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Walking, bike trail being used as road, board told

MOTOR VEHICLES NOT ALLOWED — Barriers have been put in place while officials are trying to determine how to keep vehicles off this walking and bicycle path in West Whitesburg.

MOTOR VEHICLES NOT ALLOWED — Barriers have been put in place while officials are trying to determine how to keep vehicles off this walking and bicycle path in West Whitesburg.

The Letcher County Board of Education was told at its November meeting this week that a plan is in place to keep vehicles off a newly paved walking and biking path near West Whitesburg Elementary School.

Terry Sturgill, director of special projects, said a barrel was placed near the entrance to the path at Bill’s Marathon and orange cones and a barrier were placed near the entrance to the Whitesburg Municipal Swimming Pool.

The sidewalk project, which will be 2,560 feet long, starts at Bill’s Marathon located at 837 Hazard Road and follows the old railroad track by WWES to the old Whitesburg High School football field.

When former Gov. Ernie Fletcher presented a check to the school system on September 12, 2007 at Whitesburg Middle School to fund the sidewalk project, he said the new sidewalks will link the schools with some nearby recreational facilities including the soccer fields, tennis courts and swimming pool

Sturgill said Mountain Enterprise paved the walking track early in the fall and will likely not do anymore work on the project until springtime.

Eventually, Sturgill said, obstacles will be placed at intersections of the path to prevent people from driving onto the blacktop. Bollards, which are six-inch pieces of pipe painted fluorescent yellow, will block vehicles from the blacktopped path but will still allow people to walk and bike on it.

Sturgill said plans call for four feet of grass on each side of the path and nightlights lining the path.

The board approved paying $3,000 to Richardson Associates for architectural fees for the sidewalk project.

The board named four maintenance department workers as employees of the month. They are Thomas Dollarhide, Tim Miller, David Young and Raleigh Young. Twyla Messer, director of operations, said the maintenance department recently finished renovating two bathrooms at Letcher Elementary School.

“When we would go to fix something we would have to fix what you couldn’t see,” said Messer.

Bathrooms on the primary side of the school building received new lights, paint, tile and stalls.

She said the total cost of renovation was about $3,000, which would have been $12,000 if prefabricated materials had been purchased. She said about $9,000 was saved by the maintenance workers building the stalls.

Sturgill said Letcher Elementary School had the highest attendance rate for the third month of school with 94.3 percent.

Will Smith, chairman of the board, asked two reporters, the only members of the audience at that point in the meeting, if they wanted to address the board during public participation. Other audience members left after Sharon Meade, principal of Fleming-Neon Elementary School, spoke of highlights going on at her school.

“Glad everyone is happy with the Letcher County School System,” said Smith. “Moving right along.”

The board also:

• approved reserving space at Letcher County Central High School for Rural Area Medical Care (RAM) to offer free dental, eye and health care to under insured and uninsured people for three days in August 2009.

“I think that would be such a good thing for the community,” said Anna Craft, superintendent of the Letcher County School System.

Dr. Sam Quillen Jr. said thousands of people are served during the RAM events in which local physicians, optometrists and dentists provide services at no cost to those who qualify.

“Nothing but good can come of it,” said Quillen.

• approved minutes of the October 27, 2008 regular board meeting.

• approved minutes of the November 14, 2008 special board meeting.

• approved the school based decision-making councils’ reports.

• approved a Cowan Elementary School trip to Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Va. on November 5.

• approved the Letcher County Central High School girls’ basketball team to participate in a tournament in Hendersonville, Tenn., beginning December 26.

• accepted an offer of assistance of $32,483 from the School Facilities Construction Commission.

• approved the district technology plan for the period from July 1, 2009 through September 30, 2010.

• approved the comprehensive district improvement plan for fiscal year 2008-2009.

• approved submission of a Target field trip grant application submitted by Whitesburg Middle School.

• approved the following payment of claims for services rendered for the renovation at Fleming-Neon Elementary School: Richardson Associates, $1,317.64; and Breeding’s Plumbing and Electric, $23,400.

• approved the financial report, payment of bills and transfers and payment of November salaries. Roger Martin, district finance officer, reported the general ledger balance having $3,213,269.87.

• approved two resignations which were presented in the personnel report: Cyndi Trent, a special education teacher at Beckham Bates Elementary School, and Burman Fowler, a district-wide substitute custodian.

• approved the resignation of Peggy Wilcox, an instructional assistant II at Whitesburg Middle School.

The board went into executive session at 7:20 p.m. “for the purpose if discussing litigation, personnel and/or property.” The board came out of executive session at 7:35 p.m. and Smith reported that no action was taken while in executive session.

The next board meeting is set for 6 p.m. on December 22 at the Letcher County School Bus Garage.

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