Tuesday, April 26, 2011
EKB Capsule News...Kentucky...4-27-'11
- During the regular meeting of the Pike County Fiscal Court last week, both Pike County Judge-Executive Wayne T. Rutherford and District 6 Magistrate Chris Harris expressed concern about the closing of the Belfry clinic of the Pike County Health Department. “I was out of town last week, but I had access to the Internet,” Harris said. “I read in the paper that the health department was planning to close its Belfry clinic. I was disappointed to read that. I hate to lose it. It is an asset to the community – it does get used. ”Rutherford expressed similar feelings about what he heard about the clinic’s closing “I read it in the paper, too, and I’m on the health board,” Rutherford said. “It (the closing of the clinic) was brought to our attention, but not discussed among the board at our last meeting. What’s the health board for? That decision needs to be made by the people on that board.” The article was published in the April 16-17 edition of the Appalachian News-Express and Cindy Hamilton, human resources director for the Pike County Health Department, said in the article that the clinic plans to close within two months, citing “harsh economic times.”
- Pike County officials say they're faced with more than a three million dollar budget deficit as Pike County Judge-Executive Wayne T. Rutherford is trying to craft a budget for the next fiscal year. Johnda Billiter says expenses are going up quicker than revenue is coming in. Pike County received three and a half million in coal severance funds this year, compared to nearly seven million two years ago, and Rutherford says the floods the past two years wiped out extra funds. County officials say there's also $750,000 less property tax dollars coming in. Rutherford plans to present a proposed budget at a special called meeting of the Fiscal Court Friday. Rutherford says he will keep all employees and not touch insurance, but he is closely studying everything else.
- An arrest has been made in connection with a Prestonsburg teen found murdered Friday night outside an apartment complex on Arbor Place Drive, just off Clifton Drive, in Versailles. Alex Muniz, 27, was arrested Tuesday by Versailles Police in the shooting death of 18 year old James Crowe. Muniz is charged with murder. Police say Crowe and Muniz were friends and had known each other for about a week.
- Pikeville College hosted a job fair at their campus in Pikeville Tuesday. Local companies and state agencies who are hiring came to talk to job-seekers about what kinds of jobs and careers are available.
- Governor Steve Beshear has signed an executive order that triggers provisions of a law that holds people and businesses accountable for price gouging during a state of emergency. The executive order allows Attorney General Jack Conway to investigate price-gouging complaints involving gasoline, building supplies, hotels and other goods and services after Beshear declared a state of emergency in Kentucky on Monday. Heavy rains have led to flooding in much of the state, and more storms are in the forecast through Thursday. More than 80 Kentucky National Guard troops have been deployed to flood-threatened areas of the state, all headed to western regions, where flooding is expected to be the worst. Forecasters are calling for severe storms to continue Wednesday, with possible record-breaking flooding in some areas of western Kentucky.
- The National Weather Service has reported a tornado destroyed several homes and barns in Grayson County Tuesday night. The most severe damage seemed to be along St. Paul Road five miles north of Clarkson, where a couple of houses were reported to have been destroyed. One-inch hail was reported in Grayson County and nearly one inch in Hardin County.
- State Police and an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms are investigating following a fire in a couple of garbage cans outside Ron Reynolds’ Williamsburg law office. Reynolds was recently disbarred after pleading guilty in a federal extortion conspiracy with former Whitley County Sheriff Lawrence Hodge in which they're accused of working together to extort money from people charged with drug offenses. Reynolds questions if the fire started from rags that had been used to stain the building, but investigators say it could take weeks to get lab results back.
- The University of Kentucky Senate Council, the executive arm of the faculty senate, has passed a resolution, by a vote of 7-0, strongly opposing the university lending $3.1 million to the UK Athletics Association to help fund a $6.25 million project for new video scoreboards and a new sound system at Commonwealth Stadium. The athletics association would repay the loan to UK over a period not to exceed five years at a variable interest rate that is now 1.64 percent. The remaining $3.15 million needed for the project would use private funds. The new video boards would be ready for the fall 2011 football season. When UK spokesman Jay Blanton was asked why the athletics department, which is self-supporting and has a budget of nearly $80 million, didn't pay for the project using its own endowment funds, Blanton said those funds are invested on a long-term basis, and it makes more financial sense, in this instance, to purchase the new boards in this manner.
- The winner of this month's Florida Derby remains No. 1 on The Associated Press' final list of Top 10 Derby contenders. "Dialed In" leads most other weekly polls as well. With upsets and injuries to several Derby hopefuls, Dialed In moved to the head of the 3-year-old class last week.
- The Food and Drug Administration plans to regulate smokeless electronic cigarettes as tobacco products and won't try to regulate them under stricter rules for drug-delivery devices. The federal agency says it intends to propose rule changes to treat e-cigarettes the same traditional cigarettes. E-cigarettes are plastic and metal devices that heat a liquid nicotine solution and produce vapor instead of smoke. Users and distributors say e-cigarettes address both nicotine addiction and the behavioral aspects of smoking without the chemicals found in cigarettes.
- A marker memorializing Kentucky's most highly decorated World War I veteran is set to be unveiled in western Kentucky. The ceremony honoring Mary Arvin, who worked as a Red Cross nurse during the fighting, is scheduled at Fernwood Cemetery in Henderson. John Trowbridge, the command historian for the Kentucky National Guard, pushed for Arvin's recognition and will attend the ceremony. Arvin, born in Henderson on April 21, 1879, came under enemy fire at least twice while treating people injured during the war, The Henderson Gleaner reported. In March 2006 Arvin was inducted into the Kentucky Commission on Women's "Kentucky Women Remembered" program, and her story and portrait currently hang in the Kentucky State Capitol.
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