Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Big changes on the way for Webster County school district

J-E News Editor
Everyone expecting change when the Webster County School Board selected Dr. Rachel Yarbrough as the districts next superintendent will not be disappointed. On Monday night the board unanimously approved a proposal from Dr. Yarbrough to conduct a major restructuring of the district’s leadership.

From Roads to Rows, Farmers Keep Busy with Planting

While cruising along the open road this month, especially in rural areas, don’t be surprised if you suddenly find yourself driving behind a tractor. Farmers are hard at work planting this year’s crops and often need to use the roads to get to all their rows. 
Sebree farmer and United Soybean Board Director Keith Tapp reminds motorists to be on the lookout when sharing the road this spring. Nearly 60 percent of highway fatalities occur on rural roads, according to the Federal Highway Administration.

Webster Land Judging team to compete at nationals

J-E News Editor
Members of the Webster County FFA Land Judging Team are currently in Oklahoma City, OK preparing for this week’s National Land Judging Competition. 

State to spend $652K on “rural secondary” roads in WC

J-E News Editor
Webster County Fiscal Court met in a three hour session on Monday, covering a varied agenda that included everything from road work to further discussion on a tree the county downed on Hester-Winstead Road near Slaughters.

Google’s Street view car gets a street level look at Webster County

J-E News Editor
Observant residents may have noticed that the Google maps Street view car has been moving around Webster County during the last week. Even those who were not familiar with what the car was would have noticed the white and green car topped with something that looked like a cross between a soccer ball and a giant lady bug.
Google map’s Street view is a web-based program that allows you to pull up a map of just about any location in the world, and then zoom down to street level for a complete 360 degree view of that location from ground level. This is achieved thanks to a fleet of conspicuous cars that roam the highways and byways of nearly every country on the planet.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

PSC allows Big River rate increase

Average bill to increase by $15 per month

The Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) last week adjusted the revenue and rates of Big Rivers Electric Corp. to reflect the January departure from its system of the Century Aluminum smelter in Sebree.
 The rates for the remaining customers will increase, although not by as much as the utility requested. Customers will not feel the effect of the rate increases until next year. The PSC agreed to let Big Rivers use reserve funds to fully offset the increases for as long as possible.

Friday, April 25, 2014

WC Middle School Principal tenders resignation

Bailey surveying construction at MS site

J-E News Editor
Webster County Middle School principal Geoff Bailey tendered his resignation to the Webster County School District earlier today.

NWS predicts severe weather threat

J-E News Editor
The National Weather Service in Paducah, KY is predicting a round of severe weather to strike western Kentucky beginning as early as Sunday night.
The weather system is expected to hit the area late Sunday and stick around through Tuesday. Meteorologists are predicting the possibility of large hail, damaging wind gusts and tornadoes, as well as multiple rounds of heavy rain.

PSC allows Big Rivers rate increase

Officials say average bill to increase by $15 per month

   The Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) today adjusted the revenue and rates of Big Rivers Electric Corp. to reflect the January departure from its system of the Century Aluminum smelter in Sebree.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Tourism Commission looks at upcoming events

J-E News Editor
Nearly three years after it’s conception, the Providence Tourism Commission continues to struggle against misinformation and a plain misunderstanding of it’s actual purpose and abilities. Last week the commission invited the public to attend it’s bimonthly meeting, moving the location to the Providence Municipal Golf and Recreation Center in order to accommodate more guests. Less than a handful of guests attended.

Providence to seek power elsewhere

J-E News Editor
The city of Providence, along with 9 of the 12 entities from around the Commonwealth that make up “KY Municipal Group”, filed paperwork on Monday stating that they would be seeking to terminate their contracts with Kentucky Utilities (KU) and would then seek to purchase power on the open market.

Clay council votes to replace troublesome gas line crossing

J-E News Editor
Clay City Council met in a special called meeting last Tuesday night to approve a project to replace a portion of gas line that crosses Caney Creek near the town of Wheatcroft.

Wrongful death case begins against Jail

J-E News Editor
Attorney’s have begun taking depositions in the case of Schutte v. Webster County, Kentucky et al, a law suit filed in July by Carol Schutte, the mother of a 28-year-old inmate that died while in the custody of the Webster County Jail in 2012. 

