OBITUARIES

Sterling Edward Coffey, Jr. age 67 of Stearns, passed away Saturday December 13, 2014. In accordance with Mr. Coffey's wishes he was creamted. Visitation will be Friday after 6:00PM at the funeral home. Hickman-Strunk Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Condolences may be left for the family at www.strunkfuneralhome.net.
Joanne Perry age 78 of Harrison, OH, formerly of Stearns, wife of Darvin Perry, passed away Wednesday December 17, 2014. Funeral services will be Saturday at 11:00AM at Hickman-Strunk Funeral Home with burial in McCreary Memorial Gardens. Visitation will be Friday after 6:00PM at the funeral home. Hickman-Strunk Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Condolences may be left for the family at www.strunkfuneralhome.net.
Myrtle Worley age 93 of Marshes Siding, widow of Howard Worley, passed away Wednesday December 17, 2014. Funeral services will be Sunday at 2:00PM at Hickman-Strunk Funeral Home with burial in Lower Hickory Grove Cemetery. Visitation will be Saturday after 6:00PM at the funeral home. Hickman-Strunk Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Condolences may be left for the family at www.strunkfuneralhome.net.

DAILY NEWS UPDATES

Updated Friday December 19, 2014 @ 7:00am

HIGHLAND E-MAIL IMPACTED BY SCHEDULED MAINTENANCE
Those who use highland.net e-mail accounts will have their e-mail accounts impacted by scheduled maintenance. The maintenance will begin at about 12:00am on Saturday December 20th and Highland staff expect the work to be completed within about three hours. They say the network maintenance is needed to make improvements to their system.

McCREARY CENTRAL TO HOST ARBYS/KFC HOLIDAY CLASSIC
The annual Arbys/KFC Holiday Classic boy's basketball tournament will be hosted this weekend at McCreary Central High School's Joe S. Williams Gymnasium. The schedule includes a match-up between Danville and Barbourville tipping off at 4:00pm Saturday (December 20th) followed by the McCreary Central Raiders hosting Greenup County at 7:00pm. Sunday's games will include a pair of games and then games on Monday and Tuesday to round out the tournament. McCreary Central goes into the holiday classic with a current 5-4 record on the season.

BANQUET OF BLESSINGS TELETHON PLANNED FOR SATURDAY
A telethon to help raise money for the annual Banquet of Blessings community dinner will be held this Saturday evening (December 20th) on MBR-TV, which is channel 2 on Access Cable in McCreary County. Viewers will be asked to support the annual event that helps provide hot Christmas dinners for those in need in the community. The project began several years ago and has averaged serving about 500 meals each year on Christmas. This year's Banquet of Blessings will be Wednesday December 24th from 11:00am to 4:00pm in the cafeteria at McCreary Middle School. For information visit the Banquet of Blessings Facebook page or call Shane Gilreath at 606-354-6824 or Candice Greene-Bridgeman at the McCreary County Judge Executive's Office at 376-2413.

SOUTH KENTUCKY RECC WARNING OF POTENTIAL SCAM
Officials with South Kentucky RECC have issued a warning to its members to beware of people posing as employees of the electric co-op. According to the scam alert, some members of RECC have receive telephone calls claiming to be from the co-op saying service will be disconnected if payment on the account is not made immediately. The caller may then attempt to gain bank account or personal information from the intended victim. A statement from South Kentucky RECC says the co-op does not personally contact members to tell them their bill is past due. A call may come from them if a member is about to be disconnected but would be an automated phone call and would come after regular business hours. Members are urged to never give out personal or account information over the phone unless you have initiated the call. In some cases, using current technology, scam phone calls can actually show up on caller ID as a call from South Kentucky RECC, but members should use caution and be alert. Any contractors or employees working in a community will be in company vehicles and will have identification. Those contacted by such scam artists are asked to contact South Kentucky RECC and local law enforcement to report as much information about the incident as possible.

US CONGRESS ORDERS STUDY ON MILL SPRINGS BATTLEFIELD
The National Defense Authorization Act was approved by Congress last week for fiscal year 2015. The act includes language, included in the bill by US Congressman Hal Rogers, that directs the Department of the Interior to conduct a study to determine the feasibility of adopting the Mill Springs Battlefield into the National Park System. The site is currently managed and overseen by the non-profit Mill Springs Battlefield Association and was listed by the US Department of the Interior in the 1990s as one of the most endangered battlefields located in Kentucky. The site is located in portions of Wayne and Pulaski Counties. The act approved by Congress gives the National Park Service up to three years to complete the study to determine whether the battlefield can be included in the system. The act passed in the US House by a 325-98 vote on December 4th followed by Senate approval of 89-11 on December 11th. It now awaits the signature of President Obama, which is expected before the end of the year.

MAN KILLED IN TUESDAY MORNING PULASKI COUNTY CRASH
Police are investigating a Tuesday morning crash on KY Highway 1247 in Pulaski County that resulted in a fatality. They say a man was driving along the highway when the vehicle went off the roadway and struck a tree. It was a single vehicle wreck and he was the only occupant of the vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene. Police are still investigating and working to determine the exact cause of the accident.

AMERICAN LEGION POST TO HOLD TOYS FOR TOTS PICK-UP
American Legion Post 115 in Stearns has announced they will hold the pickup for families approved in their Toys for Tots program Saturday December 20th from 10:00am to 2:00pm. The pickup will be at the legion hall in Stearns.

McCREARY COUNTY PREPARING FOR NEW SHERIFF IN 2015
Following the November General Election, McCreary County is preparing for a new sheriff to take office in early January. Randy Waters won the race over incumbent Sheriff Gus Skinner. During last week's regular meeting of the McCreary County Fiscal Court, the court voted to approve some line item revisions to Skinner's budget for this year to close out 2014. The court also approved Randy Waters 2015 budget and authorized Waters to apply for state advancement funds. Each year, the sheriff's department begins with a zero balance and has to borrow money from the state to operate with those funds paid back throughout the year. Fiscal court also voted to retire the law enforcement canine being used by the current sheriff and to transfer ownership of the dog to Gus Skinner in his civilian capacity. McCreary County property owners are reminded that property taxes can still be paid at face amount through December 31st. The sheriff's office is open Monday through Thursday and will be open on Wednesday December 31st for the last payment day of the year.

HOG HUNTING OPEN IN THE BIG SOUTH FORK
Officials with the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area have announced that hog hunting season is underway now through February 28, 2015. The Big South Fork is one of only a few National Park Service areas that allow hunting and wild hogs may be hunted with weapons legally in both Kentucky and Tennessee. A permit is required for hunting hogs in the Big South Fork and may be purchased at the Bandy Creek Visitor Center or online at
www.nps.gov/biso/planyourvisit/hog-hunting.htm. Permits are $5.00 and a valid hunting license is also required to purchase the hog hunting permit. For additional information call 423-286-7275.

McCREARY FISCAL COURT AUTHORIZES NEW 911 FACILITY
Meeting in regular session Thursday night, the McCreary County Fiscal Court voted to authorize Judge Executive Doug Stephens to pursue a loan, through South Kentucky RECC and the Kentucky Association of Counties (KACo), to proceed with the project to relocate the county's 911 center. The issue was previously discussed by the court with Deputy Judge Andy Powell urging the members to approve the move which will allow for the installation of new dispatch equipment in a space in the lower level of the EMS/Ambulance Service building in downtown Whitley City. Powell said the equipment is being funded through grants to fully implement enhanced 911 and that now is the time to relocate the center. The current 911 building is in very poor shape, according to county officials, with Magistrate Roger Phillips including in his comments on the issue that the building should be torn down and removed entirely once 911 is moved. The loan will be sought for up to $50,000, although Powell said PILT money, or payment in lieu of taxes, coming from the federal government could in the coming weeks could be used to offset that cost. He said generally between $30,000-$35,000 of PILT funds can be used each year toward some type of emergency service project, for which 911 would qualify. He also noted that the county expects to save up to $800 monthly on utility and other expenses by moving 911 which will also help with the overall project cost. With final approval from the court on Thursday, the project is now set to move forward sometime after the first of the year.

McCREARY LEADERS WRESTLE WITH JOB CLASSIFICATIONS
During the regular December session of the McCreary County Fiscal Court last week, county leaders wrestled with some job classifications and whether a pay raise is really a pay raise. The issue was raised with the proposal to create a new job classification to be known as “Academy Trained Dispatcher” at an increased pay rate of $9 per hour. Magistrate Roger Phillips question this by saying that all 911 dispatcher are required to complete the academy training within one year on the job, meaning that all dispatcher would qualify for the new classification within that time. He added that this amounted to a pay raise for dispatchers. Phillips noted that he was not against pay raises for county employees provided the money is there to pay for it, which he said according to Treasurer Mark Sewell it is not at this time, and provided raises can be provided to employees across the board and not just one or two departments. The court decided to table the creation of the new job title, along with the title of “Public Works-Heavy Equipment Operator” which would have been a classification for a road department position. The court did vote to approve the creation of an “Advanced EMT” position with the ambulance service because it will reportedly save the county money in the long run and requires additional training beyond the training required for regular EMTs.

