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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.

Date: 02-27-2014

University of Pikeville to open Kentucky's first college of optometry;

The University of Pikeville will open Kentucky's first college of optometry, school leaders announced Wednesday.

The university plans to build a new facility to house the college, which will start with a class of 60 students in 2016, said UPike President James Hurley.

Gov. Steve Beshear, who attended the announcement in Pikeville, said a $1.5 million grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission will boost the new college.

Hurley said a feasibility study has been completed and an advisory committee will help move the college forward. UPike has also started a search for the college's dean.

The announcement comes after the University of Pikeville-Kentucky College of Optometry was approved last week as a "Stage One Applicant" by the American Optometric Association's Accreditation Council on Optometric Education.

Beshear said the new school would help the SOAR initiative (Shaping Our Appalachian Region), and similar projects designed to boost Eastern Kentucky's economic development.

"We're going to be your partner every step of the way to make sure this next step for UPike is as successful as all the other steps you've taken," Beshear said.

Improving the health of rural Kentuckians is a top priority, Beshear said.

"As more people access health care through Medicaid and other programs and as our population ages, the need for medical professionals, including quality optometrists, is expected to increase," he said.

Optometrists are medical professionals with a four-year degree who can give regular eye care and prescribe glasses and contacts. In Kentucky, optometrists are licensed to perform limited surgery with lasers.

Ophthalmologists are doctors with medical school degrees who offer complete eye care, including surgery.

According to the Kentucky Optometric Association, the Council on Postsecondary Education has arranged for Kentucky's optometry students to attend schools in neighboring states. Currently, Kentucky has contracts with Indiana University, University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Southern College of Optometry in Memphis.

Founded in 1889, UPike is a private school with 1,282 undergraduate students and 467 graduate students. It offers graduate programs in osteopathic medicine, business administration and sports management.

By Linda B. Blackford
Lexington Herald Leader

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