The Beattyville Enterprise Asks the Fiscal Court to Become Legal Paper of Record

  On Monday night, the Lee County Fiscal Court met for their monthly Fiscal Court meeting. The only one missing in attendance was Magistrate Harvey Pelfrey.

    Me, being the GM-Publisher of The Beattyville Enterprise, asked the court to become the legal paper of record under KRS 424.110 and KRS 424.120 which dictates that a Statement of Ownership must be submitted to the post office yearly by October 1st and published in that newspaper no later than October 31st of that year, even though the opposing newspaper, Three Forks Tradition and present legal paper of record, disagrees with this despite the County Attorney Tom Hollon also agreeing with these statutes.

     According to the statutes, typically, the Statement of Ownership is what the Fiscal Court uses to determine the legal paper of record as most Fiscal Courts do throughout all of Kentucky. The Beattyville Enterprise submitted their Statement of Ownership according to the law, but The Three Forks Tradition did not. They said they received an extension from the post office, and my question is to them and the post office, “why did they receive an extension?” Three Forks Tradition claims because they lost their office and all their belongings during the flood and the post office isn’t even fully up and running yet. Ok, if that is the case, then how are they getting their subscriptions mailed if the post office or Three Forks has no tally or record of their subscriptions? According to Josh Smith of Three Forks Tradition, they mail out nine bags and boxes per week to their subscribers. How can they do so if they do not have those very subscription details to fill out on a Statement of Ownership per law?

     Also, Josh spoke of our subscription numbers. He was only talking about print, not even taking in consideration that our electronic subscriptions almost matches our print subscriptions as specified on the Statement of Ownership. The Three Forks Tradition has no website or e-editions available for their readers. Also, he said that there is no way we could be selling In-County what was specified on our Statement of Ownership, Oh, yes we can! It is very easy to do when we sell in more places in Lee County than Three Forks does. They do not even sell their papers in Dollar General or Walgreens, but we do.

    We work hard to protect the First Amendment, and being in a low income area, we, also, have sponsors that support small town journalism which allows us to give papers to organizations like the nursing home, Senior Citizens Centers, and the prison at no cost to them because it is paid for by the sponsors with no need for a subscription in order to keep costs down by not paying for mailing.

      Being a legal paper of record means that the specific paper receives all legal ads and public notices from all governing bodies and taxing authorities of that County and are charged accordingly by that newspaper. The Beattyville Enterprise was the legal paper of record for almost 100 years until it was given to The Three Forks Tradition in 1991. 

After some arguments and confusion between Josh and I, which I expressed that this is only business and not personal, I reminded the Court that I am from Lee County. I moved back to Lee County to raise my family and be close to my grandmother. My staff are raising their families here, live in Lee County, and pay taxes here just like everyone else. We are just asking for fairness under the law, because my staff and I work hard too, providing both print and digital to Lee County and surrounding areas as a self-sustaining business.

     Also, I want to take this moment to once again clarify exactly who I am in case you don’t know who I am, because according to Josh Smith at the Fiscal Court meeting, “I am not from here and no one knows me.” Clearly, he has not done his homework. I am from here! I am 7th generation Lee Countian. My 4th great-grandparents Jake and Polly Crabtree came to the area with Daniel Boone before it was Lee County. I grew up in Lee County. I attended EKU while living in Lee County. If you do not know me, feel free to contact me at any time to introduce yourself and I will be happy to give you my family history and as it pertains to Lee County since we are one of the founding families.

     But back to the point of all of this, I feel horrible for the loss that The Three Forks Tradition suffered during the flood. I know how that feels losing everything. I lost my home and business during Hurricane Charley in 2004, but ALL of Beattyville suffered loss due to the flood, not just ONE business. We ALL have struggled during the pandemic too. My staff and I are only asking for what is fair and right to be considered, because we are contributing members of this community too.

     After much deliberation, the County Attorney and the Fiscal Court decided, based on a case that is going on in Whitley County concerning the legal paper of record, both The Beattyville Enterprise and The Three Forks Tradition must submit their numbers of their IN-COUNTY circulation ONLY at the December Fiscal Court Meeting in order for the Fiscal Court to make an informed decision and be fair to both papers.

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