Christian County Deputy Clerk Melinda Humphries came to Christian Fiscal Court prepared to talk about a topic near and dear to her heart, i.e., pay raises for election workers in the county.

She'd put a lot of work into her presentation, she said.

But, alas, it was not to be.

Instead, in a surprising turn of events, Humphries, who has worked in the clerk's office for almost 19 years, was presented before Tuesday's court meeting with an award recognizing her dedication to the military.

Christian County Judge-Executive Steve Tribble presented Humphries with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and Fort Campbell Eagle Service Award, the honor bestowed on behalf of her "selfless and dedicated service" to the military post, its soldiers and their families.

"Her efforts directly enhanced the capabilities and lives of the soldiers assigned to Fort Campbell," further read the message on the award, which also described her dedication to duty as setting a standard for others to emulate and reflecting great credit upon herself.

Hopkinsville Mayor Carter Hendricks was on hand for the event, and he explained that her contributions had been noticed by Lt. Col. Edwin Chilton, who notified the local community.

Officials then sent an email to Brian E. Winski, commanding general of the 101st Airborne Division, who was so moved by the county's contributions to Fort Campbell soldiers that he sent the Eagle Service Award in recognition of Humphries and those efforts.

The award was inscribed with Humphries' name, but she chose to accept it on behalf of all the employees in the Christian County clerk's office, citing the work of the whole office.

Humphries said the clerk's office has assisted soldiers with absentee ballots during election cycles, with marriage licenses and with transferring their vehicles and renewing their tags, among other services; she noted that there are several employees in the clerk's office "who take our jobs seriously," she said.

"This award is for me, but it is a group effort," she said of the honor given on Tuesday. "We are dedicated to helping the military and doing our best to help the customers, military or not."

Humphries said about 20 deputy clerks work in Christian County Clerk Mike Kem's office. She is

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the supervisor for vehicle renewals in the office and has been election coordinator for 18 years, and while her opportunity to speak before the court about pay raises for election workers had been a ruse to bring her to court on Tuesday morning, Humphries said she's been told she will still get to speak about the pay raises; it'll just be before the county budget committee rather than fiscal court.

"I'm very passionate about trying to get a pay increase for them," Humphries said of her efforts to secure additional pay for the people who work the polls during elections in the community.

Tuesday's fiscal court meeting also saw Christian County Magistrate Rich Liebe bring attention to junk cars, dilapidated structures and trash in the community that he said makes it difficult for local leaders to attract companies who might be interested in establishing themselves in the community.

"It looks like we don't even care about our community," Liebe said, noting that "we all want jobs and companies to come in here."

Liebe mentioned in particular a junk car that he said has been parked "for an unbelievable amount of time" against traffic on a public thoroughfare in the Holiday Park subdivision; that car, he said, is a danger to the public, to people driving their vehicles in the area and to pedestrians. He said the issue involving that vehicle has been looked into and the matter resolved.

"We're told the car's going to be moved," he said.

He urged others in the community who see similar problems to contact the code enforcement authorities who are a part of Community and Development Services, and the magistrate said he is calling on residents as well as elected officials who need help to let someone know.

In other business:

*The court approved a request from Christian County Magistrate Darrell Gustafson to appoint Duncan Pheuffer to the Christian County Airport Board for a four-year term that continues through 2022.

*There was no action taken following a closed session to deliberate on the future acquision of real property.

*Bonnie Lynch attended the court meeting to observe proceedings as a representative of the Hopkinsville-Christian County League of Women Voters.

*Magistrates approved a memorandum of understanding between the county and the City of Hopkinsville to apply for $12,096 through the 2019 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program. Those funds will be used for the Christian County Juvenile Drug Court.

*The court approved a motion allowing the judge-executive to sign a document to receive Rural Secondary Program Funds that will pay for box culverts for the last fiscal year.

*Magistrates approved subject to audit the tax settlement for the funds Christian County Sheriff Tyler DeArmond has collected beginning in January through the end of the fiscal year.

*The court approved a request for a $200,000 payment to the Trilogy Center for Women.

*Magistrates approved a measure authorizing the court to apply for 2019-2020 Litter Abatement Grant funds.

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

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