October 18, 2005, News
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Lewis County still in running for power
By Al Owens
Meeting in regular session last week the Lewis County Fiscal Court learned that the county is still in the running for the site of a proposed American Electric Power plant at Carrs.
Timothy Mosher, president of Kentucky Power, attended the meeting to update the court on the current status of that proposition.
Mosher said that AEP intends to build two 600-megawatt power stations, and three sites remain under consideration. In addition to the Carrs location the company is looking at sites in Charleston,
West Virginia, and in Great Bend, Ohio.
He told the court that AEP tries to build in areas that have deficits in wattage output. This region has a 200-watt deficit but Columbia Southern in Ohio has a 1000-watt deficit in generated power to meet the needs of its customers.
Mosher emphasized, however, that the Carrs site is still high on the list. He plans to attend another court session in the near future to keep local officials informed on the status of the power plant.
The court approved an amendment to the personnel policy to pay supervisory personnel overtime when they have to spend substantial extended time working on large projects. The rate of overtime pay would be based on their salaries.
The court moved to make its usual annual donation to the D.A.R.E Program. The court was uncertain whether that would be $250 or $500 so the motion said the amount would be the same as last year.
The court authorized the advertising of speculative bids on two issues.
One was for the purchase of a lowboy trailer to haul the graders around the county. Driving the heavy equipment is expensive and is hard on the tires.
The other was for the replacement of the Bear Creek bridge.
Paula Franke, Tollesboro presented a petition to the court opposing the recently proposed horse ordinance.
Franke said that the petition had about 120 signatures of residents who want the court not to approve the ordinance.
She said, “We think Fiscal Court needs to focus on something more than just horse piles on the highway.”
Franke continued, “It’s more important that Fiscal Court do something about getting some way that buggies and trucks and cars can co-exist safely on the roads.”
She told the court that she has seen several near accidents when a vehicle suddenly came upon a horse and buggy in the road.
She pointed out that the community is fortunate that no such accident has occurred in Lewis County because they have occurred in Ohio.
County Judge Executive Steve Applegate responded that the major issue is safety. He related that a motorcycle rider had called him to express concern about hitting the horse droppings and having a wreck.
Another concern was the danger in dodging the droppings on narrow roads in order to avoid soiling a vehicle.
Applegate said that the main concern was safety and the issue has to be addressed. He told Franke that certain steps have been discussed and the court is going to try to change the ordinance to help everybody out.
First District Magistrate Milt Stanfield spoke up and said that he is the one that introduced the need for the ordinance. He said that finding the will of the people isn’t always easy, but he was merely a spokesman for his constituents.
Stanfield said that he isn’t against horses because he owns two himself and is looking for a buggy. He added that when he gets the buggy it would have a courtesy catcher on it.
Dale Corns also appeared before the court. He asked about the liabilities involved if a driver should happen to hit a horse and buggy. He said that after dark the horses and buggies are hard to see.
Sheriff Bill Lewis told the court that the law does not require owners of horse drawn vehicles to have liability insurance.
Stanfield said that some of the buggies were well lit and some were not.
Dewayna Adams asked the court about paving or patching the roads in the Firebrick area. She said that they are in bad shape. She told the court that some of the gravel roads are in better condition than the paved roads.
Third District Magistrate Keith Chapman explained that two roads in that area had been put on the priority list sent to the state but that the Transportation Department limited the county government about what roads could be blacktopped.
The court approved the treasurer’s report and the claims and transfers for the general, road and jail fund accounts.
Before adjourning Judge Applegate announced that the next regular session of Fiscal Court would be held on Monday, November 14 at 9:30 a.m. in the third floor courtroom in the Lewis County Courthouse.
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K-9 unit OK'd to keep schools drug-free
By Al Owens
Meeting in regular session last week the Lewis County Board of Education took steps to keep drugs out of local schools by approving use of a Kentucky State Police K-9 Unit.
