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Rotary welcomes Brad Hall from AEP...

Economic Development Committee meets with SEKC

Brad Hall, spoke of his company's information on assisting economic development in the area as Ky. Power shifts into another mode. Lazer photo by Catrina VargoBrad Hall, spoke of his company's information on assisting economic development in the area as Ky. Power shifts into another mode. Lazer photo by Catrina Vargo


By Catrina Vargo

Louisa, KY -- Louisa Rotary Club President, Aaron Sink, opened up Thursday's meeting by announcing news from members.

Pastor Wayne Watts of the Louisa United Methodist Church celebrated a birthday, and there were two members celebrating anniversaries; Lawrence County Court Clerk, Chris Jobe, 16 years and Food City Human Resources Director, Cheryl Gowan, 30 years.

It was announced that then Rotary Club had been invited by the Lawrence County Health Dept.  to set up a booth at the Health and Wellness Expo which will be held Sat. April 12.

The club's purpose at the Expo would be to distribute information and talk to the public about polio, the disease that the Rotary Club was founded nationally to help eliminate.

The group then turned their attention to the guest speaker, Brad Hall, External Affairs Manager with AEP.  Hall, along with Jacob Colley, Vice President of the South East Kentucky Chamber of Commerce (SEKC), met Thursday before the meeting with a few of the local Rotary Club members who have begun to meet monthly to discuss economic development.

Hall spoke to the crowd about the reason that AEP commissioned Insight, Inc., an economic development analyst company from South Carolina who visited Lawrence County last year.

Hall said as new businesses and industries were springing up in other parts of the state, it raised the question, why are businesses and industries not looking here in eastern Ky? They are locating in western and central KY, why not here?  

To find answers, AEP commissioned the Insight Company to take a look at Lawrence County.  The company's job is to assess and evaluate Lawrence County's  resources and assets as well as its deficiencies, and problems.

They gather and analyze all the data, then make recommendations for what is needed before an industry will locate in the area.

Hall said The Insight company spent a lot of time in eastern Ky with two days being spent in Lawrence County.  After looking at everything in Lawrence County, the findings were that no one knows we are on the map, and what available land we have is not site ready.

The consultants explained that in order for a major industry to locate in an area, they have to know if the site is ready, meaning it has to have adequate water and sewage capacity, which no one seemed to know.

The other problem is that Lawrence County is not being marketed, they cannot be found online and in outlets that business and industries look to when they are considering locating in an area.

It was also found that there is no organized committee, chamber, group or individual whose sole purpose is to work on economic development full time.

That is why Lawrence County has partnered with the SEKCC to work as a group toward improving the county's ability to attract industry.

The SEKC is a full time organization dedicated to the growth and development of the entire southeast Kentucky region.  Hall emphasized the importance of approaching economic development from a regional standpoint, explaining that all counties in eastern KY benefit when one gains business.  

He said someone made a comment that we don't want to compete against Prestonsburg.  "We are not competing with Prestonsburg, we are competing with the rest of the world" said Hall, pointing out that we have a better shot as a region than we do as an individual county, even though we have to make our county as good as it can be.

Hall said that the consultants from Insight were very impressed with Louisa and Lawrence County, saying that we have tremendous assets such as our close location to an interstate, river and rail access, close proximity to a commercial airport, a workforce, and a great attitude as well as county leaders who are eager and willing to do whatever it takes to make the county a viable area for business and industry to locate.

Hall went on to say there is money being allotted by AEP for economic development projects.  

Applications will be available March 24, at the LC Community Center, beginning at 10:30 am.

The local economic development committee will meet again Thursday, March 24, at 10:30 prior to the Rotary Club meeting to discuss the applications.

March 4, 2014

New Health Department Director says Lawrence County Health Dept. is...

...a "perfect fit"


By Catrina Vargo

Debbie Miller is excited about her new job as Lawrence Health Dept. director.Debbie Miller is excited about her new job as Lawrence Health Dept. director.Louisa, KYThe Lawrence County Health Dept. now has a new Director.  Debbie Miller was hired Feb. 17 to fill the position that became vacant in Oct. 2012 when Director Faith Frazier resigned because she and her husband Ric moved from the area.

A  director was hired the first of December, but left after only one month because she missed the interaction with patients that the administrative position did not provide, according to Cindy Maynard, who served as interim director until a replacement could be found.

Debbie Miller, 50, of Ashland comes from Kings Daughters Medical Center  where she served as the Community Relations Manager for over four years.

Miller who is a graduate of Paul Blazer High School attended Marshall University where she earned a Bachelors Degree in Medical Technology.

