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December 31, 2014;

Recent elected officials sworn in Tuesday; ceremony held at new Judicial Center...

The whole truth and nothing but the truth swearing in was held in the new Circuit Court Building in Louisa Tuesday

 

By Catrina Vargo
 

Louisa, KY --Newly elected and re-elected officials from the November, 2014 election were sworn in Tuesday, December 30 at 11:00 am in the Lawrence County Judicial Center in Louisa, Ky.

County Attorney, Mike Hogan spoke about what it's like to hold a public officeCounty Attorney, Mike Hogan welcomed everyone who attended, and said he was proud of everyone who stepped up to run for office.  "It takes a lot to put yourself out there to the public. Often, you are criticized and become the subject of scrutiny" he said, explaining that it is a big responsibility to uphold the office and position to the best of their ability.

Family and friends of the office holders watched as Circuit Judge, John David Preston swore in a total of 18 people into office.  As each raised their hand, Judge Preston read the oath, after which, each official said "I do."

The term of newly elected and re-elected officials will begin officially January 1, 2015, although as it is a holiday, public offices will be closed on New Years Day.

In reference to the picture above: Back Row, L to R: Chris Jobe, County Court Clerk, Garrett Roberts, Sheriff, Morris Howard, Magistrate District 1, Rick Blackburn, Magistrate District 4, John Goble, School Board Member, Paul Wells, Constable District 1, Daniel Castle, Constable District 3.  Front Row, L to R:  John J. Lemaster, Earl Boggs, Magistrate District 3, Jason Stepp, Constable District 2, Billy Lemaster, Constable District 2, Roger Lee Jordan, Jailer, John Osborne, County Judge Executive, Jill York, State Representative, John T. Chaffin, District Judge, and Kevin Holbrook, District Judge.

UPDATED;

December 30, 2014;

Answers to frequently asked questions about Louisa's new 'wet' laws by ABC official; Convenience stores can sell beer only...

 


Nearly two weeks after Louisa voters passed a referendum allowing the sale of alcohol in the city limits questions have been coming in in droves. In order to find the answers to many of the most frequently asked questions The Lazer sent a list of them to ABC attorney Stephen Humphries who referred us to the Commission's public affairs officer Holly Mullins.

Ms. Mullins answered the questions this morning and they are listed in red as a part of the letter we wrote to the ABC.

Here they are:

Holly,

Stephen Humphries said you were the one to respond to my questions regarding the recent “wet” vote in Louisa, Ky. Can you please send the answers asap? I have been deluged with them since the referendum passed Dec. 16.

As you probably know by now Louisa, population (3,000 according to the most recent Census report)) has voted 'wet' and there are lots of questions coming in on what happens now:

1. What is the timetable for the city, which voted wet on Dec. 16, 2014? How long will it take to actually have alcohol sales? What has to be done before the alcohol can be sold?

(Holly) No licenses may be applied for or issued locally or on the State level until 60 days after the vote has been certified.  I will contact someone at the City today and get a copy of the certification from the vote to find out when that date is.  Once that date is past, applicants may apply for non quota licenses only and the local ABC administrator will review and hold those apps until the 30 day protest has expired before giving local approval or denial.  Then the applicant may apply with the State ABC office and it takes us approximately 30-45 days to process a new application once accepted into the office. So realistically it could be up to 4 months before any non quota licenses are actually ready for approval in Louisa.

2. Besides the two carry-outs that we can have, can there be any number of Quik Marts, etc. that sell only beer and malt beverages?

(Holly) There is not a set limit on non quota licenses, such as gas stations that sell beer by the package.

3. Who chooses the ones that get the licenses and how is that done?

(Holly) Quota package licenses are chosen by the Distilled Spirits Administrator Tony Dehner.  Once the 60 days is past, I will advertise in the local newspaper that quota licenses are available.  I think there may be 2 available, but I will have to get with Steve Humphress, our General Counsel to verify that this week as well.  Applicants will have 30 days from the day my ad runs to get complete applications to our office.  If more applicants apply than we have available licenses we process each app normally and request an economic impact letter from each applicant as well,  and then Tony Dehner will chose who the best applicants may be.  He will visit each location and take several different factors into consideration.

