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TheLevisaLazer.com - Local News

July 3, 2014

Finally, a turn lane at Louisa West;

Moran announces new turn lane to ease traffic congestion at Louisa West school; vehicle backup has been headache for years....

Working on project Wednesday morning was Matt Reed, James Copley, Rick Staniford and Brent Pack.Working on project Wednesday morning was Matt Reed, James Copley, Rick Staniford and Brent Pack.

By Catrina Vargo

 

Louisa, KY -- A much needed road project began in downtown Louisa about two weeks ago, with a turning lane being built from Rt. 2565 onto W Madison St, into Louisa West Elementary School.

MoranMoran"The afternoon traffic congestion from people waiting to pick up their children from the elementary school has been a problem for years," said Todd Moran, Superintendent for Lawrence County Division of the Kentucky Transportation Dept.

Moran set about to gather together city officials, law enforcement, including Louisa City Police Chief Greg Fugitt, the Board of Education, including Mike Armstrong, and the Kentucky Transportation Dept, including Chief District Engineer, Mary Holbrook, all of which saw a need for the turning lane.  

After the site was reviewed, Moran received authorization to proceed with the plan.  

"I'm very proud of this project," he said. "Over 80 vehicles have been backed up here before," said Moran, who explained that not only was the traffic jam frustrating, but posed a danger as well.  

New turning lane will go into parking area and loop through the existing gate back onto W Madison St.New turning lane will go into parking area and loop through the existing gate back onto W Madison St.The lane will be created by paving the existing road shoulder into the grassy area going down behind the school next to the tunnel.

When completed, there will be a 14 foot wide 'right turn only' lane directing school traffic into Louisa West Elementary into the current back parking lot. The lane will be one way, and exit through the existing gate where traffic will turn right only, through town.

There will be a gate at the entrance of the turning lane, along with the one that is already there at the exit point,  both of which will be locked except for school dismissal times.  

"These gates will be installed and controlled by the Board of Education," Moran said.  "The new turning lane will be for passenger vehicles only.  It will not be used for school buses." 

Moran said, "everyone involved in this project has been great."  

All the signs in the area where the lane is being built had to be removed, and everyone from AEP to the city water department, etc.,  have given their full cooperation.  

Moran said they hope to have the lane completed by the time school starts back in August. Although he's not certain, he said, "We are trying our best to get it done."


Parents have been parking on one lane of the road leading through Louisa as many as 80 at a time.Parents have been parking on one lane of the road leading through Louisa as many as 80 at a time.

Louisa man shows up for court under the influence, officers say; accused of sex offenses... 

SpearsSpearsFrank D. Spears, 30, of Louisa was arrested Friday at the Lawrence County Judicial Center inside the Circuit Court. Spears was arrested for Public Intoxication in a public place and Drug Paraphainlia. 

According to Chief Deputy Mark Wheeler, Spears came into the Circuit Court in an intoxicated state. He was lethargic, had slow speech, glassy eyes, and unsteady upon going in front of the Judge. Spears leaned against the podium and it almost rolled out from under him.

Spears said that he takes pain pills, benzos, and other medications. He was a danger to himself, manifestly under the influence of a controlled substance.

He was arrested on June 13, 2014 15 Miles South of Louisa on Big Fork Rd. and served a Bench Warrant, and Indictment for Court on 2 charges of Sexual Abuse 1st Degree. 

Pretrial officer Brian Frazier said Spears should be checked out and charged if needed. Spears also had a cut straw with residue in a cigarette pack on him.

Deputy Jailer Bill Hall was witness.

New LPD officers do well at Basic Training, LPD arrest report

- See Courthouse section;

______________________

Armstrong gets plaque and gold watch at last meeting as Supt.; Dixon named vice principal at Louisa East... 

Board Member, Heath Preston and Three Rivers Medical Center CEO, Greg Kiser congratulate ArmstrongBoard Member, Heath Preston and Three Rivers Medical Center CEO, Greg Kiser congratulate Armstrong

Click on photo for video of Armstrong's reception

 

By Catrina Vargo

Louisa, KY -- The Lawrence County Board of Education met Monday, June 23, which was rescheduled from last week. It was Mike Armstrong's last meeting with the Board as Superintendent of the Lawrence County School District, where he has served for the past five years.

