Thursday January 23, 2014

The Kentucky Senate approved a proposed ballot measure on Wednesday that would switch elections for Kentucky governor and other statewide constitutional officers to even-numbered years, every four. Republican Sen. Christian McDaniel said the goal is to raise voter turnout and reduce election-related costs by consolidating more elections. The proposed constitutional amendment cleared the GOP-run Senate.
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Beginning in 2015, the Letcher County Board of Eduction will stop contributing money for health insurance for teachers as well as for cooks, janitors, other workers often referred to as “classified employees.” Saying it is trying to balance the school district’s budget, the board agreed during a special meeting Jan. 20 to stop paying nearly $50 per employee each month toward health insurance. The board is projected to spend $254,000 on employee health insurance during the 2013-2014 school year.
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Members of the Letcher County Fiscal Court feel your pain when it comes to scrambling to find the money needed to pay your huge electric bill. At its January meeting Friday, the court criticized what it termed outrageous increases in bills for electrical service from Kentucky Power Company. The issue was introduced by District Five Magistrate Wayne Fleming, who has received several calls from residents afraid they will lose power because they can’t afford to pay their bills. AEP paid no taxes during the period from 2008 to 2010, and received a $545 million rebate, despite earning $5.9 billion.
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The Kentucky Senate has passed a bill to require any woman seeking an abortion to have a "face-to-face" meeting with a medical professional before the procedure. The measure seeks to update the state's informed consent law. It requires women to receive counseling and then wait at least 24 hours before having an abortion.
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Arrests related to methamphetamine have increased recently in Letcher County. A Whitesburg Rite Aid Pharmacy employee notified police around noon on Jan. 16 that two women were trying to purchase the drug Claritin-D, which pseudoephedrine, a substance used to make methamphetamine. Christie R. Sizemore, 33, of Redfox, and Chelsea L. Williams, 20, of Blackey, were arrested on Jan. 16 and charged with unlawful possession of a meth precursor (first offense).
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U.S. Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers said Wednesday that the federal government should have a continued role in spreading high-speed Internet access to the struggling coalfields of eastern Kentucky. The Kentucky Republican said the federal spending bill passed by Congress last week included $10 million to expand broadband access to distressed areas of central Appalachia. Kentucky ranks 46th nationally in high-speed broadband availability, and nearly a quarter of the state's population lacks broadband access.