Whitesburg KY

State police renew roadblock warning with very few specifics

Kentucky State Police Troopers in Post 13 in Hazard say they will conduct traffic safety checkpoints and moving patrols throughout the Post 13 area during the month of February. The Post 13 area includes Letcher, Breathitt, Knott, Leslie and Perry counties.

A KSP news release says the enforcement efforts will use troopers, detectives, and KSP Commercial Vehicle

Enforcement officers assigned to the Hazard Post area.

KSP Public Affairs Officer Jody Sims said personnel conducting traffic safety checkpoints and mobile patrols will be doing so with the intent of improving highway safety by focusing on speeding, seat belt and child restraint usage, impaired driving, motor vehicle equipment

If the winter weather continues to cooperate, the City of Jenkins may end the snow season with just enough road salt to have adequately treated city streets.

At the February meeting of the Jenkins City Council, Mayor Todd Depriest said that the 15 inches of snow and extreme temperatures the city experienced in the closing weeks of January had stretched its salt supplies, but that hard work by city employees and extra scraping of city streets had kept the use of salt to a manageable level.

“Road salt is $90 a ton,” said Depriest. “The road fund has about $14,000. We’ve tried to save money and use it (salt) in the most dangerous areas, and scrape everything else.”

Depriest and the council were unanimous in praising the efforts of city workers in their efforts to keep city streets safe. Depriest said the road department had been limited by their equipment, but had done all they could in bad conditions. Councilman Rick Damron said the layer of ice that was laid down before snow started falling had made it especially difficult to keep streets clear.

“I don’t want to be a salt miser,” said Depriest. “The next big snow might be the one where we run out of salt.”

Council members also praised the Jenkins Police Department and Volunteer Fire Department for keeping constant contact with elderly and shut-in citizens to ensure that they had heat, medicine, food, and other necessities during the weather emergency. Damron said volunteer firemen worked hard to get groceries and medicine to people who couldn’t get out. Depriest said both departments had worked day and night to get cars out of ditches, and to make sure that people’s needs were met.

In other business, the council discussed the possibility of using the old Jenkins High School Auditorium, which was recently vacated by the Letcher County Senior Citizens program, as a center for community activities. Depriest said that the cost of electricity would be a factor in deciding to pursue the matter. He said county officials told him the monthly bill runs between $800 and $900, which would be difficult for the city to bear. However, he said the stoves, freezers, and other cooking equipment have been removed.

Councilman Damron said the auditorium would be good for exercise classes and other community gatherings. Depriest said the council and citizens could figure out ways to use it if the expense isn’t too great. He said the people around town have expressed interest in using the auditorium, adding, “I would love to see the (Jenkins High School) prom there instead of Norton, Virginia.”

Council member Rebecca Amburgey asked about progress in getting blue bag recycling going again. Depriest said a trailer is now in place, and that city sanitation workers will be picking up blue bags of recyclables on the normal schedule.

City Manager Benny Mc- Call told the council the city is moving toward a faster and more innovative way of disposing of blighted and deteriorated property. He said the Shehee Property at Burdine was recently sold and that the city is in the process of moving toward selling the designated properties at pre-arranged auctions where interested parties can place bids. After a bid is accepted, the high bidder will be responsible for cleaning the lot up and paying taxes. Two properties are currently set for auction, the Victor Bryant property at Smokey Row, and the Polly house at Quiet Row in Dunham. McCall said if the auction method is successful, it will be a faster and more financially feasible way to remove the blighted properties.

Ken Reid of Nesbitt Engineering reported that the Dunham Water Project is about 50 percent finished and said that the contractor will have to replace some gravel that was lost during the storm. In response to a question from Rick Damron, Reid said that the Kentucky Department of Highways has a project in the making to move water lines in the Camden area and that some bad drainage issues will be addressed during the construction.

City Attorney Randall Tackett delivered the annual report for the Dave Zegeer Rail and Coal Mining Museum. Tackett told the council that the museum’s profits from sales are up by about $400 over last year and that expenses are up by just over $2,000, from paying to have renovations done at Giovanni’s Pizza to keep in conformity with the overall style of the museum and Community Trust Bank.

Councilman Damron also asked about a deficit balance in the Utility and General Fund accounts, but Finance Officer Robin Kincer told him that it is not unusual for accounts to be out of balance in some months. She said that a number of people don’t pay utility bills in November and December, in favor of Christmas shopping, and usually catch them up when they get their income tax refunds.

Mayor Depriest also asked the council to approve a commemorative sign to be placed at Rocky Hollow to honor the five Blankenship brothers, all of whom served in World War II. One of the brothers also served in the Korean Conflict. The council approved and Councilman Damron said he will help with lettering for the sign. The council also voted to declare a 2012 Dodge Durango surplus to allow for the purchase of a police cruiser.

The city produced 15,693,730 gallons of treated water in January and sold 5,947,000, for a difference of 9,746,730 gallons. Of that, 5,350,000 gallons area accounted for, including 1,548,000 gallons lost due to line breaks and 1,535,000 gallons for wastewater plant use. The city has an unaccounted for loss rate of 28 percent, or 4,396,730 gallons. safety and lawful registration and licensing of vehicles and drivers. Officers will also be observing for distracted drivers, especially those who are texting. Any violations of law or other public safety issues that arise will be addressed, Sims said, and the ultimate goal of these enforcement efforts is to increase the safety of the citizens within the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

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