Before the meeting, Armstrong was called by his wife, Toni, who told him he needed to be there early.  When he walked in, a surprised Superintendent found the cafeteria filled with co-workers, friends, and family.  

After lots of hugs and handshakes, laughs, and tears,  Board Chairman, Jim See spoke about Armstrong, saying he would be truly missed but wished him well on his new endeavor. Board member Barbara Robinson shared a couple of stories, and other members, Heath Preston and Madelyn Roberts also said a few words.  Member Garnett Skaggs had not yet arrived, but said in the meeting she would miss him.

David Baird, Executive Director of KSBA, which will soon become Armstrong's official title.David Baird, Executive Director of KSBA, which will soon become Armstrong's official title.David Baird, who is serving as Executive Director for the Kentucky School Board Association (KSBA), and whose position Mike Armstrong will be filling, was present at the reception, and said Armstrong "blew the board away" during his interview. He said Armstrong will start his new job on October 1 instead of July 1 as was announced earlier due to a KSBA change. Armstrong will get a three month unforseen vacation.

Armstrongs gold watchArmstrongs gold watchArmstrong was then presented with a plaque and an engraved gold watch.  

He said he was "humbled" by the outpouring of support, and became emotional as he spoke about his years at Lawrence County. Armstrong ended by saying, "All we can hope for is to leave a place better than when we found it."

Appetizers, cake, and refreshments were served, then the Board proceeded to the library where the postponed June meeting was held.

Dixon will be assistant principal at Louisa East

DixonDixonThe first item on the agenda was student and staff recognition, and Armstrong announced that LCHS teacher Ed Dixon has been named Assistant Principal at Louisa East Elementary. Dixon, a well respected Social Studies teacher at the high school for several years served as the Golf Coach and helped with the Academic team. 

The Board then took a moment of silence in memory of long time bus driver, James Roger Smith, who recently passed away.  "He was a very faithful employee," said Armstrong.

KSBA Energy Manager, Terry Salyer, was present and presented Blaine Elementary with the Energy Star Award, as well as Superintendent Mike Armstrong with an award of recognition.  

Terry Salyer presents Armstrong with recognition award for stewardship of the school system's utilitiesTerry Salyer presents Armstrong with recognition award for stewardship of the school system's utilitiesSalyer then shared energy reports with the Board and commended the district for their part in controlling costs, and implementing energy saving programs within the school buildings. "What you have done here will help other districts improve" he said.
 

Salyer reported that after just one year of the energy saving operation, from March 2013 to February 2014, the savings was 21% above what was expected.   These savings include a cumulative total of usage from lighting, water, power management, computer systems, and other energy uses.

"Even though rates went up 16% in January, you still did better than last year," Salyer said. He also noted that there have been no layoffs, partly due to energy savings.  

The Board then took a minute to officially recognize Superintendent Mike Armstrong for his service to the Lawrence County School District.  

Mike Armstrong's last official meeting with the Lawrence County Board of Education. Dr. Robbie Fletcher will take over on July 1.Mike Armstrong's last official meeting with the Lawrence County Board of Education. Dr. Robbie Fletcher will take over on July 1.

"We are pleased to have worked with you.  If you ever need us for anything, just call" said Chairman See. Armstrong thanked him for the kind words and said, "This has been the greatest experience I have ever had as an educator."  

He said even though he will be working with 172 school districts in his new position in Frankfort, "there is no place like home," and he hopes to take the skills he has learned here and incorporate them across the Commonwealth.  

Armstrong gets a hug from BOE member Madelyn RobertsArmstrong gets a hug from BOE member Madelyn RobertsNext, the Board discussed the free lunch program that was changed in what began as a pilot program in 2010 by the Department of Education, which allows all students to receive free breakfasts and lunches regardless of their family income.  Currently, 100 of the state's 172 districts are part of the program.    

Armstrong said the Federal Government has also changed school menus and recipes to include more fruits and vegetables, less salt and more natural ingredients, enhancing the nutrition value of meals.  According to Armstrong, the program has increased the bottom line by $300,000, a portion of which will be reinvested back into the school's cafeterias and kitchens.  

