FRANKFORT - Gov. Steve Beshear Friday announced funding for water supply projects in several Eastern Kentucky counties. Residents living along or in KY HWY 476 (Breathitt), Mudlick/Franks Creek (Johnson), Paintsville Lake area (Johnson), Dry Creek/Clear Creek (Knott), Treadway Road (Lee/Owsley), Trace Fork/Spicy Ridge (Martin), Whoopflarea (Owsley/Perry), South Perry (Perry) and Vicco (Perry/Letcher) should be noticing the construction of a water supply project funded by the Division of Abandoned Mine Lands in their communities.
Federal inspectors issued 30 citations at an underground coal mine in Letcher County during a special inspection last month, according to a news release. Among other things, the citations allege that the operator of Vision Coal Inc.'s Mine No. 2 failed to follow the approved plans for supporting the mine roof and drilling test holes, exposing miners to potential injuries from roof falls and the danger of being inundated by water and harmful gases, the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration said.
Hundreds of Lexington citizens took the opportunity to view and discuss new plans for a large grass field in the middle of downtown. More than three hundred people crowded into the old courthouse inside the Lexington History Center for a public meeting on the long-delayed CentrePointe project. Chicago Architect Jeanne Gang and her firm, Studio Gang, presented their re-imagined ideas for the lot which has been vacant for nearly three years.
Trail maintenance is an ongoing need in natural areas all across Kentucky. In response, Saturday has been designated National Trails Day. Volunteers in eastern Kentucky will work on a couple of trail projects. Workers will gather near the Cumberland Falls area to re-route a quarter mile portion of trail along Bark Camp Creek in Whitley County. Steve Barber is executive director of the Sheltowee Trace Association.
Lexington's Police and Fire Pension Fund was the hot topic at Thursday's meeting of the Lexington Forum. Brenna Angel reports on what both sides had to say. Councilmember Doug Martin came armed with a packet of information about the Lexington Police & Fire Pension Fund, which has an unfunded liability of $200 million. Martin says the fund should be closed to new employees and benefits should be adjusted.
The FBI special agent who headed a watershed investigation into public corruption in Clay County has died. Timothy S. Briggs, 46, apparently suffered a heart attack while jogging with another agent Tuesday near the FBI office in London. Briggs was a dogged, hard-working investigator who was passionate about rooting out corruption and other crimes, said officials who worked with him.
Work on the Fox Valley Dam project is once again under way after inclement weather put a damper on progress. The Fox Valley Dam was found to be "partially incompliant" by the Kentucky Office of Dam Safety nearly two years ago because several structures were built in its "breach zone."
When members of the Patrick family took to their yard for a Memorial Day weekend picnic, little did they know their gathering would be crashed by an unwanted visitor - a five-foot tall black bear. The bear raided the family's grill, helping itself to hamburgers, hot dogs, buns and other goodies. The animal was eventually shot by a state wildlife officer.
The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration has released the results of its April impact inspections, and two Kentucky coal mines were among the eight cited. MSHA began conducting impact inspections after last year’s explosion in a West Virginia coal mine, and the agency targets mines with a history of compliance problems.
A heartfelt first meeting took place Tuesday at the Harlan County Courthouse, but the connection that brought the two together goes back over 65 years. Henry Lee Burkhart was one of many young men from Harlan County who fought in World War II. He was killed on Feb. 5, 1945 during the Battle of the Bulge and was buried nearby. But Burkhart's family never knew where he was buried until they were contacted by a Belgian woman who told them she had been caring for Burkhart's grave. Now, the two families have met face to face.
Enforcement of new regulations included in Madison County’s smoking ban begins next week. The local Clean Indoor Air Regulations now officially cover Hookahs and electric cigarettes. The Clean Indoor Air policy currently prohibits smoking in public places in Madison County. The smoking ban broadens Monday to include hookahs and electronic cigarettes and eliminates the exemption for retail tobacco stores. Christie Green with the Madison County Health Department says six inspectors will be monitoring the community.
The Fayette County School Board has narrowed its search for a new superintendent to three individuals. The decision was made Tuesday night following a two hour closed door session. Names of the three finalists are expected to be announced today after they agree to interview for the position. The three were chosen from among 14 applicants coming from ten states including Kentucky.
Frankfort developer Michael Davenport returned today from Joplin, Mo., where he and his family helped distribute supplies and gave $100 bills to survivors. A tornado struck the area on May 22 killing 146, and 29 are still missing. Davenport said he felt called to help the survivors and left Friday in his motor home to deliver supplies to a church there. “God put it on my heart,” he said.
Jean Miller celebrated Memorial Day at Camp Nelson National Cemetery in Nicholasville in honor of her husband and brother-in-law, who are both buried there. She and friend Dottie VanWinkle, both of Lexington, braved the early afternoon heat to be part of the annual memorial service that included stories from veterans and music by the West Jessamine High School Band.
Two Vietnam veterans are helping a third who’s been living in his garage since his home burned down six years ago. Dennis Quisenberry was an Air Force mechanic from 1966 to 1969, including 16 months in Vietnam. His house on Cardwell Lane burned down in 2005, and he’s been living in his garage since. For the last eight months, Larry Arnett, deputy commissioner at the Kentucky Department of Natural Resources, and Carlos Pugh, former state commander of the VFW, have been trying to help Quisenberry. Arnett was a helicopter pilot and Pugh was a combat engineer – both served in Vietnam.