In recent months, Judge Executive Doug Stephens has noted his desire to reclassify some job descriptions and potentially offer pay incentives based on years of experience and training by county employees. Options are still be worked through for that type of restructuring.

POSSIBLE DELAY REPORTED FOR COMPANY LOOKING AT McCREARY
At the very end of October it was announced that METT USA LLC was seriously looking at McCreary County for the location of a new alternative waste management and clean energy facility. With that facility would reportedly come between 600-900 jobs for the area within a few years. During the December meeting of the McCreary County Fiscal Court, Magistrate Jason Mann asked the county's economic development director, Susan Stephens, what the latest was on that project. Stephens said the company is still optimistic, but had hit a snag with some state regulations. She said the company hoped to get approval at a state meeting in late January and could then move forward quickly in the next year. Reports have indicated the company is looking to locate its facility in the Greenwood area in northern McCreary County with one factor in that decision being the availability of railroad lines in that area.

McCREARY COUNTY MURDER INVESTIGATION UNDERWAY
Kentucky State Police have confirmed that a murder investigation is underway in McCreary County following a suspicious structure fire late Friday evening. According to a police report, the residence was located on South Highway 1651 in Pine Knot and a male subject was reportedly found dead in the burned home just before midnight on Friday (December 12th). The victim was identified as 66 year old Johnny Taylor of Pine Knot and police say he had multiple stab wounds to his body. An autopsy was performed over the weekend at the state medical examiner's office in Frankfort to determine the exact cause of death and any other evidence. No arrests had been made at last report but the investigation is continuing, led by Kentucky State Police with assistance at the scene from the McCreary County Sheriff's Department, McCreary County Coroner's Office and the South McCreary Fire Department.

WHITLEY COUNTY HOME WITH METH LAB, SMALL CHILDREN RAIDED
Authorities in Whitley County, working on a tip, executed a raid on a home on Watts Creek Road early Wednesday morning where they located an active meth lab and small children also in the home. The lab was first spotted on the back porch of the home and after a search of the home several bags of suspected methamphetamine and digital scales potentially used in the meth manufacturing were confiscated. Two small children were taken from the home and were turned over to protective state custody. Arrested at the scene on various drug related charges and child endangerment charges were 24 year old Trisha Rodgers, Phillips Lee age 28, 51 year old Kelly Rodgers, and 54 year old Roy Rodgers. All four were lodged in the Whitley County Detention Center as the investigation continues being led by the Kentucky State Police.

McCREARY COUNTY DEPUTY JUDGE REDUCED TO PART TIME
It was no surprise Thursday night when the McCreary County Fiscal Court was asked by Judge Executive Doug Stephens to reduce Deputy Judge Andrew Powell to a part-time employee. The move came during the regular December session of the court and comes after several weeks of public acknowledgment by Powell that he would be leaving his full time position to take a job at Union College beginning in January. Powell will still reside, with his family, in McCreary County and says he plans to remain active in the community. That activity will include, at least temporarily, serving as part-time deputy judge on an as needed basis up to 24 hours per week at a pay rate of just over $15 per hour, based on his current pay structure. As a part-time employee Powell will also lose his benefits with the county. Powell did say that he feels the job deserves and needs full time attention and that he hopes someone will fill that post in the future. That is likely to be part on an overall plan by Judge Stephens to restructure some aspects of county government administration. Also possibly part of that is the soon to be vacant tourism director position with the announced resignation of Tara Chaney at the end of the year. Magistrate Roger Phillips once again pushed for the economic development director and tourism director positions to be combined, something Powell said is being looked at although no definite plans have been finalized. He hinted that it could be several months before restructuring is complete saying that any job description changes would have to be included in the county's Administrative Code, something that is generally updated or changed in June of each year. The judge executive does have the authority to recommended changes to that code anytime of year, but court members in general can only recommended changes in June.

We will continue our look back at last Thursday's meeting of the McCreary County Fiscal Court on Tuesday's “Daily Update” report.

McCREARY FISCAL COURT TAKES ON BUSINESS LICENSE ISSUE
Prior to their scheduled regular meeting Thursday evening, the McCreary County Fiscal Court held a public hearing to gather comments on the proposed business license permit for the county. The hearing lasted nearly two hours with a nearly full courtroom and citizens divided with some supporting the measure and some against. Even those opposing the measure were split between those who seemed to believe it was a bad idea for the “small” guy trying to just make a few dollars to survive and those who agreed in part with the idea but had questions or did not feel the county could enforce the business license requirement. Buddy Wilson opened the hearing on behalf of the McCreary County Chamber of Commerce with a summary of what the proposal included, saying that it mainly targets transient companies or contractors who travel through the county providing services or selling goods, only to leave without a trace and without paying their fair share of local taxes. Citizen Rick Wilson addressed the hearing saying he had over five hundred (500) signatures on a petition, some individuals and some business owners, who were against the proposal which was put forth by the Chamber.

Judge Executive Doug Stephens noted that there are already laws requiring those making $600 or more annually on a business or service to file state and federal tax returns and pay on any profits they see from that business. That would be the same dollar threshold for the county in terms of filing occupational taxes, which is the number one focus of the business license according to supporters. Judge Stephens said currently the county has trouble identifying and tracking those who should be, but are not, registered and paying the tax. He noted that the business license would help the county with that, but admitted that he knows not everyone will voluntarily seek a license and comply. Several citizens, including former judge-executive candidate Tony Kidd, noted the county's inadequate enforcement of the occupational tax collections, which has been in place for more than a decade. Some suggested holding off on the business license until the county can show that it is enforcing the tax.

Another former judge-executive candidate, Vicki Kidd, told the court and the audience that her concerns are with how the business license requirement would be enforced and what “teeth” are actually in the proposal to help with that enforcement. She added that she felt the county need a business license ordinance if it will be enforced properly, adding she even thinks the county needs building permit requirements.

On the issue of the fee involved with the business license, the originally proposed fee structure was reworked by the Chamber with a flat $25 fee discussed to help offset the administrative costs for the county. Fiscal court members seemed more open to having no fee and making the business license simply a free registration of businesses and services to help the county track and use as a tool for ensuring everyone is paying the already required occupational tax.

Once the public hearing closed, and following a brief intermission, the court convened for their regular December session. Item 16 on the agenda was the first reading of the proposed business license ordinance. The room fell silent for several seconds as no magistrate seemed willing to make the motion to proceed. Judge Stephens then asked if the court wanted to take any action or let it die from lack of a motion. Magistrate Jason Mann recommended the court table the issue to gather additional public comment. Roger Phillips agreed with that idea and said more information needs to be available to the public. Despite the fact that the public hearing was publicized in both local newspapers, on radio, on the county website and on Facebook, Phillips said the county should do more to advertise that a public meeting is being held on the issue. In the end, the court voted to table the proposal until a later date. County leaders noted that anyone with questions or concerns about the measure should contact the Judge Executive's Office and efforts will be made to answer questions in local media and on the county website at www.mccrearycounty.com. Copies of the proposed ordinance are also available on the website, at the judge's office and at the public library. The issue could be revisited again after the first of the year.

We will have the complete report on Thursday night's meeting of the McCreary County Fiscal Court on our “Daily Update” report this coming Monday (December 15th).

WINTERFEST PAGEANT WINNERS ANNOUNCED
This past Saturday, December 6th, was the annual WinterFest Pageant for McCreary County with winners crowned in several different categories. In the boys' 4-6 year old division the winner was Marcus Creekmore, followed by first runner-up Braxton Creekmore. Braxton also picked up the award for prettiest eyes and prettiest hair in that division. Marcus Creekmore also won the award for prettiest smile and best dressed. In the “Baby Miss” division for newborn to 11 months, the winner was Kaylynn Creekmore, who also picked up awards for prettiest eyes, smile, hair and best dressed. The division for toddler girls ages 12 to 23 months included Makinlee Heath as the winner, also winning prettiest smile and hair. Cori Rayne Gregory was the first-runner up and won awards for prettiest eyes and best dressed. The WnterFest division for 7-9 year old girls was won by Jovannah Neal, who also won best dressed and prettiest hair. The first runner-up was Melody Stevens who won prettiest eyes and smile. In the Miss WinterFest division, for ages 16 through 24 years, the Miss WinterFest winner was Rachel Lauren Wells, followed by first runner-up Jerrica Myers. Rachel also won best dress and prettiest hair, while Jerrica picked up awards for prettiest smile and eyes. The 2014 WinterFest Pageant was held at McCreary County Middle School Saturday evening.

