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July 14th, 2022

New state laws take effect this week

FRANKFORT – The Kentucky General Assembly passed 234 bills during this year’s legislative session, and most will take effect on Thursday.

 That means that fentanyl dealers and porch pirates will face tougher penalties, the rules for public assistance are changing, and local school boards will be required to hold a public comment period.

 The Kentucky Constitution specifies that new laws take effect 90 days after the adjournment of the legislature unless they have special effective dates, are general appropriation measures, or include emergency clauses that make them effective immediately upon becoming law. Final adjournment of the 2022 session was on April 14, making July 14 the effective date for most bills.

 Some of the laws taking effect include measures on the following topics:

 Anti-SLAPP bill: House Bill 222 seeks to protect freedom of speech. It will offer those who speak out against a matter of public interest protection from strategic lawsuits against public participation, known as SLAPP lawsuits.

Charter schools: House Bill 9 establishes a funding model for charter schools, building on legislation from 2017 that first allowed charters in Kentucky. It also authorizes two pilot charter school projects in Louisville and Northern Kentucky and changes the appeals process if education officials deny an application for a new charter school.

Child abuse: House Bill 263, known as Kami’s Law, makes criminal abuse against a victim under 12 years of age a Class B felony.

Child fatalities: Under Senate Bill 97, law enforcement are required to request a blood, breath or urine test from parents and caregivers suspected of being under the influence at the time of a suspicious child death. If consent is not given, this bill gives law enforcement the power to request a search warrant.

Crimes during emergencies: Senate Bill 179 enhances penalties for crimes committed during a natural or man-made disaster declaration. Crimes include assault, burglary, criminal trespass, criminal mischief, theft, receiving stolen property and robbery.

Criminal justice reform: Senate Bill 90 calls for pilot programs in at least 10 Kentucky counties, providing deferred prosecutions, diversion or dismissal of charges for some low-level offenders based on their participation in drug treatment and vocational services.

Death penalty: House Bill 269 adds serious mental illness to the list of disabilities that disqualify offenders from execution – if symptoms were occurring at the time of the offense.

Due process: House Bill 290 calls on state colleges and universities to adopt a student code of conduct for non-academic disciplinary procedures and provide students with due process protections that are similar to those in criminal and civil courts.

Education: Senate Bill 1 designates local superintendents as the lead official for selecting the appropriate educational curriculum and materials for local schools. It also includes language from the Teaching American Principles Act, which will require instruction in social studies to align with a list of core concepts and documents that supporters say are central to American civics.

Fentanyl: Known as Dalton’s Law, House Bill 215 requires those convicted of trafficking fentanyl, carfentanil or fentanyl derivatives to serve at least 85% of their criminal sentences, up from the current 50%. It also makes importing those drugs from another state or country a Class C felony and deems offenders ineligible for a pretrial diversion.

First responders: Senate Bill 64 aims to protect the confidentiality of first responders who participate in peer support counseling programs. Supporters say it will benefit thousands of public safety workers who frequently experience trauma on the job but could face repercussions from frank discussions in counseling.

Imagination Library: Senate Bill 164 establishes the Imagination Library of Kentucky Program. Founded by country music legend Dolly Parton, this international literacy program provides free books monthly to children from birth to age 5. The state will provide 50% of the funds.

Incest: Senate Bill 38 classifies incest as a violent offense. It also ensures that individuals guilty of incest complete at least 80% of their prison sentence.

Pari-mutuel wagering: House Bill 607 taxes every pari-mutuel wager at a standard 1.5% rate, including advance-deposit wagers and bets on simulcasts. It also directs more money to the general fund, makes the Kentucky Racing Commission responsible for self-funding, creates a self-exclusion list for problem gamblers and eliminates the track admissions tax.

Peace officer certifications: House Bill 206 prohibits anyone convicted of a misdemeanor sexual offense from serving as a peace officer.

Porch pirates: Senate Bill 23 cracks down on people who steal packages off front porches, often referred to as porch pirates. The bill makes it a Class D felony to steal or destroy packages from common carriers and delivery services such as Amazon or FedEx.

Public assistance: House Bill 7 revamps public assistance benefits and seeks to combat fraud with new rules around benefit eligibility. It also seeks to increase accountability from the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services and encourage healthy choices for those receiving nutritional assistance.

Religious services: House Bill 43 calls for equal treatment of houses of worship and religious organizations during a state of emergency.

School board meetings: House Bill 121 requires a public comment period of at least 15 minutes at local school board meetings, unless no one is signed up to speak. It also requires that any board rules and policies regarding conduct apply during the comment period.

School breakfasts: Senate Bill 151 calls on schools in the Federal School Breakfast Program to offer students up to 15 minutes to eat breakfast during instructional time.

School resource officers: House Bill 63 calls on local school districts to place a school resource officer in each school by Aug. 1 if they can afford the cost. It also allows local school boards to establish a police department for the district.

Serving alcohol: House Bill 252 clears the way for 18-year-olds to sell and serve alcoholic beverages.

Student mental health: House Bill 44 allows school boards to include provisions in their student attendance policy for excused absences due to a student’s mental or behavioral health status.

Swatting: House Bill 48 makes falsely reporting an incident that results in an emergency response – commonly called “swatting” – a Class D felony.

Telecommunicators: House Bill 79 expands the Law Enforcement Professional Development Wellness Program to assist telecommunicators who are coping with post-traumatic stress disorder or work-induced stress. It will also increase training and resources for telecommunicators related to stress disorders.

Transgender athletes: Senate Bill 83 will prevent male-to-female transgender students from participating in girls’ sports, starting in the sixth grade and continuing through college.

 Learn more about the Kentucky General Assembly by visiting the legislature’s webpage. Kentuckians can research bills and resolutions and review statistics from the 2022 session.

Citizens may also share their views by calling the General Assembly’s toll-free message line at 1-800-372-7181.

April 7th, 2022

Letter to Editor

Dear editor, 

I am writing this letter on behalf of the county. I am concerned about the electing of a jailer. Why are we wasting money out of our pocket for a jailer when there isn’t a jail in this county? The jailer would be getting paid, when there is no point of a jailer in the first place.

It is an unnecessary waste of people’s time and money. If there is no jail to begin with, that also means the jailer wont have an office for a place to work. There will barely be any regular day’s responsibilities for the jailer. A jailer’s job is to enforce the rules and regulations within a prison or jail which is  impossible for a jailer in this case to do because the simple fact that there is no jail. Kentucky currently has forty-one elected jailers with not one jail to run. My questions are simple, how does it make sense to have a jailer, and what’s the point for the people of this county to spend so much money for someone that has no purpose for a job. that in this county’s case. shouldn’t even exist in because of the fact that there is no jail.

John Hansen




As a response to this week’s letter to the editor:  pursuant to Section 99 of the Kentucky Constitution, the office of jailer is constitutional and any change would require the state constitution to be amended.  Presently, Kentucky is the only state in the nation to elect the office. As additional solutions, there are allowances (Section 105) for the state legislature to consolidate the offices of sheriff and jailer, although, as of this date, that has not been done in McCreary County, and in any county where there is no jail – like McCreary County –  and the jailer does not transport prisoners, the jailer must serve as a bailiff to the Circuit and District Courts (KRS 71.050). Presently, aside from any additional duties prescribed by the county, McCreary County Jailer Jessie Hatfield acts as chief transport officer.

Additionally, jailers, like sheriffs, are peace officers who possess law enforcement powers (KRS 446.010), though in actual practice, powers of arrest are rarely exercised by elected jailers.  The fiscal court is responsible for maintaining and operating all county buildings, grounds, and other properties. The county judge/executive has the duty of carrying out or executing fiscal court policy in relation to county buildings and property. With agreement by the jailer, the fiscal court may hire the jailer as the superintendent of any buildings or properties at the county seat (KRS 67.130).

To eliminate the office entirely, amendments to the state Constitution may be proposed in either House of the General Assembly at a regular session, and if such an amendment is agreed to by three-fifths of all the members elected to each House, the amendment would then be presented to the voters for ratification.  To recommend such a change, you can contact McCreary County’s state legislators:

State Senator Robert Stivers ( at 502-564-3120

Representative Ken Upchurch ( at 502:564-8100

The McCreary County jail was closed in 2013.

March 31st, 2022

March 24th, 2022

March 17th, 2022

March 10th, 2022

March 3rd, 2022

February 23rd, 2022

February 17th, 2022

February 10th, 2022

February 3rd, 2022

January 27th, 2022

Wake Up And Smell The Freedom

As tension rises in Eastern Europe, Americans are being forced to live in fear, not of WWIII, but of a government pushing mandates and policies that would seemingly run counter to the nation’s very foundations: freedom.

Once upon a time, America was a land of that ever-growing obscure ideology. It was also a land of common sense. It possessed great thinkers that objected to stalwart passivity and sought to move the entire world forward. If something didn’t work, if something struggled to meet its expectation, we found something better that did. This idea of progression was born of strife as not to repeat itself. This is how America became the world’s superpower.

Given the debilitated leadership and neurotic, dangerous rhetoric that surrounds us today, it begs the question, if the American republic is a great experiment, as history has stated, are we failing?

I am not anti-vaccine. I know few who really are. I am pro-freedom and medicinal choice. There remains a difference. However, vaccines themselves are the tip of the iceberg, the bigger concern should be what people have made of them and that the debate has become political, absent of any and all common sense, and in that, we are blinded to real, underlying dangers. It’s time we take a hard look at ourselves. History is repeating itself and we’ve been too conditioned to notice or care.

Why Americans – why anyone around the globe – continues to condemn one another over a vaccine that has yet to go through rigorous testing is beyond comprehension, especially when the vaccine has failed to entirely eliminate the possibility of infection. I suspect vaccination lines would grow longer if that could be done and I hope we reach that point. Until then – in fact, up until now – making a decision about one’s own body was called bodily autonomy, and as COVID and vaccination mandates become increasingly more political, an issue now threatening to shut down the federal government as the funding deadline approaches, such autonomy was once a devout stance taken by those currently most espousing mandates. Unfortunately, lines are clearly drawn and consequences are real and historic backpedaling ugly.

Just this week, former New York Times opinion editor Bari Weiss made headlines for saying she is over COVID, a sentiment, even Weiss admitted, was shared by many of her progressive friends. A look at social media would indicate the same is felt in virtually every city and town across America. While we might fear COVID, we are over its repercussions, its anxiety, and its restrictions. We want our country back, and even those like Weiss are beginning to question.

“I know that so many of my liberal and progressive friends are with me on this, and they do not want to say it out loud because they are scared to be called ‘anti-vaxx’… or to be smeared as a Trumper,” Weiss confessed. “At this point, it’s a pandemic of bureaucracy. It’s not real anymore.”

For many, Weiss’ expression spoke truth to power, and despite her assurances that it was shared across political aisles, just as one might expect in modern America, it was quickly followed by a condemnation from the media, the very entity that has seemingly helped push draconian policies on the once freedom loving Americans.

One would think, in a civilized world, most of us would say segregation is un-American, but it is happening in American schools, bringing lawsuits across the country. People’s lives are being ruined. Their careers thwarted and dismantled for making decisions about their own health and that of their families.

This is how scary this has become.

In 2012, many laughed when Sarah Palin, the former vice-presidential nominee and governor of Alaska, warned Americans of death panels, committees of men and women deciding who lived and who died, but isn’t that where we are? In Boston, 31-year-old DJ Ferguson was removed from a heart donor list. His crime? Not being vaccinated. Boston’s Brigham and Women’s hospital cited a policy of “lifestyle behaviors,” ambiguous wording that could, ultimately, disallow any one of us from receiving lifesaving treatment, Hippocratic Oaths be damned. That shouldn’t make any one of us feel proud or safer. After all, what are they doing if not choosing who lives and who dies? Who can and cannot receive lifesaving treatments? When radio personality Howard Stern says that the unvaccinated should not be granted access to hospitals, is that, to you, American?

COVID is an awful plague on our planet. No one should deny that. It has torn the world off its axis and changed the way we go about our lives and interact with one another, but are we really going to allow it to manipulate and decimate the rest of us? What else should it cost?

Let this not be a call to terror. Let this be a call to wake up and smell the freedom.

January 20th, 2022

My Country ‘tis a thee:

Citizen participation is imperative to saving America

When John F. Kennedy stood at the capitol in Washington, DC and spoke the words, perhaps, most associated with him, “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country,” it is unlikely that he envisioned the apathy that envelopes modern America. The fact that, for decades, we’ve despairingly discussed low voter turnout, but now find the ballot itself is as empty as voting lines, speaks volumes about the state of our country, our commonwealth, our county, and Americans themselves. Despite social media maintaining a hefty force of keyboard warriors full of hopeful and, as thus far, rhetorical solutions, very few of them apparently feel the pull to actually step into the political arena and employ their convictions, despite it being increasingly clear that we’ve reached a critical juncture when, now, perhaps more than ever, those convictions need not be marred by stalwart passivity.

For proof of this, we need look no further than McCreary County and the 2022 ballot, where eight local races, including the top spot – Judge/Executive – remain entirely uncontested. Similarly, it’s a document showing an almost complete void of Democrat candidates. In fact, the only Democrat seeking elective office is the incumbent sheriff, Randy Waters, who, himself, remains completely unopposed in the May primary.

This conundrum invites the question: why? Has good enough finally become good enough in McCreary County? Does our citizenry simply no longer care? And, perhaps, of equal importance, as we seek potential outside investors and tourism initiatives, is the face of apathy really the face McCreary County wants to present to the rest of the world? Negligence and indifference is not exactly inspiring, inside or out.

As we approach the new January 25th candidate filing deadline, let us consider this: like values, solutions, too, begin at home. So does civic responsibility. That’s where change begins, with people who – should, at least – have a commitment and an investment in their own communities. Freedom and the republic are endowments not to be taken for granted, but it would seem, apathy has not only infested the voter, but the servant’s heart as well.

If we look across McCreary County, it is clear that there is limitless talent that could be employed for the betterment of all. It is not necessarily a condemnation of incumbent leadership to have a desire to step up and help your community. It’s not a condemnation to have a different vision and an inclination to bring it to fruition; a desire to see the community flourish. By now, the truth is abundantly clear: no one will save us if we don’t have the desire to save ourselves. Superman won’t swoop in from the sky and there is no bat signal for McCreary County. If anything, that signaling is evident by another chance, and a piece of the puzzle – opportunity – was granted by an extension in the name of redistricting.

It is true that the onslaught of COVID and the chaotic political divisions in America leave us in precarious times, but also times desperate for leadership and ideas. Now is the time to look inside ourselves and ask what direction we want to take. To perpetuate this great American experiment, we need men and women to step up and be a catalyst for the change they seek. We can and should do better.

If you want to change America, at large, start at home. If you want to change McCreary County, start now. Be a part of the solution. After all, the absence of participants, leaves an absence of ideas, thoughts, and fewer solutions on the table. It leaves, for the voter, an absence of choice.

When contemplating, let us not forget that leaders have the ability to change the world, by transforming society and inspiring others to action within communities, a vital piece of the puzzle that’s seemingly lacking. Where is the willingness to serve?

It was Gandhi who said, “be the change you want to see in the world.” Nearly 100 years later and that’s still sound advice. To end where we began, in keeping with President Kennedy’s profound inquiry, perhaps, now is the time to ask, what you can do for your country?

[Registration to seek elected office in Kentucky has been extended until January 25th. Those who wish to seek office can visit]

December 23rd, 2021

Let Love Shine

After struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, we all expected 2021 to be “normal.”  Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work out that way.  In 2021, we once again struggled through another difficult and “not so normal” year.

COVID-19, with sickness, death, masks, social distancing, jabs, and hand washing, is still with us.

Our fellow Kentuckians are still reeling from the aftermath of terrifying tornadoes that remind us how quickly and unexpectedly we can lose all of our earthly possessions, and more importantly, those we love.

Inflation and bare shelves make us tighten our belts daily and stock up on toilet paper.  Traditional eggnog, cream cheese, and candy canes are difficult to find in this Christmas season.

Violence rears its ugly head and erupts in the streets.  More and more individuals, along with their families and friends, suffer through the pain of addiction.

And it doesn’t stop there…the list goes on.

As we celebrate our Savior Jesus’ birth during this Christmas season, we do well to remember that He is the light of the world and that we reflect His light by loving Him and by loving our neighbors as ourselves.

Even in the worst of times, love is still there.

We see love as families draw closer together amidst COVID-19.  We see love in acts of kindness extended to those who, without family of their own, are alone and fearful.

We see love when we realize tightening our belts isn’t susch a bad thing after all—that downsizing and simplifying can be satisfying and rewarding.  We see love when someone leaves the last roll of toilet paper on the shelf because someone else may need it more.

We see love shining bright through the volunteers who help feed the hungry, clothe the poor, and reach out to the hurting.

As we celebrate this Christmas season and journey throughout the coming year, let us all let our lights shine brightly with love.  Because after all, as it says in 1 Corinthians 13:13,  “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us at The Voice.

(The Voice office will close on December 24, 2021 and reopen on January 3, 2022 so our staff can enjoy the holidays.  The Voice will resume publication on January 6, 2022.)

The Golden Days of Yore

By Shane Gilreath

There’s a relatively famous quote about Christmas, attributed to Deborah Whipp: like snowflakes, my Christmas memories gather and dance — each beautiful, unique and too soon gone.

With each passing year, as we look back on those special Christmases in our own lives, we are often enveloped with an intense sense of yearning, something that sparks a memory that returns us to yesteryear. It is a season, when, from the Mall in London to Main Street in Whitley City, we find ourselves reminiscing of things we loved, held dear, and miss about those times, when memories stamped, traditions formed, and times were void of the hustle and bustle of a modern holiday. Some of those traditions are long-dated, the origins of which have been lost to us, while others were born of currency, each adding elements of glistening remembrances, hope, spirit, joy, and a childlike yearning that hearkens the holiday, ties to an era before Christmas became so impersonal.

Unlike the days of yore, we increasingly put a lot of pressure on ourselves during the holidays: how much to spend, what gift to give, stretching the budget and trying to make others happy while drowning ourselves in a pool of anxiety. I suppose, if we dig deeply and stretch the imagination, there is some of the holiday at the core of that. After all, in the spirit of Christmas, we should do for others. Just as the saying goes, we should count our blessings, but also make our blessings count. If we can give, we certainly should, and organizations like Toys for Tots and recent drives for tornado victims in Western Kentucky may be doleful and humbling, but it’s sparked a sincerity to Christmas that has otherwise lacked. That may be more important than ever in the modern age, reminding ourselves that giving isn’t necessarily about the materialism that has engulfed us, and we should temper the temptation to over do it, and remind ourselves of what actually makes Christmas and the holiday season joyous and bright.

Many of our traditions are born of togetherness, when expectations were different, the holiday focused more around religion, friends and family, and before successes centered on price tags. In my life, it seems to be the simple things that conjure my most cherished memories.

For as long as I can remember, my family visited Jean Sumner’s nativity in Marshes Siding. As a youngster, I would crawl inside the stable, nestling myself as close as possible to the Holy Family. The hospitality offered by Jean and her family made it all the more special. For other locals, Christmas has a way of magically transporting their senses elsewhere: oranges, apples, nuts, and the queuing for hard candy and a visit with St Nick that became so indicative of the Christmas season in Stearns. Today, we can hear the Baptist church bells chiming in that historic town, echoing over the hills and valleys, but Christmas cantatas, school nativity plays, and church services have always played a role in McCreary County Christmases.

A few weeks ago, I was reading about early American Christmases in Virginia, from where so many of our American roots took form. Colonial Williamsburg may uniquely illuminate with fireworks today and allow the beauty of the season to be expressed by outward décor – and those are sure modern touches that help bring about the season and invoke Christmas’ magic – but in the days of Jefferson and Washington, families weren’t so outwardly expressive. This, too, would have been true of many early McCreary County Christmases.

Christmas, then, was far more fundamental, and maybe, in comparison to modern holidays, our ancestors possessed an understanding and appreciation that we lack. There was little gift giving, but copious amounts of prayer. The pews at Bruton Parish, where Martha Washington’s great grandfather, the Rev. Rowland Jones, was rector, were fuller than stockings, as families traveled for miles, and often by foot, to attend church on Christmas morning.

Much as we do now, families gathered for large meals, and often stretched their purses on nourishment, rather than presents. On Christmas morning, men and boys, who had likely participated in the hunt, would take their guns and fire them into the air. This ritual surprised a visitor from New Jersey, calling it a very Virginia custom, with the shots ringing through the early hours, a call of a Merry Christmas to surrounding neighbors.

Because of the importance of the church, the twelve days of Christmas was a colonial adherence, and on the twelfth night – January 5th – neighbors visited one another for the seasonal “waissaling,” as they carried the waissal bowl from threshold to threshold. Homes were adorned, though not yet with trees. Boughs were hung, windows bore sprigs of holly, and wreaths, just as today, may well have embellished door after door, though ribbon was expensive and rarely used, showing a wise prudence that the modern age denies.

Nor was Christmas yet mainstream.

The observance of the holiday was illegal across much of New England. George Washington, as we’ll recall, crossed the Delaware on that night and the first Congress held a session on Christmas Day; not becoming a national holiday until 1870, and while the lights and sounds of Christmas are uplifting to the modern senses, and are positive attributes we’ve developed over time, we certainly lack the simplicity that so many of us long for.  Perhaps, it’s deep in our genes.

After all, that’s the root of an American Christmas, and while legends says it was Prince Albert, consort to Queen Victoria, that brought the Christmas tree to the England, and, therefore, America, we hold in our hearts many traditions that have always made the holiday full of merriment and meaning.

McCreary County was once, after all, Virginia, born 120 years after Kentucky and Virginia parted ways. Simple traditions and kind holiday gestures have held true, and continue to make local Christmases special.

Just as in revolutionary America, many of our Christmases are still surrounded by family and friends, and though the waissall – for years served at Candlelight Tours at the McCreary County Museum –  may not, today, be plentiful, bountiful meals still play a monumental role. After all, in Kentucky and Virginia and all across the South, food, they say, is an expression of love.

Still, just as when a youngster, my heart soars with the story of the Christ child, and though Mrs. Jean Sumner is no longer with us, the legacy of her nativity remains, even in her own family.  The Christmas spirit, too, seems to be most pronounced, for me, after attending carolings and Christmas services at church.  There’s something magical about being in church when Christmas morning dawns. It sets a tone and flourishes our spirit. Christmas is, after all, first and foremost, a religious holiday, and maybe we’ve lost sight of that.

Because of that, I hope that, though it’s become increasingly commercial and secular, enough of our traditions remain – and our memories long enough –  that we can tie them back to earlier days, when the story of the birth of Christ remained paramount and holy and good-tidings rang through the air.

For many years, I wasn’t around much during the holidays – that will be a lifelong regret – and due to my then line of work, was with other people’s families more than my own. Time quickly gets away from us and to make up for it, Christmas, for me as with many, became how presents were under the tree.

There is much I miss during the holidays – people, places, events, and the teasing of our senses – but the ability to relax into the Christmas season is certainly one of them; to allow Christmas to be Christmas, without the stress we have invented, to open our hearts to seasonal whimsy and wonder.

Like surreal circumstances dictating reality, extraordinary circumstances can also dictate truth, a path, and new beginnings. I hope Christmas brings that to all of us, that it may be revealed to all of us who need it, and may we all be reminded that many years ago, the extraordinary happened under inopportune circumstances and that all the bells and whistles, the flashes and lights is not the true story of Christmas. As our ancestors seemed to realize, maybe it’s the simple things, just like a baby, born in a manger in modest surroundings, we need to live more humbly, help one another, befriend one another, and continue to lift one another, as we navigate our way through these precarious times.

December 16th, 2021

Amid Devastation and Grief, Kentuckians Lighting Beacons of Hope

‘The stories coming out of Kentucky are harrowing. But in recent days, we’ve also heard about the generosity, hard work, and hope that are helping 

our state recover… Remarkable stories of survival and resiliency have trickled out of the disaster zone… These stories of hope have ricocheted 

across the Commonwealth, bringing smiles and strength to the communities that need them most. And they give me faith that Kentucky will 

recover from this crisis, stronger than ever.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the tornadoes in Western Kentucky:

“In the aftermath of Western Kentucky’s devastating tornado outbreak, I’ve maintained close contact with state and local officials. My staff has been on the ground since the outset of this crisis, helping residents access federal resources and keeping me up-to-date with any developments.