Family pet slain while children play

J-E News Editor
The Webster County Sheriff’s Department is currently looking for leads in the shooting death of a family’s German Shepherd last Thursday afternoon.
According to Dr. Whitney Wright, owner of Molly’s Mutts Animal Rescue, she and her husband arrived home on Thursday at around 5:15 p.m. to find their family pet, a black German Shepherd named Drake, dying from a gunshot wound to the lungs.

Our children should not be 
afraid to play in their back yard.” - Whitney Wright

Monday, April 21, 2014

Hale to headline WKEC’S prescription drug abuse symposium

David J. Hale, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky, will be the luncheon speaker at the West Kentucky Prescription Drug Abuse Symposium hosted by the West Kentucky Educational Cooperative. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Water District continues to hit high production marks

J-E News Editor
Webster County Water District has started 2014 off with a bang, already producing 10,225,950 gallons more than they had produced by the end of March one year ago. This despite vandalism that shut the water plant’s intakes down earlier this year.
“There is some flushing going on and there was a leak at one of the abandoned mines, but mostly the increase is usage,” said Assistant Superintendant Robert Schindley.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Fiscal Court unanimously votes to cut tree near Slaughters

Property owner threatens legal action


J-E News Editor
The battle over a tree growing along side Hester-Winstead Road near Slaughters has once again become a hot button issue for the Webster County Fiscal Court and a pair of neighbors whose families have lived near each other for generations, following a 3-0 vote by magistrates to cut the tree down.
Hester-Winstead Road, a narrow one-lane road that runs from Slaughters Cemetery Road to a dead-end, has been on the county road plan for many years. There are only a handful of houses on the road, but it is traveled regularly by a Webster County School Bus.

Sebree radio station serves Spanish speaking community

J-E News Editor
As you scan through the radio dial in the city of Sebree, you might notice a station that seems a little out of place. As you hit 93.1 FM, your speakers will be filled with the sound of mostly upbeat music and Spanish speaking singers. Although some people may never give it a second thought, I had to know the story, so I set out to track down the origins of this mysterious radio station.
What I discovered was a radio station that had been hiding in plain sight. There was really no mystery nor any attempt to mislead anyone, it was as simple as the fact that few people outside of the Spanish speaking community were aware that the station even existed.

Middle School project extended by two weeks

J-E News Editor
Superintendent Pete Galloway told the Webster County School Board on Monday that Princeton Lumber Company had requested a two week extension on their deadline. That will shorten an already tight schedule the district is on to get Webster County Middle School open in time for the start of the 2014-2015 school year.
Rain and snow has slowed much of the outside work to the middle school area, and construction crews are very limited on being able to begin work on the cafeteria in the Webster County Annex until after the last day of class. The cafeteria already serves all students from Dixon Elementary and Webster County High School. Starting in the fall it will also serve students from the Webster County Middle School.

Dixon Commission to apply for grant to refurbish parks

J-E News Editor
On Monday night the Dixon Commission voted to pursue a $55,000 Land and Water Grant that would allow the city to refurbish much of the playground equipment at both of their city parks.
“Bourland Park doesn’t have any playground equipment,” said City Water Operator Jamie Harkins, who, along with City Clerk Peggy Poole, has been digging into the grant program. “We have a lot of ball games out there, so we thought we could use something for the smaller kids.”

Clay to get mowing assistance from jail trustees

J-E News Editor
Clay City Council met last Tuesday night, with all members except Jackie Edens and Jerril Rich present.
Topping the meeting was a discussion of a drainage tile on Park Street that has been backing up during recent rains and causing flooding.
“The water is draining, but it’s really slow,” said council member Paul Cowan. “I’m not sure if that is our tile or the county’s. It’s right on the line.”
Mayor Rick Householder suggested that city employees take a look at the tile and see if there is anything they can do to fix it.

