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June 2, 2018

FATHER IN HIS 80'S SON IN 50'S PERISH IN HOUSE FIRE THIS MORNING

WAYNE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Neighbors along Camp Creek believe an elderly father and his son died in a fire in their own home late Thursday night.

Two men died in this house fire on Saturday morning. Details on how the fire started are still sketchyTwo men died in this house fire on Saturday morning. Details on how the fire started are still sketchy

 

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One of those neighbors, Joel Jarrell, was on his way to pick up the son when he saw the house was engulfed.

“You just see a house totally engulfed in flames,” he said. “You really don't even know what to do."

Smoke still was rising in the air Friday afternoon, more than 12 hours after the deadly house fire was first spotted.

Jarrell had just spent some time at the house that day and was heading back late Thursday night to go with one of the men to the store and bank.

He saw the glow of the flames along Camp Creek, a short stretch of road between Crum and Fort Gay.

"The smell, just totally awful smell," remembers Jarrell.

He sped back and got his girlfriend Tammy Payton to call 911. She raced over, screaming for her neighbors.

"Didn't get no response,” Payton said. “Nothing you couldn't get close to it."

We're not releasing the names of the men who lived at the home, but they're remembered as friendly and good neighbors, with plenty of cameras to keep an eye on any strange cars -- and even phone a warning sometimes.

"If you had trouble with a garage door, or trouble with the lawnmower, he'd help you with it,” Jarrell said. “He'd do anything in the world for you."

"Country folk,” said Helen Cupp, Jarrell’s mother. “Pure country."

"No matter what color my hair is, I was his Big Red,” said Payton. "I'm going to miss that."

Now, there's just two houses left on Camp Creek, Jarrell's and Cupp’s. There’s just one way in and one way out so every trip now means a drive by a shell of a house, a place where two men lost their lives.

"I don't think I want to go down there for awhile," Cupp said.

"It's going to be weird not seeing them sitting on the porch," Payton added.

"To tell you the truth, I need to go to the store and the bank now, I don't want to go," Jarrell said.

The state fire marshal's office is investigating, but will not be releasing the names of the victims until the medical examiner can identify them. Investigators have not determined a cause of the fire, but do tell us there were no smoke alarms inside.

 

June 2, 2018

Braidy Industries buys additional parcels;

GROUNDBREAKING HELD FRIDAY IN ASHLAND’S EASTPARK FOR $1.5 BILLION, 600 - JOB ALUMINUM MILL

GROUNDBREAKING AT BRAIDY INDUSTRIES NEW ASHLAND PLANT: Photos by Jack MazurakA groundbreaking for the $1.3 billion mill Friday began with a ribbon cutting ceremony featuring Governor Matt Bevin. Other speakers included Greenup County Judge Executive Bobby Carpenter, Boyd County Judge Executive Steve Towler; Matt Satterwhite, President and CEO, Kentucky Power; Dr. Jay Box, President, Kentucky Community and Technical College System; Lieutenant General TG David Hogg, U.S. Army (ret.); and, Craig Bouchard, CEO Braidy Industries.  There was also a tour of the EastPark buildings owned by Braidy and the Ashland Community Technical College, home to the recently certified Braidy Industries two-year advanced manufacturing degree program.   The event continued into the evening in downtown Ashland where the street section in front of the Braidy Industries headquarters was cordoned off for a program of musical performances. Among those scheduled to appear were country legends Naomi Judd, Tanya Tucker, and emerging country artist Olivia Ooms, as well as the Bronson Arroyo Band. Both the daytime and evening events were open to the public.  Bouchard said of the developments, “We will continue to acquire land in the Ashland area for our use and for our partners locating their businesses surrounding the mill. Property in Eastern Kentucky is significantly under-valued.  Braidy Industries is committed to rebuilding Appalachia with technology and exceptional people. There is much for our community to be proud of and we will celebrate on June 1 together as one family.” -- Braidy IndutriesGROUNDBREAKING AT BRAIDY INDUSTRIES NEW ASHLAND PLANT: Photos by Jack MazurakA groundbreaking for the $1.3 billion mill Friday began with a ribbon cutting ceremony featuring Governor Matt Bevin. Other speakers included Greenup County Judge Executive Bobby Carpenter, Boyd County Judge Executive Steve Towler; Matt Satterwhite, President and CEO, Kentucky Power; Dr. Jay Box, President, Kentucky Community and Technical College System; Lieutenant General TG David Hogg, U.S. Army (ret.); and, Craig Bouchard, CEO Braidy Industries. There was also a tour of the EastPark buildings owned by Braidy and the Ashland Community Technical College, home to the recently certified Braidy Industries two-year advanced manufacturing degree program. The event continued into the evening in downtown Ashland where the street section in front of the Braidy Industries headquarters was cordoned off for a program of musical performances. Among those scheduled to appear were country legends Naomi Judd, Tanya Tucker, and emerging country artist Olivia Ooms, as well as the Bronson Arroyo Band. Both the daytime and evening events were open to the public. Bouchard said of the developments, “We will continue to acquire land in the Ashland area for our use and for our partners locating their businesses surrounding the mill. Property in Eastern Kentucky is significantly under-valued. Braidy Industries is committed to rebuilding Appalachia with technology and exceptional people. There is much for our community to be proud of and we will celebrate on June 1 together as one family.” -- Braidy Indutries

FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 1, 2018) – At today’s ceremonial start of construction on the $1.5 billion, 600-job Braidy Industries aluminum rolling mill near Ashland, Gov. Matt Bevin joined elected officials and business leaders in hailing the project as the economic comeback of Eastern Kentucky and a direct result of the state’s right-to-work legislation.

“Today is a landmark day for the commonwealth, as we celebrate the official commencement of this monumental project in Eastern Kentucky,” Gov. Bevin said. “This is one of the most substantial investments ever made in our state, and the additional opportunities unleashed by the arrival of Braidy Industries have extraordinary potential. The initial 1,000 construction jobs, followed by 600 high-paying, permanent jobs, together with the overall, morale-boosting impact this company will have on the entire region, will transform the economic landscape of Eastern Kentucky for generations to come. We are grateful to Braidy Industries for its decision to locate in Kentucky, and we look forward to nurturing a strong corporate partnership in the years ahead.”

The groundbreaking comes two and a half years after AK Steel laid off more than 600 workers from its Ashland Works plant. As well, it follows three decades of overall decline in Eastern Kentucky coal jobs, a workforce Braidy intends to tap.

The 1.8 million-square-foot facility will rise from more than 240 acres in the EastPark industrial center near Ashland. As scheduled to open in 2020, the mill’s production capacity could reach 300,000 tons of aluminium alloy sheet and plate a year, mainly for the automotive industry. Opportunities for future production expansion exist, as well as plans to supply the aerospace and defense industries.

Employees at the new facility will earn an average salary of about $70,000 a year. The company plans to provide low-cost healthy meals, a day care, fitness center and other amenities to create an employee-friendly workplace.

Craig T. Bouchard, Braidy Industries CEO and board chairman, said the project’s scope includes far more than aluminum production.

Craig Bouchard, CEO Braidy Industries, SHARES A GLASS OF THE BUBBLY WITH THOSE IN ATTENDANCE AT THE GROUNDBREAKING FRIDAY AT EASTPARK.Craig Bouchard, CEO Braidy Industries, SHARES A GLASS OF THE BUBBLY WITH THOSE IN ATTENDANCE AT THE GROUNDBREAKING FRIDAY AT EASTPARK.

“On behalf of the Braidy Industries Board of Directors and our employees, I wish to thank the Governor and the people of Northeastern Kentucky for the special welcome we receive every day,” Bouchard said. “Our goal is to rebuild Appalachia with technology. But, successful tech companies are not just about advances utilizing robots and artificial intelligence. They are about people and creating a winning culture. We found a home in the greatest place in the United States, full of talented and hard-working individuals. We need all of them to help. We will succeed together, as one family.”

KY. Governor Matt Bevins, BRAIDY Industries CEO Craig T. Bouchard and Ashland Oil CEO Matt Satterwhite toss the first shovels of ground at the groundbreaking.KY. Governor Matt Bevins, BRAIDY Industries CEO Craig T. Bouchard and Ashland Oil CEO Matt Satterwhite toss the first shovels of ground at the groundbreaking.

Bouchard, a seasoned executive with a distinguished track record in banking, software development, aluminum and steel manufacturing, founded Braidy Industries prior to the announcement of the project in 2017. He chose Eastern Kentucky for its strengths as a location for metal production as well as to spearhead an economic revival in the region. Bouchard’s team includes experts in the aluminum industry, metallurgical research, international business and a range of other disciplines.

He said the Kentucky General Assembly’s passage and Gov. Bevin’s signing of right-to-work legislation in January 2017 put the state in the running for the mill.

US Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell noted the impact Braidy’s arrival will have on the local workforce.

“Braidy Industries is tapping into the incredible potential of workers in Eastern Kentucky, and I would like to congratulate them for breaking ground on this new facility,” Sen. McConnell said. “By reinvesting in Kentucky’s workers and communities, they’re encouraging an economic revival in the heart of Appalachia. A rush of economic optimism is sweeping the nation, and I am proud of its impact here in the commonwealth.”