BANDY CREEK VISITOR CENTER HOSTING FIRESIDE CHAT
The Bandy Creek Visitor Center on the Tennessee side of the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area will host a fireside chat event this Saturday December 13th starting at 11:00am. The program will offer information on holiday traditions of the past and visitors can also take part in making a holiday craft to take home or leave on the holiday tree at Bandy Creek. The event is free and open to the public. For information or directions call the Bandy Creek Visitor Center at 423-286-7275.

ANNUAL BANQUET OF BLESSINGS PLANNED FOR CHRISTMAS EVE
Each year, the volunteers and board members of the McCrearyFest & Parade organization join to offer a free community Christmas dinner for those in need. The event is known as the “Banquet of Blessings” and is traditionally held on Christmas Eve. This year will be no different as the event has been scheduled for Wednesday December 24th from 11:00am to 3:00pm in the cafeteria of McCreary Middle School on Raider Way in Stearns. Meals will be served free during those hours to those in need in the community and can also be delivered to those unable to get out and either dine at the school or pickup a meal to go. The event averages serving about 500 people each year and is run entirely on volunteer manpower and donations. To help with that effort, a fundraising telethon will air on local Access Cable MBR-TV Channel 2 Saturday evening December 20th. In addition, those wishing to donate or volunteer can see any McCrearyFest board member or look up “Banquet of Blessings” on Facebook.

SHELTER TRAINING COURSE BEING OFFERED IN McCREARY COUNTY
In case of emergency situations, one of the most basic needs for mankind is shelter. The American Red Cross is offering a training course geared to emergency responders, community leaders and others interested in learning about setting up emergency shelters. The shelter training will be offered in McCreary County next Tuesday December 16
th at 6:30pm at the Whitley City Fire Department. For information about the training call Terry Baker at 606-516-1230.

WHITLEY COUNTY PEDESTRIAN INJURED WHEN STRUCK BY CAR
A woman in Whitley County was seriously injured Monday when she was struck by a vehicle while walking along the road. Police say the woman, whose identity was not being released at last report, attempted to cross Highway 25 in Williamsburg when an oncoming car struck her. The woman was airlifted to the hospital for treatment of what they called serious, but non-life threatening, injuries. Crews had a section of Highway 25 closed for some time Monday as the scene was cleared and investigated.

TRAININGS TO BE OFFERED ON FARM HARVESTING FOR MARKET
Horticultural farmers, including some of the local individuals who grow produce and take part in the Grow Appalachia program and the McCreary County Farmers' Market, may want to make note of an upcoming training session that will help show farmers how to properly prepare their goods for market. The session will include harvesting, storing and packing the produce so it makes it to market and is attractive to potential buyers. Also covered with be ensuring that the products meet safe food standards and requirements. The training is being offered in part by the Kentucky Center for Agriculture and Rural Development with a session planned for Wednesday December 17th at the Whitley County Extension Service in Williamsburg. There is a $10 registration fee to cover expenses for the training and you can learn more or download the registration form from the home page of the official McCreary County website at www.mccrearycounty.com. You can also call Brent Lackey at 606-271-2998 or e-mail blackey@kcard.info.

McCREARY TAX COLLECTIONS INCREASE FOR NOVEMBER
The numbers are in and they show a fairly significant increase in occupational tax collections in McCreary County last month. According to the numbers released Monday by the McCreary County Judge Executive's Office, $71,200 came in for November through tax collections. That's up from just $47,504 in November of last year and $62,187 in November 2012. The entire amount of collections, plus the month's interest of $13.19, is deposited into the county's General Fund. A total of $3,330.75 is deducted for the month's administrative expenses, leaving $67,882.55 in the General Fund from the November tax collections to help support the various programs and projects of county government. For more on tax collections and tax reporting forms and requirements you can visit the tax page online at tax.mccrearycounty.com.

CONGRATULATIONS TO MISS WINTERFEST 2014
The WinterFest Pageant was held at McCreary County Middle School Saturday night with Rachel Lauren Wells crowned Miss WinterFest 2014. Wells was also Miss McCrearFest this year, reportedly making her the first to hold both crowns concurrently. The McCreary Central Madrigals also performed during Saturday night's pageant and will perform again this Saturday December 13th at 5:00pm as part of the downtown Whitley City WinterFest activities.

McCREARY SHERIFF'S OFFICE NOW CLOSED ON FRIDAYS
With a new sheriff poised to take office in a few short weeks, the McCreary County Sheriff's office is trimming its office hours through the rest of this year. According to the department's website (www.mccrearysheriff.com) the office hours are now Monday through Thursday from 8:30am to 4:30pm. The office is also closed for lunch from 12:30-1:30pm. This may cause an inconvenience for some who try to pay property taxes, but the department says it will not limit the hours a deputy is on patrol. That is, no more than a tight budget has already limited patrol hours. Emergency law enforcement calls can still be placed to 911 twenty four hours a day. Those looking for other options in paying property taxes can also pay using a credit or debit card online using the link found at www.mccrearysheriff.com. Randy Waters will assume the office of sheriff reportedly effective at 12:01am on Monday January 5, 2015 after defeating Sheriff Gus Skinner in the November election.

WHITLEY CO SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT USES TIP TO NAB SUSPECT
The Whitley County Sheriff's Department is giving credit to a citizen's tip for the weekend arrest of a man wanted in both Kentucky and Tennessee. 34 year old Monty Sands was picked up after eluding capture for more than a year. Sands was wanted on an arrest warrant in Jellico, Tennessee dating back to August 2013 for an alleged rape and was also wanted on warrants in Kentucky for a parole violation. He was lodged in the Whitley County Detention Center following his arrest.

McCREARY COUNTY UNEMPLOYMENT RATE DROPS FOR OCTOBER
McCreary County's unemployment rate has seen significant improvement over one year ago. In October 2013, the local jobless rate was recorded at 12.9% but has dropped more than four percentage points to 8.7% in October of this year. However, the news is not all good as McCreary County still recorded the highest jobless rate in the ten county Lake Cumberland area for October and was still listed as one of the highest ten rates in Kentucky for the month. The state's high jobless rate was in Jackson County with 11.7% unemployed while the lowest was recorded in Boone County at only 4.1%. For more information on the labor market or jobless rates in Kentucky you can visit www.kylmi.ky.gov online.

McCREARY COUNTY GRAND JURY RETURNS 15 INDICTMENTS
Meeting for their regular November session, the McCreary County Grand Jury handed down indictments against 15 individuals. Most of the cases presented to the grand jury last month involved drug related offenses, in addition to burglary and theft charges. One case also involved an alleged assault on a local law enforcement officer, when the suspect reportedly struck District 3 Constable Donald Daugherty during the arrest. The McCreary County Record reports this week on the grand jury session with full details. Listeners are reminded that a grand jury indictment is simply a formal charge in a case and is not a finding of guilt.

McCREARY COUNTY PROJECTS RECEIVE GRANT FUNDING
Announcements were made this week that two local projects are receiving grant funding to move forward. On The “Visit McCreary USA” Facebook page, an announcement was made that a grant submitted for Federal Land Access funding by the Judge Executive's office had been approved to pave and improve the Yahoo Falls Road leading to the recreation area. The announcement indicates that the project will be completed next spring. In addition, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear announced the awarding of more than $1 million in funding for various projects statewide through the Recreational Trails Program. A $25,000 grant award was approved for the US Forest Service Stearns District for the Buffalo Canyon Bridge and Sheltowee Trace Reconstruction Project in McCreary County.

PINE KNOT INCLUDED IN POSTAL SERVICE HOLIDAY CARD POSTMARKS
The US Postal Service Kentucky District has announced that several holiday related postmarks are being offered to customers throughout the month of December. One such postmark is listed as “Pine Knot Station” at Pine Knot, Kentucky. To have this postmark on your holiday greeting cards you mail, the Postal Service says you should prepare your greeting card as usual, seal the envelope, print the addresses on the envelopes and put appropriate postage on each. Then, customers can put all the greeting cards in the same large envelope or Priority Mail box and send to: Holiday Postmark, Postmaster, 625 East Highway 92 Pine Knot, KY 42635. The greeting cards will then be stamped with the special holiday postmark from Pine Knot Station before being mailed to the recipient. You are advised to mail the package no later than December 15th. After that date you will need to use Priority Express Mail to ensure the cards arrive on time.

McCREARY MAN TAKES BLACK BEAR IN SECOND YEAR HUNT
Last year, the state opened a 16 county zone in Kentucky to black bear hunting for a limited season in late fall. The hunt ended last year with no bears taken in McCreary County, which is included in that hunting zone. This year's season produced different results as McCreary County resident Ronald Wood of Pine Knot tagged a bear on Thanksgiving morning in southwestern McCreary County.
The McCreary County Record reports on the kill stating that the bear was a 174 pound male taken with a crossbow. The archery and crossbow season ran from November 22nd through November 30th, while the modern gun black bear hunting season will be even more limited, running from December 13th through 15th. Quotas for the black bear hunts include a total of ten bears that can be taken or five females. For more on hunting in Kentucky you can visit Fish and Wildlife online at fw.ky.gov.

