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Board continues mask wearing for schools
  • Updated

The Trigg County School Board has voted in favor of a measure that will keep staff, faculty and students at local schools masked when they are indoors.

Board members made the decision during a special-called meeting on Sept. 14, following on the heels of a decision by the Kentucky General Assembly to do away with the mask mandate that had been put in place by Gov. Andy Beshear.

With the school board’s decision, that means that students, faculty and staff at local schools will continue to wear face masks indoors, a decision that is in accordance with guidelines from the Kentucky Department for Public Health.

Superintendent Bill Thorpe said the district will continue to follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control on 3 feet of social distancing in classrooms, something it’s done since the start of the school year.

“If they can get 6 feet apart, they can be unmasked,” he added.

Thorpe said officials will keep an eye on the situation surrounding the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus and revisit the matter if needed.

“If things change, we will have a meeting and do what’s best for students and staff,” he said.

The COVID-19 Reporting Dashboard on the district’s website notes that there are currently six active cases of the virus among staff and 26 active cases among students. Additionally, three staff members and 144 students are quarantined.

During its regular meeting on Sept. 9, the board voted to accept a $10 million grant award from the state that will go toward upgrades at the vocational school.

Also at that meeting, board members voted unanimously to accept Sherman Carter Barnhart Architects of Lexington as architects for the upcoming vocational center project, and they approved a contract with the firm.

District Director of Operations Matt Ladd said work on that project could possibly start in the summer and would take 14 months to complete.

He said the project should be complete for the 2023-2024 school year.

The board also discussed possible adjustments to salaries for school nurses but took no action on that matter during the Sept. 9 board meeting.

Members did approve design development documents for improvements including a multipurpose building and the school athletic programs, with Andrew Owens of Sherman Carter Barnhart noting that those documents would subsequently move forward to the Kentucky Department of Education.

Owens said that project could start early next year.

Reach Tonya S. Grace at 270-887-3240 or tgrace@kentuckynewera.com.

Pig club hosts convention in Cadiz
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Members have an interest in all things pig, and everyone has a collection, says Janet Booth, president of the Happy Pig Collectors Club and hostess for the club’s 25th Happy Pig Collectors Convention.

The upcoming convention is taking place in Cadiz, where Booth was driving through the community one day and happened to spot one of its concrete pigs standing outside the Cracker Barrel restaurant.

Since then the club has been to the community several times and attended its annual Trigg County Country Ham Festival. And this year, following a year without a convention because of COVID-19, the club is returning to the community for its annual gathering in celebration of all things pig-related.

“The interest of the pigs brought us all together, but it’s really a great friendship,” observes Booth, who lives in Nashville. “We look forward to seeing each other every year.”

The club’s members collect pigs of all kinds, from ceramic pigs to pictures of pigs and even piggy banks. Some members have pet pigs, Booth said, and some have the last names of Pigg or Hog.

The 2021 convention is slated for Thursday through Saturday at Lake Barkley Lodge and is kicking off with a dinner on Thursday night. Members will have their yearly show and tell event during the convention, and the 2021 show and tell will honor the club’s late founder, Gene Holt.

Participants have been asked to share a pig or two from their collections that remind them of Holt.

A retired farmer who lived in Illinois, Holt had been collecting pigs for years when he decided that he wanted to connect with other people who had the same interest in pigs as he did, Booth notes.

He began the club in 1975, and it now has 120 members, not only from Holt’s home state of Illinois, but from other states including Texas, Missouri and Kentucky and several other countries as well.

Some members hail from Canada, Italy and England.

Members collect their pigs for a variety of reasons. Booth’s mother sent her “pig things” when she was attending college in Morehead. Booth had grown up on a pig farm and showed pigs in 4-H, she said.

Another member was gifted a pig by his child, jumpstarting his interest in collecting.

Booth noted that Holt’s affection for pigs began when he was a child and visited a larger town in the area for the first time. He took his dime and bought a piggy bank while visiting the town.

Holt died just a few months ago, Booth said, but his son still has that piggy bank.

Some collections number in the hundreds, some in the thousands.

Holt had collected 4,500 pig-related items over a lifetime.

Booth has 2,500 pig items including a bedspread, pig portraits, a picture frame and ceramics.

“Most of us collect anything pig,” she noted, adding that “I (have bought) very few pigs the last few years. But my family and friends give me pigs (for) birthday (or) Christmas. And when someone sees a pig they buy it for me.”

