Carolyn Faye Godsey age 71 of Stearns, widow of Melvin Godsey, passed away Wednesday September 17, 2014. Funeral services will be Monday at 2:00PM at McCreary County Funeral Home with burial in Angel Cemetery. Visitation will be Sunday after 6:00PM at the funeral home. McCreary County Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


(Last updated Monday September 22, 2014 @ 7:00am)

After the unexpected death of McCreary County’s 1st District Constable, Jamie Higginbotham, last week, the local Republican Party has appointed the second place primary finisher, Dustin Ridner, to run for the office in November. Higginbotham was set to run for re-election November 4th against Democratic challenger Bill Hayes. Higginbotham beat Ridner by fewer than twenty votes last May in the primary. Dustin Ridner will now face off against Hayes in November, but McCreary County Judge Executive Doug Stephens said late last week he was unsure if he would need to appoint a constable prior to the election or if he could wait until the voters weigh in. That is something he was going to be checking with state officials on this week.

Law enforcement officials from several agencies joined forces last week to conduct a major drug round-up in McCreary County. The McCreary County Voice reports that officers spent last Wednesday tracking down and taking into custody more than a dozen suspects on various drug related charges including trafficking offenses. Involved in the investigation and the round-up were the McCreary County Sheriff’s Department, Kentucky State Police, Kentucky Fish and Wildlife, the Lake Cumberland Area Drug Task Force and the DEA. The investigation is ongoing with additional arrests possible according to authorities.

The annual tradition known as “McCrearyFest” in McCreary County is kicking off with events over the next two weeks. The “McCrearyFest Mystery Search” begins today (Monday September 22nd) with clues given daily here on WHAY Radio for the next two weeks or until the mystery object is found. The person locating and turning in the object will win a prize. Other McCrearyFest activities include the annual pageants this coming weekend with the divisions for newborn through nine years Friday night September 26th and divisions for ages ten and older, including Miss McCrearyFest, Saturday night September 27th. The pageants will be held in the auditorium at McCreary Central High School. On Friday night October 3rd, the annual McCrearyFest street concert will be held in downtown Whitley City, along with the first annual “Zombie Walk” along Main Street. Main Street will be closed that Friday night at 5:00pm to prepare for the event with lineup for the “Zombie Walk” up until 6:30pm. It is free to participate and awards will be presented for scariest costumes, funniest costumes and best group costume or theme. Other Friday night events will include live music, chili cook-off, and more. The main day for McCrearyFest will be Saturday October 4th in downtown Whitley City with live music, craft vendors, food, children’s section and the “Sweet Southern Comfort” parade starting at 11:00am. For more information on McCrearyFest, visit or look up McCrearyFest on Facebook.

The McCreary County Chamber of Commerce held its annual election of officers and board members during their regular monthly meeting on Wednesday. New officers elected include President Diana Bybee, President-Elect Susan Stephens, Vice President Suzie Strunk-Thompson, Secretary Whitney Tucker, and Treasurer Josh Stephens. Wendy Wilson-Allen, the Chamber’s current President, will move into the Past-President position. New board members elected to the Chamber include Trey Ball, Mehg Marshall, and Andy Powell, joining current board members Debbie Murphy, Kay Morrow and Greg Whitis. The newly elected officers and board members will be sworn in October 28th at the McCreary County Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting and Banquet.

The 22nd annual “Haunting in the Hills” Storytelling Festival in the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area will be held this Saturday September 20th in the area around the Bandy Creek Visitor Center in Tennessee. The festival starts at 10:00am and is free to attend with events continuing all day until 10:00pm Saturday night. Among the activities planned will be storytelling throughout the day, including ghost stories after dark, plus bluegrass music from Great Day in the Morning and performances from the Knoxville Area dulcimer Club. Wagon rides, craft demonstrations, and old time toys will also be part of the festival again this year. For information on Saturday’s festival in the Big South Fork, call 423-286-7275 or 423-569-9778 or visit the park’s website at

Since it was first implemented about three years ago, the McCreary County Recycling Program has continued growing and making progress, according to county leaders. Donnie Morgan, the county’s litter abatement and recycling officer, recently updated fiscal court members about his activities saying that about 250,000 pounds of recycled product was collected in the last fiscal year ending June 30th. He said the recycling crew averages collecting about two bales of cardboard daily with each bale weighing between 900 and 1200 pounds. The revenue from recycling came to just over $9,000 last year for the county. Morgan’s salary and expenses are paid in part using a state litter abatement grant and in part using funds generated through the solid waste franchise fee received from Scott Solid Waste. For more on recycling efforts in McCreary County you can visit or call the Judge Executive’s Office at 376-2413.

Those with signs placed along state highway rights of way may want to remove them soon or they could see their signs start to disappear. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has announced that their crews will begin removing signs from rights of way over the coming weeks if they pose a hazard to motorists, reduce visibility or impede mowing and other maintenance operations. Signs that may be removed include any that are on state highway rights of way, including candidate campaign signs for the upcoming election. State law does prohibit the placement of any signs, including campaign, yard sale or other type of advertisement, on state highway rights of way as well as on any utility pole or fences in the right of way. Signs that are removed by state highway crews will be kept at the local highway garage for up to two weeks before being discarded.

After reporting on Monday that Jerry Privett was the only official write in candidate in McCreary County, seeking the office of Jailer, The McCreary County Record reports that a second write-in candidate filed their paperwork later that same day. Wayne Phillips, twin brother of former two-term Judge Executive Blaine Phillips, has now entered the race seeking write-in votes against Republican Doug Stephens and Democrat Jimmy Waters. Phillips had initially filed to run on the Republican ticket last January before withdrawing from the race. Write-in candidates will have until late October to file for the November 4th election but will have to campaign hard to let voters know they are an option as their names will not appear on the ballot.

A fairly light week of arrests was reported by the McCreary County Sheriff’s Department for the week ending Monday September 15th. A total of seven individuals were arrested during the week by sheriff’s department personnel starting with 42 year old Chas Anderson of Stearns who was taken into custody September 9th for a warrant for failure to appear. 23 year old Haylee Malone was also arrested September 9th for receiving stolen property, while 42 year old Joella Duggar was jailed September 11th for theft by unlawful taking. 34 year old Misty McCoy was also nabbed September 11th for several charges including unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, leaving the scene of an accident and reckless driving. 28 year old Shannon O’Regan was arrested September 12th for assault; 32 year old Rachel Worley was jailed September 13th for criminal possession of a forged instrument; and 20 year old Joseph Kidd was arrested September 13th for sexual misconduct. Again, these arrests represent only those reported by the McCreary County Sheriff’s Department for the week ending September 15th and do not include arrests by other law enforcement officers or agencies.

