August 15, 2006, News
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By Al Owens
Flanked by a bevy of state and local officials Congressman Geoff Davis presented the keys to two new fully equipped police cruisers to Vanceburg Police Chief Joe Billman last Monday at a 2:00 p.m. ceremony at the City Building on Second Street.
Davis told the crowd that as a Representative in Washington he has been in Vanceburg as much as possible. He jokingly referred to the weather because the last time he was in town was at the ground breaking for the new Health Department building, and the temperature was cold. Last Monday the mercury was in the 90s with high humidity making for rather unpleasant conditions.
Davis said that since we pay taxes we need to make sure some tax dollars go back into communities without large tax bases.
Mayor William T. "Bill Tom" Cooper spoke briefly and said that three years ago the City of Vanceburg purchased three new cruisers at a cost of $75,000 fully equipped.
He stated, "Today, because of Rural Development we have purchased two new fully equipped cruisers after receiving a $37,500 grant from Rural Development at a cost of $12,000 to the city, $6,000 per cruiser."
Cooper related that over his 17 years as Mayor of Vanceburg, Rural Development has given the city millions of dollars through grants and low interest loans to help with water projects all across Lewis County. He said that about 99 percent of those water projects are completed.
The mayor expressed his thanks to Rural Development and Congressman Davis by saying, "You have been a good friend of Vanceburg and Lewis County and for that we thank you. We also thank Congressman Davis for his funding of Rural Development as well as his support for ARC (Appalachian Regional Commission)."
Kentucky Rural Development is a branch of the US Department of Agriculture.
Kenneth Slone, Director of Rural Development addressed the assembly and said that his department is happy to invest millions of dollars annually to help the citizens of Kentucky.
State Senator Charlie Borders also spoke briefly during the ceremony. Cooper made a point to express his thanks to Senator Borders for his part in obtaining funds for Vanceburg and Lewis County. Borders serves on the Appropriations Committee for the state.
Chief Billman told the crowd that when Cooper was first elected, the Vanceburg Police Department had one cruiser that would run and two that wouldn't, and during his 17-year tenure as mayor the city has purchased nine new police cruisers.
He also said that the purchase of multiple cruisers extends the life of the vehicles, which is on the average seven years, and that allows the city government to use funds for other worthwhile projects.
Billman also thanked Rural Development Director Kenneth Slone and Congressman Davis for their support for the cruiser project and the mayor for his long-term commitment and support to make the local police department, one the community can be proud of.
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City Council hears from Time/Warner Cable
By Al Owens
Meeting in a brief session last week the Vanceburg City Council received its annual portion of revenue from the Green Street Apartments. Representing People's Self-Help Housing Tammy Cooley presented the $1,000 check to Vanceburg Mayor William T. "Bill Tom" Cooper.
Cooper shared a letter announcing that the transaction between Adelphia Cable and Time/Warner Cable was completed on July 31, 2006, and that Time/Warner now operates the local cable system.
The new owners claim they will bring the same quality service to this area that they maintain in other systems.
Cooper related that he had asked about the cost of the cable placing a hardship on some of the elderly and that the company assured him they are looking into another tier of service at a lower cost for senior citizens.
The council approved the minutes of last month's session before adjourning.
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Bid opening set for water project
By Al Owens
Meeting in regular session last week the Electric Plant Board of the City of Vanceburg had no actual business to conduct in spite of the fact that much is happening, and the company is extremely busy for this time of summer.
Superintendent Phil Kennedy told the board that a lot of what's going on isn't the company's but that of other agencies that are having the utility company do things with the combined sewers and all that is going on.
He said that it's a busy time for nothing to be showing on the meeting's agenda.
In giving his report, Kennedy informed the board that the relocation of electric lines in the Black Oak area has been suspended until the third week of September because of the heat. He said that the power would have to be turned off at the Industrial Park and the city would have to be run on Bradford Lane for a while and it was just too hot, and we just couldn't handle the load.
Kennedy announced that a bid opening for the new water project would be held on Tuesday, August 29, at 1:00 p.m.
The superintendent reported that he sent Chad Clark and Mark Duncan to Bowling Green with a professor. He related that Western Kentucky University is working with the company on the combined sewer overflow.
Clark and Duncan came back encouraged that the city is not in as bad a shape as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Division of Water said we were.
Kennedy said, "We've already started working on that. What we see and what we think that can save us a lot of money and take care of our problem."
He told the board that in a few months he'd be coming back to the board to tell the members the specifics.
Kennedy informed the board that the company has a three-year inspection coming up. He said that the Public Service Commission (PSC) regulates the utility company on pipeline safety. After the inspection the PSC will make any recommendations if there are problems. In the past the local utility has always received good reports but since 9/11 the PSC has added a lot of things in the interest of homeland security.
The superintendent said that he doesn't always agree with the things they have us do but the company has to comply with them or pay a $25,000 per day fine for each day of violation.
As an example he cited a public awareness program that is now required. He said that he had received a public awareness brochure from Columbia Gas, and in that material the gas company showed the location of all its pipelines in color. This is to make everyone aware so the public can watch those pipelines and report any questionable activity around them, but it also tells the terrorists where the pipelines are. He declared that he doesn't agree with that.
He also said that the EPA is coming to town to hold a training session on the proper disposal of Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) that are in the transformers. PCBs are manmade chemicals used in hundreds of industrial and commercial applications including electrical, heat transfer, and hydraulic equipment; as plasticizers in paints, plastics and rubber products; in pigments, dyes and carbonless copy paper and many other applications. They are cancer-causing agents and must be disposed of safely. He lamented that now the terrorists are going to know where the transformers are with PCBs in them. If the terrorists want to get the oil with PCBs in it out of one of those transformers how many people will that hurt?
Kennedy showed the board members a record of the kilowatt usage during the recent heat wave. He said that because the billing is always a month or so behind the actual weather that he anticipates a lot of phone calls asking about high electric bills. The problem is that the customer may receive the monthly bill and say, "Why is this bill so high? It's not been hot." However, it was hot during the billing period reflected by the bill.
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Boys & Girls Club opens for new season
By Al Owens
Monday, August 7, at 3:00 p.m. the Boys and Girls Club of Lewis County reopened with about 50 students expected for the first day. A free pack of school supplies was available to be given to the first 75 children to arrive.
The boys and girls got off the busses and dashed to their favorite spots. Some began to play games while others with smiles and laughter headed for the treats and refreshments.
According to Director Mike Kennedy the club with its staff offers several programs.
Peg Nolen is the Teen Specialist and supervises the activities for that age group.
Roger Bivens serves as the Membership Clerk. He said that the club has about 300 members.
Ashley Bloomfield is the Technology Specialist. She said with a smile that the title means she works with the computers in the computer room.
Jacob Sartin is the Educational Specialist and oversees several programs. They include homework tutoring, the power hour store where the kids can purchase prizes with points they earn at the club and a drug prevention program called Smart Moves.
The Boys and Girls Club also offers training in martial arts, a forensic class, tumbling, art, physical fitness and also has a library.
The fee is only $1.00 per student for the whole year. Most funding comes from 21st Century Community Learning grants, fundraisers, the founders club and donations. Fundraisers so far have been a golf scramble and a gospel concert by the More Than the Music performers.
Buses were expected from Central Elementary, Garrison Elementary, the Middle School and the High School. A bus from Tollesboro has been added this year but it would not run until the next day.
The club meets in facilities at the Clarksburg Worship Center at the junction of 3037 and the AA Highway. The Lewis County School Board provides transportation. The club is open weekdays from 3:00 to 6:30 p.m.
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