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February 19, 2015

Trash pickup suspended until Friday, Louisa city hall open half day; Temps may reach 20 below today and tonight...

State highway crews have cleared U.S. 23 mostly but there are still many black ice sections to look out for.

 

UPDATE (Feb. 19, 2015 11:35 am)

Judge Executive John Osborne Lawrence Judge/Exec. John Osborne is at the courthouse taking calls this morning (Thursday). The phones are working now, but Osborne said the Courthouse remains closed, and will re-open Monday, weather permitting.

The other offices there are closed until Monday as well. 

"We are doing the best we can on the county roads, getting to them all as quickly as possible, but the temperature is not helping anything," Osborne said.

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LOUISA, Ky. -- With temperatures hovering around the zero mark and a heavy snow continuing to hang on County Judge/Executive John Osborne announced late yesterday that the county courthouse office will be closed until further notice. In addition schools are closed for the remainder of the week apparently and other government facilities including the Extension office also closed.

"The courthouse will be closed till further notice, Osborne said. "Chris Jobe's office is closed as are all other offices due to more snow expected and below zero temperatures."

Osborne also said those who need immediate help can call the county garage.

"All phones are out at courthouse," Osborne said. "Roads are continuously being worked on, for info, call county garage at new number: 826-2959 or 2958.

The scene at Blaine on Tuesday was still snow covered. Photo by Jennifer Ferguson.The storm of 2015 hit over the weekend and much of the state is in a similar situation trying to get out from under an estimated foot of snow which is quicky turning to ice. Governor Steve Beshear has declared a state of emergency statewide and taken action to prevent price gouging and to allow those who need medications to be able to get refills for the next thirty days.

The storm, which is part of a huge mass of snow and freezing temperatures is believed to be one of the worst in recent state history. see the Lazer's list of closures on 

But Circuit Clerk Jodi Parsley announced that there will be circuit court today (Wednesday). 

"The Lawrence County Judicial Centerwill be OPEN tomorrow (Wednesday). All District Court cases that are set for tomorrow, Wednesday, February 18th will be rescheduled for Thursday, February 19th at 1pm," Parsley said in a written notice to the media. "No District Court tomorrow due to road conditions. However, we do have a bench trial tomorrow in Circuit Court that is still going to be heard by the Judge."

Louisa Wal-Mart parking lot empty, store has sold out of bread and milk Monday.

 

In the city of Louisa Mayor Harold Slone issued a press release this morning (Wednesday)

City Update: February 18th, 2015

City Hall- Open on Limited basis today answering phones.

Water Office- Open till NOON today. 

Residential Garbage - The city garbage service for Wednesday and Thursday is suspended. We will assess the situation and update again Thursday evening. Garbage will be picking up double next week on your regular day. For example if you are a Monday route we will pick up both weeks next Monday, Tuesday on Tuesday , Etc.. 

We realize this is an inconvenience but necessary for the safety of the workers, the equipment and the residents attempting to put their trash out. Most of the secondary roads and side streets are ice and snow covered and unsafe for the garbage trucks.

Dangerous record breaking temperatures and wind chills of 10-25 below zero is predicted for the next two days and would put the workers at great risk. 

Commercial Garbage- Commercial Garbage is resuming as much as possible in areas with cleared parking lots.

We ask for your patience during these times, please Stay In, Stay Warm, Stay Safe and check on your neighbors, especially those that may be elderly and live alone. --Louisa Mayor Harold Slone

Scores of photos have been posted on The Levisa Lazer's Facebook page via several Facebook accounts and it looks like the state road department has cleared most the main state roads.

Osborne, whose road dept. has over 100 miles to deal with said crews are proceeding to scrape roads as quickly as possible.

 

 

 

 

February 17, 2015

Order will also allow emergency prescription refills

Kentucky Press News Service

FRANKFORT – As Kentuckians dig out from deep snow, Gov. Steve Beshear Tuesday issued two executive orders to protect consumers from price gouging and to ensure families have access to needed prescription medicines. 