McCREARY FISCAL COURT PREPARING FOR DECEMBER SESSION
The December session of the McCreary County Fiscal Court will be next Thursday December 11
th at 7:00pm. That will not only be the final meeting for the court before the end of the year, it will also be the final meeting for Magistrates Stan Cox and Frankie Ball. Cox lost his re-election bid in the May primary while Ball lost in the General Election last month. They will be replaced as of January by Leroy “OL” Perry and Duston Baird respectively. Magistrates Roger Phillips and Jason Mann will continue into the next term along with Judge Executive Doug Stephens. One major issues facing the court during next week's meeting will be the first reading of an ordinance which would, if given final approval, implement a system for requiring business licenses to do business in the county. The issue was first raised in November when the McCreary County Chamber of Commerce proposed the ordinance which was tabled amid citizen questioning and opposition. The court decided to hold a public hearing to gather input on the issue before voting on the first reading. That public meeting will be held Thursday December 11th at 5:00pm in the fiscal court room upstairs at the McCreary County Courthouse ahead of the regular court meeting that evening. The proposed ordinance is available online by clicking the link under the “Upcoming Meetings” section at www.mccrearycounty.com. It should be noted that court members have discussed dropping the fee structure for the business license.

WINTERFEST AACTIVITIES GETTING UNDERWAY FOR 2014
'Tis the season for WinterFest, McCreary County's Christmas celebration which is held each December. The season officially kicks off with the tree lighting ceremony on the lawn of the McCreary County Courthouse this Friday December 5th at 6:00pm. In addition to the permanent tree at the corner of the courthouse lawn, volunteers and county officials with light a second tree which will be lit in blue in honor of America's fighting men and women, and especially those who have died for our freedoms. This effort is a joint partnership between the WinterFest board and the Charles E Moore VFW Post 5127 located in Whitley City. All local residents are invited to attend the tree lighting ceremony. The Winterfest Pageant, including the crowing of this year's Miss WinterFest, will be Saturday December 6th starting at 6:00pm at McCreary Middle School. Winterfest Day in downtown Whitley City will be Saturday December 13th with “Pictures with Santa” from 11:00am to 4:00pm in Jackson Heritage Park, followed by a 5:00pm performance of the McCreary Central Madrigals. The WinterFest parade, with its “Winter Wonderland theme, will begin at 6:00pm. For full details look up WinterFest on Facebook or www.mccrearyfest.com. The McCrearyFest and WinterFest events, along with the annual Banquet of Blessings, are overseen by the all volunteer McCrearyFest & Parade board of directors and volunteers.

LAUREL COUNTY GRANDMOTHER CHARGED IN BABY'S DEATH
The Laurel County Sheriff's Department is investigating a fatal crash that took place Monday night. They say 46 year old Melissa Worstell was driving under the influence with her six month old granddaughter, Ivy, in the car. Ivy was said to be in a carrier that was not secured at the time that the car crashed. The child died from her injuries and Worstell was charged with murder, operating a motor vehicle under the influence, and various other charges. Media sources report that records at the Laurel County jail show she has been booked there at least five other times in the past on drug related charges.

WAYNE COUNTY TEEN PLEADS GUILTY TO VANDALISM CHARGE
A Wayne County teen allegedly involved in the vandalism of the Wayne County Attorney's office last May has now entered a guilty plea to related charges. Authorities say 18 year old Tasha Brumley pleaded guilty to arson, burglary and tampering with physical evidence and will be sentenced on December 15
th. Another teen said to be involved, 18 year old James Rigney, is set for trail in the case next March. The pair faced accusations of the vandalism that included setting fire to the office earlier this year.

KY AG DEPARTMENT ACCEPTING HEMP FARMER APPLICATIONS
Kentucky farmers interested in growing hemp crops in the next year can submit their application to the state agriculture department now. Applications are being accepted through January 1
st with those approved to be notified by the end of January. The application and information is available on the Kentucky Department of Agriculture's website at www.kyagr.com.

ELDERLY MAN KILLED IN WHITLEY COUNTY HOUSE FIRE
An elderly Whitley County man was pulled from his home Sunday after the home was destroyed by a fire. 85 year old Harold Carpenter was killed in the fire on Highway 904 in Williamsburg and his body sent to the state medical examiner's office in Frankfort for autopsy. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

EAGLE-SAWYER FIRE DEPARTMENT TO HOLD ELECTION
Residents in the Eagle-Sawyer fire district in northern McCreary County will want to take note of the upcoming Commissioner Officer election at the department. That election will be held on Thursday December 11th from 6:00-7:00pm. To register, contact the McCreary County Clerk's office no later than Tuesday December 9th. The election will be at Station 1 on Highway 896.

McCREARY CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL SEASON UNDERWAY
The 2014-2015 high school basketball season is officially getting underway with games for the McCreary Central Raiders and Lady Raiders tonight (Tuesday December 2nd). The Raiders will host Somerset in their season opener at the Joe S. Williams gymnasium at the high school with tip-off at 7:30pm for the varsity squads. Students will be admitted free with their student ID. The Lady Raiders will be on the road at West Jessamine this evening to open their regular season.

McCREARY LIBRARY PATRONS GIVING BACK TO LOCAL COMMUNITY
Patrons of the McCreary County Public Library have several opportunities during the month of December to give back to the local community and those in need. Collections have been underway for a couple of weeks for the Giving Tree at the library and will continue through December 17th. This allows visitors to drop off donations such as hats, gloves, mittens, scarves or socks which will then be distributed to children in need in the local school system this holiday season. In addition, the library has once again announced its “food for fines” program running now through the end of the month. Library patrons with fines on their account for overdue library books and materials can have those fines excused with the donation of non-perishable food items which will be donated to a local food pantry. The program does not excuse fines for lost or damaged materials. For more information on these programs and opportunities to give back to the community, stop by or call the McCreary County Public Library at 376-8738.

VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL SEEKING PHOTO OF McCREARY VET
The Vietnam Veterans' Memorial organization has announced that they are in the process of gathering photographs of thousands of soldiers who were killed in action in Vietnam. This is for their “Wall of Faces” online project. Their goal is to include a photo for each of the more than 58,000 soldiers whose names are engraved on the Memorial Wall in Washington, DC. Four McCreary County natives are said to be listed with the project, and at last report one photo was still being sought. That image belongs to US Army SFC Clyde James Ball who was from Stearns and was killed in July 1970 while fighting in the war. Anyone with a picture of SFC Ball or information is asked to submit it online at www.vvmf.org/how-to-submit.

McCREARY COUNTY TOURISM DIRECTOR ANNOUNCES RESIGNATION
Yet another tourism director for McCreary County will leave the post after roughly two years on the job. Tara Chaney announced officially this week that she will resign the post at the end of December, saying she will be staying home with her children starting in the new year. Chaney was hired by the McCreary County Fiscal Court at their December 2012 meeting after a process in which eight applicants filed for the job and three were given formal interviews by the tourist commission. The full time tourism director position for McCreary County was created in 2006 with four individuals serving in the position, each working approximately two years before leaving for various reasons. There has been no word from tourism officials or from the Judge Executive's office on the exact process to fill the vacancy at the end of the year.

KENTUCKY'S UNEMPLOYMENT RATE SEES BIGGEST DROP IN 38 YEARS
State officials announced this week that the Kentucky unemployment rate for October of this year had dropped to 6.2%, compared to a 6.7% rate in September. According to state figures, that is the biggest one month drop of a jobless rate in the state since 1976, or nearly forty years ago. The drop from 7.1% in August to 6.2% in October also represents the largest two month drop since the state has been keeping unemployment records. Compared to one year ago, the state's rate of job seekers dropped a full two percentage points from 8.2% in October 2013. The nationwide jobless rate improved slightly to 5.8% in October. For more on the unemployment rates in Kentucky and the state's labor market, visit www.kylmi.ky.gov online.

SHOPPERS URGED TO SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESSES THIS SATURDAY
This Saturday November 29th will be the annual “Small Business Saturday” observance as trademarked in 2010 by American Express. The company began the effort as a way of supporting and focusing on the small, locally owned businesses in the country on the day after “Black Friday.” This Saturday shoppers are urged to visit and spend money with the locally owned small businesses that help boost the local economy and the local community. For ideas on how to support the effort you can visit the US Small Business Administration online at www.sba.gov or visit the “Small Business Saturday” Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SmallBusinessSaturday.

