The area's leading online source for news!
Louisa-Lawrence Co, KY

In God We Trust - Established 2008

Menu

April 3, 2018

Grayson attorney drops out of State Rep. race because of  'conflict of interest' 

Move leaves Lawrence County candidate Hinkle with free ride in Primary; Principal, coach opposing York

 

State Representative has been an election of interest for the past 30 years in Lawrence County mostly because of the work of now 99th District State Rep. Rocky Adkins who represented Lawrence Co. for 30 some years in the General Assembly.

GOP 96th District incumbent Jill York is opposed by Carter County principal and coach Chuck Clark.GOP 96th District incumbent Jill York is opposed by Carter County principal and coach Chuck Clark.But since the re-districting four years ago, Rocky is gone and Republican Jill York, a Grayson businesswoman is in her second term in the 96th district which includes all of Carter and Lawrence Counties.

Opposing York this time is Grayson school principal Charles "Chuck" Clark, 39, who is currently assistant principal and coach at West Carter Middle school and coaches golf at West Carter High school.

He recently introduced himself to Lawrence and Carter Countians:

 

"...Hello, my name is Charles "Chuck" Clark, I’m a lifelong educator with experience as a teacher and administrator. I currently live in Grayson, Kentucky with my son. I enjoy being outdoors, reading, and traveling."

Clark says he has nothing against Ms. York, he just thinks the people of the 96th need better leadership and a stronger voice.

"I have absolutely nothing poor to say of the incumbent in the position I’m hoping to fill, I simply think that our educators, public service men and women, and working class need a louder voice for our area," Clark said. "I’m not interested in taking only my voice to Frankfort, I want to take “OUR” voice. I look forward to seeing you all very soon and discussing what changes we can make to make our area better."

 #####

The 96th is heavily Democrat in registration but has gone for the Republican York the last two elections. She won easily two years ago against Lawrence County Democrat Barry Webb.

There are 11,301 registered Democrats in Carter County and 6,317 in Lawrence for a total of 17,618. Republican registration is 6,317 in Carter and 5,234 in Lawrence for a total of 12,313. The "other" parties do not count in this Primary election since Kentucky has closed primaries, but if an Independent of some other party candidate files before the April deadline, they will be on the ballot, too.

####

Kathy Hinkle Kathy Hinkle

Did York get GOP 'pass' on pension issue?

Some political gurus believe the GOP gave York an "easy path" through the pension/budget legislative fight.

Although she followed party lines and voted to allow the bill to go out of committee to the House floor, she could have voted 'no' and come pretty close to stopping the bill.  The GOP has a 2-1 edge in the full House so her vote was not needed. York was then "allowed" by Republican party officials in the Legislature to cast a "no" vote on the passage of the pension reform/budget bill which is extremely unpopular this year in the 96th district, the pundits surmise.

But York has steadfastly maintained that she would not vote for the pension bill as it was written. She has also issued written statements that she stands with the educators and state workers despite the direction of her party.

Hinkle is new but not really...

Democrat Kathy Hinkle is new to being a candidate but certainly not new to politics having been married to the Lawrence County Democrat Chairman for over 40 years. She is also an official of the Louisa Democrat Womens Club.

Hinkle has taken the side of the teachers and state workers in her comments so far but there has been no written messages from her about the pension subject until today.

"Our active and retired public employees — especially our public educators — and all working people of our communities deserve to know where their representative stands on the issues that matter to them," Hinkle said. "As State Representative, I will always support our public schools and fight to protect the hard - earned pensions of all those who work to make this the best country in the world."

 Music has 'conflict of interest'

Here is the statement received today by thelevisalazer.com from Brandon Music:

 

Grayson Democrat Brandon Music, dropped out as a candidate because of what he said was a "conflict of interest" in his attorney business.Grayson Democrat Brandon Music, dropped out as a candidate because of what he said was a "conflict of interest" in his attorney business.

"...I have withdrawn as a candidate due to a conflict of interest that has arisen.

I represent non-profits who regularly appear in front of Executive Branch agencies, and I would be prohibited from serving these non-profits and being a legislator at the same time.

I had to keep my word to my clients, so I reluctantly had to withdraw as a candidate in March 2018 upon discovering the conflict."

Music wasted no time in endorsing Hinkle.

"We have another wonderful candidate running in Kathy Hinkle. She has been very involved in Carter and Lawrence county now for decades helping working men and women of all stripes. She has my full support and my enthusiastic endorsement! In a time where teachers, law enforcement and the working men and women in kentucky are worried about their future, Kathy is a champion for them, and has been all her life.

I have no doubt she will make an amazing state representative.

--Brandon Music

 

Hinkle thanks Music for his support and endorsement

"...Iʼve been in close contact with Brandon and I'm proud to have his full support as I seek to give the people of Lawrence and Carter Counties the voice they deserve in Frankfort," Hinkle said today. 

March 30, 2018

LAWRENCE, AREA SCHOOLS CLOSE ON 'GOOD FRIDAY' FOR LACK OF TEACHERS

Protest over the pension bill: Here's what we know...

