Projects to improve roads and forest trails in rural Kentucky counties are facing their last round of funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The agency announced Friday that more than $307 million will be distributed nationwide, marking the final payment under the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act. For more than a century, counties that are home to national forest land received money to offset the loss of property tax.
The Spring Fire Season could peak sooner than usual in some areas of Kentucky. So far in 20-21, Officials with the State Division of Forestry say more than 50 fires have already burned almost 15 hundred acres. Division spokeswoman Lynn True says reduced snowfall can increase the risk of wildfire.“With the lack of a heavy snowfall..compacting all those forests fuels…it doesn’t take a day or two of windy or warm weather to dry those out..and a fire can easily get started,” said True.
Kentucky State Police has sent an arson investigator to the Holly Bay Marina on Laurel River Lake where three houseboats burned to their hulls early Friday. A police spokesman said the U.S Forestry Service contacted the London police post and requested the investigator. There were no injuries reported.
Gov. Steve Beshear announced Thursday that Daviess, Warren and Woodford counties have been certified as Kentucky’s first-ever Work Ready Communities, and Russell County has achieved Work Ready Community in Progress status. The new certification program from the Kentucky Workforce Investment Board and the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet assures employers that a local workforce has the talent and skills necessary to staff existing jobs and to master the innovative technologies new jobs will require.
Gov. Steve Beshear, joined by local officials, broke ground Wednesday morning for “grade and drain” construction along U.S. 641 in Crittenden County. The $18 million, 5.5-mile project is the first step in a major expansion of a key route in western Kentucky. “This new highway, when complete, will provide Crittenden County with a direct link to I-69,” Beshear said in a statement from his office.
First lady Jane Beshear joined Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet Secretary Marcheta Sparrow and Department for Local Government Commissioner Tony Wilder to announce more than $1.8 million in grants to local communities to develop and maintain recreational trails across Kentucky. The total of $1,849,648 in federal grant dollars will go to 38 applicants for hiking, biking, horseback riding and other types of trails as part of the Federal Highway Administration’s Recreational Trails Program. The applicants include city and county government as well as state and federal agencies.
Sen. Joey Pendleton expects Gov. Steve Beshear will announce plans today to repair, not replace, a Kentucky bridge damaged by a cargo ship recently. The Hopkinsville Democrat said Tuesday he spoke with the governor recently about the plan for the Eggner’s Ferry Bridge and it appears engineers are suggesting fixing the nearly 80-year-old bridge.
The Indiana Department of Transportation says Louisville's Sherman Minton Bridge could reopen about a week earlier than the original March 1 deadline. Workers are nearly finished installing steel reinforcement plates on the 50 year old bridge. The span has been closed since September 9, when a crack was discovered in a load-bearing support beam. Officials say striping crews will be out this week restoring ramp configurations along the detour routes. The Sherman Minton Bridge reinforcement work is being conducted by Louisville-based Hall Contracting.
Five Hardin County churches, three in the Eastview and two in Radcliff, were broken into overnight, and church officials say the suspects lifted several pieces of electronic equipment, including PA systems, computers and a guitar. St. Christopher Catholic Church and Gloryland Harvest Church in Radcliff were burglarized between 10 p.m. Sunday and 6 a.m. Monday, said Bryce Shumate, public information officer with Radcliff Police Department. The suspect entered through church doors.
Light snow across central and eastern Kentucky Tuesday morning resulted in the delay and cancellation of classes in a number of school districts. The National Weather Service says about another inch of snow could fall through late morning. Snow will accumulate primarily on grassy areas and elevated surfaces, NWS said. Roads in Eastern Kentucky above 2,000 feet could be especially slick. Bridges and pavement that stay shaded during the day could be particularly dangerous, the weather service said. In many areas, the snow will eventually change over to light rain and drizzle as the day warms.
The Delta Mariner was expected to reach its next berth in a Paducah dry dock by dawn Tuesday. The vessel was cleared to travel Monday after salvage operations were completed on the ship that struck the Eggner’s Ferry Bridge near Aurora on Jan. 26.
A group dedicated to safeguarding Kentucky's architectural treasures is attempting to roll out a specialty license plate. The non-profit, Preservation Kentucky, needs 900 applications by December 2013. From the proceeds, the group hopes to create a special grant fund. Cities and non-profits could then use the money to fund preservation efforts or add buildings to the National Register.
The National Weather Service in Paducah has issued a winter weather advisory from noon CDT Monday to 6 a.m. CDT Tuesday for Western Kentucky as snow and freezing rain moves into the area. Snow, sleet or freezing rain may cause travel difficulties, the NWS said. Motorists should be prepared for slippery road and limited visibility. The system will gradually move eastward across Kentucky and bring slippery road conditions to most of the state before turning to rain. No significant snow is expected.
The Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky and Indianapolis airports are joining the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) new PreCheck program. Eligible fliers on American and Delta and certain members of Customs and Border Protection’s Trusted Traveler programs will have the chance to move more quickly through security screening by registering ahead of time with the TSA and its member airlines, which will include U.S. Airways, United and Alaskan airlines later this year, said TSA spokesman Jim Fotenofs.
Madisonville Police is partnering with Henderson and Owensboro police departments for backup manpower in emergency situations. Police Chief Wade Williams said these alliances help expand each agency’s resources by not only providing additional manpower, but also specialized training and equipment. “We can spread those resources by mutual aid agreements,” he said.
