April 14, 2009,
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Council pledges 911 funding
- EKP plant to use grass - Summer jobs for
youth available - Police chief completes suspension
- Red Bud Run is Saturday
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Council pledges 911
By Dennis Brown
Vanceburg City Council
met in regular session last week with council members voting to contribute
$10,000 annually to help out with costs associated with operating the Lewis
County E-911 system.
Lewis County Judge
Executive Steve Applegate addressed council and asked for the monetary
assistance stating that some increased staffing costs along with lower than
expected revenue from the fee added to telephone bills and no income from the
fee on cellular phone bills have led to the need for requesting the assistance.
Applegate said the city
had been contributing $5,000 per year but because of an apparent lack of
communication had not contributed during the past fiscal year. He had asked the
city earlier to double the $5,000 amount.
Applegate said calls to
the Vanceburg Police Department ring into the 911 dispatch office and are
answered there if an officer is not available at the police department to accept
the calls. In comparison, he noted, calls to the sheriff’s department are only
answered by the 911 center after business hours.
He said the volume of
calls being handled by the center has led to the need for an additional
“We wouldn’t ask for
it and we wouldn’t take it unless we really needed it,” he told council.
Each telephone line in
the county has a $3.50 monthly fee added for 911. Kevin Cornette, with Buffalo
Trace Area Development District, said there are about 5,800 telephone land-line
services in the county and a portion of that goes to the telephone company for
collecting the fee resulting in about $17,000 or $18,000 revenue per month for
He said about $225,000
is needed annually to operate the center. He noted that although a fee of 70
cents per month is charged for each cellular telephone, the county has not
realized any of that money although it had been figured into the budget.
Cornette said 911 calls
from cell phone users now go to the Kentucky State Police Post at Morehead and
are then transferred to the local 911 center. He said the county has now
requested that cell phone calls ring directly into the Lewis County 911 center
and the county will be eligible for a portion of funding from those fees.
Cornette also said that
cellular telephones purchased in other states will still have the monthly fee
charged to the customer but the money does not go to Kentucky.
Mayor Angie Patton said
that several people are dropping land-lines and utilizing only cell phones
for their personal communication needs and that is resulting in fewer and
lower fees making their way to the local dispatch center.
Applegate said the city
could be billed monthly for their contribution and that monthly reports on
the center’s operations would be sent to the city.
Council agreed to the
$10,000 annual payment and Patton suggested reviewing the agreement on a
regular basis. The county also makes regular contributions for 911
operations from the general fund.
In other business
council heard the second reading of an ordinance outlining requirements for
accepting roadways into the city road system. City Attorney John Holder said
the ordinance was modeled after the one in use by the county. Council
approved adoption of the ordinance.
Council approved the
appointment of Jill Shumate as a commissioner on the Vanceburg Housing
Authority. Shumate will replace Patty Kennard who stepped down from the
position after it was found that as an employee of the city she was not able
to serve in that capacity as well.
Patton announced that
cleanup week for the city will run through Saturday, April 18. She noted
that the county will not be doing the annual effort because they are
concentrating on dump cleanup. City residents are urged to put out items for
pick-up on their regular trash days but may call the city clerk to arrange
for extra pick-ups if needed.
Patton said the city
will be receiving $6,695 in Area Development Funds and said the funds will
be used to replace carpeting in the mayor’s office, conference room and
meeting room at the municipal building and for roof repairs on the building
that houses Hickle’s Pool Room. The city owns the second floor of the
Cornette presented a
proposed policy for adoption by council as the first step in applying for
grant funding for a proposed community center/fire department building in
He said the policy deals
with voluntary acquisition of property for the building. Council adopted the
Council also authorized
applying for federal stimulus funding to pay for the salary of a police
officer for the Vanceburg Police Department. Patton said officers are now
working long shifts and an additional officer is needed at the department.
Before council adjourned
the meeting, holder announced that opening day activities for Lewis County
Little League will be Saturday, April 18. He said a parade in Vanceburg is
scheduled for 9:00 a.m. and games are scheduled throughout the day.
