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P.J. Clark employees laid off
  • Updated

Some employees of the P.J. Clark Lumber Co., in Cerulean have been laid off, and a rapid response activity was offered earlier this week to discuss unemployment benefits and job training opportunities with the workers.

Business liaison Tom Sholar of the West Kentucky Workforce Board said officials don’t know whether the lay-offs reflect a temporary or permanent closure of the business, which just last fall announced its plans to move into the former Little River Dry Kiln facility in Cerulean.

“They’ve been very tight-lipped,” Sholar said of workforce attempts to contact the company.

Sholar said some of the P.J. Clark employees came into the Kentucky Career Center, but no one from the company had as of last week responded to the center’s efforts to get information about the lay-offs.

The rapid response activity took place Tuesday at the Renaissance Center in Cadiz, and employees who attended were able to learn about programs to help them with future employment, the possibility of any education and training available to them and funding that may be able to help.

Questions about unemployment insurance were also answered.

The event was provided by the career center in conjunction with partners including the workforce board and American Job Center.

Sholar said officials don’t know how many people have been affected by the lay-offs at the lumber company, and they don’t know if the lay-offs represent a full closure of the company.

Just last month Carter Hendricks, executive director of the South Western Kentucky Economic Development Council, mentioned the company in a list of industries he described as success stories in the three-county region that includes Trigg, Todd and Christian counties.

During that Aug. 29 meeting, he said the P.J. Clark Lumber company was operational.

Officials announced plans last September for the company to produce kiln-dried softwood and hardwood lumber at the facility in Cerulean.

A press release from Gov. Andy Beshear’s office noted at the time that the company would source its lumber from local partners in the state and was expected to create 13 full-time jobs during its first year of operation.

Calls to the company from the newspaper were unanswered as of presstime.

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

Veteran lauded for long life, military service
  • Updated

The war was not going too well in the early 1940s, when James “Jim” Ethridge was a self-described “little tag along,” hanging out with young men who were three and four years older than he was.

“They were all going into the service so I had to think up a scheme of how I could get into the service,” said Ethridge, a Cadiz resident and veteran of World War II and Korea who celebrated his birthday with a party on Sept. 9 at the local Veterans of Foreign Wars facility on Lafayette Street.

Ethridge turned 91 on Sept. 10, having actually been born in 1931. But for a long time, the Army recorded a different year of birth for him.

Wanting to join up like his older buddies, a young Ethridge persevered in the mid-1940s and found someone who created a fake birth certificate that added three years to his age.

It listed his age upon enlistment as 18.

In reality, Ethridge was not quite 15 years old.

The Cadiz man went on to serve several years in the military beginning on Aug. 22, 1946, the date of his enlistment in the U.S. Army.

He learned respect and discipline in the Army and, under the tutelage of soldiers that he described as “mostly hardened World War II combat men,” he learned how to be a man.

Ethridge served in Iwo Jima, says his friend John Hall, who attended Ethridge’s party.

He was in the Philippines, and he spent a long stretch in Korea, Ethridge recalls of his service.

Through it all, he had to grow up fast.

“I appreciate everything that I learned,” says Ethridge, a native of Cairo, Illinois, of the lessons that he gained as a military service member.

VFW Auxiliary life member Marsha Pater, who recalls Ethridge telling her of his passion for the U.S. Army, notes that her friend is likely the only living World War II military veteran in Cadiz.

A recipient of a Presidential Unit Citation and several other medals, Ethridge gave up his childhood because he wanted to serve his country, said his daughter Jayme Junker.

“It just shows me he really is part of that greatest generation,” said Junker, who organized the recent party along with Pater and Cindy Calhoun. “I’m just very proud of him.”

Junker notes that she and her father took part in an Honor Flight in October 2020, something Ethridge was hesitant to do because he felt there were more people deserving than he was.

“He’s a very humble guy when it comes to his military service,” Jayme Junker observes.

The following month, in November 2020, he and two other veterans traveled to Frankfort to address the military affairs committee.

The three men received a standing ovation while in the state capital, Junker said.

In addition to his flight to Washington, D.C., Ethridge has twice participated in a B25 flight, once at Fort Campbell and again in Paducah.

He served a short stint in the U.S. Navy.

Many years later, Ethridge finally shared his true birthdate with the U.S. Army.

Junker said her father never really talked about his service in the military, but as he recalled those years during his recent party, he shared just how much it meant to him.

“I fought so hard to get in,” said Ethridge, who first tried to join the U.S. Marines because, like all young boys of that era he said, he liked the uniform.

But the Marines wanted to be introduced to his parents, and after noticing an Army sign inscribed with its familiar “We need you” slogan, a young Ethridge instead enlisted in the Army.

He is a lifetime member of the VFW in New Lenox, Illinois, where he lived at one time, and is currently in the process of transferring his membership to the Cadiz VFW organization.

When his paperwork transfers, he will be a member of the local group and his daughter, like Pater and Calhoun, will be in the VFW Auxiliary.

As he sat recently at a table in the VFW hall, Ethridge was greeted by numerous people who came to share their well wishes for his birthday.

“We had a great turnout,” observed Pater, who noted that Ethridge really enjoyed the celebration and is still reading the cards that were given to him on his special occasion.