Booth said one member collects only piggy banks.

Many of the members’ pig items will be on display at this weekend’s convention, and the public is invited to a Buy, Sell & Trade event that is a part of the annual meeting.

This year’s sale is slated for 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday on the balcony outside of the meeting room at Lake Barkley Lodge. Booth said prospective buyers must wear a face mask in the lodge but may come in from the outside and not have to wear masks if they’d prefer to do so.

The convention also will include a Favorite (COVID) Mask contest at Friday night’s dinner.

Diners are asked to bring a favorite pig-related mask they have worn during the pandemic for a chance to win a prize.

Saturday’s dinner will feature a Best Pig contest, and in a nod to the convention’s location at the lake this year, those attending are asked to bring anything pig- and water-related.

They were given examples, a pig on a boat, a pig surfing or a pig watering can, for instance.

Convention participants are also encouraged to bring pig items for sale or trade.

Or if they have no items to sell, they may buy other members’ pig items.

Additionally, during their visit in the community, they have been invited to look for the concrete pigs displayed around town and stop by the antique stores in Cadiz.

“Who wants to go pig shopping?” a list of convention activities posted on the Happy Pig Collectors Club website asked of its members.

Booth notes that her pig collection is larger because she joined the club.

A member since 1995, she began buying more pigs after she started going to the conventions and seeing other collections.

“I showed pigs in 4-H so I always liked pigs,” Booth said. “I started going to convention to see pigs. I now go to see pigs and then see my friends. We have developed some very close relationships.

“Pigs brought us together,” she continued. “We’ve got some great friendships because of this club.

To learn more about the club, visit happypigcollectors.com.

For information about the Buy, Sell & Trade event, text Booth at jcollinsbooth1@att.net.

Reach Tonya S. Grace at 270-887-3240 or tgrace@kentuckynewera.com.

Cerulean woman receives VFW award
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Of all the issues she’s addressed on behalf of Kentucky veterans, suicide prevention is the one that is the most important to Leena Johnson, a Cerulean resident who advocates for retired military at the legislative level.

The wife of former VFW State Commander Karle Johnson, the Trigg County woman has been a life member of Cadiz VFW Auxiliary 7890 since 2003 and served as legislative chairman for the VFW Auxiliary Department of Kentucky.

This is her last year as chairman.

During the VFW Auxiliary National Convention in Kansas City in July and August, she captured a first-place award for outstanding performance in the VFW Auxiliary’s legislative program.

The award itself, a teardrop-shaped trophy, symbolizes the cause of veterans’ suicide prevention that is utmost in Johnson’s mind.

“If we can save one person who is suicidal, that’s the main thing,” said Johnson, who encourages veterans and their families to get the help they need utilizing a myriad of resources that she said is available.

National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month is recognized in September.

Among other things, Johnson said the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Home for Children in Michigan provides opportunities for growth and development to children, youth and families of veterans, to active duty military and to members of the VFW and its auxiliary.

Call the facility’s helpline from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. eastern time Monday through Friday.

The helpline is 800-313-4200.

Additionally, Johnson said those in need may also call the VFW at 888-777-4443 or contact the Cadiz VFW at 270-522-1836 or the Hopkinsville VFW at 270-886-7891.

The Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs can be reached at 270-484-7887, and the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255.

Press 1 to access the crisis line.

Johnson said veterans’ issues are something she and her husband are passionate about.

It was Karle Johnson’s work as the state commander a couple of years ago that got her interested in helping spread the word to legislators about veterans’ issues.

“Veterans don’t know where to turn if they’re having problems,” noted Johnson, who, among other things, has sought help for veterans who are struggling with illness after their service in Iraq and Kuwait during Desert Storm.

In Kentucky, she’s also been working on behalf of veterans’ organizations that have to pay property taxes, an issue she said is still being considered by state legislators.

“Right now it’s still in Frankfort,” Johnson said, explaining that “they’re still debating whether they will remove (property taxes for veterans’ posts) completely.”

But Johnson notes that suicide among veterans is her primary concern, a circumstance she describes as “so awful.”

Statistics shared by Johnson note that 20 veterans in the U.S. commit suicide everyday.

She notes even one life saved is important.

Johnson, who is treasurer of the Cadiz VFW Auxiliary, says it also helps to spread the word among the ladies’ auxiliaries, which can have their members contact the legislators.

