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Court OKs resolution for employee training
  • Updated

County officials have approved a resolution that paves the way for employment and training services for displaced workers in the region.

“We’ve entered into this agreement before,” said Trigg County Judge-Executive Hollis Alexander of the measure that brings together Trigg County and 16 other western Kentucky counties to establish an entity called the Purchase/Pennyrile Workforce Area Consortium.

A motion approved by magistrates during a Trigg County Fiscal Court meeting on July 18 authorizes Alexander to sign the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act agreement.

According to the agreement, the act signed into law in July 2014 provides federal funds to state and local governments for programs that are designed to help job seekers access employment education training and support services so they can succeed in the job market.

Additionally, it seeks to match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy, the agreement noted.

Alexander said the county enters into the consortium every two years, and he noted that the Pennyrile Area Development District set up something similar in the community when Johnson Controls closed several years ago.

“They’ll come into a community anywhere in the western part of the state and set up workforce training and development to relocate workers that have been displaced through no fault of their own,” the judge noted. “That’s basically what this consortium does.”

Trigg County Sheriff Aaron Acree also presented activity reports for his department to the court, noting among other things that the sheriff’s department under his leadership had only 170 total crimes in the fiscal year from July 2021 to June 30, 2022, a statistic he said was “pretty impressive.” The previous year, which included the first two months under a prior administration, had 246 documented crimes from July 2020 to June 30, 2021, he said.

Acree was named sheriff of the local department in September of 2020.

He noted that a list of statistics indicating roadway collisions, speeding citations and DUI citations for the sheriff’s office showed that his patrol units were saturating county roads and “not just hanging out on the bypass or hanging out in the city limits,” the sheriff said.

Instead the officers are trying to saturate the county roadways where residents complain about not seeing a police presence as much or about speeders in the area, he noted.

Additionally, the sheriff pointed to individual activity in his office, including Deputy Danny Collins, who initiated 1,215 cases during the recent fiscal year, whether drug arrests, calls for service or something else, the sheriff said.

Acree himself accepted 565 calls for service during the year and opened 300-plus cases.

Remaining road units generated 800 to 1,000 cases for the fiscal year through June 30.

In other business:

  • Magistrates approved recent expenditures totaling $542,969.87, most of it attributable to insurance and first-quarter payments such as $62,229 in quarterly dues and utilities to the Pennyrile District Board of Health and $87,961 for KACo’s workers’ compensation insurance.
  • Trigg County Judge-Executive Hollis Alexander said the $26,125 paid recently to the Christian County treasurer for inmate boarding is down a little bit and has been around that amount on average for the past month or two.
  • Faye Godair of the Trigg County Sheriff’s Office said the office has collected all but $133,700 of $10.4 million in tax settlement payments for the county. Magistrates approved the tax settlement pending a sheriff’s audit.
  • The court approved separate measures to remove Swallowtail Lane from the county road system and to add a portion of public access road just north of Avalon Drive off Kentucky 124 to the county system, naming it Bunny Lane.
  • Magistrates appointed Mason Hyde to fill the unexpired term of his late father Mike Hyde on the Barkley Lake Water Board. Mason Hyde will fill the term through Dec. 31, 2023.
  • Magistrate Mike Wright said officials will accept applications for the Hometown Heroes project through Aug. 1. He said both the Cadiz-Trigg County Convention and Tourist Commission and the Cadiz-Trigg County Parks and Recreation Department are making donations to offset the cost for the project that honors current and former military.
  • Alexander said Alan Gates of Pennyrile Electric will be at an upcoming meeting to talk about broadband efforts in the community.

Reach Tonya S. Grace at 270-887-3240 or

Helping Hands celebrates 25 years of helping others
  • Updated

Twenty-five years after Helping Hands of Trigg County first set up shop in the basement of the community’s old courthouse, the local food bank is still doing what it did then, only on a much larger scale, says Phil Graham, a member of the agency’s board of directors.

It was feeding maybe 25 families a month back then, in 1997, but by just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Helping Hands was feeding 300 families a month.