US Sen. Rand Paul said Braidy will stand as a central piece of Eastern Kentucky’s future economy.

“This is wonderful news for Greenup County and the surrounding communities, and Braidy Industries’ selection of this location is a true testament to the hard-working Kentuckians who reside there,” Sen. Paul said. “Given the negative effects felt by this area following the recent closing of AK Steel, this project holds great promise to be a crucial part of the Ashland area’s future economic development, and I look forward to the chance for Eastern Kentucky to reap the economic benefits and job creation made possible by this opportunity.”

US Rep. Hal Rogers heralded the day’s events as a major effort in rebuilding and diversifying the region’s economy.

“It’s an exciting day in Eastern Kentucky, as we welcome Braidy Industries and the new wave of economic opportunities it represents for our region,” Congressman Rogers said. “The decision for Braidy Industries to plant roots in Eastern Kentucky is a testament to our incredibly skilled workforce and strong public-private partnerships at the local, state and federal levels. These new jobs bring our revitalization and job training efforts full circle as we continue to diversify our economic portfolio and expand innovative opportunities in Eastern Kentucky.”

Sen. Robin Webb, of Grayson, said Braidy is a welcome addition to the region that could spearhead even greater growth in the years ahead.

“Northeast Kentucky welcomes Braidy Industries to our region, where our world-class workforce is ready to contribute to economic progress,” Sen. Webb said. “We have seen decline in coal, river, rail and steel in recent history, but Braidy is poised to be a catalyst in our economic recovery. We appreciate the executive branch and our local partners working with the legislative branch in partnership to make this happen. I am proud to have been a part of bringing Braidy Industries to our region from the start and know it is the beginning of great things for Northeast Kentucky.

A grand assortment of top business and political leaders in the region were on hand for the groundbreaking ceremonies of BRAIDY Industries new plant near Ashland.  Photos by  Jack MazurakA grand assortment of top business and political leaders in the region were on hand for the groundbreaking ceremonies of BRAIDY Industries new plant near Ashland. Photos by Jack MazurakRep. Danny Bentley, of Russell, said over time Braidy’s impact will grow to that of the commonwealth’s most recognized companies.

“It is a tremendous day for Ashland, Greenup County, Boyd County and all of Kentucky,” Rep. Bentley said. “This great facility will provide hundreds of jobs for generations to come and will begin a new era of economic vitality for Eastern Kentucky. I’m very excited for the people of Kentucky. Ten or 20 years from now, I’m confident that Braidy Industries will join Toyota, Yum! Brands and other companies that bring so many opportunities to the people of Kentucky.”

Rep. Kevin Sinnette, of Ashland, spoke on the magnitude of the project and his eagerness to see the facility begin operation.

“It is difficult to put in words just how important this groundbreaking is for our corner of the commonwealth,” Rep. Sinnette said. “I want to thank Braidy Industries’ leaders for investing so much in our community and especially our workforce, which will prove once again that it is second to none. I also appreciate the hard word of our local and state leaders for helping the company get to this point. As far as I’m concerned, the ribbon cutting for the facility about to be built can’t come soon enough.”

Ashland Mayor Steve Gilmore said the company could make a big difference for local families.

“Braidy Industries represents hope and growth for all of Northeast Kentucky,” Mayor Gilmore said. “We are proud Braidy has located their worldwide headquarters in Ashland, Kentucky and look forward to continuing the partnerships that have led to this project.”

Greenup County Judge-Executive Bobby Carpenter said a project of this magnitude was decades in the making.

“I have waited 24 years for a project like this to come to Greenup County, Ky.,” Judge-Executive Carpenter said. “This project and what will follow will change our county for generations to come. This is a great day for Greenup County and Northeast Kentucky.”

Boyd County Judge-Executive Steve Towler said landing the project required multiple communities working together toward a shared goal.

“I am proud of the role Boyd County has played in Braidy Industries,” Judge-Executive Towler said. “This is a great example of what can happen when people and the region work together for the good of all concerned. This project will make a difference for generations to come in Boyd County and our region.”

Tim Gibbs, president and CEO of Ashland Alliance, said the arrival of Braidy signifies an impact much greater than the arrival of a new business.

“Braidy Industries has brought hope to the region,” Gibbs said. “It proves this region can compete and win. It shows how the people of Northeast Kentucky, working together, can and will build a new future for all.”

To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in April 2017 preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $10 million through the Kentucky Business Investment program. Braidy was approved for incentives based on a $1.3 billion investment and the creation of 550 full-time jobs, figures that have both increased since the initial announcement, according to the company. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the agreement term through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.

