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Suspect in deaths of Faris, Blakeley located
  • Updated

A suspect in the deaths of Cadiz residents Mildred Faris, 76, and Matthew Blakeley, 28, has been arrested.

Landon W. Stinson, 29, also of Cadiz, has been located and arrested in Los Angeles. Stinson was arrested July 5, according to a press release from Kentucky State Police.

He had been sought for questioning about the deaths.

Police said Stinson is being held at the Los Angeles County Jail on California charges. Law enforcement officials also served Stinson with a Trigg County arrest warrant on the charge of possession of a controlled substance, first degree, first offense (drug unspecified).

Faris’ and Blakeley’s bodies were discovered July 3 at a residence off Cerulean Road in Trigg County. KSP Post 1 dispatch received a call at about 8:45 that morning.

A press release from the post said preliminary results from autopsies conducted on the bodies determined that the pair died of gunshot wounds.

Autopsies were conducted on July 5 at the Western Kentucky Medical Examiner’s Office in Madisonville.

The investigation into the two deaths is still ongoing at this time and is being led by KSP Detective David Dick.

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

Recycling center now on a regular schedule
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Trigg County Treasurer Lucy Kyler told officials during a July 5 meeting of the Trigg County Fiscal Court that pickup services for the Jesse Thomas Recycling Center are now operating on a regular schedule.

Kyler told Trigg County Magistrate Jeff Broadbent that the service might have gotten off schedule and skipped a week.

Broadbent noted that the service missed a pickup in Cerulean a couple of weeks ago, and he asked the court whether the recycling service is operating on its regular schedule.

“They should be back,” the treasurer noted. “They’re pretty much back at regular services where we take our recyclables, so I would think that they will be.”

Kyler and Trigg County Judge-Executive Hollis Alexander said officials will check on the status of the local recycling service.

The service sends its recyclables to the West Kentucky Correctional Complex at Fredonia, where inmates process it, according to Kyler.

She said problems with a low inmate count and the coronavirus contributed initially to getting the recyclables processed, and now that inmate numbers are back up she said there’s a backlog of recyclables to be processed.

“It’s just taking a while to get everything back where it was,” the county treasurer noted.

In regard to an upcoming surplus auction, Alexander said there hasn’t been a date set yet for the auction, which the county likely will host in conjunction with the City of Cadiz and the Trigg County School Board.

The judge explained that the lack of a date is due to a project replacing the roof at the county garage. He said officials want to surplus metal from the roof that isn’t torn or split in the auction, and the ongoing roof work is only 75% done.

According to the judge, the roof should be complete by sometime this week if the weather is good all week.

The judge also announced that new janitorial employees Cynthia Grubbs and Jonathan Sink started their work on July 6. Alexander noted that the county switched over from contract services to hiring its own janitorial personnel.

Additionally, the judge-executive said officials have come up with a way to address issues with the Trigg County Sheriff’s Office keeping Tahoe vehicles.

“They’ve had problems with about three of their vehicles,” noted Alexander, explaining that plans are to buy a truck and “maybe pass the Tahoe that I drive now over to the sheriff’s office,” Alexander told the court.

The Tahoe he drives only has 20,000 something miles, according to the judge.

In other business:

  • Magistrates approved minutes from the June 21 meeting of the fiscal court.
  • The judge-executive noted that people from eight states attended an Antique Tractor Pull Association event two weeks ago in the community. The county provided $1,000 in sponsorship for the event.
  • Alexander said an awning at the rear of the Trigg County Justice Center was damaged in a wind storm and has been replaced with a fabricated awning. Cost was $2,170.
  • The court approved a list of monthly expenditures through July 5 totaling $64,511.85.
  • Alexander said the South Western Kentucky Economic Development Council will give a special presentation at the fiscal court’s next meeting at 6 p.m. July 19 at the courthouse.
  • The judge said he has signed up everyone who is planning to attend a Governor’s Local Issues Conference slated for Aug. 24-27
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Reach Tonya S. Grace at 270-887-3240 or tgrace@kentuckynewera.com.

Council wants recreational activities in the city
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Cadiz City Council Member Susan Bryant said she’d like to see some recreational activities in the city limits, given funds she said the City of Cadiz provides to the Cadiz-Trigg County Parks and Recreation Department.

“I think it’s time that some of the money we send from the food tax is used in the city,” Bryant noted during the council’s meeting on July 6. “They’ve not used a penny in the city.”

She broached the discussion at the recent meeting, noting among other things that Parks and Recreation has built a building, and is now fixing the ball grounds at the recreation complex and developing a disc golf course.

