2017-07-12 / Front Page

Jenkins (pop. 2095) still has no grocery store for its citizens


It’s a waiting game for the City of Jenkins as consumers anxious for a new grocery store wait for construction to begin on the planned Save-a- Lot grocery that is set to replace the former Edwards Food Center by the “end of 2017.”

One factor contributing to the delay of what would be the city’s only grocery store is the death of the architect who had served Saver Group Inc. for more than 20 years. Mayor Todd Depriest told the Jenkins City Council Monday that he had spoken to the owner of Saver Group on Monday and was told that, as a result of the architect’s death, the company had contracted with two architects, both of whom were not satisfied with the existing plans for the remodeling work in Jenkins.

Depriest said the problem has been sorted out. He said he was told that Saver Group has a lot of money already invested in the project and intends to have the store open by the end of the year. In the meantime, the city will do whatever it can to help people who have a hard time getting to other grocery stores, the mayor said.

Saver Group Inc. is headquartered in Campbellsville and owns Save-a-Lot. It also has 52 stores in five states, with over 30 in Kentucky. There are Save-a-Lot stores in Whitesburg, Paintsville, Prestonsburg, and South Williamson. The company tries to open at least two new stores each year. The Jenkins store has been plagued by numerous delays, which has created real hardships for Jenkins residents who do not drive or have a difficult time getting to a grocery store. The nearest groceries that serve the city of 2,045 are the Whitaker IGA Store at Neon Junction, the IGA in Pound, Va., and Food City and Save-a-Lot in Whitesburg.

In other business, the city will hold its planned sale of delinquent property taxes to third party pur- chasers on Friday, July 28. City Attorney Randall Tackett said that because people are taking advantage of opportunities to make arrangements for payment of their delinquent taxes, this will be the “shortest list ever.” Mayor Todd Depriest agreed and said the list has been trimmed a lot. The names of delinquent taxpayers will be published in The Mountain Eagle before the day of the tax sale.

Jenkins resident Wendell “Butch” Boggs addressed the council at its July meeting to express his concern about the increasing goose population around Jenkins Lake. Boggs said that goose droppings coat every yard around the lake and that the “Kiddie Park” is also coated. Councilman Rick Damron said that every athletic field is also coated and that football practice will begin soon. Depriest said he has explored options of managing the bird population, and that the most humane option is using loud noises from air horns or other devices, like a “bird cannon.” He said another option, having Fish and Wildlife give them drugged corn, means the birds will be euthanized.

Boggs also mentioned the lily pads in Jenkins Lake. Depriest said that Nesbitt Engineering is looking at applying for funding thorough Abandoned Mine Lands to strengthen the dam and dredge the lake. Councilman Damron said if the lake is dredged, it will take care of the lily pad problem if it is deep enough so the lily pads won’t grow. Dredging will also give the city more water capacity.

Councilmember Rebecca Amburgey praised the Jenkins Police Department for taking care of an incident at the Jenkins Swimming Pool, which several council members referred to as the “first fight” since the pool has been open. Amburgey also said the pool’s restrooms need attention, and thanked Mike and Debbie Chavis for their help with the flowers that have been planted in the city flowerpots along Main Street.

Several council members mentioned the ongoing problem of blighted and deteriorated properties, and Depriest said that one house is scheduled for demolition.

Police Chief Jim Stephens told the council that city officers have been issuing several warnings to all-terrain vehicle riders, but have also praised those riders who obey the law and operate their vehicles responsibly. Stephens said that rather than ticket operators for an initial minor offense, a warning often serves the purpose. He thanked the city’s outside workers for keeping paths clean for ATVs and hikers.

In June, the Jenkins Police Department responded to 105 complaints. Two were domestic violence incidents, three were injury accidents, three were non-injury accidents, and two were motorist assists. Officers made four arrests, two of which were from warrants. They issued six citations and 46 verbal warnings. Most of the verbal warnings were reminders to ATV riders explaining the rules for operating within city limits. Officers also thanked riders who were operating their vehicles properly, especially those who were wearing helmets and operating quietly in residential areas.

Police Chief Stephens attended Firearms Instructor Update Training at Richmond in June and Officer Michael Garner received the “Top Shot” award for his basic training class. Garner will graduate in August. City officers continue to respond to bear incidents and wish to remind residents to put their trash out only on the morning of pick-up and clean their trashcans with ammonia. All residents are cautioned not to leave food out or feed bears in any way. Fish and Wildlife has set up bear traps in several locations throughout the city.

The Jenkins Volunteer Fire Department answered 25 calls in June, including six vehicle accidents. One call was for an alarm malfunction, six were public service calls, seven involved emergency medical service, and others included a false alarm, a landing zone violation, one animal problem response, and one was canceled in route. The department responded to one structure fire. Five firefighters attended the State Fire School in Lexington and Ed Laughary, Tyler Laughary, and Steven O’Brian obtained the rank of Fire Inspector One. The department now has seven inspectors. Contact the JVFD for information on fire prevention classes which will be held at the Jenkins Public Library and St. George Catholic Church.

The city produced 7,628,000 gallons of water in June, and sold 7,487,000, for a difference of 141,000 gallons, or two percent potential loss. The fire department used 25,000 gallons leaving an unaccounted for loss of 116,000.

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