Fiscal Court: Henderson Water customers to see rate increase

J-E News Editor
Webster County Fiscal Court was notified during it’s Monday meeting that residents who purchase their water from the Henderson County Water District will soon be seeing a rate increase.
Pete Conrad, the superintendent of the Henderson County Water District (HCWD) came before the court for the second consecutive meeting with an update on rates. Under new state law, a water district is required to notify the governing body in it’s largest region of service in the event of a rate increase. For HCWD that region would only include Henderson County, but according to Conrad, he felt it was his responsibility to notify all of his customers.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Firefighters respond to fire on US 41A

J-E News Editor
Firefighters responded to a blaze at Smith Metals in Providence Friday morning. According to company owner Tim Smith, workers ignited the blaze while disassembling a retired railroad caboose.
According to Smith, the historic caboose came to him from Wheatcroft where it had been out of service for many years. He said that before deciding to scrap the caboose, he had attempted several times to sell it, but its condition was to deteriorated to interest buyers. 
Firefighters quickly had the situation under control. Steve Burns and Mark Turner responded to the call for Providence, and Scott Bright of the Dixon Fire Department was on the scene as well.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

UPDATE: Accident with fatality on Pennyrile Parkway

             The Kentucky State Police is investigating a single-vehicle, fatality collision that occurred on the Pennyrile Parkway, between the 53 and 54 mile-marker, on Wednesday, April 9, 2014, at 6:52 a.m. 

Webster County Relay for Life struggles to get participants

J-E News Editor
With only two months until Relay for Life, the Webster County group that holds the local event has found itself struggling to get involvement from the community. Typically by this time there are 10 to 12 teams signed up. As of press time, only five teams have signed up to take part in this year’s event.
For many people around the country, Relay for Life is not only a way for them to fight back against cancer by raising money, it is a means of coping with the struggles, suffering and loss associated with the disease. It is also a way to celebrate life.

Gooch leads Kentucky law maker charge to support of coal

J-E News Editor
A bill sponsored by State Representative Jim Gooch of Providence was signed into a law last week as the Kentucky legislature seeks to take a stand against tough Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations that threaten the future of the Commonwealth’s coal industry.
Gooch, who serves as Chairman of the House Natural Resources and Environment Committee, introduced the bill, which enables the state push back against expected anti-coal regulations from the U.S. EPA.
“When the EPA set standards for new coal powered plants, they set standards that cannot be reached,” said Gooch. “When the EPA makes regulations, they have their own regulations and laws that they have to follow. This bill was about making sure that they in fact follow the law and that Kentucky has right to push back.”
Speaker of the House Greg Stumbo called House Bill 388 a victory for Kentucky families.  

Sebree awards $1.2 million in bids for water rehab project

Spring clean-up scheduled for May 12-19

J-E News Editor
Sebree’s city council moved forward on Monday night with plans to update the city’s water lines, awarding three job and material bids totalling just over $1.2 million dollars.
The project, will replace a 35,000 feet of outdated and often leaky water lines within the city, and replace 160 water meters with new ‘radio read’ meters, which will allow a city employee to check the meters simply by driving passed in a vehicle equipped with the proper equipment. This is technology that the city is already currently using to read most of it’s meters.

16 Year old Ordinance puts plans for new church sign on hold

J-E News Editor
A sixteen year old city ordinance now stands in the way of progress for one  Sebree church, preventing them from building a new digital sign in front of their building.
Parishioners at the Sebree Christian Church decided some time ago to purchase a new digital sign for their house of worship.
“We started raising money and I went around to different communities to find a sign that would work,”    church goer Brice Marsh told Sebree’s city council on Monday. “We did not realize that there was an ordinance that did not allow digital signs within the city limits of Sebree.”

Last Day of School: May 30

J-E News Editor
Kentucky schools all breathed a sigh of relief last week when Governor Steve Beshear signed House Bill 211 (HB211) last Monday, officially making the so called snow day bill a law. HB211 suspends the state law requiring school districts have at least 170 days of classes.
Over the winter Webster County students missed a total of 16 days, which had pushed the end of school into the month of June. 
With HB211 in effect, the district will look to make May 30, 2014 the final day of classes, with graduation to follow that night. This proposed schedule must be approved by the school board. This issue will be presented to them  for their approval at the next board meeting on April 14 at 5:00 p.m.

Youth Turkey Hunt held

Conservation Officer
Webster County 
April 5th marked the first, hopefully annual, Webster County Youth Turkey Hunt.  We had four children participate and two of them harvesting big ol’ toms.  Blake Hanor, guided by Billy Jo Parker, killed a turkey with a 5 inch beard.  Hayden Whitsell, guided by Chester Davis, killed a bird with a 9 inch beard.  Gavin Vanover and Coy Burns didn’t get a bird this time and were guided by Jordan Davis and Charlie Blue, respectively. 
I cannot express the gratitude that I have for Chester Davis and Randy Nally in regards to this event.  I mentioned wanting to put a hunt on for children and they completely ran with the idea.  