Bryant said she thought the city would see some activities with the formation of the recreation department, and she believes the department’s services should be shared between the city and the county.

“Nothing’s coming here, and all of their finances are coming from the city,” she noted.

Cadiz Mayor Todd King said he agrees that something major is needed inside city limits.

He said he has spoken with representatives of the Parks and Recreation Department.

Bryant said she is going to speak with the Parks and Recreation chairman.

Parks and Recreation was created four years ago with the combined efforts of the city, the county and the Cadiz-Trigg County Tourist and Convention Commission, according to the recreation department’s website.

Cadiz City Clerk Barbie Johnson noted that city officials are wanting to see more things within the city limits of Cadiz simply because the city does fund that department’s director.

Johnson said the recreation complex is where Parks and Recreation Director Jeff Hunter spends most of his time.

He works with his sports teams at the complex and has games there, Johnson said.

But he also does some things in the city, overseeing Junior Pro basketball, for example.

“They are looking at things of a smaller scope,” Johnson said of efforts in the city.

“He does do some things in the city,” she said. “I do think it just really is that we’re just not as knowledgeable (of the things Hunter does) as we need to be,” she said.

“I would hate for something to be put out there that nothing is being done when that really is not the case,” she added.

Johnson noted that Hunter will be providing the city council with regular reports moving forward so the activities of his department will be more visible in the community.

Also at the July 6 meeting, the council shared with Mediacom representative Joe DiJulio of Benton its concerns over losing the WPSD television station, which based in Paducah.

WPSD, which is owned by Paxton Media Group, was removed about a month ago from the Mediacom package that its local customers receive, according to the mayor.

King told DiJulio last week that the city misses the television station, which residents of the community say is their local station.

The mayor said Mediacom is looking into the matter to see what can be done to get the station placed back in the package.

But he said the two companies, Paxton and Mediacom, will have to come to an agreement.

Paxton also owns the Cadiz Record newspaper and the Kentucky New Era.

In other business:

  • Bryant said she’d like for organizers of this year’s Trigg County Country Ham Festival to utilize local entertainment, something that had been discussed earlier as a means to save money on the annual event.
  • Cadiz Police Chief Duncan Wiggins presented a summary of Cadiz Police Department work for June that included the investigation of 56 cases, 26 people who were arrested, responses to 359 calls for service, 26 vehicles that were stopped, 36 citations that were issued and the investigation of 17 traffic collisions.
  • The June income statement for the City of Cadiz totaled $126,543.04.
  • The council approved a motion to surplus three vehicles that will be auctioned during an upcoming auction that likely will involve the city, county and Trigg County School Board.

City Council Member Susie Hendricks expressed appreciation for the efforts of Main Street Director Casey Parrent in decorating the Renaissance Stage for different holidays.

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

Ship remains stuck on sandbar
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American Jazz, the American Cruise Lines ship that ran aground on July 7 at Lake Barkley, remained stuck on the sandbar as of Sunday.

Updated information from American Cruise Lines said divers were in the water on Sunday assessing the underwater situation and developing a plan to re-float the riverboat.

Officials said the ship is out of the channel and out of the path of local boaters, and its remains completely safe. Onboard systems are operational, and there is no danger to crew remaining on board. Additionally, there continues to be no damage, no pollution and no environmental concerns, officials said.

There are no safety concerns or injuries.

“We are very sorry for any inconvenience this incident caused to our guests and the surrounding community,” cruise lines officials said earlier. “American remains fully committed to working together until our riverboat can be freed from the sandbar and we anticipate that when it does, it will be able to sail under its own power and resume all normal operations.”

The statement from the cruise lines said some crew members would begin disembarking Sunday, while others would remain on board.

“They are fully equipped with supplies and perfectly safe and comfortable aboard the ship,” the statement said, adding that “additional fresh water has been delivered.”

On Friday and Saturday nights, guests who disembarked the ship Friday stayed at the Drury Plaza Hotel Nashville and enjoyed a special dinner and other activities in the city as part of their regular slate of cruise activities.

Most guests were to return home on Sunday from Nashville, as normally scheduled following the end of their cruise, according to officials.

American Cruise Lines is actively engaged in the re-float plan for American Jazz and is working together with the US Coast Guard and its own team of marine engineers and naval architects. The cruise lines has also contracted with marine recovery experts Donjon-SMIT to re-float the riverboat. Water depth soundings were being completed around the vessel.

