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October 18, 2017

Four from Inez area caught with load of drugs from Columbus, Ohio

FT. GAY, W.VA. -- The Wayne County Sheriff's Department Road Officers conducted a DUI Checkpoint at the intersection of US Route 52 and Cedar Run Road in the Fort Gay area of Wayne County. Sheriff Rick Thompson says that multiple citations were written as well as a stop that yielded 30.7 grams of Crystal Meth with a street value of over $4,500.

Sheriff Thompson said four people from the Inez, KY area are facing felony drug charges. The investigation revealed that they had purchased the Crystal Methamphetamine in Columbus and were on their way back to the Inez, KY area for distribution.

Thomas Osborne Jr. and Amanda MillsThomas Osborne Jr. and Amanda Mills

Those people are Thomas Osborne, Amanda Kirk, Cara Mills and William Mills, Jr.

Osborne is facing charges of Conspiracy to Deliver Crystal Methamphetamine, Possession with Intent to Deliver Pseudoephedrine in an Altered State. Mills, Kirk and William Mills will be charged with Conspiracy and Aiding and Abetting. The Wayne County Sheriff's Department Drug Enforcement Unit is currently investigating the case.

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If you have questions, feel free to contact our office at 304-272-6381 or you may contact Sheriff Thompson at 304-544-1812.

 

October 18, 2017

Bevin, Stivers and Hoover say ‘Keeping the Promise’ meets the legal and moral obligations owed to retired teachers and public servants

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Gov. Matt Bevin, together with Senate President Robert Stivers and House Speaker Jeff Hoover, today unveiled “Keeping the Promise” — a comprehensive plan to save Kentucky’s ailing public pension systems.

Click pic for video

“There is no such thing as an insurmountable obstacle,” said Gov. Bevin. “We, as a Commonwealth, have a moral and legal obligation to fulfill the promises that have been made to our public employees. This is not just about fixing our present underfunding problem. It is also about ensuring that we leave a better, financially stable Kentucky to our children.

“The right thing to do is rarely the easiest, but we are determined to address this crisis with the most fiscally responsible public pension reform plan in the history of the United States. I am confident that the rest of the country will pay close attention to this excellent work by our legislature and for good reason. For those retired, for those still working, and for those yet to come: we are truly fixing our broken pension systems. United we stand. Divided we fall.”

Highlights of the plan include:

*  “Keeping the Promise” will save Kentucky’s pension systems and meet the legal and moral obligations owed to current and retired teachers and public servants

*  Requires full payment of ARC and creates new funding formula that mandates hundreds of millions more into every retirement plan, making them healthier and solvent sooner

*  For those still working: no increase to the full retirement age, and current defined benefits remain in place until the employee reaches the promised level of unreduced pension benefit

*  For those retired: no clawbacks or reductions to pension checks, and healthcare benefits are protected

*  For future non-hazardous employees and teachers: enrollment in a defined contribution retirement plan that will provide comparable retirement benefits
For current and future hazardous employees: will continue in the same system they are in now

*  Closes loophole to ensure payment of death benefits for the families of hazardous employees

*  Stops defined benefits plan for all legislators, moving them into the same defined contribution plan as other state employees under the jurisdiction of the KRS Board

*  No emergency clause: law will not go into effect until July 1, 2018
Structural changes should improve the Commonwealth’s rating with credit agencies, which have downgraded Kentucky’s rating, citing unfunded pension burdens

 L to R House Speaker Jeff Hoover, Gov. Matt Bevin, and President Robert Stivers.L to R House Speaker Jeff Hoover, Gov. Matt Bevin, and President Robert Stivers.

Gov. Bevin will call the General Assembly into special session in the coming weeks to pass into law these much-needed reforms.

“Our state’s pension systems are among the worst-funded in the country," said Senate President Stivers. "In order to move these systems forward along the path to solvency, bold action is required. The framework that we have in place for a pension reform bill is morally right, fiscally responsible, and legally defensible. I thank Governor Bevin, Speaker Hoover, and all my colleagues in the Legislature for their help and support throughout this process, and I look forward to hearing feedback from constituents and moving forward in the coming weeks.”

“Kentucky’s pension problem has been a long time in the making, and has only gotten worse by past leaders who failed to act, or even acknowledge, the issue,” said Speaker Jeff Hoover. “Unlike in the past, inaction is simply not an option. The New Majority is committed to address the pension problem by providing a strong foundation that results in long-term pension stability for public workers and teachers.”

