Monday, February 14, 2011
EKB Capsule News...Kentucky...2-15-'11
- Bizzack Construction moved onto the Sookey’s Creek site Monday to begin construction on the mega-interchange that will connect new US 460 to US 23 after being awarded the $28.8-million project, which is estimated to take two years, on December 28th. More than two million yards of dirt and rock will be hauled across US 23 to clear the way for the interchange. A crossing will be established on either end of a cut in the mountain near the new US 460 bridge at Sookey’s Creek. When blasting starts in the area, it will be confined between the hours of 6:30 -8:30 a.m., 2:30-5:30 p.m., and after dark. At the time of each pre-scheduled blasting operation, there will be brief road closures. The longest ones should last no more than 20 minutes. A lowered speed limit with enforced double fines will govern traffic, which will be reduced from four lanes to two. For a short period time, traffic will be routed to the slow/outside lanes while a median barrier wall is installed. Once the wall is finished, traffic will be moved to the passing/inside lanes, although there will be no passing allowed until the interchange work is completed. Bush & Burchett serves as a subcontractor for bridge work on the project.
- Construction has begun at Pikeville's Bob Amos Park to install $80,000 worth of playground equipment. The chairman of Hillbilly Christmas in July says it will take about 30 days to complete eastern Kentucky's first completely universal playground. Once the playground is finished, a handicap accessible surface must be installed before anyone can use it.
- The Pike County Animal Shelter is in desperate need of volunteers to help with the undertaking involved with caring for the animals brought in by animal control or surrendered to the shelter. Kristin Handshoe, Pike County Animal Shelter Acting Director, says volunteers are a very important aspect to the shelter’s operation, and she's hopeful members of the Pike County Youth Leadership Council will volunteer. Dr. Joey Collins, D.V.M., spayed and neutered 337 animals from the shelter last year at less than half price. Pike County Deputy Judge-Executive John Doug Hays says they were hopeful that the newly established ASPCA would volunteer at the shelter, which has only four full-time employees and an operating budget of $300,000, but the only volunteers they have been getting are from the work release program at the Pike County jail. To volunteer, call the shelter at 606-432-6293. Hours of operation are 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.Tuesday through Saturday.
- After being invited by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, Gil Kerlikowske, President Barack Obama's chief adviser on drug issues, plans to tour areas of Kentucky that have been ravaged by drug abuse and overdose deaths. Kerlikowske is coming to Kentucky for what is expected to be a four-day tour that will include meetings with recovering addicts, law enforcement, drug treatment staffers, business leaders and elected officials. Kerlikowske, who calls Kentucky the "epicenter" of the nation's prescription drug problems, says he especially wants to raise awareness of the magnitude of the problem that states like Kentucky face from drugs that often can be found in the family medicine cabinet.
- Clay County Sheriff's Deputies responded to a home in the Burning Springs community Sunday night where they arrested 26 year old Kermit Hunter and 33 year old Crystal Sizemore after finding an active meth lab, finished methamphetamine and an h-c-o generator. Two children in the residence, a 4 year old and a 7 year old, were taken to Manchester Memorial Hospital for precautionary measures and then turned over to social services.
- Saturday, Whitley County sheriff deputies arrested Melissa Knight, Heather Stephenson, and Lawrence Stephenson after police found 10 meth labs in their room at the Mountain View Lodge right off the interstate in Corbin. Police say Clarence Egner ran from deputies. Clean up could cost close to $10,000.
- Through Feb. 13, preliminary statistics indicate that sixty-one people have lost their lives on Kentucky roadways during 2011. This is thirteen less fatalities than reported for the same time period in 2010. There were fifty-two motor vehicle fatalities and thirty-four of those victims were not wearing seat belts. Nine of those crashes involved a commercial motor vehicle. Nine crashes involved pedestrians. A total of eleven fatalities have resulted from crashes involving the suspected use of alcohol.
- Dairy farmers across the Southeast hope to prove what they claim is a conspiracy to drive down the price they're paid for milk. The lawsuit against Dean Foods and others is scheduled to be tried in U.S. District Court in Greeneville, Tenn., in June. Shelbyville, Ky., dairy farmer John Kalmey says there is no competition for milk in the Southeast. Kalmey said production prices keep climbing and many farmers are barely breaking even. Dean spokesman Jamaison Schuler said farmers have many outlets for raw milk at competitive prices and competition flourishes in the dairy industry.
- A federal sentencing hearing has been rescheduled in the case of a Florida man convicted in Mississippi for his role in a multistate cigarette smuggling operation. Mitchell Sivina, of Doral, Fla., pleaded guilty in May in U.S. District Court in Oxford, Miss., to money laundering and transporting stolen cigarettes. Court records show Sivina's sentencing has been delayed from March until April 4 due to a scheduling conflict. Prosecutors said Sivina acted as a broker between people who stole about $2 million worth of cigarettes from a Kentucky parking lot in 2006 and wholesalers who bought them in Mississippi and Kentucky. Prosecutors say Sivina was once paid with a box containing $350,000 cash that was tossed over the fence of a northern Mississippi airport.
- A dispute over the use of bluegrass music great Bill Monroe's name is headed for a bench trial in western Kentucky. The issue is whether the Ohio County Industrial Foundation transferred rights to use Monroe's name and likeness to the Jerusalem Ridge Foundation. The foundation produces the annual Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Music Celebration at Monroe's homestead in Rosine. Jerusalem Ridge Foundation executive director Campbell Mercer says he anticipates the trial, which begins Tuesday, and is expected to take one or two days. The foundation filed the lawsuit over issues that have simmered since 2007, including whether about $162,000 the Industrial Foundation provided as a down payment on Monroe's mandolin was a loan.
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