OBITUARIES

Mary Joyce Wyatt age 74 of Whitley City passed away Sunday May 24, 2015. Ina ccordnace with her wishes, there will be no public funeral service. Graveside services will be Tuesday at 12:00PM at McCreary Memorial Gardens. McCreary County Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Mary (Troxell) Wyatt age 66 of Whitley City, wife of Lawrence Wyatt, passed away Sunday May 24, 2015. Graveside services will be Wednesday at 1:00PM at Nancy Grave Cemetery with burial to follow. Visitation will be Tuesday after 6:00PM at the funeral home. McCreary County Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
James Dean Vanover age 58 of Parkers Lake passed away Monday May 25, 2015. Funeral services will be Wednesday at 4:00PM at McCreary County Funeral Home with burial in Solomon Cemetery. Visitation will be Wednesday after 2:00PM at the funeral home. McCreary County Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

DAILY NEWS UPDATES

Updated Tuesday May 26, 2015 @ 8:00am

McCREARY SCHOOL BOARD TO MEET UNDER NEW SUPERINTENDENT
The McCreary County Board of Education will meet this evening (Tuesday May 26th) under a new superintendent for the first time. It will be the first meeting of the board since Donnie Wright resigned the post and Aaron Anderson was appointed as interim superintendent. While the school board will, at some point, have to deal with the process of searching for a new permanent leader, that items does not appear on the agenda for this month's regular meeting. A number of issues are on the agenda including approval of the 2015-2016 salary schedule; creating five school nurse positions for next year, putting one in each local school; creating one district health coordinator position; declaring a surplus property sale at the former Smithtown Elementary School; and approving architects for the high school baseball field house renovation and construction of a softball field house. The board will also approve a tentative budget; accept bids for the new school year; and approve a number of field trips and fundraisers for schools and clubs. The next regular school board meeting after tonight is scheduled for Tuesday June 23rd at 6:30pm at the board office in Stearns.

McCREARY LITTLE LEAGUE HOSTING 2015 MEDAL DAY CEREMONY
The McCreary County Little League Association is inviting players, coaches, parents and all community members to attend the 2015 Medal Day Ceremony which will be held this Saturday May 30th at the fields at the McCreary County Park. Each player in the league will receive a participation medal with other awards also presented. The day's activities will begin at 11:00am with games played on all four fields throughout the day. Concessions will be sold supporting Little League. For information on the league or schedules you can find them on Facebook or go to www.mccrearypark.com and click on “Little League.”

BIG SOUTH FORK ANNOUNCES OPENING OF ALL VISITOR CENTERS
The Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area has visitor center and visitor contact stations at various locations throughout the park, including McCreary County on the Kentucky side and several counties in Tennessee. The Stearns Visitor Contact Station, located off Wilburn K Ross Highway in Stearns, is now open and staffed each Saturday and Sunday, as well as holidays, through early September from 9:00am to 5:00pm each day. The number for information is 376-5652. The Blue Heron Interpretative Center, at the Blue Heron Mining Camp, is also open Wednesday through Sunday and holidays and can be reached at 376-3787 or 376-5073. In Tennessee, the park has visitor center locations in Rugby, at the Scott County Visitor Center in Huntsville, in Crossville and at Bandy Creek. For more information on the Big South Fork, stop by one of these locations or visit www.nps.gov/biso online.

McCREARY YOUTH SOUGHT FOR PARTICIPATION IN 4-H CAMP
McCreary County youth interested in attending 4-H Camp this summer still have a chance to sign up. The McCreary County Extension Service has announced that spaces for camp are still available with local youth attending camp June 8th through 11th. Camp is open to youth ages 9-13 and includes four days and three nights with a number of classes and activities included. The cost of camp is $125 per child and that includes the cost of meals, lodging, transportation and all classes and activities. For information or to apply contact the extension office at 376-2524 as soon as possible.

KENTUCKY'S REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR'S PRIMARY A NEAR TIE
Considering it was a statewide race with more than 200,000 total votes cast, the race for Republican nominee for Kentucky Governor was just about as tight as it could have been. Most polls leading into Tuesday's primary had a three way race between Matt Bevin, James Comer and Hal Heiner. As it turned out, Bevin and Comer recorded nearly identical numbers with a margin of only 83 votes separating the two candidates. Bevin, a former candidate for US Senate from Kentucky, came out on top with 70,479 votes or 32.91% while Comer, the current Agriculture Commissioner, had 70,396 votes or 32.87%. Heiner came in third with just under 58,000 votes or 27% and Will T Scott was a distance fourth with just over 7%. While Bevin gave a victory speech Tuesday night and encouraged all Kentuckians to join his campaign for the fall, Comer said he will call for a recanvass of the vote totals which will come next Thursday May 28th. The Republican nominee, who appears to be Matt Bevin with running mate Janean Hampton, will face off against Democratic nominee Jack Conway with his running mate Sannie Overly in November.

PRIMARY ELECTION WINNERS LOOK TO GENERAL ELECTION RACE
The winners from the primary election Tuesday in Kentucky, along with several candidates who were unopposed and did not appear on the ballot this week, are looking forward to November and the General Election races. Alison Lundergan Grimes will represent the Democratic party in her re-election bid for Secretary of State, challenged by Republican Stephen Knipper. The race for Agriculture Commissioner puts Republican Ryan Quarles, who won his primary by just about 1500 votes, against Democrat Jean-Marie Lawson Spann. The State Treasurer post will include Republican Alison Ball running against Democrat Rick Nelson and the Attorney General race puts Democrat Andy Beshear, son of Govenor Steve Beshear, facing Republican Whitney Westerfield. The overall voter turnout for Kentucky was recorded at just 12.57% on Tuesday.

McCREARY VOTER TURNOUT COMES IN BELOW STATE NUMBER
The local voter turnout was even lower than the state's turnout, coming in at 9.9% for McCreary County where 1,101 voters cast ballots out of more than 11,000 registered voters in the county. McCreary County voters went for Comer for Governor with 41% of Republicans casting a ballot for him, compared to 27% for Bevin, 23% for Heiner and 8% for Scott. McCreary County Republicans also voted in the majority for Westerfield for Attorney General; Alison Ball for Treasurer; and Richard Heath for Commissioner of Agriculture. Local Democrats selected Conway for Governor, Grimes for Secretary of State Nd Rick Nelson for Treasurer.

SECOND SUSPECT IN PULASKI COUNTY SHOOTING ARRESTED
In an update to the story we brought you Tuesday, the second suspect in a weekend shooting in Pulaski County has been arrested. 55 year old Mark Showalter was apprehended at his home in Eubank and has been charged with attempted murder after he allegedly shot 49 year old Allison Boclair in the head Sunday morning. Mark's son, 34 year old Timothy Showalter, was arrested late Sunday in connection with the incident and was charged with burglary and assault. The victim is listed in critical condition at UK Chandler Hospital in Lexington.

PAIR ARRESTED FOR CHURCH THEFTS IN WHITLEY COUNTY
Two suspects have been nabbed and charged with trying to steal metal from at least one Whitley County church this past weekend. Police say 35 year old William Veach was arrested Saturday and 35 year old Terry Holt later turned himself in with the pair accused of trying to steal metal from an air conditioning unit at Frankfort Baptist Church in Whitley County. Veach is charged with possession of burglary tools and criminal mischief while Holt is also facing a criminal mischief charge.