4. Can the mayor act as the control officer and be paid for doing so in addition to his regular salary?

(Holly) The mayor may be the local ABC administrator, but I cannot answer anything about this regular salary.

5. Does Walmart qualify since they sell both groceries and other products but do not have separate entrance?

(Holly) Walmart would more than likely qualify for a malt beverage package licnese only for the grocery store, (NQ Malt Beverage Package).  If they wanted to apply for one of the quota liquor package licenses they would have to have a separate entrance to their box store, they cannot sell distilled spirits and wine with groceries.

6. If a restaurant seats 100, how much of it’s sales have to be for food?

(Holly) A NQ2 Retail Drink license is the license restaurants would apply for.  They are required to have 50 seats and 50% in food sales.

UPDATED; December 30, 2014 

Mr Grayson: As a follow up. The 60 days from the date the election results were certified will be February 13, 2015.  So no applicant may start the process of applying for a license until that date has passed.

Also, there will be 2 quota package licenses available in the City of Louisa. 

Convenience stores, grocery stores, gas stations and other similar business that have groceries and or gas may sell malt beverages (beer) only.  Beer licenses are non quota licenses and there is no limit on the number of those that may be approved and issued.  

The quota package licenses are distilled spirits and wine licenses for businesses that are liquor package stores only, and they are limited to 2 for the city of Louisa.

Louisa. Thank you,

Sonya Semones

Office of the Commissioner

Kentucky Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control

 

I appreciate your responses during this process and hope you can answer these questions as soon as possible.

Merry Christmas,

Mark

New indictments also listed:

Shannon gets 35 years on multiple sex charges involving minor; Other cases involve drugs, burglary and more...


Louisa, KY -- On December 12, Circuit Judge John David Preston signed a judgment sentencing Harold Keith Shannon, 67, of Louisa, KY to 35 years on multiple sex charges involving a minor. There was no trial, as Shannon entered a guilty plea.

Harold Keith ShannonThe counts and sentences are as follows:  (1) On the charge of Sodomy (amended from 1st to 2nd degree), victim under 12 years of age, Defendant was sentenced to 10 years.  (2) On the charge of Use of a Minor Under 16 in a Sex Performance, 20 years.  (3) On the charge of Promoting Sex Performance By a Minor  Under 16 Years of Age, 20 years. (4) On the charge of Possessing Matter Portraying Sex Performance By a Minor, 5 years. (5) On the charge of Unlawful Transaction With a Minor, 1st Degree Illegal Sex Act Under 16, 5 years.  Counts 1,4, and 5 to be served consecutively. Counts of 2 and 3 to be served concurrently, but consecutively to 1 and 5.  Total sentence is 35 years. Jail credit of 207 days to be applied. 
 

 

Other Circuit Court News:

Richard Aaron Bowen, 24, withdrew his guilty plea on charges of Burglary 1st Degree, Assault 4 the Degree No Visible Injury, and Persistent Felony Offender First Degree.  Court could not accept Commonwealth's offer. Trial date set for February 23. Defendant is to report to court on Jan. 9.

Steven K. Boyd, 30, pled guilty to charge of Receiving Stolen Property Under $10,000, and was sentenced to 3 years supervised pre-trial diversion , 3 years and other conditions.
Harley Michelle Browning, 21, pled guilty to Amended Complicity Cultivation of Marijuana, 5 or more plants, and sentenced to 13 months supervised probation, 24 months. Jail credit of 35 days to be applied.

Courtnie L. Doughty, pled guilty to Theft By Unlawful Taking All Others $500 Or More But Under $10,000 and sentenced to 1 year unsupervised pre-trial diversion and other conditions. Final sentencing Jan. 9.

