New Trigg County Judge-Executive Stan Humphries said he doesn’t take his job lightly.
“I do not take it as just a job,” Humphries noted at his first Trigg County Fiscal Court meeting on Jan. 3. “It’s a real service to our community, I feel, and I feel like we have a job to do.”
Humphries, who served previously as judge-executive before spending eight years in the Kentucky Senate, described it as truly an honor to fill the role of judge-executive for the county.
He noted that there’s a lot of right things going on in the county, and Humphries credited the work of the magistrates and of recently-retired Judge-Executive Hollis Alexander for making those right things happen in the community.
“Our community has a lot to offer,” Humphries noted last week to the fiscal court magistrates.
He observed that the county will be facing changes in the years ahead because of growth, not only in the local community, but because of the growth pattern in surrounding communities.
He pointed to cities like Nashville, Clarksville and Bowling Green that he said are making changes for Trigg County and other small communities up and down Interstate 24.
“Just the sheer capacity of the volume of cars on I24 nowadays is one of my priorities I’m going to look at as your judge-executive,” he said.
Humphries acknowledged that it might be far-fetched to think one person could have an impact on improving I24, but he said he thinks that’s something that needs to be considered.
He believes part of the interstate between Trigg County and Nashville needs a third lane.
Additionally, the judge said he wants the court to do everything it can to work toward finding ways for fiber to continue in the county.
“Seventy-five years ago, when Pennyrile Electric put electricity into our houses across our county, it was a life-changing event,” Humphries said. “I think that the same can be said about fiber as well. It will change the lives and the patterns of lives across our county.”
He noted that “these couple of things,” together with how the county conducts business post-COVID, will dictate how the court sees items in the future and how the court is fiscally responsible for finding ways to enhance the community and for the county’s citizens.
Humphries said the fiscal court will do its part for the county, although he noted that its members will disagree about certain items.
“We may disagree on how we get there, but our objective is to have this community to be one of the finest small communities across the state,” he said, noting the court will work hard to try to find a way to make the county proud of the work the group does as a fiscal court.
Humphries said he expects fiscal court members to attend the court’s meetings, to do so with a sense of decorum and to represent their district, their constituents and the county with “the utmost respect and care,” he said.
He noted that not all news is bright or pleasant, but he said that, pleasant or not, the court will deal with the matters that arise.
Humphries mentioned two items that will be addressed at future court meetings, including a bonding capacity for the Pennyrile Area Development District office in Hopkinsville.
He said PADD is requesting a small, $200,000 bonding capacity to renovate its current facility.
“All it will do (is) tap into our bonding capacity,” said Humphries, noting the Hopkinsville agency has “worked so hard” for the local community.
Trigg County is one of nine western Kentucky counties served by the development district.
Humphries said the approval of the bonding capacity will require two readings of an ordinance that will be presented at the next meeting of the Trigg County Fiscal Court.
Additionally, the sheriff’s budget will be addressed at an upcoming meeting because the judge has not had a chance to review it.
The budget for the sheriff’s office is typically passed at the first court meeting in January.
In other business:
More people participated in a community survey conducted this past year by the University of Kentucky for Trigg County Hospital.
Melody Nall, engagement director at UK’s Community Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky, said 226 online and paper surveys offered as part of the hospital’s 2022 Community Health Needs Assessment were completed.
The assessment is conducted every three years as a mandate of the Affordable Health Care Act, and in 2019 only 185 surveys were completed for the hospital’s assessment.
“There was an increase,” Nall observed, speaking by teleconference during the hospital’s board of trustees meeting in December. “I can tell you (that) not every hospital’s had an increase this round, with all the challenges of pandemics and all the things going on.”
Among other things, the 2022 assessment revealed that the hospital’s steering committee identified obesity, mental health and substance use disorder as priority health needs in the county and said financial insecurity and instability are barriers to seeking healthcare.
The local survey participants noted that either they or their family members have struggled with high blood pressure, being overweight, obesity, arthritis and diabetes — health issues that Nall said were unsurprisingly at the top.
“You have an aging population in your county, and it’s not unusual to see these at the top,” she said, adding that mental health issues which were once at the bottom are also inching to the top.
Nall noted that a lot of the survey responses were related to having access to healthcare, whether that meant transportation or the availability of a certain type of healthcare.
She said there was conversation about behavioral healthcare for youth and children as well as chronic diseases and making healthy choices by being more physically active.
One thing that Nall pointed out from the data is that there is a real need to change the mindset of the community, to create a culture of health and what it means to be healthy.
She noted that people aren’t aware of the health resources available to them, and they don’t know when to look for them unless they have a diagnosis; one suggestion generated from the recent assessment is to bring back an interagency council which can recommend available resources and services to people.
The hospital plans to do just that, re-initiating a Trigg County Community Wellness Interagency Council that will help create community engagement for key health initiatives.
Nall noted that people contacted for the assessment, both for focus groups and the surveys, were thrilled to be heard, and Nall commended the local hospital for the people that they recruited to be on the community steering committee created for the process.
The committee members came from the Trigg County Health Department, the Housing Authority of Cadiz, Trigg County Public Schools, Genesis Express Inc., Trigg County Senior Center and others, and Nall noted that having input from across the community is crucial to having a very in-depth report.
“We really take (community engagement) seriously,” the initiative’s director said.
Nall said the 2022 assessment report is the fourth prepared by the initiative for the hospital.
Officials are now beginning efforts to implement strategies to improve the health of local citizens, following recommendations from the steering committee and the hospital board’s approval of the recent assessment report.