MILL SPRINGS BATTLEFIELD TO CELEBRATE MEMORIAL WEEKEND
This weekend will include some Memorial Weekend activities at the Mill Springs Battlefield in the Nancy area of Pulaski County. Among the activities planned will be a ceremony Saturday morning at 10:00am at the Mill Springs Visitor Center located off Highway 80. Attending the ceremony will be US Congressman Hal Rogers who will reportedly be joined by the Civil War Trust and the Mill Springs Battlefield Association for a special announcement concerning the battlefield and national cemetery. In addition, special tours will be offered of the visitor center and the cemetery commemorating the Battle of Mill Springs which was fought in January 1862. For more information on the battlefield site or the event you can visit www.millsprings.net.

PULASKI COUNTY AUTHORITIES INVESTIGATING SHOOTING
This past weekend was anything but calm on East Highway 452 in Pulaski County as shots were fired Sunday morning at about 8:30am. According to police, officers found 49 year old Allison Boclair at the residence suffering from a gun shot wound to the head. She was airlifted to the UK Medical Center in Lexington where she was listed in critical condition. Officers sought two suspects in the case, 34 year old Timothy Showalter and 55 year old Mark Showalter. They reportedly fled the scene in a 1996 Chevrolet pickup truck with Timothy Showalter later arrested at his home in Somerset and charged with complicity to commit assault and burglary. Mark Showalter was still being sought at last report and was described as standing 5'10” tall and weighing about 200 pounds with blue eyes, gray hair and a beard. The Pulaski County Sheriff's Department is leading the investigation.

RABIES CLINIC SCHEDULED IN McCREARY COUNTY
The Animal Care Center of Somerset and the Lake Cumberland District Health Department have joined to again offer a local rabies clinic to pet owners in McCreary County. The clinic will be held Saturday June 13th with the schedule including Pine Knot Primary School from 9:00-11:00am and Whitley City Elementary School from 12:00-2:00pm. State law does require all dogs, cats and ferrets over four months of age to be vaccinated and shots are good for one year. The cost of the vaccination is $5.00 per rabies shot and other vaccines are also available at discounted rates.

PRIMARY ELECTION DAY ARRIVES WITH STATEWIDE RACES
Tomorrow, Tuesday May 19th, is Primary Election Day across Kentucky with a number of important statewide races to appear on the ballot. Republicans will have more choices in the primary as four candidates are seeking the state's top elected position of Governor, along with their four running mates for Lt. Governor. In order, as they will appear on the GOP ballot tomorrow, candidates include Matt Bevin with running mate Jenean Hampton, James R. Comer with running mate Chris McDaniel, Hal Heiner with running mate KC Crosbie, and Will T Scott with his running mate Rodney Coffey. In the race for Attorney General for Kentucky, Republicans can choose from Michael T. Hogan and Whitley H. Westerfield. The State Treasurer's office features GOP candidates Kenneth Churchill Imes, Jon Larson and Allison Ball. The final office to appear on the ballot will be Commissioner of Agriculture where Richard Heath and Ryan Quarles are running. On the Democratic side of the primary, Jack Conway and running mate Sannie Overly are running for Governor and Lt. Governor along with Geoffrey “Geoff” Young with running mate Johnathon Masters. Incumbent Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is challenged for re-election by Charles Lovett and the race for State Treasurer on the Democratic side includes five candidates including Rick Nelson, Neville Blakemore, Jim Glenn, Daniel Grossberg and Richard Henderson. Polls will be open at all polling places across Kentucky, including all eighteen precincts in McCreary County, from 6:00am to 6:00pm local time on Tuesday.

McCREARY FISCAL COURT GIVES FIRST APPROVAL TO BUDGET
Meeting in regular session last Thursday, the McCreary County Fiscal Court approved the first reading of the budget that will go into effect July 1st. County leaders say the budget remains very tight and all departments have been asked to cut as much as possible. With a number of revenue streams down and expected to continue in that direction, and expenses in some areas including jail inmate housings on the rise, officials say there is little extra money to be found. Following the budget's first reading, the document now goes to state officials for approval or changes and will have to be given final approval at the county level next month. The court also approved the 2015-2016 salary schedule for county employees which also impacts the overall budget. Copies of the documents can be reviewed at the McCreary County Judge Executive's office. Meanwhile, the county also approved health insurance plans for employees for the new year, noting a 6.1% increase in the cost to the county. The court also set the employee insurance contribution maximum at $2500. County employees do not have to contribute that much toward health expenses but have the option if they know they will encounter increased medical bills through the year. The next regular session of the McCreary County Fiscal Court will be Thursday June 11th at 6:00pm.

KY TOURISM SEEKING LOCAL “MODELS” FOR PHOTO SHOOT
Officials with the Kentucky Department of Travel will be in McCreary County in early June with crews who will be doing a photo shoot of the region. The shoot hopes to capture some of the area's natural beauty as well as outdoor recreational opportunities. State tourism officials are seeking “models” who can take part in the photo shoot carrying out activities ranging from hiking to biking, horseback riding and more. A recruitment meeting for those interested will take place this Tuesday May 19th from 4:00-6:00pm at the McCreary Center in room 103. For additional information about taking part in the shoot, stop by during the recruitment meeting or call 502-564-4930 ext. 120.

FUTURE OF McCREARY AIRPORT QUESTIONED AT COURT MEETING
The future of the McCreary County Airport located at Pine Knot was called into question Thursday evening during the regular meeting of the McCreary County Fiscal Court. Bruce Murphy, representing the airport board, spoke to the court in regards to a project to resurface the 3000 foot runway at the facility. He noted that federal grant funds had already been allocated for the project which must be completed no later than September 30
th, with a contractor ready to begin work soon. The overall project cost is just over $660,000 but Murphy noted local match to the project is just 2.5 %, just over $16,000. He added that if the project is not completed, the airport will lose it state certification and the airport will be shut down and will not be reopened. Murphy said the board, created by the county in 1968, has never asked fiscal court for any money and has been able to sustain its operations through other means until now. He also said that the airport board is technically a taxing district, but that they have never wanted to create another tax on local citizens despite the need. The court, while acknowledging a desire to help, said there is no place in the budget to pull an extra pot of funding nearing $17,000. Magistrate Duston Baird said he would check on the use of municipal road aid money, but Murphy said he believed the match had to come from local sources. Others asked how the airport board would be able to sustain itself moving forward without funding from the court on an annual basis, but the board members present had no answer to the question. One commented that it may take the county allocating a small percentage of occupational tax or other funds to support the airport board. The court took no action on the request for the grant match, saying they could not commit to the funding which is not available. Judge Executive Doug Stephens said he would commit to looking at options, but with no guarantees. Airport board members said the facility does get used by a number of state and federal agencies, in addition to some private business and individuals.

McCREARY FISCAL COURT ADDRESSES CITIZEN CONCERNS
The May meeting of the McCreary County Fiscal Court including several topics addressed during citizen participation. Bevo Greene asked the court if the administrative code is currently being followed. He pointed to a provision requiring court members to be presented a draft of the budget by May 1
st to review and asked if magistrates had been given a copy. Judge Stephens said they input on the budget. Greene also asked about the process of terminating a county employee and why fiscal court approval was not required. Judge Stephens said that he has authority over hiring and firing of his executive staff, which he said included positions such as deputy judge executive, secretary and finance officer. Other citizen issues raised included the location of speed “humps” on a county road. Some citizens are reportedly attempting to gather signatures on a petition to remove the humps which were put in at the request of a majority of households on the street. Called into question was whether the petitions needed a majority of households or residents from a street neighborhood. Some who support the speed humps said opposition petitions included some children signatures and multiple signatures from the same household. The court seemed in agreement that the policy does, or at least should, state household numbers and not necessarily individual residents. The speed “hump” policy, which includes the process for requesting their installation in a neighborhood can be found on the county website under “Documents” at www.mccrearycounty.com.