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Save big by planting trees on your home, farm

by Michael J. Andrews
Lead District Conservationist
Did you know the cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is the same as having 10 air conditioners operating 20 hours every day?  
In addition to their cooling power, trees provide other benefits – no matter if you live in the city or in the country.  
Trees growing along the banks of rivers and streams keep the soil and nutrients on your land and ensure the water running off is cleaner downstream.  
These same trees also help prevent floods by slowing down water during periods of heavy rain. As the water slows, it helps recharge underground aquifers that supply fresh water for drinking wells and irrigation.   

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Dixon businessman dies following automobile accident

J-E News Editor
Long time Dixon businessman William C. “Bill” Winstead, 88 of Dixon, passed away last week as a result of injuries suffered in an automobile accident on Friday, March 21, 2014, on US 41A in Dixon.
Residents of the Dixon area are familiar with Winstead, who was the owner and operator of Dixon Hardware from 1967 until his retirement in January of this year.

33rd Annual Conservation Banquet

Master Conservationist Darryl and Patricia Wilkerson

J-E News Editor
The 33rd Annual Webster County Conservation District Awards Banquet was held on Friday in Dixon. 

More Troubles for Blackford Bridge

J-E News Editor
When the Blackford Bridge opened in January, county officials really thought they could but the troubles with that structure behind them. But like a bad penny, troubled with the bridge have surfaced barely two months later.
“We thought everything was good with the Blackford Bridge,” said Judge Executive Jim Townsend. “Then I was informed about two weeks ago that the state was going to inspect it. They said that even though the bridge belonged to the county, the state governs bridges and that they would tell us what we had to do with it.”
The issue in question was not one of structural integrity, but of the bridge’s status. The Blackford Bridge is officially designated as a pedestrian only bridge and is part of the Veterans Memorial Walk that stretches from Blackford into rural Crittenden County, connecting a veterans memorial in Webster County with one in Crittenden. But for years local residents have used the bridge for vehicle traffic, regardless of signs at both ends warning that it was for pedestrians only.

County looks for funds to replace former state owned bridge

Judge Executive Jim Townsend

J-E News Editor
County officials were notified a few weeks ago that a bridge on Breton Bottom Road near Sebree had begun to deteriorate and could no longer handle a full load. Currently the state has placed a nine ton weight restriction on the bridge, and the county must start preparing to replace it.
Judge Executive Jim Townsend said that he has already started getting estimates on the project.

Three roads in Webster on state road plan budget

J-E News Editor
The biennial state road plan promises over $23.5 million dollars for three road improvements projects  in Webster County over the next two fiscal years Although that plan is not officials yet, it has now been approved by both the Kentucky House of Representatives and the Senate and is headed to conference committee between House and Senate.
Topping the list of improvements at a total of $11,560,000 is a proposed redesign of US 41A between Providence and Dixon.

Basketball legend honored by Senate

J-E News Editor
Although he is better known these days as President of the Dixon Bank, Frank Ramsey’s career as a basketball player has not been forgotten, a fact that was proven once again last week when he was honored by the Kentucky State Senate after being selected to the Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of fame. 
The senate voted unanimously to approve Senate Resolution 318, which recognizing Ramsey’s achievements.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Senate Week in Review

Approving the state budget has been called one of the toughest, most important duties of the General Assembly.  The 250-page document leaves the governor’s office as a proposal in January.  Getting an agreed-upon, finalized version back to his desk in the spring is truly a monumental task.  Needs are coupled with resources.  Appropriations are matched with priorities.  Debt is balanced by revenues.  And a consensus between 138 lawmakers is found. 
We completed the job on Monday when months of dedicated study, advocacy, review, discussion, negotiation and plain hard work culminated in the final passage of a $20.3 billion two-year budget plan for the Commonwealth.  

Highway 143 closed today

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet plans to close KY 143 in Webster County during daylight hours starting Tuesday, April 1, 2014. 
These closures along KY 143 between mile point 0.0 and mile point 3.9 are to allow the Webster County Highway Maintenance Crew to replace several cross drains and perform various drainage work.