She said the birthday party included a rendition of the Irish ballad “Danny Boy,” which Ethridge’s mother used to sing to him.

It was sung at the party by Nashville, Tennessee, singer/songwriter Ray Ligon, and Pater said it was “beautifully done.

“He’s a country singer singing an Irish song, and it was just so pretty,” Pater said.

She described the recent party as a celebration of life, and Ethridge devoted several years of his life to his service in the military.

He has received several honors recognizing that service, among them a World War II Victory Medal, the Korean Service Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the United Nations Service Medal and the Korean Presidential Unit Citation, in addition to his Presidential Unit Citation.

Ethridge also is a lifetime member of the American Legion in Stillwater, Minnesota, and the Army veteran has been named a Kentucky Colonel by Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear.

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

Fiscal Court visits Rescue building
  • Updated

Trigg County Judge-Executive Hollis Alexander wondered aloud about the ceiling at the Trigg County Rescue Squad building on Canton Road.

“Does it leak everywhere?” he asked.

“Yeah,” came the reply.

The judge and several magistrates visited with rescue personnel last week to walk through the building on Canton Road and see what kind of shape it’s in.

The 60-year-old building has had at least three additions during its six decades. There are issues with its plumbing, electrical and sewer systems and insulation, and the roof leaks — a lot.

The facility’s property also lacks the space needed to keep trucks hooked to their trailers and ready to go; one of the squad’s trailers is being kept elsewhere.

In the wintertime, heating the building poses its own set of problems.

“There are so many holes and cracks and crevices, it’s almost impossible to heat,” observed Trigg County Rescue Chief Steve Skinner, who said he would rather have a new rescue facility than see repairs to the current, aging facility.

The chief said he’d like to see a new facility somewhere that the county already owns land so any funds could be invested in the new building itself.

The county owns land in front of the county garage, Skinner noted, adding that if the county had to buy land, the purchase would take money away from any new rescue building.

Emergency Management Director David Bryant said he believes it’s more feasible to go with a new building, but he will be happy with whatever decision the county makes in the matter.

The county owns the current facility and everything in the building, Bryant said, so it is the county that must make a decision about the facility.

The rescue squad falls under the oversight of emergency management.

Bryant notes that rescue is a necessary service in the community. One never knows when someone will need to be extricated from a car or when a loved one might go missing, Bryant said.

He noted last week that county magistrates had not been to the rescue building and weren’t aware of the issues.

“They didn’t know what we were having to do with operating out of this building the way it is and how much repair there is needing to be,” he said.

Magistrates Cameron Sumner, Alana Baker Dunn and Mike Lane visited the facility on Sept. 13 along with the judge.

Alexander noted that “it’d be a whole lot of money just to get started here.”

Lane said he thinks the squad needs a new facility, and he inquired about grants to support a building project.

He said he’d like to make sure that there aren’t funds out there somewhere that the county might not be aware of.

“With everything y’all do for the county, I’m ready to support y’all to have a nice place and all that,” Lane said.

Bryant said that, as a non-profit, the squad has to raise its own funds, but he said he would appreciate anything that could help the squad with its needs.

If a new building does come to fruition, Skinner knows what he’d like to see.

He wants bay doors on both sides of the facility so that trucks can be pulled through and will be ready to go when the squad is needed in an emergency.

“Christian County just built a new building up there, and then East Golden Pond, their building is basically the same thing,” Skinner said of those facilities.

Both have open spaces where they can leave their trucks and trailers hooked up.

Their buildings are deep.

At East Golden Pond, there are the drive-thru bays with doors on both sides.

“I would like to see something like that, the rescue chief said.

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

Tourism using funds to promote agency
  • Updated

Cadiz-Trigg County Tourism is using almost $90,000 in funds the agency is receiving to promote attractions in the community.

Jamie Lewis of the Cadiz-Trigg County Tourist and Convention Commission noted that the tourism group will likely use $12,208 in Economic Development Assistance grant funds for a visitor guide that can be mailed out to people requesting information about the area.

“It has to be used for advertising,” Lewis said.

She noted that the economic development funds have to be spent by December of 2023.

The commission also recently has received $8,405 in matching funds that is reimbursement for funds the commission already spent last year for advertising and promotion.

Additionally, Lewis said tourism is applying for $63,000 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds that the agency is considering using for wayfaring signs which will be permanent fixtures to highlight attractions in the community and tell visitors how to get to those attractions.

Lewis said the deadline for applying for the ARPA funds is the end of this month, with the agency to submit information on how the funds will be spent. Local tourism must also provide a 10% match, or $6,300, for the ARPA funds.

Lewis said the tourism agency is also seeking to purchase a used vehicle to wrap with the tourism logo and other information about Cadiz.

Tourism representative Kerry Allen goes to a lot of shows and events like the Kentucky State Fair, she said, and wrapping the vehicle will provide another avenue for promoting the local community when he attends these other events.

Lewis noted that the last Cadiz Cruz-In for this year will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Oct 1 in downtown Cadiz.

The September event was canceled due to threats of rain on that Labor Day weekend.

She noted that recent reports show a 23% increase in the economic impact of tourism across the state when compared to 2021.

The tourism agency met on Sept. 13 at its office on Hopkinsville Road and will have its next meeting at 4 p.m. Nov. 8 at the office.

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