“Toward the end of the week, I will travel back to Kentucky to meet with my constituents and visit the areas affected.

“The stories coming out of Kentucky are harrowing. But in recent days, we’ve also heard about the generosity, hard work, and hope that are helping our state recover.

“Kentuckians desperately need help to rebuild. So our universities, normally bitter rivals on the court, are rallying together to raise money and gather supplies for relief efforts.

“This Christmas is shaping up to be exceptionally difficult for children across Western Kentucky. So churches are organizing toy drives to help make the holidays a little bit brighter.

“Western Kentucky community organizations are stretched to the limit. So businesses based in the Commonwealth, from distilleries, to car manufacturers, to insurance companies, have stepped up to donate millions.

“Remarkable stories of survival and resiliency have trickled out of the disaster zone.

“Last weekend’s storm destroyed much of First Christian Church in Mayfield, Kentucky. But the congregation discovered their communion table and altar cross fully intact while picking through the rubble. A symbol of hope and rebirth survived amid so much pain.

“Across town, the Mayfield Health and Rehabilitation nursing home was physically devastated when it took a direct hit from the tornado on Friday night. But all seventy-four of the facility’s elderly residents survived with only minor injuries. As one staff member said, it was ‘truly a miracle.’

“And in Bremen, Kentucky, when a man visited the wreckage of his home on Saturday, he discovered his grand piano mostly undamaged despite the storm. Amid the surrounding devastation, he sat down to play and sing hymns. His songs, shared on social media, warmed the hearts of thousands.

“These stories of hope have ricocheted across the Commonwealth, bringing smiles and strength to the communities that need them most. And they give me faith that Kentucky will recover from this crisis, stronger than ever.”

December 9th, 2021

Democrats’ Toddler Takeover: Huge Childcare Inflation and Discrimination Against Religion

‘[Democrats’] reckless taxing and spending spree would make childcare dramatically more expensive through an avalanche of new mandates, regulations, and micromanagement… Our all-Democrat government is already botching the things that actually are government’s job. Projecting strength abroad. Maintaining energy independence. But they can’t even do that right. Just look at the poll numbers. The last thing families need are for Democrats to appoint themselves national daycare czars and then botch that, too.’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding Democrats’ reckless tax and spending spree:

“The last time Washington Democrats pushed through a huge change that disrupted families’ arrangements, it earned President Obama the ‘Lie of the Year’ award.

“Democrats insisted that if you liked your healthcare plan, you could keep your healthcare plan. It turned out that was totally false. Their reckless government takeover threw many families into chaos.

“This year, many of the same Democrats want to write a sequel. They want to ram though a radical, reckless, multi-trillion-dollar taxing and spending spree between now and Christmas. And a huge part of their bill would completely upend childcare and pre-K as they exist for families across America.

“If you like your childcare, you can keep your childcare! Buckle up, parents. What could go wrong?

“The Democrats have written their toddler takeover in ways that would turn families’ finances upside-down and make already-expensive childcare even costlier.

“Let’s walk through it.

“First, their reckless taxing and spending spree would make childcare dramatically more expensive through an avalanche of new mandates, regulations, and micromanagement. The usual Washington D.C. routine.

“State and local governments are panicking about the childcare inflation this would cause. Here in D.C., as one liberal analyst uncovered, local officials have formally estimated that the per-child daycare cost for a toddler or an infant would jump by about $12,000 per year.

“Twelve thousand dollars more per child per year! President Biden’s inflation is coming for daycare.

“That’s why the other half of their clumsy scheme is to dump subsidies onto some families. They want to borrow and print even more so they can throw money at the thing they will have just made more expensive!

“But here’s where a bad idea turns into a terrible one.

“The Democrats wouldn’t help families directly. This isn’t some simple voucher that families can use as they please.

“My colleagues have produced an insanely tangled scheme where the truckloads of money go from Washington… to state governments… to the childcare centers. One leaky bucket after another.

“The problems run even deeper than that. Democrats want states to sign up for badly underfunded mandates. That’s the effect, because the entitlement programs will surely last forever, but for accounting purposes, Democrats are pretending the money stops after a decade. Many states will not be keen to be socialist guinea pigs.

“Then there’s the fact that the assistance is doled out in incredibly confusing and uneven ways. The subsidies start and stop with no rhyme or reason.

“Listen to what a left-leaning organization, the People’s Policy Project, has uncovered. They’ve found that in Year One, a family that earns one dollar over their state median income, ‘will be eligible for zero subsidies, meaning they will be on the hook for the entire unsubsidized price,’ which they estimate will now cost ‘at least $13,000 per year higher than before.’

“The researcher repeats himself because it’s so unbelievable.

“‘Having a family income just $1 higher than [your state’s median income] would result in you being ineligible for child care subsidies in 2022 even as the unsubsidized price of child care skyrockets due to the wage and other mandates in the Democratic proposal. This is obviously a perverse outcome and it’s not clear whether lawmakers even realize what they are about to do.’

“This isn’t just one technical glitch. It is emblematic of how ill-conceived their whole experiment is. There are 10 problems like this on every page.

“I should add, Mr. President, the families who even get to participate in the mess I’ve just laid out – they’re actually the lucky ones. Because Democrats want Big Government to pick winners and losers among different families who make different choices.

“Many American families make one set of sacrifices so that both parents can work full-time. These are the people the Democrats are trying to reward, although their plan fails in practice.

“But Americans are allowed to have different aspirations. Some families make different sacrifices to have a parent at home full-time. Others prefer flexible middle grounds that involve part-time work plus in-home childcare.

“The Democrats’ toddler takeover wouldn’t give any of them a dime. No diversity. No flexibility. Institutional daycare or nothing.

“In fact, it’s worse than nothing. Because a family who wants a provider to come to their house part-time, or wants to participate in a neighborhood nanny-share, will now be stuck in an inflated market. They’ll have to bid against the employers that Democrats have blessed and subsidized.

“This is the essence of what the Democratic plan would do. Big Government and Big Labor work together to reward some family arrangements and punish others.

“Our all-Democrat government is already botching the things that actually are government’s job. Projecting strength abroad. Maintaining energy independence.

“But they can’t even do that right. Just look at the poll numbers.

“The last thing families need are for Democrats to appoint themselves national daycare czars and then botch that, too.

“I haven’t even touched on one of the most sinister parts of this whole proposal.

“For parents who do use childcare outside the home, faith-based options are incredibly popular. The Bipartisan Policy Center estimates that 53% of parents who use center-based care use ones that are linked to a faith-based organization.

“But the same Democrats who are letting far-left propaganda trickle down from the universities into K-12 schools are now declaring war on faith-based childcare.

“Washington Democrats want to unleash the woke mob on church daycare. There are at least two parts of their bill that are direct attacks.

“First, liberals are trying to chase faith-based providers out of the childcare industry by denying funds to any facility they deem discriminatory.

“Of course, today’s radical left tosses around those kinds of accusations at any remotely traditional institution.

“Faith-based childcare centers could potentially get their subsidies ripped away if they don’t hire who secular bureaucrats want them to hire, set up their facilities the way secular bureaucrats want them set up, or even — listen to this — gave preference to kids of their own faith!

“Orthodox Jewish daycare centers could get kicked out if they say Orthodox Jewish families get first dibs. Evangelical centers could get punished by bureaucrats if the families who belong to the church are accommodated first.

“It’s a joke. The left is trying to weaponize the word ‘discrimination’ to push faith-based childcare out of business.

“Another part of their bill goes out of its way to deny money for facilities upgrades to buildings that are used for ‘sectarian instruction or religious worship.’ If a faith-based center leads kids in prayer or teaches them their families’ faiths, they don’t get the funding that everyone else gets.

“We see this act over and over from the culture warriors. They pretend they’re happy to have religious groups in the public square… but only if they check all their beliefs at the door.

“A few years ago, the Supreme Court had to strike down a similar policy that penalized faith-based organizations. A state had tried to deny a church a widely-available grant to fix up its playground. The Court struck down the law 7 to 2.

“But the political left is right back at it.

“Just look at which federal bureaucrat would oversee this giant mess.

“It’s none other than Secretary Becerra, the hard-left culture warrior who got famous by suing the Little Sisters of the Poor for being too Catholic and suing crisis pregnancy centers for being pro-life.

“This is the person whom Democrats want to give sweeping new powers over families’ private choices.

“Secretary Becerra gets a giant slush fund to bring President Biden’s inflation into childcare and discriminate against people of faith.

“Just one more way Democrats’ reckless taxing and spending spree would hurt working families.”

December 2nd, 2021

Dr. Rand Paul Releases Reports on the Economic Cost of Vaccine Mandates Across the U.S.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, released reports for all 50 states in the U.S. on the economic cost of vaccine mandates.

“Under President Biden’s unlawful and unconstitutional vaccine mandates, our nation risks losing up to 28 percent of its labor force, not to mention it will cost businesses at least $1.29 billion,” said Dr. Paul. “In a free country, people have the right to make their own healthcare decisions. President Biden’s command that working Americans and private businesses submit to his mandate upon penalty of loss of livelihood is a flagrant abuse of power that will destroy the U.S. economy and work force.”

Another Reckless Taxing and Spending Spree Would Pour “Jet Fuel” on Inflation

‘President Biden did promise he would unite the country. And on Democrats’ watch, under Democrats’ policies, the American people are united in their fear and frustration at runaway prices, falling purchasing power, and all the consequences of inflation… Inflation is hurting the American people and Democrats want to print, borrow, and spend trillions more. The most out-of-touch agenda you could possibly imagine.’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding Democrats’ reckless tax and spending spree:

“88 percent of Americans are concerned about inflation. Most of them are ‘very concerned.’

“77 percent of Americans say inflation has affected them personally.

“We have a big and diverse country. It’s hard to get that many Americans to agree on anything.

“But President Biden did promise he would unite the country. And on Democrats’ watch, under Democrats’ policies, the American people are united in their fear and frustration at runaway prices, falling purchasing power, and all the consequences of inflation.

“The men and women of this country are spending 20% more than last year for beef at the grocery store. 50% more to fill up at the gas station. 26% more for far less choice in used cars.

“One recent article in the New York Times suggested that perhaps Americans should forget about trying to buy their family members normal gifts and settle for exchanging hand-written promises to tackle household chores such as ‘washing out the reusable plastic bags.’ I guess the Grinch is doing some ghostwriting in his spare time.

“Some weeks back, the White House press secretary tried to laugh off reporters’ questions about the supply chain and inflation crises. She laughed at the idea that anybody would be worried about, ‘the tragedy of the treadmill that’s delayed.’

“The president’s staff are yukking it up. But working parents aren’t laughing. Middle-class families aren’t laughing.

“A Kentuckian named Mike Halligan isn’t laughing either. He runs a big food bank in Lexington called God’s Pantry. They distribute more than 40 million pounds of food every year to local food pantries across Kentucky.

“He says: ‘We’ve seen the cost of our ‘sharing Thanksgiving basket’ go up this year by 14.5 percent… We’ve seen our costs go up by about 50 percent. The transportation component of that is literally doubled.’

“And he also explained that since inflation is also hammering his contributors, charities and nonprofits may face ‘donor fatigue’ at precisely the time they cannot afford a fall-off. The Democrats’ inflation is hitting every part of our society.

“A famous economist once said that inflation is the only form of tax that can be levied without any legislation. But what’s remarkable about 2021 is that Democrats did directly legislate a big chunk of this inflation into existence!

“It is unusually traceable to deliberate policy decisions they have made.

“One of the most famous Democratic economists in the country, Larry Summers, tried to warn them.

“On February 4th he wrote the Democrats’ stimulus could, ‘set off inflationary pressures of a kind we have not seen in a generation.’ He said the same thing all springtime long.

“So did President Obama’s CEA chair. Quote: ‘Jason Furman…said that the American Rescue Plan is definitely ‘too big for the moment,’ stating: ‘I don’t know of any economist that was recommending something the size of what was done.’’

“But Washington Democrats had already decided months ago they’d try to use the temporary pandemic as a Trojan horse for permanent socialism.

“Remember last spring, when one of the seniormost House Democrats called it, ‘a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.’ Or earlier this fall, when President Biden, himself, said the pandemic, ‘does present us with an opportunity.’

“For Democrats, this go-around, it has never been about what families need. It has only been about what activists want.

“So we got the first massive spending bill in the springtime. And now, a majority of Americans ‘worry they won’t be able to afford what they need during the holidays due to inflation.’

“President Biden inherited an economy that was primed and ready for an historic comeback. A fantastic inheritance. Since then they’ve had less than a year at the controls. And we’ve got more than half the country actively worried their checking accounts might not even get them through the holidays.

“But Democrats aren’t offering the country any contrition, any apology, or any course-correction.

“Amazingly enough, they want to come back around for an even bigger bite at the apple. They want to try to inflate their way out of inflation.

“Our colleagues have spent months huddled behind closed doors, neglecting the most basic governing duties, writing another reckless taxing and spending spree that even the most conservative estimates say would add about $800 billion to deficits over the next five years alone.

“They want to take the inflationary fire they helped start and pour jet fuel on it. Even the CBO, which has to swallow most of Democrats’ gimmicky math, estimates this bill would spend nearly $2 trillion dollars and pile hundreds of billions more onto deficits over the next decade.

“Perhaps more realistic are the outside, nonpartisan estimates that actually account for what we all know: Democrats would never let the new entitlements in their bill expire. These more realistic estimates put the total cost just shy of $5 trillion dollars.

“All at a time when Chairman Powell, who has been willing to let the economy run hot, is now warning that current uncertainties could keep inflation elevated to a troubling level.

“Now, I could talk all day about how the actual contents of this bill would hurt American families even more.

“About how it would take another big step toward socialized medicine and pour cold water on the innovations and cures that save lives…

“How it would incinerate huge chunks of our energy sector, and the jobs it supports, in order to keep pace with the green preferences of California liberals…

“How it would wrestle authority over intimate decisions about childcare away from American families and put it in the hands of Washington bureaucrats.

“But the overall picture is impossible to mistake:

“Inflation is hurting the American people and Democrats want to print, borrow, and spend trillions more.

“The most out-of-touch agenda you could possibly imagine.”

November 25th, 2021

Congressman Rogers Cosponsors Act to Reverse Biden’s

Vaccine Mandates

WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05) is now a cosponsor of the No Vaccine Mandate Act (H.R. 5811). The legislation would reverse President Biden’s vaccine mandate for private businesses with over 100 employees, which requires workers to be fully vaccinated or tested for COVID-19 on a weekly basis.

“I am fully vaccinated and have advocated for individuals to get vaccinated from day one. However, President Biden’s mandate on private employers is an overreach of power and an infringement on the freedom of Americans to make the best medical decision with their doctor, rather than being forced by the federal government,” said Congressman Rogers. “Employers immediately started filing lawsuits across the country, challenging the mandate, and this bill aligns with protections for those private employers and 84 million employees.”

Last week, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the emergency mandate calling it “fatally flawed” and ordered the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to suspend any implementation or enforcement efforts pending judicial review.

November 18th, 2021

November 11th, 2021

November 4th, 2021

October 28th, 2021

October 21st, 2021

KY General Assembly to begin 2022 session on Jan. 4

FRANKFORT – State lawmakers have finalized a calendar for the 2022 Regular Session with plans to convene the General Assembly on Jan. 4 and adjourn April 14.

The session is scheduled to last 60 days, the maximum allowed under the state constitution in even-numbered years. Lawmakers will have until Feb. 28 to introduce bills in the House and March 2 to introduce bills in the Senate.

The General Assembly will not meet on Jan. 17 in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day or on Feb. 21 in observance of Presidents’ Day. The calendar also provides a 10-day veto recess from March 31 through April 12, a time when lawmakers typically return to their home districts to await possible vetoes from the governor.

Legislators are scheduled to return on April 13 and 14 for the final two days of the session.

October 14th, 2021

Inflation Effectively Cutting Americans’ Pay While Democrats Plot More Spending

‘This unified government is behind closed doors brainstorming ways to make inflation even more painful for American families. Their next reckless taxing and spending spree is packed with radical, left-wing policies and the biggest tax hike on the American people in half a century.’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding Democrats’ reckless tax and spending spree:

“Speaking of Democrats’ reckless taxing and spending —

“This unified government is behind closed doors brainstorming ways to make inflation even more painful for American families.

“Their next reckless taxing and spending spree is packed with radical, left-wing policies and the biggest tax hike on the American people in half a century.

“So far, the bill is more than 2,400 pages long. But it can be summarized in just four words:

“Hurts families… helps China.

“Wasting trillions and trillions of dollars on socialism would be a bad idea any day. But it is a uniquely bad idea at a time when American families are already being hammered by inflation and soaring costs.

“The government’s own data continue to indicate that the historic and painful inflation that began to take hold of our economy this spring isn’t going anywhere any time soon.

“The Chairman of the Federal Reserve acknowledged last week that rising prices have become an increasingly broad and structural problem.

“Last week, the Commerce Department reported that inflation has continued to rise faster than at any time since 1991.

“The Democrats’ inflation is so bad that even though the average American worker has gotten a multiple-percentage-point pay raise over the last year, their actual purchasing power has been cut. Their paychecks have gone up but their buying power has gone down.

“Wholesale inflation just marked the steepest 12-month jump on record. Even dollar stores are having to raise their prices!

“Just ask any American family about their last few trips to the supermarket, the gas station, or the toy store. Heaven forbid if they’ve had to participate in the housing market or the auto market anytime lately.

“And the Democrats are uniting around yet another multi-trillion-dollar taxing and spending spree?

“I guess our colleagues think they can inflate their way out of inflation. That is going to be an extraordinarily painful experiment for the middle-class families of this country.”

October 7th, 2021

September 30th, 2021

Congressman Rogers Votes Against Abortion on Demand Bill

WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05) voted against House Democrats’ pro-abortion agenda disguised as the “Women’s Health Protection Act.” The legislation, better known as the “Abortion on Demand Until Birth Act” radically paves the way for every state to perform late-term abortions until birth for any reason with no accountiability or protections for women. It removes nearly all pro-life protections for the unborn at both the state and federal levels.

“Not only does this heartless piece of legislation allow abortions in every state until birth, but it would also allow abortions based on the baby’s sex or whether the baby has been diagnosed with Down Syndrome,” said Congressman Rogers, a staunch pro-life leader. “This legislation overpowers our states and callously removes the sanctity of life. Every life should be protected and valued, not violently discarded.”

The legislation abolishes pro-life informed consent laws, parental involvment in a minor’s abortion, and laws preventing dismemberment abortions. It also allows abortions when a baby can feel pain and when a heartbeat can be detected.

House Democrats passed the legislation with a majority party-line vote of 218 to 211 and it now moves on to the Senate for consideration.

House Democrats have also advanced legislation allowing tax-payer dollars to be used for abortions in the United States and in other countries.

For more information about Congressman Rogers’ work in Washington and in Kentucky, visit or follow him on social media.

Democrats Won’t Get Bipartisan Help Paving their Path toward Partisan Recklessness

‘For more than two months, Republicans have explained that the unified Democratic Party government will not get bipartisan support for a debt limit hike while they write a partisan taxing and spending spree behind closed doors. Bipartisanship isn’t a light-switch that Democrats can switch on when they need to borrow money and flip off when they want to spend money.’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the debt limit:

“Yesterday, Senate Democrats blocked a vote on clean government funding legislation.

“Senator Shelby and I put forward legislation that could pass the Senate easily and keep the government open. We were ready to avoid a shutdown… get urgent relief to Louisiana… help vetted Afghans who helped America… and continue supporting Israel’s Iron Dome which saves innocent lives.

“Senate Republicans were ready. And House Democratic leaders say they’ll act on whatever C.R. we send them.

“But Democrats blocked the Senate from even considering our legislation. Instead, the Democratic Leader held a vote that he knew would fail on a bill that he knew was a non-starter.

“Game-playing instead of governing.

“For more than two months, Republicans have explained that the unified Democratic Party government will not get bipartisan support for a debt limit hike while they write a partisan taxing and spending spree behind closed doors.

“Bipartisanship isn’t a light-switch that Democrats can switch on when they need to borrow money and flip off when they want to spend money.

“If Democrats want to use fast-track, party-line procedures to ram through trillions more in inflationary socialism, they’ll have to use the same tools to handle the debt limit. And they’ve known this for more than two months.

“The debt suspension that expired in August covered all the debt that had been accumulated by that date. This is an argument about the future. A future that Democrats have willfully decided they want to own on a party-line basis.

“There is no constant tradition that says one-party governments get bipartisan help with the debt limit.

“Just between 2003 and 2010, there were five occasions when the party in power had to get a debt limit hike through the Senate themselves. Then-Senators Biden and Schumer voted ‘no’ on raising the debt limit under President Bush 43 and made the unified Republican government do it ourselves.

“So it is time for our Democratic colleagues to stop dragging their heels and get moving. They’ve had more than two months to accept it.

“Secretary Yellen just announced a new estimate that action on the debt limit may be necessary as early as October 18th. Democrats will need to handle the debt limit before then.

“But Democrats in Congress aren’t acting with urgency. The Senate spends day after day on mid-level nominations. And our colleagues spend all their time in back-room talks over partisan plans. While their basic duties sit in limbo.

“So far, Democrats’ partisan ambitions have taken precedence over basic governance. That needs to change. According to their own Treasury Secretary, they have a few weeks to get moving.”

September 23rd, 2021

Kentucky’s first pandemic-era special session wraps

FRANKFORT – The Kentucky General Assembly flexed its powers to shape the state’s COVID-19 response during a three-day special session lawmakers gaveled to a close Thursday night.

The governor called the extraordinary session after the state Supreme Court ruled that a lower court incorrectly blocked laws limiting the executive branch’s emergency powers. Lawmakers used the opportunity to extend some emergency executive actions, eliminate others, try new strategies to mitigate COVID-19 and provide relief to institutions strained by the pandemic. Those include schools, hospitals, nursing homes and businesses.

Lawmakers stressed they would monitor the implementation of the legislation and the evolving pandemic during the remainder of the interim, the period between regular sessions where lawmakers study, propose and prefile bills. Legislators will have an additional opportunity to act when they return for the 2022 Regular Session in early January.

The actions taken during the special session break down into the following categories, including one non-pandemic related measure:

Education: Senate Bill 1 will prioritize in-person learning at public schools while shifting decisions about COVID-19 protocols to locally-elected school boards, including whether students should wear a mask.

The first provision will allow school districts to waive a requirement of 170 instructional days in favor of 1,062 instructional hours. That will let schools adjust starting and ending times to make up for lost days.

It will not add additional non-traditional instruction days, but instead create 20 so-called temporary remote instruction days through the end of the year for a specific class, grade, building or entire school stricken by COVID-19. This will prevent an entire district from shutting down when a COVID-19 outbreak happens among a particular group within the district.

The measure will also require local health departments to develop a so-called test-to-stay model for school districts. That’s where a student who may have been exposed to COVID-19 at school gets tested for the virus each morning before class instead of quarantining.

To address staffing shortages, SB 1 will make it easier for retired teachers to return to the classroom, in some cases as soon as 30 days after retiring. The retirees could make up to 10% of a district’s teaching staff under the provision.

A final provision will stabilize school funding. Many districts were looking at budget shortfalls because state funding is based, in part, on average daily attendance. And that measurement has plunged because of students out sick or quarantined.

SB 1 passed by a 28-8 vote in the Senate and 70-25 vote in the House.

Health care: Senate Bill 2 will declare the statewide facemask mandate void but encourage vaccinations, COVID-19 testing and greater access to monoclonal antibody treatments, such as Regeneron.

A second provision will require Kentucky’s public universities to develop and initiate public awareness campaigns encouraging people to get vaccinated. One focus will be on developing partnerships with athletes, coaches and health care providers to promote the vaccine’s benefits.

A third will assist health care providers, jails, prisons, homeless shelters and local health departments in acquiring COVID-19 tests. A fourth will make it easier to administer the vaccine at the offices of primary care physicians. A fifth will allow paramedics to work in hospitals to relieve a nursing shortage.