We will have more from Thursday's court meeting next week on “The Daily Update.”

McCREARY COUNTY CHAMPIONS/UNITE CHAPTER HONORED
During a recent celebration luncheon sponsored by Operation UNITE, members of the McCreary County chapter of Champions/UNITE were recognized and honored for their work with anti-drug education and prevention efforts locally. The Youth Empowerment Award was bestowed upon members of the local chapter by UNITE, which was created by Congressman Hal Rogers to fight the drug problem throughout southern and eastern Kentucky. Congressman Rogers presented the award during the luncheon with local members on hand to accept including Chapter Vice Chair Roger Owens and Lord's Gym Director Braxton King. The Lord's Gym, located in the former McCreary County High School Gym, acts as the base for the McCreary County Champions/UNITE chapter and its local efforts.

McCREARY HIGH STUDENT SELECTED FOR ROGERS SCHOLARS
For the 18th consecutive summer, the Rogers Scholars youth leadership program will welcome students from across the southern and eastern Kentucky area. The program allows students to take part in sessions on a college campus building skills in business, entrepreneurship and leadership. Aubre Stephens of Whitley City was selected from McCreary Central High School to take part in the 2015 class of the program which will attend sessions in June and July at Lindsey Wilson College. Students are generally selected to participate in the summer between their sophomore and junior years of high school. Since its inception in 1998, Rogers Scholars has graduated 996 high school students from the program and awarded them scholarships worth more than $7.2 million to partnering colleges and universities. For more information on the program, visit www.centeryouthprograms.com.

McCREARY WATER TREATMENT PLANT RECOGNIZED BY STATE
The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet has recognized 33 surface water treatment plants across the state for meeting their criteria in the Area-Wide Optimization Program. Of those 33 treatment plants, 13 received special recognition for meeting their criteria goals 100% of the time in 2014. Among that list is the local McCreary County Water District Plant B. The achievement means the local plant has been state certified for clean drinking water. The purpose of the program is to encourage drinking water plants and distributors to surpass state and federal goals and standards. Kentucky is among twenty states that participate in the program. Other regional water plants recognized for high standards included the Laurel County Water District Number 2 plant and the Williamsburg Water Department.

McCREARY COUNTY MAGISTRATE HOLDS COMMUNITY MEETING
A small group of citizens gathered at the Pine Knot Fire House Monday evening for a community meeting scheduled by McCreary County's 4th District Magistrate Duston Baird. The meeting including discussions on the county budget, administrative code, economic development, tourism and other local issues. Baird said he holds the meetings as a way for citizens to be connected to what is going on in county government and find out what will be on the agenda for upcoming fiscal court meetings. Magistrate Baird had a draft copy of the agenda for this coming Thursday's court meeting, which will be at 6:00pm upstairs at the courthouse. Baird said he plans to continue holding the public community meetings and will likely schedule another such meeting in a few months.

McCREARY LITTLE LEAGUE TO HOST WILLIAMSBURG TEAMS
This weekend will be used by McCreary County Little League as make up days for games missed due to weather over the past few weeks and will also allow the local league to host teams from nearby Williamsburg. Friday night May 15th, in addition to the regularly scheduled games, a make up game will be held on field 2 at 5:30pm with the Pirates and Rockies playing in softball. On Saturday, May 16th, games will start at 10:00am on all four fields including teams from Williamsburg playing some local teams. The Saturday games will all be four inning games but will count as full games and will count toward All-Star game count according to league officials. The full schedule can be viewed online by clicking “Little League” at www.mccrearypark.com.

PVA ANNOUNCES OPEN INSPECTION PERIOD FOR TAX ROLES
The McCreary County PVA's office has announced the open inspection period for those wishing to review property tax roles for the county ahead of the annual bills being issue later in the year. The open inspection period begins next Monday May 18th and continues through Tuesday June 2nd with inspections possible during the hours of 9:00am to 4:00pm at the PVA office in the courthouse. There will be no inspections on Sundays or on Monday May 25th, Memorial Day, but inspections will be open on Saturdays during the period by entering the courthouse at the side entrance. Any taxpayer who reviews the records and wishes to file an appeal of an assessment should first meet with staff from the PVA's office and appeals must be filed no later than June 3d with the McCreary County Clerk's Office. For information stop by the PVA's office or call 376-2514.

BLUE HERON PREPARING FOR FIRST ANNUAL DECORATION DAY
This Saturday, May 16th, will be the first Decoration Day observance at the Blue Heron Mining Camp in western McCreary County. The event officially runs from 12:00-4:30pm Saturday afternoon with programs and exhibits offered including “Life of a Coal Miner,” “A StrollThrough Time: Geology of the Plateau,” “Abandoned Mine Safety,” and others including the coal mining history of the Blue Heron Mining Camp. There will also be live music throughout the afternoon as well as opportunities to take in the scenery around Blue Heron and enjoy a picnic lunch. It is free to attend the event which is accessible by driving to Blue Heron or riding the Big South Fork Scenic Railway from Stearns. In addition, those with historic photographs of the Big South Fork region are encouraged to bring them. Staff will be on hand to scan photos for possible use in the park museum, which currently includes over 300 oral history sessions and hundreds of historic photographs. For information on the Decoration Day activities at Blue Heron this Saturday afternoon, all the Big South Fork park at 423-286-7275 or 376-3787. For information on the Big South Fork Scenic Railway, call 376-5330.

BLUE HERON MINING CAMP NOW OFFERS WI-FI FOR VISITORS
Officials with the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area recently announced that wi-fi, or wireless internet, is now available at the Blue Heron Mining Camp. Park staff say they understand that many visitors depend on connection to the internet for things like planning their visit to the area, looking up information or staying in touch with others. Currently, the wi-fi service is available around the train depot area at Blue Heron and will eventually be incorporated into some of the educational displays at the Blue Heron Interpretive Center. The park also offers the free wireless internet service at their Bandy Creek Visitor Center on the Tennessee side of the park.

McCREARY MAGISTRATE TO HOLD FORUM AHEAD OF COURT MEETING
McCreary County Fiscal Court will meet in regular session this Thursday at 6:00pm. Fourth district Magistrate Duston Baird will be discussing items that will be on the agenda for the court meeting and getting public input during a community meeting this evening (Monday) at 7:00pm at the Pine Knot Fire House. While citizens in the fourth district are being encouraged to attend and share their views, the meeting is open to any county resident who is interested in learning more about what county government is working on. In addition, Baird is inviting local department heads and members of various county boards to attend and share what they have in the works.

McCREARY CENTRAL TEAMS READY FOR LAST WEEK OF SEASON
This week is the final week of the 2015 regular season for the McCreary Central High School baseball and softball squads. The Raiders move into the week with a 3-19 record overall this season, 0-7 in region play and 0-4 in their district. This week's games will include three home games, hosting Knox Central Tuesday, Corbin Thursday and Rockcastle County on Friday. Meanwhile, the Lady Raiders have recorded a much better season with an overall record of 17-10, 4-2 in the district and 5-4 in region play. The team has already won a spot in the 48th district championship game, which also means an automatic spot in the regional tournament. First, the Lady Raiders must get through the last week of the regular season taking on Williamsburg at home this evening (Monday) followed by a home game against Pulaski County on Thursday and a road game at Clinton County Friday. The 48th district tournament is set to begin next Monday May 18th at Wayne County with Southwestern battling the host school for a spot against the Lady Raiders in next Tuesday's championship.