In 2005, a group of organizers with the backing of the McCreary County Tourist Commission began a small bluegrass music event on the girls’ softball field at McCreary Central High School. That was the very first Blazin’ Bluegrass Festival, hosted at the time by local bluegrass group Kentucky Wind. The festival later moved to the Sandhill 4-H Camp to allow for a larger area and camping on site and has continued each year, making this year’s festival the tenth annual event. The 2014 festival kicks off tonight (Thursday September 18th) with the music beginning at 6:00pm and continuing all day Friday and Saturday. Artists performing this year include the Moron Brothers, James King Band, Dale Ann Bradley, Junior Sisk and others. For full details on the Blazin’ Bluegrass Festival call President Freddie Patrick at 606-310-1242 or Vice President Larry “Lucky Dog” Davis at 606-310-1619 or you can visit the festival website at

US Congressman Hal Rogers announced last week the awarding of two grants for improvements at regional airports. $145,000 was awarded to the Lake Cumberland Regional Airport in Pulaski County to remove obstructions in the runway approach. A $153,000 grant was announced for the Wayne County Airport to support the rehabilitation of the airport’s runway. These grants come from the Federal Aviation Administration through the US Department of Transportation with the grant funding covering up to 90%-95% of the total eligible costs for the project.

Authorities in Whitley County have arrested and charged a father and son with cultivating marijuana. Officers say a social media post is actually what led them to the men at their Clifford-Canada Road home. A Facebook post with a picture of someone posing at the location with the marijuana plants resulted in a search of the property and one of the suspects allegedly admitting to officers that the plants were being grown there. 14 plants were confiscated and destroyed, some as tall as 13 feet, and 20 year old Tony Canada and his father, Ronald Canada, were arrested and charged with cultivating marijuana. The investigation is continuing by the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department.

The McCreary County school District, and in fact school districts across Kentucky, encourage their students to be in class every day. However, this Thursday September 18th has been set aside statewide as “High Attendance Day” in Kentucky schools with schools at each level, elementary, middle and high school, competing with other schools in the state. Categories based on school sizes will be established with schools with the highest attendance in each category receiving cash prizes to assist their school and students. School officials remind students and parents of the importance of good attendance to avoid falling behind in lessons and to develop good habits fur future life. Again, this Thursday September 18th will be “High Attendance Day” with all students in the McCreary County School District encouraged to be in class that day.

The McCreary County Soil and Water Conservation District is accepting applications from local farmers and landowners for the state funded cost share program. Applications for financial and technical assistance must be received in the local conservation district office by Tuesday September 30th. Applications will be reviewed locally but the final decision on funding in the cost share program comes from the state and is then administered by the local district. Applications and information are available at the district office on Wilburn K Ross Highway in Stearns which is open Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 2:30pm. You can also call for information at 376-5017. The district also offers several pieces of farming equipment to local farmers for rent including lime spreaders, manure spreaders, sprayers, and pasture drags.

While a few weeks remain until the deadline for potential write-in candidates to declare their intentions to run in the November 4th election, as of Monday morning only one local write-in has filed their paperwork with the McCreary County Clerk’s Office. Jerry Privett had originally filed to run for McCreary County Jailer in this year’s primary election, but health issues forced him to withdraw from the race. Now, with a clean bill of health, Privett has officially filed as a write-in for the office in November and will face Republican Jesse Hatfield and Democrat Derek Jones in that contest. According to the county clerk’s office, others have inquired about running as a write-in this fall, but no other candidates have officially signed up. The deadline to file as a write-in is October 24th ahead of the November 4th General Election.

The Kentucky Attorney General’s Office announced last week the indictment of a Pulaski County couple on rape and sexual abuse charges. According to the indictment, which was handed down by the Pulaski County Grand Jury earlier this month, names 68 year old Robert Morris and his wife 61 year old Brenda Morris and charges them with sex crimes dating back to July 2009. The indictment alleges that Robert Morris engaged in sexual contact at that time with a child under age 12 and that Brenda Morris allegedly aided her husband in the act. Robert Morris was previously indicted in Breathitt County in September of last year on six counts of sexual abuse for crimes allegedly taking place between 2008 and 2013 involving two child victims. Both cases were investigated by the Kentucky State Police and are being prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office of Special Prosecutions. Listeners are reminded that a grand jury indictment is a formal charge in a case but is not a finding of guilt.

During last Thursday’s meeting of the McCreary County Fiscal Court, new County Treasurer Mark Sewell updated the court on the county’s financial status. One issue raised by Sewell was money that is sitting in the Occupational Tax Fund waiting to be transferred into the General Fund. This funding comes from expenses for the tax administrator which is supposed to be paid out of each month’s tax collections. Those expenses have for some time been paid out of General Fund but that amount has not been transferred from the tax fund to the General Fund, meaning the money has been staying in the tax fund month after month. The total amount still sitting in the tax fund comes to just over $102,000 which can now be deposited in General Fund. While this could be viewed as “found” money, it actually is budgeted through tax expenses each year. The county’s occupational tax was also discussed by Stephanie Tucker, Tax Administrator, who told court members there are still quite a few non-payers, including some federal employees in the county who do not have the tax automatically deducted from their paychecks. Tucker said the federal government requires 500 full time federal employees in the county before they will start automatic deductions of the tax. She said at last official count, McCreary County was only two employees short of that number.

The Hope Center, founded and managed by the McCreary County Animal Protection League, and the “Backpack Program”, organized through local schools, joined forces for a food drive and fundraiser this past Saturday at Kroger in Whitley City. Volunteers from the two organizations spent hours at the store gathering food donations and money, which was then used to buy more food. The donations will help support the backpack program, which sends food supplies on for weekends with local school children in need. The donations also help support the Hope Center which conducts monthly giveaways at Sawbucks Bingo for those in need. Volunteers say they plan to hold additional food drives in the future to help support the two programs.

Meeting in regular session last Thursday night the McCreary County Fiscal Court voted to set the county tax rate for 2014 and to accept tax rates presented by the various special taxing districts in the county. Representatives from each of those taxing districts addressed the court and the public to give updates on their districts and their activities as well as to officially present their tax rates. First to speak was Kay Morrow with the McCreary County Public Library, which set its tax rate the same as the last year at 7.7 cents per $100 of assessed value for real property and personal property and 7.58 cents for motor vehicles. The local health district set their tax rate at 4 cents per $100, while the soil and water conservation district set their rate at 1.7 cents. All local fire districts set their tax rate for this year at 10 cents per $100, which is the maximum rate allowed and set by the state. The county property tax rate was set by fiscal court at 9.50 cents for real property and 20.40 cents for motor watercraft. With tax rates now set for McCreary County, property tax bills will be prepared, printed and mailed in the coming weeks and will then be payable at the sheriff’s office.