The bill will also establish safety protocols for so-called essential compassionate care visitors in long-term care facilities during pandemic-induced lockdowns. They could be a family member, legal guardian or close friend.

SB 2 passed by a 26-10 vote in the Senate and 69-24 vote in the House.

Expenses: Senate Bill 3 will redirect more than $69 million from the federal American Rescue Plan Act to the Kentucky Cabinet for Health & Family Services. The money was leftover from the repayment of a federal loan to Kentucky’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. The loan was taken out to cover a surge of pandemic-related unemployment claims.

The money will be used to help health care providers, schools and others to implement provisions of SB 1 and SB 2. These include the purchase of COVID-19 tests, the establishment of regional monoclonal antibody treatment centers and test-to-stay programs in schools.

SB 3 passed by a 36-0 vote in the Senate and 84-8 vote in the House.

Extending emergency executive actions: House Joint Resolution 1 modified some of the governor’s executive orders and extends many of them through Jan. 15. The resolution also extended a state of emergency order for Nicholas County, which is recovering from flash flooding, for another 30 days.

The orders addressed in the resolution included protections from price gouging, expansion of nutrition assistance, allowing flexibility for retired first responders to return to work, allowing state and local governments to conduct business and meetings virtually and more.

HJR 1 also extended COVID-19 liability protection for businesses and allowed certain flexibilities regarding unemployment insurance.

HJR 1 was adopted on the first day of the special session by a 92-3 vote in the House and 32-4 vote in the Senate.

Economic development bill: Senate Bill 5 was the only legislation that passed during the special session that contained no pandemic-related provisions. It will appropriate $410 million of the $1.7 billion surplus in Kentucky’s trust fund to offer economic development incentives for projects valued at $2 billion or more.

Some incentives will be in the form of forgivable loans. Economic development officials testified that the incentives will be paid out over time to ensure any project meets the required job and wage targets. Those officials said there will also be a claw-back provision if the project doesn’t meet the targets.

Sponsors of the legislation said a non-disclosure agreement prevented them from releasing too many details, but that Kentucky is in the running for at least one mega project eyeing Hardin County. Supporters repeatedly compared SB 5 to state economic development incentives the General Assembly passed in the late ‘80s that brought Toyota’s first American assembly plant to Georgetown. It is now the world’s largest Toyota manufacturing facility where the Lexus ES350, Avalon, Camry and some hybrid counterparts are assembled.

SB 5 passed by a 30-3 vote in the Senate and 91-2 vote in the House.

With the governor’s signing of HJR 1, SB 3 and SB 5 and the General Assembly’s overriding of vetoes on SB 1 and SB 2, the measures went into effect immediately.

Sept 16th, 2021

Question of the week


How do you feel about the Presidential vaccine mandate requiring COVID-19 vaccination of Federal employees and all workers in businesses with 100+ employees?


The opinions and views represented on this page are not necessarily those of the McCreary County Voice or its employees. If you have questions about our letters to the editor policies, or about submitting a letter for publication, feel free to give us a call at (606) 376-5500. 


Teresa Lynn Kidd – I think once you give government control over what they can inject into your bodies you are no longer free but a slave.

Wanda Watson Haynes – It is going to hurt a lot of the work places and a lot of people will be looking for other jobs. The government is slowly taking our Freedom.

Erica Stevens – It takes a away our freedom and I think it’s stupid either way u going catch it even if we get vaccine or don’t. All it is just Government control!!! I’m not getting it.. people going lose there jobs over not getting it, it’s ridiculous. Biden not my President!! Trump all way.

Carla Privett – It’s taking away a person’s freedom to choose!

Kasey Higginbotham – I think it’s stupid and places will be losing a lot of workers because no one wants to take a vaccine which didn’t have a lot of research done, and also has only been in the works for about 9 months (give or take)! No one will force me to do something I don’t want/ or believe in!

Terrance Snyder – Won’t take it.

Paul Sumler – He’s taking our rights away.

Sierra Keith – Im not okay with being forced to do something that I’m not comfortable with. We barely have enough workers as is, and this is only gonna hurt us more.

Jordan Phillips – There’s no argument to be had. It’s unconstitutional, plain and simple. Terrifying times when people are willing to trade freedoms for a false sense of security.

Willie Rollins – Will not take it

Kasey Higginbotham – I’m so glad that we have so many Pro-choice people.

Brittany Danielle Trammell – It should be a choice!!

Anna Duncan – I believe it’s our right to take it or not, It’s no one’s right to make that decision for us!!!!!! Myself it’s a big fat I’m not taking it.

Heather Wilson – It is our freedom to take it or not and i think its stupid that they are trying to make everyone take it im not going to and i think it is sad u can not work if not vaccinated thats bullcrap people have the right to refuse it and should be aloud to keep there job we have had all kinds of others things happen and noone was told they had to take a shot for them and we are still alive its all in Gods plan whats happens but my faith is strong enough to know that if we are meant to get it then we will if not then we wont so ill keep my faith in God n not take it

Allison Thiels – As one of the people mandated to take it, I’m not happy about it. I feel like it was a threat to my job security and financial security if I did not get vaccinated. I haven’t had a flu vaccine in over 10 years, that was my right, to choose not to take it. I do understand why COVID scares people and why vaccination is being pushed on all of us, but I do not think it should have been mandated.

Wanda Watson Haynes – It is going to hurt a lot of the work places and a lot of people will be looking for other jobs. The government is slowly taking our Freedom

Tawnie Stephens – I think a lot of places are about to lose workers, business, and are going to have to shut down and then we’re all going to be screwed regardless so why not mind your own business. Nobody questions if people get flu shots, it’s ridiculous!

Danny Myers – He may be able to require federal employees to get vaccinated, but he’s taking it too far when it comes to the private sector. He doesn’t have the authority to enforce that.

Chelsey Coffey – I guess the people who don’t want it will quit there jobs and it’s so messed up!! The times we live in is so messed up!!!!

Tina Jann Kiah Ryan – Its unconstitutional period.. This is America land of the free.. this is another way to shut the economy down and your body your choice right???

Veronica J Campbell – Nope.

Lisa Jones – I agree a 100% with him.

Barry Strunk – I say remove the president and all his staff and do whatever you want. A mandate is not a law. DISOBEY or you will lose all of your rights

Tracy Kidd Tolliver – It’s unconstitutional.

Casey Lloyd – Without it getting into political or anything like this may I ask all the people that have commented on this how many of y’all have given your kids vaccines to go to school?

Cheryl Lynn Dunkin –  I’m so happy to see all the Pro-Choice people we have .


Sept 9th, 2021

When you first heard about the 9-11 attacks in 2001, what do you remember?

Below are the responses from our facebook questions.

The opinions and views represented on this page are not necessarily those of the McCreary County Voice or its employees. If you have questions about our letters to the editor policies, or about submitting a letter for publication, feel free to give us a call at (606) 376-5500.


Col. Derek L. Jones – I was in Elizabethton, NJ making a delivery. I headed West to get out of the State ASAP.

Brian McKee – I was getting ready to go eat breakfast with my mom and dad.

Chris Worley– Was at Dr. Perry’s getting dot physical when it come on the news.

Mary Bruce – In Lexington at UK with my oldest daughter finding out she had cerebral palsy.

Michelle Lea Simpson – I was in DC teaching band at a private Catholic School 3 blocks from the Capital. Another band director and I were doing recruiting demos to each class that day. We were waiting to go into a classroom when the Priest came to talk to us about the first plane hitting the tower. We said how odd that was and a terrible accident then proceeded to move to a few more classrooms before we saw him again in the hallway, where he then informed us that a second plane had hit the other tower. We then stopped and prayed because we knew it was no accident. In our next classroom demo 5-6 students were called out to be picked up. It was very strange and kids were asking why so many kids were being checked out. We didn’t know at that time that the Pentagon had been hit not far from us and where so many family members of the students worked. I remember getting in my car and hearing Billy Bush on DC101, my favorite radio show to listen to there, be so somber while explaining what was going on. What normally would take me 15 minutes to get out of the city, took 3 hours. Cell service was down, I couldn’t get in touch with family members. Once we all got home that day, all we could do was watch the news gathering all of what had happened that day and what might be to come. It’s a day in my life, I will never forget.

Nicky Yancey– I was in the 6th grade OMS with Ms. Evie Thomas in science class. There was a knock on the door and next thing the TVs were being turned on. No one said a word just cried silent tears.

Heather Harness– I was in the 8th grade at HMS when this happened. I was with my mom, my grandma and cousin. My mom had to have surgery that morning, and she was waiting to go back and we turned the TV on in her room, and that’s when we watched the plane hit the towers. It was such a scary moment, just the thought of what everyone that was there was experiencing, I remember also going out to the parking lot of the hospital a few hours later and the gas station across the road had cars lined up and down the highway, trying to fill their cars up with gas because no one knew what was going to happen next. I remember just like it happened yesterday.

Regina Stephens Ball– I was at work worrying what was next and wanting my daughter home with me but was away at college awful day.

Sam Tapley– I can remember that morning as if it were yesterday…my teacher (Ms Donna Stephens) said “if any of you pray, pray for our country” as tears streamed down her face. I didn’t understand fully at that time what had happened, but I remember riding the bus home and traffic being difficult near gas stations as people were panic-buying gasoline, not knowing what was going to happen next. I remember going to my grandparents’ house and hearing my grandpa saying something about a terrorist attack, and feeling scared of those words. Videos of people jumping from buildings were streamed across the TV, and my young eyes felt a heaviness for the hurt and fear that crippled our nation.

Betty K. Trammell-Hicks– I was doing laundry came back in the living room and couldn’t believe what I was seeing and broke down and prayed and cried like a baby the most horrible thing in my life

Lisa Sweet– I was home sick from school that day. I remember waking up and sitting in my dad’s recliner and turning on the TV to see the planes crashing into the twin towers

Patrick Whittington– I was driving to work in Sarasota Florida and passed a million police cars heading to the airport to protect Air Rorce One and the President that was parked at the airport. Less than a month later I was in basic training.

Misty D Baltimore– I was getting ready to go to work.

Tracy Hendrickson – My sister pass her drive test that day

Brenda Murphy – Was leaving my house on Day Ridge Road toward 27 to get my hair trimmed and heard it on the radio, a chill came over my body, I remember that so well. It was sad

Cindy Jeffers – I was in 7th grade at OMS just went to second period.

I remember Mrs. Evie Thomas pulling Mrs. Rachel Cross into the hallway. When she came back in she had tears in her eyes. She turned on the tv and the whole class was quiet.  We thought it was an accident. I remember watching the second plane hit…we didn’t exactly understand what was going on but we all knew that it was bad. That day, the whole school was quiet.

It felt like the world had stopped.

Tracy Hendrickson– I was at school.


September 2nd, 2021

August 26th, 2021

August 19th, 2021

How do you feel about the U.S. pull-out from Afghanistan? 

The opinions and views represented on this page are not necessarily those of the McCreary County Voice or its employees. If you have questions about our letters to the editor policies, or about submitting a letter for publication, feel free to give us a call at (606) 376-5500. 

Carla Privett – They should have secured the people before pulling out.

Odie Lee Ellis – Hate the way it happened, but glad it did happen.

Col Derek L. Jones – It was half a** done.

Andy Strunk – Terrible idea. A slap in the face to every veteran who has served and especially those who died to change that place

Sam Tapley – Our country has been at “war” in Afghanistan for 20 years. We have spent close to a trillion dollars, and 2,400+ American men and women to fight this war. If the Afghan military can’t stand their own defense at this point, 3 years, 5 years, or 10 years more will not make a difference. We have trained over 300,000 Afghan soldiers and police, and used American dollars to equip them with some of the best military equipment known to man. No matter who sits in the seat of the POTUS, this would have been a tough decision, and I do not envy those in power. Many are comparing this to the fall of Saigon, marking the end of the Vietnam War. And I have to agree—these are terrible times for the people seeking refuge from the inevitable Taliban siege. Should we have pulled out? Absolutely. Should we have rushed to do so with the Taliban breathing down the necks of the Afghani people? Maybe not. It’s hard to say with 100% certainty what the “right” thing is. May we be thankful we don’t live in a country dependent on outside help to merely protect our freedoms.

I will add—I have never served in our military in any capacity. I’ve never had my feet on Afghani soil, and I’ve never put my life on the line for this country. So my opinion is not one intended to harm anyone’s view. As a civilian, I see the great loss taking place and agree we should bring our soldiers home. But seeing the destruction and chaos this is going to follow as a result feels overwhelmingly sad. Thousands of prisoners—some Al Queda—have been released, and that alone will result in a surge of terrorist cells re-forming. But the point of the post was to ask for our true opinions, I suppose.

Andy Strunk – Sam Tapley we’re depending on outside help for oil and other s*** that we can make here how much longer until we rely on outside help for other things.

Melissa Claxton Harless – We left in the middle of the night, and left millions of dollars worth of assets sitting there for the Taliban to aquire. The people there are terrified of the Taliban, for damn good reason. Women will now go back to being less valuable than donkeys. This terrorist group can now get back down to the business of plotting another attack on the US or our allies, since they won’t have anyone over there in their face, keeping watch, anymore. Our rapid retreat from Afghanistan completely disgusts me on so many levels I don’t even know where to begin. One of the biggest problems, in my opinion, is that it is a giant slap in the face to the US service men and women who gave blood, sweat, tears, and even their lives to try and rid the world of these terrorists and make us all a little safer! What a shame that their repayment is our fleeing in the middle of the night, and allowing the same group who attacked us on our own soil to retake the country at an unbelievable speed! Terrible! Absolutely no words to express how disgusted I am!Andy Strunk – Melissa Claxton Harless with upgraded weapons..

Sam Tapley – Melissa Claxton Harless I don’t disagree with that at all. The execution should have been handled differently.

Lisa Jones – Should never have been there to begin with, he did the right thing !

Terry Chad Clark – Bad idea

Adam R Patrick – The immediacy of the withdrawal and the purely political motivation behind it are responsible for its absolute failure. If we’d have established a clear mission goal with a long-term, phased withdrawal at ANY point over the last 20 years, the Afghani govt would have had no choice but to take their ability to maintain their independence seriously. Instead, we let them believe there would be a permanent U.S. presence and pulled the rug out from under them, allowing the Taliban to sweep across the country AS we pulled out, rendering 20 years of service members’ loss, pain, and sacrifice — as well as Afghani people’s progress — completely null and void. This has been an utter failure of the most senior civilian and military leaders.

Wesley Dover – Following 2 Deployments to Afghanistan, right thing to do but extremely poor execution. The ANSF (Afghan National Security Forces) were never tactically competent enough to maintain their own security. The ANSF became nothing more than welfare with a weapon, never compare them to any US Service Member because there isn’t one. After sitting in meetings with known Taliban leaders, so much more focus on tactical knowledge and will to fight than at least 25 ANSF. You have to understand the culture and the enemy (Taliban) to truly understand what has happened.

Command Sergeant Major (retired)

Dustin Stephens – The women of Afghanistan just went back to the Middle Ages, no chance of education, no freedom, being beat for having dreams of a better life. What happened to the liberal left and their passion for women’s rights. Or is that just convenient on US soil?

Brenda Murphy – Not the right decision , happy that our troops are coming home and not going back but also sad for what is going to happen to the women and young girls and the ones that can’t help their self there. It’s a shame what is going to take place there with the taliban , no human deserves what is going to happen to them now with not a fighting chance and no protection what so ever. I pray for mercy for the ones left behind .

Barry Strunk – Should have done a reverse benghazi. Got the troops out and left the politicians

Ryan Strunk – Thank god for the United Kingdom at this point. I wanted our troops out of the Middle East but this was very very…very poorly executed. We just equipped a group of people that hate America with 1st world weaponry.

Shane Gilreath – It’s horrendous and it’s put many at peril. The Daily Mail in London’s headline this morning screamed, photo of a military funeral front and center: WHAT THE HELL DID THEY DIE FOR? This afternoon, the headline of the same paper: CAN THIS GET ANY WORSE? That followed closely by ‘the Afghan collapse humiliates America.’ The occupant of the White House doesn’t regret his decisions, so he says, but he’s put targets on the backs of Americans, our allies, journalists, and Afghans who assisted along the way. Eight people were killed at the airport, trying to escape, many more desperately trying to flee. Meanwhile, Taliban forces – who China’s buddying up to – are going door to door hunting down our allies. We should not have to police the world, that much is fair, but to shrug now, after all this, and say “they should fight for themselves” is pretty easy when you’re leading the world’s superpower. God help us all if we’re ever in the same boat, when our best defense of the indefensible is, “they can save themselves.” Sadly, this, like so many other things, will highlight the political divide in our country, with half the people defending this based solely on their voter registration. It’s a sad state of affairs.

August 12, 2021

Question of the week

How do you feel about Governor Beshear’s mask mandate for schools?

Below are the responses from our facebook questions.

The opinions and views represented on this page are not necessarily those of the McCreary County Voice or its employees. If you have questions about our letters to the editor policies, or about submitting a letter for publication, feel free to give us a call at (606) 376-5500.

Carla Privett – Point blank, they are issuing masks for a virus that has a over 97% survival rate. Masks didn’t work last time and they won’t work this time. They also expect 2 year olds to keep a mask on! Good luck with that!

Toshia Renee Cooper – Either way we are screwed! Doing virtual hurts our kids, many are failing and not learning but keeps them safe so they say, but most parents work full time jobs and kids aren’t staying home, they are going to the store shopping or hanging with friends or sporting events. And sending them to school risks them, our teachers and families. Kids are gonna be distracted and won’t learn as much because your losing the hands on and the teachers these poor teachers didn’t sign up for all this level of insane! They are having to make sure these kids are wearing them. No matter what this is a lose lose situation because we are adding stress, and risking so many lives.

Brian McKee – Yes masking Governor Andy Beshear is trying to keeping the state of Kentucky safe.

Lisa Hill – No mask leave that up to the parents!!!!

Cody Baker – This post was a great idea!

Darla Phillips – Masks protect!

Tracy Troxell Alcorn – He needs to go away.

Debbie Wilson-Phillips – I think people are smart enough to make their own decisions.

Melissa Maxwell – I think masks should be decided individually and by parents, not mandated.

Kimberly Ann – Melissa Maxwell that’s how I feel as well. Hoping this is the end result.

Teresa Troxell – No masking.

Renee Duenne – Our children shouldn’t be forced to wear a mask all day Monday thru Friday. Wearing masks also causes other health issues. No masks unless the parents choose to have their child wear a mask.

Katie Combs – I feel like we should be willing and happy to do anything we can to protect our children and others children. I’ll be happy to send my child back to in person learning with a mask.

Ralph Rebecca Blevins – Katie Combs great attitude and I feel the same way.

Jaimee King – Katie Combs well said!!!!

Alesha Tapley – Well said Amen.

Courtney A. Perry – I feel like as a parent we have no choices to our kids educations other than keeping them home. Virtual was a mess and many fell behind. Regular school with hands on learning is what these kids need however, masks on young children 8-10 hours a day is just not very realistic. Masks will get dirty as well we know these kids will get food, etc on them. I can’t even hardly wear one that long I don’t expect my 5 year old too. Maybe we should have 2 groups of school kids to minimize the amount of people in one building? I don’t know but there should be other options, as a parent no matter my decision I feel like I’m failing my kids. Covid will always be around, we need to protect our kids but not destroy their education, they are our future.

Sandra Stephens – Yes !! Masks to keep kids safe while in school ,

Donnie N Norma Morgan – I think school should be like it was last year, parents who are uncomfortable with masks all day or in person classes can have the option to choose virtual, one of our sons is immune compromised…that’s not something that can be changed

Melissa Privett Walker – I have stood and watched more than one loved one smother to death,( not covid related..) myself I have bad lung issues .. both my grandsons have asthma.. It is hard wearing the mask with breathing problems.. do mask work? I dont have a clue.. what I do know is.. if I can put a mask on and save someone from getting sick.. its a small price to pay to protect my family and yours..

Alesha Tapley – Melissa Privett Walker AMEN AMEN AMEN

Darlene Price – Unfortunately, If the powers that be on FB do not like the comments on this page, the Voice will also be placed in FB Jail. WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO THE FREEDOM OF THE PRESS?????????

Debbie Wilson-Phillips – Darlene Price our freedom of speech is gone no opinions allowed unless the powers that be agree.

Tiff Phillips – Comment to myself. I think we need a new gov though. Thought though, the vaccine ain’t protecting people from getting it supposedly okay so if this vaccine ain’t why does people have to wear mask. They say it don’t protect u. First they say oh well it won’t protect u and ta_da now it does. Yeah right. Should be a choice if u wanna wear one or not. Def don’t believe gov or s***

Rachel Taylor Anderson – Tiff Phillips I agree!!!

Alesha Tapley – Tiff Phillips the vaccinated doesn’t get it as bad so it works to that extent

Tiff Phillips – Alesha Tapley should be a choice, if people wanna wear it or get vaccinated. That’s all I’m saying.

Sheila Philpot – Well some say they dont work which I agree and some say they work ..But for me I think they dont work best thing is dont send your kids to school sick period.. I think there hard to breath thru and I say I want my children to be able to breath I will never send my kids to school sick period. can you say that.

Alesha Tapley – Sheila Philpot Some ppl have covid and never have symptoms so if ur child has it has no symptoms ur sending it to school spreading it

Jessica Lynch – NO MASKS

Alesha Tapley – I can’t understand why news media causes so much trouble you can’t change it so why bother.

August 5th, 2021

July 29th, 2021

July 22nd, 2021

July 15th, 2021

July 8th, 2021

Lawmakers present pre-filed bill to ensure critical race theory isn’t taught in schools

Rep. Matt Lockett, R-Nicholasville, testifying on Bill Request 69 during today’s Interim Joint Committee on Education meeting.

FRANKFORT—Rep. Matt Lockett, R-Nicholasville, said he believes his bill, Bill Request 69 “will be one of the most vital pieces of legislation” that will be considered when the General Assembly convenes for its 2022 session.

According to Lockett, who is the bill’s primary sponsor, the goal of BR 69 is to ban the teaching and promoting of critical race theory in Kentucky’s public schools. The pre-filed bill was the main topic of discussion during today’s Interim Joint Committee on Education meeting.

Lockett said critical race theory (CRT) teaches that the political and social system in the US is based on race and labels those who are white as the oppressors and those who are Black as the oppressed.

Lockett along with one of the bill’s co-sponsors Rep. Jennifer Decker, R-Waddy, said they have both heard from parents and educators across the Commonwealth who say CRT is being taught in schools and that they are against it being part of the school curriculum.

Kentucky Department of Education Commissioner Dr. Jason Glass testified that curricular decisions are left to school based decision making councils.

“The Kentucky Department of Education is not aware of any districts or teachers specifically teaching critical race theory and neither CRT nor terms associated with it appear in our state standards,” Glass said.

Although he is not an expert on critical race theory, Glass did offer a definition of CRT and suggested the committee invite an expert to testify.

“Critical race theory is a decades old legal and academic theory which seeks to explain why racism continues to exist,” Glass said, adding that CRT is typically taught and discussed in graduate-level courses and is not a developmentally appropriate concept for elementary and middle school-aged students.

In regards to BR 69, Glass said the bill hurts freedom of speech and that these types of laws hurts education and hinders the state’s ability to recruit and retain teachers.

Fayette County social studies teacher Delvin Azofeifa joined Lockett and Decker in testifying in favor of BR 69.

“Any CRT adjacent doctrine doesn’t belong in public schools,” Azofeifa said.

During discussion, Rep. Tina Bojanowski, D-Louisville, criticized the importance of the bill compared to other issues such as the suicide ideation rate among children and the high child abuse rates in Kentucky. She, along with Rep. Lisa Wilner, D-Louisville, also criticized the bill’s language.

“When I read Bill Request 69, I found it vague,” Wilner said. “…The goal seems to be to want to ban discomfort, but you know, unfortunately, that’s not really something we can legislate.”

Lockett responded by explaining the goal of the bill isn’t to just eliminate the term critical race theory, but to make sure students are not taught they are less than somebody else due to the color of their skin.

As the nearly 2 and a half hour meeting came to a close, lawmakers hinted this will not be the last time BR 69 or any other critical race theory related legislation will be discussed during the interim.