Officials said the cause of the incident remains under investigation. They noted that the riverboat is specifically designed to make bow landings and regularly makes bow landings along river banks in shallow water.

American Jazz is following a seven-night Music Cities Cruise from Memphis to Nashville, and the cruise was expected to resume with a few adjustments to its normal schedule.

American Jazz is a small modern riverboat and accommodates fewer than 190 passengers.

Trigg County Emergency Management Director David Bryant said no one was in contact with his agency or any other agency in Trigg County that he is aware of to ask for assistance with the grounded ship.

The incident is the second to involve issues with a boat in the area in recent days.

On Sunday, a boat began taking on water and capsized as it was headed back to the courtesy dock at the Lake Barkley Marina.

Several assisted in rescuing people from the water in that incident, and there were no major injuries apart from bumps and bruises.

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

Wilder to be full-time athletic director at high school
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A decision made last week by Trigg County School Board members paves the way for Matt Wilder to take on a role as a full-time athletic director at Trigg County High School.

Wilder is an instructional assistant at the high school, and during its meeting on July 8, the board voted four to one in favor of a motion that will allow Wilder to serve two years as a full-time athletic director.

“I ask the board to take a look at this, and if they’re so inclined please allow Mr. Wilder to be a full-time AD,” Trigg County Public Schools Superintendent Bill Thorpe said as he presented the matter to board members.

Thorpe said he believes almost every school district needs a full-time athletic director.

He noted that new high school Principal Tim Bush came up with an idea to fund the AD position for two years using site-based funds that he’s been able to free up for that purpose.

There will be no impact on the general fund.

District Finance Officer Holly Greene explained that there will be no additional dollars from the general fund at this point.

“We can take a look at it and see if that’s something we want to do in the future,” the superintendent said. “I would really enjoy us taking a look at this two years without any impact and see if that’s something we want to continue in a couple of years.”

Thorpe said he thinks having a full-time AD position plays an integral part in district youth continuing to compete for championships at the district, regional and state levels.

He noted that Wilder is president of the Second Region Athletic Directors’ Association and is very well thought of and respected.

“We would love to see our student athletes have the same advantages as others have with that,” the superintendent said.

Bush said he had money he could be flexible with, budget-wise, and he said it’s something a lot of places are able to take advantage of.

“I feel like it’s a way to give you guys a couple of years of a test drive,” he said. “If it’s something you like and it works, then we can pursue it and if not, then we (will make that) decision too.”

District Director of Personnel James Mangels said the total cost for the new AD position, a classified position, will be $43,135.26.

The high school will continue to have two assistant athletic directors whose jobs and salaries will not change.

Wilder’s new position begins in the fall.

Additionally, the superintendent noted that the district’s application form requesting approval for its plans for a multipurpose building was denied by the Kentucky Department of Education, but he said the district is continuing with those plans because “we don’t think that’s going to be a problem in the long run,” he told the board members.

“It’s all about the funding and ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds) and all that,” he continued. “It’s just not straightened up yet. But that is to come, and we will continue that.”

He noted that officials don’t want to fall behind with the project and are 99.99% sure the situation is going to be fine.

Thorpe said all the other projects “were a go” and looked good.

In other business:

  • School board members approved owner and architect contracts for the Trigg County bus garage and tanks and for a multipurpose building and press box.
  • Mangels said Laura Shelton and the Horizon Youth Service Center received a $100,000 grant over two years in partnership with The Way Christian Youth Center. The grant will focus on improving social and emotional skills, after-school opportunities related to career explorations and meeting basic family needs.
  • Director of Curriculum and Instruction Karen Solise said the vast majority of students taking part in the Camp Catapult enrichment program have shown improvement, and the camp has “gone really well” she said.

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

Couple drowns on fishing trip
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A Trigg County couple has drowned while on a fishing trip in Idaho.

The Coeur d’ Alene/Post Falls Press, a newspaper covering Kootenai and Bonner counties in Idaho, reported that John and Vicki Fourshee were fishing with friends in the Moyie River on Saturday when John Fourshee slipped while they were trying to cross the river.

Vicki Fourshee tried to help her husband and lost her balance.

They both drowned, according to the newspaper accounts.

Responding to the scene were a Boundary County sheriff’s deputy and the Boundary County Emergency Medical Services, and one official said there were a lot of people trying to help, the newspaper noted.

There were unsuccessful attempts to revive the Fourshees after they were pulled from the river, and EMS performed life-saving measures.

Local WKDZ Radio said the couple was celebrating their wedding anniversary.

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