LAW ENFORCEMENT OUT IN FORCE FOR HOLIDAY WEEKEND
The Thanksgiving holiday weekend is one of the busiest travel periods of the year and law enforcement officers and going to be working to ensure it is also a safe period for travelers. The official holiday weekend runs from 6:00pm this evening (Wednesday November 26th) through Sunday night. Law enforcement agencies, including Kentucky State Police and local agencies, will have officers out on patrol and conducting traffic checkpoints watching for those speeding, driving under the influence and committing other traffic violations. The KSP asks motorists to report erratic driving behavior by calling local authorities, 911 or their toll free hotline at 1-800-222-5555.

SHOPPERS URGED TO PAY ATTENTION TO TOY SAFETY TIPS
With the arrival of Thanksgiving also comes the official holiday shopping period when consumers will be out taking advantage of special sales and deals. Emergency management officials also want shoppers to pay attention to toy safety tips as they search for that perfect gift for a child on their Christmas list. It is estimated that more than 120,000 children are treated each year in the United States for toy-related injuries. It is important to read labels, follow age guidelines and select toys and gifts appropriate for the child receiving it. For instance, some safety tips include not buying electric toys with heating elements for children under age 8; discard plastic bags and wrappings that could pose a choking or suffocation hazard; and avoid toys with sharp edges and points, especially for younger children. Additional consumer and safety information is available from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission online at www.cpsc.gov.

LOCAL HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL TEAMS GEAR UP FOR SEASON
The McCreary Central High School basketball squads are preparing for the 2014-2015 season which officially opens next week. While practice and scrimmage games have been going on for several weeks, both the Raiders and Lady Raiders will open the regular season next Tuesday December 2nd. The Lady Raiders will be on the road at West Jessamine followed by a road game at Harlan County next Saturday December 6th. The Raiders have a busy week ahead of them as they open the season at home next Tuesday against Somerset, followed by games on December 4th against Middlesboro, December 5th against Oneida Baptist and December 6th at Barbourville.

FEDERAL PRISON INMATES IN McCREARY INDICTED FOR ESCAPE
Two federal prison inmates housed at the facility in Pine Knot have been indicted by a federal grand jury for an escape attempt earlier this year. Charges were officially filed against 29 year old Corey Adam Baker and 42 year old Delman Demetrius Davis for trying to escape custody in August. Baker is already serving a 14 month prison sentence for a probation violation after being convicted on marijuana cultivation charges. Davis is serving a 21 year prison term for conspiracy to distribute cocaine. Both men could face additional prison time if convicted on the attempted escape charges.

KENTUCKY BEAR HUNT QUOTA NOT MET; SEASON CONTINUES
The Kentucky bear hunting season with archery and crossbow equipment opened this past Saturday and will run until the hunt quota is met or until the close of hunting this Sunday November 30th. As of this morning (Tuesday November 25th) the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife reports through their website that the quota has not yet been met, meaning the hunting season remains open. The quota is ten bears or five female bears. The hunting zone includes 16 counties in Kentucky, including McCreary, Wayne, Whitley, Pulaski and Laurel Counties in the immediate area. For full details visit the Fish and Wildlife website at www.fw.ky.gov.

KENTUCKY STATE POLICE ASK CITIZENS TO “CRAM THE CRUISER”
For the fifth consecutive year, Kentucky State Police posts across the state are working to “cram the cruiser” ahead of the holiday season. The effort asks citizens within a post area to put non-perishable food items, including canned food, inside a police cruiser parked outside the post headquarters. Last year, the campaign generated more than 124,000 pounds of food donations that were then turned over to food pantries throughout Kentucky. McCreary County is in the London Post 11 area and food donations can be dropped off there. In addition to canned food, donations such as macaroni and cheese, cereal, peanut butter, cake mixes, coffee, water and more are accepted. Collections by the Kentucky State Police will continue through December 16th after which the donations will be distributed. For information on the effort or a listing of all KSP post locations visit their website at www.kentuckystatepolice.org.

SATURDAY MORNING CRASH LEAVES McCREARY FAMILY INJURED
A family waiting to turn into the Lord's Cafe just south of Stearns on Highway 27 ended up being transported to the hospital with injuries suffered in a two vehicle collision. An older model Ford truck was stopped on Highway 27 preparing to turn into the Lord's Cafe/Parkland Motel parking lot when a full size red Dodge truck slammed into the rear of the other vehicle. A baby, reportedly less than one year old, was injured in the crash and was airlifted for treatment although sources say non-life threatening injuries were suspected. At least two others in the truck were also transported by ambulance for treatment of their injuries. The wreck happened just after 10:00am Saturday morning and stalled traffic on the main highway while crews cleared the scene. McCreary County Sheriff's Deputy Tom Smith was on scene along with Kentucky State Police investigating the crash. Additional information on the condition of those injured was not yet available.

SPIRIT OF GIVING ALIVE AND WELL IN McCREARY COUNTY
This past weekend was one of giving and helping others in McCreary County as the Hope Center at Sawbucks Bingo, sponsored by the McCreary County Animal Protection League, held a large giveaway of clothing, household and other items Friday afternoon. One source put the total number served at more than 900. The Hope Center has routine monthly giveaway events to help the community, but this was one of the larger events they have seen in their history. In addition, the Lord's Cafe, sponsored by Crossroads Community Baptist Church, offered a coat giveaway under a tent at the Parkland Motel parking lot Saturday in conjunction with their free community Thanksgiving Dinner the same day. The church is also working to provide assistance for families in need this holiday season in addition to offering their regular free lunches at the Lords Cafe.

KENTUCKY BEATS TENNESSEE IN 2014 BLOOD BATTLE
The Kentucky vs. Tennessee Blood Battle was held last week with the competition aimed at seeing which side could collect the most blood donations. Kentucky won the battle with 3,160 pints of blood collected by the Kentucky Blood Center, over Tennessee's 2,760 pints of blood. This is the 14th time Kentucky has won the blood battle competition, compared to 12 wins for Tennessee and one tie. For information on donating blood and mobile blood drives across the state visit the Kentucky Blood Center online at www.kybloodcenter.org.

TIDES TURNING ON THE McCREARY COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD
It was once a common occurrence for votes of the McCreary County School Board to be split with a 3-2 vote, but it was generally known that board member Nelda Gilreath would side with fellow members Larry Davis and Roxanne Shook on most of those split votes. Recently, that has changed and Gilreath now seems to be siding more with members Brandon Kidd and Debbie Gibson, leaving Davis and Shook in the minority. That was the case this past Tuesday when the school board voted 3-2 to reverse a previous decision to move the McCreary Academy, also known as the alternative school, from the basement of the middle school to McCreary Central High School. Now, with the vote this week, the Academy will again be located in the lower level at the middle school reportedly effective January 5th, when students return from holiday break. With Larry Davis coming up short in his recent bid for election to stay on the school board, it is unclear how the board will split on votes and issues beginning in January when a new member takes the oath of office. The McCreary County Voice has more details on this week's school board meeting.

BEAR HUNTING SEASON OPENING SATURDAY ACROSS REGION
A 16 county area in Kentucky, including McCreary County, will host the second annual black bear hunting season starting this Saturday November 22nd. According to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, the season for the Bear Zone for archery, including archery and crossbow equipment, runs from November 22nd through November 30th or until the quota is met. That quota is a total of ten bears being taken in the hunt or five female bears. The hunt is open to residents of the 16 counties which includes McCreary, Wayne, Pulaski, Laurel and Whitley Counties in the immediate area. Keep in mind that the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area is considered a bear reserve which is closed to bear hunting. An annual hunting license from the state is required along with a Bear Chase Permit with more information and licenses available for purchase online at www.fw.ky.gov. All bears taken during the season must be telechecked with the Department of Fish and Wildlife by phone and information on the quota count can be tracked on the department's website.

AMERICAN LEGION ACCEPTING “TOYS FOR TOTS” APPLICATIONS
American Legion Post 115 in Stearns is currently accepting applications from local residents for their annual “Toys for Tots” program. The program provides much needed toys and other gifts for children and families in McCreary County each holiday season. Applications must be clipped from local newspapers with no copied forms accepted and must be mailed to the American Legion Auxiliary to be accepted. Only one application is permitted per household for children age 12 and younger, or those with special needs, but multiple children can be listed on the same application. The deadline to submit applications is next Friday November 28th with pickup at the legion on December 20th. Those with approved applications for “Toys for Tots” will be contacted with a pickup time

RESTRUCTURING PLANNED FOR SECOND TERM BY COUNTY JUDGE
Some restructuring is apparently in the planning stages for the second term of McCreary County Judge Executive Doug Stephens. The first piece of the puzzle came with the confirmation of rumors last week by Deputy Judge Andy Powell that he would be leaving that post, at least in a full time capacity. Beginning in January, Powell will assume a full time position at Union College in Barbourville, where he graduated and earned a degree. The McCreary County Record reports this week that Powell may not be leaving the deputy judge position entirely and quotes Judge Executive Doug Stephens as saying that he hopes to keep Powell in the position on a part time basis. Other restructuring of county administrative positions is also possible with more details likely to come out by the December fiscal court meeting to be in place starting in January. Exact details of those plans are not yet available. Judge Stephens secured his second term with re-election on November 4th over challengers Jimmy Waters and Wayne Phillips.

