Friday, August 5, 2016

Dawson Springs Schools under investigation

The director of investigations divisions of the state Office of Education Accountability confirmed last Friday that the “OEA currently has an open case in the Dawson Springs Independent School District,” according to an emailed letter from Karen Timmel.

In response to an Open Records request from this newspaper, she wrote that a final report will be released when the investigation is complete. 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Pokémon Go go

Officials concerned with presence 
of Pokémon near Fire Department

Small digital critters have caused quite a stir in Providence, thanks to their presence on city property. In recent weeks it has become such a problem, in fact, that city officials are looking for a solution.

The creatures in question are fictional creatures from the new Pokémon Go app, available for free on smartphones. The game requires players to search out such creatures on a GPS map of their area. 

Some places, including a church in Sacramento, Kentucky, have taken advantage of the craze by hosting Pokémon Go hunting parties. The Cincinnati Zoo has even offered a $5 discount to Pokémon Go users.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Providence Mayor responds to KCHR claims of racial profiling

Last week, Providence Mayor Eddie Gooch responded to a letter sent from John J. Johnson, Executive Director of the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights, to Amanda E. Gregory, Assistant United States Attorney, that made allegations of racial profiling and the mistreatment of minorities in the city of Providence.

The letter was sent from Johnson to Gregory late last month, urging the US Attorney’s office to investigate the city of Providence for human rights violations. Although citing alleged racial profiling and other rights violations by the Providence Police Department as the reason for the request, the majority of that letter seemed to deal with comments made by Gooch at a June city council meeting, where he referred to Black Lives Matter as a racist organization.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Human Rights Commission seeks investigation of City

Condemns Mayor Gooch’s opinion of Black Lives Matter

On Friday, the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights (KYCHR) issued a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice Western District of Kentucky asking the department to investigate Providence citizens’ allegations of police mistreatment based on race and color. 

“Please be advised that the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights has received verbal and written complaints from citizens of Providence, Ky., regarding alleged racial profiling, harassment and/or mistreatment of residents by certain city police officers,” stated John J. Johnson, executive director of the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights in a press relese.

In addition, Executive Director Johnson expressed the commission’s concern about Mayor Eddie Gooch’s response to the citizens’ concerns.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Boil Water Advisory: Providence customers on Highway 293

The city of Providence has issued a boil water advisory for customers on Highway 293 between Providence and Baldwin Ford Road. The advisory is due to a water main break and is in effect until further notice.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Gov. Matt Bevin Appoints New County Judge Executive of Webster County

Gov. Matt Bevin has appointed Stephen R. Henry, of Providence, as County Judge/Executive of Webster Co. to replace James R. Townsend, who has resigned.

“I am pleased to appoint Mr. Henry as Judge/Executive,” said Gov. Bevin. “His lifelong commitment to serving the citizens of Webster Co. makes him an excellent fit for this important position.”

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Patrolman on paid leave as FBI probes allegations of misconduct

The city of Providence has suspended one police officer pending an investigation into claims of police misconduct. According to city officials, that investigation is being carried out by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Patrolman Will Dukes Jr, who has been with PPD for just over a year, was placed on paid administrative leave following a complaint filed by Dixon Attorney Amelia Zachary on behalf of Jeffrey W. Littlepage, a suspect arrested by Dukes earlier this year.

The J-E is currently awaiting details of that complaint.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Henderson Police seek burglary suspects

On 6/24/2016 at 3:41 am, four unknown suspects broke the east side door at T&T Drug Store.  The suspects entered the business and stole an unknown amount/type of drugs from the business along with a small amount of cash.  Security footage from the scene shows the men going through cabinets and shelves while taking various items.  (SEE PHOTOS BELOW)

McMain to face grand jury July 12

The murder case of a Morganfield man in the vehicular death of a Sebree teenager will be heard by the Union County Grand Jury.​
The testimony presented in a preliminary hearing Thursday for Maxwell McMain was enough for Union District Court Judge Daniel Heady to send the case to the July 12 convening of the grand jury.​
McMain is charged with murder in the June 5 death of Kaci Wood, a 16-year-old who had just finished her sophomore year at Webster County High School.​
The court heard from one witness in the hearing, lead investigator for the Kentucky State Police, Detective Chris Baker.​
Baker recounted the progress of his investigation into the wreck that occurred at about 2:00 a.m. that Sunday morning. 