“Both of these orders will help Kentuckians manage the effects of the storm, knowing that they will pay fair prices for goods like gasoline and won’t have to worry about skipping doses of maintenance medications,” Beshear said in a statement.

Price Gouging Executive Order

At the request of Attorney General Jack Conway, the governor activated the state’s prohibitions on price gouging. The emergency declaration triggers several consumer protection measures that will remain in place for 30 days, but may be extended past that time as needed.

The order empowers the attorney general to investigate and prosecute, where appropriate, those who sell gasoline, generators, building supplies, chain saws, hotel rooms and other necessary goods and services at an exorbitant price in a time of disaster.

“I encourage all Kentuckians to take caution during this time of emergency, keep your families safe and remember those around us that may need a helping hand," Conway said in the statement. "I have made it clear that I will not tolerate unscrupulous retailers who seek excessive profits during emergency situations. Kentuckians who are digging out from this storm should not be victimized again by predatory pricing."

Anyone with specific information regarding possible price gouging should contact the Office of the Attorney General at 1-888-432-9257 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

FEBRUARY 14, 2014;

Lawrence County EMS Seeks Donations, and Other

Support From The General Public Via Online Solicitation;


by WADE QUEEN

The Lawence County Emergency Management Agency is seeking financial support and donations for its search and rescue unit, via an online funding site set up by the agency.

THE LCEM has set up a website: http://www.gofundme.com/g69qqw, to raise money for one of its division group's, the Lawrence County Search And Rescue, which the LCEM says is all 'volunteer' organized group.

The website was set up on October 22, 2014, but has gotten extra attention in recent days due to stepped up activity by both the LCEM & LCSAR in the last couple of weeks.

According to the site's message: "Lawrence County Search and Rescue is a division of Lawrence County Kentucky Emergency Management. Lawrence County SAR is responsible for search and rescue activities within Lawrence County and provides assistance to other area counties. The team is made up of all volunteers and is in need of funding for training and purchasing equipment and resources for the team. Any and all help would be greatly appreciated".

The site originally had an asking goal of $10,000, but recently that was amended to $1,000 for specific item equipment sets.

And though the website has been up and running for over 3 1/2 months, the donation amount stood at $0, until the site made the said alteration, and in the pre-dawn hours of Friday 13th, an anonymous donor contributed $50.

In a message update in mid Nov. 2014, the site asked: "In need of funding to purchase rescue helmets and other basic SAR equipment".

Earlier this week on Tuesday Feb. 10; a new message update further stated: "Lawrence County SAR is in need of a large amount of equipment ranging from small items (hand tools) to larger items (ATV / UTV). Any help that you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Lawrence County SAR is an all volunteer organization".

A more informative message update the very next day, in which a photo for a piece of equpment was included (and the $ goal amount was trimmed down as well) asked: "The majority of search and rescue equipment has a high cost per item. One example is search and rescue helmets to be worn in rough terrain conditions. The less expensive helmets still cost over $100 dollars each. We understand times are still hard but we need your help to help others. Thank you again for any and all help".


Petzl vertex, price $110

(Helmet that Lawence County Emergency Management Agency is asking for money donations on its funding website.)

A new message on Friday Feb. 13 further added: "We are in need of raising $1,000 dollars to purchase safety helmets for the SAR Team. Every penny helps, if you are unable to donate to the page but would still like to make a donation no matter how small few free to contact us via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and thank you for your support".

Lawrence Co. Judge/Executive John Osborne could not be reached for comment on whether or not the solicitation has been approved by his office or the fiscal court. it is not known if other EMS departments in the state use online solicitation for raising funds.

Monitoring of the LCE/LCSAR fundraiser website will continue. 

February 15, 2015 (1:00 pm)

STAY INSIDE! Brrrrrrrr....

UPDATE: 

SNOW EMERGENCY LEVEL THREE: GOES INTO EFFECT AT NOON

TODAY UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE...

