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Trigg cases of COVID-19 have 'flattened'
  • Updated

Cases of the coronavirus in Trigg County seem to have flattened in the past couple of weeks, said Trigg County Judge-Executive Hollis Alexander, noting that it’s important to continue to monitor and address the illness.

Speaking during last week’s meeting of the Trigg County Fiscal Court, Alexander said there are currently somewhere around 140 cases of the virus in the county.

“COVID still affects us adversely, and we need to be mindful of that,” Alexander said at the meeting that took place on Sept. 20 at the Trigg County Courthouse.

“We’re trying to be proactive,” he continued.

“When we hear about those things in dispatch or in our office here we try to get things sanitized so we can keep that number down the best we can.”

He said there have been several COVID-related cases involving dispatch employees and their children, and the county brought in H&H Lake Rentals to sanitize that facility.

The county paid $1,000 to H&H Lake Rentals to have the 911 center cleaned and sanitized.

Alexander also said costs for boarding inmates at the Christian County Jail continue to rise. Cost for the past two weeks totaled $30,450 and is expected to continue its upward direction, according to the judge.

“We expect that’ll be up a little bit more, even in two more weeks,” Alexander observed. “That problem continues to haunt us a little bit and continues to rise.”

The judge attributed the increase to high activity by the Trigg County Sheriff’s Office, the Kentucky State Police and Cadiz Police Department.

“More people are incarcerated than they were six to eight months ago,” he noted.

In other business:

  • Fiscal court approved $6,989.20 in postal service expenses to mail tax bills this year.
  • Officials announced that a tire roundup is slated for 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Oct. 14 and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 15 at the Trigg County Road Department. No appointments are needed.
  • Magistrates also approved expenditures for the past two weeks that totaled $147,260.16. Among the expenditures were a first quarter payment of $61,029.50 to the Pennyrile District Board of Health, $4,710.57 to Keystops LLC, for fuel for the road department and $3,171.77 to Marmic Fire and Safety Co., Inc., for annual inspections, fire extinguishers and backflow at the Trigg County Justice Center.
  • Magistrate Alana Dunn asked Major Mike Sandbrink of the Trigg County Sheriff’s Office for a list of the department’s vehicles, along with the names of the deputies who drive them and the mileage for those vehicles.
  • Alexander said Rogers Group will start paving roads around late October while PRI will be in the county around the end of September to start chipping and sealing.

He said Hamby Construction finished working on Donnie Lane and repaired a slab on Sumner King Lane that was cracked in two. Payment to Hamby Construction for that work was $2,884.20, the judge-executive said.

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

Board discusses suspension of screenings
  • Updated

One parent’s question about screenings for local preschoolers prompted some discussion on the subject during last week’s meeting of the Trigg County School Board.

At the meeting on Thursday, board member Charlene Sheehan asked if the district was suspending the screenings until next semester.

Sheehan said she’d heard from a parent that the screenings had been suspended.

District Finance Officer Holly Greene said she’d also heard about the suspension of the screenings and would look into the matter.

“We should not be doing that,” Sheehan said during Thursday’s school board meeting. “We need to be screening those kids.

“Those are the kids that we need to be getting here and getting them screened and giving them their interventions and getting them in the program,” she continued.

Sheehan said the screenings are part of a federal law known as Child Find.

According to wrightslaw.com, Child Find is a part of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act that tasks public schools with identifying, locating and evaluating all children with disabilities, regardless of severity.

Greene said she was not sure when the decision to suspend the screenings was made, and District Superintendent Bill Thorpe said he didn’t know who made that decision.

Sheehan said suspending the screenings is illegal, and she said that decision needs to be reversed, implementing the screenings again.

“We need to continue our preschool screenings throughout the school year,” she said. “We have to give these people an opportunity to get their children in preschool and start the interventions and the education there.”

Greene noted that there is “a great enrollment” in the preschool this year following a year when student numbers were low because parents didn’t want to send their children to school during the pandemic.

Greene, who spoke about the preschool as she presented a report on the district’s working budget, said the increase in students this year has prompted a need to add a preschool teacher and a preschool aide.

Board members also on Thursday discussed and approved for the 2022-2023 school year non-resident contracts with Barren, Caldwell, Calloway, Christian, Hopkins, Lyon and Marshall counties and Murray Independent.

Director of Student Support Services and Personnel James Mangels said the measure is contingent upon House Bill 563, which would allow open borders among school districts.

With that bill, the personnel director noted that non-resident contracts would not exist.

He said these contracts will serve as a backup in case the bill doesn’t go through.

Mangels said the district does non-residential contracts with Caldwell, Calloway and Murray that allow for any and all exchange of students. Contracts with Hopkins, Marshall and Lyon are for up to five students and one for one, according to Mangels.

Additionally, he said Barren County is on an as-needed basis while the district’s contract with Christian County letting local students go to that community stopped in 2012-2013.

“We put a limit on the numbers keeping their contract students from the 2020-2021 and put an end to that,” he continued of Trigg County’s contract with Christian County.

Mangels said the non-residential contracts once had to be done in January but now must be done by Oct. 1 for the coming school year.