William Muncy, 40, pled guilty to charges of Amended Complicity 1st Degree Possession Of Cocaine and Complicity Drug Paraphelnia Buy/Possession  Defendant to serve until 12-23-14.
Curtis Dale Rowe, 39, pled not guilty and was arraigned on charges of Complicity Theft By Unlawful Taking (Disposition Shoplifting), Criminal Trespassing 3rd Degree, and Persistent Felony Offender 1st Degree.  Pre-trial conference set for January 9.

Bobby Triplett, 49, pled not guilty and was arraigned on charge of Bail Jumping  1st Degree. Defendant remains incarcerated. Pre-trial conference set for Jan. 9. (Other hearing on charges of Complicity Burglary, 2nd and 3rd Degree)

Joseph Allen Warrix, 25, pled guilty to charge of Convicted Felon in Possession of Firearm and sentenced to 5 years probation, consecutive to other case and other condition in agreement. Defendant also pled guilty on Receiving Stolen Property and sentenced to 5 years consecutive to other case and conditions. Final sentencing Jan. 9.

Arlene Falstead, 44, pled not guilty and was arraigned on charge of Attempting/Obtaining Controlled Substance By Fraud/False Statement/Forgery.Pre-trial conference set for Jan. 9.
December Indictments

December indictments...

 

Nathaniel Ryan Lemaster, 21, Webbville, KY, was indicted on the charge of Receiving Stolen Property (firearm). According to the indictment, on or about July 31, 2014, Nathaniel Ryan Lemaster knowingly and unlawfully was in possession of a Taurus PT111 9 mm semi-automatic pistol with a value of $350, stolen from Brittany Sprouse of Webbville, KY.

Dawn Barker, 42, Louisa, was indicted on the charge of Bail Jumping 1st Degree. According to the indictment, on or about November 14, 2014, Dawn Barker, AKA Dawn Burchett, knowingly and unlawfully failed to appear at a specified time and place in connection with a felony charge of 2nd Degree Burglary, failing to appear as ordered by the court.
 

Info taken from Lawrence Co. Circuit Court Clerk's Office

 


December 18, 2014;

 Ky Power seeks rate adjustment of 12.5% to fund investments to meet growing operating costs;

Average household will pay about $22 per month more, company says...

FRANKFORT, Ky., er 16, 2014 – Kentucky Power, a subsidiary of American Electric Power (AEP), plans to ask the Kentucky Public Service Commission to adjust customer rates, the next step in a cost-conscious plan to meet increasing EPA demands. The adjustment also will pay for expanded tree trimming to strengthen service reliability and cover growing costs of doing business.

The request completes the recovery of Kentucky Power’s remaining commitment to purchase half of the coal-fired Mitchell power plant in Moundsville, West Virginia. That sale, approved by commissioners in 2013, replaces nearly all of the 800 megawatts produced by Unit 2 at Big Sandy, which is set to close in 2015.

Purchase of the Mitchell plant, which burns some Kentucky coal, saves Kentucky Power customers nearly half a billion dollars over the $1 billion price tag of installing scrubbers on Big Sandy Unit 2. The scrubber option would have required a 31 percent rate increase to fund the equipment needed to meet new federal environmental rules.

“The Mitchell transaction has proven to be the most cost-effective choice we could have made for our customers as we work to comply with stricter EPA requirements,” said Greg Pauley, Kentucky Power’s president and chief operating officer. “We understand any increase is difficult for our customers. That’s why when we go before the Kentucky Public Service Commission for a rate adjustment, we do so only after a thorough review of the most economical way to serve our customers today and well into the future.”

One way Kentucky Power is addressing consumer needs is by increasing tree trimming to reduce outages. Since 2010, the company has doubled its contract forestry work force to clear rights of way and has worked to trim trees along every mile of line.

The rate adjustment includes nearly $11 million to move toward a four-year trimming cycle to further improve reliability.