Any official action lawmakers choose to take on BR 69 cannot begin until the legislative session begins in January 2022.

McConnell: SCOTUS Rulings Affirm Fundamental Protections of Representative Government

‘Democrats who try to equate laws limiting the influence of political operatives on state elections to Jim Crow-era repression make their real aim even clearer: not to protect the voters from discrimination, but to protect themselves from the voters.’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) issued the following statement following today’s U.S. Supreme Court rulings in Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee and Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Bonta/Thomas More Law Center v. Bonta:

“Today, the Supreme Court affirmed that protections of the right to vote remain strong, and that states are rightly empowered to administer and protect America’s elections.

“For decades, Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act has protected Americans from discrimination at the ballot box. Thanks in large part to Section 2, it is easier for Americans to vote today than it has ever been.

“Section 2 remains a strong and crucial safeguard against racial discrimination, but the Court was right to reject its attempted use by activists to eliminate commonsense voting laws in Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee.

“Democrats who try to equate laws limiting the influence of political operatives on state elections to Jim Crow-era repression make their real aim even clearer: not to protect the voters from discrimination, but to protect themselves from the voters.

“The Court also confirmed today what decades-old legal precedent already tells us: that associational privacy is a fundamental American right. As the NAACP argued forcefully more than half a century ago, the defense of First Amendment rights is especially important in places where citizens’ views cut against those of governing majorities.

“As such, the ruling in Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Bonta is a stern warning to those corners of the Left where naming and shaming is treated like a routine political tool. It should also serve as a cautionary tale for any elected Democrat still hoping to codify dragnet disclosure and tip the scales of our electoral system.

“Today, the Supreme Court discharged its duty to uphold the rights and protections underpinning our system of representative government, and our nation can be rightly proud.”

July 1st, 2021

June 24th, 2021

June 17th, 2021

New state laws go into effect June 29

FRANKFORT – Most new laws approved during the Kentucky General Assembly’s 2021 session will go into effect on Tuesday, June 29.

The Kentucky Constitution specifies that new laws take effect 90 days after the adjournment of the legislature unless they have a special effective date, are general appropriations measures, or include an emergency clause that makes them effective immediately upon becoming law. Final adjournment of the 2021 Regular Session occurred on March 30, making June 29 the effective date for most bills.

Laws taking effect that day include measures on the following topics:

Adoption. House Bill 210 will ensure that employers offer parents adopting a child under the age of ten the same amount of time off as birth parents.

Asthma. Senate Bill 127 encourages schools to keep bronchodilator rescue inhalers in at least two locations and will require schools with inhalers to have policies regarding their use.

Child and new mother fatalities. House Bill 212 will require data in an annual state report on fatalities among children and new mothers to include information on demographics, race, income and geography associated with the fatalities.

Child protection. House Bill 254 will raise the penalty for possession or viewing of matter portraying a sexual performance by a minor under the age of 12 years to a Class C felony. It will also raise the penalty for the distribution of matter portraying a sexual performance of a minor under the age of 12 years to a Class C felony for the first offense and a Class B felony for each subsequent offense.

Child support. House Bill 402 will revise child support laws to increase the amount considered flagrant nonsupport from $1,000 to $2,500.

Education. House Bill 563 will give families more options when deciding where to send kids to school and will assist families with the cost of educational expenses. The bill will allow the use of education opportunity accounts, a type of scholarship, for students to attend out-of-district public schools or obtain educational materials and supplies. For students in some of the state’s largest counties, the scholarship funds could be used for private school tuition. Individuals or businesses who donate to organizations that issue education opportunity accounts will be eligible for a tax credit. The legislation will also require a board of education to adopt a nonresident pupil policy by July 1, 2022 to govern terms under which the district allows enrollment of nonresident pupils and includes those pupils in calculating the district’s state funding.

Elections. House Bill 574 will make permanent some of the election procedures implemented last year to accommodate voting during the pandemic. The measure will offer Kentuckians three days – including a Saturday – leading up to an election day for early, in-person voting. It will allow county clerks to continue to offer ballot drop boxes for those who do not wish to send their ballots back by mail. It will also counties to offer voting centers where any registered voter in the county could vote.

Ethics. Senate Bill 6 will create standards for ethical conduct for transition team members of all newly elected statewide officeholders. The standards include identifying any team member who is or has been a lobbyist. It will require disclosure of current employment, board member appointments and any non-state sources of money received for their services. It will also prohibit the receipt of nonpublic information that could benefit a transition team member financially.

Illegal dumping. Senate Bill 86 will designate 100 percent of a new open dumping fine to be paid to the county where the violation occurred.

Inmate care. Senate Bill 84 will ban jails, penitentiaries, local and state correctional facilities, residential centers and reentry centers from placing inmates who are pregnant or within the immediate postpartum period in restrictive housing, administrative segregation, or solitary confinement. It will grant an inmate who gives birth 72 hours with a newborn before returning to the correctional facility and will offer six weeks of postpartum care. It also mandates that incarcerated pregnant women have access to social workers and any community-based programs to facilitate the placement and possible reunification of their child.

Kentucky-grown products. Senate Bill 102 will include Asian Carp, paddlefish, or sturgeon in the definition of “Kentucky-grown agricultural product”.

Late fees. House Bill 272 will allow water districts to impose a 10 percent late fee and cut off service for nonpayment of bills. Customers who receive financial assistance for their bills are exempt.

Livestock. House Bill 229 will make someone guilty of criminal mischief for intentionally or wantonly causing damage to livestock.

Living organ donors. House Bill 75 will prohibit certain insurance coverage determinations based upon the status of an individual as a living organ donor. It will also encourage the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to develop educational materials relating to living organ donation.

Medicaid. Senate Bill 55 will prohibit copays for Medicaid beneficiaries.

Newborn safety. House Bill 155 will allow the use of a “newborn safety device” when a newborn is being anonymously surrendered by a parent at a participating staffed police station, fire station, or hospital. The device allows a parent surrendering an infant to do so safely using a receptacle that triggers an alarm once a newborn is placed inside so that medical care providers can immediately respond and provide care to the child.

Police standards. Senate Bill 80 will strengthen the police decertification process by expanding the number of acts considered professional wrongdoing. Such acts include unjustified use of excessive or deadly force and engaging in a sexual relationship with a victim. The bill also will require an officer to intervene when another officer is engaging in the use of unlawful and unjustified excessive or deadly force. It will also set up a system for an officer’s automatic decertification under certain circumstances and will prevent an officer from avoiding decertification by resigning before an internal investigation is complete.

Public records. House Bill 312 will revise the states open records laws. It will limit the ability of people who do not live, work or conduct business in Kentucky to obtain records through open records laws. These restrictions do not apply to out-of-state journalists. The legislation specifies that open records requests can be made via email. It also calls for a standardized form to be developed for open records request but does not require its use. It will allow the legislative branch to make final decisions that can’t be appealed regarding decisions on open records requests it receives. The bill will allow government agencies up to five days to respond to open records requests.

Sexual abuse. Senate Bill 52 will amend third-degree rape, third-degree sodomy and second-degree sexual abuse statutes so law enforcement officers could be charged with those crimes if they engage in sexual acts with a person under investigation, in custody or under arrest.

Theft. House Bill 126 will increase the threshold of felony theft from $500 to $1,000. It will also allow law enforcement to charge members of organized shoplifting rings with a felony if a member steals a total of $1,000 worth of merchandise over 90 days.

U.S. Senators. Senate Bill 228 will change the way vacancies are filled for a U.S. senator from Kentucky. The bill will require the governor to select a replacement from a list of three nominees selected by the same political party of the departing senator.

Worker safety regulations. House Bill 475 will prohibit, starting on July 1, the Kentucky Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board from adopting or enforcing occupational safety and health administrative regulations that are more stringent than the corresponding federal provisions.

June 10th, 2021

June 3rd, 2021

A challenging year for the Class of 2021

Graduating seniors have experienced a year like no other. Covid 19 created a year of uncertainty and disruption for all McCreary students, but the impact on the Senior Class was profound in the memories of their last year attending McCreary Central High.
In this fast paced, ever changing world we are living in, the graduating seniors will have experienced the need to adapt, learn and change with the circumstances. Going forward this skill set will almost certainly be necessary to succeed in today’s world, especially in a time when technology is out pacing human understanding.
But, the Class of 2021 will meet the challenges ahead and succeed because they will have learned from this Covid year how to adapt, learn and change with the circumstance.

May 27th, 2021

It’s time to think big

The $3.2 million dollars the county is anticipating to receive from the American Rescue Plan over the next two years should be used for something that will benefit and make a difference for the people of McCreary County for several years, and possibly for future generations. This is a time to think big and not concentrate on small issues. What are the possibilities?
One option would be to use the money as seed money to pay for matching funds for a Boys and Girls Club, similar to the one in Oneida, TN. The Boys and Girls Club in Oneida has been one of the best uses of money invested in Scott County and benefits the entire county throughout the year.
The Boys and Girls Club should not be a pieced together attempt, but should be carefully thought out. The Oneida, Tennessee model would be an excellent representation to study and emulate. A good grant writer would be needed to obtain a grant(s) and use the American Rescue Plan money to pay the matching funds that are normally required.
At the same time, set aside enough money to invest in a qualified industrial recruiter. This person should have a history of recruiting industry/manufacturing. A qualified industrial recruiter would have the experience of working with businesses and state and local governments to bring about successful conclusions for the county. A qualified recruiter would not be based in the county but would work where the contacts are made, typically Frankfort, and would be a full time job.
The county has tried to use local people in the past with little success. This is not a slam on our local people, merely pointing out that few have the experience, knowledge and contacts to do be successful in the job. You wouldn’t call a teacher if you needed surgery, nor would you hire a doctor to build a house.
Our county has the potential to use this money to benefit our people for generations to come.
“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” – Jane Goodall

May 13th, 2021

We Salute You

This week (May 9-May 15, 2021) is National Police Week. National Police Week is observed as a way to honor the service of all levels of law enforcement.
Maintaining a career in law enforcement has always been tough. Police officers and members of their families have always lived with an awareness that every day spent as a police officer can end in tragedy-the tragedy of an officer not returning home at the end of the day. However, despite the danger and uncertainty of the job, police officers across the nation have always worked hard showing dedication, loyalty, and commitment to keeping neighborhoods safe.
Recently, the already tough job of law enforcement became even tougher. In many parts of the U.S., law enforcement officers have been demonized, demoralized, and defunded. Unfortunately, many of those who wish to “reimagine” policing are attempting to totally erase the thin blue line protecting our neighborhoods and our nation.
We, at The McCreary County Voice, would like to take this opportunity to thank and honor all law enforcement-especially those who serve McCreary County. We are thankful for the commitment, dedication and bravery of the local, state, and federal officers who serve our community and help keep our citizens safe.
We are also proud to live in a community that still has widespread respect for law enforcement. We are proud our community, as a whole, still see police officers as being friends and helpers. We are proud to live in a county where our local police are being “funded” rather than “defunded.”
We urge all of our readers to take time this week and throughout the year to thank our local police officers, Kentucky State Troopers, federal officers, and others associated with law enforcement for a job well done. Thank them for putting their lives on the line for our well-being and safety. Thank them for caring.
Beyond a thank you, a simple act of kindness or respect can go far in helping our law enforcement officers know they are appreciated. It’s always a nice gesture to pay for an officer’s meal in a restaurant, share a child’s hand drawn picture of a friendly officer, or send a thank you card to an officer who has assisted in some way.
After all, it’s a thin blue line protecting McCreary County from a world that is becoming increasingly unkind. Thanking our police officers is the least we can do.

May 6th, 2021

April 15th, 2021

April 8th, 2021

April 1st, 2021

March 25th, 2021

March 18th, 2021

March 11th, 2021

March 4th, 2021

February 25th, 2021

The Voice experienced a first

he Voice barely got the February 11th issue on the street before the first of three winter storms hit the County. Following on the heels of the February 11th ice storm was another ice storm that began on Sunday, February 14th, that crippled the County.
Electric service to thousands of McCrearians was out, along with cell phone and internet service and some phone land lines. The County was in the dark. At the same time, The Voice was working short staffed due to a Covid-19 quarantine.
Working remotely was not possible because the staff was still out of electricity without cell phone or internet accessibility. Some staff members could not even get out of their garages or driveway, one member of the staff did not have electricity restored until Thursday, a day after The Voice’s print deadline.
For the first time in The Voice’s history, we were not able to print a paper.
Cell service came back Tuesday afternoon but a staff member did not get electric power restored until Thursday, a day after we had to submit our paper to the printer. Ironically, a third winter storm with ice and snow came in on Wednesday evening which would have curtailed delivery of the paper on Thursday.
This was a perfect storm for The Voice. Three winter storms in one week executed a triple whammy on this County and on The Voice. Every reader will be credited for the week lost and we sincerely hope this catastrophic weather scenario will not be repeated.

February 4th, 2021

January 21st, 2021

Question of the week

Do you think your first amendment right of freedom of speech is in jeopardy after big tech cancelled all of President Trump’s social media accounts and took down Parler

The opinions and views represented on this page are not necessarily those of the McCreary County Voice or its employees. If you have questions about our letters to the editor policies, or about submitting a letter for publication, feel free to give us a call at (606) 376-5500.

Below are the responses from our facebook questions.

Daniel McFeeters – I think it highlights the fact that it ability to “speak” is regulated by an increasingly smaller number of for-profit companies. So yes, it does have implications for freedom of speech in that regard.
Elizabeth Anderson – Daniel McFeeters if you want to engage in criminal behavior, or announce your intent to murder someone, then yes. Your freedom to speak will be interrupted.
Daniel McFeeters – Elizabeth Anderson precisely–and what was done in this case was long overdue, in my opinion. But it does bring up the debate: To what extent should our ability to speak be limited by the Terms of Service of private companies, over and above the law of the land?
Sandy Gilreath – Absolutely and we are just barely seeing the tip of the iceberg.
Nicole Duncan – Yes! And if you don’t think so, you better get your head out of the sand or clouds.
Joey Hubbard – Absolutely 100% , but we the America people refuse to be silent!
Shane Gilreath – Joey Hubbard “Evil can only exist when good men do nothing!”
Joey Hubbard – Shane Gilreath preach!
Trish Taylor – Without a doubt big tech is limiting freedom of speech and seem to not use their censorship equally among the two political parties posts.
Taylor Alley – The conservative victory in Masterpiece Cakeworks vs Colorado laid the groundwork for this by allowing a private entity to decide what you can or cannot say on their platform. In my opinion, your Rights extend up to when they infringe upon someone else’s.
Cheryl Lynn Waters – No. They have already have a platform the can talk.
Gerry Stephens – 100 percent YES !!
Debbie Gibson – No I do not freedom of speech is out in public not social media outlets.
Redd Jones – Debbie Gibson social media is a public platform.
Christy Meadows Baird – Redd Jones it is owned by individuals. Those individuals can make their own rules.
Jenni Casey – Christy Meadows Baird that’s true. But they should also lose their section 230 protections.
Tammy Soard – Christy Meadows Baird all though they make their own rules they don’t use the same rules for all my opinion rules apply to some but not all.
Christy Meadows Baird – Tammy Soard that is true. Unfortunately, it’s always been that way and probably will never change.
Tammy Soard – Christy Meadows Baird absolutely agree.
Elizabeth Anderson – Social media companies have no obligation to support violence and hate speech. These are clear ethics violations of their rules.
Richard Snyder II – Elizabeth Anderson so it should apply to all then, and not just a select few, correct??
Elizabeth Anderson – Richard Snyder II obviously.
Danny Myers – Yes, if they can get away with blocking the president the rest of us don’t have a chance.
Miranda Crabtree – Yes!
Shannon Baird – Yes !! Alot of people are worried about it an should be.
Debbie Perry Shelley – Yes I do! if they can do that to a sitting president, then we the people don’t have a chance to let our voices be heard. They will just block everything we say, if it doesn’t help their agenda.
Marty Mathis – Yes. And it is attacked on facebook daily.
Whitney Roark – Not in any way.
Becky West – No
Gen Whittington – Yes! If your opinion is contrary to the agenda. They will silence you. This is not free speech, this is censorship! The media and big tech media need to be held to the code of integrity in reporting, as it once was many years ago. Greed has caused corruption.
Elizabeth Anderson – Gen Whittington social media is not the same as a news source media. They are private companies that can enforce their own code of ethics, and remove threats and hate speech.
Gen Whittington – Elizabeth Anderson the point is, local opinion is being censored too, without spouting hate or threatening.
Jerri Vaughn – Yes! If the president can have communication with his citizens taken away, of course anyone else could!
Allen D Genoe – absolutely
Daniel C. Ball – Very much in jeopardy it is!!!! Americans and politicians alike have allowed to much power into the wrong hands!
Ashley Dawson – Absolutely! If they can sensor out the President of the United States, what makes anyone think that We The People will not be next? As a matter of fact, it’s already happening. You can not share anything pertaining to the President without it “violating community standards.” I’ve got something for ole big tech and anyone else that wants to infringe upon our Constitution.
Cindy Gilreath – Yes
Autumn Upchurch Gilreath – Yes
Bethany Erin Mcdonald – Not at all
Adam R Patrick – The ability to pose this question and answer it candidly on a public platform without fear of government reprisal is all the proof you need that 1A is alive and well.
Gerald Bryant – Yes
Charlene Abbott – Yes
Carl Abbott – U dam right it is if they do trump that way just think of the steps they take to silence u
Alice Watson Upchurch – Yes, I do.
Jill Watson – Yes
Jaded Waters – Freedom of Speech isn’t what is in danger at this point- Freedom of Expression (or opinion, per say)is what is being attacked. And it has been for quite some time. If you express an opinion of any sort, someone is going to argue with you about it.
If you say I don’t like broccoli – someone is going to flip out. (remember when President Bush was basically made into a monster, who was causing children to eat horribly, because he said he didn’t like broccoli)
People are too obsessed with what other people do- Everyone should tend their own garden and eat their own veggies and quit sabotaging someone else’s by pretending to be an offended victim so they can get on a soapbox for attention.
Just my opinion
Tiffany Marie – Yes !!!
Chelsey Duncan – I’m not even a Trump supporter and I feel like things are wayyy out of control. Donald Trump IS STILL the president right now, nobody should be able to stop him from communicating with us. The first amendment is definitely in jeopardy. How does anybody have freedom of speech if even the President of the United States doesn’t? Again, not a Trump supporter, but why take down Parler? I just feel that’s completely disrespectful and controlling. Parler was a safe place for people. The only place they could go and post freely without being censored, and now that’s gone. It’s so stupid to keep removing people from social media and removing apps. It’s just gonna get worse. When people have no safe place to express themselves, they are eventually going to go to the main source and let themselves be heard. It will be the riot at the Capitol all over again, in more places, with more anger and violence.
Haylee Sellers – Chelsey Duncan Parler was taken down because they refused to release information on the people that broke into the capitol, then by doing so all of their sponsors bailed. without any security they got hacked and had to shut down.
Beth M Boyle – I agree completely. I’m just worried that freedom of speech is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to our rights being taken.
Kathy Dishman – There trying , but there going to have a hard time here.
Theresa Stephens Chamberlin – I think it’s terrible that anyone would be low enough or allowed to censor the President of the United States. Where was the censorship when the liberals were sending death threats to the President or people that call themselves comedians holding a bloody Trump head. Not funny!! No other President has ever been so disrespected. It’s shameful!! President Trump is the best President we’ve had since Reagan.
Tim Corder – Yes. If they can censure the President, they can anyone!
Dapheny King – Yes, it is definitely out of control when the president can’t even speak to the people.
Gary Perry – Not at all. These are private companies that have the right to make these decisions. Everyone agreed to the terms and conditions when they signed up. Trump was using the platforms to endanger Americans!
Calvin Stephens – it is not our right’s that are being taken away it’s his.
Glenna Freeman – Yes, absolutely!
Allyriann Kidd – No because you agreed to their terms of service
Darlena Faye Smith – Yes
Catrinna Marie Garland Strunk – Yes!!
Janice Godsey – Go out in the public and see how fast you get in trouble for hate speech.
Hope Spradlin Daugherty – This is a very interesting question coming from a Newspaper who refuses to print or acknowledge the accurate election win of President Elect Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris – and I recall speaking personally to the editor / office manager who refused to print names of speakers who are African American because of the endorsement of BLM – when invited to a peace rally in Oct , I was told person by the editor/ office manager “ it would cause trouble” – I guess everyone has a different perception of Freedom of speech /Press . One thing is certain this newspaper is very biased in regards to politics.
Mike Ball – Yes
Shane Gilreath – Yes, free speech is under attack and it should give pause to everyone. The famed poem, “When they came,” was written by a German pastor, who witnessed persecution under Nazi Germany. As an anti-Communist, he initially supported the Nazis rise to power. We might be awfully careful in this country, given history’s propensity to repeat itself, and I find it particularly telling that some are willing to let speech be stifled, because, like the German pastor, it’s yet to be their voices silenced. When he realized the wrong, it was too late, and the pastor found himself in a concentration camp. “Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me. “
Christy Meadows Baird – Shane Gilreath what was your feeling, several years back, when the bakery refused to bake the wedding cake due to the fact that the couple getting married was gay?
Heather King – No. He still has platforms to address the country, the ssme ones the presidents used long before Twitter and Facebook existed. Private companies do not have to give everyone a platform.
Amy Jo Vaughn Smith – Yes
Phillip Ball – Yes
Betty Jo Stephens Whitten – Yes

The response to our Facebook question overwhelmed the Voice’s Facebook page and the first 100 responses were lost. We apologize to the readers whose responses were lost. Your opinion matters.

January 14th, 2021

January 7th, 2021

December 17th, 2020

December 10th, 2020

December 3rd, 2020

Question of the week

Are you taking extra precautions since the increase of Covid-19 cases, if so what

The opinions and views represented on this page are not necessarily those of the McCreary County Voice or its employees. If you have questions about our letters to the editor policies, or about submitting a letter for publication, feel free to give us a call at (606) 376-5500.

Below are the responses from our facebook questions.

Nicole Duncan – I have made no changes or took any precautions.
Rachel Barnett – Nicole Duncan same I haven’t either.

Phyllis Smith- Ridner – When in public I wear mask, wipe down buggy and use hand sanitizer when get back in car.try not to go to aces where larger crowds gather. Take temperature daily,
Espinoza Chris – My only change is taking my health more seriously. Taking vitamins (especially vitamin d), working out more, and prioritizing sleep. It’s sad the only emphasis is on masks and isolation when immunity health is what could really save everyone from any illness. Poor health and immune systems is the direct cause for deaths from normal illnesses every year. (Flu, pneumonia, and now COVID-19).
Col Derek L. Jones – Avoiding people.
Linda L. Jones – Staying home

Rose Griffis – Avoiding crowds, wearing mask, hand sanitizer always with me.wash wash hands.Keep masks n hand sanitizer in cars purse and in home.
Phyllis Smith- Ridner – Rose Griffis me too.

Daniel C. Ball – Just being mindful. I’m taking natural supplements that help boost immune system and help my heart and cardiovascular system. Oh yeah last but not least. I’m praying for this BS to end soon!!

Rachel Barnett – The only time I wear a mask is when I walk through the doors at my job. Other than that I don’t wear one at all.
Nicole Duncan – Rachel Barnett I don’t wear one either.

November 26th, 2020

Giving Thanks

Traditionally, Thanksgiving Day is a time for giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. Today, it is a day for Americans to gather around the table; a day of feasting, football and family. It is quite different from the Pilgrims original 1621 harvest meal.
Thanksgiving is a special time of year for The Voice. It marks the anniversary of our first paper published under the banner of The McCreary County Voice. This year we are celebrating the beginning of our twenty first year in business. Each year we give thanks for the past years and look forward to the next.
We are thankful for our readers, advertisers, contributors and well wishers. The Voice’s dedicated staff has remained true to our vision-being a voice for the people of this county. We are proud to bring you unbiased news without opinion or slant. The only time you will read our opinion is on the editorial page. In our news stories we present the facts. You, the reader, do not need our opinion to determine what you think, you make up your own mind. We believe this is the way news should be presented.
As we begin a new year of publishing, we give thanks for the blessings of the harvest.