He said the program puts students on "an equal playing field," explaining that before, it was hard to get students to return the free lunch form because some were embarrassed about their financial situations.  Armstrong said it was a fact that students are more proficient when they are eating solid, well balanced meals. "The program has been very successful."

Armstrong and Finance director Edris HumphryArmstrong and Finance director Edris HumphryThe minutes from past meetings were read and approved, then Financial and Business Director, Edris Humphrey, read the financial report.  The beginning balance in May was $2,292,589, revenue was $1,375,754, expenditures were $1,523,304, resulting in the ending May balance of $2,109,225.  

"We are exactly where we expected to be," said Humphrey. The budget will be reviewed again during the next regular Board meeting in July.  The Claims and Orders of the Treasurer were approved.

The consent agenda was then discussed, at which time, Board Member, Heath Preston asked about what the preventative maintenance expense of $5,000 was actually being used for.  HVAC representatives explained that it was for a variety of services including inspection, cleaning, and servicing. Preston said the units are brand new, and he was familiar with such, as he has experience in their installation.  

The representatives explained that inspection is the key to keeping everything in proper working order. Preston noted that the units were still under warranty.  The reply was that if no one checks, then you don't know if something is wrong.  Filters have to be changed every thirty days.  Preston said they are in a money crunch right now and need to "tighten this up as much as possible."  

Chief Academic officer Cassandra WebbChief Academic officer Cassandra WebbThe consent agenda which also consisted of general items such as facility uses, other activity reports and to retain Terry Salyer as Energy Manager for a two year period was approved.  

The district data review and improvement plans was presented by Chief Academic Officer, Cassandra Webb.  Standings in reading, math and language were discussed, and Webb said they weren't where they need to be.  Armstrong said even though the loss of 34 instruction days due to the weather had some impact, it was still not an excuse, and Webb agreed.  Preston asked "What do we need to work on?", and  See asked, "When we see deficiencies, what do we do about it?"
Webb said she just spent a week in Lexington regarding a new evaluation system.  

"I'm excited to see how this  system is going to push us to the next level" she said.She said the two questions we need to ask is, "When did we know, and what do we do about it?"

 Webb said according to research, it  is not so much the class size, as it is the breadth of student abilities that teachers are dealing with.  

"We have to learn how to determine the skill set vs the class size."

Preston put it into other words, by asking "How do we get students who are on different levels in the same classroom on the same page?"  Webb said "That is exactly the challenge."

LCHS Principal, Christy Moore, reported that of the seniors, 40 were determined to be career ready, 78 college ready, and 36 were both.  

"The numbers were above what expected" said Moore.

Other business included the approval of Edris Humphrey as Treasurer to the Board and Betty Mullins as Secretary for a period of two years, as well as adjustments to the payroll calendar, hiring of substitute teachers, contract to retain Mike Schmitt as attorney, travel reimbursement rate for employees at .40 per mile, and the creation of a kindergarten position which will be posted in the next couple of days.

Mike and Toni ArmstrongMike and Toni ArmstrongThe Board then entered into executive session to discuss Superintendent Armstrong's annual evaluation.

They returned, adopting the unanimous evaluation at an overall rating of 3.1 on standards, and a 3 on goals, which is a performance rating of excellent on a scale of 1-4. 

The Board's final comments were, "Our expectations is that you continue improvements and successes as you pursue new opportunities and experiences."

The meeting was then adjourned.  The next regular Board of Education meeting will be Monday, July 21 at the LCHS Library.

 

 

Superintendent’s Personnel Action/Update

June 23, 2014

 

Resignations

Braun Ream                   - Teacher at Blaine Elementary School

Amanda McCall            - Teacher at Lawrence County High School

 

Request the following positions be created effective July 1, 2014:

  • (1) Teacher at Louisa West Elementary School (1-Year—if needed)*
  • (1) Instructional Assistants at Louisa West Elementary School (1-Year—if needed)*

 

 

Vernon Hall

Director of Pupil Personnel & District Personnel

Lawrence County Schools


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