Red Bud Winter is here.  The second blooms hit full brilliance, it snowed.  Spring in Kentucky, you “gotta” love it.  

The week, as many seem to do went by so fast, it is hard to remember it all.  

Things started out with a meeting with the Kentucky Transition Assistance Program (KTAP) to discuss ways the local government could provide interim jobs to help those transitioning into the work force.  We hope there can be a mutual support program to multiply the County work force and provide jobs that enrich the participants. Then there was a meeting with Cumberland Mountain Outreach to negotiate their lease for the old swimming pool area, we agreed, and the Fiscal Court voted to allow them to continue leasing for two years for a fee of $500 a month and 10% of their revenues on any rentals of their small buildings, built to house volunteer workers.  

Also had an opportunity to visit with several agencies at the Middle Kentucky Community Action building in Beattyville, learned that anyone can use Daniel Boone as a taxi between here and other cities for a fraction of what you would think.  And they only charge if you are on board.  Next time I fly in or out of Lexington, I may use them instead of paying for a week of parking.  Also, if you are a veteran with a Doctor’s appointment anywhere, set up an appointment with Daniel Boone Transit. They currently have a program that will take you there and back free of charge.

Also learned WIOA is looking for 18-24-year-old workers to fill positions. They are also looking for businesses to work them.  Check with WIOA on Mainstreet to learn more.  Businesses, if approved, can get workers for several weeks that will be paid by a grant program.  Also, the heating grant, in the same office, still has money available for those who qualify. 

Also had a meeting with Randall Brandenburg to talk about issues at the Little League/Horse Ring park.  He wanted to know if the County would be mowing it, I said for the time being, but I felt taking folks off the road crews to mow might be a problem over time and suggested asking for volunteers to help.  He replied, he is there every Thursday after 5 p.m. and will welcome any volunteers.  It is a great way to give back to the community and you might even get to know some new friends.  

Last week I met with two young entrepreneurs to discuss moving the community forward for tourism.  Both have done incredible things in a very short period and have made dramatic contributions to the community.  I encourage all who have business ideas to try and implement them.  I also preach patience as the community adjusts to new ideas and ways of doing things.  We are in a very dramatic transitional phase right now.  We must create new businesses, completely different from those that came before thanks to the internet, and loss of old school revenue.  Tourism is the easy fix, because it is relatively inexpensive, but for our community to get healthier, we must diversify our economy, I can see tech companies here and small manufacturers as well.  Our natural beauty and central location to 2/3 of America’s population makes us very desirable as a place to set up business and live.  As we get frustrated with each other, let’s remind ourselves, we are in a very small boat and must work together to not only survive, but get to the destination we all want to arrive at, a safer and better community.

I went to an event where all gubernatorial candidates had 20 minutes to speak to assembled members of the 23 Community Action Groups in the state.  It was a learning experience for me.  Many of the candidates I hadn’t met before. My take away from the event was that the candidates, for the most part spoke on the topics and the audience listened respectfully.  Something we don’t often see in public events.  It was truly enlightening as candidates, left to their own devices, excelled or fell on the merits of their message and how they delivered it.

I spent about five hours with a group of reporters last week from Switzerland and Lexington, showing them the great things about our County.  We talked about the internet, available facilities, manufacturing, tourism, and education.  My impression is that they were surprised by the diversity of opportunities in the area.  

Magistrate Harvey Pelfrey and I attended the Jail Board meeting. He as the Jail Director and I as a board member.  The key elements that I took away from the meeting were that the board voted to put cameras in the holding cells for safety and security, and that the meetings would move to the 1st Thursday of each month at 5 p.m. instead of the current 2nd Thursday, because of the conflict with the Lee County Fiscal Court meetings.  I appreciate the board’s support in the move.

We also had the Fiscal Court Meeting on Thursday at the Lee County Public Library, which had over twenty agenda items and several comments from the large audience. One person said this was the first meeting they had attended.  Please join us at future meetings.  If some group would like us to have a Fiscal Court Meeting at a public building somewhere else in the County, please don’t hesitate to offer it.  We will try to move about the County to make these meetings more accessible to everyone.  We just need a couple of weeks to work out any glitches and to let the public know, so they can plan.

There were so many topics in the 1 hour and 24-minute meeting, I won’t go into them all, but you can watch it at Lee_County_Kentucky_Government on Face Book.  Here are the highlights: 

The Fiscal Court Agreed to pay $15,000 a year toward hiring a School Resource Officer. The Court approved giving Money to the Museum, Memorial Wall, Project Prom, Athletic Banquet, and Fireworks Display. Magistrates approved a new agreement with Kentucky Utilities that will lower our contracted demand on electricity from 180 KW to 137 KW which will result in about a $20,000 savings a year.  The Court approved Memorandum of Agreements to use Local Government Economic Development Funds to reimburse the General Fund for around $100,000 and for the General fund to pay back the Road Fund about $65,000, borrowed earlier.  David Brown Kinlock also briefed those in attendance on a project to install five hydro-electric generators in Lock 14, possibly as early as this Fall, and requested that they be allowed to move the control building for the generators from the edge of the lock to a spot on the edge of the Heidelberg Park, which was approved. His company will donate a two-acre piece of property adjoining the park as compensation for the move to the County.  

The pay for 911 operators came up again and it became quickly obvious the supervisor and I were not communicating effectively on how we need to approach solving the problems with 911.  I will continue to try and create a better line of communication so we can improve the already impressive system. 

Over the weekend, in response to several complaints about rowdy folks on Side by Sides, Sheriff Childers and a couple of deputies provided mature and responsible guidance in the Fixer area to help everyone adjust to the growing number of enthusiasts visiting our two venues.  It will take time for all of us to adjust.

Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success." --Henry Ford


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