Happy Thanksgiving
From all of us at The Voice

November 19, 2020

What are your thoughts on the Governor’s advise for Thanksgiving dinner

Below are the responses from our facebook questions.

The opinions and views represented on this page are not necessarily those of the McCreary County Voice or its employees. If you have questions about our letters to the editor policies, or about submitting a letter for publication, feel free to give us a call at (606) 376-5500.

Mary Ann Jones – I understand that we all must be careful and practice good hygiene (hand washing) and not gather in really large groups. My personal opinion is also that we can’t be so afraid of dying that we can’t live. Who knows who may be absent from your home the next holiday. So I say be careful and love one another and enjoy your family and friends. May God Bless.
Lisa Frye – Mary Ann Jones – I agree!!

Daniel C. Ball – The governor has no business telling me that I shouldn’t gather with my loved ones for the holidays. Perfect example of attempted overreach by the governor.
Anna N Less Ball – Me eather, its our Life’s.
Espinoza Chris – This is the same governor who warned us to not leave the state then vacationed in Florida with his family because the FLA governor is more understanding and reasonable with his restrictions. Then had the audacity to show up the following week sun burned from his vacation to lecture us for his weekly update. Practice what you preach.
Richard Snyder II – Either way I’ll be eating leftovers for Breckfast!!
Cheryl Lynn Waters – My fat but will be home on my sofa ! Y’all can spread if you want.
Anthony N Theresa Laxton – He said the people do nothing but he can do what he wants to bull crap.
Nicole Duncan – Why would we follow the advice of a governor that doesn’t follow the rules & guidelines he puts into place? Most of the time I just turn the channel, scroll past or totally ignore the hypocrite governor.
Linda Baird Bryant – We could all be dead tomorrow. Enjoy your family while they are still here. We will.
Sandra L Stephens – Having dinner with my family.
Debbie Perry Shelley – It’s ridiculous, it’s not going to happen at my house.
Mike Phillips – My thoughts are he can kiss my @$$
Kathy Dishman – Will be spending the day with my brothers and sisters families as we have been doing all along.
Spradlin Tommy – Nobody listens to king Andy

October 29th, 2020

To ‘celebrate’ or not to celebrate Halloween; that is the question

By Al Cross

As Halloween 2020 approaches, many families want to know if it’s safe to let their children go trick-or-treating in the middle of a pandemic. There is no easy answer to this question, but here is some expert advice on how to make the experience as safe as possible.
Step 1: Figure out how much health risk your household is comfortable assuming.
Do you live or regularly interact with people who are especially vulnerable to covid-19? Then you’ll want to err on the side of caution and consider staying in on Halloween. That’s always the safest option, of course, but there are still reasons some families might want to observe the High Holiday of American Children.
“Not having a routine really impacts kids, and as we come into the holidays, trick-or-treating and participating in Halloween activities can help kids with their minds,” Phoenix pediatrician Kristin Struble said in a recent Perspective article for The Washington Post.
Step 2: Try to figure out the general risk level in your community. Infection rates are trending up in most U.S. states right now, but what really matters are the specifics of your trick-or-treat route, which for most people will be their neighborhood. For example “the risk may be higher in a crowded apartment building than spread-out houses in the suburbs,” the article says.
What you really need is public-health data for your area, but this isn’t always easy or possible to find. Jon McGreevy, chief of pediatric emergency medicine at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, told The Post that some form of trick-or-treating would be acceptable so long as your community’s daily rate of positive tests does not exceed 10 percent.
Kentucky offers a regularly updated color-coded map that shows the coronavirus incidence rate in each county as well as a daily statewide positivity rate. Both can be found on
Step 3: After weighing the amount of covid-19 risk your family can afford to take on against your kids’ mental health and the infection level in your community, the Post offers some safety tips if you do go trick-or-treating:
Have kids wear a face mask. (Many costumes could easily incorporate one.)
Adhere to social-distancing guidelines by standing six feet apart.
Have a parent accompany children, regardless of age, to hold them accountable with mask-wearing and social distancing.
Avoid congregating around doorsteps and porches.
Use hand sanitizer after receiving candy from each house.
Do not eat candy while trick-or-treating: Parents should make certain hands are clean before kids start touching their faces and eating candy.
Make sure kids wash their hands as soon as they get home.
Have kids remove their costumes and shower.
No need to disinfect candy wrappers.
If you don’t, check out the article for suggestions from experts and parents to make Halloween a treat for your kids, even without the walkabout. They can still dress up and show off their costumes, for example! There are also tips for how to hand out candy without putting you or your neighbors at unnecessary risk.
Dr. Kevin Kavanagh, a retired Somerset physician who heads Health Watch USA, which focuses on infection control, reminded Kentuckians on the Jack Pattie Show on Lexington’s WVLK that just because an activity is outdoors doesn’t mean it’s safe. He noted that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has declared traditional trick-or-treating, in which treats are handed to children who go door to door, a high-risk activity.
Don’t think that wearing a Halloween mask, is going to protect you from the coronavirus, Kavanagh said. “If screaming will likely occur, greater distancing is advised,” he said. “The greater the distance, the lower the risk of spreading a respiratory virus.”
The CDC also advises against wearing both a regular mask and a costume mask: “Do not wear a costume mask over a cloth mask because it can be dangerous if the costume mask makes it hard to breathe. Instead, consider using a Halloween-themed cloth mask.”
The state Department for Public Health has issued Halloween safety guidance at
While children’s cases are often asymptomatic or less severe than adults, it’s important to remember that they can spread it to others unknowingly.
As of Oct. 8, more than 697,633 children had tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Children represented 10.7% of all cases. The report says between Sept. 24 and Oct. 8, there was a 13% increase in child cases.
As of Oct. 14, 12,950 Kentucky children between the ages of 1-19 have tested positive for the coronavirus, making up 15.8% of the total cases, according to the state health department.
The bottom line, there’s no easy answer to this question and whatever you choose will involve tradeoffs. But that’s life in a pandemic.

October 22nd, 2020

October 15th, 2020

October 8th, 2020

October 1st, 2020


Will you take the Covid-19 vaccine when it becomes available and why

Below are the responses from our facebook questions.

The opinions and views represented on this page are not necessarily those of the McCreary County Voice or its employees. If you have questions about our letters to the editor policies, or about submitting a letter for publication, feel free to give us a call at (606) 376-5500.

Serena Strunk – -Nope, nope, nope!
Chris Tucker – Serena Strunk why not. Lol

Betty Martinez – Yes.!!!! Vaccines are to safe your life from dangerous diseases..
Danny Myers – Sure, we take the flu shot, and other vaccines so what’s one more.
James Tucker Gambill – That’s a big HELL NO! I haven’t even had a flu shot in over 10 years.
Amy Wilson Dixon – Just like the flu shot! Not gonna happen!! Why get something that will give you what your not wanting to catch??

Mike Phillips – Not a snowballs chance in hell.
Megan D. Jones – Mike Phillips SAME.

Dottie Walker – No I’ve seen what the flu shot does to a lot of people so I and my family will not take it God bless everyone.
Nicole Duncan – No. I don’t take the flu vaccine either.
Sarah Maribeth Perry – Not unless I am forced to for some reason. I’ve never even had a flu shot.
Tammy Jones – No, and don’t take the flu shot either.
Veine Boggs – Probably not but would think about it After the government takes it and we see how many die but then I still doubt my family and I will be taking any covid related anything.
Heather Wilson – No because either way if God intends you to get it you will get it either way weather your out and about or sitting in your house.
Trish Taylor – Not a snowball’s chance in Hades. They can’t even get the regular flu shot to be more than 20% effective.
Skylar Vanderpool – More than likely. If there’s even a slight chance of it preventing the illness I’ll get it, just like how I’ve gotten the influenza vaccination every year the past three years & I’ve not gotten the flu since. I was getting it every year til I started getting the shot.
Debbie Meadows- No and Won’t get it for the kids either. We’ve never done the flu shots either.
Michael Buck – I never got the flu shot, I ain’t worried about it the 3 people I know who had covid said they felt like they had the flu, and I’ve had the flu I can handle it, they talk about elderly and sick dying from it, well look at how many elderly and sick that have died from the flu, its a POLITICAL MEDIA INDUCED problem.
Theresa Stephens – Nope!
Vicki Gilreath – Not unless my job requires it!!
Michelle Johnson Clark – no.
Castena Marie Clark – Nope!
Ralph Rebecca Blevins – Yes our family will take It.
Debbie Wilson-Phillips – No!
Alesha Tapley – NO to quick needs more testing.
Tiffani Morrow – Not unless forced by law or my job.
Connie New Stephens – Umm NO.
Col Derek L. Jones – No.
Renee Stephens – No.
Cindy Jeffers – No. I’ve seen where many doctors have listed out the pros & cons of it. It would hurt more than help.
Sandra L Stephens – NO.
Louise Gibson – Absolutely not! Because I don’t think its what the government wants us to think it is!
Myrtie Strunk – Nope.
Lisa M Perkins – NO!!!!!
Amanda Bryant Heath – NO.
Patricia Witt – No way.
Debbie Gibson – No way!!!
Tammie Patton-Nevels – NO.
Darlena Faye Smith – No.
Amy Roark Heath – No.
Regina Stephens Ball – Don’t think so!!!!
Ella Watters Stephens – No.
Kathelene Hamlin – No.
Angie Hardwick – No.
Dorothy Smiddy – No.
Debbie Taylor – Possibly because I am so tired of worrying about getting it.
Ronnie Clark – No cause it’s my choice.

Lisa Jones – No.
Sandy Kidd – No.
Sandra Jones – No.
Janie Warman – NO.
Dustin Vanderpool – Definitely will be!
Mellisa Salyer – No.
Marty Mathis – No.
Cheryl Ramey Strunk – Absolutely Not ….
Todd Privett – Never.
Kathy Crisp – No.
Michelle Gilreath – Nope absolutely not.
Stacey Tucker – No.
Dianna Sumner – Absolutely not.
Kellie Stephens King – NO.
Connie Roberts – NO NO.
Darren Gray – No!
Katrina Dewayne King – NO WAY.

Rama Wilson – No.
Carla Maxwell-Kidd – No.
Chelsea Douglas – Nope.
Linda Keebortz Sexton – Nope.
Vivian Keith – No.
Brian Watson – Nope.
Espinoza Chris – no.
Rita Meadows Haberly – No.
Heather Harness – Nope.
Linda Walden-Tucker – No.
Rebecca Lockhart Keith – Yes definitely.
Sandy Gilreath – No.
Rosetta Fay Phelps – No.
Rhonda Bolin – No.
Slaven Kay Joni – No i dont take flue shit wint ve doing any.
Erica Stevens – No! No! No!
Brenda Murphy – No.

Sept 24th, 2020

Do you plan to vote early at the Courthouse, by absentee, or in person on Election Day


Below are the responses from our facebook questions.

The opinions and views represented on this page are not necessarily those of the McCreary County Voice or its employees. If you have questions about our letters to the editor policies, or about submitting a letter for publication, feel free to give us a call at (606) 376-5500.

Loretta Jones – In person on election day.
Donna Lawson Cook – Loretta Jones have only two places to vote pine knot and firehouse in whitley.
Donna Lawson Cook – I will see you at the fire house right?
Loretta Jones – yes you will me and Paul doing courthouse too.
Donna Lawson Cook – love seeing you all.
Alecia Stephens – Courthouse.
Sherry Cook-Wilson – When does early voting start?
Sherry Cook-Wilson – October 13.
Wayne Phillips – Patsy and I will be voting early at the courthouse!
Ruth Carter – In person!! On Election Day.
Jackie Wilson – In person!!
Phyllis Smith- Ridner – Courthouse. My husband and I.
Amber Hogeland – In person on Election Day.
Sheila Tucker Gilreath – In person on Election Day.
Michelle Johnson Clark – In person.
Lydia Ross Wilson – In person on Election Day.
Rosetta Fay Phelps – Early at courthouse in person.
Courtney Thomas – In person on Election Day.
James Tucker Gambill – In person on election!
Lillian Frasure Taylor – In person.
Connie Ross – In person.
Jennifer Manning – In person.
Diana Winchester – Absentee.
Angie Kidd – In person.
Lisa Frye – In person.
Sherri King – In person
Heather Tucker – In person on Election Day.
Jennifer Freeman – In person.
Patricia Witt – In person on election day.
Chelsea Douglas – In person on Election Day.
Lauri Perry – In person on election day.
Veine Boggs – In person
Louise Gibson – Ele tonight day.
Imogene Thomas – In Person.
Pat Phillips – In person
Heather Hoover Hamner – In person.
Fran Branscum Gay – In person on election day.
Janet Leigh Gibson Clark – In person.
Casey Freeman – In person on election day.
Brenda Murphy – In person
Georgia Simpson – Early at courthouse in person.
Lesly Terry – Husband & I will vote early at courthouse.
Ella Thompson – In person only.
Kathy Dobbs – We will be voting at courthouse.
Karlie Morrow – In person most definitely.
Ashley Dawson – In person on Election Day.
Louise Gibson – Election day! Stupid phone.
Nicole Duncan – In person on Election Day!
Whitney Roark – Early.
Leslie Eldridge – In person on Election Day !!!! Go Trump 2020.
Cheryl Ramey Strunk – In person on Election Day…
Jenny Strunk – In person on Election Day!
Edwin Scottie Branscum – Yes. 3 is better than 1.
Lisa Jones – Absentee early
Trish Ball – Vote early at court house.
Kasey Higginbotham – In person.
Anna Duncan – In person
Michelle Daniel-Wainscott – In person!
Tammy Duncan – Yes absentee.
Jamie Hammond – By absentee.
Tracy Kidd Tolliver – In person.

Sept 17th, 2020

Have you noticed any differences in the county, if any, since the county legalized alcohol sales

Below are the responses from our facebook questions.

The opinions and views represented on this page are not necessarily those of the McCreary County Voice or its employees. If you have questions about our letters to the editor policies, or about submitting a letter for publication, feel free to give us a call at (606) 376-5500.

Beth M Boyle – I haven’t noticed any big changes but it’s still a bit early. In time we will see.
Dee Ball – I’m not positive, but, I think hell froze over and it shut the whole world down for the year.
Hahaha. Other than that, nothing changed.
Ashley Dawson – Dee Ball dilly, dilly
Alex VanOver – Dee Ball gold bud… I’m so proud of you right now hahaha.
Brenda Murphy – No , none
Larry Goldman King – I bet the bootleggers are walking around with sad faces. Who’s boy are you?, I know him how much you want? The Big Shots shut the little man down.
Michael Buck – No but this county needs to focus on more kid, teen, family business like a bowling alley, movie theater etc. You want more money to be spent in this county you need to have more family oriented businesses, instead of traveling to a different county to find those businesses and spending money outside this county. 13,804 out of the 17,000 people that live in this county are family’s with children and teens.
Col Derek L. Jones – Yes. Alcohol is generating much needed tax revenue for our County Govt.
Plus local business owners who are selling alcohol have invested into new construction to their businesses, which has generated new jobs and additional occupational tax revenue.
There has also been several new businesses open because of alcohol.
Instead of being vegetative about legal alcohol sales, let’s address the issues of Meth, illegal drug sales and the Vice Crimes that come with it and how we can combat it.
Charles Duncan – More likely fewer drunks driving greater distances while drunk.
Debbie Gibson – None as I seen
Loretta Jones – None
Angie Kidd – I heard someone say it was still cheaper to drive to Winfield. Idk first hand just heard that.
Espinoza Chris – The big question is how will the county spend the money generated from this tax revenue.
Leslie Eldridge – Espinoza Chris all in who needs a raise !!!
Espinoza Chris – the county is too poorly ran for any Gov official to get a raise.
Kathelene Hamlin – It would be good to how much revenue has been generated for our county.

Brandon David Singleton – Personally, I’d like to know numbers and what “Good” its doing for us? Until people with dreams and ambitions are heard louder than the people with $$$ doing nothing but lining their own pockets, this area will never do any better. I have spent the last 4 months reaching out to every person I can think of with an idea to bring greater things for youth to this community and… nothing. (We can blame it on COVID but we all have emails, text messages, or social media) Despite what so many think about this town, it’s actually full of talent and kids who want to be something. However, by the time they’re in high school, one of two things happens. 1.) They get out of here and make money elsewhere. 2.) The county “consumes” them.
Leslie Eldridge Brandon David Singleton Unless you have the right name or money in this county noting will ever be here. I have always been told their is one business owner that stops any and all thing to come in this county to make it better.
Sherry Cook-Wilson – Who honestly expected anything except the “ haves” having more and the “have nots” still struggling?

Sept 10th, 2020

Sept 3rd, 2020

August 13th, 2020

How worried are you about catching Covid-19

Below are the responses from our
facebook questions.

Amber Hogeland – 110% believe that it’s been here for months before March came. I’m 26 and in my whole life I’ve never got the flu.. this past winter I got it and so did my seven year old who also had never had the flu. I truthfully believe we got covid.We quarantined ourselves to a bedroom and my children didn’t visit their grandparents for two weeks because they have compromised immune systems.
Jimmy Staffey – I hadn’t had the flu in 30 years but got it in Jan. I also get the shot every year.
Amber Hogeland – I swear man I think it was the corona. I NEVER get sick.
Jimmy Staffey – Amber Hogeland Nor me.
Lisa Jones – Very worried you’d be crazy not to be.
Alesha Tapley – Lisa Jones ppl reply with a laugh if it comes home to them or their family they won’t laugh
Wanda Duncan – Lisa Jones God is bigger than this virus
Larry Goldman King – IIt takes a worried man to Sing a worried song
It takes a worried man to Sing a worried song
It takes a worried man to sing a worried song
I’m worried now, But I won’t be worried long, because it will all be gone come November Election Time!!
Chandra Dunagan – Larry Goldman King truth!!!
Hap Strunk – Not worried. I refuse to live my life scared to die
Debbie Shotwell Poynter – Hap Strunk me too
Dwight Davis – Hap Strunk right got ready to die long time ago, now I live without fear of death
Vanessa Kidd Roysdon – Hap Strunk I’m with you. I’m ready to die, I’m not afraid to die, ready when my Lord is ready.
Hap Strunk – Vanessa Kidd Roysdon I’m in no hurry , but I’m ready
Vanessa Kidd Roysdon – Hap Strunk I’m with you. I want to enjoy my family, but I’m ready when God’s ready for me.
Kathy Dishman – Worried for myself and husband ,and now that school is starting back I really worry about our children and grandchildren, I think if they start school back at this point that their may be alot of sickness or death in the children.
Alesha Tapley – Kathy Dishman and adults it will be packed home to parents/grandparents
Kathy Dishman – Alesha Tapley yes, exactly right.
AllenFreda Neal – I’m worried about it because I don’t want any of my family to get it and I am a diabetic and I don’t to be sick! I don’t worry about it killing me because I’m going to a better place when I die! I know the media may blow it up but we need to take it serious!
Ester Wolfe Gaul – Not worried about the disease only that someone at work will be positive and force me to be off losing money.
Sandra L Stephens – Not at all
Jeffery Wilson- I have my concerns, but I refuse to believe that this is bigger than the flu pandemic of 1918.
The mask mandates are unnecessary. The amount of CO2 that is being trapped in the mask and inhaled back into the lungs will cause a compromise immunity among other damages to the body.
Governor Beshear needs to consult PPE experts before making outlandish claims. The mask does not prevent you from catching this virus. It prevents an infected person from transmission to others.
My advise is to wash your hand, limit your exposure, and if you test positive for COVID-19, stay home.
Sarah Elizabeth Shepherd – Very worried, considering my Dad’s friend died from COVID. This is a very serious situation. It is very scary that the majority of you aren’t taking it seriously. I sure hope you, someone you know, or a loved one doesn’t contract this deadly virus…….
Anna GracelynnGarrison Spradlin – Not very worried. But am worried for my special needs daughter but we worry with any simple cold with her. I believe their is a virus but more so the flu and this will all disappear after the election
Hopefully anyways, cause if this is the new normal. It sucks.
Tammy N Tylor Hill – Everyone in my house and my mother in laws house all got sick way before March we all felt the same just like a flu and cold out together but it lasted for little over 2 weeks all went to doc and got tested for the flu an strep nothing but we all felt
Trey Phillips – Not a worry in the world with a cold Pepsi in my hand
Brooke Feltner – Not at all.. This will be over in November .. Trump 2020
Katie Stephens – All in Gods hands! Not living my life in fear!
Kelsie Ball – Not at all
Debbie Wilson-Phillips – Not worried!
Lisa Frye – I have concerns!!! But I will try to live my life as normal as possible!
Julie Genoe – No I’m more worried wearing masks are gonna make everyone sick
Courtney Thomas – Not worried at all!
Rosetta Fay Phelps – I am not worried I refuse to be because my God is bigger.
Tammie Patton-Nevels – I’m very concerned.
Beverly Shook Tammie – Patton-Nevels me too
Alesha Tapley – Anyone that knows anything about it should be
Lydia Ross Wilson – Not even worried
Lisa Ball – Not at all.
Melissa Maxwell – I hadn’t been worried about it until someone I love was exposed. It’s a different feeling then. I’m not going to let it control my life, just praying for God’s protection.
Sarah Maribeth Perry – Not at all.
Tawnie Stephens – I used to be very worried, now I’m over it and want the “crisis and panic” about it to end.
Daniel C. Ball – Nope I have the Lord watching over me.
Sherri Bullock – Not worried at all.
Allie Jones – Not at all
Destiny Worley – At this point I’m less worried about the virus and far more worried about how we are being “controlled.” Stores/restaurants can turn you away for not covering your face, we cant take our kids to movie theaters or anything fun, places are refusing to accept cash, etc. Not to mention there has been talk of a curfew being set. I often wander if life will EVER return to normal. That’s the scary part for me. I’m not saying the virus itself isnt real or that it isnt dangerous for some, because it is. I just dont think it’s as bad as what the media makes it out to be.
Brenda Murphy – Not worried
Josh Chitwood – Not at all worried..
Rachel Barnett – Not at all worried
Tabitha Grundy Thornbrough – 0%
Wanda Duncan – Not
Kassie Allen – No.
It’s as simple as this….wash your hands, if your sick stay home. It’s people not using common sense and out running around after being positive that is putting immunocompromised individuals at risk for hospitalization or death. Well/healthy people should not be wearing masks. They are gross and they will not prevent you from catching a virus. They are only harboring bacteria on your face and forcing your oxygen level to drop from breathing in your own carbon dioxide.
Debbie Wilson Phillips – Kassie Allen – agree!
Tammy Jones Kassie Allen – absolutely agree!!! I did comply with the mask wearing rules at Somerset Community College and all I could do is mess with it so why would I want to wear something that I keep touching my face…stupid!!!
Ryan West – Personally I am not at all concerned. If I have a mask on it is only to possibly prevent me passing the virus on unknowingly to someone that perhaps would not fair as well as myself. Follow common sense hygiene practices. If you are sick stay home. Put your mask on and go sand some drywall. It will not take long for you to see that the mask itself is very limited. I know many people that have been exposed and a few who have contracted, or at least tested positive, for whatever that is worth. The govenor of Ohio tested positive, then basically tested negative the next day, stated he felt confident in the negative result. So, really what is the accuracy of the tests. Obviously, it is a new disease, we cant expect the tests to be perfect. That is why doctors on “practice” medicine. If I get it and die, I die. If a famiy or friend gets it and dies, that will be unfortunate. But the impact on the current and future economy, and the acceleration of a complete global collapse will have far worse ramifications for the billions of people that survive the disease only to starve to death later. Who do you think is going to have to pay the bill for all this stimulus and unemployment? The taxpayer. Or maybe we will sell some more of the country to China. With a national debt of 26 trillion dollars, it would appear that a long line of elected officials have ran the country out of business many, many, years ago. Perhaps eventually Jeff Bezos will just buy the country and run it as efficiently as he does Amazon. If you want to wear a mask, wear a mask. If you do not want to wear a mask, don’t wear a mask. I’m not passing judgment either way. I feel that anyone is more likely to die in car wreck after you just went shopping with your mask on. It a deadly disease but, what isn’t. Living in constant fear is constantly failing to live. At this point, I am completely over COVID-19.

