the state to reopen regional offices for in-person services. The budget also included $575 million to pay down the state’s $800 million federal loan to refund the unemployment trust fund. Doing this will make sure small businesses do not see a significant tax increase.
In response to the multitudes of calls from the unemployed, parents in need of child care, those concerned with their children’s education, and families unable to visit with their loved ones in long-term care facilities, the General Assembly began to review what its role should be when these life-altering decisions are made. We passed priority measures reforming statute to give the General Assembly oversight over the extension of states of emergencies, administrative and emergency regulations, and allow the voters of Kentucky to decide if the legislature may reserve legislative days to return to Frankfort beyond the current constitutionally required session deadlines.
Legislation that garnered overwhelming support included bills to protect our children by strengthening the statute of limitations on abuse-related crimes and enhancing penalties for those found guilty. We addressed health care costs by capping the out-of-pocket cost of insulin for people with diabetes at $30 per 30-day supply. We continued to improve criminal justice by ensuring accountability within law enforcement, providing pregnant inmates with the dignity of time with their child, and lessening recidivism by helping connect former inmates with job opportunities.
We continued to show our commitment to protecting the life of the unborn in passing the “born-alive infant protection act,” which provides that an infant born alive must be given the appropriate medical treatment and care to preserve life. We also sought to improve government transparency and efficiency by providing the State Treasurer oversight of state contracts and improving Kentucky’s agriculture industry by rightly placing related offices and boards under the Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner’s jurisdiction.
With approximately 200 bills passed by the General Assembly, the governor signed into law 158 of them (79%) and allowed 12 others to become law without vetoing them (85% total). Within these three months, there was a significant amount of great work done to build a brighter future for Kentucky.
Information on legislation passed during the 2021 Regular Session can be found at www.legislature.ky.gov.
I would also like to thank you for your continued support, questions, and comments. Although the session is over, we will participate in interim committee meetings throughout the remainder of the year to prepare and discuss new legislation. If you have any thoughts or questions regarding the work we accomplished during this past session, I certainly want to hear from you. You can contact me toll-free at 1-800-372-7181 or email me at Stephen.Meredith@LRC.KY.GOV.
I am happy to be home, reunited with loved ones. I hope to see you out and about in the coming year. Stay safe, and God bless.
Darren Doyle, story and photos:
The Edmonson County Chamber of Commerce hosted a spring breakfast event this morning at the Heritage Centre, located on Washington Street in Brownsville.
Chamber Director Greg Hudson spoke to representatives of local businesses in an attempt to convey that the Chamber is actively working to help local businesses see results.
"We're focusing on doing everything we can to see that your business stays sustainable," he said.
Hudson said feedback he's received from members of the past showed that businesses felt like there was not much benefit in being a member of the Chamber; however, he said the Chamber has taken bolder steps in becoming proactive for local industry.
"This is just one of the events we're hosting throughout the year," he said. "These are great opportunities for you to network with other businesses and we've seen results from our recent showcase."
Hudson said there were multiple products and services shared among businesses at last week's event where local business owners were not aware of what the other actually offered.
"People enjoyed that event and it's one of the many examples of how your local Chamber is working for you."
He also discussed the recent "Coffee With A Cop" event held in Lincoln where local law enforcement agencies had discussions with community members. He said that there are plans to bring the event to multiple communities throughout the county.
"I appreciate everyone coming out for this event," Hudson told the Edmonson Voice. "As I said here today, we want our local businesses to know we are here for them and working for you. We want you to see results."
The meal was catered by Creations Cafe.
Click here to find out more on becoming a member of the Edmonson County Chamber of Commerce.
Darren Doyle, story: photo-ECHS:
All six nominees from Edmonson County have been selected as Governor's Scholars. School officials say this is the first time all nominees from ECHS have been selected.
“We are so thrilled that all six of our students were accepted into the Governor’s Scholar Program," said ECHS Counselor Nikki Culbreth. "This is a huge accomplishment for our kids and our school. We could not be more proud of this group of students.”
Students named are: Hallie Cassady, Macy Cassady, Meredith Hennion, Derick Jaggers, Catherine Vincent, and Morgan Vincent.
ECHS Principal Jonathan Williams said the process to be named a Governor's Scholar is highly competitive with rigorous application procedures.
"ECHS getting six out of six students in the program is almost unheard of, and as I’ve repeatedly said, we have some of the finest students, families, and educators right here in Edmonson County and I’m looking forward to more wins like this for our kids," he said. " If we can continue to focus on safety, achievement and opportunity here, doors will continue to open. Thank you to everyone that contributed in any way to helping guide these young people through this process, because it was a total team effort.”