McCREARY LITTLE LEAGUE ACTION CONTINUES THIS WEEK
In other sports news, play continues this week for McCreary County Little League with games played on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday evenings on all four fields at the McCreary County Park. The schedule of games each week, as well as any notices of cancellations, can be found online at www.mccrearypark.com then by clicking on “Little League.” A special Saturday full of games will be played on Saturday May 30th starting at 11:00am at the park. The season continues until the week of June 8th, which is scheduled to be tournament week for McCreary County Little League.

McCREARY COUNTY SCHOOLS SUPERINTENDENT RESIGNS
Tensions have continued to grow between current members of the McCreary County School Board and Schools Superintendent Arthur “Donnie” Wright. As such, it was not a great surprise when Wright decided to step down as head of the local school district.
The McCreary County Voice reports that a special school board meeting held Wednesday night resulted in the board accepting Wright's resignation effective at the end of December. The board did grant a leave of absence to Mr. Wright effective immediately and until that resignation goes into effect. Aaron Anderson, who had been serving as Assistant Superintendent, was appointed as “acting” head of the school district until a search committee can screen applicants and make recommendations to the school board for hiring. The Voice reports that the room was packed Wednesday night for the special called meeting, with many in attendance reportedly upset by the move.

DEADLY BOAT CRASH INVESTIGATED ON LAUREL RIVER LAKE
Investigators were on the scene of a deadly boat crash Wednesday on Laurel River Lake near Corbin. It happened about 4:30pm with Amber Johnson killed in the accident, while at least two others on the boat were injured. There were apparently no witnesses to the actual crash, but people from a nearby pontoon boat did come to help after hearing yelling from the area. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife is leading the investigation into the accident and say both drugs and alcohol are suspected as fact/8ors in the accident and charges could be pending.

LANE COSURE ANNOUNCED ON I-75 IN ROCKCASTLE COUNTY
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has announced that beginning this Sunday, May 10th, a lane closure will be in effect on Interstate 75 in Rockcastle County. Currently, lane closures are being used at night to complete work on the section of I-75 but that will increase to a 24 hour lane closure Sundays through Thursdays for about the next six weeks. Speed limits in the area are also reduced from the normal 70 miles per hour to 55 miles per hour during the work period. Motorists are urged to slow down and use caution in that area.

CUMBERLAND FALLS STATE PARK CLEANUP NEXT SATURDAY
The Cumberland Falls State Resort Park will be hosting a spring cleanup day next Saturday May 16th with volunteers from around the region sought to help with the event. Volunteers will gather that morning and clean up around the falls and along the Cumberland River with a cookout to follow.

ONEIDA WOMAN KILLED IN WEEKEND TRAFFIC INCIDENT
A Sunday morning accident caused serious injuries to an Oneida woman who was hospitalized for two days before being pronounced dead from those injuries on Tuesday. Investigators say 30 year old Lynsee Reneau was traveling along Baker Highway near Huntsville when her car struck a metal rod in the road before it crashed through the windshield and struck the woman in the face. She underwent surgery at UT Medical Center in Knoxville but reports indicate the woman may have suffered a stroke following the surgery. Police say her sister and young two year old son were also in the vehicle at the time of the accident but were not injured.

PRISON ESCAPEE CAPTURED, WHILE ANOTHER INMATE WALKS AWAY
One prison escapee was captured in a neighboring county this week, while in another regional county a jail inmate walked away from a work detail. Kentucky State Police report that Charles Blanton was apprehended in southern Laurel County Tuesday morning after he had escaped from the Blackburn Correctional Complex in Lexington and led police on a high speed chase. Blanton was charged with several offenses including escape, wanton endangerment and resisting arrest, in addition to his original charges of manufacturing meth for which he was serving a 16 year prison sentence. Meanwhile, in Pulaski County on Tuesday, 39 year old Stanley Gibson walked away from a jail release work detail in the Mill Springs area of Nancy. He is described as being about 5'7” tall and weighing about 160 pounds with a goatie and short dark hair. He was in jail on a charge of unlawful transaction with a minor.

SOMERSET OPTOMETRIST FOUND LIABLE IN MEDICARE FRAUD CASE
A federal jury has found that a Somerset Optometrist sought payments from the Medicare and Medicaid programs for eye exams performed at several nursing homes that were found not to be medically necessary. Dr. Phillip Robinson is at the center of the case after officials say he claimed to have performed more than 11,000 eye exams at several facilities over a five year period, meaning a loss to the Medicare program of about $420,000. The Department for Health and Human Services is now reportedly looking at the case to determine whether he will be allow to continue participation in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

TOURISM IMPACT INCREASING LOCALLY & STATEWIDE
State officials have released numbers showing the tourism impact on the economy statewide, as well as regionally and on an individual county level. According to the data, Kentucky's impact from travel and tourism spending increased by $2.2 billion in 2014, topping more than $13 billion in all. In The Kentucky Southern Shorelines region, which includes McCreary and nine other counties, the direct tourism expenditures for 2014 came in at more than $193 million with the total expenditures related to travel and tourism at more than $300 million. McCreary County was also impacted by tourism dollars with direct spending increasing from about $4,639,000 in 2013 to $4,685,000 in 2014. Total travel expenditures impacting McCreary County also increased between the two years by more than $70,000. More information about tourism in McCreary County can be found at www.mccrearytourism.com and for statewide tourism information, visit www.kentuckytourism.com.

McCREARY OFFICIALS REMIND RESIDENTS ABOUT TIRE RECYCLING
A reminder is being put out by the McCreary County Judge Executive's Office about the tire recycling program in the county. Officials say there is no need to improperly dispose of old, unwanted tires when they can properly dispose of them free of charge. Each year, the county receives a tire recycling grant from the state to handle the disposal and recycling of the old tires and still has money left from that grant for the current fiscal year ending June 30th. McCreary County residents with up to ten tires to dispose of can take those directly to the transfer station in Stearns for free disposal and those with more than ten tires can get a voucher from the Judge Executive's Office to dispose of the tires free at Leslie's Tires, the designated vendor working with the county. There is currently no limit on the number of tires that can be disposed of, but the program is open to McCreary County residents only. For more information, visit the online recycling page on the county website at www.mccrearycounty.com or call the judge's office at 376-2413.

McCREARY COUNTY GRAND JURY INDICTS FIVE IN APRIL
The April session of the McCreary County Grand Jury was fairly light with only five individuals indicted on charges. Drug charges were filed against Dora Crossley of Stearns including trafficking in a controlled substance and manufacturing methamphetamine. Joshua Angel of Parkers Lake and Cynthia Clark of Stearns were also listed among last month's indictments on druf offenses with Angel charged for possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of a controlled substance not in a proper container. Clark was also charged with trafficking and possession charges in the case as well as tampering with physical evidence and being a persistent felony offender. The grand jury also indicted Alex Decker of Stearns for flagrant non-support for allegedly failing to provide support for a minor child. The final indictment handed down last month was against Randell Stevens of Stearns on charges of assault first degree for allegedly stabbing another man during a drug transaction. That allegedly took place in late February. Listeners are reminded that an indictment by the grand jury is not a finding of guilt, but is a formal charge against a suspect or suspects in a case.