WINTERFEST PAGEANT APPLICATIONS AVAILABLE NOW
The deadline is December 1st to apply to be part of the annual WinterFest Pageant in McCreary County. The pageant is scheduled for Saturday December 6th, one week before WinterFest, and will be held at McCreary County Middle School. Girl's divisions run from newborn through 24 years while the boy's divisions run from newborn through 6 years. The pageant application is available at and can be submitted to the McCreary County Judge Executive's Office, Sweet Kreations or the McCreary County Museum. In addition, applications and information are available online at www.mccrearyfest.com.

TIRE RECYCLING PROGRAM CONTINUES FOR McCREARY COUNTY
Residents of McCreary County have a free and proper way of disposing of old unwanted tires. The county utilizes a state tire recycling grant received each year to dispose of old tires. Residents can deliver up to ten tires directly to the transfer station, off Wilburn K Ross Highway in Stearns. Those with more than ten tires can contact the McCreary County Judge Executive's office for a voucher to allow for disposal. The program is open to McCreary County residents only. For information call the Judge's Office at 36-2413 or visit recycling.mccrearycounty.com.

McCREARY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE TO DISCUSS BUSINESS LICENSE
After proposing the ordinance that would require businesses, and anyone doing business in McCreary County, to apply for and receive a county issued permit, the McCreary County Chamber of Commerce will meet for their regular monthly membership meeting today (Wednesday November 19th) with the issue on the agenda. Guest speakers will include JC Egnew from Outdoor Venture Corporation, who will no doubt discuss the recent announcement that OVC is expanding and will be adding new jobs. McCreary County Deputy Judge/Executive Andy Powell is also listed as a guest speaker and will discuss with the Chamber the business license permit issue and the discussion held during last week's Fiscal Court meeting. The court tabled the issue until a public hearing can be held at 5:00pm Thursday December 11th, ahead of their regular December meeting at 7:00pm that same evening. The draft ordinance proposed by the Chamber of Commerce is posted on the county website at www.mccrearycounty.com under the “Upcoming Meetings” section on the home page. County officials note that discussions are currently leaning toward modifying the ordinance to delete the section that includes fees required to obtain a license for businesses, but the final decision will rest with the court. Even if a first reading of the measure passes in December, it would be January before the final nod of approval could come.

FIRST WEEKEND SEES 1100+ ENROLLING FOR HEALTHCARE
The first weekend of this year's open enrollment period saw more than 1,100 people in Kentucky signing up for health insurance coverage through the state's Kynect marketplace system. Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear announced that the system has been improved for the state's second year with the program after seeing more than 500,000 Kentuckians signing up last year for health coverage. More than half of the people using Kynect this past weekend signed for the state's expanded Medicaid program. For information visit the website at
kynect.ky.gov. Open enrollment will continue through February 15, 2015.

McCREARY COUNTY WINTERFEST DETAILS RELEASED FOR 2014
Organizers of the annual WinterFest celebration in McCreary County released details on the event this week. The holiday event will be held Saturday December 13th in downtown Whitley City with the parade starting at 6:00pm and other activities including pictures with Santa from 11:00am to 4:00pm and live entertainment including the McCreary Central High School Madrigals. WinterFest is a free community event with parade entry forms available now at Sweet Kreations in Stearns, the McCreary County Judge Executive's office and online at www.mccrearyfest.com. In addition, event organizers are seeking local businesses or individuals who would like to donate a child's bicycle to be given away at WinterFest. For information call event President Shane Gilreath at 606-354-6824. Volunteers are also planning for the annual Banquet of Blessings, a free community dinner on Christmas Eve from 11:00am to 4:00pm at McCreary Middle School.

COMMUNITY BLOOD DRIVE TODAY IN McCREARY COUNTY
The Kentucky-Tennessee Blood Battle is going on this week as a competition between the two sides on which can provide the most blood donations. As part of that effort, a community blood drive is scheduled in McCreary County for today (Tuesday November 18
th) from 11:00am to 6:00pm in the community room of South Kentucky RECC in Whitley City. Each donor will help save lives with their blood donation and will also help win the blood battle and receive a free “Big Blue Crush” t-shirt. For more information on donating blood, visit the Kentucky Blood Center at www.kybloodcenter.org.

KNOX-WHITLEY ANIMAL SHELTER SEEKING “FOSTER PARENTS”
The Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter, which also serves McCreary County Animal Control, is currently seeking volunteers who can serve as “foster parents” for pets. Many stray cats and dogs are in need of temporary homes. Volunteers are also needed to help transport dogs and cats to no kill rescue groups and shelters when slots are available. To help with the effort, call 606-310-6422 and leave a message. To find out more about the Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter visit www.kwas.org or look them up on Facebook.

McCREARY ENTERS AGREEMENT FOR WELLNESS PROGRAM
During their regular session last Thursday, the McCreary County Fiscal Court voted to approve a memorandum of understanding which will serve as an agreement for the establishment of a wellness program between the county and the Lake Cumberland District Health Department. Health department officials say they are working on a grant application for the project which will in part establish a workplace wellness program at twelve businesses in the Lake Cumberland area. The county has committed to designate one staff person to contribute eight hours weekly toward the project as well as attending various training sessions and forming an employee wellness committee. The county will also help coordinate lab and screenings for employees annually and implement health and wellness policies for county employees.

BUSINESS LICENSE ISSUE TACKLED BY McCREARY FISCAL COURT
The McCreary County Fiscal Court is facing the decision of whether to impose a required business license process to conduct business within the county. The issue came before the court during their regular session Thursday evening and was proposed by the local Chamber of Commerce who said they had worked on the issue for nearly a year. The proposal would require anyone conducting business within the county to apply for and receive a business permit and pay a fee for that license. Discussion on the issue led the court to consider passing the measure but drop the fee involved. Chamber representatives said they were fine with the option, saying the main reason behind their proposal was ensuring that anyone doing business locally was registered and paying the required occupational tax. Citizen Tony Kidd addressed the court saying that the proposal would only put more of a burden on the honest business people who comply and pay their share and would not do anything for those who do not. He added that the county does not currently enforce other regulations, such as garbage collection and paying the occupational tax, and there was no evidence the county could enforce the business permit requirement. The measure would not impact private yard sales or related activities as long as they are on private property or with permission of the property owner. In the end, court members decided to table the first reading of the ordinance on the issue until a public hearing can be held to gather more input from citizens. That hearing will be at 5:00pm Thursday December 11
th, prior to the next regular court meeting which will be that same evening at 7:00pm.

McCREARY COUNTY FISCAL COURT HOLDS NOVEMBER SESSION
In addition to the business license issue, a number of other agenda items were dealt with by the McCreary County Fiscal Court during their November session Thursday night. One issue was the opening of bids for a new fuel system and generator for the county road garage. That was first discussed previously when court members were told that with no generator in place, the road garage would essentially come to a standstill in the event of a power outage, which would include no county vehicles being able to fuel up. The county received two bids on each project with the fuel system bids ranging from the low bid of just over $38,000 and the high bid of about $56,000. The generator bids came in at $41,000 for the high bid and $26,000 for the low bid. After first tabling the issue until later in the meeting, the court voted to accept the low bid for each project with the stipulation on each that negotiations can be used to ensure cost effectiveness. The money used for the project will come from the county’s LGEA Fund which can be used for this type of road department project.

Fiscal court also voted Thursday to reappoint Coy Taylor to the Water District Board, and voted to appoint Susie Strunk Thompson and Trey Ball to the Tourist Commission, with Jessie Kidd reappointed to that board.

Citizen Roger Owens addressed the court asking them to consider an ordinance that would implement a smoking ban at all restaurants and work places within the county. Owens said the dangers of second hand smoke are clear and that many residents, when questioned in a recent random survey, favor such a measure. The court took no action but said they would consider the issue and may hold a public hearing on that at a later date.

McCREARY OCCUPATIONAL TAX COLLECTIONS INCREASE IN OCTOBER
The numbers show an increase in occupational tax collections by McCreary County for last month as compared to the same month one year ago. The October 2014 collections totaled $95,901.80 with $6.35 in interest earned by the tax account in October. That resulted in a total of $95,908.15 to be deposited in the General Fund. The tax administration expenses are paid from that fund and came to just over $4,000 for last month. The total collected last month from the tax was up by nearly $4,000 over October 2013 when just over $92,000 came in and was up significantly from October 2012 when collections reported were only at about $77,700. For information on the occupational tax you can visit the “tax page” online at tax.mccrearycounty.com.