Hospital Compliance Officer Jodi Wilson said the next step will be ensuring that supervisors and key staff members are aware of the goals and understand the findings of the assessment.
Work will start on 2022 assessment goals once the staff is aware of them, she said.
The hospital has prioritized the health needs it will address in the community beginning this year through 2025 as follows: ranking chronic health conditions, expanding behavioral health services, improving transportation to medical care and services, addressing financial insecurities/instabilities for those seeking healthcare and promoting hospital services, including primary care and specialty services.
Hospital CEO John Sumner noted that the hospital is proud to serve Cadiz/Trigg County and surrounding communities, and he said it has worked hard in the last few years to expand its existing services, add specialty services and revise patient care, testing and vaccination in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Understanding our community and the people we serve for the purposes of providing the greatest care and services is of utmost importance to us,” Sumner wrote in the introduction to the 2022 assessment report.
He said information obtained in the assessment will be used to help the hospital develop goals to meet residents’ needs.
In the aftermath of the 2019 Community Health Needs Assessment, the hospital has already met several of its goals, among them increasing the availability of its mental health services, addressing chronic health conditions like obesity and high blood pressure and recruiting and retaining primary care physicians.
The 2022 assessment will be posted on the hospital website at trigghospital.org.
The Cadiz City Council has approved on second reading two ordinances that will bring in $366,000 in revenue for the City of Cadiz.
Council members approved the ordinances, including a payroll tax amendment and an insurance premium tax amendment, unanimously during their Jan. 3 meeting.
The payroll tax amendment raises the payroll tax from 1.5% to 1.9% and will generate $300,000 in revenue, while insurance premiums will increase from 6% to 8%, generating $66,000 in revenue for the city.
The city council last week also approved the appointments of Connie Allen as city clerk/treasurer and as a Pennyrile Area Development Board member and of Mechelle Thomas to the Cadiz-Trigg County Code Enforcement Board.
Allen was hired officially on Dec. 12.
The council expressed its appreciation to the Cadiz Police Department and to employees of the Cadiz Public Works Department for their efforts during the snowstorm in December.
Public Works juggled water, sewer and road issues during the storm, clearing roadways and working at a time when others were at home, Allen shared following the council meeting.
“They had to be out during the Christmas holidays,” the new city clerk observed, adding that “they were out while everybody was at home opening presents with their children.”
Cadiz Public Works Director Craig Oakley told the council that the Cadiz Water Treatment Plant pumped 3.8 million gallons of water beginning the Thursday before Christmas and continuing through Monday, Dec. 26.
That figure represented a million more gallons than would normally be pumped and was caused by freezing water and a burst pipe; it took more than 240 man hours to clear the roads and work on the water issues caused by the burst pipe, the Public Works director said.
Cadiz City Councilman Bob Noel noted that the Trigg County Hospital has recently brought in $121,000 from its pharmacy program.
Mike Lane, who oversaw the maintenance department at the hospital, has resigned.
In other business:
The City of Cadiz had a total income of $248,992.68, while total income for the
It’s a good thing anytime that people get out, get some fresh air and enjoy some exercise.
It’s an opportunity to spend time with others.
“Do it with a friend, a partner or your kids,” says On Main Executive Director Janelle Nichols.
It’s about to be spring, y’all.
The City of Cadiz has opened registration for the first 5K race the community has seen in more than a year; the last 5K, a Jingle Bell Jog in 2021, was canceled because of weather.
This year’s race, the It’s Spring Y’all Walk/Run, will be at 9 a.m. April 29 and begins at the Trigg County Senior Citizens Center at 127 Joy Lane.
Participants are encouraged to arrive at 8 a.m. to get their race bib, T-shirt and other items, and Nichols noted that registering early online will ensure they receive a shirt in their correct size.
She said participation medals will be awarded, and the race’s top finishers will be recognized.
The race also ends at the senior center, following the same course as the Jingle Bell Jog.
An awards ceremony and refreshments will wrap up the event afterward inside the center.
Registration fee is $25 per person, and proceeds from the race will benefit the 7 Friends Memorial, an organization that commemorates seven Trigg County youth who died in a car wreck more than two decades ago.
The organization provides scholarships for students at Trigg County High School.
“It’s going to such a great cause,” said Nichols, noting that she just wants people to get outside and enjoy walking or running the course.
She’s hoping for a good turnout.
Anyone can enter the race; sign-ups are online at runsignup.com/race/ky/cadiz/itsspringyall5k.
Information is also available on Facebook. Those interested may search for It’s Spring Y’all.
Nichols adds that she is continuing to seek out volunteers as well as sponsors for the 5K.
Volunteers are needed to help with things like distributing bibs and T-shirts and handing out water bottles along the 3.2-mile race course.
Businesses and other local entities are being sought to serve as sponsors for the race.
For those who are interested, Nichols said there will be different levels of sponsorship.
Prospective volunteers and sponsors may contact the On Main director at 270-522-8244 or by email at Onmain@cityofcadiz.com.
Nichols notes that running is one of her favorite hobbies, and she says a 5K race offers a good distance for people beginning to run.
“It’s not too challenging,” she observes. “It’s not too far out there for people who are thinking about getting into running, getting into walking.”
The course offers an opportunity for exercise and getting out and getting fresh air is always a good thing for people, according to Nichols.
She also encourages participants to mix in some social interaction by completing the spring 5K course with a friend, a partner or their kids.