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CCHD reports four new COVID-19 deaths
  • Updated

The Christian County Health Department announced four new COVID-19 related deaths this week as the rate of new cases remains steady.

The four new deaths include a 62-year-old African American male, unvaccinated, with unknown underlying health condition, a 67-year-old Caucasian male, unvaccinated, with underlying health conditions, a 54-year-old Caucasian male, unvaccinated, with underlying health conditions and a 63-year-old Caucasian male, unvaccinated, with underlying health conditions.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the friends and family of those we have lost,” the health department said.

According to the CCHD, the total cases for the county have moved to 10,691 as of Friday.

The county has seen an increase of cases by 74 since last week, on Oct. 29. The previous week saw an increase of 72 between Oct. 22 and Oct. 29. While the week prior saw an increase of 79 between Oct. 15 and Oct. 22, revealing a constant rate of between 70 — 79 new cases each week for the last several weeks.

Of the 10,691 total cases, 124 of them are currently active cases, slightly up from 122 since last week. Meanwhile, 10,432 cases have recovered from the virus.

Within the currently active cases, 33 are people aged zero to 21, 65 are between 22 and 59 and 22 are 60 to 84. There are currently four active cases for ages 85 and older as of this week.

Of the 74 new cases this week, 13, or 18%, are considered breakthrough cases. Breakthrough cases mean that individuals who have been vaccinated have tested positive for the coronavirus. Last week breakthrough cases consisted of 10% of active cases.

The demographic breakdown of the new cases contracted this week is as follows: 19, or 26%, are pediatric cases, while 43 (58%) of the new cases are white, 17 (23%) are Black and 14 (19%) are unknown.

This week the health department did give updated data on the number of vaccinations administered this week compared to last.

CCHD has administered 14,839 first doses of the Moderna vaccine, 13,695 second doses of Moderna, 214 third doses and 553 Moderna booster shots.

As for Pfizer, the department has given 330 first doses, 335 second doses, 105 third doses and five Pfizer booster shots.

Finally, for Johnson and Johnson, CCHD has administered 971 doses and six Johnson and Johnson booster shots.

Jennie Stuart Health also provided updated stats on COVID-19-related hospitalizations.

According to JSH, there were 236 total individuals that were hospitalized due to the coronavirus between Aug. 1 and Nov. 4. Of those 236 people, 217 were unvaccinated while 19 were fully vaccinated.

Within those 236, a total of 41 individuals had been in the intensive care unit (ICU). Of those 41, 39 were unvaccinated while only two were fully vaccinated. Even further, of those 41, in the ICU, 30 individuals had been on ventilators. Of those 30, 29 were unvaccinated and only one person was fully vaccinated.

CCHD also shared an update of who can receive their vaccine booster shots.

According to the health department, Moderna and Pfizer booster doses are now available six months after the completion of the initial vaccine series to the following individuals:

  • 65 years or older
  • 18-64 years of age who reside in long-term care settings
  • 18-64 years of age with certain underlying health conditions
  • 18-64 who live or work in high-risk settings

Janssen, more commonly known as Johnson & Johnson, booster doses are available to individuals aged 18 and up 2 months after the completion of the initial series.

CCHD added that while the department prefers individuals to receive a booster from the same product as their initially completed vaccine series, if that product is not available or another product is preferred, boosting with a single dose of any authorized COVID-19 vaccine boosters is acceptable.

In other words, you can now mix vaccine products. So, if an individual completed their initial series with Moderna, that individual may now receive a Pfizer shot if preferred or Moderna is out of stock.

CCHD reiterated what medical conditions are considered underlying health conditions that put individuals at increased risk of severe COVID-19 infection. Those include:

  • Cancer
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Chronic lung disease (including COPD, asthma, interstitial lung disease, cystic fibrosis, and pulmonary hypertension
  • Dementia or other neurological conditions
  • Diabetes (type 1 or type 2)
  • Down syndrome
  • Heat conditions
  • HIV infection
  • Immunocompromised state
  • Liver disease
  • Overweight or obese
  • Pregnancy or recently pregnant people
  • Sickle cell disease of thalassemia
  • Smoking, current or former
  • Solid organ or blood stem cell transplant
  • Stroke or cerebrovascular disease
  • Substance abuse disorders

The health department will continue hosting drive thru testing at the health department Monday through Thursday from 7:45 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

As previously reported by the New Era, CCHD believes the majority of the new cases are due to the Delta variant of the coronavirus.

CCHD recommends that everyone follow the COVID safety precautions that were implemented previously when the county was in red.

Those include frequent hand washing, avoiding large social gatherings, especially among people who have not been vaccinated and wearing a mask for additional protection, especially indoors.

Library hosting Drop In Dinner
  • Updated

The Hopkinsville-Christian County Public Library is hosting a progressive dinner next weekend to help pay for a new external book drop.

