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Jenkins yet to resolve Halloween issue

Jenkins still leaning toward trick-or-treating by car

Protocols for celebrating Halloween in Jenkins this year are still not set.

At the October meeting of the Jenkins City Council, Mayor Todd Depriest asked the council to discuss the options, but said he favors several of the plans put forth by Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear that limit contact, but still allow some form of trick or treat.

On October 1, Governor Beshear and Dr. Steven Stack, Commissioner for the Kentucky Department of Public Health, issued the following guidelines:

• Kentuckians should wear healthcare masks or cloth masks, socially distance, and wash hands often.

• Place individually wrapped candy outside on the porch, driveway, or table.

• Maintain a social distance of at least six feet from anyone not of your household.

• Always wear a face covering. Halloween masks do not count as face coverings.

• Clean hands before and after touching the wrapped candy.

• Trick or treat in family groups and do not congregate in large groups.

• Trick or treat in your own neighborhood. Do not travel to other neighborhoods.

• Use hand sanitizer often, especially after contacting frequently touched surfaces. Wash hands before eating anything.

Several council members said they felt more comfortable with a plan that Mayor Todd Depriest introduced at last month’s meeting in which families trick or treat from cars in a parade through City Park. Depriest’s plan called for people to stay in their vehicles and drive by sites where business, office seekers, and individuals wishing to give out candy hand bagged or wrapped treats to the people in cars as they drive by.

Council member Ernestine Hill, who lives on Lakeside Drive, said she is very uncomfortable with in-person trick or treating this year. Hill said that ordinarily, she loves having visitors, but this year, fear of COVID-19 has made a big difference. Councilman

Rick Damron said he had thought of leaving a large basket of candy on his porch and placing a sign asking people to just take one. Damron also said a Haunted Forest will be held at the Little Shepherd Amphitheatre, with family units and social distancing, through October 31. Most of the council favored the drive by method proposed by Depriest last week.

Every Halloween in some of the more affluent neighborhoods in Letcher County, trick-or-treaters inundate neighborhoods from as far away as Pike County or Knott County, and other places outside Letcher County. At times, hundreds of people will crowd one neighborhood. This could create unsafe conditions in 2020.

Depriest said he has spoken with Judge/Executive Terry Adams and will participate in a conference call with Adams and Governor Beshear to discuss the issue in greater detail. He said that whatever the method of trick or treating, Centers for Disease Control guidelines will be followed for safety.

In other business, Paul Nesbitt of Nesbitt Engineering, who works with the city on infrastructure projects, reported that Phase V of the Jenkins Waterline Replacement Project may go to bid a few days later than the Marshall’s Branch Project, which is funded by a different source. Phase V is funded by the Department of Abandoned Mine Lands, and the bid came in slightly over the allocated amount. Nesbitt said specifications have been sent to Washington, D.C. for revision. However, the Marshall’s Branch Project is ready to go.

Nesbitt said there will probably be one more water improvement project for Jenkins, the replacement of the main tank in the city, which will be funded as Phase VI. He added that the Highway 805/Bridge Project should be ready to go to bid by December and funders are still looking at improvements on Elkhorn Dam.

Despite new water lines throughout most of the city, it is still losing water. Jenkins produced 16,148,000 gallons of treated water in September and sold 5,351,000 gallons, for a difference of 10,797,000 gallons, or 67 percent potential loss. Of that amount, 3,190,000 gallons were accounted for, leaving an unaccounted loss of 7,607,000, or 47 percent. The wastewater treatment plant used 1,500,000 gallons, and the water treatment plant used 440,000. Line breaks accounted for 885,000 gallons.

Depriest said the bulk of the unaccounted loss is coming from a leak on a section of Highway 805 that is scheduled to be replaced. He said that the break is deep and city workers have not been able to locate it. Specialists from Kentucky Rural Water will be in Jenkins later in the month to help locate the leak.

Depriest said he had received an e-mail earlier on Monday to the effect that there will be some changes in discretionary funds associated with the sidewalk project on Lakeside He said he will be informed when $175,000 to fund the project will be available, probably by the middle of October.

Depriest also said that the Jenkins Volunteer Fire Department has purchased a used Mack ladder truck to replace an older model that is ready for surplus. He asked the council for permission for the department to declare the older vehicle surplus, and the council voted unanimously to approve. Depriest added that the JVFD had paid for the newer truck out of funds its members have raised.

Councilman Garnett Bentley expressed concerns about the possibility that a slide might close Dairy Hollow Road. Depriest said that he is convinced that Abandoned Mine Lands will pay to repair the road because the problems are almost certainly from mining subsidence. He added that the city has a backup plan, including an all-terrain vehicle to bring people in and out of the neighborhood.

Councilman Chuck Anderson said he is concerned about two stretches of dangerous highway. He said one on Highway 805, from the entrance of Camden Road to Number Three Curve, is uneven and falling off the hill. The other is in the southbound lane of US 23 on Pound Mountain, where the road is broken and in disrepair. Depriest said he has discussed both roads with the Kentucky Department of Highways. He said he has been told both stretches are in the road plan but nothing is being done.

The Jenkins Police Department issued answered 51 complaints, issued 51 citations in September, and made 24 arrests. Seven arrests were for domestic violence and two for driving under the influence. Officers issued 28 warrants, and investigated six collisions.

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