 

SNOW EMERGENCY LEVEL THREE:

Conditions: All roadways are restricted to emergency personnel

use only for travel to work, for delivery of medical supplies, medical

treatment and snow removal operations.

Advisory: Essential travel only is advised. Violators are subject to prosecution. Residents are strongly urged to contact their employer concerning work schedules.

 

Mayor's office issues press release concerning incoming storm

LOUISA, Ky.  -- The Louisa Mayor's office is closely monitoring the forecast of what could be a major winter storm. The NWS now seems very confident in a winter storm that could significantly affect travel and other services in the next 48 hours.

The city is asking residents to be prepared for snow, severe cold temperatures and life threatening wind chill factors in the days ahead.

“I have spoken with the city department heads for Fire, Police, Water, Street and Sanitation today to see if there is any additional resources needed to adequately respond to the storm,” Harold Slone, the newly elected Mayor who served a Lawrence Co. EMS director before being elected.

“If you have a vehicle parked on the street and can possibly park it elsewhere it would be a great help to the city,” Slone said. “If snow totals reach what is possible, plowing the streets will be a major effort, cars parked on the streets will greatly hinder the operation. “Our city is not currently equipped to handle winter weather like this storm could bring and that’s something I plan on improving before next year,” Slone added. “But for this year we are gearing up to do the very best we can with the resources we have.”

Slone asked that you be prepared with alternative heat sources, conserve city water as much as possible, and stay off the roads unless it is an emergency. 

Should the storm impact the City as forecasted, garbage pickup will not run on Monday. Monday route will be attempted Tuesday.

Stay in touch with local officials, the NWS and the Office of Emergency Management for regular updates on the potential severe and dangerous weather. 

 

****************************************************************************

Lawrence County Emergency Management

 

LC Emergency Services helper

Message from Lawrence County Emergency Management - Attention! Attention! National weather services has issued a winter storm warning. More info can be found at:  www.facebook.com/lawrencecountykyem

Lawrence County is under a winter storm watch at this time. It appears we will receive at least 4 inches of snow based on current model runs. Any areas in the NWS Jackson coverage area including Johnson and Martin are already under a winter storm warning for 6-12 inches of snow. This is likely to be a heavy snowfall for all of Kentucky. Take today and get prepared as this storm will arrive our area after midnight. The Monday morning commute will likely be very hazardous with conditions worsening throughout the day. We will have update throughout the day and especially this evening as the exact track of the heaviest snow is narrowed down.

All SAR Members please contact Randy or reply with your availability for the next 36 hours. We are in the process of establishing teams for emergency response needs and possible evacuations in the event of power outages. Additionally, we will be preparing for possible opening of warming centers and/or shelters. Thank you.

 

LAWRENCE COUNTY DECLARES SNOW EMERGENCY SATURDAY EVENING ( SINCE LIFTED SUNDAY MORNING ) AFTER STRONGER THAN EXPECTED WEATHER SYSTEM LEAVES COUNTY ROADS IN TREACHEROUS CONDITONS, BUT....

THE WORST IS YET TO COME!



DOWNTOWN LOUISA LATE SATURDAY AFTERNOON

Officials in Lawrence County declared a LEVEL ONE snow emergency for roads late Saturday evening after a short but fierce snow system brought a few inches of snow exacerberated by strong winds that created whiteout conditions that were worsened by a quick plunging temperatures that reached low single digits with negative double digit wind chills that flashed freezed roads througout the county area.

Power outages to several hundred customers throughout the county were also reported.



ROUTE 1 IN WEBBVILLE

 

US 23 NEAR LOUISA




KY 3398 (FALLSBURG ROAD - FULLER HILL)


Even though only around 2 to 3 inches of total snow were recorderd around the county, driving winds created deeper snow drifts, blinding whiteouts, that were worsened by swift dropping temperatures that made solid ice conditions for Lawrence County roads suitable for ice skating and bobsledding.