Master Sergeant Elden Riffe, Safety Officer for Lewis County schools, told the board that the dogs of the KSP K-9 Unit are trained to sniff out drugs including prescription drugs. The unit shows up unannounced and checks out lockers, hallways and classrooms after the students have been removed from those locations. They also randomly checked cars in the parking lots. In the interest of student safety the dogs are not permitted near the children at any time.
Maurice Reeder commended the JROTC’s Veteran’s Day Program. This year the program will be held on Friday, Nov. 11 beginning at 10:00 AM. All veterans are invited and encouraged to attend the service held especially in their honor.
Assistant Superintendent Belinda Forman explained the CATS and CTP scores to the board. She said that this is the interim year, and the schools have one more year to reach their goals. She told the board that overall the schools are making progress, and new strategies to continue that improvement have already been made.
She said that district wide the CATS goal is 76.1. The score for 2005 was 75.4. that means the 2006 score must be 76.8 for the district to meet its goal.
The goal for Garrison Elementary is 76.9 and this year’s score is 71.3. Central’s goal is 73 and that school has a high score of 78.4. The Middle School’s goal is 75.1 and this year’s score is 72.2. The High School has a goal of 75.7 and the 2005 score is76.5. Tollesboro Elementary’s goal is 77.1 and its 2005 score is 83.3. Most of the schools are on track, have improved and have until next year to reach, maintain or exceed their goals.
Forman said that Garrison and Central Elementaries are in the third year of the Reading First Program funded by an educational grant. She said the students are on track. Teachers monitor their progress daily to help them meet their goals. If those goals are not met this year the schools risk losing the grant of $320,000 for the two schools. She explained that to retain the grant 75 percent of the pupils must score over the 50 percentile.
Forman also elaborated on the two half days the schools are having for two consecutive Fridays. The days are used for professional development and instruction for the teachers.
Kevin Duff, Director of Pupil Personnel explained the new truancy policy to the board. Any child who is absent from school or tardy without a valid excuse for thee or more days is considered a truant. Any child who is reported as truant two or more times is a habitual truant. At the discretion of the judicial system any parent or guardian who intentionally fails to comply with the requirements of Kentucky’s truancy law shall be fined $100 for the first offense and $250 for the second offense. After that every offense is classified as a Class B misdemeanor.
Over all state law requires every parent and guardian of a child six to 21-years-old to send that child to school.
Duff listed the district’s truancy priorities as follows: (1) That all students receive a quality education (2) To provide information to the parents (3) To provide support for parents, and (4) To communicate concerns regarding attendance.
He told the board that in the 2001-02 school year 59 cases were filed against parents for truancy. Last year that number had decreased to 25 truancy cases filed.
Superintendent Maurice Reeder, Jr. gave each board member a copy of the Policy On Head Lice. He clarified that the schools have no head lice in them but sometimes the children bring them in from their homes.
Reeder said that the schools try to educate the students on how to avoid head lice, and the problem has been greatly reduced since the policy was implemented in October 1998.
The board approved the working budget for the current year. The budget goes through three steps before it is finalized, and the working budget is the last of those steps. The budget remains about the same as last year except for the increased cost for student transportation made necessary by the increased cost of fuel.
The board approved a change order for the Tollesboro Elementary renovation project. New lighting is being added to the hallways and some rooms at a total cost of $11,025.
The board approved the annual entry into the Limestone Academic League. The fees for all the schools total $1400.
Although Lewis County has so far not received any evacuees from the hurricane ravaged regions down south the board went ahead and approved use of the former head start building on Second Street for that purpose. County Judge Executive Steve Applegate informed Reeder that at this late date the county probably won’t get any evacuees but that could still happen.
The board also approved compliance with the Open Meeting/Open Records Documentation requirements. All the board members as well as all other elected or appointed local officials are required to read the regulations and sign off on them.
The board approved the purchase of four new school buses. One will be a 34-passenger bus, two will be 66-passenger busses and the other will be a 52-passenger bus for the handicapped.
The board then approved the annual resolution with the Kentucky Interlocal School Transportation Association (KISTA). The school purchases busses through that organization and has done so for several years.
The board also approved the sale of four old busses and some other equipment through closed bids.
