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MONDAY, OCTOBER 09, 2017

"Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt told coal miners in Kentucky that he will propose repealing a rule limiting greenhouse-gas emissions from existing power plants," The Washington Post reports.

 "Speaking at an event with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Pruitt said his agency will publish the new rule Tuesday.""Speaking at an event with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Pruitt said his agency will publish the new rule Tuesday."

"Speaking at an event with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Pruitt said his agency will publish the new rule Tuesday." The move was expected, given President Trump's campaign promises. Pruitt told the miners at Hazard, Ky., "The war on coal is over."

According to CBS News, Pruitt told the miners, "When you think about what that rule meant, that rule really was about picking winners and losers. Regulatory power should not be used by any regulatory body to pick winners and losers."

Pruitt, a native of Central Kentucky, spoke at the Hazard office of Whayne Supply Co., a major supplier of equipment for the mining industry in Kentucky. WYMT-TV in Hazard has a video.

Written by Al Cross Posted at 10/09/2017 11:42:00 AM

 

 OCTOBER 8, 2017

Teleworks USA hosted its Grand Opening Ceremony on Friday, October 6, 2017 at the Lawrence Co. Community Center.

What a great day for Lawrence Co. KY.

Betty Hays, instructor for Teleworks USABetty Hays, instructor for Teleworks USA


Michael Cornett, Director of Agency Expansion Teleworks stated, " We are proud to show off our newest hub right here in Lawrence Co. What we are doing here is bringing our proven workshop model that's proven itself in 7 other hubs in Eastern Kentucky."

"We bring students through a very fast and moving curriculum based on Customer Service, Tech Support and Digital Literacy and prepare them to be the very best candidate for literally thousands of jobs. These are all work-at-home jobs, full time or part time, with benefits. This is our 8th hub in Eastern Kentucky," Cornett said.

Katelyn Dunn, instructor for Teleworks USAKatelyn Dunn, instructor for Teleworks USAThe hub opened right after Labor Day with 20 students. Eleven (11) of those have jobs now and are working with combined salaries in excess of $280,000.

The hub space in Louisa boasts 30 fully equipped terminals for Teleworks USA’s customer service and digital literacy workshops, along with a limited number of workstations that will allow teleworkers temporary workspace as they transition to a work-from-home setting.

The next class begins on November 5, 2017. The class is quickly filling up so get in early by contacting Betty Hays or Katelyn Dunn at the center.

"We are pleased to bring this opportunity to Lawrence County,” said Lawrence Co. Judge-Executive John Osborne. “It is proven to create jobs, and a lot of people can benefit from it. We thank everyone who helped make this possible."

 

October 4, 2017

East Kentucky ratepayers in 20-county service area cannot afford 16-percent hike

Lawrence, Martin, Magoffin among counties included in request


PIKEVILLE, Ky.  – Attorney General Andy Beshear today joined Eastern Kentucky lawmakers, school and local officials, and advocates to announce his Office of Rate Intervention is recommending that the Public Service Commission (PSC) deny AEP/Kentucky Power’s more than $60 million proposed increase.

Ky. Atty. General Andy Beshear is proposing that AEP forgo the requested increase on ratepayers by implementing stronger controls on spending and by decreasing the amount returned to its shareholders.Ky. Atty. General Andy Beshear is proposing that AEP forgo the requested increase on ratepayers by implementing stronger controls on spending and by decreasing the amount returned to its shareholders.The 16-percent increase, Beshear and the group said, would further devastate the more than 168,500 Kentuckians in the utility’s 20-county service area, which includes Boyd, Breathitt, Carter, Clay, Elliott, Floyd, Greenup, Johnson, Knott, Lawrence, Leslie, Letcher, Lewis, Magoffin, Martin, Morgan, Owsley, Perry, Pike and Rowan counties.

Beshear is proposing that AEP forgo the requested increase on ratepayers by implementing stronger controls on spending and by decreasing the amount returned to its shareholders.

“Our families in Eastern Kentucky are already past the breaking point. They simply cannot afford another increase,” Beshear said. “This company must manage its needs without placing them on the backs of households, business, seniors, schools and local governments.”

Beshear said a crippling rate increase by the company now would counter any economic development efforts in the region by pushing out the skilled workforce needed to maintain existing businesses or attract new businesses.

Beshear’s proposal filed with the PSC incorporates testimony by four experts on affordability, rate of return required by shareholders and the effect on low-income customers.

Parties in this case include the Kentucky School Board Association, the Kentucky Cable Telecommunications Association, Kentucky League of Cities, Kentucky Commercial Utility Customers, Kentucky Industrial Utility Customers and Walmart.

The PSC has scheduled three public meetings: Prestonsburg Nov. 2; Hazard Nov. 6 and Ashland Nov. 8, where the public may attend and provide comments.

Beshear and the group said the PSC should be required, however, to hold public hearings in each of the 20 counties and hear concerns on its proposed increase, which they all agree is unwarranted.

“It’s nothing to hear an $800 or $1,000 electric bill each month,” said Alice Craft, a retired Letcher County teacher. “AEP is asking for another raise. How on God’s green Earth do you expect citizens to pay for this when they can’t even pay for the last increase? We need help from Attorney General Beshear. We need to stop AEP and the rate increases. We can’t afford it.”