During the regular session of the McCreary County Fiscal Court Thursday night, the discussion on where to locate the county’s 911 dispatch center continued. The issue centers on the poor condition of the current 911 building, which some county officials including Magistrate Roger Phillips, believe should be torn down. The county has received grant funding to purchase new dispatch equipment with county leaders looking at placing that equipment and the 911 center in the basement of the ambulance service building. That project would cost about $50,000, which was the low bid received to complete that project. County leaders have said that the project would eventually pay for itself with lower utility costs and not having to maintain the old building. In addition, it has been estimated that moving the new dispatch equipment later would cost $25,000 whereas the installation of the equipment in the beginning would be included in the grant funding. Deputy Judge Executive Andy Powell also said the new equipment should cut maintenance costs for 911 by about $850 per month, adding that payment in lieu of taxes funding should be received in the coming months from the federal government which could help pay for the project. After discussion, the county voted to table the project until December when they can review county finances and hope to then move forward with the low bid for the project.

Just as McCreary County’s first responders were gathering for a 10:00am ceremony at the courthouse Thursday morning to remember the terrorist attacks of 9/11, many of those same first responders were called out on an emergency run. Kentucky State Police report that at 9:57am Thursday, 75 year old Edward Murphy of Marshes Siding was struck and killed by a Norfolk-Southern train at the crossing behind the South Fork Center in Whitley City. Police say the initial investigation points to the crossing signals all being fully operational at the time that the man was struck. Murphy was pronounced dead at the scene by the McCreary County Coroner’s Office. The investigation is being led by Kentucky State Police with assistance at the scene by the McCreary County Sheriff’s Department, McCreary County EMS, Kentucky Fish and Wildlife and local fire departments.

The McCreary County Sheriff’s Department is leading an investigation into a recent alleged sexual assault. The McCreary County Record reports this week that a woman was found walking along train tracks Sunday after she found her way out of a wooded area. The woman claimed to have been attacked and sexually assaulted by a man on Friday before he left her alone in the woods for two days. The woman was transported to Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital in Somerset for treatment. Investigators reported that the suspect in the assault had been identified and was being sought for arrest but additional details were not yet being released by authorities.

McCreary County officials have released the latest occupational tax numbers for the month of August 2014, showing an increase in tax collections from the same month in previous years. For August of this year, the tax collections totaled $53,949.75, up from just under $47,000 for both August 2012 and August 2013. Last month’s expenses, including the tax administrator’s salary, benefits and office expenses, came to $3,710.99 which was deducted from the total amount collected. The occupational tax fund earned $39.14 in interest last month for a net tax revenue of $50,277.90 to be deposited in McCreary County’s General Fund. For full details on the occupational tax, including the tax ordinance, reporting forms and monthly summary reports you can visit the tax page at

The 2nd annual Big South Fork Bluegrass and Bike Fest is set for this Saturday, September 13th, in Oneida, Tennessee with lots of bluegrass music, road and mountain bikers and vendors throughout the day. The event is being sponsored in part by the Town of Oneida, the Scott County Chamber of Commerce and United Cumberland Bank and will be held at the Oneida City Park starting at 2:00pm Saturday. Admission to the event is free but attendees are asked to bring a chair or blanket for seating and pop-up tents are also permitted for shade. Several large tents will be setup courtesy of Outdoor Venture Corporation and the event will be held rain or shine. For information on the Bluegrass and Bike Fest in Oneida Saturday you can call 423-663-6900 or visit

Today is the thirteenth anniversary of the attack on American at the World Trade Center in New York, and the Pentagon in Washington, DC, on September 11, 2001. At about 9:00am eastern time on that day two separate planes crashed into the two towers of the World Trade Center while a third plane struck the Pentagon and a fourth plane, possibly also bound for the nation’s capital, went down in Pennsylvania. The terrorist attack was one of the worst in United States history with more than 3,000 people killed in incidents that would eventually lead America into war in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The affects of that day can still be felt with terrorism still threatening American and its allies. A joint resolution of Congress allowed the President to declare September 11th each year as “Patriot Day” requesting that all state and local governments also observe the day with programs and activities. In McCreary County local veterans organizations including American Legion Post 115 and VFW Post 5127 have begun hold ceremonies on September 11th. Flags are also often flown at half staff on this day and moments of silence are also observed.

The Laurel County man accused of striking a 17 year old with his van last Thursday night before fleeing the scene was in court Tuesday to answer to charges. 47 year old Terry Mullins is accused of being intoxicated at the time of the collision and is charged with assault, driving under the influence, and leaving the scene of an accident. Mullins spoke very little during his court appearance this week but did request that his case be forwarded to a grand jury for consideration. The teen allegedly hit by Mullins’ van, 17 year old RJ Warren, remains in critical condition after undergoing surgery at UK Hospital in Lexington.

The annual McCrearyFest Pageants will begin Saturday September 20th with this year’s pageants to be held over the course of three nights at the McCreary Central High School Auditorium. The Miss McCrearyFest division will compete Saturday September 20th at 6:00pm, while ages newborn through nine years will compete Friday September 26th and ages ten and older competing Saturday September 27th. Applications for the pageants are available now with the current deadline for submission set for this Friday September 12th. Pick up and return applications to the McCreary County Judge Executive’s Office, McCreary County Public Library or McCreary County Museum. You can also download and print the pageant application from the McCrearyFest website at

A minor earthquake may have been felt by some in southeastern Kentucky Tuesday morning. McCreary County Emergency Management Director Rudy Young released a preliminary earthquake report just before noon Tuesday which shows a 2.2 magnitude quake with the epicenter located about 13 miles north-northeast of Whitley City or about 16 miles southeast of Somerset. That would put the center of the earthquake at the northeast corner of McCreary County.

The McCreary Central High School Raider Marching Band took part in a competition this past weekend at Southwestern Pulaski High School and took first place in several categories. The local band earned first place overall for band, plus first place for color guard and percussion among the Class 3-A sized schools. The color guard also took third place overall for the competition which included a total of eight schools competing. Michelle Simpson, McCreary Central Band Director and Instructor, said the marching band this year is comprised primarily of seventh through tenth graders meaning that there are many less experienced students participating which adds even more significance to the band’s success from this past weekend’s competition. This was the start of the competition season for the McCreary Central High School Marching Band which will continue competing at North Laurel September 20th, Corbin on September 27th, South Laurel on October 18th and Alcoa, Tennessee on October 25th.