August 6th, 2020

July 30th, 2020

July 23rd, 2020

Kids, Jobs, Healthcare: McConnell on
Major Pillars for Next COVID-19 Proposal

‘“The American people cannot completely stop building their lives until a vaccine is available. The United States of America was not built for a defensive crouch. We need to stand up an educational system and an economy that works for workers and families in the meantime. We need to find the right middle ground that is smart and safe, but also more sustainable.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding coronavirus legislation:
“Our nation stands at a crucial midway point in our battle against this terrible virus. The heroism of healthcare professionals, essential workers, and families from coast to coast got our nation through a springtime like no other.
“Communities across America put normal life on pause to buy breathing room for our medical system. We essentially had to winterize the world’s largest economy for weeks on end, and spare our people as much of the resulting pain as possible.
“The task was historic – and so was the Senate’s response. We wrote and passed the CARES Act, the largest rescue package in American history. Our legislation helped pull both our health system and our economy back from the brink.
“Tens of millions of jobs were saved. The hallways of our hospitals did not become Italy. The Senate’s leadership helped the nation endure the first phase of this.
“But this crisis is far from over.
“The virus that has claimed 140,000 American lives has not gone anywhere. As some places step back towards normalcy, infections are climbing again in hot spots across the country.
“The start of our economic recovery has been sharp and impressive. But in absolute terms, we have still just begun to pick up the pieces. Our progress so far has been encouraging, but it remains fragile and far from sufficient.
“I would argue that our country’s job now is even more complex than it was in March.
“Now, as then, we need to keep our health system robust. But now, instead of locking down the country to do it, we want to stand up a society that functions somewhat more normally at the same time.
“The American people cannot completely stop building their lives until a vaccine is available. The United States of America was not built for a defensive crouch. We need to stand up an educational system and an economy that works for workers and families in the meantime. We need to find the right middle ground that is smart and safe, but also more sustainable.
“Another historic set of challenges. And another opportunity for the United States Senate to deliver.
“For weeks now, I have made it clear that further legislation out of the Senate will be a serious response to this crisis. We won’t be wasting the American people’s time like the House Democrats, with their multi-trillion-dollar proposal to hike taxes on small businesses, cut taxes for blue-state millionaires, and send diversity detectives into the cannabis industry.
“I’ve said we will start with the facts and develop real, targeted solutions on the subjects that matter most to American families.
“Well, it turns out that means three things:
“Kids. Jobs. And healthcare.
“Surveys show the American people’s top priorities for reopening are childcare and K-12 schools.
“This country wants its kids back in the classroom this fall – learning, exploring, making friends. Their educations depend on it. In some cases, their safety depends on it. And so do the livelihoods of working parents.
“The American Academy of Pediatrics stated unambiguously that our goal must be in-person instruction. But of course, parents, teachers, and doctors all agree that it has to be as safe as possible.
“That’s where the Senate comes in.
“This majority is preparing legislation that will send $105 billion so that educators have the resources they need to safely reopen. That is more money than the House Democrats set aside for a similar fund, by the way.
“And that’s in addition to support for childcare needs. It’s amazing how you can find room to fund serious priorities when you take a pass on the far-left daydreams.
“Second — the economic slowdown that has hurt millions and millions of Americans.
“Before this crisis, we’d never had 7 million Americans receiving unemployment at the same time. Today, we have 17 million. More than a million people have filed new unemployment claims every single week for more than four months now.
“The American job market needs another shot of adrenaline. Senate Republicans are laser-focused on getting American workers their jobs back.
“Our bill takes several specific incentives to hire and retain workers and turn the dials on those policies way up.
“The legislation will help reimburse for safe workplaces, so that Main Street can afford the PPE, testing, cleaning, or remodeling to protect workers and entice customers.
“The ingenuity and spirit of America’s small businesses is impossible to overstate. But they still face a tough road. With the majority of businesses expected to exhaust their initial Paycheck Protection Funding this summer, we’ll also be proposing a targeted second round of the PPP with a special eye toward hard-hit businesses.
“And speaking of building on what worked in the CARES Act, we want another round of direct payments to help American families keep driving our national comeback.
“Helping to create more American jobs is an urgent moral priority — and these are just some of the policies we are discussing that will help that happen.
“In addition to kids and jobs, our third major focus is healthcare. The reason is obvious. If we lose control of the virus, or if research stalls, then everything else will be window dressing.
“Our proposal will dedicate even more resources to the fastest race for a new vaccine in human history, along with diagnostics and treatments.
“Our bill will also protect seniors from a potential spike in premiums. And the federal government will continue to support hospitals, providers, and testing.
“These are just some of the elements that Senate Republicans are discussing among ourselves and with the administration. But there is one more central proposal that ties kids, jobs, and healthcare all together.
“As I have said for months, the next recovery package will include strong legal protections for the healthcare workers who saved strangers’ lives and the schools, colleges, charities, and businesses that want to reopen.
“The American people will not see their historic recovery efforts gobbled up by trial lawyers who are itching to follow this pandemic with a second epidemic of frivolous lawsuits.
“Gross negligence will still be actionable, but we’re creating a safe harbor for institutions that make a good-faith effort to follow the guidelines available to them.
“Doctors and nurses clearly deserve this protection. And school districts, universities, nonprofits, and small businesses will need it, too, if we want any genuine reopening at all.
“The legislation that I have begun to sketch out is neither another CARES Act to float the entire economy, nor a typical stimulus bill for a nation that’s ready to get back to normal.
“Our country is in a complex middle ground between those two things. We can’t go back to April, and we can’t snap our fingers and finish the vaccine overnight. We need to carve out a “new normal.”
“So Senate Republicans are continuing to discuss these and other ideas among our conference and with the Administration. This majority will be laying down another historic proposal very soon.
“But here in the Senate, an outcome will require bipartisan discussions.
“I do not believe there will be anything in our bill that our Democratic colleagues should not happily support. But we will stand ready and eager to work together and produce a bipartisan outcome.
“As I said yesterday, in March, the Senate gave an historic master class in how to pass major bipartisan legislation.
“The CARES Act, the largest rescue package ever, was drafted by Republicans, promptly negotiated across the aisle with Democrats, and then passed urgently without a single dissenting vote.
“But last month, in June, we recorded a master class in how not to make a law. Instead of amending Senator Tim Scott’s JUSTICE Act, our Democratic colleagues flat-out blocked it. They filibustered the issue of police reform altogether.
“Well, for the sake of America’s kids, jobs, and healthcare, let’s hope our Democratic friends bring their bipartisan urgency and good faith to this process, and leave the partisan poses behind.
“The Senate has led every step of this crisis.
“We need to rise to the task one more time.”

July 16th, 2020

July 9th, 2020

July 2nd, 2020

Do you approve or have any concerns of the new hires in the school district?

Below are the responses from our
facebook questions.

Victoria Smith – Why does everyone turn a blind eye to our school system hiring in child predators.

Codey Smith – I don’t know if I can let my children go to school here growing up. The hiring process obviously has no morals and it’s embarrassing to the community that knows what’s going on and we all see what’s overlooked over and over.

L.A. Henry – I’m still trying to figure out why a teacher that I know personally is “let go” due to cut backs. Who is certified in many areas, and super good with kids. She specializes in early childhood learning, (preschool teacher) but yet they turn around and hire new ones. This family struggles enough as it is, now she is jobless. Just don’t understand

Deronda Sears – I am not in your County, however being a school district employee for over two decades, your post jumped out at me. These are my opinions on the issue.
1. It doesn’t matter who is hired because as I have personally witnessed, those who hire, make the decision regardless of what colleagues or community thinks. It happens, I have seen it happen.
2.There will be people hired with absolutely zero training or experience in the area for which they are hired. It happens. I have seen it happen.
3. People will be hired based on friendships with others in “especially” administrative and supervisory positions. It happens, I have seen it happen.
4. The “board” supposedly cannot involve themselves in personnel issues, whether it is hiring or pink slips. Which give far too much freedom to others including superintendents.
5. As far as license and certifications in areas for which people are hired, again, depends on “who is doing the hiring” and “who has been promised a job”. It happens, I have seen it happen.
As far as questioning or making your concerns known, etc., it is often a waste of time. The “good ole boy” system usually runs as deep at the local level as it does at the state and national levels. Best advice, is to be vocal, attend board meetings, question all decisions. Keep questioning over and over. Don’t believe everything you are told especially when people are replaced, moved, pink slipped, etc.
Then if you are still not satisfied, there is always OEA and KSBA. They are always there to answer questions. And I applaud this newspaper!!! This is a step in the right direction. Wish others in small towns would do the same.

June 25th, 2020

An Imperfect Nation Built By Imperfect Heroes Is Still the Most Perfect Union the World Has Ever Seen”

The United States of America can and should have nuanced conversations about our complex past. We can and should have discussions about our future. We can and should have peaceful protests. But this lawlessness serves none of that.’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding statue mobs:
“Two weeks ago, I argued that civil discourse in America faces a crossroads.
“A major newspaper had buckled under pressure from a social media mob. They apologized profusely for publishing a policy argument from a U.S. Senator and made personnel changes to prove their penitence.
“I said we can either recommit to our tradition of reasoned debate or let angry mobs run our culture.
“Well, recent days have reminded us it is not just our present-day debates that far-left radicals want to overwhelm. They also want to rewrite our past.
“Back in 2017, when people wondered whether the far left would be satisfied with understandable conversations over Confederate statues, major newspapers and media figures literally mocked that worry. They said there were obvious differences between rebel generals and our nation’s founders. The mobs would never come for them.
“Well, the far left missed the memo.
“A few days ago, in Portland, Oregon, a mob graffitied a statue of our first President, pulled it down, and burned an American flag over his head. This is George Washington.
“Another Washington statue was defaced in Baltimore.
“A statue of Thomas Jefferson was ripped down in Portland also.
“This is the general and first President who built our nation, and the author of the Declaration of Independence. Genius statesmen who helped begin this grand experiment that has brought freedom to hundreds of millions and saved the world a few times for good measure.
“And yet a crazy fringe is treating their monuments like vanity statues of tinhorn tyrants. Our founding fathers are being roped to the ground like they were Saddam Hussein.

“The list goes on.

“Saint Junipero Serra — the missionary settler whom Pope Francis celebrated here in Washington a few years ago, to bipartisan applause. He sided with native people over soldiers.
“Ulysses S. Grant — the general who crushed the Confederacy. The president who used federal force to fight the Klan.
“They, too, have been placed on the historical hit list for this new Red Guard that nobody elected. More monuments toppled up and down the West Coast.
“There could be no clearer sign that these far-left radicals have severed any connection to the righteous cause of racial justice. They have literally tried to succeed where Robert E. Lee failed and bring General Grant to the ground.
“Now, like any Cultural Revolution, this far-left anger is sparing some heroes of their own. I understand that in Seattle, a large statue of Vladimir Lenin stands quite untouched.
“Apparently, people claim with a straight face that this Communist statue has survived because it is located – wait for it – on private property!
“So the founding father of the mass-murdering Soviet Union watches over Seattle streets, but our own founding fathers are dragged in dirt.
“A small slice of our national elite has spent years cooking up highfalutin theories to justify the cheapest, basest forms of anti-Americanism. The absurd claim that America’s deepest founding principle is bigotry has escaped the ivory tower and begun seeping into society.
“The United States of America can and should have nuanced conversations about our complex past. We can and should have discussions about our future. We can and should have peaceful protests.
“But this lawlessness serves none of that. It is just an alliance of convenience between angry criminals who think it’s fun to wreak havoc… and a slice of elite society that profits off saying our country is evil and deserves the abuse.

“Enough. Enough.

“The vast majority of Americans know full well that imperfect heroes are still heroes; that our imperfect union is still the greatest nation in world history.

“Americans know our imperfect framers built our nation on moral truths that have fueled improvement beyond anything their generation could have built themselves.
“The American people know this. And they also know that we cannot let angry mobs carrying rope act outside the rule of law.
“It was central to the 14th Amendment and the Civil Rights movement that law enforcement and local authorities may not do their jobs selectively.
“If “equal protection of the laws” means anything, it means mayors and governors cannot selectively stand down because they would rather not pay the political price for confronting a particular mob.
“But that is precisely what we’re seeing in Democratic-governed cities across the country.

“In Seattle, for weeks now, a mayor has let bands of people ban police from several square blocks. People have been shot. A teenager has died.
“But apparently, stopping this insanity has been deemed less politically correct than letting it continue.
“Night after night, governors and mayors have stood down and watched criminals spray-paint churches and topple statues. Public order is now totally optional and depends on the lawbreakers’ politics.
“Here in Washington, last night, local police protected one monument from a memorial-hunting mob near the White House.
“It is past time for that courage to be replicated in every city, every night, until Americans have the peace and the rule of law that every citizen deserves.
“It is no surprise that people who want to say our country is intrinsically evil are so frantic to erase history that they’ll break the law to do it.
“Erasing history is the only way their claims could carry any water.
“Americans know that an imperfect nation built by imperfect heroes is still the most perfect Union the world has ever seen.

“We are proud to build statues of the geniuses who fought to found this country.
“We are proud to build statues of the leaders who’ve preserved it.
“We are proud to build statues of prophetic civil rights leaders who made the country confront gross injustice.
“We thank God that all kinds of imperfect people have made us a more perfect union.
“And when the dust settles, it is never the mobs or bullies whom we honor. It is the brave leaders who confront them.”

May 21st, 2020

May 14th, 2020

May 7th, 2020

Enough is Enough!

Have you found yourself questioning the varying degrees of the lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic? It doesn’t make sense that a few stores are left open and others closed. Look at Walmart, selling not only groceries but clothing, shoes, health and beauty, electronics, some furniture and small appliances, garden equipment, seeds, plants and lawnmowers. At the same time independent and chain businesses that sell clothing or shoes, lawn mowers and gardening centers are closed.
All these businesses sell the same items as Walmart but they are deemed non-essential. Crowds of people continue to shop the big box stores, as they were deemed essential. People, for the most part, practice safe distancing and more have been wearing face masks. So, if it is okay to shop with a lot of people at large grocery stores and big boxes like Walmart, why isn’t it okay to shop elsewhere? Something is wrong with this equation. It looks as if winners and losers were chosen. A lot of these small businesses will not be able to re-open.
At the same time churches are not allowed to have in person services of any kind. One church in Kentucky took the Governor’s executive order to court and won the right to conduct drive-in services, all while practicing safe distancing. This is an example of government over reach. (See the first amendment of the Constitution) People are questioning some of the Governor’s executive orders, and rightfully so.
The parks and lakes should be opening this week. It has been hard to understand why families could not go hiking or fishing. Science has proven sunlight kills the virus and outdoor exercise is good for your mental health. If you are with your family, who you have been cooped up with for weeks, who are you exposing to the virus? Were we protecting the bears and fish?
Attorney General Cameron has joined a lawsuit against Governor Beshear’s order banning out of state travel. For counties adjoining another state, traveling to and from those states is an everyday occurrence for work or shopping. Quarantining after each trip for 14 days is not practical. Cameron joined the lawsuit brought by a northern Kentucky woman and stated, “The governor’s travel ban impermissibly violates the fundamental right of every Kentuckian to interstate travel.”
Openings and closings should be determined by the data and zip code. Unfortunately, Kentucky has been slow in testing and making testing sites available. Kentucky has conducted 60,400 tests with 5,822 covid cases and 275 deaths. By comparison, Tennessee has tested over 212,000 with 13,502 cases and 226 deaths. With so few tests conducted statewide our number of positives will probably continue to rise and give a false elevation of positive cases and not actual data from the beginning in March.
One size does not fit all as demonstrated by the differences in the number of cases in each county. Rural counties have much fewer cases than the larger metropolitan areas of Lexington, Louisville, etc. McCreary County currently has zero positive cases. The majority of Kentucky counties have 0 – 10 Covid-19 cases. Other states are easing restrictions on areas that have little to no cases of the virus while maintaining restrictions on the hot spots. Kentucky should do the same.
Most people have been practicing safe public guidelines and using common sense. Government orders should be practical and take into consideration the different areas affected or unaffected when easing restrictions. Government should also trust the citizens of this area to act as responsible adults capable of opening and operating their businesses safely. Ultimately, it is the people who are responsible for their actions and health.

April 30th, 2020

April 23rd, 2020

April 16, 20

April 9, 2020

April 2, 2020

Don’t be fooled by fake cures and scams

The snake oil salesmen and phishing scams are working overtime to take advantage of people in this pandemic. Naturally people are frightened of the virus and uncertain about the future, but, don’t let your guard down.

The FBI is warning about fake CDC emails that contain malware if you click on a link or open an attachment. Phishing emails asking for personal information in return for a check from the government. Also, fake treatments and equipment such as cleaning materials, masks and cures they will sell you and take your personal information.

Amazon has taken down hundreds of items from its site purporting to cure the coronavirus.  The CDC has not approved a home test kit, a home cure or vaccine.  Nor has the CDC validated miracle cures and preventatives that are widely touted on Facebook.

Some of the preventatives on Facebook can be dangerous to your health and a few have proven to be lethal. Some of the advice is just downright stupid.  If you really want to know how to stay safe go to or the CDC website. The most important thing to remember is do not touch your face and wash your hands often.

So, before you fall victim to one of these scams or try a preventive measure on Facebook use the common sense God gave you and stop and think about the message, text or email you received.  If it is coronavirus related ignore it and delete it.

We all want to stay healthy in this troubling time and we don’t want to be scammed.  Stay safe, follow the health guidelines and we’ll get through this.

March 26, 2020

We are all in this together

In this new reality of social distancing, quarantines and shut-downs, we – not only as McCreary Countians but as Americans – are having to struggle with fear and uncertainty over what happens next.

We are bombarded daily with updated numbers on virus cases, and sadly deaths, as well as requests from our government asking us to stay home and avoid gatherings.

It gets a little overwhelming.

While this new era has only been in effect for a couple of weeks, families are struggling to deal with the new reality. Many have been laid off or seen a drastic reduction in income. Relief has been promised by our leaders in Washington, but it remains to be seen in what shape that relief will come and when it will arrive.

It is also important to remember that these times are hurting our small businesses as well. The convenience stores on the corner, the local coffee shops, the mom-and-pop restaurants, retail and thrift stores, and many, many others are feeling the same pinch as your families are. Possibly even more so as they not only have families to feed, but also employees who rely on a regular paycheck, rent and utility bills and shelves to fill.

In troubling times there is a need for familiarity, seeing friendly faces and having some sort of normalcy in your life.

That is why we suggest remembering those small business owners and doing what you can to continue to support them. Order take out for dinner one night, contact the store via phone or social medial to order some of their products for pick-up or delivery. Every little bit can help.

Until this crisis passes, as it certainly will, look out for each other as best you can. Check on your neighbor to see if they need any help, donate to worthy local causes such as food pantries and churches organizing food drives, or just pray for guidance and support.

Remember, we are all in this together. If we stand strong as a community we will rise from this stronger than ever.

A message to our readers

We, the staff at the McCreary County Voice, will strive to continue to provide you with as much news and information we can during this time.

As you may know, a newspaper relies on advertisers and subscribers to generate the revenue that allows us to print each week. With more and more businesses shuttered (hopefully temporarily) the advertisements become harder and harder to come by. That is why the next few issues may have fewer pages than you normally see.

We are doing our best to provide you with all the important information you need about the ongoing health crisis, as well as local news and happenings. We have also added extra pages of family-friendly activities on our Newspapers In Education pages to help ease the monotony of being stuck at home day and night.

We are still on the job reporting to you as news happens on facebook, in print and on our website.

We, like you, hope things return to normal soon.

March 19th, 2020

March 12th, 2020

March 5th, 2020

February 27th, 2020

February 20th, 2020

February 13th, 2020

February 6th, 2020

McCreary County 2019 – State of the County

As the current administration heads in to its second year of office, McCreary County Judge Executive Jimmie Greene submitted a “State of the County” address. In it he details events and challenges encountered in his first year of office, and speaks of opportunities and achievements made – not only from his office, but all county offices under his watch. We present the address here in its entirety.