McCREARY STUDENTS AMONG HIGHLAND SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS
Each year, Highland Telephone Cooperative awards scholarships to area high school seniors in each of their exchange areas to help them further their education after graduation. This year, three McCreary County students were among the award recipients including Darron Perry from the 376 exchange, Olivia Perry, also from the 376 exchange and McKayla Hamlin from the 354 exchange. The winners had to submit essays on “Technology for Telecommunications” which were judged and selected by teachers from outside the student's county of residence. The annual scholarship awards are $1000 for each recipient from Highland Telephone.

McCREARY CLEAN SWEEP EVENT COVERS MORE THAN 30 MILES
The numbers have been released by county officials showing that more than thirty-three (33) miles of roadways were cleaned during the recent McCreary County Clean Sweep Days. The county utilized volunteers, including their registered litter abatement groups, to cover areas from Pigskin Road to Wilburn K Ross Highway to Barren Fork, Bethel, the county park and several other outlying areas. During those roadside cleanup efforts, a total of 109 volunteers picked up 317 bags of trash and debris. The group “Trout Unlimited” was also in the area recently where they cleaned up 12 miles along the Rock Creek area. The bulk item drop off was also said to be a success with ten dumpsters filled during the free drop off held over three days at the transfer station in Stearns. The efforts kicked off April 22nd, Earth Day, and were sponsored by the McCreary County Fiscal Court and 109 Solid Waste Board, Eastern Kentucky PRIDE and Scott Solid Waste.

WEEKEND BEGINS WITH FATAL CRASH IN WAYNE COUNTY
The weekend got started on a tragic note in neighboring Wayne County as a fatal car crash claimed the lives of all six people inside. Investigators say at about 5:50pm Friday May 1st, a 1999 Chrysler Cirrus was traveling westbound on Kentucky Highway 90 when the car crossed the center lane for an as yet undetermined reason. The vehicle struck an oncoming 2001 Dodge pickup truck. The six occupants of the car were pronounced dead at the scene including two adults and four children. The two occupants of the truck were transported for treatment of their injuries. The wreck occurred just east of Monticello on Kentucky Highway 90. Kentucky State Police are continuing the investigation.

MISSING ELDERLY PULASKI COUNTY MAN FOUND IN LAKE
After family members reported him missing last Wednesday, an elderly Pulaski County man was found dead in Lake Cumberland Thursday afternoon. Crews from the Pulaski County Rescue Squad were called to the scene where they searched the waters and found the lifeless body of 88 year old Eugene Jones. Authorities say it appears the man's death is due to accidental drowning and, while foul play is not suspected, investigators are still looking into how the man ended up in the lake.

McCREARY TOURISM LOOKS TO IMPROVE ON LOCAL TRADITION
The McCreary County Voice reported this past week about changes that are in store for a long standing McCreary County tradition. The McCrearyFest event has been held for the past thirty five years in early October as a celebration of the local community and its businesses and organizations. During a tourism meeting last week, the McCreary County Tourist Commission gave approval to a plan that will transform McCrearyFest into a “Heritage Trail Days” event the first weekend in October. Many of the more popular components of McCrearyFest will remain, such as the parade through downtown Whitley City, live music, vendors and other activities. Added to the event will be trail adventures such as hikes, bike rides, horseback rides and potentially programs on the local trails, scenic beauty and also the heritage and history of the region. Tourism officials say they hope to continue the event as something locals can look forward to and enjoy while also attracting visitors to the region in early October. Local officials hope to take advantage of the designation of Stearns as a Kentucky Trail Town by state officials later this summer by offering events and promotions to market that designation to outside areas. A meeting will be held in early June to begin gathering community interest and support and to begin forming committees for the event. For more information call the McCreary County Tourism office weekdays between 12:30-4:30pm at 376-3008 or e-mail tourism@mccrearycounty.com.

WHITLEY COUNTY MAN CHARGED WITH SEXUAL ABUSE
A Whitley County man was arrested this week and charged with sexual abuse for an incident that allegedly happened back in December. Cory Mattox is accused of getting into bed with an underage girl and touching her in an inappropriate manner without her consent. Mattox was lodged in the Whitley County Detention Center following his arrest. The case remains under investigation.

McCREARY PUBLIC LIBRARY TO CELEBRATE CHILDREN'S BOOK WEEK
Next week, May 4th through 8th, will be the 96th annual National Children's Book Week, and the McCreary County Public Library is celebrating the longest running national literacy campaign in the country. The purpose of Children's Book Week is to connect young readers with authors and illustrators, according to library staff, who invite children and parents to stop by the local library next week to celebrate a love for reading. Each day of the week, Mother Goose will be somewhere in the children's area and when kids find her they will be entered into prize drawings. Kids checking out a book during Children's Book Week will also be eligible for a prize drawing with winners announced the following Monday May 11th. For more information, stop by the McCreary County Public Library on Main Street in downtown Whitley City, call 376-8738 or visit the library online at www.mccrearylibrary.org or on Facebook.

GROW McCREARY TO HOLD FIELD DAY PROGRAM ON DERBY DAY
This Saturday, May 2nd, is Derby Day across Kentucky but it is also a chance for participants of the local sustainable food program known as “Grow McCreary” to get out for a field day program. The group will meet at the Led Plow Homestead in the Corder Flats area of Strunk where Andrew Powell will offer a program on greenhouse usage, composting and Derby Day planting. Future programs include a field day at the End of the Road Organic Farm in Marshes Siding on May 28th and the opening of the McCreary County Farmers' Market on June 13th in Stearns. For more on the Grow McCreary program you can visit www.mccrearycounty.com or look them up on Facebook.

McCREARY CHAMBER SCHOLARSHIP DEADLINE APPROACHING
Local high school seniors have just a few days left to submit their application for a $500 scholarship for higher education being offered by the McCreary County Chamber of Commerce. The award has become an annual presentation by the Chamber to help a local student continue their education after high school graduation. The deadline is this coming Monday May 4th and applications are available online at www.mccrearychamber.com. You can also find out more about the Chamber on their Facebook page. The Chamber holds regular monthly membership meetings the third Wednesday of each month at the McCreary County Public Library.

MAY TO INCLUDE MANY SPECIAL EVENTS IN McCREARY COUNTY
The month of May is set to be filled with a number of special events in McCreary County for locals and visitors to enjoy. The Uptown Opry, which is held Friday nights in downtown Whitley City with Hap Strunk and Southern Smoke, will feature Lindsay Hatfield in a special Patsy Cline tribute this Friday May 1st starting at 7:00pm. The Blue Heron Mining Camp will host “Decoration Day” on Saturday May 16th with live music, food, historic pictures and memories from those who worked and lived in the area coal mines. The event will run from 12:00-4:30pm that afternoon with everyone welcome. Other upcoming events include the Mountain Craft Center's Memorial Day Craft Days which will be Saturday May 23rd through Monday May 25th with activities from 10:00am to 5:00pm each with craft sales, demonstrations, and more. The craft center is seeking crafters who want to set up and display their items at the event and be part of the center located on Highway 90 about seven miles east of Parkers Lake and four and a half miles west of Cumberland Falls. For information you can call 376-3463 or you can call Karen at 354-3246 or Lorella at 354-2946. The McCreary County Relay for Life is also set to be held at the end of the month on Friday May 29th from 6:00pm to midnight at the McCreary Central High School track and field. For more on upcoming events and festivals in McCreary County, you can visit www.mccrearytourism.com and click on “What's Happening?” or visit the McCreary County Tourism Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Visit.McCreary.