The McCreary County Sheriff’s Department has released its weekly arrest report for the week ending Monday September 8th. A total of eleven arrests during the course of the week with many involving drug or alcohol use. 35 year old Lloyd Bowling was arrested for assault and criminal trespassing; 49 year old Gene Cooper and 42 year old Eric Miller both arrested for possession of a handgun by a convicted felon; 31 year old Paula Cooper arrested for contempt; and 44 year old Anthony Murphy arrested for operating a motor vehicle under the influence. These arrests were all reported September 2nd and 3rd, along with 32 year old Amanda Murphy for public intoxication and 47 year old Donald Lynch for operating a motor vehicle under the influence. The sheriff’s department reports 49 year old Clarence Vanover was arrested September 4th for driving under the influence; 23 year old Christopher Lawson was arrested September 5th for flagrant non-support; 45 year old Stanley Tucker was arrested September 6th for alcohol intoxication; and 32 year old Melissa Bowling was arrested September 8th for driving under the influence. These arrests represent only those conducted by the McCreary County Sheriff’s Department for the week ending Monday September 8th.

The McCreary County Farmers’ Market is going strong about two months after its official grand opening in early July. The market, which includes produce and items grown and crafted in McCreary and neighboring counties, is held each Saturday morning starting at 9:00am just off Wilburn K Ross Highway adjacent to the soil and water conservation office in Stearns. However, market organizers say two “road trips” are on tap for the farmers’ market in the coming weeks. This Saturday, September 13th, the farmers’ market will be open at the McCreary Center Campus for the annual “Kathy Brannon Memorial Craft Days” event. The farmers’ market will then be back at its regular location in Stearns September 20th and 27th before being open for McCrearyFest in downtown Whitley City on Saturday October 4th. For information on taking part as a vendor in the McCreary County Farmers’ Market you can call Susan Stephens, McCreary County’s Community and Economic Development Director, at 376-9711 or e-mail You can also visit and click on the farmers’ market link for full details and other related resources.

Saturday September 27th will be National Public Lands Day and officials with the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area are seeking volunteers for projects that day in the park. The event is set each year as the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer event with eight federal agencies, including the National Park Service, partnering to maintain and protect the environment. Anyone interested in volunteering on Saturday September 27th should meet at the Oscar Blevins Farm off West Bandy Creek Loop Road by 9:00am that morning. A safety briefing will be followed by work clearing trails and picking up trash in the park until about 2:00pm. Volunteers are asked to wear sturdy shoes and bring bug spray and drinking water. For more information on National Public Lands Day you can visit or call Effie Houston, Volunteer Coordinator for the Big South Fork, at 423-569-9778.

A hit and run case in Laurel County Thursday night led to a driver being charged and a teen in critical condition in the hospital. Police say they located a van that had been driven by 47 year old Terry Mullins of Corbin parked with Mullins passed out behind the wheel. The officers found hair embedded in the windshield and grill of the van which had suffered some damage. A backpack was also found stuck on the van and that led police to search for a missing 17 year old male. They eventually found the teen badly hurt in a ditch along US Highway 25 and he was airlifted to Lexington in critical condition. Mullins, the van’s driver, was arrested and charged with first degree assault, leaving the scene of an accident, and failure to render aid in a serious injury, in addition to driving the influence and driving on a revoked or suspended license. He was also wanted on two outstanding bench warrants for failure to appear in Laurel County. Mullins was lodged in the Laurel County Correctional Center under $25,000 bond.

Each year the McCreary County Chamber of Commerce solicits nominations from the public for its annual awards presentations, which are announced at the annual meeting and awards banquet in October. Again this year there are several award categories with nominations being accepted now through September 30th. Those categories include “Business or Business Person of the Year,” “Citizen of the Year,” “Student of the Year,” and “Educator of the Year.” Any person may submit a nomination regardless of whether they are a Chamber member. You may mail or e-mail the official nomination form with the reasons for your nomination no later than September 30th to the McCreary County Chamber of Commerce. The nomination form and full details can be found on the Chamber website at The next monthly membership meeting of the Chamber will be Wednesday September 17th at 12noon at the McCreary County Public Library with the Pine Knot Job Corps director as the guest speaker.

A new event will be held later this month to help raise money for the fight against cancer. “Rails for Life” will be hosted by the Big South Fork Scenic Railway Saturday September 27th starting at 3:00pm with live music, concessions, vendors, silent auction, door prizes and a “jail and bail” event with money raised supporting the local Relay for Life. At 5:00pm, a welcome and balloon release will be held all leading up to a train ride at 7:00pm on the scenic railway. Tickets for the train ride are $18 for adults and $8 for children 12 and under and the first 75 tickets sold also get free admission to a 6:00pm tour of the “Night at the Museum” event at the McCreary County Museum. General admission for that event is $3.00 per person beginning at 7:00pm. For information on “Rails for Life” you can call the Big South Fork Scenic Railway at 376-5330 or call Michelle Perry at 606-516-6154. Perry says some vendor spaces are still available for the event on Saturday September 27th in downtown Stearns.

Each year, the McCreary County Hunter Education program, in conjunction with Kentucky Fish and Wildlife, hosts the Camp Arnold Campout in McCreary County. This is a weekend event allowing youth who have completed the hunter education program through the year to attend and have fun. The campout this year will be Friday September 19th through Sunday September 21st and will again be held at Camp Arnold on Beulah Heights Road. Applications are currently being accepted from youth who want to attend with information and applications available at Carlos Maxwell’s Heating and Cooling, in the old Bestway Plaza in Whitley City. You can also call for information at 376-3933. To learn more about the McCreary County Hunter Education program you can visit

A petition was recently presented to the McCreary County Clerk’s office calling for a vote on alcohol sales by the drink in the historic Stearns district. The McCreary County Record reports this week that the petition was certified by the clerk’s staff with 142 legitimate signatures from the Stearns precinct with only 126 required to call for a vote on the measure. With recent state law changes, the special referendum on alcohol sales can be held with the regular General Election in November, rather than costing the county thousands of dollars for a special election. When voting in November, only voters registered in the Stearns precinct will be asked if they favor allowing alcohol sales by the drink at historic sites in Stearns. Even if the measure passes, that would seem to greatly limit the potential for selling alcohol as restaurants would have to meet certain requirements such as seating and a percentage of their sales from food and would also have to be located in the historic district which currently includes the downtown Stearns area. Again, voters in Stearns will decide the issue on November 4th during the General Election.

An investigation is underway in Pulaski County after accusations that a sheriff’s deputy there was involved in a domestic violence incident. Deputy Charles Boston was served with a criminal summons this week calling on him to answer to charges of 4th degree assault in connection with the alleged incident. Investigators say the claim involves an argument between Boston and his girlfriend which resulted in the woman being injured. Deputy Boston has reportedly been with the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department for nine years and is currently on administrative and desk duties, pending the outcome of the case against him.

