Henderson County

Mary Meehan

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is closing its two COVID-19 vaccination centers in Kentucky on Thursday, June 10.

In April, FEMA opened military-run vaccination clinics in Henderson and Laurel counties, both rural areas with lower vaccination rates at the time. 

The clinic at the Henderson County Cooperative Extension Agency was capable of giving 250 doses of the vaccine per day, but averaged about 40 injections daily.  Henderson Mayor Steve Austin said the clinic was a bit out of the way and may have posed a transportation challenge for some residents.

“Honestly, the walk-in clinic didn’t draw the number of people we hoped it would," Austin told WKU Public Radio. However, the satellite vans they sent out to different areas did very well.”

Mary Meehan

Gov. Andy Beshear is stressing that appointments and walk-ins are available at two vaccination sites in western and eastern Kentucky, both supported by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. 

Beshear helped launch the Community Vaccination Center in Henderson on Wednesday.  He said despite the state’s gains against the virus, the pandemic isn’t over, and the solution is getting more Kentuckians vaccinated.

“If we didn’t already know, we’ve learned our decisions every day, our actions every day, that we take or we don’t can be the difference of life and death to those around us," Beshear said in a news conference.

Hickory and Oak

Some economic relief is coming to restaurants and bars struggling under COVID-19 restrictions in one western Kentucky city. 

Henderson Mayor Steve Austin is granting a 12-month waiver on alcoholic beverage license renewal fees for all businesses that sell alcohol.

Establishments that haven’t paid their fees this year can postpone payment until 2021 and those that have already paid fees this year will not pay in 2021. 

Governor Andy Beshear imposed a ban on indoor seating last month amid a surge in new cases of the coronavirus.  Restrictions are scheduled to be lifted Dec. 13, but Austin says restaurants and bars will be struggling beyond that date.


Alice Welch

A study published Thursday in a prestigious scientific journal links significant increases in COVID-19 transmission rates to meatpacking plants, especially those facilities that the federal government has allowed to speed up processing lines.

Researchers found evidence that linked meatpacking plants to a “high potential for community spread” in the surrounding areas. The findings have implications for the Ohio Valley, where Tyson Foods plants in western Kentucky and southern Indiana received waivers this spring to increase work line speed even as dozens of workers were falling ill to the virus.

Facebook/Russellville Parks and Rec Dept.

As the general election nears, many Kentuckians are choosing to cast their ballots by early in-person voting that began Oct. 13, and runs through Nov. 2. 

There’s one location for early voting in Logan County, the Old National Guard Armory in Russellville that’s now a recreation center owned by the city.

Logan County Clerk Scottie Harper said he has plenty of poll workers who are  keeping things running smoothly.

“I have two clerks signing people in. We have two ballot judges," said Harper. "We have floaters, which are cleaning spaces. We have a machine judge. And then I’ve got 25 privacy booths, which means I can vote 25 people simultaneously.”


Rhonda J. Miller

A health care organization in Henderson, Kentucky is reviving a tradition likely to make many people feel better, not just in theory, but in actual medical terms.

Methodist Health has a nurse practitioner who makes house calls to treat patients in rural communities. 

Dogs don’t usually announce the start of a medical appointment, but barking dogs on the front porch are a typical greeting for Nurse Practitioner Crystal Buchanan when she makes a house call to see Susan Turner in the Henderson County community of Cairo. 

"Susan, how are ya?” Buchanan asks as she opens the front door. 


Lisa Autry

Kentucky has the highest rate of children being raised in kinship care situations in the nation.

Kinship care means a child is being taken care of by a relative other than a parent. Most of those relatives are over the age of 50, and many of them struggle with their health and live on fixed incomes. 

Some 96,000 children in Kentucky are being cared for by kinship providers or close family friends known as fictive kin. 

In the first of a two-part series of reports on the state of kinship care in Kentucky, we have a look at one western Kentucky school district that's doing what it can to help kinship families get through the new normal.


Henderson County High School

Henderson County High School has accepted the first students for its new School of Fine Arts that will launch for the 2017-2018 academic year.

Forty-four students have been chosen in four 'pathways' – visual art, theater, voice and instrumental music.

Brian Ettensohn is fine arts coordinator at the high school. He said students had to go through a rigorous admission process.                   

“We had them, if they were in music, instrumental or voice, we had options that they could choose to perform. In visual art, we had three different drawings that they had to produce and then they could bring in anything above and beyond those three pieces.”