According to Baker, KSP responded to the 911 call made at 2:11 a.m., reporting the single-car crash. As the troopers worked the scene, they reported that McMain gave off a strong smell of alcohol, Baker said. The emergency medical technicians on site drew McMain’s blood at about 3 a.m., Baker added. 

Both McMain and Wood were ejected from the vehicle, according to initial reports during the investigation. Neither was wearing a seat belt. A third occupant of the vehicle, Jacob Hood, was wearing his seat belt and was not injured. 

Both McMain and Wood were transported to Union County Hospital. Wood was pronounced dead, and McMain was transported to Deaconess Hospital in Evansville, IN. 

The bulk of the testimony was concerned with interviews conducted by Baker during the course of the investigation. McMain’s attorney, Dax Womack, questioned Baker as to the timing of the interviews following the launch of the inquiry. 

Assistant Union County Attorney Julie Wallace objected, asking the relevance of the timing of the interviews, but Heady overruled her. 

Baker told Womack that he interviewed Hood the afternoon of June 5, about 14 hours after the wreck occurred. According to Baker, Hood told him he was a passenger in the front seat, but that he had fallen asleep before the crash. Baker added that Hood’s injuries were consistent with his statement. 

Friday, June 17, 2016

McMain makes first court appearance, pleas innocent

Maxwell McMain, 19, of Union County, appeared in Union County court on Thursday, for arraignment in the June 5, 2016 vehicle accident that resulted in the death of Kaci Wood, 16, of Sebree.

District looks to save money with state funding cuts on the horizon

Money was the big topic of the night at Monday’s Webster County School Board meeting in Dixon.
After refinancing its 2008 series bonds, the board will be able to save around $510,000 over the next twelve years. Although that only works out to be an average of $40,000 per year, in the current cash strapped position Kentucky schools find themselves in, every dollar counts.

On the down side, superintendent Dr. Rachel Yarbrough told the board that the district expects to see a cut in the amount of funding they can use for preschool programs in the county.

“Webster County’s preschool allocation, along with all of those in the state, are expected to see a reduction,” she said.

According to Yarbrough, last year the district received $404,525 to fund its preschools, but as of right now it appears only $310,576 will be available for the next school year.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

County employee pay raises debated by officials

Monday’s meeting of the Webster County Fiscal Court took a rare heated turn on Monday when the issue of raises for county personnel came up.

The county road department presented a list of three employees for magistrates to consider for raises. 

Two were raises of approximately $0.75 per hour, to bring a pair of employees who had recently earned their CDL to the maximum hourly rate of $15 per hour, while a third was a request to raise another employee $1.50 per hour from $11.50 to $13.00.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Madisonville North Hopkins Softball Players Pay Tribute to Kaci Wood (From our Media Partner 44News)


The Madisonville North Hopkins softball team is playing in the KHSAA softball state title games. Kaci Wood never played for the team, she played for Webster County High School. The Lady Maroon players just knew her from softball but at the Lady Maroons game Thursday, they honored Kaci.

“It really affected this team and thinking that could be one of our players,” said Kaylee Tow, Lady Maroon player. “So we just try to pull together for Webster County and just think of it as a region family and put those rivalries aside for her.”

Early Sunday morning, 16-year-old Kaci Wood was killed in a single car accident.

Arraignment set for Max McMain

An arraignment date has been set for Max McMain, 19 of Morganfield, who was the driver in a June 4 accident that resulted in the death of Sebree teenager Kaci Wood.

McMain will appear in court Thursday, June 16.

Original Story

Police behavior, race relations questioned at Providence Council Meeting

Cool heads prevailed Monday night at the Providence Council meeting, after a civilized conversation regarding the behavior of a local police officer turned tense.  