The arrest report for the week ending Monday September 1st, released by the McCreary County Sheriff’s Department, shows an even one dozen arrests on a variety of charges. The report begins on August 27th with a trio of suspects arrested including 61 year old Danny Johnson of East Appletree Road for criminal possession of a forged instrument and trafficking in a controlled substance. Ronda Murphy, age 28 of Kidd School Road, was picked up that evening for theft by unlawful taking, while 43 year old Ronald King was jailed for non-payment of fines. On August 28th, 34 year old Francina Sparks was nabbed for public intoxication and prescription controlled substance not in a proper container, while 24 year old Justin Musgrove was jailed for contempt and non-payment of fines. 27 year old Billie Bolin was arrested August 29th for non-payment of fines; 26 year old Jerry Douglas and 23 year old Ristian Douglas were jailed August 30th for assault; 26 year old Mathew Sumner was arrested August 31st for alcohol intoxication, drug paraphernalia, and disorderly conduct; and Kyle Caldwell, age 18, was jailed August 31st for disorderly conduct. On September 1st, Labor Day, arrests included 50 year old Roy Garland for public intoxication and 40 year old Thomas Smart for non-payment of fines. These arrests represent only those reported by the McCreary County Sheriff’s Department for the week ending September 1st and do not include arrests by other law enforcement officers or agencies.

A former high school football coach from Pulaski County landed behind bars Sunday night when officers served an indictment on him. Dale Anderson, a former coach from Southwestern Pulaski County High School, was arrested on charges of sexual abuse and sodomy stemming from accusations out of Louisville. The indictment handed down there points to claims by an alleged victim, who is now an adult, who said Anderson sexual abused them nearly thirty years ago when he was a teacher and the victim a student. The investigation into the case is ongoing and listeners are reminded that an indictment is not a finding of guilt but simply a formal charge in a case.

The month of September will be a busy month in McCreary County with lots of activities and special events planned. This coming weekend, the McCreary County Tourism Office invites locals and visitors to attend what they hope will become an annual Native American Festival. The event will include Native demonstrations, dancing, cultural displays and more presented by the Southeastern Kentucky Shawnee/Native Pride Riders organization. While Friday September 5th is an educational day set aside for school groups, Saturday September 6th the event will be open to the public with free admission at Sandhill Camp on Highway 700. For information call the McCreary County Tourism Office at 376-3008.

Saturday September 6th will also mark the annual Ghost Train and Blue Heron Storytelling event including a ride on the Big South Fork Scenic Railway, departing Stearns at 7:00pm. Storytelling will commence at Blue Heron Mining Campo at 7:30pm Saturday evening and that event is free to attend if driving to Blue Heron.

The Kathy Brannon Memorial Craft Days will be held Friday September 12th and Saturday September 13th at the McCreary Center Campus with a number of craft classes offered over the two day event. For details call the extension office at 376-2524.

The 10th annual Blazin’ Bluegrass Festival will kick off Thursday September 18th with an evening of bluegrass music, followed by music all day Friday September 19th and Saturday September 20th at the Sandhill Camp. Artists performing this year include James King, Junior Sisk, Marty Raybon, the Moron Brothers and many others. Details can be found online at

Other September activities in McCreary County include a “Rails for Life” train ride, sponsored by the Big South Fork Scenic Railway to raise money for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. That event will be Saturday September 27th with the train departing the depot at 7:00pm. The McCreary County Museum and McCreary Performing Arts Council will again this year present “Night at the Museum”, a living history presentation, on Saturday September 27th with a $3.00 admission charge. Tours begin at 6:00pm for those riding the train that evening and 7:00pm for the general public.

For more on activities and events in McCreary County you can visit the McCreary County Tourism website at and click on the “What’s Happening” link.

The next community blood drive scheduled in McCreary County will be next Tuesday September 9th from 11:00am to 3:00pm at the McCreary Center Campus of Somerset Community College in Whitley City. Donors will help save lives with their blood donations, receive a free Kentucky Kickoff t-shirt in honor of football season, and will be eligible for a drawing to win a 2014 Toyota Corolla Sport. The winner of the car must be at least 18 years of age, but those age 17 and older are eligible to donate blood. Donors must also weigh at least 110 pounds and be in generally good health. For information on donating blood contact the Kentucky Blood Center at 1-800-775-2522 or visit

The McCreary County Grand Jury had a fairly light August session, returning only four true bills, or indictments, during the gathering. Rhonda K. King of Stearns was on the indictment list, charged with obtaining a controlled substance by fraud and/or misrepresentation for allegedly picking up a prescription of Hydrocodone for another person. King was accused of signing the other individual’s name and doing so without permission. Another indictment returned last month was against Oscar D. Martin, aka “Rocky” Martin, of Pine Knot for burglary second degree and criminal mischief. That case stems from accusations that Martin unlawfully entered a residence with the intent to commit a crime and that he intentionally damaged property in excess of $1000. Since Martin had a previous conviction he was also indicted for being a persistent felony offender. The third case returned as a true bill by the grand jury handed down indictments against Crystal Bryant and Felicia Johnson for burglary first degree and assault, stemming from a July incident in which the pair is accused of breaking into a home with the intent of committing a crime and causing physical injury to the home’s resident. Listeners are reminded that an indictment by the grand jury is not a finding of guilt, but finds sufficient evidence to formally charge a suspect in a case.

For the past twenty five years, McCreary County’s own Bill Taylor has been serving others in the healthcare field. Taylor is employed by Bluegrass Oxygen and serves clients from their Whitley City office on a daily basis. Bill Taylor has also been very active in the community through the years including his work with the local Relay for Life and the McCreary County Chamber of Commerce. A celebration is planned for this Friday September 5th from 5:00-7:00pm at the McCreary County Senior Citizens/Community Center at the county park to recognize and congratulate him on this milestone. Bluegrass Oxygen invites everyone to attend the event.

The McCreary County School District is gaining some less than positive statewide attention with a special report on WKYT television from Lexington which aired Thursday. The report shines a light on an issue that first came up publicly last week during the local school board meeting when concerned citizen, and former board member, Joyce Kidd questioned school officials about the recent hiring of a new English teacher at McCreary Central High School. The teacher, identified as Brent Sexton, previously taught at Wayne County High School until 2008 when he resigned amid allegations he was having an inappropriate relationship with a student. Sexton was not charged with a crime but his teaching certificate was suspended by the state for two years and then reinstated in 2010. Sexton is now working at the local high school, which is something some parents do not like and even say they are trying to have him removed. They also questioned whether school officials knew of Sexton’s background at the time of hiring, but school officials have not commented on that issue. The Superintendent is responsible for checking applicants’ credentials and ensuring their teaching certificates are current, but the school’s Site Based Decision Making Council does the actual hiring of teachers. The WKYT report does show that Sexton’s teaching certificate, while currently valid, does show that he was suspended for two years. Again, local school officials have not made a public statement on the issue.