Edmonson Voice Report: photos by VFW 6937
Three Edmonson County High School students were recognized for their Voice of Democracy essay awards from 2020 on April 19th at VFW Post 6937’s monthly meeting. Each year, the Voice of Democracy audio-essay program provides high school students with the unique opportunity to express themselves in regards to a democratic and patriotic-themed recorded essay.
The annual event, which is held on Veterans Day each year at ECHS, was cancelled last year due to the COVID pandemic.
Kaylee Russell was awarded first place for her essay.
Second place was awarded to Lainey Alexander and third place went to Catherine Vincent.
Financial awards for the Voice of Democracy were provided by the Bank of Edmonson, Gravil Funeral Home, PVA Kyle White, and County Clerk Kevin Alexander.
Deputy Wally Ritter Named 2021 VFW's Law Enforcement Officer of the Year
Edmonson Voice Report: photo by VFW 6937:
Sergeant Wally Ritter of the Edmonson County Sherriff’s Office received the VFW Post 6937 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award from Post Commander Kevin Engel at last night’s monthly meeting.
In a release from VFW 6937, the organization said that Sergeant Ritter has been serving in the Sherriff’s Office for the last seven years and is the county’s very first deputy to be promoted to sergeant.
"Nominated by Sherriff Shane Doyle, Ritter is credited with bringing numerous criminals to justice," the release stated. "In 2020, Sergeant Ritter shouldered nearly 50% of all the ongoing felony cases being worked in the office and is credited with an amazing work ethic and sense of duty."
Ritter is the recipient of the prestigious Medal of Valor, awarded by the National Sheriff’s Association for outstanding personal bravery, intelligently performed, in the line of duty at imminent personal hazard of life.
"The Medal of Valor is that organization’s highest honor," said the VFW.
The VFW Community Service Awards were created to give credit to selfless community service. Sergeant Ritter has also been selected as VFW District 5’s Law Enforcement Officer of the Year, which covers all of Edmonson, Warren, and Barren Counties.
Edmonson Voice Report: VFW Post 6937, photo:
Brownsville resident Truman Waddell was presented the VFW’s Firefighter Of The Year Award from VFW Post 6937 Commander Kevin Engel last night at the Post’s monthly meeting on April 19th.
According to the VFW Post, Truman is a member of the Brownsville, Kyrock, and Chalybeate Fire Departments.
"He has been a firefighter for thirty years, beginning as a junior firefighter at age 15," the VFW said in a statement. "He has completed 150 hours of training and he has responded to hundreds of emergency calls over the years and is currently training to become a Master Fire Fighter. Truman is also a member of the local Rescue Squad."
The VFW provides community service awards yearly in order to help recognize the tireless efforts of local citizens in service to their community.
Edmonson Voice Report:
Local DAV Auxiliary members are seeking the identities of three veterans whose photos are hanging in the Edmonson County Courthouse unlabeled.
There are several veterans photos that have missing identities," said DAV Auxiliary Adjutant Penny Saltsman. "The names have fallen off or faded over the years."
A flyer submitted by Mrs. Saltsman is published below:
Jamie Carnes Checks Off Bucket List Item By Taking To The Skies
Darren Doyle, story, photos, and video:
Most everyone that knows Jamie Carnes knows him from his years of service at Edmonson County Schools: 29 so far, to be exact. Many others know him from his play-by-play basketball broadcasting with Edmonson County basketball as he's become a familiar voice on WildcatsLive on the Edmonson Voice. Fewer know him for his passion about fast, old cars, and virtually no one knows about his newest joy--flying.
That's right. After several months of flying lessons that were (ahem) kept under the radar, Jamie officially received his pilot's license in January of this year. The newfound hobby is another item that can be added to his list of engaging activities, about which few people know. By day, he's a mild-mannered school district administrator (yawn), who's served as Director of Federal and State Programs for Edmonson County Schools since 2014. In the afternoons and on weekends, he becomes Carnes. James Carnes, pilot and hot rod renaissance man--a multi-county man of mystery. Well, not really, but he does some really cool things.
Carnes, or Mr. Carnes, as many former ECHS students know him, said he'd always thought about being a pilot, thanks to his father, Jimmy Carnes. The senior Carnes was also somewhat of a dynamic character; he was a WW11 war hero, former professional boxer, and he never hesitated to brag on his little boy, Jamie, who was reading at a very young age.
"Daddy bragged on me everywhere we went," Jamie said with a half-grin. "He'd carry around books just to have me read to people. I'm sure people got tired of it but he just lit up about that stuff."
The senior Carnes was a much older father than most; 48 years old when Jamie was born. His mother, Agnes Carnes, a long-time educator in Edmonson County, was 42 when she gave birth to Jamie.
"It was definitely a generation gap," said Jamie.