During the public appeals session of the meeting, Providence resident Mona Simms, representing a group of concerned citizens, respectfully requested the proper method to lodge a formal complaint against the officer.  She cited several recent examples of what the group believes to be serious impropriety and unprofessionalism in an unnamed police officer’s methods. 

Simms acknowledged that Providence has always been a caring, diverse community, to the agreement of others in the audience, but said that the recent actions of the officer cannot continue.   


UPDATE: According to a statement by Webster County Deputy Coroner Todd Vanover, the death of Jose Santos Saravia was due to a self inflicted gunshot would.

Sheriff Frankie Springfield told the J-E that there are no charges being filed in the case at this time.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Sebree Summerfest/ Firecracker Run plans announced

Plan for Sebree Summerfest and the Sebree Firecracker Runs have been announced.
Summerfest will kickoff on Friday, June 17 with the opening of food booths at 5:30 p.m. The opening ceremonies will follow at 6:00 p.m., featuring prayer by Keith Wilcox and the singing of the National Anthem by Tony Brandy. Singer Carmen Brandy will be the featured musical act from 6:15 p.m. until 7:45 p.m. Barry Russell and the Southern Bulletts Band will wrap up opening night from 8:15 p.m. until 10:15 p.m.
Saturday will feature a full day of entertainment, kicking off with the children’s beauty contest at 9:00 a.m.
Other events include:

Chief Justice Minton sworn in today to 3rd term as chief justice of Kentucky

After eight years as head of the state court system, John D. Minton Jr. will continue in that role as he begins a third term as chief justice of Kentucky today. His fellowSupreme Court justices elected him to another four-year term on Monday and he was sworn in today by Deputy Chief Justice Mary C. Noble at the Capitol in Frankfort.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Driver charged with DUI, kidnapping and murder

The driver in a June 4 accident that resulted in the death of Sebree teenager has been arrested and charged with kidnapping and murder.

Maxwell McMain, 19 of Morganfield, was taken into custody just after 5 p.m. this evening at his home, soon after his release from Deaconess Hospital in Evansville. McMain suffered injuries in the accident after being ejected from the SUV he was driving.

Webster County junior Kaci Wood was killed in the accident Sunday morning around 2 a.m.

Gone Too Soon

A number “8” with angel’s wings floated across many Facebook pages Sunday as Webster County mourned the loss of a life taken far too soon.

Now, many have changed their profile pictures as a tribute to 16-year-old Kaci Wood, who was tragically killed in an early morning accident Sunday in Union County.

Wood, a standout starter for the Webster County Lady Trojans’ softball team, had just finished her sophomore year.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Road to be open for Memorial Day Weekend

Highway 283 has reopened at the Knoblick Creek Bridge in Webster County. It will be open to normal traffic flow through the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

The contractor will return sometime next week to pave along this section as weather allows.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

District-wide free meals to continue

The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), a part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, proved to be a success in Webster County Schools in the 2015-16 school year. The program, which made free breakfast and lunches available to all Webster County students, has produced an increase in the number of meals eaten by students.

CEP eliminates the burden of collecting household applications to determine eligibility for  free school meals by offering free meals to all students.

“Where it really helped is with those students whose parents were right on the free and reduced line,” said Food Service Director Valarie Knight.

Former editor was a renaissance man

Fred Bradley, who passed away on Friday at the age of 85, will be remembered for many things. Being a former editor of The Journal-Enterprise would be among the least of those. Bradley fit the definition of a ‘renaissance man’ so closely that one might even believe the word was created just for him. His various accomplishments would make for an interesting and almost unbelievable novel.

Bradley was among the first people to cross the twin bridges between Evansville and Henderson. His father, James Lamar (J.L.) Bradley, had taken his pregnant wife across the Ohio River via a ferry in 1931, but by the time their new baby was released from the hospital, the first of the two bridges was open.

The proud parents could have had no idea when they passed fledgling Dade Park (renamed Ellis Park in 1954) in the shadows of the new bridge, just how big an impact that horse track would have on the life of their new son.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Webster Schools un-stage graduations

In response to a mother’s request for a ramp, school officials remove stages

When Abby Baskett began to prepare for her middle school graduation this year, she told her mother she wanted to go across the stage with her classmates.