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EKP plant to use grass
By Dennis Brown
Kentucky Power Cooperative (EKPC) and the University of
(UK) College of Agriculture has demonstrated how switchgrass, a warmseason
is native to the state, can be used to fuel power plants.
about 70 tons of processed switchgrass into the coal feedstock that is used
to fuel one
of the generating units at the cooperative’s Spurlock Station in Maysville.
to find out if switchgrass can be a viable supplemental fuel for our power
said Bob Marshall, president and CEO of EKPC. “Today’s test will provide
information about how burning switchgrass affects our plant’s fuel-delivery
boilers and emissions.”
believed to be the first time switchgrass has been used in Kentucky as fuel for
plant. The switchgrass and coal are burned in the unit’s boiler, creating
used to turn turbine blades and generate electricity.
The test is
part of an innovative four-year pilot project conducted by UK’s College of
to determine if switchgrass can be grown sustainably and economically in
The project is being funded through a grant to the Kentucky Forage and
Council from the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board.
switchgrass burn, made possible by an investment from the Kentucky
Development Fund, will provide valuable information that could enhance
agricultural opportunities outlined in my recently released seven-point energy
said Gov. Steve Beshear. “Energy-related research and development through
private partnerships should be expanded throughout the state.”
just another example of how the college is working to develop a variety of
for alternative energy uses,” said Scott Smith, dean of the College of
“We appreciate our partners, East Kentucky Power Cooperative and the
Office of Agricultural Policy, working with us toward this goal.”
researchers are working with 20 farmers in northeast Kentucky to evaluate
planting, growing, harvesting, transporting and processing the switchgrass.
manages a five-acre plot that UK forage specialists helped them establish.
specialists believe that if this project is successful, switchgrass could
opportunity for producers in this area to diversify their agricultural
generate additional income.
people drive around northeastern Kentucky, they see a lot of land that lays
are acres that have great potential for switchgrass production because it
on marginal soils. We don’t even have to take acres out of forages for
said Tom Keene, UK hay marketing specialist. “The opportunity is there.”
farmers successfully producing switchgrass opens up tremendous
for them in the emerging biomass market,” said Ray Smith, UK forage
specialist. “While further research is needed to determine the economic
producers, this project is allowing Kentucky farmers to be at the forefront
switchgrass was planted during the spring and matured until the first
were established in 2007, and the remaining 13 were planted in 2008. After
the plots were mowed, and the switchgrass was baled like hay. The bales were
to Spurlock Station, where UK representatives used a tub grinder to further
switchgrass for handling by the power plant’s coal conveyer system.
Spurlock Station’s generating units—the Gilbert # 3 unit—features
bed technology that allows it to burn a wide range of fuels, including
In April, EKPC plans to bring online a second unit at Spurlock Station
this technology. EKPC’s proposed Smith CFB #1 unit at Smith Station in
Clark County also is planned to feature this technology.
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Summer Jobs for youth
County youth will have an opportunity to earn nearly $1,000 with a summer job, a
new program made possible by the federal stimulus program.
Temporary employment opportunities will be created in 10 counties of
Northeastern Kentucky for applicants ages 16 to 21 living in Boyd, Greenup,
Rowan, Mason, Bracken, Robertson, Montgomery, Fleming, Lewis and Bath Counties.
Applicants will have the opportunity to earn minimum wage as employees of the
Buffalo Trace Area Development District for approximately seven weeks this
TENCO Workforce Investment Act Program Coordinator Denise Dials said funding for
the program is the result of the new stimulus package signed by President Barack
Obama. The funding will provide the first such jobs in more than a decade, she
said, citing the JTPA program, which was displaced by Workforce Investment Act
At this time, the program has been funded for June 15 through July 31.
Those selected for employment will make $7.25 an hour, the Kentucky minimum wage
as of July 1, 2009, and have the opportunity to work up to 150 hours during the
course of the program.
TENCO LWIA officials have worked to design the summer program to facilitate jobs
in both the public and private sector. Public jobs include working in libraries,
schools, city work and parks. The stimulus funding will pay for the employment
and be at no additional cost to the employers.
