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As of midnight, last night, Sept 30, 2019, the Citizens of Lee County Ambulance Service is back under management of the Lee County Fiscal Court. For the time being, we hope to stabilize the program and rebuild a more flexible service around a core of professionals who have stuck through thick and thin by adding a few key personnel to the mix and aggressively managing runs. We will continue to find the least expensive model  to run the service while providing a critical need to the community.  We will not sacrifice quality for price. 

 Here are just a few numbers on what the ambulance service has done since January 2019.   We average 168 runs a month with the high being 191 and the low being 121. Of those runs we have given up an average of 8 and a half runs to other services each month, with the high being 15 ($4500) and the low being 2 ($600), costing our service an average of $2,250 a month.  Of those runs, we transport an average of about 3 per month via helicopter after initial pick up, so we don’t leave the county.  Each month we also average about 2 per month that are deceased by the time the ambulance arrives.  The single biggest factor impacting runs is the number where the ambulance is dispatched, but the Patient Refuses Transport. We average about 19 per month, with the high being 30 and the low being 10.  The good news is that the ambulance doesn’t leave the county on these runs, but they are tied up if another run happens. 

The transition has not been easy. And the hard work of Paramedics, Trish Cole and Jennifer Smith along with the EMTs Chad Jewell, Brian Wilson, Andrew Neace, Amanda Wilson, Matt Stamper and Jacob Ward. Working with Assistant Treasurer, Angie Williams and Emergency Management Director, Jon Allen, have navigated the tricky transition to reach this point.  Well done to all.  Also, if you see him, Welcome our new Medical Director, Sean Rice to the EMS family. He is also the Medical Director for Allen’s Ambulance Service in Owsley County and on the Staff of Marcum and Wallace Hospital.  He is giving back to the community and donating his time to fill this position.  Many thanks to all of you for your hard work and commitment to the community. 

The excitement for the ambulance has been only one issue going on in the Courthouse.  Deputy Judge, Pamela Barrett has been going nonstop, working with Road Supervisor, Kevin McIntosh, to ensure we get as much road resurfaced as possible before cold weather hits.  I expect we will have an agreement for the October Fiscal Court meeting if nothing changes.

There was also a meeting of the Middle Kentucky Community Action board last week. The LIHEAP program starts on November 04 for sign ups. The schedule for sign ups has been posted on the Lee_County_Kentucky_Government facebook page to help.  You can always visit them on Main Street in Beattyville as well.  They are on the corner of Locust and Main.

The Extension Service had a field day last Friday and local schools sent kids to the Extension office for an introduction to many of the Extension Service programs. By all reports, it was a great time had by all.

I had a chance to meet with Bethany Kirby and a group of young people in the GEAR UP program and signed a proclamation on the benefits of the program to help youth advance their education.

At the Multi-County Recreation Board meeting there was quite a bit of discussion about what is next as they reach the end of the six year grace period to set up a tourist venue for off road enthusiasts.  The Hollerwood Park is an attraction that has attracted hundreds to our area on many Summer weekends and along with “Boneyard Hollow” is identifying the area as a destination for those who want to experience the trails and backroads of several local counties. 

Mayor Jackson filled in for me at the One Stop meeting at Natural Bridge. He reported that many of the local nonprofits are energized and engaged on solving transportation, counseling, and job training needs.

I also had a meeting with the new president of Marcum and Wallace, Mercy Health, Trena Stocker, to discuss working together.  I brought up the possibility of a 24-hour clinic and working with us on the Ambulance Service.  We had a very candid and informative discussion on desires vs fiscal realities.  She was very impressive, and, of course, her background as a LCDR Nurse in the Navy made my heart sing.  I look forward to continuing our relationship with Mercy Health.  

We are still looking for people to sit on the Ethics Board and local artists to tackle a mural for the courthouse to celebrate our 150 years.  It would be great to have that done before the celebration in March.

Vickie Vanderpool, Tim Jim Johnson, and Larry Ross, while working to keep the courthouse and courthouse grounds attractive, have also added a community bulletin board to the front of the courthouse If you would like to post something on it, please contact Vickie Vanderpool in the judge’s office. 

If you would be interested in being an impartial inspector of roads to help the county determine whether a road should be in the system or not, please let me know.

On October 08, I will be in a meeting to identify a team to use $1,000,000 to create a concept for building a destination resort on 900 acres in the Slade area.  This idea, if it reaches completion will fundamentally change the economic possibilities for our community.  It’s important we start preparing now to maximize the return on every dollar invested in attracting tourists and businesses to the area.

Mayor Jackson and I handed out “Create Bridges” surveys to several local businesses.  Deidra Brandenburg, Tourism Director, did as well.  We hope to get those back soon to help develop a regional plan to address business concerns and market Lee, Owsley, Jackson, Clay, and Leslie Counties as part of the FOCUS group, working with People’s Rural Telephone Cooperative and Jackson Energy.

Don’t forget there is a burn ban in effect for Lee County and an even more stringent one for the Daniel Boone National Forest.  Like Smokey Bear told us for decades: Only you can prevent Forest Fires.

The future is what we agree we want it to be and is within our ability to create.

 

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