The Henderson County school system is preparing to begin random drug-testing. 

Starting in the 2017-18 school year, middle and high school students who participate in extra-curricular activities and those applying for a parking permit will be subject to the testing. 

Band Director Adam Thomas says he hopes the new policy will be a deterrent. 

"If they're at a party or something like that and somebody offers them something, we really hope they will say 'What if this is the week I get drawn in the random testing and we've got the big game on Friday or state marching band on Saturday? I don't want to miss out on that because I made one poor decision.'"

Mike Lawrence/The Gleaner

Many people hear the call to help others by working in emergency services. But as the Henderson County 911 Center is finding out, it can be hard to keep people in that kind of job.

The Henderson County 911 Center is having a difficult time finding enough dispatchers to stay in the job of answering those emergency calls.

“In the past couple of years we’ve lost approximately a third of our full complement in our dispatch center,” says Officer Jennifer Richmond, a spokesperson for the Henderson Police Department. “People get into the job and don’t realize exactly what it entails. They’re not willing to work rotating shifts. They’re not willing to go away for the training.”

That’s five weeks of paid training in Richmond, Kentucky.

An automotive parts manufacturer is expanding its operations in Henderson County.

Budge Industries creates protective covers for vehicles, and announced Friday that it will expand its 75,000 square-foot facilities and create up to 37 new jobs. The $650,000 investment by the company will allow it to add new production lines at its Henderson County operation, as well as new ultrasonic welding equipment.

The expansion was approved for $200,000 worth of tax incentives through the Kentucky Business Investment program.

NWS

The National Weather Service has confirmed an EF-1 tornado touched down in Henderson County on Sunday afternoon. The twister had top winds of 90 miles an hour and was on the ground for two miles near the small town of Robards.

There were no reports of injuries, but three houses and a mobile home were damaged.

The weather service says the tornado was on the ground from 4:49 p.m. until 4:53 p.m Sunday.

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear announced Wednesday that 34 fiscal courts in the Commonwealth will receive refunds from mining permit and acreage fees.  Eight counties in our region will receive refunds totaling $58,377.

Company Promises To Be More Proactive As It Unveils Plans For New Pipeline

Jul 1, 2014

Texas Gas Transmission is planning to build a 30 mile natural gas pipeline through Henderson County, Kentucky. Known as the Southern Indiana Market Lateral, it will extend from Texas Gas mainline facilities in southern Henderson to Posey County, Indiana, to serve the new Midwest Fertilizer and SABIC Innovative Plastics plants.

Texas Gas’ parent company, Boardwalk Pipeline Partners, recently faced significant opposition to its natural gas liquid Bluegrass Pipeline.  To avoid the opposition they faced over the Bluegrass Pipeline, Boardwalk Vice President of Operations Rick Ashy says Texas Gas will be more proactive in meeting with and providing information to the media and public officials.

“We want to make sure everyone in the community understands the purpose of the pipeline, why it’s being built, what the need is," Ashy said. "We have to live and work in these communities ourselves. We want to be good corporate neighbors.... We have a really good reputation, we feel, with the community, and the communities that our pipeline crosses, including the Mayfield area, we go right through that community. And, we just try to keep a good relationship with the property owners because at the end of the day it’s still their property.” 

Texas Gas is working on projects to transport gas from pipelines at Lebanon, Ohio, which carry gas from the Marcellus and Utica shale fields. If completed, the Southern Indiana Market Lateral will transport 166,000 MMBtu, or roughly 166 million cubic feet, per day of natural gas piped from Lebanon.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet

Governor Beshear has announced the awarding of a contract that will lead to the next round of highway improvements related to the Interstate-69 project. Hall Contracting of Kentucky Inc. won the contract with a bid of just under $12 million.

The new project involves upgrading a 36-mile stretch of the Pennyrile Parkway that runs through Henderson, Hopkins, and Webster counties. The improvements will  include new pavement and lighting, and the widening of overpass bridges.

The project’s targeted completion date is Aug. 1, 2015.

The ultimate goal is to have Interstate-69 in Kentucky run from the Ohio River in Henderson south to the Tennessee border at Fulton. Before that can happen, portions of three parkways have to be upgraded—the Pennyrile, Western Kentucky, and Purchase.

Those three parkways were all once toll roads. One of the challenges of finishing the I-69 project has been the rebuilding of interchanges originally designed to handle motorists stopping at toll plazas, as opposed to merging and exiting from 70 miles per hour interstate traffic.

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