The current curbside book drop has internal mechanical issues causing water damage to materials and sometimes causes materials to get stuck on the inside. The community is invited to join the library for the progressive dinner next Saturday November 13. The dinner will begin at 4 p.m. which includes designated stops at local establishment’s downtown.

The literary food sponsors have created menus with drink parings that highlight flavorful selections.

Tickets for the event are $80 each or $150 per couple.

The event will begin with a check-in at the Hopkinsville Brewing Company betwee noon until 3:30 p.m. After checking in, you will receive directions on your culinary adventure. Your experience will begin at one of our three pre-designated venues starting at 4 p.m.

Prologue — From 12-3:30 pm at Hopkinsville Brewing Company. After checking in, you will receive a wrist band confirming reservation.

At 4 p.m., those who have purchased tickets may begin their downtown experience.

Location 1 — The Mixer: located at 114 E 6th Street. The Mixer is known for its delicious cocktail with a food menu with several options such as shrimp and grits, the mixer burger or cheese steak, stuffed poblano bowls, several salad options and so much more.

Location 2 — The Main Street Tavern: located at 801 S Main Street. The Tavern is known for its famous Friday night specials. The menu consist of pizzas, calzones, burgers, fried pickles, mozzarella sticks with many more options including a bar with catchy beverage named packed with several flavors.

Location 3 — The Local: located at 914 S Main Street. The Local is an Irish pub and kitchen known for their wings, honey bourbon chicken, salmon, spinach dip, Irish beer cheese pretzels and nachos with so many other options alongside several ale beverages for the hop handlers.

The final stop will be at the Public Library located on 1101 Bethel Street, where an epilogue will be given. The epilogue will entail a short speech thanking everyone who came out to support the fundraiser for the libraries new curbside drop box. Coffee and dessert will be provided by the Corner Coffee House.

Each venue will provide a tour guide that will escort you to your next location. Groups of four or more, please send an email to director@hccpl.org, with the names of the individuals that plan to participate. Each group can have up to 50 per group. Ticket discounts only apply to couples.

“We are very thankful to our partners and literary supporters for making this event a one-of-a-kind experience,” said DeAnna Sova Executive Director of the Public Library. “Friends of Library have provided a donation toward purchasing a new drop box and this event will make up the difference we still need. It will be a fun experience for the community to join in the local restaurants downtown as well as drop by to visit our beautiful library. We look forward to next Saturday.”

All proceeds benefit the Hopkinsville Christian County Public Library Book Drop purchase. For additional questions email: director@hccpl.org or call 270-887-4262.

Judge denies motion to withdraw plea deal
  • Updated

One of the two men accused in the 2016 Ghost Bridge murder case had his motion to withdraw the guilty plea he had previously entered denied by Christian Circuit Court Judge John Atkins.

Deqavion James, 23, appeared in Atkins’ court via Zoom on Wednesday while at the Christian County Jail as his newest defense attorney Ted Shouse reiterated to the judge that he had made the motion on James’ behalf due to confusion James had when entering the plea with his prior defense attorney.

Shouse originally argued the motion on Oct. 6, however, Atkins deferred to give his ruling on the matter until Wednesday in order to give Shouse additional time to talk with James about the plea he previously entered to possibly continue with the offer and advise him that if his plea were to be withdrawn, James could receive a harsher sentence if found guilty by jury.

Shouse reminded Atkins of his arguments and stated that after he had spoken with James, the two wanted to move forward with the motion to withdraw.

“When we were last in court, the judge ordered me to talk to James and confirm that he wants to proceed with his effort to withdraw his guilty plea,” Shouse said. “I can say for the record that I have done that at the Christian County Jail and we want to continue in our efforts to withdraw his guilty plea and get the case put back on the court’s trial docket.”

Shouse added that he also informed James about the possibility of receiving a harsher sentence if the case were to go to trial and a jury found him guilty of his original charges.

James was originally charged with murder, first-degree robbery and tampering with physical evidence. He previously entered a plea amending his murder charge to first-degree manslaughter while he was represented by private attorney David Rye.

That plea carried a recommended sentence of 20 years on first-degree manslaughter, 10 years for first-degree robbery and one year for tampering with physical evidence to run consecutively for a total of 30 years in prison.

Rye had to withdraw as his attorney after hearing that James intended to withdraw his guilty plea, which is required by court law if a defendant advises the court of the intent to withdraw a plea.

After Shouse explained to Atkins that James still persisted in withdrawing the plea, Atkins stated that he wanted to hear from James himself regarding why he should be allowed to withdraw.

“I was misinformed by my previous lawyer on the conditions of my plea offer,” James said to the judge.

James also confirmed to Shouse that he had been confused about his plea due to language that had been “scratched out” after he initially reviewed the offer.

Shouse explained during the Oct. 6 hearing that the plea offer that James and Rye reviewed included language that said, “All felonies sentences listed SHALL run concurrently with each other by law.”

