Local News 11-1-2012

State Leaders Meet in Floyd Co. to Discuss Drug Problem

Several hundred people, including many high-ranking leaders from across the state, attended the Bluegrass Policy Forum on Substance Abuse at Jenny Wiley State Resort Park earlier in the week. Operation UNITE held the event as a fundraiser for the agency’s drug treatment voucher program. The dinner raised $75,000, which was more than doubled when Kentucky River Properties presented UNITE with a check for $100,000 more. The highlight of the $200-a-plate dinner was a roundtable discussion featuring U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers; Gov. Steve Beshear; state Sen. Robert Stivers, who many believe will be the next Senate president; House Majority Flood Leader Rocky Adkins; and state Sen. Brandon Smith. The discussion was moderated by KET’s Renee Shaw. All of the speakers agreed that a new anti-drug law passed in the last session, House Bill 1, will be effective and must not be repealed or watered down. The measure, which, among other things, requires all Kentucky doctors to use the state KASPER prescription tracking database, has begun attracting criticism recently, over concerns it is hurting patients with legitimate needs in an effort to fight those who are abusing the system.

Knott Co. Judge Executive will Remains Free While His Attorney's Apeals

An eastern Kentucky judge executive will remain a free man while his attorney's petition for another hearing in a vote buying case. Knott County Judge-Executive Randy Thompson was convicted in 2008 on charges of buying votes prior to the November 2006 election. Thompson's lawyer says he has been free for several years after he was convicted and has proven that he is not a flight risk.

Breathitt County School System Announces New Interim Superintendent

The Breathitt County School System has a new interim superintendent. The Breathitt Advocate reports Larry Woods was chosen by a four to one vote. This comes after the previous interim superintendent, Melanie Stevens, was suspended with pay after four grievances were filed. Woods previously served as superintendent in Breathitt County several years ago.

Gov. Beshear Visit's Morgan Co. Wednesday

Governor Steve Beshear on Wednesday returned to Morgan County to announce highway aid that will resolve a long-standing traffic problem in West Liberty and at the same time speed the community's reconstruction and recovery from a devastating tornado. "An extraordinary disaster requires an extraordinary response," Gov. Beshear said. "The citizens of West Liberty and Morgan County first had to deal with the monumental task of clearing away the debris left by the tornado. Now we can turn more of our attention to the rebuilding of the infrastructure of this community. That includes repairing and improving the main transportation artery through this community. We intend to get started quickly. We cannot wait until the legislature takes up a new Kentucky highway plan in 2014."

The state assistance announced by Gov. Beshear is in two forms: initial funding for a $7.2 million project to widen the main traffic artery through West Liberty - Main Street intersecting with Prestonsburg Street - and immediate funding for repair of storm-damaged streets and roads. Morgan County was approved for $416,000 from the Transportation Cabinet's County Emergency Road Aid program. It is an unprecedented amount for the program. "But the tornado was an unprecedented disaster for Morgan County," Gov. Beshear said. The widening project involves a T-shaped area of downtown West Liberty in which Main Street and Prestonsburg Street intersect. Most of the project area is part of U.S. 460, though Main Street north of the intersection is KY 7. Ten thousand vehicles per day travel the route, including large freight trucks, which for many years have negotiated the tight turn of the intersection only with great difficulty.

To kick-start the work, Gov. Beshear presented a ceremonial check for $400,000 to Morgan County Judge-Executive Tim Conley and West Liberty Mayor Jim Rupe. The funding, which will pay for Phase I design work, is from the Transportation Cabinet's state road fund contingency account, so it is readily available and does not need legislative action. With later phases of the project - final design, right of way acquisition, utility relocation and construction - the cabinet estimates the cost will total approximately $7.2 million and will be funded through the normal process of the Highway Plan.

Officials Break Ground On Theater In Pikeville

Officials in eastern Kentucky are celebrating the groundbreaking for a professional theater in Pikeville. The Appalachian News-Express reports keynote speaker U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers said during a ceremony on Tuesday that the project will bring arts and culture to the area and have an impact on the entire region. The theater will be the new base for the Jenny Wiley Theatre, which is the only professional theater company in the state east of Interstate 75. Pikeville City Manager Donovan Blackburn says a building to house the theater is expected to cost $3.4 million and be completed in about a year. Productions will also continue to be held at the Jenny Wiley outdoor amphitheater in Prestonsburg.

Public Service Announcememnt from the City Police

Although Halloween was officially yesterday, tonight kids will be all over the city and in the county trick-or-treating! The Paintsville Police Department wants to make sure parents review safety tips with their little 'goblins'. Police Chief Steve Sluss, says the agency wants the children to have a fun but safe trick or treating experience: "Halloween is traditionally a time for children to have fun, but most often it is the children who can be injured by situations that are avoidable,". "Be sure your child's costume does not obstruct their vision and is not so cumbersome where they can trip over it." "On Halloween evening, we're placing our children in probably some of the most dangerous traffic situations you could imagine". "Our children are outside after dark, they walk along and cross unfamiliar streets and they often wear dark colors which are difficult for motorists to see."

The agency offers the following tips for parents:

*Make sure your child carries a flashlight, glow stick or has reflective tape on their costume to make them more visible.
*Younger children should be accompanied by an adult or older sibling.
*Instruct your children not to eat any treats until they have been checked by an adult.
*Make sure your child is able to see out of their mask properly and can walk in their costume without tripping.
*Remind kids not to enter a strange house or car.
*Inspect your child's candy before they eat it. Discard any unwrapped or suspicious looking goodies. If your child does get sick, call your doctor or the hospital emergency room immediately and save all wrappers. It is also helpful to determine what he or she ate and where it came from.
*Talk to your children about 'stranger-danger' and the safety precautions when around someone they do not know.
*The agency also wants to remind those driving on Halloween to be extra cautious of our small pedestrians.