“It’s unacceptable to not have a public hearing in Pike County,” said Rep. Angie Hatton, of Whitesburg. “AEP provides electricity to more than 33,000 customers in Pike County, making it by far the largest county in the service area. I demand the PSC hold a public hearing in Pikeville before the case begins Dec. 6. These rates are already so high that they can’t be borne by most Eastern Kentucky customers. To grant any increase at all would ensure that low-income customers will be forced to choose between heat and food this winter.”

“Kentucky Power is attempting to bolster its bottom line on the backs of consumers who are already reeling from the effects of the collapse of our region’s coal economy,” said Knott County Judge-Executive Zach Weinberg. “Instead of accepting a lesser return during these hard times, it is seeking to pass its costs on to those who can afford it least, the men and women and children of Eastern Kentucky.”

“If you live on a low income, or a fixed income, or live paycheck to paycheck, every penny matters,” said Roger McCann, executive director of Community Action Kentucky. “If the cost of one thing goes up, that means you have less to spend on things like food, medicine, books and gasoline. Something has to be cut and that is why I am here today. To speak up for the families who are going to have to make yet another tough decision.”

“Last year Letcher County School System spent $953,677 on electricity,” said Letcher County Public Schools Superintendent Tony Sergent. “A 16-percent increase would cost our district $152,588 annually. With all of the other cuts to our county, like the lowering of the unmined coal assessment, it is easy to see that our school district and others in Eastern Kentucky can’t take another hit.”

“Pike County schools cannot afford to spend additional money on an electricity rate hike,” said Pike County Public Schools Superintendent Reed Adkins. “We are experiencing increases at every corner, like how the free and reduced lunch rates have increased in Pike County, and our families cannot afford one more.”

“We in Eastern Kentucky are doing everything possible to increase education levels, improve health, establish a strong workforce and attract new businesses,” said James Michael Howell, executive director of the Big Sandy Area Community Action Program. “But we cannot move forward if we are continually being cut off at the knees. This rate increase would do just that.”

To request a public hearing in your county, or to submit a public comment, contact the Public Service Commission at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 502-564-3940.

Beshear’s Office of Rate Intervention serves as a watchdog for consumers in matters relating to health insurance, natural gas, water, sewer, electric and telephone rates. Under Kentucky law, the office is responsible for representing the interests of Kentucky consumers before governmental ratemaking agencies, concentrating on utility cases before PSC.

In April, Beshear’s office entered into a settlement with LG&E and KU saving Kentucky ratepayers $90 million.

October 4, 2017

The following is in response to Attorney General Andy Beshear’s press conference today. The statement is from Kentucky Power President Matt Satterwhite:

 

“We obviously disagree with the Attorney General’s comments today. We believe his urging to dismiss Kentucky Power’s rate adjustment is groundless. The AG’s position wrongly places the blame on a poor economy on an eastern Kentucky business. Kentucky Power is focused on the long-term strength of eastern Kentucky.

“We want all of our customers to know that Kentucky Power does not request a rate review lightly. The setting of rates is an open, transparent and highly regulated process run by the independent Kentucky Public Service Commission. The Commission must balance a utilities’ ability to provide safe and reliable electricity with the need to invest in the state and the electric grid.

“The same economic challenges facing our community also affect our company. That is why we are reducing spending while still providing high quality service to our customers. We’re continuing to trim trees, restore service and doing the things needed every day to make sure the lights come on when our customers flip the switch. It also is why we are committed to economic development. Kentucky Power is leading the charge to diversify the economy and bring jobs to the region.

Matt Satterwhite Matt Satterwhite “I ask the Attorney General to work with us and our many community and business partners who know the value we bring not only to eastern Kentucky but to the whole Commonwealth. Providing long-term solutions for our region’s future requires dedicated commitment and public service. As members of this community, we value our role in helping to grow and build that future, and we hope the Attorney General will join us as we move the region forward.”

10/03/2017

Wayne County Sheriff's department makes 'biggest drug bust' to date

Arrest makes 100th since Jan. 1 when Thompson took office

Sheriff Rick Thompson today announced the arrest of two Wayne County residents at approximately 3:30 a.m. in the James River Road Community. Sheriff Thompson says WCSD Drug Enforcement Unit while working a joint investigation with the Kenova Police Department arrested Steven Crabtree and Brittany Legg.

During the search, officers seized a large amount of Heroin and Crystal Methamphetamine from the residence. The officers also seized cash, a handgun and other various drugs.

Sreven Crabtree and Brittany LeggSreven Crabtree and Brittany LeggSheriff Thompson says that “this is one of the WCSD Drug Enforcement Unit’s biggest busts to date” and adds that “this makes over one hundred felony drug arrests since January 1 of this year”.

Among the drugs seized at the residence were 69.5 grams of Crystal Methamphetamine (which carries possible 1-5 year sentence), 74.3 grams of Heroin (which carries a possible 1-15 year sentence). Along with the possession of the drugs, additional related charges are Conspiracy to Distribute more than more than 50 grams of Methamphetamine (2-30 years), Conspiracy to Deliver between 10-100 grams of Heroin (2-15 years), and Pseudoephedrine in an Altered State (2-10 years). Felony charges will be filed on both Crabtree and Legg on each count. Crabtree also faces an additional warrant from Cabell County for Possession with Intent to Deliver.

Sheriff Thompson states that the street value of the drugs seized is approximately $22,000. The WCSD Drug Enforcement Unit and Kenova Police Department were assisted by WCSD Road Officers, Task Force West and Ceredo Police Department and Sheriff Thompson complimented their combined effort in getting the drugs off our streets.

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

 

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