 

Retired teacher Lydia Coffey chants "Vote them out" as lawmakers in Kentucky debate a bill to make changes to the state's pension system. (CNN)Retired teacher Lydia Coffey chants "Vote them out" as lawmakers in Kentucky debate a bill to make changes to the state's pension system. (CNN)

CLICK pic for video

 

A wave of school closures have swept Kentucky as teachers across the state, frustrated by a controversial pension reform bill passed Thursday night, requested substitutes or called in sick.

This morning (5:30 am) a Lawrence Co. Central office employee informed the public of Lawrence County's decision.

 

"...All Lawrence County Schools will be closed on Friday, March 30, 2018. This will not be a NTI Day for students. This will not be a Flexible Professional Development Day for teachers and staff.

Thanks,
Vernon


Vernon Hall
Director of Pupil Personnel & District Personnel
Lawrence County Schools

 

Fletcher says 30% of teachers were going to be out in Lawrence County, so schools had to be closed

Dr. Rob FletcherDr. Rob Fletcher"...Lawrence County Schools were closed today, Friday, March 30, 2018, due to the numbers of classrooms that we were unable to have supervised by a regular teacher or by a substitute teacher.

At 5 AM, we had approximately 30% of our teaching staff that would not be in attendance and 30 classrooms that did not have a specific teacher assigned to them.

On Thursday, I and my fellow educators (in Lawrence County and throughout the Commonwealth) watched as a wastewater (sewage) bill was replaced by a pension bill, approved by conference committee, approved by the House, and approved by the Senate, and now awaits the Governor's signature.

This all occurred in less than 12 hours. Since a new bill could not be introduced at this point, an existing sewage bill was used as the conduit to place the bill before the conference committee.

It was frustrating, at best, to see this voted on without actuarial analysis and without the opportunity for educators to review the bill itself.

The bill is a 291-page bill that I have not had the opportunity to review completely. I did receive a copy around 10:30 AM this morning. Since I have not had time to read the entire bill, it would be irresponsible of me to make a judgment about the bill. Due to the process that was used to pass the bill, I am very skeptical, and along with our teachers, very frustrated with the situation.

Finally, thank you to the Lawrence County community for their patience and for their understanding. We live in a great county with great people."


All In,

 

Robbie L. Fletcher, EdD
Superintendent, Lawrence County Schools

 

 

Jefferson County Schools closed due to significant teacher absences that left it unable to "safely cover a large number of classes with substitute teachers," according to a statement. 

The district is not alone. At least 20 counties have announced school closures — many citing an inability to cover teacher absences — as teachers and supporters rally behind the hashtag #120Strong on Twitter, calling for all 120 counties to close their doors.

Some, like Madison County, have explicitly connected the closures to protests following the pension reform bill's passage, while others have attributed it simply to employee absences. 

"This has been a difficult evening for all for all of us in education. We share a passion for our students and for their futures that is unmatched and unwavering," a post on Madison County's school district's website said. "Tonight we have to balance that passion with the need to stand in solidarity with others in our profession across this state." 

Why are teachers angry?

Teachers have been a consistent, loud voice against the state's attempt to fix its broken pension system, clashing with the governor and lawmakers who support the GOP plan.

Earlier this month, they protested loudly before a key pension reform vote was delayed and hundreds of teachers and public workers have gathered in Frankfort for rallies against the proposals. 

A banner posted on the front steps of one rally summed up their feelings: "WE'VE HAD ENOUGH." 

Thursday night, as the pension bill passed, many continued to voice their outrage, stunned and furious by lawmakers' quick unveiling and voting on the measure. They chanted objections throughout, like "Shame on you."

State Rep. Tom Burch, D-Louisville, laid into Republican lawmakers who made a last minute maneuver to pass a pension bill on Thursday, March 29, 2018. Daniel Desrochers ddesrochers@herald-leader.comState Rep. Tom Burch, D-Louisville, laid into Republican lawmakers who made a last minute maneuver to pass a pension bill on Thursday, March 29, 2018. Daniel Desrochers This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The bill, which cleared the House and Senate in a matter of hours, first came into view Thursday afternoon when a committee resurrected a bill without warning that had seemed near death for three weeks. 

While it does not include some provisions teachers found most objectionable — like a reduction in cost-of-living increases for retired teachers or a change in how long current teachers must work before being eligible for retirement benefits — it does move future teachers from the current traditional pension plan into a new "hybrid" cash balance plan. It also limits the impact of sick leave payments on retirement benefits.

More on bill: Surprise pension bill surfaces and zips through General Assembly despite cries of stunned teachers

What counties canceled Friday classes?

