2017-10-04 / News

Jenkins, state discuss road dangers; council addresses blighted property


Discussions are underway between the City of Jenkins and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to address the dangerous situation that has caused numerous accidents on US 23 on the Kentucky side of Pound Mountain. Jenkins Police Chief Jim Stephens reported that city officials have spoken with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet about placing a sign on US 23 in relation to the increase in traffic accidents on the approach to Jenkins. He said that the department is in the process of approving a sign to read, “Slow, Slippery Surface.” He added that it is also looking into applying a friction treatment to increase traction in the two problem areas, just past the runaway truck pull-out, and the junction of US 12 and US 119.

In other business, the council members also discussed their ongoing problem with a house in Burdine that is inhabited but does not have electricity or city water, at their October meeting held on Monday evening. Mayor Todd Depriest told the council the Letcher County Health Department will not act on the matter as long as the residents carry water from Elkhorn Creek and use it to flush toilets. He said the house is still connected to the city’s sewer system and if the city wanted to disconnect it from the sewer lines it would have to dig up the main line to remove the lines running to the house, and that would create a problem with waste disposal.

“I wish there was a good easy answer,” said Depriest. “But there isn’t one.”

The matter was originally brought up at last month’s meeting by Councilmember Rebecca Amburgey, who said she had received quite a few calls from residents of Number One Bottom, where the house is located. At that time, Depriest told her he was aware of the situation and had looked into it. He said he would ask the health department again, but other than that, there was probably very little the city could do. He added that the residents of the house in question do not pay a sewer bill but since they also don’t get city water, the city has no way to pressure them into paying the sewer bill. Water and sewer bills are usually connected and householders that don’t pay their sewer bill can get their water turned off.

Harold Kelly of Nesbitt Engineering told Mayor Depriest that the city will have to wait a while longer for the sidewalk which will run from the Jenkins football field to the highway across from Jenkins Middle/High School to be completed. He said Nesbitt Engineering was contacted by the Kentucky Department of Transportation and was told that although KDOT is satisfied with the work and material the city proposes to furnish as an in-kind match for the grant it received for the sidewalk, federal transportation officials have questioned it.

The grant, which was originally approved during the Charles Dixon administration, was part of the Federal Enhanced Transportation Grant Program, and the U.S. Department of Transportation has the final say over the allocation of funds. The Kentucky DOT had questions about how the city’s in-kind match would be conducted and when Nesbitt Engineering satisfied the questions, the USDOT asked for clarification on the same matter.

The council also approved a recommendation made by the Blighted and Deteriorated Property Committee to proceed with demolition of a house formerly owned by Sherell Taylor in the Mudtown area. City Attorney Randall Tackett told the council members that an unidentified individual is interested in purchasing the property as soon as the house is removed and gave them the committee’s recommendation to declare it blighted and to condemn it. In two separate motions, the council voted to declare the house blighted and then to condemn it for demolition. Depriest said the lot will be sold as soon as it is cleared.

Depriest submitted three names to the council of citizens recommended to join the Jenkins Homecoming Festival Committee. However, Councilman Chuck Anderson, who serves as the council’s liaison to the committee, said that as far as he knows, no vote is required to add members and membership is open and up to the committee. However, Depriest asked for a vote just to be sure and said if it wasn’t necessary that would be all right. The council voted unanimously to add Sid Toler, Michael Chavis, and Patrick Little to the Homecoming Festival Committee.

The council went into executive session late in the short meeting to discuss a personnel matter, and returned in a few minutes. Mayor Depriest announced the council had taken no action.

Depriest also announced that the Jenkins Volunteer Fire Department and the Mayking Volunteer Fire Department have combined their talents to create a “haunted mansion” at the old Elkhorn Country Club building in Jenkins. It will be open starting Friday, October 13. Times are 8 p.m. until 11 p.m. The council also voted to approve a fundraising roadblock for the Jenkins Middle School girls’ basketball team to be held on Saturday, November 4.

The Jenkins Police Department responded to more than 100 complaints in September. Three were for domestic violence calls, six were for vehicle accidents with no injuries, three were for accidents with injury. The department also made seven motorist assists. The department issued 19 citations and 68 verbal warnings. Seven of the citations were the result of warrants and two were drug related. Officers also served one criminal summons.

Police Chief Jim Stephens attended training sessions in the use of the anti-overdose drug Narcan. Once Narcan is made available to local police departments and a policy for using it is adopted, trained officers will carry Narcan in their duties.

City police officers responded to several complaints concerning diseased deer. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Game report that the disease known as Bluetongue, which primarily affects white-tailed deer, is caused by the bite of midges (called no-seeums), and is not contagious to other species. Wildlife officials say there is no threat to humans or wildlife that eat an infected deer. Bluetongue is a hemorrhagic disease and cause lesions, ulcers, swelling, and hemorrhages in infected animals.

The city produced 11,645,000 gallons of treated water in September and sold 9,587,000 gallons for a difference of 2,058,000 gallons of a loss of 18 percent. The JVFD used 25,000 gallons and 2,033,000 gallons were unaccounted for, a 17 percent unaccounted loss.

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