In other business:

  • The board approved the working budget presented by Greene during the meeting. The finance officer told board members she has to submit the budget to the state by Sept. 30.
  • Sheehan announced that Trigg County High School junior Makoto Hiter has achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. She said Hiter, the son of Charles and Dottie Hiter of Cadiz, is a third-generation Eagle Scout. As part of the requirements for attaining his new rank, the young Hiter planned a service project and led efforts to clean up the local River Walk Trail.
  • Additionally, Sheehan said Todd County Middle School student Josh Waufle collected 500 pounds of food, toys and supplies and raised $155 for the Christian County Animal Shelter. The shelter in Hopkinsville includes Trigg County as a part of its service area.
  • The superintendent said numbers of COVID-19 cases in the district are trending in the right direction and hopefully will continue to drop. As of last week, there were seven active staff cases and 23 active student cases in the district, according to Thorpe.
  • The board acknowledged a review of the district’s Kentucky Education Technology Systems technology activity report. Greene said the district has to submit a report annually to the state that shows what it has spent on technology items. “We do this to show what our unmet need is,” Greene said.

Mangels noted that the district is in the process of hiring a mental health counselor.

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

Person found in vocational building
  • Updated

Trigg County Public Schools staff contacted local law enforcement last week after an individual not related to the school was found unresponsive in Trigg County High School’s vocational building.

A press release from District Superintendent Bill Thorpe noted that the person was found in the building on the morning of Sept. 22.

“Cadiz Police Department and Trigg County Sheriff’s Office responded immediately and the individual was taken into custody without incident,” the release noted. “There was never a threat to students.”

Local law enforcement completed a sweep of the building prior to student arrival, and officials said the school security team and local law enforcement are using the security systems at the school to investigate the incident.

“At no time were students put at any risk,” Thorpe noted in the press release. “We will continue to work with local law enforcement to fully prosecute the individual to the fullest extent of the law.”

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

Coronavirus expensive for local hospital
  • Updated

Trigg County Hospital CEO John Sumner noted that the costs of the COVID-19 virus are having an impact on the local facility.

Speaking during a board meeting conducted virtually on Sept. 23, Sumner said cases of COVID-19 are continuing to rise, and he said COVID-related costs are very expensive.

“It’s very expensive right now to take care of the COVID patient,” he told members of the hospital’s board of trustees at the meeting.

Sumner also noted that it’s getting harder and harder to recruit staff for the hospital.

Citing Trigg County Judge-Executive Hollis Alexander, he said Trigg County currently has as many positive COVID-19 cases now as the community has had since the onset of the virus last year.

The board approved a COVID policy that shortens by a week the number of days patients are evaluated for the coronavirus.

Officials said doing so takes the pressure off surrounding hospitals and gives the local hospital an opportunity to increase its referrals.

Additionally, in regard to the hospital’s efforts to create some private rooms at the facility, Sumner said the hospital has extended its bid process for the rooms.

“We do have some contractors showing interest,” he said.

In other business:

  • The board of trustees approved initial appointments and reappointments for the following staff members: Dr. David Samuelson, Dr. Jerome Puryear, Dr. Mark Halsted, Dr. Adam Green and Dr. Jared Isaacson and Mark Ronchi, a doctor of osteopathic medicine, in diagnostic radiology; Dr. Anthony Briningstool, Dr. William Eason, Dr. David French and Dr. Shea Godwin, in emergency medicine; and Callie Wells, an advanced practice registered nurse in family medicine.
  • The board approved a financial report that included total operating revenues of $1.8 million.

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

City names new Main Street director
  • Updated

Cadiz City Clerk Barbie Johnson said the city is looking forward to welcoming Darlene Butts on board as the new Main Street director.

A longtime resident of Cadiz, Butts replaces Casey Parrent, who is resigning but will continue to work through the weekend of the Trigg County Country Ham Festival.

The festival is slated for Oct. 8-9.

Johnson said Butts will work part-time in her new position until Oct. 11, when she becomes a full time employee for the City of Cadiz.

“We’re looking forward to it,” said Johnson, who noted that Butts has a lot of experience with event planning and loves the community.

“She is such a positive energy,” added the clerk, who said Butts was one of a lot of qualified people who applied for the position.

Johnson said the city appreciates all the applicants who were interested in the job.

Because of the large number of people applying, she said it took a while to fill the job.

Johnson noted that Butts was the best choice, and she said the transition to a new Main Street director should be an easy one.

She said officials expect that the new director will continue the traditions of the local position, which is not affiliated with the state Main Street Program that revitalizes downtowns in Kentucky communities.

“We haven’t been a part of the Main Street Program in quite some time,” Johnson said.

Like Parrent, Butts’ duties will include decorating the downtown area for holidays, taking care of the Cadiz-Trigg County Farmer’s Market and the Junque Fest, serving as director of the annual ham festival and acting as liaison for downtown businesses.

And like Parrent, Butts has a very positive attitude that will serve her well as director.

Johnson said Butts previously was the culinary specialist and advisor for Ingram Marine Group in Paducah.

Butts has lived in Cadiz for 50 years.

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