So her mother, Sarah Humphrey, approached the school about the possibility.
Abby is one of two students in the middle school class of 2016 who is confined to a wheelchair. She has been a part of the class from day one, and Humphrey said her daughter wanted to graduate the same way as her friends.

But according to Humphrey, what started as a simple request turned into a mess.

“I never asked for special treatment,” Humphrey said. “I wanted inclusion, not an exception.”

Friday, May 6, 2016

Owens named Clay principal

When students return to Clay Elementary in the fall, they will have a new principal in the front office.
Susan Owens, who has been an instructional coach at Providence Elementary since 2014, will take over the school’s top position. Owens is both a former student and teacher at the school.

“I am excited to be going back to the school I attended and where I taught for twelve years,” said Owens. “Clay Elementary has a tremendous staff, and I am confident we can work together to create a culture of high expectations on behalf of student learning.”

CSX ‘forgot’ about closing rail crossing says city official

At Monday’s council meeting, councilman Keith Farrell shared residents’ concerns about the railroad crossing at South Finley Street, and the on-going construction closure of the tracks.  In a surprising revelation, Director of Public Works Jack Snyder stated he had looked into the issue that very day.   After speaking with CSX  officials, Snyder said that apparently the railroad company had simply “forgot” about it.

CSX promised to have the work completed and the crossing re-opened by the end of the week.  
Concern over emergency services needing to travel though that area was discussed and although it might be an inconvenience, those services would not be hampered.

Path of destruction

Wild ride ends in jail cell for Providence man

A Providence man’s wild ride through Dixon Monday night landed him in jail on numerous charges.
Roger J. Belt, 34, was arrested and charged with driving under the influence, fleeing police, leaving the scene of an accident, and five counts of criminal mischief.

According to several eyewitness reports, Belt took a serpentine path along U.S. 41-A, running through yards and driveways before finally crashing into an embankment on State Route 1340.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Bevin launches probe into Beshear administration

FRANKFORT, KY -  Tuesday, in light of areas of serious concern dealing with potentially illegal and unethical contracting processes during the previous administration, Governor Matt Bevin announced a special investigation.

Governor Bevin has asked the Secretary of the Finance and Administration Cabinet, Col. Bill Landrum, using the extensive investigative powers given to him in KRS Chapter 45, to prepare and issue an RFP for a thorough, in-depth investigation and report by an attorney or law firm with experience in investigating activities and contracts.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Local church holds final service

When the lights in the basement of the United Methodist Church were turned out Easter Sunday, and the congregates filed out the door into the brisk spring afternoon, a story in Dixon’s history ended without fanfare.

The oldest congregation in the county seat met for the final time in its 155-year existence, and its members now look toward a future in separate places of worship.

In her home — itself a remnant of a time when the Civil War was still a fresh memory instead of a chapter in a history textbook — Janice Gillespie related some of the history of the church and its members.

Study says life expectancy rate down in Webster

For Webster County residents, recently released data from the sixth annual County Health Rankings may be cause for concern. Since about 2003, the premature death rate (or the rate of deaths prior to age 75) has been on the rise. Today Webster County ranks 84th out of 120 Kentucky counties on average life expectancy.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Senator Rand Paul to visit Providence

U.S. Senator Rand Paul will be paying a  visit to Providence on Tuesday for a special ‘Town Hall’ meeting to be held at the Providence Community Center. The event is scheduled to last from 2:30 until 3:30 p.m.

Paul is Kentucky’s junior senator, first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010. Committees that he serves on include: Small Business and Entrepreneurship; Foreign Relations; Energy and Natural Resources; Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs; and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Republican Caucus Held

Cruz wins Webster, Trump takes Kentucky

For the first time in history, voters in Webster County and across the Commonwealth turned out on a Saturday to vote, as the Kentucky Republican Party held its first ever Presidential Caucus. Although U.S. Senator Ted Cruz would claim Webster County, real estate mogul Donald Trump would go on to take the statewide vote.