A day of fun and swimming turned tragic in the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area last weekend. Officials confirm that 25 year old John Gavin Duncan of Johnson City, Tennessee was swimming with friends in Clear Fork River just up from Burnt Mill Bridge on Honey Creek Road Saturday morning when he apparently went under the water for several minutes. Duncan was pulled from the waters by his friends and was airlifted to UT Medical Center in Knoxville where he died from his injuries Sunday evening.

Police in neighboring Wayne County have reported an unusual arrest this week. The county’s sheriff’s department executed the arrest after a deputy spotted a man around the downtown Monticello “Doughboy” statue. The man, according to officers, was wearing nothing but a pink helmet and tennis shoes. The suspect, identified by police reports as 24 year old Bobby L. Hasty of Monticello, was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct second degree. Hasty reportedly told police he was acting on a dare from friends. The incident happened early Tuesday morning.

A head on collision between two tractor trailers resulted in an explosion and a fiery crash on Interstate 75 in Campbell County, Tennessee, about 30 miles south of the Kentucky state line. It happened Wednesday afternoon when one tractor trailer reportedly crossed the median and collided with the other truck. One person was confirmed dead in the crash while at least three others were injured, in addition to two firefighters who suffered injuries while battling the fire. One truck was said to contain chemicals, prompting the evacuation of people within a half mile radius of the crash site, which was around mile marker 129. While traffic was detoured around the area for several hours, authorities say all lanes reopened overnight and the crash remains under investigation.

The Grow Appalachia Project, which was adopted locally as “Grow McCreary,” is continuing to grow and hold meetings and classes with local growers and producers. McCreary County Judge Executive Doug Stephens says that the next meeting for the project is this evening (Thursday August 28th) at 6:00pm at the McCreary Center Campus with topics including extending the growing season and other fall gardening issues presented by local Extension Agent Greg Whitis. Discussion will also include participation in the program next year with applications available at the meeting. For more information on Grow Appalachia and local participation, call the McCreary County Judge Executive’s Office at 376-2413 or the McCreary County Extension Office at 376-2524. Information is also available online at

The Cumberland Falls State Resort Park will celebrate its 90th anniversary of the state’s park service with a special homecoming event this Saturday August 30th. The park is inviting all former employees, guests and the public to attend starting at 6:00pm at the pavilion behind the swimming pool at Cumberland Falls. The homecoming will include traditional folk music, line and square dancing and other activities. Attendees can bring photographs and other park memorabilia to share at the event. For information call Cumberland Falls State Resort Park at 1-800-325-0063.

Former McCreary County Sheriff Clarence “Penny” Perry passed away on Sunday (August 24th). Perry previously served as Constable in McCreary County’s first district before being elected sheriff in 2002, defeating Republican incumbent Regal Bruner in that election. Perry served one term as sheriff before losing his re-election bid in 2006. He was also well known for his musical talents, playing banjo for years including time on the Big South Fork Scenic Railway in Stearns. Funeral services for “Penny” Perry will be this Saturday at McCreary County Funeral Home. He was 66 years old.

The McCreary County Sheriff’s Department has issued their weekly arrest report for the week ending Monday August 25th showing a total of nine arrests during the seven day period for the department. 34 year old Michael Doran was arrested August 19th for a parole violation, while 24 year old Erin Walker was picked up August 20th for terroristic threatening and theft by unlawful taking. 23 year old Tylor Hill and 51 year old Carl Strunk were both jailed August 22nd for contempt; 20 year old Carrie Fletcher was nabbed August 22nd for disorderly conduct, menacing, resisting arrest, fleeing or evading and escape; and 36 year old Jennifer Claxton was picked up August 23rd for operating a motor vehicle under the influence. On August 25th, 27 year old Brittany Garcia and 35 year old Michael Barnett were arrested for non-payment of fines and failure to appear and 47 year old Vanessa Mason was jailed for non-payment of fines. These arrests reflect only those reported by the McCreary County Sheriff’s Department for the week ending August 25th and do not include arrests by other law enforcement agencies.

Fans of the History Channel’s “Mountain Men” program will want to mark Saturday September 20th on their calendar and make plans to attend the 22nd annual “Haunting in the Hills” storytelling festival. The event, held each year in the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, will this year feature an appearance by North Carolina “mountain man” Eustace Conway, who is featured on the television program. Conway will be at the Bandy Creek Field Big Stage at 3:30pm on the day of the event and will speak about his rustic way of life and his own lifetime experiences.

The festival will run all day Saturday September 20th in the fields and areas around the Bandy Creek Visitor Center on the Tennessee side of the Big South Fork. The event will include music, craft demonstrators and vendors, and all types of storytelling throughout the day, culminating in the ghost stories after dark. It is free to attend and for more information on the 22nd annual “Haunting in the Hills” Storytelling Festival in the Big South Fork, call the Bandy Creek Visitor Center at 423-286-7275 or visit

Questions have risen in neighboring Wayne County as to how a kindergarten student could not only walk away from class but get out of the school and make it on foot to near their home. That incident began Monday afternoon when school officials at Walker Elementary School apparently noticed that a kindergarten student was missing from class. The school was in lockdown mode while school officials and police began a search for the child, who was eventually located walking near their home. An investigating is reportedly underway with school officials examining their policies to try to prevent incidents like this in the future.

The McCreary County Tourism office recently received a $25,000 grant award through TOUR SEKY, a regional tourism organization based at the Center for Rural Development in Somerset. The grant is already being used by county tourism officials to install lamp posts and banners along Main Street in downtown Whitley City and to help prepare for “Trail Town” designation. For more on tourism activities in McCreary County you can follow updates on the official county website at or visit

Each year, during Labor Day Weekend, the Kentucky Native American Heritage Museum hosts its Pow Wow to educate and entertain the public with native demonstrations, music, food and displays. This year’s Pow Wow will be this coming weekend with events Saturday August 30th and Sunday August 31st at 4116 Cumberland Falls Highway in Corbin. While that location serves as the host of the Pow Wow and the base for the museum, the Kentucky Native American Heritage Museum is a mobile museum that travels to festivals, events and other pow wows, as well as schools, throughout the year to display the many historical artifacts contained in the museum. Gates will open for the Pow Wow at 10:00am this Saturday and 12noon on Sunday with a grand entry ceremony at noon Saturday and 1:00pm on Sunday. Other activities will include Native American demonstrations and dancing, pony rides for kids, petting zoo and other events. Admission to the event is $5.00 each day with children under age 12 admitted free with an adult. The Kentucky Native American Heritage Museum is a non-profit organization that receives support annually from the Kentucky Arts Council and the money raised from gate admission helps support the continuation of the event each year. For more information on this weekend’s Pow Wow or on the museum you can visit online.

