Kentucky State Police and thousands of former camp attendees are celebrating a half century of summertime recreation and mentorship. The fun takes place on an island at Dale Hollow Lake in southern Kentucky.
KSP Spokesman Sargent Michael Webb says it's a structured environment with fresh air, good food, recreation, and esteem building activities. "It's a wonderful respite for these children to be able to go and just get away from all the busyness and other cares of this world and just go there and just have fun," said Webb.
Eastern Kentucky flood victims can receive cleanup supplies and food this weekend at three different Red Cross distribution centers. The sites have been established in Johnson, Rowan and Carter counties. Joanna King with Red Cross says various items are being handed out including rakes, shovels, work gloves, bug spray and sunscreen. King says storage containers and food boxes that can feed a family of four for up to seven days will also be available.
King says there are other cleanup materials and hygiene kits available at the distribution centers.
State agriculture officials are hopeful the new Stray or Abandoned Equine Database will help with the proper care and upkeep of wandering horses. The online database is one piece of a law approved earlier this year. State Veterinarian Bob Stout says information about the horses is collected at county judges' offices. "It certainly gives opportunities for people to legitimately claim their horse and we would hope then, when they recognize ownership of it, that they maintain responsibility that goes with owning a horse," said Stout.
The kitchen at the Paintsville Recreation Center is a busy place today. Volunteers are there preparing meals for those affected by flood waters this week. Bonnie Porter is director of the Paintsville Main Street Program. "We're just working to try to help everybody, it's a very sad to see the devastation here and the T.V. stations don't do it justice how really bad it is up here," said Porter.
Flash flooding in eastern Kentucky has caused loss of life, major damage, and general disruption for hundreds of families.
Rural communities in Rowan and Johnson counties are some of the hardest hit areas. Joanna King is executive director of the eastern Kentucky Red Cross Chapter. She says aid goes beyond meeting physical needs. "The Red Cross offers mental health counseling for people who are having a rough time with the situation that is going on," said King. "We have volunteers who are trained to assist with that as well."
Flash flooding is being blamed for at least one death in eastern Kentucky. Rescue teams are continuing to search for a number of other people who are reported missing. Communities in Rowan and Johnson counties were especially hard hit. Buddy Rogers with Kentucky Emergency Management says there's been a lot of structural damage as well. "Those communities within those counties have reported dozens, if not hundreds of homes effected," said Rogers. "Some totally destroyed, some washed away. Several rescues and evacuations took place in both of those counties."
Following consistent rainfall across the commonwealth, the Kentucky River is riding high. The river acts as a water supply for communities up and down the channel. Kentucky River Authority Director Jerry Graves says although the state is experiencing steady rainfall and the river is high, that doesn't equate to protection from drought. "You know the Kentucky River can be up 15 foot one day and 10 days later, be down to a normal pool, sort of like a yo-yo," Graves said. "This has no effect on the long term as far as drought is concerned."
A non-partisan group comprised of former military leaders says 73 percent of Kentucky's young people are too obese to serve in the armed forces. The information is in a report from the nonpartisan national security organization Mission: Readiness.
The state of Kentucky is the recipient of $3.7 million to support community service projects. The AmeriCorps funding goes to 12 programs, many serving southeast Kentucky. Operation Unite Education Director Debbie Trusty says a $543,000 grant allows 44 AmeriCorps workers to meet one on one with school children and provide math tutoring and drug prevention education. "The program gives them activities to be able to be involved in where they can take a stand in their school and be a leader and practice drug resistance skills with a group of like-minded students," said Trusty.
This will be the fifth year that flying fireworks can be sold in many parts of the Commonwealth. The Kentucky General Assembly enacted the change in 2011. Prior to that, many Kentuckians traveled to Tennessee to get more powerful fireworks. State Fire Marshal Bill Swope says the number of vendors selling in Kentucky hasn't changed much. "I think it has remained rather consistent in terms of if we were to measure it against the number of vendors that are registering to sell,” said Swope. “That number has remained relatively consistent."
Children and adults alike will be schooled this weekend in Lexington on a variety of safety issues. Officials with the inaugural Summer Safety Fair aim to provide positive interaction between police and children.
The Lexington Council is endorsing a needle exchange program. The initiative is a part of a new state law aimed at lowering diseases related to heroin use, including Hepatitis and HIV. Fayette County Health Commissioner Rice Leach brought the plan before city leaders Tuesday. He says participants must bring in a needle to receive a clean one. "If you bring in one, you only get one” said Leach.
Kentucky's quality rating system for child care facilities is undergoing some changes. State Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Audrey Tayse-Haynes says the STARS for KIDS NOW program is being updated to help the state be more efficient and confirm that childcare facilities are providing the best care. "This will help to ensure that we, as taxpayers, are getting a quality product out of it, and parents are getting a quality product with the overall goal making sure our kids are able to start school," said Tayse-Haynes
Six youth detention facilities across Kentucky have been found to meet all compliance standards for the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act. All 27 State Department of Juvenile Justice facilities and two contracted residential sites will have undergone audits by the end of next summer.
An added 40 thousand dollars is increasing the number of Kentucky's low income children who receive summer meals. Governor Steve Beshear and First Lady Jane Beshear made the announcement Tuesday.
The funding goes to the Kentucky Association of Food Banks. The Summer Food Service Program helps ensure children receive nutritious meals when school is not in session. 20 thousand dollars in state money is being matched with another 20 thousand in a private grant from 'Share Our Strength.'
Formation is underway of a task force that will oversee implementation of the state's new heroin law. The co-chair of the task force says he witnessed heroin's rise in popularity in his community just over five years ago.
There's an ongoing demand for law enforcement dispatchers across Kentucky. Last week, the Public Safety Dispatch Academy at Eastern Kentucky University graduated its 100thclass. Training Supervisor Mike Keyser says upon receiving their degrees, the 20 new graduates began taking emergency calls right away. "One of the graduates had to work that evening at four o’clock,” said Keyser. “Whenever they graduated they went to work, either that day or if they had the good fortune to have a couple of days off, I guarantee you they were working by Monday morning."
A central Kentucky community hospital is playing host this week to a federal panel studying ways to increase life expectancy in rural areas. The National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services met Thursday at Marcum and Wallace Memorial Hospital in Irvine. Hospital CEO Susie Starling says the panel is reviewing day to day experiences. "It's providing them with real life situations and perspectives that they may not have gotten without coming into the communities and talking with the people who are actually living it every day," said Starling.
Kentucky is one of five states chosen to investigate ways to reduce smoking among people with behavioral health issues. In June, a group from Kentucky will participate in the Policy Academy in Maryland. Mary Begley is state Commissioner of the Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities. "I believe that the goal is to just unite the leadership at the state level to come together, to pull our resources, our knowledge so that we're all moving in the same direction," said Begley.