Sometimes, Johnson says, it is the wives who realize that their husbands have a problem.

As she steps down from her state chairmanship, she plans to continue her work of making state and national legislators aware of issues important to veterans, advocating on behalf of veterans through her membership in her local VFW Auxiliary 7890.

Reach Tonya S. Grace at 270-887-3240 or tgrace@kentuckynewera.com.

Balloon Festival canceled; crafts fair will continue
  • Updated

Two festivals that had been planned for the local community have been canceled, although a third event will continue, according to Bill Stevens, executive director of the Cadiz-Trigg County Tourist Commission.

Stevens told commission members during a meeting on Sept. 14 that three of the six balloonists who were going to be featured at the inaugural GloCadiz Hot Air Balloon Festival have canceled their appearances.

That event sponsored by the commission and the Friends of Trigg County Tourism had been scheduled to take place Nov. 6 at the airport at Lake Barkley State Resort Park.

Additionally, a Food and Music Festival originally slated for Oct. 23 at West Cadiz Park has been canceled. That festival too was to have been sponsored by the commission and the Friends of Trigg County Tourism.

Stevens said the Friends members were the primary volunteers for both of the festivals.

“We still may try to do something a little later on in the year, probably around Christmas time,” Stevens told the commission members.

He said a Fine Arts and Crafts Show will take place on Dec. 4 at the Lake Barkley Convention Center.

That event is an indoor event and is juried, meaning only certain types of products are allowed to be sold, according to Stevens.

“It’s always a really good show,” he said of the event sponsored by the tourist commission that is in its fifth year in the community.

The director also noted that Kerry Allen, a part-time employee with the commission, represented the commission at the Kentucky State Fair with a table displaying promotional items and visuals on local tourism offerings.

Trigg County partnered with Marshall County in taking part in the recent state fair.

Additionally, Stevens said the commission is partnering with a new brand, Cadiz Life, and local artisans to provide souvenir items for visitors to the community who want something inscribed with the community’s name.

“It’s amazing how many people want to stop here for a souvenir or (to) pick up something with (the) Cadiz (name) or something around the lakes or historical information.

“We were approached and we’re going to try that for a while,” continued Stevens of the souvenir items now on display in a corner of the commission building’s front office.

The building on Hopkinsville Road also serves as a visitors center for the community.

In other business:

  • The commission approved a motion to change its meetings to every other month. Meetings will now be at 4 p.m. on the second Tuesday every other month beginning in November. Upcoming meetings will be virtual.
  • Stevens said the commission has paid $20,000 to the City of Cadiz to be used for the Trigg County Country Ham Festival entertainment.
  • The director said the 2020-2021 audit of the commission involving Calhoun and Co., is underway, while the commission has also been the subject of a worker’s compensation audit.
  • Stevens said the commission has received its reimbursement of $5,867 in matching funds from the Kentucky Department of Tourism. The reimbursement is about half of what it would normally be. Stevens said the matching funds are based on transient taxes for the state.
  • Commission members approved the minutes and financial reports for last month.
  • Stevens said he will continue to utilize Allen as a part-time employee for the commission.
  • A profit and loss statement for last month showed an increase in both restaurant and transient room taxes collected in July and August when compared to the same time in the previous year. The commission collected $94,291.91 in restaurant taxes this year, compared to $76,036.63 in 2020. The agency collected $50,285.24 this July and August and $40,248.92 for those two months last year.
  • Net income for the commission was $42,771.79 this July and August and $45,415.77 for the same months last year, according to the same financial statement.

Reach Tonya S. Grace at 270-887-3240 or tgrace@kentuckynewera.com.

Cadiz man dies in wreck
  • Updated

A Trigg County man has died as the result of a one-vehicle accident last week.

A press release from the Trigg County Coroner’s Office said Marcus A. Tyler, 40, of Cadiz, was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident following the wreck on Sept. 16 on Powerline Drive.

Tyler was the driver of the vehicle.

The accident is under investigation by the coroner’s office and the Cadiz Police Department. The Coroner’s office was assisted on the scene by Trigg County Emergency Medical Services, Trigg County Rescue, Trigg County Emergency Management and the Cadiz Fire Department, in addition to the police department.

Deputy Coroner Matthew Phillips responded to the accident.

Reach Tonya S. Grace at 270-887-3240 or tgrace@kentuckynewera.com.