“We had a lower turnout than expected,” said Brian Reynolds, chairman of the Webster County Republican Party. “We were anticipating around 500 voters.”

Of the 1,200 registered Republicans in Webster County, only 231 showed up at the Poole Fire Department on Saturday to cast their vote.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Providence Water Works recieves violations

According to the Kentucky Division of Water, Providence Water Works has received a total of eight violations in the first two months of 2016. With the problems with drinking water in Flint, Michigan recently, any sort of problem with tap water is reason for concern from the local citizens. But according to Water Works foreman Terry Rice, the violation data is a bit misleading.

“The water plant cannot send out bad water,” said Rice. “When levels exceed certain numbers, we have to send out letters notifying the public.”

Townsend joins staff of One Health Dixon

For Jeana Townsend, joining the staff of One Health Dixon is a homecoming, in more ways than one. Not only is Townsend a Dixon native, she worked at Hometown Care Family Health Clinic (now One Health Dixon) while finishing her clinicals to become a nurse practitioner.

“I’m excited to be back in Webster County and seeing people from my hometown,” said Townsend.

The Real Cost of the War on Coal Part 3 of 3

In just five years, the number of coal mining jobs in Kentucky has been nearly cut in half, falling from 18,194 in 2011 to 9,493 in 2015.

“There is no questioning that it has hurt the retail and grocery business,” said Mack Townsend, who co-owns Townsend’s Food Center in Dixon with his brother Scott. “When you take money out of people’s pockets, they have to cut back on spending. There are certain things you have to allow for, such as utility and groceries, but they don’t spend money the way they did. They will buy something else where they were buying steak.”

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The real cost of the “War on Coal”

 Part Two of a three part series that looks at the impact of mine closings in the area

J-E Editor

Hopkins and Webster counties were born with coal in their veins, so it’s no surprise that many of the industries located here rely on the mines for their business just as those in early mining towns did. From staffing services to trucking companies, those businesses were founded to fill a need.

That design has created a lot of successful business relationships throughout the coal regions of the United States, but it has also set local economies up like a series of dominoes just waiting to be knocked over.

Possible winter weather results in area schools dismissing early.

J-E Editor
The National Weather Service (NWS) in Paducah has issued a Winter Storm Warning for areas of southern Illinois, south-east Missouri and western Kentucky for later today. As of 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, February 24, Hopkins County Schools were already making preperations to dismiss students at 12:45 p.m. Webster County Schools have yet to make an announcement.

“We are looking at that and I am in touch with Dr. Yarbrough and our transportation director,” said Todd Marshall, district DPP. “We haven’t made a final determination, but once we make a decision it will go out by OneCall.”

Currently there are no warnings in effect for Webster County, but the NWS has issued a winter weather warning in areas to our west that is calling for three to six inches of snow

 at 270-667-2068 or

Friday, February 19, 2016

Legislation could raise age for tobacco use

by Matt Hughes
J-E Editor

Kentucky has traditionally been known for the export of four products: coal, tobacco, bourbon and race horses. While
the horse racing industry and bourbon business are booming in other parts of the state, coal and tobacco continue come under fire.

Everyone is aware of the situation facing the coal industry, but the issues facing tobacco in the Bluegrass state aren’t as well publicized. Considering Kentucky is second only to North Carolina in tobacco production, any news that affects the industry could be very important to local tobacco growers.

The real cost of the “War on Coal”

Part One of a three part series that looks at the impact of mine closings in the area

 by Matt Hughes
J-E Editor

Last week the Supreme Court of the United States  (SCOTUS) made the decision to freeze the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan regulations. Some call it a large victory in the War on Coal, but has the much applauded SCOTUS ruling come too late for Kentucky and other coal reliant areas?

“Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a huge win in the fight against Obama’s disastrous Clean Power Plan,” Governor Matt Bevin said on Thursday. “The Court’s decision to freeze these illegal climate regulations is a victory in our efforts to save our coal jobs and protect Kentucky families from skyrocketing energy prices. We will continue to challenge these regulations as the litigations continue in court.”