COLLECTIONS TO BEGIN FOR OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD
Each year, Operation Christmas Child, organized by Samaratin’s Purse, collects much needed items to send to children around the world during the holiday season. The official collection period begins this Monday November 17th and runs through the following Monday November 24th. Items needed include school supplies, toys, hygiene products, and other related items. The local drop off center is again Walker’s Chapel Missionary Church in Parkers Lake where donations can be dropped off starting Monday between 11:00am and 5:00pm. That schedule remains the same each day next week through Saturday, except on Wednesday when collections will be extended to 8:00pm. On Sunday November 23rd, items can be dropped off between 9:30am and 12:30pm or 5:00-8:00pm and on Monday November 24th from 11:00am to 1:00pm. For additional information on the project and how to help you can visit www.samaritanspurse.org online.

McCREARY OFFICIALS DEFINE INCLEMENT WEATHER POLICY
With cold weather settling in for the foreseeable future, and the potential for inclement weather events, McCreary County officials are working to ensure that county employees, as well as citizens, are aware of the county’s policy for delays and closures. As defined in the county’s Administrative Code, several plans are in place including Plan A in which county offices and employees will continue on a regular schedule. Plan B goes into effect when local schools are closed for the day due to weather with county offices and employees on an automatic one hour delay. Inclement Weather Plan C for McCreary County offices can be enacted by the Judge/Executive and would put employees on a two hour delay for that day. Plan D can also be called by the County Judge and closes county offices for the full day in the event the weather and road conditions are deemed severe enough. Those considered essential county personnel that would still be required to report for work include road department snow and debris removal crews, emergency dispatchers, ambulance service personnel, law enforcement and other members of county government deemed essential by the Judge/Executive. The inclement weather policy for the county is under section 5.14 “Employee Safety” in the Administrative Code. A link is available under the “Documents and Notices” section of the county website at www.mccrearycounty.com.

McCREARY COUNTY SCHOOL BUS CRASH CAUSES DELAYS
An accident reportedly involving two McCreary County school buses Wednesday afternoon caused delays of nearly an hour for students heading home for the day. An automated phone call went out to parents from Superintendent Donnie Wright saying that the buses had been involved in a collision at Whitley City Elementary School, but there were no significant injuries despite an ambulance being called as a precautionary measure.

McCREARY COUNTY FISCAL COURT TO HOLD NOVEMBER SESSION
The McCreary County Fiscal Court is set to meet in regular session for the first time since the 2014 General Election. That meeting will be this evening (Thursday November 13th) at 7:00pm in the upstairs fiscal court room at the McCreary County Courthouse. Three members of the court, including Judge/Executive Doug Stephens and Magistrates Roger Phillips and Jason Mann, won re-election in last week’s election. Stan Cox and Frankie Ball were defeated in their bids for re-election but will serve through the end of the year when Leroy “OL” Perry and Duston Baird will replace them respectively.

McCREARY SHERIFF REMINDING TAXPAYERS OF DEADLINE
The McCreary County Sheriff’s Department has issued a reminder to local property taxpayers that the deadline to pay their 2014 bills at face amount will be December 31st. The sheriff’s office will be open a full day on Wednesday December 31st and that will be last day to pay tax bills at face amount ahead of an extended New Year’s holiday weekend. Property tax bills can be paid during regular office hours Monday through Friday at the office in the Courthouse Annex building in Whitley City. Tax bills can also be viewed or paid online using the link at www.mccrearysheriff.com. When tax collections commence in January, a 5% penalty will be included on all bills.

KYNECT OPEN ENROLLMENT BEGINS SATURDAY
For the second year, open enrollment for health insurance coverage through the state’s Kynect system will begin this Saturday November 15th. Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear spoke to media this week announcing a series of improvements to the system for this year including the addition of a mobile app to help those shopping for health coverage through their Apple or Android devices. Using the app, Kentuckians can enter basic information and find out what coverage they may qualify for and how much it will cost or if they can receive a discount or subsidy. The Kynect website has also seen improvements to make it easier to use and more efficient, according to state leaders. More Kynect agents and call center representatives are also now available to expedite the process of applying for coverage or getting assistance. Officials say additional insurance providers have joined the state’s marketplace this year providing more options and they encourage residents to shop around for the best coverage and best rates. While the state did expand its Medicaid program to provide free coverage for many additional Kentuckians, even those who do not qualify for that program can still receive discounts and subsidies. Examples given include a family of four earning up to $65,000 annually receiving a $249 monthly subsidy; a retired couple earning $50,000 annually receiving up to $526 in monthly subsidies; and a 22 year old college student earning up to $18,000 per year receiving a subsidy that could lower their cost to $20 per month. For full details and to shop or enroll through Kynect beginning this Saturday, November 15th, visit the website at kynect.ky.gov or call 1-855-4kynect (1-855-459-6328).

McCREARY COUNTY TRAFFIC STOP LEADS TO DRUG ARRESTS
Kentucky State Police have reported that a Friday evening traffic stop in McCreary County led to the arrest of four individuals on drug related charges. The stop was executed by KSP at about 11:00pm Friday on Williamsburg Street. The driver of the 1998 Chevrolet Cavalier, 29 year old Curtis Bloodworth of Whitley City, was determined by officers to be driving under the influence. This led to a search of the vehicle in which several items used in the manufacture of methamphetamine were discovered. A syringe containing a substance believed to be meth was also found in the car. Bloodworth was arrested and charged with DUI, manufacturing meth 1st offense, possession of a controlled substance 1st degree, possession of a meth precursor 1st offense and possession of drug paraphernalia. The three passengers in the vehicle were also all arrested on drug related charges including 31 year old Michael Cole of Pine Knot, 32 year old Sarena Summers of Whitley City and 45 year old Geneva Ridener of Whitley City. Kentucky State Police are leading the investigation with assistance from Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Officer Chris King.

REPAIR WORK UNDERWAY AT BLUE HERON IN McCREARY COUNTY
The Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area has announced that repair work began this week at the Blue Heron Mining Camp in western McCreary County. Hydra Engineering and Construction is conducting septic system repairs which will continue through the month of November. Visitors will still have access to Blue Heron during this time, with the exception of the picnic shelters and area behind the concession stand, where the construction work is being completed. Portable toilets will be in place during this phase of the project. For information call the Big South Fork at 423-286-7275.

McCREARY LIBRARY AGAIN HOSTING “THE GIVING TREE”
The holiday season is the perfect time to get in the giving spirit. The McCreary County Public Library is again joining with the McCreary County School District to host “The Giving Tree” to allow local residents the opportunity to give to children in the community. The tree is located at the library in downtown Whitley City where it will remain until December 17th. Items can be placed on the tree or dropped off at the library including scarves, hats, mittens, gloves, socks and other related items. Items can also be dropped off at the schools’ community education/volunteers in public schools office in the lower level at McCreary Middle School. Those items will then be distributed to children in the local schools in need this holiday season. Again, “The Giving Tree” collection will continue through December 17th.

LOW INCOME HEATING ASSISTANCE ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, also known as LIHEAP, is currently accepting applications for this year. The process is again being done in alphabetical order based on the first letter of the head of household’s last name. The schedule includes the letter “F” on Wednesday, “G” Thursday and “H” on Friday and next Monday. The letters “I” and “J” will apply Tuesday November 18th, with “K” on November 19th, “L” November 20th and “M” on November 21st and 24th. The letter “N” will conclude the month of November on the 25th, just ahead of the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The schedule for applications will continue until December 9th followed by open dates on December 10th and 11th for those who may have missed their scheduled day. When applying you must supply your most recent heating bill or verification that heating expenses are included in your rent; proof of social security numbers for all household members; proof of all household income for the preceding month; and most recent electric bill with physical address listed. Applications are taken at the Community Action Agency office at 431 North Highway 27 in Whitley City, in the Big M Plaza. For additional information call their office at 376-2593.

27 INDICTMENTS BY McCREARY GRAND JURY NAME 39 INDIVIDUALS
The October session of the McCreary County Grand Jury was a very busy and productive gathering as 27 indictments were handed down, naming 39 separate individuals on charges. The main focus of the grand jury seemed to be the recent drug roundups conducted by local law enforcement in the preceding weeks. In addition to drug related charges listed in the indictments, charges included thefts, forgeries, and several charged with flagrant non-support. The full listing of indictments is covered this week in The McCreary County Record. Listeners are reminded that an indictment by the grand jury is not a finding of guilt, but finds sufficient evidence to proceed with formal charges in a case.