But that gap wasn't a disadvantage--other than getting parents from the Greatest Generation to let a Generation X teen to do teen things--it was an opportunity for Jamie to start a love for history and an all-around appreciation for people, places, and things from generations past. That appreciation led to him starting his career in education as an English and History teacher for nine years. Afterwards, he became Assistant Principal at ECHS for eight more years.
Jamie said his father would often mention that Jamie should become a pilot someday. Jimmy Carnes was also a parachute jumper in the war and started the process of learning to fly but never finished the training. Jamie said it was always a passing thought but it was one of those situations where it was, "well maybe someday I'll do that."
Things changed in 2016 when he met one of his estranged half-brothers, James Alfred Carnes, (known as Alfred) who lives in Rome, Georgia. The story of estrangement is another one all to itself, but the fact is, Jamie's half-niece (who is a few years younger than he) contacted him in the late 90s and wanted to know more about him and his family in Kentucky. Through much correspondence over the years, that niece bridged a gap between Jamie and Alfred, and a new bond was formed.
Alfred is 20 years Jamie's senior, but they soon discovered that although they'd never even met until Jamie was almost 50 and Alfred 70, they shared many hobbies and interests. Alfred was a connoisseur of old cars, the military, (a Vietnam vet) and was a very experienced pilot with his own plane. Not only a plane, but also his own hangar, where he currently hangs out with his buddies doing very important things since Alfred's retirement from both the army and a Georgia power company. Things like smoking cigarettes, talking about cars, the army, shooting pool, or listening to the jukebox in the corner. Oh, and yes, they do a lot of flying, too.
Alfred spoke to us about their relationship and his effort to convince Jamie that the time to fly was now.
"I hate it that we got together so late in life," he said. "But that's the way things are. I've been flying since '68 or '69, sometime through there. I was in the First Air Cavalry in Vietnam in helicopters. I got hit and stayed in Walter Reed (hospital) for nearly a year and when I came out I said I wanted to fly, so that's what I did. I bought me a plane in '74 and several other planes since then. I'm not sure who even got in touch with Jamie, but we got together not long ago. I'm already up in age (72), and my grandson didn't really want to fly, so I sold a couple of planes and I really started trying to get Jamie to do this. There's just not a lot of us. I sent him a bunch of stuff on flying and just told him to learn how to fly. He came down here and I showed him what it was about, took him up in my plane. I just kept telling him, "hey, learn how to fly," and he did!"
Jamie said the connection to Alfred is much more than flying, as he's a constant reminder of his father, who died 25 years ago.
"He's literally my long, lost brother," Jamie said. "Thankfully, Heather, my niece, decided to reach out to me all those years ago. Without her, I'd have never met Alfred."
Check out this video of our flight as Jamie goes through all the pre-trip inspection, takeoff, flight, and landing process:
Jamie said Alfred's convincing was enough to let him see that the time to fly was now.
"I knew I wasn't getting any younger," Jamie said. "I just decided that if I was ever going to do it, I was going to go ahead now."
That's when he started the long process of learning how to become a pilot. That started with a very tedious medical certification, hours upon hours of studying for written exams, processes, all the ins-and-outs of flying, home exams, practice tests, and more. He bought books, watched videos, and took a home course before he actually started his flying lessons in July of 2020, which were sometimes 2-3 times per week. He did a great job of keeping all this under his hat as only his family was aware of his new hobby.
In January of 2021, he officially received his pilot's license after his final test, administered by an FAA examiner, which Jamie said was a nerve-racking experience.
"I was as nervous as I'd ever been about anything. Just think of it as a super-advanced driving test, except you're up in the air. You don't just get to pull over if something goes awry. I had to come up with a flight plan, map it out, the stops and checkpoints, all of it. It's extremely detailed."
He showed me a piece of an official cut shirttail that he had framed. It commemorated his first solo flight, which is a tradition among pilots that originated in the era of old tandem bi-planes, with the student up front and the pilot directly behind.
"Back then, the pilots didn't have headsets, so the instructor would reach up and yank the shirttail of the student to get his attention. The student would turn around and then they'd yell their communication at each other. Once the student learned to fly solo, well, he didn't need that shirttail anymore, so it was symbolically cut off."
Jamie says he plans to stay in the school system for a couple more years, at least as for now, then possibly look into getting his own plane after retirement. Currently, he has to rent a plane when going up, which is done by reserving one at the regional airport. He was gracious enough take us up for ride that started in Bowling Green, went north to Nolin Lake, then circled back to the airport. For someone that's only had a license for a few months, his flying skills were more than satisfactory (I lived to tell the tale, right?). But again, for those of us that know Jamie and how dedicated and thorough he his in everything he does, I expected no less.
