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January 14, 2018

Water shortages continue to plague Eastern Kentucky counties: Martin County has 1,300 customers dry...


When temperatures drop into the teens, the first thing many homeowners do is turn on their faucets to keep pipes from freezing.

But in some Eastern Kentucky counties, authorities are begging people not to do that because of serious water shortages that have left many people with no water at all.

Joe Hammond Martin Co Water OFFICIAL.Joe Hammond Martin Co Water OFFICIAL.

Martin County Water District announced Monday that it would be shutting off water between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. because of “high water usage, busted meters, etc.” But some people have had no water at all, including about 1,000 on Friday afternoon.

Customers were informed that the water would be shut off on the Lovely, Warfield, Beauty, Wolf Creek and some others areas from 3pm weach afternoon until 7:00am the following morning. 

The Martin County Warer district began in 1967 as the Inez Water District and used only Crum Reservoir as a source of water for the 600 customers it was designed to serve.

During the coal boom of the 1980's, 90's the county took over the water service and began also using the Tug River as a source for water. The system requires transferring water up to a storage tank on Buck Creek Hill where the water then goes down to serve customer literally "on the other side of the hill" as the saying has been for generations.

State Rep. Chris Harris, D-Forest Hills, who represents Martin County and part of Pike County, posted an update on Facebook Saturday morning that said 3,000 customers of Hazard Water Works were without water.

And in Martin County, the water woes continued as well.

“The line from Kermit (W.Va.) that was supplying our water system some water is broken in the river crossing,” the Martin County Water District said in a Facebook post at midday Saturday. “It has been shut off. We are currently getting some water from Mountain Water but it is going to take a little while to get it to our customers.

“We are also taking all the water we can get from Prestonsburg.”

Harris’ post stated that 1,300 customers were without water in Martin County Saturday morning, and the river was too high to repair the break in the Tug Fork.


By Karla Ward and Jack Brammer
Lexington Herald-Leader


January 12, 2018

Snow accumulations could be from 1-3 inches by Sat. morning

HIGHWAY DISTRICT 12 – Friday, January 12, 2018 – A rockfall on KY 80 in Knott County, near the intersection with KY 1102 (Perry County side of KY 80) has reduced eastbound traffic to one lane – using the median – according to Bobby Smith, Knott County superintendent for Highway District 12.

DOT Knott Co. rockfallDOT Knott Co. rockfall

Smith said the rock is too large to remove in one piece. “We have contacted Jigsaw, our contractor who has the equipment to drill the big rock into smaller pieces that can be removed with our equipment. Meanwhile, flaggers are directing traffic. The sky is already overcast, so when daylight begins to fade into night, it will be critical that people watch for the men who are flagging traffic. Precipitation and fog may make it difficult to see. We surely do not want anyone injured anywhere, but it is especially critical right now that people driving KY 80 in Knott County slow down and be alert.”

Temperatures started dropping rapidly in the early afternoon hours, turning rain into icy precipitation in some areas, to sleet in other sections of the seven-county district, which runs from Lawrence County in the north to Letcher County in the south. The rain is expected to mix with sleet and then turn into snow as night falls.

Accumulations could be from 1-3 inches by Saturday morning.

Darold Slone, Branch Manager and Snow and Ice Coordinator for the district, said that all maintenance crews have been on duty since the early morning hours and will continue to monitor and treat state highways throughout the night. “When a weather event like this begins,” Slone said, “we split into A and B crews, working around the clock until the event is over. The B crews will report at midnight tonight.”

Motorists are urged to drive carefully on their way home this afternoon and evening, to get home (or to work if you work late shift) and stay put.

“The bulk of this weather event should occur tonight and early tomorrow morning. The safest place to be is indoors,” he said. “If you must go out, remember to buckle up, make sure all your vehicle lights are working, that you have plenty of gas, and that you drive slowly and cautiously. Be safe out there!”


January 11, 2018

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 11, 2018) – Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, Rep. John Sims, and members of their medical marijuana task force on Thursday unveiled the legislative proposal that is the result of their discussions. Sims filed House Bill 166 Wednesday.

"What started as a whisper years ago is now a loud chorus. Kentuckians have declared 2018 as the year they expect action on medical marijuana from their legislators," said Grimes. "Now, with 29 states and the District of Columbia offering relief in the form of medical marijuana to their citizens, we must waste no more time. We've heard real, heart-wrenching stories from all over the Commonwealth about how access to cannabis can provide long-lasting and life-changing relief. The serious discussions this task force had have resulted in a solid piece of legislation that can change lives."

At a press conference, Grimes called on Kentuckians who are passionate about medical marijuana to join a campaign to educate and lobby the General Assembly in support of House Bill 166.

"Where there is skepticism, let it be met with education. If you are one of the thousands of Kentuckians who support medical marijuana, join us. We need your voice," Grimes said. "Call, write, send a Facebook message, tweet to your legislators. Let no more time be wasted. Tell them you expect action in this session."

The Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine reports that opioid overdose deaths have fallen by 25% in states that have legalized medical marijuana.

In Kentucky, where the 2014 veteran suicide was 10% higher than the national average, many veterans say that medical cannabis is the most effective treatment for chronic pain and PTSD. Several veterans attended Wednesday's announcement.

Besides PTSD, significant evidence exists showing medical marijuana counters side effects of many other illnesses and diseases, including cancer, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, Crohn's disease, and hepatitis C.

Becca Weinhandl told the story of her two-year-old daughter Carlee, who has been diagnosed with epilepsy and cerebral palsy. Weinhandl said she had to move her family to Colorado so Carlee could get medical cannabis treatment that eliminated nearly all of the symptoms of her illnesses. An accident her husband suffered forced them back to Kentucky.

"Since being back, Carlee hasn't been able to get treatment. Her seizures are coming back without the medicine. She can't speak for herself, so I have to speak for her. Imagine being a mother whose daughter you have to see suffer every single day – and you know there's medicine that can help her – but the law is blocking you. Please help us get this done for my daughter and so many others," Weinhandl said.

Maysville resident Eric Crawford, a constituent of Rep. Sims and member of the medical cannabis panel, said he will lead a relentless effort to get House Bill 166 passed into law.

Crawford was in a car accident as a young man that left him with debilitating pain and paralysis. He displayed the dozens of prescription pain relievers, including narcotics, he had been prescribed and have many adverse side effects. Crawford said he experiences the most relief with cannabis.

"I've been living in pain for too many years. Thankfully, I have found medical marijuana works," Crawford said. "I want the relief I experience – natural, organic relief – to be accessible to every Kentuckian who needs it. And let every legislator know, in 2018 Kentuckians are watching. We are expecting you to act. You will hear from us."

Grimes and Sims' task force includes members of Kentucky's medical community, including doctors, nurses and medical administrators, as well as representatives from law enforcement and state agencies with regulatory oversight, medical marijuana advocates, and military veterans.

"House Bill 166 is the best bill in the United States of America for medical cannabis," said Sims. "There have been hours, weeks, and months spent on this bill to make it the gold standard. This about improving the health of Kentuckians."

Rep. Al Gentry is a co-sponsor of the legislation.

To contact your legislator in support of House Bill 166, call 1-800-372-7181.