Graham says he can’t even put a number on how many families were fed in the midst of the pandemic during the past couple of years, although he does recall feeding 90 on one particular day.

The numbers fell and are rising again.

“We just try to do as needed,” Graham notes of the agency that is celebrating its 25th year of service in the community with a cookout slated from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at West Cadiz Park.

A special dedication will be at noon.

The event is in appreciation to the people who have shown their support for the food bank throughout the years.

Local residents, including former and current volunteers, are invited to attend.

A lunch of hamburgers, hotdogs, potato salad, a drink and dessert will be provided until the food runs out.

Those attending are asked to bring lawn chairs and an umbrella; there is a 50% chance of rain, Graham says.

“There are people who are regular supporters of us,” he observes, noting that the food bank’s board members and volunteers would love to see those supporters and shake their hands.

There are people who don’t know Helping Hands operates a food pantry.

They don’t know about the thrift store, the Bargain Barn on Main Street that supports the work of the local pantry.

But Graham says events like the cookout help publicize the work that the local pantry does in the community.

Those familiar with the agency have been generous in the past quarter-century. Churches contribute regularly, and Graham says the pantry could not do what it does without its supporters.

When former mayor Jim Ricks was “getting out of the business” and closing his music store, he allowed Helping Hands to use the building, providing the pantry with its second location in Cadiz.

Access was extremely difficult in the basement of the old courthouse, says Graham, who described the process of getting food in there as a chore.

In Ricks’ building, there was much better space and access, he said.

The pantry’s third location, the Line Street facility that was once a church, has been home to Helping Hands for around 10 years, according to Graham.

The pantry moved in, and supporters remodeled it with the help of Campers on Mission, a national fellowship of Christian campers who share their faith while camping or participating in mission activities like the remodeling project.

“It has served us well,” Graham says of the building just off Main Street in Cadiz.

On a recent weekday, Linda Copeland greets one of the pantry’s customers, inquiring what type of meat she’d like.

“We’ll take whatever you have because everything is just so expensive right now, ya know?” the woman says.

She chooses steaks.

A member of Helping Hands’ board of directors, Copeland says the agency has the ability to provide food, and she is elated that it can help the community.

The agency “definitely” makes a big impact in Trigg County, she says.

Copeland notes that the food pantry is but one of Helping Hands’ offerings for those in need. In addition to its supplemental food program for people older than 60, the agency also assists the community in times of domestic violence, fires and floods, for example. It provides school clothes for qualifying children, helps with utilities, refers clients to other agencies when needed and hosts a backpack program for youth.

Graham notes that Helping Hands tries to keep track of changes in the needs of the community and adapt its operation to meet those changing needs.

“Our primary purpose is to serve the needs of the community, and whatever is needed, that’s what we’re going to try to do,” he says of the agency’s work.

“We are sort of need-driven.”

Reach Tonya S. Grace at 270-887-3240 or

McCoy case awaiting evidence for trial
  • Updated

A hair that is evidence collected in the case involving the death of Thelma N. Barnett has prompted a later trial for Jonathan R. McCoy and Keisha D. Stewart.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Carrie Ovey-Wiggins told Trigg County Circuit Court Judge Jamus Redd III that 90 days was not enough time for testing the hair.

“Obviously that needs to be done before we have a trial,” said Redd during a pre-trial conference on Friday in the Trigg County Circuit Courtroom.

Redd asked both Ovey-Wiggins and the defendants’ counsel whether they wanted to wait on the testing and schedule another pre-trial conference rather than setting a date for the trial for McCoy, who is charged in Barnett’s murder, and for Stewart, a Cadiz resident who has several related charges in the matter.

The commonwealth’s attorney said she thought it would be good to go ahead and get the trial on the calendar, although both Audrey Woosnam, the counsel for McCoy, and Tyler Brown, a Paducah attorney who is representing Stewart, asked the judge to schedule another pre-trial conference.

Redd set that upcoming conference for 11 a.m. on Oct. 12, noting that testing of the hair will hopefully be complete at that time, with a trial date able to be set.

The judge said jury trials in Trigg County take place in December, July and August, and he noted that December didn’t seem reasonable for a trial date, given the need to get results from the hair that is evidence in the Barnett case.