AUTOMOBILE THAT SLID OVER EMBANKMENT ON KY 32 ABOUT A QUARTER OF MILE WEST OF KY 3396 SATURDAY NIGHT. FIRE & RESCUE RESPONDERS DETERMINED THAT OCCUPANTS HAD ABANDONED THE VEHICHLE AFTER ACCIDENT.


But as bad as Saturday's conditions were, they are nothing compared what maybe lying ahead for the region for the 72-96 hours, and beyond: Not only the biggest snow storm for Eastern Kentucky in the 21st century, but also followed up by a record setting cold night mid-week.

Things took an unexpected turn when the National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Warning late Saturday night for a storm coming Monday that did not even exist 24 hours ago. (In fact, as of Friday there was no snow being given for the beginning of the week). By late Friday night/Saturday morning weather forecasts had changed to a dusting of snow for Sunday night; but all of that changed by late Saturday night through Sunday morning.

Weather meteorologists and forecasters throught Kentucky and West Virginia were surprised and taken back when the National Weather Service are now forecasting that the the impending snow storm is expected to bring 6 to 12 inches, with one computer model suggesting up tp 18 INCHES for Lawrence County and the surrounding areas.

As bad as those forecasts are; a clipper system coming from Canada Wednesday that will only bring an inch of snow, but will also bring in air from the Artic that could see Wednesday night/Thursday morning temperatures hitting as low as -10 below zero with windchills -30 to -40 below zero with Thursday night near -15 below with windchills -40+ below zero. Another system is forcast for next Saturday & Sunday with 10-18 inches of snow! and a reinforcing shot of polar air. SEE http://www.wunderground.com/q/zmw:41230.1.99999?

By Monday Feb. 23 Lawrence County could have up to 3 feet snow on the ground. Stay tuned for more updates on these impendning epic weather events.

February 11, 2015;

Council votes 4-1 to pass alcohol ordinance; mayor announces

plan to hold city/county 'summit'...

Council members L to R Mitch Castle, Ron Cordle and Gloria Johnson took a last minute look at the agenda before last night's meeting. Lazer photo by Mark GraysonLOUISA, Ky. -- The Louisa City Council voted 4-1 last night to pass the second reading of an ordinance setting up the local laws on the sale of alcohol which passed by nearly a 2-1 vote in a December 2014 special election.

The only 'nay' vote on the new ordinance, prepared by city attorney Eldred Adams, was cast by council member and Louisa United Methodist youth leader Mitch Castle who said he could not in good conscience vote for it mainly because the ordinance allows for Sunday alcohol sales from 3:00pm to 12:00 midnight, much like surrounding counties such as Boyd and Pike have voted recently.

"It's not that I'm against alcohol sales as much as it is the Sunday sales," Castle said. "This is just my personal belief, and I can't cast a vote for it." Castle was also the only 'nay' vote in Monday night's first reading of the ordinance.

Mayor Harold Slone offered a written statement to the press, which with the ADI and WSAZ-News in attendance, outnumbered the audience. 

“ I’m glad we got this behind us and we can move on to bigger projects that I’m excited about," Slone said. "Remember, the people in the city chose to put this on the ballot, voted on it, and passed it by a large margin which left this council to do the best they could with an ordinance that’s reasonable for the citizens, businesses and visitors of Louisa."  (See summary of ordinance HERE)

Louisa mayor Harold Slone answers a question from council member Lisa Schaeffer during the regular February meeting last night."They went through the ordinance, made changes they felt necessary and passed the ordinance," he added. "In order for the city to issue licenses, collect fees, and regulate the sale of alcohol we had to have this done by Feb 15th. and this council made the deadline. I respect everyone's vote and decisions on this matter and anxious to move on.”

He also said he has not decided on who will be hired as the city's ABC commissioner, a job that will pay approximately $24,000 per year.

"The person I thought would be right for this job decided that he didn't want it just today so I don't have anyone else in mind right now, Slone said. "The biggest thing was to get this ordinance passed before the deadline and we've now done that," Slone said. "Now I will find the best person I can to fill the position." 