Those with e-mail accounts through Highland Telephone may have noticed some issues with receiving and sending e-mail over the past few days. A statement e-mailed to its members over the weekend by Highland says that the issues arose due to an increased level of SPAM targeting the system. The issues prompted Highland technicians to install several new servers for mail as well as putting in premium SPAM filtering systems and upgrading their webmail interface. Those who log into e-mail using the link will notice a new look for webmail which will soon include the Highland logo. When logging in to webmail, you may also notice there is no link currently to “greymail” but you can access that section of mail by visiting and logging in with your e-mail and password. Highland says the delay in mail delivery and receiving will likely continue until the backlog created by the issues is resolved.

The latest unemployment data released by the state shows that McCreary County has made some improvements in the number of jobless locally. According to the numbers from July of this year, the county’s jobless rate was down to 11.7% compared to June when the rate was 11.9%. This is also improved over one year ago when the July 2013 unemployment rate for McCreary County was 13.2%. In fact, seven out of ten Lake Cumberland area counties saw lower jobless rates in July compared to the previous month, while Green and Taylor Counties saw slightly higher rates and Cumberland County was unchanged. For the first time in many months McCreary County was not listed as one of the ten highest jobless rates in the state. The highest rate was recorded in Magoffin County at 15.4% while the state’s lowest jobless rate was in Boone County at just 5.8%. The statewide rate came in at 7.5% for July, up slightly from 7.4% in June, but down by a full percentage point from July 2013 when the rate was 8.5%. For more on Kentucky’s unemployment rates and labor market data you can visit online.

With the new school year in session for just over a week, one issue that many parents may have noticed is a lack of school buses, or actually school bus drivers. With some routes combined and many students riding different buses that last year, many buses in the McCreary County School District have been experiencing overcrowding. This has also resulted bus changes with some local students even riding two or three different buses already this year just over a week in. Parents may ask what the local school district is doing to try to deal with the issues. School officials have said they are attempting to hire additional drivers to eliminate the overcrowding and have been advertising for school bus driver applicants for the past couple of weeks. Those interested in applying for a position must be at least 21 years of age; pass a criminal records and driving history check; have a valid Kentucky driver’s license; and be able to pass a CDL physical among other requirements. For information or to apply you can call the McCreary County School’s bus garage at 376-8199 or stop by their office on Highway 1651 just south of Whitley City.

Officials with the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area recently announced that the park has been awarded a “Ticket to Ride” grant from the National Park Foundation. The grant provides funding to bring school children from urban areas to the region to experience the park along with educational programs. The grant award will allow hundreds of school children and teachers to ride the Big South Fork Scenic Railway to the historic coal mining community of Blue Heron where they can learn about the heritage and history of the region. For information on the grant award or programs in the Big South Fork, call the park headquarters at 423-569-9778 or visit the park’s website at

The 2014 fall sports season is now underway for McCreary County Schools with middle school football kicking off last week and high school girls’ volleyball getting underway earlier this week. High school golf is also underway along with McCreary Central Raider Football which began with a scrimmage game last Friday and the regular season opener tonight (Friday August 22nd). The game tonight will be on the road at Scott County, Tennessee with a 7:00pm kickoff. The Raiders will then travel to Letcher County next week followed by a road game at Clinton County on September 5th. Friday September 12th, the Raiders will host their first regular season home game as they play Pineville. The Lady Raiders volleyball squad will host the McCreary Central Invitational this Saturday August 2rd starting at 10:00am.

This week’s arrest report released by the McCreary County Sheriff’s Department shows thirteen individuals arrested by department staff for the week ending Monday August 18th. The report begins with 28 year old Brandon New being arrested August 14th on a warrant for being a fugitive from another state, while 36 year old Joseph Luckadoo was arrested that same day for flagrant non-support, 43 year old Geneva Ridner for theft by deception, and Darren Kidd age 31 for public intoxication. On August 15th, 33 year old Amber Courtney was arrested for a parole violation while 59 year old Ronnie Davenport was taken into custody for receiving stolen property. 48 year old Randall Duggar was arrested August 16th for harassing communications and 36 year old Jason Smith was arrested for operating a motor vehicle under an influence. On August 17th, 51 year old Patricia Ridner was jailed for disorderly conduct and 21 year old Jordon Bryant was arrested for assault and terroristic threatening. 38 year old Marshall Staten was arrested August 18th for robbery and theft; 26 year old Christy Gregory was jailed for non-payment of fines; and 26 year old Joshua New was jailed for contempt, flagrant non-support and non-payment of fines. These arrests reflect only those reported by the McCreary County Sheriff’s Department for the week ending Monday August 18th.

The Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area will celebrate the 98th anniversary of the National Park Service this month by offering one night of free camping at the Alum Ford Campground in McCreary County. The free camping night is being offered this coming Monday August 25th along with free backcountry camping permits in the Big South Fork. The Alum Ford Campground, at the end of KY Highway 700 west of Whitley City offers six campsites with grills, picnic tables and lantern hooks along with accessible toilet facilities for camping near the banks of the Big South Fork River. For information on activities in the Big South Fork you can call the Bandy Creek Visitor Center at 423-286-7275 or visit the park’s website at The National Park Service was established in 1916.

A ground breaking ceremony was held Monday in Stearns for a sewer extension project in McCreary County that will serve nearly 90 homes. Officials say the project is estimated to cost about $700,000 and should be completed by August 2016. Taking part in the ceremony to officially launch the project were US Congressman Hal Rogers, Eastern Kentucky PRIDE officials, the US Army Corps of Engineers and the McCreary County Water District. The project will extend sewer service from Revelo to Stearns over the next couple of years.

Those looking for ways to properly dispose of old papers and documents will have the chance to do that this Friday August 22nd when Secure Systems of London, Kentucky will be on hand at the Pine Knot Job Corps Center. Starting at 9:00am Friday, Secure Systems will be offering a mobile paper shredding unit that can destroy and dispose of old records and documents while covered by bond and insurance. The cost for the service is $60 per 95 gallon container, which will hold about 300 pounds of paper. More information about the paper recycling opportunity is available by contact McCreary County Deputy Judge Executive Andy Powell at 376-2413.