McCoy, of Trigg County, faces charges in the incident that include murder; kidnapping (victim death); arson, second degree; tampering with physical evidence; abuse of a corpse; and burglary, first degree. Additionally, other separate charges for McCoy include tampering with physical evidence; drug paraphernalia — buy/possess; possession of a controlled substance, first degree, first offense (methamphetamine); intent to defraud/scheme/artifice to obtain benefits greater than $10,000; and display of illegal/altered registration plate.

Stewart’s charges in the Thelma Barnett case include complicity to arson, second degree; complicity to abuse of a corpse; complicity to tampering with physical evidence; and complicity to burglary, second degree.

Stewart also faces charges for fraudulent use of a credit card under $10,000.

Barnett, 81, and a resident of Will Jackson Road in Cadiz, died on Sept. 16 at her home. The house had been set on fire, and Barnett’s body was discovered the next morning. The medical examiner determined that Barnett died of foul play.

Kentucky State Police described her death as a brutal murder.

Reach Tonya S. Grace at 270-887-3240 or

LBL bill passes Senate committee
  • Updated

A bill that will provide $8 million annually for maintenance and recreation needs as well as other improvements for the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area was approved on Thursday by the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Congressman James Comer and U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell announced last week.

Comer and McConnell introduced the legislation in April.

It now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

“I was thrilled when the House Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on the Land Between the Lakes Recreation and Heritage Act and was pleased to see the Senate Natural Resources Committee also advance the bill,” said Comer, adding that he will continue to work with local stakeholders, former residents and Senator McConnell to advance the legislation and preserve LBL.

McConnell called the committee vote on the bill a resounding victory for the LBL community stakeholders that he said have worked for decades to protect the landmark.

He said he and the congressman coordinated closely with local leaders to ensure that the improved funding and oversight in this legislation will help solve the long list of issues facing the recreation area today.

“I look forward to the full Senate passing this bill and safeguarding one of Kentucky’s finest natural treasures for future generations,” he said.

Comer referred to LBL as one of Kentucky’s crown jewels and “as an extraordinary legacy to be taken care of and shared with generations to come,” he said.

Both Trigg County Judge-Executive Hollis Alexander and Lyon County Judge-Executive Wade White have been very involved in pushing for the new legislation, with Alexander noting earlier that there have been talks about LBL at least yearly since he has been in office.

He said things got serious more than a year ago when he, White and former Kentucky Parks Commissioner Donnie Holland began meeting with people who were concerned about LBL and discussing what could be done.

Alexander said the main thing he and other supporters wanted to do was protect the heritage of LBL, preserving the history of the families who lived in the area before LBL was formed.

Additionally, educational aspects at LBL have also been let go by the wayside, he said, along with law enforcement needs. He noted that the U.S. Forest Service most recently has had four people handling law enforcement needs at the national park.

The current legislation includes a number of provisions to help the LBL secure more federal resources to address its maintenance needs and expand recreation opportunities such as additional authorized funding each fiscal year from the U.S. Forest Service, changes to the LBL Advisory Board makeup, regulations ensuring user fees collected at LBL are used to improve LBL and provisions to bolster law enforcement capacity in LBL and surrounding counties.

Officials said that McConnell, as a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, will work with the U.S. Forest Service during the congressional appropriations process to ensure robust funding for LBL. The bill also better defines the special status of the families who once resided in LBL and guarantees their direct descendants’ access to cemeteries within the territory, a press release from Comer’s office noted.

McConnell has worked for decades to streamline and preserve funding for LBL.

In 1998, Congress passed his Land Between the Lakes Protection Act into law to put the recreation area under the stable administration of the U.S. Forest Service and provide significant federal resources to support its maintenance.

LBL’s 171,280 acres stretch across Trigg and Lyon counties in Kentucky and Stewart County in Tennessee and provide an economic jolt for tourism in the area. For the two Kentucky counties encompassing LBL, it provides a site for activities like fishing, boating, camping and hiking, the press release noted.

Reach Tonya S. Grace at 270-887-3240 or