McCREARY SHERIFF RELEASES WEEKLY ARREST REPORT
The McCreary County Sheriff’s Department has released its weekly arrest report for the period ending Monday November 3rd. Arrested on October 29th was 47 year old Billy Miller for trafficking in marijuana and 38 year old Randy Coffey for trafficking in a controlled substance. 32 year old Roland Ball was arrested October 30th for driving on a DUI suspended license, while 27 year old Heather Ferrier was arrested November 1st for a drug court violation. Also on November 1st, 31 year old Darren Kidd was picked up for operating a motor vehicle under the influence and 38 year old Katina Cooper was arrested for a probation violation. 48 year old Gary Abercrombie was nabbed November 2nd for assault with 35 year old Johnny Wilson, Jr arrested for receiving stolen property, non-payment of fines and flagrant non-support. Finally, on November 3rd 27 year old Billie Bolin was picked up for forgery and criminal possession of a forged instrument. These arrests reflect those through November 3rd by the McCreary County Sheriff’s Department and do not include arrests by other law enforcement officers or agencies.

PINE KNOT COMMUNITY CLOSET TO HOST OPEN HOUSE SATURDAY
One year after opening its doors to serve the community, the Pine Knot Community Closet has just celebrated its first anniversary and is also hosting an open house this Saturday November 8th from 1:00-3:00pm. The “closet” is located at 225 Highway 2792, the old Highway 92, in Pine Knot in the old Kentucky Hills building and provides much needed items for those in need including good, clean clothing. According to information released by organizers of the project, during the past twelve months in operation the Community Closet has served more than 6,000 individuals in need and look to serve even more as they move forward. The project is sponsored in part by the Hills and Hollers Ministries, which has been working in McCreary County for more than ten years. For information on the Pine Knot Community Closet or this Saturday’s open house, call Sandy at 606-310-5088 or Rita at 606-310-3184.

FINAL ELECTION NUMBERS RELEASED FOR RACES NATIONWIDE
Tuesday was Election Day, not just in McCreary County and Kentucky, but across America with lots of races on the ballot for voters including all 435 seats in the Us House of Representatives and 36 of the seats in the US Senate. Mitch McConnell won re-election for Kentucky in the US Senate, and will begin his sixth consecutive term in Washington, DC in January. The Republican Party picked up enough Senate seats to gain majority control starting in the new term which puts McConnell at the head of the line for the much coveted post as Majority Leader in the US Senate. The GOP also held on to retain control of the US House. The final tally in Kentucky’s US Senate race was 806,679 votes, or 56.19%, for McConnell and 584,622 votes, or 40.73%, for Alison Lundergan Grimes. Libertarian candidate David Patterson also picked up just over 44,000 votes statewide for 3% of the overall votes. Grimes will continue in her post as Kentucky’s Secretary of State at least through next year.

US Representative Hal Rogers also had no trouble gaining re-election with 78% of the votes in his district, which includes McCreary County, to Kenneth Stepp’s 22%. McCreary County voters went overwhelming for the Republican candidates in those races, voting for McConnell by a 70% to 25% margin and for Hal Rogers by an 85% to 15% margin.

In the race for Judge of the Court Appeals in the 3rd Appellate District, there were two divisions on the ballot for the district which includes McCreary County. Debra Lambert won her race against Michael Caperton by a margin of nearly 10,000 votes or 53% to 47%. James Lambert won his race for a seat of the appellate court with a 73% to 27% margin over Paul Henderson.

VOTER TURNOUT COMES IN JUST BELOW 50% FOR ELECTION DAY
The voter turnout numbers show that 5,213 votes were cast in McCreary County, making up local turnout of nearly 47%. Statewide, nearly 1.5 million votes were cast with a voter turnout of just over 46%.

ELECTION FRAUD HOTLINE FIELDS MORE THAN 200 CALLS
A total of 226 calls were received Tuesday by the state’s Election Fraud Hotline which was in operation during the hours the polls were open. No calls were recorded from McCreary County but calls were received from more than fifty Kentucky counties for a range of issues which may be investigated by the Attorney General’s office. The office must now select, at random, six counties for a post-election audit within twenty days of the election.

McCREARY COUNTY VOTERS CAST THEIR BALLOTS FOR 2014
The votes are in after McCreary County voters went to the polls on Tuesday for General Election Day. Roughly 45% of the county's 11,134 registered voters cast ballots for the election, either through the absentee process or walking into a polling place on Election Day. While several write-in candidates were running for various offices, none of the write-in totals were a factor in the final outcome of any race. Official, certified write-in totals will be tallied by the County Clerk on Wednesday. Winners from the various races on Tuesday were as follows:

Stearns (Historic District) Wet/Dry Vote: "Yes"

Judge Executive Doug Stephens (R)

Sheriff Randy Waters (D) 

Jailer Jessie Hatfield (R)

PVA Bruce Lominac (R)

Coroner Tim Corder (R)

Soil & Water Conservation District (3 seats to fill)
David Jones; Todd Martin; Vernon Gilreath

Magistrate District 1 Leroy "OL" Perry (R)

Magistrate District 2 Roger Phillips (R)

Magistrate District 3 Jason Mann (R)

Magistrate District 4 Duston Baird (R)

Constable District 1 Dustin Ridner (R)

Constable District 2 Freddie Clark (R)

Constable District 3 Donald Daugherty (R)

Constable District 4 David Kilby (R)

In addition, two school board races were on the ballot Tuesday. Rhonda Meadows Armijo won election to the board, defeating current board member Larry Davis, while Brandon Kidd also holds on to his seat on the school board. The board will now consist of Nelda Gilreath, Roxanne Shook, Debbie Gibson, Brandon Kidd and Rhonda Meadows Armijo.

Click here for McCreary County vote totals.
 

McCREARY TOURISM PICKS UP PRIDE AWARD FOR 5K EVENT
A recent project aimed at raising money for the Stearns Trail Town Project signage has now won the PRIDE Environmental Education Project of the Month Award. PRIDE announced this week that the 5K run/walk held in late May in Stearns, and organized by the McCreary County Tourist Commission and Tourism Director Tara Chaney, had been selected to receive this month’s award. PRIDE officials say the event was selected because of the campaign’s effort to raise awareness of the more than 200 miles of scenic trails in the region. In addition to receiving the award, the event helped raise more than $2,000 for the signage for Trail Town which will direct visitors to many local tourist destinations and attractions. County officials are in the process of completing a welcome sign, shelter and informational kiosk located in downtown Stearns as part of that project. More information on the PRIDE award presented to McCreary County Tourism is available on the county website at www.mccrearycounty.com.

KSP ISSUES WARNING FOR POTENTIAL SCAM/FRAUD
The Kentucky State Police has issued a warning to residents about a potential scam or fraud in the area. They say numerous calls reporting the scam have been received in the KSP Post 11 area, which includes McCreary County. Referred to as “Esteemed Secret Shopper” by authorities the scam targets victims by sending them a fraudulent check by mail to deposit in their bank account to purchase pre-paid credit cards for various businesses in the area. Victims are then directed to text the card information and are told they can keep a portion of the money for their time and effort. In fact, the checks sent are no good and the victim ends up being responsible for all the money spent on the pre-paid cards. Authorities urge the public to never deposit a check unless you are sure where it came from and that it is good. Also, never give personal or account information to anyone unless you have initiated the contact. Remember that scams usually increase closer to the holiday season.

McCREARY COUNTY SELECTED AS SITE FOR NEW FACILITY
During Monday night’s candidate debate, McCreary County Judge Executive Doug Stephens eluded to a pending announcement that would bring good news to the county in terms of economic growth. Judge Stephens said he, and his staff, had been working for about two and a half months to secure a new employer for the county. This week, the official announcement came that METT USA, LLC is in the final planning stages for locating such a facility locally. The facility will reportedly be focused on providing responsible waste management and clean energy production according to information released by county officials this week. The new facility will be constructed in various phases over three years but could employ between 600 and 900 people at full capacity. More information about the project is available at www.mccrearycounty.com.

GROW APPALACHIA CONTINUES GROWING IN McCREARY COUNTY
Last year, McCreary County was selected to take part in the “Grow Appalachia” program, which uses grant funding to assist local residents with growing a garden, sustaining the local food supply and even providing assistance with marketing locally produced items. The program continues to grow in McCreary County increasing participation from 19 locals the first year to 35 this year. County officials are hoping the trend continues with 35 slots anticipated for the program in 2015 and applications for the program being accepted now. In next year’s program first year participants will be provided support, assistance and guidance in getting their garden started and making it a success, while second year participants will see more focus on marketing and the creation of value-added products. Grow Appalachia holds regular meetings as well as educational classes and field trips for participants. One aspect of the program this year was also the introduction of a local farmers’ market, which organizers plan to continue into next year. Applications for inclusion in the 2015 program are available now through the McCreary County Judge Executive’s Office or online at www.mccrearycounty.com. Applications should be submitted by Monday November 3rd to the judge’s office and even those who took part in the program this year should submit a new application for next year. For information on the Grow Appalachia project you can call the judge’s office at 376-2413 or visit the county website.

This site is © 2014 by H-L Communications, Inc./WHAY Radio. PO Box 69 (69 Courthouse Square) Whitley City, KY 42653 radio@hay98.com.
No portion of this site may be reproduced, copied or used without written consent.