I would like to give an overview of this new Administration thus far after one year. There have been many challenges and accomplishments. When I speak of this Administration I am only speaking of the responsibilities or joint efforts of the Judges Office/Fiscal Court, or those entities that come under their authority.
* In January we had a government shutdown that adversely affected this county. Our Water District had to extend credit to several Government entities that amounted to tens of thousands of dollars. Many of the Federal workers were furloughed which directly affected this county’s occupational tax collections and hurt local businesses that dealt with these government offices.
* In April the Department of Agriculture announced that they would be closing over a third of the Civilian Conservation Centers, including the one at Pine Knot. This office met with Pine Knot Job Corps director and key personnel and initiated a meeting with stakeholders including Congressman Rogers, Senator Paul’s and McConnell’s offices and other key individuals, including Kenneth Barclay and Larry King of the center. Along with the support of these individuals, literally dozens of McCreary County citizens voiced their concerns and feelings on this matter. The closure of the Center would have adversely affected this county in many ways. The contributions through the years in free labor in everything from carpentry, brick laying, trash pickup, event OJ, and food service were invaluable. The economic effect would have also been felt as they have a budget of over $4 million dollars and purchase many goods from local businesses. This also would have had an impact on Occupational Tax funds.
* Bryan Mills, Field Representative for Senator Rand Paul, attended our first Fiscal Court Meeting in January. From this meeting we ultimately had a Roundtable Hearing before the Federal Spending Oversight and Emergency Management Subcommittee of the Committee of Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs in April that was chaired by Senator Paul. This would be the first such meeting of its kind since the formation of the Big South Fork Recreation Area some 46 years ago. The purpose of this meeting was to foster a better relationship between the Federal Government (National Park Service and US Forest Service) and to explore possibilities to improve the economic impact from these Government lands. From this meeting, the relationships between these Federal Government entities and Local Government are much improved, and we have partnered together to make positive changes and find solutions.
* When our contract ran out with Knox/Whitley Humane Society in June we awarded the contract to our local Animal Protection League. This has provided some local jobs and cut down on transporting costs.
* Poft Carting sold out to Waste Connections in May. We strived hard to reach the 4200-participant level in order to receive franchise fees (Which we were going to use for more cleanups and to help the elderly/disabled with their garbage bills), but seemingly kept running into roadblocks as names were deleted from the rolls. We worked with both sanitation companies to offer several amnesties to give citizens who weren’t paying their garbage bills a chance to get back on track, and we hired the first ever Code Enforcement Officer. We don’t feel like this new partnership got off to a good start, as they closed our Transfer Station in August (which was only open one day a week), but we are hopeful to build a better relationship in the future. In April we also had, for the first time in many years, a Free Bulk Dump Day. Over 48 hours of time was donated by volunteers and the Dump Day was a huge success as residents filled 5 dumpsters and 31 truckloads of waste were taken to the Landfill. The Tire Amnesty Days were also a huge success with thousands of tires being collected. Your Litter Abatement Manager Cody Vanover has been very busy as cardboard collections have increased significantly. Additional help will be coming on board soon.
* In December after a vote for McCreary County to sell alcohol, we compiled and passed an Alcohol Ordinance in 60 days as required by the state. We also hired the first ever ABC Administrator (Brenda Blevins) and clerk (Geraldine Laxton). That month we also passed a resolution supporting our 2nd Amendment rights.
EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY DIRECTOR/CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: (Stephen McKinney) worked with Austin Price on several criminal littering cases and is pursuing several more. He is also working on an environmental case. He coordinated the FEMA State of Emergency for flooding to include the Wolf Creek Slide in January. He continues to take training classes and perform exercises to meet his requirements through EMA. He also was instrumental in obtaining the information necessary to form our Alcohol Ordinance and has been a key resource there.
ROAD DEPARTMENT: (Roger Moore) Purchased two new Kubota tractor/mowers, a tire changer, and wheel balancer. The fuel tanks were cleaned and evaluated. A new fuel system is in the works. A new Box Culvert was installed on Old Bailey Road. Over 500 miles of road were maintained to included cleaning culverts, road ditching, pothole patching, grading, and graveling. New roads were paved with Discretionary Funds from the state to include Jones Hollow, Murphy Ridge, Coal Pit Road, and Jones Hollow. These roads are in addition to other roads that were paved through FLEX funds. Several roads needed emergency repairs with more scheduled through FEMA because of the heavy rains last winter. Additional paving will begin in the spring.
EMS/911: (Jimmy Barnett) Our Ambulance Service continues with another record-breaking year. 278 accidents, 2,290 medical calls, 436 cardiac, 48 strokes, and 14 obstetric calls for a total of 4565 runs, with 242,221 miles driven. Additional revenue is generated by their non-emergency runs. A fund is also established to refurbish a new ambulance each year and over $1 million dollars in grants have been obtained by this department, which has been instrumental in providing state of the art equipment and always receiving up to date training. EMS remodeling efforts are underway currently to update the Ambulance Service building to make it more efficient and provide for even better service. 911 Services continues to constantly update roads and signs. They have implemented the county’s first Text to 911 system. They are normally the first line of First Responders and are so very critical in getting proper help on the way.
MCCREARY COUNTY PARK: (includes Sandhill Camp) (Melissa Vanover) McCreary County Youth Baseball, Senior Citizens Center, Splash Pad, Basketball, Walking Trails, County Fair, Blazin Bluegrass Festival, Homecomings, Birthdays, Weddings, Family Reunions, and more. This year will also see the first ever Horse-Riding Trail Event in April. This event is already garnering huge interest. The Park is heavily utilized and a tremendous asset to the county.
TAX ADMINISTRATOR: (Stephanie Tucker) This office handles your Occupational Taxes, Business Licenses and Net Profit License Fees. She also monitors quarterly tax filings. Stephanie reconciles financial reports and auditing records. She also reconciles cash activity and completes financial reports and auditing records. She has instituted new procedures to collect on delinquent taxes.
TOURISM: (Michelle Perry) Nathan, Michelle and several others hosted a booth at the Kentucky State Fair for the first time in 4 years to promote our county. Michelle and several others formed a committee and brought back the McCrearyFest parade. She also coordinated the WinterFest parade and Christmas tree lighting. She sits on four boards representing the Tourist Commission, she also works with the National Park Service, Forest Service, Stearns Kentucky Trail Town, Heritage Foundation, Chamber of Commerce, PRIDE cleanups, and more. She has set up three booths in surrounding counties to hand out information, Swag Bags, and other giveaways. She is always promoting McCreary County whether it be on social media, handing out brochures (22,000 in 2019), attending Regional Workshops, or helping organize more than a dozen events and volunteering at 20 more.
COUNTY MAINTENANCE: (Rick Stephens) Besides maintaining all county properties (Library, Park, Courthouse, Ambulance Service, Road Garage, Liter Abatement facility, Drug Court, etc.) They have started on a major cleanup of the Courthouse yard, sidewalks, and landscaping. They also built steps for the Drug Court office, built a Splash pad maintenance building, and made the converted the Splash pad to a self-contained recycling system that has drastically slashed our water bill.
COUNTY CUSTODIAN: (Wayne Simpson) Wayne and his staff keep the Courthouse and grounds free of trash/debris and do a great job of keeping our facilities clean.
JAIL/TRANSPORT: (Jessie Hatfield) Transports to Jail/court/Hospitals and other states totaled 996 total trips and 2,347 Inmates in 2019. A 2018 fifteen passenger Chevy Transport Van was purchased this year and a couple of cruisers will be purchased as soon as possible. Cameras will be installed in all Jail Transport Vehicles and additional training will be required for all transport officers. We are working with Knox County to hopefully house our inmates there soon.
ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER: (Milford Creekmore) He answered over 1100 calls last year and picked up 360 dogs and 19 cats. In addition, he answered dozens of calls concerning livestock being loose and a score of other animal complaints.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR/DEPUTY JUDGE (Nathan Nevels) During our recent audit it was stated that the Revolving Loan Program is “in the best shape it ever has been.” We have made 4 new loans to start new businesses or expand businesses. Two more loans are in progress. Nathan has coordinated with County Attorney Austin Price to act against those who are delinquent on previous loans. Nathan works closely with the Industrial Development Authority Board (IDA) on updating the Spec Building and reaching out to prospective tenants. Nathan has attended three grant trainings in the past year. Several have already paid off, such as the one with TCAT which will benefit teaching positions in McCreary County. Other Trainings and Conferences have led to valuable connections with Tourism including working with a committee to get a regional tourism visitors center with the Kentucky Wildlands initiative. Nathan has obtained the following grants:
$20,000 for SPEC building repairs.
$25,000 for a promotional grant for brochures and a new website for the SPEC building and our county.
He and Stephen McKinney also received the Box Culvert Grant to replace the old culvert on Old Bailey Road from Governor Bevin’s Bridging Kentucky funds ($50,000).
$20,400 For two additional recycling trailers for Litter Abatement/Recycling.
There are also several millions of dollars in Grants that have been submitted and have been, or are in the process of being awarded to McCreary County. These include projects in the revitalization of Stearns, OVC, Fibrotex, and Water District projects. Nathan also attends the Tourism Board meetings and has been elected chair of the Stearns Trail Town Committee. He also serves on the local community college’s Education Foundation. He is also involved in so much more, and he’s always promoting McCreary County!
MAGISTRATES: (Bill Hale, Roger Phillips, Bobby Strunk, Randy Maxwell) Besides representing their constituents in their Districts. They attended numerous conferences and completed over 40 hours of training each. They each serve on at least two boards and along with the Judge/Executive comprise your Fiscal Court. This means they are responsible for Ordinances, Resolutions, road issues, lawful contracts, county budgets, financial affairs of the county and much more. They are working diligently to try and get you the most for your money with asphalt, gravel, and other items. We had 12 Regular Fiscal Court Meetings and 4 Special called sessions. They work tirelessly for the county and do a great job.
JUDGE/EXECUTIVE’S OFFICE: (Jimmie W. Greene II) I have tremendous support and an excellent staff with Nathan Nevels, Randy Jones – Finance Officer, Geraldine Laxton- Treasurer, and Peggy Lawson – Executive Secretary. Randy and Geraldine keep the budget on track. Geraldine makes sure specified monies go into their respective funds and makes daily deposits. She prepares and presents reports of the financial condition of the county and assists in the preparation of the budget. She has also taken on the task of ABC Clerk. They make sure we have the money and manage it properly with a checks and balance system. Randy administers county payroll and personnel benefit programs, issues checks for all funds, maintains time sheets, vacation, and sick leave records. Randy also participates in budget preparation. He is the county’s Personnel Officer. The current State Auditors have been coming to McCreary County since the early 2000’s and they stated this was the best audit they have seen. Peggy with her years of experience is invaluable. Not only is she responsible for the day to day operations of our office staff, she assists in the preparation, and dissemination of reports, changes to administrative regulations, executive orders, and resolutions. She coordinates tracking and payment for housing our inmates and she is also the Solid Waste Coordinator.
I feel like we have taken steps in the right direction to try to get your County Government running as efficiently as possible. We are fixing some things that were overdue to be fixed and handling new issues every day. With a new administration there are many unknowns. We built partnerships with State and Federal Government sources and now, at least in state government, some of these people are no longer employed. We received over a half million dollars in Discretionary Road Funds last year. Our immediate goals are to get the SPEC building occupied, continue to improve your Parks, continue to foster a close relationship with local businesses, the McCreary County School District, and Somerset Community College. We will work with the ASAP/UNITE Board to take steps in combating the Drug Epidemic. A sustainable workforce and business friendly environment will be a key to growth and development. To that end we must recruit new business, reinvesting monies that will continue to come back into the IDA Board and Revolving Loan Program. We will continue what we started with the National Park Service for a better relationship (we are working on a Memorandum of Understanding with them on roads) and the US Forest Service and we are involved with some boards and decision making with them. Because of some monies that were refunded back to the county by our insurance carrier, we now offer employees a free life insurance policy and Air Evac Service. We have tried to be diligent and good stewards of your money. We have sought out ways to save money, such as finding new vendors for services to the county, conserving on utility bills, and shutting off phones that were no longer in service. We were able to fund another full-time deputy for the Sheriff’s department. We
have reorganized the Airport Board and revived the 109 Solid Waste Board and Ethics Board. We have worked hard on representing McCreary County in the region, state, and on the Federal level whenever possible.
To that end:
As County Judge/Executive I have compiled over 40 hours of Training, served on 6 boards, attended 3 conferences, and over 100 meetings in the first year to represent McCreary County and seek out funding and learn to run county government more efficiently. This includes conducting 16 Fiscal Court Meetings, meetings with the IDA Board, Airport Board, Extension Board, Tourism Board, ASAP/UNITE, Town Halls, Kentucky Association of Counties, US Prison Pine Knot, Department of Local Government, McCreary County School District, Somerset Community College, Chamber of Commerce, US Forest Service, National Park Service, Senator Paul’s office, Senator McConnell’s office, Congressman Rogers, State Representative Upchurch, State Senator Wise, Lake Cumberland Area Development District, Lake Cumberland Health District, Lake Cumberland Community Action Agency, and more.
We have been active in community events: McCreary Fest, WinterFest, Banquet of Blessings, numerous trash clean ups including those with the VFW, PRIDE Cumberland Falls Cleanup, and others. We are always eager to volunteer and interact with the community whenever the opportunity presents itself.
In closing, I would like to reiterate that we always have an open-door policy. We have been transparent in governing your county. I would like to thank the many dedicated, hardworking employees of the county. Nothing would be possible without them. Thanks to the many entrepreneurs who have invested their time and money in this county. The many citizens who contribute when and whatever
they can. We would like to have the community to come on board with positive thoughts, comments, suggestions, and possible solutions. Sometimes we think that government can provide everything for us, but that is not so. Despite the many challenges we face, we can accomplish a lot if we work continue to work together!

January 30th, 2020

January 23rd, 2020

January 16th, 2020

January 9th, 2020

December 19th, 2019

The Voice’s Night Before Christmas

‘Twas the week before Christmas and all through the county. The people were thankful for the past years’ bounty.
Stockings are hung, reinforced at the seams, Hoping soon to be filled with wonderful dreams.
In Churches and schoolrooms the people start to sing, Everyone is ready for what Christmas brings.
We hope it brings hope and a new sense of peace, An abundance of happiness and a minimum of grief.
A bounty of opportunities and lots of good health, Newfound prosperity and plenty of wealth.
The past year is over, the old things are through, We are all looking forward to start things anew.
Old feuds can be settled and no more begun, A year full of joy, full of love, life and fun.
It is easy to say what more can we do? But by working together we can all pull us through.
With us all working together and standing as one, We can all make a difference and battles can be won.
So as you turn in tonight for your long winter’s nap, Take a moment to think as you pull off your cap.
Think about others and the plights they might face, And what you can do to put a smile on their face.
Sometimes a smile or a simple helping hand, Can do more good than you ever thought can.
Be kind to your neighbors and whomever you meet, Shake hands with a stranger you may pass on the street.

Open your eyes and open your heart.

November 28th, 2019

Giving Thanks

Traditionally, Thanksgiving Day is a time for giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. Today, it is a day for Americans to gather around the table; a day of feasting, football and family. It is quite different from the Pilgrims original 1621 harvest meal.
Thanksgiving is a special time of year for The Voice. It marks the anniversary of our first paper published under the banner of The McCreary County Voice. This year we are celebrating the beginning of our twentieth year in business. Each year we give thanks for the past years and look forward to the next.
We are thankful for our readers, advertisers, contributors and well wishers. The Voice’s dedicated staff has remained true to our vision-being a voice for the people of this county. We are proud to bring you unbiased news without opinion or slant. The only time you will read our opinion is on the editorial page. In our news stories we present the facts. You, the reader, do not need our opinion to determine what you think, you make up your own mind. We believe this is the way news should be presented.
As we begin a new year of publishing, we give thanks for the blessings of the harvest.

From all of us at The Voice

November 21st, 2019

November 14th, 2019

November 7th, 2019

A small step could lead to bigger steps in the future

Let’s be clear, approving alcohol sales will not be a golden ticket for McCreary County. We will not get rich from tax dollars from alcohol sales directly, but there are many potential benefits that could arise from having beer/wine and liquor available within our borders.
Let’s take a look at one scenario where it could help our economy:
Mr. X decides to open a liquor store, Mrs. Y wants to add beer sales to her convenience store, and Mrs. Z decides to open a restaurant and serve drinks with dinner.
The county will not directly see any revenue from those establishments’ alcohol sales, which can only go toward administration and police. But, the extra employees hired for those places means more jobs in the county and more money circulating within the county instead of going out. Those jobs will pay occupational tax, as well as the businesses paying occupational tax.
The addition of alcohol to those businesses could mean more business overall for those establishments, meaning more taxes generated.
Tourists, part of any healthy economy, might find more reasons to not only visit, but stay longer in McCreary County if they have an option of having a cold beverage that they are accustomed to after their trip to the falls, a ride on the train, or a hike in the woods. That, too generates additional revenue for the county, and could encourage more growth.
As these local businesses grow, it could attract more individuals to invest locally in new businesses and homes. More restaurants, hotels, shops… all mean a bigger tax base and more revenue for the county.

Alcohol sales is not the panacea that some think it will be, but it is also not the evil that others believe.
It’s a small step, but could lead to bigger ones in the future.

October 31st, 2019

Every Vote Counts

Next Tuesday is Election Day in Kentucky.
With just six state-wide offices, one appellate Judge and a local option vote on the ballot in McCreary County it might not seem that this election is important enough to take a few minutes out of your day to go to your voting precinct.
But, it is important.
For the most part this election has been pretty quiet, leaving one to wonder how it will turn out. Outside of the typical slams and muck-raking in the hotly contested Governor’s race, and to a lesser extent the Attorney General’s race, there hasn’t been much attention to many of the offices, and that tends to lead to low voter turnout.
It is vitally important to the future of this county for everyone that can vote do so.
Historically, it appears most McCreary Countians choose not to participate in state-wide elections such as this. Less than 14 percent of voters cast their ballot in the Primary earlier this spring. In the last two General Elections involving the state offices, less than 20 percent turned up to the polls locally.
These state offices notice this and remember.
Whoever wins the election will take note of where their votes came from. As they and their campaign staff look through the results and see less than 2,000 people voted in a county they are more likely to write that county off when it comes to large projects and awards.
If those numbers jump upwards of 50 percent, like it has for the last two Presidential elections held locally, they might just sit up and take notice. Especially if they want to be re-elected in the future.
The local option on alcohol sales is also an important issue. The availability or lack of alcohol sales affects everything from tourism, business, police officers and growth. Some say it is forward thinking, others say keep the county as is. It’s up to the voters to decide.

An engaged electorate can reap rewards simply by casting a ballot on Tuesday, and we encourage everyone to do so.

October 24th, 2019

October 17th, 2019

McCreary needs the Census done right

The 2020 Census is almost upon us. The nation-wide count of every man, woman and child in America, conducted every ten years, does more than just give an idea of the population in an area – it provides valuable data and insight about a county or city. That data, including income, education, employment and housing gives potential business leaders insight into a community before they consider moving to a new county or city.
Now, perhaps more than ever, getting an accurate count in McCreary County is vital.
According to the Census the total population of the county stood at over 18,000 in 2010 – it has since been adjusted down to about 17,400. That was an increase of over 1,000 citizens since 2000, but it didn’t exactly represent growth – at least not in the way that helped us.
In the 2010 Census McCreary County took a hit when the data included the population of prisoners housed at U.S.P. McCreary. That added about 1,500 citizens to the county’s total, most of whom had zero or little income.
The troubling statistic was the calculated median household income – $19,264. That means about half of the 6,300 households in the county earn more, while the other 3,150 earn less. To an outside company looking to relocate that figure planted a big red flag over the county. Not many businesses can expect to market or sell goods to the local community when half the population is struggling to get by.
The addition of about 1,500 people with zero income to the equation makes a big statistical impact – that figure represents more than eight percent of the total population. To a county trying to erase the undignified label of “poorest county in the nation,” it certainly does not help.

Getting a fair and accurate representation in the 2020 Census data will help McCreary County in the years to come. It will not only open the door for better grant opportunities for local agencies, it will – more importantly – make the county more attractive to potential outside businesses to locate here. That brings more jobs, more income for families, and better economic growth for all.

September 26th, 2019

September 19th, 2019

September 12th, 2019

September 5th, 2019

August 29th, 2019

August 1st, 2019

July 18th, 2019

July 11th, 2019

June 20th, 2019

June 13th, 2019

June 6, 2019

Your Voice

Reactions and comments concerning the possible shut down of the Pine Knot Job Corps Center.

Rhonda Pettit Darnell – this is a darn shame. this administration doesn’t care about nothing no one except their wallets. leave Job Corps alone. a lot of benefits to our community from the workers !. call voice your opinion. !!!

Joyce Renfro-Barnett – The Job Corps program is vital to our community. Not only for the jobs offered, but for skills taught to the participants. My cousin went to a Job Corps and became one of the best block layers in his community. I can see no viable reason for these closures.

Teresa Stephens-Davis – Losing the Job Corps will hurt our community. Being one of the poorest in the nation it will increase our poverty because of the loss of jobs and money spent in our community. The Job Corps has always stepped up to help in our community whenever asked.

The Job Corps not only helps McCreary County it helps many young adults learn a trade. Many of those young adult are from the inner cities and are pressured to join gangs. Some have started down the wrong path and offered the option of joining the Job Corps to hopefully change the path to a better life. For others it has given them the chance to learn a trade they otherwise would not have been able to.

The Job Corps has been here over 50 years and has only thrived and grown. It is one of the few government programs to have done this.

It’s closing will effect many lives and not for the good.

Hap Strunk – The Job Corps is one of the few successes in government programs. The center has been here over 50 years, opened in 1965 I think, and has provided our community with jobs and community services. They have contributed to our economy tremendously, not to mention all the at risk youth they have helped. We can’t afford the loss of jobs in an already dismal economy.

Sharla Strunk Burchfield – This program has been part of life in McCreary County as long as I can remember. In an area already struggling it seems especially careless to do away with something that has been so beneficial to so many from local businesses to community service to training for young people who need it desperately. I would also say that one of the things they train to do is fighting forest fires. We see how this is a growing problem throughout our country. It seems to me we need more not less of this type of training.

Sharon Godsey – Leave the Job Corps it benefits McCreary County.

Michael Bryant – As a former employee of Job Corps I will say this..

It’s not really a surprise, we had a decline in numbers over the years. Only filling up 1 1/2 dorms out of 4.. 75 students out of a possible 270 isn’t good.

More students heading to places like AmeriCorps or not even wanting to come to a Job Corps center at all is the end of a legacy in helping kids better themselves.

Also, this center gets 18 million a year in funds, just like the others but this center is more wasteful such as not renovating the dorms or fixing up the supply building that caught on fire last year. If you want students to come, at least make it more appealing and that starts at the front office.

Coral Oliger – We have over 120 students on center and this center provides around $50k just in occupational tax to the county. This isn’t including all the employees and students who shop in this community, rent or own homes, and and receive local medical services… our staff and students assist with wildfire suppression and prevention and have provided countless hours of community service locally including Trail maintenance, providing firewood to those in the community who need it and building walkways and hand rails at local recreation sites… the closure of this and all CCC’s will have a tremendous impact on the local community as well as the youth we serve.

Wendy Robert Duncan – Don’t take jobs from them. Help keep the job Corp what about the kids. They need this place. To help them turn their life around. Bring jobs in to McCreary Co. please don’t take them.

Joni Slaven – Do something with it for our county, dont just destroy it.

Danyelle Strunk – I don’t understand why a program that helps people would be shutting down? We have had huge success with job corps in Pine Knot

Hope Spradlin Daugherty – As the spouse of a United States Veteran , who has taught at the Pine Knot Job Corps for over 25 years this is devastating to not only our family, but my husbands colleagues/families, students , and a huge economical loss to the already impoverished McCreary County. This will forever change many lives in McCreary County.

Ella Covington – Our county needs the Job Corps.

Dave Gilreath   wow we’re gonna loose $4.2 million in salary cuts to our economy… Hell, Bernie Sanders can do better than this crap.

Janice Browning Scott – My husband used to be an instructor there and I really enjoyed living in Pine Knot. It saddens me that the facility may be shut down.

Lynn Stephens – So sad for our county for this to happen we need all the jobs that we can get here for our people.

Doris June Baird Williams – Loosing the Job Corps is so much more than a few jobs in one of the poorest counties in the country. Our county is so poor, we don’t need to be knocked down any lower.

Linda Gilreath – Don’t understand why they are shutting down. They have helped so many people. So sad

May 30, 2019

Send us your reactions and comments concerning the possible shut down of the Pine Knot Job Corps Center. We will forward all comments to our elected

officials in Washington.

Post your comments on our Facebook page or email it to

May 23, 2019

May 16th, 2019

May 9th, 2019

May 2nd, 2019

April 25th, 2019

April 11th, 2019

April 4th, 2019

March 28th, 2019

March 21st, 2019

March 14, 2019

March 7, 2019

In the February 28th, 2019 Issue

In the February 21st, 2019 Issue

In the February 14th, 2019 Issue

In the February 7th, 2019 Issue

In the January 31st, 2019 Issue

In the January 24th, 2019 Issue

In the January 17th, 2019 Issue

In the January 10th, 2019 Issue

In the December 20th, 2018 Issue

The Voice’s Night Before Christmas

‘Twas the week before Christmas and all through the county. The people were thankful for the past years’ bounty.

Stockings are hung, reinforced at the seams, Hoping soon to be filled with wonderful dreams.

In Churches and schoolrooms the people start to sing, Everyone is ready for what Christmas brings.

We hope it brings hope and a new sense of peace, An abundance of happiness and a minimum of grief.

A bounty of opportunities and lots of good health, Newfound prosperity and plenty of wealth.

The past year is over, the old things are through, We are all looking forward to start things anew.

Old feuds can be settled and no more begun, A year full of joy, full of love, life and fun.

It is easy to say what more can we do? But by working together we can all pull us through.

With us all working together and standing as one, We can all make a difference and battles can be won.

So as you turn in tonight for your long winter’s nap, Take a moment to think as you pull off your cap.

Think about others and the plights they might face, And what you can do to put a smile on their face.

Sometimes a smile or a simple helping hand, Can do more good than you ever thought can.

Be kind to your neighbors and whomever you meet, Shake hands with a stranger you may pass on the street.

Open your eyes and open your heart.

It’s easy to care when you just let it start.

So to all our Dear Readers from the Staff at the Voice, Thank you for reading and making us your choice.

We wish you the best for you and your kin. We hope good times are plenty, and hard times are thin.

And one final note before we close for the night:

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.”

In the December 6th, 2018 Issue

A bright future of possibilities
The announcement by Hal Rogers this week making higher education more attainable locally is a vitally important step toward education and workforce improvement in this area. More McCreary County students will be able to obtain a 4 year degree without the extra cost of living away from home.

The possibilities this will bring to our area are numerous. Thousands of area students will have the door of higher education opened to a bright future. The pool of talented people in this region is vast but the economics of attending a 4 year college have held a great number of our students back without the means to attend. Now, this could all change.
With the Somerset Community College system and the University Center working with students to help them achieve their goal of attaining a 4 year degree, a 2 year degree or specialized training, the county should reap the benefits. Employers looking for specific skill sets will be able to fill those positions. New businesses will take another look at locating here. Perhaps this will help slow down the brain drain that has plagued our county.
Our people are not stupid or lazy, we have just lacked the opportunities to help us succeed. The biggest pay-off in this development is the possibility that our children may be educated here and obtain a good job without leaving this place we call home.

Go Vote, Please

It is every American’s right, and civil responsibility to vote.

This next Tuesday is no exception.

The 2018 General Election is upon us, and while many people will just be thankful that the campaign ads will finally end, others are very determined to cast their vote.

We strongly encourage every registered voter in McCreary County to go to their local polling place next Tuesday and cast your vote.

No matter who you support, it is imperative that the people we elect to lead us see a strong turnout from the voters to know we are watching them.

A small turnout just tells our elected officials that most of the people they represent don’t care. That is never a good thing.

However, if the majority of voters cast their ballots next week, the people we choose to lead us for the next four years will know that we have a vested interest in the outcome and will demand they do the job they were elected to do.

Brave men and women throughout this great nation’s history have laid down their lives to protect our right to vote – we all should honor that sacrifice.