The appointment of the ABC commissioner is made by the mayor and requires no council approval. "But," Slone said, "I want you guys to agree with the person I choose and I will listen to your suggestions. In the end it is my decision and it's an important one."

Council member Lisa Schaeffer, who arrived late and did not cast a vote on the ordinance but did vote for it at Monday night's special meeting, asked Slone if there are any particular qualifications for applicants. Slone said there are the usual age requirements (21) and the person cannot have a felony on his/her record and other state requirements but there are no added local requirements for the job like having to live in the city and there are no requirements the person has law enforcement experience. 

A 'united effort' towards progress

When the mayor, who took office only last month, talked about bigger projects he wasn't just whistling Dixie.

Louisa city council members Tom Parsons and Angie McGuire.“I am working on a concept that would restructure some of the city boards and commissions and bring them together to create a master plan for projects in the city," Slone said. "We would also include input from non profit and government groups that have interest like the  tourism commission, and city and county government."

Slone said it's time that city and county governments work together in Lawrence County and Louisa.

"This will make downtown revitalization a collaborative effort where we are all working toward a “master plan” for revitalizing and developing our downtown area. The other agencies I have spoken with are excited and ready to get to work, Slone said. "I am still doing some of the necessary paperwork and plan to bring everyone together in a 'summit like' meeting and roll out the new concept to the board members and interested citizens in the community soon. You will receive a press release announcing the meeting and more details of the concept."

The council unanimously backed the mayor in his request to be allowed to apply for an up to $10,000 Flex grant from the Brushy Fork Institue in Berea that helps pay for planning efforts for municipalities. He said the new master plan the city and county will be producing and plans for a Riverwalk in Louisa could be at least partially funded by the grant money which does require a 20% in kind contribution from the city. Council member Angie McGuire asked it the local Master Gardener program and other similar projects would qualify for some of the grant money. Slone answered that there will be other grants down the line that he is going after that would include that and several other programs in the city, but not this one.

He said the deadline for application is Feb. 23 and asked the council to go ahead with it and the council agreed 6-0 to apply.

The Council also:

* Approved minutes for Jan. 20, 2015

*Approved Resolution 2015-01, “A Resolution of the City of Louisa, Kentucky Authorizing the Mayor of the City of Louisa to Execute the Necessary Documents for the Execution and Delivery of an Equipment Lease/Purchase Agreement and Related Instruments”. This was approval of the purchase of a new police cruiser which had been approved before the present council took office. There was no mention of a price for the new police car. The city police dept. is now running on all cylinders with six full time officers.   

* Mayor Slone said the city street crew will try to fill all the remaining pot holes today (Wednesday) that were not fixed before the cold weather set in. "We purchased $900 of material to fill the holes the best we can to get us through the cold weather," Slone said. "Then we can begin on the resurfacing that is planned for the city streets."

* In a non agenda item Slone asked council to approve the leasing of a space in the community center that is not being used to the Community Sharing group, a state sponsored organization that works on various projects to enhance life in Lawrence County (see recent Lazer stories). Community Sharing leader Tina Jackson asked mayor Slone for the space and has agreed to pay $275 on a monthly basis for the small office. Slone said the city has the space leased out to FIVECO but that he has checked with them and gotten their approval for the sublease. City Atty. Adams asked council for time to draw up the lease and check with FIVECO himself but Slone said Ms. Jackson is anxious to have an office and council agreed 6-0 to lease the space to them and Adams can write the lease as soon as possible. Slone said it will be on a month to month basis. "We're not using it for anything right now and that might generate eenough funding to help fix up the kitchen at the community center which, he said, is badly in need of repair.

* The council also agreed unanimously to ask for bids for surplus property which is in disrepair and includes about seven old trucks, police cruisers a lowboy and a trailer.

The meeting adjourned without the executive session which was on the agenda.