STEARNS TRAIL TOWN PROJECT NEARING CERTIFICATION
For the past few years, local officials from the McCreary County Judge Executive's office to tourism to the McCreary Heritage Foundation have been working toward the goal of having Stearns certified as a Kentucky Trail Town. That project is nearing certification and local officials are reportedly awaiting a date for that ceremony to be set by state officials this summer. The state initiative will put more focus on Stearns, as well as McCreary County, as a destination for tourists who are looking for trail activities such as hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding and more. Various components of the project have either been completed or are nearing completion including the construction of a Trail Town gazebo with visitor information and welcome sign in Stearns, the location of Trail Town signs at various trail heads in the county and several beautification efforts. As the project continues and nears certification, local officials will meet this Thursday April 30th at 5:00pm at the train depot in Stearns to continue planning and discuss ongoing efforts. Find out more about the local project on the Stearns Trail Town Facebook page and more about the statewide project at www.kentuckytourism.com.

BIG SOUTH FORK SEEKING VOLUNTEERS FOR “TRAIL KEEPER”
The Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area is reaching out to the community in search of volunteers who want to help maintain and clean trails in the park. The program is called “Trail Keeper” and it allows individuals or organizations the opportunity to “adopt” a trail that they agree to travel four times annually. During each of those treks on the adopted trail, the volunteers will pick up trash or debris and can do light maintenance work to help keep the trail clear. Park officials emphasize that the program does not authorize the use of power equipment or heavy maintenance, but they say volunteers can use small handsaws to cut small trees that may be blocking trail access. The Big South Fork consists of more than 400 miles of trails that people use for hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking on a regular basis and park officials are asking for the community's help in keeping those trails clear and useable. For information on the program, including the complete “Trail Keeper” information packet with information, guidelines and a list of available trails, you can go online to www.nps.gov/biso/supportyourpark/volunteer.htm. You can also call Effie Houston, the park's volunteer coordinator, at 423-569-9778. Trails included in the program can be found on the Kentucky and Tennessee sides of the Big South Fork.

RELAY FOR LIFE EVENT BRINGS ADOLPH RUPP TO McCREARY
The McCreary Center of Somerset Community College is getting in on the act of raising money for the local Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society. A presentation at the local college campus this Wednesday April 29th will feature Edward B. Smith portraying Adolph Rupp, the legendary University of Kentucky basketball coach who led the Wildcats for more than forty years before he retired in the early 1970s. The presentation begins at 11:00am running until 2:00pm and is free, but a hot dog lunch will also be served at a cost of $4.00 per person with proceeds benefiting the Relay for Life. The program will be offered in room 115 of the McCreary Center and everyone is invited to attend on Wednesday April 29th.

STEARNS MOVING FORWARD WITH ALCOHOL SALES
After voters in the Stearns precinct gave their nod of approval to alcohol sales in the Stearns Historic District during last November's General Election, the McCreary County Heritage Foundation, which oversees the district as well as several of its ventures, is moving forward with plans to offer alcohol sales. After a recent meeting of the Heritage Foundation board resulted in a positive vote for the application process for an alcohol license, public notice was posted last week in The McCreary County Voice newspaper that the foundation intends to submit its application no later than May 1st to the state. Reported plans could include the location of a restaurant in the historic, downtown Stearns area that could serve alcohol by the drink as well as plans to offer drinks at special events and special rides of the Big South Fork Scenic Railway. Comments on the license application can be submitted to the Department of Alcohol Beverage Control in Frankfort within thirty days.

McCREARY SHERIFF REPORTS ARREST IN STORAGE BREAK-INS
We previously reported on a series of break ins at local storage units in McCreary County. This past week, The McCreary County Voice reports that the sheriff's department made an arrest in that case. 32 year old James Andrew Ball of Whitley City was nabbed by officers and charged with a class D felony burglary charge. In addition, 38 year old Marshall Staten of Stearns was arrested and charged with receiving stolen property related to the case. Authorities say additional arrests may be pending as the case remains under investigation. The McCreary County Sheriff's Department is leading the investigation and they ask that any citizen with information call them at 376-2322 or submit a tip through their website at
www.mccrearysheriff.com.

McCREARY LITTLE LEAGUE HOPING TO START SEASON THIS WEEK
After being delayed by a week due to rains and wet fields, the McCreary County Little League season is set to begin this week, weather permitting. The schedule for this week includes games this evening (Monday April 27
th) with the Blue Jays playing the Braves in the 11 and 12 year old division on field 1 at 5:30pm; the Mets playing the Braves in the 9 and 10 year old division on field 2 at 5:30pm; the Orioles vs the Cubs for coach pitch on field 3 at 5:30pm, followed by the Reds vs Diamondbacks also on field 3; and the Rangers vs Pirates in girls; softball on field 4 at 5:30pm. For the complete schedule, including team pictures set for this week and any cancellation notices, you can visit the “Little League” page at www.mccrearypark.com.

KENTUCKY PRIMARY ELECTION JUST THREE WEEKS AWAY
The 2015 Primary Election in Kentucky is just over three weeks away, set to be held Tuesday May 19th across the state. Many statewide offices will appear on the ballot including Kentucky Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General and others. Regardless of the outcome of this year's elections, some state offices will have new office holders. Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear is concluding his second term and was not eligible to run again. Attorney General Jack Conway decided not to run for re-election to his post, instead running as a Democrat for governor. Agriculture Commissioner James Comer will also not return to that office as he is running for governor on the Republican ticket. Some absentee voting is already getting underway as certain voters are eligible to apply for a mail-in ballot now and others will be eligible closer to Election Day. Walk-in absentee voting will also get underway soon in the County Clerk's Office and polls will be open at all precincts on Tuesday May 19th from 6;00am to 6:00pm. In McCreary County, the local Board of Elections recently examined all voting machines ahead of the election cycle. The board consists of County Clerk Eric Haynes, Sheriff Randy Waters, Republican representative Shane Gilreath and Democratic representative Ralph Murphy. For more information on the elections or on voter eligibility you can stop by the clerk's office, visit their website www.mccrearycountyclerk.com or visit the Secretary of State's website at www.sos.ky.gov.

FIRST WEEK OF McCREARY LITTLE LEAGUE ACTION DELAYED
The first week of play for McCreary County Little League teams got off to a slow start....or actually, no start thanks to the rainy weather seen over the past week. The league's season was scheduled to officially start this past Monday, but rain and wet fields forced the cancellation of that day's games. Fields were still wet and muddy Tuesday, prompting league officials to cancel games that day and to eventually make the call that all games this week would be called off. The fields will reportedly be given time to dry and be worked on before the league hopes to get play started next week. The schedule will be posted on a weekly basis online, along with any announcements of cancellations due to weather. The online home for McCreary County Little League is www.mccrearypark.com then just click on “Little League”. There is also information currently posted on the page about picture days for the local league teams.

GROW McCREARY TO HOLD FIELD DAY AT JUDGE EXECUTIVE'S FARM
The Grow McCreary program will have its next meeting this evening, Thursday April 23rd, as a field day session at the farm of Judge Executive Doug Stephens in the Strunk area. The session will cover chickens, high tunnels and other garden starting ideas and techniques. All Grow McCreary participants are encouraged to attend by turning off US Highway 27 onto Highway 1470 by Bobby Duncan's store and turn at the store going east on Hwy 1470 (Marsh Creek Road). Travel two miles and turn left on Murphy Ridge, continuing for two more miles to a sharp right. Follow the road to Lloyd Trammell Road and then after about 100 yards, turn into the first gravel road. Future Grow McCreary sessions will include a field day May 2nd at the Led Plow Homestead in Corder Flats and at End Of The Road Organic Farm in Marshes Siding on May 28th. As a side note, the McCreary County Farmers' Market is looking forward to a June 13th opening day. Find out more about Grow McCreary or the Farmers' Market at www.mccrearycounty.com or on Facebook.