Additionally, KEDFA and the Kentucky Economic Development Partnership Board in April 2017 voted to provide $15 million for a direct investment in Braidy by Commonwealth Seed Capital LLC (CSC) and its board of directors. CSC will use returns on the investment to fund future investments in qualifying Kentucky startups, supporting future economic development in the commonwealth, job growth and early stage Kentucky companies.

Braidy also can receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network. Through the Kentucky Skills Network, companies can receive no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives. In fiscal year 2017, the Kentucky Skills Network provided training for more than 120,000 Kentuckians and 5,700 companies from a variety of industry sectors.

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For more information on Braidy Industries, visit BraidyIndustries.com.

Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at ThinkKentucky.com. Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion on Facebook or follow on Twitter. Watch the Cabinet’s “This is My Kentucky” video on YouTube.

May 30, 2018

Work requirements for Medicaid reprieve for 'frail' in state

Changes are aimed largely at "able-bodied" adults

Concerned that people will lose health coverage under Kentucky Medicaid rules that take effect July 1, a nonprofit health foundation said it is joining with state government to help people understand how to keep access to health care.

"We want to try to do our best to prevent people from falling off the rolls," said Ben Chandler, president of Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, which is spearheading the effort. "The view of the foundation and its board is that the more people covered, the better the overall health of this state."

And given the state's ongoing crisis of addiction, the foundation will focus especially on reaching the estimated one-third of Kentucky's Medicaid population that suffers from a substance use disorder. Under Medicaid rules, such individuals would be eligible for treatment.

Chandler announced the plan Wednesday at a press conference in Louisville where he was joined by Gov. Matt Bevin and officials including Adam Meier, secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, which administers Medicaid.

It comes amid concerns that rules being adopted by Kentucky and other states will cause many who don't understand the complicated requirements to lose access to health care.

The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, a nonpartisan group that focuses on poverty and inequality, warned in a report last week that many people likely will lose coverage under the rules, including new work requirements planned in Kentucky and other states.

"Those who lose coverage will have less access to care, less financial security, and worse health outcomes," the report said.

The Bevin administration has projected about 95,000 people will lose Medicaid coverage over the five-year plan.

But Bevin has said Kentucky's Medicaid program, which covers about 1.4 million low-income or disabled Kentuckians, is too big and costly. His goal is to move more people into commercial health plans, such as those provided by employers.

The changes will be phased in over the next six months, starting in July in Northern Kentucky. Jefferson County will be added Oct.1.

The changes are aimed largely at the "able-bodied" adults among about 500,000 low-income people added to Medicaid in recent years through the Affordable Care Act, which allows states to provide Medicaid coverage to single adults below 138 percent of the federal poverty level, an annual income of about $16,400 for an individual.

Kentucky became the first state to win approval from the Trump administration in January for new "community engagement" rules that require some individuals to work, volunteer or attend school at least 20 hours a week in order to keep Medicaid coverage.

The new rules are part of a "waiver" requested by the Bevin administration that also will require some individuals to make co-pays for services and pay monthly premiums of $1 to $37.50 per month or risk being "locked out" of coverage for six months.

Many of those people affected by the changes will be exempt from work requirements, including people with disabilities or those deemed "medically frail" because of chronic health conditions. But they would still be required to seek the exemption and file documentation with the state to keep coverage.

While details are yet to be determined, Chandler said his foundation plans to launch a statewide effort to identify people who will be affected by the changes and help them comply with new rules, including finding jobs or volunteer work, if necessary.

The foundation also will seek ways to help people who can't afford monthly premium payments, he said. And it will assist with new reporting requirements people must make to show they are complying with the rules.

Chandler said the foundation will try to enlist help from community groups and seek donations to finance the work,

"Our singular goal in this project is to help ensure that as many Kentuckians as possible who are currently eligible for Medicaid are able to retain their health coverage for necessary health care," Chandler said.

He said the foundation has hired Veronica Judy Cecil, a former top Kentucky Medicaid official, as the executive director of the new program.

Cecil served as deputy director of Medicaid until January.

Cecil, he said, "has a deep knowledge of both the Kentucky Medicaid program and the waiver."

Many health advocates have been critical of Kentucky's Medicaid changes and similar plans proposed by other states as too costly and unnecessarily punitive toward low-income people. A lawsuit challenging Kentucky's plan on behalf of 16 Kentuckians who say they would be harmed by the changes is pending in U.S. District Court in Washington.

A federal judge last month refused the government's request to move the case to federal court in Kentucky, saying the case has "national consequences" that could apply "broadly across the nation."

Chandler said his foundation doesn't have a position on Bevin's Medicaid changes affecting Kentucky.

"We are a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, and our board has not taken a position on the waiver," he said. "Our official position is that we want to see more Kentuckians with health coverage."

 

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