Kentucky is among a coalition of states challenging the EPA rules. On January 21, the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet joined with other states and stakeholders to submit comments to the EPA regarding the Federal Plan Requirements for Greenhouse Gas Emissions and implementation of the Clean Power Plan.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Webster County inmate walks away from work release

On Thursday, February 4, at approximately 2:24 p.m., the Kentucky State Police Post 2 Madisonville was contacted by the Webster County Detention Center in reference to an escapee.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Mine contracting firm relocates to Clay

The coal industry is so ingrained in the history of Webster County, we give little thought to how it all works anymore.

So the daily operations of S & L Industries may be a bit foreign, even to those who have worked in the mines or been part a mining family most of their lives.

“We are primarily underground contractors,” said office manager Bob Bridges. “We deal with anything from providing manpower to building seals to building overcasts and undercasts.”
In other words, if a mine operation needs a job done, but can’t divert its own workforce to the task, S & L steps in.
The company recently moved to Clay and set up offices in the empty building next to Clay One Stop on Hwy. 109. The move allows the company to be closer to southern Illinois, where much of their contracting business is needed these days.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Miner Killed at Dotiki

Nathan ‘Nate’ Phillips, 36, of White Plains was killed in a mining accident at Alliance Resource Partners LLC’s (ARLP) Webster County Coal, Dotiki Mine last Tuesday, January 19, at approximately 4:00 p.m.

According to the initial incident report by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), Phillips was operating a continuous miner when he became pinned between the machine and the coal rib.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Board looks to help teams with travel cost

by Matt Hughes

Parents and coaches of Webster County student athletes may soon be getting some relief on their fund raising efforts, thanks to a measure that was discussed at Monday night’s school board meeting.

For the first time in years, the board is looking at covering at least part of the expense of bussing athletic teams to their various competitions.

“Many years ago the board did not give an allocation for transportation,” said Webster County Schools Superintendent Dr. Rachel Yarbrough. who presented the new transportation plan to the board. “(Athletic Director) Matt Bell has worked diligently to answer a request from Tim (McCormick) and the board to do so.”

McCormick has been an outspoken proponent of such a measure for some time, but this is the first time a proposal has been brought before the board.

Students making a difference

Local middle schoolers learn about themselves through volunteer projects

by Morgan McKinley

When Christmas rolls around, and the name Charles Dickens comes to mind, all of us think of that most famous of books, A Christmas Carol.

And while that much-loved story indeed teaches us a valuable lesson about ourselves and how we approach the world around us, some Webster County students learned from a simple Dickens statement before the holidays.

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of others.”

The sentence is actually a line of dialogue by the character John Rokesmith in one of the Victorian author’s lesser known works, Our Mutual Friend.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Webster County Schools Closed, Monday declared 'Link2Learn" Day

"This will be our first Link 2 Learn Day," said district spokesperson Carolyn Sholar. "Students with internet service please log into your teachers webpage or schools webpage and follow the Link 2 Learn tab for your assignments."

Link 2 Learn is a program offered by the state to allow schools to continue education when classrooms are closed due to bad weather. This means the district will not have to makeup Monday at the end of the school year.

Snow Update

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet crews are making progress in their attack on snow accumulated from a line of intense snow squalls that rolled across the region overnight. 

Friday, January 8, 2016

WCHS Locked temporarily locked down

According to Webster County School District Officials, at approximatelty 7:30 am on Friday, January 8, 2016m  WCHS administration was notified that a student had made a threat to harm himself with a gun due to a breakup with a girlfriend overnight.  The administration proceeded to go into a campus lockdown until the whereabouts of the student could be determined.

"The student was located at his home and local law enforcement is investigating the situation," said superintedent Dr. Rachel Yarbrough.  "As soon as the whereabouts of the student was verified to school administration, the lockdown on the campus was lifted.  At no time was there a threat to the safety of other students and at no time this morning was this student on the campus.  We appreciate the quick response of our law enforcement officials and the high school administration for their prompt attention to this situation."