KENTUCKY UTILITIES ANNOUNCES RATE INCREASE
Those who get their electric power from Kentucky Utilities Company will have to start paying a little bit more each month. KU announced through paperwork filed with the Kentucky Public Service Commission that it would be raising rates by an average of $9 per month on each bill. The increase will mean an additional $125 million in revenue for the company, which is owned by PPL based in Pennsylvania. The Kentucky Public Service Commission will still need to approve the rate increase at their next meeting.

KENTUCKY RESIDENTS JAILED IN TENNESSEE
Several Kentucky citizens found themselves on the wrong side of the law in Tennessee late last week. Media sources in Scott County report that a 32 year old Stearns resident was arrested Friday afternoon after she was allegedly found in possession of a large quantity of methamphetamine. It happened during a traffic stop in Oneida and Joyce Ann Bailey was arrested at the scene charged with possession of a schedule II controlled substance as well as drug paraphernalia and violation of the state's seat belt law. A passenger in her vehicle, 30 year old Scott Watson, also of Stearns, was charged with violating the open container law. In addition to drugs in the vehicle, officers say the discovered more than $3,400 in cash.

The same day, but in a separate case, two other Kentucky residents were arrested in Oneida for allegedly dumping illegally along Bear Creek Road in north Oneida. 45 year old Michael Lee Phillips and 44 year old Theresa Kidd were nabbed by police and charged with aggravated criminal littering after officers spotted them dumping trash from a truck and trailer along side the roadway. Police learned that the couple was apparently hauling the trash and debris off for the Oneida Family Motel, where they had been staying. The operator of that facility admitted to police they had told the pair to haul the items off, but said they had been told it would be taken to a friend's property to fill in an old swimming pool. Phillips and Kidd were charged on the littering offense while Kidd was also booked for driving without a license, invalid registration, and other charges.

The Oneida Police Department is leading both investigations.

McCREARY COUNTY BEGINS COMMUNITY CLEANUP ON EARTH DAY
Today, April 22nd, is observed as Earth Day, a day set aside each year to give greater attention to our planet and environment. McCreary County is using the occasion to begin a community cleanup week that includes three days of free bulk item drop offs at the transfer station in Stearns. During regular hours Wednesday and Thursday, and extended hours until 6:00pm Friday, customers of Scott Solid waste, the company franchised through the county to dispose of waste locally, can deliver one truck or trailer load of bulk items for free disposal. A limited number of dumpsters are available to fill on afirst come, first served basis during the three day period. In addition, community leaders are encouraging individuals and groups to get involved with cleaning up throughout the county this week. You can sign up and get free trash bags and more information at the McCreary County Judge Executive's Office. To reward those who help with the cleanup effort, a free movie and refreshments will be offered at dark this Saturday evening April 25th at the McCreary County Park.

PULASKI COUNTY MAN PLEADS GUILTY IN MURDER OF GIRLFRIEND
A Pulaski County death investigation ha snow led to a guilty plea being entered by the man who admits to killing his girlfriend and disposing of her body. It happened last October when 34 year old Monica Wells was reported missing and her body eventually discovered in a sinkhole. 35 year old Johnny Ray Hendrix, her boyfriend, was arrested at the time and charged with her murder. Hendrix entered a guilty plea last week in the case admitting that he killed her and dumped the body in the twelve foot hole. Police say the man had a lengthy history of domestic abuse prior to the murder. Prosecutors in the case are seeking a 25 year prison sentence for the plea of murder and evidence tampering.

McCREARY MUSEUM SEEKING MEMBERS TO CONTINUE TRADITION
For nearly thirty years, the McCreary County Museum in Stearns has been in operation showcasing the history and cultural heritage of this county and region, including an emphasis on the many years that the Stearns Coal and Lumber Company was dominate in the county. The 2015 season will be the 27th consecutive year of operation for the museum which operates mainly on donations, grants and membership dues to cover its expenses. The museum is currently seeking additional members to support their efforts and continue the mission of sharing McCreary County's history and heritage with locals and visitors. Members receive special discount offers throughout the year to the museum and the Big South Fork Scenic Railway, and also receive exclusive invitations to exhibit openings and events. As a member, you would also receive the museum newsletter and other benefits. For information on the McCreary County Museum in Stearns, including information on becoming a member, stop by the museum, call 376-5730 or visit them online at www.mccrearymuseum.com or on Facebook.

EFFORTS CONTINUE TO COLLECTION DONATIONS TO CLEAN UP JAIL
In the more than two years since the McCreary County Jail closed, the facility has been sitting empty and has continued falling into disrepair. The last meeting of the McCreary County Fiscal Court included discussion on the need to put some effort into cleaning up the facility so state officials will have something to look at when they pay a visit to the county to discuss possibilities for reopening the local jail. Since that meeting, Kim Coffey has stepped forward offering to help coordinate the effort to start the clean up process and is seeking donations of supplies from any local businesses. Those willing to help can contact Kim Coffey at the McCreary County Road Department at 376-8796 between 8:00am-4:00pm or call 606-310-6311.

TEEN HIT & KILLED BY TRAIN IN LAUREL COUNTY
A freak accident in nearby Laurel County is under investigation and authorities there say a 17 year old boy is dead. They say William Walters was camping with some friends when he was hit by the train at about 3:00am Saturday near Tackett Road in Lily, Kentucky. That is about seven miles south of London in southern Laurel County. Investigators say the train operator told them he saw the teen on the tracks and tried to stop and get his attention, but it was too late and the boy was struck. There are apparently no lights on the track in that location and the only light would have come from the train itself. Police say they do not yet know if alcohol or drugs played any role in the accident.

BUDGETS FOR COUNTY GOVERNMENT, SCHOOL BOARD LOOK BLEAK
As McCreary County Fiscal Court and the McCreary County School District begin work on their respective budgets for the new fiscal year starting July 1st, both entities are seeing that finances look bleak moving forward. The school board met recently and heard several options for cutting its budget, but was still looking at a major shortfall for the upcoming year. Meanwhile, the county is just getting ready to start its budget process, but with revenue down in many areas, county leaders will also be looking at ways to make cuts starting in July. One area that was disturbing for both the county and school district was the news that PILT, or Payment in Lieu of Taxes, payments from the federal government will be cut drastically. The McCreary County Voice reports that previously, the county received just over $400,000 for the payment but will get less than $23,000 for the coming year. By law, that funding must be split between the McCreary County Road Fund and the McCreary County School District, meaning just over $11,000 for each. PILT payments are made to the county by the federal government in lieu of property taxes they would pay on the land owned by the government in McCreary County, however those levels are significantly lower than regular property tax payments would be.

McCREARY PULLS TOGETHER FOR LOCAL WEEKEND EVENTS
This past weekend was filled with examples of how McCreary County, and its people, pull together to get things done. For the fourth consecutive year, a large group of volunteers put in many hours of preparation for two local Hee Haw style shows on Saturday all to raise money to battle a disease that has impacted almost everyone in one way or another. The local Relay for Life, benefiting the American Cancer Society, once again put on the annual Hee Haw Show to good crowds who filled the McCreary Central High School auditorium. Admission to the event was a $5.00 donation to the Relay for Life, plus concessions were sold and items auctioned, with all money going to the fight against cancer.