“We’re being very careful not to displace any workers,” Dials said. “The
program is coming at a wonderful time. Kids are finding it a lot more difficult
to find jobs.”
Dials said she has seen youth work in similar programs, and primarily the money
they earn goes toward helping their family income.
“We’re hoping to place all of the youth in their local communities,” she
said, explaining officials didn’t want young workers to spend all of their
earnings on gas and transportation concerns.
Officials hope the program will provide 200 to 250 jobs for youth. An additional
five to eight temporary jobs will also be incorporating adults as site
supervisors. Dials said those positions would be advertised in local papers
within the next two weeks.
Youth eligible for the program must meet economic requirements set on the
federal level. After applying for the job program, youth will be interviewed and
placed. The final date for applications is April 17. Some jobs do require youth
to be 18 or
youth are interviewed to see about their interest and restrictions,” said
Dials, who noted they are interested in finding out if students have
transportation, allergies, previous job experience or specific interests. “We
try to do our placement the best we can.”
She said about 10 years ago, a program similar to the new youth program existed
and was funded out of JTPA grant money. Workforce investment act funding caused
changes, and the youth funding program ceased to exist.
“Ten years ago, when the program went away, lots of cities and schools called.
They missed the help,” Dials said. “It’s a big help to them —especially
with budget cuts. This does not cost the cities anything.”
If accepted into the program, youth will receive two to three days of training
and work preparation. Among its topics, the prep will include discussion about
appropriate dress, problem solving and getting along with co-workers.
“We want to give them stepping stones,” Dials said about the program. “You
never know what could happen as a result of the opportunity.”
“This program provides the rare opportunity of a win for all involved,” Owen
McNeill, business services coordinator for Buffalo Trace, said. “We believe
this program is one of our more important initiatives at this time in that it
provides positives for so many subsets within our operating footprint. Employers
as work sites win through the addition of labor while the youth gain not only
monies to spend, but also valuable work related skills and positive resume
bolstering experiences. There just is no downside to this program.”
He said many employers within the BTADD operational footprint have already
signed up to be work sites but many more will be needed to place the
overwhelming number of applicants.
While the jobs are intended to be temporary, Dials said the chance to work could
provide future opportunities for additional employment.
“It has the potential for opening doors,” she said, noting she knows of a
few people who have remained with the employers they met while working under the
Those interested in applying may pick up applications at any area school, their
local TENCO One Stop Career Center (employment office locations) or by visiting
tenco-onestop.ky.gov. The Web site also has applications for work sites as well.
For more information, call the BTADD at (606) 564-6894 or (800) 998-4347.
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Police chief completes five day
Vanceburg Police Chief Joe Billman returned to
duty last week following a five day suspension without pay.
Mayor Angie Patton said the reason for the
suspension was insubordination as the result of a disagreement between her and
Billman. She added the matter had been resolved.
Patton said it was an internal personnel issue and
Billman resumed all responsibilities upon
completion of the suspension.
Billman said the matter was minor and is now
Billman joined the Vanceburg Police Department in
1984 and was named chief upon the retirement of Roy Lawson from the
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Red Bud Run will be
nearly a month after the official arrival of spring, the fifth annual Red Bud
Run will begin winding over the 100 mile scenic tour route to also herald the
arrival of warmer weather.
run, which benefits the Boys and Girls Club of Lewis County, will get underway
at Clarksburg Christian Church and take riders through Lewis, Carter and Greenup
Counties before returning to the church where a meal and refreshments will be
for the ride begins at 9:30 a.m. Saturday with the “blessing of the bikes”
and the ride is set to begin at 10:30 a.m.
fee is $15 for drivers and $5 for passengers.
funds raised from the event will go to the Boys and Girls Club which offers
after-school activities as well as summer programs. Club Director Mike Kennedy
said the club was started in 2005 and more than 1,200 youth have participated in
pre-register for the ride, or for more information, contact Byron Powers at
606-796-3536, Carol Gilbert at 606-796-3694 or Kennedy at 606-796-2582.
Boys and Girls Club website is located at www.bgclc.org.
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