The Commonwealth’s three major public pension systems — Kentucky Retirement Systems (KRS), Teachers’ Retirement System of Kentucky (TRS), and the Kentucky Judicial Form Retirement System (KJFRS) — collectively administer eight distinct retirement plans.

The state currently has an unfunded pension liability of at least $64 billion, ranking as the worst funded system in the nation. Using prior funding patterns, experts conclude that the Kentucky Employee Retirement System, Non-Hazardous (KERS-NH), will run completely out of money by the year 2022 if meaningful pension reform does not occur.

With $7 billion in negative cash flow over the past decade, Kentucky’s pension spending has been increasing nearly five times as fast as revenues. This effectively reduces funds available for other important budgetary priorities such as education, healthcare, public safety and transportation infrastructure.

A general overview of "Keeping the Promise" can be downloaded here, and highlights for individual plans can be downloaded here. A video of today’s press conference is available on Gov. Bevin’s Facebook page.

 

October 17, 2017

GREENUP COUNTY, KY. --  Braidy Industries announced Tuesday morning a major change in the location for its $1.3 billion aluminum manufacturing mill, from South Shore to the EastPark industrial site in Greenup and Boyd counties.

Photo/ Ashland Daily IndependentPhoto/ Ashland Daily Independent

The move was made necessary by an analysis of the South Shore property and the realization that it could not accommodate the deep foundations necessary to support Braidy's mill, according to Braidy officials. As a result, Braidy is looking to purchase a sizable piece of land on Site B in the EastPark Industrial Center.

Site B of EastPark contains more than 600 acres of land. The original design for the plant in South Shore encompassed about 330 acres.

Importantly, the property will be immediately adjacent to Ashland Community and Technical College, which is developing a plan for a two-year associates degree in partnership with Braidy.

Lawrence County Clerk Chris Jobe informed members of the Lawrence Fiscal Court this morning during their regular October meeting that he had learned of a "big announcement that is coming today" but was not at liberty to discuss what it was. 

State Representative Jill York says the news of Braidy Industries facility to FIVCO's EastPark is good news for Lawrence County.State Representative Jill York says the news of Braidy Industries facility to FIVCO's EastPark is good news for Lawrence County.State Representative Jill York (R-Grayson) said today in a telephone interview with thelevisalazer.com  that she is "very pleased" with the announcement since the Braidy facility will now be in Eastpark, which is managed by FIVCO, an agency that includes Lawrence County.

"This will mean Lawrence Countians will have the chance to get even more jobs at Braidy since we are a part of FIVCO," she said.

She added that the facility will attract several other ancillary companies to the area that will make products for Braidy. Lawrence County, the home of at least three vacant industrial sites could attract one of those companies meaning even more good paying jobs.

Here is her official announcement:

Statement from Rep. Jill York on Change in Braidy Industries’ Location: Braidy Industries Announced Today it Will Move Its Location from South Shore to the EastPark Industrial Site

“The announcement today to locate the $1.3 billion dollar Braidy Industries aluminum manufacturing mill in EastPark is an even better development for Lawrence and Carter Counties, while still being good for every single other surrounding county. With the EastPark location, Braidy will be incredibly accessible via I-64 and will gain even more acreage, allowing for the initial space necessary while also making future expansion possible. As Braidy grows its presence, I anticipate additional companies will follow suit to capitalize on the skilled workforce we are growing. Our region continues to gain from this incredibly big announcement which is poised to bring jobs and a better future for generations of Kentuckians.”

 

"In our diligence efforts, we discovered a risk that our peculiar needs for deep foundations for the mill could not be met without incurring material delays to our planned groundbreaking in the second quarter of 2018," said Braidy Industries Executive Vice President of Engineering, Alan Blankshain. "Our site will ultimately have to sustain the type of deep-bore foundations necessary to support massive equipment and the processes required to manufacturer high quality automotive and AeroSpace aluminum."

The company is still in negotiations to buy land on EastPark property. The City of Ashland provides water and sewer services for EastPark. The park is connected to a port on the Ohio River in Wurtland, and is located where Interstate 64 and KY 67 connect. Rail access is also in close proximity.

Braidy Industries Chairman and CEO Craig T. Bouchard said "We will accept no risk of a slowdown to our ground-breaking process. The Braidy mill project is key to regional economic development and a dramatic improvement of the labor participation rate in the five county area. Avoidable delays are not acceptable when so many families want to get back to work. The Kentucky Community and Technical College System is a critical component to securing and training top flight talent we are very fortunate to have the opportunity to colocate with the Ashland Community and Technical College."

Glenn Puit and Andrew Adkins | The Daily Independent

Lazer Editor& Publisher Mark Grayson contributed to this story.