Bath County
Boyle County: "As of this morning, more than one-fourth of Boyle County Schools' employees have reported that they would not be at school today."
Campbell County: "Due to excessive staff absenteeism in our schools and the inability to adequately fill absentee requests." 
Carroll County: "Due to an unusually high number of employees calling in sick. In light of this, we do not have enough substitute teachers to operate our schools."
Carter County
Clark County
Fayette County: "Due to having more than a third of our school employees out."
Floyd County
Gallatin County: "Due to low staff attendance and the lack of available substitutes."
Jessamine County: "Due to a shortage of substitutes to cover absences tomorrow."
Johnson County
Knott County: More than 1/3 of staff say they are unable to work.
Lawrence County
Madison County: "This has been a difficult evening for all of us in education. We share a passion for our students and for their futures that is unmatched and unwavering. Tonight we have to balance that passion with the need to stand in solidarity with others in our profession across this state. There will be NO SCHOOL in MADISON COUNTY SCHOOLS TOMORROW, Friday, March 30. We hope our parents and our community will continue to support educators and other state employees locally and across the commonwealth."
Marion County
Montgomery County: "Due to not having enough substitutes to fill our staff absences." 
Nicholas County: "Due to lack of substitute teachers."
Oldham County: "Due to significant teacher absences."
Pike County
Powell County: "Due to flooding and not having enough subs to cover teachers who are out today."
Scott County: "Since the passage of SB 151, dozens of teachers have requested subs for tomorrow. We can currently fill only 54 of the nearly 150 that we need. That leaves too many classes not covered, which causes a situation that is unsafe and unproductive for students and staff. I want everyone to have a safe and enjoyable Spring Break, but I also want everyone to return on Monday, April 9 with their focus on doing what's best for kids. Let's show our children, their parents, and our community what really matters to professional educators."

Who is organizing this? 

The Jefferson County teachers union is encouraging teachers to go to the state capitol on Monday to advocate for education funding in the budget, but the union did not recommend for teachers to call off work Friday, according to a Facebook post.

"JCTA is NOT recommending a job action, such as some are promoting on social media," said a post on the Jefferson County Teacher's Association Facebook page. 

Under Kentucky law, public employees do not have the right to strike.

The Jefferson County union is one of more than 170 local affiliates of the statewide union and typically focuses on local issues. A statewide strike would require a majority of the state union's board to vote in favor of one.

The last time Kentucky teachers embarked on a statewide strike was in 1970. That strike, triggered in part by pay grievances, involved an estimated 25,000 employees. It lasted five days.

In the end, the General Assembly gave in to each of the teachers' demands, including a $600 pay raise.

By Darcy Costello
Louisville Courier Journal

 

March 29, 2018

My trip in quest of needle dump sites...

NEEDLES YOU ASK?

That's me, Tane' Woods Mosley in front at the start of our search for a needle dump in Blaine with Constables Daniel Castle and Paul Wells.That's me, Tane' Woods Mosley in front at the start of our search for a needle dump in Blaine with Constables Daniel Castle and Paul Wells. 

'The three of us cleaned up at least 100 needles that had been dumped or used at the old Blaine school'

 

After a tip from a concerned citizen, Blaine’s Constable Daniel Castle of District 3 took matters into his own hands, literally.

After a “NO” across the board at the latest Fiscal Court meeting on a new needle exchange program, it is apparent that people will get their hands on needles if they choose to. Parents can only pray that our children don’t come in contact with one while innocently playing.

Castle led us to a surprising cache of needles at the old, old Blaine school thqt was actually scary.

 My trip with the Constables

District 3 Constable Daniel Castle, District 1 Constable Paul Wells and I met at the site of the old Blaine High School (an abandoned building now) located just off of Route 32 and less than a mile from the Blaine Elementary school where a source reported to Constable Castle of finding a large dumpsite for used needles.

The three of us cleaned up at least 100 needles that had been dumped or used at that site on North 201.

Acting on a tip from a source at Blaine school, we went to the old Blaine school and found hundreds of used hypodermic needles strewn around.Acting on a tip from a source at Blaine school, we went to the old Blaine school and found hundreds of used hypodermic needles strewn around.

 

It is clear that Blaine, just like all other communities across the country remains in a crisis with drugs, and IV drug abuse is a part of that problem.

“The good folks of Blaine want a solution to the drug epidemic that has affected virtually every family in this community," Castle said. "A concerned citizen reached out to me about a pile of needles and explained where they were located."

Castle said he contacted a county official and asked if there were needle proof gloves available to safely clean this area up and was informed that there were "none available".

"I then called Constable Paul Wells of (District 1) and asked for his assistance and we found what we needed."

"This community is actively doing something about it while others do nothing more then stand around and argue about it.”

 

How many of these dump sites exist in Lawrence County right now?How many of these dump sites exist in Lawrence County right now?

As of May, 2017, Kentucky led the nation in Hepatitis C infection rate according to Kentucky Dept. for Public Health’s state assessment which ultimately means a staggering cost to taxpayers to treat people with the disease.

There was a sickening number of 1,089 new cases of Hepatitis C reported in Kentucky from 2008-2015. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that Kentucky remains among seven states where the incidence of new hepatitis C cases was more than twice the national rate. This doesn’t even touch other diseases such as HIV/AIDS which leaves all of us seeking a solution, quickly.

The Lawrence Co. Fiscal Court just voted unanimously this week to block a Needle/Exchange program sponsored by the Lawrence Co. Health Dept. because, they said,  most community members fear attracting more drug users with such a facility.

Until the meth outbreak is confined, there will be a greater need for some type of program to rid Lawrence County of the used needles that cause Hepatitis C.