However, Shouse said that that language had later been crossed through by Boling and instead, included language that required James’ sentence to run consecutively rather than concurrently.

Shouse also argued that the language was scratched from the offer the day of the entry of his plea and that caused James confusion and that he did not fully understand his parole eligibility as well as the exact nature of what his sentence would be.

After hearing from both Shouse and James himself, Atkins ultimately denied the motion on the basis that he believed James fully understood his plea offer at the time he entered it.

“(James) said on the record that he was not confused and that it was knowing, intelligent and voluntary,” Atkins said. “The motion to withdraw the plea is denied.”

Shouse requested the judge to issue a written order on the matter in order for him to appeal the judge’s decision. Atkins agreed that he would.

Atkins then scheduled James to be sentenced on his plea deal on Dec. 1.

James’ codefendant, Leonardo Miller, 24, is currently scheduled for trial in the case.

James and Miller are accused in the murder of De’Andre Palmer in July 2016.

According to New Era archives and court documents, on the night of Palmer’s murder on July 16, 2016, James was told by Miller to shoot Palmer. James shot Palmer once before Miller shot him a second time. Palmer later died from the two gunshot wounds.

Miller is currently charged with murder, first-degree robbery and tampering with physical evidence. Miller is also charged with theft by unlawful taking over $500, but less than $10,000 in an unrelated case.

James and Miller are accused of dumping Palmer’s body near Ghost Bridge on Carter Road in Oak Grove. Palmer was reported missing July 16, 2016. His body was discovered four days later.

James turned himself into police on July 27, 2016, after Kentucky State Police released information indicating he was a suspect in the murder. After turning himself in, James allegedly admitted to police he killed Palmer.

Miller was arrested Aug. 5, 2016, at the Christian County Jail where he was being held on a theft charge.

Also according to New Era archives, KSP Detective Scott Smith testified that he believed James shot Palmer twice in Miller’s home, wrapped Palmer’s body in a blanket and put trash bags over his head and legs before putting him in a closet. Smith also told the court all items were removed from Palmer’s pockets, including $150, a phone and other items.

The pair then allegedly cleaned up the house and took Palmer’s body to Ghost Bridge, where they dumped it and left. They reportedly used a truck Palmer had been borrowing from a relative. The truck was tested and evidence was found in the bed of the truck, Smith said.

Hoptown Parks and Rec, Sportsplex win awards
  • Updated

The Hopkinsville Division of Parks and Recreation and the Planters Bank-Jennie Stuart Hopkinsville Sportsplex brought home a statewide award Friday.

Both the department and the facility were recognized as the best in the state at the Kentucky Recreation and Parks Society (KRPS) Awards Luncheon that capped the professional association’s three-day conference.

The Parks and Recreation team was awarded the KRPS Department of the Year, marking the third time the team has earned the recognition in the last six years. With 11 full-time employees, Hopkinsville Parks and Recreation stepped up in competition and won for the Class III category, designated for departments with 11-19 full-time staff members. The previous two honors came in Class II, before the department added the Sportsplex staff upon opening the new facility. KRPS award winners are not allowed to compete for the same award two years in a row.

The Planters Bank-Jennie Stuart Sportsplex took home the hardware for KRPS Facility of the Year, Class III. The honor marks a repeat for the Sportsplex, which won the same award for Class II in 2019, the building’s opening year.

“We are proud to recognize the efforts of the Hopkinsville Parks and Recreation Department to not only serve their community, but to adapt and advance the mission of parks and KRPS,” said KRPS Executive Director Terri Wilkerson in a press release. “Hopkinsville is the Swiss Army Knife of parks departments in our state — an efficient team that maximizes their talents to turn out an amazing and creative amount of work. They are a talented and cohesive crew that is more like family and simply continues to outperform limits on departments their size.”

The KRPS Awards Committee recognized the overall body of work of Hoptown’s Parks and Rec team for the Department Award, which includes presenting or assisting with 100 programs and events throughout the year. The nomination packet also keyed in on the tremendous collaborative efforts by multiple city and county divisions and organizations to help build the success of everything the department does. The Sportsplex nomination covered a COVID-impacted year that still saw the 54,000 square foot facility attract over 28,000 visitors. The Sportsplex staff also expanded activities from athletics to include many new special events. Jr. Pro at the Plex also marked the reinvention of the community’s longstanding youth basketball developmental league.

“The Hopkinsville awards belong to the whole community,” said Tab Brockman, Parks and Recreation Superintendent in a press release. “Our community’s collaborative spirit shines through in nearly everything Parks and Recreation undertakes.

“With that said, the team of professionals at Hopkinsville Parks and Recreation is so dedicated to making Hopkinsville and Christian County a better place to live. This group works tirelessly year round to help improve the overall quality of life in Hoptown.”