Archives for February 2020

Taxing Vaping Products

The Kentucky House voted Wednesday to create a tax on vaping products and increase taxes on snuff and chewing tobacco.The bill passed the House on a 75-17 vote and now goes to the Senate, media outlets reported.It’s estimated to raise $50 million of new tax revenue over the next two fiscal years. It aims to reduce vaping and smokeless tobacco use in a state with one of the nation’s highest cancer rates.

Pizza Lunch For Lydia’s House

In Benham is Addiction Recovery Care’s ‘Lydia’s House’, a recovery center for women.Wednesday, Letcher County District Court Judge Kevin Mullins, along with Hunt Brothers District Manager Tim Fields, donated a pizza lunch to the women at the center.”That truly means a lot because a lot of things go unnoticed and I think it’s wonderful that people are paying attention. People are noticing that we’re making a difference,” said Director Stacy Blas.The meal is an outreach event from Hunt Brothers.It also highlights the work Lydia’s House and ARC are doing in Eastern Kentucky.

KY Sunglass Company Adds Jobs

A Kentucky sunglasses provider is expanding with a $400,000 investment and plans to add 38 full-time jobs.S. Rays Inc., which is headquartered in Simpsonville and operates under the name Shady Rays, will add managerial staff and expand its distribution operations, according to a news release from Gov. Andy Beshear on Wednesday. The company employs 22 people currently at its headquarters.Shady Rays was founded in 2012.

Hazard Schools Take Time Off

School officials with Hazard Independent Schools decided on Wednesday to close for Thursday and Friday citing low attendance.Superintendent Sondra Combs said attendance has been very low for the past couple of days.”It dropped way below the 90 percent that we try to aim for,” said Combs.Officials decided it was better to call off school so staff and students could get well.”The health and wellness of our students comes number one,” said Combs.

Pike County Applies For Economic Grant

During a recent meeting of the Pike County Fiscal Court, the court approved allowing Pike County Grants Administrator Sharon Hall to apply for an economic development grant to help fund phase one of the Wolfpit Industrial Site, something Pike County Judge-Executive Ray Jones said the county desperately needs.According to Hall, the Economic Development Assistance to Coal Communities Grant (EDA) is worth approximately $2,481,210 and would help implement “much-needed” infrastructure for the 81-acre industrial site, while also supporting more than 200 jobs.

Changes In State Politics

Republicans claimed a rural Kentucky House seat long held by Democratic stalwart Rocky Adkins as the political parties split a pair of special legislative elections on Tuesday.In a suburban northern Kentucky district, the Democratic candidate emerged victorious to retain the House seat for Democrats.The two special elections filled vacancies created when Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear hired two veteran lawmakers to join his administration.

Johnson County Launches Strategic Plan

Johnson County launched a new community strategic plan aimed at targeting revitalization and stabilizing the economy.The county released a survey asking residents how the city could improve their quality of life and what’s most important to them.The survey generated 1,500 responses from residents and a long list of both improvements and areas of concern.”They are very passionate about homelessness, substance abuse treatment, and prevention. They are also passionate about downtown development, economic development, tourism, recreation, and things to do in the community,” according to officials.

Appointed To Presidential Commission

The U.S. Attorney in Louisville has been selected to join a working group that is part of a presidential commission on law enforcement.U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman, whose jurisdiction is the western half of Kentucky, will serve on the Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice Law Enforcement Recruitment and Training Working Group. Recruitment and retention are among the major goals.

Auditions For ‘Sound Of Music’

Auditions were held on Tuesday for ‘The Sound of Music’ at The Forum in Hazard. This will be Hazard’s first musical in more than 20 years. For the Appalachian Arts Alliance, ‘The Sound of Music’ was an easy choice.”It is the all-time favorite. It is the quintessential musical that everyone grew up with and our parents grew up with and our grandparents grew up with,” said executive director Timothy Deaton. Another round of auditions will be held tonight at 5:30 at the Forum.

Taxing KY Houseboat Owners

Many houseboat owners in Kentucky don’t pay property taxes on their vessels, but local and state officials are taking another run at making them comply in order to collect money that would help local schools and other services.The effort in the current legislative session is House Bill 418, which would create a way to track houseboats in counties where they are docked and collect the property tax.