The company also is advancing the well-being of Eastern Kentucky by investing in the communities it serves, promoting economic development projects and making multiple contributions.

Kentucky Power recently partnered with 12 area banks to finance $75 million in capital projects. And earlier this year, the Kentucky Power Economic Advancement Program, which is funded by AEP shareholders and not Kentucky Power customers, awarded $200,000 in development grants to three Eastern Kentucky projects – the Big Sandy area Development District, the City of Paintsville and the Louisa Chapter Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.

Kentucky Power also is an active participant in Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) initiative created by Gov. Steve Beshear and Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., to improve the economy and quality of life in the region. In addition to its support of business development, Kentucky Power contributes millions of dollars to other causes within its service territory. From 2009 to 2013, Kentucky Power donated $3.1 million. About 40 percent of the money went to education, while 30 percent went to hunger and housing projects. The remaining funds were divided among multiple worthwhile projects. Kentucky Power also aids customers through its energy efficiency programs by providing home energy audits, heat pump rebates and free CFLs. Helping customers swap just five incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents can save about $60 a year.

“We take seriously our role as a partner for progress in the areas we serve,” Pauley said. “To do that, we take into consideration our customers and strive to balance their needs with our needs to improve our infrastructure so that we can continue to provide safe and reliable electric service while keeping prices as affordable as possible.”

Kentucky Power’s request seeks nearly $70 million, a 12.48 percent overall increase. The exact amount of the increase will vary by customer class and usage. Under the proposal, residential customers using an average 1,362 kilowatt hours per month would see an increase on their monthly bills of about $22, or about 72 cents a day. Under the scrubber plan to meet EPA mandates, the average residential bill would have jumped nearly $43 a month, or $1.41 a day.

The requested rate adjustment fulfills the Settlement Agreement previously approved by the commission. Under the settlement, Kentucky Power agreed to accept significantly less than cost-based rates during the interim period between the Mitchell transfer and when new rates are approved by the commission following the retirement of Big Sandy Unit 2.

The rate adjustment request is required to be filed no later than December 29, 2014. The Settlement Agreement also called for the establishment of an Asset Transfer Rider to collect $44 million to recover a portion of the Mitchell assets. Of the $70 million now requested, $37.7 million or 6.73 percent, is needed to complete the asset recovery, which is below the original estimate of 8.21 percent.

“We are extremely pleased that the Mitchell transfer represents a smaller percentage of the increase than we estimated it would be,” Pauley said. “This is good news for customers.”

The Mitchell acquisition is one part of Kentucky Power’s plan to ensure safe, reliable and affordable electric service for customers now and into the future. In addition to buying half of Mitchell, the company earlier this year received approval from the Kentucky Public Service Commission to convert Big Sandy’s smaller, 278-megawatt Unit 1 to burn natural gas instead of coal. The conversion, which is set to be completed in 2016, keeps half of the plant open and preserves several jobs.

Kentucky Power, with headquarters in Frankfort, Ky., provides service to approximately 172,000 customers in all or part of 20 eastern Kentucky counties. It is a unit of the AEP system, one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, with more than 5 million customers in 11 states, including Kentucky. AEP ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a nearly 39,000-mile network that includes more 765 kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined.

December 20, 2014;

Lazer back online, still waiting for new design to kick in... Please be patient!

The staff and management of the area's leading online news source, TheLevisaLazer.com is finally back online after nearly a week of technical work to upgrade to a new version of software, a new web host, GoDaddy.com, and a new site design which is still not in effect but will be soon.

We do not apologize for this because it was out of our control but we are sorry it took longer than expected. We had outgrown the capacity of our old site and did not know it until the site went down and wouldn't come back up.

However the design work has been going on for several weeks and should have been ready to implement by now.

We are now loading all the  articles, pictures and videos on the regular site in anticipation of the new site design. See our new Facebook page (The Levisa Lazer) for details until we get the design moved.

Thank you for your patience and welcome back to The Lazer.