When he's not working, broadcasting, spending time with his grown kids (Justin and Paige), or flying, you'll likely find the very detailed-oriented Carnes in his garage, (which is spotless) going over one of his restored 1970 Buick Gran Sports. Both are long term labors of love. He purchased the gold one in 1996, which was not much more than a heap of metal left for dead, but a complete restoration with the help of his friend "Big" Earl Talley, brought her back to life. It has a factory, matching numbers 455ci engine.
"I don't know where I'd be with out Earl," he said. "He's a master mechanic, an unbelievable fabricator, and so much more. If it weren't for him, these cars wouldn't even be here. There's no telling how many hours we've put in on these cars as well as others. If Earl's not racing on the weekends, he's usually here with me a lot, working on something. I can't get him to fly, though..."
The black Buick has an even more intriguing story. It was purchased in the mid-2000s by Talley for the purpose of racing, but it didn't exactly get where Talley first intended. After sitting in a yard for several more years in its ongoing rusted state, Talley traded it to Carnes. Together, along with some help from Jamie's son, Justin, they've spent the last ten years getting it to its current condition. The car features a modified 455 engine that will make you hold on to your hat when the gas pedal is stomped. It's also been known to leave rubber deposits on paved surfaces--or at least that's the rumor--we neither confirm nor deny. Improper starts are against the law in Kentucky.
His wife, Penny, has flown with Jamie multiple times as he has to keep up certain requirements and a number of landings every 90 days in order to fulfill some license requirements.
"I try to go every couple of weeks, if for no other reason that I don't get rusty. You have to stay with it, that's for sure."
The humble Carnes was very hesitant about letting the Voice publish the piece because he didn't want to seem boastful about anything at all. That's also the main reason he kept the entire flight-learning process under wraps; however, he marked a legitimate item off a bucket list that very few people have. In fact, lots of folks talk about a bucket list, but most never actually make such a list.
Becoming a pilot is certainly not for everyone, but there are many feats that go unaccomplished because we simply don't assert the effort to accomplish them.
As he stood with his hands in his pockets looking down at the ground as he tried to talk himself out of talking about himself, I said, "hey, it's just like Alfred said--he said you should learn how to fly... and you did."
After a pause and another half-grin, Jamie's reply was, "Well...yes."
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Darren Doyle, story and photos:
Edmonson County's newest retail location celebrated it's grand opening and official ribbon cutting with the Edmonson County Chamber of Commerce today; South Bound Boutique and Stacy's On Main, on Chalybeate Road.
The retail store, located at 3340 Chalybeate Road in the Byrd Center, is a collaboration from local college students Alex-Shae Horn and Lauren Ballance, who run South Bound, and retired educator Stacy Raymer, owner of Stacy's on Main. Mrs. Raymer is also known as "The Sweatshirt Lady."
Horn and Ballance, who graduated ECHS together in 2020, wanted to do something together after school, and each saw a need for local affordable women's apparel, especially what's known locally as "church-length" dresses.
"We got together, pitched in some money, and just wanted to get things started," said Horn. "We were online-only for a little while and then we started opening up a couple times a month. It was phenomenal how people responded to that. But then Stacy came to us and asked if we'd be interested in opening up a store and we were like, why not?"
The store offers offers a little bit of everything for young, middle-aged, and older women, in a variety of designs and sizes.
"We're hoping that Chalybeate embraces us," said Raymer. "So far, we've had a great week with a soft opening and hopefully even more will come out today."
Mrs. Raymer said that the store is planning several events throughout the year, which include "Food Truck Fridays."
"Every Friday we're shooting for having a different food truck here, so people can come out and eat and shop at the same time. We also plan on having multiple vendor events. We've got a great parking lot and space for that. We're excited and we'll have some community events, just to help build more community spirit."
The store offers shirts, tops, jeans, and dresses, but the team is hoping to add shoes, home decor, and other items.
"We really want to offer affordable prices," said Ballance. "So many places you go into now are like, oh gosh, look at the price on that, and that's something we want to change for our community."
Both Horn and Ballance juggle college, the boutique, and other responsibilities, but so far, so good.
"The first month we opened back in September, we had three items," said Horn. "Now we have all this inventory and it's such a blessed feeling. We love Edmonson County and feel blessed to bring something here."
Edmonson Chamber Director Greg Hudson said despite the rain, the crowd was good and folks were enthused about today's event.
"We were a bit worried when we saw the forecast but it's obvious that people were excited about our ribbon cutting today," he said. "We're grateful to see another business open in Edmonson County and we wish South Bound and Stacy's all the best. The Chamber continues to work hard to promote local business in Edmonson County."
The store is open Tuesday- Friday from 10AM- 6PM & Saturday from 10AM- 4PM. They can be contacted through Facebook and Instagram, and by phone, 270-935-9100, or 270-792-0534.