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DeArmond ready to supply schools with SROs
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The Kentucky General Assembly recently passed House Bill 63, which requires the presence of a school resource officer, or SRO, in every school. School districts across the region have been putting plans in place to abide by the law prior to the deadline of Aug. 1.

Last month, the Christian County Public School board also voted to hire and place a School Resource Officer (SRO) on every school campus in the district beginning this school year.

This will bring the number of officers contracted with the district from eight to 13 SROs. The district will be in compliance with House Bill 63 which was signed into law in April and requires SROs on all school campuses by August 1, 2022. A waiver is available to those districts unable to secure officers due to funding or shortages.

Christian County Sheriff, Tyler DeArmond, will collaborate with the SROs, and he said it won’t be difficult to acquire qualified and experienced sheriffs in each school for this upcoming school year.

“There will be no challenge. We actually already have all the spots filled with certified officers for every school,” said Sheriff DeArmond.

The distinction between an SRO and other police officers is that they have received special training on how to work with youths. The SROs will remain present at the school throughout the day and will work closely with school administrators to create the safest environment for everyone.

School resource officers benefit not only schools but, also individual students, teachers and staff. SRO programs can improve relationships and build trust between students and law enforcement.

“The biggest benefit is the safety and response time,” DeArmond said. “They can urgently get to the situation whereas, we here in the Christian County office may take a little longer to get there. The second benefit is the interaction with the youth, our future; we can be a mentor and be there for them.”

Previously, CCPS had eight full-time SROs under contract, three with the Sheriff’s Department and five officers through the Hopkinsville Police Department (HPD). With the vote of additional officers, all eight elementary schools will have a full-time SRO on campus through the Christian County Sheriff’s Department. The HPD will continue to secure the middle and high school campuses including Gateway Academy and Bluegrass Learning Academy. The additional cost to add four SROs to the district will be encumbered through the SafeSchools grant, additional daycare monies from the elementary schools, and from the general fund. The yearly investment in SROs will total over $800,000 dollars.

Jennie Stuart breaks ground on $31.2 million expansion
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Jennie Stuart Health held a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday to celebrate the beginning of its project for a new emergency department and cancer center.

“This is not only a great thing for Jennie Stuart, but for the community of Hopkinsville and the area that we serve,” said Charles Turner, long-time member of the trustees building committee.

The Jennie Health Foundation is in its third year in supporting the hospital’s mission, and has worked closely with the E.C. Green Cancer Center on this project. The $31.2 million project will represent growth for the community. The emergency department will be expanded as well as renovations for the existing ED to create an entire new facility for the care of patients who have emergency conditions in the community. The cancer center will also significantly be expanded with the E.C. Green Cancer project.

“The new emergency department and cancer center will be such a gift to our community, as Mr. Turner said, these projects go the extra mile to make sure Jennie Stuart has state of the art facilities that match the level of expertise and care delivered by our outstanding medical teams every day,” said Director of Jennie Stuart Health Foundation Tracy Clark.

Patients have had access to oncologist with wonderful expertise, but will now have access to a state of the art comprehensive cancer center that will reflect that high level of skill provided by these clinical teams.

“The new E.C. Green facility will be designed not only for the treatment needs but around the patients’ experience and comfort. It will be like nothing we have seen in this region and the foundation is so excited to be apart,” Clark said.

The first quarter of the project is expected to be complete by 2024, which will complete the building of the new Emergency Department and cancer center.

“The groundbreaking will truly be a transformative project for the downtown campus, and we have made a tremendous investment in the community and outpatient facilities over the last couple of decades but we continue to prioritize our operations in downtown Hopkinsville at this historic campus that has served our community since 1914,” said JSH President and CEO Eric Lee.

Butterfly Fest set for Sept. 3
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In less than a month, Oak Grove’s highly anticipated award-winning Butterfly Festival is back

The 13th annual festival will take place on Saturday, Sept. 3, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the War Memorial Walking Trail.

This year’s stage will showcase the Space Adventures Thrill Show. This event will not only be entertaining but also educational.

There will be a NASA themed show with fire spinning and trampoline stunts. There will also be an outside galaxy globe where a motorcycle and an aerialist will perform at the same time on the outside of the globe. Oscar the robot will also be on sight for the community to interact with.

Traci Cunningham, executive director of the Oak Grove Tourism Commission, expressed a great deal of anticipation for this event.

“We are so excited for our annual butterfly festival,” Cunningham said. “We encourage everyone to come out and experience all that will be available for the community. This festival is a fan favorite and it’s highly attended each year. Seeing the butterflies get released is absolutely breathtaking. The youth of the community enjoy this fest so much we are excited that it is soon approaching. We are aiming for a big turnout so we invite everyone to attend.”

This year’s festival will offer zip-lining by Southern Zip-Line Company.

An obstacle course will also be available for those who like a challenge.

Train rides will be on the ready to take the little ones around, making stops to get face paintings stopping by to see the balloon artist, bubble zone and more.

All activities are completely free with no cost for admission or parking. Food trucks will be on sight for the community to enjoy while attending the festival.

“If you have never attended this festival before, I encourage you to do so. This festival is one of a kind and is sure to take your breath away with the beautiful live release of 1800 butterflies at 4pm on the Viceroy berm. The butterflies will hang around for a little while before beginning their migration to Mexico,” said Cunningham.

At the event, the community is encouraged to come out and interact with live butterflies in the Butterfly House. Inside the butterfly house there will be live cocoons, and caterpillars and butterflies provided by Milkweed & Honey farm out of Clarksville, Tenn.

Though the city of Oak Grove is known to be small in size, the events put on each year are massive in attendance. Come out and enjoy Oak Grove’s annual festival.

Stay update on events via Facebook:

As well as on Visit Oak Grove Tourism website:

For additional questions, feel free to call the office at 270-439-5675.

CCPS gathering flood relief donations
  • Updated

Christian County Public Schools announced Thursday in a press release that they will begin accepting gift card donations in response to the devastating floods in Eastern Kentucky.

Gift cards will be collected through Friday, Aug. 12. Anyone that wants to donate to the efforts can drop off gift cards to the finance department at the central office at 200 Glass Ave. during regular business hours.

“After hearing the needs from superintendents in Eastern Kentucky, we felt it best to send gift cards to the area,” CCPS Superintendent Chris Bentzel said in the press release. “Christian County Schools can empathize with the devastation the school districts are feeling at this time. We want to extend our heartfelt sympathy and offer what support we can to them, their staff, students, and families as they begin to work through this tragedy.”

FRYSC coordinators across the district will be working with any staff, families, outside agencies or businesses wishing to donate. Gift cards to businesses in the area which will allow for families in need to use as they see fit are best. Gift cards for gas, grocery, or box-chain retail or food stores are recommended. Gift cards in any amount are appreciated, no cash or checks will be accepted.

In December, the Christian County community went through a similar disaster and received aid and support from other schools and districts across Kentucky. The relief effort is an opportunity for our community to reciprocate the generosity to those in need from the most recent flood disaster.