The board approved three field trips. The superintendent gave his monthly personnel report, and the board approved the treasurer’s report and the payment of the bills before adjourning.
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Electric Plant Board
By Al Owens
Meeting in regular session last week the Electric Plant Board of the City of Vanceburg heard good news from Rodney M. Robinette, C.P.A. for Smith, Goolsby, Artis & Reams, Ashland.
Robinette presented the audit for the 2005 fiscal year that ended this past June 30. He told the board that the audit resulted in a clean opinion with no reportable conditions and no instances of noncompliance found in the financial statements. The same held true for the audit of internal control and the major federal programs. The audit also concluded that the Plant Board is a low-risk auditee. All that is good news.
The audit shows that the Utility Company has total assets of $24,193,821 with total liabilities of $9,869,267 leaving total net assets at $14,324,554.
Robinette was complimentary of the board saying, “You all have done a tremendous job as guardians of your assets.”
He encouraged the company, “Keep on doing the hard work you’re doing. You’ve had a good year.”
Board superintendent Phil Kennedy reported that two power companies are preparing proposals for the new electric contract. Synergy out of Cincinnati and American Electric Power are vying for the business.
Kennedy announced that a special meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 25 at 6:00
p.m. with those two companies regarding their proposals.
He told the board that the days of the sweet contract of the past ten years is over. Whatever happens with the new contract electric rates will go up.
During the explanation of the audit Robinette told the board that with the increases in natural gas rates and the upcoming increase in electric rates in addition to the increase in gasoline and oil prices many people are going to have a hard winter this year. Kennedy echoed that opinion.
Kennedy pointed out that just last week Louisville Gas & Electric upped its natural gas rates about 64 percent. A LG&E spokesman said that a budget customer that paid $88 per month for natural gas last year would have to pay about $144 per month over the next 12 months.
Kennedy updated the board on the 2004 Water Extension project. He said that the Utility Company’s next step is to contact the highway department for permission to do the road bores on their right-of-way. Then in the next two or three weeks they will have a meeting with the local people that live on those roads to get them to sign easements. He said that right now it looks like the company only needs 25 to 30 easements. The time, place and date of the meeting will be appropriately publicized and announced.
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PSHH to hold drawing for
With the arrival of cooler weather and the approaching heating season, it is time to inspect your home heating appliances to prevent carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.
CO poisoning is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths, claiming over 2,000 lives in this country each year. Since CO is an odorless, tasteless and invisible gas, most victims are unaware that they are being poisoned by this “silent killer”. CO poisoning can be caused by improperly installed or poorly maintained heaters, furnaces, ovens or fireplaces or by lack of adequate ventilation in homes.
While infants, pregnant women, the elderly and those with lung or heart problems are especially vulnerable to CO poisoning, even a healthy adult can become a victim. CO gas cannot be detected by a smoke alarm, but it can be detected by a carbon monoxide detector.
In memory of Herb Bloomfield, a Lewis County resident and a victim of carbon monoxide poisoning, People’s Self-Help Housing, Inc. (PSHH) is pleased to announce its annual drawing for free carbon monoxide detectors to be held on Tuesday evening, October 25th.
To win a detector, register your household by calling the PSHH office at 606-796-6333 or stop by the main office on Fairlane Drive weekdays from 8:00 a.m. through 4:00 p.m. The deadline to register is Monday, October 24 at 4:00 p.m.
Prevention is the key to defeating this “silent killer”. PSHH encourages everyone to take the following precautions as colder weather approaches:
1.) have your natural gas, bottle gas, kerosene or wood heaters inspected by a professional to be sure that they are working properly, 2.) make sure that your home is properly ventilated, 3.) replace outdated, inefficient heating units with newer, energy efficient units, and 4.) if you heat or cook with gas, kerosene or wood, install a CO detector in your home. These simple steps could literally save your life and the lives of your loved ones.
PSHH has been a provider of safe, affordable housing for low and moderate-income families in Lewis County for 23 years, including both rental properties and new homes for purchase. Emergency shelter and transitional housing is also available. PSHH offers Equal Housing Opportunities.
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