Lexington has recorded its second case this month of a missing ambulance. Lexington police said in a news release that it received a report at 6:52 a.m. Sunday that a Rural Metro Ambulance had been stolen from its parking lot on Versailles Road.
Last week, Kentucky Utilities asked the state Public Service Commission for a rate hike that will increase customers’ bills by 12.2 percent over the next four years. KU says it needs the additional revenue to pay for the $2.5-billion in improvements to its coal-fired generating plants like the E.W. Brown facility near Burgin — improvements mandated by the EPA. KU has already taken steps to significantly reduce the amount of sulphur dioxide coming from the massive smokestacks at Brown. And the electric company turned to a neighbor six miles down Burgin Road, Mercer Stone, to help solve its emissions troubles with limestone taken from the ground at Mercer Stone’s facility.
The possibility of giving KY 38 a new route was one of the top options aired at a meeting about the slide-ravaged highway. State Rep. Rick Nelson told about 70 people present at the meeting that his preferred option was to give the highway a new route.
Copper thefts in neighboring counties have recently caused several phone outages for people in Harlan County. The areas of the county that report being affected are the Tri-Cities and Evarts. “Last week we had a long distance phone outage after someone stole fiber optic cable in Perry County,” said Chris Campbell, account executive at Windstream Communications. “We went out and restored it, only to have the thieves come back at night and steal cable from the same section again.” He estimates that 4,000 customers in Harlan County were affected by last week’s outage. Company officials confirm another outage the week before that, also caused by thefts in Perry County.
Tourism interests in Lake Cumberland country are hoping for increased visitation as they head into the fifth summer season with a planned lower water level at the giant reservoir. Visitor numbers dropped significantly after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers quickly lowered the lake level in January 2007 as part of the process of fixing leaks at Wolf Creek Dam, which impounds the 101-mile-long lake.
Homeowners, renters and business owners in six additional Kentucky counties are now eligible for federal assistance to help recover from the effects of the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding that struck the Commonwealth from April 22 to May 20. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has designated Ballard, Daviess, Henderson, Lawrence, McLean and Pike counties. These counties join 55 other Kentucky counties where residents who suffered damages should register with FEMA to start the federal disaster aid process.
Kentucky is home to Fort Knox and Fort Campbell, but military families that don't live close to those installations may not be getting all the support they need. Lexington Vice Mayor Linda Gorton knows what it's like to have a child deployed overseas. Her son served in Iraq and Afghanistan with the Army Reserves. "It translates into a lot of stress. And I personally think when the community can rally around and support those folks, it makes for a healthier community."
Two central Kentuckians are lending a helping hand with tornado relief work in Joplin, Missouri. Craig Infanger and his wife Janis got the call from the Bluegrass Chapter of the American Red Cross around 4:30 Thursday afternoon. By 8 am Friday, they were bound for Joplin. The Infangers have volunteered for the Red Cross with other disaster relief work, including Hurricane Katrina, and they were eager to help victims of the devastating tornado.
Columbia Gas of Kentucky customers will pay 7 percent less for natural gas in the next three months because the state Public Service Commission has approved the utility's quarterly gas-cost-adjustment proposal, which will be effective through September. Customers who are supplied by Columbia Gas and have been for the past 12 months will pay $5.4551 per thousand cubic feet, down from $5.8813.
In a decision that drew both groans and applause, Danville City Commission voted to hire longtime mayor John W.D. Bowling as interim city manager Thursday night. Bowling, who served three terms as Danville mayor, will be paid $6,000 a month beginning June 1 when the employment contract goes into effect. Bridgette Milby, acting interim city manager since shortly after Paul Stansbury was suspended, will return to her position as head of codes enforcement.
Property owners in Clark County living along county roads might want to take heed if they have trees with limbs hanging out into the roadways. After receiving several complaints about tree limbs obstructing drivers’ views along some county roadways, Clark Fiscal Court is considering clearing the limbs and then billing property owners.
A 2-year-old child killed Wednesday in a lawn mower accident had been riding on the mower with her father and brother when she fell off, Fayette County Coroner Gary Ginn said. Ginn said Adelaide McReynolds died from multiple blunt-force and sharp-force trauma at the family farm in Lexington. Ginn said McReynolds had a history of letting his children ride on the mower with him.
The graves of veterans will be barren of flags this year at local cemeteries, unless placed there by family members. Since 2006, members of the AMVETS Post 124, based in Maysville placed American flags on the graves of war veterans at cemeteries in Mason, Bracken and Fleming counties.
The pilot of a small plane that crashed in a mountainous area of North Carolina, killing four people from Kentucky, reported a fire on board just before the fatal descent, a federal official said Thursday. Authorities did not officially release the names of the victims Thursday, but family members confirmed those who died were three young women from Knott County and the pilot, a Lexington native who had been living in Hazard and working for a flight service there.
Changes are ahead for Lexington’s legislative districts. The latest figures from the US Census show some of the districts within Lexington Fayette Urban County Government are unevenly populated. Boundaries need to be redrawn, but those district lines cannot be solely based on race or ethnic background.