Somerset

Somerset Mayor's Office

Somerset Mayor Eddie Girdler made his first court appearance on Friday stemming from a hit-and-run involving a juvenile last month. 

Girdler’s arraignment was postponed after the prosecutor recused himself.  Pulaski County Attorney Martin Hatfield filed a motion to step down from the case, citing a conflict of interest. 

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear will either appoint another county attorney or have an attorney from his Special Prosecutions Unit prosecute the case. 

Kentucky Mayor Charged After Hit-and-Run Injury Accident

Aug 13, 2018
Somerset Mayor's Office

Police in Somerset say they've identified a hit-and-run driver who injured a child on a bicycle, and it’s the town’s mayor. 

Kentucky State Police say Somerset Mayor Eddie Girdler has been ordered to appear in court on a charge of leaving the scene of an accident. 

Police say the child was hit in Somerset Sunday evening and taken to a local hospital, and then flown to the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington.  Police said on Monday that they did not know the juvenile's current condition. 

Girdler did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Creative Commons

The process of adding another family court judge for the Somerset region is moving along.

The filing period opened Monday for candidates seeking the new judgeship that covers Pulaski, Lincoln, and Rockcastle counties.

The 28th Judicial Circuit has the heaviest family court caseload in the state.

The Commonwealth Journal reports that current Family Court Judge Marcus Vanover closed more than 3,800 cases in 2017.

Ron Baker via Creative Commons

A two-day outdoor music festival in Somerset is celebrating its 25th year with an American musical legend.

Singer-songwriter John Prine is the headlining act Saturday night at the Master Musicians Festival, which gets underway Friday afternoon at Festival Field on the campus of Somerset Community College.

Prine is known for his 1971 song “Paradise”, about the environmental impacts of coal mining on Muhlenberg County.

U.S. Agency for International Development

A Somerset businessman is in Washington, D.C. Monday and Tuesday of this week with a group of state and national leaders to encourage funding for American development and diplomacy overseas. 

Somerset Recycling President Alan Keck is part of the Kentucky Advisory Committee at the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition Summit in the nation’s capital.

The group is urging the Trump administration to fully fund the U.S. Agency for International Development, an organization that supports humanitarian efforts and promotes American prosperity through investments that expand markets for U.S. exports. Keck said the Trump administration has proposed cutting 30 percent of the USAID budget.

Lake Cumberland Slaves Memorial

A Kentucky project to create a memorial to recognize slaves buried in unmarked graves has taken an important step to becoming a reality. Work has begun on the sculpture that will be on the grounds of Somerset Community College.

It’s been nearly three years since a young white man fatally shot nine African-Americans during a Bible study at a Charleston, South Carolina church known as Mother Emanuel.

That massacre spurred a group of Lake Cumberland area residents to launch a project to help create more understanding in their community and state.

They first found out that a section of the Somerset City Cemetery has slaves buried in unmarked graves, and then they heard about other similar sites.

Ron Baker via Creative Commons

The president of a Somerset music festival has finally landed the headlining act she’s been after for years.

“I remember my first meeting nine years ago--I was like, ‘I want John Prine', said Tiffany Bourne. "And the board, no matter who’s been on it, every year, we’ve tried and tried and tried. But he lives in Europe in the summer months, so it was always a ‘no.’”

But Tiffany Bourne says singer-songwriter John Prine has finally told the Master Musicians Festival “yes”.

Lake Cumberland Slaves Memorial

A Pulaski County memorial to slaves buried in unmarked graves is moving forward with a grant and some media attention.

The Lake Cumberland Slaves Memorial began as a response to the murder of nine African-Americans by a white supremacist during a Bible study in a Charleston, South Carolina church in 2015.

The memorial has been awarded a $1,000 grant from the Puffin Foundation, an organization that funds art projects often excluded from mainstream grants because of race, gender or social philosophy.


GE Lighting

The General Electric glass plant in Somerset is beginning a phase-out of operations this month. The plant employs 71 people, and will close August 11.

A G.E. plant in Lexington that employs 139 people will also close on the same day. The lighting industry has seen a decline in sales for incandescent, halogen, and specialty linear fluorescent lamps. The Somerset facility makes halogen lamps, and the Commonwealth Journal reports the plant is operating at 70 percent below capacity.

Pulaski County Alzheimer's Disease Respite Center

An Alzheimer’s day care center that serves people from five Kentucky counties is shutting down after 30 years. The closing of the center in Somerset is due to a cut in state funding.

The Pulaski County Alzheimer’s Disease Respite Center was expecting to get its usual state funding of about $86,000 – that’s about half of its annual budget. Other funding comes from the United Way and local government.  

Executive Director Pat Brinson says she found out about the funding cut at a public meeting just before the start of the current fiscal year and she was stunned.


Ken Shmidheiser

Construction of a new $70 million manufacturing plant in Somerset could begin in the next few months. A tentative deal is in place to lease 23 acres of land.

The preliminary agreement with a group of Houston investors is for land near the Somerset Rail Park.

Local rail transportation and the new state-of-the-art Somerset Energy Center have been major factors in attracting the project.

Martin Shearer is Executive Director of the Somerset-Pulaski County Development Foundation. He says the energy center allows control of natural gas, a key part of the project.

city-data.com

There’s been another big step in the plan to bring a huge natural gas manufacturing plant to Somerset.

The Commonwealth Journal reports preliminary documents have been signed to provide natural gas to the proposed $70 million facility and to build the plant on 23 acres near the former Crane Company building.

The proposed project would convert natural gas into other products.

Somerset Community College

Somerset Community College has received a $200,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to expand the reach of its 3-D printing program.

The main focus of the grant is to advance biomedical applications for 3-D printing in the region.

Eric Wooldridge is associate professor of 3-D printing at Somerset Community College.  He says the technique is already playing a big role in biomedical field.

“We actually can take full body MRIs and select sections that we want to print off. It can be the actual organs. It can be the bone structure. Whatever a surgeon or physician may need to better prepare for surgery or plan diagnostically what they’re going to do.” 

He says the process uses different types of materials to create physical forms.

EKU Closing Campus in Somerset

May 30, 2016
EKU-Somerset Campus

Eastern Kentucky University is closing a satellite campus in Somerset.

Media outlets report the university announced in a news release that the 5,000-square-foot office will close on June 30 due to state budget cuts.

EKU faces a 4.5 percent reduction in state support for each of the next two fiscal years. The news release says EKU also has an estimated $8 million in additional costs for mandated retirement contributions and other needs.

One class at the Somerset branch is scheduled to finish in June. No other classes are scheduled during the summer.

Regional campuses in Corbin, Danville and Manchester are unaffected by the decision.

Creative Commons

A Pulaski County school crossing guard has died after being hit by a truck. 

According to Kentucky State Police, 69 year old Doyle Patterson of Somerset died Wednesday night at University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville.

Patterson was struck Wednesday afternoon at Southwestern High School. 

The pickup driver was 62 year old Windell Phelps, also of Somerset.

No drug or alcohol use was suspected, and police don’t expect any charges to be filed. Police say Phelps is also a school employee.

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