Another example of local volunteers pulling together to make a big event happen was the first, in what local officials hope will be an annual, Yamacraw Run 10k and 50k race. The event drew more than two hundred participants, many of whom came from other states and other sections of the country, to compete. From a young racer at age 8 to racers in their 60s, they lined up, signed in and took off along either a 10k route or 50k route starting from the Blue Heron Mining Camp Saturday morning. Tourism officials say in addition to the many racers who came to town, most of them brought friends, spouses or even their whole family to cheer them on and enjoy other aspects of the local community and attractions. The event was made possible through countless hours of effort put in by a large team of volunteers, including many locals who helped with sign in, staffing aid stations for the race and other parts of the overall project.

2015 SEASON SET TO OPEN FOR McCREARY COUNTY LITTLE LEAGUE
It's that time of year once again. Baseball season is here and the 2015 season of McCreary County Little League is scheduled to officially open today (Monday April 20th) weather permitting. The schedule for today includes field 1 at the County Park where the Tigers and Braves in the 11 and 12 year old division will play at 5:30pm; field 2 where the Diamondbacks and Braves will play in the 9 and 10 year old division at 5:30pm; field 3 where coach pitch action will include the Reds and Cubs at 5:30pm followed by the Diamondbacks and Pirates at 6:45pm; and field 4 with the Rockies taking on the Rangers in girls' softball play. For the complete schedule for McCreary County Little League, posted weekly, visit the “Little League” page online at www.mccrearypark.com.

IRS WARNING ABOUT TAX SCAM CIRCULATING THE NATION
With this week being tax week, and Americans swarming to get their taxes filed earlier in the week at the last minute, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued a warning about a scam that is apparently circulating throughout the nation. Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid immediately through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim does not comply, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation if they are an immigrant, or suspension of a business or drivers' license. The caller has also been known to become hostile and insulting toward the victim with many of these scam calls. IRS officials say you should be on alert especially if you receive a call saying you must immediately pay such a debt. They also say that the IRS will most often make its first contact with a citizen concerning a tax issue by mail, not by phone.

COMPANY IS COMING TO McCREARY COUNTY THIS WEEKEND
It is likely that several hundred visitors will be in McCreary County this weekend for a number of special events that are planned. One major draw is the Yamacraw Run race which will include a 10k race as well as a 50k run. Spots for participants in the races have actually all been booked with nearly three hundred racers in all expected to take part. Registration and a pre-race meeting will be held today at Outdoor Venture Corporation in Stearns and the sign-in for the event begins at 6:30am Saturday at the Blue Heron Mining Camp. In addition to the racers, it is expected that a number of guests will also come with many of those out of towners to enjoy the race festivities.

The Big South Fork is also sponsoring its Wildflower Hike at Yahoo Falls Saturday starting at 9:00am. The group will meet at the parking area for the falls and those taking part are asked to dress appropriately for the weather. The hike, which is rated moderate, is free and open to the public.

The McCreary County Relay for Life committee is also sponsoring their fourth annual Hee Haw Show to raise money for the American Cancer Society. The show will be Saturday at McCreary Central High School with shows at 3:00pm and 7:00pm. Admission is a $5.00 donation to the American Cancer Society.

These events are in addition to some of the regular weekend activities in McCreary County, including the Uptown Opry with live country music Friday nights in downtown Whitley City.

McCREARY COUNTY JOBLESS RATE DOWN IN LATEST REPORT
The Kentucky Office of Employment and Training recently released the February unemployment rates for counties in Kentucky, showing that 119 out of 120 counties recorded lower jobless rates between February 2014 and February 2015. McCreary County was among those and also saw a lower rate between January and February this year, dropping from 9.6% in January to 8.7% in February. The highest unemployment rates in the state came from counties with double digit jobless rates including the highest in Magoffin County at 14.3%. The lowest rate in the state was in Woodford County at 3.5%. The statewide jobless rate was recorded at 5.5% in February, down from 6.1% in January. The US rate was 5.8% for the latest report. For more on Kentucky's labor market and unemployment rates, visit www.kylmi.ky.gov.

McCREARY PUBLIC LIBRARY TO HOST READER'S THEATER
The McCreary County Public Library and the McCreary County Performing Arts Council have joined to offer Reader's Theater productions of two plays in early May. The production includes the play “The Spy On Ward Four” and “The Ransom of Red Chief.” The presentation will be Saturday May 2nd starting at 7:00pm at the local library, preceded by a light menu dinner and refreshments starting at 6:00pm. The cost is $10 per person including the light meal and the production with tickets sold in advance at the library. The play is for adults and teens and tickets must be purchased by Wednesday April 29th with no tickets sold at the door. For information, stop by the McCreary County Public Library or call 376-8738 or visit the library's Facebook page.

BIG SOUTH FORK SADDLE CLUB OFFERING COGGINS CLINIC
The Big South Fork Saddle Club will be hosting a coggins clinic this Saturday April 18th at the Winfield City Park from 8:00am to 12noon. The program is being offered in conjunction with the Highland Veterinary Clinic with a regular coggins report for $20 and the digital report available for $25. Breakfast can also be purchased at the event in support of the Big South Fork Saddle Club. For information on the clinic you can call Brooke at 423-286-9292.

PULASKI COUNTY DRUG ROUNDUP NETS DOZENS OF ARRESTS
Authorities in Pulaski County arrested more than two dozen suspects Monday as part of a drug roundup after the grand jury in the neighboring county handed down a total of 47 indictments. Additional arrests are planned over the coming weeks. The arrests came from just about every corner of Pulaski County with officers from various agencies assisting the effort led by the county sheriff's department. Most of the charges filed involved Oxycodone, methamphetamine, and related drugs, but heroin is also on the rise in the area.

KENTUCKY TOURISM SECRETARY VISITS McCREARY COUNTY
The Big South Fork park ranger station in Stearns played host Tuesday to a top state official in tourism. Kentucky Secretary of Tourism, Bob Stewart, paid a visit to the area from Frankfort and spent time at the ranger station where park officials greeted him, along with other state, local and tourism industry personnel. Secretary Stewart was presented a welcome basket on behalf of McCreary County Tourism and was set to visit several locations in the county following a reception at the ranger station. Secretary Stewart oversees the state's efforts in tourism as well as parks, cultural heritage and arts.

BIG SOUTH FORK OFFERING DOWNED FIREWOOD PERMITS
The Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area is now offering temporary permits to individuals allowing for the collection of downed firewood along roadsides in the park. The recent winter storms have downed a number of trees and park officials say it is time to clean the downed wood from along the roadsides, and the best way to do that is to allow residents around the area to make use of that wood. The permit allows for the removal of wood that is already down with twenty feet of the road and the permits are good for personal use only, not for resale. No chainsaws are permitted and there is to be no cutting of standing timber with the permit. There is no charge for the permits which can be obtained at the Big South Fork park headquarters at 4564 Leatherwood Road in Oneida or at the Bandy Creek Visitor Center during office hours from 9:00-4:30pm weekdays. For information on the program, call 423-569-9778.

McCREARY SHERIFF INVESTIGATION STORAGE UNITE BREAK INS
A series of recent break ins at storage units locally is being investigated by the McCreary County Sheriff's Department. The McCreary County Voice reported on the investigations this past week and says the department is seeking the public's help in gathering information about the crimes. They are also working with the storage unit renters to compile a list of items taken during those break ins. Anyone with information on the recent crime spree is asked to call the McCreary County Sheriff's Department at 376-2322 or call the local 911 dispatch center. You can also submit tips through the department website at www.mccrearysheriff.com or by using the text link on the website.


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