A state agency focused on Internet access is surveying Kentuckians about how often they get online and what they use the Internet for. The Commonwealth Office of Broadband Outreach and Development sent out a survey request week to 100,000 businesses, organizations, and households across the state.
Sixty-four people have died on the state’s roadways since the beginning of this year. According to the Kentucky State Police, that’s five more people than in 2011. Of those fatalities, thirty-one victims did not wear seat belts and nine involved alcohol. Bill Bell, who directs the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety, says mild winter weather can spark more highway travel, but it doesn’t explain why drivers make unsafe decisions.
The rate of fatalities on Kentucky’s roadways has increased in 2012, according to preliminary numbers from the Kentucky State Police. There were 64 fatalities as of Feb. 9, five more than at the same time last year. “Although it is still early, we want to be proactive in addressing this increase in highway deaths on Kentucky roadways,” KSP spokesperson Lt. David Jude said in a press release.
State officials have announced the planned dates for the first of two five-day closures during the replacement of the Milton-Madison Bridge. The bridge will be closed April 25-29, during which time crews will work around the clock to remove the existing approaches on both sides of the river and attach the temporary approaches to the 82-year-old Ohio River span. During the closure, travelers will be routed 26 miles east to the Markland Dam linking Gallatin County, Ky., and Switzerland County, Ind., or 46 miles west to Louisville. A ferry will be in place for emergency services only.
Kentucky Transportation Cabinet technicians have placed laser markers on the U.S. 68/Ky. 80 Eggners Ferry Bridge that will allow the Kentucky Transportation Research Center to detect movement down to a fraction of an inch. The focus of the ongoing study is the stability of three piers that may have been damaged when the cargo ship Delta Mariner struck the bridge, knocking a 322-foot span into Kentucky Lake on the night of Jan 26.
Residents calling 911 in most of Northern Kentucky could not reach emergency dispatchers to get needed help for nearly two hours Tuesday morning. Four of the five dispatch centers in Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties experienced phone problems Tuesday morning which left the centers unable to receive calls. “I’ve been doing this almost 20 years and I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Steve Castor, Erlanger Police spokesman. “We’ve all experienced outages where one center or another has gone down for a variety of reason and is picked up by another center. I’ve never ever seen every dispatch center go down.”
A fatal bat disease has been discovered in three Kentucky caves. This isn’t the first time White Nose Syndrome has been found in Kentucky, but it’s a sign that the disease is spreading. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife has confirmed that White Nose Syndrome has infected bats in three caves in Breckenridge County. The infection usually manifests itself in a white fungus growing on bats’ muzzles, and causes strange behavior. Nearly all infected bats die.
The Delta Mariner cargo ship, hauling rocket parts to NASA, has been moved downstream to shallower waters to continue salvage operations and a safety zone has been lifted following a collision Jan. 26 that destroyed one section of the Eggner’s Ferry Bridge near Aurora. Salvage workers finished cutting away debris attached to the underwater hull Monday morning.
Winter across Kentucky returns to reality tonight. Gone will be the spring-like conditions of recent days as light snow showers will fall across much of the state. No significant accumulations are expected, according to the National Weather Service office in Louisville.
Warmer winter temperatures in central Kentucky could open the door to new flowering shrubs and fruit trees. The U-S Department of Agriculture has revised its ‘plant hardiness zone’ map. It assumes the average lowest winter temperatures in Kentucky are five degrees warmer than they were in 1990. Clark County Extension Agent Frank Hicks says it might mean a few more fruit trees could survive a central Kentucky winter.
Families who want to drink fresh raw milk without buying their own dairy herds are backing a bill to sanction "cow sharing." The practice lets people buy into a herd and share the resulting milk, cheese and other dairy products. Proponents say raw milk is more nutritious and delicious. "Right now, shared ownership isn't illegal, but it is not recognized," said John-Mark Hack of Marskbury Farm Market in Lancaster, who testified in favor of the bill before the Senate Agriculture Committee last month.
Work was expected to begin Saturday, weather permitting, to salvage the massive cargo vessel Delta Mariner after it struck the Eggner's Ferry Bridge in Aurora Jan. 26, causing a 322-ft. span to collapse. The vessel has been anchored between the two halves of the bridge since the time of the accident. The U. S. Coast Guard announced Friday it has approved a salvage plan submitted by Foss Maritime Company, the ship’s owner.
The Kentucky Division of Forestry has a big milestone to celebrate. The state agency that started out as the Board of Forestry turns 100-years-old this year. "The General Assembly recognized back in 1912 that we had so many forests and we had areas where we had lost forests that there was a need to protect our resources. Protect them fire, protect them from over-harvesting, protect them from insect and diseases," says division director Leah MacSwords.
The mild weather this winter may have been a disappointment for those hoping for a white Christmas or some snowy recreation, but it has also meant hundreds of thousands in savings for governments across the state. Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow on Thursday, Groundhog Day, meaning six more weeks of winter if you are superstitious. However, if that means six more weeks of mid-50s temperatures during the day, city and county road crews will be able to live with that.
Tattoo, Prancer and Tanya will compete for the attention of people who want an alternative to Super Bowl XLVI. The three puppies have Kentucky ties - two of them spent time at the Bowling Green-Warren County Humane Society - and will be featured in "Puppy Bowl VIII," which airs at 2 p.m. CST Sunday on Animal Planet. The show will feature more than 50 puppies that will display their cute glory on a miniature football field known as Animal Planet Stadium. According to the Animal Planet website, this year will also feature a cast of supporting animals, including Meep the Bird and the piggy pep squad.