She began her career at Our Lady of Bellfonte Hospital in Ashland where she worked as a lab technician and later became supervisor.  As the field became more business oriented, Miller continued her education, earning her MBA at Morehead State University.

Miller, who got more involved with community health, eventually found her way to KDMC, where she became a Lab Supervisor from 1997-2001.  She then became the Community Relations Manager there.

Miller said she saw an opening for a Health Department Director at the LC Health Dept., and said  "I realized how much I enjoyed community health, and thought it was a perfect fit."   Having experience in mobile health, meals on wheels, and other community based health programs, Miller decided to apply for the position.

"I am excited to be part of a team that is so dedicated and caring" said  Miller,
who is beginning to get settled into the new position and said everyone has been very helpful.  She is currently in the process of completing required trainings. 

Debbie is married to Ed Miller.  They reside in Ashland, and  have two children; Ashley, 25 and Zachary, 18.
"I am thrilled to have been given the opportunity of the Health Dept. Director here, and look forward to serving the community," Miller added.

State road budget for Lawrence down

Fiscal Court members from left, Bill Lemaster, Earl Boggs, Judge/Exec. John Osborne, John J. Lemaster and Morris Howard at Monday morning's "quicky" meeting.Fiscal Court members from left, Bill Lemaster, Earl Boggs, Judge/Exec. John Osborne, John J. Lemaster and Morris Howard at Monday morning's "quicky" meeting.


Court agrees that Constable already has county paid insurance;


LOUISA, KY. -- Lawrence County Fiscal Court members voted unanimously Monday morning to amend a long held county ordinance slightly in order to ensure that all county officials, including Constables, to have their private vehicle insurance paid as long as they are doing county work.

Lawrence County Sheriff Garrett Roberts who is seeking his fourth term this year,talks with County Judge/Exex. Democrat candidate Harold Slone, a former magistrate and DES director.Lawrence County Sheriff Garrett Roberts who is seeking his fourth term this year,talks with County Judge/Exex. Democrat candidate Harold Slone, a former magistrate and DES director.The court disagreed at last month's meeting causing them to table the request of Wells for county insurance on a vehicle he leases but uses it for Constable business. County attorney Mike Hogan, who was not present at the meeting yesterday, wanted time to research the issue after Osborne had refused to sign off on including Wells in the county program because he "leased" the vehicle and the county does not own it. Not so, Osborne said yesterday and announced that under the amended ordinance Wells will be covered.

Sheriff Garrett Roberts said this has nothing to do with his office. "Under the law a Constable has as much power of arrest as I do. In fact, he can do anything I can," Roberts said. "But I'm not interested in turning an untrained individual out there where he might kill someone or get hurt himself.

The Constales must complete a 40 hour driving course at Richmond before becoming eligible for the benefits including having a siren and lights on his/her vehicle.


Politics aside, the Lawrence County Fiscal Court held a twenty minute meeting which included:

  • Unanimously Approved Proclamation making March American Red Cross Month
  • Unanimously Approved Proclamation of the Kentucky Board of Nursing 2014 Centennial Celebration
  • Unanimously Approved Randel Blevins as an additional Lawrence County Electrical Inspector
  • Rural & Secondary Road Presentation - A State Road Rep. brought further grim news when he gave the court a budget for state funding of its roads in Lawrence County. He said the funds are used to upkeep the state's 95 miles of roads here. The $742,000 is $11,000 less than last year.
  • Unanimously approved Judge/Exec. Osborne's Appointment of long-time insider Sue Maynard to replace Roberta Blevins as one of Lawrence County's members of the Regional Jail Board. The veteran Maynard, has served as secretary to the board of BSRDC for several years. She is also the deputy Treasurer of Lawrence County.
  • Got no motion for a proposal brought by Schooley Mitchell – Telecom Consultant, Dr. Lee Balaklaw. The matter does not appear likely to be brought up again.
  • Approved all items in the county budget for Constable vehicle lessor/Constable Paul Wells. Apparently Osborne learned from state officials that the insurance can indeed be paid by the county "only when it it being used for county benefit". A small amendment was changed in the original determines that between "may" or "shall". It will not have any economic impact on the budget.
  • Approved modifications to the January 2007 Constable Request (found in fiscal court book #19)
  • Authorized County Clerk to advertise for bids on lawn services for Pine Hill Cemetery
  • Declare surplus property - (1) 1994 GMC Truck, Top Kick 6500 series, starting bid price $3,000. (2.) 1994 GMC Truck Type series 6500. Starting bid price $3,000 (3.) Recycle Containers - (Must purchase all four) starting bid price $16,000.

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