Each month the McCreary County Public Library plays host to a “Lunch Bunch” program that allows attendees to bring their own lunch and hear from a guest speaker about a different topic each month. This month’s program will be this Thursday August 21st at 12noon with the topic covering “Electronics 101” for those with questions about electronic devices, writing a resume, and basic computer information. It is free to attend with the program held upstairs at the McCreary County Public Library.

An unusual assault case was reported Sunday afternoon by the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department. A news release from the department states that officers responded to the reported assault at a service station near the Kentucky-Tennessee state line where they located 38 year old Greg Ball, of Tennessee, who had been injured with severe cuts to his neck. Investigators say a brief interview with the victim led them to believe he had been attacked by another man with a saw. The victim was then airlifted to University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville for treatment. Officers identified the suspect in the attack, 37 year old Jody Currier of Jellico, Tennessee, who later turned himself into authorities where he admitted to the attack. Two women were also arrested during the course of the investigation for public intoxication. Currier was lodged in the Whitley County Detention Center on the charge of first degree assault as the investigation continues.

A Pulaski County man died Saturday after a vehicle crash on Pine Hill Road. Authorities say 57 year old Don Turner was being rushed to Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital in Somerset following the accident at about 4:15pm Saturday afternoon. The Pulaski County Coroner’s office reports that Turner died at the hospital from an unrelated medical condition. The accident that injured the man was reportedly caused by a gold colored SUV that was apparently driving on the wrong side of the road. That vehicle did not stop after the crash and police are searching for information and witnesses that may lead them to that driver.

Officials with the US Forest Service are proposing a major timber sale that will impact the local region, including McCreary and Pulaski Counties. According to the story this week in the Lexington Herald Leader newspaper, the overall project will include the commercial logging of just over 3,500 acres in both counties and will also call for the controlled burning of more than 15,000 acres taking several years to fully complete. The proposal would, according to forest officials, help with forest management, improve wildlife habitat and improve forest health. They say that cutting less desirable trees in certain spots would help allow more sunlight and water for some of the tree species that are more desirable for the forest such as white oak and hickory. Some individuals and groups, including the environmental group Kentucky Heartwood, have expressed concerns about the proposal with specific concerns voiced over a part of the plan that would allow about 1,100 acres to be logged with a quarter of a mile of the Beaver Creek Wilderness Area, located in McCreary County. Others say the measure will not only improve forest and wildlife health but will also give a boost to the area’s lagging economy. For additional information on the project, contact Tim Reed, Stearns District Ranger, at 606-376-5323 or stop by the Stearns District Office on Higwhay 27 just north of Whitley City.

An inmate being held at the federal prison in Pine Knot died last Wednesday after reportedly being attacked. Lexington media sources report that the Fayette County Coroner’s office pronounced 69 year old Donald John Post. Sr. dead as the result of injuries he suffered during an attack in his cell at the prison that same day. Post was serving a 40 year prison sentence after pleading guilty earlier this year in federal court in Texas to charges of sexual exploitation of children and possession of child pornography. An autopsy was completed but officials were not releasing the exact details of Post’s injuries.

In another incident related to the federal prison in Pine Knot, an inmate from the minimum security camp and his lady companion from Tennessee were recently charged in connection with the inmate’s escape. While the investigation into the case remains under investigation, it appears that 37 year old Teresa Phillips, of New Market, Tennessee, was involved in a plot to pick up inmate Delman Davis and take him to a local motel. Officials say Davis was detained at the federal prison and is facing additional charges beyond his original sentence for cocaine distribution. Phillips was arrested by local authorities and was charged with first degree escape and marijuana possession. She was lodged in the Casey County Detention Center under $20,000 cash bond.

When the McCreary County jail closed, some county officials had hoped it would actually save the county money to transport inmates to other counties. However, when questioned about jail expenses by citizen Brian Hill during Thursday’s regular Fiscal Court meeting, officials including Judge Executive Doug Stephens agreed with Hill’s statement that the current arrangement is costing the county at least as much as having a jail. That is without the benefit of the jobs creating by a local jail. Judge Stephens did say he had communicated with officials from the Department of Corrections about the possibility of reopening the jail and that meetings on that subject are being organized. Deputy Judge Andy Powell said it will be a long process even if DOC is open to reopening the facility because they will have to complete an engineering study on work that is needed on the building and that, along with actually getting work done, could take months or even a couple of years. Meanwhile, Judge Stephens said a meeting between county leaders, DOC officials and the local Jailer candidates, Jessie Hatfield and Derek Jones, is being planned in the coming weeks.

Additional information has been released about this coming Monday’s visit to McCreary County by US Congressman Hal Rogers. His office says that Rogers will be attending two events locally this Monday August 18th starting with a role as keynote speaker at the ground breaking ceremony for a new McCreary County sewer extension project. That ceremony will be held at 11:00am at the Heritage Hall community center in downtown Stearns with others participating including the McCreary County Water District, local officials, Eastern Kentucky PRIDE and the US Army Corps of Engineers. The public is invited to attend the ceremony at 11:00am but is asked to RSVP with their intention to The second event to be attended by Congressman Rogers Monday will be at 1:30pm as the Pine Knot Job Corps Center celebrates its 50th anniversary. That ceremony will be at the Job Corps Center in Pine Knot and will also include comments by US Forest Service National Office Director Tina Terrell.

The discussion heated up Thursday evening between McCreary County’s Deputy Judge Executive Andy Powell and District 2 Magistrate Roger Phillips over the future home for the county’s 911 center. A proposal was on the table during the regular monthly meeting of the McCreary County Fiscal Court to move the center from its current location, the former water district office next to the ambulance service in downtown Whitley City, to the basement of the EMS building. County leaders had approved last month, in Magistrate Phillips’ absence, to solicit bids on finishing the basement area in preparation for the installation of new 911 equipment, which the county is receiving using grant funds. The bids came in with Paul Sumner, Jr. bidding nearly $70,000 to complete the project and Gary Clark Construction submitting an even $50,000 bid.

Magistrate Roger Phillips questioned the reason behind moving the 911 center, saying if the current structure is totally unsound he understands that and the building should be torn down. However, Phillips said, he had heard rumors that the county planned to still use the old 911 building for other county offices. Mentioned as possible examples was the county coroner, emergency management and the inmate transport officers. Magistrate Phillips said with a budget crunch on he could not see spending that much money to move 911 if the current building is still usable.

Deputy Judge Powell responded that by installing new equipment in the basement of EMS they can put in all new wiring and installation will not cost the county because it is included in what is covered by the grant. However, Powell said, if the county installs the new equipment in the old building and that structure becomes totally unusable at some point, it will cost the county $25,000 just to move it to a new location.

The discussion got rather heated at times between Phillips and Powell and in the end the court voted to table the issue and hold off on awarding a bid for completion of the project until next month.

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