A Day to Remember

Time Line:

8:46 A.M.
American Airlines Flight 11, which left Boston for Los Angeles carrying 92 people, hits the north tower of the World Trade Center.
9:03 A.M.
United Airlines Flight 175, which left Boston for Los Angeles carrying 65 people, slams into the south tower of the World Trade Center.
9:05 A.M.
President Bush is informed of the second attack as he visits schoolchildren in Florida.
9:31 A.M.
Bush issues statement, saying United States will hunt down attackers of World Trade Center.
9:36 A.M.
The Capital and West Wing of the White House are evacuated.
9:37 A.M.
American Flight 77 from Dulles Airport near Washington, bound for Los Angeles, crashes into the Pentagon. It carried 64 people.
9:42 A.M.
The Federal Aviation Administration bans aircraft takeoffs across the country.
9:57 A.M.
An emergency dispatcher in Westmoreland County, Pa., receives a cell phone call from a man who said he was a passenger locked In the bathroom of United Flight 93, which was heading to San Francisco from Newark, according to dispatch supervisor Glenn Cramer. “We are being hijacked, we are being hijacked!” Cramer quotes him as saying.
9:59 A.M.
South tower of the World Trade Center collapses.
10:03 A.M.
United Airlines Flight 93 crashes north of the Somerset County Airport, a small airport about 80 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. There were 45 people aboard. The crash site was 85 miles northwest of Camp David.
10:28 A.M.
The north tower of the World Trade Center collapses.
11:02 A.M.
New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani calls for evacuation of lower Manhattan, talks of “horrendous” loss of life.
11:40 P.M.
Bush boards Air Force One at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana and fl ies to Offutt Air Force Base, home to the U.S. Strategic Air Command headquarters, in Nebraska.
2:51 P.M.
Navy deploys missile destroyers and other equipment to New York and Washington.
5:20 P.M.
World Trade Center complex collapses.
8:30 P.M.
Bush addresses the nation.

The Voice Remembes 9/11

I’ll never forget the bone chilling horror I felt watching people jumping to their death from the World Trade Center towers. Seeing a second plane hit the other tower, watching the Pentagon in flames, hearing of the plane down in Pennsylvania, then the unbelievable image of the towers crumbling with all those people inside made the tragedy of the morning almost incomprehendable. The fact that we were being attacked began to sunk in and I wondered what was coming next, would there be a second assault wave. Grounding all air flights surely prevented additional carnage. The silence of the following days was eerie. There was very little road traffic and the skies above were without airplanes.
The attacks happened on Tuesday, we had to put our paper together on Wednesday. The Associated Press granted us (The Voice) permission to use a few of their pictures on our front page and inside. The AP’s gesture helped us cover the story and get our paper out the next day. As a young paper then, their goodwill is still appreciated.
Everyone, especially people too young to have a memory of the day, need to see the film footage from that day. We must never forget the largest attack on U.S. soil, the thousands of sacrifices made and souls lost.
Patti Stephens

Remembering September 11 and talking with a co-worker, I realize the younger generation doesn’t have any idea how the tragedies of that day changed the world. The day started normally, drop the kids off at school then drive to The Voice. I was alone in my office when the radio announced the first plane as an accident until the second plane hit. I ran to tell the news staff. They walked down to Stephens Properties to watch it live on T.V. I stayed behind to answer all the phone calls coming in; people wanting to know if it was true, others wanting to know what to do to be safe.
The hardest call came from my Mother in Colorado, worried about me and my boys’ safety. I brushed it off, thinking she was exaggerating and worried over nothing. I hadn’t seen T.V. coverage until I went home that evening. I remember sitting watching objects fall from the building when mom called again, it was while we were talking I realized the objects falling were people who decided to jump rather than burn up. I was crying so hard I couldn’t speak. I realized how far I was from home. I wanted to pack up and go be with my family but all the airports were closed and the line to get gas was over a mile long.
That night I slept cuddled up with my boys, scared of what to do next and how I was going to keep them safe.
The next day, Wednesday, was deadline and production day. It was the start of the new normal. Normal as it can be with extra, armed security guards, higher gas prices, etc. But, the fear of that day never goes away. What if it happens again? My boys are older now, so, my new fear is of a military draft taking my boys away.
Suzanna Martinez

I’ll never forget the events of that day, the tragedy that struck our nation 17 years ago. I worked at Quest with a great bunch of people. The morning started off like any other day, helping clients off the R-Tech vans in for the day. I’ll never forget the sound of Joe Crabtree’s voice yelling “Duck, you have to hear this. The radio said a plane just crashed into the World Trade Center Towers.” As soon as we helped everyone inside, we ran to the T.V. One tower had huge amounts of smoke boiling from it, as we all watched we saw live another plane hit the second tower. We all gasped and we knew this was not an accident, our country was being attacked. Fear grew over all of us.
You see, my two year old son was the most important thing in the world to me and after seeing the second plane hit I began to wonder if I would ever see him again. Was this going to be all out war or was it going to stop here? Would there be more planes crashing into buildings, bombs dropping and would I have enough time to get home and protect him? Were we going to have to defend ourselves from an unknown force? At that time no one knew what was happening. The scariest moment for me came when a plane crashed into the Pentagon. Knowing how huge our military was and how strategic I thought we were, how did a plane even make it to the Pentagon?
Then we watched live the Trade Centers towers toppling to the ground. This is the most horrific scene I have ever seen in real life. The sympathy and fear we felt for those we saw running for their lives is something forever etched into my memory. People jumping from buildings when you knew death was the only thing waiting for them below.
I have since had a new appreciation for our men and women in uniform. Because of that day, I have a new understanding of how important it is for a nation to come together and help one another. My best memory of that day was finally making it home to my two year old son and holding him tight, hoping the worst was over and hoping we would never have to go through anything like that again.
Derek Dobbs

September 21, 2017

The year of taxes

Isn’t it ironic: the citizens vote down a nickel tax, but the Fiscal Court takes no action on a new 3.95-cent tax?
Thursday night the McCreary County Extension District enacted a 3.95-cent per $100 of value tax on real estate and motor vehicles, and the public had little to no say in the matter.

The tax was reportedly passed in February, but the general public only learned about it last week.
Judge Executive Doug Stephens is a non-voting member of the Extension Board and was apparently aware of the plans to impose the tax when it was voted on in February. County Attorney Conley Chaney stated in Fiscal Court last week that he was asked about the board’s legal authority to enact the tax that same month.
The newspaper did receive notice of the meeting, and an agenda was attached, but it did not specifically mention the possibility of adding a tax, just election of Board members and discussion of budgets.

The county’s General Fund Budget for the current fiscal year did not have the typical allotment of $40,000 for the extension service as it has had for the past several years. The new tax imposed will garner $191,000 for the Extension District.

So, on the surface, it seems like this tax was passed in secret, and some members of the Fiscal Court had to know it was coming. The unpleasant altercation at the Fiscal Court meeting last week diverted discussion from what should have been getting answers about the tax. Instead, personal attacks and allegations prevented the real questions from being answered.

All this was being planned while County officials were contemplating imposing an insurance tax (which saw citizens show up to protest in front of the courthouse), an Occupational Tax increase and enacting a business license ordinance, which really is an additional $20 a year tax on businesses.
So, in a time of financial troubles for the county’s citizens and government – three new taxes were passed this year alone.

And it could just as easily been four.
The McCreary County School District attempted to impose a nickel tax this year, which was resoundingly voted down by citizens.

The School District had to announce their plans ahead of time, letting the public know that the tax was potentially coming. We all know how that ended for the school tax.

If the citizens of McCreary County had notice of the plans for a tax, perhaps they would have acted to convince the Board to drop their plans, or even possibly lower the tax rate. The Fiscal Court potentially could have taken action to prevent it.

Taxes are never popular.
But when McCreary Countians are struggling to pay bills, as much as any quasi-government agency, they should have a say before any new tax is added to their already large burden.

Voters have the right to know how their tax dollars are spent. Voters should also have the assurance that the court is acting responsibly when stewarding their hard earned dollars for the benefit of the county.

August 10, 2017

The voters have spoken, “No new taxes.”

The vote totals in the Tuesday Nickel Tax election spoke volumes for the sentiment of county citizens. With an overwhelming “No”, the voters rejected the Nickel tax. Why was this tax rejected? It appears there is a wide gap in the education value the Board of Education thinks they are providing and the education value the public feels they are receiving.

Several citizens expressed concern about the spending priorities of the Board, noting cosmetic and athletic projects taking priority over leaking roofs. Not just locally, but on the state and federal levels, the public is increasingly fed up with getting little value from the tax dollars they provide. The vote Tuesday should be a wake-up call for all administrators, including our Fiscal Court.

Yes, the people of this county care very much about the education, safety and health of their children. The Board needs to figure out why the citizens voted down a 3 for 1 match. The Board of Education is entrusted by the public to ensure a quality education in a safe atmosphere for all children. Perhaps having leaking roofs without corrective actions sent the wrong message.

Voters, in the privacy of the voting booth, let their voice be heard. The message from the voters was clear; all officials, local, state and federal, should listen to their constituents and take better care of the taxpayers’ money they are entrusted to spend wisely.

May 11, 2017

There is a solution to our tax problems

The increasing tax burden on our citizens is creating stress and in some cases anger.  The increase in Occupational Tax may not be sufficient or in time to keep our County from default.  The school board’s ill-timed nickel tax proposal is adding to the squeeze our citizens are feeling.  However, our local officials are missing the obvious answer.  An increase in revenue doesn’t necessarily have to come from increased taxes.

Growth is the answer to our increasing tax problems.  Without growth our county government and school system will continue to ask for more money from a declining population.  An increase in jobs will bring more Occupational Taxes collected for the county and more homes being built paying property and school taxes. With an increase in jobs, more money will circulate in the local economy. New businesses will open creating more jobs and bringing in additional tax revenue for the county and schools.

Perhaps this is the time to visit Governor Bevin and ask for help. He certainly doesn’t want the distinction of having the poorest county in the United States in his state. The need for a dedicated, experienced business recruiter working full time for the county, with the state, is a necessity. (A strong emphasis on experience should be the primary qualification for this position.)

Look at the positives this county can bring to an interested employer. The strong work ethic of our people is a testament to our traditional values. A qualified recruiter would use our strengths to attract businesses and work as a liaison between the county and state to develop an attractive package for the business.

If you say the county can’t afford a full time business recruiter, then we will continue to pay more in taxes as our county continues to declines. When you look at the advantages an experienced recruiter would bring to the county, the additional revenue would more than pay his salary. The longer we wait the more we will pay.  We cannot afford not to take this step.

April 20, 2017

The Voice Letter Policy

Recently our policy concerning  “Letters to the Editor” has been questioned, some even implying they are a “farce”.  The letter questioned in last week’s paper was a legitimate, signed letter from a race volunteer, which is currently in our files.  This volunteer requested their name be withheld for fear of reprisal.

All letters to the editor must be signed, with phone number and address, or we will not consider printing them.  More than two years ago we began allowing names to be withheld in print but The Voice retains the original signed letter. It was necessary to adjust our policy when it became clear that people with a point or criticism to make were afraid to voice their opinion for fear of losing their job or that their family would be treated unfairly.  This is the nature of a small community with few jobs available.

In an open, free society, people have the right to voice their opinion.  The Op-Ed page is the only page in The Voice where opinion pieces and letters are printed. We may or may not agree with them, but, it is their opinion, as we clearly state on this page.  If it is necessary to withhold their name because of their affiliation with an agency, county or state government or business, to protect their job and/or avoid any sort of reprisal or vindictiveness, we will honor their request.

Most letters have a point, and if taken with constructive criticism, could help make the next event run smoother if corrective actions are taken.  Questioning what the county invested is a valid point that most tax paying citizens would ask.  Looking objectively at the letter, there were several things that should be taken as constructive criticism and worked on to improve.  (This was not the only complaint we heard from volunteers, just the only one written.)  Everything can be improved if looked at objectively and not personally. This applies to county government, events, projects and business. If there is a problem, fix it and move forward.

Really, who would work 12 hours for a Tee shirt and possibly a meal, other than someone who genuinely wanted to help. It is admirable that this person will keep volunteering.  That the letter was a farce or was someone looking for a handout and freebies is not a factual statement.

As another letter writer states this week, looking for the good or positive in people, projects, events, etc., while objectively correcting the problems, makes all endeavors more successful.  In a small town, or any town, that attribute is one we should all aspire to have.


April 13, 2017

Lets Run Together

The Yamacraw Race was enthusiastically run by people from all areas and from different states and countries.  The wide variety of people coming into this area helps showcase the natural beauty we live in.  The support from the county officials, businesses and local volunteers helped make the event a great day to race.

Racers leaving town commented on the natural beauty of this county and the friendliness of the volunteers and all the local people they met.  The warm reception the racers received was appreciated and they voiced it clearly on their way out of town.

The motels and some restaurants saw an increase in business the Friday before the race.  Almost all the area motels were full, only a few rooms were vacant Friday night.  Most racers left town Saturday after the event, hopefully buying some gas on their way out.

This one day event brought a much needed economic boost to some of our businesses.  The cooperation exhibited among all facets of our county greatly contributed to the good feelings our visitors left town with.  Perhaps we can use the cooperation of this event as an example to build future events and projects with other groups that will benefit all.

By working together we can make positive things happen. Divided we accomplish nothing.

“United We Stand, Divided We Fall.”

Mar. 30, 17

The right questions, wrong time line.

Darlene Price was on the right track during Thursday’s Fiscal Court meeting; she just didn’t go far enough down to the time line.
Price questioned the actions of the Fiscal Court in 2012 when the Jail was in danger of being closed. She wondered if the County did enough to fix the problems in the building to prevent the closure.
Deputy Judge Andrew Powell was correct when he pointed out the Department of Corrections told the County that either the Fiscal Court was going to close the jail, or they would. And that their main rationale for doing so was more about the management of the facility than the condition.
Granted, there were, and still are, a lot of physical problems with the jail building, but in a Fiscal Court meeting representatives from the DOC plainly said they had serious issues with who was running the Jail at the time.
The logic was if the Fiscal Court pulled the plug and shut down the jail, there was still a glimmer of hope that it could be reopened. At the time there was talk about a 2-year window, where there was a possibility that the jail could be reopened.
If the DOC closed the facility – it would have been shut down forever.
When the Jail closed, Jailer Ball was still in office, and the DOC implied they were not willing to work with the Fiscal Court regarding possibly reopening the Jail while Ball was still in office.
But, still nothing was done in that time to take a look at what needed to be done to fix the old building.
In May 2014 Tony Ball lost his bid for re-election in the Primary Election.
From that point forward County officials knew Ball was no longer going to be our Jailer.
That’s when the work really should have begun. The County had at least six months to get things moving.
That’s when consultants should have been hired to examine the facility.
That’s when the DOC should have been contacted and told that we wanted the jail reopened.
But none of that was done.
The only talk about the facility at the time was discussion of using the kitchen to process jelly.
It wasn’t until another year later that some cosmetic work was done on some of the cells with the hope of getting permission to repair the building and hopefully reopen.
There is no way that the building could be even considered safe to operate as a jail today. The visit by the DOC Commissioner last year basically put the final nail in the coffin of any chances of that facility being used to house prisoners ever again.
But if county officials would have taken steps – even small steps after the Primary – who knows what could have happened.

Mar. 2, 17

The Budget Enigma

The county budget continues to be an enigma.  The latest effort by County Attorney Conley Chaney to decipher where the county stands fiscally was a valiant try, but, without all the information it is a guess. As the Voice pointed out five weeks ago, the Magistrates and Judge-Executive must have real time numbers to make decisions that are in the best interest of the county.  Without real time numbers everything else is a guess.

A true budget always gives a total budget with amounts spent to that point in time (monthly) with a percentage of the amount budgeted.  This indicates where the expenditures are in relation to the amount budgeted.  Adjustments should be made through the year to ensure you stay on budget. If you are four months into a fiscal year and have already spent 60% of the amount budgeted for an expense, you are immediately aware that steps must be taken to lower expenditures for that expense.

A true budget isn’t that difficult to produce.  All court officials should demand an up to date, true budget before entering into a fiscal court meeting. It is the duty of the Magistrates to know and understand the fiscal condition of the county and the Judge-Executive’s responsibility to furnish it.

And so, the question remains – why can’t we get an accurate accounting?

Feb. 9, 17

Citizen involvement is good for the County

It was encouraging to see so many citizens at the last two Fiscal Court meetings. It is a shame that it takes something like the threat of raised taxes to elicit such a response, however.

Typically there are only a small amount of citizens who habitually show up for the monthly meetings.  But that number seems to be growing and that can only be a good thing.

An informed and active citizenry is vital for our government to grow, thrive and prosper. Without seeing people’s faces when they make decisions that affect all of us, our elected leaders would be hard pressed to realize the impact those decisions have.

We encourage this trend of citizen involvement to continue.

The next few months will be crucial to the future of McCreary County.  We need the people of this community to be invested in holding our government accountable every day, not just during elections.

Your involvement in the way your tax dollars are spent is critical to the health of our county. If it is necessary to cut services, you should have a voice in that decision.  Likewise, if taxes are raised, it should be done fairly with your sentiments heard.  We urge you to stay informed on all aspects of local government and voice your opinion, whether you agree or disagree.  The decisions made by local government today affect us all tomorrow and for years to come.

All government, local, state and federal, should be by and for the people.  See you at the next fiscal court meeting.

Jan. 26, 17

Court operating on hope and a prayer budget

The Fiscal Court has known since June that this current budget was unrealistic.  How did they think this fantasy budget was going to balance or that we would be able to pay the bills?  Perhaps with pixie dust and a wave of the magic wand.  Their thought process is baffling.

Our officials have an elected duty to operate this county’s government with the same efficiency and monetary expedience necessary to keep the county operating for the benefit of its tax paying citizens.  Certainly this is a trying time with costs rising and revenue not keeping up with the increases.

We are six months into this fiscal year and they are just now figuring out we have a problem.  Knowing this was a problem looming over their heads, why haven’t our Judge-Executive and Magistrates been working together to find solutions?

The Magistrates and Judge-Executive need to have current facts on the status of the county.  They must be knowledgeable on our budget, current expenditures and owed bills. This information must be accurate, up to date and shared between them. No Magistrate should walk into a court meeting without knowing where the County stands fiscally. To say “we are on budget “in November and in a crisis in December is irresponsible.

The Magistrates have a duty to know and understand the fiscal obligations and condition of the County and it is the Judge-Executive’s responsibility to furnish accurate, up to date, correct information.  The fact that Occupation tax and Profits tax are reported in one number is disturbing.  This is two different income streams – one from wages and one from business profits.  Without knowing what each number is, it is impossible to know the wage growth or decline.

Meeting our growing expenses without growth is almost impossible.  The Cordell Trucking Company would have provided much needed occupation tax revenue. Unfortunately, our Judge’s office lacked the business acumen to locate them in this county.

Money is budgeted for economic development.  What good is that doing the county?  We need more than “hope and a prayer” – we need a plan with qualified people to execute it.

Jan. 19, 17

Is it fair?

The budget crisis continues to plague the County, and seems to get worse every day, one possible option for the Fiscal Court to consider is implementing an insurance premium tax.

While the Fiscal Court has only limited ways of raising revenue, Judge Stephens has stated this particular tax would be a fair and equitable tax on the citizens.

In looking through the proposed first draft of the ordinance there are some concerns about the “fairness” of the tax.

According to the ordinance exempted parties include:  “a. Policies of group health insurance provided for state employees under KRS 18A.225.”

Looking closely at that statute reveals that “any elected public official, who is regularly employed by any department, office, board, agency, or branch of  state government; or by a public postsecondary educational institution; or by any city, urban county, charter county, county, or consolidated local government, whose legislative body has opted to participate in the state sponsored health insurance program,” would be exempt.

As well as: “Any certified or classified employee of a local board of education. Any elected member of a local board of education and beneficiaries of participating employees and retirees who are entitled to participate in the state sponsored health insurance program.”

Also: “McCreary County Fiscal Court and associated entities shall be exempt.”

What that means is most teachers, state road workers, elected officials, county employees and any other state employee participating in their offered health insurance plan will not be subject to the tax on their health insurance.

What are the two biggest employers in McCreary County? The government and school system.

Additionally, language in the ordinance calls for an exemption for people receiving insurance through Kentucky Access – a program that no longer provides coverage and was replaced by KYnect in 2014.

That brings up two questions.

First, does that mean citizens receiving health benefits through Obamacare are exempt?

Second: Did Judge Stephens simply copy and paste an ordinance from another county without reading it first and understanding what it entailed?

The implementation of such a tax would hurt, as most taxes do. But it would only hurt a select few of the citizens of McCreary County.

The County needs money; there is no question of that.

But perhaps the only “fair” way to get out of this hole is to raise the Occupational Tax and bring in more jobs.

It may not be a pleasant opinion, but that way more people share the burden instead of a few.

Senator Wise to hold town hall

Senator Max Wise recently announced a series of dates for his annual town hall meetings across his district.

The senator will be in McCreary County on Friday January 20th at 5:00 p.m. at Papa’s Pizza in Stearns. The meeting will be Wise’s final stop on a four-day series of meetings in each of the seven counties in his Senatorial District.

He will begin Friday in Clinton County before traveling to Wayne County for a 3:00 p.m. town hall prior to the McCreary County event.

“Town halls offer a great opportunity for constituents throughout my District who elected me into office to have the opportunity to express their ideas, opinions, concerns and participate in the legislative process,” Wise said in a press release. “I value being an advocate of my District and always listening to them on any issue as a member of our great Commonwealth’s state legislature.”

Jan. 12, 17

Crisis mode – again

Well that was not unexpected.

Judge Executive Doug Stephens called a special session to notify the Fiscal Court of impending budget shortfalls – something anyone with any common sense could see coming when they first passed the budget last June.

That budget, with an unrealistic reduction in expected jail-related expenses, served only one purpose – to pass a balanced budget.

But there were never any real expectations that the Fiscal Court would be able to curtail spending, or raise additional revenue that would make the budget realistic.

Now, with less than six months before the end of the fiscal year the Fiscal Court has to make some tough choices if they expect to finish the year on budget.

In one aspect Judge Stephens is correct; there is very little in the existing budget that can be cut to make up the $350,000 projected deficit.

Layoffs, cutting expenses and eliminating programs may allow the County to squeeze about $100,000 out of the budget, but that still leaves us a quarter of a million dollars short.

It is an emergency, and there may be little choice for the Fiscal Court other than to raise revenue through taxes to get by.

But, the only way the Fiscal Court can raise enough revenue to cover the shortfall would be to raise the occupational tax: as we see it.

It is that simple.

There is no magic solution in cutting salaries, programs, or positions that can conceivably make up that difference.

Other revenue generating possibilities available to the Fiscal Court are either too little, or too late.

A restaurant tax, which has been bandied about for a while, has special requirements that only allow the collected taxes to be spent on tourism-related expenses. While it may ease the burden on the General Fund to replace some of that money, it certainly would not be enough to cover the deficit in less than six months.

An insurance tax would bring in about $1 million, but the tax can only be implemented at the start of a fiscal year. Even if it passed, it would be at least October until the county sees any revenue flow in – far too late to save this year’s budget.

The same with raising property taxes: too little, and too late.

When this budget passed last June it didn’t take a lot of foresight to see the potential problems looming down the road.

Judge Stephens’ announcement should have come as no surprise, but here we are.

In a November Fiscal Court meeting Deputy Judge Randy Jones was asked where the County stood in regards to the budget and he replied, “as of last month we are on budget.”

What happened in the past three months that the budget went from “on budget” to $350,000 in the hole?

Unless a miracle happens and the Fiscal Court can figure out a way to squeeze blood from the stone that is our budget, the OC Tax is the only immediately viable option.

Raising that tax will solve the budget issue – temporarily. But it will create more long term problems down the road. Problems such as shrinking the business sector of McCreary County more, and no new businesses will likely look to locate here after this. More workers leaving and more families struggling.

This administration has done next to nothing over the past few years to improve economic conditions in McCreary County. Sure, they have made strides in tourism, but that obviously isn’t enough.

You have to question if this is an orchestrated attempt to raise the OC Tax without time for public comment or time to find other alternatives. Seems we have seen the same tactic before, such as with the garbage contract.

Isn’t it time for things to change at the top?

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